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2012-01-30: Delage and Delahayes at auction in Paris during Retromobile ...
Delage D8-105 S Coupe On Wednesday, the annual Retromobile show in Paris will open its doors. Among the many attractions will be a representation from the fabulous Mullin Collection, which includes one of the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupe and the Pebble Beach winning Voisin C25, while the dealers are expected to bring rare gems ranging from the Auto Union Type D two no few fewer than two of the four Delage 15 S8s built. We will of course be at Retromobile first thing Wednesday morning to capture every highlight.
This week, British auctioneer Bonhams will also host a sale in Paris. One of the absolute stars is this Delage D8-105 S Coupe. Built early in 1935, it is one of the very last cars produced while Louis Delage was still in control of the company and it is one of only two survivors of its type. Ordered by a close friend of Louis Delage, this example was clothed by Letourneur & Marchand subsidiary Autobineau with an aerodynamic coupe body. Beautifully restored, the D8-105 S was recently shown at Villa d'Este. It is estimated to sell for 280,000 - 360,000 Euro.
Retromobile's official auctioneer is Artcurial, and the Paris based company has managed to secure some superb machinery for the sale. Our eye was caught by two Delahaye 135s, built immediately after the War. The earliest is this 135 MS Franay Cabriolet, which was fully appointed when new and even came with a set of bespoke Hermes luggage. Stored for over thirty years, the rare Delahaye was meticulously restored by a marque expert and is now expected to sell for over 500,000 Euro. The second Delahaye in the auction is this 135 M Pourtout Cabriolet. Thoroughly modern, the type of design was known as the 'Malmaison' after the suburb of Paris where coach-builder Pourtout was based. The striking machine was one of Pourtout's first designs with pontoon fenders. While completely restored, it was never entered in any of the major shows and with a pre-sale estimate of 280,000 - 400,000 Euro, it is a relatively affordable entry for concours like Villa d'Este or Pebble Beach.
  2012-01-26: New diesel M Performance BMWs, hydrogen LMP racer and MG Touring Car ...
BMW M550d xDrive BMW today announced the addition to the line-up of four 'M Performance' models; the M550d xDrive Sedan, M550d xDrive Touring, X5 M50d and X6 M50d. These represent the first 'M' cars powered by a diesel engine. Needless to say this is not any diesel engine but a brand new, three litre straight-six, equipped with no fewer than three turbochargers with variable geometry. Producing 375 bhp, it has a specific output of 125 bhp/litre, which is more than remarkable for a diesel engine. Even more impressive is the torque of 740 Nm or 546 ft lbs. Also part of the 'M Performance package is a specifically tuned chassis, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive on all four models.
Following the launch of the hybrid Toyota TS030 earlier this week, we can now showcase an even greener (no pun intended) LMP racer; the GreenGT H2. Although it is not eligible to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it is scheduled to take to the track during the official test day two weeks ahead of the race. Built around a conventional composite monocoque, the H2 features twin electric motors that are fed by a hydrogen fuel cell. While the car has not yet been completed, development is ongoing and for 2013, the small French manufacturer hopes to lower the weight and increase the radius.
Since returning to the British market under Chinese ownership, MG has struggled to sell cars. The latest attempt to grab the attention of the customers is an assault on the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) with a MG 6 GT prepared by the vastly experienced Triple Eight Race Engineering Team. Among the drivers signed is the BTCC's most successful driver; Jason Plato.
2012-01-24: Toyota TS030 Hybrid Le Mans racer revealed ...
Toyota TS030 Hybrid Less than a week after Peugeot's dramatic announcement, a new pretender to Audi's endurance racing crown has stepped up; Toyota. Following a roll out and private test last week, the Japanese manufacturer has now officially taken the wraps off the TS030 Hybrid. Short for ToyotaSport, the TS name was used for the company's last two Le Mans racers; the TS010 and the TS020. Toyota's all new racer has the combined power of Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany (chassis) and Toyota in Japan (powertrain) behind it. Meeting the latest LMP1 regulations, the TS030 uses a coupe design with a central air-intake very similar to the Audi R18's. Among the first things that capture the eye are the long wing end-plates and the massive front fenders, indicating that, like the competition, the TS030 will run rear tyres on the front as well. The car's most interesting aspect is, no doubt, the THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System - Racing) powertrain. It consists of an all-new naturally aspirated V8 engine that drives the rear wheels through a transverse six-speed gearbox and an electric motor. Depending on the findings in testing, the motor will be connected to the front or rear axle. If the former setup is used, the TS030 will effectively become a 4WD car for several seconds per lap. The energy, generated under braking, is not stored in a battery but in a capacitor.
