Saturday, January 28, 2023

Great British Car Journey motors into Derbyshire

Born from an idea spawned by a 32-year-old Austin Maestro, and after four years in the making, the UK’s newest visitor attraction Great British Car Journey has opened its doors.

Making the once ordinary extraordinary, the Great British Car Journey is packed with British marques and models that dominated the roads for nearly a century.

Motors fixed in our memories, like the Morris Minor, Ford Capri, and everything before, after and in between, are cars that are now so rare that you’re more likely to see a £150,000 supercar on today’s roads.

More than 130 vehicles now fill a former wire works factory on the banks of the River Derwent in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

Richard Usher, CEO of Great British Car Journey explained: “Four years ago, when I owned and managed Blyton Circuit, a gentleman approached me asking if I’d like to buy his 1989 Austin Maestro in mint condition with just 10,000 miles on the clock. My first thought was ‘no’, but it then got me thinking about when I last saw an Austin Allegro, Metro, original Mini, or even a Ford Cortina on the road. These were cars that were once on virtually every street in Britain and sold in their millions.”

The seed was planted and Richard, together with four private investors, set about amassing one of the largest privately owned collections of British designed and manufactured cars in the country.

Visitors to Great British Car Journey will be guided round the exhibition with a unique handheld audio device which tells the fascinating story of individual vehicles as well as the development of the UK’s motor industry.

Starting with the Austin Seven in 1922, the Great British Car Journey chronicles car design and production in the UK through to the modern-day McLaren 650S, which has been lent to the attraction by the supercar manufacturer.

Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive said: “Richard and the team have done an amazing job bringing Great British Car Journey to life. I am delighted that McLaren is able to support the exhibition which celebrates Britain’s motoring history from Bruce McLaren’s Austin Seven, where our brand story began, through to modern day supercars such as our 650S.”

The collection of almost 150 cars has been brought together over the last four years. One of the most difficult cars to find for the exhibition was a Vauxhall Chevette. Only a handful of Chevettes in roadworthy condition are thought to exist in the world today, despite around half a million being sold in Britain between 1975 and 1984.

Explaining his vision in more detail, Mr Usher said: “I really wanted the cars to tell a story, so the journey charts the growth of car ownership from Austin’s Seven to the present day.”

“It has a motor show feel with cars grouped in the decades – or chapters – in which they were produced, with period adverts and graphics prominently displayed.

“The vehicles are easily accessible. We want people to smell the old car smell, marvel at the interiors and jog memories of trips in the family car, their first car or back seat fights with their siblings when they were growing up.

“Everyone who has been on the journey, whether a car nut like myself or not, doesn’t fail to have a smile on their face remembering days gone by. Great British Car Journey is the ultimate trip down Memory Lane,” added Richard.

And the cars aren’t purely for looking at; more than 30 of them can be driven.

For an authentic, hands-on trip down Memory Lane 32 cars, including the Maestro that started it all, are available to drive on a private road as part of the Drive Dad’s Car experience.

All the vehicles in both the exhibition and Drive Dad’s Car experience are in working order and fully maintained by Great British Car Journey’s own time-served technician and apprentice. Visitors are welcome to watch them at work in the onsite workshop within the exhibition hall.

“Great British car journey is very much a working attraction. We have a large collection of well-thumbed Haynes manuals which are regularly consulted when we need to locate a bonnet catch or various engine parts to ensure the maintenance of the collection,” added Mr Usher.

Visitors to Great British Car Journey are guided round the exhibition with the handheld audio device while an army of volunteers is on hand to explain the finer details of the vehicles, from hidden petrol caps masquerading as taillights to the split bumper on the Morris Minor and one car once owned by a British music icon.

Entry to Great British Car Journey costs just £15 for adults (concessions are available)

Tickets for Great British Car Journey and the Drive Dad’s Car experience can be booked online at and at

Bentley celebrates centenary of first win

100 years to the day since the first race win for a Bentley, the winning car itself – known as EXP2 – returned to the famous Brooklands Racetrack in Surrey yesterday to lead a cavalcade of 3-Litre Bentleys to celebrate the centenary of its victory.

EXP2 is the oldest Bentley in the world, and only the second car ever built by W.O. Bentley’s fledgling company in 1921. EXP2 led a field of 24 3-Litres from across the country, which formed up on the remaining section of the banked Brooklands circuit where Bentley took its first win on 16 May 1921. On that day, the car took victory in the Whitsun Junior Sprint Handicap at the hands of ‘works’ driver Frank Clement, starting a series of race wins for the 3-Litre model that culminated in two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Bentley’s first in 1924, driven by Clement and John Duff, and again in 1927. Between those successes, in 1925 Duff also used a 3-Litre to secure a total of 21 world records over the course of 24 hours.

These early victories for the 3-Litre engrained motorsport in the foundations of Bentley, and paved for the way for more than 1,600 3-Litre models to be produced and sold.

