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2015-01-30: F1 Friday with new and old McLarens and Ferraris, and new Toyota Yaris WRC ...
McLaren MP4/30 Honda With the first official Formula 1 test quickly approaching, the class of 2015 is being released in quick succession. One of the most highly anticipated 2015 cars was certainly the McLaren MP4-30 Honda, which marks a return of the successful partnership. The first Honda-engined McLaren in over two decades, the new machine also marks a change in design philosophy and with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button at the wheel, the MP4-30 could bring McLaren back to the winner's circle for the first time since 2012. To mark the return of the McLaren Honda combination, we have also taken a detailed look at two of the partnership's World Championship winning cars; the V10-engined McLaren MP4/5 and MP4/5B.
Today, Ferrari revealed the SF15-T, which will be a crucial car for the Italian team after last year's disastrous season. Judging from the looks alone, it certainly is a vast improvement. Time will only tell if the gap to the dominant Mercedes-Benz team is bridged. They shook down their new W06 Hybrid yesterday but will not officially launch the car until Sunday. The only other team using Ferrari's engine this season will be Sauber and they also unveiled their new C34 today. The dramatic new livery is the result of signing Felipe Nasr, who has substantial Banco do Brasil backing.
To underline Ferrari's uninterrupted commitment to Formula 1, we have also taken a closer look at the unique Ferrari 340 F1, which was used during the sport's very first season. An interim model, it helped develop the 375 F1, which would clinch Ferrari's very first World Championship victories in 1951. Following a spell in South America, the one-off 340 F1 has been in Dutch ownership for over three decades.
Amidst all the F1 news, the most important to hit our desk today is the confirmation of the strong rumour that Toyota will return to the World Rally Championship in 2017. The car to be used will be this Yaris WRC, which will be further developed over the next two years by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).

2015-01-28: Bentleys, Mercedes-Benz and Delahaye headed for auction ...
Bentley R-Type Continental Franay Coupe Next week, all eyes in the classic car world will be on Paris because of the upcoming Retromobile show and also the three associated auctions. British auctioneer Bonhams will once again stage a sale in the spectacular Grand Palais. One of the absolute highlights in their catalog is this Bentley R-Type Continental Franay Coupe. This unique machine is built on the very last of the highly acclaimed R-Type Continental chassis produced. After nearly two decades in German ownership, one-off is estimated to sell for at least EUR 850,000.
Canadian rival, RM Auctions, has one of the other four Franay bodied R-Type Continentals; this Sports Saloon. Also sporting a unique bodywork, this D Series Continental benefits from the larger 4.8-litre engine, which is good for close to 180 bhp. Although used extensively since its late-1990s restoration, the Franay Sports Saloon still looks the part. Another one-off Bentley due to cross the block at RM Auctions is this slightly earlier 4 1/4 Park Ward Sports Coupe. Originally shown at the 1938 Earls Court London Motor Show, it was commonly referred to as 'The Honeymoon Express.' Having benefitted from a no-expense-spared restoration, the Park Ward Sports Coupe has a sharp estimate of EUR 600,000 - 725,000.
Like last year, RM Auctions has one of the rare and successful Delahaye 135 S Competition Roadsters in its catalog. Well raced in recent years, the example on offer has a period competition record of over 50 events, scoring several outright victories along the way.
Responsible for the official Retromobile sale is local company Artcurial Motorcars, who have already grabbed numerous headlines because of the Baillon barn-find collection that will kick off the sale. Offered later in the day is this Mercedes-Benz 380 K Cabriolet A. Shown at the 1934 Geneva Motor Show, it is one of just 16 Cabriolet As built on the 380 K chassis and one of just three or four remaining today. The meticulously restored 380 K has a pre-sale estimate of EUR 1.3 - 1.6 million.

