LANCIA DELTA HF INTEGRALE

This automobile has a 5 door hatchback type body styled by Giugiaro with a front located engine supplying power to all four wheels. Its engine is a turbocharged petrol, 2 litre, double overhead camshaft 4 cylinder with 4 valves per cylinder. This unit develops 212 bhp (215 PS/158 kW) of power at 5750 rpm, and maximum torque of 314 N·m (232 lb·ft/32 kgm) at 2500 rpm. A 5 speed manual gearbox transmits the power to the wheels. The Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v weighs a stated 1340 kg at the kerb. The Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v is said to be able to attain a top speed of 220 km/h, or 137 mph, manufacturer claimed fuel consumption figures are 8.2/10.6/13.0 l/100km 90 km/h / 120 km/h / urban cycle.

The following year this evolved into the Lancia Delta HF Integrale – one of the most awesome rally cars the planet has ever seen. With more aggressive styling to highlight its competitive character, this hot hatch dominated the World Rally Championship with 46 outright victories, six successive Constructors’ Championships (1987 to 1992) and four individual Drivers’ Championships.

Lancia enthusiasts naturally wanted their share of the action, and the company was happy to oblige. In any event it was necessary to homologate the new HF Integrale model, but sales of road-going versions far exceeded the minimum requirement for racing approval.

Before the series was discontinued in 1994 over 44,000 Integrales were sold – an impressive total.

This is perhaps not surprising, for the HF Integrale’s rally success was reflected in the fact that this five-door hatchback was a very practical road car, with enough unique styling touches to let everyone know it was special. 

Permanent 4WD coupled with a sophisticated torque splitter made for clingy roadholding, complemented by rally suspension and ultra-efficient brakes. The fuel-injected twin-cam engine made for scorching acceleration and stratospheric top speed – performance that was even better with the advent of a 16-valve version.

This really was (and is) the ultimate driver’s car. Enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW?

Lancia liked the HF Integrale so much that it produced several special editions over the years, often celebrated with an in-car plaque – these included the 5 World Rally Champion, 6 World Rally Champion, Pearl White, Blue Lagos and Edizione Finale.

The HF Integrale had a top speed of 134 mph (215 km/h) and could go from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.4 seconds.

Some text taken from 501 Must-Drive Cars published by Bounty Books with permission.

TALBOT LOTUS SUNBEAM

Created from a tepid family hatchback, the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus was a World Rally winner and an early hot hatch star

Announce the following spec for a hot hatch today and I’d place a healthy wager that order books would be overflowing, briefcases stuffed with deposit cash would be walking into showrooms and internet forums would be white-hot: rear-wheel drive, 960kg, 150bhp, 0-60mph in 6.6sec and suspension developed by Lotus. Mouth-watering, isn’t it? Of course, great actors don’t necessarily make for a great film, but lob in some WRC wins and it gets harder and harder to resist. 

Only 1184 right-hand-drive examples of the Sunbeam Lotus were ever built, approximately half the total number. But sadly, you’d be lucky to find 80 of these running around in the height of summer today, according to the owners’ club. Most have inevitably been swept into a pile of oxidised iron. But rolling into the car park where evo photographer Dean Smith and I are waiting on a showery April morning, this Series 1 car is resplendent in trademark Embassy Black with silver stripes. You can tell it’s a Series 1 because of the smaller lights at the front and the Chrysler Pentastar badge in the middle of the full-width grille. 

At this point, some of you may be thinking: ‘But I thought it was a Talbot?’ So I’d better lay down a very brief history of the car. Back in the late 1970s, the
British car industry was in turmoil (to put it mildly) and Chrysler UK was no exception. Chrysler had taken over the Rootes Group, which was basically a conglomeration of famous small marques like Hillman and Singer, and the Sunbeam was essentially a project funded by the British government in order to stop Chrysler UK from shutting down the ailing manufacturing plant at Linwood, just
outside Glasgow. 

The Sunbeam, launched in 1977, was basically a cut-down Avenger. From the outset, Chrysler’s head of motorsport, Des O’Dell, had wanted to follow on from the Avenger’s success in rallying and challenge Ford’s Escorts head on. Much of the Avenger rally car’s running gear was swapped straight to the Sunbeam, but an engine with decent power was needed. The solution came from Lotus, which had been selling 2-litre engines to Jensen but was left with a shortfall in business when Jensen went under. O’Dell’s deputy, Wynne Mitchell, had been to university with Lotus’s then-MD Mike Kimberley, and a deal was soon struck.

The engine supplied was a naturally aspirated 2.2-litre four-cylinder (designated type 911 and closely related to the type 912 found in the S2 and S3 Esprits). It put out 150bhp in road trim, but importantly for O’Dell, it was also easily tuneable to well over 200bhp for rally use.

The road-going Sunbeam Lotus was unveiled at the Geneva motor show in April 1979. By then the ailing Chrysler UK had been sold to PSA, and by the time deliveries began that summer, Peugeot had dredged up the Talbot brand and renamed the Sunbeam as such, but there was a slightly awkward period where the Series 1 cars were called Talbots but badged as Chryslers. 

Lotus wasn’t just an engine supplier – it was also involved in designing the suspension and exhaust system. In fact, once the rolling chassis had been built on the production line at Linwood, they were transported down to Ludham airfield in Norfolk. Here they were fitted with the twin-cam engines (which were built at Hethel) and ZF five-speed gearboxes. 

For the Series 2 cars that came along in 1981, a big T was placed in the middle of the grille, the engine was mildly tweaked, the fuel tank and headlights were enlarged and the wing mirrors were changed. By 1982, Moonstone Blue was the only available colour. The other well-known cars were the Avon Coachworks special editions, which had Talbot dark blue bands over the Moonstone paintwork, green and yellow Lotus badges and a vinyl roof. There were meant to be 150 of these, registered from DDU 1Y to DDU 150Y, but only 56 were ever officially converted (which confusingly weren’t DDU 1Y to DDU 56Y).

Anyway, back to the rural Bedfordshire car park surrounded by blossoming yellow rapeseed. Although I’ve long been fascinated by the Sunbeam Lotus and love the idea of driving one, the sight of this simple, almost anonymous shape is not initially one to set the heart racing. It’s hard to put your finger on precisely why, but the bonnet looks a little too long and the rear screen looks huge. Dave Merlane from the Sunbeam Lotus Owners Club (which actually owns this car) has very kindly driven it up to meet us, and admits that although it’s not the most pristine example, it is running well, which is the important thing. 

