Rétromobile 2017 – February 2017

When the hours of daylight are in short supply, and the weather becomes even more unpredictable, with snow and ice a very real prospect, the focus of car events across Europe switches from the outdoor to those which are held inside. And this means that there is not much of what you might call a “closed season”, with just a few weeks around the turn of each year when the diary has a few blanks in it. There are a small number of events in January, but things really get going with the Rétromobile, which many considered to be the calendar’s opening top-tier event, and rightly so. It’s built up quite a reputation over the years, and the 2017 edition was the 42nd to be held. Where else can you find World War One tanks, automotive jumble, humble car clubs and multi-million-euro collector classics all in one place? It’s all curated with typical French abandon, but as the hundreds of dealers and high-profile collectors in attendance prove, it remains a ‘must-go’ event, with over 500 cars on show, many of them of world renown, and often making their first appearance in public for some considerable time. In recent years, the event has expanded beyond the main Hall 1, which has allowed more space for those who wish to exhibit. Among them are not just the three French manufacturers, all of whom support the event with extensive displays, but a few others as well, and there are also many of the high-end dealers from across Europe, including such well-known names as Fiskens, Thiesen, Gallery Brummen, Axel Schutte and Swiss dealer, Lukas Hüni AG. A growing number of Car Clubs have space – mostly quite a small space – in Hall 2, and there is always a vast autojumble area, as well as countless stalls selling paintings, prints and sculptures. Several of the well known auction houses hold high profile sales in Paris around the time of the Show, though now that Rétromobile itself is limited to four days rather than then ten over which it used to be held, some of these are before the event opens and off-site. French auction house Artcurial hold theirs during the event, and they take a large area of one of the halls with a display of the cars they have on offer. Cheekily, you have to buy their catalogue to gain access for a close-up view, which costs mode than the entry to the Rétromobile itself though you can see some of the cars that they are offering from the perimeter of their area. A number of themed displays are chosen for the event each year, and these are interspersed among the other exhibits. Some of the cars are taken outside during the day, and fired up so they can drive around the exhibition halls, and this is always a popular diversion for those who want some fresh air. There’s an awful lot to see, so it really will take all day to try to take it in. And that is precisely what I did. There are a lot of photos here, but even so, there were things I missed, of course.


FCA Group had a large stand to show off just a few models from each of their Italian brands. Three of the cars present were Abarth badged, and they were all very different from each other.

 photo Picture 827_zpsownsdgps.jpg

This is a 1961 Abarth 1000 Bialbero. With the introduction of the Abarth twin cam 982cc engine came the 1000 Bialbero. It used many of the same design principles from the 750 Record Monza and 700 Bialbero models which were produced in earlier years. These were specially built race cars that employed Fiat components and were tuned for motor sports. The car’s engine was a derivative of same found in the Fiat 600, but with an enlarged bore and stoke. Added to this was a special DOHC cylinder head that used hemispherical combustion chambers and an increased compression ratio. Along with an improved intake and exhaust the 1000 Bialbero could produce 91 bhp – nearly 100 bhp per litre.

 photo Picture 393_zpsfmhshpot.jpg  photo Picture 390_zps9egyzuwd.jpg  photo Picture 394_zpswwazfjg5.jpg  photo Picture 392_zps61tdcokw.jpg  photo Picture 391_zpsh5i7flay.jpg

In the 1950s, Abarth saw no limit to the pocket-sized Fiat 500’s performance potential. The firm tuned the standard model a few months after its introduction and sent it straight to the Monza track, where the records it set helped kick the car’s career into high gear. It quickly turned it into the aforementioned coupe, but the most extreme 500-derived model was the streamlined, single-seater record car designed with input from Pininfarina. The 500 Record shared precious few components with the humble 500; it was built on a tubular chassis. Pininfarina put a tremendous amount of effort into making the body as light and as aerodynamic as possible. The driver entered the tight cabin through a front-hinged hatch that incorporated a wrap-around windshield for improved visibility. Pininfarina drilled holes through the hinges to keep weight in check, and it installed covers over the four wheels to reduce turbulence in the wheel wells. Engineers achieved a 0.25 drag coefficient, which places the car nearly on par with a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq (0.24). Abarth installed a 500-sourced, 479-cc two-cylinder engine rated at 36 hp, which was a lot considering the Record weighed a scant 815 pounds. Sent to Monza, the Record covered 28,000 kilometers (about 17,000 miles) in 10 days at an average speed of 116.38 kph (about 72 mph). This was an incredible feat for Fiat, Pininfarina, and Abarth.

 photo Picture 585_zpstmouey20.jpg  photo Picture 809_zpsjzhcafqc.jpg  photo Picture 395_zpscyqh7rcy.jpg  photo Picture 808_zps4vkyxkcw.jpg  photo Picture 807_zpsyzc5ug4k.jpg  photo Picture 811_zpsdner29dg.jpg

Completing the Abarth display was an example of the new 124 Spider, deliveries of which started just a few weeks ago. A quick reminder as to what this car is: The Abarth 124 Spider was developed in parallel with the Fiat model. It does cost a lot more, and there are those who think you don’t get enough extra for your money, but those who have driven it will tell you otherwise. You certainly get more power. The 1.4 MultiAir turbo unit jumps up from 138bhp to 168bhp, while torque also increases by a modest 10Nm to 250Nm, which gives it a 0-62mph time of 6.8 seconds, which is half a second quicker than the 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5. The top speed is 143mph. It weighs just 1060kg meaning a power-to-weight ratio of 158bhp-per-tonne, and with the new Record Monza exhaust system it sounds great even at idle. The Abarth version gets a stiffer suspension setup than the regular Fiat 124 Spider, with Bilstein dampers and beefed-up anti-roll bars. Bigger Brembo brakes also feature, with aluminium calipers. It can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddles, and the latter gets a Sport mode for quicker shifts. Many of the UK cars sport the ‘Heritage Look’ pack, which is a no-cost option. It brings a matt black bonnet and bootlid, plus red exterior trim detailing and has proved popular. The £29,565 starting price gets you standard equipment such as cruise control, climate control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and satnav, plus Alcantara black and red (or pure black) seat trim. The automatic gearbox is a £2,035 extra, while an optional visibility pack brings LED DRLs, auto lights and wipers and rear parking sensors.

 photo Picture 586_zpsrqhsbaaf.jpg  photo Picture 587_zpsp0maidav.jpg  photo Picture 825_zpsq1krceug.jpg  photo Picture 824_zpsqjdsb5xf.jpg  photo Picture 823_zpsueu0othz.jpg photo Picture 822_zpscszcmhek.jpg


There were a couple of examples of the Cobra 427, the evolution of the model with the larger and more potent engine.

 photo Picture 058_zps6edw7fec.jpg  photo Picture 019_zpsug7fffsu.jpg  photo Picture 018_zpsteghxrcv.jpg


With perhaps the richest heritage of all the FCA marques, it was no surprise to find historic Alfa Romeo models on the stand, though this year there were just two of them. These were from the 2600 family, the so-called 102 Series, from the early 1960s. The 2600, or 106 Series, were an evolution of the model first seen in 1958 as a replacement for the 1900, and called the 2000 and known internally as the 102 Series. This was the time when Alfa was still in transition from being a maker of exclusive coachbuilt and racing cars to one that offered volume production models. The 102 Series were never likely to be big sellers, in a world that was still recovering economically from the ravages of the Second World War, but the range was an important flagship, nonetheless. The 2000 models ran for 4 years, from 1958 to 1962, at which point they were updated, taking on the name of 106 Series, with minor styling changes being accompanied by a larger 2600cc engine under the bonnet. As with the 2000 models, the new 2600 cars were sold in Berlina (Saloon), Sprint (Coupe) and Spider (Convertible) versions, along with a dramatically styled SZ Coupe from Italian styling house Zagato and a rebodied Berlina from OSI, all of them with an inline twin overhead cam six cylinder engine of 2.6 litres, the last Alfas to offer this configuration. Just 6999 of the Sprint models were made and 2255 Spiders, very few of which were sold new in the UK where they were exceedingly expensive thanks to the dreaded Import Duty which made them much more costly than an E Type. Many of the parts were unique to these cars, so owning one now is far harder than the more plentiful 4 cylinder Alfas of the era. Whilst the rather square styling of the Berlina, which won it relatively few friends when new and not a lot more in recent times means that there are few of these versions to be seen, the Sprint and Spider models do appear from time to time, and market interest in the cars is now starting to accelerate, with values rise accordingly. Seen here was a regular 2600 Coupe and the prototype for the more adventurously styled 2600 SZ Coupe.

 photo Picture 398_zpsjby7axg6.jpg  photo Picture 397_zpsjoww0bno.jpg  photo Picture 396_zpsjqmjpept.jpg  photo Picture 399_zpsdkntqfzb.jpg  photo Picture 400_zpsd48ffyyd.jpg photo Picture 810_zpskcjnfnu3.jpg  photo Picture 826_zpsbhivjunq.jpg  photo Picture 524_zpsz9ybe5pp.jpg  photo Picture 525_zpsj3rb2xqt.jpg

Fiskens were showing a 1931 8C2300 with a Zagato body. This is chassis number 2211006 and it was a works race car when new. And also on show was chassis number 2211110 with a body by Brandone. This one has a chassis which was victorious at the 1933 Le Mans 24 race. This car was discovered in Normandy in the 1970s at which point the coachwork wore the plates of both Erdmann & Rossi and Brandone so there is still some debate as to who built it, though it is most usually attributed to the latter because there is a suggestion that the E&R plates may have been retrofitted solely on the mention by an enthusiast that it resembled the Berlin coachbuilder’s work!

 photo Picture 781_zpsxqrvgelh.jpg  photo Picture 780_zpss0bqxsw4.jpg  photo Picture 779_zpshhadmlw5.jpg  photo Picture 784_zpsondb5imi.jpg  photo Picture 784_zpsrvgo0zdi.jpg  photo Picture 054_zpsssevvylt.jpg

Something rather special is this Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 CM Superflow IV. When Alfa Romeo suspended its racing activities in the early 1950s, several of the existing competition cars were discarded. Some were sold to privateers while two others were handed to specialist coach-builders Pinin Farina and Boano for future projects. Certainly the most famous of this pair is the 6C 3000 CM (chassis 00128) that went to Pinin Farina. It was first shown by the Turin-based carrozzeria in 1956 and would appear three more times with distinctly different body styles. Chassis 00128 originally started life as one of six works cars built for the 1953 season. The 6C 3000 CM was a highly sophisticated machine with a steel tubular spaceframe chassis, independent front suspension and a DeDion rear axle. The engine was the latest development of Alfa Romeo’s fabled twin-cam straight six. Displacing just under 3.5 litres and breathing through six Weber carburettors, it produced around 275 hp. Fitted with a Coupe body created by Colli, chassis 00128 is understood to have been used by Juan Manuel Fangio to finish second at the 1953 Mille Miglia. With the Colli bodied removed, the low and compact chassis provided the Pinin Farina designers with plenty of room to be very creative. Known as the Superflow, the first show car based on the 6C 3000 CM was launched at the 1956 Turin Motor Show. It boasted a futuristic design with open front wheels covered by plexiglass panels. These also doubled as headlight covers. To relay the car’s origins, a prominent Alfa Romeo grille adorned the low nose. Plexiglass was also used for the roof, which featured hinged, ‘gullwing’ sections. In keeping with the times, the tail sported prominent fins. Later that year it appeared as the Superflow II in Paris repainted from its original white with a black stripe to red with a white stripe. The restyled and much sharper nose featured more conventional steel fenders. Plexiglass was only used for the headlight covers. The car was redone once more for the 1959 Geneva Motor Show, dubbed the Spyder Super Sport or Superflow III. As the name suggests, it boasted an open roof and the finned tail was replaced by a more elegant round rear end. The nose of the now all white show car was unchanged with the exception of the deleted headlight covers. A few months later, Pinin Farina showed the ex-Fangio Alfa Romeo for one final time, at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show. Incorporating the best features of the previous versions, the car was now dubbed the Coupe Super Sport Speciale or Superflow IV. The plexiglass headlight covers returned as did the domed roof. This time the panels were not hinged but could could actually slide down and back underneath the rear window. As a result, the Superflow IV could be used as both a Coupe and Spyder. The elegant tail design of the Superflow III was retained. The evolution of the Superflow illustrates the changing trends and influences during the 1950s and into the 1960s. The show car started out with a rather extreme, jet-age inspired design and finally ended with a strikingly elegant design, typical of the 1960s. It also influenced the design of future Alfa Romeo models, most notably the Duetto Spyder, which was launched in 1966. Following its many years of show duty, the Superflow IV was shipped to the United States where it was driven across the country and displayed in Alfa Romeo showrooms to gauge customer reaction.

 photo Picture 055_zpsiucj8iai.jpg

There was also an example of one of the special Giulietta models here. This was the Giulietta Sprint Speciale, the earlier version of a car which was produced between 1957 and 1965, latterly with Giulia badging. Just 1,366 examples were made. The first cars were fitted with the 1,290cc Giulietta engine and then in 1963 this was replaced by the more powerful 1,570cc Giulia unit. The SS, or Sprint Speciale series was never intended to be a volume car and it was considerably more expensive than the other models in the Giulietta and Giulia ranges. It certainly looked special, with streamlined bodywork which bore a marked resemblance to some of the marque’s earlier competition designs, particularly the famous Disco Volante sports-racer, not to mention the BAT 9 show car. With an all-up weight of under 950kgs, a five-speed gearbox and an output of 112bhp (in Giulia form) these were excellent road cars and were equally used in competition. They don’t come up for sale very often, and needless to say, the price tag is not small when they do.

 photo Picture 732_zpsnmd3gdom.jpg

Representing the popular 105 Series was this Giulia GTC, a cabriolet version of the Giulia Sprint GT only offered between 1965 and 1966, and of which just 998 were built. The car was based on the coupé’s body and parts, maintaining the same specifications and performance, with the cabriolet modification being carried out by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. The cabriolet was introduced to the press (together with the Giulia Super) at the Monza race track on 4 March 1965, and then made its public debut at the March 1965 Geneva Motor Show. Besides the convertible top, distinguishing features are the dashboard finished in black instead of grey crackle paint, and a script reading “Giulia GTC” on the boot lid. The 2+2 seating layout was retained. To restore some of the bodyshell rigidity lost by removing the fixed roof and pillars, Carrozzeria Touring added reinforcement to several areas of the bodyshell. Through the production life of the model, several modifications to the reinforcement applied were made by Touring, apparently in an effort to increase the rigidity of the body. Carrozzeria Touring was in financial trouble when the Giulia GTC was introduced; the company went out of business shortly after production of this model ended.

 photo Picture 238_zpsa3mwxoss.jpg  photo Picture 237_zpslwq1y7x3.jpg  photo Picture 247_zps98hxdxq8.jpg


The AMC AMX is a two-seat GT-style sports car that was produced by American Motors Corporation for the 1968 through 1970 model years. The AMX was also classified as a muscle car, but “unique among other American cars at the time due its short wheelbase”. The AMX was also the only American-built steel-bodied two-seater of its time, the first since the 1955–1957 Ford Thunderbird. To a degree, the AMX was a competitor with America’s only other two-seater of the era, the Chevrolet Corvette for substantially less money. With a one-inch shorter wheelbase than Chevrolet’s two-seater, the AMX was often seen by the press as a “Corvette competitor” Fitted with the optional high-compression medium block 390 cu in (6.4 L) AMC V8 engine, the AMX offered top-notch performance at an affordable price. In spite of this value and enthusiastic initial reception by automotive media and enthusiasts, sales never thrived. However, the automaker’s larger objectives to refocus AMC’s image on performance and to bring younger customers into its dealer showrooms was achieved. After three model years, the two-seat version was discontinued, and the AMX’s now signature badging was transferred to a high-performance version of its four-seat sibling, the Javelin, from the 1971 to 1974 model years. American Motors capitalized the respected reputation of the original AMXs by reviving the model designation for performance-equipped coupe versions of the compact Hornet in 1977, Concord in 1978, and the subcompact Spirit in 1979 and 1980.

 photo Picture 452_zpsr3wb0988.jpg


A vast area is given over to the Artcurial auction, which takes place during the show. You have to buy a catalogue to get in among the exhibits, and this costs more than the entry to the Show. I chose not to, and had to content myself with looking at what you could see from around the perimeter of the reserved area. That was plenty, though of course the star attraction was the 1965 Dino 206P Berlinette Special. It was positioned tantalisingly far from the entrance so you could see it, but not really closely enough. However, it had been shown at this event the year before, so this was not the first time I have seen this stunning and unique car.

 photo Picture 339_zpsvn2yiydu.jpg

Alfa Romeo 1900C Touring

 photo Picture 343_zps7sb7racv.jpg

Aston Martin V8

 photo Picture 344_zps1od6dqpy.jpg

Bizzarrini 5300

 photo Picture 333_zpsl4ekwrsp.jpg  photo Picture 331_zpslngddfva.jpg

BMW M535i

 photo Picture 330_zpstvlfykvo.jpg

This 1935 Type 57 Bugatti Atalante was the first example of the model and was presented at the 1935 Paris Motor Show. It is one of just eight Atalante made originally with fold-down roof, and the only example to have survived with its original chassis.

