Lancia Delta Integrale 16v

Graeme Birtley ‘I was a fan of the Lampredi engine and had the itch again’

Year     1990     Mileage     92,500
Acquired     September 2016    Dream car    Lancia 037 with Martini stripes
Other hobbies     Playing guitar, cooking, spending time with family


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Why did you choose the car?
I had initially considered a 205 GTI RS Turbo or Sierra Cosworth, but they were starting to go for crazy money. I was a fan of the Lampredi engine, having owned a Fiat 131 Sport, Lancia Beta Coupe i.e and Lancia Delta GT in the late 1980s/early 1990s and had the itch again. Integrale Evos were way out of my budget so I got an Integrale 16v.

What’s the best bit?
There are many. I like the power from the 2.0-litre turbocharged twin-cam engine and the grip the four-wheel drive gives. The car is quite light at 1250kg and the steering feels very analogue compared to newer cars. As the car was produced for rallying, the long suspension travel is a good compromise between ride and handling on modern roads riddled with potholes. I also like the fact that they are getting quite rare now and you don’t see many on the roads today.
 
What’s the worst bit?
While left-hand drive is quite a novelty, negotiating left-hand bends and overtaking can be challenging sometimes. The brakes require more effort than a modern car.

Whats it like to run?
There is a lot of support and information on the internet and various clubs. Mechanical parts availability is very good although body and trim parts are becoming scarce now. Tanc Barret provide a really good service. The car runs on normal unleaded fuel. 

Any advice for potential owners?
Buy the most expensive one you can afford – make sure it’s a car with a service history and receipts to back up any work that’s been done to it. Check the bodywork for crash damage and corrosion. Pay particular attention to the rear of the roof, inner wings, sills, bulkhead and strut mountings. With the car stationary and the doors closed, turn the steering wheel and feel if the doors move. Place your hand at the bottom of the A-pillar and rev the engine. If you feel movement, this may indicate a weak bodyshell.

Any funny mishaps?
Last year when servicing the car I replaced some ignition components. I went to a car show at Knockhill Racing Circuit shortly after and when leaving the car cut out – while people were admiring it. I opened the bonnet and noticed that the main HT lead had came off the distributor cap. Oops.


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Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 2

Year     1994    Mileage     84,000
Acquired     November 2017     Dream car    Nissan Skyline R34 GTR
Biggest automotive regret Selling my supercharged EP3 Type R! That car was great fun
Dream road trip A trip to the Swiss Alps with a group of old-school Japanese cars 

Hasan Zeb ‘It’s all down to the driver, with no modern technology to help you out!’


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Why did you choose this car?
I remember going out in my brother’s Evo 2 around 10 years ago – we gave a Porsche a hard time! Since then, I have always admired the simplicity combined with the advantageous advancements of this amazing road car. 

What do you love about it most?
The fact I can drive around the city very comfortably, and the responsiveness is there when I'm at the lights. It’s all down to the driver and there is no modern technology to help you out! 

What do you like least about it?
As it’s nearly 25 years old, it’s quite difficult to source any replacement parts as most have been discontinued. Hence you always have that worry about something breaking. But other than that, nothing. 

Any modifications?
My GSR has: Tein adjustable coilovers, Ralliart engine mounts, EBC drilled and grooved disc and pads, Tanabe stainless-steel exhaust with de-cat, Apexi AVCR boost controller, Walbro 225lph pump, Sard fuel pressure regulator, HPS fuel rail, uprated fuel injectors, Magnecor HT leads, alloy radiator, Cusco master brake stopper, Cusco lower H-brace, Rigid Motorsport front and rear strut braces, Evo 8 blow-off valve, Ark turbo timer, oil temperature/boost gauge, 17in Team Dynamic Pro Race 3 alloys.  

What’s it like to run? 
I'm part of the Evo 123 Owners' Club on Facebook, which is really helpful with advice and help on the early Evos. There's a few breakers on the page, which can be useful. Specialists can be easily found throughout the country. 

Any advice for owners?
My advice would be to ensure the car has extensive history and examine for rust as these models are getting old. They can take a beating day in, day out, but they don't respond well to being launched as they're known to break transfer cases, hence many opt for the RS rear diff. 


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Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 Twin Spark Selespeed

Year:     2000    
Acquired:     February 2017
Mileage:     65,000    
Dream car:    Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
Dream road trip:    Going to Milan this Autumn in my Alfa Romeo S4 Spider. Stelvio Pass on the way into Italy, cruising around Lake Como, then visiting the Alfa Romeo and Pininfarina Museums

Dominic McMullan - 'I love the engine sound and throttle blips' 


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Why this model?
It was used, unwanted and a bargain. I'd heard bad things about Selespeed gearboxes, but it turned out to be a gem. After some body sorting (no rust) and a full service with a new cambelt, the 156 turned out to be great. Plus i'ts much more lively than the heavier 159 that replaced it.
 
