Thursday, 30 June 2011

Lotus Esprit Superleggera

As part of their overarching plan to revolutionise the British car market at all levels, Lotus have announced that the forthcoming Esprit range (coming in 2013, probably) will be crowned by a mighty Superleggera iteration. Powered by a 612bhp version of their 4.8-litre V8, it promises 0-62mph in under three seconds and a top speed of 212mph. Brilliantly, Chief Technical Officer of Lotus, Wolf Zimmerman, says: 'This car will not be like the McLaren MP4-12C. It will be cooler 
– there will be more emotion.'
Auto Express have mocked up some pictures of what it'll probably look like. So, that'll be a standard Esprit with the exhausts from a Nissan GT-R and the rear wing from a Murciélago Superleggera, then. That'll do nicely.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Salon Privé 2011

Salon Privé is fast becoming one of the events on the global concours calendar, with quality and kudos to rival Pebble Beach or Villa d'Este. The manicured lawns in front of Syon House play host to a selection of rarities and curios from the automotive A list and, of course, the Champagne flows freely.
You can learn more here, and see a wonderful selection of photos here and here courtesy of slightlyfamous.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Pur Sang T35

The Bugatti Type 35 is the archetypal vintage racing car, combining thoroughbred performance with ineffably respectable heritage and a list of victories as long as your arm. Of course, they're a little pricey these days, not to mention tricky to find. So what if your EuroMillions numbers come up on Friday and you want a T35 in good nick to potter about the countryside in, with the occasional nostalgic blast to Goodwood or Brooklands? Well, Pur Sang are your lads. They've been building replica Type 35s for the last twenty years or so and, unlike the hotchpotch creations that generally spring to mind on hearing the word 'replica', they're built to be as close as you can get to a modern-construct reliable 'vintage' Bugatti.

Power comes from a supercharged 2.3-litre straight-eight, designed to be as mechanically and visually similar as possible to the original Bugatti design whilst remaining within modern tolerances for reliability. Further classic details such as the curved track-rod arms, hollow-forged front axle and the zig-zag wiring between body panels are retained, and wings are provided to ensure you don't get tugged by the fuzz (as it were) for running open-wheeled - although it would be borderline sacrilegious to fit them!

The driving experience is suitably olde worlde too. The clutch is crafted to original Bugatti spec, meaning that it has a certain light-switch quality (i.e. it's either on or off), so it'll take a little while to master smooth standing starts. Getting the thing started is a challenge in itself; once you've turned on the drip-feed oil tap that lubricates the supercharger, primed the engine and pressurised the fuel tank, you're thankfully spared the indignity of running round to the front to crank it by hand - Pur Sang are gracious enough to fit a starter button for you.

The available power - 170bhp, or thereabouts - is thunderous even by modern standards, given the T35's extremely low kerb weight. The fact that you have a four-speed gearbox to play with, and you're underpinned by leaf springs, with nothing more helpful than drum brakes to ebb away the speed, all adds to the experience; it's headscarf motoring for headcases. And what can you expect to pay for the privilege? The Old Racing Car Company can source you one for somewhere in the region of £125,000, which is spectacular value given what you get. A Pur Sang T35 will hold its value just as well as the genuine article, such is the respect for their engineering in vintage circles. Sure, you could spend the same money on a 997 GT2 or a V12 Vantage, but you won't feel quite the connoisseur that you undoubtedly will in your very own (fake) Bugatti.

Formula Drift: New Jersey

The New Jersey round of the Formula Drift tournament was fraught with biblical challenges; a dramatic storm decimated the paddock on the evening before the big day, with enough rain to make Noah shudder creating substantial puddling throughout the arena. Fortunately, though, it did dry out enough for the crowds to enjoy some world-class tyresmokin' hooliganism, courtesy of the opposing camps of Japan's technological tours de force and America's no-substitute-for-cubes entrants. You can see more here.

Gary Myers' Mustang burnout

Sometimes at SuckSqueezeBangBlow we like to get up close and personal with a car, exploring its hidden depths, digging around in its past to unearth an intriguing back-story and appreciating its performance and aesthetics on an objective and technical level. And sometimes it's necessary just to gawp in silent wonder at the bounteous images that fall before us. This post is an instance of the latter.

We see a chap called Gary Myers, owner of a supercharged first-generation Mustang, comprehensively destroying his tyres. Hungry for more? Click here.

Monday, 27 June 2011

WCC - Monster Camaro GTO

The concept of cutting the body from a classic car and stitching it to a modern is rapidly becoming a West Coast Customs trademark. In this case, we see a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro shell grafted onto the chassis and running gear of a 2008 Pontiac GTO, on behalf of Monster Energy and Jonathan Davis of KoЯn. WCC's work is currently showcased on the programme Custom My Ride where they make this kind of work look simple, when the truth is anything but; the fact is, West Coast Customs employ some of the most skilled customisers in the world. That they can create a car of this quality in a matter of weeks is testament to their talent! UK viewers can catch the show on DMAX every day at 7pm.

You can read the Camaro GTO press release here, and see a full photo gallery here.

Goodwood FoS 2011 - preview

I'm ridiculously excited about the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Squirming-around-in-my-chair excited. I attend a lot of motorsport events, meets, shows and suchlike, and the FoS is by far the most varied and fascinating weekend on the calendar; the diversity, the atmosphere, the way you can get so close to cars and drivers alike... it's magical. This year will be my seventh consecutive visit, and it's bound to be bigger and better than ever; the fiftieth anniversary of the E-Type will be celebration enough in itself, and no less important is the half-century of the Renault 4. Also featured will be the Indy 500 centenary - with bricks from The Brickyard having been laid specially at the start of the hillclimb - as well as a variety of current and former F1 drivers, the usual dazzling array of classic Touring Cars, rally cars, hot rods, vintage racers and everything else a petrolhead could wish for.

Appetite whetted? Here, enjoy a few snaps I took at last year's FoS. I'll report back soon...