Spotted Archive

1991 – 2014

This is the home for the fast, the beautiful, the wild or the unusual from the road car world. My only rule for spotting is that the car must be stumbled upon unexpectedly, and not part of an organised display. Otherwise, anything goes – and all according to my own, entirely questionable, automotive tastes.

2014

Oulton Park, UK. Classic Sports Car Club

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A neat little quartet: a couple of 911s, a rally-ready TR4 and a 246 Dino. Porsche experts, please free to inform me on what I’ve seen.

Goodwood, UK. Revival Meeting.

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This swaggering Mosler MT900 was in the public car parks all weekend, looking every inch the GT homologation special.

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BMW Z8 for £100k or E39 M5 for £8k? I’d probably opt for the four door but I’m hardly a connoisseur.

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I make no apology for reproducing so many photos of the magnificent McLaren F1 XP3 – apparently Gordon Murray’s own car. Seeing it next to an S2 Exige made the Lotus look crude, rudimentary and poorly-packaged. As heart-wrenching as it was to see my own car in such an unflattering light, I remain spell-bound by the sheer single-minded focus of the McLaren. Awesome in the truest sense of the word.

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The second time I’ve stumbled upon this Ferrari 250 GT TdF – and still wearing its numbers from its appearance at the 72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

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My first ever encounter with the Eagle Speedster. What an utterly lovely thing.

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This MPH-Jaguar special was a one-off, commissioned back in the 1990s and intended to be redolent of the days when the likes of Lister and HWM produced limited-run, road-registered sports racers powered by the Jaguar XK engine. I don’t know whether I like it, but it looked well-engineered beautifully finished.

Brands Hatch, UK. HSCC Superprix.

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This Jaguar E-Type was utterly immaculate.

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Bentley T-series Mulliner Park Ward Coupe. One of only 79 produced apparently and looked very stately in among the racers in the paddock.

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This Aston Martin DB5 featured GRRC and Le Mans Classic stickers in the window. It was loaded up with all the kit needed for a weekend’s racing. Exactly how an Aston ought to be enjoyed.

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I agonised over whether to include an MG RV8 here. It’s rare, unusual and from a classic sports car manufacturer. Somehow, though, I doubt I’d choose one over a similarly -motivated TVR.

Just off the M25, in the vicinity of Brands Hatch, UK.

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I suspect the Porsche Carrera GT might be the best possible place to drop £300,000 on a car right now. It may not be financially prudent and it may try to kill you every once a while but I love the conceptual purity and the noise. That noise.

Brands Hatch, UK. Blancpain Sprint Series.

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A couple of years ago I tried a Jaguar XKR-S. It was truly unhinged. Its power delivery was so savage that required all my admittedly meagre talents simply to keep in pointing in anything vaguely akin to ‘the right direction’. I really cannot imagine how something even shorter and light would cope with such a powerplant. Despite that, I cannot fault Jaguar’s lunacy for producing the F-Type R. Heroically silly and in an era of increasingly sanitised cars, a bit of the mental should be lauded.

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I was pondering the Vanquish the other day. It seems strange to think that Ferrari and Aston Martin had both produced cars which were technologically fairly evenly matched a decade or so ago – with the 550M and Vanquish respectively. By comparison, today Ferrari occupies a stratosphere several leagues above the good folk of Gaydon; as unutterably lovely as current Astons are. Irrespective, the Vanquish still delivers jaw-slackening presence, even if this example is now ten years old.

Oulton Park, UK. British GT.

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I must confess to almost total ignorance concerning the Rochdale Olympic. According to the internet (I admit it, I resorted to Wikipedia), 400 were made. I don’t recall having seen one out and about before. I suppose it’s quite a charming little thing and made all the more fascinating because of its fibreglass monocoque.

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I have an unsated desire to own a Jensen Interceptor. Please somebody drop me an e-mail with ten good reasons why this would be a tremendously bad idea.

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I’ve never quite grasped the concept of US muscle cars in the UK but as modern three box saloons get bigger, classics like this Dodge Dart seem to shrink and become rather desirable.

