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  •   James Elliott reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    ADS ON TEST #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997.1 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-997.1 / #Porsche-911-997.1 / #Porsche-911-997 / #Porsche-997 / Porsche-997 / #Porsche-997.1 / #2005 / #2005-Porsche-911-Carrera-S-997

    COST NEW £61,675
    PRICE £29,995

    PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S (997) A good, useable cruiser 911 for less than £30k piqued Nathan’s interest

    If you’re after a quick GT cruiser 911 that matches pace with a little grace, the Carrera S probably represents a sweet spot in the 911 range. A purchase price of five whiskers under £30,000 puts this Carrera S on target with much newer performance hatchbacks, which makes the 911 seem a bit of a bargain. This one, up for sale with a London vendor wellversed in Porsches for decades, makes a good deal of sense.

    The car had just arrived when we tested and was yet to go through preparation; as such we found a few areas that will be rectified before sale. This included the paint at top of the bonnet flaking away in front of the windscreen, a chip on top of the driver’s door, a smattering of stone chips on the nose, plus a few scratches and scuffs, and some lacquer peel to the bonnet’s end.

    The alloy wheels are largely in good condition, though there is some cracking to the Porsche badges on some of them.

    Michelin Pilot Sports are fitted, but replacements will be needed sooner rather than later.

    On the inside there are minor scratches to the door pulls, light switches and the centre console, while the leather glovebox lid has a few more scratches. The leather areas in general show some signs of wear. The seats are free from nicks and cracks, though the door panel has marks and the kickplate has scratches. This car’s equipped with a Bose stereo, but the CD autochanger was exhibiting some difficulties during our test.

    At the rear the engine’s largely clean, with no signs of corrosion. The service history reveals regular stamps at an official Porsche dealer.

    On the road the Tiptronic gearbox takes some getting used to. It’s not the most intuitive system to use and perhaps isn’t the best choice for enthusiastic drivers.

    But it’s great for cruising; just leave it in D and there’s a healthy slug of torque for overtaking. The steering is well weighted and accurate, and the suspension is a little firm but won’t shake your lunch from your fillings. This example exhibited no rattles or noises from the suspension, steering or drivetrain, and the brakes were sharp yet predictable.

    With all this Porsche’s largely cosmetic issues sorted by the vendor before sale, the car should prove to be an entertaining companion for long holiday jaunts.


    2004: the 997 911 is introduced, with the Carrera and Carrera S.

    Four-wheel drive Carrera 4 and 4S follow in 2005. Turbo and GT3 models in 2006 and GT2 in 2007.

    Though billed as a new design the major changes over the 996 Aremainly to the exterior styling and interior. The Carrera S models have higher displacement (3.8) than the standard Carrera (3.6). Six-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic gearboxes. The range is facelifted in 2008, with the Tiptronic system replaced with the all-new PDK gearbox.


    Year 2005
    Mileage 62,668
    On sale at Hendon Way Motors


    Engine 3824cc, 6-cyl, DOHC
    Transmission RWD, 5-speed Tiptronic
    Power 355bhp @ 6600rpm / DIN
    Torque 295lb-f [email protected] 4600rpm / DIN
    Weight 1420kg
    0-60mph 4.7sec
    Top speed 190mph
    Economy 24mpg

    INSURANCE QUOTE Policy £450, with £350 excess. Legal cover and agreed value included. Quote based on a 39-year-old self-employed male, no points on his licence, living in Peterborough. Car is garaged, 3000 miles per year and with comprehensive cover. Call 0800 085 5000 for your quote.
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  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS Farewell, my lovely

    / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada / Mark Dixon / #Lamborghini

    It’s gone. The beautiful Lamborghini that good mate Richard Heseltine and I bought together, about two-and-a-half years ago, has a new owner. And since he already has a number of classic Lotuses, he’s the perfect guy to take on the responsibility of running an old Lambo.

