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Classics, Plastics, and the Fantastics: Simon’s SMMT 2014 Report Part 2

Simon Ford founder of

Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve all had a good week and the sun is still shining! Following on from my blog last week, it’s time to have a look at what else I managed to take a good look at on my SMMT 2014 day out!

Infiniti Qx70 S

Now, Infiniti have been for sale in the UK for a few years now and have been an under-the radar-leftfield choice for those who want a premium SUV but don’t want to be seen in a Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport.

Are they any Good?

Style wise, the QX70 S looks lower than the Porsche and the Range Rover – thanks to some great Lines and curves by the Infiniti Designers – yet it rides on 21″ wheels.

Interior wise, everything is laid out in a logical, easy to use way and despite being full of dark colours, it is not at all oppressive. The seats are very supportive and comfortable; they are also adjustable in every way possible (in fact, I’d even say it was the 2nd best interior of cars I drove that day…the winner being the Rolls Royce Wraith but we’ll see that later).

The Engine is a 3.0 v6, developing 550nm of torque and 238ps; it is mated to a 7 speed gearbox. This model reaches 0-62 in 8.6 seconds (which is quick for a big 3.0 diesel) but the driving experience feels a bit quicker due to its Excellent Rear Active Steer. This means that the rear wheels turn to assist handling,which if I’m honest is brilliant – it made the Infiniti QX70-s very fun and it was my joint 2nd most fun car of the day. Even the view from the drivers seat was excellent (even though it was a bit Porsche-esque due to it’s bonnet humps).

Overall, the Infiniti QX70-S is a fantastic alternative to The Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport and at just over £40,000, it is Reasonably priced too.

SimonsCarSpots Rating 8.7 / 10

Maserati Ghibli Diesel

Appearing at SMMT for the first time was the iconic brand Maserati who have always been one of my boyhood heros with the Bora, the Shamal and the Original Ghibli to name but a few of the cars in their portfolio. The New Ghibli Diesel was the one that I was looking forward to driving the most on the day.

The design of the Ghibli is – dare I say it – a little restrained (sorry!) but still stands out as a GT car, especially from the front with that Iconic ‘M’ on the grille. However, the rest of the Ghibli is a bit “marmite” – you’ll either love it or hate it depending on which angle you look at it from.

It is also a shame that the theme continues on the inside as well; long gone were the days of wood, leather and the amazing oval Breitling Clock that adorned the dash. In their place are now dark colours and a rather subdued design; even though there was no doubting the Ghibli’s use of quality materials, it just felt like something was slightly missing.

There were two good bits I really liked about the new Ghibli diesel and number one was the Fantastic 3.0 v6 diesel engine. Built and designed in house by Maserati and Manufactured by Ferrari for the use in Maserati only, it develops 275hp, has a massive 600Nm of torques and can do up to a claimed 47mpg.

But that’s not the best bit: the best bit for me is the Maserati Active Sound System that is built so Maserati fans can tell which Maserati you’re driving by it’s engine note. This means in practice that it doesn’t sound like a diesel AT ALL and is the only diesel in the world that I’ve ever driven that actually sounds like a petrol. Praise where praise is due to Maserati and Ferrari for that one.

The other thing I liked about the Ghibli was the Chassis – while it can be tail happy, fun, excellent and put a smile on your face, it is a proper driver’s car and if you’re not careful it will kill you if you’re not on top of your game.

Overall, a mixed bag from the Maserati Ghibli Diesel. It’s a good alternative to a Jaguar, Mercedes or a Bmw and costs £48,835,00, it has the most amazing diesel engine you’re ever likely to encounter and the chassis to to let you know your driving a true drivers car. Then, you are let down by the restricted styling and the so-so interior

SimonsCarSpots Rating engine alone 10/10 overall though 7.3

Dacia Sandero Stepway Ambiance

Does anyone remember when Renault built a decent car that everyone brought and liked? I do – it was the 2002 Renault Scenic. You know the one the one without the rubbish keycard start and the good looks?

