Car Culture is killing itself, from the inside

Classic carsCar culture is a very unique entity in society. It’s one of the few communities that have one universal thing in common, a love of cars. What makes car culture so special is its diversity. Classic cars, modified cars, supercars, track day cars, drifters, they all have their own unique sub-communities. It’s understandable why. A car is almost certainly the most expensive thing someone may own after their house. It makes sense that someone may dedicate their time passion and money towards it.

The trouble with these communities however is that each and every single one of them, without exception hates the others. Classic car enthusiasts think modified cars are stupid and impractical, modified car guys think classics are old and slow, track day racers think supercar owners aren’t using their cars to their full potential, supercar drivers think everyone else is poor and everyone thinks drifters are just dangerous drivers. It’s one of the biggest problems with the car community, nobody can unite under one banner.

Modified carsThe amazing thing is there is a massive crossover between the different cultures, there are hundreds of modified classics and supercars out there. Some people do take their supercars to the track and the drifting scene is incredibly diverse when it comes to car choice. But nobody in their own culture will admit to liking something from another.

Track day cars

I hate to stray in to politics here as that’s not what you, me or anyone is here for, but car culture is a lot like the modern political world, everyone is arguing over Brexit, taxes, carrier bag charges, abortion laws, LGBTQ rights, border walls, war and much more, but no one is willing to move an inch on any issue. To solve problems you have to compromise otherwise nothing gets done. Each side has to give a little for things to move forward.

If car culture is to move forward we all have to accept that we are all part of one massive community, car enthusiasts. Each and every one of us celebrates Karl Benz’s creation in our own unique way, and it’s our uniqueness that makes us special.  Classic cars are where we’ve come from, modified cars are our own personalisation of our pride and joy, supercars are the pinnacle of technology and where we are going, track day cars are pushing people to their limit and drifters are going beyond it, each band of our community brings something special with it and we need to accept them or face extinction.

Super cars

Think, as a child how often did someone tell you that something you liked was stupid and you were silly for liking it, that happens everyday in the car community and turns people away from spending time with their cars and the people involved with them. This community is one of the most toxic and hard to get into, but it shouldn’t be. Underneath it all we are the same person, we are passionate about speed, power, metal, oil and petrol. We are petrol heads.

What do you think of the current state of car culture, let us know in the comments.

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Elon Musk is not a nice man

Elon MuskThere are many automotive visionaries, people who go down in history for revolutionising the way we look, think and build cars. Carl Benz inventor of the car, Henry Ford who changed the way cars are built, Enzo Ferrari who found a way to combine a race car with a road car and sprinkle that unique Italian class all over it. Elon Musk is someone who could be classed in the same way. He has changed the game when it comes to electric cars. Going from an economy box with the range of a potato and a top speed just faster than walking to a luxurious must have item that can beat pretty much anything on the roads is a massive achievement.

Elon Musk Twitter rant

But that doesn’t mean he’s a good person. Recently when one of the British heroes of the Thai cave rescue criticised Musk’s ill thought out attempts to help the situation when a plan was already in action, Musk decided to tweet his thoughts on the man, calling him a ‘pedo’. This is a baseless and lacking in any form of evidence. Just because Musk was criticised he decided to lash out and make seriously damaging accusations against a man many are calling a hero.

In a time of the #MeToo movement and Operation Yewtree to make an accusation of this magnitude is foolish at best and at worst could ruin a mans reputation for life.

Tesla Roadster 3

But this isn’t Musk’s first negative out burst earlier this year he bemoaned any press coverage of him that was negative, basically calling it ‘Fake News’ (Where have I heard that before) and in years prior he has tried to sue Top Gear for it’s not overly positive review of the Tesla Roadster, and fired his secretary of 20 years for asking for a raise.

This recent pedo outburst won’t be the last of Elons career, its just a question of how many more will he have before Tesla shareholders take a stand and oust him from the company.

What do you think of Elon Musk, let us know in the comments.

