Property

Hioward de Walden Estate moves its Marylebone summer festival online

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:18
The Howard de Walden Estate will hold its annual Marylebone summer festival virtually this year to comply with the government’s social distancing measures.
Categories: Property

2021 Buick Encore GX

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 12:00
Buick does a double take for the 2021 model year. It’s offering the older Encore hatchback while it introduces the new Encore GX, which isn’t much more expensive or much bigger. The GX is the Encore you want to drive, though, thanks to gains in styling, safety, and features. Offered in Preferred, Select, and Essence versions, the 2021...
Categories: Property

ASK Partners provides £12.5m loan for Clerkenwell development

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:44
Property investor ASK Partners has provided a £12.5m senior loan facility against a mixed-use development in Clerkenwell, London.
Categories: Property

Homes England launches years-long study to support MMC uptake

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:39
Homes England has commissioned its own research into modern methods of construction (MMC) as it looks to tap into the “enormous potential” they hold for housing delivery in the UK.
Categories: Property

Travelodge’s biggest landlord offers alternative plan to avoid CVA

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:33
One of Travelodge’s biggest landlords is gathering support for an alternative payment plan in an effort to stop the operator going through a CVA process.
Categories: Property

JR Capital purchases Leeds City Centre asset for £4.35m

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:56
JR Capital has purchased a prime high street investment in Leeds City Centre for £4.35m.
Categories: Property

Radio House Cambridge bags first tenant

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:28
Orchard Street Investment Management has completed its first letting at Radio House Cambridge to smart home technology and consultancy business Sentec.
Categories: Property

Allsop raises more than £40m in latest commercial auction

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:44
Allsop sold 88% of its 47 lots at its online commercial sale this week, raising over £40m, with more than 13 lots sold for a price in excess of £1m.
Categories: Property

Countrywide sees operating loss of £37.5m, formally exits deal

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:17
Countrywide saw a 3% decrease in group income for the year to December 2019.
Categories: Property

Future Cars: The Hottest Non-SUVs Going on Sale in the Next Year

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:00

They’re losing market share to trucks and SUVs, but traditional passenger cars are far from dead. Although some automakers (ahem, Detroit) aren’t even trying to sell sedans and coupes anymore, all the car companies remaining are working twice as hard to make their offerings sleeker, more compelling alternatives to the taller, truckier versions of the same underlying vehicles. Whether it’s sexier styling, more power, or more batteries, there’s a car for anyone not taken by the SUV craze.

Ferrari Roma

What’s New: Roma is the first car to come off an all-new modular vehicle architecture that will eventually underpin next-gen versions of the Portofino and GTC4Lusso, as well as the long-awaited Ferrari Purosange SUV. Critically, this architecture has been designed from the outset to accommodate a plug-in hybrid powertrain, though the Roma will launch only with internal combustion engine power. The 3.9-liter twin-turbo V-8 under the Roma’s hood makes 612 hp and 593 lb-ft, enough to scoot it from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds, and drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Ferrari claims the best weight-to-power ratio in the class. The Roma will feature the latest version of the company’s excellent Side Slip Control, with a drift mode that uses brake pressure to adjust the yaw angles.

What’s Not: The engine is an upgraded version of the V-8 used in the Portofino and GTC4Lusso T, and the transmission comes from the SF90.

When: 2020

How Much: $230,000 (est)

Honda Civic

What’s New: Everything. If you take a look at previous life cycles, the Honda Civic has been replaced roughly every five years—and if the New York auto show had happened in April as scheduled, we would have pictures by now. We expect the 11th generation to be completely redesigned for the 2021 model year, with new styling and technology and upgraded powertrains. Given the popularity of the coupe and hatchback, we think Honda will continue to offer those body styles, along with the popular four-door sedan. Expect to see the traditional trims first, followed by the performance-oriented Si and Type R in later year models.

What’s Not: It’s likely we’ll see at least one engine carried over from the current model and parts shared with other Honda products.

When: Late 2020

How much: $22,000 (est)

Hyundai Elantra

What’s New: The new Elantra continues Hyundai’s design revolution with its odd new mug, lots of triangular themes, and an all-new compact car platform underpinning it. In true Hyundai fashion, the 2021 Elantra is available with an overload of tech features, including two 10.3-inch displays, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and phone-as-key capability. For the first time, a hybrid model joins the lineup, and it brings fuel economy of more than 50 mpg. Expect an N-Line and full-fledged N model to follow the standard Elantra and the hybrid.

