2015-01-23: Unique Delage Bequet, ex-Senna Lotus and news from Lamborghini, Porsche and Toyota ...
During the 1920s, many surplus fighter-plane engines were strapped to racing car chassis with mixed results. One of the very best of these often unique 'hybrids' was the Delage Bequet Special. Named after its creator Maurice Bequet, it combined a Delage Grand Prix chassis with a massive Hispano Suiza V8 sourced from a Spad fighter-plane. The result was a very quick machine, which was sadly hampered by the fact that it was not built to any specific regulations and relegated to run in minor events. Fortunately, it did survive and the Bequet Special is regularly raced in historic events, which allowed us to capture every detail of this spectacular machine.
With the Lotus 98T Renault, the late Ayrton Senna really made a name for himself during the 1986 season. Very much an evolutionary design, the JPS-liveried machine propelled him to two victories and a startling eight pole positions. Today, we have taken a closer look at the two 98Ts used by Senna that season. Among these is the very chassis used to score two wins and five pole positions.
The big news in contemporary racing this week was the introduction of the Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The aggressive looking machine was developed with help from Dallara and will be raced in international events starting this season.
Another competition car due to make its debut later in 2015 is the Toyota GT 86 CS-R3. Created by TMG in Cologne, this rally racer is available to customers now and comes with a EUR 5,000 discount if ordered before April 24th.
Porsche will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Porsche Club of America by offering the limited edition 911 GTS Club Coupe exclusively to club members. Finished in 'Club Blau' just 59 examples will be available of the car, which combines the GTS engine and two-wheel drive with the wider body normally found on the Carrera 4. The Club Coupe is available now for just over $136,000.
2015-01-21: New Williams FW37 and McLaren 650S, and the Life L190 W12 ...
The first 2015 Formula 1 car to break cover is the Williams FW37 Mercedes of which the first images and details were released this morning. Very much a development of the successful FW36 used in 2014, the new Williams, as expected, boasts a much more subtle nose. The long and rather ugly point is now replaced by a shorter 'thumb' nose as a result of the changes to the regulations. Like last year's Williams, the FW37 will be powered by the very potent Mercedes-Benz engine. The car's first public appearance will be at the Jerez official test, which starts on February 1st.
To celebrate the legendary debut victory of the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans, 20 years ago this year, the McLaren Special Operations has launched the limited edition McLaren 650S Le Mans. Created together with the F1's original stylist Peter Stevens, the exclusive model features many subtle cues that remind of the Le Mans winner. These range from the special wheels to a faux air-intake scoop on the roof. Available later this year, the 650S Le Mans will be limited to just 50 examples. As part of the package, buyers will be able to join McLaren at Le Mans this year for a special celebration.
With the class of 2015 due to be revealed in the coming two weeks, we today take a look at a most memorable Formula 1 car of old; the Life L190. It is memorable for all the wrong reasons and is generally considered as one of the worst F1 cars of all time. Built on a discarded, year-old chassis, the Life served as a vehicle to promote the W12 engine originally designed by former Ferrari man Franco Rocchi and marketed at the time by Ernesto Vita. We have chronicled the colourful story of the car and engine in article illustrated by a 15-shot gallery of the unique car in action at Goodwood a few years ago.
2015-01-19: New Porsche, McLaren and VW racers and Scottsdale results ...
Over the weekend, Porsche released the first details of the thoroughly revised 919 Hybrid, which is due to race in this year's FIA World Endurance Championship. While the hybrid drivetrain of last year's car is carried over, the new-for-2015 Porsche 919 boasts a completely new aerodynamics package.
Ahead of the car's Monte Carlo Rally debut next week, Volkswagen revealed the second generation Polo R WRC. This is the second generation of the two-time World Rally Championship winning machine, which builds on the existing machine but features an updated drivetrain and a revised exterior. Retained to drive the Polo R WRC are Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.
McLaren, meanwhile, have published additional images of the upcoming P1 GTR. Based on the sophisticated road-going supercar, this is a trackday only machine and will be powered by a hybrid drivetrain capable of more than 1000 bhp at full pelt. The P1 GTR will be launched at the Geneva Motor Show early in March.
