1 Minute Read

The Best Lotus Cars Of All Time

Posted by - Tim Earnshaw on 31 March 2022
Categories: Advice, Super car storage

As Lotus launches an all-new, fully electric Eletre, the Windrush classic car storage team looks back at the best Lotus road cars of all time 

Lotus has long been a name proudly associated with racing, light weight, performance – and Great Britain. In a history that starts with the iconic Seven, Lotus has just launched the Eletre, a fully electric SUV, and the latest new model to sit alongside the Emira sportscar and Evija BEV supercar.  

With the company seemingly headed into a battery-powered future, the Windrush luxury car storage team explores the eleven models that led to the Eletre.  

Seven 

Seven 

One of the earliest Lotus cars and also one of the most recognisable. Early cars had little power, but also little weight, giving sharp handling and pure driving thrills. An alloy-body Super Seven still cuts a dash today, and we must remember the Seven is visually and technically?more similar to a contemporary?GP car than anything else, despite being available new, in kit form, for just £600. Of course, the Seven lives on today as a Caterham.  

Elite Type 75/83

Elite Type 75/83

Super sharp, the Lotus Elite Type 75 and Type 83 were produced from 1974 to 1982 with styling to match the period. The shooting-brake styling allowed a family-friendly 2 + 2 cabin along with a practical rear hatch.?Powered by a 2.0 with 155 hp and 5-speed manual transmission the car went as well as it looked, and the famous Lotus chassis engineers made sure its handling befitted the Lotus badge.  

Elan 

Elan 

The Elan continued the Chapman?“simplify, then add lightness”?philosophy. With beautiful, diminutive looks the Elan was a sales success both for road and track use. Independent suspension, great weight distribution and its lightweight construction created almost racing car levels of grip. Gordon Murray used the Elan as the benchmark for the McLaren F1’s handling, though Murray claims this target was never quite achieved. 

Esprit Turbo

Esprit Turbo

The ’80s Esprit was a true wedge-shaped supercar with drop-dead looks to match any Italian supercar of the time. The Turbo offers figures to match the appearance, with 0-60mph arriving in 6.1 seconds and a top speed of over 150mph. Giugiaro created a new aero body kit and chassis, and brake upgrades were added. 1980s turbochargers gave F1 kudos, and the ’80s Esprit handled in a way a Ferrari could only dream about.  

Esprit V8

Esprit V8

Few words stir the soul as much as twin-turbo V8, and in the mid-’90s Lotus offered an Esprit with just that. 350bhp and 175mph were headline grabbers and the sleek, supercar looks matched the fast numbers. In this Esprit cabin comfort was on par with the exceptional handling. Power was provided by a 3.5 litre twin turbocharged V8 engine, allowing the Esprit V8 to accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. 

Carlton 

Carlton 

Press, police and politicians wanted the Lotus Carlton banned, due to its outrageous speed. With that, the job of the PR company was done: everyone wanted one. 176mph with room for the family, it became the second fastest 4-door saloon ever made, and could leave a Ferrari, Porsche and even Lamborghini far behind. Calls for the Carlton to be limited to 155mph were ignored, and the full 180mph potential was left unrestricted. A 3.6-litre, twin-turbo engine provided a 0–60 time of 5.2 seconds and the 0-100mph in 11.1.  

Elise

Elise

What a return to form the Elise was. Here was a true Lotus with featherweight construction, beautiful form, good performance and exceptional handling. Since the death of Colin Chapman Lotus lost its way a little, but here was a minimalistic sports car to regain the affection of the world. Its extruded and bonded aluminium spaceframe design was a revolution and the entire car weighed around 700 kilos. The S1 offered 120PS from its 1.8 engine with a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 126mph. 

Exige 

Exige 

The Exige was created as a car for road and track, with a bias towards the track. The first Exige was based on the Elise with more power, more grip, and more downforce. The chassis also comes from the Elise but with many tweaks and all models have front air dams, large rear wings, composite roofs, and lots of racing car technology. Like the Elise, the Exige has had many variants, the last being a supercharged V6, giving the Exige the power to make it a credible alternative to a GT Porsche.  

