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Me and My Test Drive: Living with an electrified Genesis GV70

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an electrified Genesis GV70

Perhaps you have plenty of money and are looking to splash out on a luxurious EV that snaps necks as you waft on past and doesn’t destroy its range every time you use the windshield wipers? Genesis may just have you covered.

After the GV70 was dropped off and positioned on the drive, it took a whole five minutes for someone to walk past gawking and say: “Alright mate, that’s a nice Bentley”. When I attempted to explain that it wasn’t a Bentley and that it was indeed a Genesis, they looked at me puzzled as though I was unhinged and no longer wanted to talk about the car but instead wanted to talk about Phil Collins. Throughout the week, it also received Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin compliments.

While it may seem like a brand that’s popped out of nowhere, Genesis is actually Hyundai’s luxury division and it’s been around since 2004 before going solo in 2015.

First impressions are important, and the GV70 absolutely nailed this. The Makalu Grey matte paintwork (a £1130 option), the elongated headlights, 20” dark alloys (a £630 option) and trapezoid-like front grille made it stick out from every similar-sized BMW X3 on the street, it even looked north of its actual sticker price. Jump onto the Genesis configurator today and you’ll notice that prices start from £65,105 but my fully-loaded test car had massaging and cooling cross stitched seats, panoramic sunroof, 360-degree cameras and self-parking features among many other features, pushing the price up to £74,330.

Although it would’ve been nice to exploit the GV70’s 242-mile range by exploring some of the Scottish Highlands while receiving a full body massage, this was a no-go as the work week was bedlam and I had an important task of chauffeuring my father and grandmother to garden centres over the weekend. The GV70 sits quite high but my 80-year-old grandmother was more than able to clamber into its passenger seat and my 5’11” father in the rear, both with ample leg room. Next, was to fit her rollator in the 503-litre boot — an easy task surely, but not quite. The shape of the GV70’s boot made it quite awkward and, due to the extra electrical gubbins in the floor, it falls 39 litres short of an ICE GV70 which means you get quite a high boot floor.

There are three drive modes available: eco (best for range), comfort (softer suspension) and sport (increases throttle response and tightens everything up.) Sport really does scare your passengers, throwing them violently back into their seats and conjuring profanity, due to the instant 700Nm of torque on offer, and by pressing the ‘Boost’ button located at the bottom of the steering wheel, you’ll unleash all 483bhp for 10sec. Genesis claims that 0-62mph is dispatched in just 4.2sec and, of course, I had to test this using the RaceBox. On a flat bit of road with the traction control on and using the boost function, the GV70 managed 0-60mph in 4.2sec and 0-62mph in 4.5sec. Overtaking is a doddle and the RaceBox returned a 30-70mph time of just 3.8sec — that’s the same as a Ferrari 550 Maranello. Of course, stepping hard on the ‘quiet’ pedal will see its range plummet just like any other EV.

While I couldn’t fully test the range, I did take it on my test route of roughly 42 miles, consisting of motorway, town and B-roads – with the air-conditioning on, the GV70 returned 3.8 miles per kWh; to all those that have fuel running through their veins, rather than electricity, that’s about 128mpg. And most of the time you won’t find yourself accessing all the power available. Instead, you’ll be cruising along in eco mode with Jazz FM playing through all 16 Lexicon speakers and enjoying all the technical trickery the GV70 offers, and if the need arises, a slight blip of the throttle is enough for 99% of real-world situations. Using the car every single day of the week for pottering around resulted in just one visit to a 22kW charger, charging it from 20 to 80% in just 3hrs.

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an electrified Genesis GV70

After the week was done and the car was collected, I found myself missing it dearly. I had fallen for it — an EV had finally got me. I even had a routine where I’d get up in the morning and check on it. Everything with the GV70 is just right – from the comfort and the tech to the performance and the range. I started to think about the things I could sell so I could make up a deposit just to waft around in it again; do I really need the fridge and how much does a kidney go for? Unfortunately, for me and for many other people, a sub £70,000 car is just too much, so for now I’ll cherish the memories. If you have deep pockets, however, go look at one. Why are you still here? GO!

Find more info:
Genesis UK

Join the Club:
Genesis O
wners

Rare Peugeot 405 Mi16 gets Wheeler Dealers treatment

For the last show of this series of Wheeler Dealers, Mike headed to Portugal to track down a brilliant Peugeot, and with some clever work it would make a big profit. It was time for the boys to enjoy some fun in the sun.

