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How well do you know your Porsche 911s?

The Porsche 911 has been a motoring constant since it was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963.

But although that iconic silhouette has always remained unmistakably 911, its sheer longevity has ensured a myriad of styling revisions, models and special versions.

So to coincide with this month’s edition of Influx – a celebration of all things 911 – we’re putting your knowledge of Stuttgart’s finest to the test.

Thanks to our friends at Total 911 magazine, the world’s only magazine dedicated to the 911, for compiling the questions.

Are you a 911 novice or know-it-all? Correctly identify these 10 cars to find out.

 

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David v Goliath as Flux Capacitor takes on big guns

So what happens when you pit a 1975 Enfield electric city car against a British Touring Car Championships Audi A4 and a race-prepped Porsche 911 Turbo fitted with launch control? Not quite what you’d expect, that’s for sure…

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But this is no ordinary electric car – this is the Flux Capacitor which, in the hands of Fifth Gear’s Jonny Smith, now packs more punch than your average supercar.

First, the Audi, a Rob Austin Racing A4 driven by Hunter Abbott – on slicks, as opposed to the Enfield’s road legal footwear:

Jonny, who has spent three years turning the derelict Enfield into a 1000bhp, street-legal dragster, said: “We ran at 1500 amps of power out of a maximum 2000amps, though we did lose a window at over 105mph – the Enfield was only designed for 40mph remember…

“At least we’ve still got a good few amps left in reserve, and I’m intending to change the rear axle gearing to get faster.”

So, having demolished a BTCC race car, next up was a Porsche 911 (997) Turbo:

A true David v Goliath drag race, the little Flux Capacitor was ahead right up until near the line, with electric muscle outstripping piston-power until the 1/8 mile mark, when the Porsche started gaining.

“This was my fastest run to date at 11.67 seconds. Look at the difference in speed off the line – in the end he beat me by 0.2 second, but this was respectable heads-up drag racing!” said Jonny.

“The Porsche driver told me it was remapped and had an aftermarket exhaust fitted, so it was over 600bhp. It was also 4-wheel-drive and had launch control too.”

Jonny’s stated aim was to build the fastest street-legal electric vehicle in Europe – and only an MoT and a race with a Tesla P85D stands between him and his goal…watch this space.

The Flux Capacitor is sponsored by Adrian Flux, and for more pictures and history visit the website.

 

 

 

Buying a black cab as a private car

 

"Taxi in London 2" by Ralf Roletschek (talk) - Fahrradtechnik auf fahrradmonteur.de - Own work. Licensed under FAL via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taxi_in_London_2.jpg#/media/File:Taxi_in_London_2.jpg

Parents across the country are used to using their cars as taxis, ferrying children to and from parties, events, sports and clubs.

So why not go the whole hog and invest in an ex black cab, one of the most iconic and practical vehicles on the road?

Specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux takes a look at turning one of these ubiquitous vehicles into the ultimate people carrier.

 

Black cabs as we know them today have been a permanent feature of our cities and towns for well over half a century, when the FX4 superseded the antiquated Austin FX3.

Since then, the shape remained unchanged until the revamped TX1 appeared on our streets in 1997 – and even then the design was merely updated rather than ripped apart.

Black cabs – which also come in other colours, such as red! – can carry five passengers in comfort (six if you add a front passenger seat, which is possible), and have that turn-on-a-sixpence capability (actually 25ft) that’s a boon in congested school car parks.

So here are 10 reasons you may want to consider an actual taxi for your parental taxi service:

 

1) They are incredibly roomy – unrivalled passenger headroom and leg-room and, unless you have a full load of passengers, there’s plenty of space for shopping and luggage. The boot is actually quite small, but luggage can be stowed in various places in the passenger compartment.

 

2) Cheap insurance – it’s true that most insurers will struggle to know what to rate your FX4 or TX1, it’s unlikely to appear in computerised listing of car makes and models used on comparison websites but, once you’ve identified a specialist broker like Adrian Flux, insurance costs can be much lower than many current people carriers on the market.

 

3) They’re cool – OK, so they may not have the wow factor of a Ferrari, or the cache of a Mercedes, but the chances are you’ll turn as many heads turning up in a black cab, and raise a smile rather than a jealous scowl. You’d also be joining the ranks of the celebrity cabbies – over the years Sid James, Laurence Olivier, Stanley Kubrick, the Duke of Edinburgh, Stephen Fry and Kate Moss have used a black cab as personal transport. Fry once said: “I sometimes park it on taxi stands all day and no one notices.”

