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6 Sep 2017

Bowlers hats on, umbrellas at the ready, raise you cups of tea with your pinkie held high and bid a dignified stiff-upper-lip hello to Best of British week. We’ve had our four vehicles – three cars and our first motorbike in a very very long time – chosen this week by Editor of Motor Sport Magazine Nick Trott. He’s an enthusiast through and through, so knows his stuff – here are his thoughts on this week’s In the Headlights cars…

Jag F Type SVR

For many, this is how a performance Jaguar should be. Sensationally fast, thanks to a supercharged 5-litre V8, with an exhaust note that’s incredibly hard-edged – and loud. Yes, this is the most exaggerated version of an already exaggerated car.

How fast? A four-wheel drive chassis gives this cat epic sprinting ability – with a 0-60mph time of just 3.5seconds. There’s never been a faster Jag.

Brough Superior SS100

Few words evoke more passion in the motorcycling world than ‘Brough’ and ‘Superior’. George Brough’s original machines invented the luxury motorcycle – and today are highly sought after. The SS100 is a modern-day reimagining of this bike. It takes design references from the original bike, and in particular 1920s Pendine racing model, but uses 21st century mechanicals.

The engine is a V-twin (of course) with around 120 horsepower, and the chassis makes use of titanium, aluminium, and magnesium parts. Truly updated, and achingly desirable, this is one of the must-have bikes of the decade.

New TVR

We still don’t know what the new TVR will look like (it will be revealed at this year’s Goodwood Revival), but we do know that it is one of the most eagerly awaited cars of the year. Some technical details have emerged, in particular the engine (a Cosworth-tweaked 5.0-litre V8) and a manual transmission. With a power-to-weight ratio of 400bhp per tonne (and weighing just 1200kg) it is expected to match, if not exceed, the performance of established rivals from Porsche and Aston Martin.

The car will be extremely sought-after – TVR has a loyal and generous following – and orders for the first 500 ‘Launch Edition’ cars have almost sold out.

Aston Martin Vanquish S

Newly released for 2017, the S is the most refined and quickest Vanquish to date. Chassis and aerodynamic tweaks are carried out, but it’s the V12 engine that dominates here. Unlike the recently-released Aston Martin DB11, the £199,950 Vanquish S sticks resolutely to natural-aspiration (no turbos) which means a soundtrack to die for.

There are faster V12s – notably the Lamborghini Aventador and the Ferrari 812 – but neither car gets close to the Aston’s civility. It stakes a claim to be the best GT car in the world.

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We always like to know a little more about our ITH patrons, so here’s a peek inside the mind of Nick Trott…

 

It’s fair to say that Nick Trott’s dad knew how to push his buttons. So when Nick started slacking off on his A Level revision, the suspension of driving lessons was enough to get him to hit the books.

“Driving was the one thing I had dreamt of since I was four years old so dad knew exactly what would get me back on track,” Nick laughs.

“I passed my test first time after nine lessons but dad stopped them after four because he realised I was screwing up my revision and spending too much time in the car. It was the perfect punishment.”

But while Nick hit the books, his dad wasn’t pleased with the end result.

“I still screwed up my A Levels because I passed the test before my exams and then, ironically, spent all my time driving!”

Learning in his mum’s Fiat Uno wasn’t particularly the spark which set him out on an award-winning motoring career which led to editorships at Evo and now Motor Sport Magazine – the world’s first motor racing title.

“I remember trying to max that Fiat out while going down Swanscombe Cutting in Kent. The speedo needle climbed and then it started to catch fire. I’m not even sure I broke the speed limit. That car had a helluva life.”

Nick’s first car was a more glamorous Mini 1275 GT in yellow, “with the black sticker down the side and everything”.

He’s progressed since but still loves the club sport type of car, with a 911 GT2 and a 1982 911 SC in the garage.

Having said all this, his first motoring memory was of bikes not cars.

“I have a vague memory of being at Brands Hatch in the late 70s, perhaps ’77 or ’78, and being stood at the bottom of South Bank with my nose through the fence cheering wildly every time Barry Sheene came round the track. Both he and Evel Knievel were my first heroes.

“Thanks to dad I grew up with both Car and Motor Sport Magazine in the house so my love of cars was part genetics and part indoctrination, although in truth I love anything with an engine.”

So how will he cope with the launch into electric and hybrid technology on the racetrack?

“We’ve already seen LMP1 and Formula One embrace hybrid technology, even though I’m slightly uncomfortable with the fact it’s a bridging technology which melds current with future. It would sit better if it was either one of the other.

“The speed with which the motoring industry has adopted this technology has been extraordinary but one of my strongest memories is as an eight-year-old boy in Monaco, listening to a Lamborghini Countach drive past at about 3mph with this most incredible growl. I’d hate to lose that.”

As for his dream car, the motor at the top of his wishlist has recently changed.

“I get asked this a lot and it changes a lot too, depending on my mood. But at the moment it has to be a car we’re featuring in our next issue of Motor Sport - the McLaren M6A/1. It was Bruce McLaren’s own car and it’s the most glorious thing you’ve ever seen; dripping in history and simply stunning. And the noise! Just wonderful.”

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