Friends of MotorMartin, the Classic Car Auction (CCA) have shared information with #MotorMartinClassics regarding their latest sale on the 23rd and 24th March at the Practical Classics Restoration Show. And that’s not all as the sale is set to feature four classic Minis marking special moments in the marques 60th anniversary year.
According to Classic Car Auction, the Mini is celebrating not only its 60th anniversary but also 50 years of its star role in the famous film, The Italian Job.
CCA have confirmed that they are offering for auction, four fabulous editions amongst a range of these super little cars from this wonderful British marque. A one owner 1963 Mini, a Mr Bean replica, a low mileage “Italian Job” Limited Edition and a Rover Mini Cooper Sport all looking for a new home.
The 1963 Austin Mini 850 in bright red with only 47,000 miles is being offered with extensive history. This is a wonderfully presented one owner car which is sure to provide lots of fun for its next owner. In the late 80s it had a full body restoration and glass out respray and has been stored in a heated garage. It comes with a Heritage certificate and the Buff log book.
For fans of the bumbling Mr Bean, a replica of the car made famous in the hit TV series is now being offered. This car was treated to a bare metal restoration project by Practical Classics magazine and assembled live at the 2017 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. It is now looking for a new home, after being with the current owner for the last three years. A fabulous little car with some modern tweaks and upgrades. Will provide lots of fun.
The Italian Job, one of the finest movies of all time and made famous with the iconic car chase involving three Minis led to a limited edition version of the little car. Offered for sale is a 1992 low mileage limited edition, one of 250 produced in white with black stripes and is in immaculate condition, regularly serviced and maintained to a very high standard.
Production of the Mini was nearing its end in 2000 and one of the final versions to leave the plant was a Red Rover Mini Cooper Sport. CCA have for auction a similar model with just 30,700 miles on the clock. This Mini Cooper Sport has silver detailing to compliment the Solar Red bodywork.
Gary Dunne from CCA commented to MotorMartin that “With this iconic car’s birthday being celebrated this year, we have no doubt that these Minis, and some other very special ones that we expect to offer, will cause a real stir in the market. True Everyman Classics, most of us have enjoyed the thrill of driving one at some point in our lives, and they just bring a natural smile to most people’s faces.”
A full list of the lots being offered can be viewed here View Lot List.
With the motoring landscape seemingly on the brink of massive changes it’s the braver manufacturers that are best placed to enjoy the benefits of our changing buying habits. A recent experience with the superb BMW i8 has certainly convinced the naysayers at MotorMartin Towers that hybrid and EVs are here to stay and can still offer the discerning driver pleasure in abundance. Excellent news.
And then recently the news desk here received the following news from the BMW Group which shared that BMW have sold more than 140,000 electrified (battery-electric and plug-in hybrid) vehicles in 2018, thereby confirming its leading role in the field of electromobility. In total, 142,617 (+38.4%) electrified BMW and MINI vehicles were delivered to customers around the world last year.
“Since launching the BMW i3 in 2013, the BMW Group has rapidly grown its sales of electrified vehicles. With over 140,000 delivered in 2018, we have once again achieved our ambitious target,” commented Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG to MotorMartin. “This great sales result and our impressive market share proves our vehicles are what the customer wants. In countries which offer appropriate infrastructure and regulatory support, we see how quickly electromobility can become the norm. I’m confident that by the end of this year, there will be a total of half a million electrified BMW Group vehicles on the roads, with much more to come as we continue to extend our model line-up over the next few years.”
This is going to be a story that has many twists and turns on the journey to come with manufacturers such as BMW leading the way with innovative thinking combined with striking designs. MotorMartin can’t wait.
MINI have informed MotorMartin recently that with the world premiere of an extraordinary car at the New York International Auto Show (March 30 to April 8, 2018), MINI will once again demonstrate its appetite for purely electric driving with a new take on an icon.
The classic Mini Electric, they say, combines the historic look of the world’s favorite small car with groundbreaking drive technology for tomorrow’s urban mobility. With this unique vehicle, MINI sends out a clear signal demonstrating its commitment to retaining the brand’s unmistakable character whilst embracing innovative zero local emission technology.
The classic Mini Electric is the result of an imaginary journey through time, where the story of classic model is extended by a consecutive chapter. The original from the second half of the 20th century becomes a sympathetic ambassador for environmental awareness and a form of sustainable mobility whose future has just begun.
