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2014-11-27: Rare Porsche and Ferrari GT racers ...
Porsche 911 T/R In 1967 Porsche had discovered the competition potential of the 911 with the blisteringly quick 911 R. It was, however, not built in sufficient numbers to be homologated as a GT racer. To that end, Porsche instead decided to apply the lessons learned to mildly modify the already homologated 911 T, which was the base but also the lightest model in the range. The result was the 911 T/R, which was built in very small numbers during the 1968 season. It was available in various states of tune and the options included a well honed fuel-injected version of the flat six engine that was also used in Porsche's prototype racers. Of the estimated 35 examples built, we have added three different examples, one of which sold recently for close to $500,000.
Rare still is the Ferrari 512 BB Competizione built a decade later. Four of these machines were built specifically for Le Mans in 1978 with some backdoor support from the factory. Unfortunately, the near production GT racer was not quite quick or reliable enough to challenge the mighty Porsche 935s. They did however convince Ferrari to do some further development work, which resulted in the much wilder 512 BB LM, which debuted in 1979. Our detailed article includes a 28-shot gallery of the Ecurie Francorchamps entry.
  2014-11-26: McLaren and Honda reunite, Mercedes old and new and Skoda Fabia R5 ...
McLaren MP4-29H Honda As the 2014 Formula 1 has drawn to a close, the first evidence of the renewed McLaren and Honda partnership in the form of the McLaren MP4-29H Honda. Based on the 2014 McLaren, it is powered by the all-new Honda drivetrain. Created mainly to test the all the new systems, the MP4-29H has been used during the two-day Abu Dhabi test with Stoffel Vandoorne behind the wheel.
At this weekend's Bonhams Bond Street Sale, you will have a unique opportunity to acquire this very rare Mercedes 35 hp Roi des Belges Tourer. Understood to be the oldest survivor of its type, this was the first large engined Mercedes fitted with a propellor shaft instead of chains. That the 35 hp Tourer has survived was certainly not a given as it served as it served as the Station Manager's car on two remote sheep farms in Australia.
A modern take on the rare Mercedes, is the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake due to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show early next year. The versatile machine is powered by the same 360 hp four-cylinder engine that is found in the hatchback model.
At next week's Essen Motor Show, Skoda will showcase the Fabia R5 Concept. As the name suggests, the show car offers a first glimpse of the next incarnation of the hugely successful Fabia rally car. As always, we will be in Essen to explore the always very colourful displays and a full report will follow early next week.
2014-11-24: Spectacular Porsche 908/02 Spyder in full detail ...
Porsche 908/02 Spyder During the 1960s, Porsche gradually worked towards the Le Mans winning 917 by introducing ever larger engined sports racers. Introduced in the same year as the 917 was announced, the 908/02 Spyder was hugely successful in its own right. It represented a thorough evolution of the 908 launched at Le Mans a season earlier, which had been overweight and unreliable. In 1969 guise, the 908 was altogether more successful as together with the Longtail Coupe version, the very nimble 908/02 Spyder already had the World Championship won before Le Mans. The car scored wins at the Nurburgring and the Targa Florio, and in 1970 also clinched the first non American V8 win in the Can-Am Challenge Cup. Examples of the 908 would continue to race around the world for over a decade.
Today we have taken a detailed look at this very quick Porsche prototype racer. Our 116-shot gallery features eight different examples. Among them is chassis 005, which is fitted with the rarer still Longtail Spyder body and will be offered this weekend at Bonhams' Bond Street Sale. Its pre-sale estimate is a startling GBP 2 - 3 million.
  2014-11-21: Chevrolet V8 engined sports racers and LA Auto Show round-up ...
Wolverine LD65 Chevrolet Although General Motors officially upheld the non-racing policy during much of the 1960s, the company certainly had enough talented staff capable of developing potent competition cars, which they often did in their spare time. A great example is the Wolverine Chevrolet Can-Am racer, which was created by chassis engineer Lee Dykstra and stylist George Anderson. Dykstra, in particular, would remain one of the leading names in American motorsport for years to come, achieving fame with the Group 44 Jaguar GTP cars. The unique Wolverine had been developed for accomplished privateer racer Jerry Hansen. He raced in the first ever Can-Am race and it remained in active service for several more seasons in the hands of successive owners.