Well, this Sandero is the modern equivalent, offering a fantastic package, a willing engine and an excellent price for a 5 seat car that offers true economical motoring. What else can I say?

SimonsCarSpots Rating 6.9 / 10

Rolls Royce Wraith

In part one of my SMMT Test day, I drove the Rolls Royce Phantom and stated it was a car to be driven in and not a car to Drive. Now, the Wraith if the newest model from Rolls Royce that’s designed to be driven and not to be driven in and I have to say that the Wraith has achieved this very, very well.

Starting with the interior of the Wraith, as ever with Rolls Royce, it’s very opulent and you and your passengers want for nothing. It even has the most inviting interior of any modern car on sale today; from the gorgeous graining and patterning on the doors to the chrome ashtrays, Rolls Royce have hit a winner on the Wraith.

The styling of the Wraith from the front – three quarters look amazing in the flesh with so much road presence and awe inspiring looks from anyone that sees it. The rear end is reminiscent slightly of the Bentley GT.

On the road, the Wraith belies its size; yes, it’s still a big car but it’s chuck-able round most corners and eats miles up for breakfast with ease. It is powered by a 6.6 litre BMW sourced engine that produces 624bhp – you’d think it would be a complete Tyre Shredder, but that’s not what the Wraith is about.

Granted it is a Drivers Roller, but Rolls Royce don’t want their customers to kill themselves or have too much fun encouraging raucous do-nutting, elevenses, or white knuckle driving, so everything is done calmly and smoothly whilst you are still in the utmost comfort.

Overall, this is Rolls Royce’s best ever driving car and of course, it’s fantastic.

SimonsCarSpots rating 9.1 / 10

I do hope that you have enjoyed my summary of my antics on the 2014 SMMT day – watch this space for more fun blogs every Sunday and join in the chat on Twitter with myself and Motor Mistress daily!

Goodwood Moving Motor Show 2012 by Simon Ford (@Sf4d74) and Hemmings News, (@Hemmingsnews)

Goodwood’s Moving Motor show is held yearly as a prequel to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed.

Since there is no official British Motor show anymore, Goodwood has become Britains Biggest and best unofficial motor show, but with a difference!.

Apart from manufacturer’s showcasing there latest products and ideas, there is also a Formula 1, Rally, and Super car paddocks to get up close and personal with Legendary cars of the past and present throughout the said Genre’s, also if your lucky enough manufacturer’s will give you a ride up the famous Goodwood hill in their cars by means of an invite or by simply signing up and waiting your turn for a go.

Now In it’s 3rd year and sponsored by Simonscarspots and were invited by Autotrader to come along and enjoy a great day out.

But what sort of Combined article could We do, I hear you ask there’s so much to do and see and most people only Highlight the best bits, So We’ve decided to take you around Goodwood exactly as We visited it, so be prepared to see loads of photos sit back and enjoy Goodwood Moving Motor Show.

Before you get to the main gates there is usually a mini event to go and see, this year was no different the topic being Aviation, but being Simonscarspots we didn’t take any plane pics, but did spot this Zonda on the way in.

Anyway upto the main event we headed to the testdrive area where We went straight to RollsRoyce to see their Ghost and Ghost convertible.

Stepping from The RR stand I spotted T.V star/mechanic All-round Nice chap and Legendary giant Ed China I couldn’t resist a quick chat and a photo op.

