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    Happy times on the way for Aston Martin DB7 buyers / #Aston-Martin-DB7 / #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-DB7-Volante / #1997-Aston-Martin-DB7-Volante / #1997 /

    VALUE 2012 £32K
    VALUE NOW 2018 £29K

    Time to look carefully at the DB7 market. Anglia Auctions sold two in June – a ’1997 Volante in maroon with 55k miles and dealer history for £20,140 and a very fresh ’1998 Coupé in Mendip Blue, 12-year ownership, large history file and 34k miles for £26,500. Both cars feel good value at this money. Also in June, CCA sold a ’1995 Coupé in Jet Black with 72k miles for £15,400, while Barons drew £15,180 for a #2002-Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante-Automatic #V12 Volante Vantage auto in Buckinghamshire Green with 96k.

    Auction prices have fallen of over the last few months and even an exceptional car such as the mint 28k-mile 2000 Vantage Coupé that Historics sold in May made only £29k. I also see a softening reflected in some private ads such as the seller in Littlehampton offering a ‘superb’ Meteorite Silver ’1995 auto coupé with 42k miles for a very reasonable £23,250. With negotiation, that one might sell for £20k.

    This downward step in values is caused by too many cars on the market, but their intrinsic appeal hasn’t changed – they’re still one of Ian Callum’s most inspired designs, radiate unmistakable Aston DNA and, if you can find a V12 Vantage manual, good for 186mph. Higher prices over the last couple of years means many were treated to expensive refurbs and quality servicing, so look for stamped histories and thick service portfolios.

    There are close on 200 DB7s for sale in the UK, so the market is in the buyer’s favour. We may even see a time in the next 12 months when early sub-60,000 3.2 auto coupés start popping up at £17k. Happy days. Watch and wait.
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    THE WILD WEST The first Vollans family touring holiday sees JJ head to Ireland's west coast – the ideal place to test his ‘ultimate driving machine’

    / #BMW-E39 / #BMW-528i / #BMW-528i-E39 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E39 / #1997-BMW-528i-E39 / #1997 /

    JJ takes his #BMW-528i-E39 to Ireland and then tries to sell it

    OUR DRIVES Tales of running modern classics in the real world

    I’ve been visiting the Republic of Ireland sinceI wasa kid. My mum’s family is from Leitrim on the west coast and we used to spend many a family holiday back in the ‘old country’. My parents moved there permanently about ten years ago when they retired, so I’ve had even more opportunity to visit since. A few times a year we jump on a plane at Stansted and fly to the wild and windy, bog-surrounded destination of Knock airport in county Mayo. It was built after a local saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, who told him to build a shrine. Honest– that is genuinely the reason.

    Since becoming a father back in April, I’ve noticed that any trip now involves a lot more luggage (try getting a travel cot through hand luggage!). So when I had a week's holiday recently, we decided to forego the stress of the departure lounge and go on a full-on touring holiday. Two of my cars – the Mercedes 190E 2.6 W201 and the BMW 528i – were ideal for this long- haul journey, providing the right mix of high-speed motorway comfort and tight handling on the much slower, twistier roads on the other side of the Irish Sea. On this occasion, the BMW got the nod.

    I love the rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast. Looking out to sea, knowing that the next landmass is America – 3080 miles away – is humbling. The mountains rise straight out of the sea, the lochs are lined with spruce forests and every village or town is full of welcoming pubs with roaring fires, bottomless Guinness, great food and the inevitable ‘craic’. For me, Ireland in the winter takes some beating – every icy shower merely provides an excuse to find another cosy bolt hole.

    This rugged rock clinging to the very edge of Europe also has some of the best driving roads anywhere within the British Isles. The World Rally Championship acknowledged this by adding the north-west of Ireland as a round during the 2007 season. A lot of the stages took in some of my favourite routes around my ‘second home’, the town of Sligo. Standout routes included a lap of Loch Gill and a final stage finish on the top of the cliffs at Mullaghmore.

    Before departing for Ireland, the 5 Series was treated to a refurbished #ZF-steering-rack , new radiator and – most importantly – a fresh set of Michelin Cross Climates. These top-tier, award-winning wet-weather tyres are designed specifically to grip in all weathers. BMWs of any era aren’t known for their grip in adverse conditions, so I gave Vintage Tyres a call to see what they recommended. Although the Michelins cost £171 each, I reasoned that leaning on the brakes up in the mountains and ploughing straight on could end up costing a lot more.

    It was a good call; the fighting-fit 5 Series on these exceptional tyres proved an ideal combination. The pre-dawn run over to Wales to the ferry, driving over the Pennines in torrential rain, instantly reassured me that I’d made the correct choice. On the motorway, these tyres are quiet and smooth, gripping even when the road resembled a river. Once in Ireland, they dealt with the drizzle and mud better than any rubber I’ve ever put on a classic #BMW . And in the dry, they keep up the astonishing grip without sacrificing noise levels.

    THANKS TO… Vintage Tyre Supplies Ltd, Hampshire vintagetyres.com 01590 612261 Stena Line – choice of four routes from the UK to Ireland stenaline.co.uk

    Precious metal on the Emerald Isle. Michelins showed off their wet-weather superstardom. Thanks for the advice, but… Sparkle in the rain. About as busy as the beaches ever get in these parts Little margin for error on these roads, so vicelike grip is reassuring. Don't worry, gorgeous – Nathan didn't come on this trip. Wild west hero: 5 Series purred its way around deserted coast roads. The contented look of a man en route to his next Guinness.

