Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Alfa 8C Competizione

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

Alfa 8C Competizione

The history

This exclusive Alfa supercar was a Gran Turismo limited edition car showcased in Paris.
This typical yet different Italian supercar was designed exclusively by Alfa Romeo, this car was the realisation of a similar concept car at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show star attraction. This auto genius mixes industrial, technical design expertise and knowledge from the Alfa Maserati Centre.
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Alfa Romeo History

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

The Alfa Romeo Timeline

The company started in France with Alexandre Darracq who started a car manufacturing company in Portello, Milan which made single & two cylinder engines with car parts imported from Paris, France. Despite Alexandre best efforts and aspirations he didn't make it. In 1909 Darracq sold his Milan based auto factory to an Italian man.

Just after the buyout, Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili or ALFA emerged in the Italian market place. In 1915 Nicola Romeo a skilled automotive engineer bought the factory, Alfa was now known as "ALFA ROMEO-MILANO".

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Driving tips & advice

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Driving tips & advice

Winter Driving advice - Snow and Ice
As the UK comes to a stand-still due to snow, here is some advice for snow driving which should keep your car on the road under control.

Quick snow driving tips

When ever possible drive in 2nd gear or higher.
When skidding never brake, steer into the skid.
Check the latest weather reports - Check the MET forecast for more snow that may affect you, also do research into your route and check primarily if you can get to your destination with the current weather conditions.
Keep your Petrol tank full - In adverse weather especially snow you may be required to change routes, halt your journey or even turn back.
Store a breakdown kit in your car - When braving Britain's roads in Winter it's always a good idea to carry a few essential items including Torch, Blanket, Bulb Kit, Fuses, Chocolate, Water and the most important a Mobile Phone. Breakdown membership is also a good idea ideally with roadside assistance and recovery.
Keep your wits about you - A snow covered road isn't such a problem however a frozen snow covered road or black ice under the snow, makes for treacherous driving conditions. Where ever possible travel on gritted or salted roads, if this isn't possible have your route planned and drive within your limits, drive in 2nd or 3rd gear, the higher the better this aids traction. When driving up hill never slowdown or stop unless you are forced to, losing momentum on a snowy road can stop you dead in your tracks and you will have to reverse or leave your car. When going down a snow covered hill ideally use 1st gear this enables your car to use engine braking rather than locking the wheels and possibly skidding.
Recovering from a skid - If your car starts to skid you should never brake, no matter how tempting it is. When you start to lose control and skid, decelerate the best you can and steer the vehicle into the skid till the car regains grip. 
Always watch out for hidden ice known as Black Ice, this is a type of ice extremely slippy and almost invisible, your more likely to hit it before you see it, if you do hit Black Ice, stay calm and follow the instructions above.
Stuck in snow - The best way to get out of beging stranded insnow, is to not get stuck in the first place. In some cases this will be completely unavoidable, when you have started your engine avoid excessively revving your car when in gear this will dig you deeper and deeper into the snow instead remove most of the snow and ice with either a spade or your hands then try and find something that your car can gain traction from, ideally a piece of wood, carpet or gravel etc, place this behind or infront the wheels which drive the car and slowly drive forwards or backwards till you get traction.
Driving in snow isn't rocket science just be careful, don't speed and keep your eye on the road and also watch out for snow ploughs and gritters they don't seem to be affected and try and have fun, lets face it it's rare that the UK gets snow.
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Latest Car Videos

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

Take a look at some of the coolest car videos and check out below our featured video 'How to pull out with style' other car videos featured is a 1013 bhp Mk2 Golf and many more...

