Range Rover Evoque SE Tech ED4 2WD: Everytime I Look At You.

MotorMartin has spoken before about the cult of the SUV and it’s continued impact on the car buying public and manufacturers alike. Consumers who used to favour a nice new saloon or estate are no longer happy to be seen in such a vehicle yet they still want the size and space that these traditional sectors promise. So what to do?

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Perhaps the first recognisable SUV on these shores was the original Land Rover launched way back in April 1948, a car that provided the occupants with the go anywhere ability that has since become synonymous with the brand. Although the modern driver demands a certain high level of creature comforts from their SUV, the Land Rover was from a different age, basic is almost too generous a description for what was an acceptable interior back in the distant past. So Land Rover got the mechanicals right first time and created a legacy that lasts to this day but was it really a direct descendant to that which we have today?

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Fast forward a few years and Toyota tried to get in on the act with their Land Cruiser, a 4×4 SUV that was large, powerful and durable, and once again, created a long running dynasty beginning in 1953 and running right up until today. Toyota, unlike Land Rover, did spend time updating the cabin as well as improving the drivetrain over the years but is the Land Cruiser the first SUV?

And so, in the intervening years, we had various manufacturers, as Jeep, Vauxhall – Frontera anyone? – and Ford for example, trying to convince the buying public that what were perceived as vehicles for working types, could actually be used as day to day transport. The biggest issue, as far as MotorMartin’s concerned, was not with the four wheel drive and rather functional styling but was purely down to the lack of comfort and car like feeling for both the driver and passengers. Put simply, a decent saloon or estate provided room, practicality and fun. A decent SUV, provided go anywhere ability and somewhere to put your tools and sheep.

What then, in 2016, has the modern SUV morphed into and which features can be linked back to the 1948 Land Rover or 1953 Land Cruiser?

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Pondering this and many other questions, MotorMartin’s thoughts were interupted by an email arriving from the Swansway Group, a phenomenally successful multi franchise range of dealerships run from their modern head office based in Crewe. Indeed, the company has comes long way from its start way back in 2003 and is now responsible for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Citroën, FIAT, Honda, Jeep, Land Rover, Peugeot, SEAT, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial. Crikey! And yet a quick look on their, rather excellent, website at http://www.swanswaygarages.com/ shows a company not just happy to sit on their laurels but one that constantly looks to the future, a point in case would be their extremely busy 2015 where a new showroom was built and opened in Stafford, Swansway began representing Abarth in Chester, and the Group expanded once again with Swansway Jeep, again in Chester. And the future, it’s no secret that there’s currently a new showroom being built in Crewe, Jaguar anyone?

Certainly anyone considering a new car from those brands previously mentioned would do well to contact Swansway Group on 01270 419061 and search out the correct deal for them from one of the many options on offer. Checkout http://www.swanswaygarages.com/about/testimonials for customer testimonials. Infact, MotorMartin is currently compiling a recommended dealer list for all you readers out there, Swansway Group are already on it.

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Sitting outside of Audi Crewe, as arranged by the kind folk of Swansway, sat a very attractive silver and black Range Rover Evoque SE tech ED4 2WD looking far more handsome in the flesh than MotorMartin was expecting. Perhaps it’s familiarity, after all, the Evoque has been with us on the roads of the UK since July 2011 and the concept car was etched onto our subconsciousness perhaps up to a year or so before even that date. MotorMartin has always been impressed with how few changes have been made to the original silhouette of the Evoque from drawing board to concept to finished product with the three door in particular, looking incredibly striking from both close up and afar.

The new 2016 Evoque is available in Coupé, Five-door and Convertible body styles and with the huge amount of customisation on offer, it’s unlikely that you’ll see another the same on the road as the one which you essentially build yourself. Back then to the Evoque glinting in the sunlight in front of MotorMartin, sitting pretty on its 20″ 5 split-spoke ‘Style 504’ with shadow chrome finish alloy wheels. Straight from the off, it’s clear that this is a good looking car, MotorMartin will discuss the price later but you can see in some of the exterior details that this is still a car that offers excellent value for money.

