Aston Martin is celebrating 30 years of one of its iconic models, by remembering the 6.3-litre Virage models.
The engine upgrade was part of a comprehensive package of improvements to the standard Virage and Virage Volante, which were already highly regarded as the first entirely new models from the British firm in 20 years.
Aston Martin says the upgrades followed the era’s ‘more is more’ approach, and came from the move from a 5.3-litre V8 to a 6.0-litre unit in the motorsport version, which was eventually upped to 6.3 litres.
When it came time to offer an upgrade to the road car, it made sense for the engine size to be increased in line with the racing version. The standard car had 330bhp at launch, but once the new engine was introduced it boasted 500bhp, an incredibly number for the time.
Specially manufactured by performance specialist Cosworth, the engine contributed to the car’s 5.1-second 0-60mph sprint time, while 100mph came up in just 11.5 seconds and the top speed was 174mph.
On top of the power hike, the Virage was given a suspension overhaul to improve handling, while 18-inch alloy wheels with high-performance Goodyear Eagle tyres were also fitted.
Special brakes that took their design inspiration from the AMR1 Group C racer helped to bring two tonnes of Virage to a stop.
Because the wheels and tyres were much larger than before, the arches were flared, giving the car a more aggressive appearance, while extended side sills, new front air dam and large rear spoiler completed the visual upgrade.
Aston Martin Historian, Steve Waddingham, said that the conversion was offered at a tough time for the firm, with the boom of the 1980s followed by economic downturn.
He added: “This ingenious offering created by the brand’s Customer Service Division – now Aston Martin Works – not only created a huge amount of positive media interest in the marque but also provided many of our well-heeled customers with the opportunity to acquire an iconic road car with real motorsport heritage.”
BMW’s famous M performance division hits a big milestone this year – we’re taking a look at some of its most famous models.
BMW’s M division hits 50 this year, marking an incredible milestone for one of the best-known names in the business. Since 1972, it has created some of the most iconic and desired performance cars, consistently delivering vehicles that have gained the attention of motoring enthusiasts the world over.
Here, we’re going to take a quick walk down memory lane at some of BMW M’s finest creations.
Arguably one of BMW M’s most recognisable cars, the M1 was the first car to feature that iconic letter. Making its debut at the 1978 Paris Motor Show, the M1’s wedge shape was an instant head-turner, while its 277bhp six-cylinder engine backed up these looks with some serious performance too.
Just 460 examples were ever created, while the M1 was then a feature in the one-make Procar racing series.
Though many might lean towards the M535i, we’d have to pick out the beautiful M635CSi as another key entrant on this list. BMW M took the elegant lines of the 6 Series and installed a 282bhp engine to give it a whole lot of punch.
Extremely limited in number, the M635iCSi commands serious attention, even today.
Few could’ve imagined that the arrival of the original M5 would go on to start a lineage of cars stretching for decades. On the outside, it looked like a humble saloon car, but it packed the same four-value straight-six as the M635CSi, exceeding the amount of power you got from the regular 518i by nearly three times.
It was in 1986 that BMW M would create one of its most iconic models – the M3. This compact saloon car was an instant success, with its four-cylinder 16-valve engine combined with a lightweight body to create an agile yet composed performance car.
The BMW M5 returns
The M5 made its triumphant return in 1988, bringing a straight-six engine – originally a 3.6-litre and later a 3.8-litre. Just as stealthy as its predecessor, this new generation of M5 brought a more refined character.
Plus, it was available as an estate – or ‘touring’ – broadening its appeal and giving it some added practicality.
BMW Z3 M Coupe
In the late 90s, BMW created a real cult classic – the Z3 M Coupe. Known affectionately as the ‘clown shoe’ it featured the compact and lightweight body of the regular Z3 but took its power from the second-generation M3.
Arrival of the E46
The millennium saw the arrival of an M3 generation that would go on to define the sports car – the E46. Featuring more performance mechanicals than ever before, this third-generation M3 would manage 0-60mph in around five seconds yet could easily be driven every day.
Later on in 2003 a lightweight CSL version would be created, utilising a variety of carbon-fibre elements to drive down weight and improve handling.
The V10 M5 and M6
BMW M went all-out in 2004 with the arrival of the V10-powered M5 and M6. The former was the most powerful ever made, bringing more than 500bhp and 520Nm to the table, with 0-60mph taking just 4.5 seconds.