2015-01-26: Barn-find Ferrari and Maserati from the Baillon collection ...
Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder At next week's Retromobile show all eyes will be on the Artcurial Motorcars sale of the Baillon collection. This remarkable selection of cars was gathered over many years by Roger Baillon and then stored in sheds on his estate. Not touched for decades, they only emerged again last years when Baillon's family asked Artcurial to sell the cars at auction. Time has not been kind on some of them but the two star cars featured today have a beautiful barn-find patina. Not surprisingly they were stored side-by-side in a proper garage.
The most valuable of the pair is a Ferrari 250 GT SWB California, which was actually discovered with a pile of books stacked on top of the delicate Pininfarina styled body. Among the car's very first owners was French movie star Alain Delon and it also starred in the motion picture Les Felins. In addition to the car due to cross the block, we have today added half a dozen more examples of the superb short-wheelbase California, which are pictured in this 99-shot gallery.
Of a slightly earlier vintage but similar beauty is the Maserati A6G/54 2000 Frua Coupe. The car in question is one of just four chassis of this type clothed by Frua with a Coupe body. A few years ago, one of the other three was sold for $1.6 million and the Baillon collection example is expected to go for as much as EUR 1.2 million even though it does not actually run. As can be seen in this 43-shot gallery it does have a lovely patina, which hopefully be preserved by a future owner.
As always, we will be at Retromobile to capture the event and the three major Paris auctions held during the same week.

2015-01-23: Unique Delage Bequet, ex-Senna Lotus and news from Lamborghini, Porsche and Toyota ...
Delage Bequet Special During the 1920s, many surplus fighter-plane engines were strapped to racing car chassis with mixed results. One of the very best of these often unique 'hybrids' was the Delage Bequet Special. Named after its creator Maurice Bequet, it combined a Delage Grand Prix chassis with a massive Hispano Suiza V8 sourced from a Spad fighter-plane. The result was a very quick machine, which was sadly hampered by the fact that it was not built to any specific regulations and relegated to run in minor events. Fortunately, it did survive and the Bequet Special is regularly raced in historic events, which allowed us to capture every detail of this spectacular machine.
With the Lotus 98T Renault, the late Ayrton Senna really made a name for himself during the 1986 season. Very much an evolutionary design, the JPS-liveried machine propelled him to two victories and a startling eight pole positions. Today, we have taken a closer look at the two 98Ts used by Senna that season. Among these is the very chassis used to score two wins and five pole positions.
The big news in contemporary racing this week was the introduction of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The aggressive looking machine was developed with help from Dallara and will be raced in international events starting this season.
Another competition car due to make its debut later in 2015 is the Toyota GT 86 CS-R3. Created by TMG in Cologne, this rally racer is available to customers now and comes with a EUR 5,000 discount if ordered before April 24th.
Porsche will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Porsche Club of America by offering the limited edition 911 GTS Club Coupe exclusively to club members. Finished in 'Club Blau' just 59 examples will be available of the car, which combines the GTS engine and two-wheel drive with the wider body normally found on the Carrera 4. The Club Coupe is available now for just over $136,000.

2015-01-21: New Williams FW37 and McLaren 650S, and the Life L190 W12 ...
Williams FW37 Mercedes The first 2015 Formula 1 car to break cover is the Williams FW37 Mercedes of which the first images and details were released this morning. Very much a development of the successful FW36 used in 2014, the new Williams, as expected, boasts a much more subtle nose. The long and rather ugly point is now replaced by a shorter 'thumb' nose as a result of the changes to the regulations. Like last year's Williams, the FW37 will be powered by the very potent Mercedes-Benz engine. The car's first public appearance will be at the Jerez official test, which starts on February 1st.
To celebrate the legendary debut victory of the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans, 20 years ago this year, the McLaren Special Operations has launched the limited edition McLaren 650S Le Mans. Created together with the F1's original stylist Peter Stevens, the exclusive model features many subtle cues that remind of the Le Mans winner. These range from the special wheels to a faux air-intake scoop on the roof. Available later this year, the 650S Le Mans will be limited to just 50 examples. As part of the package, buyers will be able to join McLaren at Le Mans this year for a special celebration.
With the class of 2015 due to be revealed in the coming two weeks, we today take a look at a most memorable Formula 1 car of old; the Life L190. It is memorable for all the wrong reasons and is generally considered as one of the worst F1 cars of all time. Built on a discarded, year-old chassis, the Life served as a vehicle to promote the W12 engine originally designed by former Ferrari man Franco Rocchi and marketed at the time by Ernesto Vita. We have chronicled the colourful story of the car and engine in article illustrated by a 15-shot gallery of the unique car in action at Goodwood a few years ago.