    BMW 528i E39
    Year 1997
    Acquired Feb 2017
    Mileage 137,000
    Costs £684 on tyres
    Other cars 1984 VW Scirocco Storm
    1987 Lotus Esprit S3
    1990 Mercedes 190E 2.6
    1990 VW Golf GTI 16v
    1992 Range Rover 3.9
    1998 Peugeot 306
    1999 Alfa Romeo GTV
    2000 Mazda MX-5 MKII

    ‘SOME OF THE BEST DRIVING ROADS IN THE BRITISH ISLES’
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    / #1997 / #Ferrari-456GTA £69,990 / #For-Sale / #Ferrari-456-GTA / #Ferrari-456GT / #Ferrari-456 / #1997-Ferrari-456GTA / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12

    This four-seater Italian exotic has been driven sparingly but obviously cared for well, says Rob Scorah

    It’s more usual to meet Ferrari’s Nineties two-plus-two in more subdued colours – blue or silver – but this mid-production 456 in #Rosso-Corsa over Crema leather makes a striking example. With fewer than 21,500 miles driven (and having been garaged properly), you’d expect the paintwork to retain all of its factory lustre and consistency, and it does. Finish and colour hue do not vary across surfaces or different body materials and there are no signs of cracking or corrosion on aprons or leading edges. There are several very tiny stonechips to the nose. These have been touched up, though considering the calibre of the car they could maybe have been done a little better but you have to look hard to find them. The black windscreen surrounds show no sign of discolouration or corrosion.

    Panel fit remains true. Doors and boot close to leave nicely-matched edges and the big clamshell bonnet rises and falls smoothly and fits precisely. Under that big lid the engine appears as (after reading the blue-chip specialist service history) you would expect. Everything looks factory fresh – wiring, clips, cam covers and general cleanliness. As well as a fully stamped book, with the most recent services by Migliore Cars of Bromsgrove, prospective buyers will also be pleased to find that the 456 has had a recent cambelt change. Interestingly there are also a couple of notes from previous owners outlining a little specialist lineage on the mechanics who have worked on the car.

    The interior of the car mirrors the outside, with very light signs of use commensurate with the mileage. The worst that can be found is a little wear to the driver’s seat outer bolster. Otherwise, carpets and hides are clean; steering wheel, gearshift and switches are free of ring or fingernail scratches. There is also a set of fitted Ferrari luggage included, its condition not far behind the car itself.

    Nineties Ferraris were more urbane than their forebears and the V12 fires up easily and settles into a refined idle without any oil-starved rattles. The automatic transmission slots easily into gear and the car is away without any thuds or shunts. As with the car’s aesthetics the 456’s road manners emphasise refinement and you soon realise that this car is about swift progress from fairly gentle input. Steering is precise and the suspension sure-footed, handling bumps without clunks. The gear changes seem particularly smooth, even when the driver gets involved to hold / drop the coupé into a lower gear for bends (there are no rattles or creaks in the turns).

    You have to provoke the Ferrari to really hear the engine and even then its tone has a silky, even quality. The 5.4-litre V12’s heft is felt low in the revs, accelerating smoothly through the range. The pressure and temperature gauges threw up no warning signals on our test.

    Although prospective 456 owners may prefer different colour / transmission options, this 1997 car is hard to fault. It is a very clean, very usable and swift tourer. And an easier Ferrari to own than many.

    CHOOSE YOUR FERRARI 456

    The #Pininfarina -designed 456 GT 2+2 is launched in 1992 at the Paris Show. Its traditional front-engined Ferrari grand tourer layout makes it attractive and practical as well as the fastest front-engined car in the world. Complementing the usual six-speed manual, a four-speed auto is offered in the 456 GTA.

    In 1998, the 456M (for Modificata) takes over. There are subtle restyling cues, the most notable being a reshaped front grille incorporating fog lamps. The #V12 is unchanged in size or output. The biggest mechanical differences are the revised active (self-levelling) rear suspension and traction control.

    The model is discontinued in 2003 after a total of 3289 of all models have been built.

    The interior looks original but has very little wear of note. Recent cambelt change is good news for potential owners. Rosso Corsa with Crema leather is unusual on a 456.

    Quote £975.07 comprehensive, 3000 miles per year, garaged, tracker. Call: 0333 323 1181

    1997 Ferrari 456 GTA

    Price £69,990
    Contact Manor Classics, North Yorkshire (01904 501252, manorclassiccars.com)
    Engine 5474cc V12, dohc per bank
    Power 442bhp @ 6250rpm / DIN
    Torque 406lb ft @ 4500rpm / DIN
    Performance Top speed: 193mph; 0-60mph: 5.5sec
    Fuel consumption 15mpg
    Length 4763mm
    Width 1920mm
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    E36 AMGs going cheap... for now / #Mercedes-Benz-W210 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes-Benz-E36-AMG-W210 / #Mercedes-Benz-E55-AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-E36-AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-E55-AMG-W210 / #AMG

    Market catching on to the almighty bangs-for-bucks Mercedes-Benz W120 ‘six’

    Decent Mercedes-Benz-W210 E36 AMGs can still be bought for five grand and I reckon they’re the last of the bargain Nineties AMG Mercs. A West Yorkshire private seller has a ’96 in Brilliant Silver with black leather and 70k for £3995 while the trade in Cheshire has a ’97 in the same colour combo with 92k for £5499. Both cars have plenty of bills, low ownership, fish and are a mighty bang for your buck.

    While W124 E36s are climbing over £10k now and #V8 E55s rising too, the similarly competent W210 looks insanely cheap. MB built only 400 between #1996 and #1997 – all rhd – with most going to Australia. Only 150 were sold in the UK and the DVLA currently records just 11 roadgoing survivors. Compared with the 2870 E55s built, the E36 is one of the rarest AMGs of them all and one the last models to be handassembled at AMG’s plant in Affalterbach.

    The dohc M106 six-cylinder is gruff, urgent and bulletproof, pushing out a very respectable 288bhp and the looks are exactly the same as the E55, apart from the boot badge. Even the 18-inch AMG five-spoke alloys and twin exhausts are identical.

    New list was £53k and sales were glacial because everybody knew the V8 E55 was waiting in the wings. Buyers were usually middle-aged enthusiasts and the wear patterns and mileages covered by E36s are different from the E55, which was more of a hardcore hooligan’s dragster. Not having a V8 up front means they’re simpler, less strained and use lots of E320 parts, so running costs won’t be ruinous. You’ll find eBay is stuffed with used bits.

    Watch for the usual W210 rust round the front wings, rear arches and screens and if the catalytic converters are rattling walk away. A 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds isn’t lightning fast but the E36 has lighter steering and more front-end poise than the slightly nose-heavy 55, while the top end is limited to the usual 155mph. But speed is what you’ll need to bag one at these low prices. A London trader has just sold a 60,000-miler for £15k. Be quick.