To find the last car in this series of Wheeler Dealers, Mike headed off to Portugal where a brilliant performance saloon was waiting – the Peugeot 405 Mi16. Owned by dealer, Bruno, it had been in the country for 20 years and had barely moved in all that time, and not having passed their equivalent of the MOT test would it be too much of a challenge?

It certainly looked good, with rust-free bodywork and a great interior but it wasn’t without its problems. A damaged front bumper and dodgy starter motor weren’t too much of a worry, but the potential for head gasket issues was another matter. The answer? Get Elvis on a plane out to Porto to take a closer look.

His first job was to check that head gasket, and he began by carrying out a test that would reveal the presence of exhaust gases in the coolant. That was fine, so things were looking good, but a compression test was needed to be certain. That was fine, too. Phew!

In the meantime Mike had rented a villa with a big garage, so Elvis could carry on with getting the desirable Peugeot back to its best. A dip in the swimming pool would have to wait! And he started by giving the brakes a thorough overhaul, fitting new discs and pads and changing the brake fluid.

Then it was time to tackle the temperamental starter motor, and rather than replacing it Elvis stripped it down for a thorough check. There was just one part that needed replacing, and after giving the unit a good clean it was working properly once again. Now Mike could head off to see a specialist that could repair the damaged front bumper.

It took some skilled work to make it look like new again, and it was great to watch as a new headlamp washer cover was made from scratch. And the best part was that it cost just £70. The cracking saloon was almost finished, but Elvis had one more thing to do before the car could be presented for its test. A full engine service included fresh oil, filters and spark plugs and the fuel system was drained.

It was a tense moment waiting to see if all of the work had been worth it, but once the engineer had finished his inspection the boys were rewarded with a pass certificate. They’d done it, and now they could enjoy the superb performance and handling on the twisty Portuguese roads.

So how much had it all cost? Well, Mike had paid €6500 for the car – about £5700 – and when he added up all of the parts, the travel and villa rental, and the cost of importing to the UK it left a grand total of £7662. All that remained was to sell the car in an online auction, and this rare Peugeot fetched an amazing £20,000!

This had been the perfect end to a great series, and we can’t wait to see what Wheeler Dealers has in store next time. But for now it was goodbye from sunny Portugal. Did Elvis ever get to enjoy that lovely swimming pool…?

Mike said: “Finding cars abroad layed up and forgotten is every restorer’s dream. Ours come true with the incredible Peugeot 405 Mi16 that was left in Portugal still on UK plates. There was a genuine risk to this car, if the head gasket had failed we might of had to skim the head and that then leads on to other things. The costs could have spiralled.

“However, the car somehow had been protected in the Portuguese sunshine and it needed just light refurbishment. There was genuine question on if it would pass the Portuguese MOT but thankfully it did and Elvis celebrated by bombing the Villa swimming pool!”

Find more info:
Wheeler Dealers

Join the club:
Club Peugeot UK


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Cracking Caterham 7 for the Wheeler Dealers

Wheeler Dealers

Enthusiasts love the Caterham 7 but this bargain example needed a lot of work. Would it end up breaking the bank? Let’s find out…

The last Caterham to appear on Wheeler Dealers got plenty of tasty upgrades, but this one would need a whole lot more work to make it perfect again. But Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley had plenty of experience with the racy two-seater so it was a great project.

Owner, John, wanted just £4000 for the 1984 example that had been off the road for eighteen months and Mike Brewer was quick to do the deal. It looked okay and with a new battery and fresh fuel the engine ran, so with the brake issue fixed it was ready for Elvis to turn it into his ultimate Caterham.

That would start by removing the engine and gearbox, and as well as a gear linkage problem he also discovered the transmission was worn and the casing damaged. A second-hand unit solved that but there was still a huge amount of work ahead. A visit to MK Sportcars saw Mike choose a great colour – Porsche Riviera Blue – and spend more than two thousand pounds on parts including seats, carbon-fibre mud guards and modern LED headlamps.

In the meantime Elvis set about fitting a limited-slip differential, but there was a problem. It wasn’t the rear axle he was expected which meant spending £150 on a replacement Ford item, and then plenty of time swapping over parts such as suspension pick-up points; a home-made jig did its job perfectly, and while it wasn’t an easy job the result would make a big difference to the way it performed.

£2000 was spent on getting the body painted and it looked great, so the next job was designing and making a new exhaust system that would give more power and performance. Some clever maths was needed to ensure the pipes were of the optimum length, but with that sorted it was back to the engine.

The 1700cc Ford crossflow unit got a full rebuild so it would be good for many miles, and Elvis made sure that the special rubber mounts for the twin carburettors were fitted correctly. The little sports car was looking awesome but there was still one more important job to do.

