Friday, 29 January 2010

1/24 scale town

Genuinely impressive, this. Michael Paul Smith has painstakingly recreated the town he grew up in in 1/24 scale, and photographed it with such clarity that you can't quite believe they're models. Click here to see.

Tiny Belgian garage

You have to wonder how long it took him to perfect the technique...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

GM Futurliner

Designed by Harley Earl for GM in the forties, the Futurliner is one of the few concept vehicles of the era that still looks futuristic today. Well, futuristic-ish, if you were to build a concept car from the shell of an old Airstream caravan.
A fleet of a dozen was commissioned for use in General Motors' 'Parade of Progress', a sort of pan-American travelling showcase of new cars and tech. They were used in 1940-41, when the Parade of Progress was halted due to WWII, and again when it restarted in 1953 through to '56, after which they were disposed of... although nine of them are still known to exist. Click here to see the story of Futurliner #10, commonly regarded as the most accurately and sympathetically restored of the fleet.

So why did the Parade of Progress end in 1956? Well, of the many exciting things that the Futurliners showcased (jet engines, microwave ovens, stereophonic sound systems) one of them would ultimately kill the project: television. Why go out and see a parade when you can easily watch GM-sponsored content on your shiny new TV...?


'The harder the job, the better it likes it'.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

1960s motorcycle safety

This video is weirdly compelling... and there's all sorts of cool cars in the background too.

Alfa Giulietta promo video

A weirdly flashing glimpse at the forthcoming Giulietta has surfaced on t'interwebs - what do you think? Cooler than a Golf, right? Let's hope 2011's Cloverleaf is as hot as it deserves to be.

BMW E21 V8

Take an '83 BMW 316...

...add a BMW M60 V8...

...and a whole lot of skill...

...and you've got the recipe for something pretty astonishing.
Here's how it's looking at the moment, after two and a half years of work:

Click here
to keep up with progress.

Stippled Audi A4

Looking for a new paint finish for your car? Want something a little different, and also something that will be totally immune to stone-chips? You should try painting your car in bedliner (the hardcore stuff used to line the beds of pick-up trucks)...

Click here for more pics, plus a whole lot of abuse for the owner.

Ken Block's new Ford

He had a lot of fun with Subaru, but Ken Block's driving for Ford in this year's WRC, in a Focus RS... and here's his spicy new Fiesta that he'll be driving in the Rally America Championship:

And just for fun, here are some of his previous astonishing exploits.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Group B - pure sound

SSBB has featured a 'pure sound' Group B video recently... but I bloody love Group B, so here's some more!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Astonishing Porsche 356 build

Take one slightly tired 356...

...add a phenomenal amount of skill and attention to detail...

...and end up with this.

Click here for the build thread.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

1976 Hot Rod world final

Manic, dirty, frantic action from the glory days of nailing battered Fords and Rootes machinery around a short oval.

"You can't mention hot rod racing without mentioning Barry Lee." Damn straight. But it's George Polley that takes the title...

Triumph TR6 LT1

The Triumph TR6 is a British icon, arguably the last great TR before they went all cheese-shaped. It's one of those cars that just looks right from every angle.

British soft-tops of the sixties and seventies enjoy a devoted following Stateside due to their purity of purpose and, well, Britishyness. The US is, of course, the home of balls-out no-substitute-for-cubes power, so it's inevitable that they'd be tempted to throw stonking great V8s into our quaint little two-seaters. Ken Hiebert's '72 Triumph TR6, for example. Hidden beneath that extravagantly vented bonnet is a 5.7-litre LT1 bent-eight from a Trans Am, complete with Corvette cam covers for extra bafflement. It's got a six-speed 'box (as the license plate suggests), Mustang Cobra wheels and all kinds of bespoke bits and bobs. You can read all about it here.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Rally E21

I'm such a huge retro Ford fan and, like many others, view the mkI and mkII Escorts as the archetypal classic rally cars. Of course, there's a danger of focusing too closely on them and allowing them to overshadow other amazing machinery of the era. So, to redress the balance, have a look at this glorious E21 BMW.

...alright, just for fun, let's see Simon McKinley's hillclimbing mkII as well!

