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2010-10-31: First images of Peugeot's new Le Mans challenger ...
Peugeot 90X Over the weekend, Peugeot have released the first three images of the team's all new machine for the 2011 season. The replacement of the hugely impressive 908 is currently code-named the 90X. Not much else was revealed in the press release that came with the pictures. With its fixed head layout and 2010 livery, the 90X looks deceivingly similar to its predecessor at first glance. A closer look reveals many subtle changes to the exterior. The raised nose has been retained but the area between the nose and the fenders has been significantly changed. The 'side-pods' are also completely different and more closely resemble the design used by Audi on the R15 plus. The rear-end is also refined with the sculpted fender tips as highlights. Naturally the engine cover sports the big fin, which will be mandatory from 2011 onwards. Perhaps the most visible changes is the sizeable scoop on the roof of the car that feeds fresh air to the engine. The engine will definitely be brand new as the displacement limits are virtually cut in half as part of the new regulation package. Whereas the 908 was powered by a diesel engine, it is believed that the latest Peugeot will use a petrol, twin-turbo V6 engine.
In 2011, the 90X will be pitched against the equally new Audi R18. Rumors suggest that the German team will continue on the diesel path, so we might get the first fight between top-line petrol and diesel cars. The 90X was snapped on its first test run, so Peugeot might have a slight head-start over their rivals.
  2010-10-29: Ferrari 512 M in great detail with 36-shot gallery ...
Ferrari 512 M Porsche surprised the world with the launch of the ground-breaking 917 at the Geneva Motor Show. Although it took almost a year to iron out the bugs, the German manufacturer still had a sizeable head-start over arch rival Ferrari. By the time the 917 started winning races, the Italians had just introduced their answer; the 512 S. Just like the 917, it took time to perfect but by the end of the year the gap had virtually been bridged. The heavily revised version of the car was dubbed the 512 M for 'Modificato' or 'Modified.' Among the changes were a more angular bodywork and tweaks to the five-litre, V12 engine, which brought the power up from 550 bhp to 620 bhp. The new car won straight out of the box in the 1970 season finale in Austria. Unfortunately Ferrari decided not to continue its works effort with the 512 M in 1971 and instead focused on the development of the three-litre 312 PB. In private hands the 512 M still did commendably well but ultimately was no match for the works supported Porsches. One of the fastest examples was the Penske prepared, Sunoco liveried machine, which was unfortunately plagued by bad luck throughout the year. The question that remains is that had Ferrari persevered would the 512 M have been able to break the 917's stronghold? Ultimately Ferrari's choice was vindicated as the 312 PB brought the Italian manufacturer the 1972 World Championship.
Today we have taken a closer look at five of the surviving twelve 512 Ms, including the beautiful ex-Penske example. The in-depth article is illustrated by a 36-shot gallery, depicting the cars in action at a variety of events.
2010-10-27: Two super sedans from Techart and Brabus ...
Techart GrandGT This week two leading German tuners have revealed their latest four door sedan, based respectively on the current generation Porsche Panamera Turbo and the Mercedes-Benz S 600. Techart's take on the Panamera is dubbed the GrandGT. Like the original, it is powered by a 4.8 litre V8 engine, equipped with two turbochargers. Techart's engineer have tweaked it to produce an impressive 571 bhp and 830 Nm of torque. The engine's cosmetics have also been addressed with several of the black plastics replaced by carbon fibre bits. The exterior has also been extensively modified and sports a wide body kit and a rear wing. The massive wheel arches can accommodate wheels of up to 22 inch in diameter. In a fortnight, the GrandGT will debut at Auto Zurich and later in November, it will be featured on Techart's Essen Motor Show display.
For raw power few tuners can match Brabus. With 788 bhp available, their latest creation, the SV12 R Biturbo 800, is certainly no exception. One of the side effects of the engine modifications is a torque figure of 1420 Nm. This has been limited to 1100 to keep the gearbox in one piece. The exterior tweaks are more subtle than on the Techart and it is the interior where the latest SV12 really stands out. Beautifully appointed with luxurious leather, the passenger compartment, on the iBusiness version, is fully equipped with Apple components like iPad and Macbook docks. We expect the SV12 R Biturbo 800 to make an appearance at Essen as well.