 

4) Safety – they are easily one of the safest cars on the roads. As a licensed passenger vehicle, safety was clearly of major importance when these cars were commissioned, and they are among the most robust and safe conveyances on four wheels. Granted, that’s partly because they don’t go very fast.

"Hackney carriage" by ed g2s • talk - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hackney_carriage.jpg#/media/File:Hackney_carriage.jpg

5) Peace and quiet – the chances are, if you’re thinking of buying a black cab, you’re planning on using it to convey kids. And as any parent will know, there are few more irritating and distracting things for a driver than little ones shouting, screaming, crying, arguing and well, being kids. So simply close off the driver’s partition, put on the stereo and forget they exist for a few minutes. Bliss.

 

6) Good value – you can pick up an ex black cab for about £3,000, sometimes less. Yes, they are likely to have covered a decent amount of miles, but bear in mind that these cars have been incredibly well maintained over the years, almost certainly much better than your average second hand people carrier, the Nissan 2.7 diesel engine used in the TX1 is pretty bomb-proof, and the chassis is incredibly robust. You can buy taxis from places like Elite London Taxis.

 

7) Access – black cabs can cope with the most “urban” of pushchairs – you know, those new ones that look like they’re built for off-roading in the Grand Canyon. They can also easily be adapted for wheelchair users, and general access to and from the vehicle is good because of the large doors and high position on the road.

 

8) Cheap spare parts – because of the hugely competitive nature of the taxi maintenance market, spare parts are much, much cheaper than your average people carrier. Brakes and body panels are cheaper than on most cars, and the panels bolt on and off, making repairs quicker, easier and therefore cheaper.

 

9) Great for business – in more recent years, black cabs have been well utilised as advertising mediums, with vast panels available for graphics. So if you run your own business, black cabs are the perfect way to get about and plug your services at the same time.

 

10) You can use bus lanes – actually, you can’t, that’s a myth. It’s illegal, although some owners probably do.

 

Adrian Flux provide quotes for all sorts of unusual vehicles, from former taxis to modified motors, bespoke vehicles and everything in between.

 

 

Announcing Adrian Flux’s Cult Classics Website

Porsche 912Did you know that the Citroen 2CV had a five-year waiting list within months of going on sale?

How about that back in the 60s, the Porsche 912 outsold its bigger, faster, more-famous brother, the 911, almost two to one?

It’s no secret that we’re in love with our cars here at Adrian Flux – we’ve spent decades reading about them, writing about them and ogling pictures of them. But even after all this time, we still sometimes come across interesting new stories and facts that surprise us – just like those.

Over the years we’ve discovered countless stories, pictures and facts about some of our favourite cars – and we’ve now decided to launch a brand-new Cult Classics website to share the highlights with you.

We’ve worked long and hard to compile a list of motoring facts and stories to share, with a huge range of cars covered, from the 2CV and 912 to Imps, Elans and Wolseleys.

Updated regularly too with new cars to drool over, the Cult Classics site is an archive of everything we love about cars, and a way for you to learn more about the vehicles and motorists of the past.

You can leave comments on each car article to let us know what you think, and share your own stories with other readers.

Comment on the site or below this post to let us know what cars you’d like to see included too – and we’ll write about them in future posts.

Head over to https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/cult-classics now to read the first three articles, and check back regularly for more throughout the year. Or click the button below to start exploring.

Classic cars

 

Five ways to sell your house

There are now more ways to sell your house than ever before, partly thanks to the internet, and the costs vary dramatically.

Specialist home insurance broker Adrian Flux takes a look at the options.

 

1) Estate agent: the tried and trusted method, and still used by about 90 per cent of sellers, despite coming under attack from online-only sellers in recent years. Why? Well, agents offer a comprehensive service, and have the benefit of local knowledge, trained negotiators, a database of potential buyers, and they don’t get paid until your house sale is completed – so they are always keen to chase up chains, ensure possible buyers have access to funds, and get your house sold as quickly as possible. The downside? With commission rates typically between 1.5 and 2 per cent, it could cost up to £6,000 plus VAT to sell a £300,000 home.

The agents argue that their negotiating skills and local knowledge can get you a higher price, outweighing the savings that can be made from the new breed of online agents.

Over the years, complaints about the quality of estate agents have piled up, including a damning report by consumer group Which?. So it’s worth getting more than one agent to value your house, find out which agent sells the most homes in your area and identify who you are likely to get the best service from.