The urban electro mobility landscape will soon benefit from the arrival of a brand new model, packed with charisma, individual style and driving fun. The MINI Electric Concept was announced at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, and paves the way for the brand’s first all-electric vehicle which will be unveiled in 2019 – just in time for the 60th anniversary of the classic Mini. The fully electric production vehicle is currently in development, based on the MINI 3-Door Hatch, and will be produced for the first time at MINI Plant Oxford next year.
MINI have explained to MotorMartin that they are once again assuming a pioneering role for sustainable mobility within the BMW Group. In 2008, the brand presented the MINI E – based on the predecessor model of the current MINI 3 Door, about 600 examples were produced and used in a field trial under everyday conditions. This trial played a central role in paving the way for the development of the BMW i3, which has enjoyed worldwide success since 2013 (combined power consumption: 13.6 – 13.1 kWh / 100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 0 g / km).
On the way to a new era in electro mobility, MINI has already taken another step forward. In the MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid model (fuel consumption combined: 2.3 – 2.1 l / 100 km, combined power consumption: 14.0 – 13.2 kWh / 100 km combined with CO2 emissions from fuel: 52 – 49 g / km), the combination of an internal combustion engine with an electric drive provides a system output of 165 kW / 224 hp and an intelligent hybrid-specific all-wheel drive system. The capable five-door model in the premium compact segment guarantees driving pleasure on any terrain. The vehicles draws its power from both engines for powerful acceleration, whilst retaining the ability to drive at up to 125 km / h in purely electric mode. With these qualities, the MINI Countryman Plug-In Hyrbid makes a significant contribution to the global market success of the BMW Group’s electrified vehicle fleet.
By contrast, the classic Mini Electric presented in New York will remain unique. A late and carefully restored example of the classic Mini Cooper serves as the basis for this special vehicle. The exterior red paint is complemented by a contrast white roof and characteristic bonnet strip, with the yellow MINI Electric logo in the brand emblem and on the wheel hubs. The electric classic remains true to the brand, both in terms of its visual appearance and driving characteristics. The spontaneous power of its electric motor provides a new dimension to the unmistakable go-kart feeling that helped propel the British small car in its original form to worldwide popularity.
From March 2018 it’s been explained to MotorMartin that all new MINI models will be available with in-built 4G connectivity. The refreshed MINI Connected will allow drivers to access personalised services designed to make day-to-day mobility and planning even easier – and, in so doing, integrate their MINI seamlessly into their digital lives. Excellent news.
The first models to be made available with this new and extensive connectivity capability, MINI say, are the new MINI 3-Door Hatch, new MINI 5-Door Hatch and new MINI Convertible. Existing features in the portfolio, such as Intelligent Emergency Call and Teleservices, will be joined by new services including the Concierge Service, Real Time Traffic Information with navigation map updates and MINI Online.
Update heralds the arrival of the latest digital services in MINI models.
The new in-built 4G SIM card and updated MINI Connected app will allow MINI drivers to access a variety of new digital services. MINI Connected Services will be available as standard on the MINI Countryman and MINI Clubman for UK customers, and optionally available as part of the MINI Navigation Plus package for MINI 3-Door Hatch, MINI 5-Door Hatch and MINI Convertible models.
The newly available MINI Concierge Service provides an excellent source of assistance while on the move. The Concierge can be contacted by the push of a button around the clock to source information and address data for the driver, research connections and offer practical tips during the journey.
Other highlight features include Time-to-Leave Notifications (push messages to the driver’s smartphone to assist punctual departure), Send to Car (for importing destinations from a smartphone to the car), Remote Services (e.g. for locking the car’s doors from a smartphone) and – in electrified MINI models – a charging timer, charging station search facility and personal efficiency status display.
The spread of digital connectivity options offered by the MINI brand is rounded off by Apple CarPlay, which is offered as standard with MINI Countryman and MINI Clubman models in the UK and optionally available as part of the MINI Navigation Plus package for MINI 3-Door Hatch, MINI 5-Door Hatch and MINI Convertible.
BMW have shared the following with the news desk up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers regarding their impressive BMW i3 and how, BMW say, it sets standards worldwide for driving pleasure in a purely electrically-driven vehicle. Key factors here are not only the increased output of the motor in the new BMW i3s, but also the innovative traction control system adapted specifically to the instantaneous power deliver of the BMW eDrive system. Presented for the first time in the new BMW i3s (270 Nm at 0 rpm, 135 kW / 184 HP, power consumption combined in European NEFZ test-cycle:
14.3 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km), the system improves traction and driving stability in adverse weather and road conditions when pulling away, in active Brake Energy Regeneration phases and when accelerating out of tight corners. At the heart of this innovation is the control system’s 50-times- faster routine, made possible because – unlike conventional driving stability systems – the control process is now calculated directly in the powertrain instead of in a remote unit requiring long signal paths. This development provides further evidence of BMW i as a pioneer of innovative technology within the BMW Group.
