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Reviews

North Coast 500: Enjoying the Scottish Highlands!

11th July 2017 — by Hans van der Vleuten

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No plans for your summer yet?!? Discover the beautiful roads and scenery at the Scottish Highlands. Drive during the day and enjoy some good food and drinks in the evening. The North Coast 500, five hundred miles of Scotlands finest roads… 

A few years ago I’ve read something about the Scottish Highlands and a route trip North Coast 500. Last year we decided to give it a go. We booked a boat trip from Ijmuiden to Newcastle at the end of June. Since we were a little bit to excited things went wrong right the way. I drove my lowered Nissan 350Z on to the high deck and immediatly my gearbox wanted to kiss the boat. A big bang but nothing happened luckily. The Princess Seaways brought us to mainland UK, our seven day road trip had started.

 

First day

It wasn’t my first time driving around the UK. But the first time with my Z and a lot of miles in a row on the other side of the road. We left the boat and set course to Inverness. This is the only hotel we booked in advance. Afterwards not the best idea, since every hotel or B&B on route were almost fully booked. So be prepared! At least to say Inverness is a great city.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Day two

The second day we decided to leave early. On the boat we spoke to a few people about the Isle of Skye. After looking on the internet it just looked fantastic. Later that day a little detour on Skye was made. Well not a little detour… We almost drove around complete the Isle. Just a little bit too much driving for one day.

 

Only problem was. We didn’t book a hotel for the evening, after some searching on various websites we found one. Only problem it was somewhere on the map where we should drive the next day. But we needed to sleep and drove to Gairloch. We chose a road which wasn’t on the map and again we were lucky. What a view!! Scotland is full of surprises.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Third day 

Driving the Highlands on the west coast. In one word… Amazing! In the morning we drove the same way back from Gairloch and started at the Road to Applecross.

North Coast 500 Highlands

It’s not advised for the learner drivers or very large vehicles. Small road, tight bends and a lot of cliffs. You’ve got to drive it and will love it instantly. The west coast is great to drive, I wish we drove it in two days instead of one.

After a long day of driving we end up at a small village named Rhiconich. We stayed at the Rhiconich Hotel, very, very, very friendly people. My radio went dead and they loved my car so much they gave me a spare radio. Glad to see the sun came back later in the evening, we had quiet some rain during the day. After a lot of Tennent’s beers and a some chat with the locals we went to sleep.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Day four 

It was time to discover the North coast from Scotland. But first we drove back to the Kylesku Bridge. The day before it was raining like hell and I wanted to have a photo from my Z at the bridge. My girlfriend took the photo and it was time to go North.

North Coast 500 Highlands

Yet again a lot of cliffs and the scenery changed hour after hour. In the far north it’s just like driving around in my neighbourhood in The Netherlands. It almost felt like home. Another hotel was found in John O’Groats, almost the most northerly point of mainland Britain.

Fifth day 

The fifth day was already the start of our journey back home, we set sail back to Inverness. The east coast has a lot of big roads which go up and down and it’s awesome to drive. Loads of distilleries to visit. Too bad we didn’t have much time to stop for them, hopefully next time. One of the things you can’t miss driving around the Highlands are all those magnificent castles. Some are ruined but also a lot of them standing strong during time. Luckily we had some spare time to visit some of them before heading back to Inverness.

Day six

We didn’t want to drive as much on the way back home as we did on our way to Inverness. Right in between we found a nice Castle to stay and walk around for the day. Of course we wanted to find Nessie before we went back home. My girlfriend tried to find him, but no luck…

The Dalhousie Castle is a hotel, but still in it’s real 13th century shape. Like you go back in time. We stayed there during the night for one of our last evenings.

Last day

Our road trip almost came to it’s end. We drove from Bonnyrigg, Dalhousie Castle, to Newcastle before we had to board again. We loved every minute driving around the Highlands. For sure I’ll go back sometime in the future. Next time it won’t be for only one week and also we will plan our entire trip. Booking no hotels or B&Bs in advance didn’t work that great in Scotland. Most of the hotels and B&Bs are relatively small and booked fast. Also I need some more thread on my front tires, mine were completely worn after one week. Haha.

