Monday, 24 November 2014

'66 Chrysler Newport

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Chrysler Newport is the archetypal American two-door: unnecessarily big, with an unnecessarily big engine. Because they had big roads, and cheap fuel, and why the hell shouldn't they have big cars?
This particular one is a 1966 model - a fourth-generation Newport that was offered with either a 383ci (6.3-litre) V8 or, if you were feeling saucy, a hot-rod 440ci (7.2-litre). The interior featured luxuriously trimmed seats, posh carpets and a half-moon speedo, while the chrome-laden exterior was designed specifically to look like it was zipping along at a fair lick even when it was standing still - check out the angled-back grille, the swooping fastback, the combination of a short overhang at the front and a long one at the rear - it's almost cartoonish.
What I like most about this one, however, is that the owner clearly likes to park it next to very small cars in order to further accentuate its massiveness. SuckSqueezeBangBlow fully endorses this behaviour.

Spotted at the 2014 Goodwood Revival - click here for more photos.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Wealden RS2000 Cosworth

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Blimey. *rubs eyes*

Oh, it's still there. It is real.
Yes, this staggeringly purposeful mkII Escort is actually a real-life race car rather than some fanciful Photoshop creation, and it really is brutal. The brainchild of Wealden Racing, it's got an all-steel body with oodles of added girth and aero addenda, and a Cosworth YB with a sodding great turbo. The spec reads like a who's-who of racy classic Ford tuning; six-linked rear, Fostec Atlas axle, AP Racing brakes, 17" Compomotive split-rims, Corbeau bucket, custom cage... and, as you might hope, the eager performance matches the dreamy looks. This Escort will hurtle from 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds, thanks to its peak power of 430bhp; it'll do a quarter-mile in eleven seconds, and it's geared for 159mph. Incredible.
Click here for more info.

Spotted at the 2014 Classic Motor Show - more photos here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Callum Jaguar Mark 2

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Ian Callum's pet-project Mk2 Jaguar, assembled by Classic Motor Cars, is a polarising thing. It takes a timeless and, for many, untouchable silhouette, and contemporises it with such modern accoutrements as integrated bumpers, centre-exit exhausts and 17" wheels. Sacrilege to some, but a work of unparalleled brilliance to others.
Callum, of course, is Jaguar Cars' Director of Design, and his intepretation of the venerable Mk2 is a combination of childhood yearning and a keenness to use such a classic as a practical daily driver. So the standard form is largely retained, but comprehensively reworked; the wings are wider, there are extra louvres for cooling and venting, the chrome trim is largely deleted and smoothed, the headlights are decent halogens, there's a reversing camera. Under the bonnet is a modernised classic; the straight-six is enlarged to 4.3-litres, wears twin SU carbs, and has electronic ignition and super-efficient cooling. Inside, all is trimmed in sumptuous quilted leather and Wilton carpet, but there's also modern audio & sat-nav, inertia-reel belts, heated screen and remote central locking. It is, in all senses, a fully optimised new-old Jag. You can read all about it in a feature I wrote for the latest Retro Cars mag, in the shops this Friday (November 21st).

These pics snapped at Salon Privé 2014 - click here for more.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Nova SR Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

My first car back in 1999 was a Vauxhall Nova, and the dinky, box-arched hatchback will always have a special place in my affections. And this is exactly the sort of spec I yearned for as I trundled about in my asthmatic 1.0-litre - externally it appears to be a tastefully upgraded 1.3 SR, and yet under the bonnet lurks a C20LET - a 2.0-litre 16v turbo unit that produces over 200bhp even in stock form. Must be oodles of fun in a car that weighs about 850kg...
As you can see, the SR's also been stripped out and treated to a pair of bucket seats and a rollcage, and there are some sodding great brakes up front. All in all, the sort of package that really tickles my inner teenager. It's also gratifying to find that modified Novas are being accepted by the classic car community at large these days, rather than being sidelined as chavmobiles - there must be a lot of people in their thirties and forties who have many happy memories tied up in Novas, it's pleasing that enthusiasts are saving them.

Spotted at the NEC Classic Motor Show - click here for more photos.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Sleeper(ish) Minor

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

OK, so Phil Winstanley's Morris isn't exactly a sleeper - there are plenty of clues that all is not as it was when it left the factory. But nevertheless it packs a surprising punch, particularly given that it's still running an A-series motor. The '67 Minor runs a heavily tweaked 1,340cc unit, and it can do this:

The attention to detail is impressive too - it may look deliberately rough-and-ready from a distance, but look how much effort's gone into the obsessive weight-saving hole-drilling, how focused the interior is, and how much cash has been thrown under the bonnet. Impressive stuff.

Spotted at RRG14 - more photos here.

Turbo Pickers

On December 1st a new car series, Turbo Pickers, will debut on the Discovery Channel. The premise is simple - a pair of guys (that's them in the photos) obtain knackered old heaps, do them up, and turn them into tidy little earners. A familiar format, of course, but there's a twist: these chaps are Paul Cowland and Dave Southall - the former, an obsessive car hoarder and relentless smiler; the latter, a trained acrobat with a PhD in engineering. Much scope for mischief and monkeyshines there, then. Gaze agog as they turn a tired Porsche 924 into a track car! Pick your jaw up from the floor as they buff up a German scooter! Hide behind the sofa as a Triumph Herald crumbles around them!

Be sure to tune in. You'll like it.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The 'Batmobile' was the jewel in the crown of BMW's 1960s/early-'70s renaissance. After the financial woes of the late-fifties and the ignominy of a mooted merger with Daimler-Benz in 1959, the Neue Klasse debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show in '61, displaying the 1500 as the brand's new wave of sporting, luxurious cars. And while this morphed into the 2000C/CS coupé and the iconic '02 series, BMW spotted a hole slightly higher up the food chain that Benz were capitalising on: big, sporty luxury saloons. So the Neue Klasse's M10 four-cylinder engines were comprehensively re-engineered into the six-banger M30, and the New Six range was born. It came in the form of the E3 saloon and E9 coupé, and the most celebrated iteration of this was the 3.0 CSL (Coupé Sport Leicht) development of the early 1970s. A homologation special for Group 2 racing, it featured boisterous aero addenda, aluminium body panels, and near-unbeatable performance.

This particular one is a rare right-hand drive model, which was restored in 1991 and has been very well looked after through its life in the UK - you can see more details on its 2010 Bonhams listing here. I spotted it in the car park at this year's Goodwood Revival (more photos here), and can assure you that the photos don't do the eye-searing brightness of the paintwork justice...