New Cars

Austin A30
Year: 1955
Age: 68 years
Place of first registration: UK
Facts: The A30 was the post-war successor to the Austin 7. Launched in 1951, This model was purchased in 1955 from the Prideaux garage in Barnstable, Devon. It still only has 24461 miles on the clock as the original owner stopped driving and garaged it The car is Conway blue and despite having new wheels added it is still one of the most original cars in existence and will give you a great experience of what it was like to drive an original A30
We Love: The A30
Not so good: I
Austin A40 Somerset
Year: 1952
Place of first registration: Exeter
Facts: The Austin Somerset replaced the Devon in the Austin lineup and it’s swoopy styling was aimed at the American market where the Devon had been such a success. It was a big car with a separate chassis and with only 1200cc and around 40 bhp progress in a Somerset was leisurely with a 0-60 time of 36.6 seconds. Performance was not helped by poor quality petrol in the early 1950s. Nevertheless , in a production run of only 2 years, more than 170,000 Somersets were produced although there are very few left in the UK a now.
We Love: The gear change is on the steering column so there is a nice big bench front seat
Not so good: Rather a challenge on a Motorway. Best to enjoy quiet country roads and not worry about journey times.
Austin Healey 100/6
Year: 1958
Place of first registration: Surrey
Facts: In 1956 the “Big Healey” was substantially relaunched with a raft of changes including a 2.6 litre 6 cylinder engine. The alliance of Donald Healey and BMC saw both the Austin Healey Sprite and the Big Healey achieve great sales success, particularly in America where their style and performance found a ready audience. This car has been modified for sprint and hillclimb competition and has a 2912cc engine developing more than 160 bhp.
We Love: All Austin-Healey’s: elegant, fast and great fun to drive.
Not so good: This example is noisy due to its modified engine and exhaust system. Probably be better with the roof off.
Ford Granada MK1
Year: 1972
Age: 51 years
Place of first registration: UK
Facts: These early Granadas were built at Dagenham and have a silky smooth 2,5 litre V6 engine. This car has been very well looked after and drives really well. It has automatic transmission and looks great in the Sweeney colour scheme of Bronze with a Vinyl roof. It is a GXL so has all the appropriate accessories. The Mk2 Granada was never made in the UK.
We Love: The Granada
Not so good: I
Ford Granada MK3
Year: 1994
Place of first registration: Preston
Facts: It is a long time since both Ford and Vauxhall abandoned the executive segment of the car market but for those of us of a certain age , the Ford Granada was at the highly desirable end of the Company car list. This car which is a booted version is from the last year of production after eight years of great sales of the Mk3 variant. These cars are now a very rare sight.
We Love: The big car feel and the very functional and easy to live with ergonomics.
Not so good: The trim is a bit flimsy and this is only a 2 litre so a bit more power would be nice.
MG Montego 2.0 EFi
Year: 1989
Place of first registration: Birmingham
Facts: The MG Metro, Maestro and Montego were never fully appreciated by a public besotted with Fast Fords and the Vauxhall Cavalier SRI. By the late 1980s in fuel injected form, the MG Montego was a fast, competent booted saloon and its performance was surprisingly brisk.
We Love: The fact that these MG versions looked crisp and went well
Not so good: There is obvious Torque steer which was much worse on the Turbo versions!
MGZS
Year: 2002
Age: 21 years
Place of first registration: UK
Facts: The MG ZS in 2.5 litre form was a seriously quick car. This two owner from new example has been well looked after and shows that in its final years of British ownership, MG Rover still employed great engineers and designers capable of producing innovative and desirable cars. These cars were raced successfully in the British Touring Car Championship with multiple champion Colin Turkington being one of the drivers. Metallic green makes this car look every inch a racer – a true modern classic with only 55964 miles on the clock
We Love: The MGZS
Not so good: I
Mini Clubman Estate
Year: 1978
Age: 45 years
Place of first registration: UK
Facts: This car has had one previous owner and has covered less than 30,000 miles. It was originally shipped overseas and it was treated with some sort of anti rust treatment which has kept it remarkably well preserved. The Clubman Estate sold in large numbers but they are extremely rare now. This one is VERY original and gives that true stretched Mini driving experience.
We Love: The Mini Clubman
Not so good: I
Reliant Scimitar GTE
Year: 1978
Facts: Reliant hit the jackpot with the Scimitar GTE propelling the company from being primarily a purveyor of utilitarian 3 wheeled cars and vans to a being a serious contender in the luxury performance GT arena. Styled by Tom Karen of Ogle Design, the GTE successfully pioneered a new concept : the Grand Turismo Estate. The car was fit for a Princess and such was the Princess Royal’s love of the Scimitar that she owned eight of them!
We Love: it’s hard to believe that the design is almost 50 years old. It still looks modern and crisp.
Not so good: being fibreglass and having a 3 litre V6 engine means that progress is not always terribly refined. Still another Great British Car.
Reliant Scimitar SS1
Year: 1986
Facts: As sales of the Scimitar GTE declined, Reliant believed that there was a gap in the market in the late 70s with the imminent demise of British Sportscar stalwarts such as the MG Midget, MGB and Triumph Spirfire. Unfortunately for Reliant, the advent of the “hot hatch” in the form of the XR2 and Peugeot 205 GTI dampened enthusiasm for cramped two seaters with draughty and leaky hoods. Launched in 1985 , Reliant predicted sales of at least 2000 cars per year but sadly only around 1000 were ever made.
We Love: Reliant’s optimism and bravado for investing millions in developing a British sports car. It’s fun to drive.
Not so good: Although it was styled by Michelotti, the complex moulded composite panels don’t fit well and the overall impression is a bit “kit- car”. A very brave effort.
Rover Metro Cabriolet
Year: 1995
Place of first registration: Essex
Facts: Launched in 1994, the Metro Cabriolet was a brave attempt to join the drop top market for small cars. Of course the Metro was badly in need of a facelift , but with the hood down and 75 bhp from its K series engine, it was a worthy competitor for the Escort and even the Peugeot 205. The look with the hood up was less convincing and at a price of over £12000 , only a couple of thousand were ever sold , making it one of the rarest Metros around. This well cared for example is part of our founder’s collection of Metros.
We Love: The easy to erect electric hood
Not so good: Looks a bit pram -like when it’s up!
Rover SD1 3500 Vitesse
Year: 1986
Place of first registration: Kent
Facts: 500 Vitesses were sent to Lotus to have a special Twin Plenum induction system fitted which enabled the immensely successful racing cars to develop more power. This is one of those cars so it’s able to deliver well over 200bhp from its lusty V8. The SD1 was a great car : elegant, spacious and rapid. Unfortunately, build quality was patchy at best and rustproofing failed to literally stop the rot.
We Love: Another epic ,innovative, British Express
Not so good: A lot of them used by Motorway Police!
Vauxhall Chevette Saloon
Year: 1980
Age: 43 years
Place of first registration: UK
Facts: The Chevette like many cars of the 70s had only rudimentary rust protection. This rare booted version is not dissimilar to an HC Viva sharing the same engine and gearbox. Not everyone wanted a hatchback so Ford introduced the Orion and Vauxhall relented by offering the Chevette with a boot. This low mileage car is light and fun to drive and very rare.
We Love: The Chevette
Not so good: I