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Vauxhall SRV: State of the dart in 1970

The Vauxhall XVR concept actually had its feet bound firmly to 1965, despite styling that couldn’t look any more outlandish if you ate your own body weight of LSD and looked at it after spinning around really fast.

One of the names associated with its very existence was one Wayne Cherry, who went on to style a great many General Motors products – his overseeing the Vauxhall Astra GTE being of particular note. His concept game wasn’t over after the XVR, either. Witness the Vauxhall SRV of 1970 – a car which ventured far, far beyond the relative sanity of the XVR.

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Vauxhall XVR: The Little Vette that Wasn’t

This is a Vauxhall. You know, the famous French British arm of General Motors. Though it’s cars have been – badges and steering wheel side aside – virtually identical since the early ‘Eighties, there was a time when the the Griffin-badged company was fiercely independent.

Its cars may not always have been the most exciting on the road, but every now and again the Luton company would let its hair down and come up with something other than the humdrum family saloons that made  its bread and butter. And there’s no better example of this than the XVR concept of 1966. Remind you of anything?

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Prolonging the joy: Driving Anticipation

Wanderlust has got a tight grip on The Towers of Rust right now – my wife and I have got ourselves a minibreak booked in Slovenia in May. It’s all thanks to one of those last minute holiday websites. The last trip we went on, which took in Prague, Vienna and Budapest was organised in just such a way, and it took us quickly, effortlessly and oh so cheaply by rail between those great cities. This time its different.

This time, our package includes a rental car.

Exactly what it will be remains something of a mystery – and I don’t really care. In Iceland I ended up with an Opel Corsa automatic, and the incredible roads more than made up for the lukewarm conveyance. I’m kind of hoping the same will happen again. To say I’m looking forward to it is an understatement. I’ve even gone as far as buying a road atlas of Slovenia.

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The Carchive: The 1977 Mitsubishi Colt range

Of the myriad documents found in The Carchive, a big percentage were collected as I grew up, many were harvested secondhand from autojumbles and the like, and a good few have come from generous benefactors – some of whom might be reading this right now. The considerable balance, though, have been purloined from eBay. This is one of those.

There’s a considerable risk, though, in buying something you’ve only seen portrayed in a few small photos. When you’re looking at a brochure, unless it’s properly described it’s tricky to identify whether you’re looking at a catalogue or a pamphlet. Will there be pages to leaf through, or merely a single double sided sheet to glance at? In the case of this one, I had no idea it measured approximately 3″x9″ until it fluttered through the mail slot in a tiny envelope.

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Diecast Delights: A Lotus Esprit in 1:18 scale (007 Edition)

When asked “what’s your favourite Bond film” my answer is “I don’t have one”. When asked “what’s one of your favourite Bond films” I might may say For Your Eyes Only. It’s not a very good Bond film, really – the action is slow paced, the dialogue is often corny and stilted, but it’s somehow warming and familiar as an old security blanket. And it’s got a pretty good car in it.

The Esprit Turbo in FYEO plays a pretty minor role. In its white incarnation it has about five seconds of screen time before being blown to smithereens. It later appears in bronze metallic, with a pair of Olin Mk VI skis on the roof, and we only see it as it pulls up to a halt as a convenient spot for Ferrara the Italian spy to get murdered.

So, one of the least significant Bond cars in living memory? Of course, I had to own it.

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Ferrari needs a Ferrari Ferrari. Not just a LaFerrari.

The development of a new Ferrari isn’t taken lightly. Every new model the legendary marque unveils has undergone years of painstaking work on the drawing board, in-depth technical feasibility studies and been subjected to thousands of miles of excruciating, uncompromising track tested by the finest drivers in Ferrari’s crack test squadron.

Yet, how many reviews have you read, though, where a Ferrari is put through its paces only for the all-knowing Journalist to claim that “the old car had so much more soul” or “all this technology feels a bit sterile” and that “it’s a technical masterpiece, but the old car was magical”?

Well, I think there’s a pretty simple solution, and one which would be incredibly easy for the Prancing Horse to pursue.

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Diecast Delights: A BMW M1 in 1:18 scale

Model cars are handily sized and – zinc pest aside – impervious to the ravages of time. Like car brochures, they make it possible for the enthusiast to create his or her own personal car museum without leaving the comfort of home. They also allow a rich variety of choice, so you can tailor your museum to personal taste. Mine, for example, has a P38 Range Rover cheek by jowl with a Citroen CX, an Opel Manta, a Ford Cougar and a Peugeot 206 CC. On the basis that nobody else need ever visit it, your museum can be as offbeat as you want.

It becomes a little dull to see the same ‘must have’ cars in every museum. There are certain cars, though, which warrant inclusion not just for their significance, but because they exude awesomeness. I put it to you that the BMW M1 is one such car.

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The Carchive: The E23 BMW 7 Series – In Art

It’s Friday night, and time for our (sometimes) weekly trip on the rusty, buckled monorail of discovery, into the bleak, architecturally suspect neighbourhood of the past to see what kind of souvenirs you can get from the dank, litter strewn terminus of oblivion. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Car brochures are great! I really like them, you may have noticed. The way they communicate the precise message the manufacturer intends, the way that they cunningly and calculatingly distort their information to express all the pluses and none of the minuses. They’re like the automotive equivalent of a party political broadcast.

But brochures are only the tip of the iceberg. There are other publicity oddities out there, too, such as what we have after the break. It’s the E23 7 Series, expressed in Art.

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The great Classic Car price guessing game

Chris Haining February 28, 2017 Car Shows

Hows about we play a little game amongst ourselves? There’ll be no big cash prizes, we’re playing solely for the warm feeling of being right.

I visited the 2017 London Classic Car Show over the weekend, where I saw many cars, most of which were arguably classics – and most of which were for sale. The place was littered with blue chip, investment-grade material like Ferrari 288 GTOs, Gullwing 300SLs and vintage stuff of all kinds. And we all know that certain classics have ascended the stratosphere – it’s well documented that a 250 GTO sold at auction for over $38m, that’s more than Jeff Glucker earns.

So here are three cars, chosen at random. But can you guess the prices that they’re stickered at?

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Our Cars: 1995 Peugeot 306. Overcoming a failure to proceed.

On Friday I was forced to walk some two hundred yards when our venerable Peugeot 306 threw up a variety of warning lights on the dashboard, accompanied by a loss of power. My wife was returning from a trip to visit her parents, and had almost, almost made it home when the car faltered. She told me that it wasn’t the first time that day, either.

When she visited a store, the 306 had refused to start. The engine would turn over, but wouldn’t catch. She had called her father, who lived nearby, to come to the rescue and bring expertise, but the car had decided to start before he arrived. Well, this simply would not do. We can’t have a stroppy, recalcitrant car in the fleet, so I had 48 hours to scratch my head and sort things out.

Here’s how it went down.

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