Whilst Dean sets about shooting the details, Dave points out a few interesting bits and pieces, like the speedo that goes round to 140mph (the speedo in the Sunbeam GLS on which the Lotus is based only reads to 120mph; it’s one of the easiest ways to distinguish a real car from a replica). A quick look under the bonnet reveals an engine bay that is surprisingly full with the longitudinally mounted four-cylinder. Dave apologises that the car is on non-original, one-inch-wider Minilites, but they didn’t have time to change the wheels for a set of original alloys (we did ring at very short notice!). They do look good, though. 

Once Dean’s finished and we’ve sheltered from a brief hailstorm, it’s time to go for a drive through the lanes. The ignition key is an intrugiuing bright blue, the colour of a J-cloth, and like the grille has a Chrysler badge on it. Pop it into the left-hand side of the steering column, turn the ignition on, wait ten seconds, pump the throttle a couple of times, twist again to trigger the starter motor and the twin-cam bursts into life. Never touch the choke, warns Dave: ‘Even on the coldest days, you’ll just flood the engine.’

Sitting there with the engine idling, I can’t help but blip the accelerator a few times. Not a lot, but just enough to tickle the revs up a tad and feel that wonderful sense of instant connection between pedal and combustion you get with a cable-operated throttle. The engine runs on twin 45mm Dellorto carburettors (the same as on my RS2000 Escort) and sounds suitably rorty, with a lovely gruff undertone.

The ZF five-speed has a dogleg first gear. This car has a non-standard gearlever that looks almost comically long and spindly, but it places the gearknob conveniently close to the steering wheel so that your left hand doesn’t have to travel far to fall onto it. 

A few revs, bring the clutch up, up a bit more… eventually find the high biting point and we’re off. The B-roads we’ve chosen are slightly further south of our normal B660 haunt but are just as testing. The ride is initially surprisingly firm over the lumpy tarmac, but build up a bit of speed and the car seems to settle and soak up the bumps better, the suspension’s damping clearly designed to inspire confidence when pushing on rather than to cosset at a crawl. 

Almost instantly, we run into another rain shower and I’m forced to investigate which of the knitting needles behind the wheel works the windscreen wipers. After indicating left and switching the headlights on, I manage to swish the water from the glass and then locate the switch for the rear wiper, which arcs down from the top of the glass hatch at the back.

The ZF’s shift seems to be lovely as long as you don’t rush the change too much, with a really positive engagement and decent weighting across the gate so that you always know where you are with it. The steering is heavy but reassuringly positive and after a few minutes in the car, you feel like you’re being egged on to go faster. So you drop down a gear (any excuse to blip the throttle) and squeeze the right-hand pedal harder, letting the revs run higher and marvelling at what suddenly feels like a startlingly quick little car. Given the engine under the bonnet is totally standard, I’m amazed at the pace it’s generating as the road opens up. Before driving it, I’d thought the claimed sub-7sec 0-60mph time was about as likely as someone not called Sébastien winning a WRC round, but now I can well believe it.

It’s addictive, too. The twin-cam is so lively and eager to rev and sounds so superb that, as with all good hot hatches, you want to drive everywhere flat-out. The chassis underneath you feels very short and square compared to an Escort’s. If you watch period rally footage of Henri Toivonen et al driving Sunbeams, you’ll notice how quickly and how far they snap into oversteer compared to the Escorts, and you can sense that attitude from behind the wheel.

The impressive grip from the wide-feeling front end gives you a lot of confidence and understeer doesn’t seem to be on the menu at all. You want to throw the car around as a result, but it also feels like when it does step out of line, it’ll do so quickly, making you thankful for the huge amount of lock available. This Sunbeam isn’t as easy to provoke into oversteer as I’d thought (and hoped) it would be, probably due to the wider wheels and some modern rubber, but it’s a lot of fun nevertheless, particularly through quicker corners where the suspension seems to be better dialled in to the surface.

In some ways it seems strange that the Sunbeam Lotus isn’t as revered and desirable as the Mk2 Escort. I suppose it’s because the Escort did it first and then the Sunbeam’s light shone only briefly before it was eclipsed by the fire-breathing Group B monsters. Ironically it’s the Ford’s slightly ludicrous prices that are now dragging up the values of Sunbeams, as people look around for other cars from that era with rear-wheel-drive rallying pedigree. 

From a packaging point of view, the transverse-engine, front-wheel-drive layout of GTIs and the like was much more practical than the Sunbeam’s configuration, so it’s probably not a surprise that it took over 20 years for rear-wheel drive to re-emerge in the hot hatch market with the BMW 1-series. But as the M135i proves today, it remains a very compelling concept for those who value driving dynamics just as much as cabin and boot space.

THE MK1 GOLF

Despite popular belief, the Golf isn’t named after the game, an understandable mistake to make when you think of the Polo, but is in fact named after a wind, the word being German for the Gulf stream, the rest of the VW range at the time followed suit with Scirocco, Jetta and Passat all sharing the same naming convention. Another common misconception is that the Beetle is VW’s best selling model, again this is incorrect, with the Golf having achieved sales of over 25 million, by 2007, being the 3rd best selling car in the world.

Officially introduced in May 1974, the Guigiaro designed Mk1 Golf (codenamed Typ 17) was set to be Volkswagen’s replacement for the legendary Beetle, however the Golf wasn’t VW’s first attempt at trying to replace the Beetle, but all the predecessors had fallen way short of achieving the production figures set by the Beetle. This time though, the two designs couldn’t have been more different, the Beetle had been of a traditional chassis and body two piece construction, the Golf was a monocoque design (meaning the body and chassis were one in the same).

The Beetle had employed fairly basic suspension based around a beam axle at the front, whereas the Golf used MacPherson struts (as designed by Earle S MacPherson, Chevrolet’s head of engineering in the late 1940’s). The Golf used a unique trailing arm Independent rear suspension; the Beetle on the other hand relied on a swing axle, then latterly a form of Independent rear unit. In terms of propulsion, the Beetle had utilized an air-cooled flat four mounted in the rear of the car, hung off the gearbox, behind the axle driving the rear wheels, conversely the Golf made use of a water-cooled inline 4 cylinder, transversely mounted ahead of the front axle, driving the front wheels. This design allowed maximum use of the space created within the footprint of the car.