A single TS030 is readied for a debut at the Spa 1000 km race in May and an entry for two cars is submitted for Le Mans. The vastly experienced Oreca team will assist in running the cars, while Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima will be among the drivers. The vastly experienced Oreca will assist in running the cars.
If the specs and looks don't deceive, we certainly feel the Toyota TS030 Hybrid is capable of seriously challenging Audi.
  2012-01-23: Three spectacular custom bodied cars built for ladies ...
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Touring Flying Star Traditionally the automobile has been the object of desire for men but we have found three spectacular exceptions to that rule. Certainly one of the most famous of these is the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Touring 'Flying Star' Spider, which was created for Italian model Josette Pozzo. A loyal Touring customer, she had just won a major concours with a coupe bodied 6C 1750 GT when she requested the Milanese company to build her a new car for the 1931 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. The result is the legendary 'Flying Star' Spider, which shares its design with a similar Fiat and Isotta Fraschini. The most recognisable features are the split fenders and the all-white finish. The spectacular machine was very well received and accordingly was awarded the coveted 'Coppa d'Oro'. Many moons later, the meticulously restored machine returned to Villa d'Este and was again awarded prices. A few years earlier, it was also shown at Pebble Beach where Alfa Romeo was the featured marque. We captured the unique 'Flying Star' at both occasions, which has resulted in this 18-shot gallery.
At last year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, two Murphy Convertible Coupes were shown that were built at around the same time and both for lady owners. The first was one of the Murphy-bodied Duesenberg later starred alongside Rogers and Fred Astaire in 'The Gay Divorcee'. In recent years the 'Duesey' has been carefully restored to its original condition.
This Rolls-Royce Phantom I Murphy Convertible Coupe was ordered as a Christmas gift by Alfred Chapin for his wife Gloria. Almost matching the cost of the complete chassis, the body was completely personalised with Gloria Chapin's initials prominently featured throughout the car and a gearshift knob that contained a picture of the couple's children. Following a complete restoration, this one-off Phantom took top honours in the Rolls-Royce class.
2012-01-20: A final look at the 908 sports racer as Peugeot withdraws from endurance racing ...
Peugeot 908 In a shock announcement earlier this week, Peugeot revealed the suspension of its endurance racing program with immediate effect. Among the reasons were financial difficulties and the budget required to effectively launch a whole range of production cars in the coming months. This was clearly a last minute call as many members of the team had already left for Florida where a test at Sebring was scheduled. The tent that would serve as the team's garage had already been erected in the track's paddock.
To bid farewell to Peugeot's five-season sports car program, we have today taken a closer look at the 908 that had been developed almost from scratch ahead of the 2011 season. Built to comply with the heavily revised regulations, the diesel fueled machine featured a brand new 550 bhp V8. The chassis and aero package were more of an evolution of the 908 HDi FAP raced during the previous four seasons. Peugeot fielded the 908 in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, winning five of the seven rounds as well as the championship. Unfortunately, one of the races that eluded the French team in 2011 was the all-important 24 Hours of Le Mans, which may have encouraged the board to suspend the effort.
During the 2011 season we captured the 908 at various venues and to honour the valiant effort of the Peugeot squad, we have selected the best 36 shots for our exclusive gallery.
Fortunately for sports car racing enthusiasts, Toyota has stepped up to take on the might of Audi. Testing of their hybrid racer started this week and as soon as pictures and more information will become available, we will of course let you know.
  2012-01-18: Two TWR developed, V6 powered Jaguars ...
