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2017-08-14: Great 1950s and 1960s sports racers headed for auction ...
Aston Martin DBR1 For this weekend's auctions on the Monterey Peninsula some truly great sports racers have been consigned, three of which are featured today. Heading the trio is this Aston Martin DBR1 that will cross the block at RM Sotheby's on Friday. The consigned example is the first of five cars built of the type that brought Aston Martin the company's first World Championship and Le Mans win. Chassis DBR1/1 contributed to the World Championship with an outright victory in the 1959 Nurburgring 1000 km. Offered from a British private collection, it is estimated to sell for in excess of $20 million!
A contemporary of the DBR1 is this Maserati 300S, which is one of the stars of the well stocked lot list of the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction. The chassis on offer is believed to have been a works car and was certainly raced to several victories in Brazil in the hands of the great Juan Manuel Fangio. It is offered from long term ownership and has not been seen in public for over a decade. Chassis 3069 is estimated to sell for $6 - 7 million.
Part of the startling Gooding line-up is this lovely Porsche 904 GTS. It is one of 24 examples delivered new to the United States in 1964 and was raced with great success in the Pacific North West. It was restored for historic racing during the 1980s and has more recently been used on the streets of Los Angeles. The beautifully maintained 904 Carrera GTS looks set to find a new owner for $1.5 - 1.8 million.
  2017-08-10: A preview of this year's Quail, a Motorsports Gathering ...
Arnott 1100 GT Climax One of our favourite events on the Monterey Peninsula is the annual The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. At its essence, it is a concours d'elegance but with so many unique features that it really stands out. Among its strengths is the diversity of the field, which last year ranged from this unique Arnott 1100 GT Climax to the Pagani Huayra BC. The former was the ultimate creation of pioneering engineer Daphne Arnott and raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1957. Boasting a highly unusual front suspension design, the miniature marvel was more recently returned to its Le Mans configuration. It will be back on the Peninsula this year as the small Arnott coupe has been consigned to the Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions. Another star from last year was the lovely Lola Mk6 GT prototype, which had just been restored. We also shot the car more recently at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
At next Friday's 15th edition of the 'The Quail' Acura will debut its all new ARX-05 sports racer. Built to IMSA's new DPi regulations, it will be fielded next year by Team Penske and has just started testing. Another car due to star at the highly exclusive and already sold out event is the ex-Bruce McLaren M6 GT. It represents the first road car built by McLaren and as such is the spiritual father of the legendary F1 and the current line-up of production McLarens. As always, we will be on hand to capture all the highlights and you can expect a detailed coverage some time in the weeks after the event.
At the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance a few days later, Infiniti will reveal a Retro Prototype. It is a design of what an Infinity of yesteryear may have looked like.
2017-08-07: Beautifully engineered racers from Ballot, Maserati and OSCA ...
Ballot 3/8 LC Ernest Henry is one of the great engineers and he can be considered the father of the four-valve engine. After designing Grand Prix and Indy winning cars for Peugeot, he joined Ballot in the late 1910s. Among his best designs was this Ballot 3/8 LC. The Ballot engine designed by Henry featured the first fully enclosed valve-train, making it the first truly modern engine. The cars were raced on both sides of the Atlantic and this one won the first ever Italian Grand Prix, in 1921. Following a lengthy racing career, it remained hidden away in a British collections for many decades. It has now resurfaced in beautiful original conditions and was shown at Villa d'Este and Goodwood. Also featured is the sister car, which debuted in the 1920 Indy 500. It is today part of an American collection and will be raced later this month at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Also set to star on the Monterey Peninsula is this Maserati 6CM, which has been consigned to the Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions. This particular car was raced with considerable success in period and has more recently starred at Pebble Beach. It is on offer with a pre-sale estimate of $1 - 1.4 million.
After the Maserati brothers left the company they founded, they built some spectacular cars under the OSCA moniker. We were treated to a particularly lovely example at Villa d'Este in the form of this MT4 Vignale Coupe. This lovely machine featured a unique design penned by Giovanni Michelotti and built by Vignale. In period it was raced to a class victory at Le Mans and more recently was in longtime Japanese ownership. The one-off MT4 Coupe has now returned to the limelight for all of us to enjoy.
  2017-08-03: Great and rarely seen Italian machines headed for RM Sotheby's auction ...
