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Reviews

Top 10 wagons you need to know about

6th February 2017 — by Black Flagged

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I love a wagon. Like me, there are a few select that can see the beauty in the cars which were originally designed with nothing but practicality in mind.

For this article, I’ve dug deep into the Fueltopia archives to bring you the mega guide to Wagon love.

Opening up the proceedings is this  1998 Subaru Legacy GTB shot by Dan Fegent. This is no slouch, 2.0-litre turbo that packs a meaty 280hp from it’s Boxer engine heart, that classic Subaru sound magnified by the aftermarket Kakimoto exhaust. This isn’t factory fresh, its classic lines remain with the stock wheels getting upgraded to some 18-inch Work Emotion XD9’s

While looking at Wagons, I needed to include an Audi. The list wouldn’t be complete without one and getting one on the list is James Hughes’ Audi A4, shot by Ben Gaut. It’s Jon Olson inspired camo wrap is set off by its aired-out stance on the Airlift Performance V1 Management kit, allowing the Rotiform IND T wheels to squeeze excellently under the arches.

The wolf in sheep clothing. From first glance you may have thought this BMW 330D had managed to luck out to make it onto this list. However, this car is maybe the one to watch. Owned by Dan Fegent, it might look unassuming from the outside, but it’s the 390lb/ft of torque that will show you up off the lights

This car might be aerodynamically challenged, but it’s a classic and was the pinnacle of estate/wagon luxury during the late 80’s and early 90’s. However,  I’m sure that not one owner during it’s prime would ever have imagined seeing their family pride and joy do this! Thanks to Huxley Motorsport, the stock engine has been ripped out and replaced with a BMW M60 4.0-litre V8 that now allows it do this!

Aerodynamically challenged

The Gravel Express – with less than 15 of these in the UK it makes them rarer than rocking horse poo. However, Rich Maguire has taken his classic Subaru designed for the hardy Australian outback and given it a stunning contemporary look for the hazardous West London travels. What it lost in bull-bars and gated spare wheel carrier, it gained in style and stance

The drift world gets a lot of flack, but it needs some credit to helping save the fate of many wagons from the oily fingered grasps of the banger fraternity – who’d only abuse each other with gleeful wrecking abandonment while sending future classics to the great scrap yard in the sky. Fraser Stark’s BMW E30 however still has a slight death wish as it unleashes it’s tyres into a fire show extravaganza thanks to the hearty Toyota 2JZ engine that now resides under the hood

Another Subaru and it’s Gymkhana that saw this glorified dog carrier grab some lime light. Jake Archer’s Kamikaze wagon took on the internet’s best, Ken Block, at his own sport and surprisingly it did pretty bloody well. This might have been built in a shed in Birmingham, but it’s been fielded against the best and held it’s own!

Gatebil, it’s a bonkers three day car festival that boasts the most amount of engine swaped cars than any other show we know – I mean there are 2JZ engines in everything you could imagine. While the Volvo mafia reign large, a cheeky Mercedes always gets the looks and thanks to Dave Cox for capturing this weapon looking as good today as it did when it rolled out of the showroom… Well, perhaps not, but way more exciting right?!

More drifty action, this car dominated the UK drift scene. Michael Marshalls BMW E36 Touring – powered by the favoured Toyota 2JZ I’m sure this couldn’t be further than the sales dream of long weekends away and throwing the golf clubs in the back for a weekend of birdies and eagles… Thanks to our in house rally expert Steve White for getting this smokey run

To finish off our top 10, there could be only one car that took this spot, Edward Blom’s 1975 Volvo 242. It’s not quite a wagon, but I’m bending the rules. This car was originally shot by Andi Gordon and Edward and his mates welcomed in Andi to shoot his awesome M50 turbo powered build. However, sadly not long after Eddie passed away. So, with that in mind this car was  the perfect end to my blog and it’s a tribute to a real petrolhead – check out the hench burnout marks on the garage floor!

Reviews

Feature: Das Galag TG3

2nd January 2017 — by Dave Cox

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This thing is pure pantomime. It is a comically wide, hilariously loud chrome disco ball.  It is as subtle as farting in bed after a night of curry and beer, you’re bound to notice.

Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about Mercedes. To my mind they are the type of car that is driven by taxi drivers and your Dad and often beige in colour. However they do have a way of clawing back some of that reputation by popping down to Halfords and sticking some chrome letters on the back. That, and shoehorning a thumping great V8 in the front of them. Even still, I failed to see their appeal.

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I even drove an E63 AMG Estate at Mercedes World in Woking, sure it was entertaining, loud and at the same time comfortable, I just never could shake off the thought of men in tweed transporting themselves to and from the golf club. To me they were rich boys toys, over styled, over weight and, dare I say it, vulgar. But what do I know? The sheer volume of them on the roads proves that I may be alone in this thinking.