The passenger compartment was positively spacious by comparison to the Beetle (as well as the rest of the Golfs peers), and luggage capacity was leagues ahead, with the option to be extended further into the cabin by folding the rear seats down. If ever a car was going to the follow on the legacy of the Beetle, the little Golf was certainly well prepared for it

One key factor however remained the same between the two cars; the design, layout and theory of both cars were as efficient as they possibly could be taking into account the technology of the time. Testament to this is the fact that the Beetle remained in production, largely unchanged for another 4 decades after the launch of the Golf (by which time the Golf was in its 4th incarnation).

6 months before the launch of the Golf, VW unveiled the Mk1 Scirocco to the public, originally conceived as a replacement to the Karmann Ghia (which makes sense when you consider the relationship between the Beetle and Ghia, then respectively the Golf and Scirocco) the car was most definitely based on the Golf, but had been substantially re-engineered to provide a more sporty and satisfying driving experience. The reasoning behind launching the Scirocco first was effectively as a guinea pig, it gave VW the chance to monitor and react to any potential teething problems attached to their new baby (the Golf) before unleashing it on a market that might not have been as understanding as the Scirocco owner.

Whilst also sketched out by Italian Giugiaro, the Scirocco was to be built in Osnabruck at Karmann’s factory there. The car achieved silver screen success in the original 1978 version of George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”. The earliest Golfs are distinguishable by their distinctive “Swallow-Tail” rear panels, which dip down beneath the license plate, and their smooth bonnets. These early models are now increasingly sought after, and will doubtless become the “oval window Beetle” of the Golf scene. In 1975 the Golf achieved the accolade of “Car of the Year” chosen by Wheels magazine.

With its light weight, precise steering, and confidence inspiring road manners the new small VW soon set standards for what a small car should be like. This combined with the fact it was keenly priced, led to sales far outstripping that of VW’s expectations, convincing even the most sceptical that here was a car that was going to be the replacement for the venerable Beetle.

Who could have predicted the global success and multitude of imitators (what is it they say about imitation?) that the result of a few engineers after hours work could have spawned? Whilst the idea of a “sporty” saloon was hardly a new one, with both Ford, and Triumph previously having a go at making a sporty practical car with the Lotus Cortina, RS Escorts and Dolomite Sprint respectively, It took Volkswagen to turn It Into a real success. It really was the car that coined the term “Hot-Hatch”.

The “Sport Golf” as it was known back then had been concocted by a few of VW’s senior engineers as an after work project, made from various parts pinched from the VW parts bin, the original 1471cc engine had been bored out from 76.5mm to 79.55mm producing a 1588cc engine which rather conveniently had been developed for the Audi 80GT, fuelled by a twin choke Solex carb the engine produced 100bhp.

A new larger diameter clutch was fitted, gear ratios were improved, and vented front disc brakes were fitted along with a larger diameter servo, ride height was lowered 20mm over the standard car, and new wider (5.5″) steel wheels were wrapped in 175 section tyres. In May 1975 approval was granted to produce 5000 units (the minimum required for competing in production motorsport).

The Sport Golf was given its new name, the Golf GTI, and fitted with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, which had been robbed from the USDM Audi 80, ironically a system which had been introduced to control emissions and improve economy was now being used in the pursuit of more power and performance. There is some debate as to what the GTI stood for, whilst it’s not doubted that the GT is in reference to Grand Tourer/Gran Turismo, if you were to follow that up with the German word for injection, you’d have Einspritzung, and thus GTE, a tag already coined by Audi and latterly Vauxhall/Opel, some people suggest that with Audi having already chosen the GTE moniker,

VW wanted to be different and used GTi, with others suggesting that it was based on the Italian, Gran Turismo Iniezione, in reference to the Golfs original designer, Guigiaro. With its new found 110bhp the 827 engine needed additional cooling, but this wasn’t an issue, a Beetle oil cooler was just stuck on top of the gearbox.

Mk1 Golf GTi

A late model Mk1 Golf GTi; fitted with the distinctive Pirelli ‘P Slot’ alloy wheels.

The GTI was unveiled to the general public and motoring press at the September 1975 Frankfurt Motor Show, the car however wasn’t available to buy until June 1976 due to the engineers insistence that the new GTI should satisfy the same levels of quality and reliability that every production VW adhered to, a commitment that almost certainly lead to the longevity of the GTI when compared to its peers such as the XR3, Astra GTE and Peugeot 205 GTI.

Available in any colour so long as it was Mars Red, or Diamond Metallic Silver, customers were offered the choice of Schwartz Black soon after launch. The GTI was first granted a UK audience in late 1976, at the London Motor Show, where VW stated that there would be no RHD version, citing technical reasons as the reason, however you could import a LHD one as special order if you so chose at a cost of £3,372.

A few companies within the UK were beginning to specialise in making their own GTI’s using RHD 1500cc Golfs as the basis, notably GTI Engineering and Tim Stiles. Following relentless lobbying by the UK dealer network, VW finally offered a RHD version of the GTI in early 1979, something they probably should have done earlier, especially when you compare sales of the ’78 LHD GTI at 22, vs. the ’79 RHD GTI with over 1500 sold.

Mk1 Golf GTi Front

The face that started the craze. The Mk1 Golf’s signature red striped grille.

The 1979 Mk1 GTI featured the new style plastic wraparound bumpers which had replaced the basic metal rail type affairs which the earlier cars had been fitted with. In January 1980 the GTI was fitted with a new close ratio 5 speed gearbox, and September 1980 saw the introduction of the “series 2” dashboard, with LED warning lights, new dials, a digital clock, and extra air vents, the interior trim changed from the checked design to a more contemporary striped pattern. A year later the upgrades included the larger rear clusters, different door pulls, and bigger door pockets.

September 1982 brought the GTI’s first major engine change with capacity increased from 1588cc to 1781cc, whilst this had a negligible effect on overall power, torque was increased resulting in improved 0-60 times, and a marginally improved top speed. Interior wise, the MFA we’ve all come to expect in GTIs was introduced, essentially an on-board computer which could measure fuel economy, distance, fuel range, engine temperatures and external temperatures, it was pretty advanced for 1982!

