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Octane April 2018

Octane is a premium monthly magazine celebrating over 100 years of automotive design, from classic Bentleys to the latest BMW. We have been at the heart of the motoring industry for seventeen years, so we know our stuff when it comes to classic cars. Written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, the magazine captures the exclusivity and excitement of the classic car world so you can experience it all wherever you are.

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United Kingdom
Autovia Limited
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
two wheels good

FOR ANYONE WITH THE slightest interest in motorcycles, the 14th annual Barber Vintage Festival, to be held on 5-7 October in Birmingham, Alabama, should be considered a must-attend event. Possibly the largest classic bike gathering in the world, it’s staged in the landscaped estate of the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which is definitely the world’s largest motorcycle museum, as confirmed by Guinness World Records in 2014. A sometimes raucous, high-energy affair, the Barber Vintage Festival splits its entertainments between the on-site 2.38-mile race track – which hosts a series of American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) races – and the estate’s car parks and parkland. A key draw for visitors is the vast swapmeet (another candidate for ‘world’s largest’ status), boasting around 500 stalls and noted for its ability to unearth…

5 min

Five-upmanship I cannot let Robert Coucher’s comment in Octane 177 on the Isetta bubble car – ‘an Ultimate Driving Machine it was not’ – pass without comment. When you are 16 years old, it’s youth club night and it’s raining, so no girls want a ride home on any of the other boys’ Vespas, and as a result you have five girls crammed into the back of your bubble car – it is then, without question, ‘an Ultimate Driving Machine’. Happy days. Geoff Enoch, Oxford I bet you then parked it in front of a wall and claimed they couldn’t get out because the door wouldn’t open. Robert Coucher Lambo in Lancashire In response to Keith Houghton’s letter in Octane 177, it is certainly worth restoring an Espada, especially as Keith has had his for a…

1 min
they said

‘I first realised I needed to get out when I opened the door and the flames went up my arm’ Top Gear’s Chris Harris on the moment he realised the new Alpine he was driving on the Monte Carlo Rally was ablaze ‘Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth’ Elon Musk, having launched the SpaceX Falcon Heavy with a payload of a Tesla Roadster driven by a dummy to a David Bowie soundtrack ‘There’s a story that Franco Gozzi tells of when he joined Ferrari and opened a cupboard to find stacks of 1950s yearbooks, the rarest of them all now. When he asked what he should do with them, he was told to throw them out’ Nathan Beehl on why Ferrari collecting has become an artform – see p106…

3 min
back on the pace

LA RÉGIE HAS always been at or near the top of hot-hatch group tests, so there’s a lot riding on this new Renault Sport Mégane, not least because this could be the last-ever RS hatch with a conventional combustion engine. Renault Sport engineer Fabien Berthomieu shrugs when the point is made, saying: ‘Could be.’ But it’s also important because the last RS model, the Clio RS, was somewhat less than universally acclaimed. So does this car put the RS back into the game? They’ve certainly thrown the kitchen sink at the chassis, with racing-style hydraulic bumpstops in the dampers, giving a relatively gentle ride with decent body control. There’s a separate steering knuckle to improve the front geometry and reduce torque-steer. And the car also has the rear-steer system from the…

4 min
stephen bayley

‘UNLIKE, SAY, A HEALEY, WHICH WAS REBARBATIVE AND DIDN’T USE DEODORANT, THE 124 WAS “SUBMISSIVE”’ In 1965, as IKEA was opening in front of hysterical crowds in Stockholm, Tom Tjaarda was in Turin quietly working on 1:1 drawings of what was to be the new Fiat 124 Spider. These were nearly the very last days before computers interfered with the creative process. Tjaarda also made a bozzetto of the Fiat, a full-size wooden model. The great sculptors of the Renaissance and Baroque used bozzetti too. There’s no better way to test your eye than watching a design actually take shape. Tjaarda was automobile royalty. His father was Joop Tjaarda van Sterkenburg, designer of the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr. Cars like this were designed to remedy the endemic tedium of life in the Mid-West, and…

2 min
salon rétromobile 2018

SALON RÉTROMOBILE 2018, held as always at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles (7-11 February), has long been the most stylish and enjoyable opener to the classic car ‘season’. Rétromobile is all about finding the weird and wonderful cars you’ll never see anywhere else. Starting at the back of the show, in Hall 3, the ‘never before seen in public’ Engelbert Moll private collection of 20 rare Abarths was incredible and included the mad 1958 Fiat Abarth 500 Record Pinin Farina which achieved 180km/h. Just down the hall was the homage to French motor racer and Resistance hero Jean-Pierre Wimille, including a Bugatti 59, Alfa Romeo 308 and Gordini that he raced. After his racing career Wimille became an automotive designer and his 01, 02 and 04 prototypes were…