The Rolls Royce Sweptail graces us with its presence

Rolls-Royce Torpedo Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.comRolls Royce unveiled a new one off car commissioned by one of their ‘special customers’. The Sweptail was unveiled at this years Concorso D’Eleganza Ville D’Este. The Sweptail was commissioned by an anonymous customer looking for a one off coach built car designed to look reminiscent of Rolls Royces from the 1920’s. The new cars main feature is the long stretching rear tail from which it gets its name. The two seater coupe uses a selection of materials to maintain its luxurious feel, the hat shelf in the back of the car is constructed of only the finest wood which is continued into the boot itself which holds a bespoke set of Rolls Royce designed luggage.

Rolls-Royce Torpedo Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.comThe centre console has a special mechanism meaning that at the touch of a button the car will deploy a bottle of the clients favourite champagne from the year of his birth. “Generous quantities of polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao adorn the interior, creating visual and tactile contrasts for the owner, both classical and contemporary.” The classic front grill is the largest of any modern Rolls Royce and has been milled from solid aluminium and polished to a mirror finish. The grill is teamed with a pair of round headlights, which look rather similar to those on the Bentley Mulsanne, (But don’t tell Rolls that).

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The Sweptail is a one off car built for a one off client. Rolls have said they are willing to build more Coach built cars for their high profile ‘special customers’, but don’t expect the Sweptail to make full production. The Sweptail is a gorgeously exquisite piece of machinery, its sweeping lines are like nothing else being built today, and the response at the Concorse D’Elegance was fantastic, expect to see the waiting list for a new Rolls Royce double in size after the Sweptail. Rolls Royce have always been good at luxury but I think they just outdid themselves.

What do you think of the new Rolls Royce Sweptail, sound off in the comments.

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The VW Up GTI: a return of the true GTIs?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIVolkswagen recently announced the new Up GTi will be going on sale in 2018 for £15,000. The Up has remained on of the great city cars since its launch in 2011 with its tight nippy handling and refined understated interior. The Up was followed by its VW group colleagues the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo. Rumours surrounding the Up GTI have been circling for years and VW have finally confirmed it. The Up GTI will be unveiled at the Volkswagen fan festival at Lake Woerthersee, Austria.

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTIs stats do give an interesting look at what the car could be though, the Up GTI is powered be a 1 litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 113BHP and 147lb-ft of torque. The low weight of the new Up GTI, a tiny 997kg gives the little car a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne, which is funny because the original MK1 Golf GTI had a power to weight ratio of 113.3BHP per tonne. Could Volkswagen be looking for a return of their heyday?

Volkswagen Studie up! GTIThe Up GTI comes with a close ratio 6 speed gearbox, giving the car a 0-62 time of 8.8 seconds and the little Up will go on to a top speed of 122MPH. Both those stats are quicker than the MK1 Golf GTI. The suspension of the Up has been fettled with over the standard version with a 15mm lower height and unique spring and damper rates. The Up GTI is looking to take on the likes of the Vauxhall Adam S and the Abarth 500 and while its down on power VW are looking to dominate in the handling department.

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The new Up GTI is looking to rekindle the VW glory days with a light weight and great handling. The Up GTI certainly looks the part with its more aggressive styling and a machine gunning of GTI badges and VW have always been great at the small light weight hot hatch but only time will tell if the VW Up GTI can bring back the old GTI magic so many of us have been craving over the years.

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The London Motor Show

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I attended the London Motor Show this week end and whilst its not exactly first on the list of priority motor shows (it may not have even made the list) that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great. Whilst it doesn’t have unveiling of new concepts or stunning live show its small size makes it a lot less tiring to get around. As time has gone on the London Motor Show has shrunk a lot in size and admittedly in quality. This years event took place at Battersea park and the small venue certainly hurt the event, a few years ago I attended the show at the Excel centre, a much larger arena and it also had a live show going on at the same time. This years show was less than half the size of that event and I feel the London Motor Shows days may be numbered.

