Delywn Mallett Delywn Mallett 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Allegretti - sensational evocation of Drogo’s classic 1 year ago

Where is the Dino Berlinetta?

Great fun reading your latest issue, including the ‘Drogo’ pair of Ferraris and your Scottish jaunt. Perhaps you can assist with this strange mystery.

At the 1967 Turin Show, Pininfarina exhibited a breathtaking Leonardo Fioravanti-designed derivative of the Fiat Dino Spider in the style of a Berlinetta, painted in metallic blue. This subsequently did the rounds of the European shows and was very well received, but no further examples were built. With the advent of the 2.4, the same car was slightly modified (grille, bumpers) and painted yellow – Pininfarina’s then preferred shade for show cars – even though the engine wasn’t changed!

After that, it vanished and, according to someone I knew in Turin, even Pininfarina had no knowledge of its whereabouts. If it was appropriated, someone is sitting on a gem. Incidentally, the curious Pininfarina Parigi ‘Breadvan’ and Ginevra 2.0-litre Dino line-studies, penned by Paolo Martin, were variations on the same chassis. Rumours of four Ginevra models being built are just that.

As in the ‘Drogo’ articles, the Dino Berlinetta story has a couple of twists. At the Lancia Gamma launch in Portofino, I had a lengthy chat with the ‘father’ of the Gamma, Sergio Camuffo, who had more than a passing soft spot for Fiat Dinos. He recounted that two brothers, whom he knew, had apparently asked Pininfarina to convert their Dino Spiders into Berlinettas but, sadly, nothing more was known. As the photos show, that one-off Berlinetta is one of the most beautifully balanced designs.

Zack Stiling Zack Stiling 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan' 1 year ago


Thank goodness you photographed the Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan when you did. I’ve just seen footage of the Le Mans Classic race that it took part in, and crashed out of, with devastating consequences. Luckily no one was hurt in the incident but what a shame that such a valuable car with such a unique story should have had such a huge crash. As you seem to suggest in your article, though, this is not the first time the Breadvan has been biffed, and probably won’t be the last. No doubt it will be reinstated to racing condition, ready to be seen at Goodwood and so on in the future.

Rob Hawkins Rob Hawkins 1989 BMW M3 Evo 2 E30 road car vs. M3 Evo 2 racer E30 1 year ago

While it may seem a minor nit to pick, the first competitive outing for the glorious E30 M3 was in the divine black and gold JPS Team BMW livery, so splendidly displayed in your April spread on Pip Barker’s car, at Calder Park, Melbourne Australia on 28th February 1987. Jim Richards finished fifth before going on to win the championship – not the Monza WTCC round on 22nd March 1987 as stated in 50 Years of M – Part 2. Just to continue the theme, when the ex-JPS Team BMW cars sold to Peter Brock’s Mobil 05 team and then to Peter Doulman, they had 2-litre engines developed in Australia for the local Australian Super Touring championship. Their success saw BMW M obtaining the development work as the basis for the ETCC and WTCC cars.

Rob Hawkins Rob Hawkins Ex-Top Gear 1994 BMW 850Ci E31 1 year ago

I really enjoyed your feature on the ex-Top Gear 8 Series, I remember the episode that the car appeared in vividly, in fact it switched me on to the wonders of the 8 Series and a few years later I bought one for myself! That car has long since been sold to a new owner but I’m sure I wouldn’t have owned it if it weren’t for that episode of the show. It is great to see that the car lives on today.

Richard Meaden Richard Meaden 1990 Jaguar Sport XJR-15 1 year ago

Thank you for a fabulous feature about theXJR-15.

I was lucky enough to see these cars race at Silverstone in 1991 and I’ll never forget the noise as 16 V12 racing cars came pouring round Copse Corner where I stood with my late father.

I also remember being confused as to what these cars were; were they Jaguars or TWRs? Racing cars or meant for the road? And so ove 30 years later, you’ve finally given me the answers.

I can’t help but think that as manufacturers (including Jaguar) start to concentrate on electric cars, the idea of a V12-engined, high-performance supercar like the XJR-15 is now as outdated as the dinosaurs or as politically correct as smoking in a school.