What’s Not: The base 2.0-liter I-4 and CVT carry over from the previous-generation Elantra.

When: Fall 2020

How Much: $19,000 (est)

Genesis G80

What’s New: Underpinned by a new Genesis-exclusive RWD platform shared with the GV80 SUV, the second-generation G80 returns with an assertive new look. Two new turbocharged engines, also shared with the GV80, offer 300 hp or more, powering the rear wheels (or all four). Step inside, and you’re greeted with a minimalist yet stylish design highlighted by the infotainment system’s massive 14.5-inch screen.

What’s Not: The standard eight-speed automatic transmission in the 2021 Genesis G80 is an updated version of the same unit found in the G70 and G90.

When: Summer 2020

How Much: $49,000 (est)

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

What’s New: It’s basically a refresh of the current E-Class, with a new grille and front bumper, a new hood with twin power domes, new LED rear lights and rear bumper, and the latest generation of the MBUX user interface. The 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 that powers today’s E 450 is gone, replaced by the 3.0-liter turbocharged mild hybrid inline-six that produces the same 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And the plug-in hybrid E 350e sedan joins the lineup with a powertrain composed of the 2.0-liter turbo-four from the E 350 augmented by a 120-hp electric motor that contributes to a combined output of 315 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

What’s Not: The entry-level 255-hp, 273-lb-ft 2.0-liter turbo-four is unchanged. This engine, which shares its architecture and 48-volt mild hybrid system with the new inline-six, arrives in the U.S. with refreshes of the C-Class sedan and GLC SUV.

When: 2020

How Much: $55,000 (est)

BMW 4 Series

What’s New: Yes, they’re really going with that grille. Make peace with it, because BMW isn’t backing down. Behind it, the 4 Series will be nearly identical mechanically to the 3 Series. For the U.S., this means turbocharged gasoline four- and six-cylinder inline engines with eight-speed automatic transmissions and rear- or all-wheel drive. The M4 is expected to use the new twin-turbo inline-six from the X3 M. The manual transmission is likely dead for this market.

What’s Not: Body styles are expected to remain the same: coupe, convertible, and four-door Gran Coupe hatchback.

When:  Late 2020

How Much: $45,000–$70,000 (est)

Acura TLX

What’s New: The second-generation Acura TLX is getting a makeover to match the brand’s emphasis on performance. Previewed by the sexy Type S concept in 2019, the new TLX showcases a new design direction with a longer nose and dash-to-axle ratio. The luxury sport sedan will also see the return of a Type S model, which will come with a new turbocharged V-6 and the latest version of SH-AWD.

What’s Not: Despite its more cab-rearward proportions, the Acura TLX will continue to ride on a front-drive-based platform.

When: 2021

How Much: $35,000 (est)

Jaguar XJ

What’s New: The very last Jaguar XJ sedan powered by an internal combustion engine rolled off the line in July 2019, ending 51 years of continuous production of the iconic nameplate. Replacing it is an all-new, all-electric Jaguar flagship that will be a more conventionally styled car than the company’s groundbreaking I-Pace, with a low-slung sedan profile, though it will have a large rear hatch instead of a conventional trunk. The new car won’t share its underpinnings with the I-Pace, either, but will be built on Jaguar’s new Modular Longitudinal Architecture, which is designed to accommodate mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains in addition to a BEV powertrain. Top-spec models are said to be equipped with a 100-kW-hr battery and four motors developing a total of 800 hp.

What’s Not: Everything else is new, but Jaguar’s flagship retains the XJ name.

When: 2021

How Much: $90,000 (est)

2021 Toyota Mirai

What’s New: Every beautiful inch of this car is thoroughly (and thoughtfully) reimagined and designed (a word that scarcely applied to its predecessor) to appeal to a vastly broader audience and command a higher price tag. Longer, lower, and wider (by about 3 inches each), it rides on new rear-drive architecture and 20-inch rolling stock. We’re promised unprecedented driving dynamics apropos of the Lexus-look four-door-coupe styling. Expect a quieter cabin, a 12.3-inch infotainment system, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, and comfortable seating for five. Slicker aerodynamics, improvements in efficiency of the next-gen fuel cell stack, and a larger hydrogen tank will extend the driving range of this bigger, faster, better-handling car to about 400 miles.

What’s Not: The name, which means “future” in Japanese.