The collection of 3-Litres and the event itself was organised by the Bentley Drivers’ Club, whose chairman Richard Parkinson comments:

“Motorsport success is a huge part of Bentley’s  heritage, as it is for the Bentley Drivers Club. We were therefore determined to mark the centenary of the first Bentley racing win on 16 May 1921 at Brooklands on the very same date this year with the actual car, EXP2 itself, kindly provided by Bentley Motors.

“We will continue as a Club to celebrate ‘100 years of Bentley Racing Success’ at our Annual Silverstone Meeting on 7 August which I am delighted to say Bentley Motors is supporting with a display of significant cars from the Heritage Collection.”

EXP2 – The Oldest Bentley in the World
After founding his company in 1919, it took two years for W.O. Bentley to develop the engine and chassis of his first production model – the 3-Litre, a car that he went on to produce 1,622 examples of between 1921 and 1929. Crucial to that development programme were the Experimentals – or EXPs for short. EXP1 came first, and was the very first car to wear the Bentley badge. EXP2 was next, and while EXP1 was lost to history (and may well have been cannibalised to create the other EXPs), EXP2 has survived for a century as the oldest Bentley in existence.

EXP2 was originally constructed with a plain two-seat body, to serve its function as a development testbed for the engine – incredibly advanced for its time – and chassis. It was later rebodied with dark red bodywork and an aluminium bonnet, crafted by coachbuilders JH Easter of Chagford Street.

It’s first race was only nine days before its first win. At the hands of Frank Clement, it competed at Brooklands on Saturday 7 May 1921 but failed to finish. Whatever gremlins had disturbed that first race were banished by the following weekend, and when the car took to the track again on Monday 16 it came home victorious for the first time.

EXP2 carried on with its split career of development testing and racing for two years, before being sold in September 1923. The car was completely rebuilt to its original specification around 25 years ago, and is now one of the most important members of the Bentley Heritage Collection.

Classic Car Driving Experiences launch for under 17s

For the first time youngsters up to seven years under the legal driving age will be able to take to the wheel of three iconic British-made classic cars.

Thanks to the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, youngsters aged 10 and over can take a spin in a Vauxhall VX490, Morris Minor or Austin 7 with a fully qualified driving instructor. Adults will also be welcome to sample the driving dynamics of three of Britain’s most famous cars, one of which dates back almost 90 years.

Young Driver, which more typically offers lessons to 10-17 year olds in brand new Vauxhall Corsa SE Premiums at 70 venues across the UK, prepared to launch the classic car experience in Autumn 2020 – just as lockdown hit and events had to be put on hold.

Having spent the last few months fine-tuning the engines, the classic cars will be available to drive at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire, from 22nd May and will be officially launched by motoring expert and TV presenter Quentin Willson. Events will then take place regularly throughout the year. The driving experiences last 15-minutes and those booking a lesson also get discounted entry into the museum.

The 1963 VX490 HB is one of only 10 currently registered with the DVLA. Having driven just 21,000 miles, it’s a remarkably well-preserved example of Vauxhall’s top sporting saloon of the 60s complete with wood dash, sports gearbox and six ancillary gauges.

The 1934 Austin 7 Ulster Replica is cute, lively and amazingly fun to drive with cycle wings, fish tail exhaust, fold down windscreen and boat tail alloy body. Just like the real thing, it’s deceptively brisk and guaranteed to make any driver – young or old – beam with delight!

The 1959 Morris Minor convertible is a classic British icon that radiates fun, charm and 50s period loveliness. Finished in Old English White with red trim and hood it’s easy to drive with light controls and a sweet gearbox.

Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “Since 1903 drivers have needed to be 17 to get behind the wheel – so our pupils will be the youngest to take control of these three classics! Lockdown has meant the cars have had to be rested for a few months, but we’re delighted to now be able to properly launch our classic experience. We’ve given more than 900,000 lessons in new cars over the last 12 years, but the Vauxhall VX490, Morris Minor and Austin 7 will give a completely different experience. We’re happy to let both youngsters and grown ups have a go behind the wheel and take a step (or drive) back in time! The nostalgia factor will be huge for anyone over a certain age, but these cars appeal to everyone, they’re absolutely stunning and great fun to drive.”

Jeff Coope, Managing Director at the British Motor Museum, said: “The Museum is delighted that Young Driver have chosen the British Motor Museum as the venue for its new classic experiences. The mission of the Museum as an Educational charity is to inform and inspire future generations and the addition of these experiences helps to bring the history we share to life. Anyone who books with Young Driver gets discounted admission to the Museum on the day of their experience and can see for themselves how the car they were driving fits into the history of British motoring. Amongst its extensive collections the Museum holds, for example, the first Morris Minor ever produced!”

