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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 6 months ago
    Down and dirty with the Porsche 917. You would imagine that Porsche’s mechanics will have better facilities than this when they return to Le Mans this year (p150), but for sheer atmosphere this 1970 scene of mechanics fettling the JWA Gulf 917s takes some beating. Victory that year went to the Porsche-Salzburg sister car LAT.
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  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 12 months ago
    For the fortunate few. #Lamborghini

    This is the #Lamborghini-Espada , one of the finest automobiles in the world. It is owned by very few ... the fortunate few. Because not everyone understands the perfect unity of a finely crafted machine with the ultimate in luxurious coachwork.

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    If you desire quality performance, power and luxury, see Lamborghini’s Big Three. And become one of the fortunate few.

    Contact distributors below for Lamborghini dealership nearest you. Dan Morgan, General Manager Alberto’s & Alfredo’s . Ltd. N.Y. 10019 Bob Estes’ Lamborghini West, Inc
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  •   Julian Balme reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    1932 #Ford-Roadster
    Run by Julian Balme
    Owned since May 2014
    Total mileage unknown
    Miles since acquisition 56
    Latest costs #Ford Roadster £698

    OUR YANK0PHILE BUYS A HOT ROD

    I’ve worked out that on the few occasions in my life that I’ve been hit by a cataclysmic emotional tsunami, my instant reaction is to buy a car. At the age of 11 when my father suddenly died, my collection of Corgi cars swelled overnight as I tried to compensate for the chasm left in my childhood. My mother had always assumed that once she passed on, I’d buy an #Aston-Martin-DB5 with the proceeds of her house sale and, though she’d underestimated the stratospheric rise in that particular car’s value, she wasn’t far off - the #1940 #Lincoln-Continental arrived shortly after her death. And now with the criminally premature passing of my wife Karen, I find myself with the keys to another new motor car.

    Maybe it was a sense of ‘doing today rather than waiting for tomorrow' that precipitated the purchase, but when Billy at NAMCO mentioned to me that he knew of a 1932 roadster for sale, I was actually interested to the point of going to see it. Prices for genuine #1932 Fords have sky-rocketed and I'd rather given up on the idea of ever owning one, but curiosity got the better of me. The vendor, Paul Hobby, had found the car last year at the LA Roadster Show in California, brought it to the UK thinking he was going to incorporate it into a hot rod he was building, then changed his mind.

    There was little history with the car, so I’d be grateful if any American readers could shed any light on its background, but what I do know is that it has been a hot rod for over 45 years. It was built by a father and son in Selma, California, and I’d like to think (fancifully) that the senior partner was the same John Ohlsen who worked for Ian Walker and Shelby American in the ’60s. It then passed to Parvin Rusell in Carlsbad, CA and it was from him that Hobby acquired the car.

    When the rod was first modified in the late 1960s or early 70s, the fashion for ‘resto rods' was to keep as much of the original car as possible, so things such as the cowl vent, running boards, bumpers, rear and sidelights have all been retained. The only body mods are the filling and peaking of the radiator grille shell and the top half of the hood being swapped out for a louvred Rootlieb item. Other than that, it is all genuine #1932 #Henry-Ford steel, though sadly in #2007 it was painted a pinky-orange that makes the body look like glassfibre anyway.

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that the drivetrain - a 1980-1985 Buick V6 engine coupled to an automatic transmission - is not to my taste at all. It goes really well, but GM parts in a Ford is just wrong. And proper hot rods should have three pedals. Rusell obviously used the car a lot (reputedly more than 80,000 miles) so he probably enjoyed the economy of the six-cylinder motor and the comfort of the radial tyres. I hate radials on older cars, so the first change I made was to fit 1in whitewall BF Goodrich Silvertown biased-ply tyres. That and the fitting of ’60s-style California licence plates.

    Apart from the attractive price, scarcity, and the fact that no one in the UK had seen the car, the deal clincher was a cutting found among the photos and receipts that came with it. A local paper had published a picture of the roadster parked up in a Californian street-probably to fill space rather than to relate worthy news (see inset). The location was Hermosa Beach in the South Bay of Los Angeles, the very first place Karen and I visited on the West Coast of the US and from where we set out together on our 27-year love affair with California. Its climate, geography, architecture, history, films, music, art, car culture and... its hot rods.