Jaguar XJ220S With the help of TWR, Jaguar had once again become a prominent force in international sports car racing during the second half of the 1980s. The various TWR developed 'XJR' racers added two Le Mans victories and several world championships to Jaguar's already well filled prize cabinet. To celebrate the success, Jaguar introduced the road going XJ220 super car, which incorporated some of the technology that brought so much success on the track. TWR had also been involved with the road car development and later turned the XJ220 into racer as well. For homologation purposes they also built six examples of the XJ220S. Like the competition car, it also featured a carbon fibre body and large rear wing. The reworked V6 engine produced around 670 bhp. One of these very potent machines, chassis 784 will be offered tomorrow by RM Auctions during the first of their two-day Scottsdale sale. With a pre-sale estimate of 'just' $225,000 - $300,000, it certainly looks like a very interesting proposition.
The V6 used in the XJ220 production car was derived from the XJR-11 that first hit the track halfway through the 1989 World Championship. Compared to the highly successful V12-engined cars previously used by JaguarSport, the XJR-11 was both lighter and more compact. Like its predecessors, it featured a full carbon fibre chassis with intricate ground effect aerodynamics. Unfortunately, the very quick car was often let down by poor reliability. Rule changes rendered it obsolete at the start of 1991 when it was replaced by the F1-inspired XJR-14, which may also explain why it received limited development. In recent years we have captured one of the three examples both on track and in great detail as can be seen in this 18-shot gallery.
2012-01-16: Maserati and Ferrari headed for auction, Gianpiero 'MOMO' Moretti remembered ...
Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder This coming week auction fever will peak in Scottsdale, Arizona with most of the major companies hosting their first sales of the year. Among them is Gooding & Company, who will have a two-day auction at the Scottsdale Fashion Square on Friday and Saturday. One of our favourite lots of the sale is this Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder. Penned by Giorgietto Giugiaro, the Ghibli is deservedly considered one of the most beautiful cars of its era with just the right mix of understated and aggressive lines. In Coupe form, the top-of-the-range model entered production in 1967 with a twin-cam 4.7 litre V8. The Spyder model was added in 1969 and at around the same the 'SS' option became available with a 4.9 litre version of the eight cylinder engine. The example on offer was commissioned by a London-based American publisher and equipped with every available option. After picking it up at the factory himself, he used the Ghibli when he was at his villa on the French Riviera. In recent years the SS Spyder was restored with no expense spared in Italy. Considered one of the very best, if not the best example in existence, this striking machine is estimated to sell for $700,000 - $900,000.
Starting Thursday, RM Auctions' two day sale will be held at the majestic Arizona Baltimore Resort & Spa. One of that auction's star lots is this Ferrari 342 America, which is one of just six examples built and the third of three bodied by Pinin Farina with a coupe body. Shown at the 1953 Geneva Motor Show, it won a concours award as early as 1954. It spent most of its time in the United States, bar a decade in Belgium, and in recent years it has been shown at many of the major shows. The most recent outing was the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Before offering the car, the current owner spent a further $100,000 on chassis 0246AL to bring it to even higher standards.
Over the weekend we learned of the passing of Gianpiero Moretti after a long illness at the age of 67. Founder of the MOMO racing supply company, Moretti was a more than talented driver himself. The MOMO liveried machines were a regular and always spectacular sight, particularly in American sports car racing. In his memory we would like to point to the Ferrari 333 SP we have featured. He used this car in his last ever race to claim a victory in the 1998 Watkins Glen IMSA race. Earlier in the same year he had driven a sister car to a win in the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours; the biggest successes of his long career.
  2012-01-12: All new Boxster, most powerful convertible Corvette ever, electric Lola and Pininfarina concept ...
Porsche Boxster Porsche today revealed the first details of the third generation Boxster. Due to be launched in Geneva, the compact roadster is effectively a brand new car, boasting a bigger but lighter chassis than its predecessor. The base model is equipped with a 2.7 litre engine that is both smaller and more powerful than the outgoing flat six. The range topping Boxster S uses the familiar 3.4 litre unit, which for the occasion has been tweaked to produce 5 horses more. Both models will become available in the coming months with either a six-speed manual or a PDK double clutch, 7-speed automatic.
