- Post is under moderationPAUL WALTON – EDITOR 2000-Jaguar-XK8-4.0 / Jaguar-XK8 / Jaguar / Jaguar-XK8-4.0
With his XK8 finally back on the road, Paul drives it over to Diss, in Norfolk, where he plans to photograph the Banham XJ-SS featured in this issue.
/ #2000-Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #2000 / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0 / #Jaguar-XK8 / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #Jaguar-XK8-X100 / #Jaguar-X100 / #Jaguar
In the same way that I wouldn’t wear my best suit for gardening or my favourite watch for decorating, I rarely use my XK8 for work. And not just because it has been massively unreliable for most of the last year, but mainly due to the amount of miles I need to drive and the often-isolated locations I use. I want to enjoy my car, not spoil it.
However, when Andre Ling from Norfolk-based auctioneers TW Gaze invited me to see the rare Banham XJ-SS that we feature on page 38 of this issue, I decided the 73 miles from my house outside Peterborough shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Plus, I’m interested to compare the two cars side-by-side. Although Paul Banham tells me that he didn’t take any inspiration from the XK8 (how could he? The X100 arrived a few years after the XJ-SS), there’s still a similarity between the two.
Thankfully, the skies are blue on the day of the shoot so, following the car’s successful run to Hunstanton and back, it is with excitement rather than concern that I load the XK8’s large, 307-litre boot with my camera equipment. The rear seats might be useless unless you are chocolate-factory Oompa Loompa-sized, but they do increase the XK8’s storage, making it surprisingly practical for a coupe. Plus, I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can pack for my trip to Le Mans in June. My journey today is a simple one: A1 heading south before taking the A14 eastbound. At Bury St Edmunds, I pick up the A143 that takes me straight to Diss. On the dual carriageway, my car feels fast and strong as if all of its past problems are long behind it. Time will tell, but I hope they are.
I arrive at TW Gaze a little under two hours later and, after the shoot, park the XJ-SS alongside my XK8. Coming a few years before and with no input from Jaguar, it is amazing how similar the XJ-SS appears, but it’s not identical. The Banham’s grille is too wide and although the Corsa-sourced lights are also a similar shape to my XK8’s, they’re much smaller.
Yet judging by its voluptuous curves, it’s clear Paul was thinking along the same lines as Jaguar’s own designers. The drive home is as enjoyable as the journey there, proving the XK8 would make a decent work car if I needed it to be – and it’s much easier to clean after its 140- mile round trip than my wool suit would be after a day weeding flower beds.
“MY CAR FEELS FAST AND STRONG AS IF ALL OF ITS PAST PROBLEMS ARE BEHIND IT”
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- Post is under moderationPaul Walton – EDITOR
/ #2000-Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #2000 / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0 / #Jaguar-XK8 / #Jaguar / #Jaguar-XK8-4.0-X100 / #Jaguar-XK8-X100 / #Jaguar-X100 / #Jaguar
After suffering yet another setback, Paul finally manages to take his XK8 for a drive to the Norfolk coast, but will he make it back home again?
You couldn’t make it up. Just two days after collecting my now legal XK8 from the bodyshop (to repair a small rusty hole close to the offside sill so it could pass the #MOT test, which it had failed the week before – see #Drive-My ), it has suffered from more bad luck.
Due to visit friends who live an hour away in the Lincolnshire countryside, I figure this is an excellent opportunity to drive my now rejuvenated XK8. So, while my wife changes for the umpteenth time, I go into the garage and start the car. It fires normally, but soon falters, eventually stalling. When I turn the key again, the engine cranks unevenly, starts hesitantly, then idles awkwardly before stalling again. The big V8 eventually runs smoothly, but only after I give the throttle the beans, something I hate doing when the engine is still cold. I grudgingly leave the car at home and take my less-stylish Nissan SUV.
After the problem persists all week – eventually resulting in an amber engine warning light – I finally cave in and contact Nene Jags Specialists (www.nenejags.co.uk).
Even proprietor Clive Kirton is surprised to see me back so quickly, joking the car must be on a piece of elastic. He soon diagnoses the air mass flow meter is at fault and also discovers the air filter is incorrect, meaning it doesn’t fit correctly.
With typically poor timing, as soon as the car is fixed and ready for action, the weather takes a seasonal downturn and, frustratingly, I have to leave the XK8 in the garage.