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Child Seat Law

(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

Child seat law changes new legislation

No doubt you have seen the new changes with Child seat law, but how much do you really know?
What exactly does this entail?, and how will affect my driver and children? - read on to find out
The Law is about to change regarding Child seats, the biggest change in driving laws for over 20 years. This is being enforced from the 18th September 2006 - The hope is that it will save up to 2000 Children's lives a year.
Be one step ahead with the new seating laws, or you could face a fine upto £500 or a £30 on the spot fine. The new child restraint laws come in on Monday under a new European Directive.
All children travelling in a vehicle under the age of 12 will have to use some form of child car seat, unless they exceed 135cm (4ft 5in) tall.
However, this has not been documented enough, and people are awakening to find that they are obliged to purchase new car seats or booster cushions for their kids. The biggest problem is to get a child who is used to travelling without one, to start using them again.
What are the new guide lines?
I expect police to use common sense, not put out major dragnets... but to appear at the school gates from time to time to give people advice.
Stephen Ladyman - Road Safety Minister
Any child under 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, unless have had their 12th birthday must use a child seat or restraint appropriate for the child's weight.

Which type of seat should I use?

We recommend you weigh your child and consult the folowing guide their are many online shops selling a range of child seats, child restraints and child booster seats to suit the recent child seat law.
The Child seat law is as follows :
up to 13kg (2st 1lb) - a rear-facing baby seat
9kg to 18kg (1st 6lb - 2st 12lb) - a forward-facing child seat
15kg to 25kg (2st 5lb - 3st 13lb) - a booster seat
22kg (3st 6lb) or over - modern booster, booster cushion, or seat designed for larger children
Booster seats
A booster seat is similar to a booster cushion, however it has a back, and also sometimes has a level of protection for a child's head, giving support in a side impact situation.
The government strongly suggests that you try the seats before you buy them, as it is imperative that the Child seat fits perfectly in your car.
Are any children not affected by the new Child seat laws?
Any children over 12 yrs old or taller than 135cm tall, may use adult seat belts. The Department for Transport still recommend children should continue to use booster seats or cushions until they are taller than 150cm (4ft 11in).
How do the new laws affect the existing child restraint laws?
Until now children aged 3 to 11 have been obliged to sit in child seats or use an appropriate seat or cushion. The Law states now 'There is no exception - all children have to use a Child Seat or restraints including boosters.
Children aged 12 and not taller than 135cm, cannot travel in the front without a child seat or cushion, there are no exceptions.
Children less than three yrs old cannot travel without a child seat, regardless of front or back passengers, with the exception in the rear of a taxi
It is now illegal to use a rear-facing baby seat in a front seat fitted with an airbag
Whats the flexibility with the new law, is there any?
There are two cases where a child aged between 3 and 12 years old may travel in the rear of a car using not more than one adult seat belt:
The occasional short journey made for specific reasons: Unexpected necessity (not regular school runs, however the odd exception is fine example mother delayed at work)
Two children already using restraints in the rear seat, therefore leaving no room for a third. (In this case it would often be safer for the child to travel in the front using a booster seat.
Taxi Law concerning child seats
Children less than 3 yrs old may travel in the rear of taxi cars without an additional child seat or booster cushion, as stated above:-
In older cars fitted with no rear seat belts - children aged between 3 and 12 may travel in the rear seat, the Department for Transport disapproves and states this is not safe for children.
All Emergency vehicles - ambulances & police cars, are exempt from all child seat laws.
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The Car Guide