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Looking closely, the panel fit is superb as is the detailing, indeed, I particularly like the way that the line of the headlights is elongated along the front wings, breaking only for the extended wheel arches and that sloping roof just looks so right, even in this five door edition, and still gives us a unique silhouette today. Range Rover themselves clearly think so as they’ve used the same styling cues on their new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

Although this mid sized Range Rover has always been a good looking car, the latest updates for 2016 have made the Evoque look even better. Range Rover themselves say that, Range Rover Evoque’s cutting-edge exterior design has been further enhanced with a selection of carefully chosen revisions. These updates include a new front bumper, and two new grille designs. The updated Evoque will also be the first Land Rover to feature all-LED headlamps, this advanced technology, which provides superior visibility at night, both enhances safety and creates a more striking visual statement. Because of Range Rover’s hard work, the front end of the Evoque manages to convey the rugged off road capability that the brand is famous for as well as suggesting the presence of a premium vehicle.

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The rear of the Evoque is just as well thought out and memorable, combining as it does, a high rear window and large rear spoiler with twin exhaust pipes poking rather superbly from the rear bumper. MotorMartin’s favourite styling feature? Well Mr S, friend of MotorMartin and official MotorMartin YouTube cameraman, nailed it when he suggested that the Evoque badge on the tailgate stood out, highlighted as it was in a rather lovely shade of blue. I think it’s safe to say that both MotorMartin and Range Rover therefore enjoy a little bit of blue to brighten up the day. Ahem.

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Overall then, MotorMartin thinks that this is a great looking SUV. The proportions are just right. The overall look is modern, contemporary and, with Range Rover’s subtle improvements, looks just as good today as it did back in 2011 and in MotorMartin’s opinion, will still look great for a few more years to come. The Evoque is a classy bit of kit and in part 2, MotorMartin will be looking into the incredible technology present within its spacious cabin as well as discussing the driving experience and the ‘real life’ motoring aspects of this mid sized, premium SUV. I hope you’ll join me for the drive.

Where will you go?

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News: The Capability Brown Drive It Day Rally

Up here in MotorMartin Towers, it’s often difficult to cover all of the well deserving motoring events that happen up and down the length of the country and so it’s high time I highlighted a particular favourite. Many years ago, MotorMartin found himself leaving the respected shores of Essex to make his fame and fortune up in the wilds of West Yorkshire yet a soft spot for Essex has always remained. And so, one of the events that has recently become a favourite, is itself based in that welcoming County and took place on the 24th April this year.

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Fortunately, MotorMartin has been able to follow the success of this most unique of runs due to the kind support of Lord Ellpus, a friend here at the Towers, who has provided MotorMartin with the following information regarding this year’s Charity Classic Vehicle Club, ‘Capability Brown’ Drive it Day Rally.

The Event, this year, started from the Museum of Power, Maldon and finished at Audley End House and was open to pre 1973 Classics as well as any thoroughbred Vehicle deemed worthy by this well respected club. Indeed this particular mix, in MotorMartin’s opinion, provides club members and the general public alike with an interesting and varied selection of cars to watch and enjoy. A quick view of the pictures accompanying this post or on the club’s website itself http://www.ccvcuk.co.uk/default.asp?page_id=1 is all you need to confirm this simple fact.

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In what was a fantastic show of support for the club and its charities, 295 classic and vintage cars started to arrive from 8am to book in and collect their starters packs, which contained a rally plate as well as a tulip style rally and route book. The route, which would take them on trip of some 50 miles and involved driving through the stunning country lanes dotted throughout this part of Essex, finished at Audley End House & Gardens, nr Saffron Walden. The cars started to be flagged off from 9.15am, at a rate of 8 cars every minute, helped by the welcome arrival of blue sky and sunshine.

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After a superb day’s driving, the cars finally started to arrived at the finish whereby they were efficiently marshalled to the parking area facing the lake and the house and creating quite a car park. Once at Audley End house, there was still plenty to enjoy for those lucky enough to be involved as at 3pm, the prize giving for cars was followed by best dressed couples and then the raffle was drawn. All in all, a fantastic day out and plenty of money raised.