What’s the best bit?
The sound of the engine and the addictive throttle blips from the Selespeed gearbox on downchanges.
 
What’s the worst bit?
The heater doesn't always blow hot despite various diagnostics and a new thermostat.
 
Any modifications?
No: it's all factory spec. All work is done by the specialists at the Alfa Workshop in Royston.
 
What’s it like to run?
It's an event every time you drive it, just as all Alfa Romeo cars are, I've got three at the moment so I can speak with authority on that. I've driven it all over the country, to and from Scotland in a day, and
I can't fault it. It has power when you need it and the look on drivers' faces as you speed past them in an 18-year-old Alfa Romeo is brilliant.
 
Any advice for potential owners?
Get an inspection by an Alfa Romeo specialist.  Take it for a test if you can, offering to pay for it if necessary. If they don't want to, negotiate harder or walk away.
 
Any funny mishaps?
I bought the car in Telford and drove it back to Peterborough.  The car hadn't had a service or a cambelt change in five years. The cambelt especially concerned me, so I drove it back like Miss Daisy so as not to cause any damage to the engine. Apologies to anyone who got stuck behind me on the way back from Telford in February last year!


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Saab 900 Turbo 16v s

Year     1988     Mileage     68,000
Acquired     2013    Dream car    Lotus Esprit Turbo
Biggest regret     Selling my Saab 99 Turbo    Other hobbies     Hill Walking

David Baughan ‘The metal sunroof was blown skyward with such force it was never found'


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Why did you choose the car?

When the rust on my Saab 99 Turbo 2-door returned with a vengeance 14 years after I'd restored it, I didn’t have the stomach or the deep pockets to do it all again, so I looked for a close substitute. The 900 Turbo 16v 2-door was the obvious choice with its rigid saloon body and therefore (in my opinion) superior handling to the more traditional 'combi' (hatchback) models.

What’s the best bit?

The 900 Turbo had awesome acceleration in its day. Even now, if you can catch the boost at its peak, the performance will give you a grin that can last for days. Perhaps the old ads with the Viggen fighter were a little over the top, but with a little imagination the driver can feel he or she is piloting 'Sierra Alpha Alpha Bravo' as it reels in the horizon.

What’s the worst bit?

The gearbox of the 900 was always the Achilles' heel and it can seem a little notchy on first use. Some moan about turbo lag, but for me that’s all part of the quintessential charm of an early Saab Turbo.

This one's special, isn't it?

The 2-door 900 Turbo 16v S was introduced in 1988 to complement the '87 Saab Turbo Mobil challenge featuring Tiff Needell and Damon Hill. Production was limited to 263 cars with super aero wheels and 150 like mine with the factory option sports pack.

What’s it like to run?

At 68,000 miles this one is barely run in and it has been entirely reliable in my 12 years of ownership. Over a long run its ability to eat the miles with the driver cosseted in those heated Saab seats makes it a realistic and practical choice for family types who also love 1980s or 1990s classic cars.

Any advice for potential owners?

A car with a full service history is a great place to start. The life of the turbocharger is very dependent on annual fully synthetic oil changes. Although the rust resistance of 900s was well known, the tin worm is here nowadays. 1991/92 runout cars are particularly vulnerable. Always check transmission tunnels for corrosion.

Any funny mishaps?

This is my third 900. My first caught fire at home and exploded with such force the metal sun roof was blown skyward and was never found! I still have the charred badges.

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Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964)

Year     1989     Mileage     158,000
Acquired     2013    Dream car    McLaren F1
Best car film     Senna    Other hobbies     Rock music and guitars, food/wine/travel combined, and of course motorsport

Steve Fenton 'It has the “Look back when walking away” factor'


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Why did you choose the car?

I always had a Guards Red 911 Turbo poster as a kid so I was naturally drawn to the 911 - the 964 was the air-cooled model that took my fancy. I spotted this car on sale at Phil Raby Porsche, Southampton.

What’s the best bit? 

A combination of a great drive, comfort, relatively fast even for today, practical enough for touring and the four-wheel drive gives extra confidence for all-year use. Most importantly it has the ‘I must look back at it when walking away’ factor.

What’s the worst bit? 

The ABS and PDAS four-wheel drive system is a little complicated for home maintenance; I try to do all repairs myself but I still insist on that annual stamp in the service book.

What’s it like to run? 

Almost any part is available direct from Porsche and I get good discounts with Porsche Club GB membership. Forum advice is vast.

Any modifications? 

None that can’t be reversed. I replaced the factory steering wheel with a Momo Prototipo and it transformed the drive. I have replaced all the suspension with Bilstein dampers and H&R lowering springs and I bypassed the secondary silencer to make the car a bit more tuneful to the ear!

What’s it like to run?

I run Midland Scooby Services in Grantham and we share all our progress and work on the car via social media.

