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2007-11-29: Porsche RS 60 Spyder celebrated ...
Porsche Boxster RS 60 Spyder Earlier today in Bologna Porsche took the wraps off the Boxster RS 60 Spyder to celebrate the racing successes of RS 60 Spyder. Commemorating the nimble racing car's legendary 1960 victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring only 1960 of the specced out Boxster will be produced. The biggest difference over the stock model is a better flowing exhaust, boosting the power to 303 bhp.
Today Porsche's racing successes of the 1950s and 1960s are often forgotten, overwhelmed by the amazing run of victories the German manufacturer scored in the seventies and eighties. However impressive those were, the early wins arguably deserve more respect as they were often against much larger engined competition. The story of the RS 60 Spyder actually begins in 1956 with the highly advanced 550A RS Spyder, which should not be mistaken with the earlier, but far less sophisticated 550. Over the next few years the car was further developed and renamed, building up a reputation as a pure giant slayer. The biggest success came in 1960 when RS 60 Spyder won the Sebring 12 Hours and Targa Florio outright with half the displacement of the three-litre engined Ferraris. Featured in great detail and well illustrated, this RS 60 finished second in that legendary Sebring 12 Hours.
  2007-11-26: Porsche 924 racer, French delight, Lister tribute and the latest news ...
Porsche 924 Carrera GTP As part of the development process of a brand new Porsche 924 Turbo based racing car, Porsche fielded three examples of the 924 Carrera GTP in the 1980 Le Mans. Although based on a production car, they were forced to run in the prototype car against purpose built racing cars as the model had not been homologated. In one of the wettest editions of the race ever, the three cars excelled and the highest place example finished third in class and sixth overall. The featured GTP is one of just four cars built to this specification.
During the twenties and thirties the French manufacturers and coach builders were at the top of their game. The most legendary company is no doubt Bugatti, which excelled both on the road and track. Today we take a look at an exquisite road car that uses the first eight cylinder engine produced by Bugatti. The feature Type 30 Lavocat & Marsaud Torpedo is in excellent condition and will be auctioned next week by Bonhams during their Olympia sale. A lesser known company is Voisin, but the designs of Gabriel Voisin deserve nothing but praise. The featured C28 Saliot Cabriolet was one of the last of a long of exquisite Voisins.
This week we received the sad news that the revived Lister Racing might have taken to the track for the last time at Le Mans last year. Their current Pescarolo based car never turned a wheel and it has now been offered for sale. As a small tribute we would like to bring up fonder memories with a feature of the Lister Knobbly Chevrolet.
At the Shanghai Motorshow Ford took the wraps of a second Verve Concept and also announced that a third will be unveiled at Detroit. Land Rover is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary in great style with the limited edition Defender SVX models.
2007-11-21: Two of today's most successful GT-racers ...
Maserati MC12 Today there are three major international championships where the top of the range GT cars face off. Thanks to the restrictor regulations, a wide variety of racing cars are pitched against each other. This week we take at two very successful and very different examples.
First up is the Maserati MC12, which is as successful as it is controversial. Failing to meet the rules, it can only race with a weight and wing penalty. It has nevertheless won many races and championships in the FIA GT since 2005, with two consecutive Spa 24 Hour victories as highlights. Our indepth and well illustrated article deals with both the controversy and the successes. For our loyal subscribers we have also added five new wallpapers of the MC12.
Corvette C6.R Even more successful is the Corvette C6.R, which has won (its class in) every major endurance race including back-to-back wins at Le Mans and Sebring. A key part in the success is the fantastically run Pratt & Miller operation, who build, prepare and enter the Works Corvettes. While the Maserati will always be overshadowed by controversy, it is hard to find a bad word about the Corvette and its team.
  2007-11-19: American supercars, the wildest racing car ever, Porsche hybrids and V12 Alfa racer ...
Hennessey Venom GT John Hennessey's modified Viper already have supercar rivaling performance, but he has now stepped up and built a new car from the ground up. Combining British design with American muscle, the mid-engined Venom GT promises a 0-60 time of under 2.5 seconds. At the moment two examples are expected to be completed by 2009, but it is still uncertain if the Venom GT will enter production. Last week in Los Angeles another American motoring legend, Gerald Wiegert, unveiled a new machine; the Vector Avtech WX-8. Like the Vectors of old, the prospected performance figures are quite stunning. Hopefully the WX-8 will have a better finish than its predecessors.