    ‘Speed is what you’ll need to bag one at these low prices
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    PERFECT EXAMPLE #BMW-E36 / #BMW-328i / #BMW-328i-E36 / #BMW-328Ci / #BMW-328Ci-E36 / #BMW-E36-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe /

    This full-on E36 328i combines aggressive styling with serious turbocharged performance. Many have tried, and many have failed. The quest for the perfect modified #BMW is an arduous one, but our US contributor thinks he may just have found it. Words & Photos: Eric Eikenberry.

    In the days of yore, men of differing opinions used to gather in remote locations to shout vociferously at one another, clash shield upon shield, sword upon sword, all in the name of settling the score. In today’s infinitely more modern arenas, the shields and swords have been discarded in favour of wings and air dams, ICE and carbon fibre. The battle cry is far different too. ‘JDM’ or ‘DTM’. Where do your allegiances lie? If you’ve picked up this magazine, that choice is pretty clear. As such, we present to you your champion, Ryan Castro’s #1997 E36 328i. All hail your king!

    At a recent JDM-DTM shootout held in California, Ryan not only laid to rest the JDM dragon, he also captured an overall show trophy for Best Modified. With his comprehensive and well thought out modifications, not only is this ride an incredible showpiece, it packs the punch necessary to decimate its rivals on the strip or track.

    Ryan has a dream job that allows him a great deal of leeway in his choice of transportation. Sure, it’s not as grand as what us motoring journalists do for a living – testing cars for you, our readers – but still it’s the tops. Ryan is one-third owner of DP Engineering (www.dpengineering.cc). This means he gets to play with forged wheels all day long – just like the wheels you see here on this car.

    These gorgeous 8.5x19” and 10x19” two-piece, fully-forged R06VS beauties are produced by DP Engineering, and are wearing 235/35 and 275/35 Falken Azenis rubber. The black anodised centres are polished to a high gloss. Since he prefers the deep-dish look, the fronts feature a 3” lip, while the rears sprout a staggering 5” shelf.

    Tucked away inside are front and rear Brembos, silver-painted and the size of dinner plates. 15” cross-drilled front rotors ride on floating pins, while 11.6” rear rotors are gripped by two-pot, lightweight calipers; fronts by four-pot F50 units. Looking a bit further under the car reveals a KW Variant II coilover suspension setup and Racing Dynamics roll-bars. These six-way adjustable suspenders, with ride comfort adjustment, ensure that Ryan gets the look he wants without the need to keep his chiropractor’s number on speed-dial.

    Helping him achieve that look is the überrare (here in the US) Esquiss’ Rafale Widebody kit with carbon fibre inserts. Very subtle E30 M3-style flares are combined seamlessly with wild arches to cover the massive wheel/tyre combo. Over the top of that Ryan laid the BMW Chrome Shadow concept paint. This trick paint is composed of a base layer which is black, while the top layer is ultra-smooth silver. In full sunlight, the finish is like a pewter-coloured mirror.

    At night, it becomes a dark grey. “I wanted the car to have a clean, classic look that would always be in fashion,” he explained. “Kind of like an Armani suit, it will always look good.”

    But what would any good suit be without the additional accessories to top it off? Browsing through the supplied spec sheet, we wondered if it would be easier to just list the items Ryan didn’t modify! The emblems have all been shaved and there are carbon fibre mirrors, side skirt inserts, front splitter and rear wing. There’s a custom roof spoiler, bonnet vents, E46 headlight eyebrows and an aviation-style fuel filler cap. A set of Kool Kustoms E46 M3 painted mouldings and M-Tech side mouldings complete the look, while Euro Clear’s custom smoked clear marker lights fill the corners. On top of all of this, there are no windscreen wipers! Clearly, this is a testament to the car’s enviable Southern California residence.

    Ducking one’s head inside provides a plethora of extravagant eye candy in every direction. We particularly liked the Blitz DC turbo, oil pressure, and temperature gauges mounted directly to the windshield and cabled to a Blitz Live Unit controller. Just like on the outside of the car, if you can find an original part here, we’ll give you a big pat on the back.

    Like the rest of the interior, the front Cobra Sidewinder fully adjustable seats have been retrimmed in grey and black with red trim by Kreative Interiors. Wedge Engineering seat rails ensure a safe place to park one’s bum while Sabelt three-point safety harnesses keep you there during even the most hair-brained manoeuvres.

    A custom chrome, four-point roll-cage helps to stiffen the already rigid BMW coupé’s chassis. Carbon fibre again abounds, noticeable in the dash, gauge surrounds, gauge rings, airbag lid, centre console, door inserts and rear panels. Not to be outdone, aluminium puts on a good show as the BMW gear knob, UUC pedals and left footrest, UUC handbrake handle, and custom diamond-plate Legend 5 floor mats are all made of the polished metal. Ryan’s hands grip a Momo Champion steering wheel during the rare occasions he actually gets to drive this stunning ride to the local McDonald’s.

    Where a rear seat once resided, there’s a chromed Nitrous Oxide bottle and two 12” Massive Audio subs. Naturally, they’re mounted in a carbon fibre enclosure. In fact, there’s so much of the stuff in this one car we’re afraid Ryan’s driven the price of the world’s supply to a new peak!

    The centre console is home to a 7” NESA screen, and there are even Game Port plug-ins for Ryan’s favourite video games. A Pioneer DEH-840MP DVD/VCD/MP3 head unit drives the tunes to the three 600W Massive Amps amplifiers and the Diamond HEX 500 S components.

    Hidden somewhere are two Optima Blue Top batteries and two 1.5-farad Massive capacitors. Ryan’s also installed a High Tech RV Isolator to keep the current clean and noise-free. In the boot, his carbon fibre (yes, still more) amp rack is topped by custom Plexiglass amp surrounds lit by glowing blue neon.
    Of course, all of this show gear would barely be enough to turn heads here in the States if there was no power backing it up. A wise man would think twice before picking on this car in a drag race. A polished Turbonetics 60-1 T3/T4 Turbocharger boosts the 328’s engine into orbit, placing 430hp on the tarmac at the rear wheels.

