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Hyundai celebrates 35th anniversary of the Grandeur with electric restomod

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 The dials have been replaced by a wide touchscreen display, but the ‘80s style is retained through a single-spoke steering wheel and airplane-style gear selector.

Photos: PA Media

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.

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Five times retro cars were reimagined with modern makeovers

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.

Photos: PA Media

Nissan IDx

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 e-Legend

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.

Renault 5

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.

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Forty-year-old MGB with just 77 miles on the clock auctioned off

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.

Photos: PA Media

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.

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Incredibly rare Renault Clio V6 set to go under the hammer

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.

Photos: PA Media

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.

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Maserati Mexico is 55 years old

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.

Photos: Maserati

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.

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These are the classic cars shooting up in value now

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.

Photos: PA Media

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.

Jeep Cherokee

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.

Volvo 940

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.

Fiat Panda

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.

Audi 80

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.

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Bono’s Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL set to go under the hammer at auction

A 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL formerly owned by U2 frontman Bono is set to be auctioned off this week with an estimate of €17.5k.

The classic model incorporates a variety of modifications introduced by the singer, who bought the vehicle to celebrate the success of U2’s first album, Boy.

It has an interior that has been entirely retrimmed in a cowhide pattern, with the eye-catching material used on all areas including the parcel shelf and door cards. However, one of the standout features is the Alpine sound system, which was fitted by Bono at a cost of €14k– around €80k today.

Photos: PA Media

Consisting of several amps and a variety of speakers, it was so powerful that Bono kept a fire extinguisher in the car at all times in case it set on fire.

The exterior of the car is finished in grey paint, while the wheels benefit from new tyres. Recently serviced and given a new starter motor and battery, the Mercedes has covered 163,000 miles since new. It does, however, require a few areas of attention with some corrosion appearing on the underside of the car and a handful of rust spots on the edge of the bonnet.

Bono auctioned the car off in 2000 when it was purchased by Pepsi as a way of raising money for Ethiopian aid projects.

The Mercedes is being sold online by Car & Classic.

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The classic ‘B’

This ‘B’ certainly deserved an ‘A’, says JULES CHRISTIAN.

The British car manufacturer MG has always been associated with performance cars, the letters MG standing for Morris Garages. The brand was later integrated into the British Motor Corporation in 1952.

Following the success of the 1950s MGA, aiming at the mid-level sports car market, in 1962 the company introduced the convertible MGB roadster, mainly in response to the demand for a more comfortable sports car version of the very basic MGA.

Competing in the marketplace with the likes of the Triumph TR4 and Sunbeam Alpine, the design in its day was ahead of its time. This included incorporating crumple zones to help protect driver and passenger in the event of an accident, and using monocoque construction as opposed to building the car on a chassis. This meant an altogether lighter car, which helped to make its performance quite impressive, despite using the old 1798cc, four-cylinder B-Series engine with twin SU carburettors, which had its origins as far back as 1947.

MGB GT

The MGB with its steady handling, spritely performance and fuel economy made it an attractive alternative to the big gas guzzling cars in the US, where the majority of the overall half a million cars were sold. This was the opposite of the UK market, where the initial response from the sports car fraternity was rather lacklustre. You see, the MGB, even with its upgraded engine in 1967 was too sensible! The reliability was improved, the balance was good, the performance adequate, the handling totally predictable, but it did not have the hairy-chested character of the sports cars around at the time that most enthusiasts seemed to relish.  Remember, the second-hand marketplace was then abundant with the likes of the Austin Healey 3000, the Jaguar XK150, the E Type, Aston Martin DB4’s, Sunbeam Tiger V8’s etc., which were rather more exciting.

It was not until 1965 that the British market took an upturn with introduction of the 2+2 MGB GT. Designed by Pininfarina, it was probably the first use or the now common hatchback style and was an instant success. This classic model was to continue in production in the UK through till 1980.

MGB Limited Edition

In 1967, with the planned production-end of the aging Austin Healey 3000, MG replied to the hairy-chested brigade by producing the MGC, using the big straight-six engine from the Austin three-litre saloon. With suspension, floorpan and structural changes to accommodate the heavier engine, the enviable handling characteristics of the MGB Roadster were badly affected. In fact, one heard alarming tales of doors opening under hard braking from high speed on a corner! A succession bad reviews and lack of commitment for changes by the owning group BLMC, meant the MGC and the more civilised MGC GT were only produced until 1969. Today, however, with some modern adjustments, examples of the MGC with their distinctive bonnet bulge, can not only be made to handle properly, but have become highly collectable.