Car expert and enthusiast Quentin Willson, who is a patron of Young Driver, added: “Kids driving classics isn’t just fun, it will teach young drivers special skills. Being extra delicate with steering, clutch and brakes, listening to the rise and fall of the engine and getting used to large turning circles will make them more patient and mechanically sympathetic. I think it’s a great idea.”

Driving experiences in Young Driver’s Classic Car range will be available from 22nd May and will cost £25.

Young Driver was established in 2009 with the aim of revolutionising the learning to drive journey, helping to reduce the high accident rate for newly qualified drivers by extending the learning period. For more information or to book a lesson visit or call 0333 577 9010.

Collection of iconic British classics to go under the hammer with SYNETIQ

Ford Escort Mexico

The cars are the stars as the Winsford collection goes under the hammer via the SYNETIQ auction platform. A total of 25 iconic cars of all eras are up for sale, but the five star lots are sure to attract a bidding frenzy.

Ford Escort Mexico

Coming from the private museum based at the SYNETIQ Winsford site, the ‘Winsford Collection’ includes some 25 cars ranging from fast Fords, to rare Jaguars and a vast selection of classic Minis. With most vehicles emerging following years of dry storage, each is ready to be recommissioned and returned to the road. Much of the selection includes cars that can be viewed as investment projects requiring light restoration.

SYNETIQ, the UK’s largest integrated salvage and vehicle recycling company, announced its intention to expand and invest in its Winsford site last year, in order to open a new cutting-edge facility for processing electric vehicles (EVs) – the first of its kind in Europe.

Five lots from the sale in particular are attracting attention from collectors and enthusiasts:

1953 Jaguar XK120 OTS. Finished in British Racing Green, and running on period-correct wire wheels and cross-ply tyres, this XK120 has been prepared to a fast-road and mild competition specification. Featuring a roll bar, aero screens, fire extinguisher, harnesses and an external ignition cut-off, this Jaguar is ready for touring, historic rallies or racing.

1964 Austin Mini Cooper S, Downton tuned with a Radford interior. This ultra-rare, early example of the Austin Mini Cooper S is possibly unique. As a 1964 model, it features the larger 1071cc A series engine, with servo assisted disk brakes, but does not feature the twin fuel tanks of the later cars. Tuned even further by the period mini experts, Downton Engineering, this mini also features a bespoke interior by the leading British coachbuilders, Harold Radford & Co. With deeper seats, trimmed in Connolly leather and a walnut dashboard with matching door cappings, lovers of the swinging sixties and motorsport need look no further.

1971 Ford Escort Mexico. Launched in celebration of its victory at the London-Mexico World Rally Championship in 1970, the Escort Mexico has become one of the most sought-after examples of the type. Finished in Daytona yellow, and featuring quad Cibie spotlights at the front and diamond-cut minilite alloy wheels, this Escort is in an eye-catching specification. With just 103,000 miles shown on the odometer, this is ready for a serious collector to own and enjoy.

1989 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth. Finished in diamond white, with an unmarked grey velour interior, this example shows just 38,000 miles on the odometer. With buyers finding it increasingly hard to find unmolested, original examples of these turbo-charged 80’s super saloons, this Sierra Sapphire has already caught the eye of serious collectors of the marque.

1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth. For fans of the turbo-charged road versions of the group A rally cars, there are few more iconic cars than the Escort RS Cosworth. With a 2-litre, turbo charged engine, permanent four-wheel drive, ample downforce thanks to the whale-tale rear spoiler, the Escort RS Cosworth was built for speed. This early example, featuring optional leather seats, electric windows and with a manual sunroof, is finished in a deep Mallard Green having benefitted from some subtle enhancements. Compomotive alloy wheels, and an upgrade to AP Racing brakes are both period correct, and also reversible, should the new owner desire a factory-spec vehicle.

All vehicles are offered for sale via SYNETIQ’s online auction platform. Bidding is now live, and will end on Friday May 28th. Registration for SYNETIQs auction costs £50+VAT per year, and can be accessed via this link:

Endangered classics given new lease of life

Mini Metro

Classic cars such as the Austin Metro, Austin Maestro and Hillman Imp, that once graced UK roads in their millions but are now a very rare sight, have been given a new lease of life.

Mini Metro

Keeping the candle burning for some much-loved iconic classics that are rapidly dwindling in number is one of the UK’s leading driving experience providers,

Indeed, its new Drive Dad’s Car Experience, released in time for Father’s Day on Sunday 20th June, allows participants to drive cars that were commonly seen on driveways up and down the UK, but are now extremely rare commodities, including the Austin Maestro, Ford Sierra, Vauxhall Cavalier and Robin Reliant.

In fact, according to data from, a website which shows how many cars of any make or model are left on Britain’s roads, there are as few as 144 taxed Austin Maestros in the UK, 296 Austin Metros, 749 Hillman Imps and 1,091 Reliant Robins, a handful of which can be driven on the new experiences available to book with

Dan Jones, operations manager at, said: “This is a great opportunity to relive childhood memories behind the wheel of everyday classics that are quickly becoming endangered species.”

