THE SENATOR – VAUXHALL’S ANSWER TO BMW AND MERCEDES-BENZ
By Andrew Roberts |
18th December, 2020
There is a select group of cars that are so quietly efficient and dependable that they were often taken for granted during their lifetime. The Vauxhall Senator is one such vehicle – purposeful, luxurious and rather handsome. Plus, in 24v form, one of the great Q-Cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The original Senator A of 1978 had a Griffin-badged counterpart in the form of the Royale, Vauxhall announced, without any undue sense of modesty, that ‘only very occasionally a great new car is born…a car of commanding authority designed and built to the highest standards’. Not to mention a ‘car for discerning motorists who will settle for nothing but the best’.
In reality, the Royale was a re-badged Opel that was powered by a 2.8-litre carburettor engine rather than its stablemate’s 3-litre fuel-injected engine. When the Senator was facelifted as the A2-Series in 1982, the Royale was discontinued. However, as David Booker notes in the fascinating http://vauxpedianet.uk2sitebuilder.com/ website, sales remained ‘frustratingly static’ until 1984 when the Senator was re-badged as a Vauxhall.
By that time, Opel had been established in the UK for 17 years. Many drivers regarded its image as slightly upmarket of Vauxhall. By 1975 the Chevette and Cavalier marked the start of Rüsselsheim’s influence on Luton, and by October 1981 the two operations merged their marketing operations. However, this simple change of name proved to be one of Vauxhall’s wisest sales decisions of the 1980s.
Firstly, the Griffin badge enhanced the Senator’s appeal to the many fleet buyers who felt duty-bound to ‘Buy British’ – even if the car in question was made in Germany. Secondly, the Royale name was already dated by the late 1970s; it sounded like an exceedingly naff provincial nightclub. Vauxhall did initially consider reviving the Viscount badge, only to find United Biscuits now registered the name for their range of mint-chocolate confections!
The Senator also benefitted from competitive pricing - the 2.5i at £11,372, the 3.0i at £13,423 and the 3.0i CD (with ‘an advanced LCD instrument panel’ as standard) at £14,565. The advertisements presented the latest Vauxhall as an alternative to the Ford Granada Ghia Mk. II with the subtle claim ‘this is no dressed-up family car’.
Three years later UK sales of Opel ended with the demise of the Manta while the Senator was extensively up-dated as the “B”. The body was a long-wheelbase version of the Vauxhall Onega A while the dealership guide promoted it as an alternative to the Audi 100 C3, the BMW E34 or the Mercedes-Benz W124. The range consisted of the 2.5i, the 3.0i orthee 3.0i CD, the last-named featuring an almost decadent level of fittings.
Autocar thought the CD benefited from its ‘formidable standard equipment” but “Its performance hardly rates against the opposition”. Similarly, Gordon Cruickshank of Motor Sport noted:
Whether in manual or automatic form, those 177 horses feel rather restrained, possibly because of the high level of refinement, and a fair amount of shifting is needed to make the most of them. Yet the chassis feels good for a big car, understeering no more than expected, and easily controlled with the large wheel.
Luton’s response to such complaints was the 1989 CD 24v. For £1,250 more than the standard CD, the buyer gained a top speed of 140mph in automatic form – or 149 mph for the five-speed manualtransmission version.It was a Vauxhall for the discerning MD or barrister, with an engine aspiration system that permitted it to function below 4,000 rpm as a pair of three-cylinder units.
The automotivepress was most taken with the 24v; Autocar& Motor wrote ‘look at the Senator’s credentials and you can see why its attack on the established luxury sports saloon stars should be taken seriously’. Carregarded the 24v as‘one of the most underrated executive cars around’ but alsoargued that it wore “the wrong badge”.
It was an issue that had long been perceived as a challenge to the sales of the Senator. Clive Richardson wrote in the February 1979 edition of Motor Sport that ‘while the Senator and Monza tested undoubtedly justified a high price, I can’t help sympathising with Opel’s marketing team, who have one major hurdle to overcome in their new found aspirations: the image in a name’.
Eight years later, Car compared the B-Series3.0i CD to the XJ6 3.6 and the Rover 827 Sterling. Their conclusion was:
The Vauxhall is a fit alternative to the Jaguar. It doesn’t have the name, of course, but it is very well furnished (some people like that PVC interior) and in refinement it is a vast step on what was offered under the same name last year.
And in 1990 the Autocar& Motor report that praised the 24v’s road manners also stated ‘it will be difficult to convince a prejudiced public that a Vauxhall can live up to a Mercedes-Benz’. With the benefit of hindsight, many a Senator aficionado contends that it might well have enjoyed greater popularity had GM created a new prestige marquee a la Toyota with Lexus.
It is a tempting idea, one that might have enhanced sales of the 24V in particular, but it also possessed a drawback. A Senator served as an aspirational model within the Vauxhall family – an object of desire to anyone whose current transport was a Nova Merit. Furthermore, the most high-profile Senator buyers were less interested in social status than with maintaining law and order.
The “Police Special” Vauxhalls (without air-conditioning, electric windows and central locking) flagged down many an errant XR3i driver across the UK. When Top Gear magazine evaluated a Thames Valley patrol car in 1993, they remarked‘you may outrun a cop car, but you’ll never out-brake one’. Shortly before the end of production in autumn 1993 many forces stock-piled the Vauxhall.
The Senator B never enjoyed the commercial success it deserved, but today its merits are widely appreciated throughout the classic community. Put simply, it was the last, and possibly the greatest of the big Vauxhall saloons - and a car with a definite sense of presence.
Why choose Lancaster Insurance?
Here at Lancaster, we love classic cars as much as you do and we understand what it takes to protect them for future generations.
We have links with some of the top classic car clubs around the country and some of our policies even offer discounts of up to 25% for club members.
Other benefits of classic car insurance through Lancaster can include:
- Historic rally cover
- Static show cover
- Limited mileage discounts
- Choice of repairer
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Give your classic the protection it deserves and get a quote for your classic today.
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11 March 2022
Ever since the iconic Willys Jeep first drove its way into the national consciousness during World War II, car makers have realised that there's a place for a rugged 4x4 with a removable roof.
09 March 2022
It is April 1962, and you are in the market for a new car. Your criteria are seating for six and mid-Atlantic lines combined with dimensions that are not too excessive for town driving. So, what could be better than the new Ford Zephyr/Zodiac Mk. III range with their canted tail fins?THE ALFA ROMEO ALFETTA BERLINA – A CELEBRATION
Of the many cars celebrating their 50th birthday this year, it would be very wrong to overlook the Alfa Romeo Alfetta. In the 1970s, it was the vehicle of choice for the sort of middle-class driver who might have also considered the Triumph Dolomite, Lancia Beta or the BMW 2002.70 YEARS OF THE AUSTIN A40 SOMERSET
It would be fair to say the Austin A40 Somerset was not a car for the motorist who sought thrills and excitement. Instead, it offered value for money, combined with acceleration that was unlikely to dislodge the owner’s pipe.
08 March 2022
The original A-series Kadett was not exactly a common sight in this country; many Britons would only be familiar with the model via Richard Hammond’s ‘Oliver’.THE FIAT STRADA – AN APPRECIATION
According to howmanyleft.co.uk there are but 48 Stradas on the road in the UK. It is a sad fate for the car designed with a computer, silenced by a laser and built by a robot.
07 March 2022
A large part of the joy of classic car ownership is the restoration and ongoing care. Rescuing tired old motors and bringing them back to their former glory; devoting regular Sunday afternoons to keeping your vintage car in show condition: these experiences are what owning a classic is all about.THE BEDFORD CA AT SEVENTY
Sometimes, the callow future classic enthusiast fails to recognise a ground-breaking vehicle in their midst. During the late 1970s, this writer mainly associated the CA with panel vans of varying degrees of decrepitude lurching around Southampton.
04 March 2022
Some cars evoke a sense of awe – and a silver Lancia Flaminia Superleggera Convertible with aluminium coachwork by Touring of Milan falls into this exclusive category.ONE FAMILY FROM NEW – MORRIS J2
Memories can be one of the most significant reasons in buying and restoring a classic vehicle. It could be the sound of the transmission, the feel of the Bakelite switches or the way the air vents hissed when you opened them.Romantic places to see the sunrise and sunset in your campervan
The UK has a host of romantic places to witness those daily miracles, sunrise, and sunset. In this article, we're going to list a few of our favourite spots to watch these majestic natural events from the comfort of your campervan.
