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When did you last see - a Ford Consul "Base"

It would be fair to say that Dan Godley is a dyed in the wool Ford Granada enthusiast.

After I passed my driving test in 1994 I bought a 2-Litre for £40’. AEV 252 L is his fifth member of this dynasty of Fords  - and one of the few surviving examples of the Ford Consul “Base”.

There is ‘no heated rear screen, plain bumpers and only one interior light. It does have a clock, but it must have been added as an optional extra!’

Ford Consul “Base”

When the Ford for the sophisticated ‘Seventies’ debuted in March 1972 the Granada name was restricted to the upmarket versions while the revived Consul badge denoted the cheaper models.

The latter sported a different grille, and the engine choices comprised the 2-Litre V4 or the 2.5-Litre V6, plus the Consul GT, which offered the 3-Litre “Essex” unit and sports trappings. 

The Ford PR Film Two at the Top gives equal prominence to the top-of-the-range Granada and the Consul, for each was vital to Dagenham’s marketing plans.

The GXL targeted Zodiac/Executive Mk. IV owners and motorists who might otherwise consider the Rover 3500 P6B or the Triumph 2.5 PI Mk. II. It’s cheaper stablemate was for Zephyr 4/6 Mk. IV drivers and for fleet and private buyers who regarded the equally new Vauxhall Victor 1800 FE as lacking in durability.

Meanwhile, the latest Austin/Morris 2200 was FWD and altogether a little too unconventional while the Chrysler 180 was built in France at a time when fleet managers still tended to “Buy British”.

AEV dates from March 1973 and Dan notes the subtle differences from the 1972-models; ‘the gold stripe and the different hub-caps’.

Post-December 1973  Consuls were fitted with partially reclining front seats, but this “Base” has fixed backrests.

Ford Consul interior

There are also inertia reel seat belts that are somewhat more comfortable than the standard static fittings. Dan’s Ford has also been retro-equipped with reversing lights, and he drily notes that the first owner ‘was fond of the 1970s accessories. He fitted an eight-track later replaced by a cassette player – plus an electric ariel. There were those awful plastic speakers screwed into the plastic trim in the front footwells’.

The Godley Ford once sported a factory-fitted vinyl roof, wing mirrors and Granada wheel trims and overrides but Dan decides to remove these.

The result is the Consul “au Naturelle” with no descriptions to detract from its extremely well - proportioned lines. Gone is the “Mid-Atlantic” look of its Zephyr predecessor in favour of a low-key and purposeful appearance.  

Ford Consul dashboard

Nor was the limited specification of the “Base” at all unusual for a bottom-of-the range car in 1973 - the Victor FE and the six-cylinder BLMC “Landcrab” also followed a minimalist approach to creature comforts.

After all, a company car with a rear folding armrest could make a sales rep. idle, decadent and altogether devoid of corporate ambition.

The Consul also dates from a time, let us not forget, when the roads were often dominated by rusting ten-year-old models - just look at the backgrounds of films or television programmes of the early 1970s. 

The arrival of any new car on your driveway would have provided a talking point for the neighbours, especially one as imposing as the Ford.

Ford Consul

An Evergreen Consul would have truly contrasted with the second-hand Austin A60 Cambridges and Singer Vogues in the car park at the local Sainsbury’s.

Ford offered the Consul until 1975 when Granada-badged successors replaced the range.

This comparatively limited production run combined with the poor survival rate for entry-level cars means that this Consul Base is rarer than a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.

Dan recalls seeing a Ford brochure featuring the early Consuls and Granadas ‘about thirty years ago and I fell in love with the “Evergreen Metallic” paint finish’.

His quest for a car in the shade was a challenging one as ‘it was discontinued in autumn 1973’, but he saw AEV advertised on eBay in 2008.  

In terms of its history, the Consul was bought by a Basildon pharmacist named Brian Baker ‘who owned the car from nine months old - he traded in a Cortina Mk. II Estate. I found out from his daughter that although the car was last taxed in 1993, he kept it until around 2007 as the car was being vandalised in its lock-up. He was hoping to drive it again but had had a stroke in 1993 and never recovered fully to drive again’. The Consul was Mr. Baker’s ‘pride and joy, and he mainly used the car for family holidays’.

This vandalism meant ‘Brian decided to reluctantly sell the car but couldn’t get a buyer, so they had to PAY someone to take it away! I’m assuming that would be the scrapyard where it ended up. Fortunately, they had the foresight to sell the car as it was too good for the crusher or broken for parts...’ Dan did not buy the Consul in 2008, and it was eventually acquired by a friend who was a Granada expert – ‘he has seven or eight’.   This gentleman had plans to convert AEV ‘into a GT replica, but he thought the Consul was too original’.

Dan had first refusal on this fine car, and in March 2013, it was finally transported to Nottinghamshire.

She was in a sorry but not rotten state’. The restoration process ‘took five and a half years in total. The shell was surprisingly solid. The only panels replaced were the front wings with genuine Ford ones’.

These were the most difficult parts to source, and Mr. Godley was ‘very lucky to find them near Dagenham – drove all the way down to Essex to collect them’.  

The doors, rear wings, bonnet, sills boot lid and rear arches ‘are all original to the car. They had some rust in but mainly bashed and dented. I found a good guy to do the paintwork locally who did a fantastic job of that!’

On the road Dan thought the 2-Litre V4 engine to be ‘fine. It is a bit quirky and a little noisy at speed, but it actually performs and drives surprisingly well’.

By late 1974 this unit was replaced by the OHC “Pinto” unit which Mr. Godley finds ‘better at mid-and top speed’ although the V4 does offer more ‘low-down torque’.

The Consul “Base” is naturally devoid of power steering – ‘it is not excessively heavy, but I do slightly miss PAS when driving at parking speeds!’.

As for the public reaction Dan’s splendid “Base, it tends to vary from ‘that’s absolutely stunning’ ‘to ‘Can’t remember seeing one for years’. And such praise is wholly appropriate for the Ford that is ‘elegantly sculptured with a sporting flavour’.

WITH THANKS TO – DAN GODLEY

Why choose Lancaster Insurance?

Here at Lancaster, we love classic cars as much as you do and we understand what it takes to protect them for future generations.

We have links with some of the top classic car clubs around the country and some of our policies even offer discounts of up to 25% for club members.

Other benefits of classic car insurance through Lancaster can include:

  • Historic rally cover
  • Static show cover
  • Limit mileage discounts
  • Choice of repairer
  • 24-hour claims helpline

Give your classic the protection it deserves and get a quote for your Classic Ford today.  

 

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04 June 2021

The best supercars of the 1980s

Depending on who you speak to, the 1980s, with its big hair, big shoulder pads and even bigger personalities, was either a decade that should be fondly remembered or forgotten altogether. The supercars from this era were equally ‘bold and brash’, with their large rear-wings and over-sized vents – and we love them for it.

Murray Walker - A life in motorsport

The death of legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker, aged 97, led to an outpouring of tributes, underlining how much of an admired figure he was in the world of motorsport.

01 June 2021

RARER THAN RARE – THE HILLMAN GT

Back in 1969, a new Hillman GT was the perfect car for “String-Back-Driving-Gloves Man”. It had it all: the rev counter mounted atop the dashboard, the high-backed front seats and, of course, the ‘Go-Faster’ stripes. At £962, it was also £24 cheaper than a four-door Ford Cortina GT, while there was more than enough room in the glove box for a bottle of Hai Karate.

May 2021

28 May 2021

Best driving roads in the UK

As a classic car owner, you want to be able to drive your vintage motor on some of the best roads that the British Isles has to offer. It’s easy to forget that we’re blessed with some incredible landscapes here in the UK – it’s just a case of knowing where to find them.

Classic cars from British TV comedies

Over the decades, vintage motors have played iconic roles in many great British TV comedies. Just think: how would Del Boy have got up to his wheeler-dealer tricks without his three-wheeler?

Our favourite Ferraris

Every car enthusiast has their favourite Ferrari. Some – like us – can’t narrow it down to just one and have a whole list of Ferraris that hold a special place in their hearts.

TALKING PICTURES TELEVISION – A CELEBRATION

This week marks the sixth anniversary of a television channel that is a source of delight to classic machinery and cinema fans alike. After all, who needs the likes of Celebrity Supermarket Warehouse Shift Worker and Help – Even My Agent Has Forgotten My Name?

24 May 2021

Exploring Norfolk and the Broads by campervan

Whether you’re planning a solo staycation, a trip with your partner or a family holiday, Norfolk and the Norfolk Broads is the place to head. In this article we’ll cover what to see, where to stay and learn a little bit more about this fascinating area of the country.

21 May 2021

The UK’s best racetracks

in the UK, we’re lucky enough to have some of the world’s best racing on our doorstep, with countless amazing circuits hosting races throughout each year.

19 May 2021

Classic cars from Russia and the Soviet Union

From 1924 to 1971, the USSR only manufactured one million vehicles. But it still managed to produce some memorable cars, albeit often heavily influenced by Western manufacturers. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best of them.

18 May 2021

MEET THE OWNER – JAMES EBDEN AND HIS MORRIS MARINA SUNTOR

The year is 1982. Adam Ant’s solo record Goody Two Shoes is topping the charts, and the tabloid press is ranting how a forthcoming BBC programme called The Young Ones will cause the end of civilisation. Meanwhile, a holiday in Weymouth awaits, and your home from home is a Morris Marina 575 Suntor. James Ebden’s rather stunning example is a reminder of this camper’ popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

MEET THE OWNER – SIMON DWYER AND HIS 1959 POLICE MGA

As Goodwood has scheduled the Revival for the 17th to 19th of September, there is no better time to celebrate its famous “Pace Car”. Just as notable, Simon Dwyer’s 1959 MGA 1600 Mk 1 is one of the few surviving cars from Lancashire Constabulary’s traffic fleet.

17 May 2021

60 YEARS OF THE FORD CONSUL CLASSIC

Sixty years ago, Dagenham unveiled a new model that could not be mistaken for any other car. The Consul Classic was the epitome of scaled-down Americana, from its quad headlamps to its tail fins and reverse-angle rear screen. Any driver who affected a Bob Monkhouse-style mid-Atlantic patois instantly craved the “long low look” and motorway pace of “the new look of British motoring”.

The Transport Café – A Celebration

While some forms of roadside building have gone the way of AA and RAC telephone boxes, it is heartening to come across a surviving transport café. The Ace, near Wembley, which opened in 1938, is possibly the best known. Another name that will be familiar to many readers is Kate’s Cabin on the A1.

14 May 2021

How to spot a classic car scam online

How can you ensure that your dream Dodge is not a dodgy deal? And if you’re selling, how can you be confident that your buyers – and their payments – are real?

MG Owners’ Club 2021 (sponsored by Lancaster Insurance) Race Meeting at Mallory Park, 5th May

The first race meeting of The MG Owners’ Club 2021 season – at Mallory Park Racing Circuit – was boosted by the debuts of several drivers, writes Jim Baynam. The race had its usual quotient of high-octane thrills and was the inaugural such event for Carl Bate (MGBGT), Anthony Bate (Maestro), Mathieu Dore (MGBGT), Jack Woodcock (ZR) and Tim Grigsby (TF).

13 May 2021

Brief history of Land Rover

Right up there with the plucky vim and vigour of the original Mini and the elegant power of the Jaguar E-Type, the rough and tough all-terrain Land Rover is synonymous with Great Britain.

10 fascinating facts about DeLorean

The DeLorean DMC-12 is synonymous with the Back to the Future series, of course. But there’s much more to this classic car than a movie appearance or three.

