2014-11-21: Chevrolet V8 engined sports racers and LA Auto Show round-up ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
2014-10-31: Halloween special, new Lister Hypercar and new BMW X5/X6 M ...
When is a Mercury Capri not a Mercury Capri? When it is dressed up as a Ford Mustang, or a Ford Thunderbird, or even an Oldsmobile Toronado. This is the fascinating story of a silhouette racer created during the mid-1980s by three of the greatest engineers in American sports car racing, Jack Roush, Bob Riley and Gary Pratt. Built around a bespoke tubular chassis, it was campaigned as a Mercury in Trans-Am and a Ford in IMSA GTO. Sometimes the cars switched identities, or 'redressed' from one week to the next. Although at first glance not the most sophisticated machines ever created both the Ford Roush Mustang and the Mercury Roush Capri were hugely successful, winning numerous races and championships. Fittingly, one of the cars we feature was raced as a Mustang in 2013 and when we saw it again in 2014, it had been restored to its original Capri configuration.
Following a new run of continuation Knobbly Jaguars, Lister yesterday announced the imminent launch of an all-new Hypercar. Expected to be priced at around GBP 2 million, the new Koenigsegg and Pagani rival will be powered by a supercharged V12 engine good for 1,000 bhp. Only two renderings have been released but we will keep a close eye on this project as it develops.
Ahead of the launch at next month's Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW have released full details of the latest generation X5 M and X6 M. Like the Roush Mustang and Capri featured above, these two machines were separated at birth and the differences between them are minimal. Most importantly both 'off-roaders' are powered by the TwinPower V8, which in this application is good for a staggering 575 hp.
2014-10-29: Limited production Audi R8 Competition and four British sports cars ...
Celebrating the racing success of the R8 around the world, Audi will introduce the limited production R8 Competition at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. The fastest ever R8 road car, it is powered by a 570 hp version of the familiar V10 engine. Just 60 examples of the R8 Competition will be built and these will be available exclusively to American customers.
Although introduced back in 1999, the Ariel Atom has been continuously developed. The most recent incarnation is the Atom 3.5, which was introduced in 2013. It comes with a stronger chassis and a more potent version of the Honda-sourced engine, which is good for 310 bhp in supercharged form. This year, the range was further expanded with the track-oriented Atom 3.5R, which we captured at the Goodwood Festival of Speed back in June. It packs a 350 bhp version of the Civic Type R engine and features a wild bodykit complete with a front and rear wing. Thanks to its stunning power to weight ratio, it can accelerate to 60 mph in just over 2.5 seconds.
Another new British sports car making its debut at Goodwood this year was the Arash AF8. Powered by a 560 bhp V8 engine, this is the fourth sports car developed by the talented Arash Farboud in just over a decade. As we speak the AF8 is being readied for production. The very first car created by British engineer was the Farboud GT. He reportedly created this 620 bhp mid-engined supercar because Porsche would not sell him one of the road going versions of the 1998 Le Mans winning 911 GT1.
2014-10-27: McLaren Monday with a detailed look at the 1974 and 1976 World Championship winning M23 ...
McLaren is one of the most successful Formula 1 team in the sport's rich history. Although the Bruce McLaren founded team had competed in F1 from the second half of the 1960s, it was the M23 Cosworth introduced in 1973 that really got things going. Its Gordon Cuppock design was actually based on McLaren's Indy 500 winning M16, sharing the same overall wedge shape. Originally raced by Denny Hulme and Peter Revson during its debut season, it was driven to the World Championship by Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974. Virtually unaltered, with the exception of a revised airbox to meet the latest regulations, the M23 continued its winning ways into the 1976 season in the hands of James Hunt, who would become that year's World Champion. As the imminent replacement was slow (to arrive), the M23 soldiered into the 1977 season. With a career spanning nearly five years and winning two World Championships, the McLaren M23 remains as one of the all-time great F1 cars.
To mark the 40th anniversary of Emerson Fittipaldi winning the first World Championship for McLaren, we have taken a detailed look at the M23s he, and later James Hunt used to great effect. Our spectacular 144-shot gallery now includes images of nine different examples, each of which has a detailed chassis history. Fittipaldi himself is seen behind the wheel of two of the cars, including the chassis he drove to two victories in 1974, which is once again owned by McLaren.