Mk1 Golf GTi Detail

Mk1 Golf GTi interior (Left) – Note the Golf ball gearnob. Mk1 Golf Pirelli ‘P Slot’ alloy wheels (Right).

The 1983 model year was the final year for the Mk1 GTI, and VW marked it by producing the Campaign edition cars (marketed as the Pirelli Edition In Europe), essentially a rather cynical marketing job by VW to shift the remaining Mk1 GTI’s before the introduction of the Mk2, the car was in layman’s terms a Mk1 GTI with all the option boxes ticked, including; a sunroof, 14″ Pirelli Alloys, Four Headlamp Grille, tinted glass, metallic paint, and a leather trimmed grille, these cars are now viewed as highly desirable amongst fans of the Mk1 GTI.

Launched in 1975 the US, the Rabbit (as it was known over there) was fast becoming a force to be reckoned with, and was really the only car capable of bringing the fight to the influx of new Japanese compact cars, whilst the overall look of the car was fairly similar to its European market sibling, there were differences, with impact bumpers adding both visually and literally a few pounds to the little Rabbits waistline, as well as increasing the weight by a few kilo’s. The US market cars were still produced on the same production line as the Euro market models, but this was set to change within a few years.

For the start of the 1979 model year production of the Rabbit was shifted to the Westmoreland plant in Pennsylvania, the plant had formerly been a Chrysler production facility, with VW using the shell as a starting point. As well as being a historic moment for VW, it also signified the first major manufacturing plant in the US by a non-domestic marque. This in turn opened the doors for Toyota, Honda as well as BMW and Mercedes to establish their own industrial presence within the US.

The new models were easily distinguishable from their European produced counterparts with the introduction of an entirely new front end design, featuring different grilles, and new square headlamps and as we have come to expect with USDM cars, the suspension had been softened for the US consumer. Initially production was shared between Wolfsburg, and Westmoreland, the two models parentage was easily recognisable by the difference in the front ends, but before long all petrol powered Rabbits were produced on US soil, with only the diesel cars being imported.

1981 heralded another facelift for the diminutive VW, the front wings were changed to incorporate “wrap-around” indicators, and the even chunkier plastic bumpers reflected the latest changes in the US Governments ceaseless efforts to improve passenger safety. In 1983, nearly a full 10 years after the launch in Europe, America got its first GTi. Whilst slower than its Euro counterpart, the new Rabbit GTi still represented a serious performance increase over the stock Rabbit and was set to become a big success. 1984 was the last year of Rabbit production as the factory geared up to produce the new Golf Mk2.

OTHER MK1 INCARNATIONS

Over time many other models came to be based on the original Golf platform. Cabrio (Typ 155) The Golf Cabrio was first presented to VW by Karmann in December 1976, it was essentially the same car we know now as the Golf Cabrio, but was lacking the trademark rollbar, there is some confusion as to when the first models were produced with some sources saying September ’78 and others suggesting February ’79, the car was first unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March ’79. The cabrio was launched to the European market in July 1979, and followed onto the US market as a 1980 model year car, badged as a Rabbit Convertible.

CABRIO (TYP 155)

Mk1 Golf GTi Cabriolet

A complete standard Mk1 Golf GTi Cabriolet.

The car was built entirely at Karmann’s facility in Osnabruck, with VW supplying the interiors and running gear to be bolted to the in-house manufactured body. Engines were offered in pretty much every format that the hard top Golf had received (1100-1800cc, both carb. and injected) with the exception of the diesel, and a Mk2 8v style Digifant 1800 8v which was offered in the US.

The car remained essentially unchanged until 1982, when the hood design was altered so that it folded flatter, to aid rear visibility. In 1984 the cabrio was subjected to a few updates, to drawer it more in line with the newly launched Mk2 Golf, so the rear seat received a “split” type design, and the fuel tank was increased from 40-55L with the addition of a space-saver type spare wheel. Alongside the new fuel tank, the fuel pump was located within the tank, as opposed to the externally mounted item on earlier cars.

The next big update for the cabrio was to come in 1988 when the Clipper body kit was fitted, this comprised of smooth rather than textured deeper bumpers, which flowed into extended wheel arch trims, which in turn met side skirts leading into similar rear bumpers. The front grille was redesigned to reflect the updated Mk2 Golf grille, and had been fitted with the twin spotlights synonymous with the GTI models. In June 1991 the little cabrio took the accolade of being the world’s most popular convertible car, with Karmann confirming 388,522 cabrios being produced between 1979 and 1991.

April 1993 saw the end of the line for the cabrio, with the introduction of the Mk3 Cabrio, the Mk1 had outlasted its younger brother in the form of the Mk2, and the final versions being labelled “Sportline” available in Red or Black, fitted with black centred BBS RA alloys, and a black and red Recaro interior with red painted dial needles, or the “Rivage” which was sold as the luxury version, fitted with heated seats, often trimmed in leather, available in green, or blue, both models are highly sought after today.

JETTA (TYP 161)

VW Mk1 Jetta

A mildly modified Mk1 Jetta.

Following on from the success of the Rabbit on the US market, VW noticed that the American consumers seemed to prefer the “3 box” saloon style of car over the hatchback, reacting to this VW went back to Guigiaro requesting he amended the design of the Golf to produce a saloon version. Available as a 4 door in the UK, a 2 door Coupe version was available in Europe and the US. To distinguish the Jetta from its smaller sibling the interiors were designed to appear more upmarket, with velour interiors and full carpeting.

All Jettas sold in the US were produced in Germany unlike the Rabbit, which was being produced in Westmoreland by then, VW had looked into a Jetta production facility in Michigan, but the decision was abandoned following a drop in sales, even though the Jetta was at one point the best selling European car on the US, Canadian and Mexican markets. Jettas were produced outside of Germany though, specifically at the TAS (Tvornika Automobia Sarajevo) plant in Bosnia for sale into the Balkan states.

CADDY (TYP 147)

VW Mk1 Caddy

Mk1 VW Caddy.