    Carbon fibre and polished aluminium again rule supreme, providing a wicked silver/black appearance throughout the compartment. The fully custom Stage 2 turbo setup utilises an Aquamist water/alcohol injection system, a Blitz SBC-iD sequential boost controller, along with an HKS Super-Sequential blow-off valve and a Turbonetics Deltagate external wastegate to keep the hyped-up airflow under tight control.

    The Nitrous Express Stage 2 kit purges the intercooler while a high flow fuel pump, boostsensitive fuel pressure regulator and RC Engineering 35lb injectors feed the beast.

    Billetwerks black anodised engine caps keep all fluids in their intended locations. The DME is reprogrammed and there’s a Euro mass airflow meter, and yet, surprisingly, the car remains emissions-legal as far as expelling gases is concerned.

    Speaking of exhaust, Ryan had a custom 3” piping system constructed with a custom race muffler and Borla carbon fibre tips. It seems that he has a CF fetish (Nothing to be ashamed of ~ Ed): Vortiel CF engine cover and fuel rail cover, CF fusebox cover, and a CF radiator cover ensure that the entire compartment is appropriately dressed. Sun Auto supplied its Hyper Ground and Hyper Voltage systems, keeping the current flow more than adequate. Ryan is even planning a Standalone ECU upgrade in just the next few days.

    The car’s original five-speed transmission (one of the few non-modified items on the car) is in fact surrounded by helpful bits. A UUC short-shifter keeps the gears on target while Delrin bushing hold it securely in place. Redline synthetic lube swishes around inside, keeping the gears happy under the abuse dished out by the motor. The rear differential has been upgraded to a limited-slip item with 3.15:1 ring and pinion. A UUC aluminium 8.5lb racing flywheel and a 1993-95 M5 clutch ensure that horsepower isn’t needlessly wasted.

    In the end, is it indeed a rolling Armani suit? Let’s crunch the facts and see. Classic pre-Bangle Germanic good looks? Check. Tasteful accessories integrated flawlessly into the package? Check. Outrageously good-looking black shoes? Check. An ICE system so intense it could host movie premieres? Check. Rocket-ship acceleration and ‘hand of God’ braking? Check. Yep, it’s the real deal. If Armani made clothing for Robocop, this is probably what it would look like, and that has Ryan’s JDM competition running scared.

    “not only is this ride an incredible showpiece, it packs the punch to decimate its rivals on the strip or track”

    DATA FILE / #Turbonetics / #Turbonetics-60-1-T3 / #Turbonetics-Deltagate / #Apexi-GTR / #M52B28 / #BMW-M52 / #M52 / #M52-Turbonetics / #DP-Engineering /

    ENGINE: 2.8-litre six-cylinder with polished #Turbonetics 60-1 T3/T4 turbocharger, Turbonetics Deltagate external wastegate, #HKS super sequential blow-off valve, HKS Type I turbo timer, #Blitz SBC-iD sequential boost controller, polished AA intake elbow, custom turbo manifold, chromed downpipe and intercooler piping, polished #Apexi GTR intercooler, Turbonetics custom end tanks, #RC-Engineering 35lb injectors, custom #K&N turbo intake. Custom Aquamist water-alcohol injection kit, #Nitrous-Express-Stage-2 kit for custom intercooler purge, NX bottle warmer. NGK race plugs, high flow fuel pump, boost sensitive fuel pressure regulator, HKS air/fuel ratio control, Vortiel carbon engine cover and fuel rail cover, carbon fusebox and radiator cover, Euro mass airflow meter, BMP oil filter cooling fins, reprogrammed DME, custom race exhaust with carbon fibre #Borla tips, 3” racing exhaust piping, Billetwerks black anodised engine caps, Sun Auto hyper ground system and hyper voltage system. Standard five-speed manual with UUC short-shifter, Delrin bushings, Redline fluids. Upgraded LSD to 3.15, UUC aluminium 8.5lb lightweight flywheel, E34 M5 clutch, custom tranny mounts

    PERFORMANCE: 430bhp at the rear wheels

    CHASSIS: 8.5x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #DP-Engineering-R06VS alloys with 3” lip (front) and 5” lip (rear) shod in 235/35 and 275/30 Falken Azenis tyres respectively. #KW-Variant-II coilovers with ride comfort adjustment and six-way height adjustment, Racing Dynamics sway bars and strut tower bar. 15” #Brembo four-pot brakes (front) and 11.5” two-pot brakes (rear) with silver calipers all-round, cross-drilled rotors, stainless steel brake lines, Brembo pads, racing DOT 5 brake fluid

    EXTERIOR: Full Esquiss’ Rafale Widebody kit with carbon fibre pieces painted in Chrome Shadow #BMW concept paint, carbon fibre mirrors, side skirt inserts, front splitter, roof spoiler and bonnet vents. Fibreglass inner wheel wells, E46-style headlight eyebrows, de-badged, aviation-style fuel filler cap, Kool Kustoms E46 M3-style painted mouldings, M-Tech side mouldings, de-wipered. Euro front clear lights and side repeaters, custom smoked rear lights, 4300K HID low beams, custom H7 foglights, angel eyes with fibre-optic lighting, Showoff Krypton bulbs, H1 high beams

    INTERIOR: Full Kreative Interiors interior retrim in grey/black with red trim, two Cobra Sidewinder fully adjustable seats, Wedge Engineering seat rails, #MOMO Champion steering wheel, custom four-point roll-cage, Sabelt three-point safety harnesses. Carbon fibre dash, gauge surround, airbag lid, centre console, door inserts and rear panels, silver gauges, chrome gauge rings, custom painted centre console, BMW OEM aluminium gear knob, UUC pedals, clutch stop and handbrake handle, Legend 5 aluminium chequerplating floor mats, Blitz DC turbo, pressure and temperature gauges, Blitz live unit

    ICE: 7” Nesa monitor, Pioneer DEH840MP, DVD/VCD/MP3 player, pair of Massive Audio 12” subs, 3x600W Massive amps, Diamond mid-bass, Diamond HEX 500S components, pair of Massive farad capacitors, pair of Optima Blue-Top batteries, High Tech RV isolator, game port plug-ins, custom carbon fibre box enclosure and amp rack, custom Plexiglass amp surrounds, blue neon lighting, Accessories 12V transformer, sandblasted ‘Kinetix’ sign-board

    “I wanted the car to have a classic look that would always be in fashion; like an Armani suit, it will always look good”
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    SLAMMED WAGON
    Awesome ultra-low E39 LOW LIFE / A slammed static E39 Touring that gets everything right.

