Luxury Lifestyle

Sutton Bespoke creates super-luxury version of the classic British black cab

The Sutton VIP Class LEVC takes incognito luxury travel up a notch.

Photos courtesy of Sutton Bespoke

When you can travel to England again, you might want to consider traveling in style in this discreet black cab. Though it is likely to blend in with much of the classic cab landscape, Sutton Bespoke has taken the cab from traditional to super-luxurious with some key modifications.

Known as the Sutton VIP Class LEVC, the taxi is based on the heralded LEVC TX platform. It's a next-gen, low-emissions black cab, which means that it can operate in London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone without having to pay a pollution tax.

Sutton VIP Class LEVC exterior doors The black cab looks relatively traditional on the outside, but the interior is unique.Photos courtesy of Sutton Bespoke

The Sutton VIP Class LEVC taxi has an interior that has been completely redesigned from the traditional black cab setup. Its rear seats are angled for comfort and covered in Sandalwood leather with Alcantara trim. Instead of rubber flooring, the cab features high-quality thick-pile carpet. Hand-crafted wood veneers adorn the door trims.

Above the passengers' heads is a panoramic roof. Ambient lighting can be changed to the color of the passengers' choosing.

Just because it's functional doesn't mean that the cab is lacking high-tech features. It includes haptic climate controls, an upgraded stereo system with Bluetooth connectivity, a TV tuner with Apple TV, and a Sony PS4 games console. Between the rear passengers there is an armrest complete with cupholders, and behind that a refrigerator.

Sutton VIP Class LEVC interior driver The interior of the vehicle is adorned with Alcantara.Photos courtesy of Sutton Bespoke

Driver and passengers are separated by a retractable screen. A fully electrically adjustable leather seat and a state-of-the-art digital instrument cluster ensure the driver remains comfortable during prolonged stints at the wheel. Soft-close doors can also be specified.

A subtle two-tone paint job has been applied to the exterior of the model. It features the iconic black taxi paint for the lower portions and Ferrari's Grigio Silverstone above.

Sutton VIP Class LEVC interior doors Doors open wide and seating is at an angle for additional comfort.Photos courtesy of Sutton Bespoke

The taxi sign on the roof will remain to preserve the iconic silhouette of the vehicle, albeit with the 'TAXI' lettering replaced by 'VIP'. The price of the vehicle will be in the region of £100,000 (excl. VAT) for business buyers, or £120,000 incl. VAT for private buyers.

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A new run of Jaguar XK engines is available.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Classic is making a new, authentic 3.8-liter engine for the Jaguar sedans and sports cars. The engine was originally fitted to Jaguar models sold in the 1950s and 1960s. This is the first time in 50 years that brand-new XK engines are available.

The new engine line was created to the exact, original specifications with the guidance of Jaguar engineers. It is a direct replacement for the 3.8-liter six-cylinder units originally fitted to the Jaguar XK150, XK150 S, MkIX, Mk2, MkX, E-Type Series 1 and S-Type.

Jaguar Classic XK engine Buyers can buy a replacement engine for their classic car.Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Many of these models are desirable classic cars, including the Jaguar D-Type, XK120, and E-Type all recently were voted onto the list of the best British classic cars.

The new engine replaces cylinder block casting numbers C16020, C17567, C17200/1, C19292, C19983, C22290, C20012, and C22250.

To qualify to get an engine, Jaguar Classic requires that the owner of a vehicle must confirm proof of vehicle ownership. Customers can choose to retain the serial number from their original engine block, which will be stamped on the new casting with a an additional asterisk denoting the new block is a replacement item. Alternatively, the new block can be stamped with a new unique serial number.

Last year at SEMA, Jaguar Classic announced that it was reintroducing the original E-Type toolkit after a 50-year hiatus. The owner's toolkit was originally ordered with Series 1 and Series 2 E-type sports cars but hasn't been available since the Series 2 went out of production in 1971. The E-Type toolkit and other parts can be purchased from the recently-launched Jaguar Land Rover Classic online parts shop.

Jaguar Classic XK engine The six-cylinder engine is a faithful replication of the original.Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

The new 3.8-liter Jaguar XK engine blocks are priced at £14,340 each (approximately $17,914) and come with a minimum 12 months Jaguar parts and accessories warranty and certificate of authenticity, exclusively from Jaguar Classic.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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