The Caddy was launched in 1980 as part of VW’s ongoing development into derivatives based on the Mk1 Golf platform. VW of America expressed an interest in the new “mini-pickup”, and production began at the Westmoreland plant. The Caddy as it’s known in Europe was never badged as such in the US, due to the term being used to refer to Cadillac cars, and it was always referred to as the Rabbit Pickup.

In 1982 production of the Caddy began at the TAS plant in Sarajevo, and this is where all Euro market Caddys were produced all the way up until the Caddy was axed from VW’s line-up. The pressing equipment was moved from Westmoreland and shipped out to South Africa, where production of the Caddy continued for the domestic market well into the 21st Century. This signalled the end of the Westmoreland plant under VW’s ownership, and it’s now being used by Sony to produce TVs.

CITI GOLF (TYPE 17S)

The Citi Golf was produced by VW South Africa from 1984, the tooling was shipped from Westmoreland, the car underwent some subtle styling changes, including a new grille, similar to that of the Mk2, deeper bumpers and a swage was pressed into the C pillar, the car was only ever produced as a 5 door. Early versions were offered in a range of basic solid colours (red, yellow and blue) with white bumpers. The car underwent several styling updates, involving new more modern bumpers, and fresher interiors (including the fitting of a Skoda Fabia dash in 2004).

Numerous special edition Citi Golfs were produced including the Deco (essentially a VWSA take on the Colour Concept, with colour coded leather upholstery) and the VeloCiti, which included the Citi 1.8iR, launched in 2006, it featured a half leather Interior, aluminium trim, an 1800cc fuel Injected engine, as well as alloys very similar to that of the Lupo GTI and a full body kit. August 21st 2009 brought Citi Golf production to an end after 25 years, marked with one final limited edition, the Citi Mk1, essentially a run-out model featuring all the options, and numbered plaques running up to 1000.

LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SVJ

Things to consider up front about the 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SuperVeloce Jota LP770-4, known colloquially as the SVJ: The 6.5-liter V-12 makes 760 naturally aspirated horsepower and 531 lb of torque. This frenzied, astonishingly angry bull has all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, active aero, active aero vectoring, gooey Pirelli Trofeo R tires, and several square meters of carbon-fiber parts. Also, it was painted a stunning shade of matte green. Not sure that makes the SVJ quicker, but who knows? All the gory details of the SVJ are in our First Drive, but just know that the SVJ is the Nürburgring Nordschleife production car lap record holder, taking the crown from the Porsche GT2 RS.

In 2016 we tested the then-new 740-hp, 509-lb-ft Aventador SV, which I called Lamborghini’s bloodiest axe. (The SVJ is bloodier, rest easy.) That particular monster weighed 3,900 pounds. The SVJ is heavier, by 2 pounds (3,902). The SV hit 60 mph in 2.6 seconds. The SVJ does it in 2.5. The SV ran the quarter mile in 10.4 seconds at 134.7 mph. The SVJ clips its predecessor by 0.1 second and travels at 136.4 seconds. You can see the new iteration is marginally quicker, but every little bit counts. Moreover, 10.3 seconds in the quarter mile is one of the quickest cars we’ve ever tested. The 3,167-pound, 711-hp McLaren 720S (which probably makes the same amount of power as the SVJ in reality) smashes the quarter in 10.1 seconds at 141.5 mph. Want to go quicker? You’re looking at near 1,000-hp hybrid hypercars (918 Spyder, P1, LaFerrari). The 1,001-hp Bugatti Veyron went a quarter mile in 10.4 seconds at 139.9 mph.

When it comes to stopping, the SVJ is a mixed bag. Yes, it stops from 60 mph in 94 feet, which is world class, truly. However, no one among us likes how the brakes work. The stoppers just don’t invoke confidence, and under real high-speed braking, the car squirms around. While our test team was running the SVJ around our figure-eight track, features editor Scott Evans rang me to say how much he didn’t like the brakes. Seems as if he couldn’t get the big bull whoaed down in time for a corner and ran wide enough to call me. Testing director Kim Reynolds told me the SVJ’s brakes held it back from setting a truly remarkable figure-eight time. The SVJ took 22.5 seconds to complete a lap, which is an excellent time but behind several cars that make less power, notably its sibling, the 630-hp Huracán Performante (22.2 seconds), the 592-hp McLaren600 LT (22.2 seconds), the 520-hp Porsche GT3 RS (22.0 seconds), and the Porsche GT2 RS (21.9 seconds, the quickest ever around our figure eight). The SVJ was able to pull 1.10 g on the skidpad. That used to be one hell of a big number.

As much as MotorTrend staffers didn’t like the SVJ’s brakes, our pro driver, Randy Pobst, hatedthem. I’ve known Randy for nine years, and he doesn’t swear much. He’s as close to a “golly gee willikers” type of guy as I’ve ever met. So imagine how badly my and Evans’ ears were burning when Randy came in from his hot laps and angrily barked, “The fracking thing wouldn’t stop!” Only he didn’t say fracking. Just think how awful the Italian gentlemen who flew in from Sant’Agata to assist us with our laps felt. Yes, they were in earshot. And bilingual.

Randy’s best lap of Big Willow three years ago in the Aventador SV was 1:25.42. I was hoping that the SVJ with Pobst at the helm would be able to beat the record he set in the GT2 RS, a crazy-quick 1:21.08. Alas, not even close. The new SVJ lapped the big track in 1:24.92. Quick, sure, but behind stuff like a Porsche GT3 manual (1:24.86), Corvette ZR1 (1:23.70), and the new Ford GT (1:23.69). Long story short, the brutal Lambo is the 15th quickest car we’ve ever run around Big Willow. Brakes were part of the issue, but I have an educated hunch that the SVJ’s magnetorheological dampers weren’t optimized for Big Willow’s bumpier-than-crocodile-hide surface, further compounding the braking issues Randy experienced.

I was hoping the SVJ would be able to set the lap record, I really was. Not because I have any special love for Lamborghini, but because I just like when records get set. But, as a friend of mine who has owned several Lamborghinis always tells me when I bring up numbers, “Owners don’t care.” I don’t totally agree with him, but I’ll leave you with an anecdote. A friend of mine and her husband are thinking about buying an SVJ. She tells me that they know two people who recently took delivery of Jotas. One guy thinks it’s the best Lamborghini he’s ever driven. The other guy had it a week and returned it. “Let me guess,” I said. “The guy that loves it actually takes the car up on winding canyon roads, and the guy who gave it back only drives around town hoping to impress people, yeah?” Yup! Makes total sense to me.