Onto Ferrari to see the New FF

Then to Porsche to see the Gorgeous 918 spyder Making it’s debut at Goodwood

Followed by the Bmw M1

Then Dacia Duster

Heading out of the Test area We then started to work our way around the Manufacturers Main stands

Starting with Morgan Motor cars who are synonymous with making handmade British sports cars, Now heading back into coolness again appealing to a younger generation with their 3 wheeler and Aerosport coupe

Chief Morgan Designer Matthew Humphries

Next stop Skoda where the Citigo was the main draw, coolest thing on their stand was a Citigo D.j Booth

Next stop and a car We were looking forward to seeing was Toyota’s Gt-86

Also on the busy Toyota stand was the Gt2000

And the Ae-86

After being Invited to some refreshments in the Toyota v.i.p area We headed to the Michelin stand

Koenigsegg Agera

Gumpert Apollo

Weismann Mf3

Then a quick walk round to spot a Bowler Wildcat

Mazda Mx5 gt

Nissan Leaf Nismo rc

A.c Cobra

De Macross, Canadian supercar costing 1.5 million Dollars

Before heading over to the F1 Paddock featuring F1, Gt, Le-Mans cars

Maserati Mc12

Mercedes CLK-GTR

Audi R18 E-tron

Porsche 917k

AlfaRomeo Tipo 33 Tz3

6 Wheeled March

Lotus Europa

Legendary Lotus Jps selection

AlfaRomeo 183T

Ferari were just Unloading Alonso’s car as  We arrived at their stand

Racing Zonda R then comes rolling past

Then an Innocenti spotted as We head towards the Mclaren stand

Mclaren mp4-12c gt3

Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car

Jenson Button’s F1 car

Bentley Speed 12

After heading back to Toyota for more refreshments We took in the other half of the Manufacturers tents starting with



Jaguar Sportbrake

Next stop Lotus

Elan 26 R

Lotus Le-Man car

Then to Mercedes

C63 Black edition

Ml 63 Amg over £100,000

Gold wrapped G-wagon (why! just why!)

Every year there’s a featured car in enclosed by a picket fence, (not sure why) this year was no exception, and it was the turn of the Noble M600

Noble M600

After getting a couple of shots of cars being driven up the hill

Audi R8 climbing the hill

Mazda Mx5  Gt

Porsche Panamera Hybrid

It was Time to get a better look at the Porsche 918 Spyder

Before making my way Towards the Supercar Paddock

Spotting the new Ferrari California 30 on the way

Now I’ll be honest here, I totally missed the F1 and Supercar paddocks last year, due to it being my 1st time at Goodwood and just snapping everything I saw like a 2yr old,

Now I realise that this was a major mistake as you’ll all see from the next Pictures with the Supercar paddock being the highlight of ANYONES day!.

AlfaRomeo Tz3

Lamborghini Aventador

Lexus LFA

Weismann Gt MF5

Ferrari Stand

Ferrari California 30

Ferrari 458 Spyder

Me being allowed into the 458 spyder thanks to Jason Harris @FNEPR (Pictured)

AlfaRomeo 8c

Infiniti Emerg-E

Gta Spano


Ruf CTR3 Sport

Savage Rivale

Chevrolet Silverado

Ford Sierra RS500

Lancia Stratos

Amc Spirit Pikes Peak

1953 Ferrari 250 MM

1983 Lancia-Ferrari LC2

Porsche 962, 917, 956

1992 Peugeot 905 Evo 1B

1989 Sauber-Mercedes C9

Jaguar XJR-8/9, XJR-9 LM, XJR11

1911 Fiat S74 Grand Prix

1912 Sunbeam Coupe de l’Auto

1914 Sunbeam Indianapolis

1927 Delage 15 S8

1934 Maserati 8CM

The Maserati 8CM was the last car for the day as time was getting on, We’d arrived at 8:45 am and it was now around 5:15 pm We’d spent an amazing day at Goodwood Moving Motor Show.

Wandering around each and every manufacturer’s stand’s, enjoying the freedom of being allowed to walk around the paddocks in awe of the Legendary cars past and present, private cars from the collections of Individuals/companys that they’re proud to own and display for everybody to see and get very very close too.

Just remains for Us  to say a big thank you to Autotrader uk for supplying us with this years tickets,

And Toyota uk for their Hospitality throughout the day

Until next year

Simonscarspots and Hemmings News Team


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