Ferrari 121 LM Canadian auctioneer RM Sotheby's have released the full lot list of the upcoming, two-day Monterey sale. As each year, the line-up is very impressive and includes these four truly fantastic Italian sports and racing cars from the 1950s and early 1960s that have rarely been seen in public during the last couple of decades.
Rarest of the bunch is this Ferrari 121 LM, which is one of just a handful of straight six Ferrari sports racers built. These cars were hugely powerful but equally fragile. The consigned example raced in the Mille Miglia and at at Le Mans but was also involved in Ernie McAfee's fatal crash in the Pebble Beach Road Races. Not seen in public for many years, this 121 LM is estimated to sell for $6.5 - 7.5 million.
During the 1950s, Ferrari offered small production bespoke road cars for the American market, which were suitably dubbed 'America'. One of the earliest of these was this 342 America Vignale Cabriolet produced in 1952. It was the first of six 342 Americas built and the only one clothed by Vignale with this Cabriolet bodywork. Chassis 0232AL was recently restored and has not been shown yet at a major event. It is now estimated to sell for in excess of $2.2 million. The model gradually evolved into the 410 SuperAmerica of the late 1950s. One of 12 Series III examples built, the consigned example was sold new to an American based in Switzerland. It has been part of the same, secluded collection since the late 1990s.
Maserati catered for much the same clientele with the 5000 GT. One such customer was Briggs S. Cunningham, who commissioned this unique 5000 GT Michelotti Coupe. His design brief was clear; make the car as close to the 450 S racing cars the mechanicals were derived from. With the help of a wind tunnel, Michelotti succeeded in creating both a very striking machine and the fastest of all 5000 GTs. Compared to the Ferrari's, the unique 5000 GT represents a bargain with an estimate of $1.1 - 1.5 million.
2017-07-31: Fabulous single seaters from Lotus and Ferrari due to cross the Bonhams block ...
Lotus 34 Ford For the company's upcoming Quail Lodge Auction, Bonhams have consigned an impressive collection of competition cars. These are headlined by a pair of single seaters. The rarest and most successful of the pair is this Lotus 34 Ford, which is the winningest of all Lotus Indy racers. The Type 34 had a disastrous debut at Indy due to a tyre choice that proved too ambitious. On proper tyres, the consigned example would go on to win four USAC races in the hands of Parnelli Jones and AJ Foyt. The latter also qualified it on pole for the 1965 Indy 500. Foyt would continue to own the car through to 1992 and it is now offered from its third owner. With the other surviving car part of the Indy Hall of Fame Museum collection, this represents a unique opportunity to acquire chassis 34/2. It is estimated to sell for over $1.8 million, which would make it the most expensive Lotus sold at auction in recent years.
Also due to cross the block is this Ferrari 312 T5. While not particularly successful, this car represents the last of a great line of flat-12 engined Ferrari single seaters that brought the team three drivers' world titles. Defending champion, Jody Scheckter, used this car in eight races during the 1980 season. It was subsequently sold to Luigi Chinetti and then on to the vendor in the late 1990s. He has used the car for historic racing and it is still ready to go would the next owner choose to take to the track once more. Its estimate is available upon request.
  2017-07-28: All-new Rolls-Royce Phantom, Mercedes-AMG GT4 and Jaguar XJR575 ...
Rolls-Royce Phantom Last night, Rolls-Royce have taken the wraps off the eighth generation Phantom. Although the lineage of the new Phantom is clearly visible, it is a brand new car. It boasts a lighter and strong aluminium spaceframe chassis, while the twin-turbo V12 is also completely new. While similar to the predecessors, the exterior features many subtle changes like the grille, which is now fully integrated into the body. Being a Rolls-Royce, more than an average amount of time has been spent on the interior of the new Phantom and that clearly shows.
Ahead of this weekend's Spa 24 Hours, Mercedes-AMG have revealed the company's first GT4 car, suitably dubbed the GT4. It is based on the GT-R road car and features minimal modifications mainly to make safer for use on the track. Priced at just under 200,000 Euro, deliveries of the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 to customer teams will start at the end of this year.
Jaguar have revised the XJ line-up for the 2018 model year and with have given the XJR model a 25hp boost to create the XJR575. As the name suggests, it is powered by a 575hp version of the venerable supercharged V8 engine, which allows the big cat to accelerate to its 300 km/h top speed in just 44 seconds. The XJR575 also boasts subtle changes to exterior to set it apart from its predecessor and the rest of the XJ range.
