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2020-02-28: Mighty Renault and lovely Bugatti headed for auction and new Golf GTI, GTD and GTE ...
Reanult AI 35/45 HP Vanderbilt Racer Next week, the major international auction companies gather on Amelia Island for the next barrage of sales. First up is Bonhams, who stage their 117-lot sale on Thursday. One of the most interesting cars consigned is one of five surviving Renault AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racers. Ten were built in 1917 for by Willy K. Vanderbilt and his friends to race in the United States, making them among the very first customer competition cars. The consigned example is one of four known to be in the United States and the only one not part of a museum collection. As these early competition cars only very rarely if ever come up for auction, no estimate is given.
There is an estimate for the Bugatti TYpe 55 Roadster that has been consigned by the estate of American collector Dean Stockett Edmonds. He had owned the striking Bugatti since 1985 and when he acquired the car it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction in Britain. Accordingly, the estimate for chassis 55220 today is a hefty $6.5-9.5 million.
News arrived today that the Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled due to concerns over the Corona virus. The cars due to be released there will still break cover but now through web-streams and press releases. Among those will be the all-new Volkswagen Golf GTI, GTD and GTE. The most anticipated of the trio of high performance Golfs is undoubtedly the GTI but for the first time it is matched in power by the hybrid GTE at 241 bhp.
  2020-02-26: Latest news ahead of the Geneva Motor Show ...
Polestar Precept Next Tuesday, the annual Geneva Motor Show will kick off with the first of a pair of press days. The surprises will be far and few between as manufacturers tend to release the details of their debuts early. Among them is the striking Polestar Precept show car. As the name suggests, it offers a first glimpse of what is ahead for the all-electric Volvo spin-off. What it clearly shows is that make is moving away from the Volvo design language and finding a style of its own.
Also due in Geneva is the high-performance Volkswagen Touareg R. This 456 bhp machine is the first ever Volkswagen 'R' model that is fitted with a hybrid drivetrain. Together the petrol V6 and electric motor power all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There is no help from an electric motor for the latest Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S, which boats a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that is good for a staggering 415 bhp from a displacement just shy of two litres.
A famous name making a return at Geneva is Gemballa in the form of the Marc Philip Gemballa brand. This was formed by the son of the late Uwe Gemballa of the same name. The new company will launch its first project to select customers during the show.
Although missing on the show floor, PSA's luxury brand DS have used the media buzz to introduce the all-new DS 9 and the Aero Sport Lounge concept. The DS 9 is a particularly interesting car as it is the first ever sedan from the brand named after the legendary Citroën sedan of the 1950s. Available with a choice of petrol and petrol/hybrid drivetrains, it features a sophisticated suspension system that reads the road ahead and then adjusts the suspension accordingly. Although still very French, the DS 9 will be built in China.
2020-02-24: Two GT racers that starred at Retromobile and full Czinger details ...
Nissan R390 GT1 There was a lot to see at the recent Retromobile show in Paris. Today, we have picked out two GT racers that particularly captured our attention. First up is the Nissan R390 GT1, which raced at Le Mans in 1998. One of just eight built, chassis R8 is unique in that it is the only example in private hands. Of a slightly earlier vintage is this Porsche 935/81 'Moby Dick'. The first of two, it was built by Joest Racing using Porsche-supplied drawings of the legendary 935/78 'Moby Dick'. Chassis JR-001 was raced in period by Joest Racing and also by Gianpiero Moretti. Honouring the latter history, it has now been completely restored to the instantly recognisable MOMO colours used when Moretti raced it.
Among the most highly anticipated cars due to debut in Geneva next week is the Czinger 21C. The California-based start-up have now released the full details of the hybrid hypercar. It packs a 1,232 bhp punch thanks to the combination of a mid-mounted twin-turbo V8 engine and a pair of electric motors connected to the front wheels. The 21C's production methods are also cutting edge and many components are created using 3d-printing.
  2020-02-21: Geneva Motor Show preview and F1's class of 2020 ...
Bentley Continental GT Mulliner Convertible The annual Geneva Motor Show is already around the corner and with just ten days to go until the show opens, we have been receiving various previews. The clearest of all is from Bentley, who will introduce the Continental GT Mulliner Convertible. Built to custom order by Mulliner, it is intended for those of us for whom a 'regular' Continental GT Convertible is just not quite special enough.
Among the other cars due to break cover are the eighth generation Volkswagen Golf GTI and the all-electric APEX AP-0 sports car concept.
Formula 1 testing got under way in earnest on Wednesday, which has allowed us to take a look at the class of 2020 in a little further detail. Bouncing back from a disappointing year are the Renault team and they have opted to run their new R.S. 20 in a striking gloss black livery. We do expect the French company's tradiational yellow to be added to the colour-scheme before the start of the season. Also keen to forget 2019 are Haas F1 and hopefully their VF 20 Ferrari will help them do that. Over the winter, Scuderia Toro Rosso have adopted an all-new identity and will operate as Scuderia AlphaTauri going forward. This is a reference to the Red Bull fashion brand of the same name that was founded back in 2016. In 2020, the Faenza-based team will run this AT01 Honda in its fabulous black and white colours.
