Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

 

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A very big THANK YOU to everybody who voted for us in the 2016 UK Blog Awards since we have now been told that we are one of the finalists in the Automotive category. The awards ceremony will be taking place on the 29th April at the Park Plaza Hotel in London – wish us luck!

The 2016 UK Blog Awards

Posted: January 10, 2016 by The Car Spy in Awards, Events, the car spy, uk blog awards, ukba16

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We are very pleased to announce that we have been short-listed and nominated for the 2016 UK Blog Awards which is now open to a public vote. To give The Car Spy a big thumbs-up and pat in the back please click HERE – a vote for our blog would be very much appreciated – thank you!

The Geneva Motor Show originally kicked off in 1905 and somehow it is hard to imagine what the event must have looked like back then considering that Ford, Mercedes, Renault and a handful of others were only just pioneering the car as a means of transport for all and sundry.

Somewhere the records might show exactly how many exhibitors were in attendance back then but we can only assume it would be a tiny number compared to the 200-odd that were showing their wares this year which marked the 84th time the event had been held.

Yes we know there are 109 years since 1905 but presumably the odd World War or two got in the way and much of the other political shenanigans that seemed to occupy most of the 20th century contributed to a few of the missing years.

Palexpo, where the event is held, is looking a bit tired and dog-eared these days but the convenience of almost falling off the plane steps into the exhibition centre is very appealing. And for those travelling the one-hour-plus flight from London Gatwick a visit to this particular motor show is a very palatable one indeed.

The smell of continental coffee and croissants is forever present as you walk through the arcade to get to the main entrance for Palexpo and the whiff of Emmental is a gentle reminder that you have arrived in pleasant Switzerland.

All of the accessory and parts suppliers are stuffed into Hall 7 which seems to go on forever until you reach the escalators for the main event on the upper levels. Not sure why the centre has three levels (not floors) because it didn’t appear to be built into the side of a mountain from the outside. Maybe they just like climbing steep things in Swiss land.

On to the cars and most of the main European players attend this event plus the big names from Korea and Japan. Surprisingly though only Qoros appeared to be representing China but gut-feel suggests that is merely the calm before the storm.

Many manufacturers pick Geneva for their first model launches but even this tradition seems to be a declining one. With the growth of new markets around the globe some manufacturers were referring to a ‘European Premiere’ rather than a ‘World Premiere’ for various models.

Wandering around the show and taking in all of the new models on display there was an underlying picture emerging. Cars, for the mass-market at least, are getting ugly. Almost all of the big guns had at least one model that had been subjected to a ‘make-over’ that quite frankly made us squirm. OK the look of a car is a very subjective one but when there are so many Frankensteins on show it prompts a few questions.

Is it the ever-pervasive EU with their daft regulations related to car-design that are having a detrimental affect? Has it become fashionable to be unattractive in the car world? Are the car designers on hallucinatory drugs? Sorry but we are not talking about the odd car here and there which suggests that a very broad-brush is being painted with for some reason or another.

It’s not even worth listing the culprits but you as the reader will decide in due course whether this might be true or not and besides there were enough stunners on show to distract us from the monsters.

Highlights of the show for The Car Spy? Well actually quite a lot but rather than bore you with the finer details we will summarise them for you as follows and follow that up with an album of over 200 images for you to digest. In fact so many shots were taken with the main camera that the battery died (that’s right – no spare with us) but the iPhone 5 made a great substitute that kept us going until the bitter end. So on with the show:-

KAHN – well-established UK make-over artists for premium brands but this year their stand focused on British prime beef from Land Rover in the form of Range Rovers and Defenders. The seriously sumptuous interiors in the Rangies are a sight to behold and the mean, wide-bodied Defenders look like they could scare off gargoyles.

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Mercedes Benz – The new S-Class looks sharp and svelte particularly in Coupe form and the C-Class also earned an extra look – much nicer with bigger wheels though. The model choice is becoming mind-bending with umpteen A’s and B’s too so good luck to anyone looking to buy into that category.

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BMW – the company has now pretty much used up the allocation of numbers from 1 to 8 with the addition of the 2-series and the expansion of the 4-series and again the model choice is dizzying to the head. Prettiest car in the range has to be the 6-series for us especially in Gran Coupe form but sadly the 4-series Gran Coupe looked a bit sterile by comparison. Maybe it was the colour choice for the stand but it just didn’t leave an impression.

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MINI – a car that is fast becoming a contradiction. It is no longer small or mini-like. It is huge. The new nose stretches the car and the Countryman looks as big as an Audi A3. It just doesn’t look cute anymore but the Clubman Concept looked pretty good. Again, not at all small but the proportions look right and if the final version looks similar it should be a winner.

