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CAR: Bristol, UK
Model #1999-Porsche-911-Carrera-4-996.1 / #1999 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-4-996.1 / #Porsche-911-996.1 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-4-996 / #Porsche-911-996 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche
Acquired FEBRUARY 2014
My time with this 911 is drawing to a close, so this will be my last Living the Legend article. I have owned my car for five-and-a- half years, put over 30,000 miles on it and had a great time, but for now this chapter will be closing as I will be selling the car and looking for a replacement.
During my years of ownership there have been plenty of highs and lows, but luckily many more highs! Picking up a car is always exciting, and picking up my 911 was no exception. I won’t lie though, in the first few weeks of ownership the car spent more time back at the independent dealer than with me. I did go through the ‘what have I done’ phase, but all issues were resolved and I took the opportunity to get the IMS replaced while the engine was out, so after that point things started looking up. Soon after buying the car and a few email exchanges later my first column for Total 911 was submitted, starting a long relationship with the magazine and introducing me to a great group of people.
Something I had never experienced before with a car was the whole lifestyle experience. As with all the guys at Total 911, joining both Porsche GB and TIPEC resulted in a new group of friends with a shared passion, events to go to and drives to enjoy. This is probably the most significant takeaway for my five years of ownership – great friends and memories. Special thanks to Lee Sibley, firstly, for letting me write for the magazine, but more importantly introducing me to the B4391 – probably one of the best roads I have driven. There are plenty more good roads out there, but I think this sticks in my mind as that weekend was one of my first road trips where it was all about the cars.
My 996 has had a lot of work over the years. Three events stick out: the first was when a Porsche health check flagged that my rear boxes needed replacing – an opportunity for a stainless system. The mild sport unit from Top Gear was ordered, a fraction of the cost of the main dealer, but it sounded so much better. The second key event was arriving to work in a cloud of steam when my water pump failed. Recovery was required, but after a pump, thermostat, new header tank and a boroscope the car was back in full health.
My final high was getting the car’s geometry sorted. The guys at Center Gravity did a fantastic job. The end result is a car that drives better, corners far more confidently and seems to cover ground with ease. The next step is to sell the car and start the search for a replacement. Porsche do feature on my list, so I may see you again in the pages of Total 911 in the future.
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- Post is under moderationCHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips
/ #Jaguar-XK8 / #Jaguar-XK / #Jaguar-XKR / #Jaguar-XKR-X100 / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XKR-Convertible-X100 / #Jaguar-XKR-Convertible / #Jaguar-XK8-Convertible-X100
is gaining a following
For around £10k Ian Callum’s capable and elegant coupé is looking a great buy
I see opportunities in the 1998 to 2005 X100 XKRs. The trade has been squeezing prices up over the last couple of years and there are lots of low-milers up at £25k-plus, but last month H&H hammed down two of the supercharged Jags at very reasonable money. A blue ’1999 convertible with 46,000 miles and three owners made £12,365 and a black 2003 coupé with 76k made just £8437. For a get-in-and-go neo classic that you could use every day this is no money at all. And we’ve forgotten just how good the old-shape XKR is. Top end is a limited 155mph, 60mph comes up in less than six seconds and the burble from the V8 is narcotic. I remember driving across Italy in a 4.2 R convertible and slip-streaming a Ferrari 456GT for miles on the autostrada at 140mph without any fuss at all.
Convertibles are the most desirable with the 2003-on 406bhp 4.2 #V8 the best engine. Early launch-year 1998 4.0 cars are worth watching along with special editions including the Silverstone, XKR 100, 400 and the final edition XKR-S.
There were issues with the #Nikasil bore liners on the pre-2000 4.0-litre engines but most will have been changed by Jaguar under warranty. Upper timing chain tensioners and water pump impellers were revised after 2001, so make sure these have been done too. The six-speed #ZF autos are better on the 4.2s than the earlier Mercedes ’box but always chose an XKR that has a long history and try for a sub-50,000 miler.
Prices are wobbling quite seriously and a private seller in Ashington is advertising a ’ #1999 blue convertible with 75k, history and all old MoTs for only £6400. Dip into those online ads and you’ll see cheap XKRs popping up regularly now.
Think of the XKR as a much faster Mercedes-Benz SL and you’ll understand the appeal. They may feel nose heavy on B-roads but their straight-line heave is remarkable.
As long as they’ve been serviced properly they’re also refreshingly reliable and rust-resistant. The XKR may not be investment quality quite yet but their performance-for-value index is compelling and those curvy lines are maturing nicely. For less than ten grand this is a rapid classic Jag worth taking seriously.
