2016-07-28: Gooding Pebble Beach preview with fabulous Ferraris and very rare Cisitalia ...
Today, we continue our preview of the upcoming Monterey auctions with a closer look at some of the highlights due at the two-day Gooding & Co. sale. The California based auctioneer has a particularly fine selection of Ferraris on offer, headlined by this 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione. One of nine alloy bodied cars, this one was prepared specifically to go racing. As one of the last long wheelbase chassis produced, it featured the outside plug engine and disc brakes earmarked for the brand new SWB cars. Boasting a fine competition history and equipped with very rare competition components, it is not surprisingly estimated to sell for as much as $20 million. With an estimate of $15-18 million, this early 250 GT SWB Competizione will also certainly grab a lot of attention if only for its striking 1960 Le Mans livery. For those with a slightly more modest budget, Gooding also has a steel bodied 250 GT SWB. Having recently benefited from a Ferrari Classiche supervised restoration, it will require an eight figure bid to pry it away from the current custodian.
One of our favourite lots is the very rare Cisitalia 202 CMM Vignale Coupe. It is one of the very first Cisitalias built and one of only two fitted with this lovely aerodynamic bodywork that was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi and built by Vignale. The example on offer raced in the Mille Miglia in period and was also part of a Japanese collection for many years. The pre-sale estimate for this rare gem is $2-3 million.
2016-07-25: RM Sotheby's Monterey preview with lovely Alfa 8C, Ferrari Monza and Shelby Mustang ...
The major auctions at Monterey have become an event in their own right and this year certainly looks like it won't be an exception. The RM Sotheby's catalog for their August 19 and 20 auction promises to be one of the highlights. We were particularly taken by the striking Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Spider consigned by Sam and Emily Mann. The 'Two-Nine' was the 250 GTO of its era and this particular example has a period racing history. It was restored in the 1990s and has since been both shown and driven extensively. Estimated to sell for $20-25 million, it looks set to become most expensive pre-War car ever sold at auction.
Another one of our favourites is the Ferrari 750 Monza offered by living legend Jim Hall of Chaparral fame. The car was raced in period by Carroll Shelby and Phil Hill and was then acquired by Hall, who like his legendary compatriots also added victories to the car's tally. Hall retained chassis 0510M for sixty years and had it fully restored during the 1990s, while retaining every major component with the exception of the bell-housing and the starter. Also offered by Hall is the very first Chaparral, which he has owned from new.
The late Carroll Shelby is a prominent feature in the catalog, not in the least because the very first Shelby Cobra will be offered. Another one of his creations is the Shelby Mustang GT350 R that was raced in period by Pedro Rodriguez. It was then campaigned by a fellow Mexican with a red, white and green stripe. He was hugely successful, winning SCCA championships and also his class at Sebring in 1967. Beautifully restored, chassis SFM5R108 is estimated to sell for $850,000 - $950,000.
2016-07-21: Mighty Porsche headed for auction and McLaren and Porsche GT1 cars ..
For the 1979 season, Porsche officially only produced a handful of 935s powered by single turbo engines for the American market. Through the backdoor, the German manufacturer also supplied a pair of 935s fitted with the more potent twin turbo engine. Of these chassis 009 0030, delivered to Dick Barbour was the most successful. Sharing with Paul Newman and Rolf Stommelen, Barbour drove it to second overall at Le Mans in 1979. It then evolved into a 935 K3 and was later downgraded to 934 specifications, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours in these respective guises. Restored to its original guise, this hugely successful car has now been consigned to the Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions. The second example was sold to Bruce Canepa and he still races the car to this day in historic events.
At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, we were pleasantly surprised to see this Porsche 911 GT1 '98 restored to its original Zakspeed / Jever. In this guise, the car competed in the FIA GT Championship before it was returned to Porsche. It was then painted in the colours of the Le Mans winning sister car. As we could see at Goodwood, its period racing history is now reflected once more.
