Discover and learn about the latest launches and news in the world of classic cars and high performance vehicles as well as where you can find HWM at the next big event and what the team have been up to in the UK and Europe circuit.
Text by Louis Beausoleil.
After many months of missing out on all of our favourite events and tours, this year’s famous Salon Privé concours at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire was the perfect end-cap to the first summer following the pandemic. Now in its 16th edition, the prestigious event saw a whole roster of amazing classic cars on show for all to see.
Ahead of the concours, we attended the renowned Tour Privé, a beautiful 100-mile driving tour throughout the best roads of Oxfordshire, this year stopping at Grittleton in Chippenham for a decadent lunch stop before returning to Blenheim’s South Lawn. Our founder Anthony Pozner, and wife Elisabeth took part in the tour using our pristine 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 which performed faultlessly, and was a definite stand-out car during the tour which included the likes of Jaguar E-Types, Porsche 911s, modern Ferraris and many more.
A particular favourite part of the event for us was the inclusion of not one, but two original Ferrari 250 GTOs. These incredibly rare cars (a mere 36 ever made) have rich and successful racing histories. The first, chassis 3767GT, being the iconic green painted example owned by the famous privateer racer David Piper. The second car – arguably even rarer, was chassis 4399GT, a 1963 example featuring the revised and aerodynamic bodywork developed by Ferrari for the 1964 season. This car was driven to victory at Silverstone and Goodwood in period by none other than legendary british racing driver Graham Hill.
Alongside the two GTOs was ‘The Red Collection’ – a stunning arrangement of cars which included a Porsche 904, a Ferrari F40, an original Maserati 250S, a Ferrari 275 GTB ‘Competizione Clienti’ as well as a McLaren F1. As long-time Ferrari and Porsche specialists, we rather enjoyed this group of vehicles!
This year’s edition of Salon Privé was, in our view, one of the best yet and we’re already counting down the days to 2022’s event.
There’s No Such Thing As a Cheap One
Image and Text by Rhiannon Hughes-Boatman
In the 1950s the Mercedes design department was made up of a motley Cerberus-esque crew comprised of Fredrich Geiger, a typically German, techy, test engineer, Karl Wilfert, the Mercedes born and bred head of car body development, and Bela Barenyi, an Austro-Hungarian, aristocratic, safety-obsessed, bohemian. When Paul Braq arrived from Paris having studied under the infamous and somewhat mad Phillipe Chabonneaux, he injected a French sense of elegance and style into the patent-heavy, technologically driven department. At the time, Mercedes was focused most on stability, but visibility was becoming a defining feature. The “Pagoda” roof, which took inspiration from the concavity of oriental shrines, was a way of adding rigidity to the boundary-pushing, light and airy glasshouse. Early sketches done by Geiger, ever the engineer and stereotypically German, show a general arrangement for a car, liner and symmetrical, with equal proportions and an austere interior. Braq by comparison, like most designers to this day, drew fanciful and exciting designs that were reined in by the strict discipline of the Mercedes-Benz studio. The W113 (230 SL) was essentially a compromise between the two. Composed, symmetrical, with perfect lines and visual tension, its beauty lies in simplicity and refinement. The slender, feminine lines somehow manage to belie the strength and sturdiness of the car’s construction without looking heavy, instead seeming sophisticated and agile. The balance continues on the interior which is neither excessively adorned or bare. They managed to get the perfect level of chrome in an era that was rife with overuse. The diversity of the design team fostered the balance and elegance that the car is so well known for. Nothing needs to be added or taken away; by creating something entirely functional, they managed to also make something perfectly beautiful.
According to a statement from Mercedes-Benz at the time of the Pagoda’s launch: “it was our aim to create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance that despite its sporting characteristics provides a very high degree of travelling comfort.” The result was a perfectly Franco-German, track-bred, tech gilded, boulevardier; equally happy driving the winding back-roads of Switzerland and cruising the beach-front of St. Tropez.
Nowadays, Pagodas are desirable after because of their robust build but delicate design. When new, they were expensive, exclusive, fast and well-built, which now means they’re one of the most aspirational classics. Their versatility and touring car status makes them approachable for all driver skill levels making them even more sought after.
