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  •   Richard Dredge reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Camaro synergy green special edition.

    Vendor: Florida Trucks Inc, in partnership with General Business Leasing Ltd, Danbury, Chelmsford, Essex.
    Price: £24,750.

    One thing is for sure, you'll never go anywhere unnoticed in this Camaro, finished in high visibility synergy green metallic paintwork!

    Based upon the 1LT, the limited edition model built between February and May 2010, it offers a pretty potent performance package. While a good many self-respecting American car enthusiasts wouldn't be seen behind the wheel of anything unless it has a V8 engine up front, you simply can't ignore what Chevrolet has done to the Camaro's V6 engine, that now offers enough impressive performance to please most without the need for a turbo or supercharger.

    With a very respectable 304bhp on tap, equating to a 0-60mph time of 5.5 seconds, and a useful 273lb-ft torque, plus a fuel consumption of up to 29mpg, this car has much to crow about. It has a six-speed automatic transmission with a highly impressive power response, but it can also be set to manual mode which is operated via paddle shift buttons on the steering wheel, meaning the gears can be held while the revs increase, a bit like a Tiptronic set-up, for maximum driveability. However, the automatic transmission is so responsive you can still have serious fun with the shifter just left in Drive!

    Fitted with twin Cats and mufflers, the exhaust note has a pleasing throaty roar on hard acceleration. This 3.6 litre-V6 powered Camaro is remarkably quick, 70mph appears on the speedometer in what seems like an instant, and the lightness of the steering is absolutely spot on, providing perfect feedback. Likewise, the handling and ride quality are hugely impressive. Indeed, it's a really superb car to drive.

    The synergy green metallic paintwork is complemented by cyber grey rally stripes on the bonnet and bootlid, and there's a small spoiler to the rear. There's also a glass tilt/sliding sunroof which helps to make things light and airy inside. The black cloth seats show virtually no wear and tear at all, which pretty much sums up the entire interior. The square instrument clusters for the speedometer and rev counter are retro in style, and are pleasingly illuminated in pale blue with red needles, and the same colours are used for the centrally positioned switchgear. The chunky black leather trimmed steering wheel is very tactile and a pleasure to grip. A $2300 option is the solid green LED illumination that follows the contours of the green door card trim (unique to the synergy model) then right around the dashboard, but can only really be seen at its best at night. Green theme continues inside.
    On a car that's only four years old with lowish mileage, the engine bay was naturally very clean and well presented. The DOHC all aluminium engine is mostly obscured by various black covers and the oil was clean and to the full mark. This Camaro is an absolute corker, and would make a fine alternative to a modern Mustang, which it easily outsold in 2010.

    Good points
    First and foremost, this Camaro drove and performed as though it was brand new and had just been driven out of the showroom. Its synergy green limited edition status should ensure it holds its value much better than a stock model. Not only does this car come complete with a set of chrome on alloy five spoke show wheels, with new looking Goodyear Eagle RSA 245/45-20 tyres, there are the original stock alloys with 245/50-19 Pirelli tyres too, also as new. Although economical, such is the fun to be had behind the wheel, it’s unlikely you’ll be worrying about fuel consumption anyway!

    Bad points
    The paintwork is almost perfect but for a few scuffs on the offside lower front valance, another on the nearside and a small scratch just behind the rear side window on the offside. With scant glazing area, visibility can be slightly impaired, especially when reversing - good job there are parking sensors - and the thick front screen pillars can also limit vision. While undamaged, the chrome on alloy show wheels are just starting to degrade with a little pitting in places. Without a digital display, you don’t always know what gear you are in when using the paddle shift kit.
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  •   Patrick Hurst reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Flat-four lets go in a big way. You may recall that I bought a Gamma last year - a nice early sedan with leather that I used without incident for 12 months. In the meantime, I got a call from a reader who told me about a low-mileage Berlina living in Battersea.
    I could not resist having a look, particularly because the car in question was one of the 6-9 Specials loaded with extras and sold by the Waterloo Carriage Company in an attempt to clear stocks of the slow- selling flagship. I’d seen photos of them decked out with all kinds of stripes, stickers, spoilers and an ugly glass sunroof, but the vision that greeted me was a gold sedan with a surprisingly fetching chin spoiler and cream hide interior.