When: Late 2020

How Much: $60,000 (est)

The post Future Cars: The Hottest Non-SUVs Going on Sale in the Next Year appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

One Week With the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:00

It’s been about 10 years since the current Jeep Grand Cherokee was launched, and though that’s ancient in automotive terms, Jeep has done much to keep its flagship Grand Cherokee current. Throughout the years, the midsize SUV has received plenty of upgrades; from new engines to new trims, the Grand Cherokee is taking good care of itself. Its lineup is so extensive that there’s pretty much a Grand Cherokee for everyone. From the wallet-friendly Laredo to the Hellcat-powered and performance-oriented Trackhawk, Jeep has the two-row midsize SUV game well covered. One of those newer trims is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, which is positioned as the most upscale model of the lineup and offers luxurious materials and features to offer a better overall experience.

It makes sense. As transaction prices rise, brands look for ways to offer even more polished products, and the Grand Cherokee was already highly positioned within the Jeep brand. By offering 20-inch wheels, a unique grille and fascia, and nicer interior materials, the Grand Cherokee Summit distinguishes itself from other mainstream midsize SUVs. Add an optional V-8 and air suspension under its skin, and you suddenly have a really attractive and unique luxury SUV alternative.

We spent a week driving the top-trim Grand Cherokee and asked ourselves if the experience you get is really worth the extra dime.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Interior

Designers paid a close attention to the interior, where a sea of stitched leather covers most of the cabin. From the dashboard to the seats to the door panels, the Summit’s cabin feels a step above your average Grand Cherokee. Other upscale details include dark wood trim, which contrasts really elegantly with the light brown seats that our tester had. The combination of wood and leather on the steering wheel also raises the luxury experience for the driver.

Although the Grand Cherokee Summit leaves a nice first impression, more attention needs to be paid to the details. There’s still a large amount of hard plastics on the lower panels betraying the Grand Cherokee’s starting price, and the switchgear that looks and feels adequate for a mid-level Grand Cherokee falls short when you’re paying over $60,000 for it. The instrument cluster is also due for a redesign, as it’s entirely analog and falls short when comparing it to the full digital displays that in use in other modern luxury SUVs at the Summit’s price point.

Nevertheless, Jeep has done a great job keeping the cabin updated. The 8.4-inch screen for the Uconnect infotainment system works great; it’s fast, has modern graphics and it’s easy to use. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it works similar to a smartphone. Some of the controls, like those for the heated and ventilated seats, are found on the screen, but there’s no digging for menus here—everything is well labeled and simple to operate. The 19-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system ups the experience inside the Summit; it doesn’t matter if you’re streaming a song through your smartphone, using satellite radio, or playing a USB file.

The Grand Cherokee Summit not only delights front-seat occupants; it pleases those in the rear. The second row has heated seats, two USB ports, and an optional entertainment system with two screens located on the front seatbacks. The system adds $1,995 to the price of the Summit and includes a DVD player. The downside is that the player is located in the center console, and it pretty much consumes all the space there. Those entertainment systems are still useful but are almost obsolete now, as tablets and smartphones can provide more content and games for kids at a fraction of the cost.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: The Drive

Our Grand Cherokee Summit was equipped with the optional 5.7-liter V-8 engine, which sends 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. A Quadra-Trac four-wheel-drive system comes standard in the Summit, which will keep the Grand Cherokee out of trouble in case it goes off the pavement. On the road, the V-8 is a true performer. The engine has abundant torque for climbing hills or merging onto the freeway and always feels peppy and responsive. The eight-speed transmission holds gears for as long as it has to and shifts smoothly when it needs to.

On winding roads, the air suspension keeps body roll to a minimum, and whether you drive over bumps or ruts, the vibrations in the cabin are well controlled. Even when driving on Southern California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is known for rippled pavement caused by frequent land movements, the Grand Cherokee Summit kept its composure all the time. There’s no doubt Jeep has gotten its return on investment back with the Grand Cherokee. The SUV rides on older Mercedes-Benz M-Class-derived architecture, and this has proven to be a solid strategy, as it doesn’t drive like it’s a decade-old product. The changes that Jeep has made to the chassis over the years have helped keep the Grand Cherokee fresh.

Where we’d like to see more improvement is on the steering feel. Although its soft—like most owners would prefer it—there’s little feedback coming from it. The steering is precise, but we wish it gave the driver more feel for what’s happening on the road.