    The E39 Touring has always been an extremely handsome machine and a few choice mods can get it looking even better. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Marcus Lundell.

    I remember reading the E39 Touring brochure back in #1997 (my aunt was thinking of getting one) and I recall thinking the E39 looked rather elegant and upmarket, shot as it was in that expensive brochure style. It remains a very smart-looking estate today, having aged well and retained a sense of grace and luxury. It is the sort of car you can imagine a well-to-do family driving down to their holiday home on the coast in. That is until someone like Henrik Karlsson gets his hands on it…

    Henrik is not married to someone called Arabella, does not have children with names like Tabitha and Quentin, and doesn’t holiday on the Devon coast – mainly because he lives in Sweden. And he’s clearly blessed with a discerning eye for design (a national trait perhaps?) as with just a few carefully considered selection of choice modifications, Henrik’s twisted the E39 Touring’s restrained elegance into something far sleeker.

    As he’s from Sweden, it is no surprise to learn that Henrik tried out some Volvos but when he got behind the wheel of what was to become his first BMW, a 523i (that he still owns), he fell in love and that was that. He made the 523i his and although it was fine, he had a hankering for a Sport Touring. With no previous record of modifying beyond audio upgrades, his plans for a potential estate were to simply leave it alone and use it as a daily. “That didn’t work out…” smiles Henrik sheepishly.

    A Touring was duly sourced from Blocket.se, Sweden’s largest used car site, and Henrik swiftly launched all plans for stock motoring out of the window and left them to rot in a ditch somewhere. As you can see, this E39 is far removed from stock.

    However, the list of mods isn’t an overflowing cascade of barely-restrained expenditure. Instead it’s a concise collection of clever alterations. This project is all about making a big impact with just a few modifications – something that’s far harder to achieve than it perhaps sounds, as it requires an innate understanding of the aesthetics of (car) design.

    So, first things first, this Touring is static. Considering how far up into the arches those awesome Hamann splits are tucked and the fact that there’s maybe 20mm between the bottom of that front lip and the Tarmac, that’s seriously impressive. We can’t help but think that even errant acorns might be enough to halt the Touring’s progress, wedging themselves between bumper and road. This level of low takes dedication to the cause, and Henrik’s clearly got that in spades. The job of dropping this E39 Touring on its arse falls to a set of BC Racing coilovers, or rather a pair, as they only do the work up front. At the back, Henrik’s wagon is rocking SLS, BMW’s self-levelling suspension setup, which is great at keeping the rear end flat when it’s full of shopping or kitchen appliances but somewhat restrictive when it comes to getting your Touring as low as possible. Getting the SLS to play ball can be achieved through the use of some special lowering links however Henrik took a slightly different route, as he explains: “There’s a sensor on each side of the wheel.


    This sensor has a little arm which controls the height of the SLS, so if you’re loading the car with stuff it will raise automatically to keep the right height level. I noticed that, so I took the arm off the sensor so I could control the height and made the cables to the sensor longer and brought it inside the car.”

    Handily, Henrik has shot a little video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBTI1oWSUw0) showing how it works and it really is as simple as it sounds, with the factory suspension now obeying his every command and essentially behaving like an air-ride system. It’s very clever stuff and cost him nothing, making it the best sort of mod. With the rear suspension successfully fiddled with, the Touring’s back end could now be brought in line with the front, which Henrik has wound down to within an inch of its life, and the end result is awesome.

    Whatever your viewing angle, this Touring looks spectacular. Outrageous lows achieved, it was only right that the car was paired with a suitably eye-catching set of wheels, and Henrik’s picked a classic rim that couldn’t look more at home on the Touring if it tried. “I was thinking about OZ Futuras,” he tells us, “but the Hamann PG1 was a little rarer, and when I saw these wheels I couldn’t resist buying them. I built the wheels to the measurements that I wanted as well, so they got pretty wide. I pulled the rear arches about 17mm on each side to make the wheels fit and about 10mm at the front.” The Hamanns measure 18” across with the fronts being 10.25” wide with an outrageous offset of -10, while the rears are 11.25” with an offset of +3. It’s no wonder, then, that the arches needed to be rolled and pulled so aggressively to get them to fit, but the effort was well worth it. It goes without saying that the wheels themselves look absolutely awesome; the dish is absolutely insane and the mirror lips and dark centres are a dream combo.

    A Sport trim Touring slammed on its arse with a set of killer wheels would be enough on its own for many of us. But Henrik isn’t like many of us; he’s the cool, calculating Swede with an eye for combining clean lines with big impact, remember? And, true to form, Henrik figured that there was a room for a bit more improvement on the styling front, just a little something to give his E39 a bit more impact. “I wanted some OEM styling,” he explains, “so I bought the Hamann front lip and black grille. I don’t like chrome so I had to change that and I also changed the door strips to black with the M badges.” Getting rid of the chrome was definitely the way forward and the Hamann lip adds an extra element of sheer meanness to the front end, dropping it even closer to the ground and giving it that square-jawed, hard-man look.

    The original interior, complete with its rather rare armrest-mounted car phone option, is exactly what Henrik wanted, finished as it is in black leather with the standard Sport seats. The only changes Henrik made here involved replacing the wood trim with aluminium, dyeing the steering wheel back to black as the leather had started to wear and adding a set of M Sport pedals.


    While the engine has been left alone, Henrik does say that a money-no-object mod would have been swapping in an S62 from the E39 M5 but a more realistic item on his to-do list (and next on the cards) is going for air-ride, in the form of Air Lift’s latest 3P system, along with a set of new wheels, which Henrik says are top secret.

    Considering how jaw-droppingly good this Touring looks with the small selection of choice mods that it’s been treated to, with a set of even more amazing wheels and air, the only way is up. Or rather, down.

    18” Hamann PG1s look awesome on the E39 and measure a monster 10.25” wide up front with an offset of ET-10; no wonder those arches have been seriously massaged!

