Thursday, 25 February 2010

Motul Mugen Civic

It's a car familiar to Gran Turismo 4 fans. But what actually is it?

Well, it's a Motul Mugen Civic Si racer, built by Mugen in 1987. The 1600cc DOHC was tuned to produce 225bhp, including forged pistons, race cams, 80% increased injector flow, baffled sump, double-width radiator, straight-through exhaust, as well as 6-point cage, LSD and AP Racing brakes.

The original now lives at the Twin Ring Motegi Museum:

...but a guy in Holland has built a brilliant replica - click here for the build thread.

Pretty cool, huh?

Keep Drifting Fun

Will Roegge and Joshua Herron make superb films. This is a fact. So the news that they're making a a feature-length film is very good indeed. Click here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Fiat TwinAir

Fiat are at the cutting edge of innovative engine technology, their Centro Ricerche Fiat delivering on its promise to launch three mould-breaking technologies for 2010: the MultiAir petrol engine, the MultiJet II diesel and the Dual Dry Clutch Transmission. These technologies harness eco-concerns by increasing efficiency and thereby reducing emissions, but also combine them with the classic Fiat sporting ethos, adding increased power and torque to the benefits list.

Jalopnik have just released images of the forthcoming TwinAir engine. It's a twin-cylinder unit that employs turbocharging and MultiAir tech to produce the power of a four-banger. Hopefully it'll have that vintage twin-cyl rasp too...

Click here for an excellent Wired piece on Fiat's engine development.

Dream garages

One day, when my EuroMillions numbers come up, my carhole will look like one of these.

Click here for many more.

Peugeot BB1

It's part-scooter, battery-powered and it's got a face like a baby Multipla. So what's it doing on SuckSqueezeBangBlow?
Well... it's an interesting idea: an all-electric city car with handlebars instead of a steering wheel - you can't deny that it's a pretty cool concept. And if loads of people buy them, it'll reduce the burden of social guilt for people who want to drive proper cars, which can't be a bad thing.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Group B - Pure sound 3

Yet more classic Group B footage. Spine-tingling from start to finish.

Monday, 22 February 2010

280SL Pagoda - Top Gear

Having driven a W113 280SL recently, I've fallen completely in love. As you can see here, it worked for Clarkson too.

Chelsea Cars is only a couple of minutes from my flat. I have been known to hang around outside the windows and smile...

Mercedes-Benz High Mileage Award

Mercedes-Benz are proud of their cars' longevity, and reward customers for reaching certain milestones in their Mercs: ticking the odometer over 250,000, 500,000 and 1,000,000 kilometers will earn you a little badge and a certificate. Click here.

Now, click this image to enlarge it, and see if you can spot the glaring error.

"High mileage...", "...kilometers..."? D'oh!

Isuzu Bellett GT-R

The little-known Bellett, manufactured between 1963-73, was the first JDM model to adopt the 'GT' moniker when the two-door coupe launched in '64. The GT-R was a rather more hardcore evolution of the GT, with its black bonnet and spotlamps emulating European rally-stage heroes. The 1600 twin-carb DOHC from the 117 coupe produced 120bhp which, coupled with a kerb-weight of just 920kg, gave lively performance with a sublime engine note.

Only 1400-ish GT-Rs were produced, ensuring a keen (if somewhat niche) following today. Of course, they're happiest when being driven enthusiastically...

Lexus LFA - driven by Evo

Click the image to see Chris Harris having a smashing time in the new LFA.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Citroën DS3 Racing

The already-quite-cool new DS3 has been given a limited-edition injection of testosterone by Citroën's sporting division. To complement the forthcoming DS3 WRC car, the Racing comes equipped with an evolution of the 1600cc turbo lump found in the Mini Cooper S, providing close to 200bhp, along with uprated & lowered suspension, beefier brakes and a wider track at both ends. The chunkier arches are carbon-fibre, as is the rear diffuser. Unfortunately, Citroën are saying that it'll be limited to 1000 units after its launch at the Geneva show this year. So get your orders in - this will be better than a Cooper S.

Hahlin 7

A Volvo turbo engine is an unorthodox choice for a Seven-style car. But then, this is no ordinary example...

