Thursday, 28 May 2009


UK fights for Vauxhall as GM bankruptcy looms

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has held “substantial telephone conversations” with GM amid final negotiations with bidders for its European arm.

The Government has explicitly linked any financial support for the spin-off of General Motors’ European operations to the future of its two UK car plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port.

Britain is lobbying to prevent the German government from bowing to election-year pressure with a pledge to protect domestic jobs at the expense of Vauxhall’s UK plants.

The three main bidders for GM’s European arm are Fiat, Canadian car parts maker Magna and financial investor RHJ. There are claims that whichever bidder wins, up to 10,000 jobs could be cut at Vauxhall/Opel.

Beijing Automotive Industry Corp has emerged as a fourth contender for the business and insiders claim it will try to avoid job cuts in Germany for two years.

As the winning bid is being decided, General Motors has acknowledged that it has failed to secure agreement from holders of $27bn in bonds for a contentious debt-for-equity offer, and said that its directors will meet “to discuss GM’s next steps”.

The setback, which was widely expected, clears the way for the carmaker to seek bankruptcy protection on or before June 1, the deadline set by the US government for GM to meet conditions for future financial aid, including the debt-exchange.

A General Motors bankruptcy would be the largest ever in US industrial history. (Daily Telegraph; Daily Mail; Daily Express; The Guardian:; May 27)

Citroen issues termination notices in expansion plan

Citroen UK has issued two-year termination notices to all its 640 sales and service centres and parts distributors this week.

The manufacturer says the move is part of an ambitious sales growth and enhanced customer care strategy – plus the need to safeguard profitability.

The aim is to have fewer dealers, doing a better job and making more money, the firm said.

The majority of Citroen’s 200 sales outlets will be unaffected, but 20 have been told the carmaker may end their contracts, unless they improve customer care and/or sales performance against targets in 2009 and 2010.

Another 20 has been told the territory they represent is no longer viable. (am-online: May 27)

Football and driving don’t mix

Listening to football commentary on the radio while driving can be a dangerous distraction, scientists have warned.

They found that listeners’ driving became much more erratic when they were listening to the match.

Tests carried out using a driving simulator also showed that the pace of the game, goals and penalty decisions affected the ability and concentration of fans behind the wheel. (Daily Telegraph; Daily Mail: May 27)

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


It costs nearly a million pounds – if you can get on the waiting list – tops 250 mph and has over 1,000 bhp – and it’s coming to the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power!

The Bugatti Veyron is simply one of the greatest supercars of all time and a rare sight even in Monte Carlo or Hollywood.

“We are absolutely delighted that Bugatti are bringing the Veyron to Cholmondeley,” said Event Director James Hall. “This year we are celebrating all things Bugatti as Lord Cholmondeley’s grandfather was a friend and customer of Etorre Bugatti and the cars were once a common sight around here.

“We already have lots of older Bugattis on the entry list but having the Veyron here really will make this a special event for us.”

Bugatti are just one marque among many at the second Pageant of Power to be held at Cholmondeley Castle on July 18th and 19th. Historic and competition cars from the 1920s right up to date will feature on both days.

In addition to the action on the track, the air will be crowded with in excess of 150 helicopters making this the UK’s biggest gathering. There will be a flypast of historic aircraft including both a Spitfire and a Seafire while on the Mere inshore powerboats will compete for the coveted Breitling Trophy.

To complete a great family weekend the Saturday evening will see the annual Cholmondeley Fireworks Concert while military support will include marching bands and the Army’s Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank.

This year tickets are being restricted in the popular “Paddock Enclosure” and only those bought in advance will guarantee access. A new lower tier ticket price of £15 has been introduced for the “Park”, which will make the event one of the best value days out this summer.

For more information tickets please visit

Below: The cars of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley at the family seat. Left: Chassis 57739 Figoni & Falaschi fastback saloon. Right: Chassis 57698 Atalante Type 57C

Image taken from Bugatti 57 - The Last French Bugatti - 2nd Edition by Barrie Price.

A concise history, from conception & development to the end of production, of the Bugatti Type 57, including the supercharged 57S and the Type 64 & 101. With revised text and many more period illustrations, this new edition becomes the standard reference on the 57 and its close relatives.

Click here for more info about the book.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Jeroen Booij, author of Maximum Mini.

Brian Moylan, author of Anatomy of the Works Minis, Rally, Racing & Rallycross Cars.

Paddy Hopkirk!