 photo Picture 322_zpsj5c4z7fb.jpg

de Tomaso Pantera

 photo Picture 329_zpsimtvwdwk.jpg  photo Picture 328_zpsczaizwzj.jpg

Dating from 1951, this Delahaye 135M has a rare Gascogne body built by the coachbuilder Dubos. The car was bought by three youngsters in 1959 and has stayed in the same family ever since. One of them became the sole owner during the 1990s and it restored. He died in the early 2000s and the car has been driven very little since then.

 photo Picture 320_zpsmjdbwog1.jpg

Ferrari 250 GT Series 2

 photo Picture 335_zpswk3gl4gl.jpg  photo Picture 335_zps8n4bt3sg.jpg  photo Picture 334_zpsatq2fyjj.jpg  photo Picture 332_zps8jg4xeut.jpg

Lancia Aurelia Spyder B24

 photo Picture 336_zpswt9y8hum.jpg  photo Picture 337_zpsjbxy9eqh.jpg  photo Picture 338_zpssgnchwfm.jpg

Maserati 3500GT

 photo Picture 341_zps1zjtqdob.jpg

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and Roadster

 photo Picture 342_zpsmg4rrohd.jpg  photo Picture 340_zpsho4xsbzf.jpg  photo Picture 340_zps4xolkem2.jpg

Mini Cooper and Traveller

 photo Picture 327_zpsom6bfopx.jpg  photo Picture 326_zpsuvh7edo1.jpg

First of two Packard models here was this 1930 734 Speedster, Packard’s response to the challenges presented by Cadillac and Duesenberg. With its shortened chassis and 6.3 litre straight 8 engine, which was good for 125 or 140 hp and a 4 speed gearbox, this car had impressive performance. It was only produced for a year and just 116 were built, though, meaning that it is particularly sought after these days. Initially it was believed that this car was a replica but recent research has established that it is in fact a genuine car from that 1930 production year. The car was acquired to be part of the Harrah Collection in Reno in 1962 and spent many years in display there before being sold on, at which point it acquired the current boat-tail runabout body. Ownership passed to a German collector, and this was one of a number of cars from his collection on offer at this auction.

 photo Picture 325_zpsjenppsd6.jpg  photo Picture 323_zpsy8iqvfci.jpg

This is a 1937 Packard Torpedo Double Phaeton “Le Baron”. Delivered by the factory with a limousine body, the car has had quite a history since that time. It was sold new by the Los Angeles dealer Earle C Armstrong. When it passed from a Rhode Island owner to a German collector who lived in the South off France, he had it dispatched to workshops in England for restoration and a new body to be fitted. By this time, it had acquired a boat-tail rear end in aluminium, but this was not to the liking of the new owner, who settled on a Dual Cowl Phaeton body in the style of Le Baron from the early 1930s. The work was not straight-forward as the 1937 chassis differed considerably from earlier models, with the engine sited differently and independent front suspension now included, The opportunity was taken to go through all the mechanical parts as well, creating a rare and valuable example of this much respected marque.

 photo Picture 317_zpshonzoy83.jpg

This Pierce-Arrow Twelve Torpedo Le Baron dates from 1933. During the late 1920s, a number of American manufacturers continually raised the stakes with their luxurious high-end offerings. Duesenberg led the way, though their position was challenged in 1930 by Cadillac who launched a V16-powered range of cars. Pierce Arrow responded to this new challenge with their own V12 offerings in 1932, with cars that put out 150 bhp from their 7.4 litre engines, and which offered an abundance of luxury and equipment. A power upgrade in 1933 saw an extra 25 bhp added to to the total. This particular car was ordered new by Hollywood actress Carole Lombard, the wife of Clark Gable. Sadly, she was killed in a plane crash in 1942 and in 1944 the car changed hands for the first of many times up to the present day. It is believed to be the only surviving example with le Baron coachwork. .

 photo Picture 316_zpskagmk3ka.jpg  photo Picture 315_zpssenwj0f7.jpg


The largest number of Aston Martin models was on one of the dealer stands, ROOS Engineering, who had a several examples of the renowned DB cars from inception right through the whole David Brown era, many of them with significant historical connections. There were further examples of the marque on various other stands throughout the Show.

The Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports was a sports car sold from 1948 to 1950. It was the first product of the company under new owner, David Brown, and is retrospectively known as the DB1. The car debuted at the 1948 London Motor Show and was based on the Aston Martin Atom prototype. Just 15 were sold. Shortly after David Brown purchased Aston Martin, construction began on an updated version. This prototype was entered at the 24 Hours race at Spa in 1948 as a way of testing its durability, and the car won the race outright with drivers St. John Horsfall and Leslie Johnson. The Spa car was rebuilt and shown at the London Motor Show as an example of a new “Spa Replica” series for public sale, but there were no takers. The single Spa car has been until recently kept in the Dutch Motor Museum. In 2006 it returned to the UK and has been fully restored. Along with the cycle-wing Spa car, Brown directed Aston to build a 2-seat roadster with a more conventional body for the London show. This 2-Litre Sports, as the name suggested, used the 2.0 litre Claude Hill engine. This 90 hp unit could propel the small, light vehicle to 93 mph. 13 of the cars wore an open roadster body, as shown in London, complete with a 3-part grille suggesting the later Aston Martin design. One unusual feature of these cars was the compartment in one front wing for the spare wheel. One more 2-Litre car was shipped as a chassis for custom coachwork. After the 1950 introduction of the replacement DB2, with the W. O. Bentley designed Lagonda straight-6 engine, the 2-Litre Sports became known widely as the DB1. At this point only 12 had been produced, however since the DB2 was a hardtop and a customer wanted a softtop, chassis numbers 13,14 and 15 were produced to special order.

 photo Picture 721_zpslavhut2a.jpg

This was the first new post-war design, and the first car to adopt the now legendary DB naming convention, reflecting the fact that in 1947 David Brown had bought the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies and incorporated them as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. Lagonda’s 2.6 litre dual overhead cam, straight-six engine, more powerful than the pushrod 1.9 litre unit in the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, was the main objective in Brown’s acquisition of the company. W. O. Bentley had supervised the engine’s design, which was largely by William (Willie) Watson, an engineer with the pre-war Invicta company who had collaborated on Lagonda’s pre-war V12 and also designed the short-lived post-war version. Work then started on producing a new car, which was called the DB2. This new model would utilise a version of the Lagonda engine in a shortened version of the tube-frame chassis designed by Claude Hill for the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, with a fastback coupé body designed by Frank Feeley. Three pre-production cars were entered for the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. One, which would become the development car for the production DB2, had the Lagonda straight-6, while the four-cylinder Aston Martin 2-litre unit powered the other two. After six laps the Lagonda-powered car, driven by Leslie Johnson, retired with overheating caused by failure of the water pump. One of the 2-litre cars was in 4th place and running without brakes when it crashed two hours short of the finish, fatally injuring driver Pierre Maréchal. The other finished 7th, crewed by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A month later, the larger-engined car, driven by Leslie Johnson and Charles Brackenbury, finished 3rd in the Spa 24-hour race, where one of the 2-litre cars was driven to 5th by Nick Haines and Lance Macklin. For 1950 all three factory team cars were equipped with the Lagonda engine. At the 1950 Le Mans race the one driven by George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished 5th, with Brackenbury and Reg Parnell bringing another home 6th, which won Aston Martin 1st and 2nd in the 3-litre class. Across the Atlantic, Briggs Cunningham drove his DB2 to 2nd in its class at the inaugural Sebring race meeting in December 1950. The factory team cars continued racing in Europe throughout 1951, including at Le Mans, where Macklin and Eric Thompson took 3rd overall, with Abecassis and Brian Shawe-Taylor 5th. David Brown soon embarked on a series of Aston Martins designed specifically for competition use, starting with the DB3. Meanwhile, the production DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé (FHC) a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car. Later in 1950, a Drophead Coupé (DHC) variant was introduced. At least 102 were built. In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust (for increased duration), and higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was made available. Aston Martin’s first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp. Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham in the United States. A revised version of the DB2 was launched in 1953, called the DB2/4. It was available as a 2+2 hatchback, marketed as a Saloon, as a Drophead Coupé (DHC) and as a 2-seat Fixed Head Coupe. A small number of Bertone bodied spiders were commissioned by private buyers. A further update in 1957 created the Mark III, and this was produced until the launch of the DB4 in 1958.

 photo Picture 719_zpsoyqqclnx.jpg  photo Picture 720_zpsftmjkhe3.jpg

The Aston Martin DB3 and later DB3S were sports racing cars built in the 1950s. Although they used some DB2 parts, they were quite different, being designed especially for racing. The original modifications were done by ex-Auto Union engineer, Eberan von Eberhorst, though others handled the later DB3S work. The DB3 was introduced in 1951 with a 133 hp 2.6 litre Lagonda straight-6 engine from the DB2 Vantage. The car was unsuccessful, so a larger 2.9 litre engine, producing 163 hp, was introduced in June 1952. The car was placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at Silverstone May 1952 (in 2.6 litre form) that year behind a Jaguar C-Type. The cars were forced out of Le Mans, but did claim the 9-hour race at Goodwood. In 1953 a DB3 driven by Parnell/Abecassis placed 2nd at the Sebring 12 Hours, the opening race in the World Sports Car Championship, behind a Cunningham CR4 and then at the second round at the Mille Miglia, Reg Parnell drove a DB3 to 5th place, the highest position ever reached by a British sports car in the Italian classic. The car was then replaced as Astons front line car by the DB3S. In total 10 DB3s were made between 1951 and 1953, with chassis numbers from DB3/1 to DB3/10. Cars 1 to 5 being used as works cars and cars 6 to 10 being sold as customer cars. Several Aston Martin DB3s have received coupé style bodies over the years. The DB3S was a lighter version of the car, introduced in 1953. It was somewhat more successful, and was produced until 1956. Originally two ‘works’ coupé versions were also built.

 photo Picture 783_zpscg0kcfmx.jpg  photo Picture 782_zpsxf80wprh.jpg

The Aston Martin DBR1 was a sports racing car intended for the World Sportscar Championship as well as non-championship sportscar races at the time. It is most famous as the victor of the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin’s only outright victory at the endurance classic. It is one of only three cars in the 1950s to win both the World Sports Car Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in the same year (the others being the Ferrari 375 Plus in 1954 and the Ferrari 250TR in 1958). In addition the six World Sports Car Championship victories was a record for any car in the 1950s and remained a record in the championship until surpassed by the Ferrari 250TR. The three consecutive triumphs in 1959 at the Nürburgring, Le Mans and the Tourist Trophy equalled the record set by the Ferrari 250TR with its three consecutive victories at the start of the 1958 season. Following changes to the rules for sportscar racing, entrants no longer had to use cars which were road legal, or based on road legal cars, such as the Aston Martin DB3S. Therefore, with the ability to create a sportscar from a clean slate for 1956, Aston Martin created the DBR1, with Ted Cutting as chief designer. The body evolved from the DB3S’s shape, featuring a much lower profile. Most notable was that the back of the front wheel well was no longer left open. Instead, the DBR1 featured full bodywork with a large triangular vent on the side, a design trait which would become standard on all future Aston Martins. The DBR1 was initially fitted with a smaller 2.5-litre (2493 cc) new all alloy racing engine (RB6.250) very loosely derived from the racing version of the Lagonda Straight-6 engine to comply with that year’s Le Mans 24 Hour regulations whilst the RB6.300 Straight-6 (2992 cc), rated at 250 hp was developed for the 1957 season. Debuting at the non championship 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans, David Brown’s Aston Martin racing team set out with the 2.5-litre DBR1/1 alongside two older 2.9-litre DB3Ss. Although performing well through most of the race against larger engined cars such as the winning Jaguar D-type with its 3.4-litre engine, the DBR1 suffered gearbox failure after 246 laps whilst lying seventh, forcing drivers Reg Parnell and Tony Brooks to retire. Making a full debut in the 1957 World Sportscar Championship season as well as various non-championship races, Aston Martin started the season with DBR1/1 in 2.5-litre form and the car recorded its first finish, with a second place for Roy Salvadori at the British Empire Trophy, followed by another second place at the Goodwood Circuit’s Sussex Trophy. DBR1/1 was then upgraded with the newer 3.0-litre engine, and joined by the identical DBR1/2. Together at the Spa Sportscar Race, Aston Martin took the top two spots, with Tony Brooks winning over Roy Salvadori. The DBR1s then made their World Sportscar Championship debut in the fourth round, the 1000km Nürburgring. Here DBR1/2 took an overall victory at the hands of Brooks and Noël Cunningham-Reid, earning Aston Martin its first World Championship win since the Collins/Griffith DB3S had won the Tourist Trophy in 1953. Salvadori and Les Leston finished sixth in the same race in DBR1/1. The victory against the full works might of Ferrari and Maserati with their 335S and 450S models in the hands of drivers such as Peter Collins, Mike Hawthorn, Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio gave the Aston Martin team confidence that they now had a car that could compete against the best in the world. Unfortunately these hopes were dashed at the 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans when both DBR1s failed to finish. The failure at Le Mans meant that any hopes of the World Championship had gone and Aston Martin missed the final two rounds in Sweden and Venezuela. Instead they entered the non-championship Spa Grand Prix, where DBR1/2 took the only other victory of the year in the hands of Brooks ahead of Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 290 MM and Olivier Gendebien in a Ferrari 335S with Salvadori fourth in DBR1/1. For 1958, DBR1/3 was completed and Aston Martin now had three cars with which to compete. The World Sports Car Championship was now restricted to cars of no more than 3-litres and the team’s DBR2 model with its 3.7-litre engine was ineligible. David Brown therefore chose to concentrate on the Championship with the DBR1, leaving the DBR2 for non-championship races. The team did not enter the opening round in Buenos Aires which was won by Ferrari, deciding instead to race at the following round, the 12 Hours of Sebring. Neither DBR1 managed to finish, both suffering gearbox failure, although in the hands of Moss it was the fastest car in the race. This was followed at the Targa Florio, with the new DBR1/3 also suffering a gearbox failure and not finishing but not before Moss had broken his old lap record set in the Mercedes 300SLR by over a minute. At the 1000 km Nürburgring, where the DBR1 had won the previous year, Aston Martin managed to repeat their victory, with Moss and Jack Brabham’s DBR1/3 beating a large contingent of Ferraris and Porsches. Unfortunately the bad luck returned at Le Mans, with all three DBR1s failing to finish again. However, at the season ending Tourist Trophy, Aston Martin managed a 1-2-3 finish with Moss and Brooks driving the winning car (DBR1/2) ahead of Salvadori/Brabham in DBR1/1 and Shelby/Stuart Lewis-Evans in DBR1/3. However Ferrari had chosen not to compete having already won the championship and the race was only of four hour duration and consequently only half points were awarded. This victory allowed Aston Martin to finish second in the constructor’s championship behind Ferrari. Returning again for 1959, Aston Martin had completed two more chassis, DBR1/4 and DBR1/5. The first car was actually a conversion from a DBR3, while DBR1/5 was a spare chassis sold to privateer Graham Whitehead. This latter car was the only DBR1 to be sold to a privateer during the 1956-9 period when the factory team campaigned with them. With four chassis, Aston Martin would again concentrate on the World Sportscar Championship. The season started slowly, with a sole entry, DBR1/1, in the hands of Salvadori and Shelby failing to finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring which resulted in a 1-2 for Ferrari with their 250TR model. This was then followed by the team not appearing at the Targa Florio which was won by Porsche with a 1-2-3-4. Aston Martin then completed a hat trick of victories as the sole factory entry (DBR1/1) again won the 1000km Nürburgring, with Moss and Jack Fairman driving. In addition to this victory, Aston Martin finally achieved what is considered their finest motorsports triumph. DBR1/2, driven by Carroll Shelby and Salvadori, took victory at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. DBR1/4, driven by Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frére, managed second. The next closest competitor was a distant 25 laps behind the duo. With the constructors championship now closely contested by Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin, the team appeared at the final round, the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. Aston Martin entered three DBR1s, as well as privateer Whitehead’s DBR1/5. During the race, DBR1/3 which had been leading caught fire whilst refuelling in the pits, damaging the car too badly to continue and leaving Aston Martin without room to refuel their other cars. To salvage Aston Martin’s hopes of the championship, Whitehead withdrew his entry from the race in order to allow Aston Martin to use his pits stall and finish the race. Moss took over the car driven by Shelby and Fairman and in DBR1/2 was able to secure victory and the championship. The remaining Aston, DBR1/4, in the hands of Trintignant/Frere came fourth. Aston Martin scored 24 points from their three victories with Ferrari in second place with a net 18 points, 22 gross and Porsche third also with a net 18 points but 21 gross. This was the only World Sports Car Championship won by Aston Martin. Following Aston Martin’s success in 1959, David Brown decided to make a move to Formula One with the DBR4 and DBR5 that ultimately proved unsuccessful. Thus the factory’s David Brown Racing Department would no longer compete in sports cars. The four DBR1s retained by the factory, including the rebuilt DBR1/3, were sold off to customers for use in various series. Notable privateers included Border Reivers, Ian Baille, David Hamm, and Essex Racing Stable. DBR1/3 finished 3rd at 1960 Oulton Park, 3rd at Le Mans driven by Salvadori and Jim Clark, and in 1961, finished 1st at Charterhall driven by Ron Flockhart for the final victory for any DBR1. DBR1/2 won the 1960 Rouen Grand Prix with Fairman. In 1961, two DBR1s failed to finish at Le Mans driven by Salvadori and Tony Maggs and Ron Flockhart and Clark. Following the 1962 season, all DBR1s would retire from racing and eventually end up in museums or private collections. DBR1/3 is on display at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 photo Picture 772_zpsn3iltvgc.jpg