    Not that the Espada was ever unreliable. It always irked me when acquaintances, on hearing of what we’d bought, would shake their heads sadly and make comments along the lines of ‘You’re a braver man than I am!’ Fact is, the Espada is not temperamental, unlike some exotics. Don’t forget that Ferruccio started out making tractors. No, if Richard and I have any regrets, it’s simply that we didn’t get to use the car enough. The Espada spent ages waiting for work to be done at Cheshire Classic Cars – and, to be fair, I didn’t hassle them, because it was quite handy having it in their nice dry storage unit – and then, just when it was all ready to go, someone came along and made a decent offer… Bugger.

    Even so, we put enough miles on the car to prove its usability, particularly on a road trip to Le Mans Classic in 2014. Despite some horrendous traffic jams en route – when will I ever learn to avoid Rouen? – it never overheated, and the only problem we had was with a couple of wheel spinners working loose. Le Mans winner Andy Wallace lent us the jack from his daily-driver Audi so that we could get home safely.

    After 27 years as a classic car journalist, I was regularly surprised at how much attention the Espada attracted on the road. Stuck in three lanes of gridlock on the M40 one evening, I was distracted by a young American woman who dodged through the lines of stationary traffic to knock on the driver’s window and ask ‘What is this car? I just have to know! It’s so beautiful!’ And, to my slight embarrassment, I was once approached at a petrol station by a schoolgirl who said she had a passion for Lamborghinis… Such is the Espada owner’s lot.

    What sweetened the pill of the Espada’s sale was that Richard and I roughly doubled our investment in just two years. Now, we didn’t buy it to make money, we bought it because we loved (and still love) the car – but it did vindicate the gamble I made in extending my mortgage to do so. At about that time, a Government minister made a quip about people cashing in their pensions to buy Lamborghinis; maybe that wasn’t such a daft idea after all.

    Left, above and right Few cars can match an Espada in full flight for drama; its new owner having his tentative first drive off the delivery truck; Mark, Richard and Andy Wallace (pointing) in Le Mans car park wheel-tightening episode.
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  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    CAR #1970-Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini / #1970

    OWNER Mark Dixon

    For me, one of the fascinating parts Of buying a ‘new’ classic car is that moment when you sit down with whatever history came with it, and try to piece together the story of its earlier life.

    Fortunately, there’s a thick pile of paperwork for the Espada, which was sold new in Switzerland and remained with its first owner for 15 years. And, thanks to the power of the internet, I may be able to track him down.

    The invoices show that the first owner was a Dr Urs Blum, who worked for a family firm of patent lawyers in Zurich. Dr Blum was clearly a man of catholic tastes, because there’s a garage invoice dated 1975 for work on three cars owned by him: the Espada, a Cadillac and a Range Rover!

    It turns out that Dr Blum was the Swiss representative of the International Lamborghini Club, too. I know this from a photocopied page Of a book that shows pictures of ‘my’ Espada (I have a 50:50 share with Octane contributor Richard Heseltine) and mentions that it had an exposed metal gearshift gate specially fitted by the factory. Unfortunately, all I know about the book is that it’s in English, the relevant page is 68, and it was published in 1983 – does that sound familiar to anyone?

    It took mere seconds to find a website for the Blum law firm, which helpfully provides biographies of the family members. This shows that Dr Blum didn’t retire until 2006, so I’m very much hoping that he’ll still be hale and hearty, and willing to share some memories of his time with the Espada when it was new.

    Back in the present, we’re getting very close to fully sorting the car. In last month’s Octane Cars I described how having the front brake calipers rebuilt had almost, but not quite, cured an alarming pull to the right under braking. I felt sure that the residual problem lay with the steering, and I’m now feeling rather smug because it turns out I was right.

