Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Outrageous Fords at Wheels Day

Wheels Day is a fantastically diverse show, and the blazing sunshine brought unprecedented levels of entrants for 2011.
Being a Ford man, I naturally made a beeline for the plethora of bubble-arched mkI Escorts and HPE-engined, forest-arched mkIIs. However, the three most extreme blue ovals on show this year (and detractors of the retro Ford scene take note) weren't Escorts; instead, we find an Anglia, a Corsair and a Capri tearing up the rule book and muscling into everybody's field of vision.

First up, we have rather a well-known Anglia that you may recognise. Semi-spaceframed and Cosworth YB Turbo-powered, it wears its fresh paintwork well, eschewing its former rat-look(ish) bodywork. A phenomenal piece of kit.

This Corsair was a riot of detail; the bespoke interior, the gleaming V8, the super-smooth engine bay - the number of hours of work that have gone into this just boggles the mind.

...and this Capri is a fabulous fusion of 21st-century technology and 1970s style. Like the Corsair, every inch of it represents a huge amount of careful planning and skilful execution. And those colours cannot be ignored.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The Final Cruise Company

Spotted at Wheels Day 2011, this is no show car with a novelty paint job - The Final Cruise Company is a real business to carry you to the boneyard in style. Because who wants to settle for an anonymous Volvo or Mercedes for their last car journey on earth...?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Lancia Delta S4 replica

Now, this is a thoroughly exciting proposition. Rally Legend Replicas are in the business of manufacturing replica Group B Lancia Delta S4s - both in 'Stradale' (road) or 'Corse' (rally) spec - using original Lancia methods and materials wherever possible. This is as close as you're ever going to get to owning a brand new 1980s rally monster, with a raft of options available making each one unique. Definitely one for the lottery wishlist. Click here for more info.

Audi & Lancia @ Eifel

Some glorious wastegate-chattering Group B mischief from the 2010 Eifel Rallye Festival, with a bit of bonus Stratos action thrown in for good measure. Interested in attending the event this year? Click here.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Porsche 911 Turbo S 'Edition 918 Spyder'

Well, there's a confusing name if ever there was one. What you're seeing here is a special edition 911 Turbo S, named in honour of the 918 Spyder. And your Spyder-edition 911 can be ordered as a tin-top rather than a cabrio, just to confuse people.

Basically, this is a 911 Turbo S that will only be offered for sale to customers who are also buying a 918 Spyder; it features acid green and carbon-fibre touches to echo the detail of its bigger brother, although the engine and running gear are all stock Turbo S stuff. It's a playboy's plaything, created to make special customers feel more special and ensure a healthy market for used limited-run editions in the future, just like the 911 Speedster. And why not, eh?

Zakspeed mkII Escort

This is an interesting project. It started back in 2005, with this mkII 1300L...

...plenty of this kind of thing has been going on...

...and now it looks like this.

The skill and ingenuity in this build is pretty staggering - you can see every stage of the Escort's development here. Hopefully you'll be seeing it pounding a circuit near you in the not-too-distant future...

Citroën BX Digit

The Citroën BX is a much underrated car, employing the advanced hydropneumatics of the CX and packaging them in an aesthetically eighties set-square hatchback.
My favourite version was the BX Digit, of which around 4000 examples were built in 1985. It was based on the BX GT (powered by a Peugeot 1.9-litre engine), but featured a revolutionary digital dash display, incorporating a multi-function on-board computer. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's spotted the similarity between this and the Lamborghini Reventón...

1966 Barris Batmobile replica

There have been many iterations of Batmobile over the superhero's lifetime, ranging from bog-standard Corvettes to bespoke hot-rods with flamethrowers and fins. (You can see the full history illustrated here.)
Arguably the coolest Batmobile is George Barris's 1966 creation, as used in the TV series. Brilliantly, thanks to an Indiana-based company called Fibreglass Freaks, you can buy a brand new recreation, complete with 350ci crate V8, hugely accurate detailing and even a Batphone.
Want one of your very own? Click here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

So-Cal Mercedes - a way of life

A heartwarming tale of one man's passion for Mercedes-Benz and, more broadly, So-Cal Merc culture. Forget your celebrity tie-ins and sponsorship deals, this is credible brand endorsement.

Nismo Leaf RC

Well, this ought to confuse people. The world's first production electric car that's designed to be sensible (rather than sporty, like a Tesla), and it's gone all racey. The bespoke Nismo bodywork is all carbon-fibre, as is the new monocoque supporting the mid-mounted engine and fancy double-wishbone suspension. It's far lower, wider and longer than standard, and rolls on forged 18" wheels.

Don't get too excited, though. All of this carbon-fibre chicanery may have dropped the weight to an impressive sub-950kg, but it's still powered by the road car's electric motor. So you'll get 0-62mph in seven seconds and a top speed of - wait for it - 93mph. And at that velocity, your range is a slightly disappointing twenty minutes. Still, it looks pretty cool, doesn't it? Kind of like a Scirocco that's been sat on.

Larger-than-Life Camaro RS

I've been a massive fan of the first-generation Camaro ever since I was about seven years old, when I received a Z/28 model kit as a gift. It set me on a long road of modifying bits of plastic to amp up the awesomeness of my models... and in the end, my little Camaro ended up looking a little like this one.

Obviously this one is slightly more awesome, because it's real.

Via Stanceworks.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Renault 4 Gordini

More than eight million Renault 4s were built over the course of its production run. So why aren't they ubiquitous on today's roads? Well, their cheap, utilitarian nature and rugged basicness meant that they were bought to be used rather than pampered and cherished. Renault's first front-wheel drive car, it was produced from 1961-1992 and had already sold a million by 1966. Where are they all now? Scrapped, crushed or rusting away in forgotten corners of fields across France (indeed, across the globe).

But here we have a beautifully rescued example. It's a 1967 model that's been restored in a deliberately unoriginal manner, taking styling cues and upgrades from other models and trends of the 1960s. Rather than keep the 845cc engine and four-speed gearbox, the spicier 1397cc OHV and five-speed 'box from a later Renault 5 Gordini were installed, to bestow the classic lines with surprising oomph.

You can read all about the restoration (as well as pretty much anything else you could ever wish to know about Renault 4s) here. And if you weren't a fan before, this stunning example way well change your mind...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Group B - The Days of Madness

If you only watch one car-related video today, make it this one. Breathtaking, poetic, disturbing and beautiful in equal measure.

Mini - Inspired by Goodwood

The idea of a luxury Mini is nothing new. As far back as 1963, well-heeled urban dwellers who wanted Rolls-Royce quality in a city-friendly package could order a Radford de Ville, complete with leather seats, shag-pile carpets, Speedwell engines and - most exciting of all - a tailgate conversion.

The spirit of the de Ville lives on in the new 'Inspired by Goodwood' edition Mini. Designed by Rolls-Royce (in part, at least) and limited to just 1,000 units, it features RR's own exclusive woods and leathers, luxuriously frivolous touches such as cashmere headlining and lambswool carpet, and power courtesy of the Cooper S. The cost of all this compactly-packaged luxury? Fifty grand to you, sir...