2015-03-27: Two classic Lotus GT racers from the 1960s ...
With the Elan, Lotus created a car suitable for road and track. After several privateers created competition cars of their own, a factory racing car was created. Dubbed the 26R, it featured a tuned engine, covered headlights and knock-off wheels. The cars were also equipped with a removable hard-top but privateer racer Barry Wood figured the Elan would perform even better with a more aerodynamic roof. The result was the Shapecraft Coupe, which was available for the road-going Elan and the 26R. One of these competition cars was driven to the British GT Championship in 1965. It is believed as few as three Elan 26R Shapecraft Coupes were built. Our detailed article is illustrated by a 74-shot gallery that features two of these rare machines.
Lotus replaced the Elan 26R with the 47 GT, which was derived from the mid-engined Europa road car. Built to the Group 4 regulations, the diminutive machine often punched well above its weight, scoring numerous class and outright victories. Around 55 were produced of what remains as the last truly successful Lotus sports racer. We have today added three of these, pictured in a 50-shot gallery.
2015-03-25: One-off American sports cars and all-new McLaren 570S and Jaguar XF ...
The first Ford to wear the Mustang name and badge was not a roaring 'Pony Car' but this delicate, mid-engined Roadster. Powered by a diminutive V4 engine, it was a thinly disguised racer for the road. Appropriately, the Mustang Roadster I was first demonstrated during the 1962 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen by Dan Gurney. Following its show duties, the compact roadster was added to the collection of The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. We captured it at a rare outing in August of 2014.
Another one-off American sports car is this Bosley Mark I G/T, which was built over a two-year period by Richard Bosley in his garage. Although he was a horticulturist by trade, Bosley managed to create a formidable machine, powered by a HEMI V8. Like the Mustang I, the unique Bosley has been preserved in a prominent American museum; the Petersen Automotive Museum. We shot every detail when it was displayed at Pebble Beach in 2011.
Last night, Jaguar unveiled the second generation XF in dramatic fashion; to underline its reduced weight, it completed a spectacular high-wire water crossing. Compared to the original XF, the almost all-aluminium XF is a full 80 kgs lighter. Among the engines available at the launch is a 375 bhp V6 in the XF S. We expect a V8-engined 'R' model to follow shortly.
Also due to be released in New York is McLaren's all-new 570S Coupe, which is the first of the manufacturer's new 'Sports Series'. As revealed by the teaser image, the sports car will boast flying buttresses and as the name suggests will be powered by a 570 ps (562 bhp) version of the familiar eight-cylinder engine.
2015-03-23: Porsche sports cars and new Caterham range ...
If the persistent rumours prove to be correct, Porsche's entry level models will be powered by a four-cylinder engine in the near future. As most enthusiasts know, Porsche is no stranger to four-cylinder engines and in fact all of the early production and competition cars were equipped with them. Among them was the 550A RS Spyder competition car built between 1956 and 1958. It was the second generation of Porsche's first purpose-built racer and featured a new tubular spaceframe chassis in combination with the very powerful, twin-cam 'Carrera' engine. Over a two-year period, Porsche produced close to 50 examples, which were raced the world over by the factory team and numerous privateers. Featured in our revised article are six different examples.
It is hard to image that the Porsche 907K was built just a decade later and it underlines the enormous progress made during the 1960s by the German manufacturer in particular and the whole industry in general. Powered by an eight-cylinder engine, the 907 provided Porsche with machine that could vie for outright victories rather than class wins at most major events. Accordingly, the 907K brought the German manufacturer's first outright win at Sebring and also won the Targa Florio. It would serve less than a full season as it was replaced halfway through 1968 by the more potent still 908. A rare sight today, we feature three different chassis, pictured on both sides of the Atlantic.
Caterham Cars has today launched a line of three new models that fit between the range-topping Seven 620R and the entry-level Seven 160. These are respectively the 210 bhp Seven 420, the 180 bhp Seven 360 and the 135 bhp Seven 270. Each of the new models can be ordered with the optional 'S' and 'R' packages, which have the aim to further improve the handling and feel of the Seven.
