Coombs Jaguar Mk2, one-off Nembo Ferrari and top bargain sports cars in packed March issue

| 2 Feb 2017

The brand-new March issue of Classic & Sports Car hits the shelves in the UK today, and it’s bursting with incredible classics, ranging from one of the sexiest Ferraris of all time through to our pick of this year’s top three bargain sports cars. John Coombs’ hot Mk2 is the subject of this month’s epic reader resto, while Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz’ take each other on in our test of sub-£15,000, 300bhp supercoupés. 

Many of us feel an emotional connection to our classics, but for Richard Grimmond, the restoration of his Jaguar Mk2 was a poignant dedication to his former guv’nor, John Coombs. Grimmond’s first job was as an apprentice at the legendary Coombs Garage, where he began a journey that would culminate in hundreds of hours spent piecing together one of Coombs’ final projects. 

Those who enjoy a bargain are sure to be tempted by our trio of supercoupés, comprising Porsche Cayman S, Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG and BMW Z4M, all of which can be bought for less than half what they cost new. Despite their comparable power outputs and performance figures, different layouts and power plants offer a unique driving experience. Mid-engined, front-engined, straight-six or V8, there’s something for everyone.

We roll the clock back to 1948 as Jon Pressnell takes a look at the Panhard Dynavia, the aerodynamic concept that stunned the motoring world on its Paris Salon debut. The futuristic streamliner now resides in the Cite de l’Automobile in Mulhouse, where it has been returned to running order ahead of being tested on the road – all 28bhp (and 80mph!) of it.

If the story of Squire was pitched to a Hollywood studio, chances are it would be deemed too far-fetched to be credible. The remarkable teenaged engineer Adrian Squire not only created his own car, but one so well appointed and finished as to rival the likes of Aston Martin, Lagonda and even Alfa Romeo. James Elliott relays the fascinating tale while inspecting one of just seven examples ever produced. 

Next, Malcolm Thorne shines a light on three two-seater sports cars that enjoyed the limelight before the arrival of Mazda’s game-changing MX-5: the Toyota MR2, Fiat X1/9 and Reliant Scimitar SS1. Three owners share their experiences and passion for their preferred model, one of which, the SS1, is the first of its type ever built. With examples of each model available from as little as £2000, this test is sure to have you browsing the classified ads. 

The most beautiful car in this month’s issue is surely the unique Ferrari 330GT Nembo Spyder. The one-off roadster became the fifth Ferrari special produced by the firm, but it’s journey from the drawing board to the road was bumpy, to say the least. Malcolm Thorne charts its progress, from unfinished commission to concours-winning condition, rounded off with a spirited drive through the country.

Hand-built for discerning buyers, the Mercedes-Benz Universal and Vanden Plas Countryman are the zenith of 1960s estate. Andrew Roberts gets behind the wheel of both rare shooting brakes and enters a world of Young Farmers’ dances and John Le Carré novels. 

Also impressively rare is a brace of Alfettas, the last clean-sheet, rear-drive saloon produced by an independent Alfa. Our resident Alfisti Simon Charlesworth is charged with testing a 2000 alongside a later 1.8-litre model. We make no promises regarding his impartiality: one of the cars is his own!

Thousands of you flocked to events up and down the country on New Year’s Day, coverage of which kicks off this month’s news section. David Evans’ provides first-person coverage of the brilliant Traversee de Paris, while Volkswagens of every shape and size take over Baguio City – Summer Capital of the Philippines. 

Julian Balme’s Triumph TR4 racer begins it’s resurrection in Our Classics, joined by Port’s Trans-Africa Landie and Elliott’s Triumph 2.5PI.

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Coombs Jaguar Mk2

Porsche Cayman S, BMW Z4M and Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG


Ferrari 330GT Nembo Spyder

Mercedes-Benz Universal and Vanden Plas Countryman

Alfa Romeo Alfetta duo