Any funny mishaps?

I used the car to take my daughter to her wedding, but we got caught in traffic right outside the wedding venue. I decided to use the delay to make a lot of engine noise, so I don’t think the guests needed the wedding march music to realise we had arrived!

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Subaru Impreza V5 STI Type R

Year     1999     Mileage     179,000
Acquired     2013    Dream car    Mazda 767B
Best car film     No Man’s Land    Other hobbies     Extreme sports, motorsport, trackdays

Stuart Hammond ‘I always wanted to build a 400bhp+ two-door Impreza and settled on this 1999 Version 5’


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Why did you choose the car?

I wanted to build a 400bhp+ two-door Impreza and settled on this 1999 Version 5.

What’s the best bit? 

Tough choice between the rare S202 seats, F1-style shift light or the Syvecs S6 ECU.

What’s the worst bit? 

Eighteen-year-old paint is starting to show its age, but a respray in 2018 is planned.

What’s it like to run? 

Most parts are no problem. Even the local main dealer should be a good source of parts at reasonable cost. A brilliant forum run by friendly W201 loons is Mercedes-190.co.uk

Any modifications? 

Erm... one or two. The engine is a 2.1-litre closed-deck Williams Motorsport stroker with 14mm head studs, Spec C AVCS heads, full New Age inlet conversion, one-off FP Green hybrid turbo, Williams Motorsport headers, Cobra Sport de-cat exhaust, HDI intercooler, RCM fuel rail kit with Fuelab fuel pressure regulator, Syvecs S6 ECU and Toucan touchscreen. It makes over 450bhp, more than 450lb-ft of torque and does an 11.84sec/121mph quarter mile. It also has a Hawkeye UK six-speed DCCD gearbox conversion, RTS stage 4 clutch/flywheel, 18in Prodrive P1 WRC Wheels, coilovers, Brembo front and rear brake calipers with carbon pads, Godspeed discs, a variety of interior mods, Subaru Steel Grey paint and a Scoobyworld blended rear diffuser.

Any advice for buyers? 

Buy one now if you’re thinking about it as prices are continuing to rise. Check the DCCD (driver control centre differential) is working, if modified check for proof of a reputable map/mapper/ECU, check for rust.

What’s it like to run?

I run Midland Scooby Services in Grantham and we share all our progress and work on the car via social media.

Any funny mishaps?

Blew an intercooler hose off at 7000rpm in fourth gear at Santa Pod and my mind went to that place where no one wants to go!

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Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.0

Year     1989    Mileage     129,000
Acquired     April 2016    Dream car    1965 AC/Shelby Cobra 427

Daniel Ellard ‘These are superb cars with a well deserved reputation for build quality’


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Why did you choose the car?

When working in the motor trade in the mid to late 1990s I got to inspect, drive and sell many cars. My favourites were, unsurprisingly, the hot hatches and prestige brands. I adored the build quality and engineering of the Mercedes W124s, W140s and W201s.
A bit of research unearthed this dark blue 190E with grotty front arches and spots of cement on the boot. It had an impressive service history, drove superbly and the price was low. 
These are superb cars with a well-deserved reputation for build quality. Find one with a rust-free (ish) body and it can truly be an excellent daily. 

What’s the best bit? 

It's just a lovely, smooth drive with nimble handling, great quality and boxy good looks. Quirks like the massive steering wheel, the smaller passenger wing mirror and the single 'jumping' windscreen wiper add to the appeal.

What’s the worst bit? 

Rust is always on the horizon with any car of this age. I avoid the rain.

What’s it like to run? 

Most parts are no problem. Even the local main dealer should be a good source of parts at reasonable cost. A brilliant forum run by friendly W201 loons is Mercedes-190.co.uk

Any modifications? 

The suspension was tired. I've put on a H&R 'comfort' shock and springs kit which while dropping the height by 45mm also gives a good ride. This along with the 17-inch Lenso BSXs are the only mods I plan to do really. 

Any advice for buyers? 

Check for a smooth drive, a decent service history and the dreaded rust. Research well by using the search option on Mercedes-190.co.uk. The folks on there will help immensely.

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Renault Clio V6

Year:                 2005            Mileage:           70,000 miles

Acquired:         2015      Dream car:       Ruby Stone Porsche 964 RS

Oliver Cannon ‘Despite all the criticisms, not many cars come close in terms of visceral driving’


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Why did you choose the car?

My brother already owned a V6, and having had the pleasure of taking it around the Nurbürgring, I soon realised that nothing else in my price range could offer the same mix of raucous, mid-engined and, contrary to popular belief, capable performance.

The added allure of Renault's history and reputation when it comes to producing performance hatchbacks reinforced my decision that I was making a secure investment in both driving pleasure and – something as driving enthusiasts we try not to factor in – strong residual values.

