Blog

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

I spotted this fabulously rare Volkswagen Karmann Ghia on one of my many work trips to London.

File_005

When was the last time you saw one of these? I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve seen one in the wild… and yet this model paved the way for the modern successes of ‘Modern VW’ as we know it today (Ok, emissions scandal aside, we’ll let that one go…)

One of my favourite geeky automotive reference websites [howmanyleft.co.uk] indicates that as of late 2016 – there are less than 1000 of these beautiful cars left in the UK, either road- registered or SORN’d – the vast majority of these being imports due to its success in America. Let’s just hope those SORN’d are being restored and not left to rust away in barns and garages across the country. With a long build run from mid 50’s to 1974,  coachbuilders Karmann (who would later gave us the amazing Golf MK1 cabriolet) apparently delighted Volkswagen bosses with their beautiful design, basing it on the ever-popular Beetle, on which it shares a floorplan. Over 365,000 were made in total. It came in a coupe and convertible form, with the cabriolet being our favourite (as ever – who doesn’t love a good drop-top?) although it was heavy and therefore slower than the coupe due to the clunky, complicated and cumbersome 1950’s roof mechanism design and other safety strengthening which added to the weight.

File_002

Either variant will never be what you would call quick though. In fact, you won’t want to make any appointments that require getting there in the next fortnight if you’re driving a Karmann Ghia. The basic 1.2L engine option offered a mere, almost unbelievable (today anyway) 30 BHP, a 26 second 0-60 time and an overall top speed of 77MPH. The convertible offered a slightly larger 1.3L engine option that brought this up to a grand old 40BHP topping out at 80MPH. That will leave you 8MPH shy of going “Back to the future, Marty” – although you will look damn cool as you try!

There’s something beautifully ‘off’ to me about the side profile, as the bubble roof gradually slopes to the large protruding rear and those bloated back arches.  From the front and rear aspects however I do think however they’re absolutely gorgeous. Hints of Alfa Romeo from the front and – given the Germanic links between the Beetle and the Porsche 911 of this era – if you squint you can almost see an essence of Porsche, which I don’t think is ever a bad thing.

File_001

This is a true rare classic that we’d love to someday own and offer for hire. Those now rare classic lines, protruding lights and chrome bumpers would look super in wedding photographs. Who knows – perhaps one day we’ll stumble across one tucked away in a barn and restore it to its former glory! Isn’t that always the dream?

It’ll have to be a convertible, of course, if we can be picky, and of course if it’s for your wedding, we better leave plenty of time to get you to the church on time. Best leave the day before 🙂

Until next time

Edford Classics

File_003

 

 

Spotted – 1989 [E30] BMW M3

BMW E30 M3

The E30 shape of BMW is one that I have always thought looked cool. I think it’s the square, boxy designs typical of the late 80’s and early 90’s.

I particularly like the coupe 3-door shape rather than the saloon, and if it had the 2.5 litre ‘325’ engine with M-tech styling park too… well I might just go a bit giddy.

cropped-file_003-10.jpeg

It seems that most of the population share this recent assault of love for this rear-wheel drive German. The popularity of these has exploded in recent years. Values have gone up as available numbers have dwindled owing to being crashed, rotting into the nearest scrappage scheme graveyard or simply been stored away in garages across the land. Classic car bubble or no bubble, with this particular era of BM, I just don’t think it’s one that going to burst anytime soon. And that’s not just because I have one. (Not an M-car, I’m afraid…)

I bought myself a 1988 320i convertible just a number of months ago. It’s the red one you see above and below if you’re screaming WE NEED PICS, which to be honest, you probably aren’t.

Firstly, to be used for my honeymoon in Cornwall and secondly, once a few minor niggles have been sorted, to be used in my new wedding hire business venture. I’m certainly not ready to give it up just yet as in just a few short months and only driving it a handful of times, it has awoken me to just how good these cars of this era actually are. When these launched, I can only imagine what people must have thought of its owners , awash in a sea of Cavaliers, Sierras and other bland saloons that your parents most likely had… Flash gits, probably.

File_002 (12)

The engine is ridiculously smooth and delivers its power to its perfectly balanced chassis in such a purposeful way. It’s a car with sublime handling and, with the roof down on a summers day, makes me smile throughout. Until it rains, anyway, then I start to think about the back end sliding out from behind me buy hey, it’s a RWD BMW – what do you expect!?

My top spot this week is this fabulous 1989 M3. (Not mine may I add).

IMG_6529

I’ve been asked to keep the location of the car secret but it’s in central London and very much exposed to the elements. i.e, it’s kept outside. It’s not been taxed since 2006 it’s got just 76k on the clock, living out on the street, exposed to grime, rain, snow, hail, falling birds, dust clouds from the Sahara or whatever else is falling over the capital.

