Monday, 21 December 2009

Henri Toivonen

Toivonen was a true motorsport legend. Starting his career in circuit racing, he was successful in World Sportscars and even tested competetively for Formula One before making the move to rallying. In 1980 he won the WRC in a Lotus Sunbeam - the youngest champion the WRC had ever seen. He subsequently drove for Opel and Porsche before signing with Lancia. It was in a Lancia Delta S4 that he and his co-driver suffered a fatal accident in 1986, the circumstances of which are unknown, that - among other factors - led to the banning of Group B rallying.
This video demonstrates some of the drama of his flamboyant yet methodical driving style.


Fan of outrageous Volvos? Click here and feast your eyes on all manner of Swedish mentalism.

(OK, it's not just Volvos.)

911 GT3 rallying

Quite an unlikely rally car, the GT3. Watch this glorious video, though, and it'll all make sense.

Lamborghini Akonian

What would the Reventon have looked like had it been commissioned by Batman? Possibly something like the new Akonian concept...

Yes, it's an independent design study, but uniquely the Macedonian designer, Slavche Tanevski, worked with Lamborghini and Audi designers on the project. Will cues from the Akonian inform the next generation of Lambo design? We'll have to wait and see.

Click here for more.

Wagon Attack II

Some of the worst acting you've ever seen, but beautifully shot!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Sparky Balboni

Legendary Lambo tester Valentino Balboni mercilessly thrashes his namesake Gallardo Balboni until he wears the tyres down to their steel plies. Marvellous.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

1976 BMW works footage

A lovely piece of timewarp cinematography showing various DRM BMWs racing around amongst Zakspeed Escorts, Kadett Cs and the like.

Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta

Even in times of global economic instability, the wheels of plutocracy keep turning. And it's wonderful to see that, in a fashion harking back to the glory days of unique coach-built sports cars, bespoke Ferraris are still a possibility.

Edward Walson, son of the guy who invented cable TV, has a few quid to spare. Now, a footballer may express his automotive individuality by, say, gold-plating an SLR, but Walson approached the task with a little more class. He asked Ferrari's Special Projects Programme to create a 599-based one-off just for him. The P54 Superfast Aperta is the outcome of the project - it took over a year to build (most of which was probably spent trying to strengthen the decapitated shell without making it all lardy and wobbly), and you can't deny the outcome was worth it.

The 6.0-litre V12 remains untouched - bit odd, that - but it's a fearsome unit, fully deserving of the 'Superfast' moniker. (Although that is a shit name for any car.)

Pretty, isn't it?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

SuperCuda vs. Enzo

Built by LMC, the SuperCuda is a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda with, among a plethora of other mods, a twin-turbo Viper V10. You can see the full build photos here.

To prove that this 1000bhp+ monster wasn't just a show special, Chrysler engineers inspected and tested the car for handling and build quality, before the boys at LMC took it to the banked oval at Chelsea Proving Ground to race it against an Enzo. The footage below is truly remarkable.

The performance of the SuperCuda is simply phenomenal - it maxes out at 208mph, and had plenty more horsepower but, as the tester said, 'it was running out of aero and I was running out of cojones'.

The Enzo managed to keep its dignity by topping out at 218mph...

Project Kerb Snake

Type 3 Detectives (sister company to Type 2 Detectives) know their stuff when it comes to classic VeeDubs. But how do you inject new life into a scene that's been thriving for half a century? By keeping it fresh, playing your cards close to your chest and using the element of surprise to your advantage.

Take Project Kerb Snake, for example. T3D wanted something unique and genuinely surprising for the 2009 show season, so they sourced a BDM (that's Brazilian Domestic Market, an acronym I just made up)-only model named, appropriately, the Brasilia. It's basically a Beetle underneath, with a sort of quasi-Notchback-ish 2-door estate body. The styling cues are unmistakably VW, but it's a car even afficionados would have had trouble naming. Until now, of course.