2020-02-18: Mighty Pagani Imola and more new F1 cars ...
Pagani Imola Ahead of the official launch at the Geneva Motor Show, Pagani have revealed the first details and images of the new Imola. While the Huayra derived hypercar has been honed on the track it was named after the 815 bhp machine is still fully roadworthy. Initially known as the PS-01, the Imola uses the same carbo-titanium chassis as the Huayra Roadster BC and served as a test-bed for future developments. If you are interested, you are already too late as Pagani Imola production is strictly limited to just five examples and all of them have already been sold.
The Formula 1 season will kick off tomorrow with the first of two three-day tests at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. In the build up to the official test sessions, more new cars have been revealed. Chief among them was the Mercedes-Benz W11 EQ Performance, which is a further evolution of the hugely successful silver arrows that have dominated the last six seasons. With a major change in regulations due in 2021, it is no surprise that the W11 closely follows the design of its successful predecessors. The same can be said for the Williams FW43, although the FW42 that it evolved from was an unmitigated disaster. As a result, the FW43 will be a crucial car for the team as it can not afford two nightmare seasons in a row. For the Racing Point F1 team, the RP20 will be the last using this moniker as it will operate as the works Aston Martin team from the 2021 season onwards.
  2020-02-14: 2020 Retromobile report and 260-shot gallery and new McLaren Grand Prix car ...
2020 Retromobile Last week, we were in Paris for the 45th annual Retromobile show. The event is the leading in-door classic car show and also serves as the traditional start of the new season in Europe. It attracts exhibitors and visitors from all around the world to Paris. Among the featured marques this year were Tatra and Bertone, while Swiss dealer Lukas Hüni celebrated Alfa Romeo's 110th anniversary in great style. Further highlights on display at Retromobile included the only privately Nissan R390 GT1, one of just three Ferrari 330 P4s and a superb line-up of four McLaren F1s.
As always, we were on hand to capture all the highlights, with this 260-shot gallery that serves to illustrate our concise report.
The latest 2020 Grand Prix car that broke cover is this McLaren MCL35 Renault. It is a development of the 2019 car with the lessons learned during the season applied by new technical director James Key. Along with the rest of the class of 2020, the MCL35 will make its testing debut on Wednesday in Barcelona.
2020-02-12: More news on the SCG 007, new Red Bull, drop-top Aston Martin Vantage and Geneva news ...
SCG 007 Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus have offered a further look at their SCG 007 Le Mans Hypercar. Due to race in the FIA WEC from this fall, the strikingly beautiful machine will be built around a carbon-fibre composite monocoque and is powered by a bespoke twin-turbo V6 engine. For now we have to make do with these renders as the first car is due be built in August, in time for testing to commence in September.
At Silverstone this afternoon, the new Red Bull Racing RB16 Honda was given a brief shakedown by Max Verstappen as part of a filming day. With a major rule change on the horizon, it is not surprisingly an evolution of last year's car but nevertheless should have a few tricks up its sleeve. The first hint of this is a revised nose with an intake in the tip. Testing proper will commence next week at Barcelona.
Red Bull Racing sponsor Aston Martin, meanwhile, have revealed the full details of the Vantage Roadster. Just like the name suggests, this is a drop top version of the Vantage introduced two years ago. It is just 60kg heavier than the Coupe and has lightning fast roof that can be opened and closed in 6.7 and 6.8 seconds respectively. The first deliveries of the Vantage Roadster are already expected in the second quarter of this year.
In less than a month, all eyes will be on Geneva where the annual motor show is scheduled to take place. It has been relatively quiet on the teaser front but today we received snippets of the special coach-built Bentley Mulliner Bacalar and wild American supercar Czinger 21C. Both of which are expected to break cover in Switzerland early next month.
  2020-02-11: The Ferraris that topped the Artcurial Retromobile sale and new Ferrari F1 racer ...
Ferrari 275 GTB The third and final auction of the Retromobile week was the official sale staged as always by local specialists Artcurial. The full results have yet to be published but with a reported sales total of close to €23 million makes it the highest grossing auction this of the Retromobile week.
Topping the sale was this Ferrari 275 GTB. This early short-nose example was fitted with six carburettors from new and was raced extensively by its successive Swiss owners. In fact, it is the 275 GTB largest period competition record of all. Offered for the first time in two decades 06785 found a new owner for just over €2.5 million.