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The cars though didn’t disappoint, a strong showing from Aston Martin led the show with the Vantage, Rapide, Vanquish, DB11 and the new concept the Valkyrie all in attendance. Aston was one of the few major manufacturers to make the trip but Porsche also attended, with a Cayenne, Panamera, 718 Boxter and 911 Turbo S. the star of the show however and the car that drew the most eyes was from the little company called David Brown Automotive, with their newly unveiled Mini Remastered. The little car was swarmed with people through out the event with a neighbouring Rolls Royce Ghost and Lamborghini Aventador being left in the corner to sit and sulk.

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The show also saw the new Alpine A110 on show, another popular choice among the attendees the stunning white example drew eyes all over. The Abarth 124 Spyder looked great in an impressive shade of blue. Outside the building the Chelsea Cars showroom put out a selection of gorgeous classic to look at including a Mercedes 190SL convertible, and Aston Martin DB6 and a Jaguar XK140.

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Whilst I doubt this event will be the last, I do suspect it may be one of the last, the show struggles to gain the attention of the major manufacturers and is barely scraping the number of attendees it needs to succeed. The show is basically forgotten internationally, being overtaken by the likes of Detroit and Tokyo auto shows even the Paris Motor show.

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The Stratford Motor Festival 2017

The Stratford Motor festival happened over this bank holiday weekend and I was lucky enough to attend the event. The free annual event is widely supported around the Warwickshire county, despite competing with the National Kit Car festival happening the same weekend. The event held in the centre of Statford saw numerous road closures to allow the cars full reign of the town. Unlike a lot of shows there is no barrier for entry, with any cars welcomed with open arms, from vintage fire trucks to classic pink Cadillacs, muscle cars to super cars all are welcome.

There aren’t many shows which you’ll find an antique Rolls Royce sitting next to a vintage tractor, there were many surprises like this on the day. Like the arrival of the Muscle cars with their V8 rumble shaking the ground as they went past. The slow parade around the city centre was the highlight of the festival with everything from Maseratis to Corvette Stingrays joining the party. Jaguar Land Rover had a very strong presence at the show, being based in the midlands and with the Gaydon factory a short drive away they were warmly welcomed by the public, with a Jaguar F-Type and F-pace on show and even the recently unveiled Range Rover Velar in attendance. Even in the publics cars you could see a strong love for the Jaguar mark, with multiple E-type Jags on display a number of MK2s and even a C-type and two D-Types.

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The New New Top Gear, how was it?

Top GearSo we saw the end of the returning Top Gear series with another new presenter line up this week. But how has this series been and is there still a future for the show. In short yes the show is back on winning form, maybe not as it was in its prime but certainly better than the disasterous Chris Evans series.

Top Gear Bugatti ChironThe trio of Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris and Rory Reid has been fantastic for the show and all three have shown improvement as time has gone on. The chemistry between them that was severely lacking in the previous series is starting to work its way in as well which is great. Highlights of this series include Chris Harris’ road test of the Bugatti Chiron and the eventual race against Matt was brilliant, also Harris’ review of the Ferrari FXX K was really fun and a great way to start the newly revamped series. A surprisingly enjoyable piece for me was turning a SSangyong Rodius into a yatch in the final episode of the series this weekend.Top Gear

So the big question will Top Gear be alright? And the answer, probably whilst the new series stand far in a way behind the Clarkson Hammond and May years it also stands head and shoulders above the Chris Evans series. The great thing about this series is it showed that the BBC can change its mind and mould the show around what the viewers want. What Top Gear now needs to do is settle, we’ve seen two big revamps of the show in as many years and the team has now found a solution that works for both the viewers and the team itself. They finally have a solid foundation that they can build on and grow the show to be as big as the old series was, maybe even bigger.Rory reid

What I’d like to see is more use of Rory Reid, at the moment he is being used as the normal guy driving the normal cars whereas Matt and Chris get the super cars. Rory is a talented guy and deserves the chance to show what he can do in a real car. I’d also like to see less jokes that Matts American as it seems to be his whole schtick at the moment and its getting old fast. He’s been improving slowly and has become a great host for the show but I feel he may get found out soon enough that he is just an actor.