    A long way from CA: with the ex-Dean Lowe roadster pick-up, a former #Hot-Rod cover car.
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  •   Russ Smith reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    CAR #VW-Beetle / #VW / #Volkswagen-Beetle / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Beetle-MkI

    RUN BY Martin Port
    OWNED SINCE March 2011
    PREVIOUS REPORT May 2017

    Some cars just don’t get the love they deserve, and I’m embarrassed to admit that the Beetle is definitely one of them. It has given reliable service for years now and, despite my many promises to carry out major work, I’ve failed to deliver. Even worse, it took the failure of the MoT test to propel me into action, and even then it was at the pace of an anaesthetised sloth.

    What did it fail on? Surprisingly, it was really ‘only’ some rust (and a broken anti-roll-bar clamp). I’d seen much worse, but its proximity to the rear suspension mounts meant that it was an immediate ‘x’ in the box. So, the Beetle was back in the garage while I examined the options for repair. Since this coincided with winter’s first dusting of grit on the roads, I deliberately didn’t hurry – though it’s too late to take evasive action, of course.

    Eventually, once I’d cut out the rot, my brother-in-law Pat crafted some repair sections and we set to work. Between us we welded in the fix, which was a tricky under-seat corner piece, but while I was inspecting inside the wheelarch I noticed some more rust.

    I cleaned up and welded in a couple more off-cuts of steel from Pat’s workshop, and applied seam-sealer to the inner repair. That meant I now had to underseal the inner arch, which I knew desperately needed doing to the entire underside. Fortunately, it’s still in remarkably solid condition.

    I’ve used Dinitrol before and found it to be very effective, so opted for the same again this time. Without a compressor rigged up at home currently, I plumped for several 500ml cans of its 4941 aerosol because I knew it would be fairly simple to apply where needed. Getting the Beetle up in the air was easy thanks to my old set of ramps and large axle stands, offering just enough clearance for a good wire-brushing of the underside.

    Then it was time to put the Dinitrol to good use and slowly apply it to the underneath of the vehicle and into the wheelarches. An hour later I was very pleased with how the floorpans looked. Compared to using a schutz gun in a confined space, the aerosol allows you to get into all the smaller areas with ease – perfect if you don’t have access to a four-post lift.

    With the welding done I sent my spare set of period wheel rims to Berkshire-based company Procoat to be blasted, primed and powdercoated.

    A five-minute chat with the owner turned into an hour as his enthusiasm for classics became obvious, having been given the name Aston Martin by a father with a clear sense of humour. It’s little wonder that not only does he now run a company that specialises in blasting and coating car parts, but he also owns several Astons.

    Having heard him wax lyrical about what makes a good process and the importance of how many microns of coating you need on a rim, it was nice to see the fruits of his expertise when I collected the finished wheels. The gloss black is fantastic, and the finish almost mirror-like – the colour isn’t standard, but our choice for the Beetle.

    We had agreed to help Vintage Tyres out by evaluating some whitewall rubber, so these were fitted, and suddenly the combination of new tyres and shiny rims put the rest of the car to shame.

    It might be back on the road, but it looks as if the bodywork and a respray have to be the next steps.

    THANKS TO
    Procoat: 01635 200017; www.professionalcoatings.co.uk
    Dinitrol: www.dinitroldirect.com

    Whitewalls always provoke a ‘Marmite’ response, but even if they stay on just for the summer, they certainly look the part when coupled with the freshly painted rims.

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  •   Paul Guinness reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Car #Jaguar-Mk2
    Name Peter Davey
    Age 66
    From Billericay, Essex
    First classic This one!
    Dream classic An #Aston-Martin-DB4-Series-III
    Favourite driving song I Drove All Night Cyndi Lauper
    Best drive I once did a track day with an Aston DB6, which was fabulous

    ESSEX BOY WITH A LOVE FOR JAGS

    ‘In order to be able to enjoy it, I made some changes while retaining much of the original character’

    I have been car-mad ever since I was a youngster, and have been lucky enough to have two XJ6s, an XJ8, six Jaguar Sovereigns and three Daimler Super V8s as company cars. From as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to own a Jaguar Mk2, but it had to be the 3.8 model in Carmen red with manual-overdrive transmission and a red leather interior.