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Morgan – a real antidote to all ‘modern cars’. The stand had a cutaway of one of the models showing the solid ash frame which has been used on Morgans since the beginning of time. Surely the EU will declare it as a fire hazard before long to finally remove from the world one of the few companies to still build a car by human hand using proper craftsmen skills.

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Mansory – Not always a bastion of good taste when it comes to gilding a lily but the metallic turquoise and satin silver Wraith on the stand would have made Rolls Royce proud. It sounds a bit blingy but somehow the colour combination worked very well with the ivory interior and the car deserved a few re-visits from us.

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Rolls Royce – seeing the ‘new’ Ghost up-close gave a chance to see that RR don’t believe in making radical changes to their cars which is a mighty relief amongst a sea of unnecessary nose-jobs. Previous Ghost owners can rest easy – you need (very) sharp eyes to spot the differences.

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Maserati – always a joy to see their cars and not a bad apple amongst them. Star of their stand was the Alfieri concept which proved that cars can still be beautiful. Please make that car Maserati and save us from mediocrity.

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Alfa Romeo – The 4c was much in evidence especially since the Spider is on its way and a white example took centre stage on their stand. Even prettier than the Coupe (without that slightly awkward kink around the B-pillar) it would be unfair to call it a mini-Ferrari but we will anyhow.

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RUF – how do you make a 911 go faster? Take it to the guys in Pfaffenhausen and they will work their magic to produce a Porsche that will embarrass most other Porsches. No real surprises on their stand this year apart from a canary yellow RCT which is basically a two-wheel-drive Turbo and in terms of power neatly parks itself between Porsche’s ‘basic’ Turbo and the Turbo S model. Alois Ruf also had his own personal Connaught Green 964-based RCT which sadly is not (and maybe never will be) for sale.

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Lexus – The RCF GT3. Seriously mental. Enough said. The LF-NX concept. Looks great. They won’t make it.

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Honda – Type R Concept. Just do it Honda and where is the NSX? We are getting very impatient.

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Renault  – A Twizy in Formula 1 guise. So mad-looking they would sell them by the bucket-load if the company accountants were put into solitary confinement.

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Skoda – Vision C concept. There was little bit of Audi A7 going on from certain angles but the Skoda version would be a hell of a lot cheaper to buy and probably one of the best-looking cars to come out of the Czech factory ever.

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Gumpert – a brave company that made a comeback from collapse a while back and while their outlandishness should be applauded it is hard to see how the cars will fit in with a new landscape of P1’s, 918’s and LaFerraris. Outdated is probably the word now. The ‘Explosion’ concept is pointless too quite frankly and totally at-odds with the image of Gumpert.

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Koenigsegg – same comments as Gumpert. In order to survive they need to attract customers away from the new-technology kids on the block but seemingly some people must be buying them.

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Audi – The new TT is definitely better-looking than the out-going model. There are shades of the original model in the design which is hard to pin-down in any particular aspect but the new car looks good from every angle. The more powerful versions will also increase desirability. An original RS2 Avant was also featured on the stand which looked a tad old-fashioned next to the current generation RS4 but has nonetheless confirmed its classic status in the history books.

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Porsche – where was the 918? Not invited to Geneva apparently but the 919 on the stand attracted a big enough crowd anyway. The 911 Targa looks great in the flesh and should be far more popular than Targa models of old.

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Lamborghini – The Huracan was the car hogging the spotlight on the stand and rightly so too. Not as dramatic-looking as the Aventador but a car that will be purchased surely by looks alone. This car will make buying a 458 a much harder decision from now on. Nice choice of colours on the stand too.

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Zonda – the maddest, baddest car-maker of them all. Carry on as usual guys.

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Touring – the Disco Volante (or Flying Saucer) just makes you want to stare at it all of the time. A strange but intriguing shape that draws the eye around the car and although on this outing the car was painted in a metallic green with gold detailing it was as stunning as ever. It is certainly a design that will be talked about for years to come.

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McLaren – the 650S was having its first public showing and in spite of the presence of an ice-blue P1 on the stand it was pulling its fair share of attention. A curious mix of (almost) P1 front-end and (slightly updated) 12c rear-end the car is tipped to be a big seller for the company. Can’t help feeling that the Spider version pulls it off better than the Coupe – the 12c stays in production by the way.

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Subaru – the VIZIV2 concept showed that the designers in the back-office haven’t completely lost their way with some pretty dull shapes that have come out of the factory over the past couple of years. Hopefully this concept will point them back in the right direction.

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Aston Martin – just like Maserati the company still manages to pull a crowd with some of the prettiest sports cars and GT’s available. No big announcements from the company apart from a range of bespoke options for all of the models using the moniker ‘Q’. Might as well milk the Bond connection for all it is worth.

