It is with sadness that we start this update with the news that Adrian Hamilton has passed away. Established as one of longest standing figures in the classic car industry, he has sold some of the world's greatest vehicles including nine Ferrari GTOs. “Hammy” was respected by both collectors and his peers. He was known for his cheerful, larger than life personality, as well as his razor-sharp wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of old and special cars.
In more recent years, he assembled the amazing ROFGO Gulf Racing collection. He also masterminded the relocation of Duncan Hamilton & Company to its splendid new home in Hampshire while also supporting his son Archie's motor racing career.
Two days later, we were also sad to hear that Robert Brooks passed away. He founded the auction house that bore his name before acquiring Bonhams in 2000 and Phillips a year later. He drove Bonhams' international growth during the following decade.
Anyone who witnessed Robert in action will remember his flair and showmanship. He will be remembered for setting a world record in 1987 when he sold a Bugatti Royale for £5.5m while working for Christie's. This achievement ultimately prompted him to launch the Brooks Auctioneers two years later. He was also instrumental in persuading the Goodwood Estate to launch what have now become two of the industry's most popular events: the Festival of Speed and Revival meetings.
We recently welcomed the return of Pebble Beach to the classic motoring calendar. This spectacular week sees the world's finest motor cars descend to Monterey in California to celebrate all things automotive.
From road tours to racing to the famous Concours D'Elegance, 2021 saw several new cars revealed. Many were displayed on the famous golf course overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Lamborghini recreated one of their most iconic cars in the form of the Countach LPI 800-4. We have written about reimagined cars before, and this must be one of the best in recent times. The car has been made to celebrate the Countach's fiftieth anniversary and only 112 will be made. The car uses the chassis and hybrid powertrain from Lamborghini's Sian, producing almost 790hp. Prices are reported to start at £1.7million.
Aston Martin revealed an open version of their Valkyrie model. The Spider will be mechanically identical to its coupe sibling but with a lower top speed of around 205mph and an roof open.
Bugatti confirmed that the Bolide will be its next production hypercar. While not on display, forty will be produced at a cost of £3.4m each. Power output will be 1,578hp using the now familiar eight litre W16 quad turbocharged engine. The styling is aerodynamics-orientated to help the car reach its maximum speed of 310mph.
Ford showed its GT Prototype Heritage Edition. Featuring exposed carbon sections against white bodywork, it pays homage to the original GT40 prototypes. The car was displayed with the sole remaining original part: the chassis GT/105.
At Pebble Beach, we also saw also the famous badge return. Radford was a British coachbuilder made famous in the 1960s for its Mini conversions. These were owned by all of the Beatles members, along with Peter Sellers and George Best.
The company has been revived by the automotive designer, Mark Stubbs, and with partners F1 world champion, Jenson Button, and TV presenter, Ant Anstead, As Pebble Beach was underway, they revealed the Radford Lotus Type 62-2.
Inspired by Lotus's own Type 62 racing car, the new model is underpinned by existing Lotus hardware and will use the same Toyota V6. Manual and automatic options are available and there will be two models: the classic, producing 430hp and the Gold Leaf, with modifications resulting in around 500hp.
Weighing in at around 1000kgs and with only 62 cars being made, it seems likely that performance will be extremely impressive.
Of course, Pebble Beach is about much more than new car launches. The major auction houses stage their annual sales, usually attracting spectacular cars. Glenmarch has produced a roundup of the results, and there were two that stood out to us.
Firstly, a McLaren F1 with only 241 miles sold for $20,465,000 (USD). This car had striking brown paintwork with a matching tan interior. It had spent most of its life in a Japanese collection, being driven sparingly and maintained meticulously. The figure is the highest achieved this year and is a testament to the strong market.
Next, a car that failed to meet its reserve, topping out at $15m. While Steve McQueen was the star of Le Mans in 1971, for many, the Porsche 917 in its iconic Gulf livery may have run him a close second. The car was offered for sale by Gooding & Co (who also sold the F1 above).
We can't write about Pebble Beach without mentioning the Concours D'Elegance, and that is a fitting point to conclude our review.