Although I understand the importance of lowering CO2 emissions, I’ll still miss the noise only genuine racing cars produce. The scream of the Ferrari V12 in Alain Prost’s 643 F1 car during the same weekend could be heard all over Silverstone.

By comparison, my son-in-law treated me to tickets to the British E-Prix a few years ago and although interesting, I found the lack of sound as the cars silently whooshed past more than a little depressing. I can only imagine what Sir William Lyons or Enzo Ferrari would think. Just as they need speed and effective aerodynamics, racing cars also need a good noise!

Keep up the great work. Jaguar World coming through my letterbox is always the highlight of the month.

James Elliott James Elliott Citroen DS - Divine inspiration - or from another planet? 1 year ago

And the winner is...

Sometime in the middle of Lockdown 16, Octane received a press release about the most googled cars during the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Typically, it was the sort of thing a PR company pops out at 9am on a Monday morning for its client, before ticking the box and getting on with the next job; the sort of largely contrived, slightly circumspect and unsubstantiated email that may spark a bit of conversation in the office (though such a thing didn’t exist at that stage, obviously) and will then be promptly forgotten. Its chances of being reproduced at any length in any serious media were pretty much zilch.

But one detail stuck with me, and it was that the soaraway winner (if you could believe the data) was the Citroen DS. Way more popular among the googlers than the E-type, Ferrari 250 GTO, Miura and even the Mini. That doesn’t necessarily surprise me — I waste a lot of my own time browsing the DS on French classified site leboncoin, after all — but it did remind me how beloved they are, the sort of car for which you have such affection that you are genuinely pleased for other people owning them, even if you can’t have one yourself. Genuine event cars, despite that wheezy engine, cars that have something for everyone, whether it be their futuristic aesthetics or their design and engineering bravura.

If you want the utilitarian simplicity of the ID or the comparative luxury of the Pallas, there is a DS for all tastes, and the model range transcends class and car snobbery in a manner that only a small handful of cars, including 2CVs and Minis, truly can.

I recall that in a previous time of disruption — the Eyjaijallajokull volcanic ash cloud that grounded Europe’s planes in 2010 — stranded comedian Bill Bailey bought a DS in Aix-en-Provence and drove it back to the UK as an enthralled Twitter followed his adventure. I also recall a more recent argument over whether to call those delectable rear lights ‘trumpets’ or ‘chip cones’, and Team Chip Cones (me) losing.

But most of all I remember speculating in print a decade ago whether you could really call yourself a classic car enthusiast if you had never owned a DS. It is such an important car that it is our collective burden to share both the glory and the pain of ownership. It should be a public duty, like jury service. I haven’t yet been called, but I am sure I will be.

Votren De Este Votren De Este 250bhp 2011 Mini Coupe Cooper S 1.6 R58 1 year ago

In real life — colour of this Mini not like on the jpeg images

Ben Birch Ben Birch 250bhp 2011 Mini Coupe Cooper S 1.6 R58 1 year ago

Very nice colour and wheels

Zack Stiling Zack Stiling 1969 BMW 2500 Automatic E3 1 year ago

E3 Love

I loved Chris Goddard’s E3. Thanks to people like Chris restoring cars that are (at least on paper) uneconomical to restore to that level, BMW enthusiasts like me get to enjoy models that would otherwise slip away into the history books.

Values of cars like the E3 are yet to reach the levels they often need to in order to make full restorations pay-off – if you are looking to recoup your investment, but classic BMW restoration isn’t always about that, thankfully. Restoring cars like these is more about the journey, the fun that is had along the way, and preserving them for future generations.

I have restored a few classic BMWs in my time and I never add-up what a project has cost as for me it’s more about enjoying the hobby than balancing the books. Maybe I am in a fortunate position but I for one prefer to see cars restored by genuine enthusiasts – like Chris – for their own pleasure, rather than those restored in order to break even or make money on. Well done to Chris and his friend Paul Lucking on a job well done!

Andrew Roberts Andrew Roberts Unique 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo E20 hides 252bhp F20C 2.0-litre Honda power! 1 year ago

I had to write in to express my dismay at the 2002, seeing such a classic BMW ruined with the addition of a Honda engine is just plain wrong. With so many amazing BMW engines available to choose from why would you opt for a Japanese engine? And one that requires you to drive it flat-out to get the best out of it too. That kind of engine doesn’t suit a car like a 2002 in my opinion.

