News: JAGUAR E-TYPE REVEALED AS BEST BRITISH CAR EVER AT CLASSIC & SPORTS CAR – THE LONDON SHOW

It’s surely a question that has surfaced around many a beer garden table with arguments and counter arguments swaying backwards and forwards between friends and colleagues. The vast array of British cars produced over the years surely means that voting for the Best British Car ever cannot have been an easy task and one where the debate can never truly be said to be over.

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But now the answer to the question on the lips of every car enthusiast has been answered: the Best British Car Ever is the Jaguar E-type, revealed today at Classic & Sports Car – The London Show.

Classic & Sports Car Magazine have shared with MotorMartin the following to explain how this decision has been reached. It’s the climax to a six-month process of selection and voting which has seen ten British icons battle to be named the car that people hold closest to their hearts. Today, that winner was revealed, with the wraps pulled off a fittingly special E-type as Classic & Sports Car – The London Show opened its doors to the public at Alexandra Palace.

Interview Stage special guest Ant Anstead, who has recently presented the BBC’s Building Cars Live, took the Autoglym cover off to reveal ‘77 RW’ – the oldest-surviving open E-type and the original car that Norman Dewis OBE, another Interview Stage guest, drove from Coventry almost non-stop to the Geneva Motor Show for its worldwide debut in March 1961. 

The Series 1 3.8-litre car was built in in February 1961 as the first production two-seater and, as well as starring on the Geneva show stand, was a press demonstrator, used byThe Motor for its road test, published 22 March 1961. In 2000, Mr Michael Kilgannon, the long-term owner, put ‘77 RW’ on permanent loan to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust. The car was then completely restored with the assistance of Martin Robey Limited of Nuneaton.

From today until Sunday 1st November, this particular E-type will feature in a £40m centrepiece display, sponsored by car care and valeting specialist Autoglym, featuring the top ten British cars.

Earlier this year, Classic & Sports Car – the world’s best-selling classic car magazine – asked a jury of more than 100 motoring experts, including McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray, Lotus head of design Russell Carr and former Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, to come up with the shortlist of 10 cars. Their nominations ranged from the affordable car that put the nation on wheels, the Austin Seven, to the McLaren F1, the most uncompromised high-performance car ever built.

For stage two that shortlist (which also included the original Range Rover, Lotus Seven, Jaguar XKSS, Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Ford GT40, Mini Cooper S, Bentley Speed Six and Jaguar E-type) was put to a worldwide public poll. And thousands cast their votes with the E-type the overall winner.

As you might expect, the E-type was a big favourite with the expert panel. Gordon Murray praised its “classic styling and advanced engineering”, while Russell Carr nominated it for its “projectile styling” which, he said, “has real speed and sophistication with that dramatic long bonnet and cab rearward proportions.”

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Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler singled out the E-type’s combination of style and value for money: “It was the most beautiful car ever made, according to Enzo Ferrari, a lot less expensive and a lot better than the competition, too.” It was a feeling summed up by commentator, Simon Taylor: “Not only the fastest and most beautiful supercar of its day, but also miraculously half or one-third of the price of the cars that it pulverised. If they’d only made 75, instead of 75,000, they’d be auctioned today for Ferrari GTO money.”

James Elliott, Classic & Sports Car magazine group editor, said: “The E-type has it all, looks to stop traffic and a driving experience that has stood the test of time. When it was new you could not have bought more style and performance for the price. It is a car that continues to seduce young and old and is a very worthy winner. It’s very fitting that a great British brand like Autoglym has been so closely involved with celebrating our country’s iconic motoring heritage and I hope visitors to Alexandra Palace enjoy this display as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.”

John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, said: “This a fantastic accolade for one of Jaguar’s most recognisable models ever built. Jaguar’s Heritage business aims to support loyal and passionate customers so that models such as the E-type can continue to be maintained and enjoyed across the generations. The fact that it has captured the most votes in a global public vote is a testament to its status as one of the world’s most iconic sportscars and now, officially, as the Best British Car Ever.”

Classic & Sports Car – The London Show features more than 300 of the world’s most prestigious classic cars from world-famous collectors and world-renowned classic car retailers. Organised by Classic & Sports Car, the world’s best-selling classic car magazine, The London Show includes a celebration of Aston Martin in partnership with EFG International, an exhibition of Sir Stirling Moss’ most iconic single-seater competition cars and a star-studded Interview Stage featuring Ross Brawn OBE, Ant Anstead and David Brabham among a host of other celebrity guests from the world of motoring and motorsport.

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Visit www.classicandsportscarshow.com for more information. Tickets for Classic & Sports Car – The London Show are still available on the door.

So there you have it, a process that took many experts a considerable length of time and we finally have the answer. But now there is an even more important question to answer and one that you can all help with and that is, “do you agree?” Let MotorMartin know your thoughts on this. Did Classic & Sports Car Magazine get it right?

