How many cars can you think of with ‘500’ in their name?
That was the challenge for Classic Cars mag which, in true self-congratulatory magazine fashion, pushes the boat out for its March 2015 edition – yes you guessed right, its 500th issue.
Fiat Cinquecento? Obviously. Shelby Mustang GT500, check. Ford Cossie RS500, TVR Griffith 500, Mercedes E500? Certainly. Even a Ferrari 500 TRC (the four-cylinder Le Mans giant-killer from the 1950s).
It seems at this point Classic Cars ran out of candidates and had to put the thinking cap on. So we have as well a three-way 500bhp shoot-out between Jag XJ220, Ferrari F50 and Lamborghini Diablo SV, followed by a 500-mile challenge between an MGB and a Triumph TR4A (the MG gets the nod for its better long distance abilities).
So worth the read? It all adds up to a decent spread of interesting cars and, most important, there’s plenty of seat-of-the-pants driving action as well as the restoration and ownership stories that down-to-earth Classic Cars mag does well.
Of the cars they have driven the TVR Griffith is ‘only a toe flex away from a major accident’ (the mag still loved it of course). The Ferrari TRC ‘feels like it wants to fly’ and also gets a big thumbs up for being ‘beautifully balanced and neutral handling’.
And the 500bhp showdown? Certainly the big Jag makes quite a contrast with the F50: ‘In the XJ220 you feel as if you are witnessing the explosion from a distance. In the F50 you’re standing on the bomb.’
A 500bhp winner? The Ferrari is the most intoxicating, they say, the Lambo the most useable and affordable, but ‘it’s the Jaguar that proves the dark horse. Two decades on the XJ220’s time must come soon.’
Talking of cars whose time is about to come… ubiquitous classic car pundit Quentin Willson’s ‘Smart Buys’ column picks out a few cars he reckons will make, er, smart buys. So come on Quentin spill the beans.
Porsche 944 Turbos are hot, he says, especially the rare cabriolet of which there were only 100 right-hookers. ‘Nice ones are likely to approach £40k before long’.
Quentin’s other picks include the AC Aceca (‘half the money of the Ace’) and the pre-AMG hot Merc from the 1990s, the 500E. ‘Low milers could easily be £50 grand territory soon,’ advices the sage.
You read it here second!
On another note, Classic Cars columnist Tom Tjaarda (yes, that Tom Tjaarda) tells us what Torino is like these days. The good news is that the place is ‘clean, liveable, beautiful and full of foreign students’. It’s a thriving monument to urban planning apparently. Fine, but where are the cars?
Tom first got a job as a car designer in Turin in 1958, when it was the car design epicentre with Bertone, Pininfarina, Ghia, Vignale and Michelotti all resident.
And now? ‘What is left are a few unknown companies mostly working in secret for Chinese car manufacturers’.
Where’s the romance in that?
GRR Read Test verdict
Classic Cars March 2015
Well done CC on 500 mags – good way to celebrate!