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2016-05-27: The three Zagato Aston Martins that starred at Villa d'Este ...
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato In last weekend's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este the 60-car entry list featured new fewer than three Aston Martins clothed by Zagato.
The earliest of these was the DB4 GT Zagato built specifically for the 1961 Turin Motor Show. Accordingly, the rare left-hand drive machine boasts unique features like full bumpers and a scoop on the engine cover. One of just 19 examples built in total, chassis DB4GT/0187/L won its class at Villa d'Este.
Fast forward 25 years when the British and Italian companies worked together once more to create the V8 Vantage Zagato. Built to match the benchmarks set by the Ferrari 288 GTO, the striking machine combined a very powerful naturally aspirated V8, still breathing through four Weber carburettors, with a lightweight body. Only 51 were built between 1986 and 1988. The chassis on display at Villa d'Este is even more special as it is one of four prototypes built, and the only remaining road car fitted with the mighty 'V' specification engine.
The two companies partnered again this year with the Vanquish Zagato Concept as the result. We already featured it last week but have now added more shots to the 29-shot gallery.
Today at Monaco, Renault Sport revealed the Clio R.S.16. Powered by a 275 hp, four-cylinder engine and boasting a considerably wider body than the regular Clio, it is inspired by the French team's new F1 racer. Dubbed a concept, it will undoubtedly be followed by proper production car.
  2016-05-25: Alfa Disco Volante Spyder, BMW 2002 Hommage and a glimpse of Volvo's future ...
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder by Touring In their original guise concours d'elegance were intended for modern machinery fitted with custom coachwork by the many specialists that were thrived particularly during the 1920s and 1930s in particular. At the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este this tradition is upheld with a special class for Concept Cars and Prototypes. This weekend, the winner was the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Spyder, created by Touring Superleggera. The striking machine is based on an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider and hand-built over a six-month period by the revived company. The example shown at Villa d'Este is the first of seven due to be built. Five of these have already been sold.
BMW celebrated the launch of the successful and crucial '02' range 50 years ago this year with the 2002 Hommage. Based on a current production M2, the show car is inspired by the 2002 Turbo. Although not intended for production, BMW's chief designer did mention that this 2002 Hommage is the closest to a production car of all tribute cars created by the German manufacturer.
Volvo, meanwhile, offered a first glimpse of their future small cars with the Concept 40.1 and the Concept 40.2.
2016-05-23: 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and 200-shot gallery ...
2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and 200-shot gallery Under beautiful blue skies, the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este hosted the 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on Saturday. The oldest and quite possibly also the most prestigious event of its kind, the annual concours d'elegance this year featured 52 hand-picked classic cars that ranged from an ever rakish Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante Coupe to a Ford Escort rally car. Carefully selected by an esteemed committee, each of the cars entered had an interesting background, whether it was the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 originally owned by Steve McQueen or the Lancia Astura Castagna Coupe commissioned by Il Duce's son Vittorio Mussolini. Many of these great stories are chronicled in our detailed report of the event, which is illustrated by a class-by-class, 160-shot gallery that includes all the classic and modern cars entered in the Concorso d'Eleganza. On Sunday morning, we also ventured to the nearby Villa Erba with this 40-shot gallery as the result.
Although already very detailed, our report includes but a small selection of the images and stories we gathered over the weekend. Many more of these can be expected to be used for individual car features in the near future.
  2016-05-19: Fabulous Ford F3L and ultimate Porsche 962C in full detail ...
Ford F3L At last weekend's Spa Classic many great cars ventured out on track and today we take a closer look at two of the very best.
The earliest of the pair is the Ford F3L developed for the 1968 World Sports Car Championship. Built to the new three-litre regulations, the Len Bailey designed car was powered by the Cosworth DFV V8 that had been created for Formula 1. Responsible for the development and construction was Alan Mann Racing, who did receive substantial backing from Ford themselves. Achingly beautiful, the F3L failed to live up its expectations and the project was set aside after the 1969 season. Crashed heavily in period, this F3L was eventually rebuilt and raced extensively in historic events by David Piper. It is now in Swiss ownership and been carefully restored once more while preserving the patina built up after years of racing. In the hands of ace historic racer Bernard Thuner, the slippery Ford F3L finished fourth in the CER1 race.