The test drive would be at the challenging Cadwell Park circuit – and Mike had a special surprise lined-up – so plenty of time was spent setting up the suspension. Fine tuning of the spring and damper settings and getting the corner weights just right would pay dividends on the track.

The ace mechanic couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel, and while the Caterham performed brilliantly the day was made even better when he was helped out by some former teammates. It was the perfect end to the project and the car was ready for its new owner.

The boys had spent more than ten thousand pounds making the car better than ever, and all it needed was that new owner. The successful auction bidder paid £17,500, so not only was there a healthy profit but this cracking two-seater was going to provide lots of entertainment for many years to come.

Mike said: “It was always going to be inevitable that I would get Elvis a Caterham on Wheeler Dealers! He started his race career with these little cars and has been dropping hints that he’d like to get his hands on one. So after a little searching I went and found the worst one I could!

“What’s funny about that is Elvis didn’t give a hoot. He was giddy with excitement just to get back on the spanners with one. Making it the best, fastest, latest version as possible was also his wheelhouse. The results were fantastic and to let him loose on the circuit where I surprised him with an old pit crew was a treat.”

Find more info:
Wheeler Dealers

Join the club:
Caterham & Lotus Seven Club


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It’s a modern classic Alfa for this week’s Wheeler Dealers

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Remembering the Fiat 600

Fiat 600

With the new Fiat 600 EV on the market, Mike Brewer Motoring remembers the original.

The latest new model to be announced by Fiat is the 600 EV, a crossover that’s due to arrive in the UK early next year. It will challenge some talented rivals in the class, but it also gives us the opportunity to revisit a name that dates back almost seventy years and a car that appeared in the Wheeler Dealers workshop just last year.

Designed by Dante Giacosa, the original 600 was Fiat’s first rear-engined car and it was launched at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show. Impressively practical despite its tiny dimensions, it was powered by a 633cc water-cooled engine (later enlarged to 767cc) that provided modest levels of power and performance.

Fiat 600Neither of those things really mattered, though, because the 600 was all about delivering affordable family transport; the simple interior could seat four adults. There was plenty of character, too, as Mike and Elvis discovered with their 1963 example that, after plenty of work, turned a tidy profit.

The little Fiat proved hugely popular, with a million sold in the first six years, and it would remain a key part of the range until 1969 although it continued to be built outside of Italy until the early 1980s. And it would also spawn a rather more unusual variant in the form of the Multipla.

Making its debut at the 1956 Brussels Motor Show, this quirky people carrier looked like nothing else on the road. The combination of rear-mounted engine and almost vertical front end allowed plenty of cabin space, and opting for the three rows of seats mean it could seat six. Front doors that hinged at the back only added to its unconventional appeal.

Like the saloon it lacked power, the 663cc engine producing a meagre 21.5hp which meant a top speed of less than 60mph. Still, the 600D that arrived in 1960 featured a larger engine and a whopping 25hp! But if all you wanted to do was carry plenty of passengers the Multipla worked a treat.

You could buy one in the UK although they were a rare sight, sales limited by a price of almost £800 at the time. Finding one today certainly isn’t easy, so if the idea of this little people-mover appeals you need to be prepared for a bit of a search. And good ones can fetch £20k or more.

We’re glad to see the 600 badge making a return, though, and while the new one will be rather different thanks to its electric powertrain it provides the perfect excuse to remember the original. Perhaps we’ll see it on Wheeler Dealers sixty years from now…

Find more info:
Fiat

Join the Club:
Fiat Motor Club GB


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It’s a modern classic Alfa for this week’s Wheeler Dealers

Alfa Romeo GTV Wheeler Dealers

Buying an Alfa Romeo GTV that had failed its MOT was a bit of a gamble, but Mike Brewer was convinced they could fix it. And it was temptingly cheap…

A few Alfas have found their way into the Wheeler Dealers workshop over the years but this one…an Alfa Romeo GTV…well, it was a bit of a mess. Left standing for a couple of years after failing its MOT there was plenty of work to do, but with owner Trevor accepting £2000 for this Italian modern classic it was a bit of a bargain.

Despite the lengthy list of jobs to tackle there was good news – the engine ran well (mostly), there was a high-spec leather interior and an upgraded 6-speed manual gearbox. It was time for Elvis to get stuck in.

The first thing was getting a good look underneath, and straightaway he spotted a frayed auxiliary drivebelt and a damaged crankshaft pulley. Spending a couple of hundred pounds soon had that problem sorted, though. Curing the engine misfire was just as easy – a quick repair to fuel injector wiring was all that was needed.