Run between 1966 and 1974, the Canadian American Challenge (CanAm) is considered one of motor racing's finest hours. Major contributors to the legendary status of the CanAm are the many absolutely crazy racing cars developed under the very lenient regulations. Today we take a look at one of these, the Shadow AVS MkI; quite possibly the craziest of them all. The ultra low machine was designed to cheat the wind and at its debut proved to be 20 mph faster down the straights than the competition. The unusual design offered many packaging problems that resulted in several innovative solutions. It was not a big success, but with modern, more efficient (composite) materials, it could have been more of a challenger.
Porsche used the LA show to display the new Cayenne Hybrid and also the first ever hybrid car, designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1900. Dubbed the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Voiturette, it uses an internal combustion engine to generate power for two electric motors.
To conclude this news feature we take another trip down memory lane with the Alfa Romeo 12C 37. Built to the 750 kg regulations, the beautiful Alfa was forced to operate in the shadow of the German Silver Arrows.
2007-11-15: 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show highlights ...
Los Angeles International Auto Show Yesterday the Los Angeles International Auto Show opened its doors to the media to preview the latest releases. For the second year, the LA Show has been scheduled two months ahead of the Detroit show, instead of two weeks. This has clearly helped attract more major releases. Hot on the heels of the Tokyo release, the Americans got a first taste of the much anticipated Nissan GT-R. It was certainly not all about high performance as many manufacturers used the show their latest 'green' machines. Considering the strict Californian emissions regulations, it is certainly the appropriate place. The biggest news is no doubt the Honda FCX Clarity, which will be the first fuel cell car offered to customers, starting next summer. Volkswagen added a third chapter to thier 'up!' theme with the Space up! Blue Concept. Like the Honda, the rear-engined VW sports a fuel cell engine, but it will not hit streets as quickly.
Audi and Hyundai both released concept cars to showcase a new direction in design and technology. Audi's Cross Cabriolet Quattro comes equipped with an ultra-clean and powerful six cylinder diesel engine. The Hyundai Genesis Coupe Concept is a clear indication of the new Coupe to be launched in 2009. The most important news is that it will have rear wheel drive.
At Lincoln all eyes are on the MKS; the company's new top of the line model. Looking at the appearance and specs, it might be able to pull the ailing company from the doldrums.
  2007-11-12: American muscle and luxury, new Focus for Europe and Italian engined racers ...
Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR One of American motoring's most coveted traditions is that of the muscle car and today no other car embodies that to the extent of the Viper, with its absolutely massive V10 engine. Now the range has been further expanded with the addition of the 600 bhp ACR. The lighter and more powerful high performance version brings the experience of the successful Competition Coupe racing car to the road. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Americans excelled in building top notch luxury cars with Duesenberg as the most fabled of all manufacturers. Most of the chassis were given a coachwork by local specialists, but a few were delivered to Europe. One of these is this spectacular SJ Gurney Nutting Speedster, which was ordered by an Indian royal. A much lesser known manufacturer is duPont, who built just 537 cars in a twelve year span. One of the last is this exquisite Model H Sport Phaeton, which has been a big hit in recent American concours d'elegance.
Last week we featured a limited edition of Focus ST, and now we have learned that it will be the farewell for the current model. It will be replaced by this completely restyled Focus ST.
One of Maserati's last involvements in top level motorsport was in the role as engine supplier to the Cooper team. It was not a big success and this Cooper T86 Maserati was the last Formula 1 car to bear the famous trident badge. Also founded by the Maserati brothers, OSCA had already ceased production by then. One of their final farewells was this MT4 TN 1500 S of which just three were built. Our features includes two of them.
2007-11-09: The XJ13, Jaguar's biggest could have been ...
