Archive | Events and shows

29 May 2012 ~ 0 Comments

SMMT Test Day 2012

SMMT Test Day 2012

An automotive pick and mix (or ‘Pic ‘n’ Mix’ in Woolworths speak) – that’s the SMMT Test Day. Staged annually at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, it’s a one-day gathering for over 300 UK-based motoring journalists to test around 140 cars, provided by 33 car manufacturers and importers. Also a chance to meet the PR staff from the car makers and to meet and make contact with fellow writers and bloggers, we went along this year, after receiving an invite from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) who have organised the event for over 25 years. And for starstruck wannabe motoring writers like ourselves, SMMT Test Day also lets you get up close and personal with your writing heroes.

Millbrook is the ideal place for testing anything with wheels, be they two or four. Built in the 1960s by Vauxhall, it boasts a three-section, progressive-gradient and tight-corner Hill Route to represent alpine driving roads; outer and inner-handling courses (used on SMMT Test Day as the ‘City Course’); and the High-Speed Bowl, a two-mile circular banked circuit which is used, as the name implies, for high-speed testing. The facility is well-known, having been featured in numerous challenges for BBC’s Top Gear; it is used for tests in the UK motoring programme Fifth Gear; and has played a starring role in the James Bond film Casino Royale. Though well-known, the venue isn’t open to the public, as camouflaged prototypes of as yet unreleased cars can often be seen pounding the enclosed routes, undergoing final testing.

So, the perfect venue. And with 140 cars available to grab the keys of, it was recommended to make a shortlist to use Millbrook to the full. With around 30 cars that appealed, our shortlist was a hopeless one, being more of a ‘longlist’, so as the day progressed, we plumped for models from inside the Volkswagen Group, with some notable Polo-based models included for healthy in-house competition. With our list, Audi A1s followed in the tyre tracks of SEAT Ibizas and Volkswagen Ups, and in the end, only 12 cars made the final ‘tested’ list, some 18 short of our initial plan! But, it was our first year in attendance, and we still had a fantastic day meeting up with some fellow tweeters, putting faces to names and testing a variety of models. We’ll publish brief drives from last week’s event over the next few days.

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25 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012 to all our readers and followers!

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19 December 2011 ~ 0 Comments

AutoTweetUp, December 2011:
event photo report

We first heard about AutoTweetUp in September. Founded by editor of Racing and Waiting magazine, Tim Hutton, the #AutoTweetUp series of events aims to bring together influential tweeters in and around the automotive industry for manufacturer tours, networking, social events and anything else that gets like-minded car people together. Tim’s first event was at the 7 Hotel Diner in Kent back in September, and it was there we returned to yesterday, for the December 2011 AutoTweetUp, just in time for Christmas. As well as motoring journalists, car bloggers like us were in attendance, too, and as before, a diverse range of cars attended. Below are a few of our favourites from the afternoon (if there’s a caption missing then email rich@polodriver.com for one to be added). If you’d like to get involved with the AutoTweetUp scene, check out the AutoTweetUp website, or follow @autotweetup on Twitter.

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30 November 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Event photo report: Polo Show 2011

OK, hands up, we’re fearsomely late with this one. As the winter takes the country in its damp, dark grasp, cast your mind back to the end of July, and the Polo Show 2011. An informal gathering organised by the UK’s Club Polo at Billing Aquadrome, Northamptonshire, the three-day event ran from 29-31 July, and blue skies on the day that we visited ensured a good turn out of Polos of all shapes and ages, and in all states of tune. As well as a field full of cars to pour over, Novatech were there with a rolling road, so owners could get an accurate reading of their performance figures. In addition to these activities, a self-judged Show ‘n’ Shine also took place, with the following results:

1 J815 JKM, 1992 Polo G40, 62 points
2 OTF 403R, 1977 Polo N, 61 points
3 H656 ERP, 1991 Polo G40, 49 points
4 G3 URO, 1991 Polo G40 custom, 42 points
5 J520 FCD, 1992 Polo G40, 32 points

Click through the gallery below to see highlights from the show. If you see you car and would like it cpationed, drop us a line at info@polodriver.com and let us know. Pictures: Martin Buck, Jon Gallant, and Rich Gooding.

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28 November 2011 ~ 0 Comments

AutoMuseum Volkswagen searches for the ‘Super-VW’ – 1977 Polo in contention

Remember Michael Dreisbach’s immaculate Riad Yellow 1977 Polo L that we featured recently? Well, now we’ve got a little more information about the exhibition in which it features. In cooperation with German motoring magazine Auto Bild Klassik and 14 car clubs, AutoMuseum Volkswagen is looking for the ‘Super-VW’, a car which is deemed the best out of 14 historic Volkswagens. And Michael’s stunning early Polo is one of the cars in contention.

From 19 November 2011 until 29 February 2012, visitors to the Dieselstrasse museum can choose their favourite ‘Super-VW’, and the readers of Auto Bild Klassik are also eligible to vote – the 14 competition entrants will be profiled in the 01/2012 issue of the magazine, on sale on 2 December. Both air and water-cooled models are represented and are the most orginal examples of their kind, hand-picked from the clubs taking part in the competition.

Michael Dreisbach’s Polo has provided wedding transport for Michael and his bride Heike (they met while at a Polo show in 2001), and the front passenger seat was removed in order to get the bride’s dress inside comfortably. A short friend then drove the pair to the church! The car was owned by the same lady owner for 30 years, and has never been restored. The full list of ‘Super-VW’s includes: 1945 W Porsche Eigenbau, 1955 Beetle 1200 Cabriolet, 1963 Karmann Ghia Cabriolet, 1971 411 E, 1972 Type 2 ‘Fire’ van, 1972 K70 L, 1974 Passat Variant, 1976 Rabbit, 1976 Beetle 1303 Cabriolet, 1977 ‘Black-White’ Scirocco, 1977 Polo L, 1984 Santana CX, and 2003 Beetle 1600i. We’re heading off to Wolfsburg soon, and so hope to see Michael and Heike’s stunning car for ourselves.

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