After spending nearly two weeks with this green beast the SVJ remains one of my favorite supercars and one of the greatest road cars I’ve ever driven. You just have to remember to push it. Hard. As for an absolute numbers car, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. But do you care? I think not.

BMW M

A high-performance BMW 1 Series to rival the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and Audi RS3 looks unlikely according to BMW bosses
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – 10:41
James Brodie

The new BMW 1 Series looks unlikely to go after the likes of the upcoming, 415bhp Mercedes-AMG A45 S and the next-generation Audi RS3, which arrives in 2020.

That’s according to BMW M product boss Carsten Pries, who hinted to Auto Express that the M brand needed to target creating performance cars with ‘global’ relevance and proven popular models.

 Best hot hatchbacks to buy

“If you look at the relevance of performance hatchbacks, they are not global things,” explained Pries.

Hot versions of the 1 Series have always occupied a unique spot in the hot hatchback world, using revvy six-cylinder engines and rear-wheel-drive to carve out a niche and ducking the need to beat rivals on pure performance alone to appeal to enthusiasts.

However, with the launch of the new third-generation 1 Series, BMW has adopted the front-wheel-drive platform underpinning the likes of the MINI Cooper Hatch and the X1and X2 SUVs. It means that the new, already revealed M135i uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine sending power to an all-wheel-drive system, and will now face off directly with the Volkswagen Golf R and the Mercedes-AMG A35.

Asked if BMW could push the M135i further up into the ranks of upcoming mega-hatches from other German brands, Pries said: If you put something like an ‘M1’ on top of it, working title of course, you would have to increase the price again because you put more substance into it. But whether this would then be a smart business proposition is not something I would answer with an immediate yes”.

Pries confirmed that hits like the M2 Coupeand traditional M-cars like the M3 and M5would remain the brand’s core, global performance cars, while more SUVs look in line for M-division treatment, including the new, full-size X7.

“We had a customer from the US I had lunch with recently, and I asked him ‘to your eyes, what is the size of the X7?’ For us it is huge in Europe. He said ‘it’s normal’. That shows you it is always dependent on the perspective that you look at things from”, he explained.

MOTO GUZZI ELDORADO

The modern and luxurious heir to the unforgettable “850” that made its fortune in the States more than 40 years ago boasts new technical content and outfitting. Eldorado, with a strong and unique tradition, is the best example of the heritage range available from the Moto Guzzi brand.
 

Eldorado is a luxurious motorcycle on the cutting-edge of technology which, powered by the largest V Twin ever manufactured in Europe, is a perfect interpretation of the most genuine Guzzi spirit. Eldorado is a true flagship in the bike world, embodying a splendid tradition in an increasingly solid present. And it does so looking decidedly to the future: chromium inserts and finely crafted details combine with LED lights and come together in classic lines that bring Moto Guzzi into a new dimension where refinement speaks Italian.

FIFTY YEARS OF HISTORY

Fifty years of history. This is the calling card of the by now legendary Moto Guzzi 90° V Twin designed by engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano. From its first appearance on the V7, this legendary powerplant has been modified into countless versions and on a vast range of motorcycles.
 
It was in the third evolution of the 90° V Twin that Moto Guzzi breathed life into the Eldorado. The year was 1972. Less than two years earlier, on the wave of a surprising supply of 750cc V7 bikes to the LAPD (the Los Angeles Police Department), the first Guzzi California was born and, on the same base, the luxurious Ambassador. In the constant displacement increase, Carcano’s twin cylinder had already been taken from 700 to 757 cc and, with a third increase in size, the 850 cc version was born. With this engine, the Eldorado was made as a replacement for the Ambassador with an even more complete, refined and luxurious model, but also one that would be able to provide a powerful and satisfying ride.
 
The goal was clearly achieved: “if Roman gods had ridden motorcycles, the Moto Guzzi Eldorado would have been chosen by Bacchus.”  In the late ’60s, this was how the American Cycle World magazine concluded their test of the luxurious Italian bike, the latest evolution of the 90° V-twin with cardan final drive just introduced in the States. The metaphor effectively highlighted the intoxication experienced on a modern, powerful, luxurious and fast bike, painstakingly studied down to the smallest details and extremely satisfying to ride.
 
More than forty years later, this extraordinary experience is repeated in the shape and substance of the Eldorado. By looking at it, one can see clearly how this Moto Guzzi has preserved all the personality of its ancestor, drawing it from the past to the future along the path of technological evolution and stylistic continuity. It is a bike that, even when it is parked, evokes the travelling spirit, the hundreds of kilometres travelled with that perfect feeling between rider and mount, as the fundamental component of the Moto Guzzi soul. A bike with a powerful identity with a fiercely proud Italian heritage which comes onto the scene as a global traveller, at home in any latitude, able to bring to mind spaces which, from coast to coast, cross over faraway continents.
 

 

This is how designer Miguel Galluzzi, who is in charge of the Piaggio Group PADC at Pasadena, introduces it: “At 95 years of glorious Moto Guzzi history, a new wind of passion has pushed us to explore new horizons for this prestigious brand, not to mention the most important milestones. Great respect for tradition combined with a search for the best possible technology and the purest Italian design leads us today in the creation of the best Moto Guzzi bikes ever built. Searching for new horizons should be understood not only in terms of technique, but also as new riding experiences. All of this is blended in the soul of the new Moto Guzzi Eldorado: a bike designed to evoke riding excitement, the joy of ownership and admiration down to the smallest details like no other bike can do.

MERCEDES GLB

Mercedes-Benz has revealed its new GLB compact SUV, which will rival the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 when it goes on sale in the UK later this year.

The new model is the eighth in the firm’s compact range, and unlike its direct class rivals will be offered in both five and seven-seat layouts. Mercedes says the machine has been designed to offer class-leading versatility to appeal more to family car buyers than the smaller GLA.

The production version of the new SUV, codenamed X247, retains the upright lines of the earlier Concept GLB revealed at the Shanghai motor show back in April, albeit without some of the rugged exterior styling elements.  

