When I saw the Fiat 500X Crossover at the paris Motorshow last weekend I was a little underwhelmed and at the time I wrote the following on my Review of the Motorshow.
The Fiat 500X Crossover is here. Pretty and cute like it’s more petite Mum and with good reviews from the press. But for me the pretty and cute is great on a size 10 but harder to do on a size 16 so to be honest this missed the…
Friday 3rd October to Sunday 5th October
A little trip to France
We decided at quite short notice that we would like to visit the Paris Motor Show, a trip we have done before, so the plan was pretty well sorted. But as we were late to the party there were no cabins on the overnight ferry so we went to stay with Peanut’s Mum in Ashford on Friday night and got up at some very silly hour to catch an early tunnel crossing.
So we had an early start straight after work on Friday night and suffered the ghastliness of a trip along the M5 and M25, which once again took longer than it should before we were finally in Ashford at about 8pm and had a late meal before an early night. We were up and off early in the morning and in France by 8 o’clock. We then had a completely trouble free journey to a car park we have used before, near the Paris Expo and a 20 minute walk to the Motor Show
And there we were straight in the door and face to face with the Mini stand. It was a very warm day and even Peanut wished she could take off her jumper. You can read a more thorough review of our day at the Motorshow on our sister site AutoBeast. Here though are a few snaps from the show.
As the day wore on my feet started to feel the pinch by about 3.30 we had seen about as much as we wanted to see, so we made our way back to the car park stopping off at a café for a drink on the way. That however,wasn’t such a good idea as I thought because after the rest my feet were very painful and it was still a fair way to the car park and Pea wasn’t going to carry me, so off we went. We had a smooth exit from the car park and soon found ourselves in Versailles at the Cheval Rouge Hotel which again we have visited before several times. As it was such a lovely evening, we strolled around the market in front of the hotel and then looked in some shops before returning to our hotel to get showered and fresh for our meal. We came across a few antique shops on our stroll and for some reason I particularly liked the antique mirror below!
Earlier Peanut had spotted a small restaurant she quite liked the look of so we headed there first in the evening, but after a short while a large family group arrived and sat next to us. We realised this would spoil our evening as they were very noisy before they started and we just could not hear each other talk, so we decided to leave, which is very unusual for us as we would normally put up with it and have a lousy time! But every moment is precious these days and much to the waitress’s dismay we left and found somewhere more peaceful further along the street. It was still busy but we could at least hear and talk to each other and the staks we ordered were delicious. For dessert I had what they described as a fine apple tart with vanilla ice cream. The slices of apple were indeed cut very fine and layered on a very thin pastry. It worked beautifully and was delicious. I flattened the cold ice cream and spread it over the top of the warm apple tart, Mmmm, have I said it was delicious?
We were not destined for a late night out on the town as we were both tired from being awake so early, so after our meal we trotted back to our hotel for a good sleep waking at the late hour of 9 o’clock the next morning which is unheard of for me.
Our plan was to explore the gardens at Versailles on Sunday morning as long as it wasn’t raining, so we packed up checked out and made our way to the Palace. We were both quite shocked at how much cooler it was after the sunshine the day before. Rain was threatening but it stayed away and at least we had coats for all weathers. We were lucky enough to catch the morning fountain display with musical accompaniment which is only on for one hour in the mornings and again in the afternoon, although it took us a while to realise that there are many fountains in the gardens, all hidden away in little arbours and crannies. Whilst we might not have seen them all, we saw enough to get the idea. It is a vary magnificent garden but to us not exactly beautiful, as like the Palace itself it is actually too big, too imposing and too daunting. We have been to Fontainbleu in the past and that has a much more beautiful quality about it, although even that is not a small place. Similarly, for us the likes of Chambord, Villandry, and Chenonceau in the Loire valley all have gardens more to our taste. However, here are a few shots of the fountains and the gardens.