Waking to an unusually warm and sunny December morning a few days later, I decide to blow caution to the wind and take the green Jaguar for a drive. With little time on my hands due to our hectic Christmas schedule, I choose Hunstanton, on the Norfolk coast, as my destination. The 100-mile round trip is enough to test the car and I can also be there and back in an afternoon. That I know an excellent chip shop on the seafront isn’t a factor at all.
As I start my journey along the eastbound A47 that cuts through the flat, empty, but still beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside, I swear my XK8 feels a little faster, the engine slightly more responsive than it was before. I’m guessing this improvement is because the car can now breathe properly thanks to Clive fitting the correct air filter. More importantly, as I reach King’s Lynn 40 minutes later there are still no warning lights.
As most of my recent long journeys (and some short ones) have ended in a dashboard filled with more flashing warnings than a Boeing 747’s console after a wing drops off, I’m constantly expecting something bad to happen. But nothing does, not even when I turn onto the tree-lined A149 that passes through the Sandringham Estate. Or even when I enter the outskirts of Hunstanton 20 minutes later and make my way down to the town’s pretty seafront. It might be just 50 miles from home, but I feel a real sense of accomplishment as I park the XK8; it hasn’t put itself into limp mode, broken down or blown up. Although that could still happen. Even though it is a glorious afternoon, Hunstanton’s seafront is deserted as I go for a stroll. The amusements are empty, the beach is quiet and, even worse, my favourite chip shop is closed. My run of bad luck continues.
My journey back home, though, is enjoyable and trouble-free, and, with the Jaguar’s immediate issues taken care of, I return my attention to a most pressing task – replacing the original plastic tensioners with metal ones from the 4.2 #V8 . When Leeds specialist Tasker & Lacy removed the head to inspect them in 2016 they were in good condition, but knowing that the engine could still self-grenade at any minute, should the tensioners snap, is never far from my mind. I plan to drive the XK8 to Le Mans for the 24-hour race in June, so it’s something I need to get looked at, and sharpish. Other jobs for 2019 include having the increasingly crusty rear wheelarches tidied, and repairing the worn driver’s side seat bolster.
But that’s for the future; today, I’m simply enjoying the warm sensation of my XK8 getting me to Hunstanton and home again in one piece.
The XK8 beneath Hunstanton’s famous red-striped cliffs.
Paul cuts through the desolate Cambridgeshire countryside using the A47.
The amusements are empty. Well, it is December and Hunstanton is deserted
The view down Hunstanton’s beach in bright sun is gorgeous.
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- Post is under moderationFive star. This ballistic B5 is packing 500bhp so has the go to back up all that show… Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker. AUDI RS4 500hp B5.
There’s something about an original that gets under your skin. The first version of something – whether it’s a trainer, a film or a car is somehow special. It’s odd when you think about it, as quite often, the first version of something isn’t quite right. It’s not until it’s refreshed and V2 is releases that everything comes together. This may be true of smart phones, TVs and other tech gadgets, but with cars? I’m not so sure.
On the one hand, you can’t deny that each time Audi releases a new version of a well-loved model, it will be bristling with technology. It’ll be more powerful, more reliable and generally better all round. Yet many of us still hanker after the original. Nowhere is this more so than with the RS4.
The original B5 was released in 2000 and immediately made a statement. Here was a 375bhp, four-wheel drive estate car that could outflank a Porsche. It boasted a Cosworth-tuned, twin-turbo V6, fantastic blistered wheel arches and a presence that oozed understated aggression – something #Audi does so well.
But here’s the thing: the B5 RS4 is now 17 years old. Two further generation of RS4 have been released, with another, the B9, due to drop later this year. But, for many, the original B5 is still the one.
Forget the fact that it’s been eclipsed dynamically by the newer models. Ignore the issues with reliability inherent in a highly-tuned-from-the-factory machine like this. Put to the back of your mind the horror stories you’ll hear from B5 fans who have almost bankrupted themselves attempting to keep their pride and joy on the road (times this by ten if you’ve tuned it) and focus on the good bits. Of which there are many. Which is why there’s such a healthy appetite for these things.
So when serial Audi tuner, Julian Loose and our man, Adam Walker, spotted this in-your-face RS4 in Austria, I was keen to find out more.
