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Bulges and Muscle: The Jensen C-V8

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It must be over-exposure to Interceptors that has numbed my brain to such an extent that I’d forgotten about the forerunner that iconic glassbacked bruiser. Indeed took a good few seconds before my brain had parsed what, exactly, it was being confronted by.

Of course, I proclaimed to myself. It’s a Jensen. A C-V8; the brutal follow-up to the 541. Pleased to re-acquaint myself with it, I spent the next ten minutes walking around it and drinking in all those details that I had, shamefully, forgotten all about.

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The Carchive: The MG RV8

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I’ve got my bolt-cutters and flashlight, please join me with your balaclava and soft soled shoes so we can quietly break into the abandoned Leisure Centre of time and throw ourselves down the wobbly waterslide of motoring past. Welcome, once again, to The Carchive.

Last week we looked at Rover Groups great white hope for the resurgence of MG in the ’90s, the MGF. Well, I’m feeling pretty comfortable here in pre-millenial Britain so let’s hang back for a little bit. Actually, no, lets wind backwards to ’92 and look at the other roadster that Rover tried to tempt us with that decade.

It’s the RV8.

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A real Triumph Of Styling

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The Hofmeister kink. The Hofmeister bloody kink. It appears in lists of ‘favourite car styling cues’ with monotonous regularity. That and the shark-nose grille. It seems either that BMW have been credited with more than their fair share of design hits. And, I admit, rightly so.

But could mankind’s adoration of the design output of Bavaria not be drip-fed by constant exposure, just like a piece of music will be embedded in your psyche after you’ve heard it a hundred times on the radio, on TV spots and as you walk past storefronts? It took a good thirty years for BMW’s design language to markedly change, but which time it had become part of the landscape. No wonder the best of classic BMW styling is universally hallowed.

Sometimes its easy to forget about the fallen. Those cars which have been lost in the fickle mists of time. When I recently saw this track-prepared Triumph 2500 I remembered just how strong a visual statement it made.

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Unlikely Race Cars #3: Sierra XR4x4by Jove

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I make no apologies whatsoever for being a terrible Ford Sierra Fanboy, and I was duly excited to see a Sierra Cosworth darting purposefully up the track at the Crystal Palace Hillclimb, followed closely by its later, more practical,  three-box, four-door Sapphire Cosworth successor. What I didn’t expect to see was a crazily be-winged family car cleaving its way around every hairpin while shouting with a voice I didn’t quite recognise.

Of course, we all know that the only five-door Sierra hatchback with any claim to sporting credentials was the XR4x4. Well, this used to be one of those. A long time ago.

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Normality Redefined: Driving the Fuel Cell Toyota Mirai

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It had been haunting me all day long. Long and impossibly shiny in its chromium finish, it would glide serenely past as I sat behind the wheel of whichever “ordinary” car I was sampling. Everybody I saw driving it seemed to have the same facial expression- brow slightly furrowed but with an enthused sparkle in the eye.

When a car as exclusive, as under-the-radar as the Toyota Mirai turns up at a press event like this, I assumed that the list of drivers booked in to drive it would read like a who’s who of journalistic glitterati and high-profile celebrity guests. By comparison, according to my pass I’m a no-name blogger from www.Hooniver.se, some obscure Swedish website.

Well, I was wrong, and it urns out I like the Toyota PR team quite a lot.

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The Carchive: The MGF

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The ticket machine has spluttered out a cheap-rate fare and the windswept platform is bare. In the distance approaches a clanking, decaying locomotive and a rake of moribund, down at heel coaches. Let’s board the train of weary discovery and take a trip along the buckled rails of motoring past.

Welcome back to The Carchive.

Last time we lurched across the Atlantic to see what General Motors had to offer us if we wanted a Canadian Market T-Platform. This week we’re heading forwards in time to the Mid Nineties, where Central England was stirring with the sound of celebration. The MGF had arrived.

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Unlikely race cars #2: Jaguar XJ6 “Club Sport”.

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Last week I we got a glimpse of the fun to be had on a hillclimb course when your steed is part SEAT Marbella and part Lancia Y10 Turbo. This week we look at something equally alien to the track, but no less fun and a whole lot bigger.

I grow tired of seeing Caterhams, Lotus Elises and beautifully optimised classics monotonously excelling as they’re threaded, inch-perfectly, from apex to apex. Such machines are so perfectly suited to this kind of driving that it seems almost like cheating. Surely it’s rather more fun if your car’s natural talent is rather more focussed on other areas?

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Driving the Renault Twizy: Fun Way Beyond Function

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If you have any difficulty in justifying a car which is essentially a giantized power-wheels which a grow adult can only just about fit inside, then a Renault Twizy really isn’t the car for you.

I had been eager to try one of these ever since my first encounter with one in London, where I saw a soberly dressed city gent startling the cyclists with one on a rainy rush hour. Not soon after that an example appeared on a used car forecourt close to where I live. I didn’t ask to drive it lest I accidentally bought it.

Then I would have been in serious trouble. We have a fleet of three cars at home. She has a twenty five mile round trip for work every day so she has her small, economical Peugeot, and I work from home so naturally I need two cars with big, thirsty engines. We live in rural surroundings, traffic is sparse and our local train station is a ten minute walk away. We have little need for a lightweight electric buggy with a 56 mile range.

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Diecast Delights: An Aston Martin DB7 in 1:18 Scale

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Certain blue chip classics have been modelled by countless different marques. The Jaguar E-type, probably most famously cast by Bburago in the ’80s, has also been offered by Polistil, Ertl (Grand Marques), Paragon and AutoArt, with quality and accuracy varying dramatically among the various manufacturers. The E-type, of course, is a car which has achieved immortality and has never really dropped from the public conscience. It, and many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and other high-profile machines will continue to be re-issued to a hungry market as modelling technology improves.

Sometimes cars only get one shot at having a 1:18 likeness cast of them. Cars which perhaps fell out of favour and into obscurity, cars which were perhaps of extremely minor interest in the first place, or maybe cars which would later become overshadowed by sexier, more exotic cars from within the same stable.

I believe that’s what happened with the Aston Martin DB7.

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The MG6: To Drive, Not to Savour

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“MG – Since 1924” This is the phrase that appears when you first switch the sat-nav on in the “British” marque’s more recent machines, as well as appearing on several MG promotional campaigns. But what good is a storied brand name if it means nothing to the market?

That octagonal badge has graced the bonnets of some truly great cars, that’s for sure, but the surviving MG enthusiasts and loyalists are no longer the most influential element of society. Few young folk have a clue about the past work of Morris Garages, and in all honesty none of its occasionally glorious legacy has any real connection to the MG of today apart from by name.

There are myriad name brands out there fighting for attention and, for MG to be a success in this day and age their products have to have a USP. A specific appeal. When I drove this latest version of the MG6 I think I found it, but is it buried too deep for anybody with an open chequebook to discover it for themselves?

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