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A45 AMG complete with wing pack. I’m sure it’s hilariously rapid but dive planes on a hatchback? Seriously? I must be getting old.

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TR6, E30 318is and Ph1 Clio V6 all in shot and all entirely different sporting motorcars.

Donington Park, UK. Donington Historic Festival.

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I still can’t decide whether I like the looks of the Ferrari FF or not. I do, however, love the concept – and by all account the execution is typical of the marque in 2014: phenomenal. I guess if you have a couple of historic race cars to keep you busy on a Sunday afternoon, this would be a usefully uncivilised conveyance for the daily grind.

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Gorgeous Type 14 Lotus Elite.

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There’s something about the unerring conviction of the M6 Gran Coupe’s proportions that I find immensely appealing. By an enormous margin my favourite current BMW.

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DK Engineering brought its Ferrari Enzo down to Donington and seemed to attrack more attention in the paddock than most of the race cars. With the exception of the F1-aping nosecone I think time has served only to make its appearance more interesting. It’s certainly still divisive.

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Sure the single most glamorous car in the world.

Somewhere on the A3 in Surrey, UK.

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This is Kim Taylor-Smith’s Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France. It had been competing the day before at the 72nd Goodwood Members’ Meeting. I ran into it (not literally, mercifully) on the A3 where it was making decent progress north towards London. It was among a number of priceless 1950s sports cars all apparently returning to their naturalised homes in or around the capital. I was struck by what a privileged existence the owners enjoy: drive your wonderful sports racer down to Goodwood; compete on one of the world’ finest circuits; cruise back home afterwards, basking in the glory of a job well done. Thank you to the lucky few – you’ve given enormous pleasure to thousands.

Goodwood, West Sussex, UK. 72nd Members’ Meeting.

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300SL has appeared previously in the pre-1973 car park at the Revival. What an incredible, monolithic design.

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Aston Martin DBR1 replica looked like a hoot on a summer’s day.

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I remember standing on the pit wall at the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy one year anxiously awaiting the arrival each lap of the sole Frazer Nash Targa Florio in the event. They sound gorgeously mellifluous and the shape is as organic and pure as anything from the era. Wonderful.

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I’ll take the F40, please…

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The last time I saw a Renault Sport Spider was Le Mans Classic in 2010. It seemed eminently appropriate during the 40deg heatwave in central France that weekend. Saying that, I can well imagine it being tremendous fun around the twisting, plunging back roads around Goodwood too.

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Rear tyres only faintly ridiculous.

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Morgan +4+ one of only 26 built according to internet sources. I was quite taken by its svelte lines.

Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, UK. Race Retro.

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Lurking modestly in the corner of Hall 4 at Race Retro was this RS200 road car. I cannot recall the last time I had chance to check one out up close. It’s very 1980s Ford inside but with that mid-engined layout restricting rear access slightly. This combination of red bodywork and split alloy wheels is extremely fetching.

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Also nestling anonymously in the corner of a cattle shed at Race Retro was the RS200’s great rival, the Sport Quattro. So extravagantly short and wide, it’s a cartoon of a car but brilliantly mental. Seeing the early Quattros understeering wildly on the Race Retro rally stage was a salient reminder of why Audi needed to shorten the wheelbase in the first place.

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Thoroughly well-exercised and extremely patinated DB6 looked like it might benefit from a bit of TLC. So nice to see something valuable being used and enjoyed – even in the depths of an English winter.

Cross Green, Bradford.

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I think the BMW i3 might have become the most desirable commuter car in the world. I just love how it seems only to occupy only half a parking space. Electric / hybrid tech, narrow tyres and carbon fibre construction seems completely cool to me.

2013

Newcastle upon Tyne, Co. Durham.

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This may be the worst photograph I’ve ever taken of anything. The only defense being that I was sat in a cafe at the time and rather taken by surprise. This is Gav Kirby, a well-known Lotus racer, out for a Saturday drive in his GT4 2-11 – now converted for road use. He cut quite a dash on the Newcastle quayside.

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Nestling on a Jesmond driveway, a delightfully original and unmolested NSX. Hard to believe this design is now 22 years old.

Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. MotoGP.

