Monday, 24 June 2013

SuckSqueezeBangBlow: version 2.0

SuckSqueezeBangBlow is in the process of a bit of a change... having run this blog for almost six years single-handedly, I thought it was time for a shake-up. You may have noticed that there's a new url - instead of being a blogspot address, it's now switched to
And that's just the beginning. There's going to be a keener focus on generating new content rather than regurgitating web finds, and I'm not doing this alone; I've assembled a crack squad of writers and photographers from across the globe to turn this into a sort of mouthpiece of modern car culture. New cars, retro cars, modified cars, race cars, show reports, you name it - diversity is key. Expect a totally new, more image-heavy look-and-feel too.

So keep an eye on SuckSqueezeBangBlow in the near future. Big things are afoot. And if you want to be involved - as a writer/photographer, to cover your event, to tie in with your own blog/site, etc - get in touch and we'll chew it over.

Daniel Bevis (editor)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Ford Torino Cobra

The third-gen Ford Torino is one of the more befuddling muscle cars of the nineteen-seventies. Firstly, people tend to hear the name and get confused with the later Gran Torino. ('It didn't look like that in Starsky and Hutch...') And secondly, despite being purebred Americana, it really looks like an Australian muscle car.
But don't be confused. The salient points are these: it's a US model, based on the Fairlane. It has a badass list of engine options, including a 429ci V8. It looks awesome. It is awesome.

This example is a 1970 Torino, the so-called 'New Torino'. It features Coke-bottle styling with a long hood and a short deck. And this one is the Cobra model - the top-of-the-tree, no-nonsense performance car, with four-on-the-floor, a Hurst shifter, matt-black bonnet and rear window louvres. It also has about 370bhp. So, when I said they were awesome...

Spotted by SuckSqueezeBangBlow at the Bromley Pageant

Thursday, 20 June 2013

B6 A4 - 'L10OOW'

This 2004 Audi A4 is something rather special. It wears a spangly, pearly shade of Competizione Red - as you might find on an Alfa Romeo 8C - while the interior's themed around Bugatti's trademark shade of orange, the Recaro Sportster CS seats enjoying a bit of Bentley-esque diamond quilting. The car sits low (or 'L10OOW', as the plates would have it) on a bespoke air-ride setup, courtesy of Air-Lift.
You may have seen this A4 before running on Rotiform monoblock SNAs, but now it wears forged 3-piece BWEs, polished to a mirror shine to match the liquid shimmer of the paintwork. Performance hasn't been sidelined either, with the 1.8T now complemented by a GT28RS turbo, Milltek exhaust and various other tweaks to deliver around 300bhp. So, it's quick, finished to a premium level, show car low yet daily-driveable (the magic of air-ride, it offers endless versatility), and it keeps evolving from show to show. One to watch, this.

Spotted by SuckSqueezeBangBlow at the Players Classic

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Little and Large

Urban parking issues with massive cars are nothing new; sure, you may struggle to squeeze a Range Rover onto your drive, but these concerns have been troubling drivers for generations. What do you do, for example, if your entire garage is filled up by your ostentatious fins-and-chrome '59 Cadillac Eldorado, but you need something more frugal and unimposing for puttering about the metropolis? What do you buy, and where do you keep it?
Well, the answer is obvious. Get yourself a Peel P50, and keep it inside the Caddy. Job done.

Spotted by SuckSqueezeBangBlow at the 2013 Bromley Pageant

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Series One RS Turbo

Famed for being the only RS Escort to attain royal approval - Princess Diana had one; the only one to leave the factory painted black - the Series One RS Turbo was a combination of homologation evolution, reputational rebuilding, and bandwagon-leaping in the hot hatch era.
The Escort's reputation took a bit of a hit with Project Erika, which became the mkIII Escort, in that unlike the previous two generations, the new model wasn't rear-wheel drive. However, a new wave of FWD hot hatch enthusiasts, spurred on by the success of the Golf GTI, 205 GTI, Astra GTE et al, were appeased first by the XR3 (and subsequent XR3i), and then by the homologation-special RS1600i. What the RS Turbo achieved was to take this road-racer, mix in a little forced induction, slap on a de rigueur bodykit, and sell them in nothing but Essex Stiletto White.
Prices of Series Ones today reflect the fact that the keen-eyed enthusiasts of the eighties have grown to an age where they can afford to fulfil those childhood dreams. And given the nature of boy-racer hot hatches - they tended to get either nicked and burnt out, or wrapped around lamp-posts - their relative scarcity means that prices are escalating sharply.
So, would you go standard or modified; concours or period-tuned? The car we see here, spotted at the 2013 Bromley Pageant, represents the latter. The Escort sits low over RS seven-spokes (seventeens are risky on a mkIII, but the Turbo can pull off these Ford rims, just), there's the obligatory stainless-steel drainpipe, and all manner of tuning shenanigans happening under the bonnet. Power Engineering have long been the go-to guys for souped-up Fords, and the abundance of shiny bits and Samco hoses here suggests rather more than factory-standard horsepower. And look, you can see a dump valve there, for that trademark RS Turbo sneeze. Marvellous.

Monday, 17 June 2013

HPE mkI Cortina

Freshly built and enjoying a gentle shakedown, this Harris-engined mkI debuted at the Bromley Pageant last weekend. It enjoys such period features as steel rims, bullet mirrors and gleaming chrome, while the temptation to go for the usual white-and-green Lotus combo or red-and-gold Alan Mann livery has been sidestepped in favour of a subtle burgundy. For many, this would be the ultimate clubman racer: classically styled, not over-embellished, and with a fusion of traditional thinking and modern methods worked into that fast-road engine. A subtle exercise in understatement. (Aside from the massive race numbers, obviously...)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Kevve's Aired-Out E21

For many people at the Players Classic, Kevve's E21 was the car of the show. Indeed, the fact that it, er, took home 'Car of the Show' sort of proves that.
It's a polarising build; I personally love everything about it, although friends of mine have commented that there's perhaps too much going on - the interior, for example, with its leather and velour and polished carbon-fibre... it's not to all tastes.
But like I say, I love it. The bespoke AccuAir setup lets it sit scene-meltingly low (the fuel tank has been relocated to allow this!), the standard arches have been aggressively flared, the colour-coded BBS splits suit the look perfectly, the outrageous pea-green of the interior is inspired - there's a lot to love here.
...and there was a little 'for sale' notice on the dash too. Interesting. Although €14,000 is a little out of my reach! Still, that's the same money as a new Kia Rio. I know which I'd rather have.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Lancia Appia Convertibile

Well now, isn't this a gorgeous little thing? Spotted at the Bromley Pageant amongst a variety of Lotus Sunbeams, Escort RS1600is and various other eighties fare, this late-fifties/early-sixties Michelotti-styled vision stood out like a recently hammered thumb.
Based on the diminutive Appia saloon launched in 1953, the Convertibile was a Vignale-built tourer that shared its mainstream brother's mechanicals, including the 1,100cc V4 engine. Just 1,500 examples were built and, if you subscribe to the notion that Lancias are made of wafer-thin steel-alike vapour that rusts as soon as you look at, breathe near or think about it, you'll appreciate that this is a pretty rare sighting. That it's original and pristine is something of a bonus.