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Perhaps more importantly, this was a charity run to raise money for St Lukes Hospice in Basildon and the Essex Community Foundation. Rather incredibly, and down to the generosity of all involved, Lord Ellpus has informed MotorMartin that, at the current count, it looks as if the Club will have raise nearly £4,000 after expenses, to be shared between the charities. The CCVC has to date raised over £161,000 for local Essex charities and has been, and will continue to be, very successful at organising runs of this type.

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So there you have it. A grand day out for owners and public alike that also raised a quite remarkable amount of money for two deserving Essex charities. Well done CCVC. For more details about the club and their activities, MotorMartin recommends that you head on over to www.ccvcuk.co.uk

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News: TAKE A ‘BRAKE’ AND HAVE A ‘BREATHER’ WITH ŠKODA

Taking a ‘brake’ and having a ‘breather’ are exactly what MotorMartin has been doing over the last week or so, hence the lack of updates to the site as, rather unfortunately, bad news has been doing the rounds here at MotorMartin Towers and has put everything rather off kilter for a little while. But, like ŠKODA themselves, MotorMartin is readying himself for the beginning of summer and the perfect chance to continue building http://motormartin.com/ into the go-to site for all motoring enthusiasts.

And so, after awakening the MotorMartin news feed from its enforced slumber, motoring news flowed as if it were a ticker tape parade where by ŠKODA were first out of the blocks with the following.

ŠKODA have shared with MotorMartin that from May 2016, ŠKODA drivers will be able to enjoy an exclusive aircon and brake fluid service, for the summer months. For just £89, drivers can combine their aircon service and brake fluid change, resulting in a saving of £35 compared to the jobs being carried out separately. Great ‘real life’ motoring value right there, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Launched in time for summer and peak air conditioning use, ŠKODA’s trained technicians will check pollen filters and leaking systems while decontaminating them to reduce bacteria and pollutants. The service also includes extensive checks and a change of refrigerant and lubrication oil, to maintain efficiency.

ŠKODA have added that to ensure their drivers are kept safe, the service also includes an inspection of the car’s brakes with a change of brake fluid. This helps maintain optimum braking efficiency, while protecting the system against wear and corrosion. Sensible.

Warren Richards, Head of ŠKODA Service and Parts, commented to MotorMartin that: “With the summer months upon us, the last thing customers want is to be stuck in a hot car. Having your ŠKODA’s aircon service and brake fluid change is a reassuring way of making sure you stay cool and safe on your summer travels.”

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“What’s more, all maintenance is completed by ŠKODA trained technicians who know the cars inside and out so you can enjoy hassle-free motoring all year round.”

To book this exclusive deal, visit www.skoda.co.uk/airconbrakefluidservice as recommended by MotorMartin, be safe, be cool. Cheers ŠKODA.

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News: McLAREN GLASGOW AWARDED EUROPEAN RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2015 IN FIRST YEAR OF TRADING

MotorMartin is always happy to highlight those dealers and dealerships that deliver service above and beyond that which is expected, especially when it sets a new standard for others to then follow. And now MotorMartin has received the following news regarding an exceptional dealership North of the border which deserves recognition.

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McLaren have informed MotorMartin that in only its first full year of trading, McLaren Glasgow has been named the European Retailer of the Year 2015 in recognition of its highest business standards.

The competition saw entries from the full McLaren retailer network in Europe comprising 21 locations in nine key markets. All contenders were benchmarked through an extensive assessment process and scored against a number of key areas such as sales, customer service, aftersales and marketing. McLaren Glasgow emerged as the European Retailer of the Year joining McLaren Johannesburg, Philadelphia and Taipei as one of four regional finalists for the Global Retailer of the Year 2015 Award that is due to be announced later this year.

“On behalf of McLaren I would like to congratulate McLaren Glasgow on this fantastic achievement,” shared Jon Pollock, Managing Director – Europe at McLaren Automotive with MotorMartin. “To go from nothing to the best in Europe in 12 months is a huge accomplishment and I look forward to working together to fulfil our ambitious growth plan in Europe.”