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Aston Martin go all in against Porsche and BMW

Aston Martin Rapide AMR 1The Aston Martin Rapide never really hit the right spot. Its impressive V12 came straight out of the Aston super cars and it’s looks were that of an elongated DBS but it failed to reach the sunny heights of the Porsche Panamera or the BMW M5. Aston have now set out to change that with the new Aston Martin Rapide AMR, a car they say is worthy of a race team.

Aston Martin Rapide AMR 3

The AMR is limited to just 210 cars and was built to celebrate Aston’s return to the Le Mans 24 hours to defend their 2017 victory. The AMR is very reminiscent of cars from Aston’s past with the aggressive grill looking similar to that of the track only Vantage AMR Pro and the circular daytime running lights coming straight from the Zagato models.

With 595bhp coming from the V12 engine powering the big 4 door to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 205mph, the Rapide AMR can keep up with super cars, let alone the Panamera and M5. The AMR should be able to keep up with its competition through the corners as well thanks to its new 400mm front discs and 10mm lowered ride height. Aston Martin say the new Rapide AMR is more focused, agile and dynamic.

All this luxury high-speed goodness for the small price of just £194,950 with Aston Martin expecting delivery to take place later this year.

PS: I thought I should mention why I haven’t written here for a while, I recently started a new job in automotive PR. This is taking up a lot of my time and focus. But I am aiming to keep going here but it may be more sporadic and less scheduled. Keep an eye on my twitter @jimafred to see what’s coming when.

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Practically perfect 2CV heads to auction

1561938_1954 Citroen 2CV mainA special restoration project Citroen 2CV, which was rebuilt in front of a live audience at the NEC, Birmingham, will be offered for sale by Classic Car Auctions at the June Sale on 2nd June at the Warwickshire Event Centre.

Having been abandoned in a London garage 43 years ago, in need of a full restoration, the 2CV was recovered, stripped and refurbished by the team at Practical Classics magazine, before being rebuilt on the live stage at this year’s Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show, with Discovery. Once completed, the like-new 2CV was driven off stage by Wheeler Dealers presenter, Mike Brewer.

Practical classics 2cv

“Owning a 2CV has been a life-long dream since I saw one for the first time as a little boy in Paris. However, this one turned out to be far more special than I ever anticipated,” explains the car’s owner, James Walshe, self-confessed 2CV nut and deputy editor at Practical Classics magazine.

The 2CV was first purchased on 16th June 1954 in Paris and was imported into the UK in 1963 by its second owner. In 1975, a growing family led the 2CV to being stored in favour of something more practical. It remained in storage until 1997 when it was purchased by a 2CV enthusiast who intended to restore the little French car, but unfortunately it was left abandoned, with the body stored in one garage and the engine and gearbox in another, for a further 20 years.

1561939_1954 Citroen 2CV pre restoration

Now in the hands of James and guided by the expertise of 2CVGB club members and Citroen experts, the car was stripped, sand-blasted, corrosion treated, primed and resprayed in its original, matt ‘Gris Fonce’. The original 375cc engine was also fully stripped, cleaned and refurbished along with the suspension by a well-known Citroen specialist. The interior retains its original basic nature, with new seat cushions and new roof completing the car. Now returned to its former glory with extraordinary attention to detail, the car has been given an auction estimate of £10,000 to £12,000 by CCA.

1561937_Rebuild on the Live Stage HR

Since its restoration, the 2CV has taken part in a very special road trip. Starting from the old Morris factory in Oxford, the 2CV was driven all the way to its birthplace, the Levallois factory in Paris, France, and then back to the UK, in celebration of the 2CV’s 70th birthday. This unique test run is featured in the latest issue of the magazine, and is star of the front cover.

The full story of this Citroen 2CV is available to read in the June 2018 issue of Practical Classics magazine, available in stores from 16th May.

To find out more about the sale of the car and the full lot list for CCA’s June Sale, please visit:

The New Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury

Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury 6 Now, Maybachs have never been the prettiest of cars, they sort of look like elongated Mercedes S Classes rather than the uber luxurious transport of the rich and famous. But with the new Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury they are breaking new ground in the world of ugly cars.

