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2015-05-28: 2015 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and gallery ...
2015 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and gallery This weekend not only featured the Spa Classic but also the altogether more relaxed Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. The annual event is one of the most prestigious and exclusive events of its kind, attracting a field of cars that stands out not by its size but by its quality. The 50-car strong field was more diverse than ever before with an ever impressive Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 lined up alongside striking show cars like the Pegaso Cupula and the six-wheeled Panther Six. In addition to the classic cars, the Concorso d'Eleganza also boasts a tradition of old by inviting brand new (show) cars. Making their world debut at Villa d'Este this year were the BMW 3.0 CLS Hommage and the Zagato styled and built Maserati Mostro. The weekend also featured the biennial RM Sotheby's auction, which like the main event had an exclusive character with less than 40 lots. Topping the record-breaking sale was the Ferrari 212 Export Touring Barchetta, we featured last week and changed hands for just over Euro 6.7 Euro.
Our reporters were at Villa d'Este throughout the weekend and have returned with a concise report, illustrated by an all encompassing 230-shot gallery.
As always, more detailed features of the individual cars will follow in the coming days and weeks.
  2015-05-26: 2015 Spa Classic Report and 280-shot gallery ...
2015 Spa Classic report and 280-shot gallery Over the weekend, the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps hosted the fifth annual Spa Classic. Organised by Peter Auto, it featured all of the familiar grids like the Classic Endurance Racing and Sixties' Endurance, complemented by the ever impressive Group C series. Taking centre stage this weekend were the touring cars, which celebrated the rich history of the Spa 24 Hours with a pair of one hour races; one during the day and one at the end evening for each of two grids. In addition to the action on the track, the event also boasted a Bonhams auction and over 1,500 vehicles were displayed by the various clubs. Our eyes were firmly set on the track and we have hiked around the undulating circuit to capture all the action. Among the many fine machines out on track were such rarities as the unique Ferrari 250 GT Breadvan, a howling Jaguar XJR-14 and a pair of Porsche 934s. The result of our labour is this concise report, illustrated by a 280-shot gallery. In the coming days and week, we will surely highlight several of the finest cars that took to the track during the weekend.
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.
  2015-05-11: All-new Viper ACR, VW Group's Worthersee GTI Meeting and more KTM X-Bow GTR images ...
Dodge Viper ACR Over the weekend, Dodge has introduced the all-new Viper ACR. The track-focused machine boasts uprated suspension, a more aggressive aerodynamics package and a stripped out interior. Although at home on the track, the Dodge Viper ACR is fully road legal. It will be hand-built and available to customers in the fall of 2015 as a 2016 model.
The Austrian Worthersee will host the annual 'GTI Treffen' this week. Among the highlights of the meeting are the special show cars produced by the various members of the Volkswagen Group specifically for the event. Volkswagen themselves will bring the Golf GTI Clubsport. Built on the eve of the GTI's 40th anniversary, it features a more powerful engine and a revised bodykit.
Among the most powerful machines on display will be this Audi TT clubsport turbo. Based on the new TT, this show car is powered by a trick version of the turbocharged, five-cylinder engine. It is equipped with a special turbocharger that features an electric motor to keep the turbine spinning to prevent turbo lag. The mighty engine in the TT clubsport turbo is good for a staggering 600 hp.
Skoda, meanwhile, will showcase the Fabia R5 Combi. As the name suggests, it is an estate version of the recently introduced Fabia rally car.
Announced earlier this year, Reiter Engineering and KTM have begun testing the X-Bow GTR. Intended for use in the GT4 class, the striking machine is the first fixed-head version of the very quick X-Bow.
2015-05-08: Ferrari Friday with early Vignale Berlinetta and unique Boano Cabriolet ...
Ferrari 225 S Vignale Berlinetta Most of Ferrari's earliest sports racers were clothed with straightforward and lightweight 'Spider' or 'Barchetta' bodies. This changed during the early 1950s, when the likes of Touring, Pinin Farina and Vignale started to produce 'Berlinetta' bodies in larger numbers. Among them was the 225 S Vignale Berlinetta of which six were produced during the 1952 season. Underneath the elegant Vignale coachwork, the 225 S featured the latest, 2.7-litre version of the familiar Colombo V12 engine, which some chassis boasted a more elaborate tubular structure to improve rigidity. All six cars were sold to privateer racers, who campaigned them with considerable success around Europe, and many were later sold to the United States. Over the last couple of years, we have managed to capture five of these, as the sixth is still under restoration. Detailed histories of all six can be found in our comprehensive article, illustrated by a 54-shot gallery.
Of a slightly later vintage is the unique 250 GT Boano Cabriolet. Shown at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show, it shared the underpinnings with what would later become known as the Boano Coupe, but boasted an altogether more flamboyant design. With extensive use of chrome and prominent fins on the rear fenders, it was clearly aimed to appeal to American customers. Only one was built and following a final contemporary appearance at the New York Auto Show, it was acquired by Robert M. Lee, who still owns it today. Like most of the cars in his impressive collection, the one-off Boano Cabriolet is regularly shown at major events across the United States.