    Its engine sounded as sweet a Gamma lump as I’d ever heard, bearing out the 2 0,000 miles recorded (there is no history, but I think it spent some time in Ireland). A deal was struck and I was suddenly the owner of two Gammas. Not for long, though. Andy Collins rang to enquire if he could buy back his maroon car, which suited me because it would free up funds to make the gold one really nice.

    Lancia Gamma Berlina
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since May 2014
    Total mileage 21,000
    Miles since acquisition c1000
    Latest costs £125

    With a centre exhaust box supplied by the Gamma Consortium, plus a few bulbs and a CV boot, the 6-9 Special flew through its MoT test and I drove it pretty much daily for 1000 miles. I think it could do with some front dampers because it gets a little wallowy when asked to change direction quickly - there is not much point in a Gamma that doesn’t handle - and there’s a wheel bearing merrily singing away somewhere. About the only things that didn’t work on the Lancia were the electric aerial and the radio, although the latter mysteriously (and temporarily) repaired itself while it was parked at Prescott.

    Charles Shelton of the Gamma Consortium changed the cambelts for me while I swooned over his cream Coupe, so like the one Dad restored for me 25 years ago. Then Jonathan Wills of Cotswold Classic Car Restorations changed the oil and filter, and we started talking about the odd frilly bits of bodywork. The worst eyesores are the bottoms of the windscreen pillars - tricky to sort without removing the glass - and a rusty hole by the nearside corner of the rear screen.

    Then something let go at 90mph on the M4, with no indication in terms of overheating or oil pressure: the engine holed its sump and deposited its oil on the hard shoulder. It turned out that a liner and piston had smashed themselves up. It’s still not clear why. I suspected a valve had snapped but on inspection only one was slightly bent.

    The heads are salvageable, but I had to buy another block, crank and pistons from Andy Collins - all for a very reasonable £75, though. As I write, Jonathan Wills and his engine man Mike Connor are putting it all back together - hope-fully in time for the Gamma Consortium AGM in September.

    In 25 years and maybe 15 to 20 of these cars, I have never experienced anything this dramatic, although apparently it has happened to other people. Gammas throw their toys out of the pram in traffic at low speeds and are happiest cruising down a motorway, so I have a horrible feeling that it could be my fault. About a week before this incident, the carb choke jammed shut and it wouldn’t start. All you have to do is give it a tap with the end of a screw-driver and you’re away, but this involves removing the top of the air-filter box. When I refitted it, I only fixed the retaining nuts finger- tight - maybe not even that.
    Later, going down the M4, I was aware of a throaty noise as if the top of the air-filter lid was loose, then BANG! Maybe the carb somehow sucked in one of the nuts. It sounds far-fetched, but it could explain that kind of damage at high revs.

    Andy sold me his blue SI Coupe project, which had a nice quiet engine, but I didn’t have the heart to take it out and condemn the car to being a scrapper! This is how you get taken in by these Lancias.

    Clockwise: with 550bhp GT40 rep and DBS; foam-rubber sound deadening forms rot trap; rear screen is detached on nearside
    Flat-four, with specially modified conrod.

    'Going down the M4, I was aware of a throaty noise as if the top of the air-filter lid was loose, then BANG!'

    • Charles Shelton:
    • Jonathan Wills: 01793 752915;
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  •   John Leslie reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    We've increased the speed of comfort. The design of the Citroen GS begins with what, in many cars, is an after-thought: comfort.
    The GS is the first medium-size car to ride on #Hydro-pneumatic-suspension. This is a simple but unique system The interaction of a fluid and a gas Keeps the car on the same level at all times No matter how light or heavy the load, no matter what the condition of the road surface.

    Add in design features such as trailing rear arms and anti-roll bars front and rear. Well-designed seats that give you support where you need it. Front wheel drive. Generous leg room. Enormous boot space which keeps the car uncluttered. Altogether, the GS gives you a quite new standard of comfort for a car in this class.

    You now have a choice of GS engines: 1,015cc or the new 1220cc. Both are air-cooled, light-alloy flat-fours, with opposed cylinders and overhead camshafts. Of typically #Citroen unburstable design, these engines will power you along the motorway fast lane all day Equally important, they deliver the instant, lively response you need to cope with any driving situation.
    Comfort, roadholding, performance: all these contribute to your safety and driving pleasure. You get a better mix of motoring qualities for your money in the Citroen GS than in any other car on the road.

