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    Rest and recuperation
    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i BAUR CABRIOLET
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic / #Boxd

    It’s been a few months since I last wrote an update on my Baur Cabriolet, but it has been in regular use and pretty much my everyday car. Since I bought it in August 2015 I have added around 10,000 mies to the 106,748 it showed then, even though it spent most of 2016 being restored. It’s certainly getting more use than it had with the previous owner.

    Post-restoration snags carried on into 2018. We had to get the boot repainted because it was patchy in places, and the rear quarter panels started to show signs of rusting, as did a small area around the rear quarter windows, the battery support plate came away altogether and had to be bolted back into place. Maybe they didn’t get rid of all the rust...

    With everyday use, things are likely to go wrong at some stage with a 38-year-old car. During restoration we reconditioned and re-used as many mechanical parts as possible, but more work was soon needed. A whining noise from the front, like a quiet jet engine, turned out to be the wheel bearings so I had all of them changed, front and rear. Next was a horrendous clicking noise underneath from a disintegrating exhaust downpipe. Exhaust parts for right-hand-drive E21 BMW's are like hens’ teeth, but a pair of new-old-stock downpipes showed up on eBay only an hour away, in Marlborough - sorted!

    Next, a grinding clutch release bearing, replaced along with the rest of the clutch. And then, towards the end of the summer, I started having to top up the coolant more frequently. All seemed well on a compression test, so it’s probably not a leaking head gasket. Finally, the oil-pressure light started to glow when idling.

    I met up with Sam Lawrence, at Boxd in South-east London, a new and very popular storage facility. Boxd offers a maintenance service, too, so while your car is in storage they can, for a fee, tinker with it during the winter so it’s niggle-free when you have it back in the spring.

    With that oil-light problem I didn’t want to risk driving the BMW, so I had it transported to Boxd for the technical staff there to assess, they found plenty to keep them busy, the clonks on braking and cornering were from a poorly fitted alarm, found rolling loose in the scuttle area, there was a smell of petrol, requiring a check of hoses and clips around the tank and pump, they will check the whole cooling system for leakage, and fix an oil leak by replacing the sump gasket while carrying out a service. As for the indication of low oil pressure, they’ll start with the warning light’s switch.

    What else? A new seal should stop the major water leak past the offside rear light cluster, the rear silencers will be renewed, blown dashboard bulbs will be replaced with LEDs, and the heater fan made quieter, the non-responsive lever for cold air will receive a new cable, if necessary. Reinstating missing washers in the (loose) wiper mechanism should fix a leak into the scuttle, and the bonnet needs a new torsion spring, the headlights are dim, too - might they deserve an upgrade?

    I’m hoping there will be time to tackle most of the above by spring but, with such a mild winter to date, I am missing it already. Worse, I’m surfing the net to find more Baurs for sale. I must be mad.

    Top and left: BMW has luxury transport, by Classic Automotive Relocation Services, to its winter retreat and health spa at Boxd.
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    Ferrari 400/412 values on the up. It could be now or never if you want to buy into the V12 dream for around £50k. / #Ferrari-400i / #Ferrari-400 / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / #V12 / #Ferrari-412i / #Ferrari-412i-Auto / #1988 / #1981 / #Ferrari-412-Automatic

    CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    Quentin Willson’s hot tips There’s some bustle around the Ferrari 400 and 412. A change in affection has hardened prices with exceptional cars now touching £80k. Neal Gordon in Chelsea has a blue ’1981 right-hand-drive 400i auto with only 16,000 miles and total Ferrari history for £84,950, while Gallery Aaldering in Holland has an ’1983 LHD auto in dark blue with 22,000 miles, three owners and big history for £53,000. Right-hand-drive 400is are rarest, with only 152 cars produced, and the biggest prize is a UK-supplied manual with only 25 examples ever built. The later, rarer and more reined 412 is a good bet too, with Justin Banks in Kent offering an ’1988 412 auto in metallic black, with extensive history and 36,000 miles for a very reasonable £34,995.

    As the last of the affordable V12 Ferraris, you can see why there’s been an upswing. With roots going back to the Daytona – including that distinctive body swage line – lush Connolly leather cabins and surprising usability, canny collectors looking for value are now seeing low-mileage 400s with fresh eyes. Significantly, they’re beginning to command more than 456 GTs which is another sign of new interest.

    They’re also historically significant as the first automatic Ferrari ever. They also had the longest model production run, 17 years. My punt would be on the final series ’1985-on 412 with its Marelli ignition, anti-lock braking, plusher cabin and better drivability – they’re rarer than the 400 too with only 576 built. In the metal all 400s look terrific, low, handsome and classy and were given an aesthetic knighthood by motoring scribe LJK Setright who described the silhouette as ‘one of the most beautiful and elegant bodies ever to leave the lead in Pininfarina’s pencilling vision’. He wasn’t wrong.

