The perfect Pagoda rides a wave of glamour in this month’s C&SC

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In the latest issue of C&SC we get to the bottom of an age-old question: is the Mercedes-Benz W113 genuinely sporty? Mick Walsh takes the pick of the bunch – the 280SL – for a trip along the south coast of Spain from Malaga to Marbella to find out, and discovers it’s a much better driver’s car than many think.

Alastair Clements, on the other hand, is driving a car that’s visceral driving experience was never in doubt, but it wasn’t unquestionably loved like its stablemates. Ferrari’s 550 Maranello was said to look too much like a Toyota Supra, but with a quad-cam V12 and 479bhp it went like a Ferrari should. It's something of a bargain now, with prices starting below £35k. Meanwhile, it has the traditional manual gearbox and polished gate, but none of Ferrari’s latest electronic trickery save for three-stage traction control.

Something that has absolutely no electronic trickery is the Wolseley-Siddeley racer – it revs to only 1800rpm, but leaves moderns in its wake nonetheless. Our Deputy Editor James Page finds the vintage machine is more at home in the wet “because Edwardian racers were built to slide”, as he rides along with owner Ken Prichard Jones.

Delivering thrills of a completely different kind is the Mini Marcos. It doesn’t have a 10-litre behemoth under its stubby little bonnet, but James Elliott finds that it doesn’t need it. The 1275cc A-series engine it does have is plenty to bring it up to speed, while its light weight and perfect steering mean it maintains momentum with ease.

Handling perfection wasn’t a must for Andrew Roberts’ group test as he takes a look at cars that starred in the International Television Company’s classic series celebrating the phenomenon of the international man of mystery. He looks at the four-wheeled stars of The Saint, Department S, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and Man In A Suitcase. What made the cars the stars? Roberts reveals all…

Our next two feature cars were no strangers to the small screen either. Ford’s Capri and the Datsun 240Z brought six-cylinder coupés to the masses. Paul Hardiman drives the two back-to-back to see how they compare.

This month’s buyer’s guide has a look at a revolutionary four-wheel-drive hatch launched in the late ’80s. With boxy looks, Lancia’s Delta Integrale – save for its signature pumped-up arches – hid its performance well, but with a 2-litre four-cylinder engine, and the grip from the drivetrain, it was a supercar-eater and one that can still be yours for a modest outlay. As long as you look carefully. With our help you can make sure you bag a bargain.

Meanwhile, Martin Buckley has the enviable task of taking to the wheel of an Alfa Romeo 6C-2500, a car so beautiful that it was named after one of the most dazzling concours on earth.

You can add to all this our regular round-ups of news and sport, letters, art and auctions, plus the monthly update from Our classics, the fantastic discoveries in Lost & Found, not to mention columns from our monthly stalwarts.

But for now scroll below and click on the links to download our FREE monthly wallpapers.

For a fantastic pic of Mick Walsh in the Pagoda, click here.

Click here for a hard-charging Ferrari with Alastair Clements at the helm.

To see James Page enjoying the passenger ride of a lifetime in the Wolseley, click here.

Or click here for the unsurpassed glamour of Alfa’s 6C-2500 Villa d’Este Cabriolet.

And finally click here for a pick of Ford’s Capri and the Datsun Z going head-to-head.

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