On the face it, this is ‘just’ another RS4 with a fancy wrap. It has a taste of the Jon Olsson about it– he of the extreme RS6 and R8 Gumball fame. However a bit more investigation revealed that this was a proper build, featuring a 500bhp engine, tuned chassis and more.
Let’s kick off with that engine. The twin-turbo V6 needs no introduction. The 2.7-litre unit came with a factory fettled 375bhp and went very well indeed. But, as the years pass, this highly-tuned lump needs plenty of TLC to keep it running as it should. It’s a complete arse to work on and needs to be dropped for many, even routine jobs, which is why it can end up costing a small fortune in labour rates alone. Plus there are numerous documented issues that will occur at some stage from corroded pipework to blown turbos.
So, it you’re really going to do it, you may as well get stuck in and go for more power right from the off – and make sure you uprate all the necessary parts in one hit. That way, you (hopefully) won’t be spending more time in the garage than on the road.
The owner, Ilkka, has gone for a tried and tested setup of RS6 hybrid turbos to provide the boost. There are 630cc injectors and a TFSI coil conversion, plus Wagner intercoolers, a cold air intake and custom made exhaust with the cats removed – a sure fire recipe for big fun. With around 500bhp on tap performance is best described as brisk.
The whooshing of those twin-turbos, combined with the snarl from that unrestricted exhaust means this thing emits the kind of V6 howl that makes you smile. It’s a special B5-ness that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
The stock transmission copes admirably with the extra grunt and the tough sixspeed box takes it all in its stride. Again the manual gear lever is part of the reason so many people love these things.
With significantly more power than when it left the factory and with the ravages of time, the chassis needed updating to cope. A full complement of poly bushes was fitted, to remove that saggy, vague feeling that occurs when stock bushes wear out.
Again it’s a pain in the ass job to complete, but it makes a big difference, especially on older Audis. With less play in the suspension and steering components, the B5 feels tighter and more responsive. To allow the suspension to be finetuned, a set of KW Variant 3s were ordered.
These multi-adjustable units allow full control over bump and rebound, to provide a sporty, yet forgiving feel. The geometry has been professionally setup to give this RS4 a more dialled feel, with far more adjustablity than the neutral, understeer focused stock set up.
The final upgrade for the chassis is a set of brakes nicked off a Porsche. These meaty calipers were designed to stop a 170+mph sportscar, so do a fine job on the RS4 teamed up with ECS Tuning discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads.
Styling wise Audi got it right first time and there’s no need to add bits, aside from the odd splitter or maybe vent if you’re into that sort of thing. So this B5 remains stock, aside from a wrap. Now, it’s not going to be to all tastes, but Ilkka wanted something to make the car stand out at events and the Jon Olsson-inspired camo wrap certainly ticks that box.
One thing that had to be bang on the money was the wheels. The 3-piece, multispoke Rotiforms fill the wide arches very nicely – and at a girthy 10.5-inches, they should. Some work was required to get them to fit right, but they look great.
Inside, the stock seats have been replaced with some of the best in the business, Recaro Pole Positions. These fixed back efforts not only look great but also save weight. The GT-inspired interior is completed with a suede steering wheel and gear knob.
So there we have it – another wellfinished RS4 B5 that reminds us how much love there is for these things.
TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #2000 / #Audi-RS4-B5 / #Audi-RS4 / #Audi-A4 / #Audi-A4-B5 / #Audi / #KW / #Rotiform
Engine 2.7 twin-turbo V6, #RS6 hybrid turbos, #Wagner intercoolers, cold air intake, custom turbo back exhaust with cats removed, custom map, #Siemens-Deka 630cc injectors #TFSI coil conversion
Transmission 6-speed manual
Brakes Porsche 911 calipers with #ECS discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads, braided lines
Suspension #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, polybushed, full geometry set up
Wheels 10.5x19in #Rotiform-INDT 3-piece wheels with 255/30 Michelin Pilot SuperSports
Interior Recaro Pole Position seats, suede RS4 steering wheel and gearknob, PLX a/f ratio meter FIS control in the OEM screen to show boost, exhaust temp etc
Exterior Full Avery charcoal matte metallic wrap
“There’s still so much love for the B5”
Above left Recaro Pole Positions.
Above Alcantara-clad wheel.
Above top: Porsche brakes sit behind 10.5x19in Rotiform INDs.