Certainly more successful in period was the all-conquering Porsche 962C and today we have singled out the ultimate development of the highly successful Group C car. Continuously developed by Joest Racing with considerable help from Porsche, chassis 962-011 remained competitive throughout its five-year career. In 1989, it scored the last Group C win for Porsche at Dijon and in 1993 finished second at the Road America IMSA GTP race behind a similarly modified sister car. These modifications included a massive biplane rear wing that was inspired by the Jaguar XJR-14 and developed in the wind tunnel at Weissach with the help of Norbert Singer himself. Finally retired from contemporary racing after the 1993 season, the ultimate 962C is now owned by a very capable British enthusiast, who won both Group C races at Spa on Sunday.
2016-05-17: 2016 Spa Classic report and 250-shot gallery ...
2016 Spa Classic report and 250-shot gallery This weekend, the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps hosted the sixth annual Spa Classic. The track lived up to its reputation as it provided both great racing and rapidly changing weather, which ranged from sunny, spring conditions on Friday to the odd hail shower on Saturday and Sunday. This did not deter the competitors, or for that matter the 17,000 spectators who flocked to the track in the Belgian Ardennes. On the schedule were all the familiar Peter Auto grids like the CER and Group C races. Special for this event was the additional evening race for the Heritage Touring Cup as a tribute to the editions of the Spa 24 Hours run for touring cars in the 1970s and 1980s.
Our photographers braved the conditions and ventured all around the undulating and very scenic track to capture the Spa Classic in its entirety. This has resulted in a class-by-class report, illustrated by an action packed 250-shot gallery that includes plenty of flames, slides and glowing brakes.
As always, detailed features about the cars that starred at the Spa Classic will follow in the coming days and weeks.
  2016-05-12: Benetton, Bugatti and Chevron racers headed for auction, new Porsche GTE/GTLM ...
Benetton B191 Ford At the upcoming auctions in Monaco, some significant racing cars will cross the block. Among them is this Benetton B191 Ford that will be offered by Bonhams in their sale in the Fairmont hotel. Developed ahead of the 1991 season by John Barnard, the B191 was driven to a single win by Nelson Piquet in his final season. It was also the first Benetton raced by Michael Schumacher towards the end of the year. In B-spec, this very car was used early in 1992 by Michael Schumacher to score his first podium finishes.
Also offered by Bonhams is a very early Bugatti Type 35. It was bought new by future Bentley Boy Glen Kidston, who picked it up at the factory. Later in 1925, he lapped the bumpy Brooklands circuit with an average of over 110 mph. Raced virtually throughout its life, it was fitted with a rare four-cylinder Anzani engine for many decades. It was more recently restored to its original configuration. Chassis 4450 is estimated to sell for 1-1.5 million Euro.
At the rivalling RM Sotheby's sale a lovely Chevron B36 will be offered. Sold to the United States, it was raced until 1980 and then stored for 27 years before it was restored on behalf of its European owner.
Meanwhile, Porsche offered a first glimpse of the new for 2017 GTE/GTLM racer. The teaser shots very deliberately do not show the sides of the rear of the car, which fuels the rumours that it could very well be mid-engined.
2016-05-11: Spa Classic preview with three Italian sports racers ...
Ferrari 512 BB LM This weekend we will be at the legendary Circuit de Spa Francorchamps for the 2016 Spa Classic. The sixth edition of this annual event will see the full range of the Peter Auto grids in action, which means sports cars from the 1950s through to the early 1990s. To provide a first glimpse of what we can expect, we have taken a closer look at three Italian sports cars that are due to star this weekend. Changeable conditions are expected, so our upcoming report and gallery should be something to look forward to.
A regular in the Classic Endurance Racing field is this Ferrari 512 BB LM, which is one of the very last built. It was raced in 1981 by an all-Belgian crew at Le Mans, and fittingly, the striking European University liveried is again campaigned by a Belgian historic racer. We have captured this particular 512 BB LM at many events over the years.