‘We’ve forgotten how good old-shape XKRs are – their straight-line heave is quite remarkable’
VALUE 2010 £18k
VALUE NOW £15k
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- Post is under moderationCover story
CAR: #1999-Alfa-Romeo-GTV / #Alfa-Romeo-GTV / #Alfa-Romeo / #Alfa-Romeo-GTV-916C / #Alfa-Romeo-916C / #1999
OWNER: Mark Sommer
The day after I bought the Alfa, a colleague at the Drive-My office mentioned that a couple of the tyres looked very so". Deputy editor Mark Dixon rustled up a tyre pressure gauge and we found that the readings were all on the low side; seriously so, in a couple of cases. Worryingly, the sidewalls on the rear tyres were also displaying signs of cracking.
Mark showed me how to tell when a tyre was made, by looking for a four-digit code moulded into a little box on the sidewall: the first two numbers show the week, and the last two the year. So, for example, a tyre labelled 5012 will have been made in the week beginning 17 December 2012. The front tyres on my car turned out to date from 2009, but the rears were made in 2006! No wonder the tread was looking a bit thin.
Because the Alfa’s road tax ran out at the end of November, and the MoT was due in mid-December, I decided to keep the car of the road for a few months before shelling out for new tyres, mainly because I want to avoid the inevitable salt blitz on the roads. My original plan was to rent a garage, but I couldn’t find one at an affordable price. Instead, because I’m lucky in having sufficient space on the drive to store the car, I thought I’d invest in an outdoor car cover as well as a solar-powered trickle charger to keep the battery topped up.
I didn’t realise how many options for car covers were available. After a lot of research, I plumped for the ‘Stormshield’ from a company called Specialised Covers, which produces covers for aeroplanes, helicopters and trucks – and cars, of course.
Their covers are made to order in Britain, and I appreciated the attention to detail shown by a phone call I received asking if my GTV had the Zender spoiler option (which it does). Room for it would be tailored into my cover for the perfect fit.
Being breathable, the Stormshield can be put on over a wet car, as any moisture will permeate through the material. The cover is made of three layers: an outer mesh, a breathable membrane and an inner eece to protect the paint. Although it is certainly not the cheapest outdoor cover (prices from £249), this wasn’t something I wanted to skimp on. OK, I still wish I had a garage to stash the Alfa in over winter but this surely has to be the best alternative. Roll on next spring!
Top and below With a cover to keep the Alfa protected, Mark no longer has to fear the weather. Straps pass under the car to keep the cover in place.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCLASSIC ON THE CUSP
First-generation Audi TT
/ #Audi-TT-225 / #Audi-TT-8N / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #Audi-TT-Quattro / #Audi-TT-Quattro-8N / #Audi / #Quattro / #Audi-TT-MkI /
I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that most alpha males would rather run a triathlon than an Audi TT. Girl’s car, too petite, a suburban trinket. But there’s more than one reason why you should lay down a first-gen TT before prices take off. Forget all the wearisome hairdresser clichés and remember that back in 1999 the world sighed in admiration at the TT’s design. One of the few concept cars that made it to production broadly unchanged, its timeless Bauhaus lines and modernist interior were universally praised and won a slew of awards. The TT was a game-changer.
And few design icons look so cheap. Even low-mileage MkI TTs are still small change. A private seller in Uxbridge has a silver 2000 coupé with just 56k for £2195 while Surrey Hills Cars in Hampshire has a mint Olive Green 2001 roadster with 59k, one owner and full history for £3490 – and both are 225bhp versions. Spend some time trawling the online classifieds and you’ll find real bargains like the very early ’ #1999 V-reg 225bhp silver coupé with 60k being sold by Brian Whitcombe in Puxton for a just £2000.
These millennial TTs are the purest and the earliest chassis number cars will become collectible. And if a sixty dash of 6.4sec and 150mph aren’t fast enough for you there’s always the 2003-on 3.2 #V6 and #2005 TT Quattro Sport. The 246bhp V6 cracks sixty in 6.2sec while the lightweight 240bhp Sport does it in 5.9. But the limited-edition 800-unit Sport is the one everybody wants with its contrasting roof colours and brace bar instead of rear seats. Prices have warmed up noticeably of late and you’ll be pushed to find even a mileagy one for less than £7k. As the rarest TT of all they’re the going to be the best investment and low milers could see £15k before long. But the most compelling reason to snap up a first-gen TT is that they’re so reliable and easy to own. Cambelts and tensioners need regular changes, anti-roll bar bushes wear, the frail standard water pump should be upgraded to one with a metal impeller and instrument pod failure is common so look for missing pixels.