28 February 2022
We thought it was ‘advantage Lancaster’ in the early stages of ‘The Great Classic Trade Up’ competition, head-to-head, with our fabulous friends at Classics World magazine.Join us at this year’s Classic Car and Restoration Show on 18th – 20th March
We’ll be joining car enthusiasts from across the UK this March at the Practical Classics Classic Car and Restoration Show on 18th – 20th March.Introducing our Club of the Month - the Imp Club, keeping this national icon alive!
“You make me feel like Spring has sprung”, sang the late great Frank Sinatra and at Lancaster we recognise and identify with ol’ blue eyes, once the proud owner of an orange metallic 1969 Lamborghini Miura.Unlocking the investment potential of classic cars with The Car Crowd
We’re excited to be partnering with a new and innovative classic car investment company based in Nottinghamshire.Protect your pride and joy with Tracker UK
This Spring, why not trial a Tracker with Lancaster Insurance as we offer up a special 20% discount on the Tracker system that is taking the motor world by storm.50 YEARS OF THE FORD GRANADA
“It was one of those March days, when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”.
25 February 2022
The classic car community is so welcoming to new owners. So if you’re looking to share your passion with like-minded folk this year, try one of these top days out for motoring enthusiasts.The best campervan and motorhome owners’ clubs to join in 2022
Joining a members’ club helps you make the most of your campervan or motorhome. Whether you’re new to caravan ownership or a seasoned traveler, there are lots of benefits to joining a club, from exclusive access to sites to discounts and connections with like-minded people.
24 February 2022
It's essential to familiarise yourself with the Highway Code – it's one of the basic building blocks of being a responsible driver. As a classic car owner, of course, another of those key building blocks is some specialist classic car insurance.27 fast facts about the Hillman Imp
The Imp incorporated a few design features that were quite ahead of their time for the early 1960s. Features such as a folding rear bench seat, temperature, voltage and oil pressure gauges, and an automatic choke wouldn't catch on in the wider car market until the 1970s.
18 February 2022
What do the Triumph Acclaim, Fiat Panda, and second-generation BMW 5 Series have in common? Relatively little, you might think. And, in most ways, you'd be right.Best selling cars from the 90s
From the deliciously fun Mazda MX-5 to that driving school favourite, the Mk2 Nissan Micra, the 1990s gave us plenty of engaging, characterful cars (and more than its fair share of barnstorming sports cars, too). Here are some of the decade's best sellers.
15 February 2022
“When I was 17, I drove one and fell in love with it, they are so beautifully balanced and understated. Simple lines but a delight to drive it started a lifelong love affair with all things Italian.
08 February 2022
As the world starts getting back to normal after the pandemic, 2022 is looking like a very promising year for some amazing adventures in your campervan. Here’s our pick of some of the best adventures you, the family and the van can have this year.40 YEARS OF THE AUSTIN AMBASSADOR
With twenty facts to celebrate this memorable car:
07 February 2022
There are some great YouTube channels for car enthusiasts – and lovers of classic cars, in particular, are very well catered for. Here are some of our favourites.
04 February 2022
We're currently wishing a very happy diamond anniversary to a very iconic British car. Yes, the MG Midget turned 60 in 2021, its first generation having hit UK showrooms way back in 1961.THE EH HOLDEN – A CELEBRATION
The 31st of December 2020 marked the end of Holden cars, and of all the models made during their long history, the EH has a fair claim to being one of the most important. When it debuted in August if 1963, it offered room for six, a choice of two new ‘Red’ engines and a sense of quasi-American glamour that was not over the top.
03 February 2022
Developing a new car is a seriously expensive business. The amount of resources that must be poured into research and development, production, testing, marketing and all the other essential stages of car production can test even the largest car makers.17 of the best four-door classics
Here's a quick thought experiment. In your head, make a list of five to 10 of the most beautiful or iconic classic cars ever made. Done? Chances are that names such as the Jaguar E-Type, Alfa 33 Stradale, Citroen DS, Lamborghini Miura and Maserati Ghibli may have made an appearance.
27 January 2022
Wedgy, angular bodies; pop-up headlights; strange slats whose sole purpose seemed to be to look space-agey and cool – yes, the 1970s were a captivating era for car design. Here are 30 iconic 1970s motors which should all be protected with classic car insurance.An update on our ‘Great Classic Trade-up’ Challenge
Here at LI Towers, we love a classic car project, and in 2022 we aim to buy and trade up in our Lancaster Insurance ‘Great Classic Trade-up Challenge’. We’re pitting our wits against the might of the fine people at Classics World, going head-to-head in the race to buy and sell a series of classy classics.Joy and tears as Lancaster Insurance and Practical Classics Magazine raise £16,100 for Prostate Cancer UK
Now, you may remember last year we restored a Classic VW Camper in partnership with Practical Classics, to auction off at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at the NEC in November. The fabulous Yvette Goodge placed the winning bid helping us raise £ 16,100 for the Prostate Cancer UK charity.Legal cover. Is it worth adding to your policy?
It’s bad enough being involved in an accident, but if your injured and it’s not your fault, you could be left facing massive bills not always covered by your normal motor policy.Protecting your car and its future
At Lancaster Insurance we know that your classic car is an important part of your family and making arrangements to ensure that it stays that way for generations to come, can be a challenge.Our Car Club of the Month: The Lotus Drivers Club
This February we’re delighted to introduce the fabulous Lotus Drivers club. Just one look at the terrific website of the Lotus Drivers Club and the word that immediately jumps into your mind is STYLE. Capital letters very much intended.Top Gear of 1970s and the 1980s
Many of us have been following the brilliant ‘Top Gear’ for much of our lives and it’s changed formats and line-ups a number of times over the years. Andrew Roberts picks up the story of an amazing anniversary…
25 January 2022
Spring and summer might seem to be the obvious time to get out and about in your campervan, but it's good to remember that winter is also full of incredible wonders.
24 January 2022
May of 1972 saw the formation of one of the most famous names in performance cars. A few months earlier, BMW recruited Robert A. ‘Bob’ Lutz from Opel as their Executive Vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, who urged the company’s return to touring car coemption.GEORGE FORMBY’S JAGUAR
On the 28th and 29th January of next year Anglia Car Auctions are selling a rather special 1959 manual gearbox Jaguar 3.4 Mk. 1. Chassis number S976920DN was once the property of Britain’s highest-paid comedian; George Formby OBE.Best car shows to visit in 2022
There’s a wealth of wonderful car shows scheduled for 2022 across the UK. These events make a wonderful day out for any car enthusiast: aside from the rows of beautiful vehicles, there's the chance to meet and chat with fellow enthusiasts and perhaps pick up that bit of essential advice or elusive part you've been hunting for.
21 January 2022
One of the benefits we're proud to offer our classic car insurance customers is a two-year Agreed Valuation. But what exactly does this service entail? And how is it calculated? Read on as we dig deep into the mechanics and benefits of the Agreed Valuation through Lancaster.The best Bond villain cars
The enduringly popular James Bond films are loved for many reasons – not least the many wonderful cars that feature throughout the series.10 hard-top convertibles to use all year round
Winter is a good time to invest in a convertible. How so? Well, the appetite for soft-top motoring is lower at this time of year, giving you a better chance of bagging a bargain than in summer, when everyone wants a drop-top for those wind-in-the-hair thrills.
19 January 2022
Think 'Volvo' and, as likely as not, something very particular comes to mind – a boxy, sturdy estate car, quite possibly from the 1980s. Perhaps not the sexiest thing ever built, but definitely with its own chunky, bulletproof charm.
18 January 2022
Or the story of a device that we all take for granted… 1925. Oscar A. Waltz, Jr patents a ‘turn signal’, but it never enters production. 1929. Oscar J. Simler devises a new form of a traffic signal with an array of lights. Arrows denote left and right turns, augmented by a yellow brake light and a red ‘Stop’ lamp. But, alas, it did not catch on.
14 January 2022
“We just wanted to build it into a low-rider because of the inspiration of Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre vids. Thought it would be awesome to have a Datsun on hydraulics”. It has to be said that the gulf between Dr. Dre and the Laurel’s original UK image is not so much vast as one that spans aeons.The stars of this year's Pride of Ownership Awards
13 January 2022
For some classic car owners, a personalised number plate represents the perfect finishing touch. Here's an introduction into the world of private number plates – what they are, how to get one, and how much you can expect to pay.THE MORRIS 1800S: A CELEBRATION
It is early 1969, and you have it all; the Scott Walker hairstyle, the Paisley shirt and a Ford Cortina GT Mk. II. Yet, you are beaten by a Morris 1800 bearing an ‘S’ logo on the boot at the traffic lights. What is the world coming to?