He's fighting it all the way up the strip - even on the second run where he screws up the gearchange, he still takes no time to reel in his opponent. Astonishing.
More info here.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Risky Devil 180SX

Risky Devil is a collective of self-styled 'new age Chicago street rodders' and this Nissan 180SX, owned by member Joshua Maghirang, pretty much sums up their ethos.
Option wings flared over 9.5x17s at the front and 10.5x18s at the rear, with a Power Enterprise turbo-equipped SR20DET, a stunningly purposeful interior and possibly the coolest registration number SuckSqueezeBangBlow has ever seen.

Gallardo fireball

No, I'm not talking about Lamborghinis that unexpectedly go up in smoke (although that does seem to happen worryingly frequently, doesn't it?), but something altogether more beautiful.

Bespoke straight-pipe systems are always a joy to behold, particularly when the quality of the work is this good (courtesy of Fluid MotorUnion):

The looks are impressive. The 30bhp gain is impressive. But you know what the most impressive thing of all is? It belches blue fireballs.

Click here for more.

Drift Superbird

My Scandinavian isn't brilliant so I have little info to offer on Tommy "Tiger" Björk´s brutal Plymouth Superbird... but its attitude speaks volumes. From the pictures we can see a front spaceframe, a pretty serious cage, massive weight loss and some interesting aero work under the nose, while the video (showing the car in use minus nosecone, for greater manoeuvrability) suggests something pretty epic going on within that V8.
If your language skills are up to it, click here, here and here.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Driven - Mercedes 280SL Pagoda

The 280SL Pagoda is a truly beautiful machine. The Classic Car Club were kind enough to allow me and my fiancée free reign in their perfect example through the streets of east London, which turned out to be almost as exciting an experience for the Shoreditch hipsters as it was for us - you see, this is a car that everybody loves. If you want to feel like a movie star, or that everyone in the world admires you, drive a 280SL. You'll get more thumbs-ups in half an hour than you've had in the whole of the rest of your life.

The driver's seat is a glorious place to be. The dash looks as if it could have come from a fifties diner, while the steering wheel and dials before you have a marvellous, timeless quality. It's only a small car, but the feeling of space is impressive, accentuated by the vast glass area that surrounds you, and there's far more storage space in the cabin than you'd find in, say, an MX-5 or a Boxster.

The straight-six is creamy-smooth, purring gently at low speeds and barking aggressively under full throttle; the combination of light-weight and 170bhp means that the SL is quick. Not quick-for-an-old-car quick, but properly quick. The autobox (yes, a manual would have been preferable, but what can you do?) was impressively intuitive, shuffling straight into top when it sensed that you might be following a bus, and holding the gears into the enthusiastic upper limits of the rev range when briskly accelerating on the open road. It's a very organic driving experience; the best cars give you the feeling that they're an extension of you rather than just being a thing that you operate, and the SL fits into this favourable category. Yes, the steering is a little vague and the ride a little crashy, but rather than detracting from the driving experience, it spurs you on to hustle the little car as it demands to be - it is a sports car, after all - and rewards you in spades.

The mark of a great car is that when you get out and walk away, you can't stop yourself from turning back and taking one last look. The 280SL Pagoda goes one better... you don't want to get out. Ever.

Mike Hawthorn - Le Mans 1956

Some excellent on-board footage of Mike Hawthorn dodging in and out of the traffic in his D-Type Jaguar to provide an intro to the 1956 Le Mans 24-hour.

Ends rather abruptly, but still - an interesting historical document.

Driven - Volvo Amazon 122S

It's quite a sturdy thing, the Volvo Amazon. Built in an era of hefty-gauge steel and designed to withstand Scandinavian snow, it can best be summed up by the word 'solid'. But that's not to say it's not sprightly - the 122S SuckSqueezeBangBlow borrowed from the London arm of the Classic Car Club featured one or two underbonnet upgrades (its resolute unwillingness to idle in the cold suggesting some kind of aggressive cam to accompany the twin carbs), and was more than capable of keeping up with the traffic. This pristine example smelt just like my dad's old Citroën DS too, which is a good thing.