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Jaguar – probably the loudest stand at the show with a huge screen presenting a short film full of expensive actors, Union Jacks and loud, growly V8’s. One thing Jaguar no longer is and that is understated. The F-Type Coupe of course featured star-billing and deservedly so – it is a very handsome car indeed and could easily hold a candle to the Astons only a spitting distance away. The new XFR-S Sportwagon made an appearance in very un-Jaguar bright blue but if that is where the company thinks its market is then who are we to argue? After all they are still the profitable car-maker in the world.

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There were dozens of other smaller exhibits worth a mention too but it’s time for a glass of wine and some Swiss cheese now. Ah yes, they also make very nice chocolate too so we’ll have some of that for desserts. In the meantime enjoy our album of images from the show.

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It must be difficult to come up with a name for a new car. Think about it. There you are in a room full of marketing gurus and somebody has to come up with a name that could either make or break the success of a car – no matter how good (or bad) it is. The name must translate well into other languages too. Ford came a cropper with the name Pinto years ago because it meant ‘small willy’ in most Portuguese-speaking countries. Oh dear.

The name must surely suit the car too. Who would argue that ‘Aventador’ could be used on any other car apart from the LP700-4? Or that ‘Testarossa’ just sounds like it should be the badge on a Ferrari even if you didn’t know what it meant in Italian.

Our personal favourite of all time has to be Jensen Interceptor. It was created in the 1960’s but even today the name sounds so cool and whatever car it ends up being applied to it had better be damn fast and good-looking.

And so we come to the Artemis from Eterniti Motors.

Eterniti are very much a newcomer to the world of building cars having only been set up two years ago but they have some very big plans. Their funding mainly comes from a group of Far East investors who have a clear idea of where their cars will ultimately be sold. In other words, in the fastest growing market with the biggest buying potential in the world – China.

The company’s ambitions are clear from the outset. The team behind the creation of the Artemis have references from Aston Martin, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Land Rover and Jaguar sprinkled amongst their curriculum vitaes. Let’s face it, if you wanted to start building the best cars in the world you want to make sure you have the right people on board.

The Artemis is their first offering. As a name they may have carried it off since it has the necessary gravitas for a car that will cost in excess of £250,000. It is a safe choice because Artemis was the mythical daughter of Zeus who was the God of all Gods back in the day. In other words, it is not a made-up name that could have some unfortunate secondary meaning in another language on the other side of the globe. That’s a good start then.

The car itself is based on Porsche’s Cayenne which most car-buffs could spot a mile off looking through a pane of frosted glass. Ok you can buy a Cayenne for an awful lot less money but that is not the point. The company needed to hit the ground running with their first car and the Cayenne just happened to offer a decent chassis, transmission and powerplant to play around with.

With a little bit of tuning to the chassis and the 4.8 litre twin-turbo V8 the Artemis produces 600 bhp and because a certain Johnny Herbert had a hand in the development of the car it actually goes around corners without rolling over on its roof which is very good news too.

Of course it doesn’t look exactly like a Cayenne because Eterniti have removed a lot of the original panels and hand-crafted their own carbon-composite substitutes. Generally-speaking most cars are instantly recognised from their front and rear ends which give them their ‘brand identity’. At the front end of the Artemis there are shades of Jaguar and Bentley in the mesh grille designs to add a bit of ‘Britishness’ to the car. The rear end could be described as a better-looking version of the Cayenne’s backside. The wide rear wheel arches add a good deal of presence and the rear tail-lamps are a neat design that have cost the company a fortune in tooling costs but that is an insight to the company’s commitment to this project. Overall it is a design that is pleasing to the eye.

At the launch, the phrase ‘Super-SUV’ was very much part of the presentation script. The point being made was that this is a vehicle that is essentially a cross-over between a luxurious limousine and a high-performance sports car. Any buyer of the Artemis is able to create an interior that is truly bespoke to their personal choice and preferences – within reason of course. Whatever the colour choice you get a good deal of rear legroom with twin reclining rear seats, iPads that disappear into the seat backs of the front seats (very neat) plus drinks chiller and crystal glasses. There is too much more to mention but you get the gist.

Eterniti will be building their cars in London – which is good for UK plc but most of their customers are likely to be well-heeled individuals mainly from the Asian ‘tiger economies’ and mainland China. In fact they already have the dealer network in place to support the Artemis from the minute it starts to be shipped to the first customers.

The Artemis will eventually be judged on its own merits when examples become available for road-test reviews but until then it should be viewed as a bit of a practice run for those highly-qualified designers and engineers who we sincerely doubt have been employed just to produce expensive variants of mainstream products. We suspect they are already working on their next project which might have the name of another Greek Goddess but may also be a little bit more exclusive to the Eterniti brand.