Neil Briscoe Neil Briscoe Unique 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo E20 hides 252bhp F20C 2.0-litre Honda power! 1 year ago

I thought the Honda S2000-powered 2002 featured was great – what a breath of fresh air to see a modified classic BMW with a totally different twist on it. I have driven cars with those Honda VTEC engines inside and I have to say that they’re totally addictive – chasing the redline is so much fun and I bet that S2000 engine really makes that 2002 fun to drive. I’m all for beautifully restored, original, classic BMWs but every once in a while it’s nice to see something that breaks the mould, a car that might upset the purists but which expresses some real personality.

Bob Harper Bob Harper 1983 BMW 316 E21 1 year ago

Talking of restorations, the E21 in this issue is another car brought back to life by a dedicated BMW enthusiast. For a long time you could pick up a decent E21 for not very much money while it sat in the shadow of the E30, as values of E30s have risen so the E21 has become more popular, and rightly so – the pure lines of the first generation of 3 Series and its ultimate simplicity make it a fabulous first classic car. Read about the rebuild of a lovingly restored 316.

Bob Harper Bob Harper Ex-Top Gear 1994 BMW 850Ci E31 1 year ago

BBC TV's Top Gear became ingrained in car culture decades ago, but it did something more than that. In its original form, with Clarkson, Hammond and May, it managed to go further than any «car show» had before – making cars mainstream. The programme became popular light entertainment for people who didn't care about cars, regardless of what you think of the show that's no mean feat. Now, as you undoubtedly know, the trio's antics over the years were peppered with controversy but even with that fact, for car enthusiasts, often it was their three-way car buying adventures that stuck in the mind – even if they ended in destruction. This month's cover car is a former star of one of those episodes – a survivor. The E31 850Ci was purchased for the show and raced by Richard Hammond against Jeremy Clarkson and James May in 2011. I won't spoil the feature for you but suffice to say the car hung around afterwards until a member of the production crew saved it following an eight-year lay-up. Read the full story.

Dan Sherwood Dan Sherwood 200mph record-breaking twin-turbocharged 530bhp Citroen SM 1 year ago

SM enthusiasm

Chapeau! for your excellent feature on Jerry Hathaway’s Citroën SM racecar, truck and trailer.

Jerry was a very dear friend, whom I had the pleasure of visiting for 12 years, until Covid hit. I would spend two to three weeks annually learning and doing all things SM under Jerry’s supervision in his Santa Clarita workshop [below] before returning to Oz and passing my findings on to the local SM enthusiasts. Regarding his willingness to share his expertise, he commented: ‘All I want [to see] is that SMs are running good.’ As for the rig being sold to Europe, Jerry was pleased that it would form part of an impressive SM collection and that European enthusiasts would be able to see it. Personally, I was touched by Marc Sonnery’s closing lines: ‘Here’s to you, Jerry Hathaway. André Citroën would surely have raised his hat in tribute.’

Chris Randall Chris Randall 1968 Rolls-Royce Shadow MPW 1 year ago

A life well-lived

Your ‘Man and Machine’ article about Arwel Richards and his Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow in struck a chord. In May 2021 I sold my Daimler Double Six Coupé after 30 years’ ownership and promptly found a very nice 1970 Bentley T1 to replace it. Like Arwel, I contacted the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club and found that the car had been ordered by Sir Nicolas Cayzer (later Lord Cayzer), a shipping magnate, and the T1 cost him the princely sum of £8,108.90. This included £1.25 for a GB badge, £6.00 for a badge bar and £3.55 for two yards of Ambla headliner, to be used for the later fitting of the sun roof. The average UK house price in 1970 was £4000! Arwel describes his Shadow’s paint as ‘shabby’. I think of mine as showing 52 years of a life lived well – and, like Arwel, I enjoy the car far too much to be precious.