Despite the often-repeated criticisms of poor performance, my experience is that, in terms of speed, handling, direct turn-in, fast-rising revs and driveability (due to its compact size) not many cars come close to the V6 in terms of visceral driving.

What’s the best bit? 

The experiences I've had through owning the car. A track day at Silverstone and a car club trip through Wales, the EVO triangle and Anglesey were without doubt the highlights. 

What’s the worst bit? 

Anything that doesn't allow the car to be used. Not because of any inherent unreliability, but because of my own desire to ensure that the car is mechanically and aesthetically in the best-prepared condition for driving.

What’s it like to run? 

All my work is carried out by SG Motorsport. They specialise in Clio V6s. Scott there has a supply of parts often unavailable through distributors or directly from Renault. Parts are becoming scarce, and prices of those available either through the owners' network or from specialists reflect this. On more than one occasion my car has received the 'last one Renault France have in stock' which can be worrying, but in the past Renault has put through short manufacturing runs of a part due to owner demand. What we really need is a 'Renault Classic' department.

Any modifications? 

There's a Janspeed back-box, a Phase 1 Clio V6 clutch, a lightweight flywheel and race seats plus a Nardi steering wheel to improve the driving position. More recently I've had solid top-mounts installed in advance of KW V3s due to be fitted early next year.

Any advice for buyers? 

Modern classics like the Clio V6 will at some point in their life have fallen to low values and then risen. During that 'low' time, the car may not have been looked after in the best possible way, and the slightly grubby car you are looking at with an inflated price tag might be a poor representation of what you could buy from an enthusiast for the same money. I'd say buy privately from reputable classifieds on the condition of the car and the authenticity of the owner.

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Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Year:                 2004            Mileage:           105,000km (65,243 miles)

Acquired:         2007      Dream car:       Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale

Oscar Alarcón Castelló ‘People always want to talk with you about the car, and to hear the engine’


 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Why did you choose the car?

I was looking for a sports car. I already had an Alfa 147 1.6 and I'd been considering the like of the Honda Civic Type R FN2, RenaultSport Clio 197, Mazda MX-5 NC, but finally the Alfa Romeo won it for me. 
It's got a 3200cc V6 naturally-aspirated engine with the Selespeed sequential gearbox. It's got really sporty behaviour and  a brutal appearance. I bought it with less than 30,000km (18,641 miles) recorded and I´ve got no regrets – I love it!

What’s the best bit? 

Well, I'd say there are three best bits. For a start, that 3.2-litre non-turbo engine. Then the sequential semi-automatic gearbox. And last, but not least, that special Alfa steering feel. With only 1.75 turns of the wheel from lock-to-lock, it´s stunning.

What’s the worst bit? 

Without any doubt I have to say it's the shortage of spare parts.

What’s it like to run? 

Aside from the parts issue it's lots of fun. There's lots of support on ClubGTA.com and Alfaowner.com. Many people are always happy to help on Alfa forums.

Any modifications? 

I've fitted an Alfa Q2 torque-biasing limited slip differential, suspension upgrades (K-Sport coilovers), front and rear strut bars, wider rear anti-roll bar, spacers, decat and a Wizard exhaust. 

Over time I've also picked up 17in and 18in original GTA wheels, and it currently runs BBS CK 19in, semi-slick tyres (Contisport Contact and PZero Trofeo), Sabelt Challenge Racing Seats, racing pads and rotors – it goes on and on. 

Any advice for buyers? 

Replacing the OEM differential is a must. It must be replaced with an Alfa Q2 or a Quaife because if the stock differential breaks it will also smash the gearbox. It doesn´t matter if you don't race with the car, the OEM diff will break.

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Volkswagen Jetta 16v

Year:                 1989            Mileage:           197,000

Acquired:         Oct 2013      Dream car:       VW T2 Bay Window

Martin Wall ‘I love the smile it puts on my face and the comments it gets at shows’


 VW Jetta 16v

VW Jetta 16v

Why did you choose the car?

I was actually on the hunt for a MkII Golf at the time but couldn’t find one I liked. A friend of a friend had this Jetta for sale. I drove it and loved it.

What’s the best bit? 

I love the smile it puts on my face, and the comments at shows and meets – usually, 'I haven’t seen one in years, especially as well looked after as this.'

What’s the worst bit? 

Some parts are now difficult or expensive to acquire.

What’s it like to run? 

There’s a vast fanbase for MkIIs, both Golfs and Jettas, so there are lots of knowledgeable people out there that can help. Most parts are available but some are becoming harder to find.

Any modifications? 

Yes... lowered all round on adjustable coil overs, full engine and gearbox rebuild, Marlboro motorsport wrap, genuine BBS RS 7” front 8” rear, stainless exhaust, Metalplas bonnet vent, Autoplas rear window louvre, OMP wooden steering wheel.

Any advice for buyers? 