2017-07-25: Championship winning racers from the 1980s and 1990s and new Lotus ...
Audi S4 GTO During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Wesbank Modified Series in South Africa was where Audi's racing cars got a second lease of life. For homologation reasons, the mighty 90 quattro IMSA GTO, however, could not be used. Instead, a purpose built S4 GTO was created during the 1992 season, using a 100 S4 chassis with as many parts from the IMSA car as the regulations allowed. The resulting racer won at its debut and dominated the 1993 season. Believed to be the fastest of all of the period's five-cylinder racing Audis, the S4 GTO was reunited with its original driver Christopher Aberdein at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Also out on the hill was this Penske PC23 Mercedes, which had been part of Roger Penske's great coup at the 1994 Indy 500. Exploiting a displacement limit exception in the regulations that favoured stock block engines, he had Ilmor create a Mercedes-Benz push-rod V8 from scratch just for the Indy 500. More powerful than any of his rivals' engines, Roger Penske had once again found the 'unfair advantage' and his team dominated the race. The featured PC23 was leading the race by 40 seconds when Emerson Fittipaldi crashed out with less than 25 laps to go. Now part of the Mercedes-Benz Museum collection, it was brought to full running order for Goodwood.
Few cars are as evocative as a Martini-liveried Lancia 037 Group B car. At Goodwood, one of the very last built works cars was demonstrated on the hill.
Hopefully working on a new generation of models, Lotus also continues to further refine the existing line-up and this Evora GT430 is their latest product. Powered by a 430 bhp V6, it is the most powerful Lotus production road car ever. Retaining the well honed Evora platform, the GT430 should be an absolute blast to drive.
  2017-07-20: McLaren F1 and others headed for Bonhams auction and new BMW M8 GTE racer ...
McLaren F1 British auctioneer Bonhams have announced this McLaren F1 as the headliner for next month's Quail Lodge Auction. The consigned car is a superb one-owner example of one of the greatest sports cars of all time. It was picked by the owner at the factory and used for a road trip through Europe first before being shipped to the United States. Chassis 044 is the first of seven cars imported new into the United States and has survived in unmodified, original condition. Bonhams have not posted an estimate but we reckon, a bid of around $15 million will be required to meet the reserve.
Among the many other great cars consigned to the sale are some Italian grand tourers of the 1950s and and 1960s. For Ferrari enthusiasts, there is the choice of a freshly restored 250 GT Boano or a fine example of the second series 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico Coupe. Also consigned is this Maserati A6G/54 2000, which is the first of nine examples clothed by Frua with their very distinctive Spider body. Owned by the current custodian since 1999, chassis 2180 was restored in Italy and subsequently shown at Villa d'Este.
BMW, meanwhile, have revealed the first, camouflaged images of the upcoming M8 GTE, which started testing at the Lauzitsring this month. Based on the upcoming M8 road car, the new GT racer is due to compete in the FIA WEC from the 2018 season onwards.
Mercedes-AMG have worked their magic on the all-new S-Class and created the V8-engined S 63 AMG 4MATIC+ and the V12-powered S 65.
2017-07-17: Ferrari's 70th Anniversary celebrations at Goodwood ...
Ferrari 330 P4 At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed one of the major themes was Ferrari's 70th Anniversary. This was celebrated in style with two separate classes, one for single seaters and the other for sports racers. Today, we have taken a detailed look at four of these legendary sports racers from four different eras.
Our absolute favourites of the weekend was this Ferrari 330 P4. This achingly beautiful sports prototype was used in Ferrari's successful 1967 World Championship bid. Of the three examples built, the featured 330 P4 is the most original survivor.
The earliest of the quartet is this Ferrari 750 Monza, which was raced extensively in the United States with considerable success and for many years. Although it had its engine replaced with a Chevrolet V8 during its competition career, chassis 0502M was later reunited with the original 'four' and has been comprehensively restored.
Among the loudest cars out on track was this 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione. Finished in Belgian racing yellow, it was raced by Ecurie Francorchamps in the 1973 Spa 1000km and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Rarely seen since, 16425 has recently returned to the limelight.
Producing the most glorious soundtrack was definitely the 333 SP. Fitted with a F1-derived, five-valve V12 engine, the 333 SP remains the last sports prototype developed by Ferrari. It was particularly successful in the United States, and this car was the most successful of all with back-to-back wins at Daytona and Sebring in 1998.