In fact, the M5 would do 124mph in just 15 seconds.
The V8 M3
BMW turned the dial up on the M3 in 2007, too, fitting its M3 with a new 4.0-litre V8 engine. It made the M3 into a proper muscle car, while a lightweight construction meant that the M3 still handled just as elegantly as its predecessors.
Available as both a coupe and saloon, it proved a very popular generation of M3.
1 Series M Coupe
BMW M would go back to its compact roots in 2010 with the 1M Coupe, a punchy take on the then-new 1 Series Coupe. Kitted out with a straight-six engine, the 1M’s lightweight handling and strong performance made it into a cult classic.
Even today, 1M values continue to rise.
The M3 goes modern
In 2014 the M3 arrived with a revolution – a turbocharged engine. As well as the standard saloon, a coupe version – now badged M4 – was made available, while a more agile M3 CS would arrive later on.
The M5 goes all-wheel-drive
BMW cars are famous for their rear-wheel-drive layout, but that all changed in 2017 with the arrival of the new M5. It used a clever all-wheel-drive system – as well as a 4.4-litre V8 engine – to bring brutal acceleration but a whole lot of traction too.
BMW M turns to SUVs
BMW M had already made a brief foray into the world of SUVs, but in 2019 it created some of its most powerful with the X3 M and X4 M. Both used the same 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, while more powerful Competition versions came with a fearsome 503bhp.
A striking M3 arrives
But in 2021 the fun would start with the arrival of the G20-generation M3 Competition and M4 Competition. With its opinion-dividing styling, this new generation of M3 and M4 didn’t hold back in terms of performance and design, while an upcoming M3 Touring will give enthusiasts the car they’ve been wanting for years.
BMW M has already showcased an awareness of the future with its i4 M50 – the division’s first electric car. From here, we can only see the number of electric M cars increasing as demand for EVs surges. One thing is for sure, the future looks exciting.
The Jensen Interceptor was a highly successful integration of Italian design, American muscle and British engineering, says JULES CHRISTIAN.
When you hear the word ‘Interceptor’ you are likely to have visions of jet fighter aircraft streaking across the sky or a young Luke Skywalker piloting against impossible odds and saving the universe from the evil of the Dark Side of The Force. On the other hand if you are into motoring legend, you may well know the name was associated with the Jensen Motor Company as far back as 1950 and culminated in one of the most notable sporting GT models of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Jensen Interceptor was big and bad and was a highly successful integration of Italian design, American muscle and British engineering. The body styling was by Carrozzeria Touring, with its legendary curvaceous back window, and with the first body shells being produced by the famous Vignale factory when the Interceptor made its public debut on 1966. As the 6500+ Interceptors made were to be all hand-built by Jensen, they soon were producing the body-shells themselves at their Kelvin Way Factory near Birmingham.
The top league sportscar competition at the time was ferocious, with brands such as Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche all vying for a chunk of the market. Jensen did not have an engine anything like competitive enough for this league and adopted American brute force to power the Interceptor. This came in the form of, initially the massive Chrysler 383 cu in (6.3ltr), and later the even more powerful 440 cu in (7.2ltr) V8s, the latter of which in its most potent (and collectable) six-pack setup, punched out mightily healthy 330bhp!
All bar 22 manual cars (very collectable), they were all auto transmission with a limited slip diff (which only did its best to cope with the power), with later models all fully equipped with power steering, air con, electric windows and beautifully appointed leather interiors.
As to driving, on a dry day on the open road, they were a joy, with endless power, predictable handling and a wonderful V8 exhaust rumble with the characteristic Interceptor ‘whistle’ from the rear chrome baffles. But with a heavy front end and all that power I remember they could be quite a handful in the wet. And mechanically they were prone to overheating problems, which were resolved by the addition of twin Kenlow electric radiator fans.
There were some variants to the model.
The (very, very collectable) 1974 convertible, of which only 267 were made and the even rarer 1975 Coupe (only 60 made), which was basically the convertible with a hard top and did not have the much-loved distinctive glass rear window of the original Interceptor.