The Maybach Vision UL is a high riding luxury SUV with what is trying to be a swooping saloon body but on such a big car just looks stretched. To put it into perspective of how big this car is, its bigger wider and taller than the already gargantuan Bentley Bentayga. The Vision UL rides on 24 inch wheels that look more suitable on Puff Daddys Hummer than they do on a German example of luxury.

Now with such a massive car you might expect a giant engine, V10 or V12 maybe even V16 like the original Phantom concept. But believe it or not this new Maybach monstrosity is fully electric. The output of the UL’s four electric motors is 740BHP giving the big loaf a top speed of 155mph, not bad for a giant electric SUV.

Where Maybach are known for succeeding however is the interior, the new Maybach continues this trend with swathes of white leather and aluminium. Where a Rolls Royce feels like a smoking lounge inside, the Maybach feels like an up to date trendy bar. Its clearly for the UK market at there is a full tea set in the rear centre console.

I’m fine with companies making ‘ultimate luxury’ concepts but at least make them look good. The Maybach Vision UL is hideous on the outside, which really lets down a fantastic interior if Maybach were to ever bring the UL to market (which I doubt) I will forever fear driving behind one, because I may have to burn  my eyes to remove the sight from my mind.

What do you think of the Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury Concept, let us know in the comments.

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Everyone and their dog seems to think they can make a Super car

ZenvoSuper cars are a special breed, usually developed over many years with millions of pounds being spent on development to make it a world-beater, the super car is the pinnacle of motor engineering and is very easy to get wrong. If your super car doesn’t handle well has too much power or is ugly you have failed. When companies are charging more and more for these super cars you expect them to be a quality product however of the past few years the number of super cars coming out has increased massively, all from companies you’ve never heard of.

Glickenhaus SCG 004SFor example have any of you heard of the Arrinera Hussarya, the Tauro V8 Portago, The Devel Sixteen, the Ikeya Formula IF02RDS, the Apollo Intesa Emozione, the Dallera Stradale, the Aspark Owl, the Vencer Sarthe, the Mazanti Evantra Millecavalli, or the Glickenhaus SCG 004S. No I thought not, just because you’ve made your name out of scrabble tiles doesn’t mean you can make a super car. And guess what every single one of the cars I’ve just listed will fail. Yes they may sell one, maybe even two cars but they will never have the prestige, technical knowhow or appeal of a Ferrari, Aston Martin or McLaren. But why won’t they succeed, Ferrari had to start somewhere, all manufacturers did, well many manufacturers started out in racing, the previously mentioned Ferrari, McLaren and even Bugatti started out on the track then transitioned over to road cars.

Aston Martin ValkyrieRunning a race team with your name on it builds up a reputation and a fandom of that brand, particularly if you are successful, also you build up a knowledge base of engineers who can then transfer those expertise onto the roads, take Red Bull for example. Fifteen years ago it would be laughable to think an energy drink manufacturer would be able to build a respectable road car, but four F1 world championships later Red Bull are working directly with Aston Martin on the new Valkyrie hyper car and I wouldn’t be surprised to see their own Red Bull branded road car announced by 2025. What these no name manufacturers have done is essentially take an engine from another manufacturer stick it in a weird looking carbon fibre body and expected it to be successful, when in actuality what they have is nothing more than a glorified kit car.

Mclaren P1

When somebody drives up in a super car everybody should be able to tell just by looking at the car what it is, the question when the driver gets out shouldn’t be “What is that?” it should be “Can I have a go?” these no name manufacturers won’t be remembered in 5 years let alone the rest of history.

What do you think of the sudden rise of random supercars, let us know in the comments

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Lamborghini Terzo Mellennio revealed Coming soon?

Lamborghini Terzo Mellenio 18The first of the big names has revealed their vision for a fully electric super car. Lamborghini unveiled the Terzo Mellenio, a fully electric super car built to look at the future of what the super car can be. The Terzo Mellenio is just a concept and not built for production any time soon, but Lamborghini say the Terzo Mellenio is built to investigate the technologies that they may use in the future including energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design, and emotion. So whilst the future Lambo super cars wont look like this it may feature some of the tech we see on it.