12 January 2022
As I have recently acquired a sixty-one-year-old Wolseley – you can read about it in a blog later this month – it is a timely opportunity to pay tribute to the people who are essential to the world of classic cars.MEET THE OWNER - SIMON MALTBY AND HIS LONDON MET ‘SETAC’ LAND ROVER
The Land Rover was used by the nation’s constabularies almost from the outset of production in 1948. They might be seen patrolling the Mersey Tunnel, rural beats or major highways. Simon’s Series III 109 left the factory on the 8th December 1977.
11 January 2022
I had no plans to buy a car at the beginning of the year, but fate decreed otherwise. So this autumn, I became the proud owner of a 1960 London Metropolitan Police specification Wolseley 6/99 Traffic Car. Here are the twenty reasons behind this surprise purchase.Classic cars with women's names
Down the decades, women's names have been far more popular in the naming of car models (and even one marque – hello, Mercedes!) than men's names. It may have something to do with the long-held habit of labelling cars (and boats, and other forms of transport) as 'she'.The best Bond girl cars
From the amphibious Lotus Esprit that plunges into the sea in The Spy Who Loved Me, to the bright yellow Triumph Stag careering around Amsterdam in Diamonds are Forever, cars have always been a huge part of the appeal of the James Bond movie franchise.
10 January 2022
How often, though, do you think about whether your eyesight is up to the job? The likelihood is that you may not be checking in on your eyes, and their fitness for driving, as often as you should be.
07 January 2022
John Newton’s Triumph is a prime example of one of the most crucial British Leyland products of the 1980s. He encountered the Acclaim when he was “just looking for something to restore - but they are addictive!”.MEET THE OWNER – LEE PAINTER AND HIS FORD GRANADA 3000S
For many Granada enthusiasts, the 3000S Mk 1 is one of the rarest and most desirable models. Lee Painter’s Diamond White example looks like it’s just emerged from a Ford dealership circa 1977.10 of the best classic Renaults
When it comes to adventurous styling, the French marques – Peugeot, Citroen, Renault and others – have always been at the forefront of things.Best classic cars from the 1960s
The 1960s were great for car design in general – and for British car design in particular. High employment, rising wages and a general renewed sense of optimism after the hardships of the post-war years meant that car ownership rose considerably across the decade.Best turbocharged classic cars
There was a time – quite a long time, in fact, roughly between about 1975 and 1990 – when to mention that your new car was a 'turbo' would draw envious looks all around.Modern classics to invest in now
Owning a classic car is an enormous pleasure. If the car in question is already worshipped far and wide, it can also be an expensive one.
06 January 2022
People’s first question about his Maxi is invariably ‘why did you buy a LHD?’ However, it is sometimes forgotten that the Austin Maxi was sold and built overseas.12 FACTS ABOUT THE BRITISH ICE CREAM VAN
For many years, the arrival of the ice cream van was as much a part of summer as awaiting O level results or unwatchable ITV Seaside Specials on ITV.
05 January 2022
W.B. and Sons Ltd. have a truly exclusive British car at its auction on the 4th of December 2021. Chassis Number 00099 is the first ‘Wedge’ made on the production line, and it was immediately despatched from Cowley to Longbridge to assess the production line’s build quality.FIVE BRITISH LEYLAND SPECIAL EDITION CARS
FIVE BRITISH LEYLAND SPECIAL EDITION CARS Or five familiar Leyland cars in very exclusive guises…MEET THE OWNER – CAMERON BURNS AND HIS MORRIS 1800
After recently succumbing to the lure of the ‘Landcrab’, Cameron Burns bought himself an 1800 Mk 3. His Morris was fitted with several decadent extras: reclining front seats, hazard warning lights, an alternator and a heated rear screen.Rock stars and their cars
While you don't have to be a rock star to own one of these classics, it's undeniable that owning any of these automotive icons will require deep pockets. The good news is that there are hundreds of other far more affordable classics out there that can make fantastic ownership prospects.20 FACTS ABOUT THE RENAULT 4
2021 marks the 60th anniversary of not just one of Renault’s most important models but one of the most remarkable cars in motoring history. Here are: 20 FACTS ABOUT THE RENAULT 4
29 December 2021
The 1961 Frankfurt International Motor Show looked set to be a most exciting event, not least for the new BMW priced at DM 8,500. The sales copy promised the prospective buyer ‘sportiness, refinement, genuine comfort and timeless elegance’ while the bodywork featured a distinctive ‘kink’ in the rear doors.The Austin A110 Westminster at Sixty
When BMC introduced its second generation of ‘Big Farinas’ in late 1961, the Austin A110 Westminster immediately appealed to the nation’s bank managers. It was more formal than a Ford Zodiac Mk.THE PEUGEOT 309; A CELEBRATION
Trivia question; what was the first Peugeot to be made in the UK? Despite popular mythology, it was not the 405 but the 309, one of the most overlooked models to wear the lion badge...THE RAREST CARS IN THE UK: DATSUN 280C
In the late 1970s, any Datsun larger than a Laurel was a rare sight in the UK. You might occasionally find a 280C in major dealerships, but you were more likely to see them in brochures than on the road in the main.THE RILEY ELF AND WOLSELEY HORNET AT SIXTY
19 facts about one of the most intriguing members of the Mini family...THE TRIUMPH SPITFIRE: A CELEBRATION
Imagine this scenario; it is the summer of 1961, and Leyland has completed their takeover of Standard-Triumph. Their executives are stalking through the Canley works and are not exactly happy at what they find.
23 December 2021
Any visitor to the 1964 Earls Court Motor Show looking for reasonably priced but imposing four-cylinder transport had a choice of five models.SEVENTY YEARS OF THE BMW BAROQUE ANGEL
When the 501 debuted at the 1951 Frankfurt Motor Show, it was one of the stars of the BMW stand. This was the company’s first new post-war model and an elegant sports saloon that cost around four times the average German wage. But, above all, there were those distinctive lines that resulted in the nickname ‘Baroque Angel’.TOP FIVE CARRY ON FILM CARS
The Carry On film remains a staple of Bank Holiday television, affording plenty of opportunities to marvel at how the pictures rarely strayed five miles beyond Pinewood. Of course, they also frequently contained some rather interesting cars…DO YOU REMEMBER – THE THAMES 300E VAN?
