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2017-05-30: 2017 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and 220-shot gallery ...
2017 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este report and 180-shot gallery The fabulous Grand Hotel Villa d'Este hosted the annual prestigious Concorso d'Eleganza this weekend, once again under BMW patronage. The highly exclusive event was as always open to just over four dozen cars. Each of these was carefully selected and we greatly enjoyed discovering the background stories of each. Among them was the oldest surviving Lancia, the only Ballot to win a major race, the first 500cc car to exceed 100mph and the ultimate development of the fabled Maserati 300S.
Later on Saturday, RM Sotheby's also staged a sale at the nearby Villa Erba. This was topped by a Talbot Lago while the 10km from new Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8 sold for Euro 2 million and a Jaguar E-Type defied the estimate by going for Euro 580,000.
Our reporters braved the scorching conditions and have captured the highlights in this concise report, which is illustrated by a 180-shot gallery of the Concorso d'Eleganza and an additional 40-shot gallery from the RM Sotheby's sale.
  2017-05-26: An exciting look into the future from Jaguar, Renault and BMW ...
Jaguar XE SV Project 8 At three major events around Europe, Jaguar, Renault and BMW have provided a first glimpse at exciting future models. Fittingly, the most outrageous of all was unveiled at the Nurburgring 24 Hours; Jaguar's XE SVO Project 8. Based on the XE sedan, It is the spiritual successor of the Project 7, which was also created by Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations. Although no detailed specifications have been released, it will have at least 600 hp. Strictly limited to 300 examples, the Project 8 is currently being submitted to extensive on the 'Ring.
Renault used an equally legendary backdrop, the Monaco Grand Prix, to offer a first, be it disguised, look at the next generation Megane RS. It was driven on the track by current Renault F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg still with a camouflage livery. The full wraps will be taken off the Megane RS at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Finally, here at Villa d'Este, BMW revealed the 8 Series Design Coupe on the eve of the famous Concorso d'Eleganza. Although still a design study, the large Coupe does offer a very clear indication of the final design of the all-new 8 Series due in 2018.
As always, you can expect a complete report with extensive gallery from the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este early next week.
2017-05-24: 2017 Spa Classic report and 320-shot gallery ...
2017 Spa Classic report and 320-shot gallery This weekend, we were at the seventh annual Spa Classic. The Circuit de Spa Francorchamps lived up to its reputation and provided ever changing weather conditions, starting with constant rain on Friday and then clearer skies but with the odd hail-shower. This formed the perfect back-drop for what has quickly become one of Europe's leading historic race meetings. Organised by Peter Auto, the Spa Classic included the organisation's familiar fields with the addition of a new Formula 2 championship and a high-speed demonstration boasting 1990s and 2000s sports- and GT-racers. In addition to the racing, there were numerous clubs and other entertainment in the paddock, while British auctioneer Bonhams staged a sale.
We were at the event throughout the weekend and braving the ever changing conditions, we have returned with a spectacular 320-shot gallery to illustrate our concise report.
  2017-05-18: More cars that will star at the Spa Classic and the new BMW M5 ...
Ferrari 312 PB Today we continue our build-up to the Spa Classic with a detailed look at another pair of great machines to hit the track during the weekend. One of the most evocative is most certainly this Ferrari 312 PB, brought over for the occasion by its American owner. The 312 PB was effectively a Formula 1 car with fenders and featured a similar flat-12 engine as Ferrari's contemporary F1 racers. While this particular chassis did not actually win a race, it did place second at Le Mans, which was the best result for a PB in the French endurance race.
Of a slightly later vintage and equally striking is this Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo. It is actually one of a pair due to be fielded by the same Italian collector in the iconic Martini colours. Chassis 1006 was recently restored and made its historic racing debut with a class victory at last month's Jarama Classic.
Also on the roster for the Spa Classic is a Bonhams auction. Among the eclectic mix of road- and racing-cars due to cross the block during the weekend is this Austin Healey 100M. One of 640 examples built the 100M on offer was sold new to Iceland and has spent the last couple of decades in German hands.
BMW have offered a first glimpse at the sixth generation M5. Based on the G30 generation 5-Series, it uses an evolution of the familiar twin-turbo V8, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. New for the M5 due later this year is a four-wheel drive system fitted as standard.
2017-05-15: Spa Classic preview with mid-engined British racers ...
