2015-10-06: Mighty McLarens and GTP Lights winning Acura Spice ...
At the recent Goodwood Revival, the life of Bruce McLaren was celebrated with a special parade. One of the absolute stars was the original McLaren M6GT. Very much a pet project of Bruce himself, the M6GT was due to be the first road legal McLaren production car. Unfortunately, Bruce's untimely death in 1970 effectively ended the program as the grief-stricken McLaren staff concentrated all their efforts on the competition programs. In addition to the original prototype, which Bruce used on the road himself, two further examples were produced for McLaren by Trojan. In our 41-shot gallery both the prototype and one of the two Trojan cars pictured.
Earlier in the year, at the nearby Goodwood Festival of Speed, another McLaren was one of the stars; the F1 GTR Longtail brought by BMW Classic. Chassis 26R is the eight example we have seen and one of the most successful of the bunch. After placing third overall at Le Mans, it was also driven to outright victories in two FIA GT races. At the Festival of Speed, it was reunited with period driver Steve Soper.
Even more successful was the Spice SE91P Acura that was brought out of retirement for the 2015 Monterey Motorsports Reunion. This car was part of the Comptech-run IMSA GTP Lights program that absolutely dominated its class between from 1991 through to 1993. Using a Spice chassis and a Honda NSX-sourced V6 engine, the car won the championship in its debut season with a 100-point margin. The title was successfully defended during the following two seasons. For the Motorsports Reunion, the featured Spice Acura was reunited with original driver Parker Johnstone, who placed an impressive second behind a much more powerful Porsche 962C.
2015-10-02: Two early Abarths we captured on the Monterey Peninsula ..
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To make it up to you, we have today added two early and lovely Abarths that we spotted on the Monterey Peninsula earlier this year. At Pebble Beach, this 1100 Sport Ghia Coupe captured the attention of many. This one-off show car was originally shown at the Turin Motor Show back in 1953 and disappeared from sight not long after. Some years ago, it was acquired by the current Canadian owner. A great enthusiast and clearly a talented mechanic, he took up the daunting task of restoring the unique Abarth himself, and in his own garage. As can be seen in our 13-shot gallery, the result was spectacular. Accordingly, it was awarded best in class and the Abarth was also the only post-War nominee for best of show.
Over at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, this Abarth 207A was exercised by its new owner. One of around ten produced in 1955, the diminutive machine combined the same Fiat-sourced engine with a new platform chassis and Boano body. This particular car debuted at the 1955 Sebring 12 Hours. As can been seen in this 29-shot gallery it feels still right at home on the racing track.
2015-09-28: Vanvooren Bugatti Type 57s and Walker LaGrande Duesenbergs ...
Paris-based coach-builder Vanvooren clothed around 20 examples of the Type 57 Bugattis. The two featured today are among the finest of these and were part of the very last batch of Bugattis completed before the War. Commissioned by a particular demanding customer was this Vanvooren Coupe. He had not one but two bodies built for him to choose his favourite. The one he picked was an interpretation of the standard Atalante design, with some unique cues. Cherished throughout its life, the Type 57 C Vanvooren Coupe has survived in remarkable original condition as can be seen in this 21-shot gallery.
Possibly commissioned by an even more demanding customer, the French government, this Vanvooren Cabriolet is an even more impressive creation. Following a Figoni & Falaschi design, it was created as a gift for the Shah of Persia. Once destined for the scrapper, the spectacular Type 57 C Vanvooren Cabriolet has survived and is today owned by the Petersen Museum.
One of the most impressive sights at the recent Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was a line-up of all three Duesenbergs bodied by Walker with the fabulous LaGrande Convertible Coupe body, designed by J. Herbert Newport. Of these, two were fitted on the naturally aspirated Model J, while the third car featured the rarer and more powerful Model SJ underpinnings. This may very well have been the very first time that these three cars were lined-up together.