    In 1997, I found myself in the fortunate position of being able to afford to buy one, and I first saw the car when it was featured in Drive-My in June that year. It was advertised for sale in the same magazine, so I went to London, liked what I saw – although it needed some work done to it to bring it up to ‘near concours’ condition – and bought it.

    The Jaguar is an original 3.8 MOD. The Heritage Trust Certificate indicates that it was opalescent dark green with suede green interior when it was manufactured on 19 June #1961 , and it left the factory on 3 July to go to Henly ’s in London – it then had only one owner until 1984.

    In 1972, frost cracked the engine block and this was subsequently replaced. The present block is, in fact, that #1972 substitute. The second owner stripped the car completely to carry out a baremetal respray, and some new metal was let in. The car was then sold again and the buyer transported it to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where it remained in dry storage until 1994.

    The person who bought it from him confirmed that the bodyshell was in superb condition with the exception of the rear doors and bootlid, which were replaced. When I first drove the #Mk2 home, I was very nervous because straight away you realise how you have to adapt your driving to suit #1961 technology. I was struck, however, by the wonderful smell of leather and wood, which is still there to this day and remains as evocative as it ever was.

    Two things became apparent from the outset: how hard it was to park due to the absence of power steering; and the way you had to double declutch to work the Moss gearbox. Also, with first and reverse being so close together I kept putting it in reverse at the traffic lights – not the thing to do!

    In order to be able to really enjoy the car, I decided make some changes while retaining much of the original character. I had an unleaded conversion carried out, replaced the Moss ’box with a reconditioned synchromesh unit from a late-1960s model and fitted Jaguar power steering. In addition, an electric fan and modern-spec tyres went on. The vehicle was then cavity-injected and undersealed, and was raring to go.

    We moved house 18 months ago and one of the criteria was to have a garage large enough to use as both storage and a ‘home’ for the car. I put in proper insulation, laid a rubber floor over the concrete and put a foam protector on the wall. I’ve covered about 10,000 miles in 17 years, and I try to use the car on a regular basis. When you start it up, you always get that distinct ‘burble’ from the exhaust that only Mk2 3.8s make – I wonder if that is where they got the idea for the new #Jaguar F-type ‘burble’ switch from?

    The transmission is great because you reach 50mph and slip it into overdrive, then watch the rev counter go down by 1500rpm. The combination of synchromesh gearbox, power steering and the modern tyres makes it feel and drive like a more recent car, although you have to remember that it takes longer to stop! Keeping an eye on the gauges is far more enjoyable than being told what the problem is by a computer. It ensures that you’re on your toes and you become one with the car, something that you can only really experience with a classic.

    As a member of the local branch of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club, I attend regional events. I recently went to one at Battlesbridge that attracted a record turnout.

    I even took the car to the Jaguar factory at Castle Bromwich to have the interior professionally cleaned. I travelled up behind an X-type and in front of an XKR for the whole journey, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The Mk2 felt perfectly safe, behaved itself throughout and was a pleasure to drive.

    Jaguar really spoiled us during our visit, arranging for me to keep the Mk2 in its factory overnight. I was very proud of the fact that my car performed so reliably for the entire trip. The next day was spent washing and waxing my beloved saloon before giving it a wellearned rest in the garage for a while – making sure that it is ready for the next adventure.
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  •   Richard Dredge reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 in UK
    Vendor: Oldcott Motors, Stoke-on-Trent
    Tel: 01782 782081 / 07973 302618
    Price: £5995

    If you're a stickler for provenance, we think we may have just found the car for you. This fourth generation Camaro really is one of the cleanest ones we've ever seen. With a fully documented 47,000 miles on the clock, this LT1 -powered, manual car ticks all the boxes for the picky Camaro buyer: all the paperwork is here from the original order sheet, to the window broadcast sheet to every bill and scrap of paperwork from its early life in San Mateo, California, to its last UK owner in Devon, including one or two from Bauer Millett in Manchester.