“With their high levels of torque and instantaneous responses to every movement of the accelerator, electric motors already make significantly higher demands on driving stability systems than conventional power units,” Explained Peter Langen, Head of Chassis Development at BMW to MotorMartin recently.
And that’s why the BMW engineers developed a new type of system geared squarely to the demands of electric mobility.
The positive impact of these shorter control cycles, BMW have confirmed, is not reserved for purely electrically driven cars; indeed, this innovative traction control system also optimises traction, driving stability and driving dynamics in vehicles with combustion engines. It will therefore be fitted in BMW and MINI models with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive to deliver noticeably greater assurance and driving pleasure when road conditions make pulling away difficult.
News has arrived up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers that the UK’s top selling convertible has today received the ‘Best Convertible 2018’ award judged by industry experts at Carbuyer. The award was presented to MINI this morning at the Carbuyer Best Car Awards in London, with judges praising the car’s unique character, trademark handling, interior and value for money.
It’s been explained to MotorMartin that the winners in each category at the annual Carbuyer Awards are chosen by members of the dedicated Carbuyer road-test team, who evaluate each vehicle on running costs, comfort, practicality, reliability and safety, as well as performance, efficiency, price, value for money and optional extras.
Speaking at the awards, Stuart Milne, Editor, Carbuyer shared with MotorMartin that: “Convertibles are all about putting a smile on your face and none are quite as capable as the MINI Convertible. It retains all that’s great about the MINI Hatch, including its trademark go-kart handling, but adds that all-important open-top fun factor. Whatever engine is under the bonnet, the MINI Convertible oozes character. It boast a great interior, a superb infotainment system and countless customisation options too. And that’s why it’s our Best Convertible for 2018.”
MINI have confirmed to MotorMartin that their Convertible features a striking design and unique features to make open-topped driving even more dynamic, stylish and practical. The fully electric roof deploys in just 18 seconds and it remains the only premium soft-top four-seater convertible in the small car segment. The UK continues to be the largest market worldwide for the MINI Convertible, and it is the best-selling convertible in the country.
The MINI Convertible is offered with a high level of standard equipment across the range, which includes MINI Visual Boost Radio with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, MINI Connected, Bluetooth connectivity with USB audio, Rear Parking Distance Control and a Reversing Camera. Smart design and interior packaging means luggage volume is 215 litres with the roof closed and 160 litres with it folded down.
On the road pricing starts from £19,265 for the MINI Cooper Convertible which would seem to MotorMartin to be a bit of a bargain. For further information on the MINI Convertible range, please visit www.mini.co.uk/convertible.
It’s been confirmed with MotorMartin recently that MINI and the X-raid Team have launched into the final preparation phase for the Dakar Rally 2018 with the presentation of their current racing cars. For the first time MINI and X-raid will face the challenges of the most demanding long-distance rally in the world using two different types of drive. In addition to the further advanced version of the all-wheel drive MINI John Cooper Works Rally, which, at its debut appearance, came in sixth overall at the 2017 Dakar Rally, the rear-wheel drive MINI John Cooper Works Buggy will head into the opener stage on 6 January 2018 in the Peruvian capital of Lima.
More determined than ever before, MINI and X-raid are aiming to continue their joint success story which brought them four consecutive overall victories from 2012 to 2015. “With these two cars we have the most powerful MINI family that ever raced at the Dakar Rally”, shared Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President of MINI, at the presentation in Paris.
The reason, they say, why a second vehicle concept was developed lies in the specifics of the Dakar Rally rules, which, in their current form, give two-wheel driven cars certain advantages. X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt gave the go-ahead for building the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy in February 2017. “This has been the biggest project in our company’s history so far and we have worked extremely hard at it”, he said at the vehicle presentation.
It’s been explained to MotorMartin that the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy is powered by a 3.0 litre inline 6-cylinder diesel engine generating and output of 250 kW/340 hp and a maximum torque of 800 Nm. The transmission and drivetrain as well as the engine’s turbocharging technology, which is based on the BMW TwinPower Turbo, have been completely newly conceived. The MINI John Cooper Works Rally uses the same engine. The specially designed tubular steel frame provides maximum protection for driver and passenger in extreme situations. A specifically designed body made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and Kevlar is stretched over the frame. The authentic buggy-look exterior has been designed in close cooperation with MINI Design and aerodynamically optimised.