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AMG CLS 63 Shooting Brake must be as rare as it gets in Australia. Totally cool car, in spite of the slightly gauche red calipers.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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HSV Commodore Clubsport looks understated by modern standards, but still redolent of the early V8 Supercar days in the post-Group A era.

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BMW 1M was street parked in a quiet suburb called Eltham. Heroically silly looking car and surely destined for classic status.

Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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HSV Clubsport R8 is the daddy of the current range.

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Lamborghini Countach LP5000 came like a flash of lightning down the beach front in Cudgee Bay. It still looks absolutely bloody mental in the flesh 40 years on from its release.

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Aston Martin Virage destined forever to be a rare spot in the wild.

Bathurst, NSW, Australia. Bathurst 1000.

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Supercars were nowhere to be seen among the campsites, with the crowds favouring theirs utes and big saloons.  This Holden Monaro GTS really caught the eye for a big slab of retro V8 cool, though.

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Bit of a cheat this one – it was actually on an insurance company’s stand, but I reckon it’s rare enough to qualify for the page. This is a Goggomobil Dart and about as unconventional as they come. An Australian domestic product, it was powered by a two-stroke engine, just 397cc in capacity, which was mounted way back behind the rear axle. Only about 700 were produced, with production over by 1961.

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This is a replica of the Dick Johnson 1983 Ford Falcon XE which Johnson campaigned in the 1983 and 1984 Australian Touring Car Championship, and which was famously was destroyed in practice for the Great Race in 1983. It was parked casually in downtown Bathurst on the Saturday evening of this year’s event.

Goodwood, UK. Revival Meeting.

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According to my own, arbitrary, rules, the pre-73 car park at the Revival is off-limits for spotting, but not the other public car parks. Lovely blue Ford GT.

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Diminutive Matra Bonnet flanked by Datsun and blistered arched MGB.

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Somebody help me out here…a T350 Spider. Never heard of it. T350T and Tamora, yes, but never one of these. Any readers able to help?

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Gloriously atmospheric Alfa Romeo Montreal.

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Mucky, lonely, 456GT looking more engaging and visually-arresting than ever.

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Swiss-registered Lucra LC470 purports to be the only one of its kind in Europe. Looked like a Lister Knobbly from the front and a savage handful from every other angle. The owners were still grinning as they returned to their car at 8pm in the torrential rain of Friday evening.

Donington Park, UK. International Superstars.

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Somehow the Ferrari Mondial has become a really handsome car without me noticing. Sounds Glorious as well, of course.

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I was followed into Donington by this road-legal Radical SR3. First time I’ve seen on the road and I imagine an absolute riot. Nice to see it wearing its rookie sticker too – proper car, used properly.

Oulton Park, UK. Gold Cup.

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Spied this rather tasty and unusual right hand drive BMW E30 M3 at the Gold Cup.

Prescott, Gotherington, UK. VSCC hillclimb.

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I had to get up close to confirm my suspicions on this one. It’s an AC Brooklands Ace, produced in tiny numbers during the 1990s. This is, intriguingly, registered in 2009, which my brief investigations suggest is the result of a warehouse fire which damaged a number of parts. Any further light you can shed on this oddity, give me a shout.

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You just can’t mess with an Aston Martin DB6, especially not in stately claret hue.

Kew Green, London, UK.

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By the standards of a typical London spot, this is pretty rubbish, I realise. However, I thought it was pretty cool seeing a Q-plate Seven just chilling in one of London’s most affluent areas and looking infinitely more desirable than the Bentley behind it. I wonder how far the owner has to drive in order to find a decent road…?

Wisborough Green, UK.

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I confess that I’d not so much as heard of Burton before I bumped into a trio of these 2CV-based machines over the Goodwood FoS weekend. They hail from the Netherlands and the castor is just crazy. Look at it.

Manchester, UK.

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I realise the photo is unutterably rubbish – and for that I apologise. However, it’s not ever day you see a rare car with such a crap roof street parked at night in downtown Manchester. Looks well in black too.

Oulton Park, UK. Modified Live.