The Chevrolet V8 engine remained the engine of choice in American motorsport for years to come. One of the most successful applications was in the Chevrolet Greenwood Corvette of the mid-1970s. Thanks to the potent V8s, these wide-body machines could achieve record breaking speeds at tracks like Daytona and Le Mans. A decade later, the March 83G GTP machine still used the OHV small-block engine to great effect. Our updated 35-shot gallery includes images of two different examples including the famous Red Lobster liveried machine.
Jointly at the Guangzhou and Los Angeles Auto Shows, Daimler launched the new Mercedes-Maybach S 600. These new luxury model based on the 'standard' S 600 brings a new level of luxury to the German manufacturer and incorporates the Maybach name into the Mercedes line-up as a sub-brand much the same as has been done with AMG.
Among the other stars on display in LA was this Lexus LF-C2. The luxury 2+2 convertible looks set to enter production as the drop-top version of the recently introduced RC Coupe.
2014-11-19: LA Auto Show: Audi Prologue, Cadillac ATS-V, Bentley Grand Convertible and more ...
Audi Prologue Show Car On the eve of a particularly busy Los Angeles Auto Show even more new cars have been announced. Audi offered a preview of the upcoming A9 luxury coupe with the Prologue Show Car. It is powered by an uprated version of the recently introduced twin turbo V8, which is good for a startling 596 hp.
Hot on the heels of the competition car announced over the weekend, Cadillac have released full details of the highly anticipated ATS-V Coupe and ATS-V Sedan. The range-topping models are powered by a newly developed twin turbo V6, which produces 454 bhp. This power is transferred to the rear wheels through either a six speed manual of eight speed automatic gearbox.
Bentley also offered a glimpse of things to come with the Grand Convertible design study. Based on the top-of-the-range Mulsanne Speed, the car does its bold name more than justice. Wether it will hit production depends on customer demand but Bentley is adamant that it will be a highly exclusive regardless.
The Volkswagen Golf R Variant also due in Los Angeles is a very enticing prospect as it combines the 300 hp engine of the Golf R with the added practicality of the estate body. What is somewhat puzzling is that despite being launched in LA, the car will not be available in the United States.
We have also added some more images to the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 gallery. The latest rumours suggest the car has a Ferrari rivalling 8,200 rpm redline!
  2014-11-17: All-new Shelby Mustang GT350 and its legendary inspiration ...
Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 The Ford Motor Company has today revived a legendary name in the form of the Shelby Mustang GT350. True to its name, the new GT350 is not just another trim level as it features a purpose built, flat-plane V8 engine. Using this crankshaft design, usually only found in European exotics like the Ferrari 458, the new 5.2 litre engine is the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever made by Ford; it produces in excess of 500 bhp. Instead of the traditional rumble, this American V8 will produce a distinct howl. The Ford engineers have introduced further upgrades throughout the car to ensure the Shelby Mustang GT350 will live to its legendary name.
To place the new GT350 into a historical context, we have also taken a detailed look today at the original Shelby Mustang GT350 R, which was introduced almost fifty years ago. Based on the production fastback Mustang GT, this stripped down racer dominated the SCCA B Production class, winning the national championship in 1965, 1966 and 1967. Our 33-shot gallery features three of the 36 pure competition cars built, including one of the two prototypes and the car that won the 1966 SCCA national championship in the hands of Walt Hane, who was a rocket scientist in between race weekends.
Over the weekend, Cadillac published the first rendering and details of the ATS-V.R. Built to GT3 regulations, it is powered by a twin-turbo V6, which is good for 600 bhp in unrestricted form. It is expected to hit the race track at the start of the new season.
Due in action even earlier is the Dakar Rally bound Peugeot 2008 DKR of which the full livery and technical details have now been revealed.
2014-11-14: Ferrari's 1961 Sebring and Le Mans winning 250 TRI61 ...