Follow on model to that was the DB4. Technically it was a development of the DB Mark III it replaced but with a completely new body. The DB4’s design formed the basis for later Aston Martin classics, such as the DB4 GT Zagato, the Lagonda Rapide 4-door saloon. It was eventually replaced by the Aston Martin DB5. The lightweight superleggera (tube-frame) body was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and its Continental looks caused a sensation on its unveiling at the 1958 London Motor Show. Although the design and construction techniques were Italian, the DB4 was the first Aston to be built at the company’s Newport Pagnell works. The 3670 cc engine, designed by Tadek Marek, was a double overhead cam straight-6, with cylinder head and block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, a further development of the earlier engine. The engine was prone to overheating initially, but the 240 hp produced by the twin-SU carburettor version made buyers forgive this unfortunate trait[citation needed]. Servo-assisted disc brakes were fitted all round: early 11.5 in Dunlops were replaced by Girlings. The independent front suspension used ball-jointed wishbones, coil springs and rack-and-pinion steering. The live rear axle also used coil springs and was located by a Watt’s linkage. The normal final-drive ratio for British and European use was 3.54:1: in the United States the ratio was usually 3.77. Customers wanting a car with an especially high top speed could choose a 3.31:1 ratio. A car with the British standard 3.54 final drive ratio tested by The Motor magazine in 1960 had a top speed of 139.3 mph and could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds. A fuel consumption of 17.7 mpg. The test car cost £3967 including taxes. There were five “series” of DB4. The most visible changes were the addition of window frames in Series II and the adoption of a barred (rather than eggcrate) grille in Series IV. The Series III cars differed from the earlier ones in having taillights consisting of three small lamps mounted on a chrome backing plate. Earlier cars have single-piece units and the last Series V cars of September 1962 have similar taillights but recessed. The Series V also has a taller and longer body to provide more interior space, though the diameter of the wheels was reduced to keep the overall height the same. The front of the Series V usually was of the more aerodynamic style as already used on the Vantage and GT models, a style that was later carried over to the DB5 cars. A convertible was introduced in October 1961. It featured in-house styling similar to the Touring saloon, and an extremely rare factory hardtop was also available. In total, 70 DB4 convertibles were made from a total DB4 production run of 1,110 cars. 30 of these were Series IV, with the remaining 40 belonging to the Series V. 32 of the total convertibles built (11 and 21 of the different series respectively) were equipped with the more powerful Vantage engine. Top speed for the regular version is about 136 mph.

 photo Picture 436_zpsnhpd5u25.jpg  photo Picture 511_zps8wibag27.jpg  photo Picture 722_zpsnoum4mex.jpg

The Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato was introduced in October 1960 at the London Motor Show. It was effectively a DB4 GT, lightened and improved by the Zagato factory in Italy, by Ercole Spada. Initially, the factory planned to produce 25 cars, but demand was not as strong as expected and production was reduced to 20. Although the specification of the engine was changed and upgraded throughout their racing history, the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato predominantly featured a 3.7-litre aluminium twin-spark straight 6-cylinder engine with a 9.7:1 compression ratio, higher than the DB4 GT engine. The engine produced 314 bhp, and had a 0 to 60 mph acceleration of just 6.1 seconds and a top speed of approximately 154 mph (246 km/h). Ercole Spada at Zagato transformed the DB4 GT into a smaller, more aerodynamic, super-lightweight car. Many steel components were replaced with the more lightweight and heat-resistant aluminium components. All non-essential elements disappeared, such as the bumpers. With the help of Perspex and aluminium components, more than 100 pounds (45 kg) was shed from the DB4 GT. The popularity of the original DB4 GT Zagato resulted in two subsequent waves of cars based on DB4s being rendered into “Zagatos” through the cooperation of Aston Martin and the Zagato works in Italy. They are known as “Sanction II” and “Sanction III” cars. Also, an unauthorised but lucrative private industry of modifying original DB4 GTs into “Zagato” replicas has arisen as well to meet market demand for high-quality Zagato recreations.

 photo Picture 023_zpsr1mjrhed.jpg

The Aston Martin DB5 was an evolution of the DB4. The principal differences between the DB4 Series V and the DB5 are the all-aluminium engine, enlarged from 3.7 L to 4.0 L; a new robust ZF five-speed transmission (except for some of the very first DB5s); and three SU carburettors. This engine, producing 282 bhp, which propelled the car to 145 mph, available on the Vantage (high powered) version of the DB4 since March 1962, became the standard Aston Martin power unit with the launch in September 1963 of the DB5. Standard equipment on the DB5 included reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric windows, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels, oil cooler, magnesium-alloy body built to superleggera patent technique, full leather trim in the cabin and even a fire extinguisher. All models have two doors and are of a 2+2 configuration. Like the DB4, the DB5 used a live rear axle At the beginning, the original four-speed manual (with optional overdrive) was standard fitment, but it was soon dropped in favour of the ZF five-speed. A three-speed Borg-Warner DG automatic transmission was available as well. The automatic option was then changed to the Borg-Warner Model 8 shortly before the DB6 replaced the DB5. The high-performance DB5 Vantage was introduced in 1964 featuring three twin-choke 45DCOE side-draft Weber carburettors and revised camshaft profiles, delivering greater top-end performance at the expense of overall flexibility, especially as legendary Webers are renowned as ‘full-throttle’ devices. This engine produced 325 bhp at 5,500 rpm. 65 DB5 Vantage coupés were built. 123 convertible DB5s were produced (also with bodies by Touring), though they did not use the typical “Volante” name until 1965. The convertible model was offered from 1963 through to 1965. Originally only 19 of the 123 DB5 Convertibles made were left-hand drive. 12 cars were originally fitted with a factory Vantage engine, and at least one further convertible was subsequently factory fitted with a DB6 specification Vantage engine. A rare factory option (actually fitted by Works Service prior to customer delivery) was a steel removable hard top. From October 1965 to October 1966, Aston Martin used the last 37 of the Aston Martin DB5 chassis’ to make another convertible model. These 37 cars were known as “Short Chassis” Volantes and were the first Aston Martins to hold the “Volante” name. Although calling it a “Short Chassis” is a bit of a misnomer as the “short” comes from comparing it to the subsequent DB6, which has a longer chassis. When compared to the DB5, it is not “short” but rather the same size, however these cars differ to the DB5 convertible models as they feature DB6 split front and rear bumpers and rear TR4 lights, as also used on the DB6.

 photo Picture 498_zpsmjv3ctod.jpg  photo Picture 792_zpsso2h8y1c.jpg  photo Picture 527_zps6ubnbejy.jpg  photo Picture 528_zpsdzdpnsnv.jpg  photo Picture 526_zpsbg2enh8r.jpg photo Picture 723_zpspyjfual6.jpg  photo Picture 726_zps0a15apmo.jpg  photo Picture 725_zpskcnyzc8c.jpg  photo Picture 724_zps0srpqjkw.jpg  photo Picture 728_zpsm87wzkp6.jpg  photo Picture 727_zpsml9hoppb.jpg  photo Picture 756_zpsmsrfs6gz.jpg

Also here was the DB6, the model launched in 1965 as a replacement for the DB5. The wheelbase was now 4″ longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle with a more raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. Opening front quarter lights made a reappearance, but the major change was at the rear where a Kamm tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. “The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space”, declared Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had tested. Famed employee, Tadek Marek, designed the six cylinder engine, which had been enlarged to 3,995cc for the preceding DB5 and remained unchanged. Power output on triple SU carburettors was 282bhp, rising to 325bhp in Vantage specification. Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the DB6 Volante marked the first occasion the evocative ‘Volante’ name had been applied to a soft-top Aston Martin. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. A mere 140 DB6 based Volantes were manufactured, and of these only 29 were specified with the more powerful Vantage engine.

 photo Picture 445_zpslwicq2vh.jpg  photo Picture 120_zpscyizifxy.jpg  photo Picture 729_zpswtz7rfae.jpg

Representing the longest lived design in Aston Martin’s history was this Vantage Volante from the DBS/V8 generation. By the mid 1960s, Aston Martin’s customers had been clamouring for an eight-cylinder car, so Aston Martin designed a larger car. The engine was not ready, however, so in 1967 the company released the DBS with the straight-six Vantage engine from the DB6. Two years later, Tadek Marek’s V8 was ready, and Aston released the DBS V8. Though the body and name was shared with the six-cylinder DBS, the V8 sold for much more. The body was a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Aston Martin look, with a squared-off grille and four headlights (though some consider the styling derivative of the early Ford Mustang). Distinguishing features of the V8 model are the larger front air dam and lack of wire wheels, though some six-cylinder DBS cars also used the V8’s alloy wheels. The tail lights were taken from the Hillman Hunter. A road test report of the time noted that the car had gained 250 lb in weight with the fitting of the V8 in place of the previously used six-cylinder unit, despite the manufacturer’s assurance that the engine weighed only 30 lb more than the older straight-six. Other contributions to the weight gain included heavier ventilated brake discs, air conditioning, fatter tyres, a new and stronger ZF gearbox as well as some extra bodywork beneath the front bumper. Marek’s V8 engine displaced 5,340 cc and used Bosch fuel injection. Output was not officially released, but estimates centre around 315 hp. The DBS V8 could hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and had a top speed of nearly 160 mph. 402 DBS V8s were built. In April 1972, the DBS V8 became just the Aston Martin V8 as the six-cylinder DBS was dropped, leaving just this car and the six-cylinder Vantage in production. The V8 became known as the AM V8, a model retroactively referred to as the Series 2 V8 to separate it from later models. Visual differences included twin quartz headlights and a mesh grille, a front design which was to last until the end of production in 1989. AM V8 cars, produced from May 1972 through July 1973, used a similar engine to the DBS V8, albeit with Bosch fuel injection rather than the earlier carburettors. Just 288 Series 2 cars were built. Although David Brown had left the company, he had overseen development of this model. The first 34 cars still carried leftover “DBS V8” badging. The car switched back to Weber carburettors for the Series 3 in 1973, ostensibly to help the car pass new stricter emissions standards in California but most likely because Aston Martin was unable to make the Bosch fuel injection system work correctly. These cars are distinguished by a taller bonnet scoop to accommodate four twin-choke (two-barrel) Weber carbs. The car produced 310 hp and could reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds with an automatic transmission or 5.7 with a manual. Performance suffered with emissions regulations, falling to 288 hp in 1976. The next year, a more powerful “Stage 1” engine with new camshafts and exhaust brought it up to 305 hp. Production of Series 3 cars lasted from 1973 through October 1978, but was halted for all of 1975. 967 examples were produced in this time. While earlier V8 cars have louvres cut into the little panel mounted beneath the rear windshield, the Series 3 and later cars instead have a small lip at the bottom of this panel, just ahead of the leading edge of the bootlid. The “Oscar India” specification was introduced in October 1978 at the Birmingham International Motor Show. Visually, the former scoop on the bonnet gave way to a closed “power bulge”, while a spoiler was integrated into the tail. Most Oscar India cars were equipped with a Chrysler “Torqueflite” three-speed automatic transmission, with wood trim fitted for the first time since the DB2/4 of the 1950s. Just 352 Oscar India models were built from 1978 through 1985. The power of the now de-smogged engines kept dropping on American market cars, down to a low of 245 hp in the early eighties. The convertible “Volante” was introduced in June 1978, but featured the Series 4 bonnet a few months before the coupé received the Oscar India update. The Volante Series 1 weighs 70 kg (155 lb) more than the coupé, due to the necessity of reinforcing the frame. US market cars received much larger bumpers beginning with the 1980 model year, adding weight and somewhat marring the car’s lines. Owners of US-specified cars often modify them to have the slimmer European bumpers. By 1981, the success of the Volante meant that the coupé model was only built on individual demand. The fuel-injected Series 5 cars were introduced in January 1986 at the New York International Auto Show. The compact Weber/Marelli system no longer needed the space of the previous carburettors, so the bonnet bulge was virtually eliminated. 405 Series 5 cars were built before production ceased in 1989. The Volante Series 2 received the same changes; 216 were built.

 photo Picture 731_zpsfyqjvt9r.jpg  photo Picture 730_zpsjfprkj8j.jpg  photo Picture 442_zpsisefziqn.jpg


British sports cars are rather less evident here than they would be at a UK event, so it was perhaps no surprise that I only came across one example of the “Big Healey”. Donald Healey had been producing a range of expensive sports cars from the 1940s, cars such as the Silverstone, the Abbott and the Farnham. For the 1952 London Motor Show, he produced a new design, which was called the Healey Hundred, based on Austin A90 mechanicals, which he intended to produce in-house at his small car company in Warwick. It was one of the stars of the 1952 Show, and it so impressed Leonard Lord, the Managing Director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90. that Lord struck a deal with Healey on the spot, to build it in quantity. Bodies made by Jensen Motors would be given Austin mechanical components at Austin’s Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100, in reference to the fact that the car had a top speed of 100 mph. Production got under way in 1953, with Austin-Healey 100s being finished at Austin’s Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich—in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. By early 1956, production was running at 200 cars a month, 150 of which were being sold in California. Between 1953 and 1956, 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced, the vast majority of them, as was the case for most cars in this post war era, going for export. The car was replaced by an updated model in 1956, called the 100-6. It had a longer wheelbase, redesigned bodywork with an oval shaped grille, a fixed windscreen and two occasional seats added (which in 1958 became an option with the introduction of the two-seat BN6 produced in parallel with the 2+2 BN4), and the engine was replaced by one based on the six-cylinder BMC C-Series engine. In 1959, the engine capacity was increased from 2.6 to 2.9 litres and the car renamed the Austin-Healey 3000. Both 2-seat and 2+2 variants were offered. It continued in this form until production ceased in late 1967. The Big Healey, as the car became known after the 1958 launch of the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite, is a popular classic now. You come across the 3000 models more frequently than the 100s, as they accounted for more than 60% of all Big Healey production.

 photo Picture 592_zpsveqwhhfk.jpg


Sole car on the Autobianchi Owners Club stand was this A112 Abarth. This was a supermini, developed using a shrunken version of the contemporary Fiat 128’s platform. The mechanicals of the A112 subsequently underpinned the Fiat 127. It was introduced in November 1969, as a replacement for the Bianchina and Primula, and was built until 1986, when it made way for the more modern Autobianchi Y10 (branded in most export markets as the Lancia Y10). Over 1.2 million A112s were produced in Autobianchi’s Milan factory. The A112 was available only with a 3-door body. It was offered with the OHV engine of 903 cc from the Fiat 850 capable of attaining 42 PS. The Autobianchi represented the first appearance of this engine in a front-engine, front-wheel drive configuration which would later become familiar to a wider range of drivers in the top selling Fiat 127 and its derivatives. Claimed power increased to 47 PS in 1971, but without any mechanical changes having taken place. The A112 reached a very particular market; by 1984 female buyers represented 35% of A112 owners and about a third were in the 18-24 age range. In September 1971 the A112 E (“E” for Elegant, which also became its name after the 1973 facelift) was introduced. This featured improved seats, higher grade trimming and equipment, as well as a five-speed gearbox later in life. The mechanics were originally identical to the regular version, now referred to as the Normale, but from 1975 until 1977 the Normale’ received a less powerful engine. A performance edition “Abarth” was introduced too. In March 1973 the A112 received a makeover. The grille was new, with a larger mesh, and the bumpers were now of rubber with chrome insert (although the Normale retained the old metal bumpers with rubber strips). A new style of alloys were also available, and the seats and dashboard underwent some changes. The Abarth received a new chess pattern upholstery. In 1975 the third series arrived. The insides in the rear were recontoured, so that the car now became a five-seater (instead of four). The easiest way to spot a third series is that it received new, much larger vents on the C-pillars, as well as redesigned taillights – with integrated reversing lights on the Elegant and Abarth. The Abarth also received a new larger 1050 cc engine (“70HP”), while the Normale’s output dropped to 42 PS in July 1975. All engines were still pushrod units, derived from the old tipo 100 engine first introduced in the Fiat 600. In 1976, due to new emissions standards, the Elegant lost two horsepower, now down to 45 PS. Third series Normales still received metal bumpers, but from now on they were painted black (instead of being chromed) and no longer had a rubber strip. This was the last model to have the diamond shaped turn signals on the front fenders, with later models receiving more orthodox rectangular ones. In November 1977 the “Nuova A112” (new A112) was introduced: The most obvious difference is a slightly taller roof, with a marked edge around the sides. This improved interior habitability considerably. Autobianchi also at this time modified the upmarket version branded as the “A112 Elegant” with an engine enlarged to 965 cc, now promising 48 PS and improved torque. Later, there were also “A112 Elite” and “A112 LX” versions which received even more comfortable equipment. The 903 cc engine of the lesser A112 Normale remained unchanged. In July 1979 the car underwent another styling modification, receiving large black plastic cladding on the rear, surrounding new taillights, and new side trim and bumpers. The grille was also new, and there was black plastic wheelarches to link all of the plastic parts together. The extractor vents behind the rear side windows were also larger, of black plastic, and wrapped around the pillar. In terms of transmissions, a five-speed transmission now became available on certain models. The fifth gear was an overgear, while the ratios of the four lower speeds and the final gearing remained unchanged. The front turn signals were moved from the front of the fenders to a spot just in front of the leading edge of the doors, while a small badge denoting the trim level appeared in the turn signal’s old place. The Normale now became the Junior, and the Elite version was added, a notch above the Elegant in the lineup. There were some very light modifications to the interior. A large, rollback canvas sunroof became available on the Junior, and a rear window wiper became optional across the range. Aside from the new transmission there were no notable mechanical changes. Power outputs remained at 42, 48, and 70 PS. The Abarth also received the new five-speed gearbox, as well as new alloy wheels and foglights as standard. A lot of the plastic excesses of the fifth series were reversed for the sixth series, which was introduced in the autumn of 1982. New smoother bumpers, removal of the wheelarch trim, and a less heavy grille treatment brought back some of the original elegance of the A112, while the interior was also completely renovated. Another new version arrived, the top-of-the-line LX, which featured tinted windows, velvet seat trimming, power windows, metallic paintwork, and a digital clock amongst other creature comforts. Mechanically, the LX was identical to the Elite, with the five-speed transmission and 965 cc engine. The Elegant version was discontinued, with the Elite taking its position in the lineup. The sixth series also received new body-coloured vents on the C-pillar, and the front corner lights were incorporated into the top of the bumper. The seventh series, presented in 1984, only saw minor changes, largely remaining the same as the sixth. The taillights were again redesigned and were now joined by a reflective strip. The rear license plate was relocated to the bumper and the dashboard received modifications, more noticeable in the better equipped Elite and LX versions. The Abarth received standard front foglights, which were optional on the other versions. The Abarth also has red seatbelts. While the Junior retained small hubcaps, and the Abarth received alloys, the rest of the range now received full-face hubcaps. The front corner lights were now white, instead of orange as before. The engines remained as before, all models except the lowest-priced Junior now used five-speed transmissions. By this time, only France, Italy and Israel still used the “Autobianchi” badge; all others had switched to calling the car a Lancia. At the time of the seventh series introduction, a total of 1,115,000 A112s had been built. As the new Autobianchi Y10 was introduced in 1985, the A112 range was cut down considerably, with only the Junior remaining on sale as a low-priced alternative. It was no longer called Junior, however, now being marketed simply as the “Autobianchi A112”. Other than the name change, there were no design changes to the car. Production continued into 1986, at which point 1,254,178 Autobianchi A112s had been built. The most interesting version was the A112 Abarth, introduced in September 1971 at the same time as the Elegant. It was prepared by the motorsports division of the Fiat Group, at first with a 982 cc engine, obtained by increasing the stroke, coupled to a sportive exhaust, a twin carburettor, and a different camshaft. In 1975, displacement was increased to 1,050 cc, while power climbed from 58 HP to 70 HP at 6600 rpm, for a weight of only 700 kg (1,540 lb). The two engines were offered in parallel until production of the smaller unit ended in late 1976. The 1975 model was also the first A112 to use a 5-speed manual gearbox. These changes turned the A112 into a nervous machine, much admired by young performance enthusiasts. The car was entered in various rallying events throughout Europe and even spawned a one-make trophy: the Campionato A112 Abarth spanned eight editions, from 1977 to 1984, and adopted contemporary Group 1 rules, which meant nearly-stock cars. Some famous Italian rally drivers, including Attilio Bettega, Fabrizio Tabaton and Gianfranco Cunico, were among the winners of the championship. The increasing popularity of the A112 in historic rallies and hillclimbs led to the reintroduction of a one-make trophy, called Trofeo A112 Abarth, in 2010. Abarths have often led hard lives, having been preferred by young owners with aggressive driving styles!