In the meantime Mike headed off to see the experts at Alfaholics near Bristol, and he had a long shopping list. Splashing out £752 bagged all the parts needed to get the stylish coupe back on the road, and there was also time for a chat with the owner of a rather special Alfa Romeo GTV. More on that later.

Now it was time for Elvis to address some more of the problems underneath the Alfa, starting with replacement of a damaged driveshaft gaiter. Sorting the suspension involved the fitting of a new front lower arm, a rear lower arm, new coil springs and replacing various bushes and the anti-roll bar drop links. And with all of that done the car now handled as it should.

While Mike was putting together plans for a brilliant test drive the ace mechanic could get on with sorting the rusty intake pipes that were spoiling the look of the fabulous V6 engine. Spending £82 on a chroming kit, it was fun to watch Elvis do a bit of DIY chemistry and once he was finished the parts were back to their shiny best.

The Alfa was almost finished and the final touches including fitting a new section of exhaust and bolting on brand new wheels and tyres. The Alfa Romeo GTV looked fantastic and drove brilliantly so what better place for a test drive than Italy.

Gary – the owner that Mike had met earlier – had a limited edition Cup version of the car, produced to celebrate a racing series, and having made contact with one of the original  drivers it was time to head for the Varano de’ Melegari circuit.

Not only did the boys have fun meeting other owners and putting the Alfa through its paces on the track – it performed brilliantly – but it was also a chance to meet potential buyer, Chris. After a test drive with Elvis he was quick to snap it up for £5000.

Buying the downtrodden GTV had been a gamble but this was a car that needed saving, and with a lot of work the result was nothing short of superb. We love an Italian classic here at Mike Brewer Motoring and this one was a cracker.

Find more info:
Wheeler Dealers

Join the Club:
Alfa Romeo Owners Club


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The Cheapest New Electric Car models on Sale

Public electric car charging costs rising rapidly

If you’re looking for a new EV and want to spend around £30,000 or less here’s our round-up of the cheapest models on sale today.

There’s something for every taste in this electric car line up from budget to mid price models. Which one floats your boat?

Citroen Ami

New Electric Car

From £7695

Okay, we’re cheating a bit here as the quirky Ami is classed as a quadricycle rather than a car. But if it’s the cheapest electric motoring you want this is it. What you’re getting is very basic transport, a vehicle that can carry just two passengers and comes only in left-hand drive. Its ability on the road is also very limited, with an 8bhp motor that propels the Ami to just 28mph. It can manage up to 46 miles before a recharge is needed, something that takes around 3 hours, so you won’t be able to travel far. It’s fun and funky, though.

MG4

New Electric Car

From £26,995

Sales of MGs have rocketed, and this good looking EV is one of the reasons why. Not only does it sport a very attractive price tag but it also blends solid practicality with a 218-mile range and decent performance. For this money you’re looking at entry-level SE trim but it boasts most of the kit you’ll need including a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment set up with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. MG Pilot brings plenty of driver assistance tech, too. The spacious cabin is supplemented by a 363-litre boot, making it a sound choice as a family car.

Fiat 500e

New Electric Car

From £28,195

The 500e is certainly a stylish small car, and for many EV buyers that’s reason enough to choose one. Opting for the cheapest version means it will come with the smaller 24kWh battery pack which limits the claimed range to 118 miles, but that should be fine if most of your motoring is of the local variety. And with a 95hp electric motor there’s reasonable performance on offer, making the chic Fiat usefully lively in the cut and thrust of city traffic. Standard kit is fine, too, with all models getting a digital instrument display and touchscreen infotainment. 

Nissan Leaf

From £28,995

The current Leaf is a whole lot sharper-looking than the original that arrived way back in 2011, and as a family-oriented electric car it still makes plenty of sense. A spacious interior and plenty of safety tech are pluses, and even in entry-level Acenta trim the standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. If there’s a downside it’s that this money only gets you a 39kWh battery which means a claimed range of 168 miles. Rivals do better here, but don’t let it put you off if you like the way the Leaf looks and drives.

Renault Zoe

New Electric Car

From £29,995

The Zoe has been around for a decade, and while the choice of EVs has expanded rapidly in that time this is still a very capable machine. It still looks smart and in Techno trim it has all the kit you’ll need, from climate and cruise control to heated seats and steering wheel. This compact hatchback drives nicely, too, with decent performance from the 134bhp electric motor and a 50kWh battery pack that provides a claimed range of 238 miles. The only real fly in the ointment are rear seats that feel a touch cramped, which may or may not matter to you.