    Here are just some of the key indicators of this car's originality: it still has the original floor mats, both sets of keys and key fobs, as well as the factory-fitted Delco-Bose radio/CD player and still wears its original unmarked 16in alloy wheels. There are plenty of these fourth generation Camaros about, as they were actually sold new in the UK in the late-Nineties/early-Noughties, however these earlier iterations, with the smaller, meaner-looking headlights look a lot tougher. There are plenty of, shall we say 'well worn' examples, so it's nice to see one which has obviously led as pampered a life as this one has.

    The polo green bodywork is unmarked, with no dings or scratches or paint blemishes, likewise the handsome sand-coloured fabric interior is unmarked, as are the door panels and carpet and all the weather-stripping appears to be in good condition, with no cracking or leaks or squeaks - something of vital importance with a T-top car like this one. The gas struts work well on the rear decklid and these (like the front wings, bonnet and bumper) are made from strong, yet lightweight composite.

    The six-speed transmission snicks in and out of gear nicely and the engine has a beautiful rorty note from its factory stainless steel exhaust system that's a pleasure to listen to even when just pottering along at low speeds. The back end can be a bit lively if not handled properly (well, what else would you expect?), but ABS and big strong brakes bring it up sharp. The transmission features a factory fitted 'Skip Shift' system, which is designed to save fuel by encouraging the driver to skip from first to third to fifth gear etc. On the motorway the Camaro comes into its own and is quiet, comfortable and long-legged.

    The original broadcast sheet suggests this Camaro should be good for 17mpg/26mpg (city/highway) which translates into 20mpg/31 mpg Imperial. No doubt the Skip- Shift system and composite body panels help with such impressive mileage. Why would you bother with the 3.8 litre V6 for just a few mpg when you could have a real honest to goodness small block-powered Camaro like this for just a few mpg more?

    SPECIFICATION
    Engine: 350cu in LT1 V8 (5.7 litre)
    ВНР: 275
    Gearbox: 6-speed manual
    MOT: May 2014

    GOOD NEWS:
    It’s pretty much all good news here: unmarked interior and exterior, exhaustive provenance and a spotless original engine make this one of the nicest, clean examples of an early Nineties Camaro that you’re likely to find here in the UK. All the gauges and electrics appear to work and the weather stripping is in great condition too. Why bother with the 3.8 V6 when you can have a V8 with such reasonable fuel consumption? Nice, clean, ‘unmessed with’, Nineties Camaros like this are hard to find and Oldcott has taken the work out of tracking one down with this very clean green machine. Find another.

    BAD NEWS:
    The price reflects the condition of this car; you can probably find cars for half the price, but they will probably have led very hard lives and that will be reflected in everything from scruffy interiors to dodgy wheels and tired engines. The windows are a bit slow going up and down, but that’s almost undoubtedly down to lack of use and will improve with more regular use. The air conditioning didn’t appear to work when we test-drove this car, but that is an easy fix and should not detract from this Camaro’s excellent overall condition.
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  •   BimmerPost commented on this post about 2 years ago
    HEADING SARTHE FOR THE SUMMER

    The Le Mans Classic is a favourite on the DRIVE-MY calendar, and that is mainly down to the road-trip aspect of the journey there. The Reader Run has become a team-bonding exercise in getting our old nails to La Sarthe and back, hopefully without having to throw in the towel and hitch a ride on a recovery truck. The process of preparing our respective classics always begins nice and early – literally days before the off – and in typical fashion it included Port carrying out an emergency water-pump overhaul, MacLeman install a cooling fan, reinstating the overdrive wiring and fixing the wiper motor, while Clements checked the oil and set his engine tinware to ‘summer’.

    Making it to the docks at Portsmouth is always the first success and, with the UK still basking in a heatwave, it was a relief to get on board the Brittany Ferries boat for St Malo – particularly for Port, who had a last-minute reprieve from a £140 surcharge because his #Land-Rover-SII was deemed too tall. After entrecôte avec frites all round and a few cooling beers, we were suitably refreshed for the overnight sailing – a chance for our extended group to get to know each other.