  2010-10-25: One-off Ferguson F1 car and striking Teardrop Talbot Lago headed for London auction ...
Ferguson P99 Climax On Wednesday, RM Auctions in association with Sotheby's will host its fourth annual Automobiles of London sale. As always the auction is packed with high quality lots, ranging from a full range of James Bond machinery, including one of his Aston Martin DB5s, to the very recent Pagani Zonda R. From the impressive catalog, we picked two of the most interesting machines to highlight today.
Our favourite is the unique Ferguson P99 Climax. Built in 1961, it is the only four wheel drive car to have ever won a Formula 1 race. This was the 1961 Oulton Gold Cup where Stirling Moss made the most of the damp conditions and took a historic victory. The car only made a single Grand Prix appearance but was subsequently raced in a variety of events. Three years after its debut, it won the British Hillclimb Championship in the hands of Peter Westbury. After its active racing career, it was loaned to the Donnington Collection where it remained on display for over thirty years. More recently the Ferguson family had the only P99 restored to full running order. It has since been raced by Sir Stirling Moss and Barrie Williams with impressive results. We captured the car several times during the last few years and have expanded our article with an action-packed 24-shot gallery. Wednesday's auction will be the very first time the car will be offered for sale.
One of the most beautiful cars in the sale is this Talbot Lago T23 Teardrop Coupe. It is one of five Talbot Lagos fitted with notchback or 'Jeancart' design by Figoni & Falaschi and just one of three T23 chassis sporting a Teardrop design. Not surprisingly, the spectacular machine was an immediate hit at the contemporary concours d'elegance. After spells in France and Japan, it has been in American hands since 1998. It most recently changed hands in 2006 for $2.1 million. Freshly restored, the striking Teardrop Coupe will be offered from the John O'Quinn estate and is estimate to sell for 1.1 to 1.4 million Pounds.
2010-10-22: Fast but flawed Ligier and new Audi TT RS racing car ...
Ligier JS11 Cosworth During its first three seasons in Formula 1, Ligier had exclusive use of Matra's potent V12. At the end of 1978 the French engine supplier pulled out, forcing Ligier to switch to the proprietary Cosworth DFV V8. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the narrow V8 was a perfect match for the 'ground effect' configuration used on the all new JS11 built for the 1979 season. It was a winner straight out of the box, scoring victories in the first two and fifth race of the year. After that it all fell apart for the French team as newly developed parts hurt both the pace and reliability of the JS11. For 1980 the car was further developed and campaigned under the JS11/15 moniker, despite using the same tubs. In this guise the car won two more races and Ligier finished second in the constructor's standings. This would turn out to be the team's best performance ever, making the JS11 Ligier's most successful Formula 1 car. At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed an Italian collector brought out chassis JS11/02, which is the very car that won the opening races of 1979. It was driven up the hill by multiple Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro.
Last Saturday, a brand new Audi lined up at the Nurburgring for the penultimate round of the popular VLN championship. This spectacular looking machine is a TT RS specifically developed for the Nordschleife based series by Raeder Motorsport and Audi Motorsport. Few details have been released but we believe the car stands a good chance of being added to the Audi Customer Motorsport line-up alongside the hugely successful R8 LMS. The example raced is still a prototype but it showed good promise by winning its class. It will be raced once again at the October 30th season finale.
  2010-10-20: More power and options for revised Nissan GT-R ...
Nissan GT-R SpecV At the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show (November 19-28), Nissan will reveal a mildly revised version of the highly acclaimed GT-R, originally introduced in 2007. The changes to the exterior are fairly subtle and include new LED daytime driving lights and revised front and rear bumpers. These revisions are not only intended to enhance the car's looks but also offer improved cooling and aerodynamic characteristics. This is indeed far more than just a simple facelift. The engine has also been carefully reworked and now produces around 520 bhp yet also offers improved fuel efficiency. A further improvement is also made to the sophisticated all-wheel drive system, which switches to 2WD at under 10km/h to make taking tight turns at low speed a little easier. The top of the line model is once again the SpecV, which sports a slightly different engine with a high torque figure. New to the line-up is the Club Track Edition. As the name suggests, this is a track specific version and sports additional equipment. Exact specifications of this version have sadly not been released yet.