But if your home is in an area where sales can be difficult, or you don’t have the time to show buyers round your house yourself, or you’re just not very good at negotiating, then the good old agent can still be a good way to sell.

 

Sale2) Online agent: Increasing numbers of sellers are bypassing traditional High Street estate agents, with their high fees and at times questionable reputation, and using much cheaper online portals.

For between £100 and £500 (compared with the £6,000 quoted above), sellers can register with one of the better known online agents, like Housesimple.co.uk or eMoov.co.uk, and have their home listed on leading property finder sites like RightMove and Zoopla.

And given that two out of every three new owners find their home on RightMove, do you really need to do much more than that? As far as the online agents are concerned, selling your house on RightMove etc is almost as simple as selling your car on AutoTrader.

Russell Quirk, founder of eMoov.co.uk has said that “given 95pc of property searches now start online, it seems ridiculous for estate agents to continue charging hefty percentage fees when so much of the job is now done for them”.

Some also claim that it’s a myth that estate agents will get you the best price, as a £10,000 uplift in sale price only earns them an extra £200 based on 2 per cent commission – so are they actually more likely to sell quick at a lower price than spend more time negotiating?

Online agents will usually leave you to conduct your own viewings, so you need to have to time and patience to show multiple people round your house, but they will value your house, take photographs, draw up a floorplan, provide a for sale board and send out hard copy details – all services carried out by traditional agents.

If you are in no rush to sell, live in a high demand area, and want to test the water, potentially saving yourself thousands of pounds, an online agent is worth considering.

 

2377441778_eb84f47a68_o3) Private sale: If you’re really in no rush and live in an area of high demand with a reasonable footfall on your street, you could simply put up a home-made for sale sign and wait for people to knock at your door, while advertising your home via social media like Twitter and Facebook and trusting to luck.

You’d have to be very relaxed about selling your home to do that, but there are other ways of selling your home for next to nothing.

You could try one of the “for sale by owner” websites, such as The Little House Company and HouseWeb, which are not registered estate agents and charge a small fee to advertise your property on their and selected other websites – though crucially, not RightMove or Zoopla, which only accept ads from registered agents.

But because they are deemed “publishers” rather than agents, you may be able to use them in conjunction with an estate agent without having to pay their fees if you sell your home privately – though make sure you read the terms and conditions of your agent’s agreement carefully.

 

4) Auction: Sale by auction is usually associated with vacant properties, those in need of renovation, repossessions or distressed assets, or highly desirable properties where bidding is likely to be competitive.

It’s very unusual for someone to use an auction to sell a standard, owner-occupied home, not least because of the high costs involved and the fairly low chance of getting the best price.

And if your house doesn’t sell at the auction, you still have to pay the costs of the auctioneer for marketing the property in advance, which can include a listing in the auction catalogue, photography, a for sale board, advertising costs and dealing with enquiries. Unlike an estate agent, auction houses usually require paying even if your property doesn’t sell, from about £450 upwards.

hammer-311342_1280On top of that, the commission is usually about 2.5 per cent plus VAT, higher than the majority of estate agents.

The advantage of selling by auction is that as soon as the auctioneer’s gavel falls, you should get your money within 28 days, and if the buyer pulls out they will be hit with stiff penalties, you get to keep their 10 per cent deposit, and they will have to make up the difference if you eventually sell for a lesser amount.

 

5) Raffle: We all know how a raffle works – you buy a cheap ticket in return for the chance of winning a decent prize (or a bottle of plonk someone’s had in their cupboard for a few years…).

But some people have opted to sell their homes by raffle – especially in the falling markets of the the credit crunch.

You are far less likely to see raffles in a rising market, but some saw it as a chance to get more for their home by selling tickets, typically priced at £25, in the plummeting markets around 2008.

However, it’s a very risky proposition, not least because just to break even on the average UK house price of £169,124 vendors would need to sell 6,765 tickets, and that’s before you take into account setting up and advertising costs.

You’ll be doing well to shift that many tickets in the local pubs, newsagents, shops and takeaways.

There are also strict laws governing raffles, overseen by the Gambling Commission. One Wirral family ended up “living on the breadline” after attempts to sell their £725,000 home came unstuck when the Gambling Commission raised issues about the “skill-based” question entrants had to answer.

For most, a raffle will seem like a gamble too far.

 

Whatever type of home you’re selling, Adrian Flux can provide bespoke home insurance for your new residence, whether it’s a thatched cottage, listed building or standard home.