A couple of the Porsche's former rivals were also on hand. These included this Gulf Davidoff liveried F1 GTR Longtail. We last saw this car in North America when it failed to sell at the 2012 Bonhams Quail Sale but it does have a new owner now. Amazingly, a second Longtail was also on hand. This example was brought by BMW and finished in the familiar factory colours.
2016-07-18: Carl Haas remembered and new sports cars ...
While we were in Le Mans, the sad news reached us of the passing of Carl Haas. This larger than life figure of American road racing was best known as an entrant but also as the distributor for Lola in North America. Haas (no relation to Gene Haas) also had a foray in Formula 1 with this Ford-backed Beatrice-Lola THL2 Ford in 1986. A Lola in name only, the car was designed and built by an all-star crew that included Ross Brawn, Neil Oatley and Adrian Newey. Unfortunately, the all-new Ford Cosworth twin-turbo V6 arrived late and by the time it did, the funding dried up. Featured is the first of five THL2s built, which was demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last week.
The Festival of Speed also featured a choice of all-new sports cars. Breaking cover was the no-nonsense Elemental RP1. Built around a carbon-fibre composite monocoque, it is powered by a 320 bhp Ford Ecoboost engine. The track-day ready machine weighs just 580kg and is capable of accelerating to 60 mph in under 3 seconds.
Another racer for the road that starred at Goodwood was the Polish Arrinera Hussarya GT. This striking machine boasts a steel tubular spaceframe and a GM-sourced LS3 V8 engine.
Making its first public appearance was the one-off Ferrari 458 MM Speciale. Announced a few weeks earlier, this 458-based machine was built to custom order of a British client.
Techart have offered the first glimpse of the all-new GTstreet R. Based on the latest 911 Turbo S, it is due to be officially launched later in the year.
2016-07-14: 2016 Le Mans Classic report and 300-shot gallery ....
This weekend, Peter Auto and the ACO staged the eighth Le Mans Classic. First held in 2002, the biennial event is without equal and this year attracted a record breaking 123,000-strong crowd. New this year was a 'support race' for Group C cars, which attracted over 40 examples of these much loved machines. This was just the warm-up for the main event, which saw over 400 historic racing cars from 1923 through to 1981 spread over six groups compete between 4pm on Saturday to 4pm on Sunday. These were not only driven by their enthusiastic owners by also by many former Le Mans winners, the likes of Henri Pescarolo, Emanuele Pirro and Andy Wallace. Another entertaining side-dish was the Artcurial Motorcars sale, which was topped by a beautifully preserved Porsch 935.
We were at the track throughout the weekend, and have captured all the action in a highly entertaining 270-shot gallery, which serves to illustrate a concise report of the eighth Le Mans Classic. Also include is a separate 30-shot gallery from the Artcurial sale.
2016-07-13: Three fabulous Bugattis and a Matra engined Ligier ...
Today we try to boost France's morale after their defeat in the EURO 2016 final in Paris on Sunday and ahead of the national holiday on Wednesday by highlighting four fantastic French cars. Among them are three Bugattis, headlined by an exquisite Type 57 SC Atalante. The two-door coupe shape of the 'standard' Atalante design worked particularly well on the underslung 'S' chassis and the handful of examples produced rank amongst the highly sought after of all Bugattis. This particular example was most recently shown at Villa d'Este but we also shot it nearly a decade ago at Pebble Beach when it featured an altogether different paint-scheme.
Responsible for the most successful competition car of all time, the Type 35, Bugatti struggled during the 1930s to keep up with the rapid pace of development of their rivals. Among the final Grand Prix cars built in Molsheim was the Type 59 of which only six are believed to have been built. The featured example is a rare survivor and was driven in public for the first time in many years during last month's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Making its dynamic debut at Goodwood was the all-new, 1,500 hp Bugatti Chiron, which was named after one of Bugatti's Grand Prix drivers.