Having a Jeep means that you should definitely go off-roading at least once. Besides offering a reliable 4×4 system with a two-speed transfer case, the Summit comes with a Selec-Terrain system with five easy modes to choose from—Snow, Sand, Mud, Rock and Auto. With the air suspension and the four-wheel drive system, the Summit is able to go rock crawling or trail running and it will not hesitate to do so.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit: Should I buy it?

Priced at $62,775, our Summit felt closer to a luxury SUV than to a base Grand Cherokee. Jeep did a great job modifying things in the grand scheme to make its flagship SUV more premium for those who wanted something more exclusive in the Grand Cherokee lineup. Although there are ways where the interior can improve, drivers are getting a more premium experience in the Summit than in any other Grand Cherokee.

And despite being a decade old, the Grand Cherokee doesn’t feel antiquated. Its capability off the road continues to be great, and its handling and power delivery are top notch.

We know the next-generation Grand Cherokee is coming soon. How soon? Probably next year. In the meantime, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will most likely continue to be the best-selling two-row midsize SUV and please a big group of people, ranging from those who buy the wallet-friendly Laredo to those who prefer the ultimate experience that the Summit offers.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4×4 BASE/AS-TESTED PRICE $56,990/$63,375 LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 5.7L/360-hp/390-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST%) 5,236 lb (54/46%) WHEELBASE 114.7 in L x W x H 189.8 x 76.5 x 69.3 in 0-60 MPH 6.6 sec (MT est) EPA FUEL ECON 14/22/17 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 241/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.16 lb/mile ON SALE Currently

The post One Week With the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

The Coolest Cars I’ve Ever Driven

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:00

Some cars are born cool; some cars achieve coolness; and some have coolness thrust upon them. It’s a nebulous thing, shape-shifting with the zeitgeist, yet anchored by perspective and context. Thus, AMC Gremlins, Honda Preludes, and Subaru Brats are quietly bubbling up the coolness index, fueled, no doubt, by a heavy dose of post-modernist irony for Radwood and Malaise-era cars. Who knows, Pontiac Azteks could be next.

Over the past 35 years, I’ve driven many of the usual suspects on most automotive cool lists: Ferrari Daytona, Citroën DS, various 993-series Porsche 911s, Jaguar E-Type, the original Pagani Zonda, one of the first Mustangs ever built, to name but a few. So what follows is a list of not-so-usual suspects, cars that, all these years later, I also remember as special. To me, they’re cool.

Bugatti EB110 GT

I hear the faint metallic clatter of quad cams and 60 tiny valves. The clutch is firm, but the take-up is progressive, and the jewel-like 3.5-liter quad-turbo V-12 behind my shoulders pulls cleanly and smoothly from as little as 1,000 rpm as I ease the French blue Bugatti EB110 GT out onto the runway.

Deep breath and … nail it! There’s a bit of lag initially, but once the four small IHI turbochargers spool up, the acceleration is phenomenal, the V-12’s basso low-speed growl becoming a hard-edged scream as the revs build, punctuated by the metallic fisssst-pshaw of the four wastegates blowing off the excess boost as I work my way up the six-speed manual gearbox. The sprint to 60 mph is done and dusted in less than four seconds. I’m told the EB110 GT has a top speed of 212 mph. Given the frenetic surge of acceleration showed no sign of abating when I had to get out of the gas at about 150mph, I’m not about to argue.

I’m driving what is—at the time —the third fastest production car ever built. That’s a cool moment, right there.

But the Bugatti EB110 GT was much more than that. For years, the modern VW-owned Bugatti enterprise quietly ignored any potential modern ideations, preferring to highlight cars from the pre-war Ettore Bugatti era. But the EB110, conceived and created in the late 1980s under the direction of Italian businessman Romano Artioli, is now officially recognized as a ‘middle period’ Bugatti.

Okay, the EB110’s design was a little workmanlike —the bizarre weirdness of Marcello Gandini’s concept ended up being toned down by architect Giampaolo Benedini, the man who designed the spectacularly chic Bugatti factory in Campogalliano, Italy, for Artioli. But the car drove surprisingly well, even at real-world road speeds.

Yes, you needed to keep the little V-12 spinning to keep the turbos on boost—the torque peak of 451 lb-ft arrived at a middling 3,750 rpm—but the 27/73 front-to-rear torque split reduced the understeer that blights many all-wheel-drive cars and helped make the transitions to power oversteer more manageable.

And, more importantly, in terms of its technology —a unique 3.5-liter V-12 with four turbochargers and five valves per cylinder, carbon fiber tub, all-wheel drive—the EB110 truly was a benchmark car.

