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2015-08-02: One-off Bertone Ferrari and other Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions highlights ...
Ferraro 250 GT SWB Bertone Berlinetta For the auctioneer's upcoming flagship Pebble Beach sale, Gooding & Co. has once again managed to consign a superb collection of cars, which are due to cross the block in two weeks time. The absolute headliner and our personal favourite as well is the unique Ferrari 250 GT SWB Bertone Berlinetta. First shown at the 1962 Geneva Motor Show, the car was a pet project of Nuccio Bertone himself as he was determined to show Enzo Ferrari he was wrong to exclusively use the services or rival carrozzeria Pininfarina. Tasked with the design was the very young but hugely talented Giorgietto Giugiaro. Fitted with a very striking 'sharknose', the one-off 250 GT SWB received universal acclaim but sadly, it was not acknowledged by Ferrari until recently when it received the coveted Classiche certificate. Originally owned by Bertone himself, it was later by an American professional drummer as his daily driver for decade, accumulating around 100,000 miles. Since 1980, it has been the crown jewel in the late Lorenzo Zambrano's fabulous collection. The unique Bertone Ferrari is now available for the first time in 35 years and we think bids may well exceed Gooding's top estimate of $16 million.
Among the many other stars in the sale are other fantastic Ferraris, including prime examples of the equally stunning 500 Superfast and 206 S Dino Spyder, the latter of which will be offered without reserve. Also included in the two-day auction are an actual Le Mans winning Porsche 956 and an ex-works Porsche 904 GTS from the same collection. Further highlights include a rally prepared Maserati A6G/54 2000 Allemano Coupe and an ex-Team Penske / Mark Donohue Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder.

2015-07-31: Mighty six-cylinder engined Maseratis ...
Maserati 350S For many years, Maserati successfully campaigned competition cars powered by a succession of six-cylinder engines. The very first of these was the 6C 34 built for the 1934 Grand Prix season. Based on the earlier 8CM chassis, the car featured a very large six-cylinder engine, which was more powerful yet lighter than the straight eight previously used. This was critical as the new-for-1934 regulations stipulated a maximum weight of just 750 kg. Unfortunately, the added power made the car difficult to drive and the 6C 34 was quickly replaced by the independently sprung and V8-engined V8RI in 1935. Only a handful of 6C 34s were built and our detailed article features two original cars and the reconstructed Mille Miglia racer.
One of the very last six-cylinder engined competition cars produced by the Italian manufacturer was the 350S, which debuted in 1956. It was very much an experimental sports racer developed alongside the V8-powered 450S and featured a new engine that had been designed for the upcoming 3500 GT road car. Like the 6C 34, the 350S did not quite handle as well as other contemporary Maseratis and its racing career was very short. Of the three examples built, one was fitted with a V8 and became the 450S prototype and another was re-engined with a V12. Our article features the sole survivor, which made a rare outing at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where Maserati was one of the featured marques.

2015-07-29: All new Ferrari 488 Spider and early Ferraris headed for auction ...
Ferrari 488 Spider Ahead of the official launch in September, at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Ferrari released the first details of the new 488 Spider. It shares the twin-turbo V8 engine with the 488 GTB launched earlier this year. Displacing just over 3.9 litres, it produces a hefty 670 hp. What sets the new Spider apart from the GTB is the steel roof that can be folded away neatly behind the passenger compartment. Ferrari spent a lot of time fine-tuning the 488 Spider's aerodynamics, making it the most efficient car produced by the Italian manufacturer yet.
At the upcoming Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction, Ferraris will once again take centre stage, one year after a new world record was set when the ex Maranello Rosso Ferrari 250 GTO found a new owner for over $35 million. This August, the sale is headlined by this 250 GT LWB Interim Berlinetta. One of seven built in 1959, it combines the long wheelbase chassis with the design that was due to be used for the upcoming SWB; hence the Interim type name. The car on offer was raced extensively in period and following a crash was not seen in public for nearly fifty years. Beautifully restored and Ferrari Classiche certified, it was first shown at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2014 and later also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to show it goes as well as it looks. The pre-sale estimate for the rare Interim is $9 - $12 million.
A slightly earlier Ferrari due to cross the block is this 212 Vignale Cabriolet. Of the 79 212 Inters built, just four received this body-style. This particular car spent most of its time in Switzerland and between 1972 and 2012 in the hands of just one owner. The new owner restored the car himself and his lovely work was awarded a second in class at Pebble Beach, behind the Ferrari that would go on to win best of show. The lovely Vignale Cabriolet can be yours for an estimated $2.4 - $2.8 million.

2015-07-27: Mazda Monday with six rotary engined sports racers ...
Chevron B16 Mazda Mazda, literally, took centre stage at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. All eyes were of course on the 1991 Le Mans winning 787B, which was driven by among others Valentino Rossi. Our attention, however, was grabbed in particular by this Chevron B16 Mazda that sat stationary in the paddock. Powered by a Mazda 10A engine, this was the very first car to race at Le Mans equipped with a Mazda rotary engine. It proved quick but fragile and after little over a season of racing, the unique Mazda-engined Chevron was retired from contemporary racing by its Belgian owner. He sold the car to the current owner over two decades ago, and he has only cleaned the car. It is believed that the Mazda-engined B16 has not run since 1971, which should make it one of the most original B16s in existence.
Another British sports racer powered by a rotary engine that starred at Goodwood was this Tiga GT286. It was one of two built in this configuration for the 1986 IMSA Lights championship and features a striking Rusty Jones livery. The best result for this GT286 Mazda was a second in class at Riverside.
In addition to the Le Mans winning 787B, Mazda also brought a slightly earlier 787 and the RX-7 GTO and RX-792P that originally raced in the IMSA GT Championship. The latter three are still run by Mazda North America and will again be campaigned at the upcoming Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

2015-07-24: An all-encompassing look at the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ...
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Roadster Having travelled the world for the better part of 15 years to visit the finest automotive events, we are not easily stunned any more. We definitely were at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed were all but one of the surviving Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs were lined up side by side. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the World Championship winning 1955 campaign with the 300 SLR. Well ahead of its time, the Mercedes-Benz sports racer was derived from the equally successful W196 Formula 1 car. In addition to the two-seater body, it also featured a three-litre version of the eight cylinder engine. This remarkable unit featured desmodromic valves and direct fuel injection. Highlighted by Stirling Moss' record breaking performance in the Mille Migla, the 300 SLR absolutely dominated. Sadly, the car will also be forever linked to the deadliest accident in motorsport history, which saw Pierre Levegh launch off the back of another competitor into the crowd at Le Mans, killing himself and 80 spectators. Mercedes-Benz withdrew the other cars from the race shortly after the accident. It would be the only race the German manufacturer entered in 1955 that they did not win.
So seeing just one of these priceless machines is special but seeing five of the six surviving examples lined up side-by-side was more than spectacular. Three of the cars also ran throughout the weekend, which has enabled us to further expand our 300 SLR gallery, which serves to illustrate a comprehensive article with car-by-car histories of each of the seven Roadsters built.