2015-03-20: Rare Frazer Nash headed for auction, new Audi R18 and Chaparral Camaro ...
Best known for the company's cycle-fender sports cars, Frazer Nash also produced a small series of fixed-head machines known as the Le Mans Coupe. It combined the steel tubular frame first introduced on the Mk2 Le Mans Replica with a slippery body designed specifically for high-speed circuits like Le Mans. It worked formidably well as its first attempt the Le Mans Coupe won its class in the legendary endurance race. Our detailed article features two of the nine examples built; the actual Le Mans class winner and a sister car that will be offered by Bonhams at the Goodwood Members Meeting this weekend.
At a spectacular event this week, Audi introduced the new-for-2015 R18 e-tron quattro. Due to compete in this season's FIA WEC, it features substantial updates to the drivetrain and the aerodynamics to hopefully get on the pace with the German manufacturer's rivals.
At this weekend's Sebring 12 Hours one of the guests of honour is the Chaparral 2 Chevrolet that won the race outright exactly 50 years ago. This occasion cemented the relationship between Chaparral founder Jim Hall and General Motors, which later led the innovative team to be awarded the opportunity to prepare the factory-back Chevrolet Camaros for the 1970 Trans-Am season. This proved to be quite a different ballgame compared to Can-Am but the white and blue Camaro nevertheless managed to win a round. Chaparral only ever built three Camaros and the featured example is the one driven to the type's sole victory by Vic Elford also believed to be the sole survivor.
It is two decades ago this year that Lotus launched the ground-breaking Elise at the Frankfurt Motor Show. To mark the occasion, the British manufacturer has created the suitably dubbed Elise 20th Anniversary, which is slightly lighter and more poised than the regular production model.
2015-03-18: Legendary Lancia 037 Rally and record-breaking Jaguar XK120 ...
Introduced in 1982, the Group B regulations yielded some of the greatest rally cars of all time. Among them is the Lancia 037 Rally, which also debuted in 1982. Very loosely based on the Montecarlo road car, the 037 was powered by a supercharged four-cylinder engine. The car was not an instant success but in 1983, it scored sufficient wins for Lancia to be crowned constructors' World Championship. As it turned out, this would be the very last World Championship won by a rear-wheel drive car. The featured example was used as a spare and reconnaissance car by the works team during the 1982 season and was later used by a privateer in the Portuguese rally championship. Following a spell of 25 years in a Las Vegas museum, it has recently been restored to full running order.
To homologate the 037 for the Group B class, Lancia also produced the road-going Lancia 037 Stradale. 200 examples of this thinly disguised road racer were constructed. Pictured in our 20-shot gallery is a beautifully preserved example that recently sold sold for EUR 336,000.
In 1949, Jaguar set a new world top speed record with an XK120 for a production road car at 126 mph. A couple of years later, a Pegaso Z102 went faster still, which prompted Jaguar to return with this specifically prepared XK120. Among the modifications fitted were a streamlined canopy roof and a full-length underbody. Piloted by legendary Jaguar test-driver Norman Dewis, it was clocked at a staggering 174 mph to reclaim the record. The very Jaguar XK120 used at Jabbeke has recently been beautifully restored by JD Classics and shown at events at both sides of the Atlantic, usually accompanied by Norman Dewis OBE himself.
2015-03-16: Toyota Motorsport visit and a detailed look at the Toyota GT-One Road Car ...
On our way back from the Geneva Motor Show, we stopped at the Toyota Allee in Cologne to visit Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG). We spent the morning in TMG's private museum and captured the highlights with the turbines of the wind-tunnel overhead running at full pelt. This has prompted us to take a closer look at the company's colourful history, which started with Swedish rally driver Ove Andersson running privately prepared Toyotas in the World Rally Championship in the early 1970s. During the next four decades, the team gradually evolved to become the Japanese manufacturer's official racing arm. During this period, Toyota Team Europe and later Toyota Motorsport GmbH was particularly successful in rallying, finished second at Le Mans twice and also ran Toyota's Formula 1 campaign. TMG's detailed history is illustrated by a 50-shot gallery.