Rounding up our coverage from the Scottsdale auctions, we have added the results for the sales from RM Auctions, Bonhams and Gooding. The weekend was topped by RM Auctions, who sold this Ferrari 250 LM for just over $9.6 million.
2015-01-15: Two Lamborghinis headed for auction in Scottsdale ...
This weekend, Scottsdale is the epicentre of the classic car world as the Phoenix suburb will host at least half a dozen major auctions. Among the many cars due to cross the block are two Lamborghinis offered by RM Auctions. The rarest and most valuable is a Miura P400 SV/J. This is one of just five to seven Miuras converted by the factory to SV/J specification. This included a dramatic bodykit and open exhausts, inspired by the one-off, hardcore Jota, which was sadly destroyed by its first owner. Accordingly, the SV/J is the closest one can get to owning a Jota. The example on offer has very recently been subjected to a no-expense spared restoration and was officially sanctioned by legendary Lamborghini development engineer and father of the original Jota, the late Bob Wallace, as one of the factory converted cars. It is estimated to sell for over $2 million. Our SV/J article also includes a second example, which was shown by Lamborghini test-driver Valentino Balboni at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2012.
An altogether different beast is the Lamborghini LM002, also due to cross the block at RM Auctions. The massive off-roader is one of the just over 300 examples built by Lamborghini between 1986 and 1992. Powered by the 48-valve engine from the Countach, the LM002 is still one of the most outrageous cars ever built. Among the owners were the likes of F1 World Champion Keke Rosberg, singer Tina Turner and actor Silvester Stallone, which earned the massive off-roader the nickname 'Rambo Lambo.' The example on offer has on only covered 18,000 miles and still sits on the first set of the very hard to source Pirelli Scorpion tyres. The pre-sale estimate is $175,000 - $225,000.
2015-01-13: 2015 NAIAS round-up with all new NSX and Shelby GT350R ...
Today we round up our coverage of the 2015 North American International Auto Show with a closer look at the remaining highlights. One of the absolute stars of the show is the highly anticipated all-new Acura NSX. Constructed from lightweight aluminium and composite components, the sophisticated machine is powered by a hybrid drivetrain that consists of a pair of electric motors driving the front wheels and a twin-turbo V6 combined with a third electric motor driving the rear wheels. The new NSX will be built in the United States and will be rebadged as a Honda for the European market.
In addition to the GT, Ford also introduced the Shelby GT350R Mustang. It is based on the recently introduced GT350 and like its illustrious namesake, the track ready GT350R is considerably lighter than the 'standard' model. Contributing to the considerable weight loss are bespoke carbon-fibre composite wheels. The GT350R also boasts a more aggressive aerodynamics package.
Among the world debuts on the Porsche stand was the 911 Targa 4 GTS, which marks the first time the GTS package is available for the Targa bodystyle. Among the changes is an engine that has 30 hp more available yet is just as efficient.
Infiniti, meanwhile, took the wraps off the Q60 Concept. This striking 2+2 Coupe features the all-new twin-turbo V6 that will power the next generation Nissans and Infinitis. A production version of the Q60 is due later this year.
2015-01-12: First releases from Detroit including the all-new Ford GT ...
Ford started off the 50th anniversary year of the breakthrough 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans quite spectacularly with the introduction of an all-new Ford GT. Built around a sophisticated carbon-fibre composite monocoque chassis, the striking machine is powered by a race-bred twin-turbo V6. The direct-injection engine displaces 3.5-litre and is the most powerful EcoBoost unit yet at over 600 bhp. To help keep the Ford GT on the road, it features a fully active aerodynamics package.
Buick, meanwhile, introduced the Avenir Concept. The large four-door sedan is powered by a sophisticated, next-generation V6, mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Mercedes-AMG have worked their magic on the newly introduced GLE model to create the GLE 63 Coupe. It boasts AMG's familiar twin-turbo V8, which in 'S' specification produces 576 bhp. It is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox and powers the Sport Utility Coupe to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds.
At the Volkswagen stand a large SUV is also taking centre stage in the form of the Cross Coupe GTE Concept. It is powered by a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a direct-injected V6 and two electric motors, which together produce 355 bhp at full pelt. According to Volkswagen, the Cross Coupe GTE offers a look ahead to a new mid-size SUV production model.
