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  • Writer's pictureRoad Test Team

Three Cool Cars from May’s &Meet with Charles & Dean and TOP 555

With the Charles & Dean events season in full swing, we reflect on yet another wonderful &Visit to local partner TOP 555 which promised a sublime selection of cars.

Dan Rigby's Ferrari F12

Ferrari has just pulled the covers off its latest front-engined V12, the oddly named 12Cilindri. But the F12, unveiled back in 2012, still looks sensational. When Daniel’s blue and yellow example rolls into the TOP 555 car park on a sunny Saturday morning, everyone turns for a better look – and listen. 

‘It’s a pretty unique F12, originally commissioned by Talacrest’s John Collins, a lifelong Ferrari enthusiast,’ explains Daniel. ‘He’s bought and sold at least one example of every special Ferrari you can think of. This car was inspired by a 250 GTO he saw at an event. Ferrari had just announced their Tailor Made programme, and he decided to spec this unique F12.

‘Ferrari was delighted with the car. I’ve got a big history file at the home, including correspondence between the original owner and Ferrari’s president at the time, Luca di Montezemelo, probably the second most important guy in Ferrari’s history after Enzo himself.   

‘I test drove an F12 during lockdown, on a Supercar Driver event, and then got chatting to the Ferrari salesman. I just loved this car; the colour and the unique history. I’m quite fortunate in that I've got a 458 Speciale as well, and really that’s a car you can just jump in and drive very quickly straightaway. It gives you all the confidence in the world and doesn’t feel like it’s going to put you in a ditch at any given moment.

‘You have to be a little more cautious in the F12. The newer 812 has more power but it’s easier to drive in a way. The F12 has fewer of the clever driver aids and electronics that help keep the thing stuck to the road. This is more of a GT, despite being faster around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track than the 458 Speciale [by 0.5sec]. And, of course, the 6.3-litre V12 engine is just incredible.’ 

Peter Hancock’s Porsche 911 R

You remember the 911 R. Arriving hot on the heels of the sensational 918 Spyder, 991-gen 911 GT3 RS and first-gen Cayman GT4, Porsche was on a roll. And for its next trick, the 911 R, it combined sweet retro touches like houndstooth cloth and a meaty six-speed manual gearbox (the GT3 RS was PDK-only) with a version of the GT3 RS’s high-revving 4.0-litre flat-six.  

Peter bought his R new, back in 2016, and it still looks showroom-fresh – it’s covered just 2000 miles. 

‘I’d had Porsches for over 40 years,’ says Peter. ‘I was talking to Porsche Leicester when rumours began circulating about the R. I decided to go for it, and I’ve never regretted that decision. I adore it; it’s such a nice car to drive. The gearbox is fantastic. It’s got the single-mass flywheel, so it sounds like a bag of spanners at tick over, but it’s a joy to use. I love how compact the car feels on the road, too. 

‘I don’t use it much, which is a real shame. It’s hard not to get obsessed with the mileage, even though that’s wrong. The answer might be to get a 992 GT3 Touring as well…’

Tommy Freimuth’s Bentley Continental GT

Tommy started TOP 555, the venue for our latest Cars & coffee meet, back in 2001. It’s since flourished into one of the country’s most reputable and respected dealers in luxury and performance cars

His Conti GT coupe looks magnificent in the May sunshine, its metallic Orange Flame paint giving the W12-engined 2+2 massive car park presence. Amazing to think that Bentley’s W12 era is now behind us, the Crewe maker having recently retired this amazing engine in favour of a hybrid-boosted V8.  

‘This is my fourth or fifth Bentley – I’ve had it two years,’ explains Tommy. ‘Why Bentley? They’re fantastically well-built cars, I love the look and they drive so well: total luxury. They go about what they do with such ease. You can be stuck in a traffic jam for two hours and you just don’t care – it’s the most beautiful place to be.’

TOP 555 is the ultimate place for all things performance, luxury and supercars, Charles & Dean are proud to be their exclusive finance provider. Check out their impressive stock on their website here.


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