• Jenson Button’s Ford GT for sale

    A 2005 Ford GT first owned by ex-F1 World Champion Jenson Button is to be offered for sale by Silverstone Auctions.

    The car is one of five ‘VIP’ marked models and will go under the hammer with an estimate of £250,000 to £300,000 at Race Retro, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire (February 25-26).

    2005 Ford GT - Ex Jenson Button MBE rearSwiss Ford GT dealer Grimm of Geneva delivered the car to the Frome-born racing driver in August 2005 and it was subsequently UK registered in 2006.

    The high performance Ford GT showcases advanced technologies. For instance, it’s constructed on a lightweight aluminium chassis coated in superplastic-formed lightweight composite and features aluminium body panels.

    Finished in evocative white with blue racing stripes, it’s powered by a mid-mounted, hand-built, supercharged quad-cam 550bhp V8 and can hit 60mph in about 3.5 seconds, while the maximum speed is limited to 205mph.

    The car was acquired by its current owner in 2011 and has just 8,350 miles on the clock. It will be supplied with a history file including stamps and invoices from ‘Mountune’ and two services by Ford GT experts GT101, as well as copies of the order form signed by Jenson.

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  • Hyundai celebrates first ‘Click To Buy’ handovers

    Hyundai Click To Buy customer

    In an industry first, www.hyundai.co.uk/clicktobuy was launched on January 6. allowing customers nationwide to purchase a new car completely online, offering a no-haggle, fixed-price experience.

    Hyundai claims it’s “simple, quick and transparent” and the entire process is possible to complete in less than five minutes when purchasing with cash, arguably making it easier than buying a weekly grocery shop online.

    Since launch, 23 Hyundai cars have been ordered via Click To Buy and the site has had over 92,200 visitors with 43% of customers trading in and 93% collecting their new car from their local dealer.

    One of the first buyers was 50-year-old John Freel, from York, who has just had a £20,000-plus Hyundai Tucson delivered to his house.

    John part-exchanged his old car for the new SUV and didn’t even bother test-driving the Tucson before clicking to buy.

    “I can’t be bothered going into showrooms half the time and I don’t like being pressurised,” said the health and safety manager.

    “The Tucson is my fourth Hyundai in succession and I had an ix35 before, so I roughly knew what I was getting anyway.

    “The showroom is still there and you can still go in and see everything, but I would say that this is definitely the future.”

    When customers visit the website, they are able to get a trade-in price for their current car, use trade-in funds towards the new car purchase, configure their new car, add accessories and service plans, arrange finance and pay a deposit.

    Cars can be delivered to owners’ houses or they can pick them up from the showroom.

    Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO of Hyundai UK, said: “Click To Buy is an industry first developed by Hyundai in-house and it makes me incredibly proud to see the first new Hyundai cars purchased online handed over to absolutely delighted customers.

    “Our aim with the site has always been to make the buying process easier and more transparent than ever before.

    “With discounted fixed prices, Click To Buy is hassle free and with our detailed online trade-in valuation tool, the whole process is clear and easy to understand.”

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  • PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD: THE RICHARD PETTY CONNECTION!

    Our man on the track, Stephen Cox, talks with Richard Petty about his connection to the winged Superbird.

    It has been claimed that Plymouth’s legendary winged ‘70 Superbird was the brainchild of NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The rumor has been around for decades but I’ve never found anyone with first-hand knowledge who could absolutely confirm or deny that the car’s origins truly began with The King of Stock Car Racing.

    But opportunity knocked a couple of weeks ago when Petty was in attendance at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL, which I co-host for NBCSN. I found him relaxing backstage late in the show and hollered, “Hey, King!” Although I don’t know him well, he looked up with his trademark smile and immediately held out his hand.

    I asked him point blank whether he was responsible for the development of the Plymouth Superbird. Petty paused and laid the back of his hand across his brow. “Well, let me get the dates right.”

    “We knew in 1968 that Dodge was building a wing car. So I went to Plymouth and asked if they were gonna build one and they said, ‘No.’ I told them that I’d like them to work on one and they said, ‘No, you’re winning all the races anyway.’”

    True, Petty had been dominant, winning 27 of 49 Grand National races en route to the championship in 1968. Rather than cough up the additional funds to stay current in NASCAR’s burgeoning aero wars, Plymouth was content to let Petty struggle against increasing odds.

    Undeterred, Petty tried another angle. He asked if he could stay within the Chrysler family and simply move over to Dodge and drive the new Charger Daytona winged car for the 1969 season. Plymouth flatly refused.

    “So I said, ‘Either build me a wing car or I’m walking across the street,’” Petty continued. “They said, ‘Sure, go ahead.’ So I did.”

    That same afternoon Richard Petty personally walked into Ford Motor Company’s front office. Ford executives took no risks, signing Petty to a one-year contract on the spot. Petty finished second in the points chase while winning ten races for Ford in 1969. It was enough. He didn’t have to return to Detroit to beg Plymouth for a winged car. This time, they came to him.

    “The head man from Plymouth came walking into my shop,” Petty continued. “He said, ‘What do we need to do to get you back? I said, ‘Give me what I’ve been asking for.’”

    Plymouth pledged to have a new winged car completed for Petty in time for the 1970 NASCAR season. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they chose to use a modified version of the wildly successful Dodge Charger Daytona platform. Under NASCAR’s homologation rules, a limited number of Superbird street cars were built and sold through Plymouth’s dealership network.

    Behind the wheel of the car built specifically for him, Richard Petty and his Plymouth Superbird won 18 of the 40 races in which they competed in 1970, led nearly half of all laps and won nine pole positions. Despite being produced for only one model year, the road-going version of the Superbird became a legend in the annals of musclecar history.

    Today, a concours-ready Plymouth Superbird will routinely draw bids from $100,000 to $300,000 at auction. They remain among the most collectible musclecars ever built.

    “So there you go,” Petty told me with a smile. “That’s how it happened.”

     

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