Marking both the model's 60th anniversary and the final year for the current generation, Chevrolet have released the Corvette 427 Convertible. Effectively a Z06 with the roof removed, it is the first 'C6' drop top powered by the 505 bhp LS7 V8. Extensive use of lightweight materials have kept the weight down, giving the special Corvette a superior power to weight ratio over far more exotic machinery. Optional on all 2013-model year Corvettes, the 427 Convertible comes standard with the 60th anniversary package.
At this week's Low Carbon Racing Conference in Birmingham, Drayson Racing Technologies took the wraps off the Lola B12/ 69EV. Developed in conjunction with Lola, this promises to be the fastest all-electric racer yet. The LMP1 based machine is powered by four electric motors and features active aerodynamics. Not built to specific regulations, the B12/69EV's main goal is to go as fast as possible using electric motors only. Drayson do hope to develop the car into a contender for the FIA Formula E world championship scheduled for 2013.
Earlier in the week Italian design house Pininfarina sent us the first glimpse of their Geneva destined show car. Dubbed the Cambiano, it promises to be an 'elegant and refined' sport sedan.
2012-01-10: 2012 NAIAS Round-up with news from Scion, Honda, Toyota and Lincoln ...
Scion FR-S Race Car Rounding up our coverage of this year's North American International Auto Show, we take a closer look at four more cars revealed at Detroit's Cobo Hall this week. The most powerful of these is the Scion FR-S Race Car. Not surprisingly, this is a competition version of the recently launched rear-wheel drive coupe developed by Subaru and Toyota that will be sold as a Scion in the United States. Equipped with an aggressive body kit, the track-ready FR-S features a 600 bhp version of the flat four engine. Sister company Toyota showed the NS4 Concept. This plug-in hybrid machine serves as a preview for Toyota's potential second all-hybrid model that will be offered alongside the Prius. Certainly a preview for an upcoming production model is Honda's Accord Coupe Concept, which will become available later in the year as 2013 model. Among the engines available is an all-new 2.4 litre straight four that is equipped variable valves and direct fuel injection. Lincoln's MKZ Concept provides a clear vision of upcoming models of Ford's luxury arm. Inspired by the great Zephyr of 1938, the luxury four-door sedan features an impressive, full-length glass roof. The high-tech interior features a 10.1 inch TFT screen in place of the conventional dials.
Today Infiniti also released the first preview of the Sports Car Concept due to be released in Geneva in less than two months. The high performance machine will be equipped with a mid-mounted electric motor.
  2012-01-09: 2012 NAIAS Day 1 Round-Up with news from Acura, Chevrolet, VW, Audi and Lexus ...
2012 North American International Auto Show At the Cobo Hall in Detroit the first major motor show of the year, the North American International Auto Show, kicked off this morning with the first of two press preview days. As always the major manufacturers assembled in 'Motown' to reveal a mix of new concept and production cars. Highlights already announced earlier were the new generation Mercedes-Benz SL 500, the '991' 911 Cabriolet and the V8-engined Continental in GT and GTC variants.
One of the absolute stars of the show is certainly the Acura NSX Concept. This is certainly not just a show car but a prototype of an all-new NSX production car. Like the original, it will feature a V6 engine but this time complemented by three electric motors.
Among the exciting releases from today were two concepts from Chevrolet; the Code 130R and the Tru 140S. Both compact coupes share the same engine but that is about where the similarities stop. The former is a rear-wheel drive four-seater while the other is front-wheel driven.
Catering to the winter sport enthusiasts, Audi revealed a special Q3 Vail Concept. With a 310 bhp straight 5 engine, it can cope with the most difficult of conditions. Star on the stand of sister company Volkswagen is the e-Bugster Concept. As the name subtly suggests, this is an electric Beetle with a speedster bodystyle.
After two sneak previews, Lexus have today finally released the full details of the LF-LC Concept. The spectacular coupe may turn out to be the first glimpse of a new sports coupe to fill the void left by the Supra and a potential rival for the upcoming NSX. The press release speaks of a next generation hybrid drivetrain but unfortunately no further specifics were listed.
2012-01-05: Controversial twin-chassis Lotus Formula 1 racer ...