The modfather himself – Mr Paul Weller.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


Three bids expected for GM’s European operations

At least three bidders were expected to make formal offers for a stake in General Motors’ European operations today (Wednesday, May 20), and will be asked to come up with about €650 million.

RJH International, the Brussels-listed car parts holding company, Fiat and Canadian-based parts company Magna are reported to be the serious contenders for the struggling US carmaker’s Vauxhall/Opel division.

All three groups were expected to make offers for the stake by today’s deadline. The size of the stake will be worked out in talks, but GM wants to keep a minority stake of up to 40%.

Additional bids from up to three other private equity and sovereign wealth investors were still feasible but not as likely.

GM will give preference to cash bids, which could complicate Fiat’s bid as the Italian manufacturer is opposed to injecting cash into the group.

GM, which is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US by June 1, has said that it wants to choose a partner for Vauxhall/Opel by the end of May. (Financial Times: May 20).

Saab to select buyer from three suitors

Saab says it has selected three suitors for continued talks as the up-for-sale loss-making General Motors-owned manufacturer looks for a new parent company.

The Swedish manufacturer has applied to the courts for an extension to its grace period under creditor protection.

The company has asked the Swedish courts for an additional three months of protection from creditors and revealed that it had whittled the field of interested parties down from 10 potential suitors.

The negotiations with the three selected organisations, which have not been identified, will be carried out during the remainder of May in order to select the final candidate.

The carmaker sought protection from creditors in February to buy time to find a new owner, after GM said it would cut ties with the brand by the turn of the year.

The courts will make a decision on whether to allow the reorganisation process to be extended late next week. (National newspapers: May 20).

Porsche chief in talks with Middle East investors

The long-running saga involving German vehicle manufacturers Porsche and Volkswagen has taken another twist with the news that the sports carmaker’s chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking is trying to woo Middle East investors.

He has held talks with several Middle East funds, some from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, about taking a stake of up to 25% in the carmaker through a cash injection thought to be up to €4 billion. Porsche is struggling under a €9bn debt pile.

However, it remains unclear whether the talks represent a bid to bolster Porsche’s endangered independence that will enable it to walk away from the proposed merger with Volkswagen, or were aimed at strengthening the sports carmaker’s clout in further negotiations.

Volkswagen suspended merger talks with Porsche over the weekend after it accused Porsche’s management of obstructing the negotiations about integration. However, since then there have been behind the scenes moves to bring the derailed talks back on track. (Financial Times/The Times: May 20).

Wednesday, 20 May 2009



Porsche 908 – The long distance runner
By Jörg Thomas Födisch, Jost Nesshöver, Dieter Rossbach, Harold Schwarz, Rainer Rossbach


The most famous racing drivers drove it and actor Steve McQueen not only raced a 908 successfully, but one was used as the camera car for the film "Le Mans" in which he starred. Endurance racer par excellence, the 908 raced successfully from the late 60s through to the 80s first as a works car and later driven by privateers. Now, finally, the first comprehensive work about the 908 has been published in the English language. The authors portray the fascinating history of the Porsche 908 racing car in all its forms, and clearly explain its complex technology. The car's racing history is fully documented, and detailed statistics enable the reader to quickly look up all of the racing data. In addition, there are little-known anecdotes and contemporary reports from eye-witnesses and drivers. A wealth of contemporary, previously unreleased images evoke the fascinating atmosphere and excitement of the great seventies endurance racing era.

Porsche 908 – The long distance runner is published by Veloce at £45.00 in hardback with 336 colour and black and white pictures.

"... this is the only 908 book you'll ever need." – Classic & Sports Car

Porsche 928
By Brian Long


"Porsche 928" is a brand new book by acknowledged motoring historian and Porsche expert Brian Long. This, the definitive record, looks closely at the variants sold on the American, British, Australian and Japanese markets from the time the car was launched in 1977, until the last one was built in 1995.
The 928 was originally designed as a replacement for the legendary 911, although traditionalists wouldn’t let the air-cooled machine die, and the fuel crisis that occurred soon after the new Grand Tourer was launched meant its stunning on the road performance would not be matched in terms of showroom performance ...
Now gaining the recognition it has long deserved, the 928 has become an extremely collectible and surprising affordable modern classic.

Porsche 928 is published by Veloce at £34.99 in hardback with 400 colour pictures, mainly in colour.