Elva GT160 BMW This weekend the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit will host the seventh annual Spa Classic. Featuring all the Peter Auto grids, including the new Formula 2 group, the Spa Classic uniquely boasts races that run into the evening. It is one of our favourite events on the calendar and we will be there from start to finish to capture all the highlights. To get you in the mood, we today take a look at three British, mid-engined racers that will star at Spa.
Rarest of the bunch is the Elva GT160 BMW of which just three examples were built in 1964. Based on the specialist British manufacturer's successful sports racers, the GT160 was intended to enter series production. It featured a BMW-based engine and a body designed and built in Italy. Ultimately, it proved too expensive to build and was set aside. One was raced at Le Mans but with little luck. Our article features each of three cars, all of which have survived.
Of a similar vintage but a pure racer was the Lotus 30. Powered by a Ford V8 engine, it was built around a backbone chassis that was similar to that of the Elan. The chassis was not quite up to task, giving the car a dubious reputation in period. The Lotus 30 due to race at Spa was sold new to the United States. Found in California during the late 1990s, its most recent, Belgian owner has raced the car extensively throughout Europe.
Also sold new to the United States was this Chevron B26 One of just nine built, it was raced with considerable success in North America for many years. It even evolved into a GTP car during the 1980s. Now restored to its original configuration, the B26 debuted at Jarama earlier this year and was immediately one of the front runners.
  2017-05-12: Lightweight E-Type headed for auction and first glimpse of new BMW 8-Series coupe ...
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Roadster For the 20th annual Quail Lodge Sale this August, auctioneer Bonhams has consigned a fabulous headliner in the form of this Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Roadster. Acquired new by Briggs Cunningham, this car was extensively raced in period including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 where it was one of three Lightweight E-Types entered by the Cunningham team. In recent years, the ex-Cunningham E-Type has only rarely been seen, so the auction offers a very rare opportunity indeed. Bonhams have experience with selling Lightweight E-Types as they sold S850667 earlier this year for close to $7.4 million.
Tomorrow, Bonhams will host their one-make Aston Martin Sale at Newport Pagnell. Among the cars that may appeal to a broader audience is this DB7 Coupe. A fine example of the model that set the company on a new path, this particular example is one of the very last six-cylinder cars built and one of just 19 of the Stratstone Limited Edition cars. It can be yours for around GBP 35,000.
BMW confirmed this week that a new 8 Series Coupe will soon be added to the German manufacturer's line-up. A first glimpse of what to come will be offered at the upcoming Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in the form of a Design Study of which a first sketch has been revealed as part of the announcement.
We like big BMW Coupes and the original 6 Series is one of the very best either in road trim in Group A racing specification. A great example of the latter is this 635 CSI, which was raced at the recent Jarama Classic. In period, it was first raced in the British and European Touring Car Championships before being sold to and campaigned in New Zeeland.
2017-05-10: A pair of eight-cylinder engined Maserati Grand Prix cars ...
Maserati 8CM Maserati specialised in building racing cars during the 1930s, many of which were sold to customers to race. The top-of-the-range Grand Prix cars from the Italian manufacturer were usually powered by straight-eight engines. The first true single seater Grand Prix car was the 8CM. Introduced in 1933, it featured a powerful eight-cylinder engine but a rather outdated ladder-frame chassis. Italian racing legend Tazio Nuvolari personally modified his car with chassis reinforcements. This proved sufficient for him to win the Belgian Grand Prix in this very chassis. It is one of seven different examples featured in our action-packed, 116-shot gallery.
The very last straight-eight engine designed by the Maserati brothers debuted in the 8CL, which was first raced in the 1940 Indy 500. The engine used was distinctly different than any eight-cylinder that came before as it featured four valves per cylinder. Although it was the same size, the 8CL engine was almost twice as powerful as the original 8CM engine introduced just seven years earlier. Unfortunately, the War prevented the 8CL from racing much beyond its single appearance at Indy. The featured example was the second 8CL, which was not built until 1946. It raced at Indy four times but with little luck. Having been displayed in the Indy museum for many years, it has recently been brought back to Europe and restored to full running order for its German owner.
  2017-05-08: Three highlights of the upcoming Bonhams Aston Martin sale ...
