Friday, 29 November 2013

Bentley Continental GTZ

Words & pictures - Daniel Bevis

The Conti GTZ sits in a unique niche; it's an overtly polarising thing, available to the sort of moneyed types that yearn for the halcyon days of custom coachbuilding but want to combine it with modern appointments, and will undoubtedly make the uninitiated question what the hell's happened to it. But if you're the sort of person who owns a GTZ, you won't care.

Spawned from a chinwag between Bentley CEO Dr. Ing. Franz Josef Paefgen and Dr. Andrea Zagato at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours, the idea was to take the then-boxfresh Continental and apply a bit of old-school Zagato flair for a lucky few - the gaping wire grille, the double-bubble roof, the works. Paefgen asked Zagato if the coachbuilder had ever built a Bentley. 'No,' came the answer. 'There was a Rolls-Royce in 1926, but never a Bentley.' And so the GTZ was spirited into being, debuting at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show.
As you might imagine, there aren't a lot of them about. A buyer would have to provide his own W12 Conti (new price at the time c.£137,500), and then leave it with Zagato for four months. Their modifications meant that only the headlights were carried over - everything else was altered. Total conversion cost? An additional £400,000, or thereabouts. So they only built nine of them.

To return to the original point, then, the spats and the two-tone won't be everyone's cup of tea. But sod the detractors - they didn't drop half a million quid on a Bentley...

Spotted at the St. James's Concours - click here for more photos.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Lancia Flaminia 3C 2.8 Speciale

Words & pictures: Daniel Bevis

This really is a staggeringly beautiful little berlinetta, isn't it? Taking the pretty Flaminia as a base - which was available in numerous variants, from swoopy coupés to presidential limos - this Jetsons-like interpretation first broke cover at the 1963 Turin Motor Show. It demonstrates a glorious mix of the classic and the futuristic; look, for example, at the contrast between the front and rear lights - up front it's all early-sixties chrome traditionalism, while at the rear it's pure concept car.
The design was down to Tom Tjaarda of Pininfarina, whose CV is beyond impressive (click here for a taster). The car was later shown at the 1964 Brussels Motor Show, and again at the Italian Concorso in '65. It thereafter became the personal transport of Battista 'Pinin' Farina. Good to see a one-off concept actually being used!

Spotted at Salon Privé 2013 - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There are a number of iterations of Ferrari's 250 formula for the enthusiast to pore over. Regular readers will already be aware of SuckSqueezeBangBlow's soft spot for the 250 GT Lusso; another favourite is this, the 250 GT Berlinetta Tour de France. Named not for the bicycle event but the 10-day automobile race, this 250 is a very rare beast: between 1956-9 just 84 examples were hand-crafted by Scaglietti. (It was actually a Pinin Farina design, but their workshops were so full that they didn't have the resources to build them...) Those slinky hips and gilled wings hide a cornucopia of Ferrari contrasts, from the lightweight construction and 3.0-litre race-spec V12 to the sumptuously trimmed cabin, resplendent in quilted leather. The tubular chassis eschews traditional leaf springs for a racier coil spring/shock setup.
This 250 is marked out as a later Tour de France by its enclosed headlights, elongated nose and vents rather than slats in the wings. SSBB originally spotted it at the Chelsea Auto Legends press day back in June 2012, and it was a welcome revisit to stumble across it in the paddock at the Goodwood Revival this year. A thing of rare beauty, wouldn't you agree?

Click here for more from the 2013 Goodwood Revival.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Aston Martin CC100

As anniversary presents go, they don't come a lot more generous than this. Yes, it's a present that Aston Martin gifted themselves, but it also acts as a gift for all of us as car enthusiasts: the CC100 exists, and the world is a slightly better place for it.

To celebrate Aston's 100 years in the car-making business, the CC100 is a concept that draws together historic styling cues and cutting-edge tech; beneath that nu-retro, DBR1-alike skin resides a nat-asp 6.0-litre V12 with a sequential 'box, allowing the driver to scream from 0-62mph in about four seconds as the wind whips around his knees.
The design team were largely given a free reign, and the car took just six months to pop into existence, from initial concept to finished product. Debuting at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring race, company CEO Dr Ulrich Bez took the wheel for a lap of the Nordschleife, alongside Sir Stirling Moss in the original DBR1 that conquered there 54 years previously. Just imagine the noise!

The CC100 is a riot of contrasts: carbon-fibre seats trimmed with Bridge of Weir leather, spartan dash with glass buttons... it's at once sumptuous and focused. Just like an Aston Martin should be.
You see it here at A-M's Centenary event in Kensington Gardens, and if you scroll down you'll find some detail shots taken in the Supercar Paddock at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year.

Click here for more photos from the Centenary event, and here for more from the FoS.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Ferrari 250 GTO Scaglietti

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This Scaglietti-bodied 250 GTO has a rich and diverse history. On its original Modenese plates - MO 91553 - it took first place at the Goodwood Whitsun Trophy in June 1963 with Mike Parkes at the wheel, and it showed startling dominance throughout the sixties. Later in '63 it was successfully raced by Jack Sears and Graham Hill; the following year saw Innes Ireland in the driving seat, who then handed the keys over to Mike Salmon in '65. Notable period results include 6th place (3rd in class) at the 1964 Le Mans 24h, 1st in the '64 500km at Spa, and 3rd in the Reims 12h. In 1969 ownership passed to Anthony Bamford, who first registered it under the UK number JCB 250 before switching to the rather more personal APB 1.

From the early nineties to the present day, this pristine 250 has been a darling of the historic show scene, appearing at the Silverstone Historic Festival and Goodwood Festival of Speed among many others. However, the arena in which it's arguably best known is the Goodwood Revival. It's no show queen here, but instead does the traditional Revival thing of having its neck comprehensively wrung for the hungry crowds. Sure, it's a priceless historic motorsport artefact, but it was originally built with just one purpose: going really rather fast on track. It's nice to see that this purpose is still being fulfilled.

Spotted at the St. James's Concours - click here for more photos.