So whats so special about the Terzo Mellenio, well the Terzo Mellenio features a unique power storage system. Rather than the conventional batteries we see in the likes of Teslas the Terzo Mellenio is designed to use super capacitors a new innovation in the car world, Lamborghini first started developing super capacitors on the Aventador. The Terzo Mellenio also saw the announcement of a partnership between Lamborghini and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to develop future power sources and materials needed to further the super car world.

Lamborghini are also working on a way to create a carbon fibre body capable of storing energy, essentially turning the whole car into an energy storage device. Lamborghini’s work with MIT is their attempt to protect their future, they are trying to innovate further into the future than anyone else, they are going beyond batteries to develop an electric car capable of beating the world, but also capable of changing the world.

The Lamborghini Terzo Mellenio is nothing but a concept, we will never see anything like it approach production for a long time, while it looks awesome and the technology behind it is incredible it is merely an idea of what Lamborghini are headed towards. The Terzo Mellenio is similar to the BMW concepts released showing their new 100 years plan, Lamborghini could be planning something much further away though, especially as Terzo Mellenio translates to third millennium.

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Honda Sports EV concept unveiled at Tokyo motor show

Honda Sports EV 1

Honda unveiled the surprisingly likable Urban EV at the recent Frankfurt motor show, and its looking like it was the first of a series of concepts as at this years Tokyo motor show Honda unveiled the Sports EV, a sleek coupe with similar styling accents to the little Urban EV. The Sports EV is an electric sports car designed to show where Honda is looking to go in the future.

Honda Sports EV 3The Urban EV was also announced to be going into production in 2019, the quick turnaround is a sign that the Sports EV could be expected as early as 2020, to head up Honda’s electric division. The Sports EV shares the same white paint scheme as the Urban and also carries over the simple design of the head and taillights. The Sports EV is similar in size to the Mazda MX5 leading people to believe it will be in a similar performance bracket rather than more powerful cars like the Mercedes SLC and the Jaguar XK.

Honda Sports EV 2Whilst no performance specs have been released for the Sports EV, Honda insiders have talked of a 150 mile range for the Urban so a similar spec is expected for the little sports car. The Sports EV joins Honda’s range of sports cars with the likes of the NSX and S660. The little electric sports car is a sign of where Honda is headed to, the increased pressure to release electric cars is threatening all car manufacturers and the Sports EV is what we should come to expect to see in the future.

Honda Sports EV 4On the whole I like the little Sports EV, just as I liked the Urban EV. Its styling takes much less inspiration from cars and more from things like the iPod with its smooth white finish with no aggressive styling or aerodynamic attachments, maybe Honda could learn a thing or to and transfer these ideas to the current Civic Type R.

What do you think of the Honda’s family of electric vehicles, let us know in the comments.

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The Big three: Gran Turismo Sport vs Forza Motorsport 7 vs Project Cars 2

McLaren Ultimate Vision 8A lot of young peoples first entrance into the car world isn’t through a garage or a drag strip but through a computer screen. The virtual car world is as big if not bigger than the real one, and this year saw three new big titles come out and I’m about to tell you which ones best.

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 is an incredible looking game, its weather effects are second to none. Wind and rain battering down means the track not only visually changes but the way your car reacts changes, braking distances get longer, huge puddles cause you to aquaplane and you can’t put all your power down coming straight out of a corner. FM7 has the most diverse car list of the three games, with everything from a Ford hot rod to full on Lemans racers. But with that diversity comes issues, thanks to Forza Motorsports sister franchise, Forza Horizon a lot of off road vehicles are included in the game, but there are no dirt tracks, although a much smaller part of the game the other two franchises feature numerous dirt racing circuits (Project Cars 2 even has ice racing) Forza has the most off road racers but nowhere to drive them off road, very disappointing and something that seems to be overlooked. FM7’s drivatar system is fantastic, taking the job of AI drivers the system takes your driving characteristics and creates a profile which races for you online, not only earning you in game currency but creating an exciting competition far superior to the other franchises AI.

