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2016-08-22: 2016 Pebble Beach winning Lancia Astura ...
Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Bocca Cabriolet Yesterday, the Monterey Car Week celebrated its grand finale at the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course with the 66th annual Concours d'Elegance. The culmination of that event is the announcement of the coveted 'Best of Show' award at the very end of the afternoon. This year, three cars were nominated and ultimately this fabulous Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet was called forward to receive the prized award. Finished in an understated black, the winning machine combined the very sophisticated 'third series' Astura underpinnings with a glorious Cabriolet body designed and built by Pinin Farina. It was one of six similar cars built for a Lancia dealer named Bocca. Among its later owners were legendary guitar player Eric Clapton and Pininfarina themselves, who showed the car in their museum for many years. The current owner spent the last six years restoring the car and the results are absolutely stunning, making the 'Bocca' Cabriolet a well deserved winner.
In the coming days, we will take a closer look at all the major events and auctions with detailed reports and extensive galleries, so keep your eye on this page.
  2016-08-18: Great Alfa Romeo and Bugatti headed for auction ...
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza In our travels across the Monterey Peninsula, we also stopped by the Gooding & Co. marquee. Here we spent some time to get a closer look at two of the cars that headline this weekend's Pebble Beach Auctions.
The first of this pair is a great Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza. Built in 1933, it was raced extensively in period by a succession of Genova-based owners into the 1950s. Among its subsequent owners were prominent collectors Peter Giddings and Tom Hollfelder. This fabulous 8C 2300 is estimated to sell for $12 - 15 million.
Like the 8C Alfa Romeo, the Bugatti Type 55 is also thinly disguised Grand Prix car. The example due to cross the block at the Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions is the only one of its type to be raced at the Mille Miglia. It ran as high as second before it was forced to retire with a punctured fuel tank. Thereafter, it is believed to have also served as Jean Bugatti's personal car. In later years, chassis 55213 was part of the great collections of Peter Livanos and Nicolas Seydoux. It will require in excess of $10 million to pry it away from its current custodian.
2016-08-15: Mazda and BMW due to star at the upcoming Motorsports Reunion ...
Mazda 767B This weekend, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the annual Monterey Car Week kicked off with the traditional Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion. As the name suggests, this is the warm-up event for Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion that will start on Thursday. With many of the cars entered for the big event already out on track, the Pre-Reunion offered us the chance to look at two of the very best in more detail.
The first is the Mazda 767B, which was built for the 1989 World Championship. This Group C racer is powered by a four-rotor engine and between the three built scored many class wins throughout the year. All three are featured now with the latest addition chassis 767 - 002, which debuted at Mazda Raceway following a two-year restoration. It will be one of a quartet of four-rotor Mazdas due to race next weekend.
The big feature during the Motorsports Reunion is the BMW centennial. This has prompted the American arm of the German manufacturer to pull out all the stops and field seven historic cars from their collection. One of them is the 3.0 CSL IMSA we featured last week, while another is the much more modern M3 GTR. Powered by a V8 engine, it was as successful as it was controversial and it was actually banned after just one season. The example entered was the sixth built and the class winner at Petit Le Mans back in 2001. It has recently been restored to its patriotic Petit Le Mans winning livery, which originally had been applied out of respect for the victims of 9/11.
  2016-08-11: BMWs headed for Monterey, Porsches racers and rare Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet ...
BMW 3.0 CSL IMSA The Monterey Car Week is only a few days away and before we start our coverage from this year's events, we offer one final warm-up. At the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, BMW's centennial will take centre stage. The entry list is packed with BMWs but our eye was particularly caught by the notion that all five 3.0 CSL IMSAs will be united for the first time in many years. Based on the ETCC winning CSLs, these altogether more extreme version of the CSL featured 24-valve, 3.5-litre engines and very wide wheel arches. They were raced very successfully by a works effort, resulting in numerous wins, including the Sebring 12 Hours and Daytona 24 Hours outright. Over the years, we have seen three of these race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as can be seen in our 64-shot gallery. This should grow during the next few weeks with more images and details of the other two.
A past visitor to the 'Reunion' is this Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0, which has now been consigned to the Bonhams Quail Lodge sale. One of just 53 built, it was raced extensively in period. In addition to the 'Dinkel Acker' car our 108-shot gallery features three more examples in detail, including the one owned in period by James Hunt. Another grand German car to cross the block at the Bonhams auction is this Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet A. Ordered new by a German living London, it has been well taken care of in collections all over the world and has most recently resided in German ownership after a full Kienle restoration.
Another Porsche making waves recently was the 924 Carrera GTR. We captured one of these very rare machines in action at Dijon and Le Mans, while a sister car sold for close to GBP 500,000 at the recent Silverstone Classic sale hosted by Silverstone Auctions.
2016-08-08: Fabulous Ferraris, the Muncher Aston Martin and more ...