11 May 2021

Club of the month - MG Octagon Car Club

With more than 2,000 members in the UK and across the world, our Club of the Month is the MG Octagon Car Club.

07 May 2021

MEET THE OWNER - DANNY HOPKINS AND HIS MORRIS MARINA

On the 27th of April, the Morris Marina celebrated its 50th birthday, and one of many enthusiasts is Danny Hopkins, the editor of Practical Classics Magazine:

Classic four-seater convertibles

There’s a lot to be said for owning a four-seater classic convertible, as opposed to a two-seater. Above all else, they offer an element of practicality – so if you want to go away for the weekend, there’s room for luggage as well as three passengers.

Best classic car clubs for American cars

When it comes to car design, the Americans clearly believe in excess. While it’s not to everyone’s tastes, you can’t deny it’s led to some incredible machines over the years. The classic car world would undoubtedly be a more boring place without the likes of the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger roaring up to classic car shows around the country.

60th anniversary of the E-Type Jaguar

The Jaguar E-Type is one of the most famous cars of all time. Described as a “combination of beauty, high performance, and competitive pricing”, it sits high on pretty much every classic car enthusiast’s most wanted list (unfortunately, for most people, it remains there forever). Having now turned 60, the E-Type’s appeal and good looks show no signs of fading.

05 May 2021

60 YEARS OF THE CITROEN AMI 6

On the 25th April 1961, Citroën unveiled its latest model and issued a warning to all motorists: “If you believe that the characteristics of a car - performance, comfort, safety - necessarily on the number of horsepower, the amount of superfluous chrome trim or high cylinder capacity and corresponding fixed costs are to be measured, then do not concern yourself further with the Ami 6!”

THE METROPOLITAN 1500 REVISITED

Both during its lifetime and after, the British-market Metropolitan 1500 received some very mixed reviews. The Motor of 3rd April 1957 noted in a very imperious fashion that the reader would be able to “…place his own emphasis on its traits according to his own tastes and circumstances…”. In other words – if you buy this car, you run the risk of being regarded as a vulgarian and quite possibly a cad into the bargain.

The MG Midget – A Celebration

When MG introduced ‘the new Midget’ in June 1961, some Abingdon traditionalists were decidedly unhappy. A Mr. R. Gowring ranted in a letter to Motor Sport: “I am one of numerous MG Midget owners who regard the ‘New Midget’ with an air of disdain. I say the ‘New Midget.’ Mr. Courtenay Edwards, the motoring correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, calls it “the Austin Healey Sprite wearing a false moustache and dark glasses,” which I feel is a much better description.”

April 2021

28 April 2021

How to get back behind the wheel after a break

Driving is just like riding a bike; you never forget how, but after a bit of a break, you may be a little rusty. However, you don’t want that rustiness to lead to an unwelcome incident out on the road, which could cost you dearly.

What is the Lakeland Motor Museum?

For many fans of classic cars, planning a trip to the Lakeland Motor Museum is a dream come true! This unique place is truly devoted to all things motoring. From getting up close to classic vintage cars and motorbikes to immersing yourself in some of the greatest moments in UK motoring history, there’s really no place quite like it.

Our favourite classic Vauxhalls

Vauxhall is not often spoken about as a brand that builds great cars. But as the UK’s oldest surviving car brand, with models rolling off its production line as early as 1903, its motors really stand the test of time.

27 April 2021

4x4 Insurance Update

With lock down restrictions on travel being gradually eased within the four nations, albeit it at differing rates, we’re receiving queries regarding 4x4 insurance and what is covered as people look ahead to getting back on the open road. Here Andrew Evanson, Senior Operations Manager at Lancaster Insurance, talks about what is covered with our 4x4 policies.

21 April 2021

All about the Nürburgring

The Nürburgring is a bucket-list destination for just about every petrolhead on the planet. It attracts some two million visitors each year and is, without doubt, one of the premier automotive attractions in the world.

8 fast facts about the VW Beetle

The VW Beetle has claims to be one of the best cars to ever go into production. Designed to be the ‘people’s car’, its appeal spanned cultures and generations, going on to become one of the best-selling cars of all time. It remained in production for more than 80 years, with Volkswagen eventually calling time in 2019.

16 April 2021

Best UK distilleries to visit by campervan

Did you know that the UK boasts more than 300 distilleries, producing gin, vodka and whisky? A trip to one of these can make for a very nice day out – you just need to find somewhere safe to leave the campervan so you can properly enjoy your tipple!

MEET THE OWNER – MARTIN HUGHES AND HIS VAUXHALL CAVALIER SR

It is hard to believe that the Vauxhall Cavalier Mk. II is fast approaching its 40th birthday, and even more difficult to appreciate how rare they now are. There are just two examples of the SR on the road and Martin Hughes’ 1982 four-door is believed to be the last Jamaica Yellow model in the UK.

ONE FAMILY FROM NEW – A MORRIS OXFORD TAXI IN GREECE

Any Morris Oxford Series VI is a car worthy of great respect – especially this 1969 example owned by Costas Georgopoulos. His father acquired it new, and the Farina served the family and the Peloponnese seaport town Nafplio as a taxi for many years.

THE FIAT 127 AT 50

To celebrate 50 years of the 127 – 27 facts about this ground-breaking Fiat:

20 FACTS ABOUT THE MORRIS MARINA

The Morris Marina will celebrate its 50th birthday later this month, and we plan to feature an exceptional example on the actual date. For now, here are twenty fascinating facts about a much-misunderstood car:

15 April 2021

RARER THAN RARE – THE RENAULT 20 TX

According to How Many Are Left?, just 15 examples of the Renault 20 TX Automatic remain on the road in the UK. Forty years ago, they were regarded as desirable transport – well-appointed, versatile, extremely comfortable and with a certain degree of panache. More importantly, this example, co-owned by Chris Salter and Reg Duffett, was once the daily driver of a great friend to the classic community.

THE FIAT 130 COUPE AT 50

50 years ago, Fiat unveiled one of their most beautiful cars: the 10 Coupe. It was not just a belated heir to the 2300S and the Lance Flaminia Coupe but a car fit to rival the BMW 3.0CS and the Mercedes-Benz 280CE. Famous owners included (but of course) Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

THE WORLD’S FINEST BUS? – THE CITROEN U55 ‘CITYRAMA’

In 1956, the French travel firm Groupe Cityrama commissioned the famed coachbuilder Currus to build transport suitable for a new generation of tourists.

THE AUSTIN A30/A35 COUNTRYMAN – A CELEBRATION

In 1954, the motorist in search of a small estate-car had four options. The recently launched Morris Minor Traveller looked most appealing, while the new Hillman Husky was essentially a modified Commer Cob van.

CARRY ON CAMPING – IN A 1961 COMMER ‘MAIDSTONE’

The year is 1961 and, somewhere in Hampshire, a family is en route to their summer holiday near Swanage. Dad is ranting about those Ton-up boys, Mum dreams of Laurence Harvey, their daughter reads about John Leyton in Mirabelle magazine, while son plots his way to owning a Corgi model of the Citroën DS19.

Best car shows of 2021

For classic car owners and enthusiasts, nothing beats the excitement of a classic car show. This is especially true in the UK, which is home to a glittering array of world-leading classic car events. These shows provide the opportunity to see some of the best and rarest vehicles in the world up close, maybe even purchasing one of your own.

12 of the best car movies of all time

Cars make movies. Movies make cars. The two go together as well as just about anything. We can’t imagine a time that car movies go out of fashion. At lease, we hope not.

14 April 2021

Best VW owners clubs in the UK

Volkswagen has enjoyed the best of times of late. The German manufacturer has famously been involved in an emissions scandal which dates back to 2008 has so far cost the company €30bn (£25bn) – and it’s rising. But VW still has a strong fanbase – especially among classic car owners.

Best Instagram accounts for classic car enthusiasts

Did you know that more than 30 million people in the UK are now using Instagram, the photo and video sharing social networking service? And numbers are growing year on year. Classic car enthusiasts are not wasting the opportunity to utilise the platform either, posting thousands of pictures of rare and classic vehicles for us all to enjoy.

13 April 2021

How to take perfect pictures of your classic car

We’ve put together this handy guide to some of the basics you need to understand in order to take the perfect picture of your classic. Making your car stand out from the crowd has never been easier.

THE TALBOT SAMBA – A CELEBRATION

Of all the cars celebrating their 40th birthday in 2021, the Samba is one of the rarest, with just 19 remaining in use. They were the last new car to bear the Talbot badge - and one that represented a fresh direction for the brand.

The Reliant Scimitar GTC – A Celebration

Looking at the Scimitar GTC, it is hard to believe that it debuted in the same year as the Audi Quattro, the Austin Mini Metro and the Ford Escort Mk3. This is not to imply that the Reliant looked at all dated, for it was a true Grand Tourer; handsome, purposeful and always looking ready for a dash along the A27 to Goodwood.

Five special edition Ford Escort Mk2s

In 1979, there would have been few keen motorists unaware that Ford was planning a radical new third-generation Escort – a front-wheel-drive hatchback no less. In the meantime, there was a spate of Limited Edition Mk2s.

The Triumph 2.5 P.I. Mk1 – A Celebration

The 2000 made its bow at the 1963 London Motor Show and by the mid-1960s Canley was already considering a more powerful version. One option was enhancing the 1,998cc-engine to create the ‘2000TS’.

12 April 2021

Multi-vehicle FAQ

At Lancaster Insurance, we’re seeing a greater number of enthusiasts owning more than one vehicle. To help take away the stress of multiple renewal dates and cluttered paperwork, below is more information on our multi-vehicle policies and how they may help you!

09 April 2021

10 fast facts about the Mini

As a Mini enthusiast, you might think you know all there is to know about the British’s people’s car. But, put your knowledge to the test with these ten fast facts about this brilliant British icon.

Cars driven by celebrities before they were famous

Being classic car enthusiasts, we tend to judge celebrities by the cars that they drive. So, the likes of Chris Evans and Rowan Atkinson, who are well known for their love of classic cars, are top of our list (we don’t actually have a list of our favourite celebrities, of course).

8 of the best mid-engine classics

There’s nothing middle of the road about a mid-engine motor. Many high-end sports cars have their engines in front of the rear axle, making for a vehicle that’s supremely easy to handle even at top speed.

The most impressive car collections in the world

If you had all the money in the world and wanted to put together the classic car collection of your dreams, which vehicles would you choose? Every classic car lover has a dream team they would build if they become filthy rich. How do real-life millionaire car lovers spend their cash?

THE LAGONDA 3-LITRE – THE CAR OF HRH THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH

Of all the many motor-cars associated with the late HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, perhaps the most famous is his Lagonda 3-Litre Drophead. It was a vehicle renowned for its performance, comfort, and, most notably, an innate sense of gravitas in its heyday.

08 April 2021

Club of the month - Land Rover Series 3, 90 &110 Owners Club

Celebrating its’ 30th birthday in July this year, the Club started as a national enthusiast club for the Series 3 and later encompassed coil sprung 90 and 110 vehicles due to popular demand. Today, the Club caters for all models and members don’t necessarily have to own or drive a Landy to join, just have an interest in them!

Best coastal classic car drives in the UK

From the White Cliffs of Dover to the Giant’s Causeway, British coastlines are both steeped in history and endlessly beautiful. It’s a dream for owners of a classic car who live for those escapes, getting behind the wheel and setting off to make unforgettable memories.

