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2012-03-30: Pioneering Sadler Mk 5 Chevrolet and the new Morgan Plus 8 in more detail ...
Sadler Mk 5 Chevrolet Canadian Bill Sadler was one of the great privateer racers/constructors in North American sports car racing during the 1950s. He was the first to race a Chevrolet V8-engined sports racer in Europe and in the fall of 1960 conceived a machine that was the first in a long line of great USRRC and Can-Am racers. Known as the Sadler Mk 5, it was the first sports car with the Chevrolet small-block mounted amidships. With the backing of newly obtained sponsor Comstock Construction, Sadler was for the first time able to field a two-car team during the 1961 season. Unfortunately, the Sadler Mk 5 proved to be as unreliable as it was quick and no notable results were scored. The Comstock funds dried up and Sadler walked away from racing at the age of just 29. Today, several Sadlers still remain and are a tribute to the talented Canadian's engineering capabilities. Among them is the first of the two Mk 5s, which is also the only survivor of its type. We captured the car in action during the recent Goodwood Press Day in what may well have been the Mk 5's public debut on this side of the Atlantic. Certainly eligible for both events, we do expect the rare Sadler to star at least one of the 'Goodwoods' later in the year.
Also out on the hill earlier this month was Morgan's 'all-new' Plus 8. Still boasting the classic lines, the first V8-engined Classic Morgan in almost a decade is significantly different compared to its predecessor and also the rest of the line-up. It is powered by a BMW-sourced V8, which did not fit instantly in the familiar chassis. To accommodate for the 367 bhp German engine, the whole car was widened quite a bit. The Morgan engineers nevertheless managed to keep the weight of the Plus 8 at just 1,100 kg. This gives the new machine a very impressive power-to-weight ratio and accordingly equally impressive performance figures. We have today updated the Morgan Plus 8 article with pictures from its world debut in Geneva and its dynamic debut at Goodwood.
  2012-03-28: Most powerful Shelby ever and track-oriented Camaro 1LE ...
Shelby 1000 At next week's New York International Auto Show, Carroll Shelby will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cobra with the introduction of the Shelby 1000. It will be shown alongside the very first Cobra with s/n CSX2000, which was revealed in New York exactly 50 years ago. The new Shelby is based on the outgoing Mustang GT500 and features a heavily revised engine. Equipped with a much larger supercharger and beefed up internals, the tweaked V8 produces around 950 bhp on the dyno in 'standard' trim. Shelby also offers a track only 'S/C' version, which boasts an 1,100 bhp version of the 5.4 litre engine. To cope with all the additional power, the '1000' also features revised suspension and bigger brakes. Production of the Shelby 1000 is strictly limited to 100 of the two versions combined. All this muscle will not come cheaply as in addition to a donor vehicle, customers need to bring at least $149,995 for the road-legal model and $154,995 for the 'S/C' track version.
Chevrolet will expand the Camaro line-up with the new 1LE model. This track-oriented version will include many of the goodies of the high-performance Camaro ZL1, while retaining the naturally aspirated 'LS3' V8 found in the 'base' SS. Modifications focus in particular on the suspension with stiffer roll bars, a strut-brace and wider tyres being part of the 1LE package. Further changes include a special close-ratio version of the Tremec six-speed manual, which is the only gearbox available. The result of these changes is that the Camaro 1LE is capable of pulling over 1g in corners and is able to complete a lap at Virginia International Raceway in under three minutes. Amazingly, the lightning-quick Camaro has a planned sticker-price of under $40,000.
2012-03-26: 2012 Techno Classica report and gallery ...
2012 Techno Classica report and gallery During the past couple of days the Messe Essen hosted the 2012 edition of the annual Techno Classica. Filling all halls of the massive exhibition centre, the Techno Classica is the largest indoor classic car show in the world. With every square inch filled, this year's edition lived up to expectations. As always, the manufacturers were on hand in large numbers with for example Mercedes-Benz celebrating 60 years of the SL, Porsche the 40th anniversary of the 911 Carrera RS and BMW the return to the popular DTM series. Further highlights were also found on the trader stands including rarely seen machinery like the mid-engined Ruggeri Grand Prix and the Ferdinand Porsche developed Rohr 8. The absolute centre piece of the 2012 Techno Classica was a display of well over a dozen Pegaso Z102s on the stand of event organiser SIHA. Many of the familiar body styles were featured, complemented by a rolling chassis and a boat powered by the superb Pegaso V8 engine.
Our photographers were once again on hand and have worked their way through all of the jam-packed halls in search for interesting machinery. The result is a 140-shot gallery, which illustrates a concise report.
  2012-03-22: Tribute to Alan Mann with detailed Ford F3L feature ...
