The Blues Brothers

Germany vs Britain, Britain vs Germany, it’s an age old dance that continues to entertain both camps through the centuries. We think of Germans of course as an industrious, dedicated nation of engineers. They think of us as, well, not that. Drinking and a certain less-committed approach to getting things right possibly. Nowhere is the sense of two nations separated by a common monarchy better summed up than in our cars. Britain gave us the Moggy Minor, a people’s car that outshone the VW Beetle in every respect except solidity. But the Beetle sold anywhere and everywhere. Germany cranked things up several gears with the VW Golf. Britain responded with, er, the Allegro. An aberration? Er, no. VW parries forth with Golf Mk2. Britain fields the Maestro. In fact, take virtually any car sector and Germany ran rings around us. Except, I suggest, sports cars. Here, in an arena where passion and style count as much as engineering ability, Britain has historically done really rather well against Germany. Now you can discover how well. Our new Germany vs Britain Part 2 package (we already have a 911 vs E Type package) pits the Mercedes SL convertible against the Jaguar XJS v12 convertible. The Part 2 package is admittedly a more relaxed affair than the 911 vs E Type deal, but none the worse for it. The Mercedes SL R107, one of the newer additions to our fleet, is everything you expect from a Teutonic cruiser. Stylish in a restrained, fuss-free way, solid and robust in a way few cars have been since and with a splash of glamour that makes it as at home on the set of Dallas as cruising along the Core D’Azure. The SL is relaxed, comfortable and effortless, but with the power to lift its skirts and charge as the need arises. The SL’s enduring appeal is demonstrated by the fact that an old SL on private plates can mix it easily alongside modern upmarket convertibles in the valet drop off at Claridges. The Jaguar XJS is an entirely different proposition. Jaguar’s one-time ugly duckling is rapidly maturing into a quite handsome classic, particularly in convertible form. Our blue Cotswolds XJS was one of the first three classic cars on our fleet 7 years ago and its popularity has grown each year. Whereas the SL is solid and sure, the Jaguar is more British in its approach. It outshines the SL in terms of ride, driver engagement and pure v12 thrills, and perhaps from some angles it is more attractive too. But like many British cars before it, the XJS is let down by the detail. The interior is not exactly well constructed and apart from the wood veneers the quality is pretty ropey. It creaks and shakes where the SL rides on in supreme silence. Yet somehow these shortcomings are the making of the XJS – it has character. It rides better than any other GT of its era and, surprise of surprises, it handles well too. And ultimately, you always have that silky smooth v12 at your command, even if it is alerted to action via a slow-witted 3 speed gearbox. So, there you have it. Characterful but flawed Brit or cool Teutonic delivery? Having driven and really enjoyed both I honestly can’t choose between them. And our customers are equally divided. Which is what our Germany vs Britain Part 2 is all about. Spend a weekend road testing both cars from our Cotswolds site and enjoy a relaxing, cruise-orientated break in two of Europe’s best convertibles. Just £349 for 48 hrs including insurance, unlimited mileage, driving routes and free vehicle changeover at your local b&b. Add b&b to the package for just £120 per night. To find out more call 01527 893733 or visit

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