Upon receiving the award, Ross Park, Director at McLaren Glasgow, commented to MotorMartin that: “McLaren Automotive is renowned for the impeccable standards of their business so to be recognised as European Retailer of the Year 2015 is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the team here at McLaren Glasgow. I would like to thank everyone involved and look forward to continuing our success with McLaren.”

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McLaren Glasgow is managed by Park’s Motor Group from the following address:

McLaren Glasgow
14 Bothwell Road
Hamilton, Glasgow
ML3 0AY

The remaining McLaren retail locations in the UK include Ascot, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and London. For the full list of retailers please visit: http://www.retailers.mclaren.com/

And with products such as the McLaren 570GT shown in the video below, kindly provided by McLaren’s own YouTube channel, it’s clearly not just the dealerships that are setting such high standards:

So it’s a MotorMartin well done to McLaren Glasgow and here’s to your continued success.

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Mitsubishi ASX ZC-H: A Kind Of Magic.

Last week saw MotorMartin introducing the ASX ZC-H, the top of the range, sporty 4X4 SUV offering from that master of the off road vehicle, Mitsubishi, see https://motormartin.com/2016/05/09/mitsubishi-asx-zc-h-one-vision/ for part 1. And here in part 2 I will be considering the effect of the interior on the driving experience combined with what the ASX is like out on the road, in ‘real life’ traffic and on the ‘real life’ roads in the locality of Nathaniel Cars, Bridgend, who can be contacted on 01656 339849 for their advice on all things Mitsubishi (MG & Subaru also) http://www.nathanielcars.co.uk/new-cars/mitsubishi/ and who generously provided the recent Mitsubishis for MotorMartin to test. Thanks Nathaniel Cars, see you in the summer. But enough about those kind folk and back to the SUV.

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There’s a certain uniformity present in Mitsubishi’s interior detailing at the moment which could have been a worry a few years ago but I’m pleased to say that, with attention to detail and increased quality of interior fixtures and fittings, Mitsubishi have come up with a set of interiors that work across the range as a whole. The ASX is a very well specified car that, even in its basic form, still offers electric windows, heated, folding door mirrors, manual air conditioning, a Bluetooth®, hands-free ’phone connection, seven airbags and stability and traction control. With the base model having a recommended retail price of £15,249 and when a little searching can turn up the same model for just £13,995 this is quite excellent value for money for the modern family. Enough toys to keep the driver happy, whilst plenty of space and practicality for all the bits and bobs that accumulate when children are involved.

Increasing the available budget up to £24,899 which can be brought down to around £21,995 with little effort and you gain access to the mid and upper range of this attractive SUV. The mid spec ASX ZC-M adds climate control, air conditioning, heated front seats, cruise control, DAB radio, rain and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rear view mirror and particularly clever xenon headlamps which sense the dusk, whilst the range topping ASX ZC-H, the model MotorMartin has been spending time with, adds satellite navigation, black leather seat trim and a panoramic glass roof to the mix. And very nice it is as well.

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The ASX confirms its practical, family friendly, spacious and youthful nature with an excellent sized boot of 419 litres, mixed with a wide opening tailgate and low floor for easy access, as well as a large 26 litre underfloor tray. Combine all of that with the 60:40 split rear bench seat and an easy-fold to flat facility and you have all the flexibility needed for day to day life and journeys further afield as and when necessary.

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Once seated it’s extremely easy to get comfortable in the ASX as the steering wheel, which is leather wrapped on all models, adjusts for both rake and reach whilst the seats, heated in the front on all bar the entry level model, are both comfortable and supportive with plenty of adjustment available. Finishing off the cabin in this well equipped Mitsubishi are dials and buttons that are pleasing to the touch with seemingly just the right amount of resistance to external pressure from the driver. The ASX is easy to set up to your own liking which allows you to just get in and drive as the mood takes you.

Setting off in the ASX will never be dull as Mitsubishi have seen fit to use the keyless entry and start button system that worked so well on both the L200 Warrior and the Outlander PHEV and which impressed MotorMartin. After all, who doesn’t want a little bit of drama when starting up. The 1.6 diesel engine fitted to this particular ZC-H model, with it’s AWD ability mated to a smooth six speed manual gearbox, pulls well and is quiet enough to allow for an easy and comfortable drive.

