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2014-12-31: Her name is Lola; seven Can-Am and sports racers ...
Lola T163 Chevrolet To round off the year, we have taken a detailed look at a two series of Lola racing cars; the late 1960s Can-Am machines and the sports racers produced a decade later of which we have seen quite a few over the last couple of years.
Built to replace the ageing T70, the earliest of these is the Lola T160. The first Lola Can-Am racer that could be equipped with a big block V8, it was built specifically for the 1968 Can-Am series. It was raced by the likes of John Surtees and Dan Gurney but was not quite able to keep up with the dominant McLarens. The T160 evolved into the interim T162, which was used early in 1969. Altogether more successful was the subsequent T163 Chevrolet, which was ready at the start of the 1969 Can-Am. Although campaigned by Roger Penske and the All American Racers, it was most successful in the hands of Chuck Parsons, who piloted the semi-works example for Carl Haas. Although he did not win a race against the all-conquering McLaren M8B, he ended the year best of the rest. For 1970, a final evolution, the T165 was readied for customers but this was a just stopgap machine until the next generation of Lola Can-Am cars was ready.
Turning away from Can-Am, Lola focused on two-litre sports cars throughout the 1970s. Like the T160, the cars evolved over the years as the company's understanding of aerodynamics and suspension geometry improved. Following a brief hiatus, Lola resumed production with the T296 in 1977. Compared to its predecessors, it featured a much more efficient body. The following year, it was replaced by the T297, which featured only very few mechanical changes that barely warranted a name change. After only a few were built, it was superseded by the ultimate evolution of the T290; the T298. Between 1979 and 1981, Lola produced a further 15 examples, which remained remarkably competitive despite boasting a chassis design that was nearly a decade old.
  2014-12-29: Two spectacular two-litre Abarths ...
Abarth Simca 2000 GT Best known for the company's tuning kits and modified Fiats, one of Abarth's best creations was a two-litre competition engine, which was introduced in 1963. In its original guise, it powered the Abarth Simca 2000 GT, which was built around a Simca 1000 platform and featured a bespoke Abarth body and the new two-litre engine. Equipped with twin-spark ignition, dry-sump lubrication and the largest carburettors ever made by Weber, the superb engine produced just over 200 bhp in competition trim. Although very light and equipped with a particularly powerful engine, the Abarth Simca 2000 GT was not one of Abarth's most successful racing cars as it faced strong competition from the likes of the Porsche 904. Today we have three fabulous examples of this rare racer, one of which was on display for many years in the Maranello Rosso museum.
While Abarth's contract with Simca expired at the end of 1964, the two-litre engine developed for the Abarth Simcas would go on to be used for many seasons to come. Now equipped with fuel-injection and further refined, it powered Abarth's last prototype racer to the 1972 European Two-Litre Championship. The following year, it returned in the back of the Abarth-Osella PA1, which was but a subtle evolution of the championship-winning SE021 used in 1972. By this time, the four-valve, twin-cam engine produced around 270 bhp, which greatly contributed to its success on the tracks. Although not as successful as its predecessor, the PA1 did manage to win two of the eight rounds. Ten examples were eventually built and three are featured in our updated article.
2014-12-26: Orange racers starring in the Dutch dunes of Zandvoort ...
Porsche 962 BM Although the undulating Zandvoort circuit is effectively our home track, we had not been there since the 2007 DTM Race. That was until late this summer, when we made the one-hour journey to cover the third annual Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort. As it turned out, it was one of our favourite events of the year and two mark the occasion, we have two appropriately orange liveried machines that starred in the Dutch dunes.
Of the Porsche 962 BM there were actually two Jagermeister liveried machines running in what was the first ever Group C race at Zandvoort. Like the better known Kremer 962 CK6, these Brun Motorsport developed 962 evolutions used a honeycomb aluminium monocoque chassis built by John Thompson's TC Prototypes. Eventually eight of these were built and raced between 1987 and 1990 against very stiff competition. Our 962 BM article features three of the eight cars in a 51-shot gallery.
