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2012-04-27: Striking Talbot Lago T150 Teardrop Coupe and Ferrari 250 GT Zagato revisited
Talbot Lago T150C SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe When we publish articles on specific models, we always try to include chassis details and shots of all examples that we have seen in the past. The great thing about being an online magazine is that we can then update the existing articles with additional examples when we come across them. Today we have taken the opportunity to expand the features of two of our favourite cars; the Talbot Lago T150C SS Figoni & Falaschi Coupe and the Ferrari 250 GT Zagato Coupe.
First shown during the 1937 New York Auto Show, the 'Teardrop' Talbot Lago is ranked among the best looking cars ever constructed. It combines the race-bred T150 chassis with the aerodynamic lines penned by Joseph Figoni. In total only eleven were constructed, one of which used the less exotic T23 chassis. Of the ten examples built, nine are known to have survived and with the addition of the two examples shot in Monterey last August, we can now proudly feature all of them. The final two additions were perhaps the most important of the type as the first is the original New York show car and the second is the example that was awarded 'Best of Show' at Pebble Beach back in 1998. With these chassis added, our exclusive gallery now boasts a grand total 60 shots.
It remains mystifying why Zagato only clothed a handful of Ferraris during both companies' very long and rich history. Catering specifically to gentleman racers, the lightweight Zagato bodies would have seemingly been a perfect match for the Ferrari competition chassis. Best known of these rare exceptions is the 250 GT Zagato Coupe of which just five were built. Not surprisingly, they were raced with considerable success in period, particularly in Italy. We already featured two examples and have now added a third. This is chassis 0689GT, for which a restyled nose was crafted in 1960. This was finally rectified in a complete restoration that was finished last year. We captured the car at its first major show, The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, which has allowed us to expand the type's gallery to 30 shots.
  2012-04-25: Revolutionary Chaparral 2K in full detail and Auto China round-up ...
Chaparral 2K Cosworth Jim Hall is probably best known for the often ground-breaking 'Chaparrals' that added colour to American sports car racing throughout the 1960s. His arguably most successful creation, however, came nearly a decade later but was, of course, no less revolutionary than the earlier machines. The car in question was the Chaparral 2K introduced halfway through the 1979 season in time for Al Unser to race it at Indy. Designed with the help of John Barnard, the 'yellow submarine' brought ground effect aerodynamics to North American racing. After teething reliability problems had been overcome, the Chaparral scored its first victory in the season finale. The 2K came to full fruition in 1980 when Rutherford drove the Cosworth-engined racer to victory in the Indy 500 and won the CART Championship. The 2K would remain the only single seater Chaparral as Jim Hall eventually switched to proprietary chassis, continuing as team-owner well into the 1990s. Our detailed article is illustrated by a 24-shot gallery showing both surviving cars in full details. One of the chassis is in the hands of the late Dan Wheldon, just a few months before his fatal crash.
Rounding up our coverage of the Auto China in Beijing, we have four more cars released at the show earlier in the week. The most remarkable of these is no doubt the MG Icon Concept. Inspired by the iconic MGB, this is the first SUV concept constructed by the Chinese owned manufacturer. Of a similar configuration is this Peugeot Urban Crossover Concept. Appealing to China's large demand for long wheelbase vehicles, Jaguar revealed the luxuriously appointed XJ Ultimate, while Rolls-Royce completed the Series II Phantom line-up with the Extended Wheelbase variant.
2012-04-23: Lamborghini Urus SUV concept and more from Auto China ...
Lamborghini Urus Concept On the opening day of this week's Auto China in Beijing, most eyes will have been on Lamborghini's new Urus Concept. Named after an ancient, and slightly larger ancestor of the the current breed of bulls, the Urus is Lamborghini's much rumoured entry in the SUV market. Although still a concept, it is expected to be followed by a full fledged production version. Not many specifics have been released yet but Lamborghini promise that it will have at least 600 hp available and that it will be considerably lighter than the rivals. The styling of the Urus is clearly inspired by the current generation Lamborghinis, while it also shares some cues with the four-door Estoque show car launched back in 2008.
A potential rival for the upcoming Urus could very well by the Eterniti Artemis. Based on the rolling chassis of a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, the exclusive machine boats a bespoke body and a tweaked engine, which produces over 600 hp. The Artemis also features a lavish interior and state-of-the-art sound system. Needless to say, Eterniti's clients will be able to completely customise the car to their likings.
Also unveiled in Beijing was the Audi A6 L e-tron Concept. This plug-in hybrid combines the latest TFSI four cylinder petrol engine with a 95 hp electric motor. Using just the electric motor, the long-wheelbase A6 can travel up to 80 km. At full power, the system produces well over 300 hp.