    And the Kick you get from just looking at the GS standing outside your house, this we throw in for nothing #Citroen-GS prices are from £1.159.
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  •   Paul Capper reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    1978 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II £19,995. In 36 years you’d expect most cars to cover more than 46,000 miles - so this is special. Richard Gunn.

    It’s always reassuring when a marque specialist selling a car has known it for some time, and in the case of this Silver Shadow II, London-based Hanwells has been familiar with it for ten years. The Crewe-cut leviathan boasts an extensive paperwork file, despite its minimal mileage. The last service was 1000 miles ago.

    Low mileage plus conscientious care have certainly paid dividends. You have to look long and hard to find any real flaws with the exterior, such as minor tarnishing to the front and rear bumper tops and a slightly perished seal at the top of the rear window. The plastic bumpers themselves have some light scuffs on their rear quarters, but the fronts have escaped any grazing. Imperfections on the body are confined to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it patch of missing paint on the border between the two colours on the nearside front wing.

    The quartet of whitewall tyres aren’t of uniform make, with Avon Turbospeeds at the front and Mastercraft and Cooper rears. Still, they’re all in very good order, as are the wheeltrims.

    Under the bonnet, attention has been paid to detailing, and the only cosmetic flaw is rust around the edges of the brake fluid reservoir top, no doubt due to past spillages.

    Open the doors and you’re treated to pure, indulgent Rolls-Royce luxury, with acres of wood and nicely seasoned leather.
    As with the rest of the car, effort has obviously been expended to keep it looking fresh and clean, and the cream leather (with contrasting black piping) and carpets are free of grime. However, the driver’s side carpet is getting threadbare around the plastic mat. There’s some lifting of the wood veneer around the auxiliary gauge apertures and rectangular warning panel, but that’s it.
    Everything electrical functions as it should (aside from the slightly sporadic seatbelt warning light), including the clock - usually one of the first items to stop working on Shadows. A period radio and Blaupunkt cassette player look at home in the centre console. A working immobiliser is fitted, but there are the remains of a previous security device, in the form of a small numerical keypad, dangling from the driver’s side of the windscreen top.

    Nothing is amiss with the driving experience; it’s the expected and usual wafty and cossetting silky ride, where the driver provides the very minimum of effort. The genteel nature is disturbed only by the sharp brakes and kickdown, prompting the otherwise imperceptible automatic gearchanges to poke the lazy V8 into some very un-Shadow-like behaviour.
    Cheaper Silver Shadows are available, but you can spend a small fortune putting little niggles right. Given this car’s lack of real issues, we believe it represents decent value.


    ► The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow supersedes the Silver Cloud in 1965, with the badge- engineered Bentley christened the T-series.

    The Cloud’s 6230cc V8 is carried over, but the monocoque construction and square-rigged lines are radical advances for traditional customers.

    ► Two-door saloons are introduced during 1966, built by James Young and Mulliner Park Ward. The latter also builds a convertible the following year.

    ► The GM400 three-speed automatic transmission is standardised in 1968, a year before long-wheelbase models are debuted. Two years after this, the V8’s capacity increases in displacement to 6750cc.

    ► The MPW convertibles receive a few tweaks and are renamed Corniches for 1971. There’s a change to the ‘standard’ saloons in 1974 when wider tyres require flared wheelarches.

    ► Series 2 cars come out during 1977, with plastic-faced bumpers, a front spoiler, new facia and split-level air conditioning. They persist until 1980, although the Corniche and its Bentley Continental sister continue through to 1995.


    Price £19,995
    Contact Hanwells Bentley & Rolls-Royce, Hanwell, London (, 020 8567 9729)
    Engine 6750cc. V8
    Power [email protected]
    Torque 290lb [email protected]
    Top speed: 120mph;
    0-60mph: 10.2sec
    Fuel consumption: 14mpg
    Length: 5372mm
    Width: 1824mm
    INSURANCE £217
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  •   Stephen Latta reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    #Mercedes-Benz #Ponton. Mercedes' first monocoque was a best-seller and now makes a stylish, practical buy, says Malcolm McKay. Photography Tony Baker.

    Mercedes’ family car for the 1950s was - as you would expect - meticulously engineered. Immensely strong, its bodyshell was insulated from vibration because the engine, suspension and steering were fitted to a rubber-mounted box-section subframe, slung across the front a bit like a pontoon bridge - hence the nickname ‘Ponton’.

