Friday, 26 February 2016

Carbon Enzo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Enzo requires little introduction - 2002's F1-inspired hypercar shifted the axes of what was possible with a performance road car, its carbon-fibre body and carbon-ceramic brakes complementing the howling 6.0-litre V12 with its electrohydraulic transmission to offer a real racer for the road. It reached 60mph in 3.1 seconds and 100mph in 6.6, going on to a top speed of 221mph. It was a genre-redefining thing.

Now, the title 'Carbon Enzo' may seem like a truism here. After all, don't they all have carbon-fibre bodies? OK, yes, but this example is the only one of the 400 Enzos built to be finished in bare carbon rather than wearing paint. And this isn't the result of a load of paint-scraping, sanding and lacquering; in fact, this car was rebodied in bespoke carbon-fibre panels by Carrozzeria Zanasi, one of Ferrari's most revered body partners. Why? Well, why not?
You'll note that there's plenty of 'Rosso Carbon' going on under the engine lid, just to make the whole thing even more jewel-like. And what's more, it's for sale - a unique, one-owner Enzo with just 5,000km on the clock. What's it worth? If you have to ask...

Spotted at the London Classic Car Show - more pics here.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

'Baby Huey' Sting Ray

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

'Baby Huey' is a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which you may well recognise from the smoky crucible of the Goodwood Revival. It's been a stalwart of the RAC TT race in recent years, and the history file detailing its race prowess in the US over the decades is thick enough to clobber a whale into submission.
It was originally purchased by Louis D'Amico in 1964, who entered it into its first race at Lime Rock Park in May '65. He continued to compete in EMRA, IMSA and SCCA events until 1972 when the car was passed on to friend and fellow racer Skip Panzarella. It enjoyed a varied and illustrious career, all the while keeping its original orange Alto Racing livery.
The small block V8 under that artfully sculpted hood kicks out a rumbling 481bhp in its current race tune, which allows it to lap the Goodwood circuit in under 1m30s. And you know what? It's for sale right now... if you've got around £180,000 kicking around, SZ Motorsports could be your gateway to Goodwood glory.

Spotted at the London Classic Car Show - more photos here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Frontline MG Abingdon Edition

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

'Britain's favourite sports car'. That's a label you'll often find pinned to the MGB - it's a car that's been weaving its charms into family memories for generations. Little wonder that the market for big-money restomod MGs is booming these days.

On the front line of this movement is the appropriately-named Frontline, whose latest creation is the Abingdon Edition. They start with a solid donor MG and spend months painstakingly rebuilding it with Heritage panels to make it better than new, with meticulous attention paid to panel gaps and paint finish. Then they shoehorn in a brand new motor from Mazda, a 2.5-litre four-pot into which they slide forged pistons and a billet crank, strapping on 50mm throttle bodies and Omex management to deliver over 300bhp, along with a Mazda six-speed 'box and an LSD. There's a six-linked rear, adjustable coilovers, and whacking great four-pot brakes.

Inside, you'll find something quite unlike the traditional creaky vinyl of MGBs of yore. The Abingdon Edition is fully Dynamatted and heat insulated, with Wilton carpets, seats trimmed in Connolly hide, and French-stitched Alcantara covering everything else. The dash features custom retro-style Smiths dials with digital innards. You also get things you might expect of a modern car - remote central locking, aircon, electric windows, heated seats, premium stereo, power-steering, sat-nav... and all this in a package that can get you from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and top 160mph. Imagine how this sort of spec would have been received back when the MGB was still in production, it would have blown people's minds. That's supercar performance (well, for the seventies at least) in such an unassuming package.

The price of this all-things-to-all-men masterpiece? Well, it begins at £84,475. Yeah, that's arguably a lot for an MGB - but for a brand new, well appointed, precision-engineered sports roadster? You get what you pay for. For the well-heeled, this is the perfect MG.