History of car safety features

When you get behind the wheel of a modern car, you’re entering a space that has been shaped by generations of automotive engineers. You can almost date a vehicle by the safety features that are built in – a fascinating area for classic car lovers.

MEET THE OWNER – DAVID FOOT AND HIS RENAULT 18TD ESTATE

For a car that was not uncommon on British roads during the 1980s, the 18 seems to have been largely forgotten. It deserves to be better remembered for it was a Renault of many good qualities and a more than viable alternative to a Vauxhall Cavalier or the Ford Sierra.

5 top campervan owners clubs in the UK

Owning a campervan is a real joy. It gives you the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like and take all your home comforts with you. It allows you to be more active, spend time in the great outdoors, and become part of a large, friendly community. What more could you ask for?

07 April 2021

THE AC GREYHOUND – A CELEBRATION

One of the many stars of the 1959 London Motor Show was found on Stand 145. Here was a coupe primed to compete with the Aston Martin DB4 and the Jensen 541R, one built by ‘dedicated craftsmen who jealously guard the hand-made reputation that has made AC the choice of the discerning motorist during the past 50 years’.

SEVEN ADO16S FROM AROUND THE WORLD

As the BMC/BLMC ADO16 was the UK’s best-selling car for many years, it is sometimes easy to overlook their presence in world markets. Here are seven of the most intriguing overseas interpretations:

01 April 2021

7 fast facts about the Lotus Elise

For a time, you couldn’t go for a drive without seeing a Lotus Elise – never a bad thing. But they are a much rarer sight these days, even though they’re still in production.

5 sympathetic classic car modifications

If you want to add a modern part onto your classic car as part of the restoration project – but retain the essence of your historic vehicle – then you need to be subtle with any modifications that you make.

March 2021

29 March 2021

A brief history of Aston Martin

A brand synonymous with style and class, Aston Martin has produced some of the most luxurious and sophisticated sports cars ever to grace our roads.

All about the Honda NSX

Stunning the motoring world when it debuted over 30 years ago, the iconic Honda NSX rivalled anything the European car makers had to offer at the time. But what started out as an experiment by the Honda team, turned out to be the making of a Japanese automotive legend.

20 fascinating facts about the Fiat 500

Oozing Italian Dolce Vita charm, the diminutive Fiat 500 was a big hit throughout Europe when it first launched in 1957. And that popularity has endured until the present today.

10 classic automatics

For a time, you couldn’t go for a drive without seeing a Lotus Elise – never a bad thing.

MEET THE OWNER – IAN COLE AND HIS AUSTIN ALLEGRO 1300 SUPER

‘I absolutely love this particular car which took me over 20 years to secure, so it’s going nowhere’. Ian’s 1975 Austin Allegro 1300 Super is certainly an eye-catching machine, not least the paint finish – ‘“Citron Yellow”; a rare survivor and a colour that is seen on MGs of the same period and the Jubilee Marinas’.

26 March 2021

FAREWELL TO MONDEO MAN

Yesterday Ford announced the end to production in 2022 of the Mondeo - bringing to end a nearly thirty-year tradition. It is quite bizarre to think that little over 11 years separates the launch of the first models from the last of the Cortinas, and some readers will remember how in 1982, the debut of the Sierra caused shock-waves amongst Ford traditionalists. Indeed, some had not yet recovered when they heard rumours of an FWD replacement.

24 March 2021

What to do with your classic when you die

As classic car owners, we’re really just temporary custodians of vehicles that have seen many previous owners and will hopefully see many more in the future. So, what are the options for finding a new home for your precious classic car after your death?

MISUNDERSTOOD? – THE AUSTIN ALLEGRO SERIES 3

For many years the Austin Allegro was the subject of myth, folklore, received wisdom and downright abuse. Fortunately, the once-familiar “British Leyland Jokes” appear to have largely vanished, and any surviving model is now an object of fascination.

23 March 2021

How to write a classic car advert

If you’ve decided it’s time to sell your classic car, you’ll likely want two things: the best possible price for your vehicle and a quick sale.

6 of the best classics from the 1950s

The 1950s were a good time to be alive. The Second World War had ended and people were optimistic about the future.

The royal family and their classic cars

It’s no secret that the world is obsessed with the British royal family. We can’t get enough of talking about what they do, what they wear and where they go.

How to plan a campervan trip to the South of France

If you’re looking for the perfect country for campervan travel, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better than France. From the stunning countryside to the vibrant cities, there are plenty of places to explore. Plus, with a host of campervan and motorhome campsites, Aires and stopovers to choose from, you can plan your route (and your budget) with ease.

How to jump start a classic car

Classic cars aren’t always reliable starters, as any experienced owner will know. In fact, sometimes you can find that a car will start one day without any problem and then a week later you turn the key and… nothing. However, before you reach for the jump leads, as you would do on a more modern car, just hold on – or you could potentially have a fire on your hands.

22 March 2021

MEET THE OWNER – PATRICK BRADLEY AND HIS AUSTIN MAESTRO HLS

We recently featured Lucy Worsley’s Bulgarian-built Maestros, but Patrick owns an even rarer version. His 1986 Moonraker Blue HLS is believed to be the only example on the road in the UK and ‘This car has only done 19,000 miles and has been sat in a garage for three years’.

18 March 2021

Who is the next generation of classic car owners?

The pastime of collecting classic cars shows no signs of disappearing – however, the market is undergoing a seismic shift, with baby boomers making way for the new generation.

What are the Pride of Ownership competitions at the NEC Classic Motor Show?

When you own a classic car, it’s natural to want to show people how fabulous it is. One way of doing that is by entering it into a classic car show or competition, such as the Pride of Ownership awards.

17 March 2021

What’s the difference between original, restored and resto-mod?

If you’re a classic car owner, it’s up to you what you do with your vehicle.

Lancaster Insurance expands cover for prestige vehicles

Lancaster Insurance has today announced a new partnership with Chubb to enhance its high value offering. Understanding that a standard policy may not always provide the right cover, the new scheme will give owners the confidence to truly enjoy their prestige vehicle with a range of bespoke benefits on offer.

Fast facts about the Mazda MX-5

The mighty Mazda MX-5 is one of the most popular classics we insure here at Lancaster Insurance. It doesn’t come as a great surprise. Born in 1989, it has gone on to become one of the most famous roadsters of all time, with early models able to be picked up for peanuts (just watch out for that rust!).

16 March 2021

MEET THE OWNER – PHILIP GREAVES AND HIS CITROEN BX 16TRS

It is rather dispiriting to read how few examples of the BX survive in the UK, and Philip Greaves’ 1984 16TRS is one of the earliest on the road. His first experience of this very desirable Citroën was travelling in the model once owned by his mother – ‘Some of my earliest memories were in that car and of its unique dashboard - a glowing spinning drum speedo with LED rev bar and lots of switches’.

Classic cars that turn 50 in 2021

From the invention of the microprocessor and the opening of Disney World to decimalisation in the UK, 1971 was a vintage year for a whole host of reasons. And many of these technological and cultural changes were also mirrored in the world of car design and production. Many car makers dropped the chrome radiator grills and wood and leather interiors of the 1960s in favour of American coke-bottle styling and black plastic.

10 of the best classic vans and pick-ups

For a vehicle with stories to tell, you can’t beat the humble van. Light commercial vehicles and pick-ups are not just part of motoring history – they give insights into the bygone world of work, too.

Driving your motorhome or campervan in Europe after Brexit

With European travel due to open up once again in 2021, it’s time to start looking ahead and preparing for your next motorhome adventure. Part of that preparation will be to familiarise yourself with the changes that have been imposed on travel now that the UK has left the European Union.

15 March 2021

MEET THE OWNER – ANTHONY JACKSON AND HIS JOWETT JUPITER

‘The older generation usually knows of the model but due to its rarity not many have seen one. I’ve been asked if it’s a Jaguar or a kit car’. The Jowett Jupiter, owned by Anthony Jackson, is a very exclusive vehicle and one of the most ambitious products of the post-war British motor industry.

12 March 2021

THE JAGUAR E-TYPE AT SIXTY

Picture the scene – a semi-detached villa somewhere in East Cheam on Wednesday 15th March 1961. You are glancing at The Daily Herald over breakfast with Housewives’ Choice playing on the BBC Light Programme in the background – and then you come to the motoring page. ‘0-100 mph in 15secs - that’s the new Jag’ reads the headline while, even more incredibly, the E-Type was capable of 150 mph.

MEET THE OWNER – RACHEL SMITH AND HER AUSTIN A55 CAMBRIDGE MK. I

The British Motor Corporation promised that the Austin A55 Cambridge possessed ‘an unmistakable air of authority’, and 790 XUH really does look imposing. His custodian Ms. Rachel Smith.

11 March 2021

MEET THE OWNER – ALASTAIR WHILE AND HIS AUSTIN A90 ATLANTIC

The A90 Atlantic was one of the undoubted stars of the 1948 London Motor Show. For many visitors to Earls Court, a drophead with a “Jewelescent” paint finish seemed wholly removed from the fog, the damp and queuing for their bacon ration. This was the car Austin intended to appeal to affluent drivers in California with its ‘sports car performance with saloon car comfort’.

MEET THE OWNER – GORDON MORRIS AND HIS VAUXHALL VENTORA V.I.P

Any FE-Series Ventora is now an unusual sight, but Gordon’s example is a car of special distinction. In May 1973, the advertisements stated, ‘Your Vauxhall dealer is offering a limited edition Ventora called the V.I.P. It’s black and it’s absolutely beautiful’. Mr. Morris came by his car in 1987 ‘as I was membership secretary for a while for the VX 4/90 Drivers’ Club’.

The history of the Ford Escort

Few models of car offer as much variety as the beloved Ford Escort. From small family saloons to hot hatches and rally cars, from panel vans to luxury models, the range has given us everything. Between the late 1960s and the new millennium, there have been six generations of this perennially popular car on Britain’s streets. In total, some 4.1 million models were sold in the UK, and it frequently topped the bestseller lists.

UK film locations to visit by campervan

If you’re a fan of British cinema, it’s well worth building a road trip around some filming locations. Not only will it help bring some of your favourite scenes to life, it’ll also give you an excuse to explore those parts of the UK that you have yet to see first-hand.

What kinds of automobilia can you collect?

If you’ve run out of room to collect classic cars, the next best thing is to build up a collection of old motoring memorabilia – known as automobilia – which can come in all shapes and sizes.

How to make money on a classic car

While talk of people making more money from buying and selling classic cars than property or gold might be a little over exaggerated, it’s true that you can turn a healthy profit from investing in a classic.

10 March 2021

The pros and cons of driving a classic car every day

Most owners choose not to drive their classic cars on a daily basis. In fact, the average historic vehicle is driven only 16 times a year, covering around 1,200 miles.

9 fast facts about the Lamborghini Miura

As far as most people are concerned – including ourselves – the Lamborghini Miura is one of the best cars ever designed.

Peugeot 205 GTi – a modern classic

Looking back on the 1980s, there were certainly some design disasters but also design triumphs in the world of car manufacture. With their bold, attractive looks and great performance, the hot hatchback has to be one of the high points!

09 March 2021

MEET THE OWNER – STEPHEN COLVIN AND HIS MORRIS METRO VAN

No, this is not a misprint, as the Morris badged version is one of the rarest and most desirable models to devotees of the Metro. Virtually any car-based light commercial of the 1980s has a very poor survival rate, but the early Metro van is probably now a more unusual sight than an MG 6R4. Not to mention offering considerably better fuel economy.