The W113 line is divided into three models, each named by the number that corresponded to the volume of their engine. The 230SL, a sportier and more basic 2.3L, had a production run of 19,831, most of which were manual, and is signified by the engine number 127.981 (found on the nearside of the block). The 250 SL, a 2.5L, had a production run of 5,196 and is signified by the engine number 129.982. Finally, the 280 SL, a more luxurious 2.8L with softer seats and suspension, had a production run of 23,885, most of which were automatic, and is signified by the engine number 130.983. Classic car logic generally states that lower production numbers increases price, but in this case they’re all about the same. Despite their initial entry level vs. luxury designation, 230 and 280 prices remain similar, so focus on the condition of the car and the restoration quality rather than the number on the back. The three engines have almost identical top speeds of around 120mph, but the 250 and 280 have more torque and their M127s have a 7-bearing crank rather than the 230’s 4-bearing crank. The 280 and 250 suit their automatic gearboxes as they’re more geared towards cruising, but the 230’s ZF five speed is better for competing and adds value. Power assisted steering was more reliable and direct, and came with a quicker gear ratio so that option also commands a higher price. Many Pagodas were destined for America and had specific modifications for that market, as values rise many exports are making their way back to Europe. They can make a good project if rust free and from a dry state, but it is worth noting the cost of upgrading to the European specification. American cars had separate sealed-beam headlamps with separate flashing, rubber tipped overriders, lower axle ratio, headrests, side wing reflectors, hazard warning lights, no visor mirror on the passenger side, less chrome trim, often aircon, and from late ‘68 a milder cam. Most Pagodas were sold with hard and soft tops but some were sold with only soft. A special version California Coupe came only with a removable hard top, because let’s be honest it never rains in LA, and when it does, everyone has been talking about it for weeks so there’s plenty of warning. The soft top compartment was replaced by a drop down bench creating a desirable 2+2 configuration. It’s worth noting that some European models came with a similar option of a side facing jump seat.
There is no such thing as a cheap Pagoda, a rotten one is extremely costly to repair properly, and already restored ones will be pristine. So with high cost a given, what should you look out for when purchasing? The number one rule is to be diligent in inspection. Because of the high cost of restoration, many examples are superficially shiny but reveal rust under further scrutiny.
Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Pagoda
Pagodas were robust, with cast aluminium door shells and individually numbered alloy bonnets bootlid, hood cover and door skins. The VIN plate number should match that of the hood frame, hood cover, hard top base and gearbox support. Checking these numbers is a good place to start, but whilst matching numbers can be desirable, so too can a properly restored vehicle. This is where a buyer’s priority comes in. Matching numbers on a rare mid-60s Ferrari is a must, but those high value cars are most at home on Concours lawns where every inch of them is examined with vigor that would make an airport security agent jealous. Pagodas on the other hand are drivable, usable classics. So whilst some may strive for the purity of matching numbers, many would rather sacrifice matching numbers for the possibility of a better running car.
Because the engine blocks are cast iron but the heads are aluminium, Pagoda engines are prone to corrosion if antifreeze levels aren’t maintained. However, if properly looked after, the engines are very durable so expect near instant starting (if not check pipework for rust that may block injectors). Once started, check that the engine warms quickly and that the thermo works because if it’s missing or damaged this may be masking an overheating issue. Overheating could be caused by a number of problems, particularly with the head gaskets which can fail if the car has been idling for long periods or silt up if coolant has been used without corrosion inhibitor. Check for dirty oil, particularly in four speed autos, wherein it should be red. If incorrect, the damage pump is very expensive to rebuild.
The suspension, just like everything else on the car, is robust but if ignored, can be expected to have issues like anything that’s this old. Look for seized splines, worn universal joints, loose belts and worn rubber mounts because the last thing you want in your serene Pagoda is axle noise. On the topic of noise, listen for whining from a worn diff because as with most things on these cars, a rebuild is particularly costly. Stainless steel exhausts are to be avoided as they’re tinny compared to the MB mild steel type. On 230s and 250s, pay special attention to the nipples as they need regular greasing to avoid rapid wear. There’s a theme with this car: shiny on the outside doesn’t mean shiny on the inside, so pay attention to monocoque as it can corrode badly especially in the sills. As shown in the diagram look for rust in the floor pans, rear chassis members, front chassis legs, and the bumper mount.
