Friday, 30 March 2012

'51 Ford Convertible

The '49 Ford was a landmark model for the brand, representing the step-change in post-war car styling and construction; its ladder chassis, coil suspension and integrated steel structure heralded safety as well as driver engagement. The 1951 update outsold Chevrolet's offerings by almost 10%, thanks to the all-new Ford-o-Matic transmission and turn-key ignition.
The '51 Ford we see here is a thoroughly modern reworking of the classic formula, epitomising the custom rodder aesthetic with plenty of new-fangled developments beneath the skin. A gentle nip-and-tuck to the wings slims down the silhouette without the need for aggressive sectioning, while chopping the convertible hood & pillars and extending the doors a few inches creates a more streamlined dynamic. Behind those classically-styled 18"x7" rims hide four-wheel disc brakes and air-ride suspension, and modern climate control and stereo gizmos are concealed within the sumptuously appointed interior. Under the bonnet is, of course, a V8 - a 351ci Cleveland with MSD ignition and electronic fuel injection, the throttle bodies crafted to resemble the Weber throats of Ford's period race engines.
A post-war dandy with 21st-century attitude, and probably the most beautifully-executed car you'll see today - click here for more.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Retro Power XR2

Forget your 'if it's not RWD, it's not a classic Ford' prejudices - the mkII Fiesta was launched in 1983, which makes it old enough in my book. The example you see here is from 1988, so it's still more than old enough to buy its own booze and get into trouble, and as you can see, Retro Power have prepared it as a track car in period style. Rather than giving in to the temptation to fit bigger wheels (and thus bigger brakes), they've stuck with the standard XR2 Pepperpots with some sticky rubber. Under the bonnet we see the finned rocker cover of Ford's Motorsport division - seen elsewhere on the Escort RS1600i - while the interior features a multipoint cage, helmet nets, harnesses, and not a lot else. The Nürburgring graphics hint at the car's intended purpose, and the really impressive thing is how standard it looks from the outside: a wonderful slice of eighties hot hatch boisterousness.
Actually, no, the really impressive thing is what a stellar job Retro Power have made of the build. But we expect that from them...
Click here for more.

Citrus Variant

How's this for a slice of Brazilian fried crazy? It's a '74 VW Variant 1600, dropped to create sparks wherever it goes. Macaquinho*!
Click here.

*'macaquinho' means 'monkey'. Sorry, I don't know a lot of Portuguese.

Eos on air

What's the difference between a Golf Cabriolet and an Eos? One's Golf-sized and has a canvas roof, the other is slightly longer and has a folding metal roof.
No, that doesn't really work as a joke. More of a bald statement of fact, if anything.

So, yeah... here's an Eos. It's not often you see these receiving the treatment, so it's interesting to see how effectively the form can be transformed by the classic rims/drop/clean-up formula. There's an AccuAir air-ride setup here, and a set of 19" Rotiform NUEs, tucked up front and flushed at the rear. Works well, no?
Click here for more.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Chapron's 'Le Dandy'

Back in January, SuckSqueezeBangBlow took a look at a couple of unusual Chapron-built Citroën DS reworkings - click here to see. The second of the two, 'Le Dandy', was a swooping coupé; I described it as a gadabout fit for a président. Well, here's an interesting iteration of 'Le Dandy' that features rather squarer tail-fins to create a more Americanised look. It's quite beautiful, isn't it? (It's also £110k. Crikey.)
Click here for more.

Zagato Bentley Continental GTZ

The Continental is a polarising model for Bentley. It represents a departure from their brick-like, cruising-around-in-Blenheim-Palace splendour into something overtly sporting, but unfortunately is now inextricably linked with blingin' footballer chavitude. It generates a lot of revenue, but do the Bentley old guard feel that it's diluting the brand?
The Zagato Continental GTZ of 2008 was a bold effort to counter this image disparity. Taking the celebrated design house's classic cues - double-bubble roof, gaping mouth, two-tone paintwork, complex arrangements of curves and angles on single panels - and plastering them all over the Conti's oversized coupé silhouette offered something altogether classier for the Bentley aficionado, distancing itself from the training ground car park by some margin.
It was the first ever Zagato-bodied Bentley, and cost from £400,000 (not including the initial £137,000-odd outlay for the donor car; £100,000 of the upgrade cost reputedly went on the unique tail-lights), for which buyers received the same engine, the same drivetrain and the same interior as regular Conti drivers. But that's not the point, is it? It's a Zagato Bentley, two great names that sit devastatingly well together. And it looks ace.
It's just a shame that they only built nine of them...

Ferrari FF vs. Jensen FF

FF: one name for two entirely different cars. Although, hang on a minute... they both have four-wheel drive and rear seats, they both create a snow-displacing rumble from their V-engines, they were both designed to transport the well-heeled through chilly Alps to remote ski resorts (kind of) - are they really so different?

Well, yes. Yes they are. But if you had the opportunity to pit the shiny new Ferrari FF against the Jensen FF of forty years ago, powering through winding mountain roads and valleys before taking to the snow, you would. You just would.
And that's exactly what Classic Driver have done - click here to see how it enriched their lives.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Brean Sands Beach Party

Organised by the inimitable Brian Damaged, the latest (and possibly last) Retro Rides Beach Party on Brean Sands was the biggest yet. You can see from these photos that the event really demonstrates the diverse and eclectic nature of the forum... and also that it's frickin' awesome to get a load of petrolhead mates together on a sandy beach and have a barbecue and a laugh. From a Land Rover hot rod to a pristine Nova, a rat-look E36 to a mil-spec Magnum and that E21 to a sandrail, the retro masses were out in force to soak up the spring sunshine. Well, you don't know how long it's going to last, do you?
Photos via Brian Damaged & Jon Burgess here - you can see more here, here and here.