The brand-new January issue of Classic & Sports Car officially hits the news-stands today (4 December). The packed magazine is headlined by a fabulous brace of Jaguar saloons, followed closely by a stunning set of Bugatti Brescias and Le Mans legend Derek Bell on the incredible Porsche 956 962. But there's much more to pique your interest: the C&SC team take its classics on a remembrance drive to Flanders Fields, plus there's a brilliant free classic calendar to plan your year ahead.
This month's cover features a brace of Jaguar XJ saloons – one with six cylinders and the other with 12. Who else but Martin Buckley could test Jaguar's top executive saloons around the picturesque grounds of Wappenbury Hall! Both the XJ6 and XJ12 models offer a wonderfully luxurious driving experience, but each has its own unique charms and quirks. Buckley weighs up the pros and cons – but can he choose between them?
A touch of glamour is offered by Mick Walsh's in-depth look at one of Bugatti's greatest designs: the Brescia. We gather three lightweight masterpieces and put them through their paces on the road, plus we analyse the engineering hallmarks that were carried through to the Le Mans-winning 'Tank' of 1937 and '39. To top it off, the owners are on-hand to share their experiences, from tackling hillclimbs to historic trials. It isn't to be missed.
Still with the racing theme, but at an altogether quicker pace, Richard Heseltine looks back at the dominant Group C Porsche 956 962 with a little help from Le Mans legend Derek Bell. The history of one of the formula's most striking racers is charted from its beginnings in 1982, through to the death of Group C less than a decade later – and beyond. We take a look beneath the skin of the turnkey racer to discover what made it a favourite of sports car stars, gentleman drivers and privateers.
Away from the track, the C&SC team marked a hugely important milestone in world history – the centenary of the start of WW1 – by taking a remembrance tour to the battlefields of Belgium and France. Jensen Interceptor, NSU Ro80 and Austin-Healey 3000 all set a course for Ypres, passing through Passchendaele and Poperinge along the way. One member of the team made a more personal pilgrimage, visiting the resting place of a relative who fell during the Great War.
Maranello's forgotten masterpiece is next in our sights – the sublime Ferrari 365GTC. Mick Walsh travels to South America to drive the understated two-seater along Argentina's Ruta Nacional, revelling in the sound of the 4.4-litre, 320bhp V12. As the 365GTC climbs into the Andes, we discover why this subtly-designed coupe is frequently hailed as the most elegant touring Ferrari of all time.
Going even further off-piste, two of the team try their hand at off-road adventuring in the company of the recently-formed Historic Sporting Trials Association. Cannons, Imhoffs and Cranfords are all thumped into first and driven up muddy slopes in one of the most exciting and easily accessible forms of motorsport catering for lightweight historics. Click here to see a video of the action.
A Humber and Vanden Plas twin test offers an interesting comparison for those who enjoy a bit more comfort in their cars. The Imperial takes on the Princess – just at it did in the 1960s – to compete for the attention of Andrew Roberts. The 4-litre engine in the Princess leads the Imperial's BMC 'six' by 50bhp, but does the latter's stately Thrupp & Maberly coachwork and sumptuous interior offer enough compensation?
Perhaps the biggest story in news was the season-closing Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, to which we have devoted three pages. A full round-up of C&SC Club Awards marks the greatest of your efforts in 2014, while we also cover in-depth the annual pilgrimage to Madeira Drive for the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
We also announce a superb new classic car show at London's Alexandra Palace in 2015 – the international Classic & Sports Car Show. More than 300 motoring works of art will take to England's capital, offering 15,000 people the best opportunity to buy and sell collector cars in the UK.
Of course, the musings of your favourite contributors are here, from Mick Walsh's retrospective of Hamish Moffatt through to Simon Taylor's ode to the humble sub-editor.
Before you get stuck into the magazine, why not download some of our fantastic wallpapers from this month's issue? Click here for the terms and conditions.