Tuesday, 30 November 2010

V12 Lamborghini parade

As you must by now be sadly aware, the Lamborghini Murcielago is no more. So, what better way to say goodbye than with a parade of iconic V12 Lamborghinis of yore?

(Normally at this point I'd say something like 'I'll have the (x)', but I just can't choose between them...)

The five ages of Gran Turismo

The original Gran Turismo was released when I was sixteen years old, and it was the most exciting game I'd ever seen. Not only could you race Skylines and Imprezas (which weren't so ubiquitous on Britain's roads back then), but you could drive everyday cars too - Peugeot 206s, Honda Civics... the realism was mesmerising. I used to bore my dad with replays, saying 'look, it's just like watching motor racing on telly!'. How wrong I was. Looking back at it now, it seems blocky and basic.

Of course, it's all relative. It was the best that was available at the time; the cars were made of a few hundred polygons apiece, whereas by Gran Turismo 4 each one was made of over 4000. The cars of Gran Turismo 5 consist of half a million polygons apiece, which is frankly mind-boggling. It's scarcely a game any more, it's an art form. I imagine in five years time GT5 will be very dated, but for now it looks phenomenal. Take a peek at the videos below, you can see how the series grew organically into the visual goliath it is today.

Gran Turismo - 1998, PlayStation

Gran Turismo 2 - 2000, PlayStation

Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec - 2001, PlayStation 2

Gran Turismo 4 - 2005, PlayStation 2

Gran Turismo 5 - 2010, PlayStation 3

Latham F2 Super Sports

The Latham F2 Super Sports was a kit car based on the Triumph Dolomite, circa 1987. There were 26 built, most using the 2.0 16v Sprint engine. They weighed around 700kg, and were (supposedly) the world's first open-top road cars to feature all-composite monocoque construction. You can learn more here.

Oulton Park, 1988

Various awesome retro machines here, including an epic battle between a mkIII Escort and a Ginetta, and an inexpertly-driven Rover SD1. The star of the show, however, is the wide-arched mkI Escort... for further info (and various other insanely wide-arched racers) click here.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Gallardo Spyder Performante

In LA, the covers have been lifted from Sant'Agata's latest - the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante. Think of it as a Superleggera version of the current Spyder, with 65kg having been shaved from it via the prodigious use of aluminium and carbon-fibre. The 570bhp 5.2-litre V10 gets you to 62mph in 3.9s and goes on to 201mph (although you wouldn't want to do that with the roof down), meaning it's just half a second off the coupe's acceleration pace and only 1mph slower at the top end, as if you'd ever notice. The reprofiled nose creates extra downforce over the front axle, while the lower C02 figure adds texture to Lambo's promise of 'less weight, more fascination'. I'm sure Balboni would approve.

Race of Champions Audi-tastrophe

The Race of Champions is not a good place to be driving an Audi. Just look what Heikki Kovalainen did to this R8:

...and look what Michèle Mouton did!

The Speed Camera Lottery

The latest Fun Theory act from Volkswagen makes the (perhaps slightly obvious) point that the most effective way to stop people speeding is to offer them cash not to. Nicely done.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Ferrari 512 BB LM

The Ferrari 512 BB LM was a factory-developed endurance racer based around the roadgoing 512 BB. Honed in Pininfarina's wind tunnel, the extended nose and roofline-enveloping tail increased the length of the car by eighteen inches, but overall weight was 1235lb less. The 5.0-litre flat-twelve was tweaked to produce 480bhp (120bhp up on standard), with power meeting tarmac via tyres that were 10" wide at the front and a monstrous 13" at the rear.

They were never enormously competitive or successful, finishing far down the rankings on the occasions that they didn't retire or crash out. But that's not really the point of the BB LM; the fact that any factory, let alone one as proud and meticulous as Ferrari, should put such vast efforts into developing a racer from a road car to compete at the very top levels of contemporary motorsport when there's so little to be drawn in return is truly something to cherish. And, of course, the cars look and sound astonishing - quite a legacy for the development teams to be proud of.

You can see more photos here.

Hooning with Skogenracing

They love old Fords. They hate tyres. They use one to destroy the other.
(You may need to turn your speakers off, the soundtrack's kind of awful...)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Climb Attack Brazil

Has a Hyundai ever looked this good...?

Here we find Rhys Millen drifting a Genesis up the Serra Do Rio Do Rastro in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Beautiful scenery? Check. Impressive cinematography? Check. Copious smoke? That's a big check...

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Metropolis II

Metropolis II is an art installation by a guy named Chris Burden that features 1,200 toy cars. Every hour, a hundred thousand cars pass through his city of wood blocks and Lego. Why? Well, why not?

Stanced Bora

The VW Bora (or Jetta, as it's known in the States) is the Golf's oft-forgotten brother, sidelined as being the overly sensible family-sized version of the popular hatchback. Of course, canny second-hand buyers know that it's the better value option once someone else has swallowed the depreciation; after all, they're exactly the same car - the Bora just has a bigger boot.

They can be made to look pretty aggressive too, as these photos demonstrate: rims, stance and you're good to go. And this detail treatment of the headlights is superb...

More here.

Fiat enters the US

They've made a right pig's ear of this.

There are two groups of people in the US: people who've never heard of Fiat, and people who have heard of them and think they make unreliable grot-boxes. So what's the best way to officially introduce the brand to the market for the first time? A horribly cheesy advert with a godawful soundtrack that's way too long for the American attention span? Yeah, that'll work.