Gran Turismo Sport 

Gran Turismo Sport is by far the most disappointing of the trio, considering the amount of time its taken to come out I expected much more. Whilst looking fantastic when racing in the dry, its wet weather effects fall flat and seem to have no major effect on the driving characteristics of the track. GT Sport also has one of the most dull and boring car rosters ever seen in a racing game, there are no classics, very few entry level cars and seemingly hundreds of theoretical concept cars drawn up especially for the game. (The Vision McLaren I talked about a few weeks ago is one of these) The career mode is non-existent, taking you to an online only competition where you are easily out raced by competitors from around the world and the driving school appears to be the only other task to complete which veers from ridiculously simple (driving in a straight line) to stupidly hard Endurance competitions. The AI in Gran Turismo Sport is particularly bad, it has no life to it, seemingly driving a set line around a track making no active defence of positions or trying to overtake. This leads to the races becoming a dull and boring affair where you only need to avoid the AI drivers and drive a better line to win.

Project Cars 2

The first Project Cars game was well received by critics and fans alike and the sequel is continuing that success, it may not be quite as good looking as the other two games but it has nine tenths of the beauty. The car list whilst still not being as good as Forza has the diversity needed to create exciting racing, taking a McLaren 720S ice racing was a particular highlight. What sets Project Cars 2 apart from the competition is the real world racing rules, in the other games if a car was being particularly annoying you could simple punt him into a wall to get through. In Project Cars 2 however if you do such a thing you will be required to drop back behind the car (which will sometimes be many places down depending on the violence of the shunt) or face disqualification. This means you need real talent to get to the front of the pack and win rather than brute force. The AI in Project cars 2 is middle of the pack, whilst it provided a competitive high level opposition it can be a little dumb, barrelling into pile ups and flying all over the place for no obvious reason.

The Verdict

Overall the racing game enthusiast has a great opportunity this year, Forza has been the leading horse for many years purely because of its regularity, but now it has competition and its not really holding up against some. Gran Turismo Sport is a shambles and a shadow of its former self. And Project Cars 2 is a really good up and coming racing series that is showing real promise.

First I would tell you to avoid Gran Turimo Sport, its poor AI, lack of interesting cars and bad career mode have led one of the original innovators in the genre to become a poor excuse for a simulation racer and something that has been beaten by much better and much more enjoyable games. Secondly I would say that Forza Motorsport 7 is an amazing entry into the world of racing games, its incredible roster of car and ever-changing AI patterns have led it to be one of the truly great racing games. But its lack of dirt racing and easily available in game currency that leads to an irritatingly easy career mode that has put it in second place. Finally my number one, its racing is exciting, challenging and best of all realistic, which has led it to be one of the best racing games out there. FM7 is a great stepping-stone into racing games but Project Cars 2 is what a racing game should aim to be.

What do you think of the new racing game, let us know in the comments

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Mini take inspiration from the 1275 GT in the 1499GT

Mini 1499 GT 9Mini have shown off the newest addition to the range, the 1499 GT. The new model is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT model from the original range. The new 1499 GT uses a turbocharged 1.5 litre 3 cylinder engine producing 101BHP, the same engine as the rest of the base Mini range. The 1499 GT 0-62 time is the same as the rest of the base level Minis, 10.1 seconds.

Mini 1499 GT 4So what’s different about the new Mini then, well the new 1499 GT is only available in two colours, white or black. The Black model features exclusive decals in gold, whilst the white version gets the same decals in black. The Mini 1499 GT also gets the front and rear bumpers and the spoiler from the top end JCW Mini. The key part of the Mini 1499GT is the JCW Mini suspension it gets. Making this Mini more than just a visual upgrade.

Mini 1499 GT 7The Mini 1499 GT is on sale now for £16,990 and Mini are expecting the 1499 examples to sell out quickly. But is it worth it? Not really the handling of the standard Mini is exceptional, is the JCW better yes but it’s not life changing. The 1499 GT is designed to celebrate the 1275 GT, my personal favourite Mini. What was special about the 1275 GT was the bigger engine than the standard 998CC. To keep the base model engine in this supposedly special edition gives the view that this is just an on paper upgrade and has no real significant value to the Mini brand. Nothing is new on the 1499 GT its just a new combination from existing Mini parts.

What do you think of the Mini 1499GT, let us know in the comments.

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