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Top 5 stupidest names in motoring

A name can make or break a car. The name is the first impression most people get of a car, so calling your car a weird, funny or just plain not thought out name can ruin that car entirely, even if the actual car is great. A good name should represent the characteristics of the car itself, be it a flamboyant Italian Maranello or an aggressive brutish Charger. The name is everything. Some companies don’t really think this through very well so here are the top 5 stupidest names in motoring.

Nissan Sylvia

  1. Nissan Sylvia

Giving a car a human name is a gamble, you’ll never see the Ford Dave or the Aston Martin Martin. Sometimes it can work such as the Ferrari Dino, then there’s the Sylvia. Sylvia is a grandmothers name, it’s your older relative who gives you sweets when your parents aren’t watching. What it isn’t is a rear wheel drive coupe loved by drifters around the world for its easy modibility and tail happy action.

Mitsubishi Starion

  1. Mitsubishi Starion

The Mitsubishi Starion was a surprisingly good car, designed to go up against the Mustang in America an urban myth would tell you it was meant to be called the Stallion but due to a language barrier between the European and Japanese wings of Mitsubishi it ended up being called the Starion. Now its one thing to think up a bad name for a car it’s another to call it completely the wrong thing entirely. Another of Mitsubishi’s naming disasters came from the Pajero which in Spanish means masturbator/ wanker not a great showing from Mitsubishi.

Toyota Urban Cruiser

  1. Toyota Urban Cruiser

There are bad names out there and then there’s Urban Cruiser. An Urban Cruiser sounds like someone who’s not allowed within 500 metres of a school, its an especially bad name for family run about used to take the kids to school and go shopping in. The Urban Cruiser is not a car you’d boast about in the pub to your mates.

VW Sedric

  1. Nissan Cedric/ VW Sedric

Nissan really had a problem with naming cars in the past. The Nissan Cedric was an incredibly dull 4 door saloon designed with a ruler. Cedric is not in anyway an exciting name for a car. Which is why its all the more surprising that VW have brought the name back for one of their new self driving cars, and they’ve spelt it wrong. The VW Sedric is a very odd looking thing. It appears to be a box with enclosed wheels, and a face for some reason.

Renault Wind

  1. Renault Wind

I’d liked to have been a fly on the wall in the Renault offices when someone put forward the name Wind for their new two seater roadster. You may as well call your car the Renault Fart. How many people did that have to go through till it received the ok? You’re telling me nobody thought it was a bad idea. You couldn’t hold your head up high in the pub and say I drive a Renault Wind, you’d be laughed out the door, and off a cliff. The Wind was a cute little two door roadster that I actually quite like except for the name, obviously.

What are some more horrible names for cars you can think of sound off in the comments.

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Fate of the Furious review

Full Spoilers ahead for the movie.

So I just got out of seeing the eighth instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise the Fate of the Furious and have to say my overall opinion is good, yes the movie has some pot holes along the way but overall I feel it is a good continuation of the series.

Now for the spoilers: Fast 8 sees Dom go up against his own team to protect his family. Charlize Theron’s character Cipher recruits Dom on his honeymoon in Cuba with some mysterious information that rocks Dom to his core. This information turns out to be so powerful he turns on his team and steals an EMP they have just recovered for Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Its then we find out what Cipher has on Dom, Elena (Elsa Pataki) Doms ex girlfriend from Fast 5 and 6 has had a child that Dom didn’t know about until Cipher came along. Cipher is very intriguing in this movie and turns out to be one of the cruelest characters seen in the Fast series. Her final plan isn’t really that clear though which is where the movie falls down, Cipher has Dom steal the EMP then steal Russian nuke launch codes in New York and then tries to steal a submarine in the final part of the film. All of this and at no point does she reveal her final plan other than having a nuke. Does she mean to sell it, does she mean to hold the world to ransom, nothing is made clear.