In 1954 Ford unveiled its latest van – one that was ‘Sparkling with Good Points’. The nation’s fleet buyers and shop owners were promised that the Thames 300E would be ‘a credit to your business’, Not to mention that with such a fine vehicle, ‘driving ceases to be work and becomes a pleasure’MEET THE OWNER – JOHN WILKINS AND HIS AUSTIN 3-LITRE AMBULANCE
It would be mission impossible to select a Car of The Show from the thousands of fine machines at the recent BMC & Leyland Show 2021. However, it would be fair to say that one of the vehicles that attracted the most attention was the Austin 3-Litre Ambulance owned by John Wilkins.MEET THE OWNER: ROY HEDGER AND HIS CHRYSLER SUNBEAM
The Sunbeam was clean-cut and well proportioned in appearance, yet it took little more than 18 months to develop. Chrysler UK commenced Project R424 in January 1976, using an SWB version of the Avenger floorpan as a base.MEET THE OWNER: BJARTE TUNOLD AND HIS ASTON MARTIN DB5
To celebrate the launch of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, we look at the iconic Aston Martin DB5. On the 17 September 1964, the London premiere of the third Bond Film created cinema history, not least from the moment when Desmond Llewelyn’s Q orders 007 to ‘pay attention’.MEET THE OWNER: CHAD DENDY AND HIS HUMBER SCEPTRE
Chad Dendy is the proud owner of what must be one of the most eye-catching cars on the South Coast. Any 1965 Sceptre Mk. I would cut a dash through Lee on Solent, causing amazement amongst the various holidaymakers. Ice cream parlour customers gawp at the sight of those charmingly retro ’50s line while other motorists slow down to marvel at the Humber’s sheer presence.MEET THE OWNER: EDWARD ARMSTRONG AND HIS POLICE AUSTIN MINI COOPER S MK. II
There are those rare occasions when your rare and desirable classic turns out to be even rarer and more desirable than you first imagined. For example, 37 years ago, Edward acquired a 1969 Austin Mini Cooper S Mk.MEET THE OWNER: JASON FARNHAM AND HIS MG MIDGET MK.I
During the heyday of Abingdon, MG’s principal export market was the USA. This splendid Midget Mk.I resides in California, and it is both Jason’s first Octagon badged car and indeed his first classic vehicle.MEET THE OWNER: JIM BAUMANN AND HIS PANHARD PL17
A few months ago, we described the wonders of the PL17, and we now celebrate the incredibly rare British market version owned by Jim Baumann. “I always wanted a Panhard - not sure why or which one - and the enthusiasm flip-flopped between a 24 and a Dyna. But then I realised that the early PL17 had a serious amount of polished aluminium ‘bling’, and I wanted RHD!”.MEET THE OWNER: MARK FERRIS AND HIS ROVER 216 VANDEN PLAS EFI
Mark is the proud owner of the Austin Maestro VDP we recently featured, and he has also acquired a 216 Strata Grey Metallic Vanden Plas EFi. It was first registered on the 1st August 1988 and now goes by the name “Hyacinth”.MEET THE OWNER: MIKE STEWARD AND HIS SAAB 99 TURBO FIVE-DOOR
Whenever Mike displays his 99 Turbo at shows, he frequently hears comments along the lines of ‘Never seen that before’ or despite the Saab’s very formidable presence, ‘it does not exist’.MEET THE OWNER: NIGEL RICHARDSON AND HIS AUSTIN 1800
Local summer shows and fairs are so often a source of fascinating machinery. You might attend a fete with a vague expectation of bookstalls selling copies of Harry Potter for fifty pence, the delights of “Ferret World”, and a brass band playing In The Mood. But, then, you note a display of cars in a far corner of the field.MEET THE OWNER: PADRAIC O’RIORDAN AND HIS MERCEDES BENZ 300SE
It is difficult to appreciate just how exotic any new Mercedes Benz Fintail would have appeared to the average Briton in the early to mid ‘sixties. t that time, even the cheapest 190 seemed to belong to a Cold War cinema drama, preferably one with a score by John Barry.MEET THE OWNER: ALLAN JONES AND HIS FORD CAPRI MK.I SPECIAL
The first limited edition Capri was the 1971 Vista Orange, followed in June 1972 by the ‘Special’ based on the 1600GT 2000GT or 3000GT in XLR guise. The additional equipment included opening rear windows, a bonnet bulge, an alternator, a heated rear screen, a map lamp, hazard warning lights and, of course, ‘sports wheels’.ON PARADE: AN RAF SPECIFICATION STANDARD VANGUARD VIGNALE
In the 1950s and well into the 1960s, the Vanguard was associated with the Royal Air Force. So from Brize Norton, Malta and Aden to Gan, Akrotiri, and Gibraltar, you would find highly polished Standards bearing RAF roundels. And today, the Vignale Estate, owned by the social media Influencer ‘Mrcarstagram’, is a reminder of the sort of car you might see in a black and white British Pathé newsreel.Alex Cursley Hyundai Coupe Cup with Lancaster Insurance Season review 2021
'Together with Lancaster Insurance we’ve won the 2021 Hyundai Coupe Cup!' This makes us the most successful Coupe with two series wins and the most number of races won ever.Classic cars used in crime
These are some of our favourite classic crime cars, from both fact and fiction. Some of these still make realistic ownership prospects today. They now enjoy iconic status (and not just down to certain criminal associations), so be sure to protect them with some specialist classic car insurance.
22 December 2021
Now ladies and gentlemen… a drum roll please! We are delighted to announce the winner of the Lancaster Insurance Car Club of the year for 2021 is …The Morris Register Club!Z CARS AT SIXTY
Exactly 60 years ago, the BBC broadcast a new police drama series that would go on to capture the imagination of the viewing public. It featured some of the most recognisable vehicles in TV history as Andrew Roberts explains…
21 December 2021
There has always been a need to carry larger families around. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, these mass-transport duties were carried out by big, sturdy estates, many of them French. Later, people carriers (or MPVs) entered the fray, joined more recently by a new generation of seven-seater SUVs.10 reasons to visit the British Motor Museum
In short, the museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the cars that we have produced over the decades – and, of course, for all fans of classic and vintage cars. Which includes us here at Lancaster Classic Car Insurance and, we imagine, many of our customers.What should you do if your campervan is stolen?
If you do become the victim of campervan theft, there are several simple steps you need to go through. The essentials include contacting the police and your cover provider.
17 December 2021
There’s something genuinely unique about Portmeirion. Nestled into a crook of the rocky coastline of North Wales, with the bleakly impressive Snowdonia just inland and vast grey slate mines within a few minutes’ drive, you would expect Portmeirion to be a classic Welsh fishing village, clinging resolutely to its stretch of shoreline.A classic road trip to the WWI battlefields and Ypres
A leisurely weekend drive in your classic car is always a huge pleasure. Sometimes, however, you might long for some more adventurous classic motoring. A tour of the WW1 battlefields of France and Belgium ticks a lot of boxes. For one thing, it makes for a fascinating and incredibly moving experience.
16 December 2021
We’ve aimed for a good geographical selection so, wherever you’re based, there should be something reasonably near at hand. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, fill up the fuel tank, check the campervan insurance is up to date… and tick them all off the list!THE MONKEEMOBILE REMEMBERED
The Monkeemobiles had room for seven with bucket seats at the front and a wraparound bench at the rear. Jeffries also extended the nose and tail by foot, installed a taller windscreen and modified tail lamps, augmented the coachwork with side-exit exhaust pipes and even a parachute.CHRISTMAS GIFTS; DINKY TOYS
Ninety years ago, Meccano Ltd. unveiled their range of ‘Hornby Modelled Miniatures’ as companions to their O Gauge railways. However, by April 1934, the firm branded them as ‘Dinky Toys’, and they dispensed with the suffix was dropped in the following year.
15 December 2021
Rallying's 1980s and 1990s heyday produced a whole new type of performance car: the homologation special. These were road-going versions of the snarling rally champions that their makers had to produce in sufficient numbers for the latter to qualify for racing.Classic Hondas we love
Something similar can be said of Honda, which in its relatively short history (it only properly came into being in 1949) has dedicated itself to some quite brilliant feats of engineering, whether out on the F1 track or in the car showroom.20 amazing locations for classic car photoshoots
You love your classic and you want to document – and show off to others – just how beautiful and iconic it is. Beyond presenting it in the metal, some beautiful photos are the next best thing.THE ROVER 75 REVISITED
The 75 seems to be starting to disappear from our roads; to see one parked outside of the local post office is to perform a slight double-take. It is also too easy to forget that they made their bow twenty-three years ago.
14 December 2021
During the first Lockdown, this writer watched many car-related films and too much daytime television. The latter gave me a lifelong aversion to most chat shows, while the former led me to ponder; would the plot have worked in a British production?THE BEST OF THE CORGI 007 CARS
Or, which of these three die-cast models would you have wished for on Christmas Day?
09 December 2021
We've said it before and we'll say it again: French cars are big on style. For much of its history, though, Peugeot was perhaps the exception that proved the rule: many a 1950s, 1960s or 1970s Peugeot was more about practicality than panache.
08 December 2021
In the case of a car that's getting regular use, the alternator plays the crucial role of maintaining a near-full state of charge – but for a car that's getting less use, and a battery that's been allowed to run down, the alternator won't be much use.Is it worth buying a classic write-off?
Without thinking for too long, give us your definition of a 'write-off'. It's probably something like: a car that’s been involved in an accident and has been left completely undriveable, fit only for the scrapyard.
07 December 2021
So, you want to combine two of your life passions: dogs and classic cars. Specifically, you want a classic car that has plenty of vintage appeal but that also provides a safe and enjoyable ride for your beloved canine.
06 December 2021
What compiling a list of cars that now appear to have almost vanished, one question kept recurring to this writer - i.e. when I did last see a Primera? In fact, it comes as a faint surprise to recall that Nissan displayed the prototype at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show as the Primera always seems a car associated with the ‘nineties, a vehicle for the John Major years as opposed to the late Margaret Thatcher era.THE ITC WHITE JAGUAR; A CELEBRATION
As many readers know, ITC was the television production company that specialised in men of mystery pursuing fez-wearing villains across ‘Somewhere foreign’ (aka the Elstree Studios car park).MEET THE OWNER; STUART COOKE AND HIS EX HAMPSHIRE CONSTABULARY ROVER P6B 3500S
Any police Rover P6B is automatically a very special vehicle, but HBK 875N once served as Earl Mountbatten of Burma’s official staff car on the Isle of Wight. Wadham Stringer (Portsea) Ltd.
03 December 2021
It could almost be 1978 again, for this forty-three-year-old Ford Fiesta L on sale by Performance and Prestige Vehicle Solutions Ltd. has covered just 141 miles since new. In 1981 it was donated to the Science Museum, forming part of their displays until 2017.THE ORIGINAL TOYOTA CELICA; A CELEBRATION
One of the many highlights of this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was the opportunity to marvel at the first-generation Celica. In the early seventies, the Toyota appeared to stand apart from the offered Ford Capri Mk. I, Sunbeam Rapier, Vauxhall Firenza or MGB GT, a scaled-down Mustang for a very reasonable price. And that was precisely its raison d’être.