    MoT tester Simon at the superbly named Sunnyside Garage in Kempsey, Worcestershire, very kindly let me put the Espada on the ramp while he and my classic car fettler Derek Magrath levered at a suspicious-looking steering link that had recently developed an audible ‘knock’. It turns out that the joints at each end are both knackered, which explains why the Espada currently lacks the steering precision I knew it should have. Entirely predictably, the steering link costs an extortionate amount of money to buy new – but Derek is confident that he can fabricate it, once he’s sourced the correct balljoints.

    It may be too late to get this done before the dreaded winter salt hits our British roads and the Espada goes into hibernation, but how sweet those first drives in spring will seem.

    Above and below Espada has always performed well in a straight line, and hopefully it will soon be just as satisfying in the twisty bits. Former owner Ian Stringer is kindly allowing Mark to store it in his garage, alongside his superb Montreal.
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  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    In for a spot of sword sharpening

    CAR: #1970-Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini-Espada / #1970 / #Lamborghini /


    There aren’t many car restoration shops in the UK where you can find not one or two or three, but four Lamborghini Espadas in for work. That’s how many I counted at Cheshire Classic Cars when I popped up recently to check progress on the car I share with friend and colleague Richard Heseltine. There were about the same number of Miuras, too; proprietor Iain Tyrrell knows these V12 Lamborghinis intimately and it was his company that restored the famous Italian Job Miura that was our cover car in #Drive-My .

    Besides being a Lamborghini expert, Iain is a thoroughly nice bloke, so choosing his company to sort a few jobs on our Espada – which is the silver car on the ramp, above; the gold ex-Australian RHD example has just been sold to a customer – was a no-brainer. There’s nothing majorly wrong (we hope!) but there are a number of minor defects, including a couple that came to light during our trip to Le Mans Classic in 2014.

    Among the most serious faults are the rubbish front dampers. The car would ‘porpoise’ at speed on a motorway yet, should you hit a pothole, the relevant damper would seize solid and send a most appalling crash through the car’s structure. It was so bad that we were afraid it would crack the windscreen.

    Then there’s the exhaust system. The centre boxes are genuine Lamborghini and may have been on the car since new – it has covered less than 70,000km since 1970 – so they’ve started to perforate, while the pipes aft of them have been badly crushed by clumsy jacking. It’s amazing the car has been performing as well as it did, considering the restriction in gas flow. We’ve asked Iain to replace the centre boxes with straight pipes, partly for cost reasons but mainly because we’d like to liberate some more #V12 howl – the Espada sounds just a bit too refined.

    Structurally, the car is in amazingly good condition. It’s had one repaint, probably in the early ’90s, to a very high standard, but there are a couple of rust bubbles on wheelarch lips that need catching now before they get any worse. It appears to be perfect underneath, as the picture, right, of the nearside front inner arch shows, and Iain assures us that it is an extremely good example.

    And that is causing us some heartache. Do we keep the car a while longer or sell it now, in the hope of realising a return on what we paid for it two years ago? Both Richard and I are contemplating house moves this year – different houses; we’re not that good friends! – and money is tight. On the other hand, we’d really like to do a proper European road trip and live the dream.

    Whatever the outcome, it will be a tough decision, because we’re both still utterly besotted with this sexy, fabulous, underrated machine.
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  •   James Elliott reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Mission accomplished #1968 / #Rally #Rover-2000TC / by Mark Dixon / #Rover-2000 / #Rover / #Rally-Rover-2000TC / #1968-Rover-2000TC / #Rover-P6

    Selling a car at auction can be a slightly scary experience. The thrill of watching bidders compete for something of yours is tempered by the anxiety that they may not value it nearly as highly as you do. And when the vehicle in question is a competition car – notoriously difficult to put a price on – then nerves really are set on edge. The Rover, of course, was not actually mine to sell. As described in, I built it as an endurance rally car in the early 1990s, had modest success and then sold it to a chap called Jan Pearce in 1999. Jan passed away two years ago, and I volunteered to help his widow, Jenny, dispose of the car at Silverstone Auctions’ sale at Race Retro.