"GOOD TIMING on Veloce's part: interest in the 928 seems to be taking off, yet the cars are still comparatively cheap to buy." – Octane


Porsche moves to restart Volkswagen talks

The family owners of Porsche have pushed to restart stalled merger talks with Volkswagen.

The move came as thousands of workers at the debt-ridden sports car manufacturer gathered to protest against Ferdinand Piech, the Volkswagen chairman.

The feuding Porsche and Piech families are expected this week to discuss getting the derailed negotiations back on track, according to people familiar with the situation.

The move came after Volkswagen at the weekend suspended merger talks with Porsche. It said that Porsche’s management had hampered the talks by not being fully transparent about the sport carmaker’s financial situation. (Financial Times: May 19).

RAC takes the toll out of motoring this Bank Holiday

RAC says it is giving motorists something to smile about over the Bank Holiday weekend by paying for 3,000 cars to go through the M6 Toll.

Recent RAC research shows that more people are planning to stay in the UK this year, so the motoring organisation says it will bring some cheer and goodwill to the weekend by paying for 1,000 lucky motorists tolls every day throughout the Spring Bank Holiday.

The gesture will see RAC covering the cost of 3,000 motorists toll fees, from Saturday (May 23) to Monday, May 25 inclusive. The offer will be open to drivers heading both North and South on the main M6 Toll plaza over the weekend and lucky drivers will be selected at random by toll staff to have their toll paid as they go through the manned booths - £4.50 on Saturday and Sunday and £4.70 on Monday.

The initiative comes as RAC shares its Bank Holiday traffic and travel predictions. Set to be one of the busiest this year as school half term and the Bank Holiday coincide, RAC predicts that millions of motorists will hit the road and the traffic will build up on all major routes throughout the weekend. Traffic will be heavier still if the sun shines and families flock to the beaches.

Meanwhile, the AA says that drivers can expect a 50% increase in journey times on Friday (May 22) as commuters, holidaymakers and large numbers of caravans hit the road at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend.

As cars get stuck in tailbacks, the AA estimates that 80,000 breakdowns in the UK could be prevented this weekend if drivers check their cars beforehand.

Problems such as overheating are made worse as 80% of motorists do not even regularly check their car’s coolant level, according to an AA poll of more than 14,500 motorists. (RAC/AA: May 19).

Daimler buys stake in electric carmaker

Daimler has bought a near 10% stake in Tesla, the Silicon Valley-based maker of electric-powered sports cars, the two companies said in a statement.

The deal marks a further push by the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles into battery-powered cars, and represents a vote of confidence in Tesla, a pioneer in electric cars that has struggled to raise funds during the credit crunch.

The companies, which already co-operate on electric versions of Daimler’s Smart car, will work together on batteries, electric drive systems, and vehicle projects. No price was given for the stake in privately held Tesla. ( May 19).

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


One of the great pictures from the brand new book The Last Real Austins - 1946-1959 by Colin Peck. Click here to see more on flickr.

This book chronicles how Austin overcame the tough austerity period immediately after WWII and went on to design a comprehensive range of cars, sports cars, limousines, taxicabs, off-roaders, military vehicles, vans and trucks that has never been equalled by one single manufacturer.

In the immediate post-war years its modern and innovative range of cars, trucks and vans were forced to take on world markets as a result of the British Government’s “Export or die” mandate to help pay off massive war debts. At its peak, Austin was required to export 75% of production, resulting in long waiting lists for new vehicles on the home market. As a result, many of its impressive range of modern vehicles were to find customers in the four corners of the world, helping to establish Austin as one of the world’s best known auto makers at the time. This book chronicles each model and focuses on how and where it was used and received, and is illustrated with rare archive material and stunning new colour photography which will be appreciated by enthusiasts and restorers alike. Click here for more info about the book or buy it now using paypal or credit card.

Monday, 18 May 2009


Small car shortage ahead of scrappage scheme

Carmakers are reporting a surge in showroom and web traffic ahead of Monday’s (May 18) launch of the vehicle scrapping scheme, which is expected to spark higher sales of their smallest cars and cheapest models.

However, while the scheme has been welcomed by the motor industry, analysts say it will worsen an existing shortage of small cars.

Additionally, some manufacturers have complained about having to co-sponsor the £2,000 discount on some of their most in-demand but lowest margin models.

As the scheme will deliver proportionately the biggest discount on lower-priced cars – and because drivers of older vehicles tend to have less money – it is expected to spark demand for small cars, which are already much sought after because of the recession and higher fuel prices.