Shortly after the LA launch, the base GT-R will be available in Japan. It will be joined by the SpecV shorlty after. Both road going versions will be available in Europe and North America early in 2011. For now, the Club Track Edition is exclusive to Japan but if there is a high enough demand, it may be exported to other markets.
2010-10-18: The ill-fated Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta ...
Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta Continuing our celebration of Alfa Romeo's 100 anniversary, we today take a closer look one of the most remarkable racing cars from the company's rich past. Built specifically for the 1938 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta would go on to build up the biggest ever lead in the race's long history. By 10 am on Sunday morning, driver Raymond Sommer was 11 laps ahead of its closest rival, which was well over an hour and nearly 160 km (100 miles). Unfortunately a blown tire damaged the potent Alfa's drivetrain, causing it to retire. It had nevertheless completed more laps than the fourth placed car at the finish. The unique Touring bodied machine was not raced again and was sold to a gentleman in Rome. After passing through several hands, Alfa Romeo eventually traded the car for this 158 'Alfetta' and since the early 1990s, it has been one of the most prominently displayed cars in the Museo Storico.
Although we had seen the car several times before and also had a feature up, we only managed to capture the Le Mans Berlinetta in action at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed where it was driven up the hill as part of the Alfa Romeo centenary celebrations. This inspired to us to write a brand new, much more detailed article, illustrated by a 12-shot gallery.
  2010-10-15: Custom coach-built cars from the past and the present ...
Duesenberg J Graber Cabriolet Due to changes in car design during the 1950s, the fine art of custom coach-building has almost entirely disappeared. Fortunately we have seen a bit of a 'renaissance' in recent years and this week two more examples were launched. To see what the fuss is all about, we will first take a closer look at two one-off machines created by Swiss master coach-builder Hermann Graber, both of which were displayed at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
The earliest and most unusual is this Cabriolet fitted on the legendary Duesenberg Model J chassis. This particularly chassis was originally fitted with a much more stately sedan body by Murphy. Graber removed the existing body, shortened the chassis and refitted a very elegant cabriolet body. Completely restored in recent years, this Duesenberg was one of the favourites for the coveted 'Best of Show' award but eventually had to settle with the top prize in class. Nearly two decades later, Graber was handed an Aston Martin DB2/4 chassis. For this car, he crafted a Drophead Coupe body that was very distinct, yet retained enough cues to be immediately recognisable as an Aston Martin. At Pebble it made its first public appearance after being hidden away in Switzerland for many decades.
Now to modern times with the RUF Roadster. Based on a Porsche 997 chassis, this striking machine is a tribute to the original 911 Targa and features removable roof panels and rear window. It can be ordered with a naturally aspirated and turbocharged drivetrain. An even bigger 'chop job' was required to create the Maybach 57 S Xenatec Coupe. As the name suggests, this is a two-door version of the massive Maybach 57 S sedan. Built by hand, limited numbers will be available for the princely sum of EUR 675,000 excluding local taxes.
2010-10-13: Ayrton Senna's last McLaren in great detail ...
McLaren MP4/8 Ford The great Ayrton Senna left McLaren at the end of 1993 after six seasons and three championships. It had been a very difficult season for the team and Senna, facing a more than formidable adversary with a great car but a customer Ford engine. The car was the highly sophisticated MP4/8, which was built as an answer to the dominant Williams FW14B that had broken McLaren's stronghold on Formula 1 a year earlier. It was equipped with a full range of electronic gizmos like fully active suspension, traction control and a paddle-shift gearbox. Unfortunately for the team, long-time partner Honda departed the sport at the end of 1992, leaving McLaren engineless. Desperate attempts to acquire Renault engines failed and eventually the team had to settle for Ford customer engines. Thanks to Senna's brilliance in difficult conditions, the MP4/8 nevertheless managed to win five races, against a single victory by the Ford works supported Benetton team. The most legendary of victories was at Donnington where Senna passed five cars in the opening lap and eventually won a lap ahead of almost the entire field. He also won his final two races for the team, scoring the only non-Williams pole of the season at the very last attempt.
