We all adore the mini, with its cute and classy stylings, fun and funky personality and cool, adventurous reputation. But many people considering a used mini wonder what exactly has changed over the years: what has been improved upon or replaced, in short, what makes the new mini different to the old? Before we start ringing the changes, however, we really should draw attention to the elements that haven’t changed, most notably the cars “quirk” factor. This is an undoubtedly kooky car, with more personality than anything else on the roads! The new gen Minis have retained elements of design not limited to the inimitable shell, but also featuring original-styled toggle control switches for the stereo and the heating. The new gen dash makes a feature in particular of the speedometer, oversized and positioned centre dash so you can see when you hit those 140 mph highs. The retro feel that the Speedo exudes is entirely in-keeping with the car’s overall modish appeal – perfect for mod-men and vintage vixens, and far superior to a scooter!

On to the changes, to start with there’s the length – about 60mm longer to fit modern safety regulations and 18mm taller, much to the modern man’s relief! A tighter squeeze to parallel park, yes, but no matter – more room on top for your surfboard! This size increase has expanded the boot size by 10 litres – perfect for packing picnics – and made rear seat space far less tight than in previous models – particularly when coupled with the cleverly sculpted “cut-out” chair backs that create more leg-room. There are elements of the design which have been updated: the indicators are now positioned within the headlamps, which themselves have been relocated to the wings. A restyled grille and larger rear-lights complete the cosmetic make-over, alongside new colour options including metallic paints. The introduction of power-steering, meanwhile makes a huge difference to the overall drive, and the addition of a power steering boost button to the Sports kit option makes the car even more powerful and responsive. In the Cooper and Copper S models some parts have been replaced with aluminum for a lighter weight. Combine this with improved suspension, a new rear axle, harder springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, and you’ve a rare beast indeed; at least, within the superman class.

These new gen models offer a choice of engines to suit your own needs. The Mini One 1.4 is a bit growly, but satisfactory enough. If you can possibly stretch to it, a 118 bhp 1.6 litre in a Cooper or Cooper S is well worth the extra money, eliminating all residual growl and rattle, jumping 0-62 in 7.1 seconds and hitting top speeds of 140 mph. Both petrol and diesel options are available, and the new cars obviously offer better fuel economy (still not the best in class) than previous models. Repairs are not cheap, and the add on TLC package, covering all routine service costs for 5 years or 50,000 miles at £185 is worth the investment. This is just one of the paid extras you can add to your Mini. The £1875 Chili pack offers a cut price deal on items such as part-leather upholstery, a three-spoke wheel and air conditioning, among others. Metallic paint and xenon lights will both leave you further out of pocket. The good news is that a Mini is an investment piece, holding its residual value better than any other in the superman class. Most importantly, a Mini is a safe car. Changes to its design have created a vehicle with a five star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, boasting front, side and cabin-length airbags and stability control.

Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 Sports Car

A review of The Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 Sports Car, covering development, important features, and technical data of this the fifth model in the Sunbeam range. In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at the Sunbeam Alpine Series 3, one of an elite group of classic cars, which was manufactured during the period 1963 to 1964. In February 1963, the Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 sports car was phased out and replaced, a month later when showcased at the Geneva Motor Show, by the Series 3 model, which remained in continuous production until January 1964.

This new model was the most refined version to date, and incorporated a number of changes, including:

Design of the windscreen was improved Doors were fitted with quarter windows Rear quarter windows that could be opened were added to the redesigned steel hardtop Modifications to the soft top New adjustable bucket seats Steering wheel was now adjustable, both forwards and backwards, by up to 2.5 inches Two speed windscreen wipers Larger front disc brakes and telescopic shock absorbers Gearbox had closer gear ratios Walnut veneered dashboard facial Wood rim steering wheel Tailored carpeting Door opening courtesy light Cross flow radiator replaced by a vertical flow version with an integral header tank Larger diameter anti roll bar

Vacuum servo assisted brakes as standard Positions of clutch and brake pedals could now be adjusted Both soft top and redesigned hardtop models produced an increase in headroom of one inch Passenger padded grab handle Screen washers and a headlight flashed were added A Haycock de Morganville overdrive, operating on the top two gears of the four speed gearbox, was offered as an optional extra An important change related to the single fuel tank, which was now replaced by two interconnected 6.75 gallon tanks that increased overall fuel capacity, and were positioned inside each rear wing. In this way, the spare tyre could be fitted vertically behind the rear compartment, so providing increased luggage space. The two Stromberg carburetors, from the Series 2, were replaced by a Solex twin choke unit with a large, single, air cleaner. This arrangement, together with a cast iron exhaust manifold, resulted in a reduction in the power output and torque generated, from 80 bhp and 94 ft/lbs respectively to 77 bhp and 92 ft/lbs.

