Steve Cro­p­ley

Judg­ing Porsches at Salon Privé

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SUN­DAY

Break­neck week be­gins. To Blen­heim Palace to help judge the Pirelli-spon­sored su­per­car con­cours that brings the four-day Salon Privé to a close. Nat­u­rally, there’s a Bu­gatti Ch­i­ron on hand – the first I’ve seen away from a mo­tor show. The weather’s iffy but luck­ily I’m judg­ing with Paul Keel­ing, a Porsche Club ex­pert I know and ad­mire, and our main job is as­sess­ing Porsches, so we swing through it be­fore the rain ar­rives. We even­tu­ally give the gong to a 993-gen­er­a­tion 911 GT2, but Paul reck­ons three or four of this year’s en­trants could have won; the stan­dard is ris­ing. Con­cours some­times get a hard time from carsare-for-driv­ing types, but we’re happy this year’s win­ner gets driven hard too.

MON­DAY

Low-key launch for the electric Jaguar E-type you’ve since seen in all the tabloids. It’s built partly for rich peo­ple in pol­luted cities, and partly as the pre­cur­sor of a se­ries of im­por­tant elec­tric­car announcements Jaguar will make later in the week (see sto­ries else­where). A few years ago, I’d have felt a good deal of syn­thetic out­rage about the idea of re­plac­ing the fa­mous old XK six with an ‘electric ma­chine’ of sim­i­lar power, but hav­ing driven lots of electric cars now, I’m fine with it. Es­pe­cially since Jag Clas­sic Works chief Tim Han­nig says the orig­i­nal bits are be­ing faith­fully re­tained so the car can be ‘re­stored’ if de­sired. In­ter­est­ingly, the view un­der the bon­net is nearly as in­spi­ra­tional as the orig­i­nal, with the bat­tery en­throned where the XK en­gine sat. This is prophetic, given what I’ll learn on Wed­nes­day.

WED­NES­DAY

To Mill­brook for this year’s Cenex LCV show, an event es­tab­lished af­ter 10 years as this coun­try’s pre­mier gather­ing of ex­perts and tech com­pa­nies chas­ing ef­fi­ciency and cut­ting pol­lu­tion in all its forms. First, to huge ac­cla­ma­tion the wraps came off the new Ariel Hiper­car – but given that last week we pub­lished a 36-page sup­ple­ment on the project, you prob­a­bly don’t need more on that. In­stead, one sen­tence in a speech by Ford’s Gra­ham Hoare, cur­rently chief of that ac­com­plished in­dus­try-govern­ment body, the Au­to­mo­tive Coun­cil, catches my at­ten­tion above all else. “In fu­ture cars, the bat­tery will be­come a mas­sive dif­fer­en­tia­tor”, he told a rapt au­di­ence, “just as en­gines have done un­til now.” Ex­am­ine that, know­ing what we’re learn­ing about how bat­tery ef­fi­ciency af­fects per­for­mance, range, ca­pa­bil­ity and pack­ag­ing, and you see the truth. Let’s hope they find a way of mak­ing the damn things look bet­ter.

I can’t help won­der­ing how the fu­ture will treat V8 cars like the new TVR

THURS­DAY

Time for JLR’S Tech Fest, a pub­lic ex­hi­bi­tion of its new­est and most in­ter­est­ing ideas, re­ported else­where. Note of op­ti­mism in the vir­tual 2040 pro­to­type, pro­posed to ag­gre­gate all the tech cur­rently on the rise. The car does most of the work but chooses roads it thinks you’ll en­joy driv­ing. That’s more like it…

FRI­DAY

Now a re­turn to the old school. I’m in a Ford Mus­tang V8 con­vert­ible, bound for Good­wood to see the un­veil­ing of TVR’S first run­ning pro­to­type. There’s a cer­tain sym­me­try in sit­ting be­hind a 412bhp 5.0-litre V8 on my way to see another. The TVR turns out to be glo­ri­ous in its sim­plic­ity, and there’s a gen­eral air of ela­tion among the project’s back­ers now that the first part of the job is done. Given the week I’ve had, I can’t help won­der­ing how the fu­ture will treat cars like this. In the­ory, they have 20-odd years, but it might not be so sim­ple.

Su­per­car con­cours was a fit­ting cli­max to this year’s Salon Privé event

It’s been a big week for Jaguar’s vi­sion of an elec­tri­fied fu­ture

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