02 December 2021
Mazda's MX-5 drop-top made huge waves on its launch in 1989, and its four generations have found legions of admirers worldwide ever since. Its combination of lightweight driving thrills, reliability and affordability have made the MX-5 a much-loved acquisition, both new and used. So, could an MX-5 work for you – and if so, which one?How to buy a classic Saab 900
With their bulletproof bodywork, strong performance, and design cues niftily borrowed from their fighter aircraft siblings, Saabs have always offered something a little different to the discerning driver.The Cars of Cannonball Run
When it came out in 1981, the action comedy film The Cannonball Run was a huge box-office success. And it's not at all hard to see why – the film’s combination of an all-star cast, a simple but exciting storyline (an illegal road race across America) and some of the most desirable cars of its era more or less guaranteed huge ticket sales.Do's and dont's of classic barn finds
Like many other vintage motoring fans, the news about 174 classic cars being revealed in a massive North London warehouse got us properly excited here at Lancaster. Standout cars from the enormous haul of vehicles included a Triumph Stag, several vintage VW campers, a handful of R107 Mercedes SL convertibles and a lovely BMW 2002, the 3 Series' 1970s predecessor.
29 November 2021
The TT has since been through three generations, each time available as both a 2+2 coupé and roadster, and in a variety of engines from a perfectly capable 1.8-litre four-cylinder, up to a 3.2-litre V6.
26 November 2021
Christmas Club of the Month this December visits the XJS Club, an odyssey to the great grand tourer with a membership stretching all over the globe, where the star is very much the car!Duel at fifty
After a hearty festive meal, chances are this Christmas, you’ll settle down by the fire to enjoy a movie. If you’re spoilt for choice why not try this one, which made the name of one of the most famous directors in history, Steven Spielberg.Congratulations to this year’s Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership winner!
Another main event at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show this year was the Lancaster Pride of Ownership stand, showcasing the best classic cars in competition and celebrating the rarest and most cherished vehicles.TOP TEN DINKY TOYS
At Lancaster Insurance we’re hoping every classic enthusiast gets all they wish for under the tree this Christmas, but if you can’t squeeze a Ferrari 250 GTO next to the boxes of mince pies, why not try these for an extra special stocking filler?We’re getting serious about salvage this Christmas, so you don’t have to say goodbye…
This Christmas, why not treat yourself to a fantastic new Lancaster deal that could mean you save your classic car, should the very worst happen. Thanks to a fabulous new policy add-on, if your classic is categorised as a total loss, you are now NOT ONLY paid out on your written off car, but you’ll also be FULLY reimbursed if you buy back the salvage.
25 November 2021
Nestled just a few miles off the French coast, but decidedly British in feel, the island of Jersey makes an excellent weekend or week-long break. What’s more, a classic car is the very best way to take in its charms.
18 November 2021
What a weekend our ‘Great British Road Trip’ to the 2021 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show turned out to be! The event, which took place on 12th – 14th November, was attended by around 63,000 enthusiasts over the three days, marking a triumphant return after last year’s postponement due to Covid.Campervan owners’ guide to Newquay
Summing up the appeal of the seaside town, Cornwall Live says Newquay “has long been a firm favourite with holidaymakers thanks to its beaches, from the breath-taking sandy shores of Lusty Glaze to the surfer's paradise Fistral Beach”.
17 November 2021
It might be your favourite family hatchback, born in the 1970s and now into its eighth generation. Or it could be an iconic design from the 1950s that got a cute modern reinterpretation for the 21st Century.10 of the best grand tourers
Run your eyes down any of those '50 most beautiful cars of all time' lists, and you'll find that most of the models included fit into one of two categories: sports cars and grand tourers.Our 50 favourite classics of all time
Contentious? Probably. Subjective? Utterly. Chock full of the most memorable cars in automotive history? Most certainly. Strap in for our list of 50 favourite classics of all time...10 bargain roadsters ready for next summer
Next summer is still a little way off, which makes now the perfect time to invest in an affordable two-seater convertible...10 things you need to know about campervan insurance
From 'will I be covered for driving on the Continent?' to 'what exactly is covered in my policy?', we bet you've got a few questions when it comes to taking out a specialist campervan insurance policy.
16 November 2021
Even if you’re not familiar with the classic Mercedes slogan – the best or nothing – you’ll know that the name has become synonymous with style, luxury and reliability. The S-Class series has long been a long-running Rolls Royce rival, while the SL dynasty of roadsters has been responsible for some of the most elegant soft-top cars in automotive history.
15 November 2021
The definition of a brilliant driving road can come down to a few different factors. Some routes are the products of some truly stunning feats of engineering, of the heroic ways in which humanity has pitted itself against nature.TOP FIVE LONDON MOTOR SHOWS
Autumn is traditionally the motor show season, and from 1937 until 1976, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders favoured Earls Court. Here are five of the London events that this writer wished he were old enough to have seen in person...MEET THE OWNER: ROY HEDGER AND HIS CHRYSLER SUNBEAM
On Saturday 23 July 1977, ITV viewers were treated to a new commercial in the commercial break of Mr and Mrs. None other than Petula Clark informed the world that the Chrysler Sunbeam would “put a smile on your face”...Campervan adventures to have this autumn
While those warm, sunny months are now very much in the rear-view mirror, autumn has plenty going for it – namely Halloween, Bonfire Night and a whole host of Christmas festivities! It also represents one more opportunity to get out in your campervan before the year is out and winter takes hold.
11 November 2021
When the British Leyland Motor Corporation launched the Clubman in October of 1969, the copywriters worked overtime. There were references aplenty to its size, not to mention “For the first time a Mini has wind up windows in padded doors”, which was slightly economical with the truth.
10 November 2021
The overseas marketing of a British car under a different name is a widespread phenomenon. US motorists were offered the ‘Austin Marina’ and Triumph badged Standards while Chrysler promoted the Hillman Avenger as the ‘Plymouth Cricket’.
09 November 2021
Like some other classic car brands – hello Triumph, Rover, Peugeot – the Czech automotive giant Skoda started out producing bicycles. For much of the 20th Century, however, Skoda produced a series of well-liked, affordable cars for the Czech domestic market and beyond.Our top 10 ‘must do’ Classic Motor Show activities!
There’s only two more days to go until the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show 2021 opens this Friday 12th November. To help you decide whether or not to book a last minute ticket for the event , we’ve compiled our top 10 list of activities that will be taking place at the show over the weekend...Road Trip Ready with Art by Bex’s RETRO MINI HIRE
Rebecca East, known as Bex from Art by Bex is well-known as a talented Artist of Iconic Cars.
08 November 2021
As the headline sponsor of the championship, we share a race report for the final meeting of the season. For the final meeting of the season, the drivers made the long journey down the M4 for our first visit to Pembrey since 2019.How to plan a Cotswold road trip
The Cotswolds would seem made for a road trip in a classic car. For one thing, it is – like your beloved classic itself – a beautiful and relatively unspoilt corner of England, where traditions (and we'll come to a few of those later) continue year after year.DO YOU REMEMBER THE ORIGINAL PROTON?
The 1988 Motor Show at the NEC marked the arrival of a new marque to British motorists, albeit one whose products resembled a 1983 Mitsubishi Lancer Fiore. Here was a car that promised “Japanese Technology, Malaysian Style”, at a very reasonable price.MEET THE OWNER – DON WAKENSHAW AND HIS LEYLAND MARINA SIX
One of the rarest versions of the Morris Marina was never available in the UK. 1973 saw the Australian-built Red Six debut, with power from a 2.6-litre version of the E-Series engine. Today, Don, who resides in New Zealand, owns a very rare example of one of BL’s most intriguing models.
05 November 2021
Lancaster Insurance will embrace the post Covid state of excitement amongst classic car enthusiasts from all over the world, as the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show with discovery+,hits the NEC this November.Celebrating the iconic Mini Cooper
If any car sums up the sheer joy, excitement and pure fun associated with owning a classic vehicle, then surely the Mini Cooper is right at the top of the list. The iconic ‘60’s racer immortalised in the 1969 Michael Caine caper, The Italian Job, has delighted fans and owners alike on the open roads and on the racetrack for more than 60 years.Meet the Owner - David Sefton and his Jaguar Mk X
David Sefton says: “The Mk X feels quick, planted to the road and makes for a smooth ride over what are my local and incredibly knobbly and potholed ridden roads (very much representative of the UK’s roads as a whole).
04 November 2021
Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of the city, haven’t you? And the good news, if you’re based anywhere around London, is that you are blessed with dozens of tempting day-trip options. Within two hours of the capital you’ll find beautiful old university cities, quaint half-timbered market towns, elegant riverside villages – and so much more.