In our feature car, Senna won his fifth consecutive Monaco Grand Prix; his sixth in total. This record is one of the few that has yet to be broken. We captured this privately owned machine earlier in the year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was driven up the hill by Ayrton's nephew and current Formula 1 driver, Bruno Senna. Our 12-shot gallery includes both action and detail photography.
  2010-10-11: V10 Challenger, new Charger, latest Hennessey Camaro and Paris round-up ...
Dodge Challenger Drag Pak At a recent meeting of the Viper Club in the United States, Dodge offered a preview of the latest Drag Pak Challenger. As the type name suggests, the limited edition model is intended for drag racing. What sets it apart from previous drag specials, is the use of a Viper sourced V10 engine. Although no performance figures have been released yet, it should be very quick. A few days later, Dodge also revealed a thoroughly devised Charger. Of the visual the changes the new rear-end stands out the most. Under the skin the inclusion of a four-wheel drive system is the biggest news. Interestingly the system enables the driver to cut drive to the front wheels for improved consumption and of course driving pleasure.
Noted American tuners, Hennessey have had another go at modifying the Camaro. Like its predecessor, the new machine is dubbed the HPE700 but it does feature a more powerful version of the Chevrolet ZR1 sourced, supercharged V8, which is good for a hefty 755 bhp. For the first time, the HPE700 is also available with as a convertible.
To round off our coverage of the 2010 Paris Motor Show, we have today taken a look at some of the more unusual concepts shown in the Paris capital. Once a supercar manufacturer of note, Venturi have more recently taken up a pioneering role in the electric drive field. In Paris, they showed the America Concept. Styled like the popular beach-buggies, it uses a sophisticated carbon-fibre monocoque chassis and Venturi's latest electric drive-train. At peak performance the America's motor is capable of 295 bhp. A new player in this field, also from France, is Exagon. They celebrated their first international appearance by displaying the stylish Furtive-eGT. Thanks to two Siemens motors, this compact coupe is capable of accelerating to 100 km/h in well under 4 seconds and of a top speed of 286 km/h.
2010-10-08: John Surtees' 1966 Can-Am winning Lola T70s ...
Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder Chevrolet At the recent Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the front row of the first ever Can-Am race was imitated in the paddock with the very cars. It featured John Surtees' Chevrolet powered Lola T70 (right) on pole and Dan Gurney's Ford engined T70 (left) in second place. Surtees would go on to win the race on his way to the championship title. In the latter part of the season he used a different chassis to win two more races. This second car is in Europe and was out at the Goodwood Revival where John Surtees' fabulous career was celebrated.
The cars used by Surtees to win the 1966 Canadian-American Challenge Cup were the second generation T70. Compared to the original launched in 1965, the 'Mk2s' were considerably lighter thanks to the increased use of aluminium for the chassis. The Lola prototypes dominated the 1966 season on both sides of the Atlantic in the sprint events. In the Can-Am Cup, the Mk2 T70 won five of the six races with Surtees taking three, Donohue one in his Penske entered example and Gurney scored Ford's only Can-Am with his Ford powered car. For 1967 a new version was developed but it was not much to Surtees' liking and was outpaced by the new McLaren M6; a sign of things to come in Can-Am. 'Il Grande John' reverted back to his championship winning T70 halfway through the season and added another victory to its tally.
Both cars used by Surtees in the historic 1966 season are pictured in great detail in our 24-shot gallery with images from both the Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the most recent Goodwood Revivals.
  2010-10-06: Paris news from Lotus, Audi, Citroen, Ford and Nissan ...
Lotus Esprit In our Paris Motor Show report we were not very positive of Lotus' bold new plans for the future. The tone and the and scope of the announcements detracted considerably from the specifics of the five cars on display in the French capital. Each one alone would have been enough to stir plenty of interest, so introducing all five at once was a little much.