A good rule of thumb when examining any classic car is to look for consistent panel gaps, these indicate build quality and can speak to accident history. On Pagodas, also check for a smooth spot weld on the front outer to inner wings and an unfilled panel-join seam below headlights. The hoods, both soft and hard, should fit well around the doors and windows and the material on the soft hood should still be supple and flexible. Check for any cosmetic rust around headlights and in wheel arches too.
The Details: Brightwork and Interior
Brightwork, like many other bits on the car, is expensive to replace, so ensure it’s all present and accounted for. The jack and the tool kit are handy to have but because of the car’s prevalence can be picked up second hand. Interior wise, the Mercedes-Benz Tex material is extremely durable, but seat stuffing has been known to diminish over time. As with all convertibles, check the interior for any signs of water damage and pay particular attention to the windscreen-base wood. All the wood trim is prone to rot, so check that and the soft top frame for any damage.
If you’re sensing a theme here, it should only emphasise that diligence is key. A good model is worth the extra pennies because you’ll lose a lot more than that if it isn’t a well maintained or expertly restored example. Repairs on bodywork and the engine are expensive, and there are many poorly restored examples out there to be aware of. However, if chosen well, the Pagoda is a usable versatile car, more practical than many of its competitors and well-supported by a hoard of marque specialists and owners clubs. The pros far outweigh the cons which is reflected in the unparalleled status it holds compared to similarly high-production vehicles.
What Happened When the Inimitable Avant Garde Designer Pierre Cardin Tried His Hand At Car Design.
Text by Rhiannon Hughes-Boatman
Internet rabbit holes – we’ve all been down them – but this has to be one of my favourites of late. As a trained automotive designer, I’ve always loved discovering little-known marques and concepts banished to obscurity, so finding out that Pierre Cardin had worked on not one, but 3 cars in his time was a veritable treasure trove.
Cardin was known as an Avant Garde master whose iconic Cannes bubble house was a hotbed of creative inspiration. He began his career as a tailor at Dior’s Avenue Montaigne Fashion house in 1946 but branched out on his own in 1950 making masks and costumes for the theatre. By 1954 Cardin’s bubble dresses had taken the world by storm, and he opened his first boutique in Paris, “Eve.” Like all the greats, Cardin’s career was marked by firsts; he was the first to display a designer’s logo on couture garments, he transitioned to ready to wear and became the first to combine mini and maxi skirts. Cardin was fascinated by geometric shapes and space age design, an obsession that led him to become the first civilian to try on Buzz Aldrin’s moonwalk suit in 1971. His revolutionary “mod chic” designs were known for combining the contrasting geometric shapes that captivated him- circles and straight lines, free flowing skirts with structured tops, mini dresses with ankle-length pieces, long pom pom panels with fringe that swayed with the body, and slits with batwing sleeves – his designs consistently broke the “rules”. Unlike his first employer Dior, Cardin was known for completely disregarding the female form, instead, designing what he found interesting. He was an integral part of the arts and culture scene in Paris throughout his career and founded the Espace Cardin to promote new artistic talents from musicians to painters.
His interdisciplinary approach to design and disregard for the “rules” did not stop here. Cardin developed 13 basic design themes that could be applied to products, each instantly recognisable and carrying his name and logo. It is no surprise then that he did what “to most Paris fashion designers…is rank heresy” and signed a contract with the American Motor Corporation. In 1972, the automaker began incorporating Cardin’s design and starting in 1973 4,152 AMC Javelins received his badging and bold interior, featuring a multi stripe pattern in Chinese red, plum white and silver over the standard black background. His specification, true to form, ignored a lot of the rules by treating the seats as one unit and running a contiguous stripe design throughout the interior, even integrating the headliner and door cards into one blanket design. He also curated a set of exterior colours that complimented the interior pattern: TransAm Red, Snow White, Stardust Silver, Diamond Blue, Wild Plum and a special order option of Midnight Black.