One of the main action sequences in the film takes place in New York, where Dom steals the launch codes. It also foreshadows quite a scary future we may find ourselves in Cipher hacks into hundreds of cars and takes over there self driving functions, causing hundreds of cars to wreak havoc on New Yorks streets. This scene although epic was clearly mostly CGI and very rarely looked real. On the other side of the coin we have Doms original team of Hobbs, Letty, Tej, Ramsey and Roman who are helped by Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) and franchise newcomer Agent Eric Reisner (Scott Eastwood). The original team is fuelled by their unique chemistry and camaraderie, they are the highlight of the film as they learn to cope without Dom and learn to deal with the now good guy Deckard Shaw.

A problem the Fast franchise is continuing to have is good villains who stay villains. A lot of the villains in the past have just been faceless mug who are just there for Vin and the Rock to punch. When the series does get a good villain for the team in the very next film he turns out to be a good guy. It happened with Hobbs and now it’s happened with Deckard Shaw. The enemy of Fast 7 now is teaming up with the group as if nothing has happened and even saves Doms son from Cipher. It seems they’ve all forgotten who killed Han.

From the looks of things Fast 9 will see Cipher return as she just got away from the team in the end and now we will see them go up against each other again, with everyone playing happy families for no obvious reason. Overall I’m still a fan of the series, it took a hit when Paul Walker died but it has seemed to have rebounded. If they don’t decide to make a Fast 9 I would be fine as this seems a nice round off for the group but I also feel that Vin Diesel wants more money so it will inevitably happen.

Enough with the retro styling

MINI grows

Cars get old. It’s just a fact of life and when cars get old you replace them with something new and better. The trouble comes in when something is so iconic that the public just can’t seem to let it go. So the company decides to just make the old car again just with new technology. We first saw it with the New Beetle, which was just a Golf in a dress with a flower pot stuck to the dash. Then we saw the new Mini from BMW, which was a bit more successful but has in no way reached the iconic status of the original Mini. Finally we had the Fiat 500 a car that in the past pretty much ran Italy, but again the new 500 is just a Fiat Panda with a new body.

BeetleThis obsession with the past has to stop. Cars become iconic over time and trying to recreate them in the modern age just doesn’t work simply because those legendary cars of the time in fact weren’t that good to begin with when you compare them to todays standards. The VW Beetle was a car born out of war just to get Germany back on its feet and I don’t think it would be as revered today if it hadn’t had a red and blue stripe down it and the number 53 on the door. Both the Mini and the Fiat 500 are death traps you would be safer on the road in a paper bag than one of those.

Citroen Type HWhy am I ranting about this now, well because Citroen have decided to get in on the action with a new body kit for their Citroen Relay van, the kit is meant to look like the Citroen type H van, which was first made in 1947. Now this is a van that is quite literally a shed with wheels and while it maybe old, maybe even a classic, it in no way deserves to be modernized in this way. The new H is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the original and thankfully only 70 will be made.

BMW M2 2002Please car companies stop with the retro cars, how can any new cars grow to be as iconic when you keep reminding us of the past with these new retro cars that merely act to damage the reputation of the original. Let the icons live on in classic car form and create new classics, cars like the VW Corrado or the BMW M2 (which while it copies the 2002 Turbo ideas is its own car entirely), cars that are as brilliant today as they will be 20 to 30 years from now.

What do you think of this retro revolution sound off in the comments.