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Among the throngs of modified hatches this caught my eye. I grew up with hot hatch mad parents, and Peugeots in particular. At one stage, my mum had a 205 GTI and my dad a 309 GTI. I guess with this being the 1980s it was inevitable that I’d enjoy Dimma bodykits as something of a clandestine pleasure. Anyway, with a 306 Rallye in our family, I was so chuffed to see this 306, complete with Maxi-style body adornments. I was just waiting for Gilles Panazzi to stride over and slide into the driver’s seat. Totally cool.

Goodwood, UK. Festival of Speed.

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Frankly, I did pretty badly for spotting stuff at the FoS. I was too distracted by all the astounding racing machinery to worry too much about road cars but I do think the DS3-R is one of the most beguiling hot hatches of recent times. Somehow the French just do things better.

Oulton Park, UK. MSVR.

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Another race meeting, another Ferrari 599 GTO.

Oulton Park, UK. British Touring Car Championship.

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Pretty Austin Healey 100M stood out a mile among the moderns in a BTCC car park.

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As the owner of a black Peugeot hot hatch, I felt an immediate affinity with the 208 GTI. Road test results have been hugely positive. I await a Rallye version next…

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Not sure  could tell you the last time I saw a Citroen BX GTi. I would  assert, however, that it wasn’t this decade. Scruffy example but imbued with abundant Gallic charm.

Silverstone, UK. Blancpain Endurance Series.

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We ended up parked next to this glorious little Abarth 695. It was demonically noisy but impossible not to love its terrier-like attitude; with an Italian charm all of its own, of course.

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This Aston Martin Rapide S was lurking in the BRDC’s car park. Having driven the original iteration of the Rapide a few years ago, I came away believing it to be the best-resolved of the whole AML range at the time. I love this audacious grille – though the numberplate does it no favours.

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French registered Ferrari 599 GTO was covered in squashed flies and road grime – an articulate demonstration of a supercar well-enjoyed.

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First new Bentley Flying Spur I’ve seen. Looks rather elegant. Must badger the friend who works for them to sort me out a drive at some point…

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The Aston Martin Vanquish only becomes more of a handsome brute with time.

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Small squadron of Lamborghinis waiting to go.

Silverstone, UK. British GT.

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Ultima GTR. I was surprised to note the defined roof scoop and detail around the front lights. I don’t know whether this is a custom job or a new factory arrangement. Looked well enough though and I imagine it’s ferociously rapid.

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The most British car company left? Lovely cream Morgan Aero Super Sports looked a most characterful conveyance.

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When was the last time you saw one of these in such good condition? I’m not sure either.

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The first Lotus Exige S I’ve seen in the wild and it looked suitably menacing in black. Parking left something to be desired, mind…

Howden, UK.

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I was at a lecture about the ‘Dam Buster’ raids on the German Rhein last night and turned up this glorious Aston Martin DB4. It was usefully patinated and evidently well-loved. I find classics so much more appealing when they’re showing evidence of proper use.

Silverstone, UK. Britcar.

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Outlaw-style Porsche 356.

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Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7RS. The driver had the latest, 911-themed, edition of Motor Sport magazine on the driver’s seat. A nice touch.

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This glorious Ferrari 308 GTS had been howling around Silverstone’s perimeter roads before adopting a provocative pose in one of the pit garages. Almost frighteningly sensual.

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You wait years for a 2.7RS to come along and then appears a second. That duck tail…

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Stripped and caged BMW M3 CSL looks ready to devour the Nordschleife and remains somewhere very near the top of my lottery win list.

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BMW M5 goes nose-to-nose with its racing brother – the E46 M3.

Silverstone, UK. F4.

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DE51RED is one of Vauxhall’s press number plates. I never even knew the VXR8 estate existed until I spotted this in the car park behind Silverstone’s ‘Heritage’ pits.

Leicester Forest East service area, UK.

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BMW 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’. Gorgeous even without the wing which earned it its nickname.

Donington Park, UK. Donington Historic Festival.

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I was about 13 years old when the Ferrari 550 Maranello came out and I’ve lusted after one ever since. I don’t believe they’ve ever looked better than when decorated in stern metallic grey.