03 November 2021
The early to mid-1980s were a brilliant time for superminis. October 1980 brought us the iconic Austin Metro, with its legion of celebrity fans including the then Lady Diana Spencer: the second-generation VW Polo came exactly a year later.
02 November 2021
Sixty years ago, ownership of a new 407 denoted a rare combination of exquisite taste and access to a large amount of funds. It was an understated machine that appeared to stand apart from the Aston Martin DB4, Bentley Continental or Jensen 541S.The Ultimate Sporting Estate? 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Crayford
The great motoring writer Tom McCahill regarded the 300SEL 6.3 saloon as the “World’s best car” – but more exclusive still is this 1969 Crayford Estate version.FIVE BRITISH LEYLAND SPECIAL EDITION CARS
The Special LE made its bow on the 5th of April 1978, for £2,965.95. For this modest sum, the buyer gained five-speed transmission, Sundym tinted glass, a passenger door mirror, a lockable fuel cap, a push-button radio, a tachometer and a leather-covered steering wheel.Our favourite 80s coupes
The 1980s were a decade for conspicuous consumption – 'greed is good' and all that – and, as such, were a fruitful time for brash, lavishly styled, rapid (and thirsty) sports cars.
28 October 2021
Here are 10 cars that, for us, illustrate the French way of doing things. You can find more brilliant French cars in our list of the 30 best French classic cars.BMW E30 3 Series Buyers Guide
With its chrome-heavy, late 1970s looks, the first iteration of BMW’s iconic 3 Series saloon, also known as the E21, might be the most sought after by some vintage car fans – but if you want a classic that you can live with every day and even get a good dose of sporting fun out of, the second generation 3 Series (or E30) may be your best bet of all.The best female rally drivers
Motorsport may remain, even to this day, a somewhat male-dominated world – but there have been some legendary female drivers, and nowhere more so than in the tough, demanding and stamina-quenching world of rallying.MEET THE OWNER – IAN MACKENZIE AND HIS FORD FIESTA XR2 MK.I
“I bought it two years ago - I’d just finished a six-year restoration of my Mark III Wolseley Hornet and decided to sell it, so wanted something different from my usual BMC/BL fare. It was on eBay as a classified in Cheshire, so only just over the Pennines from me.”THE TRIUMPH DOLOMITE: A CELBRATION
The year is 1971, and motorists reading The Illustrated London News learned some rather depressing news; “paralysed by strikes and other factories slowed down for lack of components.
27 October 2021
W.B. and Sons Ltd. have a truly exclusive British car at its auction on the 4th of December 2021. Chassis Number 00099 is the first ‘Wedge’ made on the production line, and it was immediately despatched from Cowley to Longbridge to assess the production line’s build quality.
26 October 2021
You may or may not be familiar with the phrase 'limited-slip differential' (or limited-slip diff, or more simply LSD). If you've spent much time around either 4x4s or sports cars, however, the chances are that you may be familiar with the concept.The Ford Thunderbird: A Celebration
As the story goes, the Thunderbird resulted from the designer George Walker and Ford’s division general manager Louis D. Crusoe admiring sports cars at the 1951 Paris Motor Show.MEET THE OWNER - ROBERT CRAWFORD AND HIS SAAB GT850
Fifty-five years ago, a 14-year old motor enthusiast named Robert Crawford was moderately awestruck by his father’s new car; a dark blue 96 ordered from the Ayr dealership Cambuslea Garage.
25 October 2021
Lancaster Insurance will embrace the post Covid state of excitement amongst classic car enthusiasts from all over the world, as the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show hits the NEC this November. In its ninth year as headline sponsor, Lancaster Insurance will watch the sensational ‘Puff the Magic Wagon’ take centre stage at stand 250 in Hall One.How to preserve the value of your classic car
The age and condition of their various components means that classics will need a little more care and attention if they are to retain that vintage sparkle that you love them for.MG Owners Club (MGOC) Race Championship – race report Rounds 12 and 13: Snetterton 18th September
As the headline sponsor of the championship, we share a race report for the penultimate meeting of the season.MEET THE OWNER – MELISSA JARDINE AND HER NISSAN LAUREL C31
Melissa Jardine’s fascination with the Laurel stemmed from her family’s old car. In 1993 her father exchanged the Nissan for a base-model Ford Sierra, but such a fine vehicle could never be forgotten.THE AUSTIN A30 AT SEVENTY
The year is 1951, and one of the star attractions of the London Motor Show is the latest small Austin. Countless visitors to Earls Court marvelled at the ‘chassis less’ construction – a ‘first’ for Longbridge, the smart lines and the new 803cc OHV engine.Police cars through the years
Over the decades, the UK’s police forces have patrolled our roads in a huge variety of vehicles. From the humble Morris Minor to the luxury barge that is today’s fourth-generation Range Rover, and from the pootling Austin Allegro to the lightning-quick Rover SD1 3500, vehicles of all sizes, speeds and spec levels have been used by our various regional law and order forces.
22 October 2021
Since its debut in the 1953, first-generation Chevrolet Corvette, fibreglass has played a small but significant role in the history of car production.Classic military vehicles we love
You'll know by now that we love our classic cars here at Lancaster, and are proud to be able to provide classic car insurance for many of the wonderful motors that still adorn Britain's roads and driveways today.Best Alpine drives
The Alps are home to some of Europe's most dramatic scenery – and many of the winding mountain roads that snake through them make for thrilling, engaging drives.SIXTY YEARS OF THE SIMCA 1000
On the 27th July 1961, Simca commenced building a car that was to dominate French roads until the late 1970s.Meet the Owner: Geoff Taylor and his 1978 Austin Allegro 1500 Special LE
Limited edition cars tend to fall into one of three categories. There are those made to commemorate the demise of a long-running or even iconic model. There are those built to clear the showrooms before the launch of a significant new model or at least an elaborate facelift.
21 October 2021
As a current or prospective classic car owner, you're likely to have a wealth of questions swirling around in your head. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the most-asked Q&As to help you on your ownership journey.Classic car paint colours
Whether it's a fierce red evoking white-knuckle motorsport success, or a suave 1960s silver that instantly conjures up evildoers defeated and Martinis shaken, not stirred, some of those classic motors just need to be seen in a certain colour.MEET THE OWNER: JOHN WATERHOUSE AND HIS RENAULT R8
In 1973, John Waterhouse, the National Coordinator of the Renault 4CV Register of Australia, acquired a Trinidad Rouge 956 cc, one owner R8 with his wife, Alex.
20 October 2021
Any Austin A55 Cambridge Mk. II is a splendid machine, but Steve’s example is particularly notable as his granddad purchased it new in 1961...MISUNDERSTOOD? THE CHRYSLER ALPINE
What was the Car of The Year for 1976? The BMW 3 Series? The Renault 30TS? No, it was the Chrysler Alpine, a most underrated vehicle and only the second British-built five-door FWD hatchback after the Austin Maxi.Six of our favourite classics from American Graffiti
Some films define a generation. Other films perfectly evoke a bygone age. A third, rare class of films manages a balancing act between the two – both crystallising a past era and reflecting on its own age, and perhaps even drawing parallels between the two.A quick guide to online car auctions
Among the many new ways of doing things that the pandemic has ushered in, a particularly interesting development to us here at Lancaster Insurance has been the growth in online car auctions, for the trading of classic and historic vehicles.
19 October 2021
Over the past few years, eco-friendly camping has surged in popularity here in the UK. A survey by motorhome and campervan rental business Camptoo revealed a staggering 436% increase in web searches for ‘eco camping’ since 2017.Can you tow with a classic car?
Think back, for a minute, to your childhood days spent vehicle-watching through the windows of your parents’ car. Do you remember which cars you would commonly see hauling caravans or heavy trailers around the British countryside?FORTY YEARS OF THE VOLKSWAGEN POLO SERIES II
October of 1981; cold, damp, and Dave Stewart with Barbara Gaskin with It’s My Party topping the charts. At least the motoring press offers relief from such gloom, with news of the latest Volkswagen Polo, a car unlikely to be mistaken for any rival.THE LAST OF THE WOLSELEYS: A TRIBUTE
Forty-six years ago, Clive Richardson of Motor Sport compared the recently launched Citroën CX with a new British rival. He concluded:“If the Citroën was worthy of the ‘Car of the Year’ award, the credit must go to the CX 2200; the 2000 has too many pitfalls.