MG ZS

From £30,495

If you prefer the looks of a crossover then this practical electric car is well worth considering, not least because of its attractive price. It’s easy to drive and has a claimed range of 198 miles from a 51kwh battery pack, and with 0-60mph ticked off in 8.2 seconds it’s reasonably lively, too. A usefully roomy cabin and 480-1100-litre boot makes it a good choice for family duties, while SE trim delivers plenty of standard kit including air-conditioning, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry. It won’t deliver driving excitement but as a pleasingly capable family-friendly EV it’s very hard to ignore.

MG5

From £30,995

The only other estate electric car on sale is a Porsche, so the rather more affordable MG is in exalted company. And there’s plenty to like, from a spacious and practical cabin to a comfortable ride, plus a claimed 250-mile range that means you shouldn’t have to recharge the 57kWh battery too often. The 5 looks a bit sharper as well, thanks to a refresh in 2022, and in SE trim it features all the convenience and safety kit you need. Okay, it’s not the most stylish EV out there but that’s easy to overlook given the value and all-round ability on offer.

Find more info:
Citroen UK
MG UK
Fiat UK
Nissan UK
Renault UK

Join the Club:
Citroën Car Club
MG Car Club
Fiat Motor Club (G.B.) & Fiat Panda Club
Renault Owners Club


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Wheeler Dealers tackles a classic commercial pick-up

Wheeler Dealers Ford P100 pick-up

Mike wanted to make the next project a classic pick-up truck, and he found a cracking Ford P100 up in a rather chilly Scotland.

When Mike fancied grabbing a slice of the classic pick-up truck market he had the perfect vehicle in mind, but it was a long way away. Up in Scotland at a company called The Car Cave, in fact, but it sounded good and at just £8000 it was worth the journey.

Wheeler Dealers Ford P100 pick-up

And it looked good up close, with bodywork in sound condition and no rust. The pick-up in question was a Ford P100 ‘one-tonne bakkie’ imported from South Africa – which explains the lack of corrosion – but what did it drive like? The 3.0-litre V6 engine felt strong, although not running all that smoothly, but the biggest problem was the feeble heater. That would need sorting!

Mike was happy to pay the full asking price of £8000 and then it was back to the workshop to see what Elvis thought. He loved it and couldn’t wait to get stuck in, and that heater was the first job. A visual inspection revealed no obvious problems, apart from a matrix that looked too small for cold UK temperatures, so Mike head off to the Midlands to get a new one made.

It was fascinating to watch as the new heater matrix was constructed using an improved three-row core, and Mike helped out, too. At just £130 it was a bargain, and it meant the cabin would no longer be freezing cold. In the meantime, there was work on the engine to do.

A check underneath revealed a leaking rear crankshaft oil seal, so Elvis hauled out the engine and gearbox to get that fixed. It was an easy job, and with a new sump gasket all of the oil would be staying in the engine. It was a shame the engine wouldn’t start, though, so that was next on the list.

It looked like a problem with the carburettor, and specifically the automatic choke mechanism. After further investigation Elvis discovered that the bi-metallic spring wasn’t connected up, and once he’d established that it was working properly – Mike’s hot cup of tea was the perfect test – it was soon sorted.

Now the ace mechanic could get on with protecting the underside of the pick-up, making sure that it would remain rust-free whatever the British weather threw at it. With any loose surface rust removed the first step was spraying anti-corrosion material into the chassis box sections, and then the rest of the underside got a thorough coating of protective underseal.

There were just a few more jobs to do, so the wheels were painted and given a fresh set of chunkier tyres; the unused mechanical fuel pump was removed; and a new pair of spot lights completed the exterior. It looked brilliant, and the classic Ford was ready for a test.

A trip to a country park in the South Downs was perfect, and with a pair of mountain bikes in the back the boys were ready to have a bit of fun. And when it was time to sell Elvis was on hand to bag a healthy profit, selling the truck to Paul for £10,000. It was a cracking project, and this Ford was ready to be enjoyed for years to come. We love it.

Mike said: “Behind the scenes we try to have as much fun as possible, and here I am in frozen Scotland with a 3 litre rear wheel drive pick up, no weight over the rear axle and silent country roads! I slid that truck around everywhere and laughed to the point of tears every time. The crew eventually got fed up with my shenanigans and I had to behave.

“Theres something magical about the humble P100, it’s a familiar Ford with more practicality than you can imagine. Elvis loved it too, so easy and simple at every turn it was one that rewarded. I could definitely see one in my future collection.”