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News: AUDI READY FOR INTENSE FINAL STAGE IN WEC TITLE RACE

Although not immediately obvious MotorMartin and the World Endurance Championship have a clear and direct link. More so than perhaps any other form of racing. The current WEC rules were designed to encourage manufacturers to create sustainable technologies that they could the filter down to their road cars as well as allow for close and exciting racing. In the article ’24-hour car race helps automakers design your next hybrid vehicle’ by Jonathan M Gitlin http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/10/24-hour-car-race-helps-auto-makers-design-your-next-hybrid-vehicle/ we are told that since these races started, they’ve spawned plenty of road car technology we now take for granted, from windscreen wipers to disc brakes. If car makers know that a new technology can withstand the rigors of Le Mans, the same technology will easily shrug off the demands placed on them by day-to-day driving.

This technology transfer from the track to your driveway is a very real thing. In the first few decades, the main focus was on improving reliability and mastering aerodynamics. But since the fuel crisis of the 1970s, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which organizes the race, has written the rules to encourage ever-greater improvements in fuel efficiency. Today, that means hybrids. The race rules let hybrid cars recover 500 kJ of energy at a number of designated braking zones on the track. The cars only have 164′ (50 m) to capture that energy (which takes around three seconds), and it has to be expended before the next zone. So Jonathan goes on to say that this is the technology that will make  its way onto the hybrid family cars of the future and therefore onto our driveways.

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Audi are therefore preparing hard for the 6 Hours of Shanghai as the first free practice session starts on Friday 30th October. Audi have been keen to stress to MotorMartin that the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is turning onto the finish straight. Three quarters into the season, the title race is extremely close. Before round seven at Shanghai on November 1, Audi is separated from the top spot in the standings by only a single point.

In six countries on three continents, the fastest teams have covered 10,850.584 kilometers in races since April – a distance equating to about one fourth of the earth’s circumference. The difference between the drivers from Porsche and Audi in the standings amounts to a single point. 52 points are yet to be awarded this season. “The battle for the World Championship title has never before been as intense as this year,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Our 2012 World Champions, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, have maintained their chances in the title race by delivering consistent performances.”

The three race drivers are jointly competing for Audi in their sixth year, currently driving the number ‘7’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro. With a track record of ten victories since 2012, they are the most successful WEC drivers of all time. The Swiss, the German and the Frenchman are the only driver combination to have mounted the podium at every round in the current season and were leading the World Championship for five races.

The number ‘8’ Audi impresses with its performances as well. Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis are driving together for the first time in 2015 and have continuously been increasing their form curve during the course of the year. In the second half of the season, they have regularly been battling for podium places and at Austin mounted the podium for the first time. Most recently, at Fuji, Loïc Duval managed to set the fastest race lap. “It’s good to have such a balanced driver squad for which the team result always has priority,” says Dr. Ullrich.

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A new aerodynamics package measurably enhanced the competitiveness of Audi’s hybrid sports car in the most recent race at Fuji. Shorter pit stops for refueling and fast, impeccable tire changes performed by Audi Sport Team Joest contribute their share to the team’s performance. “We managed to make a step forward in the crucial stage of the title race,” says Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “At Shanghai, we’re again set on presenting ourselves as fierce rivals in order to maintain all our chances up to the end.”

China is like a second home for Audi. The brand has production sites in Changchun and Foshan. China is the largest single market of AUDI AG. Last year, the company delivered 578,900 automobiles there, equating to growth of 17.7 percent. Audi is the market leader in the Chinese premium segment.

While Audi’s WEC drivers are competing in the penultimate round of the season, a thrilling title decision is expected in the supporting program at the same event, as the Audi R8 LMS Cup is holding its finale at Shanghai. Alex Yoong from Malaysia and Congfu Cheng from China are heading the standings tied on points in the Asian racing series for identical Audi GT3 sports cars.

Eurosport will again be broadcasting the entire FIA WEC race live in Germany. TV viewers can watch the round on November 1 from 04.00 to 10.15, CET. The decision in the Audi R8 LMS Cup can be followed by fans on the live stream available at www.audi-motorsport.com.

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MotorMartin will certainly be watching how this intriguing games of chess unfolds over the course of six hours of high intensity racing.

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Jaguar 2.5 S-Type: Thunder Road

The history of motor racing has thrown up many, many great cars and companies over the last hundred years or so, indeed the racing heritage on the British Isles alone stretch to hundreds of manufacturers and ancillary companies. Each individual company an important cog in the racing supply chain that has been providing cars and drivers to support since the days when everything was black and white. Perhaps one of the most memorable of all racing teams and manufacturers has to be that of Jaguar, there can’t be many people that don’t recall a particular car or race when the word Jaguar is mentioned whichever your favourite decade of racing was. Jaguar has thrown up so many iconic race cars, the C-type, D-Type, XJR-5 to XJR-17 as well as the F1 cars of the early 2000s.

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A look at Jaguar Land Rover’s own official history at http://www.jaguarlandrover.com/gl/en/about-us/our-history/ informs us that Jaguar’s reputation was boosted by its motorsport success in the 1950s, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours race twice with a C-type – in 1951 and again in 1953 – and then with a D-type in 1955, 1956 and 1957. In 1961, the company launched what became perhaps the most iconic sports cars of all time, the E-type. Further Racing success followed as you can see below.