Ford F3L Yesterday, the sad news of the passing of Alan Mann, at age 75, reached us. Although a driver himself, he will be best remembered for his days at the helm of Alan Mann Racing in the 1960s. Using Ford products, in his iconic red and gold livery, the team was very successful but for a relatively brief period. Cars used by AMR ranged from Cortinas and Mustangs to his very own Lightweight GT40s and they were campaigned all over Europe in events ranging from the Monte Carlo Rally to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1968, Alan Mann embarked on the most ambitious project yet; the construction of a three litre prototype from scratch around the Ford Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine with the help from GT40 designer Len Bailey. The result was the very slippery and achingly beautiful F3L. Unfortunately there was limited time and budget to develop the car properly, which hampered the F3L or P68 throughout its brief racing career. The car proved unreliable and it quickly garnered a reputation of being very dangerous at high speed due to the poorly developed aerodynamics. On the few occasions that it did work, the F3L was blisteringly quick. Following two disappointing seasons with the P68 and subsequent open P69, Alan Mann withdrew from racing completely.
Our feature car was restored by David Piper and later re-acquired by Alan Mann. He had the car fully sorted by AMR's former chief mechanic and it has since been regularly shown and raced. We captured the Alan Mann Ford F3L at Goodwood on three different occasions, with a mouth-watering 18-shot gallery as a result.
2012-03-20: New SL 65 AMG, lovely Lancia Astura and Nissan DeltaWing ...
Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Mercedes-Benz have this morning announced the latest addition to the new, 'R231' SL line-up; the SL 65 AMG. Like its predecessor, it is powered by a twin-turbocharged V12. In its latest guise, the 'M279' engine produces 630 hp, which represents a relatively modest increase of 18 hp. More substantial changes include the switch from a five-speed to a seven-speed automatic gearbox and an impressive weight reduction of 170 kg. The new SL 65 AMG is expected to hit the showrooms in September of this year.
These days Lancia is but a shadow of its former self but fortunately many of the great cars produced by the Italian manufacturers do still exist to remind us of the glory days. A superb example is this lovely Astura Cabriolet. Featuring the fourth and final series chassis, this Lancia was clothed by Boneschi with a particularly aerodynamic design. One of three built, this is the only survivor and apart from a respray, it has survived in remarkably original condition. We captured the rare Astura Boneschi Cabriolet during the 2009 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.
One of the most unusual racing cars to hit the track in recent years is most definitely the Nissan DeltaWing, which made its public debut at the Sebring 12 Hours this weekend. Designed by Ben Bowlby, the DeltaWing was originally created as an Indy racer but has since been turned into a Le Mans racer. Built by Dan Gurney's All American Racers and powered by a Nissan four cylinder engine, it is scheduled to compete in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans in a special experimental class. Marino Franchitti and Michael Krumm kicked off testing the DeltaWing in earnest at Sebring yesterday but we have not yet heard any times.
  2012-03-19: 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival preview with 140-shot gallery
2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival preview Last week, Goodwood's Lord March hosted the media for a special preview of the coming Festival of Speed and Revival. Almost an event in its own right, this year's press preview attracted over 120 cars and motorcycles that are expected to star at one or both of the two Goodwood events. Before these were let loose on the 'hill', Lord March introduced both and announced the themes. The Festival of Speed will feature Lotus, the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Group C's 30th anniversary and the epic 1972 Can-Am season, while the Revival will celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Ferrari 250 GTO and AC Shelby Cobra, and honour Dan Gurney. Following the brief introduction, the cars and bikes lined up for several runs up the hill. One of the treats during the press day is that the journalists can hitch a ride in many of the cars. This time we were fortunate enough to be chauffeured up the hill in a 1903 vintage Mercedes. Auctioneer Bonhams was also out in force to preview their highly anticipated Festival of Speed sale, which will include the George Daniels Collection and the Lotus Collection from Olav Glasius.
Making the most of the opportunities offered, we were able to grab snaps of almost all press preview activities, resulting in a 140-shot gallery that illustrates our detailed preview of the two Goodwood events. As you have become used to, we will attend both, and will return with a full report.
2012-03-15: Ettore Bugatti's personal Type 57 C and the new Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse ...
Bugatti Type 57 C Coupe Aerodynamique One of the most highly anticipated sales this year will definitely be Bonhams' annual Goodwood Festival of Speed auction. It boasts the collection of the late master watchmaker George Daniels and also an impressive number of Lotus competition cars from one collection. We will take a closer look at some of the fabulous machines from these collections. Today we want to take a look at Ettore Bugatti's personal Type 57 C, which is also included in the sale. It is fitted with a spectacular one-off 'Coupe Aerodynamique' body that was styled by Jean Bugatti and built in-house. The car was gifted to 'Le Patron' by his workers as a very special birthday present. Owned by some of the most prominent collectors, the car has survived in remarkably original condition. It last changed hands in 2009 for an impressive $1.4 million and there is no reason to believe that figure won't be matched come June 29th. We captured the unique Bugatti in full detail during yesterday's Goodwood Press Preview, resulting in an exclusive mouth-watering 18-shot gallery. In the coming days, you can expect a full report from the press day and a preview of the two Goodwood events.