Cortina 

Cortina 

Ford partnered with Lotus to build 1,000 special Cortina GTs with a twin cam engine to compete in motorsport. The Lotus Cortina sported a completely different rear suspension, light alloy body panels and Lotus Twin Cam engine. Top speed was 105 mph, 0-60 in 9.9 sec.?The production Lotus-Ford Cortina was sold through Ford dealers as ‘The Consul Cortina Sports Special’ becoming an instant classic that is still hugely desirable today.  

3-Eleven

3-Eleven

The 3-Eleven is one of the rawest Lotus road cars ever created, with an open cockpit and raucous supercharged V6 engine with 450 hp. Two variations of the Lotus 3-Eleven exist: Road and Race, with the Race including a more aggressive aero kit, a sequential gearbox and an FIA-approved driver’s seat with a six-point harness. An incredible power to weight ratio in excess of 500 hp per tonne is offered, capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds before reaching a maximum speed of 174 mph. 

Emira

Emira

Yet to launch, the Emira is an all-new mid-engined sports car with striking design, high performance and the famous Lotus ride and handling. The Emira has been developed on a new lightweight bonded aluminium chassis and the first cars will be available as limited-production ‘First Edition’ models powered by a Lotus-honed 3.5-litre V6. Later there will be a 4-cylinder model priced at less than £60,000. Will it be the car to take the 911’s crown? 

Luxury car storage for your Lotus (or anything else)

At Windrush, we’re always pleased to welcome a Lotus to our classic car storage in central London and the Cotswolds. But whatever you drive, you’ll find a team of passionate experts who always go the extra mile to offer the ultimate car storage solution.  

Starting with a twelve-step induction process that prepares your vehicle for long term car storage, we’ll keep up that added care and attention for the duration of your stay. So when you collect your pride and joy, you’ll find it in the form of its life. 

Get in touch with the Windrush team to talk about our prestige car storage. We’re looking forward to hearing from you on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk 

Get in touch
Call Cotswolds +44 (0) 1451 821 008
Call London +44 (0) 207 458 4418
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1 Minute Read

