Diecast Delights: 1938 Auto-Union Type C Record Breaker in 1:18 scale.


Museums are divisive in their appeal. On the one hand, standing face to face with legendary machines, breathing in the vapours of oil and leather that time erodes from a classic or historic car is a humbling, nourishing experience.

On the other hand, unless such machines are kept working, you’re looking at corpses. Now inanimate hulks, the record breakers of the past are displayed in limbo between life and death. And if all the museum achieves is to enable us to gawp open-mouthedly at these silent giants, we might as well do that in the comfort of our own homes.

Here’s a good example of something worth revering, in a rather convenient scale.

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Project Car SOTU 2016: Project Audinary. Driving. Not quitting


So it’s cammed, tubbed, lightened, balanced, bluprinted, polished, ported and perfect. Well, no, actually it’s none of those things. It does have an oil leak, but that’s more of a characteristic than a fault. The question it poses is- stick or twist?

The VW Group 1.8t engine is famously responsive to tuning efforts, with big dyno numbers just a map away, and the sky being the limit if you start swapping turbochargers and intercoolers around. The idea of more power is really very appealing. But, having just returned in it from a 1700 mile round trip to beyond the tip of Scotland, I get to wondering whether there’s really any point.

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The Carchive: The Renault Le Car 2 (5)


That time of the week has arrived where we briefly put aside all that is new and current, and take a few moments to think back at that which went before. The good, bad and ugly of motoring history. Join me for another visit to The Carchive,

Last week we were in late ’80s Italy for a look at one of the later X1/9s, a car which is difficult to imagine sitting in a Fiat dealer today. And so we move onto elsewhere in Europe, where Renault was trying to sell the last of their Mk1 Renault 5’s before an “all new SuperCinq” arrived. They called it Le Car, 2.

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In search of steering feel, Finding it at Sea.


One criticism seems to be common to every online car review I ever take the time to read. Sometimes the reviewer has a point, other times I know that they’re making it up. Occasionally it seems suspiciously as if they have no idea what they’re talking about, just like how so many reviewers can’t see the difference between handling and roadholding.

I’m talking about steering feel.

To remind yourself just what steering feel means, you need to hang up your car keys and take control of something a little more visceral, where the connection is purer, more direct. You could do it on a motorcycle, but a sudden, big movement through the bars on a bike is gonna send you shredding your leathers along the blacktop, and maybe worse. No, you’ve got to feel it somewhere that wipeouts don’t necessarily mean game over.

You gotta sail a boat.

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Diecast Delights: AMG SLS Roadster in 1:18 scale


Celebrating a memorable event in ones life is pretty well celebrated by getting a tattoo, but there are disadvantages in this. For one thing, tattoos are darned expensive, and the second thing is having to constantly explain the meaning of an inking that means the earth to you, but is completely lost on anybody else. So, not wanting to have a Mercedes badge inked on me for all eternity, I chose to mark the end of my indirect employment by the brand with the obtainment of a model car instead.

Another influencing factor in my choice was the price. At the recent (although I’m not sure we’ve mentioned it on here, preferring to stay low-key on the subject) Goodwood Festival of Speed, German model outlet CK-Modelcars happened to have a stall in the retail area. They also had a small stack of these for sale for a princely £25 each. Or about £100 less than any size of tattoo worth having.

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The Carchive: ’87 Fiat X1/9


Once again it’s time to strap ourselves into the de Haviland Otter Floatplane of knowledge, skim across the cold, murky lake of time and go fishing for something from motoring past, to be dredged up from the depths of automotive history. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Recently I’ve had enough of England, frankly, so today we’re heading to Italy and the late ’80s, when the life of the legendary Fiat X1/9 was coming towards its end.

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The Meyrignac Alpine A110: A wheeled curriculum vitae


When I was growing up, I dreamt of becoming a car designer.  I spent all my spare time sketching with pencils and biros on whatever flat white surface I could get my hands on. It took over my every waking moment, and my history and geography exercise books were made considerably less tedious by the outlandish sports cars doodled throughout.

What I really should have done was followed the example of one Denis Meryignac – translate my wildest dream into a 1:5 scale model and present it to somebody like Jean Rédélé, the founder of French rally car artisans Alpine.

Then, with a bit of luck, something awesome might happen.

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Diecast Delights: Honda City Turbo II in 1:18 Scale


I’ve been holding off from posting a Diecast Delight until I thought I might have a Diecast that truly is Delightful.

Ever since I chanced upon an original brochure for the Honda City in The Carchive, and then tracked one down online for its partnering bootspace occupant, the Honda Motocompo, I’ve wanted to add a Honda City to my collection. Alas, the only model made is by AutoArt, and it’s prohibitively expensive for a man who daily-drives a ’98 Audi through necessity as well as choice.

So, Praise Be obscurity and badly phrased eBay adverts.

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The Carchive: The Humber Super Snipe


It’s drizzling and overcast outside and the downstairs of my house is littered with camping equipment. Yes, I have a 712 mile road trip ahead of me and am leaving in about four hours time.

Before that, we’ve just enough time to don our rubber trousers and wade through the primordial soup that is motoring past, ready to scoop up whatever obscure relic bobs up to the surface. Welcome to The Carchive.

After spending a few weeks in the 1990s British Midlands looking at the MG-F and RV8, we wind back thirty years or so but stay local. We’re in Coventry, and we’re checking out the Humber Super Snipe.

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Goodwood 2016: Lamborghini, Art, Design and Popular Culture


Lamborghini has never been a brand to conform to convention. There has never been a Raging Bull that followed the herd. Here, in a corner of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we find a small assembly of some of Sant’Agata’s wildest creations.

Can a car define its era, or does its era define IT? I always feel that Ferarris are styled after artistic ideals, whereas a Lamborghini is designed out of sheer passion. If a Ferrari is the work of an impressionist, a Lambo is more like cubism. Art borne out of mood. I thought it might be fun to try and work out what was in the minds of the creators when this little lot were first drawn up.

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