Fellow VAG member, Seat showed a near production ready Ibiza Cupra Concept. Like it predecessor, it features the twin-charger engine coupled to a DSG seven-speed gearbox.
  2012-04-19: New Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe and mighty G 63 AMG ...
Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe Ahead of the official launch next week during the 2012 Auto China in Beijing, Mercedes-Benz will briefly preview their all-new Concept Style Coupe at the Avant/Garde Diaries event in Los Angeles, which kicks off today. According to Mercedes-Benz, the almost production-standard show car is making a 'convincing statement in favour of avantgarde design among sporty executive coupes' and is a 'rebel when it comes to style: nonconformist, provocative and masculine'. The exterior is matched by a flashy interior that comes complete with such luxuries as backlit vents. The car is also equipped with the latest electronics with what Mercedes-Benz has dubbed the 'COMAND Online' package. Under the engine cover sits a new straight four, complete with a turbocharger and sophisticated 'on demand' injection and ignition systems. For now the Concept Style Coupe remains a one-off show car but it would not surprise us if, in the future, the C-Class range will be expanded with a four-door coupe model.
Definitely not a style rebel or a convincing design statement is Mercedes' venerable G-Class. In production since 1979, it has only received upgrades that were strictly necessary. It is still used extensively in both civil and military applications. No Mercedes model range is complete without an AMG version and, for once, the G is no exception. The latest incarnation is the G 63 AMG, which features a slightly detuned version of the twin-turbo V8. The 'M157' engine is nevertheless still good for well over 500 bhp, which allows the rugged machine to accelerate to 100 km/h in just over 5 seconds. The AMG G's interior is well appointed and also features carbon fibre trim panels and alcantara leather. Just to make sure the costumers who think the twin-turbo V8 G 63 AMG is a little too mundane are also catered for, AMG-Mercedes have also developed a V12-engined G 65 AMG with over 600 bhp on tap.
2012-04-18: HEMI-engined Kurtis and Audi RS Q3 Concept ...
Kurtis 500S Chrysler Frank Kurtis was one of the great American racing car designers of the 1940s and 1950s. Although he is best known for his Midgets and Roadsters that dominated at Indy, he also produced a range of hugely successful sport racers. The most highly regarded of these is the 500S, introduced in 1953. This was a straightforward design, clothed with a very recognisable cycle-fender body and able to accept a wide range of engines. Available as a complete car or in kit form, it was capable of challenging far more exotic machinery when in the right hands. Due to being affordable and readily available, the Kurtis also became the car of choice for aspiring gentleman racers. Our feature car is a great example of that; it was ordered as a complete car from Kurtis with a DeSoto engine by famous actor Keenan Wynn. Unfortunately the car was crashed soon after and during the repairs in the Kurtis workshop, a mighty Chrysler HEMI engine was fitted. Following a recent restoration, the big V8 was rated at a staggering 450 bhp. This rare factory built Kurtis 500S is seen in action during two Goodwood Revivals and the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
At the upcoming Auto China show in Beijing, this RS Q3 Concept will be one of the stars on the Audi stand. Purely a show car for now, it combines the compact SUV Q3 body with the TFSI five cylinder engine that is also used in the recently updated TT RS ultra model. This turbocharged unit produces 355 bhp, which is enough to allow the small machine to accelerate to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and gives it a top speed of 265 km/h. To match the heavily improved powertrain, the RS Q3 also boasts an aggressive body-kit and chunky wheels complete with carbon-ceramic brake discs.
  2012-04-16: Ferdinand Porsche remembered with a close look at the Porsche 904/6 ...
Porsche 904/6 On April 5th, Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche passed away at the age of 76. Grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche, he was best known as the designer of some of the company's most iconic models like the 911 road car and the 904 sports racer, which was his personal favourite. To pay our respects to 'Butzi' Porsche, we have today taken a closer look at the machine that combined the six cylinder of the 911 with the shape of the 904. Dubbed the 904/6, it was the ultimate development of the 904 racer and was campaigned by the works team in the 1965 with considerable success. Among the highlights of the rare racer's career was a class win and fourth overall at Le Mans against opposition with engines often twice or three times larger. For the 1966 season, the 'hybrids' were replaced by the purpose-built 906. By that time just over a dozen of these experimental machines had been produced. Of these, just six sported the original 904 design for long distance events, while most of the others featured spider bodies for hill-climbs and were nicknamed 'Kangaroo'. Over the years, we have seen no fewer than four of the six cars originally produced, which, we understand, are all of the survivors. Among them is the very first car, which is the actual Le Mans class winner, pictured in action back at the French track during the 2004 and 2006 Le Mans Classics. These pictures are part of a spectacular 30-shot gallery that serves to illustrate a detailed article with individual histories of all four cars.