Representing the best cars in the world, it combines the style and glamour of the earliest cars with competition machinery from the seventies. This year's 'Best of Show' winner was the truly magnificent 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier coupe.
This amazing week must be on the bucket list for any self-respecting motoring enthusiast – it is certainly on ours.
With Formula One taking its summer break, attention turned to another famous event: Le Mans. In 2020, the event was held behind closed doors. However, this year we saw fans return once again to the French town, which has become synonymous with endurance motor racing.
For the fourth year in a row, Toyota emerged victorious, with its GR010 Hybrid finishing first and second. However, equally memorable was the fourth and fifth positions achieved by American team Glickenhaus Racing on their first visit to the event.
Formula One's return was marked by one of more bizarre races in recent years. Rain is not an unusual phenomenon at the Belgian circuit but it would be fair to describe the weather throughout the weekend as appalling. McLaren driver Lando Norris crashed heavily as he exited the famous Eau Rouge corner on Saturday due to the bad conditions.
The session ended with championship contenders Verstappen and Hamilton being split by a surprising and superb performance from Williams driver George Russell. This gave the team its first front row start in four years.
Sunday's weather saw the race start delayed by several hours, before eventually being run for two laps behind the safety car, allowing Verstappen to close the gap to Hamilton at the top of the table.For the second of three consecutive weekend's races, F1 returned to the historic Zandvoort circuit in Holland. Verstappen's adopted home circuit saw the “orange army” out in force with the circuit wreathed in clouds of orange smoke throughout the weekend.
It is fair to say that Verstappen looked unstoppable for the entire weekend. Having narrowly claimed pole position, he eased ahead of Hamilton at the start and controlled the entire race. Whatever strategy change Mercedes added, he and Red Bull appeared to have everything covered during a fascinating race. His teammate Sergio Perez also disproved the theory that overtaking was all but impossible, with several passes. Verstappen left Holland with his lead re-established.
In other F1 news, it was announced that Hamilton's teammate Bottas will be joining Alfa Romeo in 2022 after five years with Mercedes. As widely anticipated, he will be replaced by George Russell. The British driver has impressed with his qualifying performances and stepping in to replace Hamilton for one race in 2020 when the World Champion missed a race due to COVID..
BTCC returned to Scotland's Knockhill circuit and the reigning champion, Ash Sutton left, with a healthy lead. He now sits 30 points clear at the top of the table with four race weekends left this season.
We finish our motorsport news with a farewell to motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi, who rode his last British GP in August. Despite finishing well down the order, he was given an emotional send-off by much of the crowd. The nine-time World Champion has announced that he will retire at the end of 2021 after a career spanning more than 25 years.
We begin this month with news that MOT testing centres are bracing themselves for a busy September.
During the first lockdown, extensions to MOT expiry dates were put in place to allow g for the closure of many garages due to lockdown conditions. As a result, there was a surge in testing towards the end of September 2020. Garages are recommending that motorists book early to have their vehicles tested.
Your motor insurance policy is unlikely to specify that your vehicle has a valid MOT, but it will almost certainly state that your vehicle must be maintained in a road-worthy condition. The penalties for using a vehicle without a valid MOT are potentially severe. The maximum fine is £1,000 and your vehicle can be seized if a defect is identified by either the police or VOSA.
The pandemic also drives our next story, with reports that values of second-hand cars have rocketed during 2021. An increase of 12.6% was reported in the week of the 12 July by AutoTrader. This was against the same period in 2020, meaning that prices had risen for 63 consecutive weeks. High demand is driving supply shortages across the spectrum for newer models.
Values of nearly new Porsche are being reported as £5,000 - £10,000 higher than their new list price. The 991-era Porsche 911 was listed at a trade value of £121,800, against an average new price of £111,802.*
However, a diminutive off-roader is beating Porsche. Value of the 2018-20 Suzuki Jimny were reported as being around £25,400 for a one year/10,000-mile old model against an average list price of £17,846.*
*Figures from Car Dealer Magazine
It is worth checking the value of your vehicle to ensure that your agreed valuation remains accurate. However, our policies do include cover beyond the agreed value for vehicles that are more than two years old and the replacement as new for cars that are less than two years old.