Record speeding fine

In Switzerland, speeding fines are calculated according to the offender's wealth. So what happens if you're a millionaire and you get flashed doing 85mph in a 50mph zone in your Ferrari Testarossa? You get a £182,000 fine. Ouch.


Volvo 340 Turbo

A lovely little build, this. Dutchman Anjo started with a Volvo 340 DL auto, then fitted a Renault 5 Turbo engine and all kinds of other special bits 'n' bobs - the quality of work is impressive. Click here to see the build thread.

Looking forward to seeing a video of it in motion...

Pimp My Lada

The Pimp My Ride formula is brilliant, if flawed. It's very entertaining to see people with knackered old clunkers getting them transformed (for free!) into the cars of their dreams. The obvious and unavoidable fact, however, is that they have shit cars for a reason: they can't afford better ones. So what happens when you take someone's worthless car and throw tens of thousands of dollars at it? They immediately sell it. But of course.

Now, the US version of the show, hosted by Xzibit, is excellent. The UK version, unfortunately, was pretty annoying because they insisted on using Tim Westwood as a host. And he's a cretin.
Don't despair, though - Top Gear had a pretty game stab at it back in 2002, getting Lotus engineers to soup up a Lada. They didn't fill it with TVs either...

...but, inevitably, the spoddy and ungrateful owner did sell it pretty quickly afterwards. What a berk.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Skogen Racing Capri

This is what happens when you put a 2.9 Cologne V6 in a mkIII Capri, then bolt a truck turbo to it. (Ignore the crap soundtrack, the footage is worth it.)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Arnoux vs. Villeneuve

I love Formula One... but it has to be said that there isn't as much on-track drama as there used to be. Check out, for example, this second-place battle between René Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve in the 1979 French Grand Prix.

More of this in 2010, please!

Evora Cup Racer

Debuting at the Autosport Show, the Lotus Cup Racer is quite a pretty little thing. List price is around £120,000 - pricey for a road car, but small beans for a balls-out racer. What do you get for your money? 200kg of the weight stripped out, a rebore from 3.7 to 4.0-litres, 400bhp, a six-speed sequential gearbox, bigger brakes, adjustable dampers, lots of carbon-fibre bits & bobs and a new aero package.

It's a stroke of genius for Lotus: take their least overtly sporty model and give it some razor-edge sporting menace. The kudos of this undoubtedly successful venture will trickle through the road car range - Colin Chapman's ethos of 'simplicate, then add lightness' is still very much in evidence.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Retro car chase

I know nothing about this film... but it's an excellent chase scene with lots of glorious retro metal.

Porsche posters

Porsche adverts these days are tremendously boring. I've seen the enormously prescriptive guidelines they give to their ad agencies, and it's literally a case of 'put the picture of the car here, put the slogan here, put the text here', which is a great pity, as their ad work of the sixties and seventies was a constant stream of technicolour genius. Click here for a few shining examples.

Citroën ads: bonkers

As if the cars aren't outlandish enough...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Bugatti with patina

Vintage Bugattis tend to command vast sums of money at auction, and with good reason - the Type 22 Roadster, for example, offered the thrills of the 1.5-litre straight-8 Type 36 racer in a road-going package; it's the archetypal twenties classic. And they're as rare as hen's teeth now.

So, what would you pay for one that's spent seventy years under water? Bonhams reckon €70k-€90k...

Click here.

£228,000 was the final price. Click me.

Extreme Pandas

The latest Panda 4x4 may be a little wet, but its dad was a hardcore bastard...

More here.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Chainlink 4x4

I'd have a lot more respect for the yummy mummies of Chelsea if they ditched the X5s and Q7s and started rocking this kind of machinery.

Focus III

Photos of the third-generation Ford Focus have surfaced - what do you think?

They're describing it as the company's most important product in 25 years, being a truly global car. (Presumably they're not saying the company's last truly important car was 1985's Scorpio...?)

From the front three-quarter it looks pretty similar to the mkII. The rear's a bit unpleasant though - it looks as if it's been driven backwards very quickly before it's dried properly, forcing the lights to smear out all over the rear wings. Still, it'll be a good-seller, with its peppy turbocharged engines and keen handling. Bit dull though, isn't it?

