2017, what a year… I went into 2017 with high hopes for things to come. This article will be about my personal highlights of all things car related in the year.
Let’s kick things off with my first shoot of the year, the crazy, mad and beautiful race car that is the Aston Martin Vulcan (@Vulcan16). This savage track focused spaceship covered in a black chrome wrap by @Yiannimize was the first car that I shot this year. It was a freezing cold Saturday morning in January, the grass and cars were frozen and the sun just started to pierce through the grey clouds. It took three of us to push the car around to manoeuvre it for various shots, it was a workout to say the least. At the end of the shoot I attempted to get into the drivers seat of the Vulcan, it was a no go… no matter what I did, the steering column was still in the way – I’m obviously not built for the race car driver life. I got equally as stuck in the passenger side, I must admit though, there’s a lot worse places to get stuck.
Full set of images here
In February came a life changing moment… Probably the most significant moment in my car life: I bought my first car. As some of you may or may not know, I own a 2017 Suzuki Swift Sport. I feel like I may need to write a proper piece on this car in the future but yeah… I own a Swift Sport. Why did I buy it? At the time I was looking at potential RWD cars (the 1 series and Twingo GT were contenders for this – opposite ends of the scale I know) and was adamant to get some sideways action but in the end I saw the light and got this Boost Blue hot hatch. The main reason I got the Swift though was because I had saw tonnes of them at the Nürburgring a few months prior and said “well that must mean they drive well”. I used this as self justification to go out and actually sign the papers and throw money at the little Suzuki. Unfortunately it is on a leash at the moment (black box) but I tell you what, it’s a tonne of fun on some twisty country roads!
On the subject of hot hatches, next up we have one of the most highly anticipated cars of 2017… the VW Golf GTi Clubsport S. When my friend Sid was looking for his next car after parting ways from his beloved Porsche Cayman GT4, he was looking for something special… something that costed a little less on fuel and insurance but still retained track performance and killer handling. Oh and it couldn’t be a Porsche… Anyways ideas got thrown around and it boiled down to the Golf GTi Clubsport S. The ultimate Golf. We joked around for a bit but I mentioned the dealership that had this particular one had “drift” in the name so it was obviously a sign… A week later, we arrived at Dunsfold in this bright Tornado Red Clubsport S for a TopGear episode filming where it so happens the one and only Queen of The Green Hell, Sabine Schmitz was thrashing around the Golf GTi Clubsport S on the Nürburgring embarrassing some more expensive cars on track (some of which were Porsches). Now clearly a lot of people just said this car was a stupidly expensive impractical golf and that video was merely the case of ‘it’s not what you drive…’ but a handful saw what the golf had going for it. It’s funny because some car enthusiasts don’t even know what it is, the way I explain it is the GT3 RS of the Golf world. I’ve had a play in this car, it’s rather fun in the corners and my word does it pull!
p.s. Sid did later go on and buy another GT4…
Onto another red car, the 488 Spider. One of my friends from the Supercars of Essex owners club mentioned that he’d be taking delivery of his Rosso Corsa 488 Spider and would like to get some photos of it. This car is Ferrari’s latest V8 mid-engined Supercar without the roof. Perfect for summertime cruising (when the sun was actually out). More importantly, the 488 was a symbol of change of direction with Ferrari… It was the first car that didn’t wear the Pininfarina badge and it was also the first car out of Modena since the legendary F40 to use a mid engine twin turbo V8 combined with a rear wheel drive drivetrain setup.
Full Piece Here
Adding a few more cylinders and we have Ferrari’s latest hardcore GT car, the F12 TdF. The F12 TdF pays homage to the beautiful 250 TdF with some design cues present in the F12 TdF such as the gills above the rear haunches of the car. This is the first of two tailor-made F12 TdF’s that I’ve had the pleasure of shooting this year. This particular one is owned by my friend Chris at @tempestaracing and is very special as it’s a homage to Eric Clapton’s 250 SWB using the same Bordeaux against Grigio colour scheme throughout. The car has had no expense spared in and out with dark red exposed carbon replacing the standard carbon across the car and even inside. I’m not left speechless by many cars at first glance but this was simply one of the most beautifully complete cars (in and out) I had ever seen and the sheer attention to detail was astonishing. There was even red Carbon in the engine bay and I was told that the only thing that couldn’t be altered by the tailor-made programme was the colour of the cylinder heads which are finished in red across all F12’s and TdF’s. I experienced the raw naturally aspirated V12 from the passenger seat and it is vicious. The noise fills the cabin whilst your surroundings are turned into a blur with the most brutal force pushing you forward at vigorous pace.