18 October 2021
One of the many attractions of the Silverstone Auction at this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show is a vehicle that genuinely merits the term ‘television icon’. HLT 709 C is an Austin Mini Moke, built on 15th May 1965 and registered a month later in London.A RENAULT FIT FOR A QUEEN – THE STORY OF THE ROYAL DAUPHINE
The year is 1968, and a young motoring enthusiast named Garry Dickens encounters a Dauphine in the yard of a Somerset car dealer. At that time, it was in a rather sorry condition, but its history was undeniably fascinating.
07 October 2021
Forty years ago, British Leyland unveiled the last car to wear the Triumph badge and the first Japanese car to be made in the UK. To celebrate, here are 20 facts about the Acclaim...FAMILY CAR MEMORY: THE RENAULT R8
You rarely forget your first car, and mine was a 1964 Renault R8. However, that statement needs a certain amount of qualifying; a) it is the first car of which I have concrete memories, and b) back in 1973, it definitely belonged to my parents rather than me.
06 October 2021
To celebrate the launch of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, we look at the iconic Aston Martin DB5. On the 17 September 1964, the London premiere of the third Bond Film created cinema history, not least from the moment when Desmond Llewelyn’s Q orders 007 to ‘pay attention’.Club of the Month - P6 Rover Owners Club
The P6 Rover Owners Club (P6ROC) was established in 1982. It’s non-profit making and voluntarily run by Deborah Stanley and a team of dedicated enthusiasts ensuring the survival of all P6 models in the 2000, 2200 and 3500 ranges.Classic & Sports Car Club Awards
It is time to celebrate your car club heroes, as Classic & Sports Car’s Club Awards, in association with Lancaster Insurance, returns for 2021.Camper Round the Coast Review
The Lancaster Insurance and Practical Classics team undertook their epic Camper Round the Coast tour from 6-10 September.Classic car auctions to visit this autumn
Buying at auction can be an excellent way to get hold of a classic car and, in this article, we'll run through a few of the fine-looking classic car auctions coming up throughout autumn 202110 breath-taking Alfa Romeos
Throughout their 111-year history, Italian carmakers Alfa Romeo have produced some astonishingly beautiful cars; some awesomely potent ones; and a select few that have managed to marry both elegance and power.Morris Marina Owners Club – 50th anniversary charity run
The Morris Marina Owners Club are continuing their celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Morris Marina in 1971 and the belated 40th anniversary of the launch of the Morris Ital in 1980.Ford road trip with Kelsey Media
On Saturday 7 August our Own Brands Manager, Dave Bex and Paris Wakelen from our Car Club team joined Classics World’s Joe Miller for a road trip from Haynes International Motor Museum in Yeovil to Ford Fair 2021 at Silverstone.
05 October 2021
As No Time To Die, Bond Film No. 25, is due for release at the end of the month, here is a short tribute to five, often overlooked, 007 vehicles...THE TRIUMPH DOLOMITE: A CELBRATION
The year is 1971, and motorists reading The Illustrated London News learned some rather depressing news; “paralysed by strikes and other factories slowed down for lack of components.
04 October 2021
The year is 1981, and you are visiting the London Motor Fair. Older readers will recall how the NEC Motor Show was staged every two years, leaving scope for the Motor Trade Association to produce its own event at Earls Court.
30 September 2021
The Frégate is more likely seen in vintage brochures than on the road, but it was more than a footnote in Renault‘s history. Firstly, it was their first post-war large car, and secondly, its styling inspired the Dauphine.
29 September 2021
Rolls-Royce started producing the Silver Shadow in four-door saloon form only, and it's easy to see why: this classic, simple, upright form suits the car's looks and branding so well.Great gift ideas for car lovers
What do you get as a gift for the car lover in your life? Turns out that there are myriad options out there, be they driving experiences, fun toys, reading matter – or a whimsical artwork documenting their lifelong auto obsession.A history of British Leyland
It's probably fair to say that the name 'British Leyland' conjures up mixed associations these days – pride in the postwar boom years of British motor manufacturing, to be sure, and in some iconic individual cars such as the Range Rover and Jaguar XJ-S.
28 September 2021
Denmark is deservedly one of Europe’s top locations when it comes to campervan holidays and it’s not hard to see why, with a terrific range of activities and landscapes to explore.
24 September 2021
Sixty years ago, the British Motoring Corporation introduced to the public the latest versions of the Mini, the Morris Cooper and its badge-engineered twin, the Austin Seven. At first glance, they seemed to be a sporting version of the ‘Super Mini’ launched a few months earlier. However, keen drivers paid close attention to the race-tuned to 997cc 55 bhp engine with twin SU carburettors, close-ratio gearbox and front disc brakes.
23 September 2021
For many years, the Sinclair C5 has been regarded as a joke along with Sigue Sigue Sputnik records and The Roxy on ITV. It deserves a better fate, not least because it represented a new form of motoring, an electrically powered tricycle that anyone aged over 14 could drive on the road sans tax, licence or insurance.
22 September 2021
The late John Challis was always a welcome sight on the screen. His height and commanding presence on TV often saw him cast as police officers in Z Cars or villains, such as the venial Scorby in the Fourth Doctor adventure The Seeds of Doom.
20 September 2021
Britain’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty make excellent destinations for a campervan trip: representing, as they do, some of our islands’ most treasured landscapes, they are liberally dotted with campsites to allow everyone to linger amongst the beauty for a while.
14 September 2021
The year is 1977, and this writer is poring over the latest Vauxhall brochure, a pastime almost as entertaining as The Goodies on BBC2. Suddenly, he comes across an FE even more glamorous than the VX2300 GLS.
13 September 2021
Tony Curtis! Roger Moore! Aston Martins! Dinos! John Barry’s music! Terrible clothes! Worse dancing! Here are 20 facts about ITC’s grooviest TV series...What is the Heart 200?
The Heart 200 is a new, 200-mile touring route around some of central Scotland's most dramatic, beautiful, and storied landscapes – centred around the cities of Perth and Stirling as well as The Trossachs system of glens, hills and lochs, and the rugged Perthshire Highlands.A history of Lotus
Esprit. Eclat. Elite. For any petrolheads growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, these names held a certain aura – whether glimpsed among the latest pack of Top Trumps or streaking by on the motorway.
09 September 2021
60 years ago this month, Triumph unveiled a new sports car that left traditionalists aghast. It had a full-width body with vestigial tail fins, winding windows, and even fresh air vents on the facia.
08 September 2021
And to celebrate, here are twenty facts about the programme:
07 September 2021
Out of difficult circumstances can come brilliant things – and few things illustrate that better than the Japanese kei car.What are the different types of classic campervan?
So, you've decided that a campervan could be the way forward for you and your family. Congratulations, first and foremost, on a great choice. Miles and miles, and days and nights of affordable, open-road motoring and camping await you.
06 September 2021
At first sight, the Gorton Wolseley appears to be an exceptionally handsome example of the 15/60 – until you notice the badges. This is a 24/80 Mk 1, a six-cylinder product of BMC-Australia that was never available in the UK.
03 September 2021
The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain, or 2CVGB, is a friendly and knowledgeable group, of all ages and backgrounds, dedicated to preserving, restoring and enjoying Citroën A-Series models.Ford v Vauxhall sales wars of the 1970s and 1980s
During the 1970s and 1980s, car market watchers had a fascinating time following the ongoing sales rivalries between two of Britain's biggest-selling car marques, Ford and Vauxhall.TEN COUPES FOR AUTUMN
Or, as the cold weather approaches, ten ways to enjoy sporting motoring in a certain amount of comfort...What does classic car insurance cover?
We're often encouraging you to arrange some classic car insurance for your beloved vehicle here at Lancaster. But what does classic car insurance cover – and how does it differ from common or garden car insurance?
01 September 2021
If you’re thinking of attending your very first show as an exhibitor how can you prepare your car to get it looking its best? Whether you’re just flashing the car for fun or hoping to take home a trophy, here’s how to get it looking its best.How will the E10 fuel change affect you?
From September 2021 a change is coming into effect which will see UK petrol stations around the country replacing E5 as the standard grade in place of renewable unleaded E10 fuel.
26 August 2021
James is the Managing Director of Auto Windscreens and his Mini is a car that would have been unthinkable to the average economy-minded driver 41 years ago. No City would have featured an electric blue paint finish, alloy wheels and whitewall tyres, as this was the entry-level model.A TRIBUTE TO THE CHAMPIONS
Many readers will be sad to read of the passing of the American actor Stuart Damon. For much of the 60s and 70s, he was based in the UK and enlivened many an ITC programme.
19 August 2021
Classic & Sports Car recently announced the rather depressing news that just 26 Starions remain on the road in the UK. They were one of the most desirable sports coupes of their generation and possessed a distinctive style that set them apart.THE VAUXHALL WYVERN AND VELOX E AT 70
70 years ago this month, Luton assured motorists that ‘Whatever point of view you judge from – performance, appearance, or anything else – you are going to agree that these new Vauxhalls are really something’.