08 March 2021

FIFTY YEARS OF THE CLAN CRUSADER

Fifty years ago, a factory in County Durham produced the first examples of a quite remarkable new coupe. The Clan Crusader’s production run may have lasted for little more than two years, but it made a more significant impact than other cars might achieve in ten.

MISUNDERSTOOD? – THE MGC

‘All New, all powerful’, exclaimed the adverts, and on paper, a new C appeared to be the perfect sports car for the go-ahead motorist. As early as 1964, Abingdon gave serious thought to a more powerful version of the B, while the Austin-Healey 3000 was not far from the end of its distinguished career.

04 March 2021

5 classic cars with a dark past

All cars are created with good intentions. However, somewhere along the way, some cars take on dark associations. Unfortunately, in some cases, they can’t shake them off afterwards and are forever tinged with the incident or ownership that formed that shadow.

The car’s the star – classic cars in films

A movie appearance can do wonders for a car. As well as making it a more desirable object, it can put some serious value on a vehicle.

RARER THAN RARE – FORD CORTINA 1300 DE LUXE MK.II ESTATE

With many popular cars, it is the entry-level versions that so often have the worst survival rate. Many owners treated the likes of a Cortina 1300 Mk. II “Series One” De Luxe Estate as a humble workhorse. Similarly, the De Luxe saloon’s common fate was becoming a sub-par replica of the GT, the 1600E or even the Lotus. This is just one reason why Andrew’s 1967 “Alpine Green” example is such a fascinating machine. Another is that it recently played a very important role for his family.

Meet The Owner - Theo Kyriacou and his Fiat 131 Mirafiori Sport

‘I’ve owned at least one Fiat 131s since I bought my first one, a 1600 Special in 1979, and at one point, I had three. My current metallic grey 131 Mirafiori Sport I bought in 2001 when I was told my previous silver 131 Sport was beyond economic restoration. “Everything can be fixed/repaired, but it’s not worth restoring this one! Buy another one” I was told’.

THE PEUGEOT 205 - A CELEBRATION

Some new cars manage to anticipate the future and make many of its rivals look archaic; the Citroën DS in 1959, the Mini in 1959, the Fiat 128 in 1969 and the Audi 100 C3 in 1982. And when Peugeot unveiled their latest small hatchback in February 1983, there was a sense that “The 1980s” really had commenced. Even after 38 years, Gérard Welter’s styling barely dates, and for an idea of the 205’s impact in the UK, picture a bright red GR amidst a sea of second-hand Ford Cortina Mk. Vs and Talbot Solaras.

03 March 2021

Classic cars that become MOT exempt in 2021

As well as being a lot of fun to drive and a potentially lucrative way to invest any spare cash, there are a host of other benefits to classic car ownership.

MEET THE OWNER – SIMON FIXTER AND HIS BOND

A few days ago, Simon took his Equipe 2-Litre Mk. II Convertible for its first drive out after about ten years of being off the road. It is the sort of car that virtually demands that its hood be lowered, even in February, and a genuinely individualistic machine – even if too few people recognise it as a Bond. Mr. Fixter remarks while ‘everyone seems to like it’; members of the public tend to mistake it for ‘an obscure Alvis, Bristol or Jensen’.

50 YEARS OF THE VAUXHALL FIRENZA

Fifty years ago, Luton unveiled ‘the kind of car that makes you impatient to be on your way’ – the new Firenza. Here was a coupe to rival the Ford Capri at home and score a major success in the company’s crucially important Canadian export market. As it transpired, the Vauxhall with ‘distinctive styling’ reached neither goal – despite its many strong-points.

02 March 2021

Classic Car Restoration: The Definitive Guide

Classic car restoration is not something that you should try to attempt without having some expert advice alongside you, guiding you along the way. We hope that this guide will be an indispensable source of information that gives you the confidence to make your classic car restoration project everything you want it to be.

A brief history of Triumph

As a popular first foray into classic car ownership, the Triumph cars of the 1960s and 1970s hold a special place in the hearts of many UK classic car enthusiasts.

01 March 2021

Club of the month

This month, the Mk1 Golf Owners Club take the accolade of Club of the Month! The club caters for owners and enthusiasts of the VW Mk1 Golf and exists to be a base for the preservation and restoration of the original Volkswagen Golf. Keeping with the times, the club has members with original swallowtails to heavily modified cabriolets.

Get your classic looking its best with our latest competition!

March brings with it the changing of the seasons, as we approach spring and hopefully warmer weather, and usually it signifies the start of the classic car season. Whilst we may have to wait a little longer to enjoy road trips in our classics, today we are launching our brand new competition which will hopefully bring a little cheer!

CAR OF THE MONTH – HOWARD BRYAN’S TVR “WHITE ELEPHANT”

‘Photos don’t do her justice – she is a car of such presence’. Naturally, Howard’s White Elephant causes a sensation on virtually every journey, and even in his home village, people stop on the pavement and mouth ‘what is it?’. Such reactions are quite understandable, for that elegant coachwork has no TVR badges. And incredibly, just seventeen years ago, this unique piece of Blackpool Thunder was languishing in the ‘TVR Graveyard’.

February 2021

26 February 2021

The most popular classics we insure at Lancaster

We’ve insured thousands of classic cars in the 35+ years we’ve been in existence. Basically, you name it, we’ve insured it. Having built up a wealth of experience and knowledge within the industry in the last three decades, we are able to quote for virtually every type of classic car available.

Meet The Owner – Adrian Miller and his Vauxhall Viva HB SL90 Crayford Convertible

Last year we featured Adrian’s Viva De Luxe “Brabham” but, incredibly, this is not the rarest car in his collection. In March 1968, Crayford Engineering transformed five of the HB range into dropheads. Each was based on the SL90, finished in white and wore Cosmic Mk. I alloy wheels’. Luton officially approved the conversion, and they were distributed solely by the Leeds Vauxhall dealership Wallace Arnold.

What is the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs FBHVC?

If it wasn’t for the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC), many classic car owners wouldn’t be able to drive their pride and joy on British roads. The Federation was created to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road, representing the interests of classic car owners to officials, politicians, and legislators.

24 February 2021

Best classic car designers

As classic car enthusiasts, we are indebted to the many brilliant automotive designers who have given us our passion – without their unique vision, ideals and principles, we’d have nothing to get excited about. All cars would be one of the same, destined for the scrap heap at the end of their life, rather than carefully preserved as so many historic vehicles are today.

How to plan a classic Italian Job-style road trip

What comes to mind when you think of the classic British film, The Italian Job? Michael Caine – certainly. The Swinging Sixties – for sure. And classic cars. Lots and lots of classic cars!

23 February 2021

All about the Porsche 911

The classic Porsche 911 has been found to be the most valuable historic vehicle on the market with the models bringing in over £900 million to the UK economy. Research from the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation and Endurance Rallying Association (HERO-ERA) calculates that the 23,029 models add up to an estimated valuation of £911 million. The Porsche 911 was miles out in front in the list, with the Jaguar E-Type claiming second place with an estimated worth of £371 million from 4,120 models.

22 February 2021

What’s the environmental impact of classic cars in the UK?

In this article, we set the record straight on what the new law will mean for classic car owners and help you keep up to date with the government’s long-term plans. But, first, it’s important to put it all into context by looking at the environmental impact of classic cars in the UK.

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE LANCIA GAMMA BERLINA?

In the early 1980s, certain large cars were more frequently encountered in brochures and the automotive press than in the metal – the Talbot Tagora, the Renault 30 TX and the Gamma Berlina. All deserved far more commercial success, especially the Lancia - one of the most distinctive saloons of its generation.

19 February 2021

THE JAGUAR XKSS – A CELEBRATION

When Jaguar unveiled the E-Type at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, several observers cast their minds back to 1957 – and an equally remarkable two-seater sports car from Browns Lane. The XKSS came about after the company temporarily retired from competition racing in 1956. However, there were several unsold D-Types at the factory while Jaguar’s dealers in North America saw a demand for a “Class C” production racer.

17 February 2021

What makes a classic car appreciate in value?

Many classic car enthusiasts hope to make money from their hobby, but sadly not all of them are so lucky. So, what is it about a classic car that makes it appreciate in value? What factors should you consider when choosing a car as an investment? And how should you care for your car in a way that will boost its value over the years to come?

What is green laning?

Do you love driving? Enjoy a challenge? Want to get off the beaten track – literally? Then why not give green laning a try? This exciting hobby, which involves seeking out and exploring lesser known byways, is much loved by drivers of classic Land Rovers and other 4x4s. It’s a great way to remind yourself of those bygone days when motoring was still a thrill.

What is the Gay Classic Car Group?

The classic car community loves welcoming new owners into the fold. They’re a welcoming bunch who love sharing their passion with others, and passing on some of their motoring knowledge. With hundreds of classic car clubs up and down the country, you won’t have to look far to find a club that’s perfect for you and your vintage motor.

16 February 2021

ONE FAMILY FROM NEW – MARC WINCHESTER-HORSCRAFT’S 1964 VAUXHALL VIVA

‘Usually, the response is I drove one of those when working with BT. Or surprised to see one of those thought they had all rusted away. I enjoy going to car shows and like the response of people in regards to seeing an everyday car from years gone by’. The HA-Series Viva is indeed a rare sight; the production run was only from 1963 to 1966 and, as with several British vehicles of that era, it was prone to corrosion.

12 February 2021

MEET THE OWNER – SIMON PIKE AND HIS RENAULT ESTAFETTE

In France the Estafette genuinely merits the term ‘iconic’; from mobile shops and ice-cream vans to mini-buses and as transport for the telephone service. The Renault could also be seen delivering bread, acting as a support vehicle at the Tour de France, and, as with Simon’s 1963 example, as a police van.

10 February 2021

MEET THE OWNER – LUCY WORSLEY AND HER MAESTRO COLLECTION

'It was through my other half that I started getting into Maestros' remarks Lucy 'Steve has had many over the last 15 years and, after meeting him eight odd years ago, I got into the car scene.'

MEET THE OWNER – BEN SPEARS AND HIS TRIUMPH VITESSE 2-LITRE MK.I

When Standard-Triumph planned the Vitesse, they intended its grille and quad headlamps to distinguish it from its cheaper stablemate. However, this has not prevented members of the public from greeting Ben’s 1967 example with ‘Wow - that’s a lovely Triumph Herald!’.

08 February 2021

MEET THE OWNER – JOSEPH HUTCHINSON AND HIS CITROEN LNA

Through no fault of their own, some cars never seemed to establish a niche in the UK. In Spain, the SEAT 133 was regarded as the heir to the 850. However, British motorists were perplexed by what seemed to be an enlarged Fiat 126. The Cherry Europe was the product of an ambitious agreement between Nissan and Alfa Romeo, but it seemed to have no apparent role in Datsun GB’s line-up.

05 February 2021

THE CAROUSEL AND THE CRUSADER – THE LAST OF THE CORTINAS

1981 - the year of the Royal Wedding, Adam and the Ants singing about the perils of being a dandy highwayman and BMXs making the Raleigh Grifter look passé. It was still a time of three-channel television, Sunday closing for shops, and the Ford Cortina as the best-selling car in the UK.

FIVE PIONEER BRITISH HOT HATCHBACKS

One of the most persistent debates in the world of classic cars is 'what was the first "Hot Hatchback?" The answer is often 'the Simca 1204', but here we are considering the first British-built examples of the genre. Some cars are automatically ruled out of contention; neither the Mini-Cooper nor the MG 1100/1300 were available with a factory-fitted tailgate.

