Friday, 20 September 2013

***A little break***

SuckSqueezeBangBlow is going on holiday! Things will be a little quiet around here for the next week, but fear not - I'll be back in October, and there's still loads to share from Salon Privé, the Goodwood Revival & Festival of Speed, St. James's Concours, and loads more. (Plus whatever I spot while I'm out and about...)

In the meantime, here's a Firenza wallpaper for you - click to enlarge. Back soon!

Timeworn Elan S2

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

So many people try to force patina these days, artfully dishevelling their cars to create an illusion of character. And sure, that approach has its place, but there's no substitute for true, hard-earned, timeworn patina. This Lotus Elan S2 is a shining example of that fact.
...well, not 'shining'. That's one thing it can't do, with its cracking paint dulled by the ages. But its character shouts through the rough-around-the-edges aesthetic - this is clearly a car that was bought by an enthusiast back in 1965, and has been used pretty enthusiastically ever since. It would be a great shame, bordering on sacrilege, to restore this Elan; every inch of it exudes adventure, thrills, happy memories and honest-to-goodness oily fingers. I've never wanted a Lotus more.

Spotted in the car park at the 2013 Goodwood Revival - click here for more photos.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ford Evos

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Ford Evos wears two hats. Its most prominent headgear signifies its existence as a concept car: that immediately jarring, overtly outlandish aesthetic that says 'weird futurey thing' to the man on the street. But the second, more subtle hat - the modest beret beneath the stetson - speaks of its relevance to Ford's current model line-up. That grille? It's everywhere these days. That steering wheel looks production-ready. And so on.

Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, the Evos is a plug-in hybrid concept, and represents the sort of crossover between grand tourers, coupés and MPVs that Giugaro's Parkour heralded (let's not talk about the grim BMW X6, there's no need for that), and Audi have since pinched for their Nanuk concept. It has four gullwing doors - it looks like a two-door, but the rear doors and the rear wings are one and the same - and the driver-focused drivetrain is highlighted by a bright red seat behind the wheel. And the hook of that drivetrain? It's not like a run-of-the-mill hybrid... its motor runs on the Atkinson cycle rather than the Otto cycle, meaning that suck-squeeze-bang-blow is taken care of by a single turn of the crank. Interesting.

SSBB spotted the Evos at Salon Privé 2013 - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Police Zephyr 6

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There are always period police cars at the Goodwood Revival, and arguably the coolest of the lot is the Ford Zephyr 6. This year forming part of the Great Train Robbery scene, the third-generation 213E Z-car is resplendent in faux-American fins and dripping in chrome, the plush accoutrements forming a nice contrast to the same-as-your-fridge paint. It might almost pass into the realm of the unmarked patrol car, were it not for the rather obvious blue light on the roof and the 'POLICE' plate proudly bolted to the nose. And the closer you look, the more you find period-perfect rozzer fare, from the shiny Winkworth bell and Tannoy loud-hailer mounted on the front bumper to the serious-looking police radio within.
It's the ideal squad car, when you think about it: that eager 2,553cc straight-six will make short work of escaping crims' attempts to flee, while there's ample room for collared miscreants on the back seat, and all the riot gear can fit in the boot. Plus it looks super-cool, so the bobby at the wheel will swell with pride as he patrols the streets. Marvellous.

Click here for more from the 2013 Goodwood Revival.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The GTA is a homologation legend, whispered reverentially in the shadowy corners of motoring folklore, and jealously guarded by the Alfisti. The 105-series coupe used a shortened Giluia Berlina floorpan, with the sumptuous bodywork spirited masterfully into existence by the inspired eye of Bertone.
Available in road (Stradale) or race (Corsa) specification, the focus of the entire car was on performance above all else; indeed, the fact that it's so achingly gorgeous is what's pushing values ever higher today - this is a phenomenally capable and successful racer that just happens to be pretty enough to make your lower lip quiver.
Power came from Alfa's sonorous, revvy 1,600cc twin-cam, fitted with a twin-plug head, a Marelli distributor pinched from a Ferrari, various magnesium casings and shrouds, and a pair of thirsty 45mm carbs. In Stradale form, this offered 113bhp; in the full-race Corsa, you'd be staring down the thick end of 170bhp.
This power was more than ample thanks to the 'A' in the GTA name, standing for 'alleggerita', Italian for 'lightweight'. The body was formed from featherweight aluminium, the wheels were a magnesium alloy, and the side windows were plastic. All of this, combined with weight savings in places like the control arms, door handles and window mechanisms, led to an overall kerb weight of just 740kg. Which is pretty astonishing. This is a car that looks gorgeous, goes like stink, and makes a fabulous noise. Motoring perfection? It is for many.

The example you see here is owned and campaigned by David Fitzsimons, and enjoys regular success - in the second part of the 2013 Revival's St. Mary's Trophy, for example, it finished in second place with Alex Furiani at the wheel, sandwiched by the mighty seven-litre Ford Galaxies in first and third. This is a GTA as GTAs should be: pure, simple, lithe, lissom, and used in anger whenever possible. Oh, and red. They look best in red, don't you think?

Spotted at the 2013 Goodwood Revival - click here for more photos.

Super Speed Escort

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

In classic Escort circles, there are a lot of rarities and curios to fill your Top Trumps list; Harriers, Crayfords, Nimbuses, Linnets... the more obsessively you dig, the more you learn. The Super Speed Escort is one which, if you happened across an example today, you might think was just a regular mkI with an unusual and somewhat theatrical eyemask. But the Super Speed is pretty much as rare as they come: starting in period with a rare-in-itself Twin-Cam as a base, the aftermarket tuner fitted an Essex 3.0-litre V6 and a ZF five-speed 'box. In its day it offered something a little offbeat for Ford fans who were more interested in rumbling torque than screaming revs, along with the superior Type 49 shell; today it offers rarity, kudos and scene points in abundance. And, of course, the occasional knowing nod from somebody who recognises what it is...

Spotted in the car park at the 2013 Goodwood Revival - click here for more photos.