Lotus 88B Cosworth This promises to be a great year for the very ambitious Lotus company, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2012. The British manufacturer will also return to Formula 1 and expand its stake in Indy racing by taking up the role of engine supplier. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Lotus will be the featured marque. To get this anniversary year off to a rolling start, we have taken a closer look at one of the most unusual Lotus Formula 1 cars, which last year set the fastest time at the Festival of Speed. Dubbed the Type 88, it was built for the 1981 season to make the most of the 'ground effect' aerodynamics, pioneered by Lotus a few years earlier. Its unique feature was a twin chassis configuration, one of which was constructed from carbon fibre with Kevlar reinforcements. Along with the McLaren MP4/1, it was the first Formula 1 car to use a carbon composite chassis. This was the primary chassis, which was fairly conventional as it housed the pilot and drivetrain. The secondary chassis was bolted directly to the uprights and included all the body panels. This setup allowed the primary chassis to be relatively softly sprung while the body maintained optimum right height at all times. Brilliantly conceived, it met with much opposition from the rivaling teams and although it practiced for several races, the unusual Type 88 was ultimately not allowed to race. The ground-breaking carbon-fibre chassis was extensively raced first as the Type 87 in 1981 and as the updated Type 91 in 1982.
Now owned by Classic Team Lotus and regularly exercised, we captured the original Lotus 88 Cosworth in great detail during two previous editions of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It would not surprise us if it will once again make an appearance to celebrate the company's 60th anniversary.
  2012-01-04: American muscle in Lola T70, Camaro and Charger form ...
Lola T70 Mk3B Spyder Ford In 1966, Dan Gurney scored Ford's only Can-Am victory with his All American Racers prepared Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder. For the 1967 he replaced the race winning machine with one of the four T70 Mk3B Spyders. These lightweight specials were reserved for Lola's top teams; the other three were sold to John Surtees and Roger Penske. Gurney equipped his example with a modified '351' Ford V8, complete with the aluminium Gurney-Weslake heads. Producing as much as 550 bhp, it helped Gurney to rival the dominant McLarens in qualifying but unfortunately it also proved very fragile in all six Can-Am rounds of 1967. The unique Ford-powered Mk3B Spyder was subsequently sold on and in the following years received a big-block Chevrolet V8 and a Coupe body. Well over forty years later, the car was restored to its original configuration. In this guise, we were able to shoot the Lola T70 Mk3B Spyder Ford at the 2011 Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
The seasoned American V8s are still widely used in racing and the latest addition to this stable is the Chevrolet Camaro GT. The GT3 racer is developed by SaReNi United, a subsidiary of Reiter Engineering, which is best known for building the various Gallardo and Murcielago racing cars. Based on the production car, the competition Camaro is powered by an enormous Katech-built V8 that produces 650 bhp and 800 Nm of torque. The first car is readied for the ADAC Masters season opener at Oschersleben in April. Priced at 179,000 EUR ex VAT, the Camaro GT is certainly one of the most affordable packages of the ever expanding GT3 field.
At next week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Dodge is expected to reveal the all-new Viper but it will be not the only high performance model on display. One of the others is the Mopar-equipped Charger Redline. In the most extreme, Stage III form the potent Charger features an all-alloy 426 HEMI V8, good for 590 bhp. Unfortunately this very powerful lump is only available in non-road legal versions of the Charger.
2012-01-02: Patrick Head's first Williams, the FW06 in full detail ...
Williams FW06 Cosworth Although it was already announced earlier, this weekend Williams Grand Prix Engineering confirmed it would start its Formula 1 season without Patrick Head directly involved. The seasoned engineer was one of the team's two founding members along with Frank Williams and has since been a part of all of Williams' successes. He will continue at Williams in the quickly growing hybrid arm that produces the flywheel system used for example in Porsche's hybrid 911 racer.
To honour one of the most successful engineers in Formula 1, we have today taken a closer look at his very first design for Williams; the FW06. Built for the 1978 season, this was a conventional design and while moderately successful struggled to keep up with the more advanced 'ground effect' machines fielded by the competition. Driver Alan Jones did manage to clinch the team's first podium and went on to score 16 points in Williams' debut season as a manufacturer. The cars were used at the start of 1979 as well as a stop gap while Head developed the team's first ground effect racer. This FW07 proved a winner straight out of the box and in 1980 Jones and Williams became world champions with it. Our detailed feature is illustrated by a 24-shot gallery of four different examples.