 photo Picture 252_zpsoooxy82e.jpg  photo Picture 251_zpsk3rcqf46.jpg

This is an Eden Roc, part of the Bianchina family of cars and the first Autobianchi models to be produced. Based on the Fiat 500, they were available in various configurations: Berlina (saloon), Cabriolet, Trasformabile (convertible), Panoramica (station wagon), and Furgoncino (van). The car was presented to the public on 16 September 1957 at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. Initially, the car was equipped with the smallest Fiat engine, air-cooled 479 cc producing 15 PS. In 1959, the engine power was increased to 17 PS and in 1960, the cabriolet version was launched. In the same year, the Trasformabile, whose engine cylinder capacity was increased to 499 cc (18 hp), was made available in a Special version with bicolour paint and an engine enhanced to 21 PS. The Trasformabile featured fixed B-pillar and partial roof, as the rest of the opening was covered with foldable fabric hood. Cabriolet version had no B-pillar. Also this was the only version to feature suicide doors. In 1962, the Trasformabile was replaced by a four-seat saloon. The engine and chassis were the same as in the Trasformabile. In 1965, a minor facelift was made. In France, the models were sold under different names: the Berlina became the Lutèce, the Familiare the Texane, and the Trasformabile was marketed as the Eden Roc. Production ceased in 1970.

 photo Picture 240_zpsobvfd7wi.jpg  photo Picture 239_zpspkabyxsu.jpg


Just four of these 3-litre, 8- cylinder twin overhead camshaft Ballots were built, all of which were Works (factory) cars and between them raced at the 1920 and 1921 Indianapolis 500, the 1921 French GP (at Le Mans), and the 1921 Italian GP (in Brescia). They were fabulously engineered, very fast machines of the very highest quality with a spectacular engine. When the International Formula changed to 2-litre cars in 1922, these four cars were sold off. This particular car was bought by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1923, who painted it blue and raced it at Brooklands in a number of events (famously calling it “Bluebird”). In 1926 he sold it to Jack Dunfee who continued its Brooklands racing career with great success until 1933 when it was acquired by Joan Richmond. She sold it to Capt Denis Shipwright and in 1936 Cecil Clutton bought the car in partnership with Watkins-Pitchford. Micheal Crowley Milling bought it in 1940 and later gave it to his brother Humphrey. When Humphrey Milling passed away, the car came out of a one family ownership of over 70 years. The car has a huge file of history and lots of lovely photos, letters, etc. Of the surviving cars, Musée National de l’Automobile has one. There is another one with American George Wingard, but that car has a brand new engine and new body. And then there is this one: this car which has its original engine, body (except for the boot lid), amazing documentation, and one family that has owned it for most of its life The car is not completely unknown, but has been ‘underground’ for many decades. And it has been mistaken for the car that was driven by Louis Wagner. But now we have evidence that this car is the one that was number 8 at Le Mans in 1921 and was the car that was raced by Jean Chassagne. For the first time since 1921, 96-years later, two of these fabulous Ballots – the other being the one from Musée National de l’Automobile – were reunited here.

 photo Picture 271_zpse6av76py.jpg  photo Picture 272_zpsgdvn2sjm.jpg


Swiss dealer Lukas Hüni AG adopted a theme for their massive stand this year of “Bentley v Bugatti”, recalling the fierce rivalry that existed between these two marques in the 1920s. They did not confine the cars that they had on show to those from this period, though, as there were examples of Bentley models from the 1920s right up to the S Type cars of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Oldest of the models present were a number of the 3 and 4.5 litre cars that were produced in the 1920s and which epitomise the classic Bentley to many people. The 3 Litre was the company’s first model, first shown in 1919 and made available to customers’ coachbuilders from 1921 to 1929. It was conceived for racing. The Bentley was very much larger than the 1368 cc Bugattis that dominated racing at the time, but double the size of engine and strength compensated for the extra weight. The 4000 lb (1800 kg) car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924, with drivers John Duff and Frank Clement, and again in 1927, this time in Super Sports form, with drivers S. C. H. “Sammy” Davis and Dudley Benjafield. Its weight, size, and speed prompted Ettore Bugatti to call it “the fastest lorry in the world.” The 3 Litre was delivered as a running chassis to the coachbuilder of the buyer’s choice. Bentley referred many customers to their near neighbour Vanden Plas for bodies. Dealers might order a short cost-saving run of identical bodies to their own distinctive design. Most bodies took the simplest and cheapest form, tourers, but as it was all “custom” coachwork there was plenty of variation. The 2,996 cc straight-4 engine was designed by ex-Royal Flying Corps engineer Clive Gallop and was technically very advanced for its time. It was one of the first production car engines with 4 valves per cylinder, dry-sump lubrication and an overhead camshaft. The four valve SOHC Hemi design, with a bevel-geared shaft drive for the camshaft, was based on the pre-war 1914 Mercedes Daimler M93654 racing engine. Just before the outbreak of the war Mercedes had placed one of the winning Grand Prix cars in their London showroom in Long Acre. At the suggestion of W.O. Bentley, then being commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service, the vehicle was confiscated in 1915 by the British army, dismantled at Rolls-Royce and subjected to scrutiny. A notable difference to both the Mercedes and the aero engines was the cast-iron monobloc design, and the fully Aluminium enclosed camshaft, which greatly contributed to its durability. But having the valve-head and block in one-piece made for a complicated and labour intensive casting and machining. This was a feature shared during that time by the Bugattis which the car was later to compete with. The engine was also among the first with two spark plugs per cylinder, pent-roof combustion chambers, and twin carburettors. It was extremely undersquare, optimised for low-end torque, with a bore of 80 mm (3.1 in) and a stroke of 149 mm (5.9 in). Untuned power output was around 70 hp, allowing the 3 Litre to reach 80 mph. he Speed Model could reach 90 mph; the Super Sports could exceed 100 mph. A four-speed gearbox was fitted. Only the rear wheels had brakes until 1924, when four-wheel brakes were introduced. There were three main variants of the 3 litre and they became known by the colours commonly used on the radiator badge. There was a definite rule controlling badge colours but astonishingly it has since been established that given “special circumstances” the factory would indeed supply a “wrong” colour. Blue label was the standard model with 117.5 in wheelbase from 1921 to 1929 or long 130.0 in wheelbase from 1923 to 1929. The Red label used a 5.3:1 high compression engine in the 117.5 in wheelbase chassis and was made from 1924 to 1929. The Green label was made between 1924 and 1929 and was the high performance model with 6.3:1 compression ratio and short 108 in wheelbase chassis. 100 mph performance was guaranteed. As well as 3 Experimental cars, Bentley produced 1088 examples of the 3 litre, and the Speed Model numbered 513 and there were 18 Super Sports. Among them was a Red Label Short Chassis model and “Old Number 2”, the Speed Six car which finished second in the 1930 Le Mans 24 hour race.

 photo Picture 466_zpsizdtj15g.jpg  photo Picture 470_zpsafqwd9vr.jpg

Bentley replaced the 3 Litre with a more powerful car by increasing its engine displacement to 4.5 litres. As before, Bentley supplied an engine and chassis and it was up to the buyer to arrange for their new chassis to be fitted with one of a number of body styles, most of which were saloons or tourers. Very few have survived with their four-seater coachwork intact. WO Bentley had found that success in motorsport was great publicity for the brand, and he was particularly attracted to the 2 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, the inaugural running of which took place 26–27 May 1923, attracting many drivers, mostly French. There were two foreign competitors in the first race, Frank Clement and Canadian John Duff, the latter winning the 1924 competition in his personal car, a Bentley 3 Litre. This success helped Bentley sell cars, but was not repeated, so after two years without success, Bentley convened a group of wealthy British men, “united by their love of insouciance, elegant tailoring, and a need for speed,” to renew Bentley’s success. Both drivers and mechanics, these men, later nicknamed the “Bentley Boys”, drove Bentley automobiles to victory in several races between 1927 and 1931, including four consecutive wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and forged the brands reputation. It was within this context that, in 1927, Bentley developed the Bentley 4½ Litre. Two cylinders were removed from the 6½ Litre model, reducing the displacement to 4.4 litres. At the time, the 3 Litre and the 6½ Litre were already available, but the 3 Litre was an outdated, under-powered model and the 6½ Litre’s image was tarnished by poor tyre performance. Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, described as “the greatest British driver of his day” by W. O. Bentley, was one of the Bentley Boys. He refused to adhere strictly to Bentley’s assertion that increasing displacement is always preferable to forced induction. Birkin, aided by a former Bentley mechanic, decided to produce a series of five supercharged models for the competition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; thus the 4½ litre Blower Bentley was born. The first supercharged Bentley had been a 3-litre FR5189 which had been supercharged at the Cricklewood factory in the winter of 1926/7. The Bentley Blower No.1 was officially presented in 1929 at the British International Motor Show at Olympia, London. The 55 copies were built to comply with 24 Hours of Le Mans regulations. Birkin arranged for the construction of the supercharged cars having received approval from Bentley chairman and majority shareholder Woolf Barnato and financing from wealthy horse racing enthusiast Dorothy Paget. Development and construction of the supercharged Bentleys was done in a workshop in Welwyn by Amherst Villiers, who also provided the superchargers. W.O. Bentley was hostile to forced induction and believed that “to supercharge a Bentley engine was to pervert its design and corrupt its performance.” However, having lost control of the company he founded to Barnato, he could not halt Birkin’s project. Although the Bentley 4½ Litre was heavy, weighing 1,625 kg (3,583 lb), and spacious, with a length of 172 in and a wheelbase of 130.0 in, it remained well-balanced and steered nimbly. The manual transmission, however, required skill, as its four gears were unsynchronised. The robustness of the 4½ Litre’s latticed chassis, made of steel and reinforced with ties, was needed to support the heavy cast iron inline-four engine. The engine was “resolutely modern” for the time. The displacement was 4,398 cc. Two SU carburettors and dual ignition with Bosch magnetos were fitted. The engine produced 110 hp for the touring model and 130 hp for the racing model. The engine speed was limited to 4,000 rpm. A single overhead camshaft actuated four valves per cylinder, inclined at 30 degrees. This was a technically advanced design at a time where most cars used only two valves per cylinder. The camshaft was driven by bevel gears on a vertical shaft at the front of the engine, as on the 3 Litre engine. The essential difference between the Bentley 4½ Litre and the Blower was the addition of a Roots-type supercharger to the Blower engine by engineer Amherst Villiers, who had also produced the supercharger. W. O. Bentley, as chief engineer of the company he had founded, refused to allow the engine to be modified to incorporate the supercharger. As a result, the supercharger was placed at the end of the crankshaft, in front of the radiator. This gave the Blower Bentley an easily recognisable appearance and also increased the car’s understeer due to the additional weight at the front. A guard protected the two carburettors located at the compressor intake. Similar protection was used, both in the 4½ Litre and the Blower, for the fuel tank at the rear, because a flying stone punctured the 3 Litre of Frank Clement and John Duff during the first 24 Hours of Le Mans, which contributed to their defeat. The crankshaft, pistons and lubrication system were special to the Blower engine. It produced 175 hp at 3,500 rpm for the touring model and 240 hp at 4,200 rpm for the racing version, which was more power than the Bentley 6½ Litre developed. Between 1927 and 1931 the Bentley 4½ Litre competed in several competitions, primarily the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first was the Old Mother Gun at the 1927 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven as a prototype before production. Favoured to win, it instead crashed and did not finish. Its performance was sufficient for Bentley to decide to start production and deliver the first models the same year. Far from being the most powerful in the competitions, the 4½ Litre of Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin, raced neck and neck against Charles Weymann’s Stutz Blackhawk DV16, setting a new record average speed of 69 mph; Tim Birkin and Jean Chassagne finished fifth. The next year, three 4½ Litres finished second, third, and fourth behind another Bentley, the Speed Six, which possessed two more cylinders.The naturally aspirated 4½ Litre was noted for its good reliability. The supercharged models were not; the two Blower models entered in the 1930 24 Hours of Le Mans by Dorothy Paget, one of which was co-driven by Tim Birkin, did not complete the race. In 1930, Birkin finished second in the French Grand Prix at the Circuit de Pau behind a Bugatti Type 35. Ettore Bugatti, annoyed by the performance of Bentley, called the 4½ Litre the “fastest lorry in the world.” The Type 35 is much lighter and consumes much less petrol. Blower Bentleys consume 4 litres per minute at full speed. In November 1931, after selling 720 copies of the 4½ Litre – 655 naturally aspirated and 55 supercharged – in three different models (Tourer, Drophead Coupé and Sporting Four Seater, Bentley was forced to sell his company to Rolls-Royce for £125,175, a victim of the recession that hit Europe following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

 photo Picture 463_zpscl7tikwu.jpg  photo Picture 460_zpsslgdjmzq.jpg

This one is a 1931 Wolf Barnato 8 litre car with a Vanden Plas open tourer body, one of just 100 Bentley 8 Litres in total. The Bentley 8 Litres was designed as a fast powerful chassis capable of carrying heavy closed coachwork with sports car levels of performance. Indeed when the 8 Litre was introduced at the 1930 Olympia Motor Show it was the fastest production chassis capable of 103 mph at 3.500 rpm with high ratio 15/53 axle.