Engines are relatively cheap, so always buy on body condition. 

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Honda Civic Type R FN2

Year:                 2009            Mileage:           74,000

Acquired:         Aug 2017      Dream car:       Mine or a Mugen 200

Alexander Wright ‘On a B-road it turns into a true Type R’


 Honda Civic Type R FN2

Honda Civic Type R FN2

Why did you choose the car?

I’ve always loved Championship White. It’s only within the past couple of years that the FN2 shape really started growing on me. So when one came up in the dream colour for a brilliant price, I had it.

What’s the best bit? 

The lower VTEC crossover and the handling. Turn off the VSA (stability, traction control, etc) on a good B-road and it turns into a true Type R – fun, agile and puts a huge smile on your face. Or you can jump on a motorway and completely relax. A great all-rounder.

What’s the worst bit? 

The gear knob; changing it was probably the best thing I’ve done.

What’s it like to run? 

There’s a good few websites that’ll sort you out with all the parts you could ever wish for (such as Tegiwa, 6two1 and Cox motor parts) and with me working in a parts shop and my father being a mechanic it keeps the costs down nicely. There are also some brilliant Honda groups around nowadays, such as UK Honda Group, the FN2 Owners Club UK and civinfo.com. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, there’s bound to be someone on one of the groups who has done it a thousand times.

Any modifications? 

C-pillar brace, centre box delete (keeps it civilised), HKS panel filter, Skunk2 springs, Skunk2 gear knob, 6two1 oil cap, genuine Mugen grille, Downstar dress-up bolts and a Takata harness.

Any advice for buyers? 

Just watch out for roof rust! If gone unnoticed it can ruin a perfectly good car. Mine needs repairing – it’ll cost around £300 to get it sorted, but it did get me a grand off the asking price!

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Porsche 911 996 Carrera II

Year:                 2003            Mileage:           78,000

Acquired:         Feb 2016      Dream car:       911 997 GT3 RS 4.0 manual  

Andy Warner ‘There are a few scary moments when the back end slips, to get your heart racing’


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Why did you choose the car?

A love of cars runs in my family, with my dad being a car dealer. I always loved 911s – I had a poster of a Guards Red 964 on my wall as a child and wanted a 911 ever since. At the age of 18 when I had just learned to drive, I remember watching Richard Hammond driving a white 996 GT3 on Top Gear. That sealed it for me – I had to have a 996 911. I wanted one with a large spoiler for that GT3 look, so I was happy to drive to the opposite side of the country in 2006 to see a 996 – and the second I saw it I fell in love.

What’s the best bit? 

It has just the right amount of power and grip, so you can push it on the road, using all of the power (which you can’t do in more modern supercars) and have a few scary moments when the back end slips to get your heart racing. It’s the perfect sports car – useable and great fun to drive.

What’s the worst bit? 

The car is so good it has become a complete obsession – I spend so much time cleaning it, going to car shows or just going out for a drive that my wife is becoming jealous.

What’s it like to run? 

Luckily these cars are now rising in value, so the money I’ve spent on maintaining it has pretty much been covered by the increase in value. In my first year of ownership I spent about £800 on servicing and repairs of wear-and-tear items. I am expecting to spend a couple of thousand next year on an IMS bearing upgrade, new suspension bushings and a new clutch. Autostrasse in Essex has serviced my car and has been great.

Any modifications? 

There’s a full aero kit with skirts and a large spoiler from a C4S/Turbo. The factory-fitted sports exhaust sounds amazing and really makes the car the complete package.

Any advice for buyers? 

Buy one – you won't regret it! Find out if the IMS bearing has been upgraded – around 5 per cent of them fail and take the engine with them; if it hasn’t, you have something to haggle over. Mayonnaise around the filler cap doesn’t necessarily mean a blown head gasket – in cold weather or if the car has done lots of short trips, condensation forms in the long plastic oil filler tube. Wiping it off and going for a long drive should fix it. If one exhaust is substantially more sooty than the other, it can be a sign of bore scoring issues so walk away from the car.

Any funny mishaps?

The exhaust is loud enough to set off other car alarms – as I discovered when I turned up for work late. I was hoping to park up and sneak into the office unnoticed, but set off the alarm on the financial controller’s Jaguar – everyone looked out of the office windows and the financial controller had to come out and switch it off!

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Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

Year:                 1999    Mileage:           163,000

Acquired:         2017    Dream car:       BMW 850  

Christopher James ‘Grunt, noise, road presence, it has it all – but the first question I get asked is about economy’


 

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Why the E55? 

Having gone through around 60 cars without ever owning a Mercedes, I bought a CL500 on a whim three years ago. What a car it was, the best built one I’d ever had, but I sold it after three months because it didn’t suit our lifestyle. I did buy a W220 S320 earlier this year, but again, despite loving it, it was sold as not being quite right for our needs. The day I sold it I realised I’d probably made a mistake, so I was again looking out for another Merc. Why did I buy the E55? Grunt, noise, road presence, comfort – it has it all.