MEET THE OWNER – DAVEY PESKETT AND HIS NISSAN PRESIDENT

Few, if any, people are likely to approach Davey on seeing his 1974 Nissan and tell him ‘my dad/mum/next-door neighbour/teacher used to have one of those’. The H250-Series President was never officially sold in the UK, and Mr. Peskett ‘only bought it by fluke from Japan’. In its homeland, this was the car for senior politicians, business tycoons and the Royal Family.

01 February 2021

MEET THE OWNER – RICHARD MONK AND HIS MG ZT-T XPOWER 385

‘It’s a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. No extended wheel arches, very discreet “V8” badges and not a lot to give away its performance, asides from the four exhaust pipes’. Richard Monk is the General Manager of the MG Owners’ Club, a valued long term partner of Lancaster Insurance, and the custodian of a very special MG ZT-T XPower 385 - the only one built on the production line.

Time to get your tools in order!

With restrictions still in place for many of us, we wanted to spread some cheer among classic car enthusiasts and give you the opportunity to win some amazing prizes!

Don’t let your classic become a statistic

Our classics mean the world to us, and worryingly on our Facebook forum (The Classic Car Enthusiasts Forum – Powered by Lancaster Insurance) we’ve seen a spate of owners sharing the unfortunate news that their pride and joy has been stolen or involved in a fire, some of which haven’t had the right insurance in place.

Club of the Month – The Classic Corvette Club

Our first accolade of the year goes to the Classic Corvette Club UK (CCUK). An enthusiastic and friendly club, we have been working with the team for over five years and currently sit on their insurance panel, offering members a discount of up to 25% off their insurance premium.

January 2021

28 January 2021

MEET THE OWNER – ALEX SEBBINGER-SPARKS AND HIS 1986 ROVER STERLING

We recently showcased the Rover 800, and Alex Sebbinger-Sparks is the proud owner of a rather notable top-of-the-range example. ‘Being registered in the first week of August 1986, this car was one of the first batches of “Silver Leaf” 800s’.

26 January 2021

What is the Sporting Bears Motor Club?

Classic cars are a source of joy for their owners – why not share that joy with children who are in need? That’s the idea behind Sporting Bears Motor Club, a group of classic car and sports car enthusiasts who come together to raise money for good causes and make children’s dreams come true.

25 January 2021

MEET THE OWNER – DAVE MORRIS AND HIS OXFORD SERIES V

In the 1950s a Morris Oxford belonged to the same comfortably secure realm as The Billy Cotton Band Show and Mrs Dale’s Diary – which is why the Series V caused alarm and consternation on its launch in March 1959.

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE VOLVO 760 TURBO?

Picture the scene. It is the spring of 1986 and waiting at a set of traffic lights are a sober-looking new Volvo Estate and a 1977 Capri 3.0S Mk. II festooned with “Go Faster” stripes and driven by a Paul Calf-look-alike.

22 January 2021

MEET THE OWNER – MATTHEW SMITH AND HIS CITROEN TRACTION AVANT COMMERCIALE

Back in 2019, we posted a feature about the Traction Avant Commerciale, the car that is arguably the world’s first hatchback. And today, our star classic is Matthew’s 1956 example, which is used and enjoyed the way Citroën intended.

THE LEYLAND PRINCESS 100 CLUB SPECIAL – A CELEBRATION

Some Limited Edition cars, along the lines of the Ford Zephyr 6 Mk. IV Special or the Hillman Hunter Topaz, were produced to clear the showrooms of soon to be replaced models. Others, such as the Morris Minor Million, the Mini 1100 Special or the Ford Capri 280 “Brooklands”, celebrated a milestone anniversary or marked the end of a highly respected vehicle.

Can you use E10 fuel in your classic car?

Motoring fans like nothing better than starting up their classic and taking it out for a regular run through the countryside. After all the pleasurable hours of tinkering, it’s fantastic to really let rip and soak up some admiring glances from other road users.

The Austin Metro turns 40

Much-loved cheeky 80s runabout the Austin Mini Metro turns 40 this year. Often the butt of jokes for being on the rusty, dowdy, unreliable side, the Austin Metro is now achieving a cult following from a new, younger crowd.

5 classic cars with crazy doors

Not all doors are created equal. While many of us know only the standard car door (supercar owners aside), there have been some innovative (some might call them crazy) attempts over the years to switch things up – with varying degrees of success, we might add.

21 January 2021

FIVE MINI COOPER RIVALS

The Mini Cooper will be 60 years on 20th September, and naturally, we will be celebrating this milestone in summer. To best understand just how the Austin “Seven” Cooper/Morris Mini Cooper twins transformed the sports saloon, take a look at five potential rivals from 1961.

MEET THE OWNER – PAUL MATTHEWS AND HIS FORD FIESTA SANDPIPER II

About twenty years ago, the first-generation Ford Fiesta seemed to largely vanish from Britain’s roads – which is one reason why Paul’s 1981 model attracts attention wherever it goes. And course, any Sandpiper II automatically stands out in any classic car gathering.

What to see at Beaulieu Motor Museum

If you’re planning a trip to Beaulieu any time soon, there’s a lot to offer any classic car enthusiast. You could get behind the scenes of BBC’s Top Gear to see cars of all shapes and sizes driven by The Stig and co. Or, you may prefer checking out some of TV and film’s most famous motors courtesy of the ever-changing On-Screen Cars exhibition. Think Del Boy’s Robin Reliant, Mr Bean’s Mini, Bond’s Jaguar XKR, and many, many more...

19 January 2021

8 of the best bubble cars

Bubble cars from the 1950s and 1960s have become increasingly collectable over the past few years. With their quirky designs, fuel efficiency, ease of maintenance and huge fun factor, bubble cars make a great way to enter the classic car club.

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE JENSEN-HEALEY?

Some high-profile British cars struggle to transcend a negative image created by the problematic versions. The Hillman Imp falls into this category, as does the Austin Maxi and the Jensen-Healey. Yet it is often forgotten that the last-named was the best-selling vehicle to wear the Jensen name.

18 January 2021

THE ALFA ROMEO 164 – A CELEBRATION

By any standards, the 164 is a very special motor-car. It was the last of the “Tipo 4/Type 4” family, predated by the Fiat Croma, Lancia Thema and the Saab 9000. It was also the last Alfa Romeo developed before the Fiat takeover of 1986 and one of its generation’s finest sports saloons.

MEET THE OWNER – STEVE TENNICK AND HIS MORRIS MINOR TRAVELLER

A short while ago, Steve was in search of a particular type of Morris Minor Traveller. His wife Marina particularly wanted a split-screen version fitted with an art deco fascia – ‘which turned out to be something of a rarity.

15 January 2021

Does my classic car need seat belts?

If you are the proud owner of a classic car, then depending on which year it was made it may or may not be fitted with seat belts. But what are the laws relating to seat belts in classics? What are the insurance implications? And if you don’t need belts, are there any restrictions to be aware of?

The best Japanese classics

Are you looking to invest in a classic? Perhaps this is your first foray into collecting classics, or perhaps you’re wanting to grow your already-sizeable collection. Either way, this is the fun part: choosing which motor to invest in.

What is the Mille Miglia?

In 1955, the late great Sir Stirling Moss won the Mille Miglia in a record time. His drive in the race has passed into legend as he managed to come out on top against the odds. Even if you’ve heard the story before, it never gets old…

A quick history of Le Mans

Just about everyone has heard of Le Mans – although not everyone has quite got the pronunciation down… They probably know that it’s a 24-hour race, but that’s where most people’s knowledge ends.

08 January 2021

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE ORIGINAL ROVER STERLING?

1986 - the year I started sixth form and my first sighting of an imposing metallic silver saloon. It was a car that looked as though it could cope with any road conditions while barely dislodging the owner’s Filofax and A-ha cassettes. It was the new Rover Sterling, a car attempting to bridge the worlds of the Ford Granada Scorpio/Vauxhall Senator and BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Enthusiasts will tell you that it more than succeeded in this goal.

8 of the best hot hatches

Here are eight of the best hot hatches (in our humble opinion) from over the years - many of which we’re proud to cover here at Lancaster.

07 January 2021

60 YEARS OF THE AVENGERS

1) When The Avengers first aired on 7th January 1961 - the leading man was Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel, supported by Patrick Macnee as the intelligence agent John Steed.

Classic Fords you remember from childhood

No matter how young or old you are, you’ll remember Fords on the streets of your hometown. From Anglias to Zodiacs, the Ford range over the decades has been quite extraordinary. So which Ford model makes you go all misty-eyed? Jog your memory by reading all about our top 12 Fords in the UK from the 1960s to the 1980s.

06 January 2021

Best places to watch the sunrise in your campervan

You don’t need to be a druid or wait until summer solstice to watch the sunrise. There are beautiful places around the UK that make the perfect spot for you to park up your campervan and enjoy one of nature’s greatest shows.

MEET THE OWNER – MEL HOLLEY AND HIS BEDFORD HA

There was once a time when the HA van was part of the daily routine. It might have delivered your post or your new DER television set, distributed the Co-Op’s groceries or attended to yet another malfunctioning telephone box.

MEET THE OWNER – STEVE TENNICK AND HIS AUSTIN 152 PARALANIAN

The Austin 152 and its Morris J2 twin deserve to be remembered for many reasons. In 1956, they were BMC’s first unitary-construction vans and familiar sights long after production ended in 1967. And they also provided the basis for some delightful motor caravans, such as Steve’s Paralanian motor home

04 January 2021

MEET THE OWNER – ANNA HUGHES-MORRIS AND HER FIAT 132 BELLINI

‘They love it, but some are unsure of what it is as they’ve never seen one before.’ Such a public reaction to Anna’s Fiat 132 Bellini is quite understandable, for it was an unusual sight even when it was new 41 years ago. ‘Beautiful, si?’ read the original advertisements; for here was transport for those whose sartorial role model was “Lewis Collins in Lounge Lizard Mode”.

December 2020

30 December 2020

Best French classic cars

Choosing a Top 10 of French classics is a near-impossible task, with the likes of Renault, Peugeot and Citroën competing against each other as well as lesser-known gems. So, we’ve picked out 10 examples of great cars from the post-war era up to the 1980s that still hold huge appeal for motoring enthusiasts today.

23 December 2020

DVLA update on the use of black and silver number plates

The DVLA has recently announced changes to information on vehicles displaying the old style pre-1973 black and silver number plates.

MEET THE OWNER – GRANT HOWLETT AND HIS ONE-FAMILY-FROM-NEW MG MAGNETTE ZA

Any Z-Series MG is an object of desire – one of the finest British sports saloons of the 1950s and certainly one of the most beautiful. But this 1955 ZA is an exclusive motor-car even by Magnette standards. Not only does it have a total mileage of 54,000, but one family has owned it from new. And it has delighted motoring enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic.

22 December 2020

DINKY TOYS – A CELEBRATION

Was it really 45 years ago that this writer avidly scanned the Dinky brochure for possible birthday and Christmas presents? From 1934 until 1979 the company based at Binns Road in Liverpool produced models that set the benchmark for British die-cast. This newsreel captures the factory in 1967 as it produces one of my favourite Dinky toys – the Fiat 2300 Estate “Pathé Newsreel Camera Car”

21 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE ROVER 600?

