Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Lola-Chevrolet T70GT mkIIIB

It's a multiple-podium winner. It's a retro wedge of rolling thunder. And it's arguably one of the most beautiful endurance racers ever produced.
Due to be auctioned at Bonhams' December Sale, this Lola is the ex-Sid Taylor car that dominated the endurance racing sphere in 1969-70, its vast Chevy V8 and swooping aerodynamics proving an unstoppable combination. Fancy treating yourself to a naughty Christmas present? The guide price is £500,000-600,000. Click here.

'38 Beetle prototype

There are restorations, and there are restorations. If you saw a Beetle crumbling away in a similar state to this one, you might be tempted to leave it be and source an easier project. But thankfully, somebody saw past the cut-and-shut rear window and the Russian engine to the heart of this car: it's a 1938 Beetle prototype - the very genesis of Volkswagen.
The restoration, of course, was painstaking, down to the NOS 1938 seat fabric and correct nitrocellulose lacquer. A slice of history saved from an ignominious end.
Click here for more.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nothelle Bunny

The mkI Golf (or 'Rabbit', as our American cousins would have it) has been a stalwart of the retro scene for so long that it's pretty rare to see one that's genuinely different. But this New Jersey sweetheart shows that the old girl's still got a trick or two up her sleeve...
The eyewatering orange paintwork (the OEM Volkswagen shade, no less) is complemented by original chrome trim and the standard interior, none of which gives away the beating heart beneath the bonnet: the famously tuneable VAG 1.8 Turbo unit. The stance is aggressive yet playful, and those rims? They're 16" Nothelle Classics, whose attraction lies in their fundamental weirdness. Nice job.
Click here for more.

Hoarders House

As the story goes, Hoarders House was home to a man who had been made redundant in the seventies, set up a small milking business with his wife, then died in the eighties. She remained there for a time afterwards, but now the house and its collection of retro cars is being gradually eaten by the elements. Eerie, isn't it?
You can see more here.

Toyota GT-86

Is this the most ridiculous press photo you've ever seen?

Rub your eyes and look again. This appears to be actually happening...
After years of speculation, rumour, hearsay, concepts, modified concepts, mkII concepts and optimistic spec forecasts, it looks like the Toyota FT-86 is actually going to be built. They've given it a little alphabetical shuffle to become 'GT-86', but the key elements in are in place - it's a lightweight rear-wheel drive coupe, evoking the spirit of the AE86 Corolla just as they promised.
Due in the showrooms in late 2012, it'll have 197bhp from its four-cylinder boxer, a very low centre of gravity and, er, 'the smallest steering wheel ever fitted to a Toyota'. The early chatter of creating a model to teach young drivers about oversteer is strangely absent from the press release, but come on - we all know what a relatively cheap RWD coupe will be used for. Dori dori!

Monday, 28 November 2011

BMW 1502 Turbo

There are a number of ways to increase the under-bonnet testosterone of a 1502. The tried-and-tested formula of expanding the lungs (larger air filter, freer-flowing exhaust) is a starting point, which could then lead to head work, bigger carbs and suchlike, or you could just junk the unit and replace it with the heart of a 2002 Turbo. Or, if you're slightly unhinged, an E36 M3 unit. Or any number of other options.
But it takes a brave man to retain the single-cam M10 engine and combine it with a Holset turbo (y'know, like you'd find on a truck or a train). The rewards speak for themselves - 589bhp, 0-62mph in 3.4s - and, of course, you get to tell people that you're running an entirely inappropriately oversized turbo. Which is great for pub cred.
More info here.


Tuned A-series not enough for you? Just how extreme do you like your Minis? 2.0-litre XE or GSX-R 1000?
Too many questions? Just watch this, then.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Top Gear Live

SuckSqueezeBangBlow spent the day at Top Gear Live at the ExCel on Friday. Having attended the show in its former guise of ‘The MPH Show featuring Top Gear Live’ since 2005, we went along to observe two important differences: firstly, the rebranding to make it an overtly Top Gearified event and secondly, how the show would work at the ExCel, having been held at Earls Court for so many years. The answer to the former would be that, well, it was largely thematically the same; barring a few extra Stig banners and what-have-you, the spread of exhibitors and spectacles was on a par with previous years, which is no bad thing. For the latter, it’s an easy one: if you’ve been to the MPH Show, imagine that but bigger and brighter. The main show hall was approximately the same size as the show of old – a healthy mix of modern supercars, classics, modified cars (we had a good chat with Elo from the London Motor Museum – lovely guy, who’d built the custom truck you see below especially for the event; those chrome spikes are Ikea curtain rail ends!), auction houses and trade stands – but with the added bonus of an adjacent indoor track, displaying Group B rally heroes, ‘star in a reasonably priced car’, and much other high-octane chicanery.
The jewel in the event’s crown was, as always, the live show. Hosted by Clarkson, Hammond & May, they drove in on a motorised replica of the TV show’s studio platform and introduced all manner of unpredictable entertainment: flaming Imprezas, leaping motocross riders, Focus RSs in stunt formation and, best of all, the destruction of a CityRover by a monster truck. And if that’s not a giggle, I don’t know what is...