The new MINI John Cooper Works Buggy has already undergone an intensive test programme over the past months which took it over different types of rally terrain for example in Hungary and Morocco. “During this time the buggy never had to stop once due to a technical problem, which is really quite remarkable”, reported Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Despite all the euphoria, we must definitely not forget the MINI John Cooper Works Rally”, Quandt added. “There are tracks and types of terrain where an all-wheel drive has advantages. What is more, our car is extremely reliable.” The targeted advancements for the MINI John Cooper Works Rally, which Argentinian Orlando Terranove raced to sixth place in the overall rankings of the 2017 Dakar Rally, includes a new chassis construction featuring greater suspension travel and weight reductions among other things.
The MINI and X-raid range for the Dakar Rally 2018 will comprise seven cars and an experienced team of drivers and co-pilots. The three MINI John Cooper Works Buggies will be piloted by Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Bryce Menzies (USA) and Yazeed Al-Rajhi (KSA). The driver seats in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally will be occupied by Orlando Terranova (ARG), Jakub Przygonski (POL), Joan “Nani” Roma (ESP) and Boris Garafulic (CHI).
With this driver line-up and the crew of experienced organisers and technical and medical specialists, the X-raid Team will be perfectly equipped for the endurance ordeal awaiting man and machine at the 40th edition of the Dakar Rally. The anniversary edition of the long-distance rally, which is taking place in South America for the tenth time, will take the rally participants from Peru to Argentina via Bolivia. The 2018 Dakar Rally incorporates extended desert stages as well as rock and boulder fields and asphalt tracks which take the cars up to an altitude of 4000 meters in the Andes. The final stage will be completed on 20 January 2018 in Córdoba, Argentina.
Good luck to everyone involved from all of here up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers.
What’s pleasing to MotorMartin is how MINI are not afraid to look to their past to inform their future and as such, the latest special edition to join the MINI UK line-up celebrates the brand’s rich heritage with a nod to one of the best known sporty classic Minis of all time, the 1275 GT. A great decision.
MINI UK have informed MotorMartin that this new special edition is available to order now, the 1499 GT recalls the entertaining drive, distinctive styling and low running costs of the 1969 original, which was one of the most affordable performance cars of its day.
The 1275 GT badging reflected the increased engine capacity over the standard 998cc Mini with the all-new MINI 1499 GT treading a similar path for 2017. With 102 hp on tap and 0-60mph in 10.1 seconds courtesy of its lively Twin Power Turbo three-cylinder engine, the 1499 GT is perfect for drivers seeking an entertaining drive and unique vehicle.
The 1499 GT will be built in a limited production run of just 1,499 cars between November 2017 and February 2018, and MotorMartin is in no doubt that it is sure to be in high demand.
For the launch of the 1499 GT, MINI Financial Services has launched an enticing new finance offer. MINI Ready Fuel Go* offers one year’s inclusive insurance (subject to terms**) with a £299 customer deposit and £299 monthly payment. On the road pricing starts at £16,990.
MINI UK have confirmed that there will be a choice of two colours, Pepper White or Midnight Black. In Midnight Black, the car gets distinctive gold 1499 GT side stripes. Pepper White models feature the same distinctive graphics, but in black.
Additional exterior features include the MINI John Cooper Works Sport Pack, featuring 17” Track Spoke alloy wheels in Black, dark tinted windows and white indicator lenses. The styling pack includes distinctive John Cooper Works front and rear bumpers, side skirts, a split level spoiler and John Cooper Works door entry plates.
Interior features include John Cooper Works Sports seats in Dinamica and leather and JCW badges, a JCW steering wheel in perforated leather with Chilli Red stitching and multi-function controls, cruise control, a Visual Boost radio with MINI Connected smartphone compatibility and Piano Black interior trim, along with Carbon Black interior details and an Anthracite headlining.
A sports suspension completes the MINI 1499 GT package, which also includes all of the standard equipment found on the MINI One Hatch. This includes features such as independent rear suspension, a six-speed manual gearbox with sports-car inspired rev matching technology, air conditioning and all-round disc brakes.
For further information and ordering details, MotorMartin can certainly recommend that you visit www.mini.co.uk/1499GT. Or checkout the short film below provided by MINI UK from their own excellent YouTube channel for the benefit of MotorMartin readers.
So here we are, following on from MotorMartin’s £200, £500 and £1000 bargain buying guides, we arrive at the serious money. Enjoy.