A highlight of the May 1993 edition of Car magazine was Roger Bell’s evaluation of a 620SLi opposite the BMW 318i, the Citroen Xantia 2.0 and the Ford Mondeo 2.0 GLX. His article was headlined ‘Rover bites back’, and he concluded:

Top Ten Screen Motoring Clichés

Or – what I have learned over several decades of viewing: 1) “Period Dramas” in which virtually every car is a new or recent model for that year. The road footage of almost any 1950s or 1960s newsreel will contain a multitude of elderly vehicles. And just take a look at The Sweeney, with its armies of corroding Austin A60 Cambridges and Singer Vogues on the streets of Hammersmith and Battersea

18 December 2020

THE SENATOR – VAUXHALL’S ANSWER TO BMW AND MERCEDES-BENZ

There is a select group of cars that are so quietly efficient and dependable that they were often taken for granted during their lifetime. The Vauxhall Senator is one such vehicle – purposeful, luxurious and rather handsome. Plus, in 24v form, one of the great Q-Cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

17 December 2020

THE ARMSTRONG SIDDELEY STAR SAPPHIRE MK.II – A CELEBRATION

At first, it looks like any other example of the exquisite Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire – until you notice those quad headlamps. Then you realise that it is fitted with a larger rear screen and more prominent rear wings while the cabin features front head restraints that double as picnic tables for the occupants of the back seat. This is the one and only example of the Star Sapphire Mk. 2.

16 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE ORIGINAL RELIANT REGAL?

The Reliant 3/25 family is so well-known in the UK that the impact of the original Regal three-wheeler is frequently overlooked. Today they are chiefly spotted at car shows or in the background of 1950s and 1960s British film, but this was the vehicle that helped to transform the marque’s image.

15 December 2020

MEET THE OWNER – MATT HOUGHTON AND HIS FORD GRANADA MK. I ESTATE

The Ford Granada Mk. I Estate has to be one of the most attractive station wagons of the 1970s – and the rarest. Some of us of a certain age will remember the green metallic example driven by “Jeffrey Fourmile” in George and Mildred and today Matt’s 1975 2.5 “Series 2” is almost guaranteed to cause a sensation. After all, there can be very few examples of a ‘completely unrestored original 45,000-mile car never been welded or messed about with’ still on the road.

What to do if you’ve lost your MOT certificate

An MOT has been an important part of owning a vehicle for many years. It’s a test that is carried out on cars, vans, campervans, motorbikes and lorries annually. If you’re buying a new vehicle, it will require its first test after three years – and yearly after that.

14 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER - THE SUNBEAM HARRINGTON ALPINE?

In the years immediately before the launch of the MGB GT in 1965, a sports car enthusiast who craved greater weather protection for winter had a limited choice. None of the “Big Five” manufacturers offered a sleek 2+2 tourer with the partial exception of the Consul Capri GT. However, the sort of motorist who favoured flat hats and club blazers would probably have regarded the Ford as transport for flashy types who used too much aftershave.

11 December 2020

How to care for your classic convertible’s hood

While you might have classic car insurance in place to protect you against any mishaps, you don’t really want to be claiming on your policy for something that was avoidable. That’s why we’re bringing you some tips on how to care for your classic convertible’s hood.

SPOT-ON MODELS – A CELEBRATION

During the 1960s Tri-ang’s “Spot-On” models - so-called because its products were precisely to 1/42 scale – often seemed a cut above those of Corgi or Dinky. Sales commenced in April 1959 and from the outset their die-cast toys featured interior detailing, predating both of its major rivals. They also adopted a ‘constant scale’ policy, at a time when the products of other manufacturers would vary according to need.

10 December 2020

THE FIAT X1/9 - A CELEBRATION

When Tony Bastable took the Fiat X1/9 through its paces for Thames Television’s Drive In - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvLyqB8MPrQ - he reported ‘it’s got style, its lively and it handles beautifully’. At that time British motorists had been awaiting imports of the X1/9 for several years. By 1974 Radbourne Racing Ltd. offered a RHD conversion, but it would not be until January 1977 when Fiat would officially launch a UK-market version.

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE SUNBEAM STILETTO?

The year is 1967, and your dilemma is a) craving a new Porsche 911 while b) having a most unsympathetic bank manager. Fortunately, the Rootes Group had just launched a new car ‘for men whose wives think they’ve given up sports cars’. The advertisement further invited the reader to ‘show her how luxuriously saloon it is – four deep seats, the front ones reclining, plenty of room, and swish twin headlamps’.

CORGI TOYS - A TRIBUTE

In July 1965, the nation’s toy shops stocked a new type of die-cast model car – ‘Corgi Toys - ‘The One’s With Windows’.  At a time when rival products lacked such a feature, this was important news indeed for the discerning consumer. Corgi cars also came in individual illustrated boxes while Dinky Toys supplied their products in trade-packs to retailers.

09 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE VAUXHALL CAVALIER SPORTS HATCH?

When Autocar tested the 2.0 GLS Sports Hatch in February 1980, they accurately described it as ‘just plain nice’. It was a truly desirable machine – less overtly aggressive in appearance than the Ford Capri Mk. III - and a Jade Green Metallic Sports Hatch was as much of its era as bomber jackets and Harp lager in thin glasses. And although the Cavalier Mk. I was Luton’s interpretation of the Opel Manta B; the Sports Hatch was a British creation.

THE AUSTIN LANCER AND THE MORRIS MAJOR – A CELEBRATION

While watching certain Australian television shows during the 1970s and 1980s, I sometimes noticed a very peculiar looking car in some background shots. Whether the programme was Skippy – which I will admit to enjoying, Prisoner: Cell Block H (which I won’t) or the early BBC screening of Neighbours (ditto), there might be a vehicle resembling a love-child of a Wolseley 1500 and a Ford Anglia 105E.

Car of the month!

We wanted our last ‘Car of the Month’ award of 2020 to be extra special and the winning recipient’s classic is just that – a 1973 Porsche 914-4! Paul Hibbert entered his example into the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership display at last month’s online NEC event and was crowned the winner! Painted in period ‘’Zambezi Green’ and with classic Fuchs alloy wheels, we can see why it captured viewers’ attention.

08 December 2020

MEET THE OWNER – DEAN USHER AND HIS VAUXHALL VIVA HC

During the (very remote) youth of this writer, there were three virtually guaranteed sights in his Hampshire village. Firstly, as if by ancient rite, every farmyard had to contain a disused Audax-series Hillman Minx. Secondly, every week a dark green Ford Transit Mk. I mobile shop would dispense Twix bars and other essentials to the remote settlements of the A27-belt. And thirdly, no day seemed to pass without sighting of at least one Vauxhall Viva HC.

07 December 2020

MEET THE OWNER – TONY HORWOOD AND HIS RENAULT 16 TX

Tony very accurately describes his 1978 Renault as ‘Uniquely stylish’, for the 16 could never be confused with any other car. It is a vehicle that revels in its idiosyncrasies such as the virtually hidden handbrake and the many and various ways of arranging the passenger accommodation. After all, very few cars can boast a rear seat folding mechnanism that involves suspending the backrest from the grab handles.

Lancaster Insurance’ Christmas Opening/Closing Times

From everybody at Lancaster Insurance, we hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous start to the New Year! Below are the opening and closing times over the festive period, should you need to speak to one of our team.

MEET THE OWNER – CHRIS FIGG AND HIS AUSTIN METRO VANDEN PLAS

Chris had two reasons for buying his Cashmere Gold Austin Metro Vanden Plas. Firstly, he is a fan of the Kingsbury-based coachbuilder, and also owns a VDP 1500. Secondly, he has also been a Metro enthusiast ‘since the launch at the NEC in 1980...queuing up at the stand waiting to sit in this award-winning car’.

04 December 2020

MEET THE OWNER – AUBONE BRADDON AND HIS FORD ESCORT GHIA MK. II

‘People really like her. I think it is because she is exactly as she came out of the showroom and not been made into another modified Escort in bright orange. She appeals to all ages. The longer I have kept her, the more interest she gets’. Aubone is an Anglia enthusiast of many years standing, but his taste in Fords is not restricted to the 105E. MFJ 839 W is one of the last Escort Mk. IIs – and it looks quite resplendent in “Diamond White”.

TEN BYGONE CAR ACCESSORIES FOR CHRISTMAS

It is the morning of the 25th December, and you are handing a carefully wrapped package. What could be the wonders contained inside? At worst, it could be the box-set of every edition of Take The High Road -the soap opera where nothing seemed to happen bar the theft of a jar of raspberry jam from the local shop. But, the gift could equally be the accessory you had long craved to enhance your car of choice.

03 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE BORGWARD ISABELLA?

‘A combination of everything that is best in Continental craftsmanship plus the experience gained in many racing successes in the 1,500cc class’. At first glance, this may appear typical 1956 vintage advertising copy designed to persuade a motorist to call FREmantle 5471 to arrange a test drive. Yet the Borgward Isabella really was that good – and in fact, has a fair claim to being one of the finest German cars of the 1950s.

01 December 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE WOLSELEY SIX?

‘Wolseley elegance comes from having the right background’. At first glance, this appears to be a prime example of 1972-vintage automotive snobbery - targeting the sort of motorist who regarded crazy paving as the pinnacle of architectural achievement. Yet, the Six, the latest flagship of BL’s “Landcrab” family, really was a rather splendid machine.

MEET THE OWNER – JOHN LANGFORD AND HIS AUSTIN J40

John Langford has recently taken delivery of an Austin convertible, one that is resplendent in Speedwell Blue. Here is a car that offered virtually everything to the discerning motorist, from the Art Deco fascia to the well-upholstered bench seat. The fuel bills amount to precisely nil, and the sole drawbacks of the J40 are the limited top speed - and the fact that anyone over the age of nine will not be able to fit in it.

November 2020

30 November 2020

MEET THE OWNER – MICHAEL SPINK AND HIS FORD CORSAIR GT CONVERTIBLE

Back in 2005 Michael Spink was presented with one of the finest wedding presents for any car enthusiast - his wife had commissioned the restoration, ‘in secret’, of his 1965 Corsair GT Convertible. He had actually acquired MML 443 C in 1988, but it was garaged in 1996 following transmission issues. Incredibly, the refurbishment process took just 12 weeks, and today the Ford looks fit for a journey to Carnaby Street, preferably accompanied by the sounds of The Yardbirds singing For Your Love.

DO YOU REMEMBER - THE MORRIS MARINA AND ITAL VAN?

There are certain sights and sounds that can immediately recapture the past – Nigel Planer singing Hole in My Shoe, the opening to The Comic Strip Presents... – and the sight of a well-preserved Marina or Ital Van. It would not be a typical month in 1980s suburbia without seeing a BT Morris attending to yet another malfunctioning telephone box.

Seven More Nearly Extinct Cars

All of them even rarer than your average Bentley S3 Continental - ALFA ROMEO 90 - Today the 90 is almost as forgotten as the works of Doctor & The Medics. On its launch in 1984, it suffered from a significant challenge – its appearance. In essence, the latest Alfa Romeo combined the Alfetta Berlina with the 2.5-litre engine from the Six and looks that harked back to The Protectors. Autocar thought ‘there was a good car looking to get out’, but the 90 would ‘mainly interest the dedicated Alfa Romeo enthusiast’.

Club of the Month!

Our final Club of the Month award of 2020 goes to the Morris Marina Owners Club & Morris Ital Register! Started in 1984 by Frank Philips and Clive Higgins, in the year that the last Morris Ital was built, the Club has supported owners of the Morris Marina, Ital and all of its derivatives with its mission statement to ‘Inform –Preserve - Drive – Enjoy.’