What’s the best bit? 

The sound is addictive, and it has lots of road presence, but the best bit? After all the recent work on it, knowing it’s completely rust-free, both underneath and up top, is hugely satisfying.

What’s the worst bit? 

I still don’t think the headlights are the prettiest.

What’s it like to run? 

Parts availability is good and independent specialists are numerous. The first question I get asked most of the time, after finding out it’s a 5.5-litre V8, is about the economy, or lack of it. I have to say though that I can get 400 miles to a tank in sensible-ish driving. Having the main cats removed not only increased the horses from 350 to 380, but also freed things up a bit, which increases mpg. Win-win. Oh, and did I mention the sound?

Any modifications? 

Does a full new driver’s sill count as a modification? Otherwise I’ve left the car pretty much as it left the factory apart from K&N filters and the aforementioned cat delete (it still has the primary cats in there). 

Any advice for buyers? 

Mechanically it’s pretty much bulletproof. The biggest issue on any W210 is rot. You won’t have to look too far for it. Most panels will probably have
crusty edges. 

Spring perches go, as can lower control arms and window regulators. Now’s the time to buy a W210, while they’re right at the bottom of their price curve. They won’t be this
cheap for long.

What do you fancy next? 

No plans for anything different at the minute. My next project is finishing my 1983 Datsun Stanza, which is due for some welding work and paint early next year.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

ALPINA B10 3.5/1 (E34)

ALPINA B10 3.5/1 (E34)

Year:                 1992    Mileage:           70,800

Acquired:         2016    Dream car:       Alpina B12 Coupe  

Jurgen Henot -  'It's 25 years old but has everything that a modern car has, plus the straight-six sounds glorious'


 
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Why an Alpina?

People always compare Alpinas to BMW's M cars. Alpina stands for exclusivity, power, comfort and low consumption while M stands for pure performance without a thought for comfort or consumption. 

After I bought my first Alpina, a D3, I got the virus – I ended up buying a Roadster S, and then got a D3 Touring Allrad company car. 

After enjoying Alpina's 50th birthday celebrations, including a passenger ride in a B3 GT3 around the Nürburgring with the firm's CEO, Andreas Bovensiepen, I fancied a B10 BiTurbo. Sadly my budget only stretched to a 3.5/1, and I found this one in Belgium. There were a few minor issues, but nothing I couldn't do myself.

What’s the best bit?

It's 25 years old but has everything that a modern car has; electric seats, windows and sunroof. The straight-six sounds glorious and it looks fabulous. 

What do you like least?

It does seem to consume a lot of petrol compared to more modern cars!

What mods does it have?

I changed the steering wheel from a four-spoke to a three-spoke, and switched the
radio from a modern JVC unit
to a more period-looking
Becker stereo.

I've also replaced the leather around the handbrake and
gear lever, and replaced the indicators and grille as the originals were broken. I've also put the B10 logo back in the right place,

What’s it like to run?

I always take my car to Performance Shop Geel (performance-shop-geel.be) – the staff there are well known around here for their knowledge of BMW M cars. 

Parts are easy to come by via the internet, and there are plenty of books on the E34 that are very useful. 

What advice do you have for potential owners?

Always check for rust, but that's the case for all E34s. Also, check whether the chassis number is original with Alpina.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

Maserati 4200 GT

Maserati 4200 GT

Year:                 2006    Mileage:           128,000

Acquired:         2016    Dream car:       Jensen Interceptor  

Chris Russell:   ‘Pretty great as they came from Ferrari’


 
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Why did you choose this car?

I love the look, shape, sound, speed and performance – and the thought of owning an Italian supercar for less than £20k. It’s a no-brainer, but the two-tone interior was the clincher.

What do you love most?

All of it.

What do you dislike?

If not driven for long periods, 4200s can develop silly little electrical faults.

Any modifications?

I’ve fitted a Capristo exhaust system, but otherwise I’ve left it completely
as stock. After all, they were pretty great and part Ferrari you know...

What major expenses have you had to pay out on it?

You don’t have to be rich to run one, but some money in the bank just in case is a must. Parts are easy to find on the internet, with places like Eurospares, eBay and so on. I am on the Sportsmaserati.com forum, where you can find a wealth of info. If I need any work doing, I take it to a specialist not far from me called the Supercar Centre here in Sheffield. Fuel can be expensive, with it running on super unleaded, but that’s what its like owning a performance car.

Any advice for buyers?

I would say the best advice I could give is once you have found the car you want, arrange for a specialist to check it out – that’s a must.

Any funny mishaps?