Right: The 2.7 #V6 heart pumps out around 500bhp.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLONGTERMERS An E46 M3 joins the fleet, the 120d receives some new wheels, the M6 has been getting some exercise and the E32 750iL has a list of faults to be attended to.
Welcome to the BMW Car guide on ‘how not to buy an E46 M3’. First up, and most importantly, we recommend that to maximise the potential for post purchase problems, you should spend almost no time whatsoever researching potential issues and weaknesses to be aware of. Second, buy a car you last saw over a year ago, and which you’d never previously looked at with a view to purchasing. Third, purchase a car which has spent a fair proportion of the winter laid up on a trickle charger and used infrequently for the odd short trip. And finally, for maximum jeopardy, you should purchase said car with the intent to set off on a 2500-mile sojourn around the mountain passes of Europe four days later.
Reading that back myself only serves to remind me of the rather foolhardy way I found myself the owner of the 80,000-mile 2002 Phoenix yellow M3 you see here…
So why an E46 M3? And why this one? Seeing as you’re reading this magazine, I’ll assume you’re pretty familiar with the answer to the first part of that question. For me the E46 remains one of best M3s ever, hitting a high watermark in the history of the model with a blend of subtly muscular good looks, a beautifully balanced and adjustable chassis and, of course, that S54 straight-six with its scalpel sharp throttle response and wonderful induction sound. Finished in Phoenix yellow – one of the original launch colours – I have to admit I think it still looks a bit special 14 years on from its first date of registration.
As a photographer I’d been lucky enough to find myself in the role of camera support vehicle and photographer for the superb Gran Turismo Events European tour. Spanning eight days and six countries (assuming you count Monaco as a country) I needed a car which would happily soak up the cruise from England to Munich, entertain on the assortment of mountain passes on the tour through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco and France and entertain on the way back to England all whilst providing a decent level of interior space (two photographers and luggage for two weeks), economy and comfort. With a £7-9k budget not much else fits the bill – Porsche offerings being too small and slow, and Japanese cars lacking the prestige that would allow me to blend in with a crowd of £200k+ supercars. Besides, I’ve been a BMW fan all my motoring life. It’s why I’ve had a Z4 Coupé, use a 330d as my daily, and have an E30 318iS project car, so the E46 M3 was a natural and easy choice.
The final seal on the deal was spending two weeks with the keys to this particular M3 in the summer of 2015. My friend who owned the car asked me if I’d like to use it to take some of his friends round Bruntingthorpe during a VMAX event, essentially to provide ‘drift taxi’ duties as I have some drifting experience under my belt. Of course, I was happy to oblige and fell in love with the M3’s natural balance and suitability for destroying rear tyres. There’s not enough torque to produce sideways shenanigans on power alone (all bets are off in the wet) but the chassis is so stable I could really attack the corners, backing it in off throttle and then using the S54’s 8000rpm to ride out the ensuing slide with all three or four passengers giggling away. It was a good day’s entertainment all-round and the M3 soaked up everything we threw at it, but for the occasional crunch when selecting third gear… that’ll crop up later.
In the end I kept the M3 for over two weeks as my friend was moving house and very happy to have use of my scabby old E46 330d Touring for lumping stuff around. I was equally happy to have a Phoenix M3 to cruise around in, hence the love affair continued. When a car slips into your life as easily as the M3, yet remains special when you have the opportunity to stretch its legs, you know it’s a great car. I had to have one, one day…
And so here we are, 3000 miles into ownership despite it changing hands a month ago. Mileage will certainly accrue at a slower pace from now on but there are plenty of plans. A Wales hoon, a Sunday run to Goodwood, a track day, the occasional blast just for the hell of it, I’ll even take it to shoots if the roads look enticing. Furthermore, I clearly didn’t buy a perfect M3 (which was never the expectation anyway) so there’s a few plans to repair, upgrade and improve things during my tenure, focusing on cost effective ways to improve what remains a fundamentally superb car.
So what of these ‘issues’ I allude to? I left the UK with a single engine warning light illuminated (which our friends at Highams Park Motor company checked and diagnosed as an O2 sensor, something they couldn’t sort in time, but said would be okay to drive with). By the time I returned (limped, some might say) from the Euro tour, the ABS and tyre pressure sensors were on full time, coupled up with a strange vibration from the rear at low speed.