Alex Cursley – review of final round of Hyundai Coupe Cup 2020

Our sponsored driver, Alex Cursley, has been back in action in the Hyundai Coupe Cup 2020 and below he takes us through the events of the final round. “The final round was held at Oulton Park in Cheshire and it would decide who would be the 2020 series champion.

27 November 2020

Meet the owner Ian Mackenzie and his Wolseley 1100

‘It’s either older folk remembering having one and anyone under 40 asking what it is! It still staggers me that it was the bestselling car in the UK of the ‘sixties and yet by the late ‘eighties they’d all but disappeared from the road!’

How to make sure your classic car value is reflected correctly

In the world of classic cars, a rare vehicle is highly prized. But when it comes to getting insurance for your pride and joy, its uniqueness presents problems. So how can you ensure that the agreed valuation really reflects what it would cost you to replace your car? What are the key things that valuers look for? Read on for our guide.

26 November 2020

Where to store your classic car

Putting your classic into ‘hibernation’ is well advised as it’ll help to protect it from the elements – but where’s best to store it? Not everyone has access to a secure garage, while those that do will be wondering whether to use it for their everyday car or vacate it for their classic.

25 November 2020

Meet the Owner - David Henderson and his Saab 99 GL

The Turbo almost inevitably dominates the Saab 99 story, but during the 1980s you were far more likely to encounter the cheaper but equally appealing GL. In June 1978 Car praised its ‘unexpectedly lively performance’, ‘crisp handling’, ‘good riding comfort’ plus the Saab’s ‘solidity and roadworthiness’. Few could ask for more in a family saloon – especially one equipped with a heated driver’s seat.

6 reasons to buy a classic as your first car

Everyone remembers their first car – some stick in the memory for good reasons, while others are remembered less fondly. If you’re in the market for your first car, make sure you choose wisely – and that includes considering a classic.

How to get a birth certificate for your classic car

When you’re the owner of a classic car, history matters. Your car is a remarkable survivor from an earlier age, with its own story to tell and secrets to keep. A vehicle birth certificate (also known as a heritage certificate) is a useful document confirming the origins of your classic car.

24 November 2020

Why should you sell your car at auction?

If you’ve decided that now is the time to sell your classic car, you’ve got a few options to weigh up. You can sell it privately, take it to a specialist dealer or try your luck at the auction.

23 November 2020

The Jensen 541S - A Celebration

The year is 1960, the venue is the London Motor Show, and the place is Stand 134. Of course, any car that hailed from the West Bromwich factory was an object of desire, but the new Jensen 541S was especially eye-catching. It was not just that it was four inches wider than the outgoing 541R or that it boasted a conventional grille, rather than the familiar adjustable panel. The Jensen on display at Earls Court was Britain’s first car fitted with seat-belts as standard equipment.

6 reasons to buy a classic as your first car

Everyone remembers their first car – some stick in the memory for good reasons, while others are remembered less fondly. If you’re in the market for your first car, make sure you choose wisely – and that includes considering a classic.

22 November 2020

How to make sure your classic car value is reflected correctly

In the world of classic cars, a rare vehicle is highly prized. But when it comes to getting insurance for your pride and joy, its uniqueness presents problems. With a modern car, it’s simple to work out its market value – but with a classic, it’s a little trickier.

21 November 2020

Classic three-wheelers we love

The sight of a three-wheel classic out on the UK roads is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. They are something of a novelty these days, but did you know that the first cars sported just three wheels?

20 November 2020

Important Dates in British Motoring History

Your quick crib sheet for winning a car-related argument.

5 reasons to invest in a BMW Z3

If you remember when the BMW Z3 first hit the roads, hearing that the two-seater roadster turns 25 this year might make you feel a touch on the old side. But that means the car has now entered into ‘classic’ territory, with its timeless, dynamic and highly attractive design making it an appealing option for classic car enthusiasts.

Meet The Owners – Rebecca And Stephen’s Mini Jet Black and Red Hot

Back in 1988, the Mini Jet Black was your passport to Yuppie success – all for a mere £4,282. Not only did it boast tinted glass, a push-button radio, front head restraints and black velour trim, there were even red seat belts to match the proud owner’s braces. Matching the Mini that looks ‘Smooth on The Streets’ was the “Red Hot” – ‘Hot Stuff For Cold Nights!’.

18 November 2020

The Bond Cars of Sean Connery

In tribute to the late Sean Connery - a few facts about his 007 transport:

Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, With Discovery, Online Edition Raises Over £45,000 For Sporting Bears

The online edition of this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, raised a whopping £45,000 for the Sporting Bears Motor Club – matching the Bears’ best ever year of fundraising at the NEC.

17 November 2020

The Lady Riva - A Celebration

Signs that you are reaching old age – a) realising that The Young Ones first aired 38 years ago and b) that there are just 41 Rivas believed to remain on the road in this country.

16 November 2020

The BMW Baroque Angel – a Celebration

If you were reading the 11th October edition of Autocar in 1957, you might have noticed an advertisement headlined ‘For the Discerning Motorist’. Naturally, you read on, as this clearly referred to a driver such as yourself, one who appreciated ‘Sober elegance of line, outstanding performance, admirable road holding and first-class craftsmanship’.

13 November 2020

How to prevent damage to your campervan windscreen

The windscreen of a classic camper is particularly vulnerable to harm. Any self-respecting owner won’t want the head-turning powers of their retro vehicle to be spoilt by some unsightly cracks or chips.

12 November 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE SIMCA 1501?

A Simca 1501 was not exactly a rarity during the 1970s, yet it always seemed faintly exotic in comparison with its near contemporary, the Hillman Hunter. The styling, although clearly dating from the previous decade, was an intriguing blend of French and Detroit while the interior had the chintzy decor of a suburban living room. Besides, a fine example of the Simca had pride of place in the 1972 edition of Motor Cars; A Ladybird “Recognition” Book.

Can you convert a classic car to electric?

When it comes to driving in the UK, there is no doubt that the future is electric. So what impact could this electric revolution have on classic cars? And what would be the implications for classic car insurance? Let’s take a closer look below.

Season review from Brian Chandler and the BC Car Motorsport team

Here the Lancaster Insurance sponsored BC Car Motorsport team give us an insight into how the 2020 Mazda season was for them. “Well 2020 turned out to be a strange year at BC Cars Motorsport. Covid 19 changed everything. When we were allowed to get back on track on 1st July, we had to work with our partners, race organisers, mechanics and drivers to get everyone ready and make the most of what would be available to us and we still got some surprises! For 2020 we would end up supporting nine Mazda MX5s across a reduced calendar of four rounds. The plan was Cadwell Park, Anglesey, Silverstone and Brands Hatch.

How to protect your campervan keys

Whether you’re at home, in the supermarket or at the beach, we all know that sinking feeling when you’re looking for your campervan keys and you have the sudden realisation you’ve lost them. Or even worse, they’ve been stolen!

What can you see at Haynes Motor Museum?

Before your trip, do check that all exhibits you want to see are open, book your ticket, and make sure you’ve got great insurance to cover your own vehicle for any mishaps along the way!

11 November 2020

What is a classic car Breakfast Club?

What better excuse than to have a hearty breakfast waiting for you at the end of your drive, followed by a display of incredible cars at some of the UK’s finest motoring destinations. What more could you ask for on a Sunday morning?

THE STERLING – THE ALL-AMERICAN ROVER

‘Such a timeless sense of freedom, such effortless motion, can only come from a land where traditions of craftsmanship and luxury are skilfully combined with the precision and power of modern engineering’.

10 November 2020

5 of the best scenic UK road trips

Owing to recent travel restrictions, classic car enthusiasts might be itching to get back behind the wheel of their beloved motors again. And with foreign holidays off the menu a scenic UK road trip could be a perfect remedy.

7 ways to personalise your classic campervan

The options for adding personality to your campervan are limitless. Here are a few tips and insights to get you started on making your cherished camper truly feel like a home on wheels.

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE FIAT 124 SPORT COUPE?

When Fiat launched their 124 saloon in 1966, few observers would have been surprised to learn that they were planning a two-door high-performance version. However, when the 124 Sport Coupe made its bow in 1967, it immediately became an object of desire. In the UK, the new Fiat seemed far removed from half-day closing on a Wednesday and Z-Cars in the evening.

09 November 2020

How to choose the right leisure battery for your motorhome

Whether you’re a fan of wild camping far away from civilization or prefer a full-service campsite with all the mod cons, a reliable source of power is a must. After all there’s nothing better than a nice cup of tea on a sunny morning or a light to see by during a stormy night.

THE SUNBEAM FROM ITALY – THE VENEZIA

At first sight, it could be a car that belongs to the world of La Dolce Vita; transport for Marcello Mastroianni or Sophia Loren to Rome’s finest nightclubs. Almost every detail is reminiscent of 1960s European glamour - until you notice the grille’s similarity to the Humber Sceptre Mk.I and the Sunbeam Rapier Mk. V. And while the coachwork was indeed the work of Carrozzeria Touring, the running gear hailed from Coventry.

The best classic two-seater convertibles

Convertible cars let us squeeze every last bit of warm weather from our summers. What else gives you that wind-in-the-hair sensation? And when you buy a classic convertible, it’s the kind of investment that just keeps on giving.

06 November 2020

The Slough Citroën DS Pallas – A Celebration

As a Citroën devotee of many years standing, there is one model in particular that I crave – the Slough-built DS Pallas. Here are my impressions from a Classic & Sports Car feature from five years ago:

05 November 2020

Car auction myths busted!

Whether it’s a bargain in need of some TLC or a beautifully preserved original, there are plenty of ways a seller can entice a would-be buyer. However, there are many car auction myths floating around, among both buyers and sellers, that need busting!

04 November 2020

MEET THE OWNER - JERRAMY TOPPING AND HIS 1950 FORDSON E83W

In the 1950s, no line of traffic would have been complete without an example of the E83W range en route to delivering coal, laundry, milk or, in summer, ice cream cornets. Their rate of progress could never be described as ‘rapid’ – there appears to be no instance of an E83W getaway vehicle in a British B-film – but they were almost guaranteed to reach their destination.

02 November 2020

CAR OF THE MONTH – TONY PENMAN’S TOYOTA MR2 MK. II TURBO

Back in the early 1990s when Tony passed his driving test, he craved a Toyota MR2 Mk. II – “but the bank manager thwarted this ambition”. A few years later, he came close to owning one of these fine machines – “but my wife talked me out of it as it was not a practical machine for work purposes”. However, two years ago the Penman fleet was, at long last, joined by a 1990 turbo-charged Revision 1 –“a private import from Japan”.

DO YOU REMEMBER - THE TRIUMPH 2500S?

Some cars – no names – merely peter out at the end of a long run. A few conclude their career in a morass of special edition versions, festooned with stripes and wheel trims. And a select few ceased production on a high note – the Ford Capri 280 Brooklands, the Mini in 2000 and the Triumph 2500S.

October 2020

30 October 2020

THE SUNBEAM ALPINE GT – A CELEBRATION

The clocks have changed, and there is a certain crispness in the air – in short, it is that time of the year when many classic sports car enthusiasts start considering a coupe rather than a convertible. However, the Sunbeam Alpine GT, with its detachable roof and soignée lines, really was the best of both worlds – assuming you only required two seats.

A TRIBUTE TO GENEVIEVE

As we all know, this year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run has been cancelled due to COVID-19 - https://www.veterancarrun.com/. As a tribute to this great event and to anticipate its return in 2021, here are twenty facts about Genevieve – one of the greatest films of all time:

29 October 2020

Club of the Month

At Lancaster Insurance, we have worked closely with Sporting Bears for a number of years. We are a huge supporter of the club and wanted to shine a light on the fantastic work they do for charity and show how we can all get involved.