Find more info:
Wheeler Dealers

Join the Club:
Ford Classics UK


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Me and My Car: Sarah Godfrey and her Mercury Comet

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Sarah Godfrey and her Mercury Comet
Photo credit: Elizabeth Woolmer, EMWOriginals

Mechanically, Sarah Godfreys sixties Mercury Comet is pretty perfect, and the patina is something shed like to preserve. Here, she tells Charlotte Vowden how her Californian coupe, which sent her skywards on their first drive, has jump-started a classic car addiction.

When the Mercury Comet went on sale in 1960 it was marketed as a fashionable compact saloon fit for a family. “Style, size, savings and surprises,” were promised, as well as a smooth ride, but that wasn’t quite the case for Sarah Godfrey…

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

“The maiden voyage I had in the Comet was quite an adventure. American cars are typically wafty but because the front dampers were on their way out it was a particularly bouncy ride. I frequently found myself looking up at the sky. That didn’t really phase me but the first time the bench seat flew backwards, I’ll admit, was a bit of a shock. The spring that holds it in place was broken, so I would periodically find myself unable to reach the pedals which was quite inconvenient. It was quite funny, too.

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

I got confident in the car quickly on that drive because I had to. It was unproven, I hadn’t had it very long and it was the first time Id driven a left-hand drive (which was stressing me out) but I wanted to go to Retro Rides at Goodwood and the only way I was going to get there was by getting behind the wheel. It was three hours there and back. To begin with, it was hard work and took a lot of concentration, but once Id settled into the rhythm of the road it felt quite natural.

Ive had the Mercury for two years, it was my first classic and one I’d desperately wanted one since I was 14. Growing up I watched a TV programme called One Tree Hill and one of the main characters drove an absolutely stunning convertible 1963 Mercury Comet; it was black with a red interior. I fell in love and then when I saw one in real life, years later and only briefly, I knew it was the car for me.

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

I found mine, a 1962 Californian import, for sale on Car and Classic. It wasnt a convertible, or the right colour, but I couldnt stop thinking about it so booked a day off work and set off on the eight hour round trip to Yorkshire with my partner Rich (and a trailer) pretty sure I was going to buy it. I would always suggest taking someone who is knowledgable when you’re looking to buy a classic car, it’s a big purchase and they can be a lot to take on. Luckily, Rich lives, breathes, races and rebuilds old cars so he knew what to look for. We didn’t take it for a test drive but it did fire up first time after not turning over for seven years which was a good sign. Needless to say, it came home with us.

When we did take it for a spin, neither of us could stop smiling. Rich, who is more into his British classics, though it was really cool. To be honest, as much as I wanted to be the person driving, I made that first journey as the passenger because I wanted him to talk me through what he was doing as well as what he was listening and feeling for. To its credit, the car ran faultlessly, but in terms of learning it probably wasn’t the best car to start with because there wasn’t anything wrong with it! Apart from an alternator and new suspension its pretty original and although I’m into modifying cars I intend on keeping the Mercury how it is for the foreseeable – unless things start breaking or falling off. Being one of five on the UK roads makes it super rare so any future changes would be completely reversible.

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

The Comet, which has still got its original four-litre straight-six engine, arrived in the UK 13 years ago after being fully recommissioned, but was left in a barn when its owner became ill. Mechanically and structurally it’s really solid, but there was a lot of surface rust when I first bought it which made it look bright orange. Someone on social media suggested using a wire wool brush and limescale remover to get rid of it, so after doing a patch test I spent three weeks worth of evenings working on it. The change was phenomenal, the bodywork went back to beige and some really lovely patina came through on the roof and bonnet. It looks like a different car. Even though the creamy colour isn’t my favourite, it’s grown on me after I spent so much time being so close to the car and seeing it transform. I learn to love the Comet as it is. One day its going to need to be resprayed but it’ll only be original once so for now I’m going to try and preserve it. 

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

Despite being a compact car, in American terms, the Comet has got great road presence. It’s actually the same size as my Mercedes CLA but unlike modern cars it’s got an iconic look; it’s all straight lines and tail fins. The little chrome ornaments on the front wings that look like gun sights are a unique finishing touch. It’s pretty loud as well. Inside, it’s got a linear speedometer and a radio with a star engraved into the chrome which I think symbolises where you had to tune it to in order to hear emergency broadcasts in the US.