Importing a Brasilia from Portugal, they substantially narrowed the front beam, fitted bespoke air-ride suspension and polished 17" Fuchs replicas, added some crazy camber at the rear, dressed the engine and interior, and rolled off to some shows. People, as you might imagine, were gobsmacked. It was as if they'd invented a whole new classic Volkswagen, such is the rarity of the model, and the epic stance drew almost as much attention as the high quality of workmanship.

They're planning a unique K70 wagon as their next show-stopper - check out their blog to follow progress.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Honest George's 1650bhp RX-7

It's surprisingly usable around town, apparently. It's also a mental tyre-shredding bastard.

Punto Abarth

An oldie but a goodie.

I'm not a big fan of the Punto. Flimsy little thing with annoyingly massive A-pillars.
The Punto Abarth, though - that's something I could get really excited about.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Guano attack!

It's annoying when birds crap on your car, isn't it? It's unsightly and eats into your paintwork - a double-whammy of woe.
Still, count yourself lucky you don't live in Rome, where this kind of thing can happen...

Via Axis of Oversteer

5th Gear loop-the-loop

It's like Hot Wheels, only bigger.

Honda Element drifting

It's not easy to get the tail out in a standard Element. Helpfully, the Honda Research Center have converted this one to rear-wheel drive. Why? Because the model will be featuring in next year's Formula Drift series. And why not...?

TEAM HONDA RESEARCH from Nation of GO on Vimeo.

Click the four arrows for fullscreen.

Courtesy of Will Roegge

R31 Skyline

As featured on Speedhunters, Justin Fankhauser's R31 is a glorious example of the forgotten Skyline. The Superlites are 10" wide with plenty of stretch, the engine is an RB30ET with a whacking great turbo, the interior is stripped and functional, the menace is tangible.

Time-lapse dismantling

Hyundai's website features a time-lapse video of their new Genesis being reduced to its component parts. There are a lot of bits in a car, aren't there?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Gigi Galli

Gianluigi 'Gigi' Galli may not be the most successful or well-known WRC driver, but he is by far the most flamboyant. Behold, the amazing and unnecessary sideways/backwards cornering technique...

...and just look how the Italian fans love him!

A living legend on the rally scene, and a true character.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Arthritis vs. acne

An oldie but a goodie - the TG lads head to the Prescott hillclimb to see whether the old-school cool of a Frogeye Sprite can show a modified 306 V6 a thing or two about respecting your elders.

Take that, Halfords.

Electric Porsches

The rise of the volthead is not necessarily something to fear. True, proper cars have big shouty petrol engines, but electric alternatives don't necessarily have to be restricted by the soul-crushing godawfulness of the G-Wiz. The Tesla is pointing technological development in the right direction (but is still prohibitively expensive, unfortunately), but what about the discerning retro motorist who desires something a little more traditional?
Look no further than Broedersdorff & Koenzen - they'll take a classic Porsche 912 (or a variety of other things, it's your call really), rip the guts out and ram it full of batteries.

You can see the potential. If PS Autoart can put modern running gear in a classic shell, imagine the buzzing innards of the RUF Greenster in the body of a 2.7 Carrera RS...

...actually, no, I'm not altogether happy about that. Interesting though, isn't it?

Lotus Exige Scura

The amount of Elise and Exige variants and special editions is comprehensively baffling on an almost MX-5ish scale, but here's one worth noting down in your Observer's Book of Obscure Racing Mosquitoes: the Exige Scura.

It looks pretty evil with its matt black paint, gloss black stripes and extensive, purposeful use of carbon-fibre. The machismo is backed up by the supercharged engine from the Exige Cup racer, 257bhp and a 0-60 time a mere sliver over four seconds. The adjustable Ohlins dampers and semi-slick Yokohama tyres will help it to handle like a Lotus should, while you'll be needing less than ten seconds to hit the ton.

They're only building 35 of them, and the cost will be an eye-watering £45k. Worth every penny though.

Clarkson transports Robins like cattle!

Shock horror! Mere weeks after the spectacular Reliant Robin racing at the MPH Show...

...they're spotted unceremoniously rammed together on a flatbed at Dublin Docks!