A full round-up from the North American International Auto Show will follow tomorrow.
2015-01-09: 2014 Interclassics & Topmobiel report and all-new Volvo S60 Cross Country ...
Yesterday, the doors of the MECC exhibition centre in Maastricht opened for the annual Interclassics & Topmobiel show. There were some fundamental changes this year as a fourth day was added to program to accommodate the ever increasing number of visitors. During the opening day, the organisers also announced a second Interclassics event, to be staged in Brussels in early November. Among the most interesting exhibits of this year's event were a display marking the 80th anniversary of Jaguar and a special section reserved for Classic Grand Prix cars. We covered the entire 33,000 m2 show floor to capture all of this year's highlights. The results is this concise report, illustrated by an 80-shot gallery. If you want to visit the event yourself, you can still do so as it runs through to Sunday, January 11th.
After this weekend, all eyes will be on Detroit where the annual North American International Auto Show is staged. One of the most recent world debuts added to the roster is this Volvo S60 Cross Country. As the name suggests, it combines the S60 body style with a raised suspension to give the four-door sedan the capability to cross the country if needed. At the launch, the S60 Cross Country range will be topped by the T5 model, which is powered by a 250 bhp engine.
2015-01-07: Ferraris headed for auction in Scottsdale and all-new Lexus GS F ...
In 2014, there were nine Ferraris in the top ten most expensive cars sold at auction. At the upcoming auctions in Scottsdale, this trend looks set to continue. Among the many impressive Ferrari's on offer is one of the achingly beautiful 400 Superamerica Pinin Aerodinamicos. Spending most of its life in France, the white luxury Grand Tourer is estimated to change hands in the Gooding auction for $4-5 million. Also to cross the block at Gooding is the Ferrari 641 F1, which was driven to victory in the 1990 Portuguese Grand Prix.
The RM Auctions sale is due to be headlined by a Ferrari 250 LM. The particular chassis on offer (5899) has had a colourful life but nevertheless has a pre-sale estimate of $9.5 - $12 million.
A Ferrari will also star at the Bonhams sale the same weekend. This is the 275 GTB/C driven to a class win at Le Mans in 1967. The ex-Filipinetti car has no estimate but we expect it to change hands for over $10 million.
Before the 2015 auction season kicks off in Scottsdale, all eyes will be on Detroit where the annual North American International Auto Show will start on Monday. Japanese manufacturers look ready to star and this time not with 'green' cars but with high performance models. Among them is the all-new Lexus GS F, which combines the full-size GS sedan body with the 467 bhp drivetrain from the highly acclaimed RC F introduced last year.
At this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas many major manufacturers offered a glimpse of future technology. Mercedes-Benz even specifically created the F 015 Luxury in Motion show car. The futuristically styled machine is packed with sophisticated electronics that should dramatically improve driver safety.
2015-01-05: Legendary Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage in full detail ...
For most Ultimatecarpage.com readers, Maserati's centenary will not have gone by unnoticed. Today, we would like to conclude the celebrations in great style with a detailed look at one of our all-time favourite Maseratis; the Tipo 61 Birdcage. Introduced in 1959 and designed by Giulio Alfieri, it featured an elaborate spaceframe chassis constructed from very short tubular sections. This construction was much like a Birdcage, which resulted in the car's nickname that stuck. The chassis was very light and rigid and thanks to the car's superb weight distribution, it excelled on tight tracks even against much larger engined rivals. It is no surprise that the car won the Nurburgring 1000 km two years straight.
While also constructed with a two-litre engine (Tipo 60), we today focus on the 2.8-litre engined Tipo 61 Birdcage, which was the more successful incarnation. Of the 17 examples (one upgraded Tipo 60), we have added a detailed history on no fewer than 12 individual chassis. They are pictured in a spectacular 235-shot gallery, which showcases the beautifully handling machines in action on both sides of the Atlantic.
2015-01-02: WRC winning Audi Quattro and BTCC winning Renault Laguna ...