The Best V12 Cars Of All Time

Read Article
For over a century, the twelve-cylinder piston engine format has powered some of the greatest vehicles to grace…
Read Article
For over a century, the twelve-cylinder piston engine format has powered some of the greatest vehicles to grace Windrush’s classic car storage. Here are ten all-time favourites, picked by the team.   The V12 has history. Back in 1904, the world’s first twelve-cylinder piston engine – split into twin banks of six cylinders whose ‘V’ shape gave it the name – was originally designed for boat racing. Scan the annals since then and you’ll find the V12 powering everything from Panzer tanks and military trucks to diesel locomotives and World War II aircraft. But more than any of these, it’s the iconic automobiles featuring that classic engine configuration that have endured – and here at Windrush long term car storage, it’s our pleasure to keep them that way. Here are ten of the very best V12s, as chosen by our prestige car storage team.        McLaren F1 (1992) Think ‘supercar’ and the mental image that flashes up is still the legend unveiled at Monaco’s Sporting Club in May 1992. Gordon Murray’s concept and Peter Stevens’ body design were impeccable, but the mythology came from BMW Motorsport’s 6.1 V12, powering the McLaren to a production car world record of 240.1mph. Own one and you’re in good company, from Rowan Atkinson to Ralph Lauren. Pagani Zonda (1999) Founded by ex-Lamborghini engineer Horacio Pagani at the dawn of the ’90s, this Italian newcomer debuted in style with a supercar that went from underdog to object of desire overnight. Pagani’s famous attention to detail – and scholarly knowledge of composites – marked the Zonda out before you even turned the key, but the masterstroke was to include the 6.0 V12 from Mercedes-Benz AMG, nudging 400hp and ludicrously good fun. Lamborghini Miura Largely driven by his rivalry with Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini hired the great Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini to dream up an engine that would pip the prancing horse, and from the late-’60s, his mid-mounted 3.9 V12 made the Miura look and move like an arrowhead on wheels. Perhaps Bizzarrini’s greatest triumph was his engine’s longevity: that V12 endured (with the occasional facelift) right through to the 2011 Lamborghini Murcielago.  Maserati MC12 As scarce as it gets – with just 50 road cars produced to homologate the 12 racers competing in the FIA GT Championship – the guts of the MC12 was the Ferrari F140 6.0 V12 (a derivative of which is in the Ferrari 812). It jumped off the mark like a scalded cat – 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds – topped out at 205mph, and is an occasional and very welcome guest at Windrush’s classic car storage.   Ferrari 812 Superfast The name wasn’t exactly subtle, but the Superfast lived up the billing. With a 6.5 V12 capable of 789hp and 9000rpm – with no turbocharging – there had never been a more powerful naturally aspirated production car engine when it debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. In fact, that engine was so good that Top Gear considered the rest of the Superfast almost an afterthought: “The mightiest V12 of them all. With the rest of a car attached…”   Rolls Royce Phantom Unlike the go-faster brigade elsewhere in this countdown, the Phantom was as silent, stately and serene as the name suggested. But that effortless vibe belied the graft being done within by the 6.75 N73 BMW V12, taken from the E65 BMW 7-Series, but with increased capacity. A car that reminded us that luxury, class and sophistication were not mutually exclusive with raw power. Jaguar V12 While many V12 cars are untouchable icons that exist only in the pages of magazines, Jaguar’s classic twelve-cylinder is the one you’re most likely to have sampled, thanks to its inclusion in multiple production models through the ’70s and ’80s. Stick a pin in Jaguar’s production history and you’ll find it doing the business, from the vintage E-Type to the XJS and XJ of the ’80s, Jaguar’s engine was complex, silent, powerful and, perhaps above all, abundant, bringing the V12 to the driveways of everyday drivers. Ferrari 250 (1953) Pinin Farina’s undulating closed berlinetta bodywork delivered on the style, but it was Gioacchino Colombo’s 2933cc V12 that supplied the substance, mounted longitudinally in the front and capable of 237hp. Far more than a stopgap, the engine would go on to be fitted to various incarnations of the 250 including the GTO, California Spyder and GT SWB. Mercedes-Benz S600 (1991) Hard to believe given its proud history, but in 1991, the S600 represented Benz’s first toe into the V12 market. The newly designed 6.0-litre engine was the German marque’s first mass-produced twelve-cylinder for a passenger car, not to mention the most powerful MB engine to date, packing 408hp. Audi Q7 TDI 2008 was a vintage year for Audi, with the marque cheering Allan McNish to Le Mans victory in an R10, while readying a new Q7 whose V12 twin-turbo diesel posted an audacious 1000nm of torque and 493hp. Autocar described it as “the Q7 for those who struggle with the concept of self-constraint and have very deep pockets” – and it was meant as a compliment. Choose Windrush prestige car storage, for V12s and beyond At Windrush’s long term car storage, we know exactly how to treat your car, whether it’s a vintage V12 or a cherished modern classic. Read a little more about our prestige car storage programme, and you’ll be reassured that our state of the art facilities in London and the Cotswolds are exactly where your vehicle should be when it’s resting off the road. From the warm welome of our professional washing and drying regime, to the regular checkovers and maintenance regime that keep your vehicle in peak condition for the length of its stay, no other prestige car storage programme goes further. The Windrush team is ready to welcome you to our classic car storage in London and the Cotswolds. To learn more, drop us a line on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk
top-10-quietly-cool-cars-main-original-1642427317.jpeg?w=1024&h=683&scale
1 Minute Read