We stopped for a quick drInk before setting off for the tunnel and home. We had another very uneventful journey as you so often do on French motorways and arrived in perfect time for our crossing. On the train we got chatting to a Mini Classic owner who was coming back from a trip to Monte Carlo organised by the Mini Cooper Register – Minis to Monte – which made the journey pass quickly and he tried to get us to think about coming on their trip next year to Ireland. He was not a new MINI hater as he had once had a GP himself and wished he had never sold it, but next September for us is a long way off.A Weekend In Versailles Friday 3rd October to Sunday 5th October A little trip to France We decided at quite short notice that we would like to visit the Paris Motor Show, a trip we have done before, so the plan was pretty well sorted.
This is our third time at the Paris Motorshow for us. We did it back in 2006 where we first saw our Opel GT and in 2012 just before we took delivery of our MINI Coupé JCW. This time we were there purely for fun with no new car purchase in mind. We concentrated on cars that we could afford or aspire to in the main and yes we checked out the Ferraris and so on but did not linger on those. What follows then is a few cars that caught our eyes in various car sectors and for different reasons. It is not a comprehensive review of the show but the cars we liked that we would probably add to the virtual want list.
This was the first car we set eyes on and frankly it was the show stopper for us. Ok as you know we love MINIs but this was a MINI in a different league for us. We have had an R50 MINI Cooper, which was pretty and cute but not downright gorgeous. Desirable but not jumping out at you with irresistible feline beauty. We have had an R53 Cooper S Works, more manly and aggressive than the Cooper but not beautiful. Then we had a Clubman. Very butch in the way we had it but a long way from gorgeous. Currently we have the R58 MINI Coupé with the baseball on backwards look. A mixture of aggressive yet cute looks wrapped into a frankly gauche package. We love it but it is a marmite car, you love it or hate it. With The Superleggera concept, MINI have finally built a truly beautiful car. Beautiful like a beautiful woman, Italian beautiful like a Ferrari, Beautiful in the way that the Jaguar E-Type is beautiful. It has no bad angles, it just seduces you every which way it can. We just looked at this car and wanted it. We wanted MINI to turn the concept into reality, it would take the brand into a whole new league. Please build this delightful future icon which captures perfectly a concept I call bellisimauto.
Elsewhere on the MINI Stand
The five door MINI had its official launch. Not as awful as I thought it would be but to be honest do I care. It’s just a small five door hatchback – so many to choose from. However, we did spot some new MINI spotlights which we really liked.
Is the Fiat 500 still King of the small cute car sector?
Well yes I guess it is and the 500 Brand has been busy turning itself into a small sub-brand of Fiat with the 500C, The 500L people carrier/ Countryman challenger and now the Crossover 500X, Countryman / Paceman 4wd challenger. However, everyone else wants a bit of the 500 posh small car market. The Renault Twingo shown below is almost a clone of the 500! The Opel Adam and Eve it, I really actually like a lot. A warm hatch with 150hp is promising but i like the way they have really had a go at doing the small posh car concept. they are fun, funky (well maybe not quite funky but I wanted to use the word) and a bit different. A 500 wannabe but not and they can all be highly personalised when it comes to the spec list. Hell they even got Claudia Schiffer to plug it at the show – Kitsch with painful smiles and stilted conversations about the car but hey ho they tried. Yep the Adam was a thumbs up with us.
Late To The Party
Opel tried and got it wrong with our Claudia but at least they tried. Ford meanwhile could not even be on time for the Motorshow. All their cars were hidden under wraps awaiting a Ford big wig. Well Mr Big Wig I am a paying member of the public who paid good money to see your cars, so this did not impress me at all. then just before said big wig was due to show, the French Ford factory owners turned up demonstrating about poor workers rights and conditions. Sorry Ford all in all a massive FAIL.