Probably the most interesting variant was the FF (Ferguson Formula), distinctive with a slightly longer body shell and double vents on the wings behind the front wheels and was, in 1967, was one of the very first four-wheel-drive production cars. Unlike, for example, the much later Audi Quattro, which was delightfully flexible on the road, the FF was positively brutal, with traction control getting the mighty horses straight on to the road, giving the FF the nickname of “the Dragster Tractor”, referring to the (Massey) Ferguson tractor connection.
They were not cheap to run and notably evil in their use of tyres and petrol, as with hard driving a set of four tyres could last as little as 10,000 kilometres and around town you would only get three kilometres per litre.
By 1975 the Interceptor’s days were numbered, as the Jensen company foundered into receivership under the weight of the problems with their disastrous Jenson Healey model. On top of this, increasing fuel costs and a worldwide recession radically reducing the demand for expensive gas guzzlers.
However that was not quite the end of the story, as in the early 1990s there was an attempt to reintroduce the Interceptor with modern specifications, which failed after the production of just 36 cars. The saga may still be continued as a new company, headed by Car Warehouse magnate Charles Dunstone, is involved with a similar undertaking aimed at reviving the Interceptor luxury sports saloon legend. May the Force be with them!
Hyundai is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the classic Grandeur flagship saloon by creating a ‘retro-futuristic restomod’.
The concept uses the same boxy design as the original car from 1986, but gets a new electric powertrain and a series of technological updates.
The most notable update to the exterior is the addition of the ‘Parametric Pixel’ headlights and tail lights, which use LED technology and debuted on the firm’s Ioniq 5 EV. Other more subtle updates include new wing mirrors and covered wheels.
Hyundai says its designers applied a ‘newness plus retro’ ethos to the interior, which has burgundy velvet and leather upholstery, while the centre armrest has a hidden pop-out compartment for valuables.
The cabin also gets bronze-coloured lighting to mimic the appearance of classic audio equipment, but the car has a state of the art sound system.
Elsewhere, there is a combination of classic and modern. The dials have been replaced by a wide touchscreen display, but the ‘80s style is retained through a single-spoke steering wheel and airplane-style gear selector.
Hyundai hasn’t detailed the car’s powertrain but it likely uses the same technology as the Ioniq 5. That means it will have a twin electric motor set-up making around 300bhp and a 73kWh battery providing up to 300 miles of range.
Hak-soo Ha, head of the interior group of the Hyundai Design Centre, said: “As our designers conceive the future, it’s important to look back on what we’ve created in the past and find inspiration in it.
“With the Heritage Series Grandeur, our designers have reinterpreted an important part of Hyundai’s history as a wonderfully unique blend of vintage and contemporary that reflects the boundless possibilities of our EV era.”
The Hyundai Heritage Series Grandeur is being displayed in Seoul this month, first at the Hyundai Motorstudio Goyang museum before moving to the Seoul Motorstudio.
With Hyundai revealing an electric concept of one of its classic models, we look back at other similar examples.
Brands love to trade on their heritage. Highlighting classic models that potential buyers could have an emotional connection to from when they were younger is a great way to build brand appeal.
Sometimes, though, it’s just a really cool way to showcase new technology. Hyundai is the latest brand to give one of its old models the electric treatment with the Grandeur.
The firm’s flagship saloon from the 1980s has been given LED headlights, a modern sound system, and a new electric motor and battery.
Here, we take a look at five other examples of car makers taking classic models and giving them the ‘restomod’ treatment.
In 2013, Nissan brought a funky concept car to the Tokyo Motor Show. Called the IDx, its styling was inspired by one of the firm’s prettiest old models, the Datsun 510.
The two-door, rear-drive layouts were a response to the increasing popularity of more affordable sports cars, but it sadly never made it to production.
The high-performance Nismo version was said to use the 1.6-litre engine from the Juke Nismo, which made in excess of 200bhp.
BMW 2002 Hommage
Much like the Datsun 510, the original BMW 2002 has the simple, elegant design that you just don’t get with modern cars thanks to the extensive safety equipment that’s required.
When BMW wanted to reinvent this model, though, it took it in a wild direction, with flared arches and massive air intakes.
Built to celebrate 50 years of the 2002, it uses the 3.0-litre turbocharged engine from the M2 with some upgraded components from the M3.
Opel Manta GSe ElektroMod
Much like Hyundai, Opel (badged Vauxhall in the UK) wanted to connect its modern electric powertrains with much-loved classics from its past. A small group of designers set about building a concept to achieve this, and the Opel Manta GSe ElktroMod was born.