IMG_6528

I enquired with the guard who controls the access to this private London road (yes – one of those) and who knows the car and its owner. After swapping phone numbers I did find out that he will sell. £30k and it’s mine. Well yours, as I can’t justify that outlay at the moment.

It will take a braver man than I to take on this project (and one with deeper pockets) but I feel for someone – it’s a no-brainer.

Get it bought, and you’re holding on to a truly collectable modern classic. As a financial or an emotional investment you’re absolutely going to be rewarded. At least – I can only assume; as I’ve never driven one and likely won’t be buying one at their current price!

Until next time

Edford Classic Cars

IMG_6527IMG_6526

Spotted – 1964 Aston Martin DB5

On my many visits to London for work, I often enjoy a stroll around at lunchtime to take in the ‘fresh’ air, ride a red London bus and pose ‘humorously’ leaning back out of a traditional phone box whilst giggling hysterically and blocking the entire pavement.

Ok, I do none of these things but the lunchtime stroll is true. And it was on one of these ‘head cleansers’ that I strolled by a traditional mews street, glanced to the side as is tradition, carried on walking, before sprinting back as my brain processed what it (I) had just seen.

Only in London will you find a £million+ vehicle from 1964 parked up in a residential street near the local park. Ok Hyde Park is a big park, but still…

I jogged back to the street and confirmed that I had spotted what must be one of the prettiest and most recognisable vehicles ever produced. Famed as being the daily driver for the UK’s most famous and terrible pun-spinning spy-seducer secret agent (James Bond, if you’re not with me) – the DB5 is as British as Hugh Grant’s bulldog, drinking tea and eating fish and chips in Margate on St George’s day, wearing belt and braces.

File_001 (1)

The DB stands for David Brown, a tractor entrepreneur (genuinely) and Aston Martin owner from 1947 until the mid 1970’s having bought the company for £20,500 having seen an advert in the newspaper which was selling a ‘High Class Motor Business’. And what a business that has since become.

His name is synonymous with only the most famous Astons since and, of course, the James Bond relationship too, even today some 50-odd years on. My spot here is the DB5, first seen in the 1964 film Goldfinger.  It has a top speed of 145mph and a 0-60 time of a shade over 7 seconds delivered by the 282bhp engine – just imagine that in the 1960’s – absolutely epic performance and for a mere £4,175 (albeit the equivalent then of around £75k in today’s money).

It was built in numbers that made this car (as my Gran would say) ‘rarer than hen’s teeth’. This is actually true dear Grandma, given that there were only 1059 of these ever produced, and as our ‘most useful website award’ (doesn’t yet exist, but should) http://howmanyleft.co.uk indicates; this has been reduced to a mere 277 registered to UK roads in 2016.

Hence the £million+ price tag. That’s a 7-bedroom manor house in Dorset. And yet, not a single Doberman or special forces sniper in sight – from what I could see, anyway. If I were the owner I no doubt would employ one (or both) of these if I had a 7-digit asset that couldn’t be stored safely in the family vault. Lock, Stock.

File_001

I’ve never been lucky enough to get to drive one of these (*cough* Aston Martin Heritage team, *cough*) and yet I found myself grinning in amazement as I took in the lines and curves of this special vehicle. And that was just looking lustfully in from the outside. Imagine what would happen if I sat in one, or, let’s say, drove one. I think I’d revert to being a child, oil slicks and machine guns included. Pow pow pow tch-tch-tch (it’s actually quite hard to write machine gun noises, don’t’cha know?) They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

Oh, and if you want a spot that’s even rarer – I must try and seek out the DB5 Shooting-Brake (Basically, a DB5 in estate form). I’ve never seen one. It was designed exclusively because David Brown was an avid fan of hunting. I’m afraid on that note David, we disagree on something… but I have to say, you didn’t half make fabulously stunning cars.

To those of you wondering, yes, all the pictures you see in this post were taken with a tuna sandwich in one hand and a bag of Wotsits in another.

And they say that men can’t multitask…

See you very soon for more car spots and blog topics.

Edford Classic Cars

 

Spotted – 1960’s Ford Mustang

How many horse references do you think it’s possible to get into my first ever blog post?

For the record, and before you ask, I am not a trained writer. Or anything else that falls under the ‘proper journalist’ umbrella.

I simply enjoy sourcing interesting stories about classic, sports, super or otherwise interesting cars and I’ve found that I quite like researching and structuring this information into something that vaguely makes sense.