£1500 can be classed as a lot of money depending on the situation that you find yourself in, especially if you’ve saved up to buy a car. Perhaps it’s your first car, maybe it’s a runaround or perhaps it’s a second car for a partner or to keep the main car in good order. Whatever the reason, there are a great many cars out there at this price point and you’ll need to keep your wits about you. We’ve all fallen into the shiny car trap, viewed a car in the rain or at dusk, we’ve all been seduced by shiny, straight bodywork and ignored the obvious signs of neglect that are clear for everyone else to see. And then there’s the reasonable classic, the car you’ve always dreamed of owning hidden deep down in the classifieds amongst the detritus a car that promises a that it will breeze through its upcoming MOT if only you can get hold of a few (rare) parts. Money pit anyone? But be careful, follow MotorMartin’s simple car buying rules and you could be driving away in an absolute bargain and one that’ll keep you motoring in comfort for many years to come.
What then is the ultimate £1500 car, what would be the biggest surprise? Even the briefest search highlights the diverse nature of what’s available, cars that once commanded high prices but have fallen rapidly down the order as tastes change. If reliability were no issue then the Mazda RX-8 1.3 4dr with it’s Wankel engine showing just 58,000 miles, mix that with a recent service and MOT and you surely have the ultimate bargain. However, take into account the £515 annual road tax bill and a claimed combined 26.2mpg and your bargain sports car suddenly starts to look a little more expensive. A reported high oil consumption and the complexity of the rotary engine will also start to eat into your budget, as will the cost of tyres, brake pads, disks, suspension components and a whole host of other consumables. Perhaps not then. The point though is clear, do your homework on what you want and as always, don’t buy the first one that you see. Good luck out there.
MotorMartin’s Top £1500 Bargains
SUV’s are the fashionable car of the moment and as such there are a great many out there on the second hand market but don’t be expecting anything with low mileage for this sort of money. That’s not to say that you can’t still bag yourself a bargain as these motors tend to be looked after and serviced on time due to the complexity of some AWD systems and as such can really make sense down at this price point. If you ignore the more fashionable vehicles, you’re not going to be driving off in a Range Rover Evoque no matter how long you look for and focus your search on reliability and build quality then you really can do no better than to look over at the Far East, as cars from Honda, Nissan and the like will probably last forever and be well specced to boot. My choice would be a second generation Honda CR-V 2.0 i-VTEC SE from around 2002, a car which was available with either a 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre Diesel engine, an automatic gearbox could be specified with the petrol version and all models were capable of providing four-wheel drive, although only when traction was lost. And the best bit? For £1500 you’re looking at an SUV with up to 115,000 miles under the bonnet, a decent selection of toys, an Electric Sunroof (Glass Tilt/Slide), Air-Conditioning, Climate Control, Alarm, Alloy Wheels (15in), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD) and it’ll all work as this is a Honda. Special mention does need to be made for the venerable Nissan X-Trail though as they will go on forever and can be picked up for around our £1500 budget. It’s just that if it were my money, it would be the Honda every time.
Sports Cars are maybe not what you would expect to find down here in the world of the £1500 car but if you look hard enough and are happy to travel the length and breadth of this green and pleasant land of ours then bargains are out there to be found. What is it then that you should be considering when looking at the sportier end of the spectrum? Well for £1500 exactly the same rules apply that have already been discussed in parts 1-3 as you’re still looking for reliably serviced, well documented cars with pretty decent bodywork. There will still be bumps and scuffs but nothing too problematic and nothing that can’t be fixed if you’re willing to spend a little extra once the deal is done. My choice then, how about a Mercedes-Benz SLK 2.3 Kompressor 2dr from 1998 or 1999, higher mileage shouldn’t be a reason to walk on by as you’ll be looking at around 100,000+ but you should still be getting a full service history but perhaps the last few services not at an official Mercedes dealer. Budget a few extra pounds for the usual oil and filter changes, check the brakes and that excellent folding roof etc. and you should be good to go. Think about it for a minute, an SLK on your drive for £1500, not only is it possible with a little hard work but with a late 90s Mercedes the paint will be inches thick, the quality is there for all to see and your purchase will be looking superb after a couple of hours elbow grease. Possibly the bargain of the century with a little careful searching. Second choice has got to be a MINI 1.6 Cooper Convertible 2dr Petrol Manual from 04/05 and with near enough 100,000 miles on the clock. But don’t panic, after all, with a full service history on what is mostly a BMW anyway, this is a car that should provide you with many more miles yet and still look current and up to date.