2015-09-25: Three Vignale bodied Ferraris that starred at Pebble Beach ...
Before using Pinin Farina almost exclusively, Ferraris were clothed by other carrozzerie, the likes of Touring and Vignale. The latter employed Giovanni Michelotti as a stylist, who often came up with designs that were bolder than those of his rivals. Somewhat more understated were the lines he penned for the unique Ferrari 250 S Vignale Coupe. Created early in 1952, this is a particularly significant car as it is the first competition Ferrari to be powered by the three-litre version of the Colombo or short-block V12, which would go on to power some of the most legendary of Ferraris stright through to the 1960s. The writing was on the wall early as the 250 S won the Mille Miglia outright and also scored a victory in the Pescara 12 Hours. We captured this one-off Ferrari at the recent Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
It was not the only Vignale-bodied Ferrari to line-up along the Pacific coast. Another one-off, and one with a more typical Michelotto design, was this 340 Mexico Spyder. It is the final of the four cars built specifically for the Carrera Panamericana and the only fitted with open bodywork. Like many of the other Ferraris entered this year, it was not only shown but also driven in the Tour d'Elegance, with the drivers adorning matching helmets. All this and much more can be seen in this 22-shot gallery.
Using the same design language as the 340 Mexico was this 250 Europa Coupe. Shown at the 1953 Paris Auto Salon, it was the very first 250 Europa built and also one of only two clothed by Vignale in this style. Both cars have recently been lovingly restored and can be seen in our 30-shot gallery.
2015-09-23: Two one-off V12-engined machines and Peugeot's latest Dakar racer ...
Looking to rival the dominant German manufacturers and encouraged by a potential 1 million francs price offered by the French, Delahaye developed a V12-engined competition car during the second half of the 1930s. Against the odds, Delahaye actually succeeded and won the cash price. After the War, several of the competition cars were sold on to be bodied by France's leading coach-builders. One of these was entrusted to Franay, who created this fabulous Cabriolet body. Successfully shown at various events in period, the car was nevertheless separated from the Franay panels in favour of a replica of the cycle-fender body originally fitted. Fortunately, the Franay body was preserved and the current owner re-united the chassis and body. The Delahaye 145 Franay Cabriolet made its post-restoration at Pebble Beach last month, where it was awarded best in class, and was also nominated for the prestigious best of show award.
At the recent Goodwood Revival, Bruce McLaren's short but successful life was celebrated with a special parade. Among the stars on the track was the unique McLaren M5A BRM, which was one of the very first McLaren Formula 1 cars. The one-off machine was piloted on the occasion by Sir Jackie Stewart.
For the company's second assault at the Dakar Rally, Peugeot has created the 2008 DKR16. An evolution of this year's machine, it is slightly bigger and more powerful. The 2008 DKR16 will be raced by an all-star crew of Stephane Peterhansel, Cyril Despres and Carlos Sainz.
2015-09-21: Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Shelby's successful 1965 season ...
For Carroll Shelby, as a car manufacturer, the 1965 season was unquestionably the finest. His Ford-backed quest to end Ferrari's stronghold on GT racing and the prestigious World Championship for makes more than reaped its rewards that year. With the AC Shelby Cobra Daytona, Shelby had already clinched the coveted GT class win at Le Mans and in 1965, the team did one better by winning the World Championship with the slippery Cobra. Based on the familiar but not particularly aerodynamic Cobra roadsters, the Daytona Coupe featured a bespoke body, designed by former GM stylist Peter Brock. Only six examples were built, and raced with great success on both sides of the Atlantic. We reckon for the first time ever, all six were united earlier this month at the Goodwood Revival. This prompted us to re-do our Cobra Daytona article, which now boasts a detailed history of each of the six cars, and is illustrated by a 168-shot, showing the cars in events as diverse as the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and the Tour Auto.
