The MOT Test - Your Car Needs You

3. April 2012

Driving a classic Beetle, the MOT was always a dark cloud looming on the horizon in the distance each year. Although I came to appreciate it for providing peace of mind - for a small fee of course.

From April 1st 2012, a new MOT regulation has come into being. The rules now require that all your dashboard warning lights be in full working order. From January 1st 2012, MOT testers have been giving warning lights a visual check (for ABS, airbags & similar) & flagging these up as advisory should they not be in working order, but next time you take your vehicle in, the failure of warning lights will equal the failing of the MOT. This is known as the Malfunction Indication Lamp (MIL) test.More...



The ‘Black Art’ Of Classic Car Suspension Tweaks

26. March 2012

rat look lowered classic beetleFor all you home mechanics out there who have tried to uprate your car’s suspension, you may have seen into the abyss that some ‘in the know’ call a bit of a black art.

Indeed , my own classic old Beetle (well, just officially classic as it’s 1972 rather than a 1950’s Oval or some-such)similar cherished beast) has suffered - and I mean suffered – from various attempts over the past ten years to get the ride height and comfort factor to kind of hold hands together, for want of a better way of putting it.

It is currently the most comfortable it has ever been – it’s off the road SORN Declaration has seen to that, but start her up and drive anywhere that isn’t a perfectly smooth, flat runway (all British roads in other words) and you will soon find that it’s a bit of an aerobic workout.More...



Competition Winner Esta Drives the Radical SR3 around Silverstone

22. December 2011

 

When I first got the email telling me I was the lucky winner of a Ferrari 458 Passenger ride, I'll be honest, I thought it was a joke. The chances of winning a competition like that are particularly slim, and not always being the luckiest person in the world, I didn't think I stood a chance, but hey you fill in that competition form anyway!  I would be in for the passenger ride of my life, in the Ferrari 458...you know, the one which goes from 0-60 in 3 seconds? If you didn't know that, you obviously didn't read Fred Famous' article on my winning the competition, I think he only mentioned that fact 3 times...! (see this article here)

Anyway, the Ferrari 458 wasn't going to be available until the new year which ordinarily would have been a little disappointing but Performance Direct gave me the option of going along in December for a driving experience in a Radical SR3 around Silverstone.  I'm not a girl who likes to wait and the opportunity to actually DRIVE around Silverstone, and in something that's even faster than a Ferrari 458, was just too good to pass up. More...



Nissan Figaro – Literally A Modern Classic

8. December 2011

nissan figaro - right hand driveLooking after the UK website for Nissan in my old job was always an interesting experience, from the chap on a remote Scottish Island desperately seeking a forklift truck engine part for his home-made boat motor (he was currently cut off from the mainland) to the charming young women, normally based in London, who asked about the curious little classic car they had seen. Apparently, they used to say, it’s a Nissan..More...



Winning a Passenger Ride in a Ferrari 458 Italia

16. November 2011

Winner of the Performance Direct Ferrari 458 Italia Driving Experience at Silverstone, Esta from Birmingham, came along to visit us at the Classic Motor Show / Top Gear Live at the Birmingham NEC to collect her certificate.  She was the lucky winner of the competition amongst the many thousands of entrants and will get driven by a professional driver around the world famous Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix. More...



A Non Standard Mini Adventure

26. September 2011

Jeff Ruggles, Features Editor at Mini Magazine, dreamed up the latest plan to catch the eye of Performance Direct’s Non Standard Awards judges:

Stylish Italy and a traditional British icon like the Mini might seem at odds with each other, but thanks to a certain film they enjoy a rather special relationship.

That film is of course the Italian Job, a classic movie that sees Michael Caine and co steal a consignment of gold from under the noses of the Italian Mafia, before making their getaway through the streets of Turin in three Mini Coopers.

Turin is now a pilgrimage for many a classic Mini owner, but Jeff wanted to do it differently.

Rather than make his way to Italy in a British car, he decided to actually buy the Mini in Italy before taking it to Turin and visiting all the famous film locations. The Italian Minis are not like the British ones – made under licence in Milan by Innocenti from 1965 until the mid ‘70s, they’re a sharp Italian-suited version – the same basic looks, but with an added dose of style. And a cigarette lighter as standard. More...



Couple Rescued From Brazilian Amazon After Bridge Fall In Unimog Motorhome

22. September 2011

You may have read recently about Bruce Scott and Lesley Norris and their lucky escape in the Amazon. The quick thinking couple were rescued after being stuck for 17 hours after falling 30 feet into a gully after a bridge collapsed under the weight of their motorhome. The smart thinking couple had in their possession a satellite phone, which they used to call their family in Eastbourne, giving them the GPS coordinates which enabled them to pass the information on to Devon Coastguard, who then contacted Falmouth Coastguard who alerted the authorities in Brazil.More...



Hydrogen Powered Cars – The UK's First Hydrogen Filling Station Opens In Swindon.

20. September 2011

neon green carCall me a sceptic, but I raised a curious eyebrow to this morning's news, as I went on a little ride of (possible) fantasy with the BBC as they reported on Honda's hydrogen powered car. The FCX Clarity will be powered by a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The exhaust, crucially, will push out nothing but water vapour. This will be the future. Maybe..More...



Are Modern Cars Just Too Sensible?

9. September 2011

porsche boxter spyderYou may have noticed that I'm not a great fan of the modern car. They lack emotion in the majority of cases. Emotion is what makes you part with your hard earned cash in the first place. Take emotion out of the equation and you're left making sensible decisions – and you buy a Ford Mondeo.

But what has made the modern car so dull? Where do I begin with so many reasons to choose from? Looking out of the office window yesterday I realised that the default colour for the UK is grey. Grey skies, grey roads, grey pavements and grey walls and roofing. Grey. Yet rather than brighten our roads up with colour, most cars are silver – which is really just metallic grey. If they were really silver they would look like the silver plated Bentley Continental GT that we've all probably seen on a viral email. More...



What's In A Car Name? Maybe A Lot More Than The Manufacturers Think

31. August 2011

Nissan CedricSo what's in a car name? Hours, or even months, of research & head scratching, that's what. Yet ironically, the giant automobile manufacturers still can get it spectacularly wrong. I mean, imagine sitting round a large, sanitised table under strip lighting, as you watch the marketing suits from Ford present their new weapon to prise young business folk away from buying Audi, Mazda and BMW: “..ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present to you today – The Ford Probe..” The what? Did he just say, Probe? It must have made some of the middle aged men sit rather lightly on their chairs.More...