I have to admit, I was disappointed and somewhat afraid in equal measure. Had I bought a complete dud? Was this the beginning of a wallet-destroying episode? Was my lack of research and homework going to bite me on the behind? Yes and no, it would seem. The first point to note, despite making a horrible rumbling metallic noise whilst departing the last hotel in St Tropez, once into third gear the M3 seemed happy enough mechanically, meaning I could enjoy most of the Route Napoleon, and the lack of ABS or traction control was of no concern. In short, it made it home, and I didn’t have to stump up the excess for making a European breakdown claim.
Thanks to Highams Park (020 8523 3443, www.hpmotorcompany.co.uk) the early diagnosis is that the propshaft centre bearing is worn (the propshaft ‘rattles’ at low rotation speed but balances itself out at higher speed). The diff input seal also needs to be replaced, along with the trailing arm bushes and ABS sensor. Not cheap but all relatively common and easily understood problems that probably should have been picked up by the last mechanic who checked it over. In other words nothing catastrophic, and with work scheduled soon we expect to be making more use of the M3. As if 2500 miles round Europe wasn’t enough of a baptism of fire. More on that in the next instalment.
CAR: #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW /
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 2950
TOTAL MILEAGE: 84,253
MPG THIS MONTH: 27.4
TOTAL COST: £60
E46 M3 makes for a very entertaining drift taxi.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #2000 / #BMW-E52 / #BMW-Z8 / Auctions America, Santa Monica Sale / #BMW-Z8-E52 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E52 / #BMW /
SOLD FOR: $189,750 Approx £145,000
It seems as if the Z8 is a perennial favourite on the American auction scene, perhaps hardly surprising given that almost half of the entire Z8 production run were bound for those shores. This 2000 example sold by Auctions America looked like a fine specimen and presented well in its original black paint and fetching red and black interior. It was wholly original and had covered just 11,000 miles, and in today’s market its £145k hammer price appeared to be about right.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCHRIS BANGLE NEXT GENERATION / #Fiat-Tipo-175 / #Fiat / #1994 – #2000 / #Fiat-Coupe-Tipo-175 / #Fiat-Coupe / #Chris-Bangle /
We talk to the controversial American about his first complete car design – the Coupé Fiat.
Fiat’s distinctive slashes were inspired by previous concepts rather than art. Below: painted-metal dashboard was a clever touch to lift the interior.
Clockwise, from above: stylish stacked tail-lights; Bangle wanted the bonnet to be front-hinged; filler cap was prompted by a night at the movies.
Throughout the 1990s, controversial stylist Chris Bangle challenged the status quo with his radical work. Malcolm Thorne talks to him about his striking and memorable Coupé Fiat.
PHOTOGRAPHY LAT/FIAT/CHRIS BANGLE ASSOCIATES.
When the wraps came off the Tipo 175 Coupé Fiat in 1993, both press and public alike were deeply divided. Here was a model to challenge preconceptions of beauty and purpose – this was, after all, an Italian sports coupé, and with such territory comes the burden of expectation. Superlative and effortless style is a requirement, not merely a desirable option.
To some, it was a lesson in unrivalled daring, an objet d’art that exuded the most sophisticated and forward-thinking of design language. To others, it was a mishmash of ideas and fussy detailing. But love it or loathe it, you couldn’t ignore it.
The world was warned of the impending shock when Fiat Group design chief Nevio Di Giusto gave a clear message of intent in 1992, hitting out at the “soap bar” styling of rivals’ products. “The totally rounded look can be attractive,” he told Autocar at the time, “but it finishes up by making all cars similar.” That’s certainly not an accusation you could make about the Tipo 175, although things could have turned out very differently.
The production car was largely the work of Fiat Centro Stile’s hitherto unheard-of designer Christopher Edward Bangle – a man who, for the past two decades, has been the motor industry’s pre-eminent agent provocateur – but the initial concept came from an outside concern.
“Pininfarina had the idea to develop a coupé on the basis of the Tipo,” recalls Bangle today, “and Piergiorgio Tronville [father of the Uno] explained that the only competitors to the Fiat Centro Stile designers would be the Farina guys.
Because at that time I had lost just about every competition possible at Fiat, I asked him if we had any chance of winning. He responded quite calmly: ‘Let’s put it this way – it’s their idea, they are doing all the engineering, they are producing it in their factory, they will put their name on the side of the car… what do you think?’”
