Archive for Classic Cars

The Shelby AC Cobra – The World’s Most Desirable Sports Car

In 1962 Carroll Hall Shelby made the decision to retire early from a career as a top Formula One and  sports racing car driver. His greatest success in terms of International fame came as a co-driver in winning at Le Mans in 1959 in an Aston Martin. Shortly after it was discovered that Shelby had a heart condition that made any future driving a hazard and so he hung up his famous striped racing overalls and retired as a race driver.

Wanting to stay in the sports car racing business Shelby approached AC Cars of Thames Ditton in Surrey England with a view to extending the life of the AC Ace which was first produced in 1954. At the same time he also approached Ford of America and got them to agree to supply a 4.2 litre V8 engine for his ‘Cobra’ project.

The Shelby AC Cobra

The British company agreed to his proposal to ship left hand drive cars without engines to his small factory in California and so the worlds most expensive and desirable sports car, the AC Shelby Cobra was born in the Autumn of 1962.

After the first 75 Cobras had been completed, the original 4.2 engine was replaced with a much more powerful 4.7 litre 289cid V8 Ford engine.

AC Cobra Engine Known as the Mark II Cobra the performance for it’s day was outstanding, delivering 300 bhp at 5300 rpm and caapable of 0 to 60 in just 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 138 mph! In all Shelby produced 560 289 type Cobras between 1962 and 1969.

The car however suffered the limitations of the original 1954 AC chassis and suspension, so in 1965 Shelby designed with the help of Ford a new Mark III Cobra or 427 as it is also known. The Mark III has a wider chassis, all round wishbones and coil spring suspension. A 427cid 6.9 litre V8 Ford engine delivered 390 bhp at 5200 rpm and the result was an incredible 165 mph! Unfortunately the car only did 12 mpg, but capable of 0 to 60 in just 4.8 seconds, who cares!

Shelby produced 510 427s between 1965 and 1968. The price of the car on the road was a very respectable £2951.

AC Shelby Cobra 289

Right hand drive Shelby Cobras were available in Britain from 1964 onwards, however because AC did not own the rights to the Cobra name they were marketed as the 289 and 427.

Make your own mind, but the market says that the Shelby AC Cobra is the World’s most desirable sports car, and Motoring Blog 100% agrees!

Classic Car Restoration Tips

Classic Car Restoration

When purchasing a classic car you need to establish what work needs to be done and list the parts that you are going to need.

Assessment of body work.

What work is needed to be carried out?

Is it a replacement or repair?

Can you carry out the work yourself or will you require professional help?

Do you have all the specialist tools needed to carry out the repairs and work?

Do you have all the correct certification to carry out the work? Welding work will require a certified welder to carry out the work.

Do you have adequate space to carry out the work required?


How much time can you devote to your restoration?


What is the estimated cost taking into account the timescales you have given yourself?

How much money do you have to restore your car?

How much work will you have to do yourself?

Road Tax

Is the car permanently off the road? If it is not of a certain age will you need to make the car SORN whilst carrying out the restoration?

Acquiring parts

To purchase parts for your vehicle maybe difficult as many parts become discontinued stock.

It maybe possible to replace the part with a modern alternative.

Second hand parts could be an option although if you can find the part you need it maybe in the same condition as the one you already have.

Where to find parts.

There are many ways to find parts if you are restoring on a shoe string.

Car parts suppliers.

Some modern suppliers may still have certain parts. Most parts after a certain period become discontinued, although there maybe a modern equivalent that is suitable although not authentic. You might even be lucky and there might be some old stock!

Specialist car suppliers maybe your next option as they specialise in classic cars.

Newspapers and newsagent windows

You never know what will be advertised. You may want to advertise a Wanted space yourself, but that can be costly. If you want to keep the costs down ask them for a late space advertisement. If they have spare spaces to fill and you can negotiate a better advertising rate.

Newsagents window are cheap and effective although localised. Keep a look out for adverts in your local newsagents for garage clearances, motor parts and vehicles for sale.

Car magazines

Car magazines can be costly but great for information. Have good look in the shop to make sure you have the right magazine to suit your car. Many of the magazines are now online and you may be able to find out details of specialist repairers and restorers free of charge.

Another cheap way of buying car magazines is to have a look at boot sales and local newspapers. It is amazing what information, books or manuals you can find for very little money.

Scrap yards

Get to know your local scrap dealer or car breaker. Tell them what you are looking for and they can contact you if anything suitable comes in.

Specialist car parts suppliers

Car Associations

Their members have been there and done it. You can find out details of associations in specialist classic car magazines and on the web.

They will be able to provide you useful advice. Possibly have access to parts and specialist repairers.

Car jumbles

Look out for car jumbles or classic car jumbles. They are always great to have a look round and you never know what useful part or tool you will be able to pick up.


The web is a fantastic source of information. The internet provides copies of manuals, reference books, association feedback, newsletters and forums as well as purchasing essential items such as parts, tools and specialist classic car insurance.

Classic Car Insurance.

Do you have the correct cover for your classic car whilst being restored to its former glory and when roadworthy? It is important to check with a classic car insurance broker for advice.

Dave Healey is a regular writer and contributor about classic cars and car restorations at Car Blog.