Ferrari 250 TRI61 For what was the final season of the three-litre World Sports Car Championship, Ferrari carried through some of the most fundamental changes to the Testa Rossa to create the 1961 250 TRI61. The only remnant of the original Testa Rossa introduced four years earlier was the free-revving V12 engine complete with the red cam covers that gave the car its name. A year earlier, Ferrari had already switched to fully independent suspension and a sophisticated space frame chassis. The work for the 1961 focused on the aerodynamics and were the result of a freshly installed wind tunnel. A longer body with a 'shark nose' air-intake and a tall Kamm tail transformed the Testa Rossa's stability at high speeds. As Ferrari had also developed all-new mid-engined sports racers, the 250 TRI61 was only used at select events. It nevertheless scored outright victories at Sebring (1961 and 1962) and at Le Mans (1961). Only two were built and both are featured in great detail in this lovely 55-shot gallery. They remain perhaps not as the best looking but certainly as the best Testa Rossas overall, and neither has changed hands in the last 30-odd years.
Of a slightly later vintage is the McLaren M3A Oldsmobile, which was developed at the start of the 1966 season specifically for Formula Libre events. The featured example is the sole survivor and was raced with great success by leading female driver Patsy Burt. The car's most prominent appearance, or non-appearance, came during the John Frankenheimer movie Grand Prix, where the third M3A served as a camera car. Coincidentally, the driver for this brave venture was Phil Hill, who had also driven the TRI61 to its famous Le Mans victory.
  2014-11-12: Can-Am winning Shadow, F1 winning Brabham and more ...
Shadow DN4 Chevrolet Don Nichols' Shadow team entered Can-Am with the very unusual tiny wheeled car in 1970. As the years went on, the cars fielded by Shadow became more conventional. The final and most conventional of all was the Shadow DN4 entered in the 1974 Can-Am. It was smaller and lighter than its predecessors and dominated the championship with Jackie Oliver at wheel. To mark the 40th anniversary of the final Can-Am season, we have taken a detailed look at the mighty Shadow DN4, featuring three of the five examples built.
Shadow also competed in Formula 1 and to put the DN4 in perspective, we have also updated and added the Shadow DN3 and Shadow DN5 respectively.
We were very happy to learn that Project Brabham has reached its crowd funding target earlier this week and look forward to seeing the David Brabham-run team return to racing. To remind you of the very rich competition history of the Brabham family, we have today updated our Brabham BT24 feature. It helped Denny Hulme clinch the second driver title for the Brabham in a row. One of the chassis featured was recently sold at auction for just over $1 million. At the same Gooding & Co. sale in Pebble, a McLaren F1 failed to sell, despite a $10.7 million high bid, which would have been a new world record for the type.
One week ahead of the official debut at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show, we have received the first details of the Lexus LF-C2 and Scion iM show cars.
2014-11-10: Maserati Monday with a detailed look at the legendary 300S ...
Maserati 300S In what is Maserati's centenary year, we today take a detailed look at the 300S. One of the Italian manufacturer's most loved models, it was created to take on the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Jaguar in the World Sports Car Championship. The 300S was powered by a beautiful straight six engine and was built around a light and very sophisticated chassis. Over time, the Fantuzzi designed and built aluminium body slightly changed shape to help cut through the air with even more ease. Especially in 1956, the 300S was hugely competitive, winning two of the five rounds that year, including an epic win at the Nurburgring. The fine handling sports racer was also a popular choice with privateers and eventually over two dozen were built, many of which were raced around the world for several seasons.
Today, the Maserati 300S is still a popular choice in historic racing, despite the ever increasing values. As a result, we have seen quite a few of the surviving cars, and some quite often. This has allowed us to create a spectacular 346-shot gallery, which includes images and a concise history of 15 different examples!
  2014-11-07: Three Group C cars that starred at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ...
Toyota 87C A set fixture at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a class that includes the ever popular Group C racers. This year's event was certainly no exception with a dedicated Group C group. For us the absolute highlight was the very rare appearance of one of just three Toyota 87Cs built. Developed by specialists Dome, it was powered by a highly tuned, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine, good for close to 700 bhp. Underlining Toyota's ambitions, the Japanese manufacturer signed former F1 World Champion Alan Jones to drive. He raced the featured example at Le Mans in 1987 but it sadly ran out of fuel during the opening stint.
