2016-05-25: Alfa Disco Volante Spyder, BMW 2002 Hommage and a glimpse of Volvo's future ...
2016-05-23: 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and 200-shot gallery ...
In their original guise concours d'elegance were intended for modern machinery fitted with custom coachwork by the many specialists that were thrived particularly during the 1920s and 1930s in particular. At the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
this tradition is upheld with a special class for Concept Cars and Prototypes. This weekend, the winner was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder
, created by Touring Superleggera. The striking machine is based on an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider and hand-built over a six-month period by the revived company. The example
shown at Villa d'Este is the first of seven due to be built. Five of these have already been sold.
BMW celebrated the launch of the successful and crucial '02' range 50 years ago this year with the 2002 Hommage
. Based on a current production M2, the show car is inspired by the 2002 Turbo. Although not intended for production, BMW's chief designer did mention that this 2002 Hommage
is the closest to a production car of all tribute cars created by the German manufacturer.
Volvo, meanwhile, offered a first glimpse of their future small cars with the Concept 40.1
and the Concept 40.2
2016-05-19: Fabulous Ford F3L and ultimate Porsche 962C in full detail ...
Under beautiful blue skies, the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este hosted the 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
on Saturday. The oldest and quite possibly also the most prestigious event of its kind, the annual concours d'elegance this year featured 52 hand-picked classic cars that ranged from an ever rakish Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante Coupe to a Ford Escort rally car. Carefully selected by an esteemed committee, each of the cars entered had an interesting background, whether it was the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 originally owned by Steve McQueen or the Lancia Astura Castagna Coupe commissioned by Il Duce's son Vittorio Mussolini. Many of these great stories are chronicled in our detailed report
of the event, which is illustrated by a class-by-class, 160-shot gallery
that includes all the classic and modern cars entered in the Concorso d'Eleganza. On Sunday morning, we also ventured to the nearby Villa Erba with this 40-shot gallery
as the result.
Although already very detailed, our report
includes but a small selection of the images and stories we gathered over the weekend. Many more of these can be expected to be used for individual car features in the near future.
2016-05-17: 2016 Spa Classic report and 250-shot gallery ...
At last weekend's Spa Classic
many great cars ventured out on track and today we take a closer look at two of the very best.
The earliest of the pair is the Ford F3L
developed for the 1968 World Sports Car Championship. Built to the new three-litre regulations, the Len Bailey designed car was powered by the Cosworth DFV V8 that had been created for Formula 1. Responsible for the development and construction was Alan Mann Racing, who did receive substantial backing from Ford themselves. Achingly beautiful, the F3L failed to live up its expectations and the project was set aside after the 1969 season. Crashed heavily in period, this F3L
was eventually rebuilt and raced extensively in historic events by David Piper. It is now in Swiss ownership and been carefully restored once more while preserving the patina built up after years of racing. In the hands of ace historic racer Bernard Thuner, the slippery Ford F3L
finished fourth in the CER1 race.
Certainly more successful in period was the all-conquering Porsche 962C and today we have singled out the ultimate development
of the highly successful Group C car. Continuously developed by Joest Racing with considerable help from Porsche, chassis 962-011
remained competitive throughout its five-year career. In 1989, it scored the last Group C win for Porsche at Dijon and in 1993 finished second at the Road America IMSA GTP race behind a similarly modified sister car. These modifications included a massive biplane rear wing that was inspired by the Jaguar XJR-14 and developed in the wind tunnel at Weissach with the help of Norbert Singer himself. Finally retired from contemporary racing after the 1993 season, the ultimate 962C
is now owned by a very capable British enthusiast, who won both Group C races at Spa on Sunday.
2016-05-12: Benetton, Bugatti and Chevron racers headed for auction, new Porsche GTE/GTLM ...
This weekend, the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps hosted the sixth annual Spa Classic
. The track lived up to its reputation as it provided both great racing and rapidly changing weather, which ranged from sunny, spring conditions on Friday to the odd hail shower on Saturday and Sunday. This did not deter the competitors, or for that matter the 17,000 spectators who flocked to the track in the Belgian Ardennes. On the schedule were all the familiar Peter Auto grids like the CER and Group C races. Special for this event was the additional evening race for the Heritage Touring Cup as a tribute to the editions of the Spa 24 Hours run for touring cars in the 1970s and 1980s.
Our photographers braved the conditions and ventured all around the undulating and very scenic track to capture the Spa Classic in its entirety. This has resulted in a class-by-class report
, illustrated by an action packed 250-shot gallery
that includes plenty of flames, slides and glowing brakes.
As always, detailed features about the cars that starred at the Spa Classic will follow in the coming days and weeks.
2016-05-11: Spa Classic preview with three Italian sports racers ...
At the upcoming auctions in Monaco, some significant racing cars will cross the block. Among them is this Benetton B191 Ford
that will be offered by Bonhams
in their sale in the Fairmont hotel. Developed ahead of the 1991 season by John Barnard, the B191 was driven to a single win by Nelson Piquet in his final season. It was also the first Benetton raced by Michael Schumacher towards the end of the year. In B-spec, this very car
was used early in 1992 by Michael Schumacher to score his first podium finishes.
Also offered by Bonhams is a very early Bugatti Type 35
. It was bought new by future Bentley Boy Glen Kidston, who picked it up at the factory. Later in 1925, he lapped the bumpy Brooklands circuit with an average of over 110 mph. Raced virtually throughout its life, it was fitted with a rare four-cylinder Anzani engine for many decades. It was more recently restored to its original configuration. Chassis 4450
is estimated to sell for 1-1.5 million Euro.
At the rivalling RM Sotheby's sale a lovely Chevron B36
will be offered. Sold to the United States, it was raced until 1980 and then stored for 27 years before it was restored on behalf of its European owner.
Meanwhile, Porsche offered a first glimpse of the new for 2017 GTE/GTLM
racer. The teaser shots very deliberately do not show the sides of the rear of the car, which fuels the rumours that it could very well be mid-engined.
This weekend we will be at the legendary Circuit de Spa Francorchamps for the 2016 Spa Classic. The sixth edition of this annual event will see the full range of the Peter Auto grids in action, which means sports cars from the 1950s through to the early 1990s. To provide a first glimpse of what we can expect, we have taken a closer look at three Italian sports cars that are due to star this weekend. Changeable conditions are expected, so our upcoming report and gallery should be something to look forward to.
A regular in the Classic Endurance Racing field is this Ferrari 512 BB LM
, which is one of the very last built. It was raced in 1981 by an all-Belgian crew at Le Mans, and fittingly, the striking European University liveried is again campaigned by a Belgian historic racer. We have captured this particular 512 BB LM
at many events over the years.
One of the absolute stars of last year's Spa Classic was this truly fabulous Alfa Romeo 33/3 Spider
, which briefly led its race in the hands of Emanuele Pirro. The talented Italian made the most of the beautifully howling three-litre V8 in the back of this very rare machine that competed at Le Mans back in 1970. This weekend, the 33/3 Spider
will be piloted by its owner and original driver Nanni Galli.
A much lesser known machine is this Alba AR2 Giannini
created ahead of the 1983 season for the newly created Group C Junior class. Built with a virtually limitless budget, it holds the distinction of being the very first Group C car with carbon-fibre composite monocoque chassis. Facing limited competition, the Alba AR2
won the Junior championship in 1983. Now owned by a French historic racer, it will be part of the two-dozen strong Group C field that will star at Spa.