Thursday, 31 March 2011

Coppa Intereuropa Storica - Monza 2010

This event, run over the weekend of 4-6th June last year at Monza, celebrates various different categories of classic racing car, the key proviso for entry being that it has to be a model that has made racing history. A broad criteria, but one that ensures quality as well as variety.

Fancy attending this year? Click here. After watching this video, you'll be sorely tempted...
Look out for the Cobra's exhaust getting ripped off at 4m39s!

Big-block Malibu

I've got a thing for estate cars with obscene power. It probably stems from watching Rickard Rydell pounding Brands Hatch in a BTCC 850 T5-R when I was a nipper. I just think muscle wagons are cool, and the likes of the Audi RS6 Avant and BMW M5 Touring put a big silly grin on my face.

...but even cooler than factory muscle is the growing cult of the back-street drag wagon. Take this Chevrolet Malibu, for example. It's got a 489ci big-block kicking out 650bhp. The rear tyres are cartoon-wide. It accelerates in a manner that could tear your reproductive organs clean off. Yet it's finished in unassuming refrigerator white, for when you need to take your hedge-clippings to the dump on Sunday. It's gloriously absurd, yet actually pretty sensible; I mean, it's cheaper than a 911 and you can get a wardrobe in the back. Brilliant.

Want more? See the good folks of Car Craft...

'87 Ferrari Testarossa

There's nothing new to be said here. We've looked at the Testarossa before - see here. Hell, this is just an excuse to share a few pictures of this colossally wide eighties beast in all its eighties flat-twelve glory. And what's wrong with that?

This particular example can be yours for $65k, courtesy of Eugene, Oregon's Sports Car Shop.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Saab PhoeniX

An apt name, that. After the near-terminal tribulations endured by Saab, this concept represents a bold new future for the firm. (The capitalised 'X',incidentally, refers to their 'XWD' four-wheel drive system.) The design, it goes without saying, is radical. Penned by Jason Castriota, the draughtsman behind the Ferrari P4/5 and Bertone Mantide, it showcases a new design language that Saab choose to call 'aeromotional'.
There's a BMW engine in there; a 1600cc turbocharged four offering 200bhp, coupled with a 34bhp electric motor charged by a kind of KERS system. So, it's attractive, aggressive, quick enough to be fun, reasonably green... it's all pie in the sky, right?
Hopefully not. If you cross your fingers hard enough, this could morph into the next Saab 9-3.

Monday, 28 March 2011

P4/5 Competizione at the 'Ring

Jim Glickenhaus's baby, the Ferrari P4/5 Competizione, has recently been testing at the Nordschleife. The racing iteration of the P4/5 - based on the Ferrari F430, unlike the road-going Enzo-based creation - boasts 450bhp in a super-light 1230kg carbon-fibre shell. The Pininfarina-designed project isn't officially endorsed by Ferrari, although they're not exactly unhappy about it, following as it does a great tradition of coachbuilt Modenese one-offs. You can learn more about it here.

C63 AMG Coupé

The Mercedes C63 AMG is one of the most exciting family movers that money can buy - it's huge enough to haul the whole family in comfort - indeed, in opulent luxury - yet it has the power to rip your face clean off, thanks to its monstrous nat-asp 6.2-litre V8. Furthermore, it has by far and away the best exhaust note of any four-door saloon ever produced (with the possible exception of the Maserati Quattroporte), with a menacing rumble like rolling thunder.

Of course, a coupé version was always inevitable. With competition from the BMW M3 and Audi RS5, Mercedes would have missed a trick had they not welded up the back doors and smooshed down the rear profile a little. And it works marvellously - it still has that stout Merc brutality up front, but the rear half now has swooping muscle car architecture, conjuring up images of sixties Detroit iron, which is very much in-keeping with the brutal character of that engine.

There's a 'performance package' available too, raising power from 451 to 480bhp, providing a 0-62mph time of 4.4s. You get a wider track and thicker anti-roll bars than the saloon as well, making it all the more playful. For £57k, it all looks like pretty good value.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

VW Bulli

This concept may not be as cute or funky as a Type 2, but it's a step in the right direction. It's a zero-emissions vehicle, powered by a clever lithium-ion battery that takes under an hour to charge and can run for 186 miles at up to 87mph. So that'll keep the hippies happy. The ICE is controlled by a removable dash-mounted iPad (which is all very well until your kids take it out and carry it to school with them, leaving you with no stereo) and, best of all, it's got a massive VW badge on the nose, just like an old splittie. Plenty of room under the dash for a bong and a motheaten kaftan too...

Ford Sierra 2.3 Ghia

Memories of the Sierra tend to focus on the fire-snorting RS Cosworth, all outrageous body addenda and whooshing wastegates. But the Sierra range was broad, encompassing utilitarian base-model family runarounds to luxurious middle-management affairs, such as the 2.3 Ghia. With its creamy-smooth V6 engine (mated to an autobox for optimum motorway wafting), spongey seats and excitingly futuristic selection of dash lights, it was a curvaceous harbinger of things to come in an age of set-square design. Once ubiquitous, they're a pretty rare sight on the roads today; good news, then, that Ford's Heritage fleet exists to keep such cars as mementos of times past.

You can read more about this particular Sierra (as well as various other members of the Heritage fleet) here.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mazda MX-5 GT

The Mazda MX-5 is, if you're in the right frame of mind, the ultimate car. It's lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and designed specifically to be fun. What more could you want?
Well, since you're asking, less weight and more power are always entertaining suggestions. And here's a spectacular green manifestation of just that - the MX-5 GT. It's a hardcore racer with an absurdly complicated rollcage, 275bhp (yes, a whole 117bhp more than the road car!), a six-speed sequential paddleshift 'box and a weight reduction of 323kg, taking it down to just 850kg. That's about as much as an old Mini, so obviously it's pretty nippy; quick enough, in fact, to despatch the 0-60mph run in just three seconds and go onto 160mph. Girly hairdresser's car? I should coco.

Sebring 1965 features endless galleries of period race photography. In this collection, for example, we can see the unusual world of Sebring in 1965. Unusual? Well, it's not every day you see LM-spec GT40s rolling down Main Street...

Click here for the full gallery.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

BMW MotoGP Pace Car

The 1-series makes for a hideous little hatchback, but rather a handsome coupe. Stuff in various oily bits from the M divison and you've got quite a compelling package too... little wonder the MotoGP series have adopted the 1-series M Coupe as this year's pace car.

OK, it's not exactly the same as the M Coupe you'd find in the showroom. It shares the 334bhp twin-turbo three-litre straight-six, but also employs extensive carbon-fibre panels as well as polycarbonate windows. An Akrapovic titanium exhaust provides useful advertising for the firm (who are better known for making bike exhausts), while fully-adjustable KW suspension keeps the thing planted. The visual drama carries through to the interior, where the driver and passenger are treated to a full rollcage, bespoke Recaros and six-point harnesses.

If BMW have any sense, they'll be offering an M Coupe Evo in exactly this spec in due course.