1 Oct 2014

2014 Goodwood Revival Photo Gallery Part 2

Sean Ward attended the 2014 Goodwood Revival. Armed with his camera and a media pass he snapped away during all three days of the festival to create an extraordinary collection of photos.

Check out Sean's own website New Motoring. You'll also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

The Day I Crushed A Daewoo With A Monster Truck

Can you make it to Sussex next Wednesday they said, you'll be driving a monster truck and crushing cars they said. God damn right I said, I'll cancel whatever I have on.

They being a PR team from MoneySuperMarket who are organising this day out (we crush cars, they crush car insurance quotes, geddit?) and the monster truck being The Grizzly but to be renamed Speedmonkey for a couple of hours one early autumn day.

And so it was I came to be sitting in a static double decker bus with the rain bouncing off the roof, drinking tea whilst being briefed on what we'd be driving that day.  The instructor was full of beans because stage 1 was driving a Land Rover Defender - his favourite thing ever, apparently.

Tea drunk, briefing over, the camera crew and PR people milling around and we step outside just as the rain stops and into the Landie.  20 years old, 2.5 non-turbo diesel and terrible on the road (experience - I used to own one) but perfect for a rutted, muddy, off-road course through the woods.

With barely road legal but utterly effective off-road tyres the 90 served as our first training machine. Half an hour behind the wheel each (the other driver being Tim from Sick Chirpse) and we were loving it.

The ruts were massive, and the mud deep but we ploughed through, getting stuck infrequently and climbing hills and plunging into ooze frequently.  Wet branches tried to make entry into the cabin and whack us through the windows as the photographer's camera flashed away from the side of the track.

Fun done and back to the double decker.

Training, stage 2, jacked up Toyota Hilux - the theory being it's a halfway house to the 12 foot high and 12 foot wide monster truck.  OK, the car of choice for African militia is nothing like a monster truck but it's the next best thing so let's go!

We stay in a field but find some big obstacles to challenge the drivers and give us an appreciation of width and height. Woah! Sky, bonnet, ground, some of those hillocks are steep.  The Hilux takes it all in its stride and we gather valuable mind-data for the experience ahead.

That was also fun.  The HiLux is agricultural and has the turning circle of an ocean liner but it's perfect for the job.

Which is preparation for the monster truck.

It's on, I'm in it, 12 foot in the air atop a Chevy Silverado body, 7.4 litres of V8 goodness and a massive steel ladder chassis with only two disc brakes attached to the transmission.

The climb up and into the cabin is performed via a stepladder, the harness is on loose (so I can peer out the window at the 6 foot, 800kg front wheel) and a Go-Pro is attached to my helmet.  I bang it on the door frame constantly, to the chagrin of the film crew.

The instructor instructs, calmly.  We're in the practice field with a figure-8 course and some pre-squashed cars.  Ready? Yes.  He fires up the engine (glorious noise) and selects D from the auto-box.

We're good to go.  The steering is light, the throttle responsive, the brakes almost non-existent - they're a two feet affair with all your strength and even then it takes a while to stop.

The view is epic from up here but I'm focussed on where I'm going.

First up, a nice big berm.  'Slow ahead and get your front wheels on the top then stop,' says the instructor.  I do, and do it well - hurrah!

Then up and over and around once again for another go.  It's all about lining the huge truck up just right.  When we get to the cars we want to be spot on, or else you're rolling sideways in 7 ton of truck, and none of us want that to happen.  It would ruin the film, never mind the Chevy.

Before hitting the pre-crushed cars I have to stop between two cones to see how I judge the width of the thing.  Perfect. Luck or skill?  I like to think the latter, it could be the former.

A reverse into a box of cones is also done well and we're off over the cars.  Stop in front, slowly does it, gas the V8 and stop with the front wheels on the bonnets, pose for the camera and more gas.  The truck sits atop the cars and we creep forwards on the brakes so the back wheels can plop off smoothly.

It goes well.  Time to crush some real cars.

The film crew want to do a piece to camera, "Hi, I'm Matt from Speedmonkey. I'm in East Grinstead with MoneySuperMarket dot com and I'm about to crush some cars in this monster truck."  Extreme cheese but it feels OK.

Tim goes first.  His victims are a pair of Astras.  He crushes them well and then they are flat.

My turn.  A Daewoo and a Ford Focus.  They are intact save for fluids and windows.  They're strapped to the ground so the truck doesn't just push them all around the field.

I haul myself up and into the truck, helmet on, harness on.  Listen to the instructor.  This is it.  Crushing time.

Gas it, crawl to the cars.  Line up the wheels with the bonnets.  Two feet from the cars.  'We're in position, good job, want to do it?'. 'Yes.'

I accelerate a bit too much and forget to brake until we're actually on the cars and most definitely destroying them.  Oops, I was meant to stop with the truck's front wheels on the bonnets, but it feels right and looks good for the cameras.

We sink as the cars buckle under the truck's weight.  Metal strains then gives in to mass.  Great stuff!

This whole experience is thrilling, steering the truck, driving over obstacles, crushing the cars, getting it almost right.  Adrenaline courses my veins but I keep calm and focus on the task in hand.

