PRACTICAL CLASSICs - AUGUST 2019

 

In the latest issue of Practical Classics...

…we go back in time to 1989 and examine which executive cars were available – and decide which one is best 30 years later. From Alfa to Volvo – and almost everything between!

There’s a superb Vauxhall Droop Snoot restoration, an Escort MkII buying guide and Our James challenges Tesla to a race to the south of France – in a 50 year old Citroen Mehari. There are top tips on servicing your Austin A40/A50/A55 models, advice on repairing a chipped screen and we reveal our brand new projects at the Practical Classics workshop, including a Morris 1100 and a very rare French beast.

From buying to restoring, maintaining and enjoying your classic, no other car magazine covers quite so much ground as Practical Classics. Pick up a copy of the magazine and tell us what you think!

 


EIGHTIES EXECS

You're looking at a lost world of upmarket aspiration, at a category of car once full of wannabes before the premium players became the new mainstream. The 'volume' makers offered theirs at prices below those asked by the (mainly German) 'premium' brands, and many a motoring journalist wrestled with the obvious question: was a premium car actually better, or was it just a case of the emperor's new clothes? Clearly those clothes, whether or not they existed, were a desirable commodity because today there is no longer a full-size 'executive' car from Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroën or Renault. True, today's largest offerings from these companies are probably as big as, or even bigger than, these Eighties/early-Nineties execs, but their roots and market-positioning are in the size-class below. Meanwhile, two semi-premium past players, Rover and Saab, have vanished completely.  So, three decades on, who wins the battle of the execs? Find out in the August 2019 issue of Practical Classics magazine

You're looking at a lost world of upmarket aspiration, at a category of car once full of wannabes before the premium players became the new mainstream. The 'volume' makers offered theirs at prices below those asked by the (mainly German) 'premium' brands, and many a motoring journalist wrestled with the obvious question: was a premium car actually better, or was it just a case of the emperor's new clothes? Clearly those clothes, whether or not they existed, were a desirable commodity because today there is no longer a full-size 'executive' car from Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroën or Renault. True, today's largest offerings from these companies are probably as big as, or even bigger than, these Eighties/early-Nineties execs, but their roots and market-positioning are in the size-class below. Meanwhile, two semi-premium past players, Rover and Saab, have vanished completely.

So, three decades on, who wins the battle of the execs? Find out in the August 2019 issue of Practical Classics magazine


DROOP SNOOT RESTO

Many of us have been there. Owned a car, enjoyed it and then after much deliberance sold it on. Sometimes with the proviso ‘I’d like first refusal if you ever…’ – of course, if you state that then you shouldn’t be selling it. Perhaps, we add it to soften the blow somewhat. Well for Mike Edwards, what happened next was of the hammer variety. ‘I’d seen the Sports Hatch in Autotrader in 1985, bought it and ran it for a few years,’ he explains. ‘After a while it got too rusty for an MOT, so I put it in a lock-up and thought I’ll do it up at some point.’  In the intervening couple of years Mike had taken ownership of an HP Firenza and then, yet another Sports Hatch. After considering whether he’d ever get round to attacking his first Droopsnoot, he decided the time had come for them to part. ‘I thought I’ll sell it to someone who  will  do it.’ Sadly, the next owner promptly whipped out the engine and gearbox, before selling the car on.

Many of us have been there. Owned a car, enjoyed it and then after much deliberance sold it on. Sometimes with the proviso ‘I’d like first refusal if you ever…’ – of course, if you state that then you shouldn’t be selling it. Perhaps, we add it to soften the blow somewhat. Well for Mike Edwards, what happened next was of the hammer variety. ‘I’d seen the Sports Hatch in Autotrader in 1985, bought it and ran it for a few years,’ he explains. ‘After a while it got too rusty for an MOT, so I put it in a lock-up and thought I’ll do it up at some point.’

In the intervening couple of years Mike had taken ownership of an HP Firenza and then, yet another Sports Hatch. After considering whether he’d ever get round to attacking his first Droopsnoot, he decided the time had come for them to part. ‘I thought I’ll sell it to someone who will do it.’ Sadly, the next owner promptly whipped out the engine and gearbox, before selling the car on.

‘I really regretted getting rid of it, especially when I heard what had happened. Luckily it went to Dietmar Wood in the Droopsnoot Group (DSG) who lived in North Wales. I remember speaking to him shortly afterwards and he said “it’s a real shame if he’d just needed an engine and gearbox, then I could have given him a choice”.’  Full of good intentions its new owner initially stored the car in a barn, but the onset of time and a shifting of priorities saw it then transferred to a field – where it stayed for seven full years. What happened next was truly remarkable. Find out in the new issue of Practical Classics!

‘I really regretted getting rid of it, especially when I heard what had happened. Luckily it went to Dietmar Wood in the Droopsnoot Group (DSG) who lived in North Wales. I remember speaking to him shortly afterwards and he said “it’s a real shame if he’d just needed an engine and gearbox, then I could have given him a choice”.’

Full of good intentions its new owner initially stored the car in a barn, but the onset of time and a shifting of priorities saw it then transferred to a field – where it stayed for seven full years. What happened next was truly remarkable. Find out in the new issue of Practical Classics!


TESLA vs MEHARI

Great thought they are, electric cars still have a way to go. Along with relatively short ranges compared to diesels and a still limited charging infrastructure, they remain something of a trip hazard in 2019 with their cables flopped out all over the street. A few months ago, our pal Darren Arthur disagreed. ‘I drive a Tesla Model X to the south of France regularly and it trounces anything with an engine!’ It seemed therefore right to challenge this theory in an endurance race.

Great thought they are, electric cars still have a way to go. Along with relatively short ranges compared to diesels and a still limited charging infrastructure, they remain something of a trip hazard in 2019 with their cables flopped out all over the street. A few months ago, our pal Darren Arthur disagreed. ‘I drive a Tesla Model X to the south of France regularly and it trounces anything with an engine!’ It seemed therefore right to challenge this theory in an endurance race.

But, what to drive? We concluded that we could beat Darren’s expensive humming Muskmobile in a Citroën Méhari – a 50-year old lightweight plastic-bodied 2CV-based vehicle named after a racing camel. Furthermore, the race should be to the Mediterranean so we would have all of France in which to humiliate the Tesla’s pilot. It was to be a true ‘tortoise and hare’ race to the finish line…

But, what to drive? We concluded that we could beat Darren’s expensive humming Muskmobile in a Citroën Méhari – a 50-year old lightweight plastic-bodied 2CV-based vehicle named after a racing camel. Furthermore, the race should be to the Mediterranean so we would have all of France in which to humiliate the Tesla’s pilot. It was to be a true ‘tortoise and hare’ race to the finish line…


escort mkII buying guide

All you need to know when it comes to buying Ford’s MkII Escort – detailed in the latest Practical Classics magazine.

All you need to know when it comes to buying Ford’s MkII Escort – detailed in the latest Practical Classics magazine.


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!

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