One of the cars we singled out during our visit was the Toyota GT-One Road Car, which has not been seen in public for many years. It had originally been built to homologate the GT-One or TS020 competition car, which placed second at Le Mans in 1999. As a genuine homologation special the Road Car is equipped with only the bare necessities for street use and from the outside can hardly be distinguished from its competition counterparts. As can be seen in our 23-shot gallery, the Road Car does feature a complete interior.
2015-03-13: Friday super cars with McLaren F1 GT, Koenigsegg CC 8S, SCG 003 and Alfa Sport Spider ...
In addition to the brand new production cars, the Geneva Motor Show also featured a few classic super cars. Rarest of all is the McLaren F1 GT prototype, which made its first ever public appearance. With just three examples built, it is the rarest of all McLaren F1 variants. The F1 GT was created to homologate the Longtail F1 GTR racing car. It was shown in Geneva to mark the introduction of the limited production McLaren 675LT.
Of slightly later vintage was the fabulous Koenigsegg CC 8S, which is the second ever Koenigsegg production car. It was brought by the Swedish manufacturer to show the gradual development of the past 15 years. In addition to chassis 002, our CC 8S feature also includes two of the other five examples built.
From the company's fabulous Museo Storico, Alfa Romeo brought this 1900 Sport Spider, which is the open version of the better known Sportiva Coupe. Like its fixed head counterpart, the Sport Spider was styled by the great Franco Scaglione for Bertone. It is understood two examples were built and this 1900 Sport Spider is the only survivor.
Perhaps on its way to become a classic supercar is the SCG 003, which debuted in competition and road-going version at the Geneva Motor Show. While the 003S or Stradale on display was still a non-functioning mule, the 003C or Competizione was fully functional and was actually driven by company founder Jim Glickenhaus over the road from Turin to Geneva.
2015-03-11: Rare Toyota-Eagle and Fiat 8V headed for Gooding auction and Geneva round-up ...
Now that the dust from Geneva has almost settled, it is time to look ahead at the coming weekend's auctions at Amelia Island. In particular the sale hosted by Gooding & Co., which once again includes some stellar machines. Our eye was particularly caught by the Toyota Eagle GTP Mk II, which is also referred to as the HF89. Designed by Dan Gurney's All American Racers ahead of the 1989 IMSA season, it replaced the production-inspired Celicas previously raced by AAR. It took some time for the team to adjust but eventually, the GTP racer proved a winner in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio II. Late in 1991, it was replaced by the all-conquering GTP Mk III we featured late last year. The Toyota Eagle on offer this weekend is the most successful of the bunch.
An altogether different machine to cross the Gooding block is this Fiat 8V Vignale Coupe. One of just nine Coupe bodies built by Vignale for the lovely 8V chassis, chassis 000051 has been a class winner at Pebble Beach, beating seven other 8Vs.
As mentioned above, the dust has not quite settled and we continue our Geneva International Motor Show coverage we a renewed look at a few cars we had already featured before the show. Among them is the Ferrari 488 GTB. It is powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine, which gives the 'baby Ferrari' the performance previously only reserved for limited production supercars. Another highly anticipated sports car was the Porsche Cayman GT4. With a 911-sourced engine mounted ahead of the front axle, the compact machine should be spectacular to drive as is also suggested by the first journalists to sample the GT4. Not surprisingly, a 'GT4' racing version will also be available to Porsche' customers in the near future.
2015-03-09: More Geneva news with new Koenigsegg, Touring, RUF, Brabus and unique Phiaro ...
We continue our Geneva International Motor Show with further detailed car features. The most powerful of the additions today is the Koenigsegg Agera RS. Powered by a 1,160 bhp twin-turbocharged V8, the latest Agera will have a limited production of 25 examples, 10 of which are already sold. A rivalling supercar is the Spanish GTA Spano of which the second generation was launched in Geneva. The striking machine is powered by a 925 bhp, twin-turbo V10.
We were also particularly taken by the Ferrari F12Berlinetta-based Touring Berlinetta Lusso. The first of five intended to be built, it combines elegant lines with small retro cues.