Pulling away is simplicity itself, as is the way with the vast majority of new cars these days, with a light clutch and a reasonable weight to the steering, a few revs are all you need to be on your way. First gear appears extremely short with the ASX encouraging you to move swiftly into sixth where you can play with the more than adequate torque to guarantee progress. Indeed, keeping an eye on the revs and matching them to the road and conditions are important if you want to stretch towards the Mitsubishi’s official combined mpg of 56.5 with CO2 of 132 g/km although the 2wd offers figures of 61.4 mpg and 119 g/km. You pays your money…

Now then, the Mitsubishi is never going to be described in the same manner as a sports car but in SUV gatherings out in the wild, this ASX doesn’t exhibit the same soft and floating feeling that you can often find amongst some of its rivals. There is a little body roll in sharper, faster corners but not enough to concern or cause worry, if anything, it adds to the entertainment that can be had from behind the wheel.

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Heading off towards the M4, allowed MotorMartin to give the ASX a chance to stretch its legs. Acceleration is more than acceptable, allowing you to keep up with the vast majority of traffic that you’ll meet and provides adequate power for overtakes and swift lane changing when necessary. Indeed, on MotorMartin’s test drive this ability came in handy when a flatbed truck ahead decided to distribute its cargo of what looked like plasterboard, over two lanes of the motorway just in front of the ASX which dealt with the inconvenience without breaking sweat.

The Mitsubishi does a great job of isolating the driver and passengers from the majority of wind and road noise too, which, when combined with cruise control, makes for a relaxing car to cover distance in. Once off the motorway and heading back towards Nathaniel Cars, the Mitsubishi was put through its paces with a mixture of town driving and dual carriageway interspersed with the occasional roundabout and roadworks. The typical high seating position and increased sight lines of the Mitsubishi allowed for excellent progress to be made and all too soon I found myself pulling onto the car park back where we started our journey, with a broad smile upon the face of MotorMartin.

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So what are we left with once disembarked from the Mitsubishi ASX ZC-H? The overall impression is of a rather unexpected gem. You may not see many of Mitsubishi’s medium size SUV on the roads just yet, but the stylish nature, quality and value offered by this latest edition, in MotorMartin’s opinion, will soon see this changing with more customers being drawn in by this approachable SUVs considerable charms.

A kind of magic? Don’t bet against it.

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News: SUBARU CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ITS HORIZONTALLY-OPPOSED ‘BOXER’ ENGINE

It’s always satisfying to be able to report on a automotive milestone being reached and so it gives MotorMartin great pleasure to be able to announce that Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of its horizontally-opposed ‘Boxer’ engine, so called due to the engine’s pistons resembling the punch-counterpunch motion of a boxer’s fists.

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Subaru have informed MotorMartin that their signature Boxer engine was introduced on the Subaru 1000 compact passenger car on 14 May 1966 and that since then, Subaru has sought to maximise the advantages of its Boxer engines and continuously enhanced them to power its vehicles to this day. Today, every vehicle sold by Subaru is fitted with a Boxer engine, with total production over the last 50 years topping 16 million units.

A more detailed description of their amazing Boxer engine adds that with the horizontally-opposed design of Subaru’s Boxer engine, the opposing pistons work to cancel out the inertia force of each other, resulting in less vibration and superb rotational balance to provide smooth acceleration right up to the highest engine speeds. Its compact form also allows it to be fitted lower in the engine bay than a conventional four-in-line engine, lowering the centre of gravity.

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The Boxer engine, Subaru say, is one of the key components that comprise Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. Subaru Symmetrical AWD offers a combination of superior stability and traction, with the symmetrical layout of the drivetrain allowing a balanced weight distribution, aided by the longitudinally-mounted Boxer engine. This synergy between engine and drivetrain delivers excellent performance, both in terms of high speed stability and under cornering. Earlier this year, the Japanese brand announced the production of the 15 millionth Subaru vehicle equipped with its famous Symmetrical AWD system.

To find out more about Subaru’s Boxer engines, visit www.subaru.co.uk.

