PRACTICAL CLASSICs - OCTOBER 2019

 

In the latest issue of Practical Classics...

…two amazing restorations take centre-stage in the October 2019 issue of Practical Classics, in the form of a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica built from scratch and a Golf GTi that was once Volkswagen’s press car. Both have been blessed with truly astonishing attention to detail and come with their own fascinating stories.

Off the back of our recent travels around Britain, this month features several of the best cars we saw on the journey with a unique insight into what makes the classic car community tick. Plus, we tell you how best to purchase two tiny classics – with buying guides on the Mini and the Smart Roadster.

In addition to an epic road trip across America in a Mazda RX-7 and stories from our writers at the Practical Classics workshop, there are technical tips and articles galore, helping you to buy, restore, maintain and enjoy your classic.

 

 


CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG!

We recently met our very own Caractacus Potts, Richard Skinner and boy, did he have a story to tell. It all began at home in front of the TV. ‘As a youngster, I was already a petrol head, having born into vintage and veteran cars. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang comes on and suddenly, there you are. There’s this wreck, the kids love it, the dad’s really enthusiastic and he takes it into his shed – just like my dad used to. After much banging and crashing, the doors open and out rolls the most beautiful beast in the world. That’s stayed with me for my entire life. Fifty years later I thought, before I die, I really want to build my own.’ Some years ago, Rochard and his own truly scrumptious, (wife Jayne), were at Beaulieu looking down on one of the original Chittys on its plinth from the monorail. Two years of research then followed and… well, buy the magazine to find out what happened next!

We recently met our very own Caractacus Potts, Richard Skinner and boy, did he have a story to tell. It all began at home in front of the TV. ‘As a youngster, I was already a petrol head, having born into vintage and veteran cars. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang comes on and suddenly, there you are. There’s this wreck, the kids love it, the dad’s really enthusiastic and he takes it into his shed – just like my dad used to. After much banging and crashing, the doors open and out rolls the most beautiful beast in the world. That’s stayed with me for my entire life. Fifty years later I thought, before I die, I really want to build my own.’ Some years ago, Rochard and his own truly scrumptious, (wife Jayne), were at Beaulieu looking down on one of the original Chittys on its plinth from the monorail. Two years of research then followed and… well, buy the magazine to find out what happened next!

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VW GOLF RESTORATION

When one of the very first five-speed Golf GTi 1.6s became available, an ex-press fleet car originally owned by Volkswagen Audi Group UK, Graham Welch’s interest was fiercely piqued. The five-speed gearbox arrived in late 1979, the first year in which GTIs were officially available in the UK (the four-speeder was launched here in June of that year). What's more, it seems none of the few four-speed press cars are still around. Which means that LBD 295V is now almost certainly the earliest GTI MkI press car in existence as the Golf GTI breed celebrates its 40th UK anniversary.  'I heard about it from a journalist at a classic car show,' says Graham, who knew that he had to have it. 'It had sat for 20 years, but I managed to get it going in September 2017 and MOT'd in the December so I could use it and know what it was like before I took it apart’. When he did, it became far more than just your average restoration…

When one of the very first five-speed Golf GTi 1.6s became available, an ex-press fleet car originally owned by Volkswagen Audi Group UK, Graham Welch’s interest was fiercely piqued. The five-speed gearbox arrived in late 1979, the first year in which GTIs were officially available in the UK (the four-speeder was launched here in June of that year). What's more, it seems none of the few four-speed press cars are still around. Which means that LBD 295V is now almost certainly the earliest GTI MkI press car in existence as the Golf GTI breed celebrates its 40th UK anniversary.

'I heard about it from a journalist at a classic car show,' says Graham, who knew that he had to have it. 'It had sat for 20 years, but I managed to get it going in September 2017 and MOT'd in the December so I could use it and know what it was like before I took it apart’. When he did, it became far more than just your average restoration…

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THE SPORTY TIDDLERS BUYING GUIDE!

Everything that you've read about the Mini is true in terms of its giant-killing abilities. Thanks to its compact dimensions the Mini is brilliantly agile so it's a hoot to drive, yet it's also amazingly roomy, easy to work on, parts availability is unsurpassed and the social scene is immense. Cheap to run as well as to buy, the Mini is one of those ideal classics that everyone should own at some point in their life. Can the same be said of a Smart? We’ll find out in time but given that Smart had been founded on providing cheap urban transport, with all of the ForTwo's oily bits at its disposal, the Sprite-influenced Roadster made perfect sense. The problem was that the Smart Roadster wasn't affordable enough at the time. But with age comes affordable prices…

Everything that you've read about the Mini is true in terms of its giant-killing abilities. Thanks to its compact dimensions the Mini is brilliantly agile so it's a hoot to drive, yet it's also amazingly roomy, easy to work on, parts availability is unsurpassed and the social scene is immense. Cheap to run as well as to buy, the Mini is one of those ideal classics that everyone should own at some point in their life. Can the same be said of a Smart? We’ll find out in time but given that Smart had been founded on providing cheap urban transport, with all of the ForTwo's oily bits at its disposal, the Sprite-influenced Roadster made perfect sense. The problem was that the Smart Roadster wasn't affordable enough at the time. But with age comes affordable prices…

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THE PRACTICAL CLASSICS TEAM AND THEIR PROJECTS

Check out our latest projects at the Practical Classics workshop and find out how we plan to get them back on the road!