In such a context, Bangle and his team could afford to be radical, and they didn’t disappoint: “As underdogs, we had the advantage of not being expected to win, so we could be experimental. We put forward many proposals that I am sure look a lot weirder or worse today than they did then. My car started strange and got stranger before I got my act together and made something drivable and which could be produced. We never saw Pininfarina’s exterior work, but I believe that later it had much influence on the Peugeot 406 Coupé. Of course, they won the interior and it matched the car well I think.”
The cockpit was undeniably one of the Tipo 175’s defining features. In an era where cabins were dull expanses of black and grey plastic, the inspired use of painted metal for the fascia and door panels was a bold move, but it was nothing compared to the audacity of the outer skin.
Bangle and his team flirted with outlandish ideas, and everywhere you looked the new Fiat astonished and amazed. Mindful that its new model needed to stand out from the crowd if it were to succeed, against all expectation the Turin management had embraced the wacky shape above the far more conservative effort from Pininfarina.
More than two decades on, Coffango – the car’s internal codename, derived by combining the Italian words coffano (bonnet) and parafango (mudguard) – has lost its element of surprise. But whereas contemporary rivals such as the Ford Probe, Rover 200 ‘Tomcat’ or Vauxhall Calibra now look hopelessly dated, the Fiat’s avantgarde shape still has the capacity to excite.
“It was my attempt to unite two worlds,” recalls Bangle. “That of the Ford GT40 and that of the Italian carrozzeria of the 1970s and ’80s. If you look carefully at the front view of the Coupé, you will see my homage to the GT40 – the headlight shapes, the flatness of the nose and the grille intake form. On the other hand, the side view and section of the car were inspired by Italian designs – in particular the 1984 Bertone Chevy Ramarro and Lamborghini Athon. They had that flattened-wheelarch theme and the overhanging shoulder section, and slicing down the wheelarches was a natural result. I was amused when in the press releases Fiat claimed that the shape was inspired by the artist Lucio Fontana [who slashed his canvases]. I had never even heard of him at the time.”
Another key element of the Fiat is the truncated Kamm tail with its stacked circular lights, yet, in spite of being a signature feature of the design, it was a late addition: “I was obsessed with a rounded rear with a pop-up spoiler. That was, of course, way too expensive, so it was only when Nevio Di Giusto ordered me to ‘come back with decent aero numbers from the wind tunnel, or don’t bother coming back’ that I settled down and boxed up its ass.”
If the devil is in the detail, Bangle must have worked hard to overcome his religious beliefs (his career path almost led him to become a Methodist minister) because the Fiat abounds with flourishes: “The doorhandle in the pillar and the mirrors – one of the more elegant designs on the market at the time, even if I do say so myself – were fun to create. Back then, I had to do all the concept plausibility studies myself before I could get an engineer interested. That meant lots of orthographic 9H pencil work.
“The fuel-filler cap came from an evening I spent watching the film Dirty Mary Crazy Larry with Moray Callum [now design director at Ford]. We were fascinated by the ’68 Dodge Charger in it, and there were a number of scenes where the camera framed the external ‘racing’ gas cap. We decided it was so cool we would go back into our respective studios and try to revive that concept. I used some real quick-release fuel caps as reference, and was as surprised as anyone that the management went for it.
“The clamshell bonnet was a fight, though, because it tested the limits of the sheet-metal raw sizes. If there was a regrettable sacrifice there, it was that my desire to have it forwardflipping didn’t make it through into production.”
Talk of the bonnet, of course, leads inevitably to the distinctive headlamps, which remain one of Bangle’s favourite features: “The ‘doublebreast’ design is what I recall the most as being a direct steal from God’s best work. The headlights kept getting pushed higher and higher due to the mechanicals. The only way to contain them was to either make retractable units or to raise the bonnet and wing line.
“The car already suffered from having wheels that were too small relative to the forms, so making the front visually bigger and heavier was not an option for me, while retractable lights were prohibitively expensive. I created them out of necessity. It then took some work to get the washer sprays to function on the extremely flattened angles of the covers, and at first glance you wouldn’t believe that they would be effective.
I recall that when we first showed the car to a top Fiat engineer, he didn’t even bother to look at it. Instead, he sort of sneered: ‘And just how are you supposed to clean those headlights?’ My boss, Ermanno Cressoni, ran up to the car and stroked them, saying ‘Con amore, Inginiere, con amore!’ [With love, engineer, with love!].”
