Friday, 30 September 2011

Locos Banditos

This is the most incredible paint-job I've seen in some time. The work of K-Daddyz Kustomz, this 1960 Chevy Wagon was created for one of the Locos Banditos, a troupe of custom culture enthusiasts who believe in keeping their cars old school and outrageous. It also features a hot 409ci V8 and air-ride, but it's really all about that astonishingly complex paint - you can keep coming back to it and staring with mouth agape, and each time you'll spot fresh detail. Simply sensational.

More pics here.

Terraplane Lowrider

The word 'lowrider' may generally conjure up images of mid-sixties Impalas or late-seventies GM G-bodies, but the subculture was born in the thirties, and what you see in these photos is a fine example of the breed. It's a 1937 Hudson Terraplane, a typically gangster '30s profile with suicide doors, running boards and a bluff, uncompromising nose. In an interesting twist, many of the modifications echo those more usually associated with the aforementioned '60s/'70s machines - wires with low-pros, candy paint, hydraulic suspension - this being the scene that owner Jose Gomez grew up with. Menacing, isn't it?
Click here for more.

Mazda 323 BF V6

The fifth-generation Mazda 323 (aka Familia & BF), produced in the late eighties, seems to have thus far been largely absent from the modifying radar. However, given the growing fondness for three-box retro JDM metal these days, it's inevitable that we'll increasingly see them emerging on the scene.
This example has had a 2.5 V6 transplant, to exponentially increase power over its humble family car wheeze; this extra muscle is hidden rather well by a largely stock exterior, although that in-your-face exhaust is hard to miss. A subtle drop over some well-chosen rims offers just the right amount of purpose, while spoiler geeks will spot a lip from, somewhat incongruously, a Camaro Z/28. Nicely done.
Click here for more.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

PS Autoart 911 Spyder

The Spyder name has been an inextricable strand of Porsche DNA for decades, following the giant-killing ethos of modest power enhanced by light weight and low drag, with a cut-down windscreen and lack of roof as signature details.
Paul Stephens, celebrated builder of bespoke Porsches under the PS Autoart banner, has recently completed the project you see in these pictures - a unique 911 Spyder. While Porsche never made an official 911 Spyder, the PS creation is pretty much what they would have come up with if they had; starting with a tired '89 Targa, PS stripped it down to first principles and built up the Spyder using bespoke aluminium panels, deleting various unnecessaries to bring the weight down to just 950kg. In their words, 'it was never intended to be a Caterham chaser; deleting the rear luggage cover, roll cage, heavy rubber floor mats and basing the car on an early coupe rather than a late Targa would probably drop that weight close to 800kg, but as well as being light weight the PS was always going to be a car designed to drive properly and look stunning, so the extra 50kg worth of steel bracing in the Targa’s shell was considered a worthwhile compromise for the rigidity it added'.

It's powered by a cultured and civilised 250bhp flat-six rather than a snarling, rasping race engine, while the ride has been tuned to offer a balance of delicacy, lightness and precision. This is not, then, an all-out racer, but an exercise in quality and aesthetics as well as usable performance. Currently just one PS Autoart 911 Spyder exists, and is sitting in their showroom with a price-tag of £125,000 in the window. But if you wanted to commission your own, you may find them to be all ears...again, in their own words, 'it would certainly be interesting to see how this car compares to an even lighter, even more focused example, perhaps with a rorty twin-plug, short-stroke motor on individual throttle bodies. 300bhp and 800kg on sticky tyres would make something of a 4.0 RS chaser around the right circuit'. You know what to do... give them a call.

Twini Cooper S

An original Mini Cooper S with an engine in the boot isn't as sacrilegious as you might think. In fact, it's quite an important curio from the annals of Mini history.
In 1963, following the success of Alec Issigonis' twin-engined Moke project, BMC decided to develop a couple of Twinis to see how they'd fare in racing and rallying. The simple answer turned out to be: not well. One of the cars was entered into the 1963 Targa Florio, but the rear engine overheated and the car enjoyed no success. Nevertheless, it was an interesting idea and potentially, with further development, could have been a viable prospect.