28 October 2020

Why motorhomes are one of the safest ways to holiday after lockdown

Let’s look at the reasons why motorhome holidays are booming, and why motorhome insurance is essential for protecting your home on wheels.

2020 Hyundai Coupe Cup – review so far by Alex Cursley

The 2020 Hyundai Coupe Cup season has been shorter than normal due to the current situation. With racing starting in August, we talk to our sponsored driver, Alex Cursley, as he looks back on the season ahead of the Championship decider at Oulton Park this Saturday (31st October).

23 October 2020

A TRIBUTE TO ABINGDON

On the 24th October 1980, one of the world’s most famous car factories closed its doors. Here we pay tribute to just some of the cars that were made in Abingdon.

22 October 2020

Can you drive a motorhome on prescription medication?

All drivers know it’s illegal to drive if they’re impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. But did you know the rules also apply to prescription drugs?

21 October 2020

MEET THE OWNER – DUNCAN HURST AND HIS ROVER P4 110

A few days ago we featured the Ledbury Maestro owned by Glyn Andrews - but it is far from the only classic Rover in the family. Only last month, his son Duncan became the proud owner of a last-of-the-line 1964 P4 110.

19 October 2020

Classic car road tax explained

There are many benefits to be had from running a classic car besides being both fun and a useful investment. Classics can be surprisingly economical, as some essential items like Read this guide to classic car road tax and get informed.

16 October 2020

LANCASTER INSURANCE CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW, WITH DISCOVERY, GOES ONLINE FOR CELEBRATION OF MUCH MISSED SEASON FINALE

The organisers of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, will celebrate the much-missed season finale with a free-to-attend online event held on Saturday 14 November.

15 October 2020

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE TOYOTA CROWN SUPER SALOON?

Six years ago, while attending a Classic & Sports Car shoot, I had the great pleasure of encountering a car that had fascinated my ten-year-old self. The S110-series Toyota Crown Super more than fulfilled my expectations, being a vehicle of charm, presences and, yes, style.

MEET THE OWNER – RICHARD HANLON AND HIS RENAULT 17TS

Back in 2009 Renault enthusiast, Richard Hanlon ‘was geared up to go over to Ireland to buy a pale metallic green 15 which I had been hankering after for a long period. I had a flight booked in the outbound direction, and a ferry booked home again; when the news came that it had been unexpectedly sold locally’.

Should you buy a left-hand drive classic car?

Whether you’re desperate for the American muscle of a Ford Mustang from the late Sixties or the pretty Italian charms of a Fiat Barchetta from the mid Nineties, there’s a lot to consider when poring over left-hand drive classics.

13 October 2020

Seven Chrysler UK/Talbot Special Editions

Which of these seven fine cars would have lured you into your local dealership? 1972 Hillman Avenger Top Hat The Avenger was only two years into its production run when Chrysler UK unveiled the Top Hat.

09 October 2020

MEET THE OWNER – GLYN ANDREWS AND HIS LEDBURY MAESTRO

‘My brother owned an early MG Maestro back in the day with a talking digital readout, that was quite something at the time and quite liked them ever since but never owned one’.

Lancaster Insurance MG Owners’ Club 2020 Race Championship at Silverstone

This Sunday sees the finale of the Lancaster Insurance MG Owners’ Club 2020 Race Championship at Silverstone (International)! Better still, you can catch the action live as it’s been streamed on 247. Timings are subject to change but the MGOC Race Championship competitors are due to take to the track at 9am, 11.30am and 3.25pm

08 October 2020

40 YEARS OF THE AUSTIN METRO

Wednesday 8th October 1980 saw the debut of the Austin Metro. Here are 40 gripping facts about one of British Leyland’s most important cars.

07 October 2020

The Jaguar Mk. VII at 70

Seventy years ago today (16th October), Jaguar introduced a large saloon that epitomised the famous slogan ‘Grace, Space, Pace’. Here are 20 facts about the Mk. VII family.

MEET THE OWNER – SEAN GREENWOOD AND HIS AUSTIN MONTEGO 1.3 “BASE”

In February of this year, Sean decided to take a walk on the mild side and purchase a 1985-model Austin Montego 1.3 “Base”.

Which is best – caravan or motorhome?

Which is best – caravan or motorhome? It’s a great question and one that anyone getting into the world of ‘on the road’ holidays will ask themselves. Just as with finding the right motorhome insurance you’ll need to weigh up a fair amount of options before coming to a conclusion.

05 October 2020

Meet The Owner – Andy Wheeler And His Vauxhall Vx 4/90 Fe

It would be fair to say that Andy Wheeler is a devotee of the last of the “traditional” big Vauxhalls and when he discovered NGP 470 P for sale - ‘by pure chance’ – he knew that he had to buy it.

02 October 2020

The Corona Rt40 – The First Toyota In Britain

The 1965 London Motor Show was full with exciting new models; the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, the Aston Martin DB6, the Vauxhall Cresta PC, the Triumph 1300 and the MGB GT. There was also a quartet from a Japanese firm named Toyota. The entry-level Corona saloon cost £790 16ds 11d, the three-door station wagon £843 14s, the 1600S four-door £1,077 4s 10d and the 1600S Coupe £1,194 3d.

01 October 2020

Club of the month

The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain was founded in 1978 by and aims to bring together the 2CV community to enjoy their shared passion.

September 2020

24 September 2021

THE MINI COOPER: A CELEBRATION

Sixty years ago, the British Motoring Corporation introduced to the public the latest versions of the Mini, the Morris Cooper and its badge-engineered twin, the Austin Seven. At first glance, they seemed to be a sporting version of the ‘Super Mini’ launched a few months earlier. However, keen drivers paid close attention to the race-tuned to 997cc 55 bhp engine with twin SU carburettors, close-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes.

23 September 2021

THE SINCLAIR C5 REMEMBERED

For many years, the Sinclair C5 has been regarded as a joke along with Sigue Sigue Sputnik records and The Roxy on ITV. It deserves a better fate, not least because it represented a new form of motoring, an electrically powered tricycle that anyone aged over 14 could drive on the road sans tax, licence or insurance.

22 September 2021

John Challis 16 August 1942 –19 September 2021

The late John Challis was always a welcome sight on the screen. His height and commanding presence on TV often saw him cast as police officers in Z Cars or villains, such as the venial Scorby in the Fourth Doctor adventure The Seeds of Doom.

20 September 2021

Where are the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty make excellent destinations for a campervan trip: representing, as they do, some of our islands’ most treasured landscapes, they are liberally dotted with campsites to allow everyone to linger amongst the beauty for a while.

14 September 2021

DO YOU REMEMBER – THE VAUXHALL VX 490 FIVE-SPEED?

The year is 1977, and this writer is poring over the latest Vauxhall brochure, a pastime almost as entertaining as The Goodies on BBC2. Suddenly, he comes across an FE even more glamorous than the VX2300 GLS.

13 September 2021

Fifty Years of The Persuaders!

Tony Curtis! Roger Moore! Aston Martins! Dinos! John Barry’s music! Terrible clothes! Worse dancing! Here are 20 facts about ITC’s grooviest TV series...

What is the Heart 200?

The Heart 200 is a new, 200-mile touring route around some of central Scotland's most dramatic, beautiful, and storied landscapes – centred around the cities of Perth and Stirling as well as The Trossachs system of glens, hills and lochs, and the rugged Perthshire Highlands.

A history of Lotus

Esprit. Eclat. Elite. For any petrolheads growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, these names held a certain aura – whether glimpsed among the latest pack of Top Trumps or streaking by on the motorway.

09 September 2021

60 YEARS OF THE TRIUMPH TR4

60 years ago this month, Triumph unveiled a new sports car that left traditionalists aghast. It had a full-width body with vestigial tail fins, winding windows, and even fresh air vents on the facia.

08 September 2021

40 YEARS OF ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES

And to celebrate, here are twenty facts about the programme:

07 September 2021

What are kei cars?

Out of difficult circumstances can come brilliant things – and few things illustrate that better than the Japanese kei car.

What are the different types of classic campervan?

So, you've decided that a campervan could be the way forward for you and your family. Congratulations, first and foremost, on a great choice. Miles and miles, and days and nights of affordable, open-road motoring and camping await you.

06 September 2021

Meet the Owner – Craig Gorton and his Wolseley 24/80

At first sight, the Gorton Wolseley appears to be an exceptionally handsome example of the 15/60 – until you notice the badges. This is a 24/80 Mk 1, a six-cylinder product of BMC-Australia that was never available in the UK.

03 September 2021

Club of Month - The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain

The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain, or 2CVGB, is a friendly and knowledgeable group, of all ages and backgrounds, dedicated to preserving, restoring and enjoying Citroën A-Series models.

Ford v Vauxhall sales wars of the 1970s and 1980s

During the 1970s and 1980s, car market watchers had a fascinating time following the ongoing sales rivalries between two of Britain's biggest-selling car marques, Ford and Vauxhall.

TEN COUPES FOR AUTUMN

Or, as the cold weather approaches, ten ways to enjoy sporting motoring in a certain amount of comfort...

What does classic car insurance cover?

We're often encouraging you to arrange some classic car insurance for your beloved vehicle here at Lancaster. But what does classic car insurance cover – and how does it differ from common or garden car insurance?

01 September 2021

How to prepare your car for a classic car show

If you’re thinking of attending your very first show as an exhibitor how can you prepare your car to get it looking its best? Whether you’re just flashing the car for fun or hoping to take home a trophy, here’s how to get it looking its best.

How will the E10 fuel change affect you?

From September 2021 a change is coming into effect which will see UK petrol stations around the country replacing E5 as the standard grade in place of renewable unleaded E10 fuel.

30 September 2020

Where will your next 4x4 adventure take you?

Whilst getting out and exploring the British countryside in our 4x4s may have been put on hold for part of this year, there is still plenty to look forward to for the remainder of 2020 and onwards! Whether you prefer your voyages to be muddy, fast paced and full of action or to simply admire the countryside, off the beaten track, below is a guide to help you get the best experience from your prized off-roader.

29 September 2020

Lancaster Insurance widens MG schemes

Lancaster Insurance has further cemented its association with the MG marque by extending its specialist scheme for club members, meaning owners of the F and TF can enjoy a range of classic benefits. The classic car insurance specialist has widened its acceptance criteria to encompass these modern classics and it can now arrange cover for drivers from 19 years old providing they have held a full UK license for two years, dependent on usage and circumstance,

Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, postponed to 2021 due to Covid uncertainty

The organisers of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, have decided there is no alternative but to postpone the 2020 event, due to be held this November, despite pulling out all the stops to try and make the annual season finale happen.

28 September 2020

MEET THE OWNER – JOHN BALL AND HIS FORD ZEPHYR-SIX MK. I

John became a devotee of the “Five Star Ford” back in 1967 when he bought a green Consul Mk. I – ‘and I passed my driving test in her’.

Car of the Month - Rick Burmingham and his Morris Marina 1.8 HL

Mr. Burmingham never really noticed the Marina ‘until my dad bought a used 1.3 saloon in 1975.’ That Morris proved so reliable that four years later ‘he insisted on me buying a 1.3 Coupe to replace a rusting Mini’.

25 September 2020

What to do if your motorhome gets stuck in the mud

Getting stuck on a campsite or even in a layby can be very frustrating and embarrassing but remember, it can happen to even the most experienced of travellers.