    DATA FILE #BMW-E39 / #BMW-530i-Touring / #BMW-530i-Touring-E39 / #BMW-530i-E39 / #BMW-530i / #BMW /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #M54B30 / #M54 / #BMW-M54 / , five-speed automatic gearbox
    CHASSIS 10.25x18” ET-10 (front) and 11.25x18” ET+3 (rear) #Hamann-PG1 wheels with 235/35 (front) and 255/35 (rear) tyres, #BC-Racing coilovers (front), modified SLS (rear), rolled and pulled arches 10mm (front) and 17mm (rear)
    EXTERIOR Hamann front lip, black kidney grille, black door trims with M badges, #M-Tech roof spoiler
    INTERIOR Aluminium interior trim strips, M Tech pedals
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    AC Schnitzer CS Super-rare, fully-fettled and restored E36 M3 Convertible. Classic Schnitzer The E36 CS was a rare beast and this UK Convertible is believed to be one of only three made. Over the years AC Schnitzer has produced some wonderful machines and this super-rare CS Convertible ranks as one of its greats. Words and photography: Matt Richardson. #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #AC-Schnitzer-CS / #AC-Schnitzer-CS-E36 / #BMW-M3-AC-Schnitzer-E36 / #BMW-M3-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M3-AC-Schnitzer-CS-E36 / #1997 / #BMW / #AC-Schnitzer

    When Lee Edwards was offered a sorry looking 1997 AC Schnitzer CS for restoration he didn’t believe it was a genuine factory car, but curiosity got the better of him and he came home with one of the rarest of BMWs.

    Having worked his way up from an apprentice to master technician with Barons BMW in Hindhead, Lee thought he had seen everything BMW had to offer, but he’d never come across an AC Schnitzer-built E36 CS Convertible. BMW main dealers could supply individual parts and a colleague had built a CS copy from an M3 using the Schnitzer catalogue, so Lee assumed this car to be a similar aftermarket build.

    Lee was selling a 1999 GT2 M3 to a collector across the country in Gloucestershire who was keen to sell his CS to someone who understood what it was and could renovate it. However, thinking it wasn’t anything special, Lee wasn’t keen, until an email exchange with Chris Stevenson at BMW UK brought interesting news. Not only was the Dakar yellow M3 a genuine AC Schnitzer car, it was one of only three production cars. Suddenly it became a far more interesting project to Lee and a deal was done.

    Looking through the paperwork, the first owner was Robert Britt, then managing director of Norwich Union. Lee wrote him to try and learn more about the car’s history. Robert phoned Lee soon after receiving the letter. “Do you know it’s the first one?” Robert asked. Not only did Robert’s recollections prove it to be a genuine car but the ‘Produktions-no-001’ plaque was indeed telling the truth.

    Just one car was completed prior to this, the black left-hand-drive prototype car used in Schnitzer’s brochure photography, and later two Estoril Blue cars were built for the same customer, one in 1997 and another in 1999. Mr Britt had ordered the new M3 Convertible from Chandlers of Hailsham, choosing black Nappa leather with rear headrests and polished burr walnut dash cappings, and specifying the BMW advanced loudspeaker system, automatic air conditioning and a fully automatic hood for the soft-top. In June #1997 the fresh M car rolled off the #BMW production line straight to AC Schnitzer where Dirk Lohr and Frank Breuer, named on that same plaque beneath the handbrake, rebuilt the M3 into a CS.

    The AC Schnitzer CS (or ‘Coupé Silhouette’) objective has always been to reinterpret and enhance the shape of the BMW bodywork. To save weight standard panels came off and carbon fibre front and rear bumpers, a bootlid, wide-body front wings and rear quarter panels were fitted, dramatically altering the appearance of the car and allowing wider 9x17- inch wheels to be fitted to the front and 10x17s at the back. In the context of the period, these alterations alone were exotic enough to justify the increased price tag above the cost of a standard M3 cabriolet. More traditional materials went into the aerodynamic colour-coded, heated side mirrors and front and rear spoilers, which the brochure claimed improved downforce at both ends of the car, while side skirts visually link the wider wings and give the car a more aggressive look.


    In the cabin touch points were given a more special, tactile feel. The Alcantara-covered three-spoke steering wheel is lovely to hold, while the handbrake handle and gearstick knob are of aluminium. All three items are branded with the AC Schnitzer logo. The gearshift has been changed out for a short-shift mechanism for sharper, quicker changes.

    Under the car an even more sporting, focused suspension setup was installed, lowering the car by 30mm and adding adjustable dampers. The large bore twin-exit exhaust went on with uplifted tips and a carbon fibre strut brace bolted between the suspension turrets in the engine bay. The finished car finally reached its first owner on 20 August 1997.

    With an owner who is still exited about the car years after selling it, it’s safe to assume that as a new car the CS was cosseted and well cared for, but later life was less kind. Not being recognised for what it was, falling foul of the boy racer fraternity, being fiddled with, neglected and generally living on the wrong side of the tracks during that awkward period cars go through between being a valuable new car and an appreciating classic or collector’s car, the CS fell into disrepair. Thankfully the BMW structure and mechanical components were well-made and survived this period.

    At some point the car was hit on the rear quarter and declared a Category C uneconomical write off. This was not because the damage was severe but because at the time AC Schnitzer was not able to supply a new carbon fibre quarter panel. Fortunately one later became available and the bodywork was put back as it should be.

    Knowing how rare the car is, Lee set out on a mission to bring the car back to its original specification and to as good as (or better than) new condition. Fortunately for Lee, when it arrived the expensive job of respraying the CS in the correct Dakar yellow had been done and to a high standard, although the body side rubbing strips had also been painted, so these had to be stripped back to bare black textured plastic to get back to the original look.

    With his professional BMW master technician’s eye and experience, Lee could see the quality of the repairs. “You can’t see which corner has been repaired,” he says as we walk around the car. His experience also means he can spot inaccuracies others would miss. “It had a CS front bumper but the oil cooler vent had been filled in, so I had to cut that out and paint it.” And you can be sure the car has all the correct nuts, bolts and fixings whether they are visible or not.