Spotted at the London Classic Car Show - more pics here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Ferrari 212 Export Berlinetta Vignale

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Ferrari 212 Inter series of 1950-53 wore a huge number of body designs, thanks to having been built by a broad pallette of styling houses. This elegant three-box, for example, is one of 26 Berlinettas crafted by Vignale, although if you run a quick online search you'll spot that this isn't a typical 212; indeed, there isn't really such a thing as a typical 212. The enduring constant throughout the series, of course, is what's beneath the skin - Ferrari's exemplary tubular steel chassis with the jewel-like Colombo V12 nestled within.
This car, a 1951 model, was delivered to Franco Cornaccia at Scuderia Guastalla for entry in the formidable Carrera Panamericana. The owner wouldn't be in the driving seat, however; that would be taken care of by two legendary Italian helmsmen of the age, Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi.
It entered alongside a mechanically identical sister car, driven by Piero Taruffi and Luigi Chinetti and, in a formation finish that could have been scripted in Hollywood, the Taruffi/Chinetti car took the win at the end of a gruelling and hard-fought race, with this car hard on its heels in second place.

After its shimmering success in South America - made more impressive by the fact that just 35 of the 97 entrants finished the 1951 Carrera Panamericana - the 212 remained in Mexico, being bought by businessman Santiago Ontanon for extensive and relentless motorsport purposes. After many years of competition, a restoration began in 1990 by Ontanon's nephew, who then sold it to a collector in California - the restoration was continued to concours standards, and it became a Pebble Beach winner. A just reward for a retired racer of such fortitude.
The Taruffi/Chinetti car is MIA, which makes this survivor all the more special. And while this 212 has worn many liveries over its illustrious career, it seems only fitting that this final restoration sees it returned to those glorious 1951 colours. Particularly with the mad dinosaurs.

Spotted at the London Classic Car Show - more pics here.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Renault 5 Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

For some, the name 'Renault 5 Turbo' may conjure images of the 205-rival GT Turbo of the mid-to-late eighties, but its genesis lies in this mid-engined looper. The original 5 Turbo was introduced as a hair-raising road model that served as a box-ticking exercise to allow the company to go rallying; the slender proportions of the hatchback were ballooned cartoonishly with broad hips that near enough doubled the width of the car, and the engine was relocated to where the rear seats would be, augmented by an effervescent turbocharger. The initial plan was to build 400 of these in Dieppe to satisfy Group 4 homologation regs, and the Turbo 2 followed shortly after; this was a car that appeased the accountants in that it had fewer bespoke or expensive-to-produce parts - fewer light-alloy body panels, for example - but it was no less manic. 160bhp in a car that weighed under 1,000kg was pretty hairy in the early eighties (hell, it still is now), and its short wheelbase meant that you really had to pay attention to what the tail was up to, especially in the wet.

For today's big-money collectors, however, the Turbo 2 just will not do. The original Turbo is where it's at. While Renault had planned to build 400 of them, demand was sufficient that they actually produced 1,820 - although there's now no way of knowing how many were road cars and how many went straight into competition. Either way, they're rare and significant cars.
This fact is borne out by the price tag of the Olympe Blue example you see before you, for sale here at 4 Star Classics: £89,995. Strewth.
What that sodding great gob of cash buys you is a concours example with just 35,815 miles on the clock. Every inch of it is pristine, but the best part of all is the interior. It's just deranged. It looks like the sort of thing you might dream up in a befuddling fug of absinthe overuse.
Best pop off and buy a lottery ticket then, yes?

More from the London Classic Car Show here.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Lauda & Regazzoni

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

With Goodwood's 74th Members' Meeting fast approaching, here's a little look back at a special pair of classic battlers that made an appearance at 73MM last year. If you know your F1 history, or indeed if you've seen the movie Rush, you'll recognise these as the Ferrari 312T F1 cars of Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni. These 3.0-litre superstars produced an unholy howl from their flat-twelve engines, offering a sonorous counterpoint to the raging fury of the drivers within.
Having driven for Scuderia Ferrari from 1970-72, Regazzoni was rehired by the newly-arrived Luca di Montezemolo in '74, and it was on Clay's recommendation that Lauda was also hired. Regazzoni took seven podium finishes that year, finishing the season second in the Drivers' Championship behind Emerson Fittipaldi. However, Lauda began to outperform his team-mate in the 1975 season, winning the Championship while Regazzoni finished fifth. Lauda's star continued to rise through '76, arcing away from Regazzoni's decline, the latter ultimately being replaced by Carlos Reutemann. And then, for Lauda, there was that Nordschleife incident with the fire...
You'll know the rest of the story from Rush. And if you haven't seen it, what are you doing looking at cars on the internet? Go and watch it now, off you pop.

More pics from 73MM here.