The single model from the Series 2 was now replaced by two models in the Series 3 – a convertible, now called a “Sports Toured”, and a new “Grand Toured” which sported a removable hardtop containing a large backlight. Although a soft top was not included with the GT, a ford f150 cover was available. The principal benefit of the GT version was that an upholstered occasional rear seat took the place of the space taken up by the folded soft top. The GT’s hardtop was more angular than that previously available, and the doors now had leading edges with square rather than previously rounded edges. The resulting benefit was that complaints relating to draughts, created by the previous hardtops, could be eliminated. Comparing the two Series 3 models, the cheaper convertible could always have an additional hardtop added, whilst the GT had the benefit of the extra space behind the two seats. By now, the Alpine was developing a favorable reputation in respect of its ride qualities, finish, and deluxe interior.

However, its principal detraction was its increasing lack of performance. Further, in terms of competition, by 1963, its main competitor, the MGA, had been superseded by the MGB, with its 1.8 litre engine developing 95 bhp and 100 ft/lbs of torque. This was something that needed to be addressed. Roots Group was aware of developing changes in the sports car market brought about by more crowded roads and a greater emphasis on creature comforts. This was manifesting itself in the growing transition towards sporty saloons, such as the Mini Cooper S, which offered comparable performance together with increased seating/luggage capacity. The original wedge shaped design of 1959, with its pronounced fins was, by now, becoming dated. Accordingly, the rear wing design was set to follow the new styling characterised by the Hillman Minx saloon. Production of the Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 sports car was finally ended in January 1964, when 5,863 units had been built. However, it was immediately replaced by the series 4, whereby some of the shortcomings of the Series 3 would be rectified. This marked the end of the Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:

Which Sunbeam Sports Car is Your Favorite?

However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of Sunbeam sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1948 to 1967.

You’re Car: Tomorrow’s Collector Favorite

Do you know if the car that you driving right now is the car that is going to be quite a collector car in the future? No, this is not most certainly a joke. Collector cars of the future are most certainly cars that belong to this day and age. And your trusty vehicle may be included in the list. McKee Hagerty is the CEO of Hagerty and he is also a very much known expert on collector cars valuation. He did say that there are vehicles at present that has the possibility of being those sought after ones in a span of years or so. And to help out consumers and customers find out if their vehicles are going to be worth it in the future, he has listed out his top choices and listed them out as part of the Hagerty’s Top 10 Future Collector Cars. According to Hagerty, the vehicles listed in his choices for the top collector cars of the future have been chosen so not because he does appreciate the vehicles himself but because of some criteria that he has seen in the present set of collector cars. He also included the criteria that he knows would be looked at for future collector cars. The criteria includes the vehicle’s popularity in pop culture, the limited number of production units, and the vehicle’s style as well as the wants of the next set of people who would be collecting the vehicles. He also did choose those vehicles that were not only affordable but were also quite fun to drive around.

Hagerty emphasizes his choices by saying: “Many consumers may be driving a future collector car right now! Our goal was to find cars that drivers find appealing now, and that they may consider nostalgic in 15 to 20 years. Each car on Hagerty’s Hot List possesses a ‘buzz’, a Wow Factor that resonates with consumers of all ages, many cars being daily drivers that turn heads already.” Included in Hagerty’s list of future collector cars are two Toyota vehicles: the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the Toyota Scion. Two very notable vehicles included in the list for their size are the Mini Cooper and the Smart Car. Other vehicles you would be finding comprise of the Lotus Elise, the Dodge Viper, the Acura NSX, the Audi TT, the Jaguar XK, and the Chrysler 300. If, by any chance, you are driving one of those, you may want to consider keeping them in the best condition possible. You may add in some of those Extang Black Max units you can easily purchase in the market to give your vehicle that added protection from wear and damage. It is most certainly up to you. But there is one thing you may want to think of. Hagerty says, “Unlike the vagaries of the stock market, certain models not only retain their value but escalate in popularity and price far beyond expectations.”

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    March 15, 2019

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