Adrian Rushmore, managing editor of Glass’s Guide, said: “We’re predicting worsening shortages of small cars. A wait of 12 weeks is not unusual for a small car and these shortages will become more protracted.”

Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, confirmed: “Vehicle manufacturers are not going to be making lots of money out of this process.” (Financial Times: May 15).

D-Day looms for GM Europe investors

Potential investors in General Motors’ European operations have been given a deadline of Wednesday (May 20) to submit detailed proposals.

General Motors has been given a deadline of the end of the month by the US Government to submit detailed restructuring plans as it battles for survival and hopes for more state aid.

A major part of its restructuring is the disposal of a majority stake in its European operations, which include Vauxhall in the UK and Opel on the continent.

Fiat and Canadian parts manufacturers Magna are leading the race, but German ministers say that plans submitted so far by suitors are ‘too basic’.

Meanwhile, Ford, the only major US carmaker not to take Government support, has told its AGM that it intends to return to profitability by 2011.

Chief executive Alan Mulally said Ford would emerge from recession as a ‘lean, globally integrated company poised for long-term profitable growth’.

The third US carmaker, Chrysler, says it will close a quarter of its 3,200 dealerships in the country as its battles to restructure amid Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Daily Telegraph: May 15).

Nissan creates specialist dealers

Nissan GB is creating specialisms within its network to better target its market segments.

The carmaker has been working with its network to identify market opportunities and agree a three-year business plan with each dealer.

Managing director Paul Willcox has a target to increase the brand’s share of the UK new car market from 3.5 per cent to 5 per cent in 2012 through driving improvements in five areas: product, brand perception, quality, operational processes and dealers.

This includes a roll-out of specialisms within the retail network. Among its 185-strong network most will have 4x4 specialists, 60 will have fleet and LCV specialists and up to 25 will be designated high performance centres.

“We’re doing this to enable the network to right-size their businesses. Every dealer will get everything in our range, but specialist means that those dealers that have a particular market opportunity will invest at a higher level for that and will get a higher level of margin to support them in meeting the expectations of their customers,” said Mr Willcox.

Dealerships with specialist status will add branding and a dedicated section of the showroom to promote that fact.

These changes will be accompanied by a reduction in network size to around 165 locations by 2012. (AM-Online: May 15).

Recession-hit drivers buy three-year-old motors

Credit crunched motorists are buying ever-more three-year-old cars, as they cut back on spending.

A new survey reveals a doubling of the market for older cars with more than 41 per cent of buyers plan to buy an older car. That’s up from 22 per cent a year ago, says American Express Insurance Services.

In contrast, nearly new sales are suffering with the survey revealing a decrease of over a quarter in car buyers intending to buy a car under three-years-old.

But new car sales have not suffered any change in intent, according to the survey, which suggests that just under a third of buyers still plan to buy a new car next time round.

It’s the overall ‘intend to purchase’ market that has declined, by over 20 per cent with head of American Express Insurance Services, Chris Rolland, saying: “With fuel prices on the increase yet again, and the economic environment still putting a strain on many household finances, people are clearly looking for ways to save money.” (Car Dealer May 15).

Friday, 15 May 2009

Thursday, 14 May 2009


VW in driving seat over Porsche merger

Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech has signalled that the volume carmaker is in the driving seat of its proposed merger with Porsche.

The move came as Germany’s financial watchdog launched another market manipulation probe against Porsche.

Mr Piech said it had been decided that the headquarters of the combined company – which he proposed to be named Auto Union after the carmaker created through the merger of several brands during the Great Depression – would be in Wolfsburg, where Volkswagen is based.

He has also indicated that he favoured Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of Volkswagen, as head of the new group, spurring fresh doubts about the future of Porsche’s management team.

Mr Piech said it was unlikely that Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche’s chief executive, would be happy to stay on in a more ‘lowly’ role.

Porsche declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Bafin, the regulator, launched its second investigation in seven months after a German press report alleged that Porsche had informed Lower Saxony, Volkswagen’s second largest stakeholder, in February 2008 about its intentions to lift its stake in the volume manufacturer to 75 per cent. (Financial Times: May 13).

GM shares sink to new low

Shares in struggling vehicle manufacturer General Motors sunk to their lowest level in more than 70 years amid increasingly loud signals that the company is heading for bankruptcy protection within the next three weeks.

Shares fell by 20 per cent after senior GM executives sold stock worth $315,000 to leave shares trading at $1.15.