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Brace of McLaren MP4-12Cs in suitably vibrant hues. Somehow, this inherently conservative supercar looks so much more at ease with itself in a daft colour.

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Delicate little AC Ace.

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Facel Vega II. I overtook it on the M1 later in the day. It looked so incongruous among the modern motoring mundane.

2012.

Donington Park, UK. Donington Historic Festival.

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Way back in the mid-1990s, I was a young tifoso, already with years of dedication behind me – and as it transpired many ahead of me too. I visited Maranello during a family holiday and savoured every second and every inch of the place. The absolute highlight was seeing a prototype F130 (as it was then known to the press) behind the factory gates. Since then, this has always been something of a hero car. Less sophisticated than its contemporary the McLaren F1, perhaps, but that howling engine and carbon fibre tub meeting an open cockpit just seems an incendiary combination. I only wish I had the funds to own one.

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Periodically I scan the classifieds and torture myself over whether I could afford to buy an F355. I haven’t yet persuaded myself that it’s anything other than hopelessly fanciful. Maybe one day I’ll just bite the bullet, take out the necessary loan and learn to love eating beans on toast.

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Gorgeous trio of Astons from Newport Pagnell and Gaydon eras.

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BMW Z8.

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McLaren Mercedes SLR. I’m not sure I approve of the weight, nor the gearbox, nor the F1-inspired nose. In spite of these reservations, there’s something compelling and utterly Brunellian about the SLR. It’s just totally brutal.

Donington Park, UK. Masters Historic meeting.

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The stately thug: Aston V8 Vantage.

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Alpina B9 3.5 resplendent in evocative orange paint.

Brands Hatch, UK. DTM.

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So many years after its launch I still can’t decide whether I like the BMW Z8; even more so its Alpina derivative. I can’t help thinking I’d find more use for its mechanical twin, the E39 M5.

Cholmondeley Castle, UK. Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.

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Ferrari 575M remains an absolute hero. Those proportions…

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There’s nothing more visually arresting than a road-going supercar which shows signs of life. This mucky Noble M600 was lurking in the VIP cap park at CPoP.

Silverstone, UK. Silverstone Classic.

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I found myself parking up next to Ginetta owner Laurence Tomlinson’s personal G60 in the VIP/Media car park at last year’s Silverstone Classic. The the G60 looks small, taut and nimble in the company of just about everything except an S1 Exige.

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This M6 Cabriolet wouldn’t be especially note-worthy were it not for the fact that press cars hadn’t even been released in July 2012. I still don’t recall seeing another since.

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The Gordon Keeble, with its humorous turtle emblem is one of only 100 produced.

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Gorgeous pontoon fendered 250 Testa Rossa attracted huge attention in the paddock. I couldn’t say for certain, but I would be surprised if it wasn’t one of Neil Twyman’s amazing replicas.

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The 246 GTB Dino seems only to become exponentially more desirable with time.

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The 25th anniversary of the F40 was feted with considerable pageantry at the 2012 Silverstone Classic. This example, though, existed quietly in the paddock. Its pop-up headlights have given way to larger, regular light clusters.

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Ferrari Enzo.

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This McLaren F1 is #020, owned by Tony Smith. Smith is a prolific historic racer and likes to exercise his F1 as well. It is fitted with the high downforce kit. Nothing has touched it before or since for sheer fitness for purpose. Gives one goosebumps to be in the presence of such greatness.

Channel Tunnel, UK / France.

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As we travelled over to the Belgian Grand Prix in September we shared a train with a number of other enthusiasts with Aston Martin Vanquish, Mercedes AMG SLS and McLaren MP4-12C. When you’re in a hugely desirable AM V8 Vantage, it feels strange to suddenly find oneself feeling slightly out-gunned.

Stelvio, Italy.

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According to a chap in the know, this is a Martini 5 edition Lancia Delta Integrale. It was nestling not far over the Austrian / Italian border near Stelvio.

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In Bormio, at the south side of the Stelvio Pass we encountered a supercar rally heading north towards the Pass. There were scores of cars – mostly, though not entirely, mid-engined and noisy. Getting photos wasn’t easy, but how often does one see a Koenigsegg about to tackle one of Europe’s most notorious and challenging roads?

