Friday, 31 October 2014

Hooper Bentley 4 1/4 Litre

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The most beautiful cars to emerge from the 1930s were those that revelled in the luxurious, swooping art deco style, and this '39 Derby Bentley MX is a prime example. Bodied by Hooper & Co, it wears the last body to be built by the firm before World War II - a one-off design, complemented by a unique interior. It's just dripping with gorgeous details; the twin fuel fillers in the split rear windows, the teardrop door handles, the swooping arches... it exudes the sort of elegance that makes angels weep.

You can read more about its history here, and see more photos from Salon Privé 2014 here.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Saab 99 Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There are very few cars in the world that are cooler than the Saab 99 Turbo, and anyone who says otherwise is talking scribble. The unbeatable combination of solid Swedish construction, swoopy aerodynamics, an eager little Garrett turbo, and a mesmerising set of wheels that could have been designed by M.C. Escher, brought forth an absolute gem of a car. It had 143bhp, could do 124mph, and delivered its power in that characteristic way of all early mass-produced turbocharged motors: with a fair bit of lag, then a massive kick in the kidneys. Even today, in a world of ubiquitous and reliable everyday turbos, the 99's name is whispered reverentially in the same breath as the BMW 2002 Turbo and its fabled brethren. This is an important car.
...and, as an aside, this particular one appeared on Top Gear a couple of years ago - look:

Spotted at RRG14 - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

MINI Superleggera

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The constant expansion of the MINI brand is something that pleases some as much as it irks others. In addition to the standard three-door hatch, there's a new five-door, a Coupé, Clubman, Roadster, Convertible, Countryman, Paceman, Clubvan... covering pretty much every base of the modern motoring sphere. (Do spheres have bases?) The hackneyed cries of the detractors are sounding increasingly outmoded - 'it's not that mini any more, is it?' they proudly bellow, believing themselves to be possessed of Wildean wit. Truth is, the three-door still is kinda mini in a modern context. Have you ever tried to get anything larger than a bag of Doritos in the boot...?

Anyway, what we're looking at here is arguably the most impressive of the recent offerings - the Superleggera concept. Car nerds will recognise the trademarked Superleggera motif as that of the coachbuilders Touring, as glued to the bonnets of 1960s Aston Martins among much else. This MINI concept is based on a lightweight aluminium spaceframe, overlaid with hand-beaten, bespoke aluminium bodywork. It's pared back and simple, but dripping in gorgeous detail - the Union Flag tail-lights, for example, and the MINI Touring badging. It also supposedly represents how an all-electric MINI would be packaged, so it's not just a concours season bauble. Let's just hope they build something like this, eh?

Spotted at Salon Privé 2014 - click here for more photos.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Every now and then a car appears on the scene that transcends mere fads and fashions, waves two wanton fingers at the rulebook, and makes everybody re-evaluate just what's possible in the sphere of fiddling about with old cars. The car you see here is - whisper it - LaSupra.

The brainchild of a father-and-son team, Peter and Lasse, this Lancia Delta has been tweaked and honed for the best part of a decade. Its current guise - the latest, but by no means ultimate, iteration - features Toyota Supra running gear and some frankly eye-watering aero addenda. You can see it looking about 5% less bonkers here on Speedhunters back in June 2013... and here it is in April of this year, re-liveried in the spirit of Speedhunters' #JoyOfMachine ethos, and with the Toyota twin turbos swapped for a sodding great Precision 6266, angling total beef toward 700bhp-odd. And as you pore over the photos you can see just how fastidious and pernickerty the build has become - every millimetre of the car has been analysed and streamlined for purpose and performance. The fact that it's a bit of a looker is merely a happy coincidence.

As ever, you can click the photos to expand!
Spotted at RRG14 - click here for more pics from the event.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Air-ride 607

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

If there's one thing the French are great at, it's building big cars that nobody buys. The Citroën C6, the XM, the Renault Safrane and Vel Satis, they're all notable by their absence from today's roads - and that also goes for the Peugeot 607. Which is what makes it such a great base for a project car - aside from being cheap-as-frites as a second-hand buy, you also have the fun of rolling into a showground and making everyone scratch their heads in bewilderment.
This Belgian 607 flies the flag for Kean Suspensions, the prolific air-ride perverts who live for laying cars' sills onto tarmac. It wears Work wheels - not all that easy to get hold of in Europe - and features the trademark smoothing and simplifying that charcaterises the Belgian tuning scene. That naughty side-rear exit exhaust is a brilliant touch too.
...and that's not all! Click here, and you'll see that the car's now matt black and rocking BBS rims. Evolution, innit.

Spotted at the 2014 Players Classic - click here for more.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Betty the Brown Beetle

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This flat-window Beetle, Betty, is a beautifully executed restoration that ticks a lot of fashionable boxes - the panscraping stance, the banded steels with insane camber, the narrowed front beam, the sumptuously trimmed seats - it really is a lovely job. It's the work of a chap named Seann Hodson - click here, you can see a photographic history of the resto, demonstrating just what a huge amount of work he's put in. He's been very busy.

Spotted at the 2014 Retro Show - click here for more photos.