Le Mans Bentley, bargain Esprits and seductive Italian soft-tops


A brand-new issue of Classic & Sports Car goes on sale in the UK today (6 August), and it’s filled to the rafters with fresh classic content. From a barnstorming Le Mans Bentley to futuristic Lotus and DeLorean wedges, there’s something to suit every taste.

This month’s cover features the unmistakable and imposing shape of a Bentley Speed Six – none other than Old Number Three, the veteran Le Mans and Brooklands campaigner. James Elliott revels in putting most prejudices to bed as he tests the roaring behemoth to the full in the grounds of the stunning Blenheim Palace, setting for this year’s Salon Privé Concours. Find out what it’s like to follow in the footsteps of 'Sammy' Davis and the Bentley Boys. 

Next up is an altogether less successful model: the MGC. Panned at its release and long-ridiculed in pub taprooms and village greens, the straight-six ‘60s classic hasn’t had an easy ride. But does it deserve better? Martin Buckley steps into a standard C in roadster trim and a musclebound tin-top Sebring replica, and discovers that there’s more to recommend the model than most may think. We get an expert’s advice on how to turn a wallowing example into a true track great. 

In contrast, the Aston Martin Spa Replica is no stranger to racing, having been victorious against stiff competition, including Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari 166 in the 1948 Spa 24 Hours. The country lanes criss-crossing Surrey are a world away from endurance racing, but it proves the perfect place to get to grips with the unlikely champion. Mick Walsh enjoys a spirited drive before delving into the incredible history of one of the most unusual Aston Martins of the post-war era. 

If you prefer your classics a bit younger – or are a big James Bond fan – you’re in for a treat with our Lotus Esprit head-to-head. Both first generation S1 and the less angular SE are surprisingly affordable, which presents a difficult choice for us window shoppers: which to go for? Ross Alkureishi navigates choppy waters between those who appreciate the SE’s more modern features over the pure lines of the lightweight Giugiaro original. 

A pair of striking Italian soft-tops brighten up the otherwise gloomy English countryside for our 1960s twin test: Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider takes on its period rival, the earlier Lancia Flaminia 2.5. The later car certainly has the power, but can it compete with the Lancia’s shapely Superleggera coachwork and supple handling? Simon Charlesworth pulls on his driving gloves and dreams of the Amalfi coast.

For a taste of more affordable classic motoring, look no further than the Renault 16. The little French oddity has all but disappeared from Britain’s roads, ensuring our fantastic trio – a TS bookended by early L and run-out TX models – drew plenty of attention around Notley Abbey. As in period, you could be tempted by a Landcrab or Wolseley 16/60 – but why not let Andrew Roberts make a case for the Continental alternative?

Catch up with the latest news, including highlights from the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the inaugural Flywheel Festival and the £30m classic lineup at the Hope Classic Rally, plus get the low down on the DVLA’s stance regarding new recreations and age-related registration numbers. 

Excitement is also building for Classic & Sports Car – The London Show, with news that tickets are now on sale. Click here to order yours

Martin Buckley, Mick Walsh, Simon Taylor and James Elliott off their monthly columns, while you can keep up to date with Martin Port’s Volkswagen Beetle, Alastair Clements’ Suzuki Whizzkid and Tim Bulley’s Land-Rover in the Our Classics pages. 

There’s also a full Goodwood Revival preview supplement, plus the opportunity to win one of 30 pairs of tickets to the event. Click here to enter

Before getting stuck into the new issue, why not download one of our fantastic free wallpapers?

Click here for full terms and conditions. 

Click here for our Bentley Speed Six wallpaper

For the MGC duo, click here

Click here for a superb image of the Spa Replica Aston Martin

If Lotuses are your thing, click here

Click here to see Alfa take on Lancia

For our Renault 16 triple test, click here


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