 photo Picture 459_zps96nmoowo.jpg

There were a number of examples of what are known as the “Derby” models. These were produced after the acquisition of Bentley by Rolls-Royce, in 1934, at which point the focus of the brand shifted to the production of large and elegant tourers. The cars retained the famous curved radiator shape based on earlier Bentley models, but in all meaningful respects they were clearly Rolls-Royces. Although disappointing some traditional customers, they were well received by many others and even W.O. Bentley himself was reported as saying that he would “rather own this Bentley than any other car produced under that name.” The Rolls-Royce Engineer in charge of the development project, Ernest Hives (later Lord Hives), underlined the Rolls-Royce modus operandi in a memo addressed to company staff “our recommendation is that we should make the car as good as we know how and then charge accordingly.” At a time when the Ford 8 could be purchased new for £100, an early Bentley 3½ Litre cost around £1,500 (equivalent to £6400 vs. £96,000 today), putting it beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest consumers. Despite not being a car of remarkable outright performance, the car’s unique blend of style and grace proved popular with the inter-war elite and it was advertised under the legend the silent sports car. Over 70% of the cars built between 1933 and 1939 were said to have still been in existence 70 years later. Although chassis production ceased in 1939, a number of cars were still being bodied and delivered during 1940. The last few were delivered and first registered in 1941. The 3.5 litre came first. Based on an experimental Rolls-Royce project “Peregrine” which was to have had a supercharged 2¾ litre engine, the 3½ Litre was finally fitted with a less adventurous engine developed from Rolls’ straight-6 fitted to the Rolls-Royce 20/25. The Bentley variant featured a higher compression ratio, sportier camshaft profile and two SU carburettors on a crossflow cylinder head. Actual power output was roughly 110 bhp at 4500 rpm, allowing the car to reach 90 mph. The engine displaced 3669 cc with a 3¼ in (82.5 mm) bore and 4½ in (114.3 mm) stroke. A 4-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th, 4-wheel leaf spring suspension, and 4-wheel servo-assisted mechanical brakes were all common with other Rolls-Royce models. The chassis was manufactured from nickel steel, and featured a “double-dropped” layout to gain vertical space for the axles and thus keep the profiles of the cars low. The strong chassis needed no diagonal cross-bracing, and was very light in comparison to the chassis built by its contemporary competitors, weighing in at 2,510 pounds (1,140 kg) in driveable form ready for delivery to the customer’s chosen coachbuilder. 1177 of the 3½ Litre cars were built, with about half of them being bodied by Park Ward, with the remainder “dressed” by other coachbuilders like Barker, Carlton, Freestone & Webb, Gurney Nutting, Hooper, Mann Egerton, Mulliner (both Arthur and H J), Rippon, Thrupp & Maberly, James Young, Vanden Plas and Windovers in England; Figoni et Falaschi, Kellner, Saoutchik and Vanvooren in Paris; and smaller concerns elsewhere in UK and Europe. Beginning in March, 1936, a 4¼ Litre version of the car was offered as replacement for the 3½ Litre, in order to offset the increasing weight of coachwork and maintain the car’s sporting image in the face of stiff competition. The engine was bored to 3½ in (88.9 mm) for a total of 4257cc. From 1938 the MR and MX series cars featured Marles steering and an overdrive gearbox. The model was replaced in 1939 by the MkV, but some cars were still finished and delivered during 1940-1941. 1234 4¼ Litre cars were built, with Park Ward remaining the most popular coachbuilder. Many cars were bodied in steel rather than the previous, more expensive, aluminium over ash frame construction.

 photo Picture 464_zpsqugmpo5d.jpg

Following the war, Bentley introduced a completely new car, the Mark VI. Announced in May 1946, and produced from 1946 to 1952 it was also both the first car from Rolls-Royce with all-steel coachwork and the first complete car assembled and finished at their factory. These very expensive cars were a genuine success, long-term their weakness lay in the inferior steels forced on them by government’s post-war controls. The chassis continued to be supplied to independent coachbuilders. Four-door Saloon, two-door saloon and drophead coupe models with bodies by external companies were listed by Bentley along with the Bentley-bodied saloon. This shorter wheelbase chassis and engine was a variant of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith of 1946 and, with the same standard steel body and a larger boot became the cautiously introduced Silver Dawn of 1949. The same extended-boot modification was made to the Mark VI body in 1952 and the result became known as the R type Bentley. The R-Type Continental was a high-performance version of the R-Type. It was the fastest four-seat car in production at the time. The prototype was developed by a team of designers and engineers from Rolls-Royce Ltd. and coachbuilder H. J. Mulliner & Co. led by Rolls-Royce’s Chief Project Engineer, Ivan Evernden. Rolls-Royce worked with H. J. Mulliner instead of their own coachbuilding subsidiary Park Ward because the former had developed a lightweight body construction system using metal throughout instead of the traditional ash-framed bodies. The styling, finalised by Stanley Watts of H. J. Mulliner, was influenced by aerodynamic testing conducted at Rolls-Royce’s wind tunnel by Evernden’s assistant, Milford Read. The rear fins stabilised the car at speed and made it resistant to changes in direction due to crosswinds. A maximum kerb weight of 34 long hundredweight (1,700 kg) was specified to keep the tyres within a safe load limit at a top speed of 120 mph (190 km/h). The prototype, with chassis number 9-B-VI and registration number OLG-490, which earned it the nickname “Olga”, was on the road by August 1951. Olga and the first series of production Continentals were based on the Mark VI chassis, and used a manual mixture control on the steering wheel boss, as these versions did not have an automatic choke. The early R Type Continental has essentially the same engine as the standard R Type, but with modified carburation, induction and exhaust manifolds along with higher gear ratios. The compression ratio was raised to 7.25:1 from the standard 6.75:1, while the final gear ratio was raised (lowered numerically) from 3.41 to 3.07. Despite its name, the two-door Continental was produced principally for the domestic home market, most of the 207 cars produced were right-hand drive, with 43 left-hand drive examples produced for use abroad. The chassis was produced at the Rolls-Royce Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R type. R-Type Continentals were delivered as rolling chassis to the coachbuilder of choice. Coachwork for most of these cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who mainly built them in fastback coupe form. Other coachwork came from Park Ward (London) who built six, later including a drophead coupe version. Franay (Paris) built five, Graber (Wichtrach, Switzerland) built three, one of them later altered by Köng (Basel, Switzerland), and Pininfarina made one. James Young (London) built in 1954 a Sports Saloon for the owner of the company, James Barclay. After July 1954, the car was fitted with an engine with a larger bore of 94.62 mm, giving a total displacement of 4887 cc. The rarity of the R Type Continental, with just 208 built, has made the car valuable to car collectors. In 2015 a 1952 R Type Continental, in unrestored condition, sold for over $1 million USD.

 photo Picture 467_zpsmzns7v1d.jpg

The S Type Saloon, a close relative of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, was first revealed in April 1955. It represented a complete redesign of the standard production car, the R Type (which had started off as the Mark VI). It was a more generously sized five- or six-seater saloon with the body manufactured in pressed steel with stressed skin construction, with the doors, bonnet and boot lid made of aluminium. The external appearance was very different, although the car still had the traditional radiator grille. Compared to the outgoing R Type, the new model had a three inch longer wheelbase, was lower of build without reducing headroom and with an enlarged luggage boot, softer suspension with electrically operated control of rear dampers, lighter steering and improved braking. The engine, still a clear descendants of the one originally used in the Rolls-Royce Twenty from 1922 to 1929, had its capacity increased to 4887cc, and a four-speed automatic gearbox was standard, with the ability to select individual ratios if desired, which was enough to give the Bentley a top speed of just over 100 mph and 0 – 60 acceleration times of around 13 seconds. Standard and from 1957, long wheelbase saloons were offered and some were sent to the coachbuilders for alternative bodies to be fitted. An upgrade in 1959, creating the S2, saw the installation of a new V8 engine, and in 1962, the S3 cars gained four round headlights. 3072 S Types were made, 145 of them with coachbuilt bodies as well as 35 of the long wheelbase cars, before the model was replaced by the new T Type in 1965. There were examples here of the standard car was well as the Continental Flying Spur here and a number of Coupe and Drophead models.

 photo Picture 468_zpsrqq4djnk.jpg  photo Picture 462_zpsmgkmhx8a.jpg  photo Picture 465_zpseixhyp1n.jpg  photo Picture 469_zps7zvm28lk.jpg  photo Picture 469_zpsheqttphi.jpg

There were a number of other Bentley models on some of the other dealer stands.

 photo Picture 788_zpswuphcego.jpg


 photo Picture 531_zpsow7ttmu7.jpg


Yet another obscure French marque that I’ve never even heard of, and yet the organisers decided to give it prominence in the event. Three different models were displayed.

The type AL dates from 1922, and features a Salmson chassis, with a 4 cylinder 1100cc engine.

 photo Picture 518_zpsxjm3i7kd.jpg

The other two here were the 1920 Type 132C, with a Lagachat Glasman Torpedo-style body and a 1922 Type 15000 with a 4 cylinder 1600cc engine.

 photo Picture 520_zpsgcvfgoyg.jpg  photo Picture 519_zpsx2gkabb1.jpg


Although the Iso started off very much as an Italian creation, BMW made the Isetta its own. They redesigned the powerplant around a BMW one-cylinder, four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine which generated 13 hp. Although the major elements of the Italian design remained intact, BMW re-engineered much of the car, so much so that none of the parts between a BMW Isetta Moto Coupe and an Iso Isetta are interchangeable. The first BMW Isetta appeared in April 1955. While it retained the “bubble window” styling, it differed from the Italian model in that its headlamps were fixed separately to the sides of the bodywork and it carried the BMW badge below the windscreen. The car was also redesigned to take a modified version of the 250 cc four-stroke engine from the BMW R25/3 motorcycle and the front suspension was changed. The single-cylinder generated 12 hp at 5800 rpm. The crankcase and cylinder were made of cast iron, the cylinder head of aluminium. However, the head was rotated by 180° compared with the motorcycle engine. The twin-bearing crankshaft was also different in the Isetta power unit, being larger and featuring reinforced bearings. One of the reasons for this was the heavy Dynastart unit which combined the dynamo and self-starter. The fuel mixture was provided by a Bing sliding throttle side draft motorcycle carburettor. In addition to further changes of detail, the BMW engineers enlarged the sump for installation in the car and cooled the engine by means of a radial fan and shrouded ducting. The power train from the four-speed gearbox to the two rear wheels was also unusual: fixed to the gearbox output drive was something called a Hardy disc, which was a cardan joint made of rubber. On the other side of it was a cardan shaft, and finally a second Hardy disc, which in turn was located at the entrance to a chain case. A duplex chain running in an oil bath led finally to a rigid shaft, at each end of which were the two rear wheels. Thanks to this elaborate power transfer, the engine-gearbox unit was both free of tension and well soundproofed in its linkage to the rear axle. In Germany, the Isetta could even be driven with a motorcycle license. The top speed of the Isetta 250 was rated as 85 km/h (53 mph). The first BMW Isetta rolled off the line in April 1955, and in the next eight months some 10,000 were produced. In 1956, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany changed the regulations for motor vehicles. Class IV licences issued from that time onward could only be used to operate small motorcycles and could no longer be used to operate motor vehicles with a capacity of less than 250 cc. At the same time, the maximum capacity allowed for the Isetta’s tax category was 300 cc. Class IV licences issued before the change in the regulations were grandfathered and allowed to be used as before. This change in regulations encouraged BMW to revise their Isetta microcars. In February 1956 a 300cc engine was introduced.] The engineers enlarged the single cylinder to a 72 mm bore and 73 mm stroke, which gave a displacement of exactly 298 cc; at the same time, they raised the compression ratio from 6.8 to 7.0:1. As a result, the engine power output rose to 13 hp at 5200 rpm, and the torque rose to 13.6 lb/ft at 4600 rpm. The maximum speed remained at 85 km/h (53 mph), yet there was a marked increase in flexibility, chiefly noticeable on gradients. In October 1956, the Isetta Moto Coupe DeLuxe (sliding-window Isetta) was introduced. The bubble windows were replaced by longer, sliding side windows. The last cars were made in 1962, with production totalling 161,360.

 photo Picture 288_zpsyxom1dbz.jpg  photo Picture 287_zpszhfqrlmf.jpg  photo Picture 289_zps5m0zqfsl.jpg

Introduced in May 1972, the 3.0 CSL was a homologation special built to make the car eligible for racing in the European Touring Car Championship. The “L” in the designation meant leicht (light), unlike in other BMW designations, where it meant lang (long). The lightness was achieved by using thinner steel to build the unit body, deleting the trim and soundproofing, using aluminium alloy doors, bonnet, and boot lid, and using Perspex side windows. The five hundred 3.0 CSLs exported to the United Kingdom were not quite as light as the others, as the importer had insisted on retaining the soundproofing, electric windows, and stock E9 bumpers on these cars. Initially using the same engine as the 3.0 CS, the 3.0 CSL was given a very small increase in displacement to 3,003 cc by increasing the engine bore by one quarter of a millimetre. his was done in August 1972 to allow the CSL to be raced in the “over three litre” racing category, allowing for some increase in displacement in the racing cars. In 1973, the engine in the 3.0 CSL was given another, more substantial increase in displacement to 3,153 cc by increasing the stroke to 84 mm (3.3 in). This final version of the 3.0 CSL was homologated in July 1973 along with an aerodynamic package including a large air dam, short fins running along the front fenders, a spoiler above and behind the trailing edge of the roof, and a tall rear wing. The rear wings were not installed at the factory, but were left in the boot for installation after purchase. This was done because the wings were illegal for use on German roads. The full aero package earned the racing CSLs the nickname “Batmobile”. In 1973, Toine Hezemans won the European Touring Car Championship in a 3.0 CSL and co-drove a 3.0 CSL with Dieter Quester to a class victory at Le Mans. Hezemans and Quester had driven to second place at the 1973 German Touring Car Grand Prix at Nürburgring, being beaten only by Chris Amon and Hans-Joachim Stuck in another 3.0 CSL. 3.0 CSLs would win the European Touring Car Championship again in every year from 1975 to 1979. The 3.0 CSL was raced in the IMSA GT Championship in 1975, with Sam Posey, Brian Redman, and Ronnie Peterson winning races during the season.

 photo Picture 016_zpsjo1sdhbe.jpg  photo Picture 015_zpsugi2tpw2.jpg

In the late 1970s, Italian manufacturer Lamborghini had entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation, but conflicts arose and Lamborghini’s increasingly tenuous financial position at the time meant that BMW reasserted control over the project and ended up producing the car themselves after 7 prototypes had been built. The result was the BMW M1 a hand-built car that was sold to the public between 1978 and 1981 under the Motorsport division of BMW. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo show car. The only mid-engined BMW to be “mass”produced, it employed a twin-cam M88/1 3.5 litre 6-cylinder petrol engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, a version of which was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5. The engine had six separate throttle bodies, four valves per cylinder and produced 273 hp, giving it a top speed of 162 mph. Turbocharged racing versions were capable of producing around 850 hp. Only 453 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW’s rarest models. Of these, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship.

 photo Picture 754_zpsc1rm0rnf.jpg

This is a 320 Baur Cabrio. With the E21 generation of 3 series, BMW themselves only offered a 2 door saloon body, though a variety of 4 and 6 cylinder engines were available during the car’s production run from 1975 to 1982. A cabriolet conversion was offered by Karosserie Baur, called the TopCabriolet. It consisted of a targa roof and an independent rear soft-top. Production of the TopCabriolet began in 1978, and were sold via the BMW dealership network. All Baur models included the BMW warranty. A total of 4,595 vehicles were manufactured before production ended in 1981.

 photo Picture 357_zpspmkodi0a.jpg

The first car to bear the 6 Series nomenclature was the E24, which was launched in 1976, as a replacement for the E9 model 3.0 CS and CSL coupés first produced in 1965. The 3.0 CS was almost changed by adding a few centimeters in height to make it easier for customers to get into the car. However, Bob Lutz rebelled against the decision and rough drafted an alternative version that soon became the 6 series. Production started in March 1976 with two models: the 630 CS and 633 CSi. Originally the bodies were manufactured by Karmann, but production was later taken in-house to BMW. In July 1978 a more powerful variant, the 635 CSi, was introduced that featured as standard a special close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a single piece black rear spoiler. The bigger bore and shorter stroke facilitated max 218 hp at 5200rpm and a better torque curve. For the first year, the 635 CSi was offered in three colours (Polaris, Henna Red, Graphite), and could also be spotted by the front air dam that did not have attached fog lights. These simple cosmetic changes reportedly worked to reduce uplift on the car at high speeds by almost 15% over the non-spoiler body shape. This early model shared suspension components with the inaugural BMW 5-series, the E12. In 1979 the carburettor 630 CS was replaced with the 628 CSi with its fuel injected 2.8 litre engine taken from the BMW 528i. In 1980 the 635 CSi gained the central locking system that is also controlled from the boot. Also, the E24 body style converted from L-jetronic injection to a Bosch Motronic DME. In 1982 (Europe) and 1983 (US), the E24 changed slightly in appearance, with an improved interior and slightly modified exterior. At the same time, the 635 CSi received a new engine, a slightly smaller-bored and longer-stroked 3430 cc six to replace the former 3453 cc engine and became available with a wide-ratio 5-speed manual or an automatic. This slight change was in fact a major change as pre-1982 cars were based on the E12 5-series chassis; after mid-1982, E24s shared the improved E28 5-series chassis. The only parts that remained the same were some of the exterior body panels. E24s produced after June 1987 came with new, ellipsoid headlamps which projects beam more directly onto road surface (newly introduced E32 7-series also sporting them). The sleeker European bumpers were also discontinued. Previous cars had either a European-standard bumper or a larger, reinforced bumper to meet the US standard requiring bumpers to withstand impact at 5 mph without damage to safety-related components. 1989 was the last year for the E24 with production stopping in April. The E24 was supplanted by the considerably heavier, more complex, and more exclusive 8 Series. BMW Motorsport introduced the M 635 CSi in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1983. It is essentially an E24 powered by the powerplant of the BMW M1 – the M88 with 286 PS). Most of the cars were equipped with special metric 415 mm diameter wheels requiring Michelin TRX tyres. A catalysed, lower compression ratio version of the car with the S38 engine (260 PS ) was introduced in the U.S. in 1987. All M6 cars came standard with a 25% rear limited slip differential. U.S. models included additional comforts that were usually optional on models sold in Europe such as Nappa leather power seats and a dedicated rear A/C unit with a centre beverage chiller. 4,088 M635CSi cars were built between 1983 and 1988 with 1,767 U.S. M6 built. Seen here was a rather nice M635 CSi.