While campaigning the Cobra Daytona around the world, Shelby also developed the Mustang GT350 for Ford in 1965. Built to increase the sporting credentials of the recently introduced Mustang, the GT350 was offered both in road trim and the now highly sought after GT350 R competition version. To mark the legendary machine's 50th anniversary, we have also updated our article, which now features five different examples, including one of just two delivered to Europe.
2015-09-17: 2015 Goodwood Revival report with 430-shot gallery ...
This weekend, the Goodwood Revival was staged at the time-warp Goodwood Motor Circuit. The 18th edition of the annual event, as always, featured some spectacular racing combined with goosebumps moments. Among the special celebrations this year were the 50th anniversary of World Championship win for Shelby and Ford by bringing together all six Cobra Daytonas for the first time and a tribute to Bruce McLaren with a special parade. A particular poignant moment was the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Another special feature was the Lavant Cup staged for drum-brake Ferraris only. In the regular groups, there was some great racing particularly in the two-driver St Mary Trophy and RAC TT Celebration races. Founding sponsor, Bonhams, again held an auction on Saturday afternoon, headlined by several Scarab racing cars and the Bentley S3 Continental offered by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
Dressed in suitable attire, our photographers were at the Goodwood Motor Circuit from dawn till dusk for three days. The result is this comprehensive report, illustrated by a class-by-class 380-shot gallery from the event and a 50-shot gallery from the Bonhams sale, to make what is our largest ever Revival coverage.
2015-09-15: Round-up of day one of the Frankfurt Motor Show ...
Today, the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA) or Frankfurt Motor Show opened its doors for the first of two press days. It is Europe's largest auto show and also one of the best attended. Among the absolute highlights unveiled is the Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, which replaces the Gallardo Spyder and features an electro-hydraulically operated soft top that can be opened at speeds of up to 50 km/h. Although over 100 kg heavier than the fixed-head version, the Spyder still accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.
Porsche, meanwhile revealed the striking Mission E. It serves as both a show car and technology demonstrator, and is powered by a pair of electric motors derived from the Le Mans winning 919 Hybrid. The Mission E has a combined output of 600 hp and a 500 km driving range.
Also looking to the future is the aptly named Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA. The IAA in this case is short for Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile and refers to the Cd figure of just 0.19. The Concept IAA's slippery shape is combined with an efficient hybrid drivetrain.
Audi expanded the recently launched ninth generation of the A4 with the S4. The range-topping model is powered by a cutting edge, supercharged V6 engine, good for 348 bhp.
Ahead of the competition debut, BMW took the wraps off the all-new M6 GT3. Powered by a massaged version of the M6's twin-turbo V8, the new racer replaces the successful Z4 GT3, which was a winner as recently as at the 2015 Spa 24 Hours.
2015-09-10: Revival: Scarab F1 racers headed for auction and unique Maserati-engined Cooper ...
On the eve of what is one of our absolute favourite events of the year, the Goodwood Revival, we take a look at a couple of machines due to the star during the time-warp event. The first is the Scarab F1 Offenhauser, of which two are consigned in the Bonhams Auction, while a third is actually entered in the races. One of the very last front-engined Grand Prix cars conceived and the very first American F1 car, the Scarabs did not do particularly well in period for a variety of reasons. Over the years some of the flaws have been ironed out, and today they are among the fastest front-engined GP machines. As chronicled in our chassis list, the cars on offer both come from Don Orosco and are the first example built and a re-construction using the identity of the second car. Both are highly valued with the original car estimated to sell for over $1 million. Orosco also has consigned his fantastic Scarab transporter and a replica of the sports car Scarab he owns. It would be great if at least a couple of these cars could stay together. The third example, entered in the Revival by Julian Bronson is the third chassis, which never competed in period and was displayed for many years in the Donington Grand Prix Collection museum.