Jumping forward to November, I shot another tailor made F12 TdF finished in Argento Nürburgring. I had seen this car several times before at various Supercars of Essex events and members meetings and admired the car in all its glory when it arrived and left. So in October I pleasantly surprised when Mr @F1Wax told me that the owner wanted photos of the car, gave him my details and the rest was history. I had been hunting around for the perfect location and setting and found a small quiet bit of twisty B road in Essex that looks rather magnificent under the light of a typical winters sunset. Admittedly, the sun may have been nicer in the shot of my car… Following that, I found a run down, dark and dingy car park which was the perfect setting for the look I was going for. Something moody and dark to contrast against the pure Argento Nürburgring paint and also an environment that you wouldn’t usually see a Supercar in.
On the topic of Nürburgring, in May I found myself in Germany for my seemingly annual trip to the Nürburgring. Since we were heading to Germany we thought it’d be rude not to stop by Stuttgart and Affalterbach. First stop was the beautiful Porsche museum, naturally.
It’s worth noting that the day before I left for Germany I was lucky enough to see this barn find 964 RSR 3.8 with 10km on the clock prior to its sale at the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction where the car sold for $2.25M. Crazy.
On the second day we made our way to the home of AMG, Affalterbach. For this trip I was riding shotgun with Jamie in his Jupiter Red pocket rocket, the A45 AMG. Jamie had kindly arranged for us to have a private tour of the Mercedes-AMG facilities and saw how the brand and ethos of “one man, one engine” came into play. It’s a truly eye opening experience to see how the engines are hand made, tested and put into the Mercedes-AMG models we see on the road today.
The rest of the trip we hung around the ring and did the odd venture to Frankfurt, I did finally experience the infamous track as a passenger which was interesting!
Moving on to probably one of my favourite highlights of the year, the Supercars of Essex members tour. This year a few of the Supercars of Essex members went on a tour of Spain and thanks to Ryan I was able to join them. We took a V8 R8 down to Portsmouth where our 24 hour ferry to Bibao waited for us. Other cars on the trip included an Aventador, 12C and GT-R.
We drove from Northern Spain to the South and ended up in Marbella over the course of a week where these cars were right at home. I cannot express how good the roads are in Spain, they are either dead straight for a few miles or twisting mountain roads.
The company, paired with the food and wine made this trip a truly unforgettable experience.
The experience however was cut short as I had a flight to catch back to England for one of the most significant motoring events in the calendar; Goodwood Festival of Speed.
I won’t go on about what Festival of Speed (FoS) is… All I will say is if you like anything with an engine (new or old), love the smell of race fuel and hearing things with wheels and various cylinders going at full chat, then get yourself a ticket and down to Goodwood house in the Summer. If you need more convincing, here’s some photos from the event:
A new event that peaked my interest and opened my eyes to a whole new side of the UK car culture was RollHard at Cressing Temple. I wrote a piece about this event here but it was refreshing to go to an event with such diversity.
September signified the end of summer but there was enough time to squeeze in a couple of events, the first being Salon Privé.
I did a full article on Salon Privé and Blenhiem Palace Supercar and Classic here so here’s some of my personal favourite shots from the two events.
The second event was at the backend of September and it was definitely a good one… I was invited by @tempestaracing and @hrowenferrari to the Ferrari extravaganza that is Ferrari Racing Days at Silverstone. The 488 Challenge series races were in full swing throughout the weekend with the XX corse clienti taking out their extreme XX cars in between. There was also a marvellous display of customer cars throughout the grounds of Silverstone, it was definitely the largest amount of prancing horses I had seen in one place.
At the end of September my friend told me he was picking up on of the most anticipated cars of 2017, the Mercedes-AMG GTR. This car was a lot of fun to shoot especially because we had Jamie’s A45 as a tracking car. Full shoot and mini article here
Jumping to November and came the trip I was waiting for all year… Dubai. I think I’ll write a full piece on Dubai soon and my experience there as a lot of people seem to have mixed perceptions on the place as a holiday destination. Personally, I love Dubai. I fell in love the first time I visited in 2016 which is exactly why I went back in November with Mr @Munch997. I did a vlog of our first 24 hours here but there’s so much more footage to edit. Highlights of the trip were definitely the shoots we did with @rwb_emirates, @tominiclassicsdubai and @themoonhopper. Gutted I couldn’t stay for National day but hopefully next year I’ll make it!
So that’s my round up of 2017, it took me to some amazing countries including; Germany, Spain and the UAE to shoot some amazing cars, meet some awesome people and see some great views. I attended some great events and I’ll be working harder in 2018 to get to some more places and shoot some more great cars! Thanks for reading