The mantra that racing improves the breed is certainly a popular one but is it relevant today (or even yesterday with the S-Type?) Can we really be expected to believe that somewhere in this 2.5ltr V6 is the memory of those Le Mans victory’s of the 1950s or the sports car success that followed?

The Jaguar C-Type is often quoted as having a naturally aspirated petrol engine of 3.4 litres with double overhead camshaft 6 cylinder with 2 valves per cylinder which combines to create a powerplant that produces 200 bhp. Now if we compare the C-type with this particular S-Type, Its 2.5 litre engine is a naturally aspirated, double overhead camshaft, 6 cylinder unit that produces 201 bhp (204 PS/150 kW) of power at 6800 rpm, and maximum torque of 250 N·m (184 lb·ft/25.5 kgm) at 4000 rpm. Fifty years apart but not so different after all.

As discussed in part 1, the interior of the S-Type is a relaxing and comfortable place to spend serious amounts of time. I know it’s not to everyone’s taste and is viewed by some as being needlessly nostalgic but I really enjoyed sitting in this cabin. The deep leather seats are cosseting and seriously comfortable and it is simple to move and adjust the seat and steering wheel to gain the perfect driving position. As much as it is a cliché, I have to say that the controls really do fall easily to hand and all that you need is easily within reach.

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With your left foot on the brake it is simplicity itself to move the gear lever from park through to drive before the gentlest of touches on the throttle automatically disconnects the electronic hand brake and begins to move the Jaguar forward. The car hides it’s considerable bulk well, its a 5 series size motor after all rather than 3 series, yet I swear you can feel everything that the rear tyres are telling you about the power being put down by them as the Jaguar begins to move through the rev range. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of the engine is both surprising and obvious in equal measures and it is here that you can start to see and feel how much of Jaguar’s engineering heritage has found its way into this gem of an motor. With MotorMartin’s focus on ‘real life’ motoring it would be too easy to dismiss the Jaguar’s 200 horses as being rather excessive when considering what is necessary to propel a family and their associated belongings around but it’s the way that this motor uses its power that’s truly impressive.

Setting off it’s immediately apparent that the six speed automatic gearbox is a delight, the Jaguar moves up through the gears smoothly as the engine gathers speed and can basically be ignored, there is the slightest pause as the next gear engages before the revs begin to rise again, a satisfying burble emerging from the engine and exhaust as you swiftly make progress. It is easy to keep to a constant speed through town driving whilst the stop start of traffic poses no problems at all. The extraordinary comfort and engine combine perfectly to allow the driver to concentrate fully on the road and other road users whilst enjoying the luxury that this premium motor car provides. Once out of town the ability of the Jaguar to isolate the driver and passengers from the road and its imperfections is a league apart from the average family car and if, like most of us, you’ve been spent most of your driving in Astra’s and similar then the ride quality will be a revelation. Jaguar’s engineering know how, directly honed from years of experience on the track is brought to bare on this large saloon, the suspension being both soft and controlled yet, when you are making swift progress over empty country roads, it does a superb job of keeping everything in check facilitating the more enthusiastic driver to fully exploit the horsepower easily accessible under the bonnet.

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Once confident with the external dimensions of the big cat you find yourself able to use the accurate steering and easy power delivery to place the Jaguar exactly where you want it through the corners. Pressing the throttle into the carpet encourages the automatic to drop down a couple of gears before raising its hackles and shooting off toward the next set of bends. You can feel the rear of the car digging into the road, see the traction control light on the dashboard flickering as the tyres grip, unload and grip again yet, and here’s the quality of it all, everything feels so natural, so easy. It really is a breed apart.

This is a drivers car hidden under the guise of a family saloon. MotorMartin loves how this car feels and drives. It is equally at home on the motorway, cruise control set to 70 mph, as it is in traffic or on the commute to work. Comfort, control, ease of use. Are there any downsides? With prices for a good, clean, low mileage example of the 2.5 petrol starting at around £4000 is it time to unleash your inner Hyde? Find out in part 3 later this week.

Where will you go?

News: CITROËN’S CITY CAR CREDENTIALS RECOGNISED AT GREENFLEET AWARDS

Citroën are certainly not backwards in coming forwards when it comes to harnessing creative flair and technology that enhances well-being. MotorMartin has been told that since 1919 Citroën has made a major contribution to putting cars within reach of the general public, providing practical and purposeful answers to the questions arising in each era and that Citroën cars today place a premium on design, comfort and useful technology.  With 10,000 customer contact points and presence in over 90 countries, Citroën sold almost 1.2 million vehicles in 2014. The brand has also amassed eight Manufacturers’ titles in the WRC and a new Manufacturers’ FIA world championship title from the 2014 WTCC season.
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Further good news for Citroën has recently followed as they have scooped the title of ‘City Car Manufacturer of the Year’ at the GreenFleet Awards 2015.