On motorways the Comet will quite happily cruise at 70mph and it isn’t slow to get up to speed. It does, of course, drink gallons of fuelbut put that fact aside and I will jump in and drive it anywhere given the opportunity. The epic drives are often the best drives, such as Snake Pass in the Peak District, but just going five minutes down the road puts a smile on my face. I miss it when it’s being stored during the winter but I want to save it from the salty roads. 

Photo credit: Charlie B Photography

A passion for classic cars came later in life for me and I now own eight – yep, I’m addicted. Ive got a Nash Metropolitan, an Austin A35, a mod-sport Austin Healey Sprite, a Daihatsu Hijet, an RX FC, and I jointly own an E36 BMW and an Innocenti 950 Spyder with Rich. I love the weird, the rare and the unique, and all of them are one of those things.

I also like to try everything once, especially if it’s adrenalin based, and motorsport is something I aspire to do. I don’t think I’d ever race the Comet, it’s not that kind of car for me. I might take it out on track for a bit of fun, but with it being so special, I wouldnt want to risk putting it into a serious situation – the Austin Healey Sprite is my race car, it has a CG13 engine out of a Nissan Micra. Each of my cars has got their own story that started before me and will go on after me, and I like that for the time they are in my care I get to be part of that journey. I don’t plan to let any of them go anywhere without me quite yet though, and definitely not the Comet.”

Want to share the story of your car? Get in touch by email at:
Hello@mikebrewermotoring.com

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an MG5 Trophy

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Me and My Test Drive: Living with an MG5 Trophy

Depending on how deep your pockets are, you have masses of choice when it comes to EVs nowadays – some demand £180,000 (a fully-loaded Mercedes-Benz EQV) and some as little as £3,499 (Citroen C-Zero). For those who are browsing the market for a new EV, however, options include the Mini Electric, the Peugeot e208, the Nissan Leaf Acenta, and of course, the MG5. Matthew Macconnell spent a week with the MG5.

Birds whistled as the MG5 hummed its way through my estate, grass turned greener and on-looking families smiled. It was parked on the drive and the keys were handed over. Right from the beginning it looked like it would tick all the boxes for those after a sensible and efficient car: big boot — 1367 litres with the rear seats folded, a claimed range of 230 miles, rapid charging capability and plenty of rear leg room.

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an MG5 Trophy

Rather than pottering around town over the next week, I had a better idea — I’d put it through its paces on a 300-mile round trip to Argyll and back to test those numbers. I was lucky enough to be invited to watch the Aston Martin Bulldog barrel down a runway at a formal NATO airbase in Campbeltown as it attempted to crack 200mph — it managed 205.4mph, by the way. The day arrived and we set off for Argyll at 5:30am, which was roughly a four-hour drive. The car was fully charged and read out 235 miles on the 7” driver display. I shoved the little mode switch on the centre console to Eco mode and off we went. The route was about to take us along the A811, through Loch Lomond, up the A82 and then south through Inveraray.

Adjusting to the MG’s interior was easy – the seats were comfortable, although the driving position was slightly high for me being 6ft even with the electric seat dropped as far as it could go, the 10.25” touchscreen was speedy and easy to navigate, and to top things off, the MG5 still had the essential buttons to control the radio, fan, temperature and window demister limiting the amount of faffing required while attempting to drive — excellent.

Everything went great from setting off in Clackmannanshire to Loch Lomond. The drive up the side of Loch Lomond revealed, however, what appeared to be hundreds of rock-fall points. Even in places where there were no rocks to fall, the sat-nav would continue to ping and show a yellow rock falling symbol, which was getting a tad distracting, despite the safety in mind. Passing by Luss, around 45 miles into the journey, the MG showed 176 miles left and 80%. A couple of hours in and we arrived at picturesque Argyll with sub-60 miles (33%) left.

Event over, it was up to the scenic fishing town of Campbeltown to provide us with some lunch and a charge before heading home. Forgetting to use the rapid charge function, which can charge the car from 10 to 80% in 40min, left us instead with just 120 miles left of range (53%) – home was 150 miles away. In the back of beyond, there’s quite an absence of rapid chargers, and with it now being 6pm, tiredness and grumpiness were beginning to set in — we needed a rapid charger and we needed it quickly. We headed for a town with an indicated rapid charger but on arrival it showed “Out of service”. Crawling to one of the next towns 37.3 miles away from Campbeltown meant we had to spend another two hours topping up, leaving us with 36% battery and 74 miles — home being now 114 miles away.

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an MG5 Trophy

Luckily, our endless research revealed another charger in a further town 37.9 miles away — it was rapidly approaching 8pm. Finally, a rapid charger – a functioning one too. Spending 20 minutes in the town topped up the battery to 60% giving us roughly about 140 miles of range. Lesson learned – if travelling long distances in an EV deep into the Scottish wilds, use the first rapid charger you see (if you can).