Also celebrating 50 years since the original’s launch, this Manta has a similar silhouette to the old model but wears the firm’s modern front end design. It uses a single electric motor that makes 145bhp, while the 31kWh battery pack should offer 124 miles of range.
Peugeot has been on a design roll over the past decade, transforming its cars from the mundane to the stylish models we know today.
Back in 2018 it showed what it could do with a bit more design freedom, showing off the e-Legend concept.
This stunning coupe echoed design touches from the classic 504 Coupe, but with a modern EV powertrain. Twin electric motors provide 456bhp, while the 100kWh battery pack is said to offer up to 370 miles between charges.
One of the funkiest concept cars in recent years is the Renault 5 Electric. Sporting a modern take on the hugely popular French hatchback, the Electric version is said to be able to travel up to 250 miles on a full battery and have fast-charging capabilities.
The best part? Renault has confirmed that this concept previews a production model that will likely come out in 2024. Quite how much of this retro-inspired styling will be carried over remains to be seen.
A classic MGB that has covered just 77 miles since it was registered 40 years ago in the UK is currently being auctioned online.
Described as a ‘time capsule’ and ‘brand new’, this MGB was purchased in 1981 by the owner of a tyre business in Hereford, UK and was ordered alongside a matching example. In 1983, this example was sold to a new owner, and it’s had four keepers since. The most recent owner acquired the car in 2016, though the MG has been stored properly for its entire life, ensuring the perfect condition that it remains in today.
While the car is said to have had the occasional fluid changes, it’s never actually been serviced, with very few invoices accompanying the car. The original spare wheel, still packaged jack and tools and an unused tonneau cover also accompany the car.
The roadster is also a rare Limited Edition model, of which just 480 were produced in convertible form to celebrate 50 years of MG at Abingdon, before the factory was closed in 1980. All of the drop-top models are painted in the rather bold shade of Metallic Bronze, while having an orange and brown interior.
The car is being sold by online auction site Car & Classic, with the MGB having a guide price of £30,000 (€35,400).
Car & Classic head of editorial Chris Pollitt, said: “A car with 77 miles on the clock cannot have been driven for more than a few hours since it was bought in 1981, but it is also clear that it has been stored in a way that has preserved it perfectly.
“Mechanically, nothing has been altered as you can see when you lift the bonnet, and the immaculate engine bay looks untouched. We think that this is a great collector car, especially with such few Limited Edition Roadsters still in circulation.”
The online auction is currently running and finishes on October 27.
Mid-engined hot hatch has just 980 miles on the clock.
Hot hatch fans have been alerted to an incredibly rare opportunity to own a low-mileage Renault Clio V6.
An example in the UK is going up for sale on the Collecting Cars auction site and is expected to break records for the mid-engined model.
It is expected to go for more than £70,000 (€82,700), eclipsing the previous record of £62,540. However, it could accelerate well beyond estimates as there are a few desirable aspects that could set off a bidding war.
The first is that it has just 980 miles on the clock, with Collecting Cars saying it is delivered in ‘time warp condition’. It is said to have no exterior blemishes and a pristine interior. Furthermore, it’s one of just 18 Liquid Yellow models sold in the UK.
The Clio V6 is considered highly desirable because it’s an incredible feat of engineering. Renault engineers relocated the engine to the middle of the car, a layout that’s usually reserved for serious sports cars because it provides excellent weight distribution.
It utilises a 3.0-litre V6 Renaultsport engine making 251bhp, routed through a six-speed manual gearbox. Again, its sporting credentials are clear, with the Clio’s standard front-wheel-drive layout ditched in favour of rear-wheel-drive.
Being a Phase 2 model, it has 25bhp more than the earlier car, as well as a longer wheelbase and wider track to improve handling.
That pristine interior is trimmed in half black leather and synthetic suede, with a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The air conditioning, electric windows and cruise control are all in full working order.
Edward Lovett, founder of Collecting Cars, said: “We are delighted to host the sale of what is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable examples of a Renault Clio V6 in the world, with exceptionally low mileage and originality.
“Prospective owners of any collector car are often told to buy the best example they can afford and this particular Clio V6 is among the very best of them all.”
The Renault Clio V6 auction is running now and ends on October 27 at 7.20pm.
