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2014-12-19: Two spectacular Porsche 935 variants in full detail ...
Porsche 935/78 While Porsche was preparing the 935/78 'Moby Dick' for the works team to race, the German manufacturer also produced a batch of fifteen 1978-specification 935 production cars. Very similar to the version raced by the factory team in 1977, the latest evolution of the 935 was the first customer competition car offered by Porsche fitted with a twin-turbo engine. It was raced to great effect by prominent privateer teams like Gelo and Kremer in Europe and Brumos in North America. In fact, the car was so successful that Porsche ran their works car in only one World Championship round, which they duly won. The remainder of the victories were scored by the privateer cars, which included outright wins at Daytona and Sebring. A personal favourite of ours, we have captured the customer 935/78 at many events on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, we have added a comprehensive, 164-shot gallery of this highly successful machine, depicting five examples, including the dominant Gelo and Brumos cars.
While we were at it, we have also updated our Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick' article with images of both examples in action at Goodwood and the Le Mans Classic respectively. Developed by brilliant engineer Norbert Singer, Porsche's 1978 works racer bent the regulations very close to the breaking point. As it turned out, Singer had read the rules very carefully and ultimately only had to modify the design of the doors of the ultra-low and -wide silhouette racer to pass inspection. The one Moby Dick raced won at Silverstone and came very close at winning Le Mans outright against the purpose-built prototypes. Our 54-shot gallery also features the second car that was never completed in period but has more recently been assembled by Freisinger and was raced at Spa and Le Mans.
  2014-12-17: Tribute to Brian Lister and the Duesenbergs that starred at Pebble ...
Lister Knobbly Jaguar Yesterday, the hugely talented engineer Brian Lister sadly passed away at the age of 88. He is best known for the sports racing cars that bore his name and were raced with great verve during the 1950s. Especially the later Jaguar and Chevrolet engined machines frequently got the better of much more exotic cars like the big Ferraris and Maseratis. The Lister name does live on and a brand new supercar is the works that may humble the likes of Ferrari once more. As a tribute to the great Brian Lister, we have today taken a very detailed look at arguably his most famous creation; the Lister Knobbly Jaguar. Named after its unusual body, the Knobbly was raced with great success on both sides of the Atlantic. Our detailed article features nine different examples, which are pictured in a 165-shot gallery.
Duesenbergs always feature strongly at Pebble Beach, usually with a class of their own. This year was no exception and we have today added three of the finest examples that were on the lawn in 2014. Scoring best in class was this J Murphy Convertible Sedan, which had just benefitted from a complete restoration. Originally owned by the inventor of Schick Razor and the dry electric razor, this SJ Brunn Riviera Phaeton snatched second in class. Third was for this majestic J Murphy Custom Beverly, finished in a striking gold paintscheme.
Acura, meanwhile, has released the first teaser images of the hugely sophisticated NSX production car, which will be officially launched at next month's North American International Auto Show.
2014-12-15: Maserati Monday with Piccolo 250F and 4CLT, and new HPD Coupe racer ...
Maserati 250 T3 Piccolo While Maserati's centenary year is drawing to a close, we would like to once again highlight a couple of the many great competition cars built during the last 100 years. The most recent is the 250F T3 Piccolo, which was developed ahead of the 1958 season. It represents the ultimate development of the legendary Formula 1 machine and, as the name suggests, is slightly smaller than the earlier versions. It was only briefly raced by the works team but nevertheless proved significantly faster than the Tipo 2 used the year before by Juan Manuel Fangio to win the World Championship. Halfway through the season, Maserati suspended the factory racing efforts and the two Piccolos were sold to the United States. Fortunately, both cars have survived and are actively campaigned in historic events as can be seen in this 82-shot gallery.
Of a slightly earlier vintage is the 4CLT, which was raced between 1947 and 1951 in the first post-War Grands Prix. Derived from the 4CL, the single seater racer featured a sophisticated tubular chassis and a fabulous sixteen-valve four-cylinder engine with separate exhausts pipes for each of the eight ports. Effectively Maserati's first F1 racer, it was campaigned by many of the great drivers of the day with considerable success. Four different examples are featured in our 79-shot gallery.