Germany's many tuners were also on hand in Geneva and one of the very best of their efforts was certainly the RUF Turbo Florio. As the name subtly suggests, the car combines the 911 Targa body-shape with a turbo engine. Tweaked to produce over 620 bhp, customers interested in the Turbo Florio have the choice of a manual or dual clutch automatic and can also specify all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive only. Brabus enhancements to convert the S 65 AMG Coupe into the Rocket 900 were not quite substantial but with 887 bhp on tap, it also very impressive.
Usually operating behind the scenes, Japanese suppler Phiaro pulled out all the stops to create the P75 Concept Cipher. This lovely little sports car has been built to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary and also to showcase Phiaro's growing engineering capabilities. Unfortunately, the P75 Concept Cipher will remain strictly a one-off.
2015-03-06: First Geneva highlights with new Aventador SV, 911 GT3 RS, Morgan Aero 8 and more ...
At this weeks Geneva International Motor Show, we witnessed an unprecedented number of high performance sports car releases and today we take a look at six of the finest.
Lamborghini used the Swiss show to introduce the new Aventador LP750-4 SV. Lighter and 50 hp more powerful than the 'regular' Aventador, the suitably named Super Veloce is the fastest Lamborghini production car ever.
Across the isle, Porsche unveiled two hardcore road cars with this 911 GT3 RS the most potent. It features a four-litre, naturally aspirated engine, which is good for 500 hp. The big flat six is mated to a seven-speed, dual clutch gearbox, which allows the GT3 RS to accelerate to 100 mph in just over 7 seconds.
Altogether more civilised is the fifth generation Morgan Aero 8. An evolution of the existing Aero models, it features revised styling both inside and out, and also a stronger chassis. As demonstrated in Geneva, the 362 bhp Aero 8 comes with an optional hard-top roof.
Following the release of the Acura version a few months ago, Geneva saw the launch of the Europe-bound Honda NSX. To be built in the same factory in Ohio, it is mechanically identical to its American counterpart.
Audi livened up the introduction of the all-new R8 with a first glimpse of the circuit-bound R8 LMS. Built to the latest GT3 specifications, it is slightly lighter than the R8 LMS Ultra previously used by Audi's customers.
One of the biggest surprises in Geneva was the launch of the all-electric Aston Martin DBX Concept. The British manufacturer has already confirmed that a production version will follow that shares the same basic cross-over design of the DBX.
2015-03-04: Geneva International Motor Show report and 280-shot gallery ...
Yesterday, the annual Geneva International Motor Show kicked off with the first of two press days. The 10,000-strong horde of journalists were treated to one of the finest editions of this prestigious event in recent history. Manufacturers no longer see the need to produce green and often very boring machinery, so we were treated to a plethora of new sports car and hot hatch introduction. This revival is spearheaded by Honda, who have returned from the dark side by launching a production ready Civic Type R and NSX. Traditional Geneva show favourites like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche also did not disappoint, while Aston Martin and Bentley launched surprising concept cars. Further stars of the show included the public debut of the SCG 003 and the introduction of the 1,500+ hp Koenigsegg Regera.
As always, our photographers were among the horde and have captured all the highlights. The result is this concise report, illustrated by a 280-shot gallery.
In the coming days and weeks, you can expect many more detail features of all the of the finest cars launched in Geneva.
2015-03-03: First glimpse from Geneva with mighty Koenigsegg and Bentley ...
This morning, the annual Geneva Motor Show kicked off and we have been very busy gathering material for our comprehensive report and gallery due tomorrow. To give you a small glimpse of what to expect, we have already taken a detailed look at the mighty Koenigsegg Regera. The name translates from Swedish as 'to reign', which is a bold but apt description for the new Koenigsegg. The luxury coupe with removable roof section is powered by the familiar twin-turbo V8 engine but also features a total of three electric motors, which lift the power of the car to over 1,500 bhp and a startling 2,000 Nm of torque! Strictly limited to just 80 examples, the Regera will be built in Koenigsegg new production facility alongside the existing Agera models.
Already released last night but also very impressive is the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6. At the moment, the compact coupe is still a concept or experimental car but we fully expect the striking machine to enter production in the near future. However, we don't the Speed 6 will be powered by a monumental straight six like its legendary namesake.