Monza, Italy. Italian Grand Prix.

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Classic Miami Vice-style white 512TR doing the rounds behind the F1 paddock at Monza.

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Ferrari 599 GTO showing off to the crowds outside Monza on Grand Prix weekend. I think I’d do the same.

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Small gathering of assorted red cars between the paddock and the Ascari chicane.

St Gotthard Pass, Switzerland.

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These two are Mrs Motorcardiaries’ ultimate dream cars. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when we chanced upon them way up in the Swiss Alps.

Grimsell Pass, Switzerland.

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It’s not often one encounters a 300SL roadster out and about for a drive. It’s significantly less often than one encounters two, plus an assortment of friends from the 1950s and 1960s. Aston Martin DB2 and Chevrolet Corvette just in sight; big Healeys and XK120s just out of sight.

Silverstone, UK. VSCC Pomeroy Trophy.

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Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione has never looked more desirable than in this deep metallic red.

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Porsche 911 2.7 RS in a BRDC parking space. Real or evocation?

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Dramatic evocation of the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray racer which cleared up in the SCCA C-Modified category in 1960.

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Jaguar XJR-S may lack the simple elegance of the originals but there’s something so evocative about the TWR / Jaguar combination.

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Pre-war Bentley identification is well beyond my meagre capabilities. Answers on a postcard to…

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Diminutive Tojeiro Bristol makes a contemporary Lotus seem claustrophobic and lardy.

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Modelling a set of period AC Schnitzer wheels, this was one of two E30 M3s belonging to the current owner. Seems a little greedy somehow.

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I’m not sure anything so readily conjures up thoughts of the good life on the French riviera than a 365 GTB/4 Daytona. There’s something remarkably satisfying about this slightly unfashionable purple hue as well.

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Outlaw style Porsche 356 bristling with attitude.

Oulton Park, UK. British GT.

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My understanding is that this Pagani Zonda F Roadster belongs to GT star Duncan Cameron. It sits in the British GT paddock annually and never fails to draw an appreciative crowd. It’s finished in bare, lacquered carbon fibre. The weave matches perfectly across every panel. Quite remarkable.

Donington Park, UK. World GT1 Championship.

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Ferrari 275 GTB/4. 1960s grand touring elegance perfected.   Spotted 2012.065

I suspect history will prove this to be rather a rare spot. The Virage was only in production a short time before being phased out in favour of the visually-indistinguishable DB9 update. Bizarre. They’re all rather lovely, though.

2011

Donington Park, UK. Donington Historic Festival.

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This is a most intriguing old thing. It’s a special self-built by a chap called Paul Robinson. It’s based on a shortened Triumph Herald chassis with a 100bhp Imp engine. More information here: http://www.imps4ever.info/cars/specials/robinson-fog_47d/fog_47d-robinson.html

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I was initially highly sceptical about the Ford GT, citing it as a cynical cash-in. You can’t, though, argue with something that looks this good, sounds like thunder and goes like stink. I think history will remember the GT very fondly indeed.

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The most beautiful ugly car in the world: the Alfa Romeo SZ.

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This Jaguar XJ220 belongs to Don Law, so I understand, who is the top carer for these cars – probably in the world. I suspect they’re currently significantly under-valued and their wild 1990s take on the supercar formula will come to be more appreciated with time. The fact that the engine won Le Mans in 1990 aboard a Group C car will help, too.

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The last great analogue supercar.

Oulton Park, UK. British GT.

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Couldn’t honestly tell you the last time I saw a Subaru SVX; nor an unmolested Superleggera.

Oulton Park, UK. AMOC.

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I’m not a raging nationalist, but I have to admire the patriotism from this AMV8 owner. He’s not the only one who’s proud of Aston Martin, even if the money’s coming from the Middle East and Italy these days.

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Somebody please talk me out of selling the Exige and buying a 308 GTB. Oh, they are so lovely, I can barely describe.

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I loved this road-going Sunbeam Tiger meeting Jackie Cochran’s fearsome racing cousin.