The best TT MkIs won’t stay this ridiculously cheap for much longer. Find a sharp sensible-mile TT with a continuous Audi history and you’ll be buying at the rock bottom of the value curve.
COST NEW £29k 1998 UK
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- Post is under moderation/ #Porsche to buy now - #1982 #Porsche-911 #SC #G-Series , #1986 #Porsche-924S , 1988 #Porsche-928S4 , #1990 #944S2 Cabriolet, #1999 911 Carrera 2 996 and 2007 #Cayman S #987Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation“This is the end” by the Doors has been ringing in my ears recently, albeit not in quite the same context as its use in the film Apocalypse Now, but nevertheless my time at BMW Car is drawing to a close. Just these words to type and then a frantic tidy up in the office before venturing off into the big wide world where I believe there are other makes of car to be discovered and written about.
I vividly remember the day I joined #BMW Car as the then editor told me I was too old to go very far in this game (at the tender age of 30 I might add) but I quickly got my own back by disappearing off on two weeks paternity leave the following day! That was back in April #1999 and since then I have somehow been involved in another 219 issues and very nearly 200 of those as editor. If someone could kindly tell me where those 18 years have gone to I’d be very grateful! Over the years I’ve been incredibly lucky to have met some amazing people, visited awesome locations and, of course, driven some absolutely stunning cars. I was going to try and work out how many BMWs I’ve driven over that time but I very quickly realised that to count them all could well take another 18 years, but if you pushed me I reckon I must have driven somewhere in the region of 1500 BMWs of all shapes and sizes. Stand out trips have included visiting BMW’s cold weather test centre up near the Arctic Circle and several visits to BMW’s North American manufacturing base in South Carolina were always very memorable.
Mainly though it’s the people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet along the way who have made my job feel more like a hobby. I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved with the magazine; all the wonderful folk at BMW UK, my contributing writers and photographers and all those people who have been kind enough to allow us to feature their cars within these pages. I’d also like to thank everyone who’s bought and read the magazine over all these years – without you none of it would have been possible.
I will leave you in the capable hands of the new editor, Chris Graham, and I hope he has as much fun as I’ve had editing BMW Car.
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- Post is under moderationV12 LMR / #Jenny-Holzer / #BMW-Art-Cars / #1999 / #BMW-V12-LMR / #BMW-S70/3 / #BMW-S70 / #BMW-V12 / #BMW-V12-LMR-Jenny-Holzer / #BMW-Art-Car / #Art-Cars / #Art-Car / #BMW / #BMW-V12-LMR-Art-Car /
After a break of four years since David Hockey’s 850CSi BMW returned to its roots with the 15th Art Car – it was going racing again! Art Cars The 15th machine in the series: Jenny Holzer’s V12 LMR.
As BMW’s Art Car project started with racing cars one could argue that over the ensuing years it’s used far too many road cars, and even when it did choose to adorn its racing cars they were never used in anger on track – witness the two E30 M3s and the E36 Touring Car that never went near a circuit. The first four cars all took part in the #Le-Mans 24-Hour and 1999 saw a return with Jenny Holzer’s V12 LMR.
The work of Jenny Holzer, who was born in Ohio, USA, in 1950, cannot be put into conventional categories. Since the late seventies, she has rejected traditional forms of expression such as representational painting, working with words instead of pictures. Messages in the form of LED lettering are arranged together with carved plaques, benches or sarcophaguses made of stone to make up complete installations. It is this interplay of language, objects and context as equal elements that render her work so unique and makes her one of the most consistently exhibited artists worldwide. The Art Car designed by the American concept artist was adorned with messages which she said, “Will probably never become void”. Bold statements in capitals such as ‘Protect me from what I want’ and ‘What urge will save us now that sex wont?’ were emblazoned on the car.
Her concept is based on traditional colours and materials used in motor racing. To allow the characteristic blue and white BMW colours to remain visible during the 24-hour race at Le Mans, she used reflecting chrome letters and phosphorescent colours. During the day the sky is reflected in the letters, during the night the foil is desorbing the saved daylight in blue. Except that the car never raced at Le Mans, although it was one of three V12 LMRs that was used for the preliminary qualification in May, for the actual race BMW elected to use the more traditionally liveried cars. It would have been disappointing had BMW left it at that, but fortunately the car did compete in its Holzer livery in a round of the American Le Mans Series in 2000 at Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans. Sadly by this time the LMRs were no longer competitive and had to play second fiddle to the Audis with the Holzer car coming in a distant fourth place.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.