With slightly more on UK roads, but still many thousands down on their heyday, are the Vauxhall Cavalier with 1,606 left and the Ford Sierra with 2,323 left, both models which can now also be enjoyed on a driving experience.

Dan added: “It doesn’t bear thinking about but there is the possibility that some iconic classic cars, that were incredibly popular in their time, could disappear for good over time.

“With so few left, a classic car driving experience might be one of the only opportunities for a nostalgic drive down memory lane in some much-loved motors.”

For more information about, or to book a Drive Dad’s Car Experience, visit

Help Guy Martin break the current Motorcycle Land Speed Record

Silverstone Auctions are offering a unique opportunity to get involved in assisting Guy Martin break the current Motorcycle Land Speed Record by riding at 400 MPH!!

Engineer with the project and former GP Motorcycle racer Alex Macfadzean will be selling his private collection of BMW’s to help fund the project called The 52 Express.

The 1,200 horsepower motorcycle is hoped to hit 400mph, breaking the current record of 376mph, which was set in 2010 by American Rocky Robinson. Channel 4 have already started a documentary filming the entire project. The motorcycle has been designed and built over the past decade by Alex Macfadzean.

The preparation includes a rolling-road, a wind tunnel and CFD work carried out in order to help finalise aerodynamics. The testing all of the systems in the UK (on a former RAF airfield) beginning in June!

Mark Bryan, Motorcycle Manager for Silverstone Auctions, added “We are delighted to be offering the 5 BMW motorcycles in our May Sale in order to help fund Guy Martin and his Motorcycle Land Speed Record Attempt, this is a fantastic opportunity for all involved”

The private collection of motorcycles are impressive, 1968 BMW R69Sc1967 BMW R50/21970 BMW R60/51961 BMW R50S and 1964 BMW R27

Alex has said that his next target is now clear – this is to become the first two-wheeled vehicle that is able to surpass 400mph. He commented that it is a great target and something he just must do!

Silverstone Auctions are offering in person viewings of the motorcycles from 12th – 21st May at Stoneleigh Park. Viewings require an appointment, and this should be made by calling 01926 691141.

Motorcycle Manager Mark Bryan can be contacted on 07958 107974, by emailing markb@silverstoneauctions or via their website if you would like more information.

Bell Sport & Classic remasters the rarest of Ferrari racing cars, the 330 LMB

Ferrari 330 LMB

Bell Sport & Classic is proud to unveil the ultimate expression of its exceptional in-house restoration expertise, an authentic remastering of one of the rarest period Ferrari racing cars ever: the 330 LMB.

The result of a joint development programme between Bell Sport & Classic and the business’s owner, the project’s vision was to build an authentic 330 LMB, blending originality and the utmost attention to detail with the very latest restoration techniques and sympathetic enhancements in order to create the perfect, remastered machine.

Built to be used and enjoyed on the road, this one-off car is based on a Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, and pays respectful homage to the original 330 LMB – of which only four were built in period for competition purposes – with a bespoke alloy body hand-crafted using templates taken from Chassis 4725, the only right-hand-drive example ever made.

With all components either period-correct or made from scratch by Bell Sport & Classic’s expert team, 330 LMB Project represents the perfect showcase for the company’s skills, a case study that demonstrates the new benchmark-setting levels of finish for Bell Sport & Classic’s restorations.

Rarer than a 250 GTO
The Ferrari 330 LMB (Le Mans Berlinetta) was developed by British-born Ferrari racing driver and engineer Mike Parkes to compete at the 1963 Le Mans 24 Hours. Based upon the Ferrari 250 GTO but with a more powerful 390bhp, 4.0-litre, Colombo V12 engine, it also had a 20mm-longer wheelbase and redesigned aluminium body.

With just four examples made – three left-hand drive, one right-hand drive – the 330 LMB is a highly significant Ferrari, rarer even than the hallowed 250 GTO, of which almost 10 times as many were produced. A trio of 330 LMBs competed at Le Mans in 1963. However, the example entered by Colonel Ronnie Hoare’s British Maranello Concessionaires Ltd team was the only one to go the distance, with Mike Salmon and Jack Sears finishing fifth.

As Ferrari was preparing to transition to mid-engined configuration competition cars, the 330 LMB was destined to become Maranello’s last front-engined race car of the era and did little racing in period. Today, however, the highly prized and exceptionally valuable 330 LMB can often be found at the sharp end of the historic racing field.