Quite odd to drive, though. Once you've worked out how to operate the seatbelt, which seems to be fashioned from some kind of archaic mountaineering equipment, you find yourself perched high on the bench seat with a huge near-vertical steering wheel pressed against your inner thighs. Pulling away into Old Street's rush-hour traffic is not quite as simple a task as one might have hoped. In fact, I looked a right tit. The action of the Amazon's accelerator is akin to pushing a stilletto into a cushion, with very little idea of how far the throttle is actually travelling, while the clutch acts like an on/off switch. Kangarooing, stalling and generally making an arse of myself, it wasn't a great show for the passing pedestrians. (Or maybe it was. Depends on your perspective, really.) Once on the move, though, the old Swedish barge was a lovely thing to drive. The steering was surprisingly direct, the damping soft enough to absorb speedbumps but firm enough to minimise wallowing in the corners and the gearshift much slicker than expected. A sense of tightness and precision could be felt throughout the car (besides the duff pedal actions, obviously), inspiring confidence and encouraging the driver to press on enthusiastically. It'd make an ideal daily classic for the discerning family man with a large flock to transport.

Would I buy one? No, probably not. But if a friend had one, I'd certainly pester them for the keys...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Lost Corvettes

This is a really unusual story. In 1989, the VH1 channel ran a competition to win 36 Corvettes, one representing each model year. This wasn't a Corvette each for 36 winners - one lucky chap, Dennis Amadeo, a Long Island carpenter, won the whole lot.
In a bizarre twist, the entire collection was sold to Manhattan artist Peter Max, a man with no marked interest in cars in general or Corvettes in particular, who told himself in a dream that he should buy them. Sadly, the cars were parked up in a Brooklyn basement and effectively abandoned for a couple of decades.

You can read the story in full in this excellent Jalopnik post.

Monday, 15 February 2010

mkII Escorts - 2009 rally highlights

The mkII Escort has been a rally linchpin for decades. It's gratifying to see that they're still dominating the stages today!

Red Victor One

Andy Frost has achieved something astonishing here - using a Vauxhall Victor as a base, he's created the world's fastest street-legal car. It's got a 9.3-litre V8, produces 2200bhp and will go from 0-60mph in one second. It can cover a standing quarter mile in 7.8 seconds, leaving Bugatti Veyrons and McLaren F1s blushing in its wake. And this is no big-budget pro build - Andy's owned the car since 1981, and has done the whole thing in his garage. How cool is that?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid

There'll be a new 911 debuting at the Geneva motor show... but that's not news. There always is.

What's different about this one is that it's a rather beautiful GT3 R race car that's also a hybrid. Don't worry, they haven't gone all airy-fairy Priusy on us - the GT3 R features a 4.0-litre flat-six that delivers 473bhp to the rear wheels, while the front wheels receive 80bhp-ish each from a pair of electric motors.
Brilliantly, the electric motors work on a KERS-style system that captures braking energy in a flywheel generator, then allows the driver to deploy it in short bursts rather than it just generally adding to the power.

So, you get an exciting thrust button like in a video game, plus the handling dynamics won't be compromised as the electrickery is largely equivalent in bulk and weight to the four-wheel-drive system that would have been there, so it's win-win. Lovely.

Classic tyre ads

They're not this dramatic nowadays, are they?

That must be the most intense intro Judith Chalmers ever had.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Roots in racing. Not posing.

Very, very cool little piece from Porsche. Lots to love here.

Ford Model (BD)A

This is an excellent idea, and beautifully executed. Take a 1929 Ford Model A, keep it looking as stock as possible, but fit the Cosworth BDA and drivetrain from a Group 4 Escort. 250bhp and a rally car bark? That'll surprise the purists...

Click here for more.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Integrale limo

There's just no excuse for this kind of behaviour. The Lancia Delta Integrale is commonly accepted to be one of the finest-handling cars of all time... so why the fuck would you turn one into a limousine, thereby removing its sole true function?

Via Evo


Right... so this is basically a Lamborghini Gallardo with the body of a Mustang dropped on top. Except it isn't that simple, as there's a couple more Mustang parts cars in there, thousands of hours of labour and countless bespoke parts. All for no obvious reason.
Click here for more.