    Full-width styling was in vogue at the time, but the Mercedes’ imposing radiator grille made it stand out against more plebeian rivals. Though it started with a pedestrian sidevalve engine, its all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox and fully independent suspension were carried-over #Mercedes features that were still well ahead of most opponents. Separate driver and passenger heating controls with powerful through-flow ventilation and a laminated windscreen were advanced, but six-volt electrics, no passenger sunvisor and rubber floormats were not.

    More upmarket models soon appeared and, while rubber floormats continued, six-volt electrics were only fitted on the sidevalve cars. The straight-sixes were phased out before the ‘fours’ because their successor came first, but not until the #220SE had become the first mid-range car to be fitted with fuel injection, giving a massive boost in torque as well as more power.

    Saloon numbers have been decimated to the point where you now see almost as many cabriolets for sale. But find a good survivor and they are wonderfully endearing cars, feeling refined and supremely reassuring. Coupes are rare and perhaps not as well-proportioned as the delightful cabriolets, which have become enormously desirable, with prices soaring in recent years.

    While bodyshells do rust, their solidity means that problems are usually quite localised, unless the car has suffered extreme neglect such as being left in a garden or a damp garage for decades. In those circumstances, you can expect rot almost anywhere, on any car.

    Parts availability is good, with Mercedes itself still stocking most bits, and everything else can be sourced via specialists. There is no point being insular - while a few firms exist in the UK, if you want to find rare parts you have to look to Belgium, Germany, the USA and beyond. Components are not usually outrageously expensive, though chromework can be costly- especially if you need a lot of it - and wood interior trim on those that have it is also tricky.
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  •   David Lillywhite reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Compare Citroen SM v XM
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  •   David Lillywhite reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Citroen SM 3.0 IE automatic 1974 Euro-spec
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Alpine trial for new purchase

    The Montreal polarizes interests: engine or design? Both are extreme in conception and execution, and people’s opening gambits usually involve one or the other, rarely both. It’s the same in our family - I like the oily bits and my husband, a car designer, loves the Bertone/Gandini styling. And we both have issues with our preferred areas of specialisation: me with the complicated Tipo 33-derived engine, and he with the fact that the resale red respray on top of the original orange is hiding filler in the offside rear light cluster, which makes the tail look completely skewiff.

    'When a friend of mine was looking to offload the car, not a single rational thought ran through my mind'

    Alfa Romeo Montreal
    Name Joanne Marshall
    From Barnstaple, Devon
    Occupation Head of EMEA Communications, Ferrari
    Age 51
    First classic Lancia Fulvia
    Dream classic Anything pre-war, light and simple
    Favourite driving song Talking Heads Listening Wind
    Best drive The Grossglockner

    I’m not new to Alfa ownership and the frankly unhealthy familiarity with friendly, but expensive, mechanics that it can come with. Chronologically: Alfasud 1.3 SC, Alfetta GTV2.0, 156 1.9JTD and lastly - and most ruinously - 156 Crosswagon. And yet that almost bloody-minded, always-looking- for-another fixation never goes away. So, when a friend of mine was looking to offload his Montreal, not a single objective, rational thought ran through my mind.

    But even I will admit to a later moment of self-doubt when I realised that the camshafts run in the aluminium heads without bearings, and that the rest of the engine is truly up there in the Pantheon of supercar sophistication. But at least it works well, albeit after moderate fettling following the car’s lengthy stretch of not being used. That was down to the Italian bureaucracy involved in importing the car and getting it registered here for the first time. It took a nightmare 11 months, with a Catch 22 situation lurking behind every twist in the unending paper trail.

    We registered the car with the official Alfa Romeo Register in Milan, which brings the benefit of cheap classic car insurance. But even that had a hidden downside - the membership application documentation asked for details of any work carried out on the car and where it was undertaken. I blithely wrote down Parma. Little did I know that would prevent me from getting the car tested for its MoT in Modena, which is closer to home and has a vehicle licensing office that is used to dealing with £ imported old cars. No one has ever g been able to explain to me what о relevance where you get any work § done has to an MoT with national sj validity. But let’s not go there. Nor Si ask me to explain why it failed the first time round because it was “leaking oil”. A grumpy “That’s because there’s oil in it” failed to bring the technician around.