Top 10 Quietly Cool Cars

Read Article
As automotive connoisseurs, we’ve all been guilty of drooling over a car in the street that our friends…
Read Article
As automotive connoisseurs, we’ve all been guilty of drooling over a car in the street that our friends and family just don’t get. We all stare at a Ferrari and can hear a Lamborghini approaching without even seeing it, but only those in the know glance back at a Citroën all others would pass by. Here, Windrush’s classic car storage experts choose ten cars that have the cool factor – but only to those who know. Citroën C6 In the past, Citroën offered quirkily cool cars in abundance (SM, CX Safari, BX to name but a few), but that dwindled away in the recent past… until the C6 executive saloon arrived in 2005. The C6 was luxurious, well-designed, stuffed to the gills with kit and had a style that many prestige manufacturers would be proud of. Hydroactive suspension meant it could be raised and lowered (a famous Citroën trait) while providing a magic carpet ride. Drive one today and you’ll still cut a dash, so striking is its design. A true French masterpiece. Volvo XC70 A Volvo estate has always had a classless charm, meaning you would not be surprised to find one on the streets of Chelsea, outside a rambling country pile or outside a suburban new build. In 2007, Volvo raised the game – and the car – with the off road 4WD XC70, which is basically a jacked-up V70 estate with some hardwearing exterior trim, chunky tyres, and the capability to not just get you to the point-to-point, but probably get you around most of the course as well. Many other cars do the 4WD thing better, but a mud-covered XC70 parked in the village shows the driver as a person of impeccable taste. VW Touareg V10 Volkswagen stormed into the SUV market with the luxurious and desirable Touareg 4×4 in 2002, immediately rubbing shoulders with the top-level offerings of the time. In 2003 VW decided to offer the Touareg with a monstrous 5.0 V10 diesel engine, producing 309bhp and 553nm of torque, making it the most powerful diesel engine available at the time. Styling-wise, the Touareg looked like any other model, with no visual clues on show other than a discreet V10 badge on the boot. Costly to buy and costly to run, one has to applaud those brave enough to order such a car, and what a delight it is to see one on the road – or pulling into our classic car storage – today. Porsche 924 Known to many as the Porsche with a van engine, the 924 has long been the runt of the Stuttgart litter, and it’s true, the 2.0 petrol engine had origins that can be traced back to a VW van. However, as with many cars, time has been kind to the 924 and it’s now seen as being a rather cool way to get about. What was once seen as ‘dull’ looks now seem understated and sharp. Being regarded as disposable for many years also means good ones are rare (and becoming expensive to buy). True, it’s not fast, but it handles like a Porsche and today the 924 is a very acceptable way to arrive, particularly in S or Turbo specification. BMW E60 550i ‘Q car’ is a term used to describe a car that has performance beyond its looks, and the 550i may well be the finest example of this to have been offered from a showroom. Sure, you could order an M5 for show and go, but the 50i could be specified in very mundane levels of trim, meaning what might seem like a lowly model at first glance, will soon leave you at the lights as it flexes its 4.8 V8 with nigh on 370bhp. Arguably the coolest 550i spec is an SE trim level Touring (estate) that has been de-badged. Comfortable, with space for the family and discreet enough to be ignored by the boy-racer crew, it is the ultimate fast car for those who don’t want to be noticed. Honda Prelude (4th generation) We already know Honda knows how to make a decent performance car (take the S2000, NSX and Integra Type R as your evidence), but the 91-96 generation of Prelude is right up there. The one you want is the 2.2 VTEC with 4-wheel-steering and a high-revving 182bhp. Those of you old enough to remember will have fond memories of legendary CAR magazine motoring journalist L.J.K. Setright regularly stating that a Prelude was all the car anyone really needed. When a