Having won the same award in 2014, it marks back-to-back triumphs in the category for Citroën, and highlights the continuous efforts made by the French manufacturer to design and engineer cleaner small cars with ultra-low emissions. The awards were announced at a gala dinner at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on 22nd October, where Citroën was also shortlisted in the Best LCV Manufacturer and Best Fleet Manufacturer categories. 

“We are delighted to once again be voted City Car Manufacturer of the Year at the GreenFleet Awards. It is recognition of the work that goes on from our talented team of designers and engineers to produce the most environmentally conscious cars we can for our customers,” commented Martin Gurney, PSA Peugeot Citroën UK’s Director – Fleet & Used Vehicles.

With a broad product range, Citroën now boasts more ultra-low emissions city cars than ever before. This includes the continually expanding range of highly efficient three-cylinder petrol engines, with the award-winning PureTech engine now available in power ratings of up to 130bhp.

One of Citroën’s ultra-low emissions vehicles is the C1, which offers a choice of VTi 68 and the PureTech 82 three-cylinder petrol engine in 3-door and 5-door versions. C1 CO2 emissions start as low as 88g/km, with a Combined Cycle economy of up to 74.3mpg and low insurance groupings from just 6E.

MotorMartin has recently spent time with a mid range Citroën Cactus and was very impressed overall and will be reviewing at a later date. Keep your eyes peeled for further news.

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News: 50 YEARS OF HONDA IN THE UK

MotorMartin can’t be the only one to be surprised by Honda’s announcement that they were to celebrate 50 years of trading in the UK. It was the year the Beatles performed the first stadium concert in the history of music, while cartoon heroes Tom and Jerry and the puppet-tastic Thunderbirds first aired on TV.  Cigarette advertising was banned on British TV, the Sound of Music premiered and Churchill was buried. As you can see from the brief list above, this was a time of great change both socially and culturally with the world seemingly moving forward under the weight of new technologies.

1965 also saw the year Honda first started trading in the UK.  It was also the year when Honda had their first Grand Prix win with the legendary RA272, thanks to Ritchie Ginther at the Mexico Grand Prix.

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Honda are proud of the fact that in the last five decades, Honda has achieved milestone after milestone.  Now one of the top 20 biggest brands in the world, Honda employs over 182,000 employees worldwide and has 40 manufacturing facilities making everything from a 25cc leaf blower to a $4m business jet.

Last year, global sales hit 27.3million units, made up of 17 million motorcycles, six million power products and 4.3million cars.  The European arm employs 8,000 people and last year sold almost 1.4million products.

This year also sees 30 years of Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM). A 370 acre site in Swindon employing 3,200 people, HUM has benefitted from a self-funded total investment of £2.2bn over the years and will become the global production hub for the five door Civic.

The motorcycles division is number one in the UK market with almost 20% market share.  Indeed MotorMartin passed his motorcycle test way back in 1990 on a 125cc Honda Benly twin which had the luxury of an electric start no less! With a product range spanning 65 models, last year, Honda sold 19,000 bikes in the UK.  The power products range has 225 models and last year sold in excess of 50,000 units.  Honda is the number one ATV manufacturer in the UK and the third largest outboard manufacturer.

From a motorsport perspective in the UK, we have the most successful BSB team in the UK and the BTCC team just won the drivers and manufacturers championships for 2015. Surely this seasons BTCC was one of the most exciting of recent years, with a strength in depth second to none.

Philip Crossman, Managing Director at Honda UK, commented: “This year marks our golden anniversary in the UK with fifty years of rich history in trading bikes, power products and cars.  While this year has been significant in refreshing the car range in its entirety and launching several important new bikes, the Japanese way is to take a much longer viewpoint than just 12 months. Our business has changed radically since it launched in the swinging sixties, adapting and evolving to suit the demands of riders and drivers over the years.  I can well imagine that Honda will be a completely different organisation in 2065 – but still selling quality and trusted cars, bikes and power products.”

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Join me then in raising a glass to Honda as MotorMartin wishes them continued success for the next 50 years! Well done.

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News: FLYWHEEL GETS IN GEAR TO TAKE OFF AGAIN – JULY 2ND & 3RD 2016

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Exciting news has been released today for fans of all things vintage as historic aircraft, competition cars, classic road cars and military machines will all be converging on Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire for the weekend of July 2nd and 3rd 2016, when Flywheel returns to the UK’s best-preserved Second World War bomber station.

Showcasing the best in aviation, motorsport, motoring and military history in a uniquely atmospheric and intimate setting, this family-friendly nostalgia-fest brings together a fantastic range of entertainment to appeal to all ages.

MotorMartin understands that the first Flywheel – held in June 2015 – was a huge success, drawing thousands of spectators who thoroughly enjoyed outstanding displays in the air and on the motorsport demonstration track, and the chance to get up close to an exciting range of military vehicles, aircraft and rare racing cars.