That task being getting it right this time, which I do.  Power, get the wheels on the bonnets, pose for cameras, creep forward, drop off the back of the demolished cars and then another circle to finish the cars off with one more crush.

Gas it again and drive in a big circle to have another go at the poor old Daewoo and Focus which by now look rather dead.

That's it!  Job done, we've crushed four cars. It was epic fun and a tick on the bucket list.  I've driven a monster truck and, more importantly, I've crushed some cars with it.

Thank you to MoneySuperMarket for organising the day and letting me drive the truck and to Leisure Pursuits for supplying the instructors and vehicles.

By Matt Hubbard

30 Sep 2014

2014 Goodwood Revival Photo Gallery Part 1

Sean Ward attended the 2014 Goodwood Revival. Armed with his camera and a media pass he snapped away during all three days of the festival to create an extraordinary collection of photos.

Check out Sean's own website New Motoring. You'll also find him on Twitter and Facebook.

2014 Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav First Drive Review

I'm running a Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav for a week. Here's my first drive review

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

The loan of the S60 was arranged in a hurry. The days before it was delivered I'd been busy and the day after it was delivered I set off on a 400 mile round trip to see a punk band consisting of old school mates I hadn't seen in 27 years.

As such I had no idea of the price or even stats of the car and only looked them up before writing this review. It was quite a refreshing experience as knowing everything about a car and it's competition can lead to over-analysis when driving it.  You write the review in your head and sometimes decide what to say almost too early.

So, rather than being judgemental I soaked up the experience. When it came to looking up the stats some surprised me.

I wasn't surprised at the price. It's an expensive car.  The S60 range starts at £20,620 but the test car was the fully loaded, top of the range R-Design Lux Nav and cost £35,395. Add in various options and the price on the road was £42,260.

Volvo is pitching its product directly at the German Big Three of Mercedes, Audi and BMW and, as such, Volvos don't come cheap.

Let's analyse the test car's name to see what you get for your cash.

S60 means it's a 3-series size saloon.  It's a good looking car and in Rebel Blue looks pretty fab.

D5 means it gets the top of the range diesel engine which is a 2.4 litre inline-5.  It's been around since 2009 and will be replaced soon with one of the new 4-cylinder, 2-litre Drive-E engines.  This will be cleaner but the current D5 is a 5-cylinder and has a lovely off-beat engine note.

It's also powerful.  In standard form it produces 212bhp but the one in the test car was "Optimised by Polestar" which means it gets a remap and more horsepower and torque.  Combined with the rather fluid 6-speed manual gearbox the S60 D5 feels like a fast car, more so than the stats suggest.  It also returns a decent 62.8mpg on the combined cycle.

R-Design means this car gets an upgraded steering wheel, sporty trim (such as a 'silk metal' grille and chrome wing mirrors), a suspension upgrade and sports seats.  The seats in particular are wonderfully comfortable and supportive and have patches of the leather so soft it's almost like Kangaroo leather.

Lux means you get a bunch of options included, such as the 18" Ixion wheels, heated, folding mirrors and active bending xenon lights.  The lights are amazingly effective at night, you can leave them on full beam and a shadow is cast over oncoming vehicles so as not to dazzle the driver.  It's not infallible but is one of the best systems I've experienced.

Finally, Nav gives you the standard Volvo satnav via the infotainment screen. It's a good system but with a rather infuriating input by which you select the postcode or address by a dial and buttons.  Volvo needs a touchscreen in future.

The infotainment system also has Bluetooth and digital radio and access to options for all the various safety devices, a lot of which come as part of the £1,900 Driver Support Pack which also includes the fabulous active cruise control.

The S60 is quite spacious with supremely comfortable seats and delivers a refined driving experience that's verging on sporty.  It's more a cruiser than a sports car but you can have fun throwing it around your favourite back roads albeit with some torque steer as it is front wheel drive.

As mentioned above it feels faster than the stats suggest. 347lb ft of torque is not insubstantial and you feel a proper surge of power when flooring the accelerator.  The suspension evens out most road surfaces and driver communication is on a par with Audi, if not at BMW levels.

In terms of practicalities there are cupholders, deep door pockets, a big space under the armrest and a full sized glovebox in the front.  The central armrest in the rear has integrated cupholders.  The rear legroom is reasonable and the 60/40 split seats fold flat so you can carry large items in the boot.

For a do-it-all saloon the S60 really does feel as good as the German competition, and outperforms them all in various regards, most notably in terms of sheer comfort and refinement. Whether you think a Volvo's cachet is as high as the German's, and can justify its price, is up to you but, for me, it is.

See also - Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTEC AMG-Line Review


Price - £35,395 (£42,260 as tested)
Engine - 2.4 litre, 5-cylinder, turbocharged diesel
Transmission - 6-speed manual
0-62mph - 7.4 seconds
Top Speed - 143mph
Power - 230bhp
Torque - 347lb ft / 470Nm
Economy - 62.8mpg
CO2 - 119g/km
Kerb weight - 1,658kg
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav
Volvo S60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav

By Matt Hubbard