Twenty-three years after the model went on sale, does Bangle still feel amore for the Coupé Fiat? “Whenever I see one on the road it has a sort of inevitability about it in hindsight – I was privileged to have been chosen to bring it to life.” “Indirectly, it has influenced everything I have done because it was such a stunning upset win for me,” he reflects, “and yet a wrenching emotional loss to have to abandon it before birth due to my move to BMW. It shaped me as a designer because I had to do so much of the development and pre-engineering myself.
“At club meets, I love the fanbase the Fiat has – an authentic and passionate sort of folk who think nothing of throwing their wives and kids into this cramped car for a 15-hour drive to see us. Usually I get to autograph either a kid or a car – or both – before they leave.”
That, surely, is testimony to the impact of the Tipo 175. It may have divided opinion, but how many other mass-market models of the era have been signed by their stylist?
Clockwise, from above: Pininfarina lost out on the exterior, but styled the cabin; key mimics shape of fuel-filler cap; famous double-bubble lights; engine came in turbo and naturally aspirated forms; styling sketches; Kamm tail was forced upon Bangle; neat mirrors.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationQuantum’s glassfibre construction should mean lightweight thrills.
Quantum theory becomes practice
THE STORY SO FAR
1986/2000 #Quantum-Q2 / #Quantum / #1986 / #2000
Owned by Sam Dawson
Time owned One month
Miles this month 310 Costs £1000
Previously Took the MR2 to meet its family
I have a confession to make – for the past few years I’ve been a leather-clad two-wheeled organ donor.
It was pure pragmatism really – shared housing meant that I’d sometimes get to the garage only to discover that my landlady had decided to store her collection of rusty old chest freezers in the way of my car, or that my housemate had got the train and left her Astra blocking the drive.
But I’ve since bought my own place. Suddenly faced with a surfeit of parking space, I decided to flog the bike and get a second car, something fun and unusual that’d be welcomed into the car park of the Ace Café, rather than frowned at and sent to the other side of the road.
I went to Beaulieu with the money in my pocket, and happened upon a Scimitar SS1 for £1500, but it was covered in perished rubber and rust streaks.
I found myself staring at a sales website feeling glum a week later, wondering if the entire classic market was now beyond my reach, when a brand-new advert popped up. A Quantum 2+2, in Cheshire, where I was going the next day anyway.
For the uninitiated the Quantum marque was the project of engineer brothers John and HarveyWooldridge, who upsized the Mini-Marcos concept – glassfibre monocoque, low-drag aerodynamics, low weight – on the then-new Ford Fiesta MkII in 1987. The company’s still around, producing extreme track-day cars, but its most innovative models are the Audi quattro-esque MkI Coupé, and the Q2 ‘2+2’ roadster, of which just 455 were built. This car had the perfect specification – a 1986 XR2 engine augmented by a #Weber-DFT carburettor, Quantum’s own factoryforged fast-road camshaft and a free-flowing Magnex stainless-steel exhaust system adding up to 130bhp. A test drive revealed a light, darting car that sounded and accelerated like a Lotus Elan and cornered like a 205 GTi. I was hooked. For just £1000, it was a bargain.
It’s not perfect. The hood leaks a bit (mitigated by an Airdry dehumidifier cushion) and there are some chips and scratches in the paint, but at least it’s not fade-prone like my MR2.
The drive home revealed a need to modify the driving position by removing the useless rear seats and replacing the Fiesta items with deeper buckets on longer runners with a deeper-dished steering wheel, otherwise my knees will fall off. The alloy wheels are badly kerbed too, and a slow puncture makes me think one of them isn’t sealing properly – but I’m not feeling deflated, as the ownership experience is going well.
The real surprise came at the Ace on October 13. No-one knew what it was. One American guy speculated that it was a littleknown Honda kei-car. Another enthusiast was convinced it was a Fiat-based etceterino. The bloke in the petrol station thought it was a little-known evolution of the Triumph Spitfire. And I enjoyed telling the Quantum story every time. For just £1000, it seems I’ve got myself a real classic-car curio. Time to get stuck in to some driving!
Principal buying target, this #Scimitar-SS1 , looked too tired for Sam.
