Dan Bevis

Dan Bevis

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis Tony Dron 1946-2021 4 months ago

In November last year I lost another of my Motor colleagues in November last year – Tony Dron, who was a year younger than me, but had long suffered from a lung condition. He joined Motor in 1971, having won the Sir William Lyons Award for budding motoring writers in 1968. In many ways we were opposites, Tony having almost a pop-star image and personality, with hair style and clothes to match, and me in grey flannels and sports jacket and something of a shrinking violet by comparison. But for some reason we hit it off and became firm friends, until he left in 1974.

This was mainly to concentrate on his professional motor racing career which I think began in Formula Vee, but soon went on to touring cars. For some reason (perhaps we were on the way back from MIRA), I was with him when in 1974 we sat in Ralph Broad’s office in Southam and Tony pitched for a Triumph Dolomite Sprint works drive in the BTCC Championship. He got it too, and proved capable of beating the top drivers of the day. He drove a Unipart March F3 car in 1976 and raced internationally, including Sebring, Spa and Le Mans (where he won his Class in 1982 with a Porsche).

After many seasons as a professional driver, in later years he became a top historic racer, winning the Sussex Trophy at the Goodwood Revival for three consecutive years. In fact, if you want to see and hear Tony in action, try and find a copy of the Sideways in a D-type DVD, which features him in a Ferrari sparring with Win Percy in Nigel Webb’s D-type. Magnificent stuff! Tony was another wonderful person who I will always remember with affection and respect.

Tony Dron in Nigel Webb’s ex-Duncan Hamilton C-type (XKC 004) during a press preview day at Goodwood in 2006, where he gave rides to journalists and guests. Photo: Tony Bailey.

Tony Dron making a rare appearance in an E-type – Anthony Hutton’s mod-sport car prepared by Forward Engineering which Paul arranged for him to track test for Motor around 1972. Photo: Paul Skilleter.

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis Roger Bell 1937-2022 4 months ago

Roger Bell was a leading automotive journalist who joined Motor magazine as a young man in 1959. In Jaguar terms, it’s interesting to note that he was delegated the job of compiling the magazine’s first road test of the new Mark X.

The test appeared in November 1963 and was remarkably critical at a time when some journalists enjoyed a rather too-friendly relationship with manufacturers, and tended to gloss over faults and failings in new models. But not Roger, and in the case of the Mark X, refinement, powertrain noise, the ‘skin-deep quality’ of the woodwork, inefficient heating and an ‘absurd lack of lateral support’ from the seats, were features he commented adversely on. After the test was published, Roger was invited to Browns Lane ‘for a chat’ and he was somewhat taken aback when on arrival he was ushered into a room full of engineers and given a good grilling! But his observations were basically fair and he became a leading road tester, before being promoted to Editor of Motor in 1973.

I had joined Motor in April 1966 and two years later it was Roger who gave me my first drive of an E-type – a story I have related before in these pages. The magazine had borrowed a press E-type roadster (JDU 877E) for a Group Test, and after it had returned from being belted round north Wales, I found on my desk a note from Roger which said something like, ‘In view of your interest in Jaguar, you might like to take the E-type for the weekend’. Would I like to?! So, there followed two days of great joy, driving this yellow ultra-high-performance two-seater Jaguar around the countryside. All these years later I still deeply appreciate Roger’s thoughtfulness. Roger was a fine driver and was highly successful in the British Touring Car Championship in the early/mid-1970s, being runner-up in his Class twice. He drove mainly 3.0 litre BMWs for Dealer Team BMW, but piloted other marques too.

He left Motor in 1981 to edit Thoroughbred & Classic Cars and contributed as a freelance to various other titles and newspapers – so when I conceived a bookstall magazine on Jaguar (Jaguar Quarterly), Roger was one of the first writers I turned to. In the first issue of JQ, published in the autumn of 1988, he wrote an informed piece on three modified Jaguars we had assembled for him – Janspeed XJ6 Turbo, Lister XJ-S and Lynx Performer. Later, he tested JaguarSport products for us. In recent years, Roger suffered from Parkinson’s and it was sad he eventually succumbed to the disease. But I will always remember him with gratitude and admiration.