It still is. The Bugatti EB110 helped define the format of the modern hypercar. It is the missing link between the 197mph Porsche 959 of 1986—the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, high-tech rocketship that was, at the time of its launch, the fastest production car in the world—and the 1479-hp Bugatti Chiron, which has hit 304 mph in Super Sport 300+ spec.

Oh, and it’s rarer than either the 959 or the Chiron. Just 128 were built.

Lancia Delta HF 4WD

The sun is shining, but up here on the ridge, high above the choking smog of Italy’s Po Valley, the snow lies thick on the ground, crowding the edges of the narrow, twisting road. The little red car is alive in my hands, probing, teasing, willing me to go further and faster, to find the edge of the envelope.

The twin-cam 2.0-liter turbo four under the hood is smooth and punchy, with an induction roar at full throttle that makes it sound like a baby Ferrari. The gear ratios are superbly spaced, the steering delicate and precise, the brakes strong and easily modulated.

The poise! The grip! The traction! In early 1987, I’d never driven anything so breathtakingly brilliant as this little red car. It looked scarcely different to thousands of other small hatchbacks jostling along the roads in and around Turin. But the Lancia Delta HF 4WD was indeed a special car, offering performance and road-holding equaled only by exotica costing two or three times as much.

Unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in April 1986, the Delta HF 4WD was to morph, not long after I drove it, into the more powerful Delta Integrale. It wasn’t the first all-wheel-drive hot hatch. Mazda’s BF-series Familia/323 Turbo GT 4WD, which launched in October 1985 and was a car I’d already driven in Australia, beat it to the punch. But it was far more influential, especially after the World Rally Championship switched from the fast-but-dangerous Group B rally racers to the road car-based Group A formula. The Delta HF became Lancia’s front-line rally weapon.

From Subaru’s WRX STi and Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evos I through X, to the forthcoming Toyota GR Yaris, generations of compact, all-wheel-drive, rally-inspired performance road cars have taken their lead from the Delta HF 4WD.

The 2.0-liter engine under the Delta HF 4WD’s hood was shared with other Lancia models, but it was upgraded with a water-cooled Garret T3 turbocharger and intercooler, as well as a Weber Marelli engine management system. It made 164 hp at 5,250 rpm and 188 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm that would go to 209 lb-ft at 2,750 rpm with overboost. They’re not huge numbers by today’s standards, but the little Lancia only weighed about 2,600 pounds.

The HF 4WD’s secret sauce, however, was an all-wheel system that comprised a Ferguson viscous-coupled center differential that nominally distributed 56 percent of the torque to the front axle and 44 percent to the rear axle, which had a Torsen torque-sensing diff.

Outside the Mazda and a handful of Audis, all-wheel-drive performance cars were a rarity back then. I confess the Lancia took a little getting used to. Treating it like a front-drive hot hatch— rushing the corner entry, turning in early and playing with throttle get the car to rotate —would result in the front end resolutely ploughing wide, propelled by the prodigious traction at the rear.

The Delta HF 4WD, I learned on that blistering run through the Italian hills, rewarded a more thoughtful approach and, above all, precision. But driven cleanly, this little hot hatch—half the price of an Audi quattro Coupe (and, truth be told, half as well built, with half as good ergonomics)—could humble a Ferrari on a mountain road.

And that’s what made it cool.

Ford Falcon Phase III GTHO

I think the guys at Australia’s Wheels magazine still get requests for the photo. Black and white, it shows a pair of hands grasping a skinny three-spoke steering wheel and a hood punctuated by a ribbed Shaker scoop. The road ahead, out of focus, disappears dead straight into the distance. But these are the details you notice last. Your eye is always drawn to the dials at the center of the image. On one the needle is nudging 6,700 rpm; on the other, it’s past 140 mph.

It’s probably the most famous photograph to ever appear in an Australian car magazine. Snapped by then Wheels shutterman Uwe Kuessner, it was taken from the back seat of a Ford Falcon Phase III GTHO driven by Mel Nichols (who later went on to become editor of Britain’s Car magazine) early one morning in 1971 on the main highway between Sydney and Melbourne.

I remember, as a car-crazed kid, staring at that photo for what seemed like hours, utterly entranced. Kuessner had captured a magical moment in a magical car and shared it with us all. I felt I knew what it was like to take Australia’s greatest musclecar to the limit.