The first of only three examples built, the Surtees TS20 was the last of the Surtees F1 cars. Introduced at the start of the 1978 season, it still featured a flat bottom and was effectively obsolete before it ever turned a wheel. It served throughout the year and later also raced in the Aurora Grand Prix series but with little success. Used for many years in historic events by Terry Sayles, the featured Surtees TS20 was campaigned at Zandvoort by a new owner, who is better known for pedalling Alfa Romeo GTAs at very high speeds.
  2014-12-24: First glimpse of the SCG 003C, the P4/5 Competizione and 640 bhp Cadillac ...
SCG 003C Taking centre stage under the Christmas tree at the Glickenhaus family is undoubtedly the all-new SCG 003C, which was 'unwrapped' at Vairano earlier this week. Following up on the highly acclaimed Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina and its racing derivative, the P4/5 Competizione, Glickenhaus' third machine is new from the ground up. Designed to be driven to and from the race track, it consists of a modular engine, which can be switched before taking to the track. In road-going trim, the SCG 003 will boast a twin turbo W12, while in competition specification, it uses a HPD developed V6. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus do not only intended to run the SCG 003C themselves but also offer the car to customers. In fact, the second car currently under construction will head to a customer. We will keep tabs on this exciting project, which will officially be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
To put the new SCG 003C in perspective, we have also taken a renewed look at the P4/5 Competizione, which was raced in the Nurburgring 24 Hours twice. At its second outing, the Ferrari 458-based machine finished first in class.
Cadillac's gift for Christmas is the next generation CTS-V, which is the most powerful Cadillac ever thanks to the Corvette Z06 sourced engine. Good for 640 bhp, it can launch the rear-wheel drive sedan to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. The CTS-V will be available in the second half of next year as a 2016 model.
2014-12-22: Ferrari 250 TR and other Ferraris that starred at Pebble in August ...
Ferrari 250 TR In 2015, it will be 'Ferrari Year' on the Monterey Peninsula in August with the finest examples of the Italian manufacturer set to take centre stage at the regular events. Judging from this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, it will hardly be the exception as the 2014 edition of the prestigious event featured three separate Ferrari classes. Taking centre stage was the Ferrari 250 TR, which starred in a special class. Introduced in 1957, the legendary Testa Rossa would go on to win Le Mans four times between 1958 and 1962. Today we take a look at the best known and most 'common' version of the 250 TR; the original pontoon-fender bodied customer car. A total of 19 of these were built and raced on both sides of the Atlantic. Largely with the material gathered at Pebble Beach, we have comprehensively updated our article, which now includes 13 different examples, which are pictured in this 186-shot gallery.
Providing a very interesting perspective was this 250 Monza also shown on the lawn this year. Originally built in 1954, this car was later updated by Scaglietti with a revised body, which could very well make it the very first 'pontoon-fender' Ferrari. The unique 250 Monza was not seen in public for over a decade.
Also boasting a unique body was this 225 Export Vignale Spyder. Delivered new to Argentina, it was clothed by Vignale with a one-body with concave sides. It was raced exclusively in South America and even though the unique Vignale Spyder arrived in the United States over three decades ago, it has only rarely been seen in public.
Also on the field at Pebble Beach was one of the nine 14 Louver 250 GT Tour de Frances built. This has prompted us to dive into our archive to update and expand the article on this striking machine. It now includes seven examples, which can be admired in a 88-shot gallery.
  2014-12-19: Two spectacular Porsche 935 variants in full detail ...
Porsche 935/78 While Porsche was preparing the 935/78 'Moby Dick' for the works team to race, the German manufacturer also produced a batch of fifteen 1978-specification 935 production cars. Very similar to the version raced by the factory team in 1977, the latest evolution of the 935 was the first customer competition car offered by Porsche fitted with a twin-turbo engine. It was raced to great effect by prominent privateer teams like Gelo and Kremer in Europe and Brumos in North America. In fact, the car was so successful that Porsche ran their works car in only one World Championship round, which they duly won. The remainder of the victories were scored by the privateer cars, which included outright wins at Daytona and Sebring. A personal favourite of ours, we have captured the customer 935/78 at many events on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, we have added a comprehensive, 164-shot gallery of this highly successful machine, depicting five examples, including the dominant Gelo and Brumos cars.