Corvette burnouts

They may not be the last word in refinement or handling, but American muscle cars are great at certain very cool things: covering a quarter-mile very quickly. Making a lot of noise. And, of course, burnouts.

The Corvette Z06 is a good car for pulling burnouts... if you know what you're doing, that is. Here's how you're supposed to do it:

...and here's what happens if you're a cretin.

'Bye bye, six hundred dollars', he says. I imagine he's blown a little more than that...

Friday, 8 January 2010

Vintage news - Lancia's Beta buy-back

The best part, of course, is that Lancia announced their anti-corrosion warranty on April 1st...

Old Car City

In the woodlands of White, Georgia, you'll find Old Car City - a 36-acre area of forest filled with cars that were left there decades ago and swallowed up by the trees.
They're selling off anything that's salvageable. As for the rest, you can do a walking tour of the 'yard' and see for yourself.

Click here for more info. The inventory is breathtakingly comprehensive.

1032bhp VW Polo

I can honestly say I've never seen a front-wheelstand quite like this before.

Quarter-mile in 9.39 seconds @ 147.9mph. Who needs a Veyron...?

Click here for more info, and here to see it on the dyno.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A project for the brave

The Porsche 356 is a glorious thing, so it's only right that dedicated metalsmiths and enthusiasts in general should be saving as many as possible.
This one, however, may be a little too far gone...

Click here for the story.

Aston Martin goes mental

OK. I can sort of see the point of the Cygnet. It's a Toyota iQ with an Aston Martin grille pasted to the front and a swanky plush interior, designed for people that already own a DB9, DBS, AMV8 or whatever so that they can pootle to the shops without getting egged by enviro-nutters. (And, as a handy by-product, AM can reduce the average CO2 emissions figure across the whole range, thereby making Brussels and Copenhagen happy.) Fair enough, as long as they only sell them to existing customers... if they start casting Cygnets about willy-nilly then it'll be an embarrassing brand dilution and a great, great shame.

But just what the shuddering fuck is this terrible promo video all about?!

'Oh, look at us, we're down with the kids.' Christ.

Formula Drift - New Jersey

One of my favourite drift videos of 2009, courtesy of Will Roegge. Beautifully shot.

Formula D New Jersey 2009 from Will Roegge on Vimeo.

(Click the four little arrows to make it fullscreen.)

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Fun in the snow

So the UK's suffering from snowyitis, huh? Boo-hoo. If you had an RS1800 you could be having this kind of fun...

...or how about livening up your commute with a cheeky V12 soundtrack?

Meriva doors

Now, MPVs don't interest me in the slightest (aside from the Zafira VXR, but only because it's very silly), but it has warmed my cockles a little to see the new Vauxhall Meriva. Why? Because it has suicide doors. And that immediately makes it the coolest people-carrier there is.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Crash test evolution

An interesting look at the development of Armco and crash testing... or just some gratuitous shots of stuff getting smashed, take your pick.

Either way, it's some lovely old QED footage, complete with dodgy editing and a slight wavery-shimmeriness. Just like watching TV in the eighties.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Subaru show-off

Oh dear. That's embarrassing.

Vintage bumper sticker

It's easy enough to get classic bumper stickers made up by your local print shop, but it's not quite as cool as the genuine patina of what we see below - a 1972 sticker supporting Nixon on the tail end of a '62 Plymouth Valiant. Will we see Obama stickers on the bumpers of old Honda Civics in three or four decades time? Who knows. Let's hope.

Via Jalopnik

Burnout fail, clutch goes everywhere

Now that's how you lunch a clutch!

...and quite a lot of the rest of the car too. And the local surroundings. And anyone standing nearby.

Trans AM Clutch Explodes!

Snow driving

Snow and sports cars don't really mix. Still, you've got to be impressed by this bit of, er, accidental parking. Had it been done on purpose, it'd be incredible...

What you really need is an Audi A8... if only to embarrass other drivers.

World record car jump

So... bigger run-off area next time, guys?

And here's the jump in time-lapse. Impressive.

42 second engine change

Yeah, very impressive... but it'll fall out on the way home, right?