 photo Picture 270_zpss5vzckob.jpg  photo Picture 269_zpshvq0qqke.jpg

This is a Group A version of the BMW 635CSi, a car which enjoyed a certain amount of success on the race tracks of Europe in the early 1980s. This particular car finished 3rd in 24 Hours Spa of 1986 Group A Championship. The specially prepared BMW 3.5 Litre produces 300 hp at 7000 rpm. Gearbox is a 5 speed Getrag.

 photo Picture 021_zpssk0iksb3.jpg


A special feature at this event celebrated the work of Victor Bouffort, taking a look back at the epic life of this engineer, presenting the various prototypes that marked some of the key stages of his life. Even when he was only 10 years old, Victor Bouffort was already extremely inventive. He would spend hours building mechanical systems, which even back then would have been of interest to design firms. Everything that could drive or fly interested him. In 1932, Victor was 20 years old. It was at his parents’ home that he designed and built his aeroplane. In 1938, he helped build the Elytroplan – a high-stability aeroplane. During the occupation, Victor Bouffort’s task was to bring supplies to Swiss residents living in France. With every journey he made, he risked his life: he would hide Jewish children in his lorry and then take them to Switzerland, saving them from being deported to concentration camps. The period just after the war was highly productive for Victor Bouffort. At the start of the 1950s, he decided to start designing his own cars. But since tyres were still very rare and extremely expensive, his cars only had three wheels. One of his inventions was a three-wheel prototype intended to relaunch production of a small, affordable sports car. It had an aluminium platform, a tubular chassis and a 4 hp Renault front powertrain. The rear transmission system and engine were from a Terrot 500 RGST motorcycle. Test-drives at the Montlhéry racing circuit showed the racing car to be extremely high-performance. There were plans to enter it into the Bol d’Or 24-hour motorcycle endurance race. But sadly, a lack of funding put paid to the project and the little prototype was forgotten. Victor Bouffort didn’t stop inventing and creating. He was asked to work on a number of military vehicle projects: at the time, the French army was still using a lot of American equipment left over from the Second World War. He replied to a request from the army to design a small all-terrain vehicle that could be dropped by parachute. Bouffort set about designing the four-wheel-drive Fardier. A simple, light vehicle, it was driven by a small air-cooled two-cylinder Citroen engine. In 1970, Lohr Industrie started building the Fardier – which would later be used by the French army’s parachute troops. At around the same time, Victor Bouffort designed a prototype for a small tracked vehicle – the VP 90: a Patrol Vehicle with a maximum speed of 90 km per hour. It was fast and handled easily. Sitting low off the ground at less than a metre high, it was extremely difficult to locate in combat situations. Its design caught the eye of the French Polar Expedition technical bureau. Victor Bouffort developed the HB 40, a tracked vehicle with an isothermal and watertight body which afforded its crew protection against freezing temperatures and snow storms.

 photo Picture 306_zpsjpjk5bac.jpg  photo Picture 305_zpszjkou5bu.jpg  photo Picture 304_zpszmj5glvg.jpg  photo Picture 304_zpsh87ee6sd.jpg

In the 1960s, Victor Bouffort became interested in the traffic problems facing major towns and cities. He started work on designing several city cars, including the Valmobile – a magic 70 cm long suitcase that could transform into a scooter in only two minutes. No manufacturers were interested in the project when he unveiled it, and ironically, they advised Victor to go and demonstrate it to the Japanese. Which he did! He ended up signing a contract with the Japanese company Hirano which built thousands of Valmobiles.

 photo Picture 303_zpsguwujck1.jpg

Victor was always working on different projects: he replied to a request from the French army by unveiling an amphibious all-terrain vehicle: The Bison. This versatile all-terrain machine had a revolutionary design: with its light, monocoque body, it was parachutable, could seat 7 people and carry loads of up to 1500 kg. The design phase was completed in 1960 with the construction of 5 prototypes which were tested in extreme conditions. The Bison was fast and extremely reliable. With its simple design, it was inexpensive – perfectly meeting the army’s specifications. An order for 400 Bisons was submitted, but the manufacturers back then were unable to take up the challenge, and so the Bison remained a prototype. 15 years later, the army acquired machines that were built based on the Bison’s design.

 photo Picture 307_zpsdovnippq.jpg

This is the Minima. In 1968, alongside his friend Henri Viard, he looked into solutions for making parking and traffic in large towns and cities easier. Henri Viard was a surprising man – a novelist and a humorist. He worked on scripts alongside Michel Audiard. One day, both of them noticed that most cars carried only one or two passengers. Their idea was to design a small car that was “almost” for city dwellers – two-seater vehicles whose length was no more than the width of a more traditional car. These small cars would be fitted with relatively powerful engines so they could drive at more than 100 km/h. This way, they could travel within a radius of 50 km of major towns and cities and use main roads and motorways. Thus it was that the Minima was born. The small prototype was a two-seater and featured a solid tubular chassis, composite bodywork, sliding doors, space at the rear for small luggage and a 30 hp engine that could drive it at speeds of up to 120 km/h. But there was more to Victor Bouffort’s and Henri Viard’s project than that. There were plans to mass-produce this small car and to make them freely available in special areas in towns and cities where they would be parked opposite pavements. The first Minima was exhibited at the 1973 Motor Show: the tiny car was hoisted up to the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower for its official presentation to the press. The idea was fantastic, modern and economical. But unfortunately, the idea of a car for everyone was just a little ahead of its time. The Minima programme was abandoned. Forty years later, the Minima concept and the idea of a freely available car for city dwellers were adopted by a number of major car manufacturers and town planners working on urban transport solutions.

 photo Picture 234_zpsnbcp0rb7.jpg  photo Picture 235_zpstccwnuty.jpg


The BRM P67 was an experimental Formula One car, designed by Tony Rudd and built by the British Racing Motors team in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, for the 1964 Formula One season. After Ferguson withdrew from racing they offered their 4WD technology to any F1 manufacturer who was interested and, with the approaching switch to 3.0-litre engines in 1966 in mind, BRM decided to try it out. The resulting car consisted of the chassis of a BRM P261, the suspension of a P57, a 1.5-litre BRM P56 engine mounted back-to-front and Ferguson’s transmission system, all put together by BRM apprentice Mike Pilbeam, who was later to find fame as a constructor of hillclimb cars. The P67 was entered for the 1964 British Grand Prix with Richard Attwood driving, but after qualifying last, BRM withdrew the car from the race. Thereafter BRM put their 4WD programme in mothballs, to concentrate on their complicated H16 engine, although this engine was built with room for a second driveshaft to pass through the engine should 4WD become the way to go. It was apt, given its designer, that the P67 itself was later used extensively in hillclimbs, as the Ferguson P99 had been before it, being driven by David Good in 1967 with a bigger 2-litre engine. After some tuning to the Ferguson transmission’s torque distribution it proved extremely successful in this field, Peter Lawson winning the British championship with ease in 1968.

 photo Picture 483_zpse2z1bdoz.jpg


The other half of the Lukas Hüni stand was for the Bugatti part of the “Bentley vs Bugatti” theme, and there were some fabulous machines on display, with plenty of variety.

This is a Type 59 Grand Prix, chassis 59124. Caused by changed regulations to a new Formula Libre, Jean Bugatti developed the Type 59 Grand Prix based on the Type 57, featuring a 3.3 litre eight cylinder 260 bhp engine with Roots-type supercharger, dry sump, Scintilla Vertex magneto and a much refined suspension with De Ram shock absorbers. The car shown here was almost exclusively raced by work driver René Dreyfus who was reasonably successful including an outright victory at the 1934 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, mainly because of the absence of the government sponsored German opposition from Auto Union and Mercedes. At the end of that racing season all four works cars have been sold to privateers and this one was raced by Brian “Bug” Lewis in the 1935 and 1936 seasons. Subsequent owners included Jack Lemon Burton, CI Craig, Reg Parnell and Rodney Clarke. It then had two long term owners, from 1952 to 1967 with Francis Luddington and then Dieter Holterbosch from 1967 to 2002. The car has changed colour a number of times over the years, but now is back to the light blue colour it would have been when new.

 photo Picture 457_zpsnfzrfs58.jpg  photo Picture 461_zpsmjffrasb.jpg  photo Picture 471_zpsdemlryx2.jpg

Also positioned on the plinth was a Type 54, chassis 54208. Just 5 of the 10 examples that were built are known these days. The Type 54 Grand Prix is one of the most spectacular Grand Prix Bugatti for two reasons. On one hand it features the timeless design of Ettore’s Type 35 Grand Prix but is much larger and more impressive. On the other hand its 4.9 Litre Straight Eight Twin Cam makes it the most powerful Grand Prix that Bugatti produced with around 300 horsepower available.

 photo Picture 478_zpsvc0igphv.jpg  photo Picture 473_zpsk7l6acbt.jpg

There was even a very small Bugatti here, suitable only for children, with a Type 22 Brescia in the background.

 photo Picture 477_zpssqe3xnys.jpg

The Bugatti Type 55 Roadster was introduced in 1932 as a replacement for the Bugatti Type 43. It is often considered as the most impressive roadster made by Bugatti. It is derived from the Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix the engine of which was detuned for road use. The 2300 cc eight cylinder engine with supercharger developed 135 hp at 5.000 rpm. The claimed top speed is in the order of 175 to 180 kph.

 photo Picture 458_zpscy7s83i9.jpg

There were numerous Type 57 models here with a variety of the different bodystyles which were available. Most special of them all, probably, was the Atlantic, and it was joined by an Atalante, a Stelvio and cars with Gangloff bodies.

 photo Picture 480_zps7irdawju.jpg  photo Picture 472_zpso3qkuzmi.jpg  photo Picture 475_zpsocuzgnhm.jpg  photo Picture 479_zpsfe7jmpfl.jpg  photo Picture 476_zpsxnksde7m.jpg  photo Picture 474_zps7jqfoarm.jpg

Elsewhere in the show I came across this dramatic looking car, which is a replica of the Type 57C Van Vooren “Shah of Persia” car. It was here at Retromobile last year as an unfinished bare body on the Auto Classique Touraine stand, without an engine. It would seem to be quite complete now.

 photo Picture 059_zpslr5pzx6g.jpg  photo Picture 060_zpsirlzb2ew.jpg

This Type 23 Brescia was on the Movendi stand.

 photo Picture 051_zpsilqtodta.jpg  photo Picture 050_zpsiukfbpob.jpg

Also present were a number of other models including the iconic Type 35, another Type 57 and a Type 44.

 photo Picture 499_zpsmyogk8rb.jpg  photo Picture 500_zpsjx6fvigk.jpg  photo Picture 367_zps7ix7zeh7.jpg  photo Picture 489_zpsdh6mlzjr.jpg

France is home to Bugatti, so it was perhaps not a surprise to find that the factory themselves had taken a stand, which contained two examples of the legendary Veyron, their latest hypercar whose production is now pretty much complete. There was another example, a Grand Sport, on one of the dealer stands, as well.

 photo Picture 046_zpshqjbckj2.jpg  photo Picture 040_zpsaxub2rzj.jpg  photo Picture 043_zpsxjgjk5ku.jpg  photo Picture 044_zps87uou703.jpg  photo Picture 041_zps2pqoqk0z.jpg photo Picture 047_zpsobe7lcx3.jpg  photo Picture 045_zpsqdxe7723.jpg  photo Picture 042_zpsr3h7o4gq.jpg

The first “official” new Bugatti to produced in recent times was the EB110, of course. Believe it or not, this car owes its origins, at least in part, to Ferruccio Lamborghini. By the mid 1980s, he was no longer involved with the marque which bears his name, but he remained interest in the world of cars, even though he was now making his money as a vintner. He still harboured a dream of once again making cars, and he managed to get introduced to Romano Artiolo, who a the time was one of Ferrari’s most successful European distributors across Germany and Italy, and who owned a number of classic Bugattis. A discussion between the two men at the 1986 about trying to revive the marque led to a scheme with the EB110 at its heart, though Lamborghini soon lost interest in the venture and his part in the Bugatti revival are largely forgotten these days. As plans were made, an array of other stars from the industry came and went. Paolo Stanzani, former Technical Director at Lamborghini did not last long as he did not get on with Artioli and his place was taken by Nicola Materazzi, who had been the project leader on the Lancia Stratos and was heavily involved with the Ferrari Testarossa, 288 GTO and F40. Marcello Gandini, by then a freelancer, was engaged to style the car. No expense was spared, with a purpose-designed state of the art factory being constructed in Campogalliano on the outskirts of Modena. The specification was equally ambitious, with early prototypes with aluminium monocoques being deemed not sufficiently rigid, so aeronautics company Aerospatiale was engaged to develop and produce the carbon fibre tub. The engine was a 3.5 litre all-alloy 60 valve V12, with four small superchargers, which meant that in the SuperSport version, there was 603bhp available. A six speed manual gearbox transmitted all those horses to all four wheels. There was a fairly conventional double wishbone suspension with twin spring/damper units, Brembo brakes and tyres specially developed by Michelin, which all helped the car to establish a production car top speed record of 212.5 mph. Artioli wanted to make ownership painless (relatively) with a three year warranty and service deal. The car was unveiled at the Place de la Defence in Paris in September 1991, on the occasion of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday. Everything looked rosy. but then the world’s economies then stagnated. Artioli’s Suzuki franchise collapsed, though somehow he still had the money to buy up Lotus, but money became tight. The proposed EB112 saloon was quietly shelved, and the EB110 struggled to find buyers. It never got close to the projected 300 units per year. First deliveries were made in December 1992 and when the last car was made in September 1995, just 102 cars had been made. 102 of them were GTs and 38 Supersports. The EB110 was not a bad car, but what really sealed its fate was the McLaren F1, which is just about every respect was simply a better one. That was true back in 1994 and if you look at values of the two cars now, it is clear that the market sees it that way now. On the rare occasions that F1s come up for sale, you are going to have to pay sums in excess of £5 million, which would buy you 10 of the EB110s.

 photo Picture 776_zpso9mx1uf4.jpg

This car was on the Kienzle stand, a “Soleil de Nuit” edition, one of the many limited versions which have been produced.

 photo Picture 742_zpslhzjuwg3.jpg  photo Picture 741_zpszk1poxim.jpg


This microcar is a fascinating what-might-have-been from the well-known French manufacturer of coaches. The car on display was the sole road-going prototype, clandestinely built during the war in occupied France. The lack of raw materials put the kibosh on mass manufacture and it was sold to Tom Delaney in England who, while intending to put it into production, encountered the same issues. When it came up for auction in 2012, it was snapped up by a member of the Chausson family.

 photo Picture 264_zps7pzwot2a.jpg  photo Picture 263_zpsixtsiyei.jpg  photo Picture 262_zpsduf7y6tq.jpg  photo Picture 265_zpsyphaozpj.jpg


There were a couple of different generations of the ever-popular Corvette here. Older of the pair was a C2 which was launched in 1963. This model introduced us to the name Sting Ray. It continued with fibreglass body panels, and overall, was smaller than the first generation. The car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the “Q Corvette,” which was created by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell. Earlier, Mitchell had sponsored a car known as the “Mitchell Sting Ray” in 1959 because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and did not give away what the final version of the C2 would look like. The third inspiration was a Mako Shark Mitchell had caught while deep-sea fishing. Production started for the 1963 model year and ended in 1967. The 1963 model was the first year for a Corvette coupé and it featured a distinctive tapering rear deck (a feature that later reappeared on the 1971 “Boattail” Buick Riviera) with, for 1963 only, a split rear window. The Sting Ray featured hidden headlamps, non-functional bonnet vents, and an independent rear suspension. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. Maximum power for 1963 was 360 bhp, raised to 375 bhp in 1964. Options included electronic ignition, the breakerless magnetic pulse-triggered Delcotronic first offered on some 1963 Pontiac models. On 1964 models the decorative bonnet vents were eliminated and Duntov, the Corvette’s chief engineer, got his way with the split rear window changed to a full width window. Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as was a “big block” engine option: the 396 cu in (6.49 litre) V8. Side exhaust pipes were also optionally available in 1965, and continued to be offered through 1967. The introduction of the 425 bhp 396 cu in big block in 1965 spelled the beginning of the end for the Rochester fuel injection system. The 396 cu in option cost $292.70 while the fuel injected 327 cu in (5.36 litre) engine cost $538.00. Few people could justify spending $245.00 more for 50 bhp less, even though FI could deliver over 20 mpg on the highway and would keep delivering fuel despite high G-loading in corners taken at racing speeds. Another rare ’63 and ’64 option was the Z06 competition package, which offered stiffer suspension, bigger, multi-segment lined brakes with finned drums and more, only a couple hundred coupes and ONE convertible were factory-equipped this way in 1963. With only 771 fuel-injected cars built in 1965, Chevrolet discontinued the option at the end of the ’65 production, having introduced a less-expensive big block 396 engine rated at 425 hp in the middle of the production year and selling over 2,000 in just a few months. For 1966, Chevrolet introduced an even larger 427 cu in 7 litre Big Block version. Other options available on the C2 included the Wonderbar auto-tuning AM radio, AM-FM radio (mid-1963), air conditioning (late-1963), a telescopic steering wheel (1965), and headrests (1966). The Sting Ray’s independent rear suspension was successfully adapted for the new-for-1965 Chevrolet Corvair, which solved the quirky handling problems of that unique rear-engine compact. 1967 was the final year for the C2 generation. The 1967 model featured restyled bumper vents, less ornamentation, and back-up lamps which were on the inboard in 1966 were now rectangular and centrally located. The first use of all four taillights in red started in 1961 and was continued thru the C-2 line-up except for the 1966. The 1967 and subsequent models continuing on all Corvettes since. 1967 had the first L88 engine option which was rated at 430 bhp, but unofficial estimates place the actual output at 560 bhp or more. Only twenty such engines were installed at the factory. From 1967 (to 1969), the Holley triple two-barrel carburettor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427 L89 (a $368 option, on top of the cost for the high-performance 427). Despite these changes, sales slipped over 15%, to 22,940 – 8,504 coupes and 14,436 convertibles.

