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Reviews

Probe-ably not what you expected to find at Players

22nd June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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This was my first visit to the Players Classic show at the prestigious Goodwood Motor Circuit and I really had no idea what to expect. And I sure as sh*t wasn’t expecting to see a Ford Probe!

Yep, you read that right, a Ford Probe. If you saw it out of the corner of your eye you may be forgiven for thinking it was a Mitsubishi GTO, I know I did. Realising my faux pas I started circling the car in bewilderment, genuinely surprised that any still existed on UK roads, let alone in such good condition.

Sitting on ETA Beta 3-piece wheels at a lower than stock ride height this Ford was pulling off it’s new found attitude rather well. I really couldn’t make my mind up as to why someone would choose to modify a Probe or that the end result was pretty decent.

Looking through the windscreen there was a list of modifications, proudly boasting 226bhp from the 2.5l V6 (stock is 162). Clearly someone had put some love into this. The smoothed body panels, devoid of any branding, paired with the immaculate paint really did go a long way to updating it’s appearance.

I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but at an event like Players, I really think it stood out and did well to separate itself from the crowd. I appreciate it for what it is, the owner tried something different and I think they pulled it off.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)

Reviews

The GT1 GTR at Coventry MotoFest

19th June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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It is always fascinating when you send a team of photographers to an event and see what they all capture.

Variety is often the result, occasionally though, we will all gravitate to one vehicle. It’s the same at car shows too. However in this instance, it wasn’t what the car looked like that caught our attention, it was something much, MUCH more primal.

The car in question, if you have not worked it out by now, is a Nissan GTR GT1 and it is quite clearly a racecar! To most, that is reason alone to make it a favourite and it is, but we will circle back to that in a second. You see, as we walked down blissfully quiet Coventry ring road, the silence was, and there is no other better way to describe it, shattered by the eruption of decibels from the Nissan VK56 that powers this FIA spec GTR.

5.6 litres of free breathing V8 labouring under heavy cams and sucking in air before detonating and shouting it out of the straight through exhaust. I nearly dropped my camera as it started up. It wasn’t so much announcing it’s presence as elbowing everyone out of the way and fighting it’s way through.

600bhp and 479ft-lb of torque certainly made light work of the rear tyres off of the line as well as reducing anyone in close proximity to a giggling wreck. Given that this car also weighs in at 1250kg, it didn’t hang around. And it was this sheer pantomime that really stole our hearts and brings me back to my earlier point about it being race car.

Not only was this silly fast and loud but it was also driving on a ring road! The juxtaposition is literally at it’s most extreme here. Race car + ring road, it is hilarious to look at. At a proper track, you might walk past it in the pits and briefly pause before continuing on, on the streets, it is just ludicrous!

What did you think? Did you see it?

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: Fueltopia Team


Event

Coventry MotoFest

12th June 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Coventry MotoFest, an annual festival celebrating the region’s historic motoring heritage in the heart of Coventry on public roads! And this year it has been touted as being the biggest and best yet!

Let that sink in for a moment though, “public roads”?! Yep, think Monaco, take away the sea, double the size and slap on a West Midlands accent and you’re pretty much there. In some ways, you have surpassed that, if Formula 1 isn’t your bag then you can see cars ranging from student built racers to drift cars right the way through to rock crawlers or GT1 cars. The variety is simply staggering, you are in constant limbo of staying still as you don’t know what will come past next or moving on for fear of missing something going on elsewhere.

Add to the fact that we, as press, were walking down what was essentially a hot pit lane which is located on top of an elevated dual carriage-way, crowds were lining slip roads and cross overs using the landscape as some sort of amphitheatre. It was utterly bizarre and brilliant all the same, I for one had never experienced anything like it in my life. Under one of the fly overs was a converted car park which was home to our Formula G demonstrations as well as Drift Outlaws. Think Tokyo Drift but with less spinners and chrome, that’s what went down there.

The crowd for our demonstrations was immense, we had people lined up against the concrete guard rails, phones held high to get a snap of the action. The flyover not only held the smoke down but also provided a ceiling for the engine noises to bounce off of which only pumped the crowd even more. It is little unique touches like this that makes Coventry MotoFest so special.

Did I mention that this was a free event?