Highlights included the return to the former RAF Bicester of the Blenheim bomber for the first time in over 70 years, spectacular air displays from the iconic Spitfire, WW1 dog fight demonstrations from the Great War Display Team, a flame-throwing Bentley-Packard special with a 41-litre engine, a historic Sherman M4 tank, the ex-Stirling Moss C-type, exhilarating performances from the aircraft-engined 1905 Fiat land speed record car, while vintage glider rides, a ‘pop-up’ period fashion shoot and military re-enactors really brought the history of the site alive.

Having established a firm footing with the inaugural event, the Flywheel organisers now plan to surpass it for 2016, with more displays and some exciting new content. Further information can be found onwww.flywheelfestival.com.

Ticket prices will be announced, and tickets will go on sale, later this year. It’s time to put Saturday July 2nd and Sunday July 3rd in your diaries!

If possible MotorMartin will be getting along to enjoy the show, enjoy the magnificent machines on offer and sharing my thoughts with you all. Tally Ho! All images for this news article are kindly provided by the talents of Pete Austin.

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News: THE JOY OF SIX

Time for a quick history lesson so sit up at the back and pay attention. According to MG Motor UK the iconic British MG brand can trace its history back to 1924 and is world famous for making stylish cars that are fun to drive and own and are sold at remarkably affordable prices. Modern MGs, which are designed, engineered and finally assembled in Longbridge, Birmingham, continue this long and rich MG tradition.

Two cars currently come off the Longbridge assembly lines: the MG6 and the MG3 with several models planned for the immediate and longer-term future.

The MG6 is a medium-sized fastback offering fantastic dynamic handling, high levels of interior comfort and a tremendously spacious cabin area with a cavernous boot. The MG6 won the category ‘£17,500 and under’ in the Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards in 2015. It also won the 2014 Auto Express Driver Power Best Handling Award. 

The MG3 is a new generation supermini which brings fun and style to this sector of the market at very affordable prices. The 1.5-litre petrol-powered car can also be personalised, so owners have the option of giving their car their own style-statement.

MG was voted the fourth best manufacturer in the UK in the Auto Express Driver Power Awards in 2015. MG was the fastest growing brand in Britain in 2014 as shown by official figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Currently MG has the fastest growing network of dealers in the UK as sales continue to surge.  
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MotorMartin surely can’t be alone in thinking that the MG6 combines a remarkable specification with exceptional value for money. To my mind it’s a great looking car that allows a family the added convenience of a larger than average boot and interior space. MG Motors UK have now highlighted the fact that just six months ago they launched the new MG6 and it has been a great success with customers enjoying the numerous improvements made to the value-for-money fastback.

MG are quick to inform MotorMartin that with the range starting from £13,995 and the top specification coming in at £17,995, customers have been really taken with the MG6. To mark the six months, MG spoke to six owners to find out how they’re getting on with their MG6 and what they love about it the most.

Kevin Wright bought his MG6 from the Sales Centre in Longbridge. He said: “We owned the previous version of the MG6 and decided to upgrade to the newer model after seeing that MG had made so many great changes to it. We’re so happy with the car and find it nice to drive. Plus, the emissions and fuel economy have been made better which is a great added bonus.”

Michael Kneeshaw bought his MG6 from Cambridge MG. He said: “This is the second MG6 I’ve owned, and the fourth MG, and it’s a pleasure to drive. We treated ourselves to the top of the range model and it has all the gizmos you could possibly want and need; which makes it great value for money. The design of the car certainly stands out and is identifiable with many people.”

Alan Cook also bought his MG6 from Cambridge MG. He said: “It’s a fine car and is very comfortable. Compared with the previous MG6, it’s definitely improved and the fuel economy has certainly been made better. I’ve had MGs virtually all my driving life, and this is a great addition to that line up.”

Richard Cawte bought his MG6 from Apple MG in Gravesend. He said: “I used to own an MGB and had always wanted another MG. After spotting the MG6 in the paper, I set up a test drive and instantly liked it. The boot space is sufficient enough to hold my golf clubs and the engine has got plenty of go to it without having to put too much into it. I’ve had a lot of compliments about it and people have said it’s great to see the MG back on the road.”

Stephen Rainbow-Cross bought his MG6 from Summit Garage in Dudley. He said: “The MG6 is an extremely good car and I’m really pleased with it. It has a lot of power and a lot of toys and, when you look at other manufacturers, similar models just don’t match up to the spec available with the MG6.”

Daljit Singh bought his MG6 from Coventry MG and has nothing but praise for it: “This car is one of the best I’ve owned. I fell in love with it straightaway and find the driving experience phenomenal. Combine getting so much for your money with the amazing customer service I received and you can see why I can’t fault it. You also can’t put a price on the quality of British engineering, which makes this car so special.”

If you want to check out the MG6 and see for yourself why your next car should be an MG then visit your local dealer for a test drive and, if you’re blown away, then you can benefit from our current 0% finance offer. Check the website for more details:http://mg.co.uk/offers-finance/.

