As the year unfolds, we're seeing a hint of Groundhog Day in Formula One (with a slight Spanish twist) and news of high-powered cars which could leave one thinking that rumours of the imminent demise of the internal combustion engine have been greatly exaggerated.
We start, as always, with motoring news…
An Italian loses its head
Ferrari's Roma GT has lost its roof and in doing so, has become the first front-engined Ferrari Spider since 1969. Based on its Portofino M coupe sibling, it mixes the platform shared with the fixed roof car with some bespoke parts and features a soft top convertible roof. Engine and gearbox are identical to the Portofino, meaning 560bhp and a maximum speed just shy of 200mph.
The end of an era – and the Spectre of a new one
Rolls Royce has revealed the Wraith Black Arrow, which will be the final variant of the model to use the V12 engine, before production of the all-electric Spectre begins later this year. With over 630bhp, the last Wraith will also be the most powerful and unique features include a paint finish that fades from graphite to black front to rear and yellow (very yellow!) accents, both inside and out.
It's not all goodbyes for the V12
It may be one of the automotive world's worst kept secrets, with test mules spotted and powertrain details revealed over the last few months but the launch of a new flagship Lamborghini is never a dull affair.
The Revuelto uses a 6.5litre V12, supplemented with three electric motors, to produce 1,015bhp and it's claimed that performance and emissions are improved by around 30%. Lamborghini have said that the car was designed around the engine format from the outset, continuing a rich heritage that can be traced back over more than 50 years.
Its look is evolutionary, retaining the overall dimensions of its predecessor but with extensive use of carbon composites throughout to keep the weight gain to around 200kg over the Aventador it replaces and the extra 200-plus bhp enables faster acceleration and a higher top speed.
It's expected to cost north of £450,000 when it goes on sale next year and it's been reported that the car is already sold out for the first two years of production.
And the name? As you might expect, it relates a fighting bull from the 1800's.
More V12 goodness
Aston Martin has announced its DBS 770 Ultimate Volante – a long name for a model celebrating the marque's 110th anniversary and boasting almost 760bhp from the 5.2 litre V12 which Aston's engineers have fettled to produce more power than the regular DBS.
The open-top version of the 770 comes a few months after the coupe version was announced. Aston is building just 199 Volantes (and 300 coupes).
The news comes as test mules of the DB11 replacement have been spotted being put through their paces at the Nürburgring; widely expected to be named the DB12, the car is likely to be an evolution of the current model visually, but will feature significant improvements inside, borrowing latest-gen tech from AMG, aiming to level the playing field against competitors. The new car launches in 2024, ahead of hybrid and fully electric models planned in the second half of the decade.
Eighties excess, revisited
For those of us who grew up during the 1980's, the cars are arguably one of the better things to have survived and the latest reimagined offering is certainly no exception.
Group B was a brief expression of the loudest generation of vehicles to have attacked the world's rally stages – a generation cut short in their prime, leaving us with slightly grainy footage of these monsters spitting flames and marvelling at the drivers who tamed them.
Wales-based MST are no strangers to recreating historic rally cars; their Escort Mk 1 & 2 cars blend tradition with cutting-edge automotive technology and their latest project is no exception – one of the quirkier Group B models.
MST doesn't have the rights to use “MG Metro” so has simply referred to the new car as the “all-new 6R4” and will combine carbonfibre, an Audi-sourced V6 engine and a heavily reinforced chassis to build an initial run of five cars during 2024, with prices starting at £295,000.
Road and competition-focused versions will be available and the image released by MST shows a bodyshell appearing identical to the original.
Lockton out and about
We enjoyed a great morning with SCC Private Members Club at HR Owen's splendid new Hatfield flagship showroom, including the unveiling of the club's new Volkswagen Transporter, custom built by Van Haven.
We headed again with SCC to visit our friends at Gtechniq in Northamptonshire. This included a tour of the works and meeting both the chemists who make the products and the detailing team who apply them. We're back at Gtechniq again later in the year, this time with the Lamborghini Club.
We're joining the Aston Martin Owners Club for their Spring Concours at RAF Duxford in May and we'll also be taking to the race circuit as the trackday season starts for several clubs.
Latest Lockton articles
If you haven't seen Intake, our revamped newsletter, then you can find a link here. This month we have focused on the growing problem of high valued SUV theft and we will continue to look at this, providing insight and advice as to how to best protect the vehicle(s) that you've worked hard to own.
We've also included a guest article from the team at Paddlup. We're building a partnership with Paddlup and they will be sharing some great investment and buying advice around sports and supercars.
Formula One – dominate, rinse, repeat
As the F1 show got underway, Red Bull's dominance was underlined by a truly emphatic 1-2 in Bahrain with reigning champion Max Verstappen leading his teammate home by almost 12 seconds. Perez turned the tables in Saudi Arabia with the Milton Keynes-based pair leading the rest by over 20 seconds by the chequered flag.
Australia saw Mercedes perform more strongly than expected, with Lewis Hamilton finishing a strong second to Verstappen amidst chaotic scenes, red flags and a finish behind the safety car with crowds then taking to the track before cars had returned to the pitlane to celebrate.
Alonso finished third, giving a total of 11 championships on the podium and some hope for fans that 2023 could prove to be competitive. Red Bull will have an aerodynamic penalty as the season progress, applied by the FIA following their overspend during 2022 but the car and drivers appear incredibly strong at this early stage.
Aston Martin are proving to be the surprise of the season so far. With a design very similar to the field-leading Red Bull RB19, they have emerged as strong contenders for podiums and with Fernando Alonso rolling back the years you wouldn't bet against a win or two during 2023.
A hint of Spring and a fresh new look
Dare we start to look forward to lighter evenings and warmer weather? It's certainly feeling a lot milder and many of you will be bringing your cars out of their winter hibernation. 2023 seems to be moving very fast and we hope to see you on the lawns or in the paddock very soon.
If you've received the latest issue of your club magazine, we hope that you'll have noticed our new adverts for 2023. We're working with a new creative agency and we think they've really nailed our brief – a hint of the new look campaign can be seen at the top of this article and we hope you'll agree that our new look really emphasises how Lockton provides you with “Perfectly Tuned Insurance”