    Luckily, although the car had been stripped for paint, most of the rare and expensive parts were present. For example, the titanium aircraft fuel filler cap would have cost £900 to replace. The one significant thing that had gone missing was the Schnitzer-branded carbon fibre strut brace but after an extensive search one was finally found through a BMW forum. It is unclear who painted the 17-inch split-rim wheels green, or indeed why, so even without nearly two decades’ worth of kerb rash they had to be taken apart and refurbished. Now they look immaculate, sparkling in their 255/40/17 and 275/35/17 Continental Sport Contact SSR tyres.

    The soft-top fabric was tatty and needed recovering but the build sheet stated that the car left Munich with a fully automatic roof, so the upgrade had to happen. Lee bought the correct black fabric and the frame was covered by an ex-Baron’s friend at Bailey Automotive. “There aren’t many people I’d trust with a job like that,” said Lee.

    His quest for originality continued inside. The interior was removed from the car and it was clear to see the wiring loom had been cut and the expensive original amplifier and speakers removed in order to fit aftermarket audio. Paul Butt from Guildford-based company In Car Technology (ICT) repaired the wiring and replaced the amplifier and speakers with upgraded BMW-spec components. One of the most surprising finds was a period-correct old stock Sigma alarm system, which was fitted by Paul. It may not be as advanced as a modern alarm but it does mean Lee has an accurate ‘90s-look fob on his keyring and the siren under the bonnet has the authentic look and sound of when the car was new.

    The black Nappa leather interior was in need of some attention. Lee had to retrim the rear bench himself. The front seats and trim panels were in good enough condition to be recoloured by Trim Doctor Dave Briggs and look lightly broken in rather than nearly 20 years old.

    One area where Lee wasn’t sure what to do was with the burr walnut dash trim. It had been replaced with black cappings which Lee felt suited the car’s colour and character far better but the build sheet specified walnut. “I didn’t want to do it but it wouldn’t be original unless it went back to how it was. In order for special BMWs like this to hold their value they really have to be original – even if the original spec seems odd to us today!” With this in mind, a new set was ordered and fitted.

    After two-and-a-half-years of research, part sourcing and hard work the restoration is now complete. It will also soon be up for sale in Barons’s showroom. Lee explains: ”Although my children will be disappointed, the car is almost too good to be used regularly. It deserves proper storage and should be preserved in a collection.” And what next for Lee? Don’t worry, Something else will be in the workshop soon – almost certainly with an M badge on it!

    “In order for special BMWs like this to hold their value they really have to be original – even if the original spec seems odd to us today!”
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    All - emotions and technology /// #2015 #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-Tipo-952 / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-952 / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia

    Unveiled the new sedan Alfa: grit, horses for sale and rear wheel drive. To start the rescue. / #Alfa-Romeo / #Alfa-Romeo-Giulia-QV

    THE "NEW COURSE" OF ARMS

    The Milan has renewed the brand. The cross and the Alfa, symbols of the Lombard city, are redesigned and have a common background (a lattice gray); profiles and letters are chrome instead of gold. The crest makes its debut with the Giulia, which has a front Alfa 100%, with subtle and aggressive headlights cut the championship triangle flanked, down by two air vents. Particularly large in the most powerful Quadrifoglio also serve to cool the air sent to the two turbo intercooler by

    It seems that the long wait for the new sedan Alfa Romeo (presented on June 24, with three years late than expected in the business plan of 2010) was not in vain.

    About 480 cm long, the Giulia (the name is taken from the four gates of success of the 60 and 70) showcases aggressiveness uncommon. Whichever way you look at it, it seems a beast ready to shoot: a car worthy of a brand as sporty and glorious.

    DEBUT IN SEPTEMBER. IN GERMANY

    Indeed, Alfa Romeo sedans full of grit are never missed, even in recent years.

    Indeed: the #Alfa-Romeo-156 and the #Alfa-Romeo-159 of #1997 (born in #2005 ) are two good cars, and a similar style references. But the model of the revival, the one from which to reach the ambitious target set by the number one group #FCA #Sergio-Marchionne (sell 400,000 cars Alfa Romeo in #2018 , when last year it was stopped to 68,000), a line seductive not enough. They need technology to the level of that of the listed competitors and, above all, a guide that presents emotions with both hands, as in the best models of the past. It is early to say whether the Giulia will reach such ambitious goals: the public launch is scheduled for September 17, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and the arrival in dealerships even 2016. Certainly, however, the conditions to satisfy the finest palates are all there.

    Back to rear-wheel drive

    The project is a group of technicians selected from the best of the group FCA, who baked the first Alfa Romeo sedan rear-wheel drive (but there is also the integral) from the times of 75, out of production in 1993. In addition to ensure a more emotional and precise, this choice allows to mount the engine in a retracted position, obtaining a weight balance between front and rear wheels homogeneous. They are also the new body (very stiff) and the refined suspension: multilink with four arms "and a half" behind and wishbone (type race cars) in front, with supporting frames and upper mounting in light alloy. Add to the cocktail steering very direct, according to statements of the house, and sophisticated aerodynamics (the Quadrifoglio, the "bad", also the front spoiler Mobile based on the speed and the radius of the curve) and you will have the right ingredients for an automobile capable of "dance" lightning and composed of a curve to another.

    Little weight and a lot of pushing

    Large road skills are needed to keep "a lead" the exuberance of the Quadrifoglio, the only Giulia for which have already been announced performance. That they are "scary": 3.9 seconds for the "0- 100" and (they say) 320 peak times. The abundant use of lightweight materials (a large part of the bodywork is made of aluminum, while the hood, transmission shaft and roof are made of carbon fiber) has allowed the weight to 1520 kg; not many, when compared to the 510 bhp 3.0 V6 turbo gasoline direct injection design Ferrari, version further incattivita (101 "foals" for more) engine mounted in the Maserati sedans.

    EVEN OIL, FROM 135 TO 350 HORSES

    The Quadrifoglio (which will cost around 80,000 euro) is the flagship, but also the other Giulia promise an engaging driving and brilliant performance. The engines are all aluminum, with turbo and direct injection. For the four-cylinder 2.0 petrol talking about a power range from 180 to 350 hp; diesel there will be a 3.0 V6 twin-turbo 24-valve 350 horsepower, and a 2.2 four-cylinder with (apparently) 135, 180 or 210 hp. Prices? From about 30,000 euro.