 

Speedway Low Down – Your Beginners Guide To Speedway

 

You might have noticed over the last few weeks that we and our friends over at Influx.co.uk have gone a little speedway mad.

What started with our sponsorship of the Adrian Flux Arena in King’s Lynn, home of the famous King’s Lynn Stars speedway team, and title sponsorship of the Cardiff British Speedway GP, has grown into a full-on obsession recently – and this month we’re continuing down that track.

The latest edition of Influx Magazine, our online motoring mag, is testament to our love of the sport. This month it features a video and chat with British and World Champion Tai Woffinden, a look at the past and future of speedway, and an exploration of the bikes themselves – how they stand out from regular motorbikes and what makes them the fearsome racers that we know them to be.

We’ve immersed ourselves in the culture, learnt the history, chatted to the stars, taken photos and shot film – but we thought; how much does the average person really know about speedway?

Even a quick straw poll in the office revealed that many of us didn’t have the first clue about the rules and regulations of speedway, and knowledge of the sport was even lower when we turned to the public.

So, to boost awareness, impart some knowledge and win some fans for our new favourite motorsport, we present “Speedway – The Low Down” – your 60-second guide to the basics of speedway:

 

 

Hopefully we’ve helped you get to grips with the basics, and you’ll be ready to join us in the crowds at speedway meets in the future.

Don’t forget to share this video with your friends to spread the good word, and head over to www.influx.co.uk to read the new speedway-centric edition.

 

Students mark the anniversary of the Battle of Britain with Adrian Flux

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the RAF in King’s Lynn, our local town, have been going all out to commemorate this landmark event in our history.

Throughout the summer, our small Norfolk town will play host to several air force-themed events, including a march and drill by the local 42F Squadron, military-themed stalls and even a flypast of the iconic Spitfire fighter plane.

Following in the footsteps of the enlisted men and women of West Norfolk, the 42F King’s Lynn Air Cadets are also contributing to the events – arranging for a trail of model Spitfires to be placed around the town for tourists and locals to follow.

Each of the 25 small replica planes on the trail has been decorated by local schools, charities and businesses to reflect local and wartime scenes – and with help from students at the Include School in King’s Lynn, we’ve chipped in with a design of our own.

 

Spitfires

The Adrian Flux plane (right) with the Bikesure plane (left) designed by Anya McCarthy

 

Andrew Roofe, a project worker at Include, a school for students outside mainstream education, came up with the idea of commemorating staff working at local air bases during the Second World War.

“I saw some old photographs on the internet and we thought it would be a fitting tribute to create a plane carrying images from all of our local air bases,” he said.

“It took us about three days to complete and we’re really pleased with the result – we had fun putting it together and we also had a session on the planes in class, so it was educational too.”

 

The Bikesure Spitfire Picture: Matthew Usher for Archant

The Bikesure Spitfire
Picture: Matthew Usher for Archant

 

Gerry Bucke, general manager at Flux and Bikesure, was delighted at how the once-plain Spitfires had turned out.

“I think they’ve done us proud – they look really good and I can’t wait to see them around the town with all the other designs,” he added.

The Spitfire Trail launched on July 18th and will run until September 16th this year.

 

2015 British FIM Speedway Grand Prix

On Saturday we were extremely excited to attend the 2015 Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. The stadium had truly been taken over by the Flux blue and orange invasion – it looked fantastic! To say that the atmosphere was buzzing is an understatement.

We had pinned our hopes on Britain’s Tai Woffinden, but unfortunately he was pipped to the post by King’s Lynn Stars ace Niels-Kristian Iversen. Woffinden however managed to gain 15 points, putting him 12 points clear of his rival Nicki Pederson.

There was also an impressive performance from Australian Chris Holder, who stunned us all by wheely-ing over the line, as captured in this awesome image (photo credit: ToInspirePl):

Chris Holder at the 2015 British Speedway Grand Prix

All in all a brilliant day, roll on the next round of the championships!