The White House has given GM until June 1 to restructure and win more financial aid. If the company fails to cut its debts and costs by the deadline, it will be forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

GM’s shareholders are in a lose-lose situation, according to analysts, because their investments would be all but wiped out regardless of whether the company goes bust. (The Times/Financial Times: May 13).

Ford shares tumble on new issue move

Shares in Ford have fallen almost 18 per cent after the carmaker announced plans to issue 300 million common shares to fund healthcare for retired workers.

The new shares will be sold at a price of $4.75 each. The existing shares closed down $1.07 at $5.01.

The share issue is set to raise $1.4 billion (£914m). Ford must make a $1.2bn cash payment to its Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association by December 31.

It will be the first public share offering at Ford since the carmaker became a publicly traded company in 1956.

Chief executive Alan Mulally said selling the stock was ‘another key step in our plan to transform Ford into an exciting, viable enterprise poised to return to profitability’. ( May 13).

Three bidders line-up for Saab

Fiat, Chinese manufacturer Geely and an unnamed German bank are reportedly the three bidders most likely to buy Saab, according to a General Motors’ source.

A Swedish newspaper also suggested that GM boss Fritz Henderson had already dismissed Geely’s bid for Saab for fear of Chinese-market competition for the luxury Buick brand, which is owned by GM.

Neither Saab nor GM would officially confirm the list of bidders.

Geely has officially denied any plans to bid for Saab, although representatives of Geely have reportedly visited Saab’s Trollhattan headquarters. (AM-Online: May 13).

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Classic & Sports Car have given a neat little rundown this month of Fiat 131 Abarth, from our Rally Giants Series by Graham Robson.

Monday, 11 May 2009


Some very impressive sales rank figures for Maximum Mini on Amazon Japan. Currently number 1 in no less than three categories!

1位 ─ 洋書 > Nonfiction > Automotive > Foreign
1位 ─ 洋書 > Nonfiction > Automotive > History
1位 ─ 洋書 > Nonfiction > Transportation

Click here to see the page on the Amazon Japan site.

Here is another great review of the book on


Motor Sport magazine reviewed our brand new book this month, Porsche 908 – The long distance runner.
Motor Sport said: "If you're a Porsche 908 fan you'll be hard pressed to find a better book on the subject, even if you do speak German."

Click image to read review in full.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Fifty years ago today, the first Mini (pictured below) rolled off the production line at Cowley, now called Plant Oxford.

For the first time in half a century that very car is returning to its birthplace for a celebration of 50 years of production. The Mini Minor, finished in Old English White and carrying the registration number 621 AOK, is at Plant Oxford for the day to mark its birthday in style.

Plant Oxford built 602,817 Minis from 1959 to 1968, before production was moved to Longbridge. Since 2001 more than 1.4 million new MINIs have been built at the production facility and in total, more than six million classic and new MINIs have been sold since the car first went on sale in 1959.

BMW Group member of the Board of Management for Production, Frank-Peter Arndt, was at Oxford today to celebrate with the Plant.

Arndt said: “Anniversaries are always a wonderful opportunity to look back at the past. But on days like today, it’s also good to look to the future. Therefore, our objective is absolutely clear: We are going to continue the success story of MINI and continue to strengthen it.

“Where is MINI going? Where will it be in 10, 20 or even another 50 years’ time? Perhaps it’s rather ambitious to look that far ahead, but one thing is certain, MINI is a brand not only with a great tradition, but also a fantastic future.”

Dr Jürgen Hedrich, Plant Oxford’s managing director, said: “Little did anyone know just how popular Sir Alec Issigonis’s car for the people would be – or that half a century later it would be reborn as the MINI and once again be built in Oxford.

“This is a momentous day in the plant and car’s history. Everyone at the plant is proud to be part of both the heritage and the future of this car.”

Thousands of visitors from across the globe will also be celebrating MINI’s 50th birthday at MINI United, which is being staged at Silverstone from 22-24 May. The festival welcomes MINI owners and non-owners, and the stunning entertainment line-up is sure to attract visitors from right around the world. Paul Weller, Calvin Harris and Twisted Wheel are the entertainment highlights and tickets are priced at just £35 for the full festival weekend. Children under 14 are admitted free. Tickets and further information can be found at

Don't forget Veloce Publishing will be at MINI United selling MINI related books and more!