Flying the French flag in Formula 1 during the 1970s and 1980s were teams like Ligier and Matra, who also worked together on two separate occasions. The most successful of these was to create the Ligier JS17 Matra of 1981. Although somewhat overweight, the car won two rounds of the World Championship that year. These were also the very last victories for the venerable Matra V12 unit. The pictured JS17 is still in fighting form as illustrated by ace historic racer Rob Hall, who briefly led one of the two Formula 1 races during the 2015 Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort.
We will continue our French theme later in the week with a comprehensive and very well illustrated report from this weekend's Le Mans Classic.
2016-07-07: Le Mans Classic preview with BMW 3.0 CSL and more ...
At this weekend's Le Mans Classic, a colourful mix of cars will take to the legendary track. Among them is this BMW 3.0 CSL Group 2 works car. Designed to compete in the 1973 European Touring Car Championship, the lovely 'Batmobile' won the series and along the way, the blue ribband Spa 24 Hours. That year the CSL also won the Touring Car class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among the two featured examples is the Spa and Le Mans class winner, which is the car that will line up here tomorrow as well.
A serial (class) winner at Le Mans is the Ferrari 250 GT. The 250 GT SWB Competizione that we have highlighted today is not one of the actual winning cars but it did race at Le Mans in 1960 and will be back this year.
Group C cars take part for the first time this year. This has inspired owners to bring out some truly fabulous machines. Among the rarest of these is the GKW 862SP Porsche. This one-off machine was designed to compete in the Group C class. Although completed in period, it never actually raced. The unique GKW has now been brought back to full running order and will finally make its belated Le Mans debuted tomorrow.
2016-07-06: Artcurial Le Mans Classic sale preview and new Aston Red Bull and Ferrari supercars ...
This weekend we will be at the biennial Le Mans Classic and one of the key attractions is the Artcurial Motorcars sale. Among the cars consigned are a fabulous Ferrari 250 GT SWB and a rare Delage D6 3L Grand Prix. Our eye was particularly captured by this highly original Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux. Once owned by a scion of the Peugeot family, it has been hidden from sight for many years. We will be at the Circuit de La Sarthe throughout the event and you can expect a detailed report and gallery next week.
Yesterday the first images and details emerged of the AM-RB 001. This is the all-new road legal supercar developed jointly by Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing with legendary designer Adrian Newey as the driving force. Although few specifics have been released, the car is promised to have at least one bhp to move every kg of weight. Both figures are believed to be around the 900 mark. This should give the striking new machine phenomenal performance figures.
Another new supercar announced this week is Ferrari's LaFerrari Spider. It features the same drivetrain as the Coupe but combined with a stronger chassis and revised aerodynamics to compensate for the removed roof panel. If you are in the market for the LaFerrari Spider you are too late as all 150 cars due to be produced have already been spoken for.
2016-07-04: Fourth of July celebration with iconic V8-engined machines ...
Celebrating America's Independence Day, we today take a look at three iconic V8-engined sports cars. Most famous of all is unquestionably the original AC Shelby Cobra. This particular car is the very first of the 100 cars built during 1962, powered by the 260 Ford V8. Used primarily for development and promotion purposes, it was retained by the late Carroll Shelby. The Cobra prototype has now been consigned by the Shelby Trust to the upcoming RM Sotheby's Monterey sale. No estimate has been given but we expect this priceless piece of American sports car racing history to become the most expensive Cobra ever sold at auction.
One of the Cobra's rivals was the Cheetah Chevrolet, designed and built by Bill Thomas. This very compact machine is built around a spaceframe chassis and usually features a small-block Chevrolet V8. Initially, Thomas planned to build 100 examples but a fire in the factory and a lack of buyers eventually saw the original run limited to 29 road and racing cars. Of these only 14 have survived. The featured example is more special than the others as it was re-engined in period by Bill Thomas himself with a very rare L88 big block engine. It then disappeared from sight in 1972 and has only very recently been unearthed and carefully restored.