In preparation for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, ESM Racing has shaken down the team's first HPD ARX-04b this weekend. Developed by Wirth Research, it is a brand new Coupe design and replaces the HPD ARX-03b, which in turn was the final development of a design dating back nearly a decade. It was nevertheless still very competitive, and during its debut season, 2012, the HPD ARX-03b won its class at Sebring and Le Mans, and also won the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMP2 class. The highly anticipated ARX-04b thus does have a lot to live up to.
  2014-12-12: New hot hatches and Renault-Alpine and Lamborghini racers ...
Audi RS 3 Sportback With the second generation Audi RS 3 Sportback, the German company has released one of the most potent hot hatches of all time. Like its predecessor, it is powered by a 2.5-litre, straight five engine, which now produces 362 bhp. In addition to packing a bigger punch, the new RS 3 Sportback is also lighter than the previous model.
Another highly anticipated hot hatch is the new MINI John Cooper Works, which will be launched at the North American International Auto Show next month. It is powered by a two-litre, four-cylinder engine, good for around 230 bhp. It will be available with either a manual or automatic six-speed gearbox.
Also due to be launched at the NAIAS is the Infiniti Q60 Concept. This show car will offer a first glimpse at the upcoming premium sports coupe production car.
Shortly after Renault-Alpine introduced the new GTA V6 model in 1984, a special competition model was introduced to compete in the one-make Europa Cup. The series served as a curtain raiser for most of the European Formula 1 rounds between 1985 and 1988. We recently captured a beautifully restored Renault-Alpine GTA V6 Turbo Europa Cup, which was finished in the colours as used by Dutch racer Jan Lammers when he won the Monaco round.
Reiter Engineering has announced an extensive evolution of their Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 racer, which is appropriately dubbed the Gallardo Extenso. Compared to the earlier GT3 cars, it features a more aggressive body with more sophisticated aerodynamics and wider wheel arches to allow for an increased rear track. Reiter Engineering will build ten Gallardo Extensos for the 2015 season.
2014-12-10: Lovely Alfa Romeo and Ferrari head for auction, and the latest news ...
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S Touring Berlinetta The new year is set to kick off well with high profile auctions in Scottsdale in January and Paris early in February. One of the headliners of RM Auctions' second sale in Paris will be this lovely Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S Touring Berlinetta. One of the very last Alfa Romeos built before the War, this example was actually owned by the mistress of Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini. Following a complete restoration we captured the car at Villa d'Este back in 2007. It was also named best in show at the Salon Prive in 2011. RM estimates the car will be sold for over EUR 1.9 million.
One of the most spectacular cars consigned for the various Scottsdale auctions is one of twelve Ferrari 275 GTB/Cs constructed. Equipped with a lightweight body and chassis, the 275 GTB/C was the last factory Ferrari GT car produced during the 1960s. The example on offer in the Bonhams Scottsdale sale is the penultimate car built, which was raced in period by Scuderia Filipinetti. We saw the car at Pebble Beach, Le Mans and Goodwood and have expanded our gallery with additional images of this car. We have also added another car to the 140-shot gallery, which now includes ten of the twelve cars built.
Mercedes-Benz has further expanded the line-up with the GLE Coupe. The range is topped by the GLE 450 AMG Coupe, which is powered by a 362 bhp, twin-turbo V6 engine.
Combining the turbocharged and supercharged internal combustion engine and an electric motor, the new Volvo XC90 T8 packs a 396 bhp punch. This more than matches the outgoing V8 model, while boasting superior emissions and mileage figures.
Rinspeeds annual Geneva show car for 2015 will be known as the Budii. It features autonomous driving capabilities and can be run on 'auto-pilot'.
  2014-12-08: Legendary Bugatti Grand Prix racer and Ferrari Sergio production model ...
Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Replacing the most successful racing car of all time, the new-for-1931 Bugatti Type 51 had a very hard act to follow. It was the first Bugatti racing car equipped with a double overhead camshaft, which was inspired by the legendary American Miller engines. The rest of the car very much followed the design of the Type 35, including the steel ladder frame and cable-operated drum brakes. Faced with strong opposition from the likes of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, the Type 51 was quite successful. The well honed chassis allowed it to excel at tight and twisty tracks and fittingly, it won the Monaco Grand Prix. Eventually Bugatti produced 40 examples, four of which are featured today and star in our 66-shot gallery.