It was the next day and time to put the MG5’s performance to the test with the RaceBox. 154bhp and 260Nm were available in its sporty setting; turning that mode on instantly livens up the throttle response. MG claims 0-62 in 7.7sec. On a dry road with no wheelspin, the MG5 managed 0-60mph in 7.1sec and 62mph from rest in 7.6sec. Overtaking from 30-70mph was over in 7.7sec and braking from 60-0 revealed a respectable stopping distance of 43m.

Me and My Test Drive: Living with an MG5 Trophy

The MG5 covers all bases. As a useable EV, it offers decent performance, masses of room inside, a decent range and an astonishing amount of tech. Prices start from £30,995 for the base SE Long Range guise and £33,495 for the Trophy.

Find more info:
MG UK

Join the Club:
MGEV Owners Club

A super-estate for Wheeler Dealers: the Audi RS6 Avant

Audi RS6 Avant Wheeler Dealers

Mike loved his time behind the wheel of this fast Audi, but could he bag a bargain example? Of course he could…

Mike and Elvis were both hugely impressed with the performance of today’s Audi RS6 Avant, so it was a great excuse to go searching for one of their own. But with a new one costing comfortably in excess of £100,000 theirs would be a bit cheaper…

Audi RS6 Avant Wheeler Dealers

In fact, the 2005 example that Mike found had an asking price of a rather more affordable £12,500 and it was being sold by Louise on behalf of her boss. The car had been unused for a few years so that could have been a concern, but the early signs looked good.

Okay, so the headlining had been removed and looked worse for wear, but the body and paintwork were good and the luxurious cabin looked smart. And it felt good on the test drive with strong performance from the twin-turbocharged V8, although a lumpy idle would need to be investigated. Having stumped up the full asking price, it was time to head for the workshop.

Audi RS6 Avant Wheeler Dealers

The first job for Elvis was checking out the engine issue, and plugging in the diagnostic machine revealed a variety of fault codes. New mass airflow sensors were just £103 each and were easy to fit, but they didn’t cure the problem and the big Audi wasn’t nice to drive. But a further delve into the engine bay revealed a damaged seal in the inlet manifold, and with that replaced the powerful motor was back to its best.

The next task was getting the car on a ramp to check for any other problems, and Elvis found one straightaway. Corroded oil cooler pipework was causing a leak, but the fix wasn’t straightforward; attempting to undo the pipe connections damaged the oil cooler itself, but Mike came to the rescue with a used part for just £230. Good news for the budget!

Audi RS6 Avant Wheeler Dealers

And now it was time to tackle that tatty headlining, with Mike going to see trimmer, Dave. This was less good news for the budget, as the whole thing would need to be re-covered along with the various bits of trim; it meant parting with £1075. After plenty of cleaning and preparation Dave did a fantastic job of applying the new Alcantara material and it looked great once it was back in the car.

The only job left was replacing the interior pillar trims, something that Elvis tackled while Mike got to work sorting out the cloudy headlights. A bit of elbow grease and plenty of polishing compounds soon had them looking like new, and with the rear window tinting removed and the big Audi getting a thorough clean it was ready for an exciting test drive.

The boys headed to Bedford Autodrome to put the car through its paces on a circuit, and to make it a proper test they brought along a legendary sports car in the shape of a Porsche 911. How would the two compare on the track?

Audi RS6 Avant Wheeler Dealers

Mike was first to set a time in the Porsche while Elvis got behind the wheel of the RS6, and it was the supercar-baiting estate car that set the fastest time, beating the 911 by almost two seconds. What a brilliant result, and the perfect end to a cracking project. No wonder that buyer, Ian, was happy to pay £15,700 for it.

Mike said: “It’s fair to say we are super fans of the Audi RS6 Avant, its ridiculous! Strap the kids and the dogs in the boot and thrash a Porsche 911 on the way to the school drop off!

“Behind the scenes we changed the coil packs, I believe that they came in at over £100 each, however a little searching revealed that the Audi R8 upgraded packs fitted and where £30 each! Makes no sense but it worked. It goes to show that when putting a car together don’t always buy what you think, do a little research it could save you a fortune.

“Having a Porsche 911 to race the RS6 at the end was fantastic, although the lovely man who owned the car for us to use wasn’t best pleased when he saw it beaten by the Audi! I think he might own an RS6 now.”

Find more info:
Wheeler Dealers

Join the Club:
Audi Owners Club
Club Audi


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