An unfinished vision
The origins of this remastering project can be traced back more than a decade. “The story begins with Edward Carter, an Essex farmer who was a huge Ferrari enthusiast,” explains Bell Sport & Classic Managing Director Tim Kearns. “Ed wanted to add a 250 GTO recreation to his collection but was steered away by one of the pre-eminent 330 LMB experts, Terry Hoyle. Having intimate knowledge of Chassis 4725, the original right-hand-drive LMB, Terry had another idea: ‘There are many 250 GTO recreations – you should do an LMB instead’.”

In November 2010, a donor right-hand-drive 1964 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 was purchased by Ed and a vision formed: make the recreation more use-able on the road, but with a racer’s character. Nuneaton-based RS Panels was tasked with shortening the chassis and creating a bodywork buck. In addition to a comprehensive set of photographs Terry Hoyle had of Chassis 4725, a trip was even taken to New York to capture cardboard body patterns, measurements and more images of the original 4725 car. Tragically, Ed Carter was never to see the project completed, losing his life in a road accident in September 2015, and for the next two years, the car lay dormant.

Bell Sport & Classic picks up the baton
In 2017, the owner of Bell Sport and Classic stepped in to rescue the project and the car found a new home at the company’s workshops in Markyate, Hertfordshire. It was here that a single overarching goal was set: use the project as a test case for Bell Sport & Classic’s restoration skills, establishing a new benchmark in the industry.

With restorations of period Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin being Bell Sport & Classic’s core business, it was also agreed that the 330 LMB project represented several unmissable opportunities. Firstly, to respectfully complete one man’s vision, creating what is thought to be the only 330 LMB remastering in the world – but to sympathetically enhance it, producing a unique one-of-one road car that blended originality, authenticity and the very latest restoration techniques, a machine as close to perfection as possible.

Given its collective knowledge, experience and enthusiasm of more than sixty years for the Ferrari marque, the Bell Sport & Classic team was perfectly placed to undertake the substantial amount of work required to complete the project to the highest possible standards.

The project has been headed-up by Elliot East, who has been restoring classic cars and classic Ferraris since the early 2000s working for many of the industry’s leading Ferrari specialists. Bell Sport & Classic’s engineering department is led by Attilio Romano, a former member of the Ferrari factory technical team in Maranello, who ran HR Owen’s Ferrari technical department for 22 years.

Building the body beautiful
When the car arrived at Bell Sport & Classic, the wings and roof were already attached; however, the dashboard was not fitted, and the door skins were incomplete. “As they were, the doors were spot-on for an original LMB. They felt super-light, but they lacked the more substantial road car weight we were looking for,” explains East. “So, we reworked them again and again, but very subtly, strengthening every single aspect including the hinges, the skins and the window frames until we got the perfect weight.”

Many of the parts required to complete the body simply could not be sourced anywhere in the world, at least not to the high quality demanded by Bell Sport & Classic. So, the only solution was to fabricate them in-house.

We spent more than a year searching for window catches; in the end we made them ourselves to ensure we were happy with the fit and finish. Our engineering department also made the aluminium fuel filler cap from scratch,” reveals East.

Other numerous items fabricated by the Bell Sport & Classic team relating to the bodywork include the straps and the bonnet’s finishers. While an off-the-shelf Lusso windscreen was perfect for the front of the car, the rear Perspex screen had to be created in-house. As with the headlamp covers, the team first cut aluminium to shape, which was used to develop a former, via which the perfectly finished Perspex items were fashioned.

“Three years of work has been lavished on this car. And, as with all our customer restoration projects, we have applied painstaking detail to every aspect. Everything is hand-built and unique,” continues East. “It was a delicate balance to achieve, deploying modern restoration techniques to make the new LMB as comfortable and as road-useable as possible, without sacrificing any of its race-bred character.”

The project was subjected to a complete ‘dry build’. This process involved the team fitting all the trim pieces, such as door handles and windscreen surrounds along with glass, to the bare metal body to ensure that the fit of these components would be perfect after the car came back from the paint shop.

Once the team was happy with the level of quality achieved, the body was painted classic Rosso Corsa red over a painstaking ten-week period. Finally, white racing roundels were added, as they would have been in period at the Maranello factory before the assault on Le Mans back in 1963, and a pair of Scuderia Ferrari emblems painstakingly hand-painted on each front wing as they would have been in period.

The heart and soul of the 330 LMB
To take the Colombo V12 engine to full LMB specification, Bell Sport & Classic’s engineering department converted it to a dry-sump specification and increased the capacity from 2953cc to 3967cc. “An extraordinary level of work was required to complete the process. Items such as the camshafts, timing case, water pump, oil and fuel tanks, oil filler tubes and caps had to be specially created for the car,” explains Attilio Romano.

The six carburettors are bespoke commissions in place of the Weber 42s fitted to the engine in period. The fuel rail and linkages are also bespoke creations. Once complete, the fully rebuilt engine was run-in and tuned on the dyno, and the result is 390bhp at 7000 rpm and 300 lb/ft of torque at 6000 rpm – precisely the same as in period. The only specification change has been the addition of a cooling fan, a modification that reflects the car’s road-bias.