Now back to the cars. The most anticipated of the five was the Esprit, which will make its return to the Lotus line-up in 2012 after a ten-year hiatus. The new range topping model will be powered by a Toyota sourced hybrid V8 engine that is good for 620 bhp. In addition to the Elite already revealed a week before the show, Lotus also showed new incarnations of the Elan and Elise, and the four-door Eterne.
One of the stars of the Audi display was this e-tron Spyder Concept. It is a lot more than a roadster version of the e-tron studies shown earlier. The compact machine features a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a hugely powerful, mid-mounted twin-turbo diesel V6 and two electric motors in the front wheels. With torque in abundance, the e-tron Spyder should be very, very quick.
With new rules arriving in 2011, it was no surprise to see brand new World Rally Cars in Paris. On the weekend that lead driver Sebastien Loeb won his seventh consecutive driver's championship, Citroen launched his new ride; the DS3 WRC. Complying with the S2000 based regulations, it uses a direct injection, turbocharged 1600 cc, which produces in excess of 300 bhp. Its biggest rival will most likely be the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. The Ford may have a slight advantage as it has already been run as a S2000 car for an entire season.
2010-10-04: 2010 Paris Motor Show report and 240-shot gallery ...
2010 Paris Motor Show report and 240-shot gallery On Saturday the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris opened its doors for the bi-annual Mondial de l'Automobile or Paris Motor Show. A lot has changed since the last Paris show back in 2008 and that was reflected on the show floor with Chrysler, for example, sharing a stand with Lancia and Porsche moving to the 'VAG hall'. There were fortunately many signs that things have started to look up for the industry. Among them was the introduction of three new cars for the 2011 World Rally Championship, including the MINI Clubman WRC. 'Green' was once again the main theme of the show and it was very interesting to see the many different approaches chosen by the manufacturers. Several companies celebrated their various anniversaries in great style; Audi and Jaguar showed anniversary specific concept cars, while Ferrari marked Pininfarina's 80th anniversary with a limited production roadster. The big story of the show was Lotus' press conference where no fewer than a five new models were introduced, which effectively was a whole new range.
We ventured out to the Porte de Versailles Expo for the second time this year. This has resulted in this brief report and a 240-shot gallery. In the coming days, we will take a closer look at the most exciting production and concept cars launched in Paris.
  2010-10-01: Wild supercar concepts from Lamborghini, Audi and Jaguar launched in Paris ...
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Yesterday the Port de Versailles exhibition centre in Paris, opened its doors to the media for the bi-annual Motor Show. We spent the entire day exploring all eight halls and will publish a full report on Monday. As a warm-up, we have taken a closer look at three of the most exciting concept cars revealed yesterday.
Our favourite was the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, which had been carefully hyped by the Italian manufacturer in the past few weeks. It serves as a technology showcase and promises a new direction for supercar design. Instead of simply adding horsepower to improve performance, Lamborghini's engineers have taken a page out of the Lotus book and added lightness. The Sesto Elemento uses the same 570 bhp V10 as found in the latest Gallardo Superleggera, yet offers neck-snapping performance due a kerb weight of just 999 kg. This very low figure is achieved by the extensive use of carbon fibre composites for almost every part in the car. The wild styling is a combination of vintage Lamborghini angular design with a hint of Italdesign's Cala concept shown during the 1990s. Although a production version of the car is not very likely to appear, we do look forward to seeing the various technologies and philosophies applied to future Lambos.
Across the isle, Audi marked the 30th anniversary of the quattro all-wheel drive system and car with the very exciting quattro Concept. Both the styling and engineering are very much a modern homage to the legendary original. The concept car combines a shortened RS5 chassis with a tweaked TT RS engine and a bespoke carbon fibre and aluminium body. The result is a compact, 1300 kg, 408 bhp bombshell. The quattro Concept is a fitting tribute and would not look out of place on the Audi showroom floors or a rally stage.
Jaguar celebrated the company's 75th anniversary with a very futuristic concept car. Dubbed the C-X75, it boasts an advanced drivetrain consisting of four electric motors and gas turbine range extenders. At full pelt the motors produce a combined 780 bhp. The sophisticated mechanicals are packaged in a classically elegant package with some faint cues from the mid-engined XJ13 from the 1960s.
As mentioned earlier, much more will follow on Monday.