To be absolutely honest, I have been thoroughly spoilt recently, having driven an Aston Martin Vanquish, A Rolls-Royce ‘Ghost’, extended wheelbase model, a Maserati GranCabrio Sport, and a Bentley Continental GT, so that when our Business Member, The Ridgeway Group, offered us a new ‘C’ Class Mercedes-Estate to test drive, I was feeling a ‘little grand’ for what I imagined would be a rather sedate estate.

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Mercedes C Class Diesel Estate

When we learned that we were going to be able to road test and review this Bentley Continental GT, I had to think of somewhere to photograph it, and I immediately thought of the grounds of the Park House Hotel at Bepton, which with the South Downs rising up above it, made the perfect location.

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Bentley Continental GT W12 in the grounds of Park House Hotel at Bepton

Just the name “MASERATI” conjures a wide variety of opinions, memories and emotions.  From the early 1950s Maserati were at the forefront of Formula 1 racing with the great names of the day dicing with death.  A far cry from today’s clinical media show.

However Formula 1 is in the history books for Maserati. Today the firm produces a range of Supercars that are so interesting because they are different.  From the Quattroporte through the Granturismo to the car I tested, the Grancabrio Sport, all offer the broad minded customer another dimension to their motoring.

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Maserati GranCabrio Sport

What, or who do you think of when you think ITALIAN ICONS?

For me it is Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobridgida, Gianni Agnelli, Enzo Ferrari, and even its Dictators, both in time of war, like Benito Mussolini, and peace time, Berlusconi, and current icons like Carla Bruni.

Then there are also the products and services which typify Italy, like its wine and food, coffee, ice creams, and olive oil, its Opera, and fashion industries.

There is their well-deserved reputation which Italians have for design, epitomised by its classic sports cars like the Maserati GranCabrio Sport which we recently drove, and the beautifully designed, classic Riva speedboats.

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It is almost impossible to describe the extraordinary feeling when you first sit behind the steering wheel of a modern Rolls-Royce, and ecstasy is not a bad word to use, and it certainly describes the feeling when you first drive one.

One of the benefits of editing a Lifestyle Magazine like The Vintage Magazine, is that occasionally, you  get the opportunity to experience one of the great joys of life, in this case driving one of the most luxurious vehicles which money can buy, a Rolls-Royce ‘Ghost’ extended wheelbase model, assembled at their factory on the Goodwood Estate, in West Sussex.

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Ghost Hand-Built at Goodwood

Introduction by Robert Jarman 

James Martin is perhaps best-known as the Presenter of Saturday Kitchen for BBC1 which attracts 3.5 million foodies every week, and has made him a household name, but his other passion is racing Classic Cars.

In fact, he was once quoted as saying; ‘Food comes first, then cars, then my dog, and then women’….!

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James Martin in his Benson & Hedges sponsored by Jordan Peugeot Formula 1 car 1997 by Giancarlo Fisichella

The Vintage Magazine congratulates its Business Member, The Ridgeway Group, on acquiring Hartwell’s Land Rover dealership in Oxford.

 The Ridgeway Group has made its first foray into the Land Rover brand by acquiring the Land Rover site located in Cumnor, Oxford from Hartwell PLC for an undisclosed sum.

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Range Rover Evoque

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single (or married) man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a Mercedes-Benz.’   And the new M-Class is one he should have a serious look at!

There is little chance of the M-Class going unnoticed!  This is a big, bold, brute of a machine, but cleverly styled to disguise its bulk, but the overriding impression it makes is one of extreme comfort, huge power and agile handling for one so large!

We had the perfect combination of traffic and road conditions to test its abilities recently, with a weekend in the West Country, from edging along in a Friday evening traffic jam, to driving it along tortuously narrow country roads in Devon, including right across Dartmoor, to putting it through its paces on the motorway.

In all these situations it was firm, responsive, and we felt extremely safe viewing the world from such an exalted position.


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Mercedes M 350 posing on the shore line

Introduction by Robert Jarman

Every now and then, circumstances combine to enable you to do something you have always dreamed of, and, in my case, this happened recently, when I became aware that Aston Martin Lagonda were celebrating their 100th Anniversary, and had produced a ‘Special Edition’ Vanquish to mark the occasion.

Well, I have fantasised about driving a Vanquish ever since I saw one for the first time, and so, I wrote to Aston Martin, asking if we could test drive one in order to write a review for The Vintage Magazine, on the basis that if I was so interested in these beautiful cars, then my readers would be too!
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Aston Martin Vanquish

The sport of Karting falls very definitely into the remit of the Automotive columnist.  The first G0-Kart was built in the late 1950s by an American who wanted an efficient means of touring his factory floor.  Within a couple of years this new fad had become an international sport with the first World Championship event being held at Nassau in the Bahamas.  Sir Stirling Moss was a competitor at that event and the future of Karting was assured.

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Race Start