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Xcar visits the MGB resto-modders at Frontline Developments

There’s some great work being done these days by resto-modders who bring old classics up to modern standards: Broncos from Icon, Porsches from Singer, E-Types from Eagle…. But if it’s an MG roadster you want, the people to turn to are at Frontline Developments. Drive took a gander at the specialist garage a few months back, and now it’s Xcar‘s turn.

Frontline pays obsessive attention to detail when it comes to the MGB. From its base (which formerly belonged to the Benetton F1 team) at Arbingdon-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, England, the Frontline crew makes each one to order and to the customer’s exact specifications – right down to the shape of his or her backside. It doesn’t just bring the classic British roadsters and coupes back to their original condition; it makes them much, much better.

What’s more is that Frontline has been doing this work since 1991, which is actually only eleven years after the MGB went out of production – albeit nearly 30 since it first appeared on the scene. Any way you cut it, though, Frontline Developments has been restoring MGBs for even longer than they were built in the first place. So suffice it to say, the company has built up quite a base of expertise by this point, which is plain to see from the bespoke creations it produces. But don’t take our word for it – watch and hear the story in the video.

You’ll Hear The Growler From A Mile Away

What began as indifference quickly morphed into an obsession.

It also turned owner Alexander Bermudez from a water-cooled Porsche driver into one who describes his 964-based “hot rod,” The Growler, as “unapologetically raw”—and just the thing for slaying tight mountain passes.

“For me, it’s just about the emotional experience,” Bermudez says. “The Growler is a pretty interesting blend. It’s not too raw, but when you want the feedback from a raw car, it gives it to you—and gives it to you in spades.”

From Trinidad and Tobago, cars weren’t exactly a focus. After all, Bermudez saw his first Porsche only after he’d moved to London! Two enthusiast owners before him spent a considerable amount of time and money making this 1990 964 go quickly, but Bermudez was intent on finishing the car.

Completing everything from grafting on a new sunroof-less roof to adding Recaro seats and roll cage, nothing has escaped attention. Its massaged motor, lighter weight, Carrera RS suspension, and other performance modifications have turned the car into a seriously impressive canyon carver.

“Because it’s so light, it has the speed and acceleration you’d typically find in the water-cooled cars, and yet, because it’s slightly older and has automatic steering taken out of it, it has really good steering feel,” he says. “The closer you get to the edge, it becomes more comfortable, because it’s telling you exactly what’s going on.”

Spending some weekends racing with the Porsche Owners Club has helped to teach Bermudez how to go fast, and most importantly, what he wants from a performance car.

The Growler was previously featured on; check out our earlier story for more technical details. (

Toyoda Model AA: Finding the world’s oldest Toyota

Only 1,404 examples of Toyota’s first passenger car, the Toyoda Model AA, were built in the six years of production from 1936 to 1942.

Until recently it was thought that none of these cars had survived to this day. Even Toyota itself had been forced to fabricate a ground-up replica of the Model AA because an original example could not be found to exhibit at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Japan.

So when news of a 1936 car, one of only 100 units built in the very first year of Model AA production, suddenly surfaced from within Russia, the discovery was met with a degree of scepticism. Nevertheless, even the most remote opportunity to uncover an example of the world’s rarest production Toyota had to be followed up.

Further investigation by specialists at the Louwman Museum revealed that the car was indeed genuine. The Model AA had been owned by a Siberian farmer since World War II.

During more than 60 years in the family’s ownership it had been used extensively on the land and been heavily modified. At some undetermined time it had also been moved from deep within Siberia to the outskirts of Vladivostok, where the farmer’s grandson now lived.


The video below, kindly given to us by its new custodians at the Louwman Museum, documents some of the arrangements surrounding the purchase and transportation of the vehicle. It marks the culmination of a protracted, seven-month negotiation process with the owners and Russian Ministry of Culture in Moscow, which eventually granted approval for its exportation.

Now with the necessary documentation the Toyoda Model AA was secured safely in a container and transported by train from Vladivostok to Moscow. The final leg of its journey to Western Europe was on the back of a container lorry.

Les mer her + flere bilder:


Living The Porsche – is a Film by Sydney based company, SoDUS Films. The guys from SoDUS followed Grant and the team at AutoHaus for more than 8 months to capture stories here at the workshop, away at the track and from some of our clients. The film was premiered in Sydney, we were there along with 250 of our good friends. The night was a huge success but obviously not everyone could get there to see the work. Here is the full-length version of Living The Porsche and we are proud to share it with you. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Many thanks to the guys at SoDUS films for letting us share it exclusively on the Autohaus channel.