The reborn Bugatti Automobiles also continues to make waves with new evolution of the Veyron. At Geneva earlier this month, the VW subsidiary took the wraps off the Grand Sport Vitesse version. In short this is the open Grand Sport body chassis combined with the drivetrain and body from the record-breaking Super Sport. Bugatti, probably rightly, have pronounced the Grand Sport Vitesse to be the fastest open production car ever built. A world record attempt is, no doubt, imminent.
  2012-03-12: Geneva 2012: News from Infiniti, Morgan, Rolls-Royce and more ...
Infiniti Emerg-E Concept One of the absolute stars of this year's Geneva Motor Show was Infiniti's Infiniti Emerg-E Concept. Although production plans have not been finalised, this could very well be the first pure sports car to be produced by Nissan's luxury subsidiary. In keeping with the 'green' revolution, the show car is powered by two electric motors, fitted in the rear wheels, which produce a combined 402 bhp and 1,000 Nm of torque. On batteries only, the range is fairly limited but fortunately, the car is fitted with Lotus purpose-built three cylinder generator, which can extend the range to 483 km or 300 miles. What really set the Infiniti apart though, were the very attractive lines of the Emerg-E.
British specialist manufacturer, almost quietly, rolled out a whole range of new or revised models at the Swiss show. For a technical perspective, the experimental Plus E was certainly the most interesting. It combines the classic Morgan shape with a Zytek developed electric motor, which is mounted inside the transmission tunnel. Interestingly, the Plus E does feature a conventional five-speed gearbox, which allows the electric motor to run at its most efficient speed. Shown alongside the Plus E was the Aero Coupe. As the name suggests, this is the latest development of the Aero range, which was originally introduced in the late 1990s. This version is effectively a closed version of the SuperSports and also features a BMW-sourced V8.
Following Morgan's example of gradual development, Rolls-Royce used the Geneva show to debut the Series II version of the Phantom range. Numerous but mostly subtle changes distinguish the new from the old. These include a revised front facia with LED running lights and a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. Complementing the 'standard' Phantom, the 'Series II' changes have also made to the Coupe and Drophead Coupe models.
German supercar manufacturer Gumpert is venturing back into racing with the Apollo R. Based on the original Apollo, the latest evolution uses a 860 bhp version of the Audi-sourced V8.
2012-03-09: Geneva 2012: Four concept cars from Italian coach builders ...
Italdesign Brivido Traditionally, the Italian coach builders or carrozzerie are the stars of the Geneva Motor Show and this year certainly is no exception. One of the absolute highlights of the show that opened its door to the public yesterday is the Italdesign Brivido. Carefully penned by master designer, Giorgietto Giugiaro, the Brivido combines classical elegance with modern lines. Among the most striking features are the large gull-wing doors and the V-shaped aluminium frieze on the engine cover. Like all of Italdesign's show cars, the Brivido is fully functional and features a sophisticated hybrid drivetrain that is also used by fellow Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche and produces a combined 400 bhp. In addition to a road going version, Italdesign also showed a 'Martini Racing' model of the Brivido, sporting the legendary Martini livery.
Celebrating the company's 100th anniversary, Bertone previewed the Nuccio concept. Named after the Nuccio Bertone, who headed the company for many decades, the car was unveiled by his widow Lilli. The wedge-shaped machine clearly draws its inspiration from classic Bertone designs like the Stratos Zero and Lamborghini Countach. The example shown in Geneva was still a full-size model, but a fully functional example is currently being constructed by Bertone to be released in Beijing next month.
Also marking the company's 100th anniversary, the recently resurrected Touring Superleggera took the wraps of the Disco Volante 2012. Based on Alfa Romeo 8C mechanicals, this is a modern interpretation of the experimental Disco Volantes of the 1950s. The order books are open for interested customers, who only need to deliver a donor vehicle and a big check to get a Disco Volante 2012 of their own.
Italy's best known carrozzeria, Pininfarina, showed this Cambiano concept. The four-door machine sports sharp lines and a particularly interesting drivetrain. This consists of four wheel-mounted electric motors and a small gas turbine that serves as generator if additional electricity for the motors is needed.
  2012-03-07: Geneva 2012: Full report and 280-shot gallery ...