Eighteen years later, I’m editor of Australia’s Street Machine magazine. The hands grasping that skinny three-spoke steering wheel are mine and view over the hood is in vivid technicolor, all brilliant orange-red Vermillion Fire and black stripes. The Shaker shivers and shimmies as the Cleveland 351 V-8 under the hood idles gruffly. The clutch is heavy, and the Top Loader four-speed needs a good shove to get first gear. I dance a little two-step with the gas and clutch—it’s a barely detuned race engine, after all—and the Falcon growls away.

The ride is softer than expected, and I feel the squidginess in the sidewalls of the 70-series tires—yes, 70-series, which in 1971 were considered low-profile—but after a few miles, I learn to brake early and straight, let the Falcon take a set on corner entry, working through the compliance, and then balance it using the throttle.

The road opens up. and I give the 351 its head. There’s a deep, guttural roar, and the nose lifts as the Falcon squats on its rear axle and surges forward. The speedo needle swings past 100 mph, and then I’m on the brakes, a hefty shove needed to get the 1970s-era disc/drum setup to slow the old Ford down in time for the oncoming corner. Around town, the GTHO feels heavy and tiresome. But out here on the open road it comes alive, eager and responsive and hungry for miles.

The Falcon Phase III GTHO was a homologation special built by Ford Australia for the then-500-mile production touring car race on the formidable Mt Panorama circuit at Bathurst—the ancestor of today’s blue-ribbon Australian V8 Supercars event. The 1971 Falcon was the fourth facelift of the third generation of Ford’s compact sedan, launched in the US in 1966, and put into production in Australian in 1967. To create the Phase III GTHO, Ford Australia engineers pilfered parts from Mustangs and Torinos—the engine and transmission, the Shaker, even the rear deck spoiler and the steering wheel—and added a few go-faster tweaks of their own.

The Falcon Phase III GTHO was a hero car of mine, and not just because of Uwe Kuessner’s photo and Mel Nichols’ story. This 140 mph four-door was one of the coolest sedans in the world in 1971, rivaling the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 for sheer pace. I’d watched it race and win at Bathurst.

They say you should never meet your heroes. They’re wrong.

Bentley Continental R

The cop stepped off the sidewalk and turned towards us, all silver-buttoned uniform and silly hat. He saw the big blue Bentley coupe steaming majestically towards him through the mid-morning traffic in London’s posh West End and leapt back smartly to wave us through. In the rear-view mirror I saw him step back out on the road again and bring the traffic behind us to a halt.

It may have been a trick of the light, but I swear he tugged his forelock as we swept past.

Two-door Bentleys seem everywhere these days, but back in the 1990s, the Bentley Continental R was a commanding presence and not just because this 17.5-foot-long, 6.7-foot-wide two-door was bigger than almost anything else on the road at the time. It was the first Bentley since the 1950s not to share sheet metal with a Rolls-Royce. It was powered by turbocharged version of the Rolls-Royce 6.75-liter V-8 that developed a relatively modest 330 hp but 444 lb-ft of torque at little more than idle.

And it was still largely hand-built: The 1994 model I was driving was one of fewer than 680 Continental Rs completed since the car’s launch in 1992. These days, Bentley makes that many Contis every month.

On a quiet road outside London, I squeeze the gas and the big V-8 rumbles quietly, like gunfire from a distant battleship, as the big coupe rocks on its haunches and then lunges down the road. It takes about 6 seconds for the speedo needle to swing past 60 mph, the tach needle tickling a mere 1,450 rpm. Given enough room the Continental R would go on to hit 152 mph, punching a massive hole in the air that left lesser cars rocking in its wake.

The steering is a bit like daytime television—light and vague–but contrary to my expectations, the big Bentley doesn’t handle like an aircraft carrier in a hurricane. Once I’d calibrated the delay between steering input and chassis output, and understood the electronically controlled shocks could cope with the gargantuan weight transfer induced with the merest whiff of the throttle, the Continental R proves remarkably composed through corners.

I quickly learn that fingertips and a feather foot is all the imperious Bentley needs to crush a winding road, that rumbling locomotive of an engine barely raising a sweat as I ride high, wide, and handsome in a cabin redolent with the rich tang of hand-stitched leather and suffused with the warm glow of hand-finished walnut. It felt like the fastest gentleman’s club on earth, at once gloriously indulgent, yet quietly conservative.

And it’s this curiously English dichotomy, carefully contrived in today’s Bentleys and suffused with the cold rationality of modern electronics, that made the Continental R so cool.