*Maximum Mini - "BOOK OF THE MONTH. Jeroen Booij's superb analysis of Mini specials captivated the C&SC office. Simply brilliant." – Classic & Sports Car

Thursday, 7 May 2009


Motorcycle Trader magazine have given a super 5-star review of Ian Falloon's The Ducati 860, 900 and Mille Bible.

They say: "Books like this are tremendously important to motorcycling. On behalf of Ducati owners and motorcycling generally, thanks Ian."

Click image to view full size

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


The Ford car designed for the young at heart is refusing to grow old gracefully as the Ford Capri celebrates it 40th anniversary.

Although production ended in 1986, Capri lives on within many owners' clubs who will be celebrating the anniversary with events planned from Scotland to the South West. Fans are getting together at Castle Combe, Wiltshire (6 June), Grampian Transport Museum, Alford, Aberdeenshire (30 August), Ace Café in London (5 September) and Brooklands Museum, Surrey (26 September).

Launched in January 1969 and marketed as "the car you always promised yourself", the Ford Capri was unashamedly aimed at a style-conscious generation. In just 18 years the European answer to the Ford Mustang sold nearly two million units and achieved iconic status with its target audience.

From the outset the Capri was about choice, with a range boasting 26 derivatives. A mixture of engines - 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units and a 3-litre V6 - catered for all tastes, while optional custom packs allowed a degree of personal customising that broke new ground in the industry. For the serious drivers there was the Cologne-built RS2600 and the short-lived Halewood-built 124mph RS3100.

A global oil crisis failed to slow the Capri's progress and in 1974 the Mk II was launched. Smoother design lines and simplified option packs ensured the Capri appealed to a wider market.

Star status was assured with regular Capri appearances in TV shows such as Minder and The Professionals.

From 1978, the Mk III saw a tidying up of the Capri body and several special editions such as the Calypso and Laser. In 1981 Dunton's newly-formed Special Vehicle Engineering department unveiled their first project, the 160bhp Capri 2.8 injection. The limited edition Capri 280, also known as the Brooklands Capri, signalled the end of the Capri era and the last car left the line in December 1986.

While the Capri is not the biggest seller in Ford history it is evident from the devoted fan base that it is certainly one of the most fondly remembered.
Source:Ford Motor Company

Coming soon! Ford Capri – The Essential Buyer’s Guide
By Mark Paxton.
When launched, the Ford Capri was revolutionary. It was a car that set the European market alight, allowing even a buyer on a modest budget an intoxicating whiff of the exotic whilst keeping running costs at affordable levels. That status eroded over time, and the Capri sat in the classic car doldrums for many years, its true worth unrecognised. That situation has thankfully changed, and Capri values are rising rapidly, so care has to be taken to make sure you end up with the best one possible for your money. This guide takes the potential purchaser through a short initial examination to weed out the obviously defective followed by a more comprehensive step by step look at the body and mechanical parts, where the clear, jargon-free text accompanied by over 100 photographs sheds light on even the darkest corners of the Capri’s construction. A unique points marking system ensures that nothing is overlooked, and an accurate final picture of the car’s condition can be viewed in relation to the asking price.
Click here for more info about the book.

Friday, 1 May 2009


Ahead of the UK launch of the new Golf GTI on May 22, Volkswagen has constructed a Scalextric track on an epic scale inside a hangar to lend armchair (or office chair) enthusiasts the chance to race the new hot hatch online and against the clock.

The 30ft by 25ft track is the work of a team of 60 modellers and features over 200 scale buildings. It forms the basis for the ‘GTI Project’, a new online game through which you can control the 1:43 scale Golf GTI as it negotiates the hairpins, straights and narrow bridges that make up the track. There’s no need to spend hours setting it up on the living room floor, no potential damage to furniture (and family pets) should you crash at high speed. Simply log onto and you’ll be guided to the virtual workshops of the GTI Project and the track itself.

As with the real thing, too much enthusiasm leads to crashes and lost time. A delicate approach and a little perseverance lead to quick times and your chance to appear on the online global leader board, possibly resulting in universal acclaim from friends and colleagues.

Along the way you can learn more about the new Golf GTI, from its new 2.0-litre TSI engine to the advanced six-speed DSG gearbox, colours, trims and performance information. In addition you can order a brochure or even book a test drive.

Set a particularly quick time and you’ll be entered into the prize draw to stand the chance of winning the opportunity to drive a new Golf GTI for three months.

Don't forget about the great new Veloce Essential Buyer's Guide reviewed here in Wheelspin, the magazine of the London & Thames Valley VW Club.

Click here for more info about the book.