We head to Italy next and news that Pagani has agreed a deal with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. This means it can continue to produce the jaw dropping hypercars for which it has become famous worldwide.
It is understood that PIF has acquired a 30% stake, with Horatio Pagani remaining in charge of the company that he founded in 1992. The investment will aid development and diversification. Pagani has confirmed in the past that electric power was being investigated. It remains to be seen whether it is the beginning of the end for the bespoke Mercedes-derived V12 used exclusively by Pagani for over twenty years.
Now to Malvern and Morgan's take on the off-road sports car. In our opinion, crossing a Morgan with an Ariel Atom is no bad thing. The Plus Four CX-T has been created to cater for the growing appetite for sports cars that can be used in rougher conditions without fear of breakage or failure.
Developed with Dakar rally car builder Rally Raid UK, this is no styling exercise either. Using Morgan's newly launched aluminium chassis, an external exo-skeleton has been added. This gives the car both extra strength and adds useable outside storage spacefor anything from spare wheels to fuel cans or even shovels..
Suspension is massively uprated, and an upgraded BMW X-Drive differential is fitted to aid traction as the car remains rear wheel drive. Plates underneath protect vital components from damage.
Inside, mounts have been added for cameras to record the occupants' exploits and cool bags. A first aid kit and map reading lights complete the equipment list.
Morgan will make just eight cars at the price of around £200,000.
We head north next, specifically to Crewe and Bentley, with the news that the first models of two special Bentleys have been finished and ready for delivery.
The first is the Bacalar. Based on the popular and very capable GT platform, it is a bespoke open two-seater. While it is visually similar to the car upon that it is based on, it also features more than 750 new parts. This includes aluminium and carbon fibre for most of the body of the car.
All twelve cars are being made to the owner's precise specification. This includes any paint, leather, wood and any other trim material, colour and combination that is desired. Exclusivity does not come cheap; each car will cost at least £1.5million.
Bentley's other 'new' model looks anything but modern – but don't let its looks deceive you.
Bentley's entry to the continuation and reimagined sector is nothing short of spectacular, harking back to its motorsport roots, Le Mans in particular.
The 'Blower' Bentley is without doubt one of the automotive world's best known and loved cars. It is imposing, big and improbably fast and was once been dubbed “the world's fastest lorry” by Ettore Bugatti. One of the most famous was raced by Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin in both 1928 & 29. It is immediately recognisable, both by the supercharger mounted ahead of the radiator grill and its registration number – UU 5872
Bentley is making twelve of the continuation cars and they will all have a brand new 4.5 litre engine and Amhurst-Villiers supercharger. In fact, the only parts that are non-original are a foam lined fuel tank and electronic ignition. Everything else is built to the exact specification as the original car. This was achieved by numerous Bentley specialists who recruited for their decades of expertise with vintage Bentleys.
The cost for the Blower Bentley is around £1.5 million. This is something of a bargain as the original has been reportedly valued at around £25 million.
We end our motoring news this month with a trip to Japan and a good news/bad news story. Nissan has announced its 2023 Z, a two seater sports coupe that took styling cues from both the original 240Z and nineties 300ZX. These are cars that enjoy a cult following around the world.
V6-powered and with over 400hp, the 2023 Z has manual and optional paddle shift automatic transmission and with an interior that manages to pay homage to the car's grandparent without being overtly 'retro'. Weighing in at around 1,400kgs, it promises sparking performance and will launch as a rival to Porsche's Cayman and Lotus's forthcoming Emira.
The sad news? It will launch everywhere but Europe early in 2022. This seems a real shame, given the popularity of the small two-seater coupes in this part of the world.
We have no new model launches to report for August – the quietest month since we began our monthly roundup!
This month, Glenmarch has reported on the sales results achieved at the sales held at Pebble Beach. Read more here.
August – and the start of a late summer?
By the time you read this, the school holidays will be over. Many of us will at long last be returning to the office and the nights will be getting that little bit longer.
September is a busy month for Lockton, with Salon Privé and Veloce booked in – we will be bringing you full reports on both events next month.