Back in London, I pull up alongside a Rolls-Royce. The chalk-stripe suited banker riding in the back can’t help a double take when he realizes the occupants of the Bentley don’t quite fit the typical Continental R buyer profile.

“It’s all right mate,” observes my companion, photographer Dougie Firth, a phlegmatic Yorkshireman, “He’s just trying to figure out whether we’re rock stars or royalty.”

“Why?”

“He might have to be nice to us. Rock stars make a lot of money, you know.”

1963 Indy 500 Winner Ol’ Calhoun

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2011. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. I’m sitting—shoehorned, in truth—behind the wheel of the actual race car Parnelli Jones drove to victory in the 1963 Indianapolis 500. It’s a car I have utterly adored since I was a kid. And I’m about to drive it. At the Brickyard.

Built in LA in 1960 by the legendary A.J. Watson, it’s the quintessential archetype of the Offenhauser-powered front-engine roadsters that dominated at Indy for more than two decades. Nicknamed Ol’ Calhoun, it’s been run only a handful of times since 1964. Spare parts are almost impossible to find, and the rarest items on the car are the 48-year-old Firestone tires. I’d looked them over before climbing into the cockpit: The rock-hard rubber is crazed with a million cracks, and the sidewalls are fraying in a few places.

I’ll be taking it easy.

The late Bill Spoerle, who at the time was heading the team looking after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s collection, stands alongside the cockpit and glares at me balefully. Spoerle started at the Speedway in 1961, the year Jones took his rookie test in this very car. In other words, Spoerle has been around long enough to know that letting a journalist loose in one of his priceless cars is a bad idea.

Spoerle, speaking with a German accent so thick you’d swear he’d arrived on the boat from Bremerhaven the day before, warns me once again to keep feathering the throttle once the engine fires. Let an old Offy idle, he’d reminded me several times, and you’ll snap teeth off the cam gears.

A giant 40 hp electric motor that was designed to crank Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engines into life is connected to Ol’ Calhoun. There’s a turbine-like whirr, then a click as the gears in the starter are locked, and I squeeze the throttle as Bill leans in and flicks on the magneto. Contact! The Offy fires, coughs, fires, and coughs again. Bill’s waving his hand up and down slightly. Pump the gas. The engine spits, sputters and then roars into life, a calico-rip of sound from the exhaust pipe at my left shoulder.

Now comes the part I’ve been dreading: Getting cleanly out of pit lane. I’m six inches taller than Parnelli Jones, and my knees are splayed awkwardly either side of a big four-spoke steering wheel that appears to have been stolen from a Greyhound bus. The transmission is on the left of the cockpit—the entire engine is mounted to the left of the center-line of the chassis—and I have to contort my ankle around it to find the tiny clutch pedal that skims the right hand side of the tiny, two-speed Ford Model A transmission.

As I’m pushed away from standstill, I struggle to get the clutch to the floor, and muscle the shift lever forward to engage low gear. There’s a brief and ugly gnashing sound, but the lever hits home and I gently feed in the revs as I gingerly feel for the clutch to bite.

There! I squeeze the gas some more. A slight twitch from the rear end as the old Firestones struggle for grip. We’re rolling! I feed in more gas and almost immediately begin wrestling for high gear. There’s more metal on metal contact, another twitch of the tail, and Ol’ Calhoun rolls out onto the Speedway.

My hands are tingling. The engine is bolted directly to the frame, and while it might only be a four-banger, those bangs are truly titanic. The twin-cam, 16-valve Meyer-Drake Offenhauser, designed in the 1930s, displaces almost 4.2-liters and runs a compression ratio of 14.5:1 on methanol fuel. Back in 1963, an Offy fresh from the factory would be good for 400 bhp and 340 lb-ft, but an engine builder for a top team could boost that to 449 hp and 410 lb-ft.

All that torque makes Ol’ Calhoun easy to drive at low speeds. In deference to the engine’s age and the fragility of the tires, I’m limited to 3,500 rpm, about 80 mph with the low rear axle gears the IMS mechanics have installed. But even at cruising speeds, driving this old roadster around this storied track is one of the most overwhelmingly visceral experiences I’ve ever had in a car.

I can still hear the constant tickety-tick-tick-tick from the Offy’s valvetrain and the exhaust snarling in my left ear, see the rear tire humming right there, over my right shoulder, and feel the steering wheel buzzing in my hands and the grit peppering my face. It was beyond cool.