    A subsequent overheating problem nearly threw a spanner into the works for plans to take the car on its inaugural long-distance trip to Austria. Visions of the engine coming out to skim the heads faded when our latest, and soon-to-be- familiar, Alfa mechanic diagnosed a knackered fan, a cable tie, the wrong radiator cap and non-original thermostat - in that order.

    The Montreal took the Cross-roads Designer Rallye in its stride, covering 1700km and five Alpine passes with neither oil nor water ever above 80°C. And at least now I can relax in the knowledge that the handling and brakes are a lot better than I feared. Yes, it is a Giulia with an extra 250kg or so, worm-and- roller steering and no assistance. But that means faithful handling and surprisingly good roadholding. And what a fabulous gearbox.

    So, what did the designers on the rally think? A massive thumbs-up! Marshall fortunately managed to get the Alfa's overheating problems sorted before taking the caron its first long run into the Alps.

    Designer husband is a fan of Alfa’s shape. Montreal's roadholding turned out to be impressive over challenging, twisty Alpine roads. Crossroads Rallye covered 1700km in all. KTM X-Bow leads Montreal and Porsche.
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  •   Antonio Ghini reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Your tales of cars bought and sold on a whim. Rare right-hand drive Flaminia joined the ranks of classics that hindsight would never have let slip away.

    A dream fulfilled. And then... Fresh out of college and enjoying my first ‘proper’ job as a technical writer for a building products company, I was sent to Milan in the mid-Eighties to visit a factory that made designer radiators for upmarket homes.
    Rare right-hand drive Flaminia joined the ranks of classics that hindsight would never have let slip away.
    The MD and I soon found that we shared a love of old cars: he told me that in the Sixties he regularly drove from Milan to Zurich on business. He had the choice of a Lancia Flaminia GT and a Ferrari 330 GT in which to tackle the Alpine route. ‘For drama, I used the Ferrari,’ he said. ‘But if I was in a hurry? The Flaminia every time.’ From that moment on I knew my life would not be complete until I too was behind the wheel of a Flaminia GT. I had owned a Lancia Fulvia and I liked the way that Lancisti referred to the cars as ‘the thinking man’s Alfa Romeo’ because of their superior engineering.

    After years of trying to find one within my budget I saw an ad in Exchange & Mart that simply said, ‘1963 Lancia Flaminia GT. RHD. Runs and drives but needs cosmetic TLC. £6950 ono.’ Hours later I was on a train from Birmingham to Edinburgh with a carrier bag full of £20 notes and a road atlas. Just a few hours after that I had haggled £450 off the price and was the owner of my dream car, a battered but sweet-running silver Flaminia GT with a 2.5-litre triple-carb engine and a red leather interior. Best of all, it was one of only 12 made in factory right-hand drive. It ran faultlessly all the way to Brum and I felt like the luckiest man alive. I used the car almost daily for the next three years but became increasingly aware that it would soon need major surgery. The top end had developed a rattle and every time I shut the door, flakes of rust tinkled on to the tread plate. A visit to Italian car specialist Steve Hobbs confirmed the worst: it was going to cost at least twice what I’d paid for it just to get it through an MoT.

    This was far more than I could possibly afford, so with a heavy heart I entered it into a local classic car auction and saw it go for £10,000. The tidy profit offered some consolation but I still felt bereft. And to find another within my budget was now out of the question, this being the early-2000s when classic car prices were getting silly.

    I replaced it with a 1978 Porsche 911SC that cost me exactly the same as the Lancia (£6500) but was in a different league when it came to condition, being shiny and straight. I enjoyed my 911 immensely but still felt a void where the Lancia had been. Scroll forward a few years and, now with a little more money at my disposal, I resolved to try and buy the Flaminia back. I tracked down the owner with the help of the auction house who had sold it.

    He wouldn’t sell, even though he’d never even looked at the car since buying it, keeping it in an underground car park as an investment. That still annoys me.

    To bring the story full circle, I bought another Flaminia GT - admittedly in very poor state and left-hand drive - and I’m midway through a (necessarily low-budget) restoration. I want it back on the road where it belongs (take note, Mr Investor), and have resolved that this time I’ll never sell it as it remains my dream car. Unless I get a phone call from London. Come on, Mr Investor - you know who you are.
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