Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Martini 918 Spyder

It's a neat trick, wrapping a new model in classic livery to ignite a bit of nostalgic passion. One might argue that the Porsche 918 Spyder doesn't really need a hook though, being the company's first plug-in hybrid, offering 570bhp from its 4.6-litre V8 as well as an extra 270bhp from its electric motors.
...but retro liveries get tongues wagging - that's why Aston Martin's Le Mans racers wear Gulf colours, and the Lotus-Renault F1 team run in JPS-esque black & gold. So, in order to draw the world's attention to their Nürburgring timed runs, Porsche have painted a 918 Spyder in classic Martini stripes, evoking the glorious victories at Le Mans in 1971 with the 917, in 1976 & '77 in the 936, and at the Targa Florio in 1973 in a 911 Carrera RSR, all in this livery.
Porsche are targetting a 'Ring lap time of under 7m 22s - a very precise estimation, that would be six seconds quicker than the Carrera GT. Should be pretty spectacular to watch. And to listen to as well - see those outlets right behind the driver's head? They're the exhausts. So, no room for silencers then.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Texan 510

The popularity of seventies Japanese saloons is on a perpetual upward curve, and this is no bad thing. This Datsun 510 is emblematic of the growing movement that takes timeworn but fundamentally solid oriental classics, keeps the aesthetics as worn as the sands of time dictate, and stuffs a load of modern machinery under the skin. So there's a little rust, some gentle patina and oodles of character on the outside... and inside? There's a Nissan SR20 twin-cam with big shiny velocity stacks under the bonnet, a Subaru LSD at the rear, and all manner of custom Techno Toy suspension trickery keeping everything stable. Looks fun, doesn't it?
Click here for more.

GT3 RS 4.0 at Reims

For their January issue, GT Porsche magazine took the already-iconic 911 GT3 RS 4.0 to the historic Reims circuit. Just for the sake of it really. Wouldn't you?
The retro-inspired livery of the 4.0 complements the vintage Reims decor rather nicely, while the reverberating thrum of the race-bred flat-six undoubtedly shook a few cobwebs loose.
You can get the issue here. (Pics via FB.)

Friday, 27 July 2012

Senna's XR3

I've got a real soft spot for the Escort XR3 - you can read my thoughts on the mkIII Escort here. But Ford's eighties hot hatch has always suffered jibes and rib-nudges from wags who see it is a tacky chavwagon. They'll soon be silenced when they see this...

In 1984, when he was driving for the Toleman F1 team, Ayrton Senna's daily driver was none other than an Escort XR3. Furthermore, he liked it so much he even put his signature across Ford Brazil's advertising for the model. Is there any higher praise than that...?
Via Autozine.

Al Capone's Cadillac V-8

Modern gangsters tend to cruise around in bulletproof Mercs or, if they're particularly flash, Phantoms. But there's nothing more gangster than the car you see here: Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac V-8 Town Sedan. Imagine it skittering around on its skinny crossplies, outrunning the feds as one of Capone's hoods flips open the rear window to return fire with his tommy gun. (Yes - that's why the rear window has been fitted with hinges!) The window glass is an inch thick all round - and can be raised an extra inch to reveal portholes handily sized to accommodate the muzzle of a machine gun - and the car originally carried around 3,000lb of asbestos-plated steel armour, although this was largely removed when it was restored fifty years ago.
The Cadillac is due to go under the hammer at RM Auctions' St. John's sale in Michigan - it sold six years ago for $621,500, so expect some keen bidding! Click here for more.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

'40 Ford Convertible

The 1937-40 Fords were prime targets for hot-rodding and dirt track racing, so were often found souped-up and rough 'n' ready. What you see here is a 21st-century take on that tradition: weatherbeaten but solid, with a shiny new V8 up front and the kind of fancy underpinnings that would have sounded like a madman's fantasy 72 years ago: it's sitting on airbags on a custom frame, meaning it can sit right on the floor.
Click here for build pics.

CDC Quattroporte

I've always had a soft spot for the Maserati Quattroporte. It's a brilliantly unassuming gentleman's express that the uninitiated will guess is little more than a luxurious 7-series rival, while those in the know grin when they see one pass by in the hope that the driver (never chauffeur) might blip the throttle a few times. There's a lot of cultured Modenese firepower under the bonnet. (Also, I've always fancied a classic Maserati Mexico, and the fifth-generation Quattroporte is like a modern four-door Mexico with a howling supercar V8, kind of.)
They don't tend to attract the attention of the tuners though, so this CDC Performance example is interesting. It's got 580bhp and 420lb.ft of torque for a start, while some enormous brakes reside behind those 22" wheels. There are swathes of carbon-fibre outside and some, er, unusual quilted leather within, but the CDCQ is really about two key things: firstly, performance - it'll do 0-60mph in 4.6s and go on to 186mph, which is mighty impressive given the size of it. The second is the noise: scroll down to the video and you'll hear something special...
Pics via CarBuzz.