So it’s a happy birthday to the Boxer engine, born in 1966 and still going strong today. Well done Subaru, where would we be without you?

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News: STRATSTONE BECOMES PROUD OWNER OF 2015 JAGUAR LIGHTWEIGHT E-TYPE CHASSIS #15

In one of the first news articles posted on MotorMartin https://motormartin.com/2015/10/30/news-jaguar-e-type-revealed-as-best-british-car-ever-at-classic-sports-car-the-london-show/ it was reported that the classic E-type Jaguar was, deservedly, voted the best British car ever at the Classic & Sports Car London Show. And what a car the E-type is, revolutionary, extremely fast even now and oh so beautiful. Surely this is a car that would grace any dream garage. Well Stratstones certainly seem to think so, and who can blame them. When the news below was communicated to MotorMartin, it was received with mix of awe and jealousy, I’ll let you decide in which order though.

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Stratstone have informed MotorMartin that they have recently been revealed as the owner of one of the famous 2015 Jaguar Lightweight E-types. Chassis number 15 is one of the infamous ‘Missing Six’ and didn’t have to travel far from the iconic Jaguar Browns Lane production facility in Coventry as it made its way to its new base at Stratstone Jaguar London in Mayfair.

For those of you interested in all things Jaguar, as I am, the fascinating story of the Lightweight E-type dates back to February 1963 and the intended 18-car ‘Special GT E-type’ race car project from that time. However, only 12 of the 18 were built and delivered by the Browns Lane competitions department between 1963 and 1964, which gave rise to the infamous ‘Missing Six’. These missing chassis numbers – 13 to 18 – were found in 2014, and so, rather incredibly, the modern-day production by Jaguar Land Rover’s new Special Vehicle Operations division’s Jaguar Classic, got underway. And thank goodness it did.

The modern incarnation of the Lightweight, MotorMartin has been told, saw Jaguar Classic draw on the company’s original 1960s tooling and production methods, and it’s unique highly experienced engineering and design resources. Replete with world-leading aluminium body technology, skilled hand craftsmanship, the six-cylinder XK engine with its aluminium block, wide angle aluminium cylinder head and dry sump lubrication (derived from the Le-Mans winning D-type of the 1950s), the 2015 Lightweight E-type is both original and special in every way.

In another stroke of good fortune for those in the privileged position to purchase one of these amazing machines, the cars are delivered as period competition vehicles, fully compliant with FIA homologation for historic motorsport purposes. All of the ‘Missing Six’ are built to period-exact dimensions and specifications, ensuring absolute authenticity and a modern-day build to the highest quality standards. Can you have your cake and eat it? Jaguar have made sure that you can.

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Trevor Finn, CEO of Stratstone’s parent company Pendragon PLC, commented to MotorMartin that: “Our intention for this very special Jaguar is that it will serve as a living and dynamic ambassador for Stratstone across the UK and Europe. A passion for cars and motorsports is ingrained at the heart of Stratstone and its illustrious heritage. This car brings its own legacy and we’re delighted to be a part of its story. It was a pleasure to have the chance to work with Jaguar Special Vehicle Operations and we’re proud and privileged to have been successful in securing one of the ‘missing six’. We want E-type 15 to be the UK’s E-type and the plan is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to see it in a variety of locations.” Excellent sentiments indeed.

Handing over the keys to Chassis Number 15, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ Managing Director, John Edwards shared with MotorMartin that: “The remit of Jaguar Classic is to indulge our most discerning and enthusiastic fans’ passion for our cars, and I am delighted to officially hand over this special Jaguar Lightweight E-type to Stratstone. The E-type is an iconic car, especially in London, so to deliver it to its new home right here in the heart of the capital is really something quite special.”

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To watch a video of the car being unveiled at the event last night visit https://youtu.be/WLkz-UF8egk and find out more about the story of #StratstoneEtype on its dedicated website http://www.stratstone.com/jaguar/e-type/

It’s certainly heartening to know that due to the hard work of Trevor Finn and the team at Stratstone at least one of these iconic cars is to stay in the UK and will be available to view at various locations in the coming months and years. Well done Stratstone and don’t forget to give MotorMartin a call if you’re looking for a driver…

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