Practical Classics August 2019

Practical Classics magazine has a 30-year tradition of delivering the very best, hands-on classic car experiences to its readers. Every staff writer and contributor works on and restores their own classics. Each issue is packed with: * Rigorous buying advice * Real-world product tests * Inspirational classic driving features * Fascinating historical insight Practical Classics is also a campaigning title, taking the concerns of classic car owners to Parliament and keeping its readers' classics where they belong - on the road. So come and join PC in the workshop - the kettle's on.

United Kingdom
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min
welcome to workshop

Clubs are changing, and shows are, too. Our latest blast round the UK, part of our hunt for Britain’s Best Classic Car Club, was a real education. It showed clearly that there is no slackening in our passion for old motors, but also that how our passion expresses itself has evolved. Clubs that require less admin, aren’t weighed down with constitutional complexity, have a meaningful social media presence and which avoid overly hierarchical structures are the new norm. This also filters through to shows – less formality and more flexibility is the new format. Events where you can come and go, which feature other things to do, which are welcoming to all and have food and drink readily available tend to succeed. Add ease of access for the cars, a charitable…

6 min
farewell norman

Few people did as much for Jaguar as Norman Dewis. As the marque’s chief test driver from 1952 to 1985, he played a major part in developing cars from the XK140 to the XJ40. In retirement, he still championed Jaguar as a roving ambassador for the company. It was a brand he loved and, in return, classic car enthusiasts loved him and his stock of always entertaining anecdotes from an era when driving from Coventry to Geneva overnight in an E-type wasn’t an impossible dream. Q How did you come to work for Jaguar in the first place? ‘Well, I’d done my apprenticeship at Armstrong-Siddeley before the war. After it (I was an air-gunner on Blenheim bombers), I worked for Lea-Francis, doing the same sort of job as I’d do at Jaguar.…

1 min
norman’s take on…

Classic Jaguars ‘I should have put a few away, shouldn’t I? A D-type and my E-type, put ‘em away and see what they were worth in 50 years’ time. Whoo!’ The best Jaguar drivers ‘Mike Hawthorn, and Stirling of course. We’ve been pals for over 60 years. He’s a good lad.’ His OBE ‘That was a surprise, it came completely out of the blue. Prince Charles did the award, as sadly the Queen was unavailable. But I have met her before. And Prince Philip I drove around MIRA test track. Prince Charles congratulated me on the disc brake development.’ The British Leyland era ‘I didn’t like Leyland at all, it was the worst thing we did. That nearly closed Jaguar down. I was tempted to leave… sending two people up from London to interview you, to see…

1 min
the talbot horizon

Roy Axe in the UK and engineered by Simca in France, the Horizon was an enjoyable drive, roomy and came with a vast range of options in its lifetime. Stateside, it was known as the Plymouth Horizon and Dodge Omni – with the only example of either in the UK present at the meet in Kent. While the European versions were replaced in 1987, US models lasted until 1990 and peaked with the Shelby-tuned turbocharged Omni GLH – which stood for ‘Goes Like Hell’. Enthusiasts have assembled to celebrate 40 years of the Talbot Horizon. In what’s thought to have been the biggest gathering ever, and with only a handful thought to be left in existence, 25 of the handsome hatchbacks were present for the event in Kent, which was organised…

2 min
starting handle

Consider the content of most motoring-related magazines, books and TV shows and you’ll encounter a selection of fairly predictable classics. Obviously, there’s nothing at all wrong with an E-type or a Ferrari 250 – quite the opposite, in fact – but I usually get my own fix of classics by scanning through the tattered pages of a Daily Mail Motor Show Review publication – or an hour perusing my embarrassingly vast collection of brochures. In doing so, it doesn’t take long to find a long-forgotten slice of mainstream motoring furniture with a fascinating story. The Talbot Horizon (see opposite) is an unnecessarily ridiculed car with an intriguing history behind its development, production and marketing. All too often, we encounter a breed of writers and TV people who have zero understanding of what…

1 min
club class

Members of the Practical Classics editorial team have covered almost 2000 miles in their own cherished classics, as part of their mission to visit Britain’s top ten classic car clubs. The chaps were greeted by each of the shortlisted local clubs – as exclusively voted for by thousands of Practical Classics readers – at locations right across England and Wales, where members showcased their own enthusiasm with a variety of meets involving classics of all types and eras. There were convoys through some of the most spectacular countryside that the United Kingdom has to offer, including the Black Mountains in Wales and the Forest of Bowland, with partners Footman James present throughout the trip, coming along for the ride in their classic Volkswagen van. ‘This was our most ambitious road trip yet’ says…