An incredible set of four legendary Jaguar saloons take pride of place in the brand-new issue of Classic & Sports Car, which goes on sale in the UK today (7 January). They’re joined by an exclusive drive in the unique Ferrari Testarossa created for Fiat boss Gianna Agnelli, a manic road-legal Lotus Type 47 and a Grand Prix Bugatti once belonging to lady racer Hellé Nice, plus an exclusive tour round Ross Brawn's classic cars from the F1 supremo himself.
The new year brings fresh perspectives, with an insightful assessment of some of Jaguar’s finest saloons, from the MkI through to the 420, the group starring on the cover of the February issue. Martin Buckley drives four examples, ranging in specification from the entry-level 2.4-litre model to the more technologically advanced and luxurious 3.4-litre Mk2.
Legendary lady racer Hellé Nice’s life story is part fairytale part Greek tragedy, from rubbing shoulders with high society to winning races on the biggest stage, and eventually disappearing into obscurity. Her incredible career is remembered by Angela Hucke, who takes the wheel of Nice’s Bugatti Type 35 to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering racer, while digging into the archives of The Bugatti Trust to better understand the woman behind the legend.
One of just a handful of examples, the Lotus Type 47 tested by marque fanatic James Elliott is worthy of closer inspection. To the untrained eye it appears to be a Lotus Europa, but look beneath its thin GRP body and you realise this Lotus is 100% racer. Elliott puts the car’s 175bhp to the test, and is astounded by its pin-sharp handling and stomach-churning performance.
Giovanni Agnelli was well known for his good taste, so it should come as no surprise that the only Ferrari Testarossa convertible ever built by the firm was commissioned by the Italian businessman. Truly unique, the soft-top is a beautifully executed variant, which includes a number of remarkable options – some of which only became known after climbing behind the wheel. James Page becomes a playboy for the day.
Few men have made such an impact on the world of top-flight motor racing than Ross Brawn, but his passions extend much further than the Formula One paddock. The former team boss has held a lifelong affection for cars, while his personal collection numbers more than 30 vehicles including the ex-Rob Walker, Tourist Trophy-winning Short wheelbase that was a favourite of Sir Stirling Moss. Richard Heseltine is hosted by Brawn, who takes us on a tour of his collection and a ride in the famous Ferrari.
Next up is a remarkable creation, the one-of-a-kind Motto-bodied Goldmanini. By the time it was bought by its current owner, band member in supergroup Coldplay Guy Berryman, it had covered scarcely 60 miles, including just one appearance on track. Paul Hardiman charts this wonderful barchetta’s restoration, while also taking it for a raucous, Simca 1100S-powered leg stretch through the countryside.
No calendar year would be complete without a Poor Boys Tour, and this year’s trip was a memorable occasion. The team passed on another trip overseas, choosing instead to take in some of England’s finest hillclimbs, and to show support for the Thatcham Classic and Bicester Heritage. Of course, not everything went to plan: the Jensen never made the start line, and it wasn’t the only classic to need a bit of assistance!
A full roundup of the Classic & Sports Car team’s year heads the news section, which also includes coverage of RM Sotheby’s record Ferrari 290MM, the Essen Motor Show and Barcelona’s AutoRetro celebration. The hardy participants on the 2015 Lands End to John O’Groats take the lead in Sport, followed by the Historic Sporting Trials Association’s West Malling, Kent meeting.
There are columns from the usual suspects, with Simon Taylor musing on using films to advertise classics, while James Elliott laments the loss of the Classic & Sports Car workshop.
Port’s Volkswagen Beetle puts in an appearance in Our Classics, alongside Alain de Cadenet’s Alfa Romeo 8C and Martin Buckley’s Lancia Gamma Berlina.
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