Jaguar and Landrover
Obviosly we loved the F-Type Coupé and convertible. That goes without saying and we have all seem them in pictures or on the streets. They are Craig Revel-Horwood F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. The new Landrover Discovery Sport was a handsome chappie and the Range Rover Evoque doing MINI with its red and white liverie and array of union jack accessories was actually in many ways showing MINI themselves how to do it. Good effort. The Jaguar XE? Well I’m sure it’s a great drive, it looks ok, nay it looks quite handsome, but I kept thinking Ford Mondeo (and they can’t even get to the party on time). No, we were a tad underwhelmed. Yes it might be a great drive but let’s be honest if she ain’t a beauty do I care if I drive it. And don’t even try to tell me that this car is a great cook! Not a fail but I am not sure if BMW will be making any room for it on their perch. That said, BMW have their work cut out playing catch up in the beauty parlour against the other German powerhouses of motoring. Audis and Mercs are looking so much sexier then the BMWs although the 2 and 4 series ain’t bad. However, look at the 4 series GT (sorry could not even be bothered pointing my camera at it) and you realise it has a long way to go before matching the fast back Mercs and Audis.
A Couple of New 4WDs
The Fiat 500X Crossover is here. Pretty and cute like it’s more petite Mum and with good reviews from the press. But for me the pretty and cute is great on a size 10 but harder to do on a size 16 so to be honest this missed the mark for me really. It is perfectly fine but it didn’t give me that must have feel that the MINI Paceman we now have in our stable did when that was launched.
Now the Jeep Renegade is a different beast altogether. Built in Italy and on the same sub frame as the Fiat 500X but poles apart in looks. A name can evoke so much ( all girls called Alexandra, Amelia, Sasha or Natalia are sexy by definition) Here Renegade suggests so much – an outlaw, a rebel, unprincipled – so already I want one. Macho looks too, which wonderfully ameliorate the worst aspects of my small man syndrome. Yes, this one we liked. Inside it says “Jeep since 1941″ on the dash. In your head you read this with a John Wayne accent. yep if I was in the market for a small 4WD now, this could sway me. With this the big man inside would be out!
We have always loved the MX-5 but for me this is the best yet by far. Gorgeous from every angle on a chassis you know will be creamy delicious to drive. If I drove this I would not sulk because I couldn’t afford a Jaguar F-Type. Don’t get me wrong I’m not comparing the two. But if the Jag could only ever be a dream, you would live the dream better with one of these in your life. We loved it.
You are not a real petrolhead until you have owned an Alfa and by that reasonable definition I am still a pretender. however, it is not for want of wishing. I love them. I loved this old Alfa we saw at the show.
But the Alfa we really fancied was the Alfa 4C. Richard Hammond reviewed it and criticised it for being wide. Maybe it is, but it is a beauty and in proportion and we both myself and Mrs P loved this car. It would tempt us. it would really tempt us. It would… it would tempt us.
Mrs P was really taken with the Porsche Targa. She like the Alfa 4C Targa version too. Basically she has become a Targa girl.
One more of the MINI Superleggera because we can.
Still love the Toyota GT86 and the whole Toyota stand looked good.
A sexy Mitsubishi? Hell yes!
Mrs P will you stop photographing that Porsche Targa now!
Hmmm. I decided I wanted to go home in the Maserati because I liked the ruddy great hole at the front!
MINI Superleggera – yes please.
Alfa 4C – yes please.
Porsche Targa – yes please.
Porshe Cayman S – yes please 9oops slipped in)
Mazda MX-5 – yes please.
Jeep Renegade – yes please.
Opel Adam – yes please.
Maserati Gran Sport – always.Car Events 2014 - The Paris Motorshow This is our third time at the Paris Motorshow for us. We did it back in…
Shelsley Walsh – Autumn Speed Finale
Even though the season is drawing to a close, there has been a capacity entry received for the final two meetings of the year at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb this weekend. (20/21st SEPT)
Entitled ‘Autumn Speed Finale’ the two separate one-day events saw the usual mix of sports, classic, saloons and racing cars taking part, as well as nearly 30 motorcycles, with several championships reaching their final crucial stages.
Saturday hosted the BARC SBD Speed Championship, The HSA Speed Championship, the SSCC Championship, the Revington TVR Championship, the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship and the Classic Marques Handicap Challenge, while Sunday saw extra classes for an entry of 11 Morgans, 13 Austin Healeys and a dozen Ferraris.