At the start of the project, a five-speed transmission from a Mk2 330GT in Switzerland had already been sourced. While the original race cars were equipped with four-speed gearboxes, Bell Sport & Classic retained the five-speed unit as a sympathetic enhancement to improve the car’s road manners and use-ability.

The transmission was fully rebuilt using specially-manufactured selector forks and fitting all new synchros and hubs while Bell Sport & Classic’s engineers have also equipped the car with a bespoke prop shaft. The entire suspension system was stripped down and fully refurbished. The configuration features upper and lower wishbones with coil springs and telescopic dampers at the front.

A more road-focused set-up is deployed at the rear, featuring a five-bar linkage with leaf springs and a coil-over ‘helper’ damper, compared with the Panhard rod and Watts linkage of the period competition car. A rebuilt limited-slip differential completes the package.

Competition Lusso interior
As the original LMB 330s were built to race twice around the clock at Le Mans, few concessions were made to comfort. Their functional cabins were bare-painted in silver Hammerite with a wrinkle finish dashboard and black Corduroy seats. In keeping with Ed Carter’s vision for a ‘GT version’ of the 330 LMB, Bell Sport & Classic’s team strove to create a correct interior that would still be authentic but provide a touch more comfort for road use.

In the 1980s, the original 330 LMBs were retrimmed in ‘Competition Lusso’ style,” reveals East. “So, we selected this specification, keeping the black Corduroy seats and ‘wrinkle’ dash but adding carpets and trim detail. With race-focussed instruments and dials, the car retains a very period motorsport feel, while delivering a true GT experience on the road.”

The car’s beautifully fashioned aluminium gear lever turret, featuring the classic open-gate and tall gear lever, looks exactly as it would have when it left Maranello in 1963. However, like so many other components on the car, this exquisite cabin centrepiece was made entirely from scratch, on-site.

Sympathetic upgrades include a high torque starter motor, electronic ignition, electric fuel pumps and an electric cooling fan. The 330 LMB project also benefits from hidden modern voltage regulator and electric washer motor, along with a full fire system and welded, leak-free fuel tank inside an external riveted tank.

Tim Kearns, Managing Director of Bell Sport and Classic,said:“This remarkable 330 LMB remastering is an outstanding showcase for the incredible talent that lies within Bell Sport & Classic. The dedication they have put into this very special project over the last three years is outstanding, with every component either restored, rebuilt or created from scratch, blending the very latest restoration and engineering techniques with a selection of sympathetic upgrades.

“The result is a unique case study that pays homage to the original and demonstrates the new benchmark-setting levels of finish for Bell Sport & Classic restorations. I am also proud that we have, at long last, completed one man’s original vision. For us, this 330 LMB project is very much a one-off but it represents so much more than a remarkable car: it is a rolling showcase for the attention to detail and craftsmanship we put into every restoration, and one thing is for sure, we will be revealing many more of those in the coming months.”

World record values expected as Mitsubishi Heritage Fleet auction enters its final week


The Mitsubishi Motors heritage auction is now entering its final week before the hammer falls on all no-reserve lots on April 30. The first auction ends at 5.00pm with staggered ends for each auction after that. Any bid placed in the final two-minutes will extend the auction by a further two-minutes.


Unsurprisingly, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV Tommi Makinen Edition is currently (Friday April 23 09:00) the most sought-after car in the auction, with a top bid of £78,000 following a flurry of early bidding. It is expected to reach a world record price when it finally sells, while the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR FQ-360 by HKS is not far behind at £59,000 and could also potentially top the record £99,000 ($138,000) price paid for a Lancer Evolution IX in the US in 2017.

Other cars performing notably well include the Mk1 Shogun, at £14,000, the Mitsubishi Jeep J27 at £12,800, the Mitsubishi Starion at £16,600 and the Mitsubishi 3000GT which has attracted a top bid so far of £22,700. The Championship-winning Lancer Evolution IX rally car is currently £35,600 while the collection of private plates is also performing well with 1 CCC at £10,500 with the subsequent 2-9 CCC plates all achieving between around £4,000 and £5,000.

In total, the auction has totaled more than £400,000 and could top half a million pounds by the end of the auction on April 30. Interested parties can register and bid at www.autoauction.

The new Mitsubishi range is available to order now from Mitsubishi showrooms and via Mitsubishi Motors’ Buy Online service:

Theon Design HK002 – Purity of purpose expressed

Theon Design has revealed its latest bespoke commission, a fully restored and enhanced example of the Porsche 911 (964), blending world-class design and engineering with absolute purity of purpose.

The third exclusive car from the company and the second to be destined for Hong Kong, HK002 – like all Theon commissions – combines OEM-level design, quality and manufacturing techniques with an obsessive attention to detail.