Snetterton, UK. Lotus Festival.

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The R8 GT is my kind of Audi: stripped out and loud. I bet I’d still end up buying a Gallardo though, no matter how sensible I tried to be.

Montreal, Canada.

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I’m sure in North America these aren’t as scarce as in the UK. It’s not hard to see where GM got the styling for the Vauxhall VXR8 though, is it?

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Ferrari 16M street parked just off Crescent Street in Montreal during Grand Prix weekend. One of very few cars which still looks awesome in matte black.

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Every once in a while you see something which blows your mind; something you’ve never even heard of. We spotted this HTT Plethore LC-750 outside a hotel in downtown Montreal. It’s a three seater Canadian supercar motivated by a supercharged V8 with horsepower way up in the stratosphere. At the time there were only half a dozen examples in existence and I’m not convinced there are many more today. What an honour to see one; I doubt I will again. More information here: http://www.httsupercar.com

Montreal, Canada. Canadian GP.

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Just as we were walking out past the casino after the Grand Prix, this Ferrari Enzo shot past. Lovely.

2010

Silverstone, UK. British GT.

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Amid a Silverstone paddock packed with supercars, this pistachio green Escort Mexico stood out a mile.

Donington Park, UK.

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If a lurid Mexico is the embodiment of the 1970s then a Renault 5 Turbo with the Maxi bodykit is about as articulate a demonstration of 1980s automotive excess as it’s possible to conceive.

Oulton Park, UK.

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Aston Martin’s most treasured numberplate – and adorning one of the marque’s rarest cars. I rather like the Rapide, but can’t help thinking they could’ve been more bold. Imagine if the Bertone Jet 2+2 had been a production vehicle…

Silverstone, UK.

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This Alpina B3S is about the rarest car on this entire page. I believe there were three in the country at the time this photo was taken. What a subtle and compelling package for a 400bhp dog wagon.

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It’s sad to consider that so many Ferrari 250 GTEs have been cut up to make GTO and Testa Rossa replicas. It may not have the rakish profile of its brothers, but it’s elegant and stately when viewed on its merits. I rather want one. The cheap way into Ferrari 250 ownership?

Oulton Park, UK. British GT.

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The Zonda F is the ultimate aesthetic realistation of the Zonda shape, before the later arch extensions and fins appeared. I understand this one belongs to British GT racer Duncan Cameron. He brings it out to the Oulton Park British GT rounds annually and it never ceases to draw an appreciative crowd.

Silverstone, UK.

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The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione really is unutterably lovely, isn’t it?

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I’ve seen precious few KTM X-bows during my travels. What a ludicrous car, though. I mean, really, what were they smoking when they styled this thing? It’s a brilliant, fun, take on the extreme sports car.

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The Ferrari 456 GT in TdF blue. Just lovely.

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I’m not sure the extra glass area adds any elegance to the classing Aston Martin DB5 shape, but I’m just so glad this shooting brake exists.

Oulton Park, UK. VSCC.

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Iso Grifo and Aston Martin DB4 GT had chosen one another’s company on the grassy bank above Oulton’s Park’s Dentons for the VSCC meeting. Not a bad existence.

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Perhaps the worst photo in history of the Jensen S-V8. Sorry about that.

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Lotus Cortina and a roundabout. I wonder if I could emulate Jim Clark in three-wheel drifts? Doubtful, somehow.

Le Mans Classic, La Sarthe. France

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I hope you’ll excuse me for never having heard of the Hommel Vaillant ‘Grand Défi’ Coupé until I stumbled upon this example in the infield near the Porsche Curves at the 2010 LMC. Apparently one of around 17 built and intended for a one-make race series.

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I’m struggling to locate a precise number of Marcos TSOs built but resources suggest it is around ten. Rather handsome though and, I suspect, phenomenally potent.

Chartre-sur-le-Loir. France

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Nestling in rural France, about 45 minutes picturesque drive south from Le Mans, Chartre-sur-le-Loir has long been the go-to place for entrants, drivers and enthusiasts during competitive weekends of racing. It was hard not to be struck by the combination of C-Type replica and blissful sunshine.