Of all American racing series, the Canadian American Challenge Cup is one of the most revered and this year marks Can-Am's 50th anniversary. Cars of many shapes and sizes were raced between 1966 and 1974. Among them was the BRM P154 Chevrolet of 1970. This is one of only a handful of BRMs to be powered by a third-party engine. Following a comprehensive restoration, the ex-Pedro Rodriguez P154 was one of the stars at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed.
2016-07-01: News from McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, VUHL and Porsche ...
In addition to celebrating motoring's rich past, the Goodwood Festival of Speed also features many new car debuts. One of the finest of these this year was undoubtedly the McLaren P1 LM developed by McLaren specialists Lanzante as a road going version of the P1 GTR. The prototype broke cover at Goodwood, and withe the full support of McLaren a further five production cars will be built early next year. Although still early in its development cycle, the P1 LM was already driven to the second fastest time of the weekend by former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack.
Aston Martin's 'Q' department meanwhile showcased this strictly one-off Vantage GT12 Roadster. Based on the limited edition GT12 Coupe, this car was built to special order for a customer.
Mercedes-AMG added a range topping model to their line-up in the form of the GT R. Honed at the Nurburgring, it is lighter and more powerful than the GT and GT S models it joins.
Porsche offered a first glimpse of the second generation Panamera line-up which includes these Turbo and 4S models. The new car is still easily identifiable as a Panamera but subtle changes to the design make it look considerably lower.
Starring in the "Racers for the Road" class was this Mexican-built VUHL 05RR. Courtesy of a larger, 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine, it boasts an additional 100 bhp compared to the 05. Extensive use of carbon fibre composites also brought the weight down by 10%.
2016-06-28: 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed report and 380-shot gallery ...
This weekend Charles Lord March hosted the 24th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed on his fabulous estate. Going from strength to strength, it is now much more than the celebration of motorsport it started out as. Today it also serves as the de facto British Motor Show. This year's theme was 'Full Throttle - The Endless Pursuit of Power', which was very appropriate as it was the 50th anniversary of the popular Can-Am Challenge Cup, while throughout the field large engined and very powerful machines starred, whether it was the Fiat S.76 'Beast of Turin' or the brand new Bugatti Chiron. On Friday, Bonhams stated their traditional Festival of Speed sale. Perhaps hampered by the turmoil of the 'Brexit' only 60% of the lots sold for a total of just under GBP 7 million.
A sell-out crowd braved the changeable weather conditions and the resulting mud to enjoy another great fantastic Festival of Speed. We were among them for the full four days and have captured all the highlights in a 340-shot gallery of the event itself and another 40-shot gallery of the Bonhams auction, which serve to illustrate our concise report. In the coming days and weeks, you can find many detailed features on the great cars that starred at this year's Festival of Speed.
2016-06-23: Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale preview ...
At the Festival of Speed, the Bonhams auction is a set fixture. This year is certainly no exception, and today we take a closer look at three of the finest cars in their lot list. Certainly causing a stir was the second of four Aston Martin DB2 Prototype. Not only did it compete the first 24 Hours of Le Mans race after the War, it is also one of just two DB2s fitted with a four cylinder engine. It has had an eventful life and will be offered in a 'barnfind' condition. With the addition of this car, we now feature three of the four Prototypes, which are pictured in a 46-shot gallery.
A more unusual car consigned is one of the five Bugatti Type 73Cs. Developed immediately after the War, the work on this four-cylinder engined racer stopped shortly after Ettore Bugatti's passing in August of 1947. It is still not entirely clear whether one of the cars was fully assembled in 1947 but what is certain is that parts for five were made. Over the years these have been built up into complete cars. The example consigned was built around engine number 4 and is one of three featured in our detailed article.
In a year during which the 50th anniversary of the Can-Am Challenge Cup is celebrated, a McLaren is a more than appropriate lot. In this case it is the ex-Pacesetter Homes M1B Chevrolet, which was raced by Masten Gregory in period and has more recently been one of the stars during the Whitsun Trophy races during the Revival on the nearby Goodwood Motor Circuit.