    The DRIVE-MY crew – Clements, Port and MacLeman – was joined by BMW Z4-driving former #DRIVE-MY designer Paul Breckenridge and Le Mans virgin Sam Read (both on hand to help Clements celebrate a significant birthday), while MacLeman’s travelling buddy was fellow professional beard-grower and millennial Paul Bond. After years of pestering, Port gave in and brought eldest son Alfie – the end of GCSE exams finally giving no reason to refuse. After a fitful sleep and the usual rude awakening by tortuous lute music, our quartet rolled off the ferry early on Friday morning. For a while it was business as usual, following a familiar route from previous excursions including a stop for breakfast at Combourg. But here we met up with fellow DRIVE-MY cohorts Mick Walsh and Julian Balme, who had burbled down enthusiastically in Balme’s Lincoln Cosmopolitan, ‘Wooly Bully’, adding to an already eclectic mix of classics parked up in the surrounding roads. This included Reader Run regular Scott Fisher’s stunning #Porsche-912 – previous winner of the DRIVE-MY car park concours at the Hotel de France. Echoing 2010, Port set the 55mph pace up front in his #1959-Landie while the #Suzuki-Cervo , #Triumph-2500 and #BMW-Z4 shadowed his every move – owners doing well at concealing their frustrations at his cruising speed.

    As temperatures soared we ploughed on, avoiding autoroutes, and were rewarded with some fantastic countryside – freshly harvested fields and abandoned stone farmhouses beckoning a new life away from the constant onslaught of Brexit negotiations and a government in turmoil. Hitting the roads around Le Mans meant two priorities: a visit to the supermarché to stock up on food and drink, then heading to pitch tents at the Porsche Curves. Naturally, our shopping was made up of the three Le Mans staples: meat, snacks and booze – the latter mainly consisting of French lager, but also the finest vin rouge that three Euros could buy. (We’d tried the one-Euro alternative two years earlier, and decided to push the boat out on medical advice, and also because it was Clements’ birthday.) Rolling into the Travel Destinations campsite reminded us just what a great location it is – despite being a road-train ride away from the paddock. As the GT40s roared past the banking within stumbling distance, tents were pitched and thoughts turned to chilling beers and burning meat. Crucially, we had all made it without significant mechanical issues – albeit with Balme reporting brake troubles – just a little hot and bothered thanks to the Europe-wide heat-wave.

    There then ensued three days of the usual mix of breathtaking cars, spectacular on-track action and paddocks to die for – a combination that never fails to result in a magical atmosphere. With temperatures hitting 35º-plus during the day, it was important to maintain fluid intake – but fortunately the local cider proved very useful in ensuring that stamina was maintained, as well as a finely honed sense of humour at all times…

    The ‘good old days’ of sitting on a busy banking at Maison Blanche are now a distant memory, but the Porsche Curves campsite offers a relatively quiet experience (at least in terms of numbers).With most of us now being past 40 (Clements only just, a milestone marked by late-night cake), the short roll down the hill to the toilets and showers is pleasingly convenient and doesn’t interrupt viewing of the right- and left-handers for long. The relative peace also provided the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to absent friends. Although he was never keen on camping, the Le Mans Classic was one of our late chief sub editor David Evans’ favourite events, so in his honour we each drained a dram and saved him a space on the banking, before some made the pilgrimage to his favourite spot at Arnage corner the following morning.

    Wooly Bully left on Sunday and, with heavy hearts (plus a few heavy heads), the rest of the team packed up to head home on Monday. But not before Port had dived under MacLeman’s Triumph in a bid to reduce the vibration of exhaust on propshaft and gearbox crossmember – Greg using a convenient grass bank as a makeshift ramp.

    The convoy headed north without any other problems. Driving into Le Buisson, however, Clements suddenly stopped up front – almost giving the Triumph behind a new Suzuki-shaped bonnet ornament. We’d all seen it: an open yard packed full of French classics in varying stages of decay. Seconds later we were rummaging through the Négoce Matériel collection at the invitation of owner André Papillon, who was working under a Renault 8 – swaying gently on the outstretched arms of a forklift. The noticeboard in his office revealed that he knew what he was doing, however, with an impressive display of past rebuilds.

    Back on the road, we headed cross-country and opted to pause for lunch in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne. Steak tartare, galettes and omelettes filled the table, but we soon found ourselves tight on time if we were to complete our supposedly relaxed trek back to Ouistreham.

    “I’ll lead,” announced Port, who then promptly ground to a halt. The cause was clear straight away – muck in the idle circuit of the carburettor – but cleaning the jet and aperture didn’t improve matters. There was little else for it but to raise the idle to prevent stalling and carry on, with as much speed as he could muster. Although the Landie was running fairly unpleasantly, the quartet pulled into the port with minutes to spare – the Series II then doing a decent job of fumigating fellow passengers as it waited in line.