MGB Original Roadster

Now equipped with new Rostyle wheels and with the continuing demand for a more powerful version of the MGB, 1973–1976 saw the production of the MGB GT V8, regarded by many as the best version of all. Unfortunately not available  as a roadster, this MGB used the classic American Buick 3.5 litre V8 engine, already in use in the Rover P5 saloon. This proven V8 power plant was actually 18kg lighter than the original four-cylinder engine, increasing the power output from 95bhp to an exhilarating 137bhp. This gave the MGB GT V8 a healthy 0-60mph time of 7.7secs and a top speed of 125mph, and needing no structural changes, meant the car kept its traditional handling characteristics, if not improving on them.

MGB with rubber bumper

By 1975 US pollution and safety standards were becoming increasingly stringent. As the major market for the car was still the US, this resulted in the UK car losing its classic chrome bumpers in favour of rather ugly rubber safety versions.  The US headlight height ruling then required raising the suspension one inch, which radically affected the vehicle handling and further emission regulations diminished the car’s performance. In the UK, financial restructuring by the parent company, now British Leyland, meant the Abingdon factory, where the MGB was produced was to close in 1980, all contributing to its demise. The 1979/80 final runs of the MGB were “limited edition” models: black versions for the US, gold Roadsters [PIC5] and silver GT’s for the UK.

That’s not quite the final chapter. By the end of the seventies and during the 1980s, the demand for sports cars had diminished and hot hatches were the trend. It was not until 1989, when Mazda’s brave MX5 came on the scene to rejuvenate interest in convertible motoring, that the last vestiges of the B were seen in the guise of the MG RV8. Although not regarded by many as a true MGB, this was basically an ‘alike’ MGB V8 roadster, produced from 1993-1995. It was only a moderate success as much of the mechanical technology was now very antiquated and only 2000 were produced.

MGC Roadster

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Back to backwards

The backwards-slanted rear screen was one of the weirdest design trends ever, says JULES CHRISTIAN.

When it comes to automotive design, it is a world of extremes, ranging from the exotic and the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini to the stately, such as Rolls Royce to the practical and affordable of the mass production companies.

As a general rule, the more dramatic the look, the more you pay, which today means that once a large manufacturer hits upon a successful shape the others play safe and follow the trend or revamp a classic in a modern way.

This was not always the case. In past years there have been some crazy trends. Just look at the wacky fashion for fins in the US in the 1950s, which actually crossed over to Europe in the shape of the Morris Oxford and Austin Cambridge, among others.

Ford Consul 315

But to me one of the weirdest ones was the backwards-slanted rear screen.

If you think someone needs to be blamed for this, it was Ford in the US with their 1957 Mercury Breezeway. “Breeze” gives you a clue as to the idea, as the backwards-slanting rear window actually had a wind-down electric centre section to air the vehicle’s interior in the years before air-conditioning was to become common in most American cars.

Worldwide, Ford thought they would try their weird window in the UK, and in 1959 introduced the Anglia 105E. The advertising claims of the day were that the backwards window gave the owner a rain- and snow-free rear view. Whether it was the unconventional styling or not, the Anglia took a long time to catch on with its best sales year not until 1967, when it was already being over shadowed by a new Cortina model.

Less well known was the Consul 315, targeted at a more upmarket buyer and featured the same rear window design, which was more easily accepted by the time it came out in 1961. The car was not a great success and was only in production for a couple of years, with buyers choosing the more luxurious versions of Ford’s Cortina, which was much the same size.

Lotus Europa Special

It was not just saloon cars that got the treatment. Lotus tried it – well sort of – in their 1970s Lotus Europa. It was a very small rear window, which being a mid-engined sports car, was actually half way up the car, but it definitely had a backwards slant.

In those days, if you wanted something different, there were always the French. Citroen, renowned for their innovation and eccentricity were not to be outdone. In 1961, they brought out the Citroen Ami 6, which was built along the same utilitarian principles of their hugely successful 2CV. Although harangued in the motoring press for its design, it did have many improvements on the 2CV, including the first oval-shaped headlamps which worldwide had always been round until then, and despite its unlikely appearance, it did survive in production in various forms for a further 8 years.

Unfortunately, in the beginning, it wasn’t just the rear window that went backwards. In its first year, so did sales, selling nearly 60,000 fewer units than the model it was planned to replace.

Mercury Monterey Breezeway

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