We had the opportunity to go as press photographers courtesy of our local camera club Beacon Camera Club in Great Malvern. This gave us free entry to the event and access to the areas the press can use to photograph the event, so it really was an opprtunity not to be missed. It was the perfect opportunity to practice our panning techniques. We rarely take panning shots and while we have had modest success in the past such as these taken at Donington in 2010 and the Circuit du Var in May 2010, it is not a photographic style we do a lot of. In truth we did not do as well as we hoped. We were perhaps even closer to the track than we would have liked, we selected a lowere F number than we perhaps should have done and perhaps zoomed too close to our subject for the distance we were away from our subject, and as a consequence most of our shots were frankly awful.
I have included a few in the photographs that follow, just to prove we tried but to be honest we felt that we need to try harder next time. Consequently we have padded the photos out with our usual paddock shots from Shelsley.
However, I have to say that we really enjoyed our day there and had a lovely breakfast in the café there as well as lunch a bit later. The Marshall and staff were very welcoming and helpful to us and of course this hill climb is located in some of the finest countryside that Worcestershire has to offer. The rain faded away to ensure we had a fantastic day there, even if our photographs were not quite what we hoped.Car Events 2104 - Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb 20th September Shelsley Walsh - Autumn Speed Finale Even though the season is drawing to a close, there has been a capacity entry received for the final two meetings of the year at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb this weekend.
This day out at Goodwood revival was another event we had promised ourselves we would do, so today was the day. We set off early as it is quite a long drive, but Peanut had planned an alternative route as we anticipated heavy traffic and queues as we approached Chichester. It turned out that we only queued on the approach road to the racetrack but we will never know what we missed.
It wasn’t a very long walk from the car park to the show and by then it was already a lovely day, a great improvement on the fog we had driven down in. We walked into a variety of stalls selling all manner of things, vintage being the overall theme rather than cars, so lots of retro style clothing which appealed to Peanut enormously. Shortly after we arrived we were treated to a fly by of Classic World War Two fighters – Spitfire, Hurricane, ME 109 and Mustang. In truth this was a very stirring sight and probably the stand out highlight of the day for us.
I was hungry almost as soon as we arrived, so we stopped for a burger and a drink. The burger was delicious which indeed it should have been for £7. Shortly after we bumped into Beggsie and Jayne which was a nice surprise and the second time we have run into them at a show, the other being at Santa Pod, which was a very different day, pouring with rain until we left.
They told us that the main show was over the bridge and we duly set off to explore.
To anyone who is thinking of going I must stress that it is definitely a dressing up affair and you will not be overdressed. In fact you would feel very odd there dressed in the normal scruffs that people wear on days out. It was quite a pastime in itself just looking at how people were turned out, some even with vintage prams for their children. We meandered around until we found ourselves near the paddock area where all the preparation was going on for the racing and grabbed a few photographs here. We soon stopped for a sandwich and a drink then walked some more right around the track and back to the main entrance. By this time we were both getting footsore and weary so we decided to head back to the car park taking in some of the things we had not already seen, and having an ice cream as well.
It was a lovely day, both weather-wise and enjoyment-wise and we were very glad we went, but it is a very expensive day out with high entrance fees, burgers at over £7 each, sandwiches at almost £6, and a lot of memorabilia stalls that were also a million miles away from resembling a pound shop! But it was a very nice treat for us and if classic cars are your thing then you have to go. Inevitably, we made comparisons with the Le Mans Classic which is every two years and which we went to in 2012 and 2014. The Revival is as much about the dressing up as it is about the cars and it really is a spectacle to see but Le Mans is more of a pilgrimage for people to take their classics to. The dressing up hasn’t caught on yet at Le Mans and it has a feel of a breakfast club meet with knobs on and it is all about the cars. My revival highlight was a Spitfire, my Le Mans highlight was the plethora of car clubs to see, I’m not sure if that says anything or not. Put simply then – you have to do both!Goodwood Revival 2014 Goodwood Revival This day out at Goodwood revival was another event we had promised ourselves we would do, so today was the day.