factory-standard 2.2 is seen on the road, one has to marvel at the technical wizardry packed within, and the fabulous drive it offers. Being a Honda, it’ll run forever, too. Audi S6 V10 (2006) Much like the BMW E60 550i, the Audi S6 is another wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you’ll need to know your model specs to appreciate what the S6 offers. Tucked under the unassuming bonnet is a 40-valve, 5.2 V10 petrol engine with 429bhp derived from the engine found in a Lamborghini Gallardo, and all there is to show for it is a pair of tiny V10 badges on the wings. Big wheels (to accommodate the big brakes) and some large exhausts are about the only other visual clues over a regular A6, and even the V10 is (sadly) muted so you’ll not be seen or heard. Still, it’s a car that oozes cool, a real car for those ‘in the know’ and your family will love you for it (“My Dad’s car is a Lamborghini”). Mercedes 500E (W124) If you’ve ever flown into Germany, you will be familiar with the Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class as a stack of them are parked outside airports as taxis (often with a million kilometres on the clock). But the humble 124 became a legend in 1990 when Mercedes launched the 500E. Much like the Audi S6 above, the 500E was discretion personified with subtly flared wheel arches and wider versions of the standard Merc ‘8-hole’ alloy wheels the most obvious statement of its intent. Produced in collaboration with Porsche, the 500E came with a 322bhp V8, brakes from the 600SL, lowered suspension, wider track, and sports seats. 0-60 came in 6 seconds and the top speed was in excess of 160 mph. Only 10,479 were built, so the 500E remains a very special car today – and it’s always a talking point when this model arrives at Windrush’s luxury car storage facilities. MG ZT 260 While the MG ZT was based on the Rover 75, it had one model that stood head and shoulders above the rest, due to it being fitted with a 4.6 V8 taken from the Ford Mustang GT. Power wasn’t huge at just 252bhp, but the Mustang unit has so many off-the-shelf performance parts available that tuning them was a simple affair. While the ZT was most often specified as a saloon, we think the estate model provides the ultimate in coolness, with discreet practicality and that noisy Mustang V8 powering the rear wheels only. Those that spot the quad exhaust pipes may realise it’s a fast car, but few will know your ‘old man’ MG packs American muscle. Subaru Forester Choose any Forester and you’ll have a cool car, but go for a turbo petrol engine and it’s sub-zero. With true go-anywhere potential (ask any farmer) and all the know-how of a world rally champion manufacturer, it really does offer the perfect daily transport. The 2006-2008 Forester XT came with a 2.5 flat-four turbocharged engine producing 208bhp and was a rally car for the family, but it’s relatively easy to find a Japanese market-only STi model here in the UK too, thanks to good numbers being imported. The STi looks every inch the rally stage hero and comes with a 2.5 turbo engine taken from the Impreza WRX STi with 261bhp. Not discreet, but you need to be committed to owning one, and whenever the Windrush team welcomes a Forester to our long term car storage, we can’t help but smile in appreciation. Loud or subtle, every vehicle is welcome at Windrush long term car storage At Windrush classic car storage, we’re just as committed to flash supercars as soft-spoken dark horses. We know every vehicle that arrives at our classic car storage facilities in London and the Cotswolds is someone’s pride and joy – and for the duration of your car’s stay, it’s ours, too. Trust our experts to settle your car in with the industry-leading twelve-step induction that ticks boxes you didn’t even know existed. Then enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing our long term car storage experts are on the case, monitoring and maintaining your vehicle until the moment you’re ready to turn the key. Windrush’s long term car storage teams are friendly, flexible and ready to hear from you. Drop us a line on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk
  • meet-the-man-who-looks-after-londons-supercars-main-original-1
    1 Minute Read