Based on Mercedes’s MFA II platform, the GLB features a McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with optional adaptive damping. It measures 4634mm in length, 1834mm in width and 1658mm in height, making it 21mm longer, 56mm narrower and 20mm taller than the recently facelifted GLC. It has a wheelbase of 2829mm, which is 100mm longer than the B-Class MPV.

While it has lost many of the rugged styling feature from the concept version, the GLB retains a square, angular style inspired by the larger G-Class, including short overhangs at the front and rear, and a new headlight design. Multibeam LED headlights and LED for lights are both available as options.

Inside, the GLB receives a uniquely styled dashboard with an aluminium-look ‘tubular’ lower element. It features Mercedes-Benz’s widescreen cockpit, consisting of a single digital panel housing the instruments and infotainment functions. It is controlled by the latest version of the MBUX interface.

Mercedes-Benz claims best in class front seat headroom of 1035mm and 967mm of rear legroom when in five-seat form.

The five-seat version has 560 litres of boot space, 140 more than the Q5 and 55 larger than the X1, which can be expanded to 1755 litres with the 40:20:40 second-row of seats folded.

In seven-seat form, with two extra seats that can be folded into the boot floor, the GLB features an easy entry function.

The line-up will initially consist of four models, with all but the top-of-the-line diesel offered with front-wheel drive as standard. Buyers will be able to choose between two four-cylinder petrol engines and a single four-cylinder diesel in two different states of tune.

The petrol models include the GLB200, which runs a turbocharged 1.3-litre unit with 161bhp and 184lb ft, and the GLB250, with a 218bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 258lb ft. Engine emissions range from 137 to 169g/km CO2, with fuel economy ranging from 38 to 47mpg.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is offered with 148bhp and 236lb ft in the GLB200d, and 187bhp and 295lb ft in the GLB220d 4Matic. The diesel engines have emissions ranging between 137 and 169g/km CO2, and fuel economy between 51.3 and 57.6mpg.

The four-wheel-drive GLB220d 4Matic is available with an optional Off-Road Engineering Package, including Multibeam LED headlamps, hill assistance and an additional off-road driving mode, which includes a special infotainment display showing gradient, incline angle and technical settings.

A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is standard in the GLB200, while the GLB250, GLB200d and GLB220d 4Matic utilise an eight-speed gearbox.

Further models, including AMG GLB35 4Matic and GLB45 variants, are due next year.

Also under development is a four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid variant, featuring an electrified rear axle and a pure electric range that Mercedes-Benz sources tip to greatly exceed 31 miles. The GLB will also form the basis of a full electric EQB, due to arrive in 2021.

Pricing has yet to be set. UK-bound GLB models will be produced at a joint venture plant operated by Mercedes-Benz and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in Aguascaliente, Mexico. It will also be produced in China for that market.

NEW BENTLEYS

These are the cars that will be introduced to Bentley’s range as it adjusts to an ever-changing automotive landscape

The launch of the Bentayga Plug-In at the Geneva motor show earlier this year kick-started a transitional era for Bentley as it begins the switch to electrification, which will give the company’s model range a very different look in 10 years than it does today.

More distinctive look for new Bentley Flying Spur

Further sales growth is still understood to be a target at Bentley. It has previously stated that 15,000 units per year is a goal. The 11,089 units achieved last year was a record for the company.

Continental GT – 2018

Bentley’s most important model has been refined and reinvented. It arrives in UK showrooms from May, in W12 engine configuration initially.

Flying Spur – 2019

A more individual look is promised for the four-door to further differentiate it from the Continental GT, with which it shares a platform.

Electric vehicle – 2020/21

The big decision in the in-tray of new boss Adrian Hallmarkregards a fourth model line. A sporty four-door electric car is favourite. Its styling could take inspiration from the EXP12 Speed 6e concept (pictured).

Bentayga Plug-In – 2018

Bentley’s SUV range expands further this year with the firm’s first plug-in hybrid and a new V8 petrol engine. Bentayga Speed to follow.

Continental GTC – 2018

No surprises expected from the retractable soft-top version of the Continental GT. It is set to be revealed later this year and will go on sale in 2019.

Mulling the Bentley Mulsanne’s future

Mulsanne – 2021/22 (est)

Its future is up in the air, but going pure electric, using next- gen battery tech and adopting a new name is the most radical option on the table.

ALFA ROMEO GTV

The next Alfa Romeo GTV has been leaked on social media, with an image revealing the new two-door snapped from an internal Powerpoint presentation.

The new Alfa Romeo GTV will be based on the ‘Giorgio’ platform already used to good effect on the Giulia saloon and Stelvio crossover, dressed here in a desirable two-door bodyshell. This one side-profile photo was leaked at the weekend on Twitter; below you can see CAR magazine’s artist impressions by Andrei Avarvarii.

It’s a welcome return to the two-door coupe segment from one of Italy’s most stylish mainstream car makers. Be sure to let us know if you rate the direction by commenting below.

When can I buy the new Alfa Romeo GTV?

Expect to see the new coupe – essentially a two-door Giulia sports car – in showrooms by 2021, according to our sources. It will launch first as a coupe, with a spider convertible due some 18 months later in 2022/23, according to our sources.

The new 2021 Alfa Romeo GTV artist's impression by Andrei Avarvarii

The new Alfa GTV will fit under the bespoke, carbonfibre-bodied Alfa Romeo 8C, also confirmed for production. Where the 8C is a limited-edition, super sports car, the GTV will roll off the regular production line.

As our renderings suggest, it will be a front-engined four-seater, with just enough space in the rear to make sure it’s not labelled a 2+2. Think Italian rival to the BMW 4-series, Audi A5 and Mercedes C-classCoupe.

New GTV engines, specs

It will surprise precisely nobody to learn that the new Alfa Romeo GTV will use powertrains already seen elsewhere in the FCA range. The 2.9-litre V6 already used to devastating effect in the Giulia Quadrifoglio will make another appearance, although here it is hybridised in the range-topping halo model.

CAR magazine’s sources suggest the V6’s output will be some 460bhp in the GTV, matched to an electric motor sandwiched between the V6 and transmission to deliver a total system output of 530bhp – and brief bursts up to 600bhp+. Conversely, an electric range of just 30 miles will be available when running in silent EV mode.

