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The Surprising State Ride of Czech President Václav Havel.

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Striving for social status in life can bring many rewards. My 33 years on the planet have seen me ascend to ownership of a 1997 Rover 825si (which I try not to mention too often in case I’m seen as arrogant or aloof). Jeff Glucker, my elder (and better) has a Bugatti EB110 and a fleet of GM EV-1s scattered around the world (and you thought they’d been destroyed….).

But what happens when you suddenly find yourself elected president of a former Communist-controlled land? Czechoslovakia at the end of the ’80s was a country rich with engineering talent, so creating a car fit for a President wouldn’t be a significant challenge. So, after his election after the Velvet Revolution of late 1989, what did Václav Havel drive?

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Track Day in Beaterland – Sierra CVH at Ahvenisto

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What do I love most about taking a humble daily driver on a track? Well, there’s just something about it that feels deliciously wrong. Tracks are for track weapons in the purest sense, for purpose-built, caged cars that are driven by people who actually know what they’re doing for most of the time, people who are able to shave seconds off lap times instead of just doing a different series of mistakes on each lap. Instead of a bread and butter conveyance, you get into a machine that’s been painstakingly built into a faster, safer, and yet more disposable vehicle, something that can be driven hard, something that still declares “This isn’t even my final form!” A car that’s been built into a track day car or a racer doesn’t have a way back. This is its life now, roll cage and all.

But for a modest outlay, and as long as you’ve brought your helmet and as long as you’re aware of how your car is doing mechanically, you can enter a track with your grocery-getter and have a brilliant time – in case the premises offer the possibility of tourist drives or booking the place for your usual gang of idiots that form your car camaraderie. Like us, the Finnish part of FinalGear, the guys who sauna the night before and watch Regular Car Reviews and Birgirpall until everyone’s so tired from laughing they don’t know if the helmet fits on the next morning. But as the leaves are falling and the forested track of Ahvenisto looks amazingly beautiful, despite being treacherous under the motivational autumn photo guise, it’s time to wrap up the driving season on the track asphalt with a group of good friends. And now it was the 1990 Ford Sierra‘s turn to earn a couple stickers.

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World Of Top Gear:- The Best World…..in the World?

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What exactly might one expect to see or experience in the World Of Top Gear? Well, it should be staged on a huge budget and ought to involve dizzying numbers of exotic cars and recreations of lavish overseas locations. Explosions should be massive and frequent and perilous situations should present themselves regularly. A sense of fun should pervade, and every visitor should be granted the opportunity to participate in peculiar, arcane challenges. Perhaps animatronic effigies of Hammond, May and Clarkson could patrol, issuing choice soundbites possibly ending with “Power!”. As long as humour, horseplay and horsepower are all represented, the possibilities are endless.

Actually, in a manner entirely fitting with the ever-so-slightly shambolic nature of things that happen on the 8PM Sunday stalwart, World Of Top Gear is basically a big shed with a load of old cars in it. But hey, we all enjoyed this stuff on the small screen, so why not take a gawp at them in the flesh? Take the jump for a tour of the embodiment of “ambitious but rubbish”. How hard can it be?

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Truck Thursday: The Naples/Marco AACA Show Edition

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So there this olelongrooffan and TheKenMan were at our third car show of that eventful 8 hour stretch one day last winter. We had already seen some pretty cool ass street rods out at the Seminole Indian Casino in Immokalee (sorry dead batteries and no place close by to get some more AA’s), spent a little time learning some more history about Ford’s Mustang at its birthday party and here at this exquisite show presented by the Naples/Marco Island branch of the Antique Automobile Club of America at the Naples Depot. Now this olelongrooffan must admit I was mistaken when I previously mentioned that no trains had run there since the early 80’s. They still run a kiddie scale train, much like the one TheGentleManFarmer had when I was a teenager, running around the perimeter of the grounds of this now train museum. But enough about that, we are here to chat it up about some trucks. For mere beauty, this 1934 Ford truck was the coolest one we saw there. Click on through to see more of it.