Here are the final results:

1 Niels-Kristian Iversen 14

2 Chris Holder 18

3 Peter Kildemand 12

4 Tai Woffinden 15

5 Greg Hancock 12

6 Matej Zagar 10

7 Nicki Pedersen 9

8 Michael Jepsen Jensen 8

9 Craig Cook 7

10 Jason Doyle 7

11 Tomas H Jonasson 7

12 Chris Harris 5

13 Troy Batchelor 4

14 Krzysztof Kasprzak 4

15 Maciej Janowski 3

16 Andreas Jonsson 2

17 Robert Lambert (res) 1

18 Jason Garrity (res) 0

Standings:

1 Tai Woffinden 55

2 Nicki Pedersen 43

3 Greg Hancock 39

4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 35

5 Matej Zagar 34

6 Chris Holder 31

7 Jarek Hampel 31

8 Jason Doyle 29

9 Michael Jepsen Jensen 27

10 Andreas Jonsson 26

11 Maciej Janowski 26

12 Chris Harris 23

13 Krzysztof Kasprzak 21

14 Troy Batchelor 17

15 Tomas H Jonasson 16

16 Peter Kildemand 12

Driving Etiquette Around the World

Millions of British drivers journey abroad every year, but getting behind the wheel in a foreign country can be a daunting experience. Even if you speak the language, it can be easy to fall foul of a variety of issues through being unfamiliar with the local driving culture.

We’ve put together a list of tips and some facts you might need to be aware of before driving in Europe or further afield. For example, did you know that driving shirtless in Thailand is illegal? Or that you can be fined for sounding your horn near hospitals in Austria?

Using some of the most popular destinations for British tourists, here’s what you might need to know.

driving etiquette around the world

 

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The pros and cons of living in a converted chapel

You might not think it, but living in a converted chapel or church is now becoming increasingly popular, and their popularity is growing every year.

1288991_fc12d71eAround 18,000 churches have been sold off in the UK in recent years, and experts are predicting another 10% of the more than 45,000 remaining churches and chapels will be put into private hands before 2020 – only adding fuel to the fire of this latest housing craze.

Even as far back as 2008, just a distant memory now, a survey by the website PropertyFinder revealed that churches and chapels are now the most popular ‘unusual’ building for prospective homeowners, even outpacing barn conversions in the race to be the most sought-after renovation space.

We set to finding out just what made these conversions so popular, and came up with these top five pros and cons of chapel life:

Pros

  • Distinctive – Mindy from accounts might be bragging about her new extension, and Matt from marketing about his glittering new kitchen, but to hell with them – you’ve got original stained-glass windows and a church bell! Living in a church means never having to be envious of anyone else every again.
  • Natural Light – As well as looking nice and showing off some lovely biblical scenes, the large windows present in most chapels and churches provide huge quantities of natural light – perfect for a light and airy family home.
  • Open Spaces – Most chapels are just one large room – maybe with a couple of smaller rooms tacked on the side – making them perfect for conversion into enormous living rooms, studio apartments and open-plan kitchens, using the building’s size and shape to its fullest.
  • Mountain-top serenity

    Mountain-top serenity

    Choice of Location – Thanks to the Victorians, the most prolific of church builders, cities, towns and villages across the UK are all home to many churches and chapels. Whether you want a slice of tranquility in the middle of a city or a rural retreat, there’s a chapel out there for you.

  • Tranquility – Whether it’s been converted into a home, or is still a functioning place of worship, there is something undeniably calming and serene about churches and chapels – a feeling that survives long after the congregation has moved out.

Cons

  • Poor Condition – Many of the buildings put up for sale by the Church have been empty for many years, if not decades. Churches are closed once their congregation dwindles to the point where it is merged with another, and the money often isn’t available to maintain empty churches. Combined with their age, older building materials and techniques, and the listed status of many older buildings, potential buyers might have a lot of work on their hands come renovation day.
  • Competition – With their distinctive looks, history and good locations, buildings put up for sale by the Church are always fiercely fought over by prospective buyers and developers. Expect stiff competition when you make an offer to buy a chapel to move into.
  • Heating – The stained-glass windows, open spaces and high ceilings might look nice, but they’ll have a serious impact on your heating bills. Churches are well known for being cold even in the middle of summer, so you’ll need to wrap up warm if you’re going to make it through the winter.
  • How far will your budget stretch?

    How far will your budget stretch?

    Graves – Some churches and chapels have rules in place that allow visitors to graves even after the grounds have left Church hands. This can both mean that you will need to allow the public into your land to visit graves, and that you won’t be able to do too much with your garden – and getting permission to move human remains is both a legal and moral minefield.

  • Price – With competition high, limited buildings available, various unique selling points and the general rise in housing prices in the UK, buyers face paying a premium for churches and chapels to renovate.

Adrian Flux offers a wide range of specialist home insurance policies, including insurance for chapel and church conversions. To get more information, visit https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/chapel-conversion-insurance/ or call 0800 369 8590 today.