 photo Picture 534_zpskrqyt1ig.jpg  photo Picture 533_zpskubohktz.jpg

The third generation Corvette, patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car, was introduced for the 1968 model year and was in production until 1982. C3 coupes featured the first use of T-top removable roof panels. The C3 introduced monikers that were later revived, such as LT-1, ZR-1, Z07 and Collector Edition. In 1978, the Corvette’s 25th anniversary was celebrated with a two-tone Silver Anniversary Edition and an Indy Pace Car replica edition of the C3. This was also the first time that a Corvette was used as a Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. Engines and chassis components were mostly carried over from the C2, but the body and interior were new. The 350 cu in (5.7 litre) engine replaced the old 327 cu in (5.36 litre) as the base engine in 1969, but power remained at 300 bhp. 1969 was the only year for a C3 to optionally offer either a factory installed side exhaust or normal rear exit with chrome tips. The all-aluminium ZL1 engine was also new for 1969; the special big-block engine was listed at 430-hp , but was reported to produce 560 hp and propelled a ZL1 through the 1/4 mile in 10.89 seconds. There was an extended production run for the 1969 model year due a lengthy labour strike, which meant sales were down on the 1970 models, to 17,316. 1970 small-block power peaked with the optional high compression, high-revving LT-1 that produced 370 bhp. The 427 big-block was enlarged to 454 cu in (7.44 litre) with a 390 bhp rating. The ZR-1 special package was an option available on the 1970 through 1972 model years, and included the LT-1 engine combined with special racing equipment. Only 53 ZR-1’s were built. In 1971, to accommodate regular low-lead fuel with lower anti-knock properties, the engine compression ratios were lowered which resulted in reduced power ratings. The power rating for the 350 cu in (5.7 litre) L48 base engine decreased from 300 to 270 hp and the optional special high performance LT1 engine decreased from 370 to 330 hp. The big-block LS6 454 was reduced from 450 to 425 bhp, though it was not used in Corvettes for 1970; it was used in the Chevelle SS. For the 1972 model year, GM moved to the SAE Net measurement which resulted in further reduced, but more realistic, power ratings than the previous SAE Gross standard. Although the 1972 model’s 350 cu in horsepower was actually the same as that for the 1971 model year, the lower net horsepower numbers were used instead of gross horsepower. The L48 base engine was now rated at 200 bhp and the optional LT1 engine was now rated at 270 bhp. 1974 models had the last true dual exhaust system that was dropped on the 1975 models with the introduction of catalytic converters requiring the use of no-lead fuel. Engine power decreased with the base ZQ3 engine producing 165 bhp), the optional L82’s output 250 bhp, while the 454 big-block engine was discontinued. Gradual power increases after 1975 peaked with the 1980 model’s optional L82 producing 230 bhp. Styling changed subtly throughout the generation until 1978 for the car’s 25th anniversary. The Sting Ray nameplate was not used on the 1968 model, but Chevrolet still referred to the Corvette as a Sting Ray; however, the 1969 (through 1976) models used the “Stingray” name as one word, without the space. In 1970, the body design was updated including fender flares, and interiors were refined, which included redesigned seats, and indication lights near the gear shift that were an early use of fibre optics . Due to government regulation, the 1973 Corvette’s chrome front bumper was changed to a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h)system with a urethane bumper cover. 1973 Corvettes are unique in that sense, as they are the only year where the front bumper was polyurethane and the rear retained the chrome two-piece bumper set. 1973 was also the last year chrome bumpers were used. The optional wire-spoked wheel covers (left) were offered for the last time in 1973. Only 45 Z07 were built in 1973. From 1974 onwards both the front and rear bumpers were polyurethane. In 1974, a 5-mph rear bumper system with a two-piece, tapering urethane bumper cover replaced the Kamm-tail and chrome bumper blades, and matched the new front design from the previous year. 1975 was the last year for the convertible, (which did not return for 11 years). For the 1976 models the fibreglass floor was replaced with steel panels to provide protection from the catalytic converter’s high operating temperature. 1977 was last year the tunnelled roof treatment with vertical back window was used, in addition leather seats were available at no additional cost for the first time. The 1978 25th Anniversary model introduced the fastback glass rear window and featured a new interior and dashboard. Corvette’s 25th anniversary was celebrated with the Indy 500 Pace Car limited edition and a Silver Anniversary model featuring silver over gray lower body paint. All 1979 models featured the previous year’s pace car seats and offered the front and rear spoilers as optional equipment. 53,807 were produced for the model year, making 1979 the peak production year for all versions of the Corvette. Sales have trended downward since then. In 1980, the Corvette received an integrated aerodynamic redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag. After several years of weight increases, 1980 Corvettes were lighter as engineers trimmed both body and chassis weight. In mid-1981, production shifted from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and several two-tone paint options were offered. The 1981 models were the last available with a manual transmission until well into the 1984 production run. In 1982, a fuel-injected engine returned, and a final C3 tribute Collectors Edition featured an exclusive, opening rear window hatch.

 photo Picture 362_zpshffgafeu.jpg  photo Picture 366_zpsvjglhkus.jpg  photo Picture 364_zpsm1o7cbvj.jpg

There was also an example of the second generation Camaro here.

 photo Picture 365_zpsgwmpwacq.jpg


Dating from 1933, this Imperial Custom Type CL has a De Villar body and is unique.

 photo Picture 319_zpsojukugl8.jpg  photo Picture 318_zpsz3ncxtze.jpg


Each of the home nation’s Big Three take large stands, as you would expect, and they always bring along a selection of interesting cars from their own collections, in Citroen’s case, the Conservatoire. As this collection is not currently open to the public, you can be pretty sure that there will be something that is rarely seen in public among the displays, and that was the case this time, where the main focus of the stand – augmented by contributions from a number of Clubs – was on commercial vehicles.

This 1941 Type C van is the forerunner to the long-lived and well-known Type H van. It is more commonly known as the TUB (for Traction Utilitaire Basse, or “Low Front-Wheel-Drive Commercial”) and was the first in a long line of lightweight commercial vehicles, and the ancestor of the Type H. This pioneer of the front-wheel-drive van, released in 1939, was hugely appreciated for its practicality, with a flat floor giving enough headroom in the loading area for a person to stand up in, a far-forward cabin, and a sliding side door. Production stopped at around 2,000 units, owing to outbreak of the Second World War.

 photo Picture 067_zpselgax7hs.jpg

The Citroën H Van, Type H, H-Type or HY was a panel van (light truck) produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1947 and 1981 It was developed as a simple front wheel driven van after World War II. A total of 473,289 were produced in 34 years in factories in France and Belgium. Like the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant, the H had a unitary body with no separate frame, four-wheel independent suspension, and front-wheel drive. For a commercial van, this combination provided unique benefits – a flat floor very close to the ground, and 6 ft (180 cm) standing height, with a side loading door. The distinctive corrugated body work used throughout the period of production was inspired by German Junkers (Aircraft) starting from the First World War until the 1930s, the three engined Junkers Ju 52 being the last to use this construction. Henry Ford also adopted this construction for the Ford Tri-Motor passenger aircraft. The ribs added strength without adding weight, and required only simple, low cost press tools. The flat body panels were braced on the inside by ‘top hat’ box sections, at right angles to the ribs. The welded floor was strong enough to support a horse. Most H Vans were sold in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. At the Slough Trading Estate assembly facility (1926-1966), Citroën UK built a very small number of right hand drive versions. The German market was supplied by a key competitor, the Volkswagen Type 2. As with the Volkswagen, the H Van could not be sold in the US as a commercial vehicle after 1964, due to the Chicken tax. The engine, gearbox and many smaller parts are shared with other Citroën models. The engine and gearbox are nearly identical to those in the Traction Avant and later the DS, only mounted with the engine in front of the gearbox. The headlights were identical to those of the 2CV, while speedometers were successively borrowed from the Traction Avant and the Ami 6. While the derated Traction avant 4 cylinder engine and the unsophisticated 3 speed gearbox (non syncromesh on first gear) only gave a modest top speed of just under 100 km/h, the chassis and suspension layout provided remarkable roadholding qualities, especially on the short wheelbase version: low slung chassis, engine and drivetrain well behind the front wheels axles, with very little overhangs, combined with sophisticated totally independent suspensions (the front ones used double torsion bars instead of conventional coil springs) were features scarcely found on period passenger cars. Like the contemporary Citroën 2 CV, the H type van could often be driven “pedal to the metal” on winding rural roads. The 1.9 litre motor offered more usable power than the 1.2 litre motor of its competitor, the 1950 Volkswagen Type 2. The basic design changed very little from 1947 to 1981. Vehicles left the Citroën factory with only three body styles: the standard enclosed van, a pick-up version, and a stripped-down body which went to non-Citroën coach-builders and formed the basis for the cattle-truck and other variants. The basic version had an overall length of 4.26m, but vehicles were also available in a LWB version with an overall length of 5.24m. In September 1963 the earlier style rear window – a narrow vertical window with curved corners – was replaced with a square window the same height but wider, 45 cm on each side. The bonnet was modified to give two additional rectangular air intakes at the lower edges, one for a heater, the other a dummy for symmetry. In early 1964, the split windscreen used since 1947 was replaced with a single windscreen, while in late 1964 the chevrons on the radiator grille, previously narrow aluminium strips similar to those on the Traction Avant, were replaced with the shorter, pointed style of chevrons as used on most Citroën vehicles in the last decades of the twentieth century. In November 1969 the small parking lights were discontinued, the front indicators were recessed into the wings, and the shape of the rear wings was changed from semi-circular to rectangular. Rear hinged ‘Suicide’ cab doors were used until the end of production in 1981, except on vehicles manufactured for the Dutch market where conventionally hinged doors were available from 1968.. This one is a 1954 Type HZ van.

 photo Picture 065_zpsliff3j2g.jpg

Dating from 1922 is this track-driven B2 10 HP model K1 “Autochenille” the Scarabee d’Or. This was the first motor vehicle to cross the Sahara Desert, in 1922, a pioneering expedition that André Citroën ran to prove to the world just how reliable his vehicles were. This extraordinary adventure, commanded by George-Marie Haardt and Louis Audouin-Dubreuil, prefigured Citroën’s famous Black Cruise in 1924 and Yellow Cruise in 1931.

 photo Picture 095_zps2x0zmjca.jpg  photo Picture 094_zpsw9oguxcb.jpg  photo Picture 093_zps0xpwn9g1.jpg

From later in the decade was this C4 Breakdown Truck. The C4, first shown at the 1928 Paris Motor Show, took over from the B14, which it was derived from. Its main virtues were a modern outline, a reinforced chassis, a 1,628 cc engine, distributor ignition and a water pump. The breakdown truck version is just one of the many C4 formats: family car, van, roadster, and even a track-driven vehicle for the famous Yellow Cruise. Production ran through till 1934, by when a total of 243,000 had been made.

 photo Picture 841_zpscawwytel.jpg

Representing the popular 2CV was this Van version. This was added to the range in 1951 and evolved very much in tandem with the passenger cars.

 photo Picture 375_zpsjggxgfx5.jpg

Citroen brought along an example of the uber-cool Méhari for their own stand, and there were others elsewhere in the show. Much like the way the 1959 Mini became the 1964 Mini Moke, this small Citroen was based on an existing model, in this case, the 2CV/Dyane. 144,953 Méharis were built between the car’s French launch in May 1968 and 1988 when production ceased. A méhari is a type of fast-running dromedary camel, which can be used for racing or transport. A méhariste was a French Armée d’Afrique and Army of the Levant cavalryman that used these camels. The Méhari was based on the Citroën Dyane 6, and had a body made of ABS plastic with a soft-top. It also employed the 602 cc flat twin engine shared with the 2CV6 and Citroën Ami and because the standard Méhari weighed just 535 kg (1,179 lb), performance was respectable though very far from brisk. The vehicle also had the interconnected fully independent long-travel 2CV suspension used by all of the Citroën ‘A-Series’ vehicles. The colour was integrated into the ABS plastic material in production, and as a utilitarian vehicle, the options chart was quite limited. Only the Vert Montana remained in the catalogue for all the 18 years of production. Except for Azur blue, the official names of colours all refer to desert regions. Ultraviolet rays from the Sun impact the colourfastness of ABS plastic, so unrestored cars have a faded appearance. New bodies for restorations are only supplied in white colour, and now require painting on top of a specialist primer. A four-wheel drive version of the Méhari was produced from 1980 to 1983 and had excellent off-road qualities, due to the lightness of the vehicle. Unlike the earlier four wheel drive 2CV Sahara, which had two engines, this car only had one. Only 1300 were produced and so these cars are now both rare and highly sought after. The Méhari was sold in the United States in 1969 and 1970, where the vehicle was classified as a truck. As trucks had far more lenient National Highway Traffic Safety Administration safety standards than passenger cars in the US, the Méhari did not have seat belts. The Mehari did have limited sales success. Budget Rent-A-Car bought a number of them and offered them as rentals in Hawaii. Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, California, used them as groundskeeper cars. The cars had some differences from those sold elsewhere, with an altered front panel with larger 7″ sealed-beam headlamps being the most obvious.

 photo Picture 087_zpseqbkt6gi.jpg  photo Picture 840_zpsyhpktlmk.jpg  photo Picture 563_zpstkibojj2.jpg  photo Picture 564_zpskcaxlo4m.jpg  photo Picture 842_zps69lybsk2.jpg  photo Picture 086_zpssnml3xka.jpg

The larger DS was well represented, with a DS20, in familiar saloon form, the desirable Safari and joined by an export version of the Cabriolet “usine”. It is hard to imagine just how revolutionary this car must have seemed when it was unveiled at the Paris Show in 1955. 18 years in secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 stole the show, and within 15 minutes of opening, 743 orders were taken. By the end of the first day, that number had risen to 12,000. Contemporary journalists said the DS pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. To a France still deep in reconstruction after the devastation of World War II, and also building its identity in the post-colonial world, the DS was a symbol of French ingenuity. It also posited the nation’s relevance in the Space Age, during the global race for technology of the Cold War. Structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes, in an essay about the car, said that it looked as if it had “fallen from the sky”. An American advertisement summarised this selling point: “It takes a special person to drive a special car”. Because they were owned by the technologically aggressive tyre manufacturer Michelin, Citroën had designed their cars around the technically superior radial tyre since 1948, and the DS was no exception. The car featured a novel hydropneumatic suspension including an automatic levelling system and variable ground clearance, developed in-house by Paul Magès. This suspension allowed the DS to travel quickly on the poor road surfaces common in France. In addition, the vehicle had power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fibreglass roof which lowered the centre of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the unequal tyre loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars. As with all French cars, the DS design was affected by the tax horsepower system, which effectively mandated very small engines. Unlike the Traction Avant predecessor, there was no top-of-range model with a powerful six-cylinder engine. Citroën had planned an air-cooled flat-6 engine for the car, but did not have the funds to put the prototype engine into production. The 1955 DS19 was 65% more expensive than the car it replaced, the Citroën Traction Avant. This did impact potential sales in a country still recovering economically from World War II, so a cheaper submodel, the Citroën ID, was introduced in 1957. The ID shared the DS’s body but was less powerful and luxurious. Although it shared the engine capacity of the DS engine (at this stage 1,911 cc), the ID provided a maximum power output of only 69 hp compared to the 75 hp claimed for the DS19. Power outputs were further differentiated in 1961 when the DS19 acquired a Weber-32 twin bodied carburettor, and the increasing availability of higher octane fuel enabled the manufacturer to increase the compression ratio from 7.5:1 to 8.5:1. A new DS19 now came with a promised 83 hp of power. The ID19 was also more traditional mechanically: it had no power steering and had conventional transmission and clutch instead of the DS’s hydraulically controlled set-up. Initially the basic ID19 was sold on the French market with a price saving of more than 25% against the DS, although the differential was reduced at the end of 1961 when the manufacturer quietly withdrew the entry level ID19 “Normale” from sale. An estate version was introduced in 1958. It was known by various names in different markets: Break in France, Safari and Estate in the UK, Wagon in the US, and Citroën Australia used the terms Safari and Station-Wagon. It had a steel roof to support the standard roof rack. ‘Familiales’ had a rear seat mounted further back in the cabin, with three folding seats between the front and rear squabs. The standard Break had two side-facing seats in the main load area at the back. During the 20 year production life, improvements were made on an ongoing basis. In September 1962, the DS was restyled with a more aerodynamically efficient nose, better ventilation and other improvements. It retained the open two headlamp appearance, but was available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front bumpers. A more luxurious Pallas trim came in for 1965 Named after the Greek goddess Pallas, this included comfort features such as better noise insulation, a more luxurious (and optional leather) upholstery and external trim embellishments. The cars were complex, and not always totally reliable, One of the issues that emerged during long term use was addressed with a change which came in for 1967. The original hydropneumatic system used a vegetable oil liquide hydraulique végétal (LHV), similar to that used in other cars at the time, but later switched to a synthetic fluid liquide hydraulique synthétique (LHS). Both of these had the disadvantage that they are hygroscopic, as is the case with most brake fluids. Disuse allows water to enter the hydraulic components causing deterioration and expensive maintenance work. The difficulty with hygroscopic hydraulic fluid was exacerbated in the DS/ID due to the extreme rise and fall in the fluid level in the reservoir, which went from nearly full to nearly empty when the suspension extended to maximum height and the six accumulators in the system filled with fluid. With every “inhalation” of fresh moisture- (and dust-) laden air, the fluid absorbed more water. For the 1967 model year, Citroën introduced a new mineral oil-based fluid liquide hydraulique minéral (LHM). This fluid was much less harsh on the system. LHM remained in use within Citroën until the Xantia was discontinued in 2001. LHM required completely different materials for the seals. Using either fluid in the incorrect system would completely destroy the hydraulic seals very quickly. To help avoid this problem, Citroën added a bright green dye to the LHM fluid and also painted all hydraulic elements bright green. The former LHS parts were painted black. All models, including the Safari and ID, were upgraded at the same time. The hydraulic fluid changed to the technically superior LHM (Liquide Hydraulique Minéral) in all markets except the US and Canada, where the change did not take place until January 1969, due to local regulations. Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The Cabriolet d’Usine (factory convertible) were built by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network. It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold. These DS convertibles used a special frame which was reinforced on the side-members and rear suspension swing arm bearing box, similar to, but not identical to the Break/Safari frame.

