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2015-05-21: Spa Classic preview with Nissan R90 and Jaguar XJR-16, and new Zagato Maserati ...
Nissan R90CK This weekend, the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit will once again host the annual Spa Classic. Organised by Peter Auto, the event boasts all the familiar grids with the Historic Group C Championship as the icing on the cake. Among the cars due to line up is one of the mighty Nissan R90CKs, which were raced at Le Mans in 1990. Built for Nissan by Lola and powered by a roaring twin-turbo V8, the R90 was among the fastest cars of its generation. This was underlined by Mark Blundell, who claimed pole position at Le Mans in one 25 years ago. Although a repeat of that feat is unlikely this year, Nissan will race at Le Mans again this year. However, the new cars are not quite as good looking as the pair of Nissan R90CKs featured today. One of these will race at Spa this weekend, joined by the ultimate development of the model, the R91CP.
Another great Group C / GTP machine to take to the track this weekend is the sole surviving Jaguar XJR-16. Finished in the less famous but nevertheless very stunning Bud Light livery, it defended Jaguar's honour in North America during the 1991 season. Facing the very well funded Nissan and Toyota teams, the six cylinder engined machine was nevertheless driven to four outright victories by Davy Jones. He used the featured example for every one of these wins and in more recent years, it has become a set fixture in the Historic Group C Championship.
Another major event being held this weekend is the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. In addition to the classic cars that will fill the Villa d'Este hotel's gardens on the shores of Lake Como, there will also be several world debuts. Among them is this menacing Maserati Mostro, designed and built by Zagato. Powered by a Maserati V8 engine, this race-bred Coupe is inspired by the unique Maserati 450S Coupe raced at Le Mans by Stirling Moss in 1957. Zagato will produce just five examples of the Mostro, all of which are already spoken for.

2015-05-20: Austin Healey 100S and Villa d'Este Alfa Romeo headed for auction ...
Austin Healey 100S Built in 1955, the Austin Healey 100S ranks as one of the greatest British sports cars of the 1950s. Carefully developed to promote the fledgling Austin Healey brand, the 100S was raced with great success on both sides of the Atlantic. It featured a tuned version of the Austin four-cylinder engine, benefiting from an alloy head developed by the great Harry Weslake. In addition to the hike in power, the 100S was also considerably lighter than the production Austin Healey 100. The small British manufacturer hand-built 50 examples of the 100S in five batches of ten. Today we have taken a detailed look at the most sought after of all Austin Healeys. Our 94-shot gallery includes eight different examples. Among them is chassis AHS 3707, which will be offered by RM Sotheby's at their Villa d'Este sale on Saturday. The pre-sale estimate is a hefty Euro 900,000 - 1.1 million.
Named after the Concorso d'Eleganza it was introduced at back in 1948 is the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d'Este Coupe. The car combined the proven Alfa Romeo chassis with an elegant Coupe body crafted in alloy by specialist Touring of Milan. The Villa d'Este style can be easily recognised by the driving lights, which are immediately next to the tall, narrow grille. Of the 32 examples believed to have been built, it is believed only half have survived. Of these five are pictured in our 35-shot gallery. Fittingly, one of these will also cross the block at RM Sotheby's in the Villa d'Este sale.