Another Ferrari that did well was a fabulous example of the 126 C3 Grand Prix car as raced during the 1983 season. This was the very first Ferrari with a full carbon-fibre composite monocoque and would be the last to win a constructors' world championship until 1999. Chassis 068 was driven to victory in the Dutch Grand Prix by Rene Arnoux. Sold for just over €1.4 million, the rare Ferrari Grand Prix car eclipsed the top estimate.
This evening, Ferrari became the first team to launch their 2020 Formula 1 car. It is dubbed the SF1000, which is a reference to 1000th Grand Prix the Scuderia Ferrari will compete in this year. Like last year, the team's drivers are Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.
2020-02-07: The illustrated results of RM Sotheby's and Bonhams Paris sales ....
Bugatti Type 55 The European auction season kicked off this week in Paris with three major sales and the results for the first two are in. First up, on Wednesday, was RM Sotheby's 7th annual Paris sale. As can be seen in our 60-shot gallery from the preview, the 98-lot strong sale included an eclectic mix of machinery. The headlining D-Type failed to sell, and instead the sale was topped by this BMW 507 that was part of the 'Poster Car Collection' and found a new owner for just shy of €2 million. Doing surprisingly well was this replica of the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 'Red Pig', which doubled its top estimate at €432,500. At the end of the day, the British/Canadian auctioneer sold 75% of the lots for a combined total of €16.5 million. These figures do include several lots that were sold immediately after the auction.
Next up was British rival Bonhams with their annual Grand Palais auction, which was held on Thursday afternoon. In the ever imposing building, which hosted the Paris Motor Show for many years just over 100 automobiles crossed the block. Just 65% of the lots eventually managed to sell and the best result was for this one-off Bugatti Type 55 Figoni Roadster. Offered from the estate of the late Geoffrey St John, it found its first new owner in over 50 years for €4.6 million. Despite the lower sell through rate, Bonhams did eclipse RM with a total just shy of €20 million. This was the auctioneers best ever result in this fantastic venue.
  2020-02-05: Mighty Mercedes, Jaguar and Venturi due to cross the block ...
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Fernandez & Darrin Sport Tourer Today, the annual Retromobile show kicked off in Paris. One of the highlights of the five-day show is the official auction, hosted by local specialists Artcurial. This year's sale is headlined by this fabulous Mercedes-Benz 710 SS with one-off Sport Tourer by Fernandez & Darrin. As a rolling chassis, it was shown at the New York Motor Show before being sent back to Europe for the coachwork to be fitted. The very rare 710 SS spent most of its life in North America but more recently returned to Europe. Certified by Mercedes-Benz Klassik, it is estimated to sell for €6-8 million on Friday.
Also consigned is one of just three Jaguar XJ220Cs built to race at Le Mans in 1993. This car led the class until 5 am when it hit trouble and was eventually forced to retire. It was raced at Le Mans again two years later but again mechanical issues ended the charge early. Chassis 003 was then sold to Japan and has more recently been comprehensively been restored by specialists Don Law Racing.
Another lot that captured our attention is a great example of what was the fastest French car built at the time; the Venturi 400 GT. The consigned example was used in period for the publicity photographs and its subsequent owners put just 54,000 km on the odometer in the last 25 years.
We were, of course, at Retromobile and a full report of the event and the auctions will follow in the next couple of days.
2020-02-03: Martini Monday with Lancia and Porsche racers, and Aston Martin returns to F1 ...
Lancia LC2 Last week, we learned of the consignment of the hugely impressive Lancia Martini Racing collection built up by John Campion to the British dealer Girardo. This prompted us to take a dive into our archives and we stumbled upon our photography from the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance when there was a dedicated Martini class. Today we highlight a pair of the cars on display two years ago that are now available from Girardo.
First up is the second Lancia LC1 built. This Group 6 car was driven to outright victory in the 1981 Nürburgring 1000 km race. It was later rebuilt to Group C spec with a roof but fortunately, chassis 0002 was restored to its former glory. In 1983, the LC1 was replaced by the LC2, which was a proper Group C machine and the only works car to take on the Porsches in the early years of the popular category. The LC2 in the Campion collection is the very first one, which appeared only at Monza and Le Mans in 1983. Following a longterm spell in the hands of noted collector Manfredo Lippmann, it joined the Campion collection in more recent years.
Also on display at Amelia Island, and in the same class, was this mighty Porsche 935. It was the very first 935 and one of only two that were built to 1976 specifications. Before its appearance at Amelia Island, 935-001 had been meticulously restored.
There was also some big Aston Martin related news last week as a cash injection from Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll saved the ailing company for now. He also owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team, which from 2021 will be rebadged Aston Martin. That will increase the brand's involvement in F1 further after joining as a Red Bull Racing title sponsor a few years ago. Hopefully, Aston Martin's return to Grand Prix racing proper will be more successful as their foray into Formula 1 back in the late 1950s. Among the cars raced back then was this DBR4, which is considered to be the most original of three surviving cars.