FUTURE CLASSIC CARS

Can cars from the 1990s and early 2000s already be classic cars? You bet they can. 

There’s a certain school of thought that only cars with plenty of chrome, bad heaters, no air conditioning and no mod cons can be properly called classics.

But surely some cars are modern classics as soon as they roll off the production line – does anyone doubt that, one day, the Jaguar F-Type will get the nostalgic juices flowing in the same way the E-Type does now?

With prices of classics from the 1990s on the rise, we asked our friends at Modern Classics to pick out 10 of the best modern classic buys.

No.10 Jaguar XKR X100

With beautiful styling, a 370bhp V8 and an interior that just begs to be sat in, the XKR should already be more expensive than it already is.
But this super-GT is available for less than £10,000 (more for the best, though) – an absolute bargain for what you get.
But finding a really superb example is getting difficult, so prices are already firming up.
Yet we foresee a strong future for the XKR, driven up by Jaguar’s new car renaissance.
There are loads of specialists, and wonderful clubs to help. Why haven’t you bought yours?
2017 target price: £12,000; 2022 price: £20,000

No.9 Alfa Romeo GT V6

The Alfa Romeo 147 and 156 GTA cars have been ramping up in price over the past year, fed by rarity and that glorious 3.2-litre Busso V6.
For some reason the GT, which shares that engine, has been left somewhat behind.
But it won’t be for long – like the GTAs, the V6 GT is already a rare sight on UK roads.
Add in beautiful Bertone looks, that rasping V6, the chromed inlet manifolds and sumptuous leather seats and you’ve got a car on the cusp of ultra desirability.
2017 target price: £8,000; 2022 price: £14,000.

No.8 Peugeot 306 GTi-6

We’ve already seen how the 205 GTI has shocked the classic car elite after a mint one sold for £30,000 last year.
The 306 GTi-6 has some way to go before that happens, but with so few low-mileage, unmodified examples left, we see that gap closing sooner than you might imagine.
With communicative steering, incisive turn-in and plenty of grip this is an absolute B-road hero, and it’s much better built than a 205.
It’s also lovely to look at, too. Prices for these are on the floor right now, but it won’t take long for that situation to change.
2017 target price: £3,000; 2022 price: £8,000.

No.7 Subaru Impreza

Think four-wheel drive, turbocharged, rally history and Escort Cosworths, and you’re looking at £20,000 to £50,000.
But the Impreza will leave it standing, and in competition form actually won the WRC.
Simply put, the Subaru Impreza is more than overdue a renaissance and with prices unlikely to get lower, now’s the time to invest.
Nineties nostalgia is coming into its own, and who can’t remember Colin McRae winning the RAC Rally in 1994 and the drivers’ title a year later? That feelgood feeling will see mint, unmodified early examples start to follow the same rise in values as the Escort Cossie.
2017 target price: £5,000; 2022 price: £10,000.

No.6 Aston Martin Vanquish

Yes, the Vanquish is already expensive, especially when you consider the other cars in this list.
But think of where Ferrari 550 and 575s are now – the Vanquish should be pushing them too.
There’s precedent, of course – all Astons increase in value eventually – but this one is currently the cheapest it will ever be, especially for one with a starring James Bond role.
As we move into the next five to 10 years we can see spectacular growth in values as this perfectly aged slab of British beef becomes the next supercar must-have.
2017 target price: £70,000; 2022 price £150,000+

No.5 Audi S8 D2 

Here’s our wildcard of the bunch, the Audi S8.
It’s a technological tour de force, with an aluminium monocoque, four-wheel drive and 335-355bhp from its 4.2-litre V8.
It can waft you around in supreme comfort, yet it can accelerate faster than most sports cars of the era (60mph is a memory after 6.5 seconds). But for all this, the reason for its likely rise in value comes from its scene-stealing performance in the Robert de Niro film Ronin.
Not many cars of the modern classic era manage to be so cool, yet so attainable.
You only have to look at the other big saloon from that film – the mighty Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 – to see how desirable super saloons can become.
Target price: £8-10,000; 2022 price £13,000.

No.4 VW Golf R32 (MkIV)

By this time the Golf GTi was looking seriously undercooked, even if tuners loved the easy power from its turbocharged lump.
However, it’s the R32 that’s the star attraction from this era.
It’s no stripped-out hot hatchback – think of this as a top-of-the-range Passat crammed into a Golf.
That means you get all the toys and lots of leather, plus Haldex four-wheel drive, independent rear suspension and the party piece, a 3.2-litre V6 engine kicking out 237bhp.
Prices are already strong for the R32, but with low-miles, unmessed-with cars getting rarer, we see solid growth.
2017 target price: £8,000; 2022 price £15,000

No.3 Nissan Skyline GT-R R33

Prices for R34 Skylines have already started advancing, fuelled by The Fast and the Furious and the knowledge that the US will be able to import them in a few years’ time.
However, the R33 is about as rare and currently running at a third to half the price.
Okay, so the R33 may not have the chiselled good looks of the R34, but it’s very nearly as quick and just as much fun to drive.
We’re at the tipping point where we’re about to see mint, low-mileage and – most importantly – standard cars start to become prized.
Tuck one away now and at the very least you’ll have depreciation-proof motoring.
2017 target price: £20,000; 2022 price: £25,000

No.2 Toyota Supra MkIV 

Here’s another car with cult Fast and the Furious appeal, and so far it’s been adored by the modifying masses.
However, much like the Skyline, we’ll soon see standard cars start to become yearned for.
Disagree? Think of the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth – that was a tuner’s favourite, but look how the market for those favours standard examples. While there is nothing wrong with modifying cars, if you’re seeing these as an investment, choose one with the least amount of visual modifications.
2017 target price: £10,000; 2022 price: £18,000

No.1 BMW M3 E46

Few cars make you tingle like an M3 E46 surging towards 7900rpm in third.
It’s one of my favourite automotive happy places. But this is a car that should make your finances happy in future.
Yes, BMW sold a lot of them but most you see have been neglected and abused, or have done starship mileages.
While there is nothing wrong with the SMG system (despite the internet horror stories), the market is already favouring manual cars and will continue to do so.
We see further growth over the next year, drawn up by rampaging CS and CSL prices. Fast, fun and practical, it ticks all the boxes.
2017 target price: £20,000; 2022 price: £25,000