Another busy and varied week:-

Monday: Kia Optima Sportswagen 1.7 diesel, Coventry to Wakefield, South Yorkshire

Tuesday: Ford Focus 1.5TDCI Zetec estate, Rotherham, South Yorkshire to Peterborough

Wednesday: X-wing fighter, I mean Ford Transit Connect van, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire to Brentford, Middlesex

Thursday: Mercedes A220d AMG Line auto, Leicester to Thurmaston, Leicestershire; Mercedes E220d AMG Line auto, Nottingham to Newark, Nottinghamshire; BMW 520d auto (2013), Newark to Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire

Then a big day out today at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show at the NEC in Birmingham. I had intended to take lots of photos so I could include a few in this post but there were so many fantastic cars and I couldn’t take photos of them all. Plus I didn’t want to spend the whole day looking at the cars via the screen of my phone, waiting for people to get out of the way…… blah blah. In short, I took virtually no pictures at all so here’s a photo of an interesting classic downloaded from the interweb :-

Everyone’s favourite British classic, the Austin Allegro

Sorry, that was really cruel. I hope there are no young children reading this because they may have nightmares. Actually, I think there was an Allegro there, in a corner with no-one near it.

The show was huge with virtually every type of classic car you could think of and a few more of questionable classic status (a Hillman Avenger?? Come on….). It is difficult to pick out highlights, but I will have a go:-

Downright gorgeous: Jaguar XK150 plus so many others too numerous to mention

Eye-opener: Aston Martin DB6 – non runner, very shabby interior and suspect paintwork, a snip at £220,000

Best oddity: Rover P5 coachbuilt motor caravan

Nostalgia trip: Matra-Simca Bagheera S – as a very young kid on holiday in France, I remember being astonished when I first saw this futuristic car. A three seater sports car from the Seventies. I tried to persuade my parents to buy one so that we would have to get rid of my sister. I had almost forgotten this car existed until I saw one again today.

Of most personal interest – two Spridgets. An Austin-Healey Sprite in marginally better condition than mine but on sale for a lot more than I paid. Encouraging. Also, a superb looking MG Midget in an original BL colour which I think is called Damask Red. I have often thought whether or not I would change the colour of my Sprite if I ever had it re-sprayed (which it probably needs). My Sprite is a non-original Nightfire Red, a metallic colour from much later MG Rover days. It does look good (if you ignore the blemishes) but reverting to an original period colour may be nice. Have to broach this with the wife though……..

MG Midget 2
The Damask Red MG Midget at the NEC




  1. Colin

    Two observations from your post.

    1. I’ve only driven the similar Hyundai mid-spec i40 Tourers with the 136 bhp and 115bhp guises. The latter had no grip the former no grunt. The boot was too long, and apart from the excellent Sat Nav and speed sign reader I was disappointed. I ran one of each for several weeks, and can’t say I enjoyed the manual gearboxes. My guess is an Optima would be just as dull.

    2. True disappointment comes in an ALLEGRO shape. I had a one owner Doctor’s car, which was a friend’s – and when he passed away I got it for a snip. I think it was only the second car that I owned which cracked the 40 mpg mark – even four up on holiday.
    Shame it used 5 litres of oil for every tank of petrol. In the end it needed oil faster than I could top it up – and sadly it died. the 1.3 A Series engine was hopeless, the access to the boot was horrendous, and each corner filled with water when it rained.

    My Mum had a 1500 which was much more fun….until the engine seized on The Hogs Back! A bit of a theme with Aggros.

    My Dad even sold them for a living, and believed they were “quite good”, especially the MkII. He also has a long nose.



    1. Yes, the Optima was nothing special. I only really drove it in straight lines on motorways so can’t comment on handling! Performance seemed OK and it was comfortable. The Focus estate the next day was better but lacked some toys, notably cruise control. Ford’s little 120hp 1.5 diesel is excellent. Have never had anything to do with Allegros so it was a bit naughty of me to insult them … but everyone else does so…..!


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