October 6, 1966 saw the opening of the 53rd edition of the Mondial de l’automobile de Paris, where the new Maserati Mexico – considered one of the finest Italian GT cars of all time – made its debut. The Mexico, designed by Vignale, was an exquisite car with sleek and immaculate lines: it was an elegant 2+2 coupé in pure Maserati style, but with a powerful sporty heart. In fact, underneath its bonnet it concealed the road version of the racing engine derived from the 450 S.
It was the third Maserati model to use this propulsion unit, after the Quattroporte and the 5000 GT.
Among the hypotheses on how this car came to be named as the Central American country, it is said that a major Mexican customer had purchased a 5000 GT Allemano which formerly belonged to Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos in 1961, and brought it to Modena to be repaired after an accident. While visiting the historic Viale Ciro Menotti plant, the customer was apparently so impressed by the Vignale-designed prototype that he absolutely insisted on buying it, to the point where the bodywork was transferred to the chassis of his 5000 GT. This series of coincidences is said to have led to the choice of the name “Mexico” for the future model.
Right from its launch, the car was equipped with a 4.2 L V8 of 260 HP and a top speed of 240 km/h and a 4.7 L V8 of 290 HP, able to propel it to a top speed of 255 km/h.
The Maserati Mexico impressed with both style and equipment, which included – as standard – leather seats, electric windows, wooden dashboard, air-conditioning and servo-assisted ventilated front disc brakes. Automatic transmission, power steering and radio were available as optionals. The interior was described as “an Italian-style lounge”, expressing Italian identity and Maserati’s trademark craftsmanship.
Today, just as 55 years ago, Maserati continues to build iconic cars that shape the history of motoring and set benchmarks for the luxury segment. The Mexico represented excellence, design and power, values still found in all Trident models.
The classic car world is a volatile one, that’s for sure. Though firm favourites like the Porsche 911 and BMW E30 3 Series continue to hold their values, we’ve recently seen huge increases in the prices of some slightly more ordinary vehicles.
It’s a reflection of the wider used car market, which is consistently on the rise as demand continues to spike. We’ve picked out some of the cars that are currently spiking in price – and they might not be the ones you expect.
Ford Focus RS (first generation)
Ford’s first-generation Focus really broke the mould for family hatchbacks, bringing quirky styling but – most importantly – a driving experience that outshone all of its competitors. Needless to say, it was expected that a performance-orientated version would deliver and, in the RS, it did.
With a punchy 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine mated to a five-speed gearbox, the RS was a truly exciting road car. Though initially a relatively low-cost car to buy, prices have recently skyrocketed.
Big, boxy SUVs are very much in fashion at the moment and the second-generation Jeep Cherokee – known as the XJ – is very much on-trend. Though its on-road manners might leave a little to be desired, it’s hard not to be charmed by the way the Jeep looks.
Nissan Skyline (R34)
Japanese classics are experiencing a real boom across the board, with those who grew up with these iconic models on their bedroom walls now venturing into the used market to buy their childhood heroes.
The R34 Nissan Skyline is easily one of the most iconic. Though most examples will cost a hefty sum, limited-edition versions or those with low miles are the more expensive.
There was a period – not too long ago, in fact – when Volvo’s big, bargy estate and saloon cars could be picked up for mere hundreds of pounds rather than thousands. These days, a classic Volvo will set you back a considerable chunk of cash – and they’re only getting more expensive. The 940 is a classic slice of Volvo which is on the rise in terms of price.
Who would’ve thought that the dinky little Panda would’ve reached such a cult status? It’s fair to say that many Pandas fell by the wayside due to their tendency to rust, but the ones that have remained now command a real premium.
Though a ratty ‘project’ car might be available for a few hundreds, you’re looking in the region of thousands for a decent version – and these prices are only heading north.
Volkswagen Golf MK2
Volkswagen’s tiny first-generation Golf has already hit very heady heights in terms of prices and now it’s the turn of the MK2. The slightly chunkier model has a real following across the UK – particularly the GTI version – though even more regular models are seeing an increase in popularity.
As we’ve already highlighted, even more run-of-the-mill cars are being snapped up by buyers. Take the Audi 80. Though it was once a premium option, prices quickly tumbled but, in recent years, they’ve steadily started to climb.
The 80 Avant – or estate – continues to prove popular alongside saloon, convertible and coupe variants.