2012-04-13: Stylish Citroen show car, Scion FR-S Speedster and hot Cayenne ...
Citroen Numero 9 At the upcoming Beijing Motor Show, Citroen will debut this Numero 9 show car. Boasting a sophisticated hybrid drivetrain, the Numero 9 serves to celebrate the launch of the 'DS' line-up in the all-important and fast growing Chinese market. Thanks to its clean lines and powerful engines, the new Citroen is both remarkably fast and frugal. Nearly five metres in length and sitting on a chassis with a three-metre wheelbase, the stylish show car includes styling cues that will be used for future 'DS' models. Hopefully the Numero 9 will also make future appearances at shows a little closer to home.
At this weekend's Grand Prix of Long Beach, the official Grand Marshall vehicle will be this Scion FR-S Speedster. The one-off machine was built for the Japanese manufacturer by specialists Cartel Customs following a design by Joe Iocano. Based on the recently introduced 'FR-S' sports car, the 'Speedster' has been extensively modified and features a cut-down windshield, a large rear wing and of course, no roof. This could very well mean that the platform, also shared with Toyota and Subaru, is capable of supporting a convertible body. The FR-S Speedster will be on display today and tomorrow before escorting the event's Grand Marshall Parnelli Jones on race day.
Also in Beijing, Porsche will take the wraps of the GTS version of the latest generation Cayenne. Based on the 'S', it is powered by an uprated version of that naturally aspirated V8 and is fitted with similar bodywork as the 'Turbo' version. In its latest specification, the 4.8 litre engine produces 420 hp, which allows the big Porsche to accelerate to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 261 km/h. The Cayenne GTS will be available from July.
  2012-04-11: 2012 Coupes de Paques report and gallery ...
2012 Coupes de Paques report and gallery This weekend's traditional Easter races or Coupes de Paques at Nogaro hosted the season opening rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship, the FIA GT3 European Championship and the Classic Endurance Racing (CER) series. For the former it was all change at Nogaro as the series was disputed for the first time by GT3 specification cars. The direct result is that the World Championship is disputed now by illustrious names like Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren. Similar cars also compete in the European Championship, which is aimed more at gentleman drivers, who want to compete at an international level. Changeable weather made for very exciting races, particularly on Sunday when the track was never entirely dry. Leading the support events was the CER with a field of three dozen historic GT and sports racers that competed in all the major events during the 1960s and 1970s. Among the highlights out on track were machines varying from a Ford GT40 and a Porsche 935 K3.
Our photographers ventured to the South of France to capture the season opener. The result is a concise report, illustrated by a spectacular 200-shot gallery.
2012-04-09: Striking Alfa Romeo 33/2 Daytona headed for Monaco auction ...
Alfa Romeo 33/2 Daytona One of the absolute stars of the upcoming RM Auctions Monaco sale, will be a lovely Alfa Romeo 33/2 Daytona. This was the short tail coupe variant used in the 1968 season, which was nicknamed 'Daytona' following its debut on the legendary American track. The car on offer was one of the Autodelta works cars and was driven to victory in the 1968 Imola 500 km by Teodoro Zeccoli and Nino Vaccarella. In privateer hands, chassis '029' was raced for several more seasons. It was subsequently owned for many years by an American collector and more recently it has been in Dutch hands. We captured the car at several outings during the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Also featured in our 18-shot gallery is chassis '012', which is currently owned by the Alfa Romeo Museo Storico and was raced in period by Team VDS at Le Mans and other rounds during the 1968 season.
During the 1968 season, Alfa Romeo also experimented with a 2.5 litre version of the V8 engine. The very first of these 315 bhp units was installed in this 33/2 Daytona chassis '015'. It was raced in period by the works team and Team VDS as well as by a Portuguese amateur in Angola. Many years later the car was retrieved from Africa and eventually the car was fully restored to its 1968 configuration. Sporting its Targa Florio colours and numbers, we saw the car in action during two editions of the Monterey Histsorics as well as the Le Mans Classic, with this 18-shot gallery as the sparkling result.
  2012-04-05: New York round-up with new Jaguar announcement, Mulliner Bentley and Viper racer ...