    Find yourself a wellfettled, low-mileage 400i or 412 with bulging history file and you’ll be buying one of the few Seventies/Eighties Ferraris that wasn’t hyped in the Prancing Horse boom years. Think of it this way – this is a front-engined V12 classic Ferrari still available for around £50k. That statement might not hold for very much longer.
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    Shark Hunting
    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    Have you heard classic BMWs described as ‘sharknose’? Sharknose-era BMWs were manufactured from the 1960s through to the late ’80s and represent a crucial period in BMW’s history. They can be as different as they are similar. Some were built for racing, some were built for families.

    Some featured cutting-edge technology, others were a little more basic. What brings them together is a common design aesthetic. They range from the Neue Klasse models of the ’60s through to the M1 and E28 (the second-generation 5-series), taking in the CSA, CS and CSLs and the earlier 3-, 5-, 6- and 7-series along the way.

    Now the #BMW-Car-Club has introduced a new umbrella group called the Sharknose Collection, and I was delighted to be asked to attend a gathering of cars from this collection to produce a video for the club’s website. As club secretary Richard Baxter says: ‘These cars are now becoming sought after yet finding parts and specialists can be difficult. The Sharknose section of the club aims to give cars and owners a collective platform at shows, to help with parts and accessories, to share technical days, and allow networking with fellow owners.’

    The pressure was on to get my Baur looking as good as possible, given the company that it was going to be with. I contacted Joseph Crowe, owner of Knowl Hill Performance Cars in Maidenhead (www.knowlhill. com), and he obligingly ensured that the car was machine polished to look its best.

    Gathered together for the shoot were some of the very best examples of sharknose BMWs in the UK. In the picture, above, from left to right are Stu and Lizzy Blount’s grey #BMW-E28 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E28 , Tony Wilkes’ beige #BMW-E3 , Georg Champ’s red #BMW-2002 , Sam Lever’s blue #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 , Trevor Gude’s white #BMW-E12 / #BMW-M535i-E12 , my own BMW-323i Baur Top Cabrio and Kos Ioizou’s beautiful red #BMW-635CSi-E24 . I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and passion for the cars shown by all the owners – the future of these classics is safe in their hands.

    The Club is looking for ownership and restoration stories to share in its monthly publication Straight Six and hopes to attract owners of cars not yet known about. Cars from the Sharknose Collection will be on show at several events this year, including Masters at Brands Hatch on 26-27 May; Sharknose Europe at Rosmalen, Holland, on 23 June; Silverstone Classic on 20-22 July and the club’s National Festival on 12 August at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. There’s more info at www.bmwcarclubgb.uk and I hope I will get along to at least one or two in the Baur.

    Above and below Sharknose Collection members lined up some of the UK’s finest examples, including Sanjay’s 323i Baur cabriolet.
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    A question of #safety

    CAR: #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    Winter came and went and I haven’t carried out all the improvements on the BMW that I’d hoped to. But there’s a major incident to report. We came back from holiday in early December and there was a strong smell of petrol throughout the house. It was coming from the garage and – specifically – from the BMW.

    I took the car to Automo (www.automo.co), where it had been restored, and it turned out that there were several problems to fix. Later six-cylinder E21s were fitted with an extra fuel tank, connected by a link pipe, plus extra venting, an expansion tank, connectors, clamps and so on, which means a host of possible weaknesses. Access to most can be gained only via a hole in the bodywork under the rear seat base. Automo traced a leak to the connecting pipe between the two tanks – and also the fuel cap, which I had not fully closed…

    Even with the problem diagnosed and fixed, there is still a distinct smell of fuel around the car, especially on a full tank, so further investigation is required.

    The other improvement I managed to complete was to fit new seatbelts. The old ones were difficult to pull out, did not fully retract, and were prone to catching in the doors. The rear belts were covered in red paint overspray too, so I was keen to get them sorted.

    I called on the help of Stuart Quick at Quickfit SBS (www. quickfitsbs.com), a family-run business created by Stuart’s father Bill Quick, which has been fitting seatbelts to cars since the early 1960s, well before they even became a legal requirement. Of course, if your car was originally manufactured without seatbelts, you are not required by law to have them fitted. However, passengers under 12 years of age must be strapped in whether your car was manufactured with seatbelts or not. And if you’re planning to use your classic on a tour or long trip, seatbelts are a worthwhile safety upgrade.