    Murphy’s law meant that the rush was followed by a delay, thanks to a computer failure – a blessing in disguise because, after 45 minutes of queuing and a hand over the carb to create a vacuum, the blockage in the Land-Rover cleared itself and the Series II rumbled onto the ferry with no more than a bit of smoke from the rich running.

    Yet more steak and chips were consumed with a sigh of relief that we’d made it, tinged with sadness that it was all over for another two years, and a few hours later we were welcomed into Portsmouth by a stunning sunset and the sight of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.

    Pulling into our respective driveways at around midnight, we each reflected by text on the mileage covered (just over 400) and fuel consumption. ‘I’ve used about £48-worth,’ boasted Clements, before expressing his disbelief at the Land-Rover’s £147 bill.

    Yet the Le Mans Classic is worth all of that and much more. It’s an event where friendships are cultivated, belly-laughs are enjoyed and memories made, all in the company of some of the world’s finest classic cars. (And ours.) Martin Port
    THANKS TO Travel Destinations: 08448 730203; traveldestinations.co.uk

    ‘Steak and chips were consumed with a sigh of relief, tinged with sadness that it was over for another two years’

    A gathering of old scrap… poses alongside André Papillon’s collection of classics waiting to be rebuilt or raided for parts.

    Clockwise from top left: first goal achieved, having arrived at Portsmouth ferry terminal; breakfast stop at Combourg; magical sunset bathes La Sarthe; happy campers toast their arrival at superb Travel Destinations campsite with welcome cold beers.

    Clockwise, from above: selection of Djets fronts amazing Matra display on Bugatti Circuit; Balme’s ‘Wooly Bully’ pauses while passengers enjoy a break on eventful run to Le Mans; Whizz at speed (well, at 55mph); Peugeot 504 and period caravan equipe.

    ‘Port set the 55mph pace while Suzuki, Triumph and #BMW shadowed, owners trying to conceal their frustrations’
    Clockwise, from right: Port tries to solve Triumph’s ‘prop on exhaust’ issues; troubles of his own with SII; Renault-8 – no health-and- safety concerns here; team #DRIVE-MY seeks new fleet additions; patinated Impala, just one gem to be found outside the paddock. From far left: Citroën IDs and #Citroen-DS s have seen better days, but still provide parts; Sam Read prepares to pilot the Suzuki for the final leg home; stunning sunset over Portsmouth.
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  •   BimmerPost reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    CAR: #Mercedes-Benz-200 / #Mercedes-Benz-200-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz-W123 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #1981-Mercedes-Benz-200-W123 / #1981 / #Mercedes-Benz-M102

    Year of manufacture 1981
    Recorded mileage 108,432km
    Asking price £10,500 Vendor W123 World, Cwmbwrla,
    Swansea: tel; 07714 089936; 01792 846888

    WHEN IT WAS NEW

    Price £8700 1981 UK
    Max power 109bhp
    Max torque 121lb ft
    0-60mph 14 secs
    Top speed 100mph
    Mpg 22-30


    The first owner of this left-hand-drive, German-supplied W123 was a senior manager at Mercedes in Stuttgart who wanted a car with as few electrical accessories as possible so that he could look after it himself in his retirement. Hence his choice of a manual 200 with carburettor engine, plus manual windows and sunroof, and no central locking. The only luxury he allowed himself was a good-quality Becker radio. It has a catalyser on the exhaust (for German cities) and still comes with its winter tyres.

    Specialist W123 World has recently recommissioned the car, replacing all of the brake calipers and hoses, radiator, battery and exhaust, and overhauled the carburettor. The previous owner was in Ireland and it has Irish plates, although it is still registered in Germany. There is no evidence of the structure ever having had paint or panelwork, and it has clearly led a quiet life. The bumpers and rubbing strips are in fine condition; the door shuts are crisp, plus the glass and light lenses are scratch-free all round.

    Pop the hefty bonnet and there are no problems with the hinges that W123s can suffer: it self props on its first catch and can go vertical for servicing. The bay is beautifully detailed, with all of the correct factory stickers. The engine is dry and leak-free, with oil and water to the correct levels. You can still see splashes of Waxoyl inside the wings.