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Car guides


The car pages, everything you'll ever need about cars, history, fastest motors even the priciest.
AC Cobra blog
AC Cobra History
Alfa Romeo blog
Alfa Romeo History
8c Competizione
Ascari History
Ascari blog
Aston Martin blog
Audi History
Audi blog
BMW History
BMW blog
Bentley blog 
Bentley History
Cadillac blog
A timeline of French Citroen cars achievements Maserati projects etc
Citroen blog
Citroen History
2 CV
SM Sport Maserati
A guide to the history and cars including Enzo, and the F40 & 550
Ferrari blog
Ferrari History
A guide to American born car manufacturer Ford GT40 & RS 200
Ford News 
Ford History 
GT 40
RS Timeline 
Sierra RS Cosworth
Escort RS Cosworth
A documented history of American Holden cars
Holden blog
Holden History
From the humble beginnings of Japan born Honda
Honda History 
Civic EK9 Type R
Swallow Sidecars through SS cars to Ford and XJ220 Jaguar
Jaguar Cars History
E Type
The life of Ferrucio and his super cars to combat Ferrari<
Lamborghini History
A guide to the British born maker and tuner Colin Chapman Lotus
Lotus History
Lotus Concepts
Sport Exige GT3
The luxury division of Toyota
Lexus blog
Lexus History
USA based sedan manufacturer, famed for the Navigator 
Lincoln blog
Lincoln History
A rare british sportscar, with superpower
Marcos blog
Marcos History
Racing cars and luxury motors based in Italy 
Maserati blog
Maserati History
A documented history of Mazda and its achievements
Mazda History
A guide to the German prestidious Mercedes Benz cars and galleries
Mercedes blog
Mercedes Benz History 
300 SL SLR Roadster
Classic Mercedes Gallery
Sports Mercedes Gallery
Vintage Mercedes Gallery
Classic mini's to the BMW mini
Mini blog
Mini History
The history of one of Japans most advanced cars Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi blog
Mitsubishi History
Guide to Nissan cars including the Skyline & Fairlady
Nissan blog
Nissan History
Skyline history
GT-R R32 R33 R34
Skyline modifying 
Nismo 400R
British made Noble cars with Ford engines powerful Super machines
Noble blog
Noble History
Italian Pagani Supercar manufacturer
Pagani blog
Pagani History
A guide to French car manufacturer Peugeot 1.9 GTi to the GTI 6
Peugeot blog
Peugeot History
US car manufacturer Pontiac famed for the Firebird and Transam
Pontiac blog
Guide to Stuttgart's finest Porsche including the 911 and 959
Porsche History
Porsche Gallery
A guide to Renault including the R5 Turbo and Gordini Turbo
Renault blog
One of fastest car manufacturers Saleen in the world S7
Saleen blog - coming soon 
Saleen History
Shelby Carol Shelby's powerful American cars used in AC Cobra's
Shelby blog - coming soon
The ultimate Asian car brought to fame by Colin Mcrae
Subaru blog
Subaru History
A guide to the Supra RZ, Soarer & MR2
Toyota timeline
TVR car guide the Blackpool based supercars Cerbera Speed 12
TVR blog
TVR History
Vauxhall the history including the VXR & Calibra
Vauxhall blog
Vauxhall History
Volvo car guide Swedens best
Volvo blog
Volvo History
German engineering and Volkswagen History, Gallery and specs
Volkswagen History
VW Gallery
Mk1 Golf History
Mk2 Golf History
Camper Van History
Camper craze
Camper Gallery
Golf Projects
Best Motors Award
Best selling cars ever


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Mot Checklist & Pre MOT Test checks

(Reading time: 6 - 11 minutes)
MOT guide

MOT test time can be a challenging time unless your car is under the government set limit for new vehicles of 3 year or is exempt from the test, however Planet Auto has eased your challenges and solved the problem of a surprise bill with this simple checklist you can carry out yourself - giving you the chance to fix and replace any parts and or issues that will deem an MOT inspector to query your Pass. 

Exempt vehicles

A list of vehicles completely exempt from MOT test, for a period of time or completely - 

  • Cars under 3 years old from new
  • Cars, vans and motorcycles made before 1960
  • Tractors
  • Goods vehicles powered by electricity.

Buses, Lorries and Trailers require something called an Annual test.