Tim Pitt Tim Pitt Electric 2023 Ford Mustang by Charge Cars 1 year ago

The new Electric Mustang from London-based Charge Cars wowed crowds at the recent Salon Privé event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea when it made its global premier. The Electric Mustang is a hand-built, zero emissions version of the iconic 1967 Fastback Mustang adored by car fans all over the world. Using cutting- edge technology, coupled to a new steel bodyshell and composite body panels to minimise weight, the Electric Mustang’s quad-motor configuration provides 536 bhp, which serves up a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 seconds. The project even comes complete with the blessing of Ford. Originally shown as a prototype in 2019, the production-intent version of the Electric Mustang is the culmination of six years’ work for Charge Cars, and the Salon Privé London event at the end of April was the first opportunity for the public to see the finished car and understand the bespoke options available. Prices will depend on the exact spec of each hand-built car, but don’t expect to see much change from £350,000!

Davy Lewis Davy Lewis 1989 BMW 325i Coupe Sport E30 1 year ago

‘The BMW is old enough to look and feel special, yet new enough to still use regularly’

All of the sports saloons featured here offer something different and are all compelling in their own way. The Ford Cortina 1600E excels as a comfortable yet swift cruiser, though it lacks excitement behind the wheel. Nostalgia and looks are on its side, plus there’s no shortage of buyers. Along with the BMW, it’s probably the safest place for your money.

The MG proves surprisingly entertaining, in spite of its modest performance and relative simplicity. The Magnette is a doddle to upgrade, doesn’t cost a lot and rarely goes wrong, though there’s not much of a market for them out there. The Dolomite is loud and lacks finesse in the cabin, although driving it will probably put a bigger smile on your face than any other car here. The engine’s great fun to rev out and the chassis, though not as accomplished, does a fair job of keeping up. Objectively, the BMW E30 is the best machine here. Its grip is prodigious yet not so much it saps the fun, even at sensible speeds. You won’t want to do those, though – this 325i pushes you to go that bit faster. Values have climbed steeply, though a lot of frankly average examples offered for sale recently have seen the model plateau. This will likely be the case for the short term until demand outstrips supply and we see another climb. That leaves us with the IS300. The stereotypical image of the Lexus brand doesn’t bond at all with the experience of driving this incisive saloon. Its chassis is as good as the contemporary BMW (E46), yet it’s yours for roughly half the price and is considerably rarer. Finding one that hasn’t been modified will be your biggest challenge, although £5000 will easily bag you a great and largely forgotten sports saloon.

Finding an outright winner among such a diverse bunch isn’t easy, but if it were my money I’d probably have to go for the BMW – although the temptation of buying most of the rest of these models for the same £20k outlay is also a tempting prospect. The E30 has a toe in both the classic and modern spheres. It’s old enough to look and feel special, yet new enough to still use regularly without having to be on first-name terms with your chiropractor. I’d probably regret it the first time I saw a Dolomite Sprint or MG Magnette out on the road, but once I was on a Welsh mountain pass or Yorkshire moor top route, I’d soon remember why it was the right decision.

They’re all lucky owners, but whose drive home do we envy the most?

Davy Lewis Davy Lewis 1966 Lotus Elan S3 SE FHC Jim Clark’s last road car 1 year ago

Loved the articles on Jim Clark, and his Elan but According to the superb David Tremayne book (Jim Clark, the best of the best) the wireframe car on the Chirnside monument is a 33 and not a Lotus 49; the small no 1 confirms that. Clark won races in a 49 but never a World Championship.

Davy Lewis Davy Lewis 1964 Lotus Elan S1 1600 1 year ago

Your excellent tribute to the Lotus Elan brought to mind my love affair with Vera which lasted eight short years. It was while driving my MGB on the swooping curves of the North Wales A5104 that it happened – overtaken on a bend by an Elan proceeding at impressive pace, I decided an Elan would be my next car. I struck lucky when a garage proprietor from Bakewell needed funds and was prepared to part with his perfect yellow Sprint with the Big Valve engine. Driving it was magic. Its lightness of foot and instant throttle and steering response was like nothing I’d ever experienced then and since – including my 1275 Cooper S, BMW M3 and Subaru Impreza Turbo. Sure, it felt small and a tad flimsy. It was like a jet-propelled butterfly, but it was exhilarating. To maintain optimum performance it needed much tlc. I had it serviced by ace mechanic Louis Lorenzini. I wrote to Lotus Cars requesting a replacement service book when mine became full, with a covering letter saying how much pleasure I was having with this remarkable car. To my amazement I received a fresh service book together with a lovely note from Colin Chapman saying how pleased he was to receive my letter.

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