Jaguar F-Type Jaguar used the New York International Auto Show to confirm the expansion of the line-up with the 'F-Type'. This compact sports car is inspired by the C-X16 Concept shown in Frankfurt last year. Although the pictures released by the British manufacturer feature a camouflaged prototype, it is clear that unlike the C-X16, the F-Type is a convertible. So it is likely that the new model should become available in both soft and hard top forms. The new sports car uses a variant of Jaguar's aluminium chassis and will be available with a choice of petrol engines. The definitive production version of the F-Type is expected to be revealed later in the year.
One of the stars on the Bentley stand is this Mulsanne Mulliner. The new range topping version sports a more luxurious interior, subtly revised design and a more poised suspension setup. Shared with the rest of the Mulliner range, is the latest version of the venerable 6.75 litre twin-turbo V8, which produces 505 bhp and 1,020 Nm of torque.
As we already mentioned yesterday; the new Viper will be readied for racing. Today, we take a first look at the new SRT Viper GTS-R, which has the very big footprint of the original GTS-Rto fill. Built to full Le Mans 'GTE' specification, the new Viper racer is developed with the help of experts Riley Technologies. We understand that a special waiver is given to run the V10 engine as the displacement limit is actually set at 6 litre. Already under development for quite some time, the GTS-R is expected to make its American Le Mans Series debut later in the year and a return to Le Mans is scheduled for next year.
2012-04-04: All-new SRT Viper GTS, a Viper GTS-R retrospective and the latest Fisker ...
SRT Viper GTS Most certainly the highly anticipated reveal at this week's New York International Auto Show was the SRT Viper GTS. Replacing the previous generation Viper, of which ceased production back in 2010, the latest version incorporates all the elements that gave the previous models such a big following. These include a big V10, which in its latest guise produces a hefty 640 bhp, and a lightweight, independently sprung chassis. With more sophisticated electronic systems, a more luxurious interior and a polished exterior, it is also safe to say that the Viper has matured. Another big change is that the car will be marketed not as a Dodge but under the 'SRT' high performance brand. For full details of the 2013 model Viper, we would like to refer to the in-depth press release, illustrated by a spectacular 24-shot gallery.
During the launch it was also announced that the Viper will return racing, starting with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). That brings back lovely memories of the Dodge Viper GTS-R, which was raced with great success between 1997 and 2001, winning almost every race it was entered in. Among the many trophies are an outright win in the Daytona 24 Hours and class wins at Le Mans and Sebring, as well as championship crowns in the FIA GT Championship and the ALMS. To celebrate the launch of the Viper and its return to racing, we have taken a very close look at the GTS-R with images and individual histories of new fewer than five Viper Team Oreca chassis.
Tomorrow, we will bring a full run down of all the NYIAS releases but we could not keep this Fisker Atlantic from you. Combining the lovely lines penned by Henrik Fisker and a sophisticated drivetrain, it is the living proof that green cars certainly do not have to be boring. Compared to the similar Karma it is a little smaller and should become a rival for the four-door coupes produced predominantly by the German luxury manufacturers.
  2012-04-02: Unique look inside the radical Porsche 918 Spyder's development and new BMW i8 Spyder ...
Porsche 918 Spyder Prototype Although the production version is not due for another dozen months, Porsche have released additional information and pictures of a test mule of the Porsche 918 Spyder. In doing so, the German manufacturer have provided a unique look into the high performance machine's development. The specifications have not been finalised but the figures released this week should give a good indication. As already announced at an earlier date, the radical 918 will be powered by no fewer than three separate engines; a conventional petrol engine and two electric motors. Based on the high-revving unit that powered the all-conquering RS Spyder prototype racer, the mid-mounted V8 has been enlarged to around 4.6 litre. It is expected to produce over 570 bhp, which combined with the electric motors should give a total system output of 800 bhp. One of these motors is connected to the front axle, while the other is bolted to the seven-speed gearbox. This gives the 918 Spyder four-wheel drive capabilities without the complications of additional axles and a transfer box. Additionally the upcoming super car will also sport rear-wheel steering to improve the handling characteristics. The sophisticated drivetrain will be mounted in a lightweight carbon-fibre chassis, which should help keep the weight down to under 1,700 kg despite the additional lithium-ion batteries used for the hybrid system. Like the press release, the attched pictures of the development car are remarkably revealing.
Fellow German manufacturer, BMW, are also busy with purpose-built hybrid models, using the 'i' sub-brand. The latest addition is the i8 Concept Spyder. As the name suggests, it is the open version of the i8 launched last year. Further changes include the use of a slightly shorter chassis. What is carried over is the hybrid drivetrain, which produces a combined 349 bhp and 550 Nm of torque. Although still a concept, we do hope to see a production version of the i8 Spyder.