No entry fee to pay here, just rock up, watch some demonstrations, see some sprint racing, salivate over the display stands or chill out with some great food and live music. And that is the key, it is all very good attracting motoring enthusiasts to attend, we will drive hours and even fly to events just see the action. Attracting new fans is a difficult job, track tickets can be expensive, but here, passer-by’s could turn up and be present with a mixed bag of disciplines to experience.

To me, that reinforces what Coventry MotoFest is about, it is a celebration of the heritage and a way of showcasing it to those who would never considering handing well earned beer tokens for an entry to an event like this. The really isn’t a better way for the uninitiated to dip their toe in and see what they like.

The largest part of the event was the sprint section which followed the ring road for two junctions before turning back on itself and doing it all over again. The start line was a great place to stand with many drivers going for big rolling burnouts rewarding the baying crown with the smell of fuel and burnt rubber.

But nothing really beats the audio sensory overload as you wait near the exit of a tunnel being filled by the orchestra of a vintage Formula 1 car. That really is hair raising stuff.

Sure, this isn’t at the same sort of scale as Goliaths Goodwood Festival of Speed but it isn’t really claiming to be either. MotoFest has much more of a planted feel to it, rather than going to see it, it bring the action to your doorstep and has the audacity to do it in a City, a fact I still can’t get over. There is a beautiful juxtaposition here, purpose built track monsters driving on public roads, to me that is my favourite aspect of it. It feels so right but when you step back and look at it all, it seems so alien. They are racing in a city!

And the lofty ambitions don’t stop there, the organisers are in talks with the council to have a proper race inside the city next year! We haven’t seen anything like this since Birmingham SuperPrix or before that, if my history serves me well, the Crystal Palace GrandPrix. We need more of this and I can’t wait to see how this event continues to grow.

This was my first time attending and I had never heard of it before, it wasn’t even on my radar. That has now changed. It has been going for 4 years, 3 in this current format and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I feel there is an importance to writing this article, more people need to witness this event, not to support it, rather that it is simply too good to miss. More people need to know.

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: Fueltopia Team: Phil, Mike, Craig, Dave, Kim & Ben.

Event

 Old Town

30th May 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Armed with a beer and a camera, the air thick with the smell of booze, fuel and barbecue I felt the wave of childish excitement washing over me.

I write this through the eyes of a beer-fuelled tourist shuffling excitedly around the streets and bars of Old Town in Kissimee, Florida. It had been around 20 years since I last visited and I wanted to see if recollection of this petrol head nirvana was accurate. Fair warning, this will be a somewhat chaotic blog post, I hadn’t intended on doing event coverage, I just turned up looking to relax and drink some beer. I had no agenda, no features lined up, I was just there to take it all in. It wasn’t till I got home that I realised just how many pictures I had taken.

Before the dulcet tones of burbling V8’s filled the air, the sound track of the evening was people having fun in the fairground and surrounding bars. Picking up my first beer, I started walking from the bottom of Trophy Row, the staging ground for the cruiser cars, to get a closer look at the evening’s offerings. The night I visited was the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise which is hosted every Saturday with the main cruise starting at 8:30pm.

Reviews

A Modern Classic

1st May 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Big power, aggressive aero and lots of noise are just three out of a long list of attributes that excite us about cars. However, would you want to live with that all the time?

I won’t lie, they excite me too but there are times, sat on the motorway that I am happy my Saab is as quiet and refined as it is. It doesn’t have the power or the drama of modified cars but it is a welcome sight after a long day photographing. That being said, we are not here to talk about my car, we are looking a Russ’ BMW e46 M3 – a car which bridges the gap between being pulse quickening and refined. With the help from Jason at Gtech Tuning and Tokyo Concepts we can explore their take on a modern classic.

Russ has had his fair share of weekend warriors and toys which have all been fun, if a little hard to live with day to day. But if what if you want to retain that element of fun but also use the car regularly? Something with stiffer suspension and a satisfying power delivery, you’d be hard pressed to find anything more suitable than a BMW.

Most will be forgive for thinking that this is just another e46 CSL on BBS LM’s as you approach but this car has far more to offer and it is all in the small details. A culmination of which lift this M3 from standard to unique.

Take the paint for instance, Imola Red, a good choice for an M3 right? Wrong. Look closer and you will see that there is actually gold flake in the paint which reveals itself under sunlight. Russ was keen on keeping the original paint until Jason turned up with a sample panel and  convinced him otherwise. I can understand this too, if you had told me gold flake on red paint I wouldn’t have gone for it either however when you see it, it just adds the little extra depth to the finish.