Pierre Cardin AMC Javelin
In 1974 Sbarro, a small, Swiss, high-performance replica and sports car company, presented its latest creation: the Stash. The Stash was a three-seater improvement on the 1973 Sbarro SV1 (safety vehicle one) concept. The exterior follows the wedge trend of the time and features similar lines to the Dino 308 GT4, BMW M1 and De Tomaso Pantera. Cardin proposed his version of the Stash at the Salon de Paris in 1975. Like the Javelin, most of the changes were to the interior wherein the seats, carpets, dashboard and door cards bore his signature geometric stripes. Only 5 of the superbly good-looking cars were ever made but just one bore the Cardin name and design.
In the 1970s, especially in America, it was commonplace to upgrade high-volume vehicles, but Cardin decided to go one step further and in 1980 launched Pierre Cardin Automotive (PCA) with a mind to building radically redesigned Cadillacs. Some sources mention that Cardin had some input in a paint and trim package for the D-body Cadillacs, but PCA’s official launch was its Evolution I which was based on the E-body Cadillac Eldorado. The Evolution I paid homage to the first generation (1967) Eldorado with a lengthened front fascia giving the car the long sleek stance of the original car. True to his previous Automotive design forays, Cardin’s design utilised heavy linear elements. The grille and running boards relied on heavy horizontal lines, and the horizontal tail light strip was years ahead of its time. It borrowed elements from the Oldsmobile Tornado and featured modern, sculptural wing mirrors. Inside, personalization included luxurious English leather seats, door panels and a graphic designer’s dream of a dashboard all of which continued the linear theme that defined the exterior. Antique gold accents, a custom steering wheel, unique front and rear console, high-quality real wood trim, Sony TV + Quasar VCR, Sherwood audio equipment, optional minibar, 30-layers of hand applied paint, and wool carpeting went a long way to explaining the extortionate price tag. PCA set out to build 300 Evolution Is but all build sheets indicate around 100 units were created from 1981-1983, the last of which was a Hess & Eisenhardt custom convertible. As of 1984 PCA ceased to exist and there’s no doubt its demise was in part because of the eye-wateringly high price. A base Eldorado started at $17,550, the Evolution I started at $58,000 but fully equipped came in at $63,000, for context a well-equipped Mercedes-Benz 380 SEC went for less than $50,000.
Pierre Cardin was a visionary who didn’t care that licensing his name and in doing so diversifying and widening access might be seen as “cheapening his brand.” He cared about applying his design theory to as many areas as possible, including furniture (the bubble house was entirely furnished by his own designs), restaurants, food products and cosmetics. In the end, the extensive licencing became wildly incongruous and lead to the monetary demise of his brand but not before he left us with three of the most interesting automotive designs of all time. With his passing yesterday at 98, we say goodbye to an era-defining maverick whose inquisitive nature and uniquely free spirited approach to design left its mark in even the most far-flung corners of the design universe.
All The Best Presents for the Petrol Heads In Your Life
Text by Rhiannon Hughes-Boatman
1) Paul Howse Art – For the Artsy Petrol Head
We met Paul at the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance earlier this year and were immediately impressed by his portfolio of work. As an ex-McLaren designer, he has an eye for technical beauty and the petrol head credit to match. He recently decided to turn his immense talent towards bespoke watercolours and sketches. He’s available for commissions if you have a beautiful car you’d like immortalized but also has a line of prints, mugs and original works that will fit any budget. I can personally attest to the fact that coffee tastes better out of a Porsche 908 espresso mug.
2) The Mechanists – For Petrol Heads of All Ages
The long-standing Automotive Lifestyle powerhouse that is the Mechanist is a one-stop-shop for all your holiday needs. We’re big fans of their iconic bracelet which are available in a multitude of colours and finishes. Their adjustable nature means they’re great even for young petrol heads.
3) Mariclaro – For the Eco-Conscious Petrol Head
This unique Canadian company creates bags and accessories from repurposed vintage car interiors and aviation materials. Each product is made from upcycled material, meaning there’s no waste in the production process and you’re saving more material from ending up in a landfill! Our personal favourites are the wallets. Each varies in price depending on the classic they came from, but it might be the closest some of us get to having one of these vehicles “in our back pocket.”