For further information on the Eterniti Artemis give The Car Spy a call on 01732 760699 or email sales@thecarspy.net

The following is a slide show of one of the cars that was on display at the recent launch at the Eterniti headquarters in West London

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So the car that has been codenamed ‘P12’ is to be officially released as the P1. It must have been the shortest marketing brain-storming session to name a car in living memory. Which is a good thing because the MP4-12C is a bit of a mouthful and ends up being shortened to MP4 or 12C anyway. So P1 it is and kind of pays homage to the F1 which was probably the best badge to stick on just about any supercar never mind a Mclaren.

McLaren has been promising us something special with its new hypercar and the pre-launch blurb has gone to great lengths to make sure we should expect to be blown away. Having seen the first official images today they may well have pulled it off.

There are only three images available so far so it would be unfair on the car to make any subjective comment on how it looks and it is one of those shapes that will undoubtedly look better in 3D using your own eyeballs. Nonetheless the shape does look mental and wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’. In fact it would probably be the car that the creature would choose to drive off in.

The P1 almost seems to have an organic form – particularly at the rear end assuming that this is the version that will make into production at the end of this year. It looks quite animal-like in a curvy, muscular way and is the antithesis of Lamborghini’s sharp, linear, stealth forms. The P1 is likely to draw gasps but for different reasons to an Aventador.

Not much has been revealed about the powertrain and chassis but McLaren is making it clear that this car is not designed to break world speed records a la Veyron but it will outrun anything this side of a Formula One car around a track. In the real world that counts for a lot more than sheer straight-line speed.

A figure of 850 plus BHP has been quoted in the press today but the company is staying tight-lipped at the moment and we are unlikely to hear any more detail until the official unveiling on Thursday 27th September at the Paris Motor Show. Can’t wait!

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When a car show is sponsored by the likes of Audemars Piguet, Pommery, Vertu and Boodles you just know that the event is unlikely to be held in the local field for boot-fairs.

Syon Park is the family home of the family of the Duke of Northumberland and has been for the past 400 years. It is also very elegant and the perfect setting for the annual Salon Privé event in London. So the stage was set for 2012 and the sun was shining on the beautiful people and some rather excellent motor cars.

So what was there? The Salon Privé and Concours d’Elégance was the venue chosen for the debut of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster, Rimac Concept_One electric hyper car, Renovatio T500 from Croatian super car maker Tushek, Bentley GT Speed, Carozerria Touring Supleggerra’s 2012 Disco Volante and Overfinch’s Range Rover Sport-inspired Limited Edition GTS-X. So there was plenty of new metal to gawp at.

If you are into your Classics then it was difficult to know where to look because there were some excellent old-timers at Syon House and plenty of them. How about 13 F40’s in celebration of 25 years since the car was born. A 1908 RR Silver Ghost, 1936 Jaguar SS Tourer, an Ogle SX 1000 (remember those?), a couple of Ferrari 250, 275 and 330’s including the ex-James Coburn/Chris Evans California Spyder, JK’s one-off Vignale 330 GT and no less than nine examples of various Bugattis dating from 1912. The Concours d’Elegance is being judged this Friday and it will be hard to pick the winners from such a high standard of entrants.

Our favourites at the Salon Privé this year? The 8C-based Carrozzeria Disco Volante, Rimac Concept_One, The ROFGO Gulf Collection including the GT40, the AM DBR9 (Chassis No 007), Maserati MC12 in black, Alvis ‘Super’ Cabriolet and the iconic green Miura S.

We took over 100 images of cars at the event so take a look at the slideshow below…..roll on Salon Privé 2013!

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Chelsea Auto Legends 2012

Posted: September 2, 2012 by The Car Spy in Events, Motor Shows
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Well the sun didn’t shine but at least it didn’t rain this year and an overcast sky makes for better photos anyhow. Chelsea Auto Legends 2012 brought out the crowds and gave us all an excuse not to stuff ourslves with roast beef and yorkshire puddings on a Sunday afternoon.

A good atmosphere comes as part of the package of the pleasant rolling landscaped gardens of the Chelsea Royal Hospital and the odd mingling Chelsea Pensioner in their resplendent scarlet red jackets only added to the occasion. If you ever wondered what the Chelsea Hospital and Pensioners were all about click here http://www.chelsea-pensioners.co.uk/ – if you are a Chelsea supporter you probably know already!

The show itself contained no real surprises but it was interesting to see some old classics mixing it with some very contemporary supercars in an environment which was neither corporate nor local club-meet.

To describe every car would fill a book but basically there was something for everybody whatever period you were into. Personal favourites were a rare Jaguar XJR-15, Maserati MC12, Lancia Stratos, Jaguar C-Type, A Fiat 500 fitted with a 1500cc Alfa engine, Astons DB4 and 5, Chameleon Sagaris, Ferrari 275, Black Enzo….actually too many to mention.

We took over 100 images at the event so take a look and you will probably spot one of your own favourites…….

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