While we were at it, we have also updated our Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick' article with images of both examples in action at Goodwood and the Le Mans Classic respectively. Developed by brilliant engineer Norbert Singer, Porsche's 1978 works racer bent the regulations very close to the breaking point. As it turned out, Singer had read the rules very carefully and ultimately only had to modify the design of the doors of the ultra-low and -wide silhouette racer to pass inspection. The one Moby Dick raced won at Silverstone and came very close at winning Le Mans outright against the purpose-built prototypes. Our 54-shot gallery also features the second car that was never completed in period but has more recently been assembled by Freisinger and was raced at Spa and Le Mans.
2014-12-17: Tribute to Brian Lister and the Duesenbergs that starred at Pebble ...
Lister Knobbly Jaguar Yesterday, the hugely talented engineer Brian Lister sadly passed away at the age of 88. He is best known for the sports racing cars that bore his name and were raced with great verve during the 1950s. Especially the later Jaguar and Chevrolet engined machines frequently got the better of much more exotic cars like the big Ferraris and Maseratis. The Lister name does live on and a brand new supercar is the works that may humble the likes of Ferrari once more. As a tribute to the great Brian Lister, we have today taken a very detailed look at arguably his most famous creation; the Lister Knobbly Jaguar. Named after its unusual body, the Knobbly was raced with great success on both sides of the Atlantic. Our detailed article features nine different examples, which are pictured in a 165-shot gallery.
Duesenbergs always feature strongly at Pebble Beach, usually with a class of their own. This year was no exception and we have today added three of the finest examples that were on the lawn in 2014. Scoring best in class was this J Murphy Convertible Sedan, which had just benefitted from a complete restoration. Originally owned by the inventor of Schick Razor and the dry electric razor, this SJ Brunn Riviera Phaeton snatched second in class. Third was for this majestic J Murphy Custom Beverly, finished in a striking gold paintscheme.
Acura, meanwhile, has released the first teaser images of the hugely sophisticated NSX production car, which will be officially launched at next month's North American International Auto Show.
  2014-12-15: Maserati Monday with Piccolo 250F and 4CLT, and new HPD Coupe racer ...
Maserati 250 T3 Piccolo While Maserati's centenary year is drawing to a close, we would like to once again highlight a couple of the many great competition cars built during the last 100 years. The most recent is the 250F T3 Piccolo, which was developed ahead of the 1958 season. It represents the ultimate development of the legendary Formula 1 machine and, as the name suggests, is slightly smaller than the earlier versions. It was only briefly raced by the works team but nevertheless proved significantly faster than the Tipo 2 used the year before by Juan Manuel Fangio to win the World Championship. Halfway through the season, Maserati suspended the factory racing efforts and the two Piccolos were sold to the United States. Fortunately, both cars have survived and are actively campaigned in historic events as can be seen in this 82-shot gallery.
Of a slightly earlier vintage is the 4CLT, which was raced between 1947 and 1951 in the first post-War Grands Prix. Derived from the 4CL, the single seater racer featured a sophisticated tubular chassis and a fabulous sixteen-valve four-cylinder engine with separate exhausts pipes for each of the eight ports. Effectively Maserati's first F1 racer, it was campaigned by many of the great drivers of the day with considerable success. Four different examples are featured in our 79-shot gallery.
In preparation for the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, ESM Racing has shaken down the team's first HPD ARX-04b this weekend. Developed by Wirth Research, it is a brand new Coupe design and replaces the HPD ARX-03b, which in turn was the final development of a design dating back nearly a decade. It was nevertheless still very competitive, and during its debut season, 2012, the HPD ARX-03b won its class at Sebring and Le Mans, and also won the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LMP2 class. The highly anticipated ARX-04b thus does have a lot to live up to.
2014-12-12: New hot hatches and Renault-Alpine and Lamborghini racers ...
Audi RS 3 Sportback With the second generation Audi RS 3 Sportback, the German company has released one of the most potent hot hatches of all time. Like its predecessor, it is powered by a 2.5-litre, straight five engine, which now produces 362 bhp. In addition to packing a bigger punch, the new RS 3 Sportback is also lighter than the previous model.