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One of only 75 UK-registered Porsche 924 Carrera GTs basked in the central village square.

2009

Oulton Park, UK. AMOC,

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Stately almost to the point of being regal when compared to the rakish DB4 and DB5 which followed, the DB2/4 Mk1 remains one of those rare cars which seems to be raced and driven irrespective of value.

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The ultimate road-going Aston Martin: the V12 Vantage.

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While perhaps not rare compared to many cars on this page, the V8 Vantage is extremely unusual in this shade of green which evokes memories of DBR1s and DB3Ss drifting to victories during the 1950s.

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Soulful.

Wansford, UK.

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Stumbled upon this brace of Nobles and achingly pretty Ferrari F355 outside a pub in Wansford. I respectfully parked my old Elise well out of view.

2008

The A3 near Guildford, UK.

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A Neil Twyman 250 TR replica built up from a 250 GTE, this very car had been competing in the Sussex Trophy the day before I bumped into it (mercifully not literally) refueling near Guildford.

Leeds, UK.

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Appalling camera phone photo of the utterly lovely Morgan Aeromax.

Donington Park, UK. Superleague.

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Tony Smith’s McLaren F1 was in the Donington Park paddock while the man himself was exercising his Williams FW06 on track.

Balls Cross, UK.

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It’s not uncommon to see nice machinery out and about in West Sussex; in fact it’s fairly commonplace. It is, though, rare to see a genuine AC Cobra parked up on the verge like it’s just a normal thing to do. This car is anything but normal.

Silverstone, UK.

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AC 3000M, Audi R8 and TVR Sagaris. Not a bad – and extremely varied – trio.

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This is the semi-legendary James Garner Ferrari 250 GT SWB California – owned at the time by Chris Evans. We followed it some distance on the way back from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it had been on display. The driver wasn’t Evans but the chap in question did not spare the (prancing) horses.

Oulton Park, UK.

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Not sure flat yellow would be my first choice of paint of a Carrera GT but nothing can dint its desirability.

Silverstone, UK. Silverstone Classic.

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The lone Rapport Forté Estate. Based (loosely) on a Jaguar XJ-S, one of the ultimate British automotive curios. It spent much of its life in the Patrick Collection in Birmingham. I’ve no idea where it is now.

Brands Hatch, UK. DTM.

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There’s only one way to serve a BMW 3.0 CSL and there’s in a lairy colour with stripes and the wing pack. Mega.

Silverstone, UK.

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A Vauxhall Monaro may not warrant special mention but this plate ‘V8DTV’ was presumably installed in deference to Dealer Team Vauxhall and the awesome exploits of Gerry Marshall and Bill Blydenstein. A subtle and well-appreciated tribute.

Monaco. Monaco Historique.

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Monte Carlo on a race weekend is hardly bereft of diverting motorcars but few things turn heads (and burst eardrums) like a Ferrari 750 Monza pounding through Casino Square under cover of darkness.

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Equally, a Maserati MC12 is hardly the most subtle thing to leave discarded outside the casino.

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Even in an age of bloated SUVs, the Lamborghini LM001 remains without peer in terms of road presence and profligacy.

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Back in 2008 it remained quite unusual and a significant treat to see a Bugatti Veyron, let alone one parked in an underground car park. Such is life in Monaco, I suppose.

2007

Oulton Park UK. Gold Cup.

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Park your Ferrari 365GTC/4 on the grass, get out your chair, deploy your best Panama hat and watch historic racing around Oulton Park. This chap’s got it all figured out.

1991

Oulton Park, UK. Maranello Challenge.

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When I was a child nothing else seemed to matter except Ferraris. When my mother was admitted to hospital to have her appendix removed, my granny bought me a white Testarossa model to keep me distracted. It worked – I barely noticed my poor mother’s life-threatening condition. These are pretty much the first photos I ever took of cars and they depict my beloved Ferraris, just down the road from the family home at Oulton Park. I’ve probably improved my photographic technique subsequently but nothing can compare to that childish enthusiasm of seeing your dream car in the flesh. Absolute magic.


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