Hatchbacks are often thought of as being all things to all men/women, cars that can do anything and everything whilst not really excelling at any aspect of their daily lives. Mundane, dull, boring even, are some of the criticisms that can be levelled at the humble hatchback, 4th generation Astra, I’m looking at you in particular here, but there really is no need to sink your money into something so dull as there are plenty of hatchbacks out there that can stir the soul and excite. For me, I’d want something a little exciting to go with the do anything capabilities and a little bit of style as well. For these reasons the Citroën C3 1.4, around 10 years old but only 50-70,000 miles old, nearly a full MOT and service history would be sitting on the driveway. These are great little cars after all, offering a peppy engine, half decent suspension and a decent (for ten years old) interior, you may even get an upgraded stereo as these were popular cars back in the day with the more youthful generation. Of course, as with all of our bargain buys, keep a little aside for the consumerables, Haynes Manual and possibly a very thorough clean inside and out and what your inevitably left with will provide you with old school handling, exciting good looks and a car that exudes Gallic charm whilst still providing you with a practical boot and reasonable space in the back. And if you can’t get hold of a C3? Go Germanic with the Volkswagen Polo, a thoroughly decent performer for peanuts. A 1.4, the edition is not important, with 70,000-80,000 miles, 6 months MOT and some service history will be a more than adequate substitute and will keep going forever, it just doesn’t look as good as the Citroën in my eyes.
Do your homework, go looking with an open mind and enjoy the search. With £1500 burning a hole in your pocket it makes sense to decide what you really need the car for, what will its role and position be? Is it to be used every day or just occasionally? Don’t be afraid to change your mind. You might go looking for ‘X’ and end up coming home with ‘Y’ and isn’t that part of the fun?
Doctor Who’s much-loved car Bessie, which was a favourite with millions of viewers for its futuristic features in the Seventies, has been put on show in On Screen Cars at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.
The Earth-based transport for Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor was a bright yellow vintage car replica which starred in many episodes of the cult sci-fi show across two decades.
Bessie was fitted with space-age modifications fit for the Doctor’s adventures, including remote control which allowed him to drive her from a distance as well as an anti-theft force-field.
The Siva Edwardian, built on the chassis of a 1954 Ford Popular, first appeared in the Doctor Who and the Silurians episode in 1970 when the Doctor was stranded on planet Earth and exiled by the Time Lords without the use of his TARDIS. With a need to stay mobile in his fight against monsters and villains, the Doctor adopted Bessie as his four-wheeled transport.
Even when a new car, the Whomobile, appeared on set as a dramatic winged creation, Bessie remained essential for tackling such foes as humanoids, giant spiders, intelligent reptiles and the hypnotic Master.
Tom Baker drove Bessie in his first episode in 1974, using the car to help defeat a giant robot. After a hiatus, the car reappeared in 1983 in The Five Doctors, when Peter Davison’s Doctor encountered four other versions of himself. Dusted down for another adventure with Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor in Battlefield in 1989, Bessie’s last hurrah on the small screen came in 1993 with the charity special episode Dimensions in Time.
Bessie may look like a vintage car but in reality is a 1954 Ford Popular 103E, fitted with a fibreglass tourer body made by Siva Engineering of Dorset. The four-seater Siva Edwardian body was available in kit form from 1969 until the mid-1970s, along with a two-seater Roadster model, allowing any keen DIY mechanic to transform their second-hand Ford 7Y 8hp, Anglia or Popular into a replica of a much older machine and re-live the good old days of motoring.
The original chassis, suspension, engine and transmission from the Ford were all retained in the build of the Siva Edwardian. However, the 1172cc side-valve engine was low-powered and, together with the widely-spaced ratios of the three-speed gearbox, meant that Bessie was not a fast machine. Later on in her filming life, Bessie was fitted with a larger engine which required the nose of the car to be lengthened.
Bessie joins the prestigious line-up of motoring stars in On Screen Cars at Beaulieu. In the hall of fame is Rupert Grint’s flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Del Boy’s Reliant Regal Supervan from Only Fools and Horses, Mr Bean’s lime green Mini, the Jaguar XKR from James Bond film Die Another Day and Jennifer Saunders’ and Joanna Lumley’s getaway car – the Piaggio Ape from Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Entrance to On Screen Cars is included in a general admission ticket to Beaulieu, which also includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles, the new-look World of Top Gear, the ancestral Montagu home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. For advance tickets or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk or call 01590 612345.