Hopefully MotorMartin can soon arrange a test of the relaunched MG6 as there isn’t a great deal of reading available if you want to get an honest ‘real life’ opinion about this underrated family car.

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News: GORDON SHEDDEN CLAIMS BTCC TITLE IN STYLE

A brief read of Volvo’s website tells us that in April 1994, two liveried Volvo 850 estate cars rolled up to the start line on the Thruxton track in southern England. It was the start of the season of the most prestigious standard car series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Alongside Tom Walkinshaw Racing – TWR – Volvo had initiated a major investment in the class, and the idea of using estate cars was a great success right from the outset. They attracted a great deal of attention and challenged Volvo’s image in a positive way, particularly in the UK. Volvo wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to combine practicality with pleasure! It was amazing to watch the two estate car sliding around the premiere tracks of the UK. It gave the series a shot in the arm and helped to establish the BTTC as an exciting contact sport in the living rooms of motor racing fans up and down the country.
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The BTTC has seen many changes in rules, regulations and manufacturers over the intervening years, all designed to keep the series innovative and exciting, and has seen the viewing figures at trackside and on TV continue to grow. The latest series has just reached its climax and the fans were once again treated to a season full of thrills and spills throughout.

Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden has been crowned the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion after producing a sensational drive in the final race of a dramatic season.

It was a contest that saw title rival Jason Plato surge into a commanding lead after Matt Neal’s Honda slid wide at Paddock Hill Bend on the opening tour, which meant Shedden had to finish in at least sixth position to claim the crown.

The odds seemed stacked against the Scotsman, who started the race down in a lowly 19th place, but the Honda Civic Type R driver went on a relentless attack that would prove fruitful after 18 laps of nerve-racking action played out in front of a record 42,000 crowd.
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Three safety car periods curtailed Plato’s getaway in the early stages, and also gave Shedden the chance to close in on his next target. Plato’s Team BMR RCIB Insurance team-mate Alain Menu did everything he could to hold up Gordon’s charge as the pair made contact on a number of occasions. A puncture for Menu’s VW unleashed the Fife-based racer, who then produced startling move after startling move in what was undoubtedly the drive of his career to date.

He dismissed Sam Tordoff’s BMW with consummate ease to make it into the top ten, before carving his way by Andrew Jordan’s MG and Andy Priaulx’s BMW on lap ten.

Next up was Aron Smith’s VW with the Irishman keen to assist stablemate Plato. Shedden lined him up as the duo approached Clearways on lap 12 and when the VW ran slightly wide on the exit of the corner the Honda slipped down the inside. They ran side-by-side across the line with the roar from the crowd almost as deafening as the 30 flame-spitting BTCC machines performing in front of them. Shedden was through and now just needed one more place to clinch the most coveted honour in British motor sport.

That move came one tour later as Rob Collard’s BMW proved defenceless against Shedden’s ballast-free Honda, and he took another place in the shape of Adam Morgan’s WIX Racing Mercedes on the run up to Druids. An uncertain Shedden remained on the attack, however, and became embroiled in a further dispute for position with Jack Goff’s MG. Matt Neal eased his team-mate’s concern by slipping back to hand him fourth place and on the final lap Shedden eventually settled on his position.

Plato’s flawless display deserved victory as he crossed the line ahead of Mat Jackson’s Ford Focus and MG Triple Eight Racing’s Goff. While his 94th BTCC triumph extended his incredible victory record, it was unable to bring him his third title, but few could argue with Shedden’s performance in this race and throughout this unforgettable season.

The Honda Yuasa Racing crew lined the pitwall and the crowd rose to its feet as Shedden blasted across the line, seemingly in joyful tears, and the new 2015 BTCC champion was crowned.
Neal took fifth ahead of Morgan and Collard, Jordan, Smith and Priaulx completed the top ten order.

The day had begun with a dominant double for Motorbase Performance’s Mat Jackson as the Ford Focus proved the weapon of choice around the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit. The local team has enjoyed a stunning comeback to the BTCC having only entered at the midway stage of the season, as Jackson claimed four wins in the final two events.

Morgan took two third place finishes in the opening two bouts, while Team BMR RCIB Insurance’s Aron Smith and Speedworks’ Tom Ingram stood on the second step of the podium in races one and two respectively.

With the dust settling over another incredible tin-top season it was Shedden celebrating under the floodlights as he won the Drivers’ championship by just four points from Plato, with Neal beating Turkington to third in the standings. There was some joy for outgoing champion Turkington, however, as he claimed the Independent Drivers’ championship, whilst Team BMR RCIB Insurance took Teams’ and Independents’ Team honours.
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There was double delight for Honda Yuasa Racing as it wrestled back the Manufacturers’ title from MG. Josh Cook’s first season in the BTCC with Power Maxed Racing proved a fantastic success as he won the Jack Sears Trophy for rookie drivers.

The 2016 campaign will blast into action at the Season Launch on 22 March. 

