This week, Steve airs his mixed views about the current fad - if fad's the right word - for continuation cars. Then, a well-worn Audi TT quattro catches his eye over a coffee with the Steering Committee and Gordon Murray has something very special in the works...
When Enzo Ferrari launched the 250 Short Wheelbase in 1959, he can’t have known what legendary status it would have achieved 62 years later. Nowadays, apart from the originals worth £8 million, there are three other cars inspired by the 250 SWB, all made in this country. Berkshire-based GTO Engineering does two, the 250 SWB Revival, which has a lesser 250 model underneath, and the all-new Squalo that uses GTO’s own bits, albeit Ferrari inspired.
Now Northants engineering consultancy RML has moved into the 250 SWB arena, too, planning 30 lookalikes based on the 550 Maranello at £1 million-plus each. These and the profusion of ‘continuation’ or ‘nut and bolt’ models that currently reprise icons from Alvis, Aston Martin, AC, Healey, Porsche and Jaguar suddenly look to me like a desperate reaction to the onrush of electrification. I was thinking the other day that they must also cause distress to modern car designers, for whom the task of doing something to match the magnificently unconstrained icons of yesteryear must be tough.
It’s so fascinating, watching cars age. There’s a village near us where the Steering Committee and I go for a coffee, and we often walk past a neat 04-plate 3.2 Audi TT quattro. No idea of the mileage, but it looks healthy and modern, on new wheels. Point is, I find it far more desirable now than I did back in the day and don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because this model was more different from its peers than versions that came later. The online classifieds have four like it as I write: three at £4000 with 100,000 miles; one with half the miles at twice the price. The sight of this car makes me think (for a minute) that I should park my ever-present desire for new cars and fish in this enticing pool.