As I return to the pits, I recall that Parnelli Jones averaged 150 mph around here to put Ol’ Calhoun on pole back in 1963, drifting a race car with dirt-track axles and a 1930s engine through the turns at more than 130 mph and hitting 180 mph down the long chutes. Yeah, those old-time roadster drivers had cojones like coconuts.

The post The Coolest Cars I’ve Ever Driven appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Assura net rental income up 3.9%

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 08:58
Assura saw a pre-tax profit of £78.9m in the year to the end of March.
Categories: Property

Whitbread pre-tax profit down, announces £1bn rights issue

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 08:54
Whitbread has revealed plans to raise £1bn in a rights issue to allow it to take advantage of long-term structural growth opportunities after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Categories: Property

JEDS Investments £55m student housing scheme greenlit

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 06:10
Developer JEDS Investments has been granted planning permission for a new 456-bed student housing scheme in Southampton having had a previous application rebuffed.
Categories: Property

Leaked Ram Rebel TRX Easter Egg Throws Serious Shade at Ford’s F-150 Raptor!

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 01:42

Shots fired! These wild leaked photos of the 2021 Ram Rebel TRX, first reported on and posted by the eagle-eyed staff of TheFastLaneTruck.com, reveal a rubber interior mat that trolls the TRX’s key competitor, the Ford F-150 Raptor. How does a rubber center console mat throw shade between off-road-focused, super powerful full-size pickups? Well, besides holding it up between yourself and the sun, it could depict a man, a profile view of the TRX pickup itself, and a T-Rex (get it, like TRX?) looming over a tiny raptor (the dinosaur)—all to scale, as does the TRX’s.

As anyone who’s watched the dinotastic movie Jurassic Park knows, a T-Rex easily outguns a raptor (and, we should point out, many a Jeep Wrangler, Ford Explorer, and in the later movies, assorted Mercedes-Benzes). Automotively, a Ram TRX is sure to out-muscle Ford’s F-150 Raptor, because it’ll be powered by a supercharged Hellcat V-8 engine pushing 700 horses. The Ford has a 450-hp twin-turbo V-6, making it the equivalent—at least in this on-paper comparison—to that guy in Jurassic Park who gets eaten by a T-Rex while cowering in an outhouse. It’s all very fun, and it’s only the latest amusing “Easter egg” to hit a fun Fiat Chrysler product. Other cheeky details pepper various Jeep and Dodge products, and include everything from tiny Jeep grilles on windshields to common measurement conversions in Rams to chassis dimensions on Wranglers.

Next to the major Ford diss embossed in rubber, TheFastLaneTruck also unearthed photos of the TRX’s engine bay. There are shots of the Ram’s supercharger, massive air intake, and that big-ass Hellcat V-8 with an SRT badge plate. Judging from photos of its camouflaged hood, there appears to be some really big hood scoops to be revealed when we finally get to see the beast in the flesh. You can check out more details like the TRX will come with launch control in the exclusive video below.

There also are photos of the 4×4 Ram’s heavily bolstered leather seats with TRX stitching in red, new center console, and there’s now a transmission shifter instead of a rotary dial. Plus, there’s also a new Trailer Steering dial on the bottom of the dash similar to Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist system to help control the trailer.

We’ve been tracking the Ram Rebel TRX since we first saw the concept debut with a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 at the 2016 State Fair of Texas. We’ll know a heck of a lot more this summer when the Ram Rebel TRX is expected to makes its big, stomping debut. Stay tuned.

Exclusive photos and video courtesy of TFLTruck.com.

The post Leaked Ram Rebel TRX Easter Egg Throws Serious Shade at Ford’s F-150 Raptor! appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Avant sells and leases back UK show homes

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 01:00
Moorfield Group buys properties to bolster its growing residential operation.
Categories: Property

Bar operators eye ‘meanwhile’ sites

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 01:00
Restaurant and bar operators are on the hunt for large, open-air ‘meanwhile’ sites as the government considers allowing hospitality operators to turn public spaces into al fresco drinking and dining establishments.
Categories: Property

Watkin Jones chief: BTR sector will offer post-lockdown flexibility

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 01:00
The chief executive of one of the country’s largest build-to-rent (BTR) providers has predicted that Covid-19 will be the “coming of age” moment for the sector.
Categories: Property

GPE poised to become net asset buyer again

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/21/2020 - 01:00
REIT targets office assets in London’s West End, South Bank and Square Mile.
Categories: Property

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