Gordon Shedden said: “I can’t believe it – I just can’t believe it! What an incredible day, what an incredible race! That’s touring car racing at its absolute best. To win it from that far back, I can’t believe it. It seemed like an impossible task but the Civic Type R was absolutely on fire with no ballast, I was just so desperate to win – wow! I’m almost lost for words, but the emotion is unbelievable. Sometimes the best way to keep it on the track is to keep pushing! To win it in the debut year of the Civic Type R and to get the manufacturers’ too is out of this world. It’s even more special than the first time.”

2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch GP

Race 1

1.    Mat JACKSON (Motorbase Performance): 18 Laps
2.    Aron SMITH (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +0.715s
3.    Adam MORGAN (WIX Racing): +1.889s
4.    Colin TURKINGTON (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +3.920s
5.    Jason PLATO (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +5.696s
6.    Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +7.260s

Race 2

1.    Mat JACKSON (Motorbase Performance): 18 Laps
2.    Tom INGRAM  (Speedworks Motorsport): +0.350s
3.    Adam MORGAN (WIX Racing): +1.460s
4.    Dave NEWSHAM (Power Maxed Racing): +2.904s
5.    Jack GOFF (MG Triple Eight Racing): +3.278s
6.    Jason PLATO (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): +3.588s

Race 3

1.    Jason PLATO (Team BMR RCIB Insurance): 18 Laps
2.    Mat JACKSON (Motorbase Performance): +3.536s
3.    Jack GOFF (MG Triple Eight Racing): +8.954s
4.    Gordon SHEDDEN (Honda Yuasa Racing): +9.086s
5.    Matt NEAL (Honda Yuasa Racing): +9.564s
6.    Adam MORGAN (WIX Racing): +10.079s

Click here for the final classification from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch GP.

MotorMartin will be searching the TV listings in March to make sure the start of the new season will not be missed.

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Jaguar 2.5 S-Type: Fully grown cat or still a Kitten?

Anthrax or Hall and Oates? This is not a question that you would expect to hear in just about any situation as both groups have very different sounds. Analogue or digital then? Again, two very different approaches to the same issues. How do you choose when each group or music process has their own good and bad points?

Anthrax were beginning to hit the heights with their fourth album, State of Euphoria, an record nicely described by http://www.metalreviews.com/reviews/album/6097 as a solid album. Metalreviews continue to say that the killer songs come thick and fast, the album opening with the nice and epic Be All End All, a cello introduction soon giving way to the band’s usually solid riffing and catchy singalong chorus. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind continues in much the same vein, the heavy guitars taking centre stage as the speed and melody of previous and future albums are left to one side – really, Anthrax in their eighties form were absolutely killer, and even entry-level Thrashers should be familiar with their songs. Heck, the tracklisting of this album reads like an Anthrax best-of in hindsight, the sheer catchiness of the material making it easy to love and hard to forget.

And now we have Hall & Oates, looking at http://www.hallandoates.com/about.html we see that the duo were signed to Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegan in the 1970’s and that their 1973 debut album, Abandoned Luncheonette, produced by Arif Mardin, yielded the Top 10 single, “She’s Gone,” which also went to #1 on the R&B charts when it was covered by Taveras. The duo recorded one more album with Atlantic, War Babies, (produced by Todd Rundgren) before they were dropped and promptly signed to RCA. Their tenure at RCA would catapult the duo to international superstardom.

From the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s, the duo would score six #1 singles, including “Rich Girl” (also #1 R&B), “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (also #1 R&B), “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” from their six consecutive multi-platinum albums—’76’s Bigger Than Both of Us, ’80’s Voices, ’81’s Private Eyes, ‘82’s H2O, ‘83’s Rock N Soul, Part I and ‘84’s Big Bam Boom. The era would also produce an additional 5 Top 10 singles, “Sara Smile,” “One on One,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Method of Modern Love.” By 1987, the R.I.A.A. recognized Daryl Hall and John Oates as the NUMBER-ONE SELLING DUO in music history, a record they still hold today.

So there you have it, two groups, two different methods of listening back, two completely different sounds. When you’re feeling the need for a thrash about I doubt you’d be choosing Hall & Oates yet when arranging a quiet night in I’m not sure that Anthrax is the way forward.
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So what’s this got to do with the Jaguar 2.5 S-Type? Is it Analogue or digital, Is it a ‘Maneater’ as Hall and Oates would say or perhaps ‘Out of sight, Out of mind’ if we’re in the Anthrax camp.

The Jaguar is old school, it’s not troubled the top 10 in either CDs or downloads for a number of years and has been superseded not once (the XF,) not twice (facelift XF,) but three times (latest XF.) Putting the S-Type up against the very latest XF would be like comparing the sound quality of an LP with the sonic capabilities of a high quality CD. Yet, I’m sure I’m not alone in sometimes seeking out vinyl over digital. It’s the packaging of an LP, proper size album art, lyrics printed at a size that can actually be read, the wonders of the gate-fold double album, there’s just something about that little bit of crackle and hiss before an LP starts that digital music, in any of its forms, just cannot hope to replicate. There are other times though when you want, even need, the clinical perfection of digital, the latest remaster of your favourite album,  allowing you to hear the tunes anew, a fresh emphasis now placed on different parts of your favourite song giving it a revitalised quality.