Jaguar XJ13 Jaguar had officially retired from racing in the 1950s, but motorsport was never off the minds of the engineers. In complete secrecy they penned the design for a highly advanced V12 engine and matching monocoque chassis in the early 1960s. A few years later the project was given the go-ahead; the board believed it formed the ideal test bed to develop the V12 engine and that it could bring Jaguar back to Le Mans. Completed late in 1966, the car was known as the Experimental Jaguar 13, or XJ13. It used a twin-cam V12 engine, which served as a fully stressed member. The Lotus 49 Formula 1 cars is often credited for debuting the stressed engine, but it outdates the XJ13 by almost a year. As both projects were top secret, it is quite amazing that two different groups of engineers came to the same conclusion, paving the way for modern racing car design. The XJ13 was tested extensively throughout 1967, breaking the MIRA track record very early on. Unfortunately rule changes left the mid-engined Jaguar obsolete before it ever turned one wheel in anger. Still a secret, it was retired and stored.
Years later, the unique racing car was brought out for the introduction of the first V12 engined Jaguar. Sadly it was heavily damaged on its "public debut" when a tire blew at MIRA. Fortunately the car was completely rebuilt and served as demonstration vehicle all over the World. Tired and with two blown engines, the XJ13 was recently completely refurbished and is now back to full running order. It can be admired in great detail in our 12-shot gallery.
  2007-11-07: New special editions from Ford ...
Ford Mustang Bullitt For both sides of the Atlantic Ford today revealed a special edition, celebrating the company's rich heritage. The North American market will be hit by the Mustang Bullitt, which is the second Mustang to bare this name. Limited to just 7700 examples, the Bullitt will be available exactly forty years after the motion picture 'Bullitt' was first released. It is available in the same green colour as used for Steve McQueen's Mustang in the movie, which included one of the most memorable car chases in Hollywood's history. The modifications compared to the stock V8 model are numerous and include suspension and engine tweaks to make sure the car can keep up with the bad guys through the streets of San Francisco. Ford also fine tuned the exhaust system to match that of the 1968 Mustang Fastback.
Even more limited is the Focus ST500, which as the name suggests is limited to just 500 examples. Like the Bullitt, the ST500 celebrates a memorable moment in Ford's history; the 1966 1-2-3 Le Mans victory with the GT40 Mk II. Like the winner, the sporty Focus is painted in the same New Zealand racing colours of black and silver. The interior is also spiced up with some leather Recaro seats. Sadly the ST500 will only be available in the United Kingdom.
2007-11-05: Mercedes engined marvels, rare Belgian machines and more ...
Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT In the last few weeks, a number of publications reported on a Mercedes Benz SLR derived racing cars that could possibly end up racing in the FIA GT Championship. To end all rumors and confusion we take a closer look at the SLR '722' GT, which was developed by British expert Ray Mallock for the exclusive SLR Club track-days. There are no intentions to race the cars in any sanctioned racing series. Another striking product from Stuttgart launched this week is the Maybach Landaulet Study. Based on the 62 S, this concept car looks ready to become a production model. Danish Mercedes tuner Kleemann have taken the wraps of their first machine; the GTK. Based on the SLK, the V8 engined machine could be produced in small numbers.
Hot on the heels of the production car, Nissan have released the first images of the Super GT version of the new GTR. Although no information is available yet, we expect it to be powered by a 4.5 litre V8 engine. At the upcoming Detroit show, Fisker will launch this very descriptively titled Four-Door Plug-In concept.
Belgium has a rich motoring heritage, but surprisingly few cars were ever produced in the country. The most lavish were no doubt the Minervas produced in the first decades of the last century. Rivaling Rolls Royce for luxury and quality, the featured Minerva AL took a 'Best in Class' at Pebble earlier this year. Somewhat lesser known are the creations of Willi Widar, who built small engined sportscars in the 1960s. In the 1980s one of these very rare machines was owned and raced by Sir Stirling Moss, finally getting the small manufacturer the attention it deserved. With the help of our Belgian friend Cedric Vyvey, we are proud to highlight Sir Stirling's old Widi, which is still actively raced.
We would like to round this week's update off with this Maserati 4CM 1500, which has been raced successfully in period and in recent years. In the hands of Martin Stretton, it was virtually unbeatable.