    AERODYNAMIC RACING

    The tail, with subtle LED lights, it is very personal, but balanced. The Quadrifoglio has four tailpipes, but also a spoiler carbon fiber and the enormous lower extractor that directs the air so as to create downforce ("crushing" the car to the ground, improves its stability).

    START FROM FLYING

    The cabin is set sportingly: massive central tunnel, dashboard of sinuous forms with carbon fiber inserts and tools in hand. The slender steering wheel also houses the red button to start and stop the engine: truly "racing".

    CENTRAL COMMAND

    You will have a dual-clutch transmission or a manual, with very short lever, a real sports. The multimedia system, operated by a wheel and two buttons, provides a large high-resolution display in the center of the dashboard; the parking brake is electronic.

    THE HAVE CHANGED THE DNA

    The mode selector guide DNA is a knob (the other Alfa Romeo, however, have a lever). The choice is between Natural, Advanced Efficiency (limiting consumption), and Dynamic (in the more powerful versions) the "brutal" Racing: modifies the response of the engine, transmission, steering, ESP and electronic suspension.

    The "BLADE" DO NOT SEE

    The front is powerful, especially in relation to measures of the passenger. Among the details, the wiper concealed from the rear edge of the hood, and the plate behind which is placed the radar adaptive cruise control.

    PRIDE

    The triangle with the four-leaf clover, a symbol of Alfa Romeo faster, stands just above the vent black plastic along the side

    It HAS MUSCLES. LI AND PERFORMS
    The front lid, so curved and sinuous, is now understood that there is an under engine full of "muscles". That of Quadrifoglio has two cooling vents.

    Leaning back, ready to sprint

    Long bonnet, cabin set back and very short tail: the car, crouched on the rear wheels, it gives an idea of dynamism (who also contributes the deep rib side). The Quadrifoglio can mount huge carbon-ceramic disc brakes (light and very efficient) that, together with red calipers, make a great scene behind alloy wheels of 19 "spoked thin.
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    One of my favourite characters from architectural history is Adolf Loos, a superlatively odd Viennese. Perhaps his greatest legacy is the city’s American Bar, a perfect jewel of a drinking hole: uncompromisingly modern, but also dark, intimate and charming. And a roaring success. Loos was a great aphorist as well as a great designer and one of his best aphorisms was ‘ornament is crime’.

    ‘SUCH IS ITS POPULARITY, IT’S DIFFICULT NOW TO REMEMBER HOW BOLD THE ORIGINAL AUDI TT WAS’

    Quite correctly, I think, Loos believed that tattoos are a reliable indicator of depraved, criminal tendencies in the wearer. All of civilization’s progress, he said, could be measured by the rejection of decoration. Curlicue? Chuck it out! As an idiosyncratic independent, Loos belonged to no movement, he was a school of one, but his ideas flooded into mainstream Modernism.

    So when Jeremy Clarkson describes the #Audi-TT as 'Bauhaus’, a nod must be given to Loos. Jeremy paddles in a shallower end of creativity’s gene pool than Adolf, but acknowledgement of the Audi’s architectural clarity shows how far Loos’ ideas have penetrated the brackish waters of pop commentary. They have made half a million TTs, so it is not a classic in any definition that includes a concept of rarity, but nonetheless the TT is a design masterclass: one of the least tattooed vehicles you can find.

    It’s worth wondering why. Soon after its #1997 introduction, at dinner with J Mays (who has a very good claim to being the car’s author, although things are rarely quite so simple), J snatched my notebook and did some evocative scribbles that showed how the TT’s surfaces and profiles were derived from the pre-war #Auto-Union-Type-C . A few years later, Walter de Silva did something similar in explaining the evolution of the modern Audi face. That distinctive gaping mouth is also sourced in a historical memory of Dr Porsche’s Silver Arrow, which Nuvolari and Rosemeyer hassled around Europe’s circuits. Never mind that the TT was a Golf in drag, it was marvellous evidence of that German concept of Nachleben-. the after-life of things. Even the TT name refers to Audi’s parent #NSU and its successes in the Isle of Man bike races.

    Besides history, the TT drew inspiration from design theories inspired by Adolf Loos. The bold surfaces, confident radii and absolute refusal of frivolous detail were astonishing. But there were professional designer’s tricks too: cars almost always look good when front and rear overhangs are minimised (witness: #Citroen-DS , Mini) and the TT has overhangs so exiguous they scarcely justify use of the term. And those radii are as close to formal Bauhaus geometry of cubes, spheres and cones as manufacturing technology would allow.

    Difficult now to remember-especially as the car has, in Britain, become almost a spiritual successor to Everyman’s #MGB , such is its popularity - how thrillingly bold the original TT was. I once slowly drove a then-new #1999 cabrio past Charles Saatchi, a well- satisfied car enthusiast, and he almost fell off the kerb. I showed the interior designer Nicky Haslam the cockpit and he purred and tutted with approval. Couldn’t get him out. It was just like Harley Earl’s description of what a car’s cabin should be: a place making you think you are on vacation for a while. So sweet a thought captures the absolute essence of what designers aim to achieve.

    The original TT was one of the least compromised designs ever. It could be dismissed as designery indulgence, had it not been so successful. I asked J Mays about the #2006 successor. He said he admired it more, but loved it less. And now there is a third generation. With a lot of what the Germans call Forschung, a word that combines the notions of research and development, the new car manages that fantastic trick of appearing to be explicitly evolved from the original while being, at the same time, completely different in everything but spirit and quality of execution.
    Ornament is crime? Less is more? Form follows function? I adore these classic design tropes, but none can quite explain the intense attraction of the TT. Besides my admiration for its gloriously spare handsomeness, the latest car has extraordinary dynamic agility and a direct contact with the mystical idea of ‘driving pleasure’, rather lost ordinarily in my part of the Congestion Charge Zone. It is simply a delight to look at and to use, a marvel of practical aesthetics. And one of the very last: in 30 years time, hedonism will have been criminalised by tattooed busybodies and cars like the #Audi TT will have disappeared. #1995 #Audi-TT-Concept
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