Ferrari 206 P Dino Ferrari is best known for producing glorious V12 engined cars but also built some fabulous six-cylinder powered cars. One of the very best is this 206 P Dino built in 1965. It was one of a pair of prototypes for a small batch of mid-engined sports racers produced from 1966. The featured example was raced in sports car races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Nurburgring 1000 km before it was converted for use in hill climbs. In this guise, it was particularly successful with Ludovico Scarfiotti winning the European Championship. Having won 'Best of Show' at this year's Cavallino Classic, it is one of the nominees for the 'Peninsula Classics Best of the Best' award, which will be announced next week at Monterey. It was most recently in action at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. Another striking Ferrari in action there was this 312 P Spyder. We have seen it many times in Berlinetta configuration but it was converted to its lighter Spyder form especially for driver David Franklin to set a quick time. It was back in its more familiar guise a fortnight later for the Le Mans Classic. Here it was joined by the one-off Aston Martin V8 RHAM/1. Built by Robin Hamilton Aston Martin (hence the name), it was raced at Le Mans and Silverstone several times. Its tendency to chew through brakes earned it the nickname 'Muncher'. Its final contemporary outing, fitted with a twin-turbo engine, came in a successful land speed record run while pulling a caravan. Its most recent owner decided to convert the one-off RHAM/1 back to its original, 1977 guise to race it at the Le Mans Classic.
During one of the opening ceremonies for this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Nissan revealed a pair of fully functional Bladeglider Concepts. They are powered by a sophisticated electric drivetrain, which has been created together with Williams Advanced Engineering.
  2016-08-04: Chris Amon remembered, Le Mans winning D-Type and new Cayman racer ...
Amon AF101 Cosworth Yesterday, the hugely talented Chris Amon sadly passed away. Although a winner at Le Mans in 1966 with the Ford GT40 Mk2, and successful in other sports car events, the New Zeeland-born racer was famously unlucky in Formula 1. So much so that Mario Andretti once remarked that if Amon would have switched to the undertaking business, people would stop dying. Due to Amon's lack of luck, he has gone into history as the best F1 driver never to have won a World Championship Grand Prix. In a desperate attempt to turn his fortunes around, he went at it by himself in 1974 with the Cosworth DFV-engined Amon AF101. Designed by Gordon Fowell and built by John Thompson, it was not much of a success and lasted less than a season. In recent years, the AF101 has been restored to full running order and regularly raced in historic events.
One of the most fabulous cars consigned to the upcoming auctions is the very Jaguar D-Type that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1956. Entered by great Jaguar privateer Ecurie Ecosse, it took over the charge from the three works cars, which were all delayed early in the race. Following its Le Mans victory it was raced at select events but of all C-Types and D-Types that won Le Mans, chassis XKD 501 is the best preserved. To be offered by RM Sotheby's on Friday August 19th, it is estimated to sell for over $20 million.
At this weekend's Spa 24 Hours, Porsche revealed the Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR. The MR is short for Manthey Racing and represents a kit that further lightens the GT4 Clubsport through the use of carbon-fibre panels and a polycarbonate windshield.
2016-08-01: Bonhams Quail Lodge auction preview, new Bristol and more ...
Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Continuing our previews of the upcoming Monterey auctions, we today take a look at some of the highlights of the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction. Headlining the sale is this fabulous Bugatti Type 51, which was delivered new to the Earl Howe, who was a very gifted gentleman racer. He campaigned the car with considerable success for several years, competing in the Monaco Grand Prix three times and also winning at Brooklands. During his ownership, it was also raced by the great Tazio Nuvolari. Chassis 51121 then changed hands several times but since 1954 it has been in the ownership of just two discerning collectors.
Equally remarkable is the Stutz Series K Bearcat consigned by Wayne Carini of 'Chasing Classic Car' fame. He found this car in a barn in Georgia on the estate of the original owner, who acquired the car back in 1921. The Bearcat was in remarkable original condition and had only 10,000 original miles on the odometer. It has since been made operational and starred at Pebble Beach in 2015. The privilege of becoming only the third owner of this Bearcat will undoubtedly not come cheaply.
Following a sneak peak at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bristol have now revealed more details of the V8 Bullet. Powered by a BMW-sourced V8, it is the first all-new Bristol in many years and combines a retro design with modern technology. Bristol promise that the V8 Bullet will be available for under GBP 250,000.
At Mid-Ohio, near the factory where the NSX is built, Acura provided a first glimpse of the new GT3 version of the company's new sports car. To comply with the regulations, it is powered by the twin-turbo V6 only. It is due to make its competition debut next season.
  2016-07-28: Gooding Pebble Beach preview with fabulous Ferraris and very rare Cisitalia ...
Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione 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 ...
Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Touring Spider 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 ..
Porsche 935 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 ...
Beatrice-Lola THL2 Ford 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 ....
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.