2015-05-18: Sixth generation Camaro and RM Auctions' Villa d'Este sale preview ...
Chevrolet Camaro SS This weekend, Chevrolet launched the sixth generation Camaro at a special event in Belle Isle, Detroit. Although still unmistakably a Camaro, the new car is smaller and lighter than its immediate predecessor. As before, the Chevrolet's Pony Car comes with a choice of a V8 or a V6 but now with a new entry-level turbocharged four-cylinder engine added to line-up. The smallest and most frugal of engines is still good for an impressive 275 bhp, while the range-topping SS boasts a 455 bhp V8. The most sophisticated iteration yet, the sixth generation Camaro should be at Chevrolet dealerships before the end of the year.
A biennial addition to the annual Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este is the RM Sotheby's auction, staged for the third time this weekend. This is a particularly exclusive sale with just over three dozen carefully selected lots. Among them are three Italian thoroughbreds, which look set to break the bank. Rarest of the three machines featured today is the Fiat 8V Vignale Cabriolet from 1953. It is one of only very few 8Vs fitted with open coachwork and this is the only one of these clothed by Vignale. Rarely seen since it was restored in the early 1990s, it has a pre-sale estimate starting over one million Euro.
Ferraris will not surprisingly feature strongly and among the most valuable consigned is one of eight 212 Exports clothed by Touring with the ever attractive Barchetta body. In addition to the example estimated to sell for between Euro 5.5 and 7 million, we have also featured a sister car that recently starred at Villa d'Este and Pebble Beach.
One of the absolute top sellers on Saturday is bound to be the alloy bodied 250 GT SWB (s/n 1953GT) in the lot list. Although not raced in period, we have captured it in recent years being pounded around tracks like Goodwood and Spa-Francorchamps. The estimate is available on request but it would not surprise us if it finds a new owner for an eight-figure price!
As always, we will be at Villa d'Este and should have a full report and gallery of both the Concorso d'Eleganza and RM Sotheby's auction ready some time next week.

2015-05-15: All new Porsche 911 GT3 R, the legendary Carrera RSR 2.8 and VW Golf GTE Sport ...
Porsche 911 GT3 R On the eve of this year's Nurburgring 24 Hours, Porsche has released the all-new 911 GT3 R. Based on the recently launched 911 GT3 RS road car, the new racer is built to comply with the latest GT3 regulations. As such the GT3 R will be eligible for a wide range of national and international championships and should also star at the 'Ring next year. It is powered by a flat-six engine, capable of over 500hp and features many lightweight carbon composite panels. The 911 GT3 R will be available before the end of the year.
Porsche's launch today prompted us to take a renewed look at one of the new racer's legendary predecessors; the 911 Carrera RSR 2.8. Based on the Carrera 2.7 RS road-car, the GT machine was the first of a long line of 911 competition cars raced by Porsche customers of which the new GT3 R is the latest incarnation. Among the six examples featured in our 103-shot gallery is the outright winner of the Sebring 12 Hours. In addition to that victory, the RSR 2.8 also scored numerous outright and class victory before being superseded by the larger engined RSR 3.0 we featured a few weeks ago.
At this weekend's Worthersee GTI Treffen, Volkswagen will also showcase this spectacular Golf GTE Sport. This plug-in hybrid machine boasts a WRC-derived petrol engine, supported by two electric motors. The combined output of the aggressively styled Golf GTE Sport is 395 hp.

2015-05-13: Jim Clark's Indy winning Lotus, diminutive OSCA, CSL hommage and new Camaro ...
Lotus 38 Ford The month of May has started and that means it is time for the Indy 500. This has prompted us to take a look back at the 1965 edition, which saw the great Jim Clark clinch an historic victory with the Lotus 38 Ford. This was the very first win at the 'Brickyard' for a car with the engine behind the driver, the first for a British manufacturer and the first for a Ford-engined car. Enthusiasts throughout the country could watch the race as it was broadcast live for the very first time on ABC Sports. A great contributor to Clark's success was the Type 38's designer, Len Terry, who passed away last year. To mark the 50th anniversary of the epic victory, we have expanded our Lotus 38 article, which now includes two cars, including Clark's winning chassis.
Throughout the 1950s, the surviving Maserati brothers produced a range of four-cylinder engined sports cars under the OSCA banner, which more often than not punched well above their weight. The most diminutive of these was the S187, introduced in 1956 for the under 750cc class, which was particularly popular in Italy. It was powered by a twin-cam, four-cylinder engine, which produced a remarkable 70 bhp. Quick and often more reliable than its rivals, the S187 would score many class victories, including two at the Mille Miglia. Less than two dozen were built and we have today featured three examples, one of which was raced in period by the late Denise McCluggage.
Ahead of the official launch at the upcoming Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, BMW has offered a first glimpse of the new 3.0 CSL Hommage show car. As the name suggests, the latest creation of the BMW Design department is a tribute to the great 3.0 CSL built during the early 1970s and raced with great success.
On Saturday, Chevrolet will reveal the all-new, next generation Camaro at a special event in Belle Isle, Detroit. To get us in the right state of mind, the American manufacturer has already released several teaser images.