This week, legendary sports car racing pioneer and journalist Denise McCluggage sadly passed away at the age of 88. She excelled in what was and to an extent still is a man's world and especially her contributions as a journalist are virtually unrivalled. In 1967, she famously raced the first Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Nart Spyder at Sebring.
  2015-05-06: Four Alfa Romeos that starred at the Techno Classica ...
Alfa Romeo Montreal Group 4 At last month's Techno Classica in Essen, we were particularly taken by a quartet of Alfa Romeos spread around the vast show floor. Our absolute favourite was this Montreal Group 4 competition car. Built and developed by Autodelta, this unique machine was campaigned with some success in the German DRM championship. It has rarely been seen since, so we used this opportunity to capture every angle.
Following an outing at the Geneva Motor Show back in March, the Alfa Romeo Storico also brought the sole surviving 1900 Sport Spider to the Techno Classica. This allowed us to shoot further details of this Spider version of the fabled Scaglione penned Sportiva.
Using the same four-cylinder drivetrain, this 1900C SS Ghia-Aigle Coupe is of a slightly later vintage. It features an elegant Coupe designed by Giovannie Michelotti for the Switzerland based Ghia-Aigle company. For most of its life, the rare Alfa Romeo remained in its 'native' Switzerland only to emerge very recently.
Earliest of all Alfa Romeos featured today is this 6C 1750 SS, which was shipped as a rolling chassis to London. Here it was fitted with an open tourer body by Carlton, in the style of the great Bentley sports racers. The unique Carlton Tourer has a formidable period racing record and was presented in Essen with a beautiful patina.
2015-05-04: Moss' Mille Miglia winning Mercedes and unique Porsche 930/935 road car ...
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Roadster This weekend, it was exactly 60 years ago that Sir Stirling Moss won the Mille Miglia averaging close to 100 mph in his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, while using the pace-notes of his co-driver, the journalist Dennis Jenkinson. Remarkably, this record-shattering run was the debut for the new 300 SLR sports racer. Powered by a direct-injection, straight-eight engine and built around a sophisticated tubular spaceframe chassis, it was effectively a two-seater version of the all-conquering W196 Formula 1 car. Moss would go on to add victories in the Tourist Trophy and Targa Florio to the 300 SLR's tally on the way to the World Championship but the successful season was overshadowed by the horrible accident at Le Mans, which saw one of the SLRs fly into the crowd, killing dozens of spectators. Mercedes-Benz ceased all motorsport activities after the 1955 season and the 300 SLRs were not raced again. To mark the 60th anniversary of Moss and Jenkinson's heroic effort, we have taken a renewed look at the 300 SLR with a feature that includes three of the seven surviving Roadsters. At the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, we may see as many as eight examples, including the two Uhlenhaut Coupes.
Catering to the specific needs of the company's clients, Porsche established the 'Exclusive Department' during the 1980s. The very first machine created in this department was this 930/935 TAG Turbo. Based on the latest 3.3-litre engined Porsche 911 Turbo, the car was created on behalf of Mansour Ojjeh, whose TAG company had bankrolled the development of the Porsche V6 engine that would go to power McLarens to three World Championships. Inspired by the all-conquering 935 competition cars, Ojjeh's one-off Porsche featured a wild body kit, a custom interior and a 25% hike in power from the turbocharged flat-six engine. We have captured the unique 930/935 TAG Turbo at the recent Techno Classica.
  2015-04-30: Porsches and Ferrari that starred in the 2015 Tour Auto ...
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 At last week's Tour Auto, arch-rivals Porsche and Ferrari were very strongly represented. Among the rarest of Porsches competing was the 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 of which two were raced. Built by Porsche in 1974 and 1975, it was the ultimate evolution of that naturally aspirated Porsche 911 racers before the German manufacturer switched to the turbo-charged 934s and 935s. Although homologated as a GT racer, the three-litre engined Carrera RSR also scored two outright victories each in the Sebring 12 Hours and Daytona 24 Hours. Added to the six examples already featured, the pair of RSRs were extensively raced in period by prominent French and German privateers. They are pictured in what is now a 178-shot gallery.
Of a somewhat earlier vintage is this Ferrari 212 Export Touring Berlinetta, which ran strongly for three of the event's five days. One of just four built, this rare fixed-head machine combined the classic Touring lines with latest 2.6-litre engine introduced by Ferrari in 1951. The example that participated in the Tour Auto burst back onto the scene early in 2014 when it sold for over $3 million at a Bonhams auction. As can be seen in this 37-shot gallery, it has since not only competed in the Tour Auto but was also shown at Pebble Beach back in August.