Sunday, 31 July 2011

Chelsea Cruise - July 2011

The Chelsea Cruise, taking place on Chelsea Bridge on the last Saturday of each month, began in the seventies as a hot rod and custom meet. The police tended to turn a blind eye, so long as everyone behaved themselves, and it became an essential social hub for rodders, racers and rockabillies.
The Cruise lost its way a little in the nineties, when the Max Power crowd took the meet as their own and drew unwanted attention with their burnouts and street-racing. But as of 2004, the Chelsea Cruise got its mojo back - and it's been going from strength to strength ever since. SuckSqueezeBangBlow took a stroll down there this weekend to see what it was all about, and found a diverse and vibrant event with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The cars fell predominantly into two camps - muscle cars and classic Fords - but with a smattering of hot rods and moderns to keep the mix refreshing.
So if you find yourself in South London on the last Saturday of the month, get down to Chelsea Bridge for about 7:30pm and enjoy - it's free (obviously), and it's thoroughly enjoyable to see the increasing looks of astonishment on the faces of the locals, waiting for their buses or just heading for the park, as a huge car show rapidly forms around them. Click here for more info.

Friday, 29 July 2011

OCD 2002 Turbo

How to improve on the legendary BMW 2002 Turbo? Well, how about stripping it down to its component nuts and bolts and either reconditioning or replacing everything?
You have to admire this guy's tenacity - the rebuild represents a phenomenal amount of dedication, not to mention skill.
Click here for the full photographic story in all its OCD glory.

Stanced Burberry - Audi A4

It's tricky to balance which styles will work on different cars without making them look absurd or overdone. If you wanted to build a B7 Audi A4 into something noteworthy on the show scene, you might possibly consider one of the following elements; brown Volvo paint, pinstriping, Porsche 911 seats, a rollcage, an enormous audio install, 19" Work alloys, air-ride, a full interior retrim in Burberry cloth - any one of those could work quite nicely. But all of them at once? On paper, that sounds like a total mess.
...but it really isn't. In fact, the 1800 hours that have gone into the build of this unique Audi have created something genre-redefining. A truly Herculean effort.
Click the images to enlarge, and click here for more info.

Depth of Speed: The Bond

Have you ever owned a car that you felt you truly connected with on a personal level; a car that you wanted to keep forever as one of the family? Sky Lund has - and it's a rather lovely BMW 2002.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

CSP Ghia - VW Type 34 dragster

The CSP Ghia began life as a VW Type 34; known variously as Der Große Karmann in Germany, Razor Edge Ghia in the UK and Type 3 Ghia in the US, it's basically a Karmann Ghia but, er, slightly different. And of course, as you can see, this Type 34 has had rather a lot of elbow grease massaged into it.
It has a magnesium-blocked VW 2165cc engine, bulked out with more advanced tuning parts than you can shake a stick at and blurting out 500bhp, that allows it to run an 8.8s quarter-mile @156mph. To help cope with the power, it's now underpinned by a tube-frame chassis with integrated roll-cage, but the body, albeit heavily modified, is still very recognisably Razor Edge.
Arguably the coolest thing about it, however, is the paintjob. 500 man-hours went into that, and it's spectacular; click to enlarge the pics below, you'll see the CSP logo repeating throughout the black areas. That takes no small amount of skill...
You can learn more about it here.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

1969 'Stars & Stripes' Corvette

As racing cars go, you can't get a lot more scary, aggressive and downright desirable than the '69 BFGoodrich Greenwood Corvette, dubbed 'Stars & Stripes' for obvious reasons. Its 7.0-litre V8 produces 750bhp, the hugely flared arches seem to be offering up some kind of threatening challenge and the interior is a masterpiece of purposefulness. And much as it may look like a cartoon, it has serious provenance: this car competed at the Le Mans 24hr (clocking up 215mph on the Mulsanne straight), the Daytona 24hr, the Sebring 12hr and won the Watkins Glen 6hr.
Most excitingly of all, this thunderous glory - concours-restored in 2008 - could be yours. If you have somewhere between $750,000-$950,000 to spend, that is. See RM Auctions for details.

Frontline MG LE50

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the MGB, and what better way to celebrate than by spending £50k on one?

...stick with me, it makes more sense than it sounds. Developed by renowned MG tuners Frontline, the LE50 is a rather special, limited-run anniversary model. They start with a Heritage shell (i.e. a brand new one, so no rust concerns) and give it the strengthening of its life, with reinforcement to the sills, floors and at various other points throughout the body.
Power is taken care of by an all-new, 2012-spec Mazda MX-5 2.0-litre unit, which has been tickled with billet conrods and crankshaft, Teflon-coated pistons and a more muscular throttle-body, to tease out 215bhp. In a car that weighs 900kg, that gives you 240bhp/ton, which is a frightening prospect in a 'B...
...but, of course, they've thought of that. So you get a modern evolution of the tried-and-tested Costello suspension geometry, a five-linked rear axle, a six-speed 'box and colossal brakes - which means it'll hit 60mph in five seconds and go on to 160mph, while also handling and stopping like a modern sports car.
Yes, this performance would be achievable in a proper old MGB, but you'd almost certainly have to live with a stripped out interior and a spiky-cammed engine that's reluctant to idle, and brakes that test the fabric of your gusset at every corner. In the LE50, you get a full leather & alcantara-trimmed interior, Wilton carpets, air-con, heated seats and a Harman Kardon stereo.

If you've got £50k to spend on a car, you'd be a moron to buy anything else, frankly. Click here for more info.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cars & Coffee

Cars and Coffee is a great idea for an event; akin to the Goodwood Breakfast Club in the UK, C&C is held regularly at various locations across the USA, allowing car enthusiasts to get together in the mists of dawn, pore over a variety of classics and rarities, and make it home for breakfast with the family.

To get a flavour of what it's all about, check out - a site that diligently snaps all that goes on at the Irvine, California event. There are thousands of hi-res photos there, with the archives going back years. Marvellous.

'57 Corvette racer

Debuting at Marlboro, dominating at Lime Rock and embarrassing the competition at Watkins Glen, the car you see here is the most successful 1957 Corvette racer ever. Featuring period factory tweaks such as finned brake drums, competition air ducting and heavy-duty springs, it was one of six cars built to this spec by Chevrolet and delivered to racing drivers.
Discovered in 2007, having sat unused for the previous thirty years, it's been restored to its original fifties racing spec by the Legendary Motorcar Company. And, quite frankly, it's beautiful. Astonishingly beautiful.
Click here for more.