Paying homage to Porsche’s heritage, methodology and engineering ethos, Theon Design distills and enhances the essence of the aircooled 911, making each car lighter, more powerful and even more visceral to drive.

The brainchild of Adam Hawley, a Porsche obsessive and expert car designer with over two decades of automotive design experience, Theon prides itself on its design-led approach. Hawley has worked for a range of prestigious OEMs, including BMW, JLR, Lexus and Lotus, on both concept and production cars – as well as designing for Airbus on the A380.

Born of a personal passion

“I always wanted to own a 911 that was a little bit different; to create a car using the design, material and prototyping skills I acquired over the twenty years I spent in the automotive industry,” explains Hawley.

“My goal was to enhance a classic Porsche, applying an OEM- like approach with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and manufacture to ensure the highest possible quality and finish. Finally, I was determined to honour Stuttgart’s legendary heritage and engineering ethos, with a focus on lightweight construction, enhanced performance and ultra-precise and engaging driving dynamics.”

Reaction to Hawley’s first prototype – based on a 911 SC with a race-prepared 993 engine -was so positive that it led to him establishing Theon Design, with a vision to create exceptional bespoke commissions for customers worldwide.

The company is named after Hawley’s youngest son, Theo, who, as a toddler, became obsessed with the car his father had built and happily forsook his toys to spend as much time as possible inside the cabin.

Located in the UK’s ‘Motorsport Valley’ – the global home of F1 and heartland of precision auto and racing technology companies and technicians – Theon Design is ideally positioned to enable Hawley to assemble a small team of highly dedicated and passionate engineers, and to establish relationships with a select number of nearby trusted and talented suppliers.

Theon Design HK002 – Purity of Purpose expressed

As with all of the bespoke commissions undertaken by Theon Design, HK002 is based upon a stripped-back-to-bare-metal and fully restored Porsche 911 (964). Respectfully echoing Porsche’s methodology and engineering approach and paying homage to the company’s rich heritage, the Theon Design HK002 utilises numerous design cues from Porsche models, past and present as well as concepts.

In restoring and enhancing the car, Theon Design has held steadfast to its own ‘Purity of Purpose’ ethos. Led by Hawley, the team has further distilled the character of the aircooled 964, elevating every part of the experience.

Body build: precision meets beauty

For every Theon Design commission, state-of-the-art digital design techniques are blended with traditional hand-craftsmanship.

In order to build cars to the tightest tolerances, each component is digitised and modelled in 3D design software. This approach maximizes precision and panel fit – and also gives Theon the flexibility to ensure each car is unique, enabling it to tailor details to each customer’s individual specification.

Digital scanning is used to create moulds and formers for the bespoke body – which incorporates the ‘long hood’ of early generation 911s with arches inspired by the ST and later widebody G Series/964 models – with the modified panels hand-beaten to perfection.

HK002’s body is predominantly steel, augmented by bumpers and a spoiler manufactured in carbon fibre by an F1-supplier. Theon will also undertake full body commissions in carbon fibre, should customers desire.

Further complimenting the design are electrically adjustable, machined billet aluminium mirrors inspired by Porsche’s 2018 991 Speedster concept. This last detail perfectly encapsulates Theon’s unique approach of taking inspiration from every Porsche era.

Our philosophy is that every detail matters,” continues Hawley. “And that goes for beneaththe skin too. An owner may not see 90 per cent of the car, but the same level of attention to detail goes right the way through, regardless. We treat every single component as an ‘A-surface’.”

The heart of the matter

Theon Design offers customers a wide choice of engine options, ranging from 3.6- to 4.0- litre naturally aspirated or turbocharged. The HK002 features a naturally aspirated 3.8-litre unit, producing 371bhp and 300lb ft of torque. Its features independent throttle bodies, flowed and ported heads, a lightened and balanced bottom end, Mahle barrels and pistons, Carrillo rods and custom profile camshafts.

The drive is taken to the rear wheels through a fully rebuilt G50 six-speed manual gearbox from the 993, while the car crouches even closer to the ground than a 964 RS with KW Variant 3 dampers all round.

Reducing complexity – enhancing agility

“To deliver the customer an exceptional driving experience, every single component of the car is scrutinised, accessed and then elevated in terms of performance, quality, refinement and aesthetics,” says Hawley.

The approach Theon Design took to the 964’s original air-conditioning, and power-steering units perfectly illustrates the team’s meticulous attention to detail. When the car left the factory, these items were mounted high up on the back of the engine. Theon Design replaced them with much more power- efficient units. They are now positioned low -down in the front of the car, which helps create a near-ideal 50:50 weight distribution. And with a full tank of fuel, the Theon Design HK002 weighs just 1248kg.