Typically, I’ll catch a glimpse of something shiny when I’m out and about in various parts of London, quite often poking my nose down upmarket mews streets as I meander through the capital on my way to work. I started this hobby by simply taking pictures, popping them online and this has led to purchasing a few of my own vehicles which I am slowly turning into my very-own car-hire business.

File_000 (1)

I guess I’ve joined the hoards of millennials who call themselves start-up entrepreneurs (if I must use this phrase).

I am also beginning to source original content, and this is something I love doing – the thrill of the chase of a good, unique lead.

Abandoned vehicles, car collections, barn-finds, the culture of automotive spotting and the people behind them.

If you are interested in these subjects too then please, do follow my social pages and check back to edfordclassics.co.uk regularly for future blog posts.

I’ve got loads of great plans which I’m currently scrabbling around to bring to order, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon 😉

Anyway – this first blog is all about a little old muscle car from Stateside.

File_008

I spotted this classic 1960’s Mustang ‘fastback’ on a Bayswater side-road in London and just had to take a picture. Ok…several pictures. Epic US icon, meets quaint little London borough backdrop. The design looks as striking, purposeful and intimidating today as it did in the 60’s. Hold on – is it really over 50 years old?! Like Liz Hurley (of the same age) it has only got better and more desirable.

The Mustang has been a fantasy poster-car for me ever since I first saw Steve McQueen in petrol-heads’ favourite movie Bullitt; lording it around the streets of San Francisco chasing bad-guys and stealing hearts (and lives) along the way.

Today, they continue to remain as breathtakingly desirable as Mr McQueen (or Liz Hurley) themselves. Should you be lucky enough to spot one like this, this side of the Atlantic, the Mustang is a relatively rare ‘grin-inducing and pointing’ sight over here, with a strong cult following made up of US-imports as this generation was never officially sold in the UK.

File_003

The first thing you’ll notice is just how bloomin’ big they are on our small streets, with an amazing muscle car stance and road presence unrivalled by many ‘hot’ coupes today. Although this makes parking a pain in the proverbial. Left-hand drive and with piddly little (although beautiful) circular door mirrors too, so you can’t see what kerb you’re grinding against.

File_002

Once you hear one start and drive with the deep, lazy V8 rumble you’d expect from a US car of this era, you’ll be hooked – as this ensures it will have the attention of a square mile before it’s actually seen. This particular 1965 fastback as I stumbled across here in Bayswater produced a relatively humble but plenty-capable, naturally aspirated 225 BHP. Chances are that a couple have bolted from the stable over the years, but it’s still no slouch. Ok, so it’s certainly never going to be a grand national winner, but you’ll be too busy not caring if you’re cruising in one of these, hoofing it along with the windows down – probably imagining you’re galloping down some wide, open US Pacific highway. I know I did…

In July I actually hired a 1965 Mustang for my own wedding in one of those rare ‘it’s my day so I’m doing what I want moments’. When I booked it I thought “July? Great! It will be 30 something degrees and wall-to-wall sunshine, right?”

True to form it rained a LOT. Did I tell you that I had ordered a convertible? I will not lie, the great American-engineering design of the roof and window panel failed me and leaked. All over my suit. Part and parcel of driving a 50-year-old icon, I guess. Luckily my new bride is very easy-going and saw the funny side and anyway, it had mostly dried out by the time the ceremony started.

The reactions from guests once all the soppy stuff was over with (I have had approval from my new wife for putting that comment on the internet – we’re all good!) concerning the Mustang was incredible and a real highlight of the day. People were tripping over themselves to get a photo in or near it, and it made a great backdrop for some of our official wedding photos (not yet got those back – but I’ll add anything good that comes back online when I do!)

Huge thanks to Matt from ThunderRoad Classics in Dorset for the hire of my dream car. Top bloke with a brilliant US car collection based in the South-West of England. [http://www.thunderroadclassics.com]

Mustang

That’s my humble 1988 E30 320i seen lingering in the background.

Here’s hoping Edford Classics will be adding an American icon to the Edford Classic Cars stable sometime in the very near future. Let me know your views in the comments below or you can email me on edfordclassics@gmail.com

We’ll have to act quickly though, as we have a feeling that examples such as this one in fine condition won’t be up for sale furlong, destined for car private car collections around the country before they’ve barely been advertised as for sale. Writing that last bit has actually begun to stirrup our emotions.

*Saddles up and goes off to check eBay motors*

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Steve McQueen drive one in Bullitt yet, what are you doing reading this? Watch it now – it’s brilliant! (As I’m sure Liz Hurley is in whatever daft RomCom she’s been in)

Until next time.

Michael (Edford Classic Cars)