Aston Martin DB6 Volante This weekend, British auctioneer Bonhams will stage the 18th annual official Aston Martin Sale at the Newport Pagnell factory. Headlining the one-make auction is a fabulous example of the DB6 Volante, which is estimated to sell for GBP 700,000 - 900,000. The Volante was the drophead version of the DB6, which was the third and final evolution of the DB4 introduced almost a decade earlier. Aston Martin built 140 examples of the Volante before it was replaced by the DB6 Mk 2 in 1969. The particular DB6 Volante consigned was originally sold to London lawyer and has more recently benefited of a comprehensive restoration. Also consigned is this DB6 Mk 2 Volante, which is one of just 38 examples built. It was bought new by a banker based in Hong Kong and has been consigned by only its third owner.
Of an altogether more modern vintage is the V12 Vantage GT12 Special Edition that will conclude the sale. Inspired by the GT3 racing car, it is one of the most extreme road legal cars built by Aston Martin. The consigned car is the 74th of the limited number of 100 built. Finished in a unique green colour, it was never delivered to its original buyer and is offered in an as-new condition.
2017-05-05: Great 1980s supercars headed for auction at Villa Erba ...
Lancia Delta S4 Stradale Part of the program for this month's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este will be the biennial RM Sotheby's Villa Erba sale. Among the very high quality lots consigned are several of the finest 1980s supercars. One of our favourites of these is this Lancia Delta S4 Stradale. As the name suggests, this is the road-going version of the mighty Group B rally car. Detuned only slightly, the fully road legal machine boasts all-wheel drive and a beautiful engine that combines a supercharger and a turbo. Having covered just 1,600 km from new, this S4 is estimate to sell for around Euro 500,000.
Also originally designed for Group B and accordingly featuring all-wheel drive was the Porsche 959. The consigned example was delivered new to France but has spent its most recent years in Italy. RM Sotheby's estimate, chassis '900199' to find a new owner for around Euro 1 million.
Of a slightly later vintage but also evolved from a Group B design was the Ferrari F40. This twin-turbo machine was introduced 30 years ago to celebrate the Italian manufacturer's 40th anniversary. The consigned example has had just one registered, German owner, who covered less than 20,000 km during the last 27 years.
  2017-05-03: Group C cars from Toyota, Jaguar, Spice and Tiga ...
Toyota 92C-V Group C cars are amongst the most revered racing cars to ever hit the track and today we take a detailed look at four interesting examples that raced at the recent Jarama Classic. The most unusual and interesting of the bunch is this Toyota 92C-V, which made its historic racing debut last month. This particular car was built ahead of the 1992 season and was run at Le Mans three years in a row. Its debut was the most successful running when it won the Cat. 2 class. As can be seen in our 22-shot gallery, we used this rare opportunity to take a detailed look at this mighty machine.
Making its first appearance in the hands of the current owner at Jarama was this Jaguar XJR-12. Raced extensively in period, it was later displayed for many years in the TWR museum.
Punching well above its weight at Jarama was this very well driven Tiga GC288. One of two built, it competed in the Group C2 class during the 1988 season in the hands of the Kelmar Racing team. Coming close to winning at Jarama, this GC288 managed to third place finishes in period.
This Spice SE89C scored its best period result at Jarama when it placed fourth overall in 1989. Powered by a Formula 1 derived V8 engine, this was the first Spice to run in the top, Group C1 class. The ex-works SE89C was later also raced with a Ferrari 308 V8 engine but has more recently been returned to its 1989 Le Mans configuration.
All these cars will be in action again later this month at the upcoming Spa Classic.
2017-05-01: Zagato bodied Aston Martin V8s headed for auction ...
Aston Martin V8 Zagato Volante During the 1980s, Italian carrozzeria Zagato bodied just over 80 Aston Martin V8 chassis with a very distinctive body, both in Coupe and Volante configuration. As rare as these striking machines are, no fewer than four examples will cross the block later this month. Both RM Sotheby's and Bonhams have consigned one of each version for their respective Villa Erba and Aston Martin sales.
Consigned to RM Sotheby's is a particularly special Zagato Volante as it is fitted with the more powerful Vantage engine and headlights usually reserved for the coupe version. The Volante that will cross the block at Bonhams' annual Aston Martin Sale is more typical for the type and has survived in highly original condition with less than 4,000 km on the odometer.
Both chassis 20031 offer by Bonhams and RM Sotheby's 20043 were delivered new to the Middle East. The two coupes were subsequently damaged and repaired at the Aston Martin factory for subsequent owners. Whereas 20043 has covered just 4,000 km, 20031 has seen much more frequent use in its current ownership.