    Meet the man who looks after London’s supercars

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  • the-best-v12-cars-of-all-time-main-original.jpeg?w=1024&h=682&scale
    1 Minute Read

    The Best V12 Cars Of All Time

    Read Article
    For over a century, the twelve-cylinder piston engine format has powered some of the greatest vehicles to grace Windrush’s classic car storage. Here are ten all-time favourites, picked by the team.   The V12 has history. Back in 1904, the world’s first twelve-cylinder piston engine – split into twin banks of six cylinders whose ‘V’ shape gave it the name – was originally designed for boat racing. Scan the annals since then and you’ll find the V12 powering everything from Panzer tanks and military trucks to diesel locomotives and World War II aircraft. But more than any of these, it’s the iconic automobiles featuring that classic engine configuration that have endured – and here at Windrush long term car storage, it’s our pleasure to keep them that way. Here are ten of the very best V12s, as chosen by our prestige car storage team.        McLaren F1 (1992) Think ‘supercar’ and the mental image that flashes up is still the legend unveiled at Monaco’s Sporting Club in May 1992. Gordon Murray’s concept and Peter Stevens’ body design were impeccable, but the mythology came from BMW Motorsport’s 6.1 V12, powering the McLaren to a production car world record of 240.1mph. Own one and you’re in good company, from Rowan Atkinson to Ralph Lauren. Pagani Zonda (1999) Founded by ex-Lamborghini engineer Horacio Pagani at the dawn of the ’90s, this Italian newcomer debuted in style with a supercar that went from underdog to object of desire overnight. Pagani’s famous attention to detail – and scholarly knowledge of composites – marked the Zonda out before you even turned the key, but the masterstroke was to include the 6.0 V12 from Mercedes-Benz AMG, nudging 400hp and ludicrously good fun. Lamborghini Miura Largely driven by his rivalry with Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini hired the great Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini to dream up an engine that would pip the prancing horse, and from the late-’60s, his mid-mounted 3.9 V12 made the Miura look and move like an arrowhead on wheels. Perhaps Bizzarrini’s greatest triumph was his engine’s longevity: that V12 endured (with the occasional facelift) right through to the 2011 Lamborghini Murcielago.  Maserati MC12 As scarce as it gets – with just 50 road cars produced to homologate the 12 racers competing in the FIA GT Championship – the guts of the MC12 was the Ferrari F140 6.0 V12 (a derivative of which is in the Ferrari 812). It jumped off the mark like a scalded cat – 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds – topped out at 205mph, and is an occasional and very welcome guest at Windrush’s classic car storage.   Ferrari 812 Superfast The name wasn’t exactly subtle, but the Superfast lived up the billing. With a 6.5 V12 capable of 789hp and 9000rpm – with no turbocharging – there had never been a more powerful naturally aspirated production car engine when it debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. In fact, that engine was so good that Top Gear considered the rest of the Superfast almost an afterthought: “The mightiest V12 of them all. With the rest of a car attached…”   Rolls Royce Phantom Unlike the go-faster brigade elsewhere in this countdown, the Phantom was as silent, stately and serene as the name suggested. But that effortless vibe belied the graft being done within by the 6.75 N73 BMW V12, taken from the E65 BMW 7-Series, but with increased capacity. A car that reminded us that luxury, class and sophistication were not mutually exclusive with raw power. Jaguar V12 While many V12 cars are untouchable icons that exist only in the pages of magazines, Jaguar’s classic twelve-cylinder is the one you’re most likely to have sampled, thanks to its inclusion in multiple production models through the ’70s and ’80s. Stick a pin in Jaguar’s production history and you’ll find it doing the business, from the vintage E-Type to the XJS and XJ of the ’80s, Jaguar’s engine was complex, silent, powerful and, perhaps above all, abundant, bringing the V12 to the driveways of everyday drivers. Ferrari 250 (1953) Pinin Farina’s undulating closed berlinetta bodywork delivered on the style, but it was Gioacchino Colombo’s 2933cc V12 that supplied the substance, mounted longitudinally in the front and capable of 237hp. Far more than a stopgap, the engine would go on to be fitted to various incarnations of the 250 including the GTO, California Spyder and GT SWB. Mercedes-Benz S600 (1991) Hard to believe given its proud history, but in 1991, the S600 represented Benz’s first toe into the V12 market. The newly designed 6.0-litre engine was the German marque’s first mass-produced twelve-cylinder for a passenger car, not to mention the most powerful MB engine to date, packing 408hp. Audi Q7 TDI 2008 was a vintage year for Audi, with the marque cheering Allan McNish to Le Mans victory in an R10, while readying a new Q7 whose V12 twin-turbo diesel posted an audacious 1000nm of torque and 493hp. Autocar described it as “the Q7 for those who struggle with the concept of self-constraint and have very deep pockets” – and it was meant as a compliment. Choose Windrush prestige car storage, for V12s and beyond At Windrush’s long term car storage, we know exactly how to treat your car, whether it’s a vintage V12 or a cherished modern classic. Read a little more about our prestige car storage programme, and you’ll be reassured that our state of the art facilities in London and the Cotswolds are exactly where your vehicle should be when it’s resting off the road. From the warm welome of our professional washing and drying regime, to the regular checkovers and maintenance regime that keep your vehicle in peak condition for the length of its stay, no other prestige car storage programme goes further. The Windrush team is ready to welcome you to our classic car storage in London and the Cotswolds. To learn more, drop us a line on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk
  • top-10-quietly-cool-cars-main-original-1642427317.jpeg?w=1024&h=683&scale
    1 Minute Read