Another highly anticipated hot hatch is the new MINI John Cooper Works, which will be launched at the North American International Auto Show next month. It is powered by a two-litre, four-cylinder engine, good for around 230 bhp. It will be available with either a manual or automatic six-speed gearbox.
Also due to be launched at the NAIAS is the Infiniti Q60 Concept. This show car will offer a first glimpse at the upcoming premium sports coupe production car.
Shortly after Renault-Alpine introduced the new GTA V6 model in 1984, a special competition model was introduced to compete in the one-make Europa Cup. The series served as a curtain raiser for most of the European Formula 1 rounds between 1985 and 1988. We recently captured a beautifully restored Renault-Alpine GTA V6 Turbo Europa Cup, which was finished in the colours as used by Dutch racer Jan Lammers when he won the Monaco round.
Reiter Engineering has announced an extensive evolution of their Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 racer, which is appropriately dubbed the Gallardo Extenso. Compared to the earlier GT3 cars, it features a more aggressive body with more sophisticated aerodynamics and wider wheel arches to allow for an increased rear track. Reiter Engineering will build ten Gallardo Extensos for the 2015 season.
  2014-12-10: Lovely Alfa Romeo and Ferrari head for auction, and the latest news ...
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S Touring Berlinetta The new year is set to kick off well with high profile auctions in Scottsdale in January and Paris early in February. One of the headliners of RM Auctions' second sale in Paris will be this lovely Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 S Touring Berlinetta. One of the very last Alfa Romeos built before the War, this example was actually owned by the mistress of Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini. Following a complete restoration we captured the car at Villa d'Este back in 2007. It was also named best in show at the Salon Prive in 2011. RM estimates the car will be sold for over EUR 1.9 million.
One of the most spectacular cars consigned for the various Scottsdale auctions is one of twelve Ferrari 275 GTB/Cs constructed. Equipped with a lightweight body and chassis, the 275 GTB/C was the last factory Ferrari GT car produced during the 1960s. The example on offer in the Bonhams Scottsdale sale is the penultimate car built, which was raced in period by Scuderia Filipinetti. We saw the car at Pebble Beach, Le Mans and Goodwood and have expanded our gallery with additional images of this car. We have also added another car to the 140-shot gallery, which now includes ten of the twelve cars built.
Mercedes-Benz has further expanded the line-up with the GLE Coupe. The range is topped by the GLE 450 AMG Coupe, which is powered by a 362 bhp, twin-turbo V6 engine.
Combining the turbocharged and supercharged internal combustion engine and an electric motor, the new Volvo XC90 T8 packs a 396 bhp punch. This more than matches the outgoing V8 model, while boasting superior emissions and mileage figures.
Rinspeeds annual Geneva show car for 2015 will be known as the Budii. It features autonomous driving capabilities and can be run on 'auto-pilot'.
2014-12-08: Legendary Bugatti Grand Prix racer and Ferrari Sergio production model ...
Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Replacing the most successful racing car of all time, the new-for-1931 Bugatti Type 51 had a very hard act to follow. It was the first Bugatti racing car equipped with a double overhead camshaft, which was inspired by the legendary American Miller engines. The rest of the car very much followed the design of the Type 35, including the steel ladder frame and cable-operated drum brakes. Faced with strong opposition from the likes of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, the Type 51 was quite successful. The well honed chassis allowed it to excel at tight and twisty tracks and fittingly, it won the Monaco Grand Prix. Eventually Bugatti produced 40 examples, four of which are featured today and star in our 66-shot gallery.
Over the weekend, Ferrari delivered the first of six Sergio production cars to its Middle Eastern owner. Based on the 458 Spider and powered by the 605 hp 'Speciale' engine, the limited production machine is based on the Pininfarina Sergio show car launched in Geneva last year. The car is a fitting tribute to the late Sergio Pininfarina, who was responsible for many the design of the greatest Ferrari road cars.
The Italian manufacturer also debuted 1,050 hp, track-only FXX K at Abu Dhabi. We have six additional images to our gallery of the car's first public appearance.