Traditionally, one of the first major races on the calendar is the Rallye Monte Carlo. Despite pioneering all-wheel drive with the revolutionary Quattro, Audi only managed to win the prestigious event once. That was in 1984 with the Quattro A2. Introduced during the second half of the 1983 season, this was a subtle evolution of the A1, which was the first Group B car built by Audi. Following up on the Monte Carlo victory, the A2 would go on to dominate the season until the arrival of the mid-engined, purpose-built Peugeot 205. Scoring four wins with the A2, Blomqvist ended the year as World Rally Champion. To kick off the year in style, we have taken a detailed look at the Audi Quattro A2. Featured are two examples, the first of which was used by Blomqvist to score his first win of the 1984 season, while the second was built in-house by the Audi UK and raced by Blomqvist to a victory in the 1983 RAC Rally.
Another championship winning machine featured today is the Renault Laguna ST, Developed and built by Williams for Renault, it was campaigned in the highly competitive British Touring Car Championship. During its 1995 debut season, enough points were gathered by Renault's drivers to clinch the constructor's trophy. This feat was repeated 1997, when the Laguna dominated and Alain Menu and Jason Plato won 14 of the 24 heats between them. Menu was also crowned the driver's champion. In total, Williams Touring Car Engineering built 20 examples, the very of last of which is featured today.
2014-12-31: Her name is Lola; seven Can-Am and sports racers ...
To round off the year, we have taken a detailed look at a two series of Lola racing cars; the late 1960s Can-Am machines and the sports racers produced a decade later of which we have seen quite a few over the last couple of years.
Built to replace the ageing T70, the earliest of these is the Lola T160. The first Lola Can-Am racer that could be equipped with a big block V8, it was built specifically for the 1968 Can-Am series. It was raced by the likes of John Surtees and Dan Gurney but was not quite able to keep up with the dominant McLarens. The T160 evolved into the interim T162, which was used early in 1969. Altogether more successful was the subsequent T163 Chevrolet, which was ready at the start of the 1969 Can-Am. Although campaigned by Roger Penske and the All American Racers, it was most successful in the hands of Chuck Parsons, who piloted the semi-works example for Carl Haas. Although he did not win a race against the all-conquering McLaren M8B, he ended the year best of the rest. For 1970, a final evolution, the T165 was readied for customers but this was a just stopgap machine until the next generation of Lola Can-Am cars was ready.
Turning away from Can-Am, Lola focused on two-litre sports cars throughout the 1970s. Like the T160, the cars evolved over the years as the company's understanding of aerodynamics and suspension geometry improved. Following a brief hiatus, Lola resumed production with the T296 in 1977. Compared to its predecessors, it featured a much more efficient body. The following year, it was replaced by the T297, which featured only very few mechanical changes that barely warranted a name change. After only a few were built, it was superseded by the ultimate evolution of the T290; the T298. Between 1979 and 1981, Lola produced a further 15 examples, which remained remarkably competitive despite boasting a chassis design that was nearly a decade old.
2014-12-29: Two spectacular two-litre Abarths ...
Best known for the company's tuning kits and modified Fiats, one of Abarth's best creations was a two-litre competition engine, which was introduced in 1963. In its original guise, it powered the Abarth Simca 2000 GT, which was built around a Simca 1000 platform and featured a bespoke Abarth body and the new two-litre engine. Equipped with twin-spark ignition, dry-sump lubrication and the largest carburettors ever made by Weber, the superb engine produced just over 200 bhp in competition trim. Although very light and equipped with a particularly powerful engine, the Abarth Simca 2000 GT was not one of Abarth's most successful racing cars as it faced strong competition from the likes of the Porsche 904. Today we have three fabulous examples of this rare racer, one of which was on display for many years in the Maranello Rosso museum.
While Abarth's contract with Simca expired at the end of 1964, the two-litre engine developed for the Abarth Simcas would go on to be used for many seasons to come. Now equipped with fuel-injection and further refined, it powered Abarth's last prototype racer to the 1972 European Two-Litre Championship. The following year, it returned in the back of the Abarth-Osella PA1, which was but a subtle evolution of the championship-winning SE021 used in 1972. By this time, the four-valve, twin-cam engine produced around 270 bhp, which greatly contributed to its success on the tracks. Although not as successful as its predecessor, the PA1 did manage to win two of the eight rounds. Ten examples were eventually built and three are featured in our updated article.