    Quickfit can retrofit periodlooking seatbelts that will not look out of place.

    In making the Cabrio, Baur adapted the rear seatbelts of the E21 saloon. The saloon’s mounting points are fixed to the rear pillars but, in the Cabrio, the belt housings were moved to a position in the boot, under the rear parcel shelf. This required parts to be made specifically for the Baur, and they are now extremely hard to find. Quickfit also advised that the webbing itself needed to be changed, as well as the reels and mechanisms.

    The result is that all the seatbelts now work perfectly.

    Above and left #Quickfit-SBS made up new seatbelts from scratch to fit the Baur, which has unique mountings in the boot space for the rear belts; Baur’s red paint glows against the backdrop of a WW2 hangar at Bicester Heritage.
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    Time to get the rot sorted

    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    The original pitch from the advertising agency that proposed BMW’s now legendary slogan was made back in 1974 and was therefore used in the various campaigns for the launch of the new E21 in 1976. But is there any truth in it? Was it really the #Ultimate-Driving-Machine ?

    The Baur is a fantastic little car and such great fun to drive, with oodles of power. I have enjoyed using it so much that it has become my everyday car; there is only one set of keys I look for whenever I go out (without being disloyal to the DB7, of course). It is so perfectly at home on modern roads and motorways that it is hard to believe that this is a car designed in the early ’70s; it feels so comfortable in all conditions. The driving position is excellent with good visibility all-round, and on motorways the car is very quiet inside the cabin, unbelievably so for a convertible built 35 years ago. This car must have been so over-engineered in its day.

    BMW even had an ad campaign claiming that, with the top down and driving in the rain, the design of the ‘targa’ roof meant that you would still stay dry inside the cabin, as the rain would be deflected away. I will put that to the test in due course.

    As you can see, I am full of praise for the 323i and rightly so I think. What other five-seater convertibles were there in the early ’80s that boasted disc brakes all-round (vented at the front), a 143bhp six-cylinder engine with five-speed gearbox, 0-60mph in 8 seconds, a top speed of 120mph, and driver comforts such as central locking, electric mirrors, three-speed windscreen wipers and even headlight wipers. This car was so far ahead of its competitors that I think BMW had every right to use that ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ slogan.

    At £12,000 new it wasn’t cheap but it meant you were driving what was probably one of the most well-engineered cars of its day. That price also meant that it appealed to owners who could afford to maintain them. I am lucky to have found one that I know has been very well looked after and garaged for much of its life. That said, the model suffered from corrosion and, although mine looked OK, it was impossible to tell what was lurking beneath. There was superficial rust all over the bodywork, not terrible but I could see that some work needed to be done. As winter approached I was faced with a dilemma: should I face up to it now or wait another year?

    A chance meeting with Chedeen Battick, owner of Slough restoration company Automo (www.automo.co), set the cat among the pigeons.

    Chedeen and I met at the launch of a car he had designed for a Jaguar re-creation manufacturer. The work that he had engineered was impressive, so when he said that he had been let down on a job and could get my car in to take a closer look at the paintwork, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

    The plan is to strip it down to see what needs to be done. I’ll report back next time but I am very excited about the prospect of getting the bodywork sorted out.

    THANKS TO BMW Classic Group, www.realoem.com.
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    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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    Fine tuning 1981 BMW 323i

    TOP CABRIO SANJAY SEETANAH

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    Most of the saga of getting my Cabrio back on the road was covered last month. All except the story of its fuel injection. And #Bosch K-Jetronic is notoriously difficult to get right. There was a strong smell of fuel and the car was running rough and revving high at idle. Then, during the early summer months, it started to run hot.

    The temperature gauge needle should sit exactly in the middle of the dial when the engine is up to temperature, but it was creeping over the ¾ mark. I tried to diagnose the fault myself, and changed the sender unit – but no difference. So I changed the thermostat, but no. Could it be the water pump? No, that was fine too. Could it be the head gasket? Gulp! I took the car to #Munich-Motors in Wokingham, where Clive Sanchez has been specialising in older BMWs for several years. He soon had the Baur running smoothly again.

    The overheating turned out to be a faulty new thermostat! And fine-tuning the K-Jetronic injection was a relief, as the car had been guzzling fuel, but it was now returning a respectable 28mpg. Felt quicker with it, too. There have been several other minor problems, such as the alternator which I replaced (from #Linwa-Motors in Lancashire). I drive the car every day, but I don’t want to continue using it throughout the winter months and it’s too nice to be kept outdoors so I think I will store it until spring.

    There are many things that I want to improve, though some parts are near-impossible to find, especially in right-hand-drive form. The seats are creaky and could do with re-padding and springing. I have managed to source some original seat fabric from #BMW-Group-Classic which was an absolute find: a project for the winter.

