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Octane December 2019

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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
Dennis Publishing UK
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: JOY40
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
100 years to be proud of

Many years ago, when we were friendly rivals instead of friendly colleagues, Robert Coucher and myself stood all alone outside the Hurlingham Club during an upmarket car event observing and discussing a rather special automobile. It should be clarified at this point that, while the beautiful people were swishing between the multi-million-pound smorgasbord of icons on the riverside lawns of the exclusive club, Coucher and I were in the deserted car park on the other side of the building. In front of us, parked as if it had been abandoned by a joyrider who had realised the Thames Valley Police chopper was above him, was a ratty but charming MkVI Bentley. It was pretty much the worst of breed (so definitely not the above beauty spotted at Wilton House), a silver…

1 min.

Mel nichols ‘In Bentley’s centenary year, it seemed fitting to choose its newest model to ferry, in tribute, my British Army Marching Compass to the grave in France of the young officer who’d owned it. As the trip unfolded, and the extent of the GTC’s properly British panache emerged, it felt ever more so.’ Read Mel’s Bentley GTC trip on PAGES 76-82. baRt lenaeRts ‘Getting bald, selling a kidney to feed our kids, ending up alone without friends… whatever happens, we’ll always be among the few who drove and photographed the Lancia Stratos Zero. I don’t even care if everyone hates me. Should I make T-shirts?’ Read Bart’s story and see Lies de Mol’s pictures on PAGES 92-98. hal Ridge ‘Jenson Button described driving the Harrold family’s championship-winning Volkswagen Beetle Rallycross machine as the maddest thing he’d…

2 min.

Vintage stubble racing 22 September Nearly 40 pre-war cars met at Thetford, Norfolk, for the Benjafields Racing Club’s Stubble Racing. Competitors navigated over 80 miles and 17 timed sections on varied and challenging terrain, from deep, loamy mustard fields to a giant maze of maize. Vintage Bentleys were the weapon of choice, but BMW 328s, Lagonda saloons and Model A Fords also featured. Lars Rolner and navigator son Christian were the overall winners, their enduro rally-equipped 1940 Chevrolet saloon ideally suited to the challenge, not least in keeping them dry in the watersplash that soaked many to the skin! LAMBORGHINI & DESIGN CONCOURS, 19-21 SEPTEMBER Organised by Lamborghini Polo Storico at the Portopiccolo resort near Trieste, this event included a 200km tour for the 30-or-so cars taking part. Octane’s Mark Dixon and Stephen Bayley…

4 min.
coming up…

27 October National Restoration Show Held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, this show offers DIYers the chance to pick up project vehicles and hard-to-find parts as well as advice from clubs. restoration-show.co.uk 29 October – 2 November Rallye des Légendes Richard Mille ‘The region is the star’, says the organiser, whose route this year will show drivers some of southern Spain’s best tarmac. Onlookers might disagree, however, given that the field consists of 50 exceptional vintage and classic cars. richardmille.com 1-3 November Algarve Classic Festival Much loved by Brits seeking top-notch racing and sunshine during the gloomy late autumn months, the ACF is held at Portugal’s Portimão Circuit, a favourite of Walter Röhrl and Sir Stirling Moss. algarveclassicfestival.com 3 November Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run Hundreds of pre-1905 cars puff and pop from London’s Hyde Park to the South…

3 min.
70 years of abarth celebrated

‘All this begAn 70 years ago, when Abarth and Co was founded in Bologna. But Carlo Abarth’s passion for speed goes back to his childhood in Vienna, where he would race his scooter with the older kids.’ Seems appropriate, somehow. These are the words of current Abarth boss Luca Napolitano, who goes on to describe how Abarth himself sought the help of a local cobbler to wrap his scooter’s iron wheels with the leather of his belt, to improve its grip and to reduce friction. ‘And from there he built his reputation and developed his mantra: to humiliate stronger opposition with a more compact car. It’s a dream that has lasted 70 years.’ Octane was in Milan, ahead of Abarth Day, a birthday celebration that would see 4000 fans arrive from as…

2 min.
driving abarth’s birthday present

It’s a 695, which means a 180bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre four, though with a five-speed stick or automated manual shift, and no sign of the dog-ring transmission that was optional in the more hardcore Biposto I tested nearly five years ago (see Octane 140). No, here the desire to tweak and tease has concentrated on the Spoiler ad Assetto Variabile: a manually adjustable wing above the rear window, inspired by the raised engine lids of older Abarth racers, that can be moved through 12 different positions between zero and 60º. In the maximum setting, the spoiler increases downforce by up to 42kg at 124mph. The 695’s feisty compactness found its match in the twists between the cones on this temporary circuit. The engine delivered boosty punch through the gears, allied with the…