Now what if you could find a car that can do both analogue and digital, can give you the crackle and hiss when you want it as well as the clinical dynamics and range of modernity? The new supergroup, Hall and Oates and Anthrax if you will. Opening the driver side door on an S-Type is an event, the aluminium kick plate reading Jaguar glints up at you. The subtle inner lighting welcomes you, the well chosen contours of the beige leather and walnut dashboard greet you like an old friend. It’s a gatefold LP opened wide, lyrics and band pictures jostling for position across the fold and promising an exotic sound to take you away from the humdrum, from the everyday.
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This is a remarkable place to be. The seats are extremely comfortable as they offer a wide range of adjustment with both height and reach as well as the added convenience of two memory save spaces so that you no longer have to worry about getting the seat and steering wheel back to your desired position. This really is a car that you can travel across countries in. I love this cabin and how it makes you feel special. Everything within manages to convey longevity, the touch of the leather is superb, the automatic gear lever is a delight to look at and use. Admittedly, the plastic surrounding the climate controls and stereo doesn’t match the rest of the interior but it is still superior to the average family car. Even this 12 year old model still manages to cosset the driver and family whilst still convincing that you’re in something rather special. Yet amongst all of this tradition, hidden behind the LP collection are a few CDs trying to grab your attention starting with the optional heated seats. With two heat settings to choose from, they are a definite feature to seek out when deciding upon the specification of your second hand S-Type. It is only after a few miles that some of the other plus points from the interior begin to raise their head. The buttons on the steering wheel can be used to control the excellent stereo and cruise control, an essential feature if you intend to use the Jaguar for the purpose it was surely designed for and one that aids the driver over distance. Duel zone climate control takes us once again out of analogue and back into the digital age as it allows for the temperature of each front seat passenger to be set separately and is very simple to use. As you spend more and more time drinking in the details you notice more refinement, the electronic hand break, the 6 CD changer in the boot, the helpful light in the glove compartment, decent size door pockets, a handy space for your CDs and two cupholders hidden away in the central armrest.
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Analogue and digital working together. Hall and Oates and Anthrax. Driving impressions to follow.

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News: FORMER AVENGERS JAGUAR XJ12-C BROADSPEED DEFIES ESTIMATES FETCHING £62,000 AT AUCTION

Fans of classic and cult TV will be thrilled to discover that the original Jaguar XJ12-C Broadspeed that appeared in the 1970’s TV series, The New Avengers, has sold at auction today for £62,000 – some £50,000 over initial estimates.
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The iconic Jaguar, driven by secret agent John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) in the hit series, began life as a pre-production prototype vehicle for the marque. Bought by a private collector at the H&H Classics’ auction at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridge, the XJ12-C completed its early development and testing work with Jaguar before being sent to Broadspeed Engineering Ltd. to be fitted with upgraded bodykit including wider bumpers and wheelarches plus bigger wheels and tyres in preparation for filming.

The car wears chassis number eight (2G1008BW) and features the original 5.3-litre V12 engine that powered secret agent Steed’s British sportscar during the 26-episode series.

Following the series finale in 1977, ‘NWK 60P’ was then sold and passed through the hands of multiple keepers and eventually put up for auction at the NEC Classic Car Show in the early 1990s. After the sale, the famous Jaguar disappeared from public view and remained in hibernation for the next two decades – during which time the car has been subjected to vandalism and general disrepair.

Tim Hannig, Managing Director, Jaguar Heritage, said: “There is no arguing about the desirability of this iconic Jaguar. The XJ12-C Broadspeed still looks fantastic today and although the condition of NWK 60P has deteriorated over the 20 years its been locked up, it still shows how the demand for Jaguar Heritage models has increased in recent times along with their values. We hope to see the car back on the road in the near future and we will continue to support owners of cars such as this famous XJ12-C through our Jaguar Heritage business.”

Nick Delaney, Business Development Manager of H&H Classics, said: “It is fantastic to see this Jaguar XJ12-C from The New Avengers TV Series back in public view again after being locked away for so long. The sale price of £62,000 is truly remarkable considering it fetched more than £50,000 over initial estimates. It just proves the appeal of not only the programme but also of the car itself. Buyers are seeing the investment potential with classic Jaguars and the added provenance of this car means that it, once fully restored to working order again, will be even more valuable.”

Jaguar Heritage forms part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Operations division and has been born to support the brand’s passion in nurturing and preserving its rich heritage of vehicles and supporting its loyal customer base across Jaguar’s global sales network. Jaguar Heritage boasts a catalogue of over 30,000 original spare and replacements parts for generations of Heritage models 10 years out of production. Furthermore, Jaguar’s Heritage workshop at Browns Lane, Coventry, carries out warrantied servicing and restorations on the marque’s classic models.
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This is great news and should be applauded, it makes a pleasant change to deal with a company the recognises and celebrates keeping its heritage alive.

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