17 August 2021
Or four seats, and the ability to take advantage of any moments of the August weather: Citroën Visa Décapotable - Citroën sold just 2,633 examples of the Décapotable, one reason being Heuliez’s bodywork inflated the price far beyond a standard 11RE.
16 August 2021
From the dramatic chalk cliffs of its long North Sea shoreline to the gentle, chocolate-box beauty of its mellow Dales, Yorkshire has one of the widest varieties of attractive landscapes of any British region.Exploring Exmoor in your classic car
Straddling Somerset and Devon, the vast open spaces of Exmoor contain some of Britain's most dramatic and windswept landscapes, and some of its most beautiful driving routes.All about SORN
As a classic car owner, and possibly a member of an owners' club, you will very likely have heard the term 'SORN' – and, perhaps, got little further than understanding that it's some sort of designation for cars – often classics – that are not currently on the road.
12 August 2021
For many years, the arrival of the ice cream van was as much a part of summer as awaiting O level results or unwatchable ITV Seaside Specials on ITV.THE SINGER VOGUE AT SIXTY
This month sees the 60th anniversary of a car that never professed to offer the excitement of a Jaguar E-Type or a Mini Cooper – yet was a vital aspect of British motoring of the late Macmillan era.TEN FILM AUTOMOTIVE ERRORS
One night, when this writer was at low ebb, he found himself watching the long-forgotten 1987 Burt Reynolds/Liza Minnelli vehicle Rent-a-Cop
11 August 2021
The term ‘icon’ is one vastly overused in the media, from soap actors in with the dramatic power of Stingray, to popstars who have extended their range by learning a fourth chord. Similarly, in terms of British motor vehicles, only a select group may be genuinely described as ‘iconic’ - including the Transit Mk 1. Put simply, this was the Ford that redefined the light commercial.
10 August 2021
Chris’s Renault 12TS looks as though it should be gracing the Renault GB brochure for 1977. Those of us of a certain age will remember this splendid publication...THE STORY OF THE SLOUGH-BUILT 2CV
In April 1954, William Boddy of Motor Sport was so taken with the Citroën 2CV he wrote ‘Certainly from now on I shall look with scorn at cars of low power output which employ heavy lumps of cast-iron surrounded by water for engines’.THE FIAT 126 – A TRIBUTE
When Fiat unveiled the 126 in 1972, they faced two considerable challenges. Firstly, the Nuova 500 was an extremely hard act to follow – the car that tempted many a Vespa or Lambretta rider towards the joys of four-wheeled transport.
09 August 2021
It’s funny how the passage of time changes our view of certain vehicles. Executive models might have seemed worthy but dull back in their day – but a few decades on, many have attained classic status.Our favourite dad cars from the 70s and 80s
If you’re ever nostalgic for the cars of your youth, you’re not alone. As a child, your dad’s car seemed enormous and all-powerful and some of the smells and textures stay with you forever.15 reasons why we love the Vauxhall Chevette
Arriving on the scene in the middle of the 1970s (1st May 1975, to be precise), the Chevette heralded a new departure for Vauxhall, its clean, simple looks a world away from the more elaborate styling of the Victor and Cresta from the 1960s.The history of Radford coachbuilders
We were very excited to learn, earlier this year, of the exciting relaunch of Radford – one of the most prestigious coachbuilders in British automotive history.
05 August 2021
Anyone who's driven the streets of central London at any time over the past couple of years will have been aware of a comprehensive new measure to clamp down on air pollution in the city (and no, we're not talking about the already well-established Congestion Charge here).
04 August 2021
We recently featured John Langford’s 1964 Magnetite Mk 4 Farina, and today, we pay tribute to Alex’s 1966 example.THE VOLVO C70 – THE FORGOTTEN SAINT CAR
The 1990s are now looking not so much remote as impossibly distant. As the popular phrase goes, when did you last see a Rover 600, a first-generation Ford Mondeo, or indeed a first-generation Volvo C70?
02 August 2021
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Practical Classics magazine to create a very special journey – a whistle-stop fundraising tour of Britain’s finest beaches in a VW Campervan. And we need your help.
30 July 2021
The Jaguar E-Type, the BMW M5, the 'James Bond' Aston Martin DB5 and that gullwing-door Mercedes – some iconic cars, down the decades, have sported straight-six engines.The campervan owner's guide to Henley Royal Regatta
There are many major fixtures in the British sporting calendar but one of our favourites is the Henley Royal Regatta.Our favourite European Car of the Year winners
It was back in 1964 that a group of enterprising motoring magazines from across Europe first got together and decided to vote on the best new car to have emerged across the continent that year.
29 July 2021
You probably know this by now, but we are big fans of classic car clubs here at Lancaster. We believe that, for all owners of classics, joining a car club is an invaluable first step.
23 July 2021
Good news for anyone considering a continental classic car tour this summer, after it was announced that millions of people will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ before taking their car to EU countries.
22 July 2021
Which book is ever-present on the best-seller lists – yet can also claim to have saved thousands of lives?Club of the month - The Green Lane Association
Formed in 1995, the Green Lane Association (GLASS) is the National User Group for those who enjoy using the Country’s network of ancient unsurfaced public roads and vehicular rights of way.
20 July 2021
You may be the proud owner of a classic motor with a sporty bent – an MGB GT, say, or an early Mazda MX-5, or a Mk2 Golf GTI. And perhaps you've wondered idly, from time to time, what it would be like to enter your classic into the odd motorsport event.
16 July 2021
In this article we’ll explore a little bit more about this amazing activity – the best places to do it, how to get a licence if you need one and some top tips to keep you safe while you’re out on the water.
13 July 2021
In 1973, a new Hunter GLS was somewhat of a Q-Car – even if the owner specified the ‘Limelight’ paint finish.Meet the Owner – Simon Frith and his Datsun Skyline 240K GT
Owners of once-familiar 1970s saloons are very familiar with the opening line ‘my dad/mum/grandfather/uncle/headmistress/postman had one of those’.
12 July 2021
Experiencing a Panhard PL17 was an experience on a par with entering the National Motor Museum for the first time or encountering the Genevieve Darracq in the metal – something never to be forgotten.The Škoda S110R – A Celebration
In the late 1970s, many a young “Ton-Up” driver in their customised Ford Anglia 105E (a la The Young Ones) was amazed to be overtaken by a rear-engine coupe.
08 July 2021
A 1958 Zündapp is not the ideal vehicle for motorists who wish to maintain a low profile. Whenever Ian Evans goes for a spin, the reaction of other road users, along with many pedestrians, is ‘what on earth is that?’
07 July 2021
Strap yourselves in and check the GPS, as we take a white-knuckle ride through the colourful history of the world’s most demanding endurance rallyTen of the best military museums in the UK
Did you know that we insure lots of old military vehicles here at Lancaster as well as classic cars? From old military Land Rovers to full-on tanks, we’ve got you covered!
06 July 2021
Not long ago, we profiled the Ford Probe. So today let’s celebrate the collection of Malcolm Oyston who owns no fewer than six UK-market cars.Quick guide to classic wheels
When it comes to your classic car, every detail matters. That’s why, if you decide you want to change the wheels, it’s a big decision.The best classic car owners’ clubs to join this year (Part 2)
Here at Lancaster, we have been supporting car clubs for the last three decades. We love the camaraderie between owners, meeting lifelong friends and sharing vital tips and knowledge about the vehicles we love the most.Classic cars made in Coventry
To celebrate Coventry's year as UK City of Culture 2021, we decided to look into the city's illustrious motor manufacturing history.A history of Morgan
From their factory on the edge of the Malvern Hills, British car markers Morgan have been at the leading edge of sports and race car manufacture for over a century.
05 July 2021
Now is the time to start getting out and enjoying the marvels of the UK countryside in your campervan. Pack up the cool box and picnic rug, check the tyre pressures, make sure you're equipped with some decent campervan insurance because it’s time to hit the open road.Common risks for campervan drivers you didn’t suspect
You’ll be familiar with the common risks associated with life on the road – drink driving, other road users, adverse weather conditions, driving behaviour – and even a few hazards linked specifically to campervans, such as the different dimensions and turning circles.10 restoration projects to tackle in 2021
Restoring a classic car can be a hugely rewarding process. This is work that requires real concentration and dedication, and will get you deep inside the working parts of your chosen vehicle.Future classics from the 2000s
You might think it's a little too soon to start earmarking future classics from the 2000s, a decade that seems not long gone. But we’re always thinking about the next great classics here at Lancaster and protecting them for the future.