    The Rover has done very few miles in recent years, so it was with slight trepidation that I set off to drive it up to Warwickshire from Jenny’s home in Bucks. The only practical route was via the M40 motorway – what could possibly go wrong? But I stuck to an easy 65mph and the Rover obliged by performing faultlessly. The engine held a constant 60psi oil pressure and the temperature needle stayed reassuringly just below the midpoint on the gauge.

    The Rover had been slated as Lot 1 in the auction, which wasn’t ideal; buyers often need a little time to warm up. But auctioneer Jonathan Humbert did a sterling job of chivvying them along, and the result was a satisfying £6000 hammer price. The buyer turned out to be a Scottish farmer who had flown down from Aberdeen specially to bid on the car. He used to rally a Rover P6 V8 in the 1970s and was looking to relive his youth – ‘and I have my own three-mile farm track “special stage” to practise on,’ he told me after the sale. It’s good to hear that the Rover will see a third generation of drivers take it rallying.

    All this sale action reminded me that it’s probably time to dispose of my 2001 Honda Insight. Much as I love it, I’ve hardly used it since I inherited my late father’s Volvo XC70. The Honda has 230,000 miles on the clock and a ding in the driver’s door – but it had a new battery at 189,000, runs like a Swiss watch and is as reliable as a Japanese one. I reckon it’s worth around two grand – so, ladies and gentlemen, what am I bid for this undoubted future classic?

    Clockwise from above Mark’s old Rover rally car makes £6000 at auction; Honda’s Back To The Future-style technology exposed during battery change; meeting a trio of VW XL1s three years ago.
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Long-term test 2017-BMW-i8 The same but different

    CAR: #2017-BMW-i8 / #BMW-i8 / #2017 / #BMW / #BMW-i3


    Love or loathe’em, hybrids are here to stay – although it’s more than 20 years since the Toyota Prius was launched and you do have to wonder whether the public would have embraced hybrids sooner if they’d looked more like spaceships and less like painted vegetables.

    Fact is, as I was always banging on about when I ran my first-generation Honda Insight (now sold; see), hybrids can be a lot of fun to drive. We’ve been running an i3 on the mag for a few months now, and all of us have relished the intellectual challenge of using its regenerative charging system to the max – and, less intellectually, the childish thrill of swooshing past other drivers by surfing the i3’s remarkable wave of torque.

    Interesting car though it is, the i3 has its limitations. It’s intended to be a city car but several of us live a considerable distance from the office, which means that a one-way drive will exhaust a full electrical charge – and the tiny range-extending petrol engine only gives you another 70 miles. Charging the car at home from a domestic supply can take up to 15 hours, and if you live in a flat, like me, you’re stuffed.

    Which is why we were keen to try the i3’s bigger brother, the i8. It’s a completely different kind of car: a GT with supercar performance that promises supermini economy. Yes, it’s a petrol-electric hybrid, but you can choose to run the i8 on petrol all the time (unlike the i3), using its turbocharged three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine – nicked from the entry-level Mini, can you believe – with added oomph supplied by the electric motor. A 1.5-litre triple may not sound exciting, but 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds tells a different story.

    Talking of exciting sounds, the i8 is a bit of a fibber in that its sporty exhaust note (which sounded a bit racing #V8-like , to these ears) is artificial and piped into the cabin. Shame! But that doesn’t detract too much. The #BMW-i8 is not just blisteringly fast, it feels genuinely special, and at night its cabin is streaked with blue-LED curves in a very spaceship manner.

    The one feature about the i8 guaranteed to divide opinion is the gullwing doors. They look super-cool but, leave the car in a typical British car park, come back to find someone has parked either side of you, and you may not be able to open them wide enough to get in. You have to be pretty athletic to climb in and out of the lowslung seats with any decorum, too – which rules out much of the #Drive-My team.

    For that reason, my colleague Glen said that he’d rather spend his hypothetical 100 grand on a 911. I take his point but I’d still have an i8. After all, who doesn’t want to pilot a spaceship?
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