    Above With the fuel injection sorted and a faulty thermostat replaced, the Baur Cabrio is now a star performer.

    THANKS TO Jeroen De Laat at BMWE21.net; Benjamin Voss at BMW Group Classic, realoem.com; Clive Sanchez at Munich Motors, munichmotors. co.uk; Ian Thompson at Linwar Motors, linwar.com; Chedeen Battick at Automo, automo.co.
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    CAR: #De-Tomaso-Deauville / #De-Tomaso
    Names Roel and Rogé Pollen
    Ages 38 and 43
    Occupation Entrepreneurs
    First classics Opel Kadett estate and coupé
    Dream classic Ferrari F40
    Daily drivers VW Passat and Volvo 850R estates
    Best trip 2010 Le Mans Classic

    DOUBLE DUTCH SUPERSALOON

    I’ve been mad about cars since my childhood, and infected my older brother Rogé along the way. My interest has always been in Italian sports models, particularly Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. For some reason, I’ve also been drawn towards less well-known makes, including such illustrious names as Monteverdi, Intermeccanica, Iso Rivolta, Bitter and de Tomaso.

    For me, the epitome of quirkiness and extraordinary exclusivity has always been the de Tomaso Deauville. This is a passion that started on page 147 of my Cars of 1986 yearbook, and which further increased after reading an article about one in the Dutch car magazine Autovisie in the mid-1990s.

    Back in 2001, my brother and I were just starting an internet business together. We didn’t have much cash, but apparently we had enough to buy ourselves a pretty beaten-up charcoal grey Deauville that had been supplied by the firm’s Dutch importer Hessing in #1981 . It was the 22nd-from-last car built, and the highest chassis number to be sold new in The Netherlands.

    I found the de Tomaso online, advertised by a dealer in the south of Holland. The very friendly seller was struck by our enormous enthusiasm and so cut us a good deal, including delivery to our home. Or to be more accurate, a barn belonging to our uncle Harry, who had kindly offered to shelter our newly acquired Italian beauty.

    We got the car back on the road within weeks, replacing the bare minimum of items – including the timing chain, some gaskets, filters and fluids. We also fitted new tyres and went for occasional drives around the countryside near uncle Harry’s house. We had great fun, even though the car didn’t yet have the Dutch equivalent of an MoT!

    In the meantime we’d also met Mat Heffels, who at that time was the owner of the Deauville featured in the magazine article that ignited our passion. Heffels was a writer and publisher, and together we’ve had some great adventures – including visiting the factory in his de Tomaso while he was working on a piece for a Dutch car magazine.

    We also organised a couple of now legendary de Tomaso events in Holland in 2003 and 2005. These were attended by some beautiful cars, ranging from all kinds of Panteras to Guaràs and a Longchamp. For our first meeting we even arranged for an ex-Le Mans Group 4 Pantera to be there, the car taking to the Assen TT circuit during the event. Riding shotgun in such a stunning racing car was an unforgettable highlight.

    Our de Tomaso was still in bad shape, with dodgy mechanicals and rust eating through the panels. After six years of ownership, though, we had the resources to get it restored. Another Deauville owner, Rob Cornelissen of TR Classics, took on the job. The plan was to perform a “minor intervention” but soon the car was stripped of its paintwork and receiving some very necessary welding. It was at that point that we decided to switch the colour to Rame Metallizzato, a factory hue that we felt suited the Deauville much better!

    Since the rebuild, we have driven the car regularly in rallies as well as to the Le Mans Classic, Schloss Dyck Classic Days and various other events in Holland, Germany and Belgium. The trips to Le Mans in particular were great, camping at Maison Blanche alongside de Tomaso fans from all over the world with our Deauville parked next to the tent. Another special moment was the Spa Italia 40th-anniversary celebration of the marque, in which our car was selected for the model line-up display. We have lapped both the Spa and Le Mans circuits several times in the de Tomaso. It’s always a joy to see marshals flabbergasted when such a huge saloon flies through corners with four enthusiastic occupants on board.

    After 15 years, we still have the Deauville and have met a lot of nice people thanks to it. Last year, we even got a film of ourselves with it on the website www.cinecars.nl – we never expected to become movie stars when we bought the car!

    ‘It’s a joy to see marshals flabbergasted when such a huge saloon flies through corners with four occupants’

    Clockwise: restored car’s #Rame-Metallizzato paint gleams in the sunshine; trip to Spa prior to rebuild; the two brothers pose with the Deauville; de Tomaso event at Assen; camping at the Le Mans classic.
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