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2014-04-22: Rare Le Mans Cobra and Beijing Motor Show round-up ...
AC Shelby Cobra Le Mans Although quick on tight and twisty circuits, the brick-like aerodynamics did not do the original AC Shelby Cobra any favours on long straights like the Mulsanne at Le Mans. In order to partly address this problem a special Cobra Le Mans was created for the 1963 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The most obvious change was the addition of a removable hardtop roof but the cars also boasted detail changes. Initially three examples were built, while a further six were constructed to the same specification. They were raced with considerable success in period, one finished seventh overall and first in class at Le Mans. In fact they are still campaigned successfully today as Le Mans Cobras have won the two most recent Tour Auto retrospective. This has prompted us to completely re-do our article, which now boasts a 139-shot gallery, which includes both cars that raced at Le Mans in period and two of the later cars.
Following our earlier report on the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, we can now round-up our coverage with a closer look at three more concepts shown in the Chinese capital. Among them is the Volkswagen Coupe Concept, offers more than glimpse of the upcoming Passat CC. French manufacturer Citroen, meanwhile, debuted the Citroen C-XR Concept, which undoubtedly will also be followed by a production model. Specifically targeting the Chinese market is the Nissan Lannia Concept. The striking sedan was created in Nissan's recently opened design centre in China.

2014-04-20: Latest from the Beijing Motor Show and a new Morgan Speedster ...
Volkswagen Golf R 400 This week, the Beijing Motor Show or Auto China will kick off. Ahead of the show, several German manufacturers have already offered a preview of what they will showcase. Among them is Volkswagen, who will reveal the Golf R 400. As the name suggests, it features a 400 hp version of the familiar four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Key to the boost in power is a liquid cooled exhaust, cooling the gasses before they reach the turbocharger. Volkswagen stresses that the Golf R 400 is, at the moment, a concept car only.
Sister company Audi will use the Chinese show to showcase the TT offroad hybrid concept, which is effective a raised TT, creating yet another niche model. The show car is powered by plug-in hybrid system good for 400 hp.
Mercedes-Benz will also explore a new niche in Beijing with the Concept Coupe SUV. According to the press release, it boasts the same lines off the recently introduced S-Class Coupe with a SUV platform.
BMW will also the Auto China to offer a glimpse at the future with the Vision Future Luxury. The striking machine should give a good impression of the upcoming range-topping model, presumably the new 7-series.
Over the weekend, British specialist manufacturer Morgan announced the limited edition Plus 8 Speedster. As the name suggests, this will be a Plus 8 with cut-down windshield. The lightweight machine will retail for just GBP 69,995. More images and details will follow in the coming weeks.

2014-04-18: Ferrari Friday with the Ferraris that starred in the Tour Auto ...
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione For many years, Ferrari dominated the Tour de France, showcasing a winning mix of speed and reliability. At this year's Tour Auto, Ferraris were also very well represented. Among the Ferraris entered was the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, which was driven to the outright victory in the 1960 Tour de France by Willy Mairesse and Georges Berger. This alloy-bodied example has been a regular in the Tour Auto since it was acquired by the current owner in 2001.
One of the absolute stars of the Tour Auto this year was the unique 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan', which we featured early last week. We have kept our eye out for this striking machine and have expanded our gallery to 71 shots.
Ferrari was so successful in the French road rally that for several years, the 250 GT competition model was referred to as the 'Tour de France'. The main reason was the outright victory scored in 1956 by the 250 GT Competizione Scaglietti Coupe, of which an example was entered in this year's Tour Auto. In period this car was also raced in the Tour de France, placing 8th in 1956 and 5th in 1957. We also captured chassis 0563GT at Villa d'Este last year.
Leading the field this year was a parade of Ferraris and Maseratis and among them was the very high performance 458 Speciale. For good measure, we have also added some shots of this machine from the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.

2014-04-16: New York Auto Show round-up and all-new Mercedes-AMG ...
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT Today, the annual New York International Auto Show kicked off with the first of two preview days. Aston Martin used the opportunity to debut the hardcore V8 Vantage GT and V8 Vantage GT Roadster. Powered by a 430 bhp version of the all-alloy V8, this the North American counterpart of the N430 launched last month in Geneva.
One of the most powerful debuts in the Big Apple will no doubt be the 625 bhp Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible. This represents the very first drop-top Z06 since the moniker was introduced back in 1963. Despite the lack of a roof, the car is 20% more rigid than the previous generation Z06 Coupe. The Z06 Convertible will be available later this year as a 2015 model.
Land Rover will look ahead in New York wit the Vision Concept as this will form the base for the upcoming Discovery model. The show car is equipped with the innovative Transparent Bonnet head-up display, which gives the driver a better view of the ground immediately ahead of the car.
Perhaps the most interesting news of the day is the announcement of the Mercedes-AMG GT, which will be launched in the fall. Powered by a V8 engine, this two-door coupe is poised to challenge the Porsche 911.
The big news yesterday was of Peugeot's return to Dakar with the 2008 DKR. It will be driven by former winners Cyril Depres and Carlos Sainz.

2014-04-14: 2014 Tour Auto report and 300-shot gallery ...
2014 Tour Auto report and 300-shot gallery This week, some of the most beautiful roads of France were the scene of the annual Tour Auto retrospective rally. The five-day and 2,000 km event featured a 250-car strong field of GT and Touring cars of many different shapes and sizes, ranging from a BMW 700, to a fleet of Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Porsches and Cobras. The star cars this year included the Ferrari 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan' we featured last week but also the very first Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. Set in the eastern and southeastern parts of France, the Tour Auto was run mostly on undulating roads and also featured the Dijon-Prenois, Anneau du Rhin, Bresse and Paul Ricard circuits. The fight of the outright win lasted until the very last day and was disputed between a pair of Cobras and a pair of E-Types.
Our photographers chased the Tour Auto through France and captured the event from start to finish. The result is this concise stage-by-stage report, illustrated by an action-packed 300-shot gallery.

2014-04-11: Peugeot and Bentley hybrid concepts primed for Beijing debut ...
Peugeot Exalt Concept With China emerging as the quickest growing market, the annual Beijing Motor Show or Auto China has become one of the most important shows on the calendar. This year's edition will start next week and both Peugeot and Bentley will showcase a hybrid-engined concept car. The French manufacturer's show stopper will be the Exalt Concept, which combines a front-mounted direct-injection petrol engine with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. The combined output of this plug-in hybrid drivetrain is an impressive 340 bhp. What will certainly capture the visitors' attention is the two-tone finish of bare-metal and shark skin. As a tribute to the artisan's of old, the metal panels of the Exalt's bodywork have been hand-beaten.
The Bentley Hybrid Concept is an altogether more straightforward machine as it represents the marriage of the Mulsanne bodywork with an all-new plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The exact details of the engine/motor combination have not been released yet, the images suggest that the Mulsanne's roaring 6.75 litre V8 has been retained. Bentley has announced that the first production model to be available as a plug-in hybrid will be the new SUV due in 2017.