  2014-12-05: James Bond's new Aston, the best Lagonda and the last Can-Am car ...
Aston Martin DB10 At a special event yesterday, movie producer EON Productions announced the name of the upcoming, 24th James Bond movie: Spectre. Grabbing most of the attention however was the purpose-built Aston Martin DB10 that was also unveiled at Pinewood Studios in London. Built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the association between Aston Martin and James Bond, its design offers a preview of the whole new generation of Aston Martins. Only ten examples will be built of the DB10. Whether these will all be entrusted to Britain's most famous spy is not certain.
Following the re-introduction of the Lagonda brand with the very luxurious Taraf, we have today taken a detailed look at one of the very best Lagondas ever built; the V12 Rapide Drophead Coupe. This was the range topping model that had been designed under the supervision of W.O. Bentley. Between 1937 and 1940, Lagonda produced less than 200 examples of these sophisticated, twelve-cylinder engined machines. Only twelve of these were Rapide Drophead Coupes, which use a shorter chassis and an all-aluminium body. Of the dozen constructed, we have today added five different examples.
On the opposite end of the automotive spectrum from the smooth and sophisticated Lagonda V12 sits the thundering Sting GW1 Chevrolet also added today. Developed for privateer racer Gary Wilson, this beast of a machine was introduced at the penultimate Can-Am race in 1974 and thus holds the distinction as being the very last of these no-limits machines to be built. It was raced only three times in period but as can be seen in this 20-shot gallery has seen more action as a historic racer in recent years.
2014-12-03: Ferrari unleashes 1,050 FXX K and mighty Fiat S.76 roars once more ...
Ferrari FXX K Ahead of its official debut during the Finali Mondiali event this weekend at the Abu Dhabi F1 circuit, Ferrari have released the first details and images of the FXX K. Based on the LaFerrari hypercar, this is the third track-day car produced by Ferrari. Under the banner of a research and development programme, the 'XX' scheme allows the company's richest and most ambitious customers to drive the cars at special events with full factory support. The FXX K is the most potent yet of these machines as it features a hybrid drivetrain (the K is short for KERS) consisting of a high revving V12 and an electric motor and produces a combined 1,050 hp. In addition to the increase in power, the FXX K also boasts enhanced active aerodynamics, which improve downforce by 50% in the low drag configuration and 30% in the high downforce configuration. The hugely potent FXX K is also equipped with sophisticated electronics to allow drivers with slightly less talent than Kimi Raikonen or Sebastian Vettel to get the most out of the car.
On Monday we spotted one of the best videos we have ever seen, which featured Duncan Pittaway's Fiat S.76 roar back into life in rather dramatic fashion. A true labour of love, it took Pittaway many years to get to this point and we already got a first glimpse of the mighty Fiat at Goodwood in July but it was not quite ready to run yet. It is understood to be the first time an S.76 has been fired up in a century, so it was quite special in that respect as well. We have chronicled the fabulous history of the model and this specific car, and very much look forward to seeing it back in action soon.
  2014-12-01: 2014 Essen Motor Show report and further highlights ...
2014 Essen Motor Show report and gallery Just in the first three days, close to 130,000 visitors walked through the doors of the Messe Essen for the 2014 Essen Motor Show. They were treated to a colourful mix of competition, concept, historic and above all tuner cars. This is perhaps a reflection of the interest of the current generation of automotive enthusiasts, who grew up watching the Fast and Furious movies. Fortunately, the Essen Motor Show did present the odd gem. Among them was the hugely potent Zenvo ST1, which is produced in limited numbers in Denmark. It is powered by a hand-built V8 engine, which is both turbocharged and supercharged, and produces a staggering 1,104 bhp. We have captured every angle of this striking new machine in this 40-shot gallery. Making its world debut in Essen was the Skoda Fabia R5 Concept, which we already previewed earlier this week. All the other highlights from the Essen Motor Show can be found in this concise report, illustrated by a 100-shot gallery.
Over the weekend, Bonhams ended another record breaking auction year on a high with a very successful Bond Street Sale. The auction was topped by the Porsche 908/02 Spyder, which we featured last week and found a new owner for close to GBP 2.2 million.