Motors

Footballers & Cars: Scottish Special Featuring Souness, Dalglish, Gray, Hansen, Smith & Stein

 

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How 80’s Is That..?!?

Happier times for Rangers as then player-manager Graeme Souness and his assistant Walter Smith are pictured outside Ibrox with their Jaguars freshly delivered from Taggarts garage back in 1987. The pair led the club to tremendous success in the late 1980s and early 1990s, taking advantage of the ban on English clubs in Europe by bringing in the likes of Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Trevor Steven.

After Souness left to manage Liverpool in 1991 Smith took over as the Rangers boss, and the success continued as The Gers won nine successive league titles, until Celtic finally broke their dominance in 1998 in their Centenary season.

Not sure the current incarnation of the club would be able to get their hands on a pair of Jags at present, not with their credit rating anyhow!

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Driving Liverpool Forward

Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish plays the role of chauffeur here – at least we hope that explains the hat – opening a Rover SD1 door for his team-mate, the cherub-faced Alan Hansen.

You can tell it was 1979; the shirt collars aren’t too silly yet the flared trousers simply refuse to go away.

No surprise these two look pleased with themselves, both were a key part of Liverpool’s amazing success in the late 1970s and 1980s, winning countless league titles and a few European Cups to boot.

 

 

AndyGray

Take A Bow Son!

Here’s a great picture of Wolves striker Andy Gray outside his house with his Panther in 1980. Gray joined Wolves from local rivals Aston Villa for a then British record fee of £1.5m and would later help Everton to a league title in 1985.

Gray also played 20 times for Scotland scoring seven goals, but younger fans will know him best as a TV pundit and commentator for Sky rather than as a player.

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A Lions Share

Celtic manager Jock Stein is clearly pleased with his new Ford Zephyr. Here he is pictured picking it up from a garage on Glasgow’s Cumbernauld Road in 1967 –  just two days before Stein led his side to European Cup glory in Lisbon with a 2-1 win over Inter Milan, meaning they became the first British club to lift the famous trophy.

 

Pele: With His New Mercedes & Dressed For The Ladies…

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With the World Cup upon us it’s only fitting that the master himself, Pele, is our featured driver this time around.

Here he is looking very dapper in his big-collared silk shirt in front of his Mercedes W115 back in 1970, which if my memory serves me right was quite a good year for the Brazilian superstar.

He’s clearly pleased with his new Mercedes-Benz, a car that cost a whopping £2,400 when it launched.

The Mercedes-Benz W114 and W115 models were a series of coupes and sedans introduced in 1968 and manufactured through 1976. They were distinguished in the marketplace by nameplates designating their engines.

There was a strong family resemblance to the S-class, but these were shorter and lighter cars, though being on the same wheelbase as the S-class means they have excellent interior space.

W114 models featured six-cylinder engines and were marketed as the 230, 250, and 280, while W115 models, like the one in our photo, featured four-cylinder engines and were marketed as the 200, 220, 230, and 240.

All were styled by Paul Bracq, featuring a three-box design.

Beginning in 1968, Mercedes marketed their model range as New Generation Models, giving their ID plates the designation ‘/8’ (due to their 1968 Launch year). Because they were the only truly new cars of the so-called ‘New Generation’ and because of the ‘/8’ or ‘slash eight’ designation, W114 and W115 models ultimately received the German nickname Strich Acht, loosely translated into the English Stroke Eight.

Like its saloon variant this car also boasted advanced technological innovations. 1969 saw the introduction of the Bosch D-jetronic fully electronic fuel injection system into the 250CE. This was the first ever production Mercedes-Benz to use this system.

Other innovations in the W114/W115 models include a center console (a first in a Mercedes sedan), ribbed taillights in 1974. All coupe models used the 6-cylinder engine (and thus were W114s) and were designated with a “C” in the model name.

Which was all very snazzy. After all, when you’re the world’s best footballer its important to drive a car that reflects that very fact…

 

 

 

No Penalty This Time for Lee as he Drives a Jaguar XJ Series 1

Francis 'Franny' Lee with his Jaguar XJ Series 1

Here is the legendary Franny Lee, posing à la Steve McQueen in front of his Jaguar XJ series 1 in 1972. It may have been another rainy day in Manchester but this could still be a shot from a movie poster.

Lee had every right to be a trifle smug, after all he had helped City to the league title in 1968, the FA Cup in 1969, and European Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1970 – and went on to represent England at the World Cup that year.

Record

In the 1971–72 season Lee set a British record for the number of penalties scored in a season, with a staggering 15 of his 35 goals scored from the penalty spot.  Some journalists were of the opinion that Lee gained a number of penalties by diving, so they gave him the name ‘Lee Won Pen’ instead!

Lee also holds the record for the most goals in Manchester derbies, scoring 10 goals in all against Manchester United – a tally that equalled Joe Hayes’ record – although Wayne Rooney looks set to eclipse that figure soon as he also has ten.

You can understand why Lee was keen to dress up for this photo. This, after all, had been the car you bought if you’d made it. Whether you were Morecambe and Wise at the height of their fame, or an England international footballer like Franny Lee, a Series 1 would always be in the backdrop.