Also shown in a museum for many years and now a regular at the Revival is this fabulous Cooper Monaco T61P Maserati. Built for Roy Salvadori to race, it combines a Cooper chassis with the mighty Maserati V8 that also powered the Tipo 151 endurance racers. The one-off machine eventually ended up in the Rosso Bianco museum where it was fittingly displayed alongside the sole surviving Maserati Tipo 151. Salvadori won with the car at Goodwood in period, so it has a standing invitation in the Revival. As can been in our 34-shot gallery, it has taken up that invitation many times since it was restored to full running order back in 2007.
Completely sold out, the Goodwood website does offer a live feed, and we will of course create a comprehensive report with an action-packed gallery for you to enjoy next week!
2015-09-09: IAA preview with new Porsche 911, Rolls-Royce Dawn, Bentley Bentayga and more ...
Ahead of the official launch at next week's Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Porsche has revealed the first details of the new 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S. The most significant changes are found in the engine bay where an all-new turbo-charged flat six engine is found. Displacing just three litres, it is more powerful and produces significantly more torque than the outgoing naturally aspirated flat sixes.
Rolls-Royce will debut the Dawn at the IAA. This Ghost-based convertible offers customers an alternative for the altogether larger Phantom Drophead. Using a slightly shorter wheelbase, it shares the same twin-turbo V12 with the Ghost and promises to be the quietest convertible available today.
Former sister company Bentley will literally break new ground in Frankfurt with the Bentayga. Not only is it the company's first SUV, it also features a new evolution of the W12 engine, which is now built in England. Good for 600 bhp, it combines indirect and direct injection systems, which should improve the W12's refinement.
Certainly not refined will be this Honda Project 2&4 show car. This minimalist roadster boasts a de-tuned of the company MotoGP's winning V4 engine, which is still good for 212 bhp at a staggering 13,000 rpm.
Renault, meanwhile, will introduce the fourth generation Megane, of which this Megane GT will be the range-topping model.
2015-09-07: 2015 Chantilly Arts & Elegance report and 210-shot gallery ...
On Sunday, the fabulous Chateau de Chantilly, just north of Paris, hosted the second annual Chantilly Arts & Elegance. Building on the strong debut year, this year's edition was better and bigger courtesy also of a Bonhams sale on Saturday evening. A formidable field of machinery lined up in the garden in front of the Chateau, which included among other highlights a choice of Bugattis, Ferraris, late 1960s and early 1970s Grand Prix Cars, and a class dedicated to the pre-War supercharged Mercedes-Benz. In addition to the classic cars, there was also a special Concours d'Elegance for modern show and concept cars.
Enjoying the lovely weather and fantastic cars, our photographers spent the better part of two days at the Chateau de Chantilly. The results of their endeavours can be found in this 210-shot gallery, which serves to illustrate a comprehensive report, chronicling many of the highlights.
In the coming weeks, you will also be treated to detailed features on individual cars that starred at Chantilly on Sunday.
2015-09-04: Bugatti and Maseratis headed for auction, and the latest news ...
As part of this weekend's second annual Chantilly Arts & Elegance, Bonhams will stage an exclusive auction with less than three dozen, high quality lots. Headlining the sale is this Bugatti Type 101 Antem Coupe. The fourth of six Type 101s constructed, this is one of the very last cars built by the original Bugatti company, and the only one with this Antem body. The rare Bugatti is estimated to sell for EUR 1.5 - 1.8 million.
Other one-offs consigned are the spectacular Maserati Boomerang and the Maserati 5 Litri Frua Prototipo, both of which were displayed at last year's Chantilly Arts & Elegance.
The re-established Bugatti company will offer a glimpse of the future at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show with the Vision Gran Turismo. Although intended to star in the popular game series, it is believed that the upcoming, 1,500 bhp Veyron replacement will share some of the design cues.
Another machine due to star at the IAA is this Mercedes-AMG S 63 Cabriolet. It is the 577hp, range-topping model of the all-new S-Class Cabriolet, which will also debut in Frankfurt.