The wife’s face the first time I floored it – that still makes me laugh today.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

BMW Z3 M Coupe

 
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BMW Z3 M COUPE

Year:                 1998    Mileage:           78,000

Acquired:         2013    Dream car:       Ferrari BB 512   

David Wilson Nunn - ‘It feels raw and immersive’


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Why did you choose the car?

It was on my bucket list. After owning many BMWs before, including two Z4Ms, I needed to experience the M Coupé and got really lucky with my search and timing. I wish I could say I looked at a few but I didn’t. One viewing was all it took and a week later I was picking her up, driving back from Oxfordshire and wondering what the hell had just happened.

What do you love most?

I love how most people have no idea what it is. The looks divide opinion of course, but I adore the lines and history behind its after-hours, parts-bin creation. It’s oddly practical too, with a large boot and looks great with roof bars. The engine is a masterpiece and it eschews superfluous stuff like traction control for a more analogue experience. Driving it feels raw and properly immersive.

What’s the worst bit?

The small fuel tank. On a spirited good day, you’ll get 200 miles out of it so you need to plan your back-road adventures carefully. Oh, and only two seats. I have two young kids and soon they’ll be fighting for the space.

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What’s it like to run? 

Very easy. Since it shares a lot of its body with the standard Z3 and engine with the E36 M3, common parts are readily available through BMW UK or specialist dealers. Same goes for servicing and I get the oil changed every year regardless of mileage, plus follow the routine for Inspections one and two. I tend not to go to main dealerships as I live pretty close to BMW specialists ETA Motorsport near Brands Hatch. What those guys don’t know about performance Beemers isn’t worth knowing.

Any mods?

She’s a BMW UK launch press car so I didn’t want to muck around too much. So far, I’ve replaced the standard anti-roll bars with an H&R set, which transformed the ride, and am currently considering aftermarket suspension and 10mm rear wheel spacers .

Any buyer advice?

Standard things like checking the rear subframe and diff hangers for cracks or tears. Check the Vanos for unusual noises or leaks. There’s lots of buying advice online such as the Z3MCoupe forum and if you’re really lucky you might even find one for sale on there. Treat it with respect, as your only driver safety aid is watching the weather forecast.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6

Mercedes-benz 190e 2.6

Year:                 1992    Mileage:           167,047

Acquired:         2013    Dream car:       Mercedes-Benz 500E   

Fergus Parnaby - ‘I like a car with character and a powerful engine’


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Why the 190E?

I’ve always had a yearning for these early 1990s brutalist cars. I like the idea of a car with loads of character and a powerful, torquey engine.

What’s your favourite bit?

The feeling of solidity and finish (last of the over-engineered Benzes).

And the least favourite bit? 

Fuel can, naturally, be costly on short runs round town.

What’s it like to run? 

I’m a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club (mercedes-benz-club.co.uk), which has a good forum, and can sort discounts on replacement parts as well as good deals on classic insurance. I try to get proper branded parts. The 15in tyres can be tricky to find, but Bicester Tyre and Exhaust (bicester-tyre-and-exhausts.co.uk) has managed to source them for me.

Any modifications?

None. I’ve kept it stock deliberately; the only thing I’ve done is cosmetic – refurbishing the original wheels.

Any advice for buyers?

A common-sense check for rust and corrosion is a good idea, due to age, but the bodies are strong and should be fine, provided they’ve been well looked-after. Check for dings or scrapes. The springs can corrode over time and will need replacing at some point. Check oil has been changed every 5000 miles if it’s a high-mileage model; the six-cylinder engines will go on almost forever if well-serviced.

What do you fancy next?

Short of moving to the States or Canada and buying a Trans Am or Mustang, I’m tempted by the Alfa 147 GTA or Maserati 3200GT. More sensible would be a Nissan 350Z.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

RenaultSport Clio 172 Phase 1

Renault Sport Clio 172 Phase 1

Year:                 2000     Mileage:           58,000

Acquired:         2016    Dream car:       Renault Alpine A610  

Mark Shaw ‘The huge grin I get when driving in North Wales and surprising modern hot hatches is addictive!’


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Why did I choose the Clio?

After selling my last 205 GTI 1.9 I hankered after something similar and chanced upon a Clio. It was a low-mileage, one-owner 172 in Titanium Silver. I knew after driving it a few yards it had to be mine.

The whole feel of the car was right – lightening throttle-response, direct steering and what felt like the full 172 horses still under the bonnet. I was hooked.  

The best bit? 

The feeling that the car is pretty bespoke and built to do a job. Not many Phase 1s were sold and despite this being the most popular colour, it still turns the heads of those in the know. The huge grin I get when driving on some of the roads in North Wales and surprising modern hot hatches is highly addictive!

The worst bit?

Deciding to purchase a limited- mileage insurance policy. That’s soon to change, though. Oh, and getting it dirty!

Any modifications?

Just a set of H&R lowering springs. These cars sat very high from the factory on 15in rims so I wanted something slightly lower to improve the aesthetics but without affecting the car’s dynamics too much.