The yellow E-type Series 1 1/2, which Roger Bell allowed Paul to drive can be seen amongst other cars on this 1968 Group Test. Roger Bell, journalist, editor, author and race driver, pictured around 1970.

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis 1977 VAZ 2102 Lada 1500ES Estate 4 months ago

Original brochure image from 1977

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis 1977 VAZ 2102 Lada 1500ES Estate 4 months ago

Very strange and agricultural-spec of fiat 124

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis Rolls-Royce Spectre Debut EV is a coupé due 2023 8 months ago

Nice job for next gen RR

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis RUF BTR takes centre stage at Historics Ascot Auction 10 months ago

Just before we went to print with this issue of Classic Porsche, Historics Auctioneers contacted us with details of a star-studded line-up of classic Porsches due to go under the hammer at the firm’s Ascot Racecourse auction on Saturday 25th September. There’s a 1986 Carrera 3.2 Supersport (lower estimate £85k), two 1989 928 S4 (one offered without reserve, the other with a lower estimate of £25k), a 1996 993 Cabriolet (£45k) and a 2001 986 Boxster S loaded with Tiptronic transmission (another lot without reserve), but the Porsche bound to generate most interest at the sale is the classic 911 Turbo (930) upgraded to RUF BTR specification using original RUF parts.

Those that know Porsche, know RUF. Headed by Alois Ruf Jr, the company takes the blueprints for already formidable driving machines and turns them into psychotic hooligans, usually using blank ‘bodies in white’ Porsche chassis to create its own cars (RUF is recognised as a standalone manufacturer in Germany). Historically, the Pfaffenhausen concern has offered conversion kits to owners of factory Porsches, and though the company was founded as a general service garage by Alois’ father in 1939, vehicle production began in earnest in 1983 with the first car to bear a RUF chassis number: a 3.4-litre 911 Turbo-based model pushing out 369bhp through a RUF developed five-speed manual gearbox. It wasn’t just about raw power, though. Twin-spark ignition, bespoke harnesses, seats and steering wheel formed part of the package, cloaked in bespoke RUF BTR (the nameplate standing for Group B Turbo RUF) bodywork.

The early left-hand drive RUF BTR pictured here is powered by the RUF 3.4-litre flat-six (with single-plug ignition) and is believed to be one of between seventy and eighty BTRs bearing an original Porsche chassis number. First registered in 1979 as a standard 930, the car was significantly upgraded to BTR specification by the then authorised RUF importer to Japan, Ishida Engineering, in 1985.

To confirm as much, Alois Ruf Jr’s team has supplied official RUF correspondence confirming the originality of all RUF parts and modifications used to transform the car into what you see here. Finished in Grand Prix White, it makes use of a RUF five-speed gearbox, staggered Speedline seventeen-inch forged five-spokes (with painted red centres), a RUF quad-tailpipe exhaust, a RUF manually adjustable boost controller, a full RUF body kit (front bumper with integrated oil cooler, a vented rear bumper, deeper side skirts and bespoke engine lid), 935-style door mirrors, a RUF embossed steering wheel and matching gear lever, a RUF-badged instrument cluster, RUF lightweight floor carpets, RUF-specified twin-tone Recaro bucket seats, custom safety harnesses and an Ishida Engineering build plaque attached to the glovebox.

A Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche outlines the car’s original specification, with further documentation from Alois Ruf Jr’s team highlighting all modifications. Registered for road use in the UK, recently serviced and with a full twelve-month MoT, this purposeful RUF is excellent as is, or as a starting point to further develop into a 911 capable of embarrassing much newer sports cars. The lower estimate is £85k. Visit the Historics Auctioneers website at historics.co.uk.

In recent years, RUF owners have been discovering one another like never before, helped by the efforts of RUF Automobile UK in bringing like-minded fans of the brand together at popular Porsche shows. Want to register your interest? Hit rufautomobile.co.uk and make contact.

Dan Bevis Dan Bevis 1964 Pontiac Parisienne 10 months ago

Nice colour

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