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Pick up a Jaguar E-Type at the Goodwood Classic Car Sale

If you’ve got a spare forty grand or so sitting around you might like to get yourself down to the Goodwood Revival Festival in Sussex UK this September, where you can pick up a 1969 series two coupe amongst other desirable classic cars at Bonhams Classic Car Auction.

Jaguar e-type series 2

Lot No: 281

1969 Jaguar E-Type Series 2 Coupé
Registration no. JVL 749G
Chassis no. P1R20223
Engine no. 7R4842-9

Estimate: £30,000 – 40,000, € 34,000 – 46,000

About the Jaguar E-Type

Manufactured in April 1969 and first registered ‘XKL 111′, this E-Type Series 2 Coupé was used as a demonstrator by Jaguar agents J R J Mansbridge of Lincoln before being supplied to one W P Miller of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire via Richard A Bellamy of Grismby. The car was originally finished in light blue with red interior.
The E-Type underwent a full ‘last nut and bolt’ restoration in the early 2000s but unfortunately was involved in an accident that damaged the front end, resulting in the need for a new bonnet and engine sub-frame (the bulkhead was undamaged).
In September 2005 Mr Roy Ellis purchased the car from a Universal Vehicle Salvage auction. Classed as a Category C write-off (‘an extensively damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road’) it was then restored by John Houghton Mechanical Services in Ilminster using components supplied by various specialists including SC Parts, David Manners, SNG Barrett and Martin Robey.
The current vendor purchased the E-Type in February 2009 and since then has carried out further restoration. There are receipts on file totalling circa £15,000 from Savernake Auto Services for a remanufactured front sub-frame, while a new bonnet was purchased from Racing Jaguar Panels at a cost of £3,218. The latter was then painted by Brookfield Classics of Hinckley, Leicestershire at a cost of £2,530. In addition, all the running gear, suspension and brakes have been restored and the electrics checked and re-wired wherever necessary. The interior is mostly new, with some areas refurbished.
On completion of the repairs the car was submitted for a DVLA Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) and passed successfully, enabling the VIC marker to be removed from the database and a V5C registration document issued. Then, in April 2011, the engine was overhauled (including hardened valve seats) tuned and serviced (photographs on file).
Finished in British Racing Green with cream leather interior, ‘JVL 749G’ currently displays a total of 66,354 miles on the odometer and is described as ‘nearly concours’ by the vendor, with relatively little work required to bring it to perfection. ‘On the button’ and ready to enjoy, this well prepared E-Type is offered with a most substantial file of invoices and restoration photographs, VIC pass, current road fund licence, MoT to 18th November 2011 and Swansea V5C registration document.

The author recommends that specialist Jaguar Classic Car insurance is provisionally obtained for this vehicle prior to removal after purchase.

Classic Cars – The Triumph TR4 Reaches Fifty!

The popular 1960s two seater roadster from Coventry has reached the age of Fifty!

Launched at the 1961 Motor Show in London the Triumph TR4 two-seater British roadster met all the design challenges of the 1960′s with an impressively stylish designed body from Michelotti that survived for fifteen years until its descendent the TR6 was discontinued in 1976.

truimph tr4

Two year earlier Triumph had launched the classic Herald saloon whose bodylines designed by Italian Giovanni Michelotti led to great sales success that lasted in the 1970s.

With this in mind Triumph, which had just been bought by Leyland Motors, had asked Michelotti to come up with a new sports car to replace the aging TR3 whose shape dated back to 1953 and the earlier TR2.

Distinguished by its curvaceous bodywork and bonnet hooded headlights attached to the chrome grill, mechanically the new car was similar to the TR3, however the new technology of an all synchromesh four speed manual gearbox with optional overdrive was installed.

This meant that although the TR4 had essentially the same four cylinder overhead valve 2138cc engine as its predecessor, it was a foot longer and had a wider wheelbase. The TR4 produced 100 bhp at 4600 rpm and was capable of a top speed of 102 mph. There was an option to buy the car with the old 1991cc engine for racing in sports car classes under 2000cc.

The car had a good performance for its time and could accelerate from 0 to 60 in 11 seconds and averaged around 25 miles per gallon.

In 1965 after selling 40,000 cars, the TR4 was upgraded to the TR4A.

Although outwardly similar in appearance with the exception of a walnut veneer dashboard, the TR4A was mechanically much different with the arrival of semi trailing arm independent rear suspension incorporating a new rear axle, which had been tested on the Triumph 2000 saloon since 1962. The aging pushrod engine was also upgraded with the addition of a new camshaft design which increased the car’s top speed to 110 mph.

The TR4A produced 104 bhp at 4700 rpm and was not as efficient on fuel consumption. The TR4A also included the famous Michelotti ‘Surrey top’, a semi-convertible roof with a rear roll bar window and was also the last Triumph model to carry the original Triumph Globe badge on the bonnet.

The Triumph TR4 and TR4A were manufactured at the firms Canley works in Coventry from 1961 until 1967. In all 68,718 units were produced mostly for the US and European markets. Not cheap in relation to its domestic competitors such as the MGB the car was priced at £1,106 on the road.

Fifty years on the sleek little sports car has survived the test of time. There are just under 2000 TR4s remaining in the UK today, the majority of them still on the road!

TR4 Insurance

Triumph Classic car insurance

If you own a Triumph TR4 you should cover it under specialist car insurance policy preferably from a broker that deals specifically with classic sports car insurance.

You can make further savings on covering your classic TR4 if you join a recognised triumph owners group or association.