Interior-wise, it remains standard apart from a re-trimmed steering wheel in light grey Alcantara and leather.

Running costs are reasonable: I can get 40mpg on a long run and servicing and parts costs are generally cheap. Timing belt changes including the dephaser pulley are critical, and I’d recommend oil and filter changes every 6000 miles.

I’ve joined cliosport.net which is a great resource for help and information on these cracking little cars. Being in the motor trade I’m lucky that any repairs can be carried out in-house. 

Any mishaps?

I find myself looking back at the 172 whenever I park it up. I did this once too often and ended up walking into a lamp post. Worth the embarrassment, safe in the knowledge that this little car is a sound investment and a great modern classic.

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo

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Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo

Year:                 1998     Mileage:           115,000

Acquired:         2016    Dream car:       Alfa 156 GTA  

 

 

John Philpotts ‘You could easily get into trouble with the blues and twos if you let the car do what it does best’


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Why a Fiat Coupé Turbo?

I’d always wanted one and approximately seven years ago, a friend of a friend offered me a low mileage example. It was basic spec without the LE or Zender bodykit, so I didn’t really love the looks but it was unbelievable to drive. And the noise... just wow. I sold it after only brief ownership but hankered after another. After mortgages and two kids I finally took the plunge again but with a very strict list of requirements. Broom Yellow, leather, LE body additions, all the big jobs done. This car ticked most boxes.

What do you love about it?

I love the colour. I love the fact the Coupé is so rare and not many people know what it is, so it gets lots of attention. The Chris Bangle styling has aged with great dignity. I also love the gearing; each gear is really long. Third and fourth especially could get you into trouble with the blues and twos if you let the car do what it does best.

What’s the worst bit?

It’s old and Italian so has a sense of fragility. I worry that things will break even though I have not experienced any issues or ‘mood swings’ from the car. 

What’s it like to run?

It’s good, and surprisingly parts supply is great and has not yet been an issue. For example rear discs and pads are stocked at a well-known European car parts supplier for £32 all in. Plus all other consumables are at very reasonable prices. Quite a few Coupés are still being broken too. There are various specialists around. John Cartlidge at Midlands Car Servicing, Leicester, is an extremely knowledgeable person.

Any advice for buyers?

Become a member of the online groups and forums. Do your homework before buying. Make sure the car you are looking at has had the big jobs done such as cambelt, turbo, clutch and manifold. If not, make sure the cost reflects this.

Any funny mishaps?

My three-year-old daughter asked to go out in my yellow car recently for the first time. So, with the rear child seat fitted, she loved it so much that I’m not allowed to go out in the Coupé on my own now, or there’s a tantrum. She’s got great taste, even at three!

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

Alfa Romeo GTV

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Alfa Romeo GTV

Year:                 2008     Mileage:           113,000

Acquired:         2016    Dream car:       Alfa Romeo 8C  

Best car film:   Group B (2015)

Dream trip:      Route de Canigou

 

Craig Hallam ‘People think that it’s a £20,000 car – and they fall over when I tell them what the original price was’


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Why the Alfa?

This is Alfa number 13 and my fourth GTV. Having sold my Spider I wanted to get back to that classic look and V6 grunt of the GTV. It was a project and an ugly runt, but by adding some new parts and a lot of TLC she became a real one-off!

What do you love most?

The noise under gentle persuasion, the red near-spotless interior and those GTA dark alloys. People think it is a £20k car and fall over when I tell them the actual value.

What’s the worst bit?

If not driven for a week all the electricity can escape thanks to the immobiliser. Trickle charging and weekly runs keep it in check! 

Any modifications? 

An Autodelta exhaust system and air intake, Bilsteins on the front to improve the ride and the red leather and GTA alloys. 

What’s it like to run? 

These engines are beasts, but well behaved if serviced correctly; I’ve never had a GTV go badly wrong. Flat batteries, Mass Flow Meters and suspension seem the most common. Get a quality relationship with an independent – Luke at SDR Autos in East Sussex is spot on, and GTV City are very amenable breakers.

Any advice for buyers?

Mileage is not an issue, but condition and history are! A 75k mileage GTV can cost a lot if needing attention, whereas one with 125k miles can run trouble free if the owner has kept on top of all the work. If you are looking to keep it for a while, get one with the rear spoiler and teledials. Red, Blue, Silver and Grey are strong colours with Tan or Red leather.

Any funny mishaps?

On taking my son out for a Sunday blast, (he’s six) he pronounced it’s a ‘race car’. He was fascinated by the temp gauge. I told him we will not go fast until it hits 90°. He now tells everyone we meet that ‘dad only drives at 90 with me in the car’... social services anyone?

To have your car featured in the magazine, get in touch via editorial@modernclassicsmagazine.co.uk

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