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Weekend at Beaulieu Finale; The Motherlode

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My coverage of the Beaulieu Autojumble left me with so many millions of hastily shit shot images that filleting them into sensible portions for visual consumption has been a major, and long winded undertaking.

Well, this is it. The end, finally. Click over the jump for a final outsplurge featuring some of the notables that I’m simply never going to get around to writing about, or that are of such extreme minority interest that it wouldn’t be worth it anyway.

Spoiler: There’s a Rover 825 Coupé in there, you lucky, lucky people

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Weekend At Beaulieu: You Name It, We Got It.

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“How much for the one, badly corroded and horrifically, brutally deformed Lotus Eclat alloy?”
“That’s £110, mate”
“Hmm, that’s a bit rich, considering the condition. I was thinking more like £60”
“You’re having a laugh, mate. I can’t let that go for less than a ton”
“Look I’ll take it now for £70”

….and so it goes on for the next ten minutes. This conversation was occurring literally everywhere you walked. It’s an inevitable phenomenon at this kind of an event; the prices marked on items is arbitrary at best and haggling is the norm. But before the skilful negotiation can break out, you have to have the kind of stuff laid out on your stall that everybody wants. And to be completely honest, walking past hundreds of identical stalls covered in rusty obsolete parts I had a hard time telling the trash from the treasure.

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Weekend At Beaulieu:- SM on DS Action

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Whatever the unit of measurement is for Awesomeness Per Square Foot, the assembly of Gallic motoring eccentricity photographed above must register quite a high reading. If the Citroen SM is my favourite French car of all time (and I’ve just decided it is), and the DS is my second favourite, then what we see here is akin my favourite meal (haddock and chips) perched upon my second (rare steak).

One question begs to be asked, though. Was posing the bewilderingly complex SM with its hood open on a flatbed a choice made tongue-in-cheek, or was no irony intended whatsoever?

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Hooniverse Drives over 8 San Francisco Bay Area Bridges in One Day

Jim Yu September 22, 2014 Hooniverse Goes To..., Road Trip

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As someone who likes to cross items off of lists, I have always wanted to drive over all eight San Francisco Bay Area bridges in one go. This “accomplishment” is relatively easy to do, but no one has ever gotten in their car to properly document the experience. This is where I come in. Make the jump to see how I spent one weekend morning. … Continue Reading

Weekend at Beaulieu:- 4 Sale:- T’Bird? Word.

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£23,750. It all comes down to context, really. In my world, where my daily driver is worth probably a hundredth of that, that’s a whole hill of cash. In vehicular retail terms, though, twenty-four grand doesn’t yet see you out of KIA territory. You’re talking real low-end BMW and Mercedes fare for that kind of figure. For out-and-out look-at-me new-car credibility, £23,750 doesn’t earn you a whole bunch of bragging rights.

So why not spend your 24 kiloquid on this? Parked amid the “for sale” area at the World Famous International Autojumble at Beaulieu this year, to say that this ’63 Thunderbird stood out is an understatement akin to the 1986 mutterings of Chenobyl safety officers that “we might be in a spot of bother here.”

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Weekend at Beaulieu: 4 Sale – The Barn Finds

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“Barn Find” has become a real pain-in-the arse phrase. Stick it in eBay as a search term and you’ll be presented with a list of cars which have never been near a barn in their lives, nor been forgotten about for decades. Typically a Barn Find on eBay will involve a seventeen year old Nissan Micra being “found” in gran’s garage and then sold for whatever it’ll reach because she’s hung up her mink driving gloves for the last time.

Of course, there’s a big difference between eBay; purveyors of hopeless crocks to the poor and indiscriminating, and Bonhams, purveyors of… well, hopeless crocks to the Rich and optimistic. Bonhams, the renown auction house, took charge of sales of high class hulks which might just have genuinely have been found in somebody’s barn. But which will you choose?

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