From the 1968 launch of Sir William Lyons’s final masterpiece, the Jaguar XJ Series 1 was recognised as “the best car in the world”.

His vision of the new XJ (standing for Experimental Jaguar) replacing all of the company’s saloon worked and would in fact support the company until the end of the century.

In later V12 form it was also the world’s fastest saloon, nudging 140mph. Driving a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow felt, in comparison, like a terribly luxurious stagecoach.

Finest Jaguar Ever

The car was introduced in September 1968. Power-assisted steering and leather upholstery were standard on the 2.8 L De Luxe and 4.2 L models and air conditioning was offered as an optional extra on the 4.2 L. Daimler versions.

In a series of television advertisements featuring Sir William he referred to the car as “the finest Jaguar ever”. An unusual feature, inherited from the Jaguar Mark X and S-Type sedan, was the provision of twin fuel tanks, positioned on each side of the boot / trunk, and filled using two separately lockable filler caps: one on the top of each wing above the rear wheel arches.

Victim of its own success, early deliveries were slow as Jaguar’s attempt to meet the demand and were hampered by delays in body manufacturing; the first cars were suffering from quality control problems. Despite these, the XJ6 was so superior to its competition that buyers were willing to wait and could even resell their just delivered XJ6s at a profit should they want to.

In 1972 Jaguar launched the XJ12, which was Sir William Lyons final achievement before his retirement that same year and the numbers speak for themselves: one of the fastest production four seaters in the world at 225 kph and 0-100 times of 7.5 seconds.

Like Mr. Lee, a true classic.

 

Success Drives Jock Stein & His New Ford Zephyr

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Take a look at this fantastic photo of Celtic manager Jock Stein picking up his new Ford Zephyr from a garage on Glasgow’s Cumbernauld Road.  This picture is from 1967, and was in fact taken just two days before Stein led his Celtic side to European Cup glory in Lisbon, where a 2-1 win over Inter Milan saw them crowned as champions of Europe, the first British club to do so.

Stein was no doubt elated with that victory, but how happy would he have been with his new set of wheels..? Possibly a little underwhelmed is the likely answer.

Since the Mk1 Zephyr and Zodiac of 1951, with their Aston Martin-style grilles and MacPherson Strut front suspensions, this was the favoured mode of transport of the image-conscious middle management type. Ford regularly updated the Z-cars, allowing them to grow in tandem with their buyers’ wealth. The fins got bigger; and styling more trans-Atlantic; and their power units that bit more powerful.

But despite this upward trend, the arrival of the Zephyr and Zodiac Mk4 in 1966 was still had an element of shock and awe about it.

This car shared very little with its predecessor. It was designed around Ford’s new V-series four- and six-cylinder Essex engines, and was to be longer and wider than before. The design was bold, reflecting American thinking, not just in terms of dimensions, but also detail.

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Ford Zodiac Executive Saloon

At the top of the range, the Executive was added as a trim level above the Zodiac. Like the standard Zodiac, the Executive featured stylish quad headlights, but also boasted optional automatic transmission (or overdrive manual), power steering, sunroof, reclining front seats, walnut fascia, carpeting throughout, reversing lights, fog lamps, and an increase in power to 136bhp – and all at around £1,600.

To ensure that the vast amount of space under the bonnet was filled, the spare wheel was moved forward and mounted between the engine and the radiator. Whilst this certainly improved boot space it also gave the car strange weight distribution and some interesting handling traits.

During its six-year production run, around 150,000 Zephyr and Zodiac Mk4s were built. The general consensus that the Z-cars were a commercial flop would seem to be untrue – after all, the Austin 3 Litre managed a mere 9,992 cars during its four-year life, while the golden 2000s from Rover took 15 years to notch up their 300,000-plus sales.

However, they were an engineering failure, and their troubled life directly led to Ford continuing down the pan-European route for its executive cars, with a single car – the Granada – being created to replace the Z-cars and their German counterparts, the P7 series.

 

Statistics and info from AROnline.

 

Style Meets Substance: The Jaguar F-Type

We review the new F-Type Jaguar, a car 40 years in the making

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The F-Type is the most important car Jaguar has built for nearly half a century. It’s the car that will define Jaguar for years to come. The stylish new roadster is the alphabetic successor to the iconic E-Type – the car once described by Enzo Ferrari as the “most beautiful ever made”.

But this next installment has taken decades to arrive. Production of the E ended 39 years ago, and so followed four decades of feverish speculation about the due date for the F-type among car enthusiasts the world over.

So having kept us waiting impatiently all this time, what have Jaguar delivered..? If you were hoping for little more than an updated version of the E-Type then you’ll be disappointed. This is something quite different from its predecessor, a thing of great beauty in fact.

No doubt about it the Jaguar F-Type is stunning, no matter what angle you look from. It has already won multiple awards for its design and the thanks for that go straight to the man behind it all, Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design.

tumblr_mfvg9pjIew1qeua2ao1_500It’s men like Ian Callum and Marek Reichman (from Aston Martin) that have kept the British ahead in the style stakes whilst the Germans have been bogged-down with mere details such as technology and efficiency.