11 Pre checks

ALWAYS REMEMBER - Before taking your car for an MOT it is always best to have a good look at the simple parts you may need to check in the test procedure, this pre M. O. T. checklist enables you to do this with the greatest of ease - this type of self pre check list is needed more so, due to the Ministry of Transport introducing charges for a re-test, except in certain test cases, a detailed list of the exceptions can be found on the:-


Official Government MOT site


MOT Checklist

Remember switch off your engine before looking under the bonnet, and if your working in the engine disconnect your battery too and above all - Always Take Care.
Save yourself some money with this quick Pre MOT checklist and have fun seeing what's what :)
This guide should give you enough of an insite into what is entailed in a Ministry of Transport Test and what to check, repair or replace in order to pass it. The majority of the pre MOT checklist items are easy to carry out , however always take care when checking these pre test check points.

Electrical car lighting checks

This includes all the following in working order:-
Headlights - Low beam & High beam
Brake lights
Side repeaters
No. plate lights
Drivers side Fog light
Hazard warning lights or emergency lights
Left and right, front and rear indicators
Rear number plate light

Interior checks

This includes the following:-
Car seatbelts with no tears or slices working buckles & fasteners.
Seat runners & mountings free from rust structurally sound and in correct working order, with no play.
Car mirrors, windscreen, windshield and wipers/washers free from cracks and fitted correctly.
Remember --- Stone chips are acceptable

Doors, locks and handles checks

All car doors should shut correctly, meaning their should be no rattles, and the doors shut completely flush and be completely secure.

External car bodywork & chassis checks

This includes sills, sharp edges e.g. cracked bumpers with protruding edges, the car has to be structurally sound therefore free from corrosion where structure is integral to the vehicle.

Engine bay & Engine component checks for the

Inspection including fuel & brake lines free from rust and fluid.

Exhaust system including CAT if required

The exhaust system including downpipe, manifold & rear silencer have to be sealed correctly, no rattles or excessive emissions, the emission acceptance Level is 14, anything under this is acceptable.

Tyre checks

All tyres need to be of the legal tread 1.6m depth across 2 3rds of the complete tire and have no splits, gashes, bulges or illegal repairs e.g. tire wall repairs - including the spare wheel.
The Wheels & bearings need to be in working order with no play.

Suspension checks for the test

All shock absorbers, mountings, boots, bushes need to be free from corrosion and all dampers have to be free from leaks.

Steering checks

The car steering should be smooth this includes the flow and the steering rack if there is any play in the rack this constitutes an MOT Fail, in addition all steering boots, joints & rack have to be in working order with no excessive play.

Foot brake & Handbrake checks

Both the footbrake and handbrake have to be in perfect working order and have to be free from leaks, with no spongyness.
The brakes themselves should be in good condition this includes the brake pipes being in working order with no perishing / no leaks and both rear cables to the handbrake fitted correctly with no overhanging cables.
The vehicle also should not pull either way when braking or respond with irregular movement e.g. snatching.
Hope the checklist has been some help, feel free to print the guide or post the address on your site, in return we will post a link to your website on ours.
Always try and get a word of mouth recommendation for your MOT test. Going to a UK garage recommended by family or friend can save you a huge amount of hassle and more importantly money.

A few tips to help your Pre test checks go a little smoother

These MOT checks are relatively simple, if you have a smalll knowledge of cars, the best way is for two people to carry out the pre test checks. In the case of testing the car's electrics, the best way to tackle this is - One operate the car electrics e.g. indicators, brakes etc, the other look to see whether they work satisfactorily.

Here are the latest ammendments to the UK MOT Test including 2012, 2014 and 2015 


Electronic parking brake

The Electronic parking brake EPB controls now included in test, an EBP must be present and not modified or incorrectly repaired, meaning as to adversely affect the roadworthiness of a vehicle or improperly modified in order to seriously weaken any Electronic parking brake components.
(The statement 'inappropriately repaired or modified' is applicable to to a wide range of new vehicle MOT applications i.e. systems and components)
NOTE: Any vehicle will fail the test if an Electronic Parking Brake (EBP) warning light is illuminated to display any malfunction.