    Top 10 Quietly Cool Cars

    Read Article
    As automotive connoisseurs, we’ve all been guilty of drooling over a car in the street that our friends and family just don’t get. We all stare at a Ferrari and can hear a Lamborghini approaching without even seeing it, but only those in the know glance back at a Citroën all others would pass by. Here, Windrush’s classic car storage experts choose ten cars that have the cool factor – but only to those who know. Citroën C6 In the past, Citroën offered quirkily cool cars in abundance (SM, CX Safari, BX to name but a few), but that dwindled away in the recent past… until the C6 executive saloon arrived in 2005. The C6 was luxurious, well-designed, stuffed to the gills with kit and had a style that many prestige manufacturers would be proud of. Hydroactive suspension meant it could be raised and lowered (a famous Citroën trait) while providing a magic carpet ride. Drive one today and you’ll still cut a dash, so striking is its design. A true French masterpiece. Volvo XC70 A Volvo estate has always had a classless charm, meaning you would not be surprised to find one on the streets of Chelsea, outside a rambling country pile or outside a suburban new build. In 2007, Volvo raised the game – and the car – with the off road 4WD XC70, which is basically a jacked-up V70 estate with some hardwearing exterior trim, chunky tyres, and the capability to not just get you to the point-to-point, but probably get you around most of the course as well. Many other cars do the 4WD thing better, but a mud-covered XC70 parked in the village shows the driver as a person of impeccable taste. VW Touareg V10 Volkswagen stormed into the SUV market with the luxurious and desirable Touareg 4×4 in 2002, immediately rubbing shoulders with the top-level offerings of the time. In 2003 VW decided to offer the Touareg with a monstrous 5.0 V10 diesel engine, producing 309bhp and 553nm of torque, making it the most powerful diesel engine available at the time. Styling-wise, the Touareg looked like any other model, with no visual clues on show other than a discreet V10 badge on the boot. Costly to buy and costly to run, one has to applaud those brave enough to order such a car, and what a delight it is to see one on the road – or pulling into our classic car storage – today. Porsche 924 Known to many as the Porsche with a van engine, the 924 has long been the runt of the Stuttgart litter, and it’s true, the 2.0 petrol engine had origins that can be traced back to a VW van. However, as with many cars, time has been kind to the 924 and it’s now seen as being a rather cool way to get about. What was once seen as ‘dull’ looks now seem understated and sharp. Being regarded as disposable for many years also means good ones are rare (and becoming expensive to buy). True, it’s not fast, but it handles like a Porsche and today the 924 is a very acceptable way to arrive, particularly in S or Turbo specification. BMW E60 550i ‘Q car’ is a term used to describe a car that has performance beyond its looks, and the 550i may well be the finest example of this to have been offered from a showroom. Sure, you could order an M5 for show and go, but the 50i could be specified in very mundane levels of trim, meaning what might seem like a lowly model at first glance, will soon leave you at the lights as it flexes its 4.8 V8 with nigh on 370bhp. Arguably the coolest 550i spec is an SE trim level Touring (estate) that has been de-badged. Comfortable, with space for the family and discreet enough to be ignored by the boy-racer crew, it is the ultimate fast car for those who don’t want to be noticed. Honda Prelude (4th generation) We already know Honda knows how to make a decent performance car (take the S2000, NSX and Integra Type R as your evidence), but the 91-96 generation of Prelude is right up there. The one you want is the 2.2 VTEC with 4-wheel-steering and a high-revving 182bhp. Those of you old enough to remember will have fond memories of legendary CAR magazine motoring journalist L.J.K. Setright regularly stating that a Prelude was all the car anyone really needed. When a factory-standard 2.2 is seen on the road, one