4) The Motor Valley From Casa Maria Luigia – For the Sophisticated Petrol Head
From Canossa Events, the amazing people who bring us the Modena Cento Ore, comes a unique marriage of flavour and speed. Limited to 10 couples, this exclusive, one-off tour of “Motor Valley” will take place between 16-19 of March at Maria Luigia, the high-end property conceptualized by the inimitable Massimo Bottura. More information and bookings available here:
5) A Photo Session With One of Our Very Own – For the Collector Petrol Head
You’ll have to forgive the cross-promotion here, but there aren’t many things better than a day out with your car and some professional photos to commemorate the occasion. Not only will having the photos add to the car’s history file, but the print you choose will be with you even if you sell the car further down the line.
6) Type 7 Volume 2 – For Porsche Petrol Head
From the incomparable team at Type 7 comes the second volume of their incredible book that won’t stay on your coffee table for long. Compiling all the best stories from the previous year, the book combines compelling long-form stories with crisp, artful photography and covers topics from Art and Architecture to the Mavericks of Porsche Restomodding. In what has been a difficult year for small business we encourage you to order through your favourite independent book store!
Lamborghini Gallardo Model Guide
Text and Photography by Rhiannon Hughes-Boatman
Lamborghini Gallardo Hendon Way Motors
The first generation Gallardo’s design was based on the famed Giugiaro Cala prototype and is a striking continuation in a line of great fighting bulls. The first all-new vehicle made under the Audi marquis, it was met with critical acclaim on it’s debut and has aged beautifully. It’s an affordable and usable sports car that has the performance, excitement and styling to match anything on the market today.
With German quality fortifying its Italian engineering, this compact baby bull has all the reliability without compromising the drama that Lamborghini had built its reputation on. Lamborghini hadn’t produced anything other than beefy V12 monsters since the Jalpa, so the Gallardo was a fresh crack at the bottom end, usable supercar market. The Gallardo was Lamborghini’s highest production model to date, 12,000 strong, and with so many model variations it can be hard to unscramble all the code names and models. The rule is, the later the years the higher the power, but read on to decode all the other elements of baby bull evolution.
2003 -2008 The Light One
The first generation had a lotus-esque focus on lightness. The featherweight but stiff aluminium space frame and panels supported and enveloped a 5L V10, 4 wheel-drive, and a 6 speed manual box (or 6 speed e-gear with paddles).
Late 2005 saw Lamborghini introduce an improved Coupé which was upgraded to include a better engine, new steering rack, a sportier suspension and exhaust system, and most importantly shortened gear ratios (especially in 1st to 5th gear) to mitigate some of the criticisms made of the initial iteration. Shortly after the unveiling of the coupe, the Spyder arrived. Aptly unveiled in Los Angeles where under the blazing sunshine, sales of the soft top skyrocketed. Also released in 2005 was the Gallardo SE, a limited edition (250 units) Gallardo externally designated by a black roof, and a two-tone colour scheme and special “Callisto” wheels. The interior also featured a two-tone finish: all piping and stitching, as well as the midsection of the seats, matched the body colour of the car. Two party pieces made the SE truly stand out, a rear-view camera and a “thrust” mode. Thrust mode was the living proof that the Gallardo lost of Lamborghini’s fun, it automatically revs the car to 5,000 rpm and drops the clutch, engaging all four wheels in a controlled burnout, a flashy version of launch control.
In 2007 the Superleggera, “superlight” in Italian, was unveiled, taking inspiration from it’s Touring designed namesake, the first Lamborghini. True to its name, the Superleggera was 100kg lighter than the base model due to replacement carbon fibre panels used for the rear diffuser, undertray, mirror housings, interior door panels, central tunnel and engine cover. Under the bonnet the engine got a 10hp upgrade bringing the output to 530 hp for all 618 units produced and shaving 0.1 seconds off the 0-62pmh time.
Following the Superleggera, the Gallardo Nera was another special edition that was debuted at Paris. It was produced to showcase their “Ad Personam” customization programme and the extensive range of options available. Each of the 185 units was painted a special matte black with blacked-out tail lights and bespoke silver brake callipers. The monochrome theme continues on the interior with high contrast black and white leather in the company’s Q-Citura print.