    Inside, the blue seats with cloth inserts are unmarked and the driver’s seat base feels firm (they can sag). There’s no centre armrest, but there are factory overmats. Plus, the tool and first-aid kits are unopened.

    It looks smart on its steel wheels with body-coloured hubcaps and, while the quad circular lamps suggest an early car, it runs the later crossflow M102 ‘four’, so it feels surprisingly eager with the manual gearbox.

    It would be a miserable thing without power steering, but luckily the 200 has it and is a pleasant, undemanding drive with a stable tickover hot or cold and the usual full-deflection oil pressure under way. The steering is bereft of the straight-ahead play that can mar these cars, and the way the powerful brakes pull up straight reflects the work they’ve had.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Great factory body and paint
    INTERIOR Original and unmarked
    MECHANICALS Fully refurbished where necessary: just needs using

    VALUE

    For Must be one of the best unrestored W123s around
    Against Unexciting but easy-to-live-with specification

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    This 200 is as straight and finely preserved as you could reasonably expect a near-40-year-old car to be
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  •   Quentin Willson reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    TIME FOR REPAIRS BIG AND SMALL

    Car #MGB GT

    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Owned since July #2013
    Total mileage 57,893
    Miles since September
    2014 report 747
    Latest costs £200

    Each of our classics has an everchanging list of niggles that needs addressing, but some are more serious than others. In my case, they tend to fall into three unique categories of increasing importance.

    The bottom section of the Mac- Leman Worry Pyramid (MWP) is occupied by irritating details that require much less effort to fix than the inconvenience they cause – I call these Incidentals. The radio, for example, is currently hanging out of the dashboard. Then there’s the driver’s-side speaker, which tears off more of the doorcard’s covering each time I climb in.

    Recent starting problems also fell into this category. The cold weather we’ve been having had sapped the power from the MG’s battery, which seemed to be past its best anyway. A quick trip to Halfords yielded a calcium replacement, which should last longer than the old unit, and provides a bit more juice at start-up.

    I call the next part of the pyramid Significants – problems that are likely to prevent the car from passing its next MoT test. The main issue that I faced this time was a rear brake imbalance, so I got the car home – conveniently located next to the testing station – to investigate. Traces of oil on the offside rear wheel suggested a leak, so I removed it to take a look at the drum.

    As soon as the cover came off, it became clear that the hub seal was leaking and filling the drum with fluid. I didn’t have any new ones to hand, so all I could do was clear the debris with brake cleaner. Replacement seals have been ordered and I will be fitting them as soon as possible.

    The final piece of the pyramid is reserved for the most dire of jobs – Catastrophes. Unfortunately, my car has a few of these.

    The most pressing was the rot that I discovered in the nearside sill a while ago. I was in talks with a specialist repair centre throughout the summer months, which meant that things dragged on for much longer than I would have liked. Eventually, I had no choice but to get it sorted locally – and I’m glad I did. My local mechanic Vince – ably assisted by Bobby and Nick, who have looked after the car since I moved to Teddington – had the underside stripped, prepped and beautifully patched in no time at all.

    It was made particularly sweet when the estimate from the previous bodyshop finally found its way into my e-mail inbox – it would have cost well in excess of £900. With the #MG B now boasting a (relatively) clean bill of health, my thoughts have turned to the next driving adventure. Spa, Le Mans and Flanders Fields all featured on the #2014 calendar, so I’m considering somewhere further afield for #2015 . The AvD Oldtimer GP at the Nürburgring is always a draw, but I’m tempted by a trip to France – in particular the Circuit des Remparts d’Angoulême. I’d also like to visit the Chantilly Arts & Elegance concours again, particularly after getting engaged at the inaugural event last year.
    For now, though, I’m just pleased that the B is fully functional, if still a little tatty, which should let me tackle more entries on the MWP as the weather begins to improve. Who knows, I may even get to reach the crisp, rarefied air above the pyramid – Improvements. But let’s not be too hasty.

    ‘A local mechanic had the car’s underside stripped, prepped and beautifully patched in no time at all’
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  • Martin is now friends with Simon Charlesworth
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