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- Post is under moderationBMW Concepts
The bonkers and adorable #BMW X5 Le Mans profiled. The cars they could have made The maddest and baddest X5 ever imagined was wheeled out for the first time at the #Geneva-Show in #2000 / #2000-Geneva-Motor-Show / #BMW-X5-Le-Mans-E53 / #BMW-X5 / #BMW-X5-Le-Mans / #BMW-X5-E53 / #2000
Some of the most interesting machines to have emerged from Munich’s hallowed halls can trace their origins back to having been skunkworks projects. Ideas dreamed up by engineers under the ‘what if’ banner. The 2002 came about thanks to Helmut Werner Bonsch, the director of product planning for BMW, and Alex von Falkenhausen, the designer of the M10 engine, both privately dropping the 2.0-litre M10 from the Neue Klasse Saloon into their 1602s. Then there was the E30 Touring, designed by a BMW engineer in his spare time as the regular two-door model didn’t have enough space for his family. And then there’s the X5 Le Mans, a wild creation brought about by BMW engineers having a bit of spare time, a V12 LMR engine lying about the workshops that was surplus to requirements and an unsuspecting X5…
BMW said that its engineers wanted to prove the ability of the X5’s chassis but we think it was probably a case of ‘I wonder if this would fit?’. Either way they shoehorned the V12, fresh from powering the LMR #Le-Mans winning car in 1999, into the X5’s body, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox from an E39 M5. As the #V12 developed 531lb ft of torque – considerably more than the M5’s 369lb ft – they expected the ‘box’s internals to be turned into swarf after a short amount of time but it was stronger than expected. This allowed the great Hans-Joachim Stuck to take to the Nordschleife with the X5 Le Mans where he managed to record a scarcely believable time of seven minutes 49 seconds, reaching a top speed of 311km/h in the process. And this was at a time when BMW’s top dog, the Z8, took eight minutes and 15 seconds to lap the same track. He also enjoyed scaring some journalists witless when he took them out for some passenger laps…
Visually the Concept X5 Le Mans didn’t look that dissimilar from the production car although it sat 30mm lower on some custom suspension and the show car sported some fancy rims which weren’t actually used when Stuck was at the wheel. Inside, the normal seats were replaced by four buckets for the show car, but for track work these were ditched for a roll-cage and harnesses. Sanitised hot X5s were eventually released in the form of the 4.6iS and 4.8iS models, but how good would it have been had BMW put the X5 Le Mans into limited production? That would have been the ultimate Chelsea tractor!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBertone Collection bought #2015 / #Jaguar-B99-GT-Bertone / #Jaguar-B99-GT / #Jaguar-Bertone / #Citroen-Zabrus / #Bertone-Ramarro
Italian car club secures all 79 Bertone museum pieces for €3.44 million / Words Massimo Delbò
The #Automotoclub-Storico-Italiano , Italy’s largest private classic car club, with more than 100,000 members, has bought all 79 cars in the #Bertone Collection. Last month #Drive-My reported that the collection was being offered in one lot following Bertone’s bankruptcy, and that it was feared it would disappear from view or one day be relieved of its protected status (a condition of sale is that it remains in Italy and can’t be broken up).
Most of these fears were dispelled when ASI revealed that it had made a successful bid of €3.44 million, 61% above the reserve price, against four other interested parties. ASI’s president, Roberto Loi, commented afterwards: ‘I’m very proud, not only because we have saved a piece of Italian history, but also because, being from Turin, I would have been grieved to see the collection leave this area, a place I regard as the heart of the Italian automotive tradition. I’m also proud that, when we convened a special meeting of the board of the club to discuss buying it, everybody agreed. Now we have to wait 60 days while the Italian Government decides whether to match the bid, but we would be very surprised if this were to happen.’
Plans for the collection have yet to be confirmed. However, Loi told Octane: ‘Turin already has the Italian Museum of the Automobile, and we don’t want to create another museum. Our aim is to keep the cars and the design models of the collection on show in a very dynamic way, always changing how we celebrate the Bertone style and the names and the works of the designers who made the Italian firm so great. What we are thinking of is something like an art gallery with cars, even if we still have to figure out all the details.’
From top Bertone collection bought by the #ASI includes #1976 #Ferrari-Rainbow , #1984 Corvette-based Ramarro (left, with #1986 Citroën Zabrus to right) and #2011 #Jaguar B99 GT (below, centre), here flanked by #1968 #Fiat-850-Spider and #2000 #I-Slim-city-car .Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.