  2017-07-13: Mighty machines from Goodwood, Zagato Maserati headed for auction and more on the Valkyrie ...
Mercedes-Benz W125 One of the biggest stars (no pun intended) at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed was this Mercedes-Benz W125 from 1937. This particular car is believed to be the only privately owned example of what was for over forty years the most powerful Grand Prix car ever built. It featured a massive supercharged straight-eight engine that produced close to 600 bhp. The car survived the War in what was to become Eastern Germany and after the W125 was brought to England by Colin Crabbe, it was subsequently owned by Nigel Corner and Bernie Ecclestone.
Building for endurance racing, this Jaguar XJR-12 also proved to be the weapon of choice at Goodwood as specialist Justin Law managed to set the fastest time in the shoot-out at Goodwood even though the car looked wider than the track at some points. This particular XJR-12 was the very last of the V12-engined Jaguar Group C cars and was built specifically for the 1993 Daytona 24 Hours.
American auctioneer Gooding is gradually releasing the highlights due to cross the block next month at the Pebble Beach Auctions. One of the most recent addition to the lot list is this lovely Maserati A6G/54 2000. Delivered new to a Joe Alphabet in September of 1956, it is the last of the A6Gs clothed by Zagato with their striking Coupe body work. Chassis 2186 is estimated to sell for over $4 million.
Aston Martin, meanwhile, released more exterior and interior images of the upcoming Valkyrie hypercar, which is being developed together with Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing. Light, very compact and hugely powerful, the Adrian Newey designed machine should be blisteringly fast, eclipsing all the competition over a single lap.
2017-07-10: McLaren Monday with the special exhibition and two iconic racers ...
McLaren at the Louwman Museum On Thursday, Amanda McLaren officially opened the special McLaren exhibition in the fabulous Louwman Museum. The daughter of company founder McLaren and current brand ambassador, Amanda McLaren explained how her fathers's dreams had become reality with the current range of road cars. Among the stars that feature in this special exhibition until August 27th are the McLaren M8F from Louwman's own collection that was driven to the 1971 Can-Am title and the ex-Ayrton Senna World Championship winning McLaren MP4/5B Honda that was loaned to the museum by a Dutch enthusiast.
McLarens are also always a set fixture at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and this year was no exception. We were particularly taken by this McLaren F1 GTR. It was one of two cars raced in Gulf colours during the 1995 season and it had boasted this iconic livery for most of its life. The one exception was at the 1995 Suzuka 1000 km where it scored an outright win in the Ueno Clinic livery that had famously also been used by that year's Le Mans winning car. For this year's 25th anniversary celebrations of the F1, the car's current owner had decided to re-finish 02R in the unique colours used for just a single outing. The Festival of Speed was the first time the car was seen in these colours at a major event since 1995.
From McLaren's own stable came this M8D Chevrolet, which was driven by two of the company's young drivers. The M8D always provokes mixed feelings as Bruce McLaren had his fatal accident while testing one in June of 1970 but just a few months later Denny Hulme used the featured example to claim the fourth of McLaren's five Can-Am trophies.
  2017-07-07: High performance machines that debuted at Goodwood ...
Porsche 911 GT2 RS This weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed not only celebrated motoring's very rich past but also offered a glimpse at the future with the introduction of several brand-new, high performance machines.
The most exhilarating of these is certainly the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Although strictly rear-wheel drive, it is the most powerful road legal, regular production 911 ever with 700hp available from the twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. To help keep control of all this power, the GT2 RS is equipped with rear-wheel steering and massive carbon-composite brakes. There is also an optional Weissach package that strips a further 30kg from the car's kerb weight. Available now, the 911 GT2 RS costs Euro 285,000 in Germany.
British manufacturer Vauxhall will bid farewell to the mighty Holden-based VXR8 model with this special GTS-R version. Production of Vauxhall's most powerful car ever is strictly limited to 15 examples and features a 595hp version of GM's supercharged V8.
Announced at the recent Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin's high performance AMR Pro treatment is now available for the Vulcan track-day car. While mechanically, the Vulcan AMR Pro is identical to the original specification car, it features a revised body that is both lighter and produces more downforce. The AMR Pro package is available to all owners of the 24 Vulcans built last year and it seems that most are interested in having their V12-engined beasts upgraded even further.