Monday, 27 February 2017

Wide-arch E36 Touring

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This angry little bruiser was all over the show scene in 2016, making great waves in its efforts to annoy people - colossal spoilers like this invariably draw negative attention, much to the amusement of their owners, while others decried the logic of lavishing such expense on a humdrum E36 estate. But there's more to this build than first meets the eye...
Sure, the ballsy aesthetics are pretty unmissable; aside from that vast 66" chassis-mounted wing, there's also the super-wide diffuser, and the aggressive 4" wide-arch conversion over those custom split-rims (made from original 7x15" BMW wheels, incidentally, and converted to 11x17" up front and a whopping 12x17" out back). It's sitting on the floor thanks to an Air Lift setup. But this isn't all show and no go - not by a long shot. Its owner, Edward Johnston, has rather brilliantly swapped in an S50B30 motor from an M3, along with the M3 gearbox, brakes and LSD. So it's not just a show poser. It's really bloody terrifying.

Spotted at Show and Glow 2016 - more pics here.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Testarossa Spider

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Launched in 1986, OutRun was one of the defining titles of the burgeoning driving videogame genre, its pie-in-the-sky Testarossa Spider offering a glimpse of surreality against a constantly colour-shifting purple and orange sky.
...however, life often reflects art, and that very same year a real Testarossa Spider was spirited into being. Just one. A silver one, painted thus because the chemical symbol for silver, Ag, matched the inverted initials of its intended owner, Gianni Agnelli.
Built as a gift to commemorate Agnelli's twentieth year at the head of Fiat SpA, the silver wedge was artfully decapitated and fitted with a folding metal roof. It was also tailored specifically for Agnelli's needs by the fitment of a clever Valeo system to help with his inability to drive using both legs; an accident in his younger days (in which he was caught by his missus having a bit of slap 'n' tickle with another girl - in driving the girl home he clipped a lorry at 140mph, resulting in an impressive accident that wrote off his right leg) meant that controlling all the pedals in the traditional sense was impossible, so the Testarossa Spider had a push-button system to operate the clutch.
There have been numerous other Spiders crafted since, mainly by Pininfarina for the Sultan of Brunei - and you may recall seeing Michael Jackson in a black one in an old '80s Pepsi ad - but this car is the only official Testarossa Spider built by Ferrari. Interestingly, Agnelli only hung on to it until 1991, selling it to a mate who expressed an interest. But don't judge him too harshly - Ferrari had just given him a Valeo-equipped F40...

Spotted at the 2016 Windsor Concours - more pics here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Black 288 GTO

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Ferrari 288 GTO suffered an unusual start in life. Crafted for the Group B regs that were then almost immediately abandoned, the mid-eighties turbonutter became essentially a race car without a race series; the highly modified homologation version of the 308 platform ended up being solely a road car - 272 were built, and just one of them was black. This one.
The model was the first road-legal production car to boast a top speed in excess of 186mph (or 300km/h). It had a 2.8-litre V8 with twin IHI turbos, adjustable suspension, bodywork made from a mix of fibreglass and carbon-Kevlar, 10"-wide rear wheels with 265-section tyres, and brake cooling slats stolen from the iconic 250 GTO.
It may have been a motherless mongrel at the time, but that didn't stop pretty much every contemporary F1 driver buying one... and now they change hands for £2m+. Who needs Group B?

Spotted at Salon Privé 2016 - more pics here.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

2Polished Karmann Ghia

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This snake's-belly Ghia is the brainchild of Nicolas Wlostowski, the mind behind Belgian wheel refinishing brand 2Polished. It stood out a mile among the modern watercooled fare at 2015's Players Classic by virtue of it being, er, aircooled and quite a lot older. Which is no bad thing, of course.
One of the most attention-grabbing features of the car - aside from the panscraping stance and lurid paint - is the smoothie wheels, artfully reworked as 17" split-rims. A lovely little tie-in between the classic and modern VW scenes there.
In addition, Nico's build features a 1,641cc motor with W100 cams, lightened crankshaft, upgraded rockers, and a raucous stinger exhaust out back. There are Porsche 912 gauges and a short-shift inside, and that suspension isn't air-ride: the floorpan's been raised to aid clearance, the front beam's been narrowed, and dropped spindles and spring plates see the whole thing sitting on the floor. So yes, he drives it around at that height, no tricks. Impressive, huh?

More pics from the 2015 Players Classic here.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bugatti Chiron

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Bugatti Veyron was launched twelve years ago. That's a little surprising, isn't it? VW's vast slab of opulent horsepower has become such a symbol of hypercar excess that we hadn't really noticed it becoming a little long in the tooth. Time, then, for a replacement...

At first glance, the new Chiron appears to be a case of evolution rather than revolution, but the still waters of this car run very deep indeed. It carries over the Veyron's 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 motor, but in heavily revised form that offers 1,479bhp. Which is rather a lot, frankly. And its 1,180lb.ft of torque is enough to ensure that the tarmac behind its wheels will always be rucked up like an old hallway rug. It'll do 0-62mph in 2.5s, 0-124mph in 6.5s, and 0-186mph in 13.6s, going on to a top speed that's governed to 261mph for safety reasons (i.e. that your face might actually come free from its moorings and splatter against the rear bulkhead). It'll hit 288mph if you trick the limiter. That's the world we're living in.

Spotted at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed - more photos here.