Electronic Stability Control (EBC)

Anti-lock brakes (ABS) has now been extended to include Electronic Stability Control when fitted.  The MOT tester will check there is a working and in operable condition an ESC malfunction warning light together non modified wiring, this includes a missing component.

Warning lights

The MOT test now has the addition of various warning light, which had previously been exempt all new lights need to operate correctly, and not be modified;
Headlight main beam warning light
Electronic power steering (EPS) (PAS) warning light
Brake fluid level warning light
Seat belt pre-tensioner warning light

Suspension & steering

The new test includes a steering lock check where fitted as standard. 
Missing, or split/damaged dust covers on any steering and or suspension ball-joints will result in MOT test failure
The Power steering fluid reservoir level must be adequately topped in other words above the min level marked on the fluid reservoir.

Vehicle Lighting

Any products / modifications on the light source or lens that significantly diminish the light's intensity or change the colour of the native lighting setup will become a result in failure – these apply to front/rear lamps, number plate lamps, brake lamps, rear fog and signal indicators,
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps are now included in the VOSA MOT test.
Any car fitted with HID lamps has to have working and non modified levelling and or working cleaning systems, the car etc will fail if the system id in opperative or otherwise obviously defective.
Incorrectly aimed headlamp bulbs if not seated correctly will resulting in an incorrect / dazzling beam pattern will be failed.

Electrical wiring and battery

An insecure or leaking car battery is now cause for failure.
Insecure or bare wiring, likely to cause a short will result in failure.

Trailer / caravan electrical socket

All trailers and caravans will be required to have a basic security/damage check of all 7-pin sockets installed, any 13-pin sockets will be tested and checked including full electrical connectivity and incorrectly connected or inoperative circuits will result in failure.


Any tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted to vehicles 1st registered after 1 January 2012 must be working in accordance with the vehicles manufacturer and not indicating a malfunction.

Supplementary safety restraints

If any airbag fitted as original equipment maunfactured (OEM) is obviously missing or defective the vehicle will fail.
A seatbelt pre-tensioner fitted as OEM, missing or deployed will be a reason for failure.
Fitted as standard seatbelt load limiters that are missing or folding webbing type limiters that have deployed will result in failure.
Any vehicle will also fail if a Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) malfunction indicator lamp shows an SRS malfunction.

Speedometer / Speedo / Oddometer 

Any car without a speedometer not fitted, incomplete, inoperative, has any dial glass broken/missing or lack of illumination will result in failure.


The driver seat must be possible to secure the seat fore and aft in no less than 2 different seating positions, electrically adjusted seats the motors must move the seat fore and aft.


An unopenable rear door from outside is a failure. All doors should be easily opened, locks, hinges etc are now inspected. 


Modifications or inappropriate reapirs to the towbar assembly will be a reason for failure.


A missing catalytic convertor fitted as original equipment, missing or modified will be a reason for failure.
In addition from February 2014 the Exhaust check will include a check for a Diesel Particulate Filter(DPF) , if one had been fitted, then removed this will result in an MOT test failure.

Fuel system

Damaged, corroded or chafed fuel pipes will result in failure.

Number plates (Registration plate) 

All plates must conform UK registration laws meaning no modified plates, fonts, spacing, backing material etc.

2013 MOT Test new additions 

No warning lights on your dashboard, no exceptions

TIP : You do not need two fog lights only the drivers side!!!
TIP : You only need your interior mirror and drivers mirror.
TIP : You do not need door locks which are visible for a Test.
TIP : Look for leaking lines & liquids around these areas.
TIP : It will be noticable if the exhaust is blowing, due to a higher tone.
TIP : A tell tale sign of a bearing on its way out is a whirr from the wheel when cornering usually only in one direction. 
TIP : A good way to test the shocks is the bounce test if you push the car down on one corner, and it returns the shock is generally ok.
TIP : The best way to find excessive play on a steering rack, is to turn the steering wheel when stationary, if the steering wheel turns, but the wheels DON'T, you have a worn steering rack.


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