The car we see here is a replica, and a faithful one. The base car is an original 1965 mkI Mini Cooper S, while both engines are genuine 1275cc Cooper S units with three-synchro gearboxes; they put out about 90bhp each and can be used independently of one another, so you have three options - a 90bhp front-wheel drive Mini, a 90bhp rear-wheel drive Mini, or a 180bhp four-wheel drive Mini.
The car took around 2,000 hours to build and is finished to an incredible, award-winning standard. And now it can be yours, for the relatively bargainous price of £25,000. Just click here.

Lada Riva: desirable

You read that title correctly. You can see from the photos that it's accurate.

Time and again we repeat the mantra: everything has potential. And the Riva, embarrassment though many unfairly consider it to be, has a classic three-box profile that lends itself well to any of the treatment that would work on, say, a Cressida, a mkII Cortina or a 131 Mirafiori. The JDM/semi-boso touches lend this example an air of menace, but in terms of brutal simplicity, you can't go wrong with a chunky set of arches, wide rims on low-pros and a purposeful stance.
Learn more here.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Beetle heritage in HTML5

Volkswagen are celebrating the launch of the revamped New Beetle with a clever website, showing a scrolling timeline of Beetle heritage through the ages. Click the image and see.

The new model does much to dispel its predecessor's cutesy image too; gone is the dash-mounted vase, replaced by Fender speakers, in-your-face 'Turbo' badging and a more menacing attitude. This New(er) Beetle could turn out to be more than just a Golf with a jelly-mould on top...

Volvo Concept You

So, is the Concept You going to be Volvo's Vel Satis or a genuine rival for the Mercedes CLS? Hopefully the latter, as the four-door coupé market does lack a little panache which would be offered in spades by this swoopy little number.
The suicide doors - they probably won't officially call them that - offer a pillarless entry to an über-premium cockpit swathed in high-quality woods and leathers, while onboard data and entertainment systems are at the very cutting edge of what's possible in a car without actually ram-raiding Currys. (The subwoofer, for example, is powered by air. Somehow.) Performance-wise, it won't be a racer - it's designed for wafting execs rather than the traffic light Grand Prix - but the involvement of tuning lunatics Polestar could lead to an AMG-rivalling muscle variant. On the whole, then, all's looking good for the Concept You. And it's a pretty thing too, don't you think?

Monday, 26 September 2011

993 GT2 Evo II Twin-Turbo

Got £70k burning a hole in your pocket? Hate your neighbours? Why not irritate them by road-registering this 911 racer, then firing it up at the crack of dawn every morning?
The full spec of the impressively-named Porsche 911 (993) GT2 Evo II Twin-Turbo is more muscular than the brains of mere mortals can handle, but try starting with these key points: 500bhp+, magnesium BBS wheels, carbon-fibre bodywork, enormous rollcage, perspex windows, Brembo race brakes. Imagine strapping yourself to a pair of Stinger missiles. This would exactly as fast (and comfortable).
If you can afford it, you need this in your life. Click here.

Citroën Tubik

The Citroën H van is the backbone of France, the Gallic Transit; its corrugated panels unashamedly wear its rural purpose with pride, a never-ending fleet of the bluff-nosed workhorses providing bread and meat across France for generations.

The Tubik takes the H van and catapults it into the future. Gone are the tin-roof sides, replaced by an overall aura of menace and intimidation through uncompromising slab-sided design. But lift open the vast one-piece side door and it gets altogether fluffier, offering a purple velour paradise last seen in seventies custom culture.
It's a concept, of course, which is why it looks kind of like GM's Futurliner of the early fifties. So, then, will we see a restored Tubik popping up in 2068? Hopefully. Because it looks terrifyingly brilliant - it'd be a shame for someting this odd not to come to anything. (And let's face it, it won't be making production...)