Not that the Jaguar F-Type is all style and no substance, it has a lot more to offer than just good looks. It’s the first two-seater sports car Jaguar has built since the E-Type and while other brands have failed to reinvent an icon, the F-Type is everything you would hope for from the legendary British manufacturer.

For a start it comes with a choice of three engines – a pair of 3-litre V6s with 340 or 380bhp and a 5-litre V8 “big daddy” with 495bhp. All are supercharged.

OK, all you sports car purists will balk at it not being a manual gear change – the F-Type only comes as an automatic – but fear not; there’s plenty to enjoy from the car’s “Quickshift” eight-speed which allows you to ease up and down the gears with your fingers on the steering-wheel paddles.

The F-Type is intoxicating from the off, with gimmicks and surprises to delight gadget lovers, you feel like “Q” has just given you the car and your name is now ‘Bond’. From a distance, press “open” on the fob and the door handles appear from where they’ve been hiding, tucked into the flanks.

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Inside the car you’re greeted by a copper-coloured button saying: “Start me.” Press it and marvel as you hear the brawn erupt from within! The thrill at the power you now have in harness is something to behold. I also love the way the air vents rise up out of the dashboard when you start the ignition, giving the impression the car is coming alive.

The F-Type’s interior is a work of art, all leathery and roomy. The E-Type was a very English affair, this on the other hand is something for the whole world to celebrate.

It’s not perfect; downsides include its exhaustive options list, cumbersome transmission and ride quality over poorly surfaced roads. But overall the Jaguar F-Type is the sort of car you’d buy just for its looks alone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Unlike its German rivals it will turn heads wherever it goes.

In short it is a brilliant blend of style and sophistication with a gorgeous interior and modern engine to boot.

THE FIGURES
Jaguar F-Type

Tested: 3.0 Litre V6 340 Supercharged, 1,984cc turbocharged petrol engine, eight-speed automatic

Price/on sale: £58,520 on the road

Cylinders: Six

Maximim Torque EEC-Nm: 450

@rev/min: 3,500-5,000

Top speed: 161mph

Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.1sec

Fuel economy: 22.4mpg/31.4mpg (EU Urban/Combined)

CO2 emissions: 209g/km

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Our Verdict: It has taken its time to get here, but if you were waiting for a powerful, elegant piece of modern driving excellence then you’ll be doing cartwheels at the prospect of getting behind this wheel of this refined piece of machinery.

 

Class is permanent: The new VW Golf GTi

We review the new Volkswagen Golf GTi and discover there’s no substitute

GolfGTiIt would be pretty hard to argue that the Volkswagen Golf GTi is not the most iconic hot hatch. It’s a symbol of success; the racy hatchback that looks majestic on the gravel drives of the nation’s fanciest addresses.

It’s a change from years ago when the GTi was a little on the classless side. These days it’s the chariot of choice for the aspiring Made in Chelsea types before they graduate to Audi or BMW.

It is now without question the grownup of the hot-hatch group. For its prowess, quick steering, and immense torque on tap, the GTI is the small performance car you should pick either for a daily commute through the city, or a cross-country drive. Ride quality is great; the interior is definitely the quietest of this class; and the standard seats are genuinely comfortable.

This latest version has a little of the heritage, courtesy of that tartan trim interior that’s not to everyone’s taste. And there is the badging of course and the obligatory red piping. But unless you cough up a further £600 for the 18in “Austin” alloys that turn heads all on their own, there are few out there who would be able to distinguish it from a well-maintained regular Golf.

The 220bhp 2-litre engine hums along at low revs with little or no indication of its potent potential. It also delivers impressive fuel economy figures for a car that hits 60mph from a standing start in 6.5 seconds and climbs to 153mph.

It also costs just £195 more than its predecessor and, thanks to a camera-based emergency braking system, has fallen five insurance groups, which is nice…

Perhaps the greatest success of the Golf GTi though is how it manages to balance on the social tightrope, it’s neither too flash nor too insipid. It doesn’t seek attention yet it demands respect.

Rivals might be meaner, faster and more uncompromising, but the Golf is the only one with the scent of first-class about it. The rest are more Gary Megson and David Batty, to the GTi’s Liam Brady and Michael Laudrup.

GolfGTi2THE FIGURES
Volkswagen Golf GTI

Tested: Five-door hatchback, with four-cylinder, 1,984cc turbocharged petrol engine, six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

Price/on sale: £25,845 to £28,895

Power/torque: 217bhp @ 4,500rpm/258lb ft @ 1,500rpm.

Top speed: 152mph

Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.5sec

Fuel economy: 37.7mpg/47.1mpg (EU Urban/Combined)

CO2 emissions: 139g/km

VED band: E (£125)

1976-Volkswagen-MK1-Golf-front-endOur Verdict: Great build quality, classy design inside and out, powerful engine and a clever differential. Your ultimate deft drive.