So what specifics should you be wary of on 2003-2008 Gallardos? Early 5.0 engines were prone to oil pump problems and some lower-mileage cars can have sticking throttles causing engine revs to hunt, but neither of these possible hold-ups is the end of the world. The high production run means parts are easy to find and German engineering means it’s not just marquee specialists that will be able to help. It would be remiss not to mention the recall of about 1500 of the Coupe and Spyder models made between May 2003 and April 2008. There was a risk of power steering fluid leaking and thus of fire but all of the models have been repaired. The earlier the production and the higher the miles, the lower the price tag on these vehicles. So if it’s a supercar your after but your budget is low, the reliability that the Germans brought to the table means even an old, high miles Gallardo is a reasonably reliable purchase.
2008-2013 LP 560-4: The Powerful One
Ferrari’s introduction of the F430 prompted Lamborghini to raise their game. The new LP560-4 was powered by a new 5.2L V10 with an uneven firing angle that produced 552hp (560PS) and featured the “Iniezione Diretta Stratificata” direct fuel injection system which improved efficiency and diminished fuel consumption reducing CO2 emissions. Other changes included a 20kg weight loss, a revised transmission and a new four-wheel-drive system (hence the “-4”) as well as a redesigned front bumper that took inspiration from the inimitable Lamborghini Reventon. The new engine came with the same choices as the previous generation: 6-speed manual or 6-speed e-gear, but the e-gear was upgraded to offer a “Corsa” mode which made shifts 40% quicker and decreased traction control restrictions. The SE’s “Thrust Mode” was also carried over contributing to the blistering 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. In November 2008 the accompanying Spyder was released marking the second generation of Gallardo to have a soft-top option.
In 2009, to commemorate the retirement of their legendary test driver Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini released the only RWD vehicle in its lineup in over a decade, the Gallardo 550-2. Designed to Balboni’s exacting specifications, this special Gallardo was designated by subtle stripes, a gold and white one on the exterior and white on the interior. It also featured two badges a subtle 550-2 one mounted low on the side sills, and an aluminium one on the interior that bore its namesake’s signature and the production number of the car, _/250. This special edition was a roaring success and was named Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 2009.
Just like it’s predecessor this generation Gallardo had a Superleggera iteration. True to its name this Superleggera also utilised carbon fibre to reduce the weight by 70kg to 1340 kg, making it the lightest road-going Lamborghini on offer at that point. The 5.2 L V10 got a power upgrade bringing its output to 562hp, signified by the name change to LP 570-4. Weight-saving measures and power bumps brought the already low 0-62mph time to just 3.2 seconds. The Superleggera was the sweet spot for those who were looking for a track car that was manageable on the road.
Next on the special edition timeline came the LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, the convertible answer to the Superleggera. In 2011 the SP was released and as is usual with convertibles, it was heavier than its coupe counterpart. Despite the additional weight the Spyder Performante still had a 0-62 of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph.
In 2011 the Gallardo line took a break from upward trending performance numbers and focused on economy instead. The LP 550-2 Coupe was the low-end offering in the model line and was distinguished by black side skirts and 550-2 badging. As the “2” in the name suggests, this model was 2 wheel, specifically rear wheel, drive. It came with the suspension tuning borrowed from the Balboni edition and a 6-speed manual transmission. The e-gear option was also available but at cost.
2013 marked the end of the line for the Gallardo. It’s 10 year production run was so prolific, that at the time it was the company’s best-selling car ever. As the old adage goes, use it or lose it, so when looking for a Gallardo you’re better off finding one that had a comfortable number of miles added each year. On the mileage front, some cars may have had their speedo’s wound back. Because of their popularity and relatively low price point many were used as track day cars so if the miles seem suspiciously low check for tell-tale signs of use like feathered tires, worn brakes, gravel stuck in body panel gaps, and wear and tear on the Alcántara of the interior, in particular the steering wheel which will appear shiny. In pre-2005 models check for a cracked front bumper as there wasn’t a front lift option, and in post-2005 check that the front lift system fitted works. At the end of the day, this baby bull is sure to put a smile on your face and with the same footprint as a Ford Focus, the Gallardo is an unbeatably usable sports car. Add a design that could have come out of the studio yesterday and you have a truly winning formula.