One of the absolute stars of last year's Spa Classic was this truly fabulous Alfa Romeo 33/3 Spider, which briefly led its race in the hands of Emanuele Pirro. The talented Italian made the most of the beautifully howling three-litre V8 in the back of this very rare machine that competed at Le Mans back in 1970. This weekend, the 33/3 Spider will be piloted by its owner and original driver Nanni Galli.
A much lesser known machine is this Alba AR2 Giannini created ahead of the 1983 season for the newly created Group C Junior class. Built with a virtually limitless budget, it holds the distinction of being the very first Group C car with carbon-fibre composite monocoque chassis. Facing limited competition, the Alba AR2 won the Junior championship in 1983. Now owned by a French historic racer, it will be part of the two-dozen strong Group C field that will star at Spa.
  2016-05-09: Rare Group B rally cars headed for auction ...
Lancia 037 Rally This weekend there will be several major auctions in Monaco and considering the legendary status of Rallye Monte Carlo, it is no surprise that several striking rally cars have been consigned. Among the most unusual of these is the very first Lancia 037 Rally development prototypes that will cross the block at the exclusive Bonhams sale. Completed late in 1980, this car was running on the test track a full year before the Lancia 037 was officially announced. Key in the development of the World Rally Championship winning machine, it was tested on tarmac, submitted to the Pininfarina wind-tunnel and also run on off-road stages. Beautifully presented and truly unique, the striking machine is estimated to sell for upwards of 400,000 Euro.
The prototype is not the only Lancia 037 in search of a new owner in the Principality as RM Sotheby's has consigned this lovely original Stradale. Never converted for competition use, it has covered a genuine 33,000 on the road during the last 30 years. Recently serviced, it is ready to go and can be yours for slightly less than the altogether wilder rally car.
Also consigned to the RM sale is this actual Rallye Monte Carlo winning Peugeot 205 T16 Group B. Allocated to Ari Vatanen at the start of the 1985 season, it won 21 of the 33 stages of that year's 'Monte.' Later in the year the talented Fin also piloted it to victory in the Swedish Rally. Although well maintained, this ex-works Peugeot 205 T16 is a superb and unmolested example of the back-to-back championship winning machine and accordingly is estimated to sell for 600,000 - 800,000 Euro.
2016-05-05: Small displacement Maserati and DeTomaso racers and news from VW and Donkervoort ...
Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage Maserati's legendary 'Birdcage' sports racer came with a choice of two engine sizes. Fitted in the rarer Tipo 60 Birdcage was a two-litre version of the familiar four-cylinder engine. Breathing through a pair of Weber carburettors, it produced 200 bhp. Predominantly raced in Italy, the two-litre cars proved particularly successful in their class of the Italian hill climb championship. The three examples featured in our new 71-shot gallery won three Italian Championships between them. The most striking among them is chassis 2460, which has survived in impeccable original condition.
Boasting an engine half the Tipo 60's size is the unique DeTomaso Sport 1000. Although it was built to full running order, it is understood only to have been used as a show car following its debut at the 1966 Turin Racing Car Show. Retaining its very rare BRM engine, the Sport 1000 was displayed in the DeTomaso Museum for many years.
Using the Golf GTI Clubsport S and with a time of 7:49, Volkswagen set a new lap record for a front-wheel drive car at the Nurburgring. Compared to the Clubsport it was based on, the 'S' is lighter and more powerful, which greatly contributed in breaking the record. Production of the Clubsport S is strictly limited to 400 examples, 100 of which will be reserved for the German market.
Ahead of the official debut, Dutch niche manufacturer Donkervoort released the first images and details of the D8 GTO-RS. Not many specific performance numbers were published but it will certainly be faster than the already ludicrously fast 'standard' D8 GTO. Only 40 D8 GTO-RSs will be built and 21 are already spoken for.
  2016-05-02: Rare Italian supercars headed for auction and McLaren F1 for sale ...
Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota One of the very last of the analogue supercars was the Lamborghini Diablo SE30 built to celebrate Lamborghini's 30th anniversary. It was not a straightforward limited edition model but instead, it was a carefully developed, lightweight version of the Diablo. As such, it boasted a stripped out interior, more aggressive carbon-fibre body and tuned V12 engine. It was intended to form the basis for a new competition version but this never materialised. Lamborghini did create the rarer still Diablo SE30 Jota, which featured an even more powerful engine and was limited to just 28 upgrade kits of which only 14 were fitted at the factory. The featured example, is one of those fitted from new with the Jota package and will be offered at the upcoming RM Sotheby's Monaco sale.
Also due to cross the block in the small Principality but a day earlier and at the Bonhams auction is this one owner Ferrari 288 GTO. Equipped with both options that were available at the time, air-conditioning and electric windows, it was picked up by the first owner in Maranello and driven back to his home London. The privilege of becoming this car's second owner comes at the a hefty Euro 1.3 - 1.7 million.
That is peanuts compared to the McLaren F1 on offer from McLaren Special Operations. Recently refurbished and repainted at the factory, this late F1 has covered just 2,800 miles from new. Although no price was officially listed, we understand that an interested party is expected to fork over in excess of $12 million to acquire the F1 chassis 069.
2016-04-29: Formula 1 Friday with striking March, rare March and unique McLaren ...
March 711 Cosworth To mark Formula 1 Friday, we today take a look at three very distinct Formula 1 cars. The first is the March 711 Cosworth built for the 1971 F1 World Championship. March's interpretation of the Lotus 72 design, it features a very distinct front wing that was commonly referred to as the 'tea tray' or 'Spitfire-wing' in period. Six were built and although a young Ronnie Peterson came close on several occasions, no victories were scored. Our detailed article features three different examples. Among them is chassis 711-2, which has been beautifully preserved in Swiss ownership for four decades and will be offered at the upcoming RM Sotheby's Monaco sale. It has a pre-sale estimate of Euro 550,000 - 650,000.
Of a slightly later vintage is this unique Maki F101C Cosworth, which returned to the track earlier this month at the Zolder Masters Festival. The car's identity was used for the only Maki to turn a wheel in anger. As a F101A, it was raced during the 1974, until it was crashed. Rebuilt with a spare chassis, it returned to action in 1975 in the F101C configuration it was again restored to ahead of this season after it was displayed in a museum for two decades.
Rarer still is the one-off, four-wheel drive McLaren M9A Cosworth, which was raced by Derek Bell during the 1969 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Following its single outing at Silverstone, it was retired and soon after sold to Tom Wheatcroft for his Donington Grand Prix Collection museum. As can be seen in our 23-shot gallery, it has recently been carefully restored by Hall & Hall.
  2016-04-27: Two very rare Porsche Le Mans racers ...
Porsche 904/8 While the 904 GTS is most commonly seen with a four-cylinder engine, Porsche also fielded six and eight cylinder engined examples. Based on the engine developed for Formula 1, the flat eight used in the 904/8 displaced just under two litres and produced a hefty 240 bhp. Only two of the 904 Coupes were fitted with this engine, so unlike the four-cylinder engined cars, they 904/8s were never homologated and were forced to run in the prototype class. They were nevertheless quite successful with class wins in the Targa Florio and twice at the Nurburgring. Our 17-shot gallery includes both examples built. One of these is on display in the Porsche Museum, while the other is in private hands and has been reunited with the very rare eight-cylinder engine.
Long after Porsche had ceased developing the 962, privateers continued to extend the Group C machine's lifespan with modifications. This was a win-win situation for Porsche as the German manufacturer still supplied the running gear for these cars that remained competitive. Among the first of these was Richard Lloyd Racing, who commissioned Nigel Stroud to design a honeycomb aluminium monocoque to replace the sheet aluminium tubs originally used for the 962C. In doing so, they created the 962C GTi of which five chassis were built. Four were built to Group C specifications, while the fifth was sold to Dyson Racing and campaigned in the IMSA GTP series. The featured example was the last of these and did not debut until 1992 when it was shared by father and son Derek and Justin Bell in their first ever joint Le Mans effort.