 

See you again Scotland…

Bonus images:

 

Northcoast500.com

Reviews

Restoring A Classic

12th April 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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With the team here bringing you steady coverage of awesome 4 & 2 wheel global motorsport events, its time to bring the pace down for a few minutes & take a closer look at a feature car.

So lets set the story, you’ve always fancied a classic, the right one comes up & you go for it. Its a car thats older or nearly as old as you, & not your usual JDM turbo driven monster. This classic of yours is usually owned by lets say ‘the older generations’, you have a mind full of ideas to mix it up, you want to breathe new life into it…

I reckon this sounds familiar to many of you & its no different for Gianni when he picked up this 1990 Porsche 944 S2. With its 3.0 naturally aspirated engine pushing 228bhp through the rear wheels, this car even by todays standards is no slouch. Squabbling for traction as it puts this power to the ground provides plenty of skiddu drift king moments, performance has not been an issue here. A quick terraclean put the escaped horses back in the stables &
944it was ready to rock.

However the colour… now this is where it could definitely upset a few Porsche purists, it came with a rare non production colour ‘Tuerkis Blau’, but it was looking dated & this is where the outcome of this project so far would be make or break for many. The stunning choice you see here of Riviera Blue was picked & applied, suddenly the car was thrown into this decade not looking out of place on the roads among modern vehicles.

944s today often suffer majorly from rust, especially around the sills. Thanks to the pre spraying prep work & repairs done by RM Bodywork the car is future proofed & with Automek providing servicing & specialist fitting help, the car has been well & truly modernised.

We think it looks fantastic, but with a plethora of changes still to come, like most projects we undertake, they are never truly finished. Something else I reckon many of us can understand & relate to…

Reviews

ITS A VIP THING

16th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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Japan & the JDM craze is nothing new, its an influence on the lives of so many with their mindset and ways of life. Their car culture especially plays a huge part with so many automotive fans from around the globe. From every documentary we’ve seen on the subject they are totally trendsetters without even knowing it, what we deem to be cool is often just because it was the only way to do it to them and therefore it simply worked.

So it would seem that little thought is put into what others think… refreshing that 😉

In the western world this kind of attitude can bring on hate. The desire to be different is shot down and conforming to the masses is the standard by which you are judged. With all that being said, we wanted to bring you all a little slice of the Japanese mindset from way up North in Aberdeen. A Lexus GS300 Sport that would not look out of place cruising the streets of Tokyo. At its heart is a JDM 2JZGE, for people who don’t live their lives knowing engine codes, thats a straight 6 3.0 litre engine pushing out around 240bhp and bundles of useable torque, easily moving this VIP wagon through the streets.

Its owner, Fraser, has a solid spec list of modifications, not the all of which are the usual ones you’d expect, its an awesome mix of mostly driveway mods that work, again saluting that JDM culture of doing it yourself & doing whatever you want.

A fully fettled exhaust and intake allow it to be heard long before its seen. But its the presence in person that demands your attention. Its most striking party piece would have to be the D2 Air Suspension system, dropping it to a floor scraping height thanks to 2 air zenith OBD2 compressors hugging the Works Rezax 2’s perfectly and worthy of its street sweeper gang sticker.

To suit all these lows the outside is as purposefully unique as possible with a Vertex front bumper flowing nicely into matching side skirts and a half cut OEM rear bumper allowing a Top Secret style rear diffuser to poke through finishing it all off perfectly. Spoiler wise its got a choice, the Toms roof spoiler is a permanent addition but bonnet spoilers, well, they come and go. As of this shoot it had a 326 Power spoiler, however we’ve seen since that its gone full BGW, an awesome addition to the overall look.

The interior has two red Recaro seats perfectly suiting the driven styling of this build. Adorned with stickers of varying degrees of awesomeness collected from travels to J town, once inside you’d think you were there. In fact check you can check this out for yourself in all its glory thanks to the work of Alex McArthur who has produced this ace video on the car, we feel summing it up perfectly.

This build isn’t a ‘trying too hard’ JDM replica, this is built completely to their same standard. If it fits it works, if it doesn’t fit well you just make it fit, you don’t listen to what the masses say, you don’t adhere to their set rules & accepted mods, this right here is the perfect example of the Japanese car culture.