Rally Costa Brava 2010

Click here for an excellent set of photos of the build-up to the historic Rally Costa Brava 2010.

You can learn more about the event here.

Patinated Type 38

How much would you pay for a pile of Bugatti bits? A few hundred? A couple of grand?
This barn-find Type 38, dismantled, incomplete and lacking engine and body, sold at auction recently for £68,000. Click here for further info from Bonhams.

For reference, here's what it would have looked like:

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Pirelli return to F1

Bridgestone have been the sole supplier of tyres to the Formula One championship since 2007. Prior to that they used to fight it out with Michelin, with drivers' on-screen stats featuring a little 'B' or 'M' to denote who was running what. But after nineteen years out of the sport, Pirelli will be returning as F1's official tyre company for the 2011 season; it will be a welcome return - after all, Nino Farina won the very first Grand Prix on Pirelli rubber back in 1950. Given that, with the absence of refuelling, races are often won and lost on tyre strategy, they will be under massive pressure to deliver quality product... after all, the last thing you want is Fernando Alonso shaking his fist at you as his super-softs delaminate.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Risky Devils: extended cut

Chicago's Risky Devils don't drift for fame or money - they just do it because that's what they do. (A cynic might argue that filming yourself doing it and sharing it around the internet is a quest for fame, but hey...)
By the looks of it, they crash a lot too. But that's all part of the fun.

Risky Devils / Extended Cut from Casey Bohrnell on Vimeo.

Panther 365 GTB/4

There are few cars as beautiful as the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'. So would you be brave enough to rebody one as a shooting break? Luigi Chinetti Jr was. In 1974 the son of the three-times Le Mans winner Luigi Chinetti penned a radically altered design, with detail layout by Gene Garfinkle and Bob Gittelman, which was made into a reality by Panther Westwinds of Surrey.
A multiple concours winner, the Panther Daytona has only covered around 5,000 miles from new and is worth around half a million dollars today. (This, to me, seems a bit of a shame - why design in extra practicality if you're not going to then spend your days touring around the hotels and casinos of Europe...?)

Peking-to-Paris 2010

This year's Peking-to-Paris rally featured a raft of historic vehicles ranging from a 1907 Itala 40 to a '68 Vauxhall Viva GT, via a Bentley Le Mans, Aston Martin DB5, Alfa Romeo 6C, Tatra 87 and many others. It's testament to the tenacity and mechanical ingenuity of the competitors that 86 of the 98 entrants reached the finish line, braving extremes of weather, near-impenetrable terrain, hostile locals and all manner of automotive hiccups. This picture of a slippery Beetle sums up the spirit of it pretty nicely, I think:

The first Peking-to-Paris rally took place in 1907; five cars started, four of which managed to make it to Paris, despite having no maps of the uncharted route and, of course, no navigation or communication equipment or access to garages. The route was revisted in 1997, then again in 2007 as a centenary run. The fifth Peking-to-Paris will take place in 2013 - see here for further info.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Autumn Drift Matsuri 2010

The soundtrack may be slightly irritating, but the breathtaking cinematography more than makes up for it. Watch it on fullscreen!

Autumn Drift Matsuri 2010 - Ebisu Circuit, Japan from Remi Schouten on Vimeo.

'68 Corvette Sportwagon

Quite unusual, this. It's a '68 Corvette that's been made into a kind of shooting break (except without any side windows), and I really think it works. The bowtie tail-light may be a mistake, but the extended roofline doesn't look out of place at all, and that gorgeous Kandy Apple Red finishes it off beautifully. The breathed-on 327cu.in. V8 suggests that it got some go to back up the show too...

Click here.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Gran Turismo 5 - Kevin Butler trailer

I'm so excited about this game now... and Kevin Butler's just building the tension further with this trailer. Even if he does pronounce it 'tureesmo'.

Maserati 3500GT Spyder

The 1960 Maserati 3500GT Spyder has one of the all-time classic sports car profiles. Styled by Vignale, the 2+2 convertible is powered by a 3.5-litre straight-six with twin 42DCOE Webers, while the sumptuous aluminium superleggera bodywork is beautiful almost beyond words.
But the best thing of all? The 1961 model, featuring Lucas fuel injection, wore a 'GTi' badge on the boot. Eat that, Volkswagen.

Cars 2 - trailer

Can you believe it's four years since we all went down to Radiator Springs...?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Panther Six

The Panther Six is a unique automotive curiosity, built to be excessive in all ways just for the sheer hell of it. A sixteen feet-long two-seater, it has a twin-turbocharged 8.2-litre V8 sitting over the back axle... and two axles at the front.
The plan was to create unbeatable levels of performance, and the headline figure of 600bhp made this dream look achievable. However, mounting a heavy Detroit V8 quite near the back of the car (and worryingly high up, too) made exploiting the power a little tricky. Still, being able to band around the holy grail of top speeds - 200mph - seldom requires proof, so the occupants could happily relax in their opulent surroundings, kept cool by the aircon system from a Mack truck whilst watching TV in the dash and calling their brokers on individual armrest-mounted telephones.

It was never a realistic proposition, of course, and the receivers were called in before Panther were able to build more than one example (although a subsequent second car was built from parts). But it's proof that any idea, now matter how absurd, can become reality given the necessary tenacity. Designer Robert Jankel drew inspiration from Tyrrel's six-wheeled F1 cars and allowed the madness to flow from there. And, for better or worse, it came to fruition. This Six, now on sale for £150,000, is a captivating glimpse of seventies ostentatiousness; if nothing else, it's much weirder than a Countach.
You can read more here.