Custom-finish cabin

Theon Design has crafted every detail of the interior around the customer’s desires. Recaro front seats, finished in semi-aniline green leather with a Spinneybeck weave and contrasting yellow stripe, provide exemplary support. Contrasting carbon fibre features throughout the cabin. The centre console, constructed from carbon fibre and then wrapped in leather, also features exposed carbon panels.

The Nardi steering wheel was custom stitched to match the car’s interior by Nardi itself. Even the car’s ‘frunk’ is finished to the same exquisite detail as the rest of the HK002, featuring exposed carbon side ‘pods’ and a leather-wrapped carbon fibre fuel tank cover. Theon Design has also fitted a 964 RS strut-brace, wrapped in woven leather.

Modern comforts

Delightful convenience features are subtly integrated so as not to disrupt the aesthetic of the cabin. These include a hidden reversing camera screen, which flips down once the driver engages reverse gear. The stereo unit is hidden, ensuring a clean look to the dashboard. A magnetic wireless charger, mounted behind the dashboard, allows a smartphone to be seamlessly attached, providing control for the sound system and providing satellite navigation.

To recreate the feel of technology from another era, Theon Design has fitted cable operated heater controls. And while these have the beautiful, manual, tactile feel of those found on a 1970’s Porsche 911, the heater is, of course, a modern, highly efficient heating and air-conditioning unit.

Prices for Theon Design commissions start at £300,000. Each car is a totally unique collaboration with the customer and takes 18 months to build.

Hagerty examines the rising values of 80s and 90s Homologation Specials

Hagerty monitors the global classic car market providing insight to the car community and media alike. John Mayhead, Head of Automotive Intelligence for Hagerty UK, shares his thoughts in the latest Hagerty market report on homologation specials from the 80s and 90s.

The 1980s and ‘90s were decades that divided opinion. Were they absolutely fabulous, or do we look back at our youthful years with a sense of misguided nostalgia? For petrolheads though, one thing is beyond doubt: this was the era of some of the best motorsport ever seen.

While the regulations may have changed, one thing remained constant: proposed competition cars required a road-going version for homologation purposes. This spawned some of the most stripped-out, turbo-charged, box-arched cars ever to hit Britain’s roads. These cars are reportedly in great demand amongst the 45- to 65-year-old audience, and the most recent update of the Hagerty Price Guide shows their attraction has translated into rising prices.

The Ford Sierra RS Cosworth is one such rising star, adding an average of £20,200 to its value over the year. Rare in unmodified form, the very best are now demanding significant prices, with both Bonhams and Silverstone Auctions recently valuing examples for £75,000.

Yet market analysis for the Hagerty Price Guide also shows that values of less-special Cosworth examples have led a rise overall. In February, ACA sold a car that Hagerty condition rated as #3 (good) for £59,400 and this month the trend continued, with Morris Leslie selling a significantly modified and unoriginal car for £49,500.

The Audi Quattro Sport is another significant riser in the Hagerty Price Guide. 12 months ago, an ‘excellent’ example of this shortened, box-arched Group-B homologation special had a value of £265,000. Today, Hagerty’s value is £284,000 and the very top, concours examples are valued at up to £404,000.

The rise has mainly been due to high value achieved prices, but the recent auction of the final model Quattro Sport S1 gives a good example of the fervour that there is for these cars. In early February, Artcurial sold a motorsport-prepared, ex- Race of Champions Sport Quattro S1 for a staggering €2.016m, more than twice its pre-sale low estimate.

Fifteen years ago, the Lancia Delta HF Integrale, especially in end-of-the-line Evo II spec, had a top guide price of £7,500. Values then shot up over the next decade, with Hagerty valuing an ‘excellent’ example at £40,300 by 2015. By late 2019, this had risen, but not by the same rate, to £50,200. But in the past year, values have risen sharply again, with the Guide now listing that model at £64,500 and top examples as high as £85,400. That valuation is now under review as a number of sales have occurred at Hagerty’s top level, including an Evo II selling at an extraordinary $131,600 (£95,800) in Scottsdale during January.

Values of the standard BMW M3 (E30) coupe have risen significantly over the last few years, but it is the special editions that attract high sales prices. Average values of the Evo II have risen from £57,575 to £64,025 in the past year.

For years, as other hot hatch values rose, prices of the Clio Williams remained relatively static. However, in the last year there has been a surge of interest in the original batch of homologation cars. Although you can still buy a rough Williams for under £10,000, values of the very best are on the up: the Hagerty Price Guide now shows an ‘Excellent’ example as worth £18,100, and values across the board have risen by an average of £5,700 in the year.

John Mayhead, Head of Automotive Intelligence UK, said “Hagerty Price Guide values of many high-performance 1980s and ’90s modern classics have been rising quickly. We spotted a trend: that homologated cars seem to be very attractive to buyers at present. Hagerty believes that the combination of low production numbers, high performance and solid motorsport credentials gives these cars exactly what the market wants.”

Read the full Hagerty report, with more detail and expert commentary, here.

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