Over the weekend, Ferrari delivered the first of six Sergio production cars to its Middle Eastern owner. Based on the 458 Spider and powered by the 605 hp 'Speciale' engine, the limited production machine is based on the Pininfarina Sergio show car launched in Geneva last year. The car is a fitting tribute to the late Sergio Pininfarina, who was responsible for many the design of the greatest Ferrari road cars.
The Italian manufacturer also debuted 1,050 hp, track-only FXX K at Abu Dhabi. We have six additional images to our gallery of the car's first public appearance.
2014-12-05: James Bond's new Aston, the best Lagonda and the last Can-Am car ...
Aston Martin DB10 At a special event yesterday, movie producer EON Productions announced the name of the upcoming, 24th James Bond movie: Spectre. Grabbing most of the attention however was the purpose-built Aston Martin DB10 that was also unveiled at Pinewood Studios in London. Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the association between Aston Martin and James Bond, its design offers a preview of the whole new generation of Aston Martins. Only ten examples will be built of the DB10. Whether these will all be entrusted to Britain's most famous spy is not certain.
Following the re-introduction of the Lagonda brand with the very luxurious Taraf, we have today taken a detailed look at one of the very best Lagondas ever built; the V12 Rapide Drophead Coupe. This was the range topping model that had been designed under the supervision of W.O. Bentley. Between 1937 and 1940, Lagonda produced less than 200 examples of these sophisticated, twelve-cylinder engined machines. Only twelve of these were Rapide Drophead Coupes, which use a shorter chassis and an all-aluminium body. Of the dozen constructed, we have today added five different examples.
On the opposite end of the automotive spectrum from the smooth and sophisticated Lagonda V12 sits the thundering Sting GW1 Chevrolet also added today. Developed for privateer racer Gary Wilson, this beast of a machine was introduced at the penultimate Can-Am race in 1974 and thus holds the distinction as being the very last of these no-limits machines to be built. It was raced only three times in period but as can be seen in this 20-shot gallery has seen more action as a historic racer in recent years.
  2014-12-03: Ferrari unleashes 1,050 FXX K and mighty Fiat S.76 roars once more ...
Ferrari FXX K Ahead of its official debut during the Finali Mondiali event this weekend at the Abu Dhabi F1 circuit, Ferrari have released the first details and images of the FXX K. Based on the LaFerrari hypercar, this is the third track-day car produced by Ferrari. Under the banner of a research and development programme, the 'XX' scheme allows the company's richest and most ambitious customers to drive the cars at special events with full factory support. The FXX K is the most potent yet of these machines as it features a hybrid drivetrain (the K is short for KERS) consisting of a high revving V12 and an electric motor and produces a combined 1,050 hp. In addition to the increase in power, the FXX K also boasts enhanced active aerodynamics, which improve downforce by 50% in the low drag configuration and 30% in the high downforce configuration. The hugely potent FXX K is also equipped with sophisticated electronics to allow drivers with slightly less talent than Kimi Raikonen or Sebastian Vettel to get the most out of the car.
On Monday we spotted one of the best videos we have ever seen, which featured Duncan Pittaway's Fiat S.76 roar back into life in rather dramatic fashion. A true labour of love, it took Pittaway many years to get to this point and we already got a first glimpse of the mighty Fiat at Goodwood in July but it was not quite ready to run yet. It is understood to be the first time an S.76 has been fired up in a century, so it was quite special in that respect as well. We have chronicled the fabulous history of the model and this specific car, and very much look forward to seeing it back in action soon.
2014-12-01: 2014 Essen Motor Show report and further highlights ...
2014 Essen Motor Show report and gallery Just in the first three days, close to 130,000 visitors walked through the doors of the Messe Essen for the 2014 Essen Motor Show. They were treated to a colourful mix of competition, concept, historic and above all tuner cars. This is perhaps a reflection of the interest of the current generation of automotive enthusiasts, who grew up watching the Fast and Furious movies. Fortunately, the Essen Motor Show did present the odd gem. Among them was the hugely potent Zenvo ST1, which is produced in limited numbers in Denmark. It is powered by a hand-built V8 engine, which is both turbocharged and supercharged, and produces a staggering 1,104 bhp. We have captured every angle of this striking new machine in this 40-shot gallery. Making its world debut in Essen was the Skoda Fabia R5 Concept, which we already previewed earlier this week. All the other highlights from the Essen Motor Show can be found in this concise report, illustrated by a 100-shot gallery.