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Edd China leaves Wheeler Dealers

Wheeler Dealers

Edd China has made the decision to leave the popular television show Wheeler Dealers. In an announcement video on his YouTube channel China said “Yes, I’m afraid its true and I’m really sorry, after 13 years of making Wheeler Dealers I am now going to be leaving the show.” Wheeler Dealers is a popular car restoration show in which Mike Brewer buys classic cars in need of some attention and Edd China would show the viewer how to fix the issues with the car and bring it back to pristine condition, then Mike would return and sell the car on for a profit.

Edd’s decision to leave the show appears to be down to the new owners Velocity Channel. Velocity had decided to bring in Discovery Studios to Wheeler Dealers and get rid of the original production crew Attaboy productions who had been with the show since its inception. Velocity however was unaware of the difficulties in filming Wheeler Dealers particularly in Edds mechanic sections, the heart of the shows premise. According to Edds video Velocity had begun to ask him to cut corners on the work in order to make it easier for them to film. Edd felt this would compromise his work and with that erode his integrity and that of the show, his conclusion was that he would have to leave.

Wheeler Dealers however is set to continue. Ant Anstead star of the UK show For the Love of Cars with Philip Glenister is set to take on Edds role as chief mechanic and production of the next series is to begin shortly. Now as we’ve learned recently remaking a show isn’t as simple as just switching out the presenters, but Ant is a very capable mechanic and likeable character on camera and also has a lot of experience with a very similar formatted show the aforementioned For the Love of Cars. (Its continuation isn’t clear although another series has been filmed) If Wheeler Dealers is set to continue I feel it at least has the right people in front of the camera the only question remains is the right person behind it.

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The Geneva Motorshow 2017

So the Geneva Motor show is in full swing and the great and the good of the motor industry are out in force at the Swiss event. If I were to go through everything at the show I would be here for three days straight so I thought I would just bring you the highlights of the greatest show on the motoring calendar.

McLaren 720S

McLaren 720S

McLaren are releasing cars thick and fast right now and they have been working hard on the new replacement for the 650S. So here we have the long rumoured 720S. Boasting a new 4.0 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine (upped from the 3.8 in the 650S) the 720S has 710BHP and 770Nm of torque. McLaren tasked themselves with doubling the aerodynamic efficiency of the 650S for the new 720S. Which has led to the distinctive look of the new car with its hidden headlights and aerodynamic streaks down the side, certainly an impressive machine to behold. Prices start from £208,000 and its on sale now.

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Finally they did it, the Panamera estate has been in development for what seems like years now. There were spy shots and camo cars but finally Porsche revealed the Sport Turismo. The extra boot accessory gives the Sport Turismo 20 litres more boot space over the original and also means the Panamera has room for an extra seat in the back, now making it a five seater, prices start at £84,000 and go all the way up to £138,000 through all models from the S to the big bad Turbo model.

Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R

Its seems like just last week the new Type R was rolling into showrooms but Honda already have a new version ready for the new shape Civic, and while I’m not a Civic fan I can still safely say that the new Type R Civic is hideous. Looks aside though the new Type R has 316BHP, ten more than the previous model but still 30 less than the out going Ford Focus RS. Honda still plan on going back to the Nurburgring to try and break records again.

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

Bentley EXP12 Speed 6

One of the more beautiful cars on the show floor is the new Bentley EXP12 Speed 6. Whilst only being a concept of things to come from the company, the EXP12 is still paving the way forward in being a fully electric Roadster, an area even Tesla seem to have left well alone. The EXP12 isn’t expected to make production any time soon but after a good response from press and the public Bentley may be forced to change their mind on the subject.

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie

We at long last have a new name for the AM RB001 hyper car from Aston Martin and Red Bull, the new car called the Valkyrie will have over 900BHP from a naturally aspirated 6.5 litre V12. The Valkyrie uses an F1 style ERS system to harvest Kinetic Energy from braking. Only 150 road models will ever be made, along with 25 track only versions costing in the region of £2-3 million with deliveries expected to take place in early 2019.

What are your favourites from Geneva 2017, Sound off in the comments.

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