I'm sure there's a Robin/xmas pun in there somewhere. Answers on a postcard.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Group B icons

So many iconic machines were sired by Group B - 037, quattro, 6R4, Delta S4, RS200, 205 T16... the list goes on. Yes, it was an insanely dangerous group, but that's what made it so astonishing to watch.

Here is some classic footage, complete with the only appropriate soundtrack.

Aston Martin Rapide: £140k

Aston Martin have finally announced prices for the forthcoming Rapide: £139,950 will buy you the more-door with its handmade 6.0-litre V12, 470bhp, dual-cast brakes, adaptive dampers and the whole shooting match. Now, that's nearly twice the price of the Porsche Panamera, but Aston are keen to point out that this isn't designed as a rival to the Porsche (or Maserati's Quattroporte, for that matter), but is in fact a unique niche with its own design ethos. Besides, who the fuck wants a Panamera anyway?

F1 returns to Silverstone

After much hype, speculation, conjecture and rumour, the British GP will officially be happening at Silverstone from 2010 onwards.

A deal has been signed today to secure the fixture for the next seventeen years, after Donington Park's bid for hosting F1 was stymied by the enormous financial commitments involved. Bad news for Donny, but great news for F1 fans who can now look forward to seeing the all-British combo of McLaren, Button & Hamilton competing at the UK's most traditional F1 racing venue.

Top Gear's Twingo test

You can't say they're not thorough.

Classic Toyota ad

Genuine wtf moment here.

Friday, 4 December 2009

1971 - Saloon Cars at Crystal Palace

Classic footage of some superb racing at Crystal Palace - particularly enjoyable is the overtaking manoeuvre of Crabtree's Escort RS1600 at the six-minute mark, and the ensuing battle that demonstrates the might of American muscle on the straights and European handling through the corners!

Fancy seeing this for real? Click here and get down to the Palace for the May 2010 bank holiday weekend.

The Beast a home-brew thingy from back in the seventies. Very long bonnet? Yes, because it has a 27-litre Merlin engine. You may remember stories of its original incarnation - it had a Rolls Royce grill on the nose, leading wealthy motorists to contact Rolls to enquire about 'the sporty new model that just overtook me'... they weren't happy.
These days The Beast lives in Spain, returning to the UK once a year at MOT time.

And here's what happens when you put a similar engine in a Rover SD1. (This one, built by PPC magazine's Charlie Broomfield, features the un-supercharged Meteor engine, found in tanks rather than planes.)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Citroen D-Crosser

I'm unsure whether this is astonishingly cool or just sacrilege. Well, it exists now, so let's say it's the former.

It's a cross between a Citroen DS and a Toyota Land Cruiser. Well, why not eh?

Audi e-tron

Electric cars, generally speaking, are pretty unpleasant. Look at the G-Wiz, for example. (Actually, don't. It'll just make you sad.)
Audi's e-tron concept, however, suggests that the future of electric cars may be bright after all.

And orange. Very, very orange.

R32 drift girl

Completely unpretentious - she just does it because she likes it.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Gateway Classic Mustang

A lovely little piece showcasing the work of the Childress brothers at GCM. They just really, really love Mustangs!
(Click the four little arrows to make it fullscreen.)

Honk If You Love Mustangs from Nation of GO on Vimeo.

Click here for more from Will Roegge.

Bentley Brooklands: smoky

I'm not really a modern Bentley fan. The Continental GT, phenomenal machine though it is, will forever be associated with footballers and Chelsea housewives - people who buy them for status rather than to exploit the driving dynamics (which are actually extremely impressive). The modern perception of Bentley is so far removed from the glory days of Blower Bentleys and gentleman racers, it may as well be an entirely different brand.

The Brooklands, however, is one of my favourite cars ever. It's just so ridiculous, I love it.

60k without an oil change

...that's how you seriously gunk up a BMW 328i.

Click here for the full horror.

Polizia destroy Gallardo

It's very impressive that the Italian polizia get to use liveried Lamborghini Gallardos for chasing mafiosi and transporting organs and stuff. At least, it would be if they knew how to drive them properly...

Click here.