2012 Geneva Motor Show Report and Gallery During the past two days, Geneva was the automotive capital of the world. The Swiss city on the foot of the Alps once again hosted the annual Motor Show, which traditionally attracts all the major and specialist manufacturers. As a result each of them try their best to impress the gathered journalists, show visitors but also the competition. Fortunately the 2012 edition was no exception as even though we did note some changes, it was business as usual in the 'PalExpo' exhibition centre. The ongoing trend of green machines continued but at the same time the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti pulled out all the stops.
For the ninth year running, our photographers travelled to Geneva to capture all the highlights and oddities that filled the PalExpo's relatively few halls. Among them was of course the new Ferrari F12berlinetta but we were equally impressed by the Infiniti Emerg-E Concept. All our findings can be found in a concise report, which is illustrated by a spectacular 280-shot gallery.
As you are probably used to, the various cars launched at Geneva will receive a much closer look in the coming days.
2012-03-05: Geneva 2012: Spectacular one-off Lambo, new Bentley SUV and brutal Brabus ...
Lamborghini Aventador Although we still have to wait a few hours before the main press day of this year's Geneva Motor Show kicks off, the Volkswagen Audi Group have already released the full details of their exhibits. The absolute star is the Lamborghini Aventador J. Based on the underpinnings of the production car launched exactly a year ago, this one-off harks back at Lamborghinis of old both in its 'Jota' nomenclature and no-compromise styling. Simply put, to create the Aventador J, Lamborghini's engineers cut off the roof and and removed such luxuries as a windshield and air conditioning. The Italian manufacturer is adamant that the car is strictly one-off and that it will be handed to a customer after the show, so the coming fortnight might be the only time in quite a while that the 'J' is seen in public. Sister company Bentley have taken a step in the opposite direction with the introduction of the EXP 9 F. As the name suggests, this is strictly speaking an experimental machine but we have little doubt that this is definitive proof that the British manufacturer is expanding into the SUV market. It does not take a keen eye to see that the W12-engined machine is based on a Cayenne. Volkswagen themselves will show a second variant of the Cross Coupe, which was first seen in Tokyo late last year. This version uses a hybrid system that consists of two electric motors and a TDI diesel engine. Whether the Cross Coupe will enter production in this form remains to be seen but the potent and green drivetrain will certainly make its way into future models.
Mercedes-Benz specialists Brabus have worked their magic on the latest 'Black Series' model from the German manufacturer and created the Bullit 800 Coupe. What Brabus have done is shoehorn their 800 hp twin turbo V12 in the wide-body C-Class Coupe body. Smaller than earlier 'Bullit' models, the 800 Coupe could very well be one of the quickest Brabus cars ever.
Our reporters will, of course, be on the floor first thing tomorrow morning and as you have come accustomed to, will produce a detailed report with all the highlights (good and bad) from this year's Geneva International Motor Show.
  2012-03-02: Stunning Porsche collection headed for auction and new hybrid Audi Le Mans racer ...
Porsche 935 Next week, Gooding & Co. will offer the spectacular Drendel Porsche Collection as part of the company's Amelia Island auction. Assembled in less than a decade, the collection of 18 Porsches is without equal. It is the fruit of the labour of one enthusiast, Matt Drendel, who sadly passed away in December of 2010. His family have now opted to offer the complete collection, including all the star cars, which should bring out all Porsche enthusiasts from the woodwork.
An obvious highlight is the Porsche 917/30, which is still one of the most powerful racing cars ever produced. This particular car was not used in period due to Penske and Porsche's withdrawal from the Can-Am series. It has since been shown and driven extensively in some of the most prestigious events. Our eye was caught particularly by the Porsche 935; one of the two produced for the 1976 season and the first ever 935. Raced twice in period, it is today the only 935 used by the factory that is in private hands, so the auction very much is a unique opportunity. Other Porsches of note in the sale include the rare 924 Carrera GTP and a meticulously restored 906E. Our eye was also caught by the 212 Inter that is also part of the Amelia Island sale. Finished in a striking light blue, this early Ferrari is clothed by Touring with a particularly attractive Berlinetta body. It was owned in period by Mike Hawthorn and has benefited from a full restoration in recent years.
To offer more detailed auction coverage, we have started a dedicated auctions section, which lists past and coming sales. Part of the information is also included in the individual car page of which the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is a particularly good example. Right now only a few sales have been entered but we intend to expand this section over time.
Audi have released full details of their 2012 endurance program, which will focus around two distinct versions of last year's Le Mans winning R18. New to the roster is the R18 e-tron quattro. As the name suggests, it features a hybrid drive that powers the front wheels and complements the V6 diesel engine that is shared with the 'conventional' R18. The energy generated under braking is stored in a flywheel, using a system developed by Williams Hybrid Power, similar to that used on Porsche's hybrid 911 racer. The R18 e-tron quattro is scheduled to make its debut at Spa in May, ahead of a two-car effort at Le Mans.