Over the weekend, Bonhams ended another record breaking auction year on a high with a very successful Bond Street Sale. The auction was topped by the Porsche 908/02 Spyder, which we featured last week and found a new owner for close to GBP 2.2 million.
  2014-11-27: Rare Porsche and Ferrari GT racers ...
Porsche 911 T/R In 1967 Porsche had discovered the competition potential of the 911 with the blisteringly quick 911 R. It was, however, not built in sufficient numbers to be homologated as a GT racer. To that end, Porsche instead decided to apply the lessons learned to mildly modify the already homologated 911 T, which was the base but also the lightest model in the range. The result was the 911 T/R, which was built in very small numbers during the 1968 season. It was available in various states of tune and the options included a well honed fuel-injected version of the flat six engine that was also used in Porsche's prototype racers. Of the estimated 35 examples built, we have added three different examples, one of which sold recently for close to $500,000.
Rare still is the Ferrari 512 BB Competizione built a decade later. Four of these machines were built specifically for Le Mans in 1978 with some backdoor support from the factory. Unfortunately, the near production GT racer was not quite quick or reliable enough to challenge the mighty Porsche 935s. They did however convince Ferrari to do some further development work, which resulted in the much wilder 512 BB LM, which debuted in 1979. Our detailed article includes a 28-shot gallery of the Ecurie Francorchamps entry.
2014-11-26: McLaren and Honda reunite, Mercedes old and new and Skoda Fabia R5 ...
McLaren MP4-29H Honda As the 2014 Formula 1 has drawn to a close, the first evidence of the renewed McLaren and Honda partnership in the form of the McLaren MP4-29H Honda. Based on the 2014 McLaren, it is powered by the all-new Honda drivetrain. Created mainly to test the all the new systems, the MP4-29H has been used during the two-day Abu Dhabi test with Stoffel Vandoorne behind the wheel.
At this weekend's Bonhams Bond Street Sale, you will have a unique opportunity to acquire this very rare Mercedes 35 hp Roi des Belges Tourer. Understood to be the oldest survivor of its type, this was the first large engined Mercedes fitted with a propellor shaft instead of chains. That the 35 hp Tourer has survived was certainly not a given as it served as it served as the Station Manager's car on two remote sheep farms in Australia.
A modern take on the rare Mercedes, is the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG Shooting Brake due to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show early next year. The versatile machine is powered by the same 360 hp four-cylinder engine that is found in the hatchback model.
At next week's Essen Motor Show, Skoda will showcase the Fabia R5 Concept. As the name suggests, the show car offers a first glimpse of the next incarnation of the hugely successful Fabia rally car. As always, we will be in Essen to explore the always very colourful displays and a full report will follow early next week.
  2014-11-24: Spectacular Porsche 908/02 Spyder in full detail ...
Porsche 908/02 Spyder During the 1960s, Porsche gradually worked towards the Le Mans winning 917 by introducing ever larger engined sports racers. Introduced in the same year as the 917 was announced, the 908/02 Spyder was hugely successful in its own right. It represented a thorough evolution of the 908 launched at Le Mans a season earlier, which had been overweight and unreliable. In 1969 guise, the 908 was altogether more successful as together with the Longtail Coupe version, the very nimble 908/02 Spyder already had the World Championship won before Le Mans. The car scored wins at the Nurburgring and the Targa Florio, and in 1970 also clinched the first non American V8 win in the Can-Am Challenge Cup. Examples of the 908 would continue to race around the world for over a decade.
Today we have taken a detailed look at this very quick Porsche prototype racer. Our 116-shot gallery features eight different examples. Among them is chassis 005, which is fitted with the rarer still Longtail Spyder body and will be offered this weekend at Bonhams' Bond Street Sale. Its pre-sale estimate is a startling GBP 2 - 3 million.