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The ’65 Ferrari 330GT Vignale: A Latin Longroof

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It may well that be the same affliction that prevented my successful progression as a car designer is responsible for my wife’s total lack of trust in me for making decisions in matters of household decor. For instance, I think the Aviation Traders Carvair was a glorious looking aeroplane. I enjoy looking at pieces of Soviet brutalist architecture. Ekranoplans, to me, are handsome devices. No less do I appreciate the aesthetic of a Class 31 diesel locomotive than I do a Fiat Topolino.

Basically I cannot / will not acknowledge when something is ugly. I am no arbiter of style or elegance, though I’m pretty sure I have a fantastic taste in women. This brings me to what we have here, which, to hedge my bets, I’m going to say is simultaneously the best and worst looking Ferrari of all time.

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V12 XJ220: The Biggest of Big Cats

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This was a good test of a Hoon, one which 90% of the people milling around this participant of the Cartier Style Et Luxe at Goodwood this year, failed. Even those who took the time to read the accompanying datacard. “Hey, an XJ220!” they said. They paused, they looked, they appreciated, then they moved on. But did they catch the big “AND”?

The clever yet subtle decal says it all. V12 XJ220 . Yes, this particular machine has twice as many cylinders as your regular garden variety hypercat, and that makes it just a teensy bit special in my book. Indeed I began to get a little light headed as I looked around it, and I apologise if the images get increasingly pornographic after the jump. Actually, perhaps I don’t.

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Diecast Delights: a ’69 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ 428 in 1/18 scale.

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I still do it. Whenever we go past a toyshop I still go inside, forlornly hoping that what happened once some twelve years ago could happen again. Of course, it never does.

In 2003 I found myself idly wandering around Chelmsford. Bored absolutely rigid, I ventured into a branch of The Entertainer, a generic all-ages toyshop. Seldom do shops like that have anything for me, save for a reasonable selection of Lego. But on this day, and I’ve never seen anything like it happen since, the shop had a few remaining reduced-to-clear diecast models. Normal price £30, now £6!

And of course I wish I’d bought more than one.

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The Carchive: Oldsmobile in 1985

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We’re enjoying a heatwave right now in the UK. After the excitement of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, followed closely by the sheer overwhelmingness of an encounter with a still-active Ford Granada Estate, what better than to sit back and relax in a shady spot with a long, cool, refreshing brochure?

The Carchive has been closed for maintenance for the last couple of weeks, but now the hard hats and reflective jackets have finally been packed away and I can gain access once again. First off the shelf this time was a Brochure for the Oldsmobile line-up of 1985.

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The Noble Art of Keeping Things Going

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My manager summoned me away from my desk. The day hadn’t been going brilliantly, to be honest, there were numbers that needed to be balanced and accounts that were on the frightening side of gnarly, and it was the last day of the month. The pressure was on.

I duly dropped everything and headed outside, ready for the shouting to commence, wherupon my manager said “take a look at this”.

It was a 1986 Ford Granada 2.3 LX estate. I had never been happier to see one.

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Nicely Grilled or Overcooked? The Changing Face of VW.

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The process for establishing a corporate identity for a range of cars can, simplistically, be summed up as “Choose a size and shape of front grille that nobody else seems to be using, then after five or so years, make it much, much bigger”. Hence, the brand new Audi A4 Seems morphed almost imperceptibly from its previous form, thanks to the inevitability of Audi sticking with their safe, recognisable family nose treatment.

Once a corporate identity has become established and is acknowledged as meaning something worthwhile, it becomes very valuable and is jealously protected. Therefore, it’s very important that it’s well chosen. It needs to be strong and striking. With this in mind, I was pleased to see VW doing something outside the norm on their GTE, though whether this look will reach production remains to be seen.

If this is to be Volkswagen’s new visage, what do you think of it?

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Diecast Delights: A Ford Mustang SVO in 1:18 Scale

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I couldn’t resist it. While patrolling this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, diligently photographing everything that I thought I might be able to write something about, I noticed a ziggurat of diecasts in the scant shelter of Bill Shepherd Mustang’s merchandise awning. Then the part of me that controls my spending muscles and is always in the lookout for low, low prices clocked a “reduced to clear” Tag.

So I now possess a 1:18th scale Fox-body Mustang SVO. And here it is.

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Goodwood FoS 2015: The Best Kind Of Wood

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If this car on the Peugeot stand is property of Peugeot UK then somebody there has an excellent sense of humour. This is the kind of thing I like to see.

Moreover, the fact that this car is on the Peugeot stand at all is a mighty reassuring sign. This is a 309 GTI, a Goodwood Editon, one of the very last off the production line, a kind of celebratory run-out model. OK, the Goodwood name is coincidental to our current location and so that might be why it’s here. But I like to think of it as a display of Peugeot not forgetting where they came from.

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Goodwood FoS 2015: The Size Of His Toys

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The theme of Honda’s 2015 Goodwood stand was extremely cleverly conceived. Or I might be reading far too much into it.

Having their 2015 offerings all packaged up as 1:1 scale models -should I have posted this as a Diecast Delight?- they have created a playful, fun-to-look-at display. Big toys. Excellent. But the subtext, which was either completely intentional and I need to drink more coffee and wake up a bit, or I’ve stumbled upon it by accident, could well be about separating the men from the boys.

Especially when there’s a particular toy which everybody with the slightest hint of a gasolinical inclination has been anticipating For Ever. It’s known by three letters which mean so much.

N S X.

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Goodwood FoS 2015: Ford GT- A Glass Case Of Emotion

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Talk about forbidden fruits. Look, don’t touch. Mitts OFF. Leave it! Not happy.

I want to gaze longingly at it with unimpeded vision. I want to follow every undulating contour with my eye until it waters. I want to place a palm on one of its curves, then run it gently but assertively along until it slides out of view into that special hole. I want to be inside, turn her on and feel a pulse from the other side of the leather. I want to bring that beat up and unleash a groan of pleasure from both her and me, and probably at exactly the same time.

The Ford GT.

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