has to marvel at the technical wizardry packed within, and the fabulous drive it offers. Being a Honda, it’ll run forever, too. Audi S6 V10 (2006) Much like the BMW E60 550i, the Audi S6 is another wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you’ll need to know your model specs to appreciate what the S6 offers. Tucked under the unassuming bonnet is a 40-valve, 5.2 V10 petrol engine with 429bhp derived from the engine found in a Lamborghini Gallardo, and all there is to show for it is a pair of tiny V10 badges on the wings. Big wheels (to accommodate the big brakes) and some large exhausts are about the only other visual clues over a regular A6, and even the V10 is (sadly) muted so you’ll not be seen or heard. Still, it’s a car that oozes cool, a real car for those ‘in the know’ and your family will love you for it (“My Dad’s car is a Lamborghini”). Mercedes 500E (W124) If you’ve ever flown into Germany, you will be familiar with the Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class as a stack of them are parked outside airports as taxis (often with a million kilometres on the clock). But the humble 124 became a legend in 1990 when Mercedes launched the 500E. Much like the Audi S6 above, the 500E was discretion personified with subtly flared wheel arches and wider versions of the standard Merc ‘8-hole’ alloy wheels the most obvious statement of its intent. Produced in collaboration with Porsche, the 500E came with a 322bhp V8, brakes from the 600SL, lowered suspension, wider track, and sports seats. 0-60 came in 6 seconds and the top speed was in excess of 160 mph. Only 10,479 were built, so the 500E remains a very special car today – and it’s always a talking point when this model arrives at Windrush’s luxury car storage facilities. MG ZT 260 While the MG ZT was based on the Rover 75, it had one model that stood head and shoulders above the rest, due to it being fitted with a 4.6 V8 taken from the Ford Mustang GT. Power wasn’t huge at just 252bhp, but the Mustang unit has so many off-the-shelf performance parts available that tuning them was a simple affair. While the ZT was most often specified as a saloon, we think the estate model provides the ultimate in coolness, with discreet practicality and that noisy Mustang V8 powering the rear wheels only. Those that spot the quad exhaust pipes may realise it’s a fast car, but few will know your ‘old man’ MG packs American muscle. Subaru Forester Choose any Forester and you’ll have a cool car, but go for a turbo petrol engine and it’s sub-zero. With true go-anywhere potential (ask any farmer) and all the know-how of a world rally champion manufacturer, it really does offer the perfect daily transport. The 2006-2008 Forester XT came with a 2.5 flat-four turbocharged engine producing 208bhp and was a rally car for the family, but it’s relatively easy to find a Japanese market-only STi model here in the UK too, thanks to good numbers being imported. The STi looks every inch the rally stage hero and comes with a 2.5 turbo engine taken from the Impreza WRX STi with 261bhp. Not discreet, but you need to be committed to owning one, and whenever the Windrush team welcomes a Forester to our long term car storage, we can’t help but smile in appreciation. Loud or subtle, every vehicle is welcome at Windrush long term car storage At Windrush classic car storage, we’re just as committed to flash supercars as soft-spoken dark horses. We know every vehicle that arrives at our classic car storage facilities in London and the Cotswolds is someone’s pride and joy – and for the duration of your car’s stay, it’s ours, too. Trust our experts to settle your car in with the industry-leading twelve-step induction that ticks boxes you didn’t even know existed. Then enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing our long term car storage experts are on the case, monitoring and maintaining your vehicle until the moment you’re ready to turn the key. Windrush’s long term car storage teams are friendly, flexible and ready to hear from you. Drop us a line on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk
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