A more familiar sight at Goodwood is the 1988 Le Mans-winning Jaguar XJR-9. Powered by a mighty V12 engine and built around a sophisticated carbon-fibre composite monocoque, it ended Porsche's stronghold at Le Mans. The victory was not a given as Jan Lammers had to nurse the car home with a gearbox that was one shift away from disintegrating. Our revised 58-shot gallery includes images of three different examples including the actual Le Mans winning example, which is regularly demonstrated by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the company's most recent outright win at Le Mans, Mercedes-Benz brought one of the six Sauber Mercedes C9s to Goodwood this year. It is one of four featured in our 90-shot gallery.
For those of you who want to see these machines in person, the tickets for next year's Festival of Speed have already gone on sale on the Goodwood website.
2014-11-05: The mighty Lancia Delta S4 in full detail and new Mazda and Golf racers ...
Lancia Delta S4 Group B The virtually no limits Group B class of the 1980s resulted in some of the most sophisticated rally cars of all time. One of the very best of these is the Lancia Delta S4. A Delta in name only, this mid-engined machine was the first Lancia rally car to be fitted with all-wheel drive. It also featured a cutting edge engine, which combined a turbo and a supercharger to cure the lag from which turbocharged engined machines suffered. The spectacular Lancia went head-to-head with Peugeot's 205 T16 in what was to be the final season for Group B. Over the years, we have captured three different examples of these legendary Martini liveried machines and with the help of Guido Bortolani, we have chronicled them in our detailed article, which is illustrated by a 32-shot gallery.
A brand new rally car is this Volkswagen Golf SCRC, developed specifically by Prodrive for the Chinese Rally Championship. Built to the spirit of the current WRC regulations, it does feature a slightly larger, two-litre engine, which produces in excess of 300 bhp. With the Golf SCRC Prodrive has created a rally car for a seventh manufacturer in the specialist manufacturer's 30-year history.
At this week's SEMA Show, Mazda released the first details of the new MX-5 Cup. Intended to compete in one-make series on several continents, the new MX-5 racer will hit the track in 2016.
Porsche, meanwhile, has thoroughly revised the Cayenne GTS. Instead of the V8 previously used, it now features a new twin-turbo V6 engine, good for 440 hp. Along with a new entry level Cayenne, the revised GTS will officially be revealed at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.
Dubbed a Sport Utility Coupe and sporting a Star Trek-inspired warp-drive grille, the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code is a design study specifically targeting the Asian market. It was introduced at the opening of a new Product Engineering Centre in Beijing.
  2014-11-03: British V12 special with Lister Storm and Rolls-Royce Phantom III ...
Lister Storm Following the announcement of the all new Lister Hypercar late last week, we have today taken a detailed look at its spiritual predecessor: the Lister Storm. When it was introduced, the Jaguar V12-engined machine was the fastest 2+2 Grand Tourer. At roughly three times the price of a Ferrari 456 GT, it was also hugely expensive, and ultimately only four examples were built of the road-going Storm. The V12-engined Lister got a second lease of life as a GT racer, with the various evolutions racing competitively well into the 2000s. The last of these was the Storm GT, which was used in the FIA GT championship from 1999.
One of the first British cars powered by a V12 engine built in considerable numbers was the Rolls-Royce Phantom III, announced late in 1935. Compared to the first two, six-cylinder engined Phantoms, the third generation represented quite a departure. Very complicated, the Phantom III also featured independent front suspension and an active damping system, which automatically stiffened the ride as the speed increased. Between 1936 and 1939, Rolls-Royce produced 727 examples of which we have added three today. One of the very best Phantom IIIs in existence is this Vanvooren Cabriolet, which was originally owned by a Polish general and following a recent restoration was one of the Best of Show nominees at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Also featured are two one-offs; the Voll & Ruhrbeck Cabriolet, which was unusually fitted with German coachwork and the Mulliner All-Weather Tourer, which was re-bodied in 1950 by Mulliner.