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However, in late 2015 Mercedes announced the AMG GT and GTs. Everything I knew about the three pointed star had been changed, and I was very happy.

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The proportions of this GT cruiser are so well considered, that long bonnet, the swept back windscreen, the short cabin and curves that seem to never end. Who wouldn’t want to go mile munching in a thing that looks this pretty. Well that is exactly what the guys at Team Galag thought when they commissioned Xquisite Productions to build them a car for the Gumball 3000.

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What Xquisite did was not just bolt a body kit, because you can’t really call it as such. It is more of a complete reshell. It is said that there are a further six inches added to the width of this car already very wide car taking it well past the two meter mark. They managed this without disrupting the flow of Mark Fetherston’s original vision.

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Just look at how the body extends well past the rear taillights, normally the standard body would follow the contours of the lights. Not any more. In case the reshell was too subtle a rather large (read bloody huge) carbon fibre wing was added. In fact it had to be cut down so that it didn’t extend past the cars width.


Up front we have a front splitter the size of a tea tray, canards that resemble Jaw’s fins and fender vents that looks like, well, fender vents. Round back with that large wing we spoke of but also a functioning rear diffuser. If it is all still too subtle for you, you could just remove the mufflers and wrap the whole thing in chrome. Oh…ok. Well it is Gumball after all. And as such you want your car to look like a race car but would you really want to do 3000miles in a race car?

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Didn’t think so. So the interior was left as stock and to be honest, it is a great place to sit, everything works save for the sports exhaust button. The reason for that is they have removed the rear mufflers so it is on all the time. Naughty. There are exhaust flaps up front which get opened when you but the car in race mode.

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The seats are supple and supportive with AMG details on the back rest, the driving position is comfortable with great visibility. Heated seats, cruise control, air conditioning, satnav, RACE BUTTON, it has it all. I love the red stitching details and the  Edition 1 AMG alcantara steering wheel. I’d love to jump in and chew through some miles across Europe.

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Following the car through town to our shoot location was both hilarious and gob-smacking. The noises it makes in race mode are filthy. It is a dirty, filthy, brutal bark punctuated by pops and bangs. It’s like a heavily congested, snoring elephant rolling around on bubble wrap during a firework display. It was great to school kids gather and point as it set off from traffic lights, gawping motorists as went past and the cackling from myself and Phil as struggled to keep up with it. I love this thing.


The speed side of things is due to the fact that this AMG now how has a much smaller twin turbo V8 only 4.0L versus the old 6.2L n/a of 5.5L twin turbos but it makes more power, and is more driveable AND it has better fuel economy. The noise, well, as we mentioned, it doesn’t have any mufflers out back.

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Now when Phil and I first saw this at the Ace Cafe which you can see in this blog here it was dark and hard to see all the little details. But getting up close and personal to it during this shoot allows you to appreciate some of the differences this TG3 (Team Galag 3) has to the GT3 variant. I for one prefer the standard front grill versus the bar version. the original cooling ducts for the brakes remain too as well as the standard headlights. I’m not going to pretend it is understated but the redesign does a nice job of sitting between the standard and the race version of this car.

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With light rapidly falling away it was time to wrap up and head home. I really didn’t want to leave this silly, obnoxious, brilliant car behind. So on the way back I spent some time hanging out of the passengers window of Phil’s BMW catching some rolling shots. I’m lying really, I was just trying to get a better listen of it one last time. Now, if only I could find a spare £100k…

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I want to pay a special thanks to Kay at Xquisite Productions and his team for allowing the opportunity to shoot it. I really do appreciate it, any time you have something else cool to shoot, don’t hesitate in asking us to pop down.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Additional Pictures: Phil “Paps” McCusker

Spec list:
4.0L Twin Turbo V8
Mid/Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive
503bhp @ 6250 rpm
479 lb-ft Torque @ 1750 rpm
7 Speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch transmission
1674kg curb weight
0-60mph – 3.8 Seconds
top speed – 193mph

Video

Mercedes G-Wagen pushed to its limits

30th November 2016 — by JimmyDrama

The internet can be a treasure trove of wonderful finds, none more so than this video. It’s been floating around for the past few days, sending supercar and G-Wagen fans into orbit that an owner would dare to treat the six figure off-roader to such a pasting.

However, I think the owner is the man! If you’ve got it, then drive it. There is no denying that this owner took that to the limit and I’m sure AMG didn’t have this in mind when he waltzed in off the high street into their wonderful showroom.

The driver attacks drop downs and water ditches with no finesse. There is no caution as he sends the G500 into full attack. What he lacks in skill is over come with a good planting of the good-foot and you can hear the decent raspy exhaust note of that AMG lump.

Today this guy wins the internet, just for his no f*cks given attitude and his couldn’t care less approach