 photo Picture 579_zpsu3wc7otv.jpg  photo Picture 806_zpsudth3trb.jpg  photo Picture 379_zpspztcjarf.jpg  photo Picture 377_zpshou4bhth.jpg  photo Picture 378_zps1gytnr1g.jpg

The splendid SM was here as well, of course. This glamorous Sports/GT Coupe still wows people over 45 years since its debut. The Citroën SM was first shown at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show, but work on the car had started way back in 1961, with ‘Project S’, which was envisaged to be a a sports variant of the revolutionary Citroen DS. For the next few years, many running concept vehicles were developed, and these became increasingly complex and upmarket from the DS. In 1968, Citroën purchased Maserati, with the intention of harnessing Maserati’s high-performance engine technology to produce a true Gran Turismo car, which would combine Citroen’s advanced suspension with a V6 Maserati engine. The car was a sensation when revealed, with its distinctive styling, an amazingly low drag coefficient of just 0.26, and as well as the advanced features from the DS such as lights that swivelled with the steering and the advanced hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension there were numerous technical innovations such as variable assistance for the power steering, rain sensitive wipers and the option of lightweight wheels of composite alloys. It was a further six months before customers could get behind the wheel, with the SM finally going on sale in France in September of that year. The origin of the model name ‘SM’ is not clear. The ‘S’ may derive from the Project ‘S’ designation, and the ‘M’ may refers to Maserati, hence SM is often assumed to stand for ‘Sports Maserati’. Another common hypothesis is that SM stood for Série Maserati and others have suggested it is short for ‘Sa Majesté’ (Her Majesty in French), which would aligns with the explanation that the DS model was so called as a contraction of the French word ‘Déesse’ (The Goddess). Regardless of the origins of the name, it attracted lots of attention, and came third in the 1971 Car of the Year competition (behind Citroen’s own revolutionary GS model). For a couple of years, sales were reasonable, but they fell off dramatically in 1973, not just because of the Oil Crisis that struck late that year, but largely because the SM’s technical complexity came with a price tag of some terrible reliability problems, something which owners of rival cars simply did not experience. To compound the owner’s misery, they needed to find and pay for Citroen specialists who understood the hydraulics and a Maserati specialist for the engine. Both categories were kept busy. Citroen declared bankruptcy in 1974 and the company was purchased in May 1975. Thanks to changes in US legislation, sales in that market, which had hitherto been the SM’s largest had ceased, and so with global sales of under 300 SMs in 1974, having divested itself of Maserati, new owner Peugeot took the obvious decision to cease production of the SM almost immediately. During the SM’s 5 year product life, a total of 12,920 cars were produced. With the exception of a handful of conversions for the Australian market, all SMs were made in left hand drive, which is perhaps one reason why UK sales amounted to just 325 cars from that total. Although this is often labelled as one of the 4 “nightmare cars of the apocalypse” (along with the Triumph Stag and Alfa Montreal), the reality is that the surviving cars have largely been “fixed” and they are now not the fearsome ownership proposition that many still assume.

 photo Picture 605_zps3kndvn49.jpg

Final classic Citroen here was a number of CX models. Although it was perhaps not as radical a product as the DS, which it replaced had been, this was still something of a futuristic looking car when it was revealed in 1974. Indeed, it is considered by some enthusiasts as the last “real Citroën” before Peugeot took control of the company in 1976, and as history has now shown, is, it was to be the final successful model of the “big Citroën” era, which began in 1934, as Citroën sold nearly 1.2 million CXs during its 16 years of production. The CX’s flowing lines and sharp Kamm tail were designed by auto stylist Robert Opron, resembling its precursor the GS. Citroën had been using a Wind tunnel for many years, and the CX was designed to perform well in aerodynamic drag, with a low coefficient of drag (Cd in English; CX in French) of 0.36. Despite its fastback lines, the model was never sold as a hatchback, even though many of its rivals adopted this during the 1970s, and Citroen thus modified their own GS late in its life. Mechanically, the car was one of the most modern of its time, combining Citroën’s unique hydro-pneumatic integral self-levelling suspension, speed-adjustable DIRAVI power steering (first introduced on the Citroën SM), and a uniquely effective interior design that did away with steering column stalks, allowing the driver to reach all controls while both hands remained on the steering wheel. The CX suspension’s ability to soak up large undulations and yet damp out rough surfaces was extraordinary, with a consistent ride quality, empty, or fully laden. The suspension was attached to sub frames that were fitted to the body through flexible mountings, to improve even more the ride quality and to reduce road noise. “Car” magazine described the sensation of driving a CX as hovering over road irregularities, much like a ship traversing above the ocean floor. This suspension was used under license by Rolls-Royce on the Silver Shadow. The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 was not built under license, but copied the Hydropneumatic suspension principles after the less effective Mercedes-Benz 600 Air suspension installation. The CX was conceived to be a rotary-engined car—with several negative consequences. The CX engine bay is small because rotary engines are compact, but the Comotor three-rotor rotary engine was not economical and the entire rotary project was scrapped the year the CX was introduced, and Citroen went bankrupt in 1974, partly due to a series of investments like Comotor that didn’t result in profitable products. Production versions of the CX were always powered by a modest inline 4 cylinder engine, transversely mounted. This saved space and allowed the CX to be 8″ shorter than the DS. At launch in 1974, the CX was rushed to market, with some teething troubles. Some very early models did not have power steering which made the car difficult and heavy to drive – the CX carries 70% of its weight over the front wheels. Initially there was a choice between three differently powered versions. The “Normale” CX car came with a 1985 cc version of the four cylinder engine from the predecessor model with a claimed maximum output of 102 PS, which was slightly more than had been available from the engine when fitted in the DS. The “Economique” version of the car (reflecting the continuing impact of the 1973 oil price shock) came with the same engine as the “Normale”, but the gear ratios were changed, along with the final drive ratio, giving rise to a 7 km/h (4 mph) reduction in top speed in return for usefully improved fuel economy. More performance came from the “CX 2200”, fitted with a 2175 cc version of the engine and a twin carburettor, resulting in a claimed maximum output of 112 PS. This was rather less than was available in the top spec DS23 EFi which featured a relatively powerful 141 PS fuel-injected 2.3-litre engine. The later 2200 improved on this, and eventually the same 2347 cc unit as used in the DS) arrived, originally only in the long wheel-base Prestige, but a regular CX 2400 arrived at the 1976 Paris Salon, to replace the CX 2200. By this time, Citroen had added a capacious Estate model to the range, called Safari, and a 2.2 litre Diesel powered model – important even in the mid 1970s in France – was also offered. Despite the challenging finances of Citroën at the time of launch, the CX was entered in numerous rally driving events, like Tour du Senegal and Paris-Dakar, winning 5 events outright. Most notable among these was in the 17,500 mile 1977 London–Sydney Marathon road race in which Paddy Hopkirk, driving a CX 2400 sponsored by Citroën’s Australian concessionaire, staged a come-from-behind sprint to obtain third place. The CX was initially a huge success in Europe, more than 132,000 being produced in 1978. It found customers beyond the loyal Citroën DS customer base and brought the technology of the advanced, but somewhat impractical, Citroën SM to the masses. Evolution of the car after this was gradual. More power came in 1977, with the CX GTi which received a modern Bosch L-Jetronic injection system, generating 128 PS, and there was a standard five speed gearbox, and in early 1978, the diesel engine was enlarged to 2.,5 litres. A five speed gearbox was available. A very mild facelift in 1979 saw the Douvrin 2 litre engines that were used in the rival Renault R20 fitted under the bonnet to create the CX Reflex and Athena. In 1981, factory rustproofing and a fully automatic transmission to replace the former semi-automatic gearbox were added. In 1984, the addition of a turbo to the 2.5 litre diesel engine made the CX Turbo-D 2.5 the fastest diesel sedan in the world, able to reach speeds up to 195 km/h (121 mph). In 1985, the GTi Turbo, with a top speed of over 220 km/h (137 mph), finally gave the CX the powerful engine that finally used the full capabilities of the chassis. A facelift later that year was an attempt to keep the car in the public eye, but its sales had peaked long ago, back in 1978, and better trim, a revised interior and new plastic bumpers were not going to help a 10 year old design in the face of stiff market competition. Just 35,000 units were produced in 1986 and 1987. There were few further changes for the rest of the CX’s life, with its successor, the XM appearing in early 1989. Production of the Estate models continued until 1991, by which time 1,170,645 CXs had been sold. There are far fewer survivors than there are of the DS family. The stand included a CX Safari and a Chapron converted open=topped model.

 photo Picture 090_zpstzsngine.jpg  photo Picture 089_zpsipmt127w.jpg  photo Picture 088_zpsjv3sbssc.jpg  photo Picture 561_zps4qhzdpz5.jpg  photo Picture 562_zpssnm63kwt.jpg photo Picture 560_zpsr8nfsuhw.jpg  photo Picture 839_zpsxny8devg.jpg  photo Picture 843_zpsfyay3qdm.jpg  photo Picture 376_zpsobsfjzml.jpg  photo Picture 374_zpsmcwq5fp7.jpg

Showcasing the very latest addition to the range, the brand new C3 AirCross model was tucked onto one corner of this larger stand.

 photo Picture 092_zpsxfebj55l.jpg

Elsewhere in the show was this 1923 Torpedo B2 Caddy Sport. This had a 10HP 1452cc engine and was tuned such that the car could reach 90 km/h. 140 of these were made over a 2 year period, this one being the 36th to be finished.

 photo Picture 435_zpsiwvt8wdt.jpg

This DS Le Dandy is one of a series of very special coupe versions of the DS that were made by Chapron in the early 1960s.

 photo Picture 502_zpsz7mwxhml.jpg  photo Picture 501_zpszhunw7pp.jpg

Also here was another SM, this one on Japanese plates.

 photo Picture 699_zpsmpcg2lw9.jpg  photo Picture 698_zpsxofou94f.jpg


A display of two immense machines from very earliest days of wheeled transport came from the collection housed at Compiegne. A display of two immense machines from very earliest days of wheeled transport came from the collection housed at Compiegne. The Electric cars produced by Krieger were known as the most produced electric vehicles in Europe at the time. Production started in 1898. By 1910 it is estimated that 3% of the taxi in Paris were electric Krieger automobiles. Around 400 Electric Krieger K1 Type were produced in France. It was utilised as a premium automobile with a “chauffeur” as well as a taxi in Paris. The operating range is quoted at 90 km (56 miles). The batteries are by TEM. The two electric motors are located inboard the front wheels. Average speed is claimed to be 40 km/h (25 mph).

 photo Picture 026_zpsfcqz9bdc.jpg  photo Picture 025_zpsjtjicy7u.jpg  photo Picture 028_zpshotu7p3a.jpg  photo Picture 027_zpsclfladpj.jpg

The display included period “Penny Farthing” style bicycles as well.

 photo Picture 035_zpstskwgcfk.jpg photo Picture 036_zps4tc2vor7.jpg


Cosworth made an attempt at designing a full Formula One Grand Prix car in 1969. The car, designed by Robin Herd, used an original 4WD transmission designed by Keith Duckworth (different from the Ferguson used by all other 4WD F1 cars of the 1960s) and powered by a magnesium version of the DFV unit. The car was planned to drive at the 1969 British Grand Prix, but it was silently withdrawn. When Herd left to form March Engineering, the project was cancelled. The external design of the car was a product of Herd’s use of Mallite sheeting (a wood-aluminium laminate composite) for the principal structural monocoque sections, a technique he pioneered on the first McLaren single-seat cars, including the McLaren M2B of 1966.

 photo Picture 488_zpsojhw7vjf.jpg


 photo Picture 300_zpsvaeury5j.jpg


A little known French marque this. The D.B. Coach HBR5 was produced between 1954 and 1959 and around 600 cars were produced. The first units had an aluminium body while the others had a glass fibre composite body. The aluminium body was made by Cottard, the coachbuilder. The chassis was steel backbone type. The 848 cc Panhard twin cylinder engine was producing 50 hp at 6000 rpm allowing a claimed top speed of 160 kph for a weight of 527 kg.

 photo Picture 292_zpstztlfwh4.jpg  photo Picture 291_zpsa7lt1w7g.jpg  photo Picture 293_zpslef6tf79.jpg  photo Picture 290_zpsnhoikjpn.jpg


There were a couple of very early cars on the de Dion Bouton Owners Club stand. One dates from 1905 and is a Type Z, which had a 1 cylinder engine. Joining it was an earlier 1901 car.

 photo Picture 280_zpszpolanw1.jpg  photo Picture 278_zpsnwapdcwu.jpg  photo Picture 279_zps1pwqlacq.jpg


Sole representative of the products of de Tomaso was this Pantera. Designed by American Tom Tjaarda, unlike the Mangusta, which employed a steel backbone chassis, the Pantera was a steel monocoque design, the first instance of De Tomaso using this construction technique. The Pantera logo included a version of Argentina’s flag turned on its side with a T-shaped symbol that was the brand used by De Tomaso’s Argentinian cattle ranching ancestors. The car made its public debut in Modena in March 1970 and was presented at the 1970 New York Motor Show a few weeks later. Approximately a year later the first production Panteras were sold, and production was increased to three per day. The curious slat-backed seats which had attracted comment at the New York Show were replaced by more conventional body-hugging sports-car seats in the production cars: leg-room was generous but the pedals were off-set and headroom was insufficient for drivers above approximately 6 ft. Reflecting its makers’ transatlantic ambitions, the Pantera came with an abundance of standard features which appeared exotic in Europe, such as electric windows, air conditioning and even “doors that buzz when … open”. By the time the Pantera reached production, the interior was in most respects well sorted, although resting an arm on the central console could lead to inadvertently activating the poorly located cigarette lighter. The first 1971 Panteras were powered by a Ford 351 cu in (5.8 litre) V8 engine that produced a severely underrated 330 hp. Stock dynos over the years proved that power was more along the lines of about 380 hp. The high torque provided by the Ford engine reduced the need for excessive gear changing at low speeds: this made the car much less demanding to drive in urban conditions than many of the locally built competitor products. The ZF transaxle used in the Mangusta was also used for the Pantera: a passenger in an early Pantera recorded that the mechanical noises emanating from the transaxle were more intrusive than the well restrained engine noise. Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were all standard equipment on the Pantera. The 1971 Pantera could accelerate to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. In the summer of 1971, a visitor to the De Tomaso plant at Modena identified two different types of Pantera awaiting shipment, being respectively the European and American versions. From outside, the principal differences were the larger tail lamps on the cars destined for America, along with addition of corner marker lamps. The visitor was impressed by the large number of cars awaiting shipment; but in reality, spending the best part of a year under dust covers in a series of large hangars probably did nothing for the cash-flow of the business or the condition of some of the cars by the time they crossed the Atlantic. Late in 1971, Ford began importing Panteras for the American market to be sold through its Lincoln Mercury dealers. The first 75 cars were simply European imports and are known for their “push-button” door handles and hand-built Carrozzeria Vignale bodies. A total of 1,007 Panteras reached the United States that first year. These cars were poorly built, and several Panteras broke down during testing on Ford’s test track. Early crash testing at UCLA showed that safety cage engineering was not very well understood in the 1970s. Rust-proofing was minimal on these early cars, and the quality of fit and finish was poor, with large amounts of body solder being used to cover body panel flaws. Notably, Elvis Presley once fired a gun at his Pantera after it would not start. An L model (“Lusso”) was added in 1972 and a GTS version in 1974, but it was not enough and Ford ended their importation to the US in 1975, having sold around 5,500 cars. De Tomaso continued to build the car in ever-escalating forms of performance and luxury for almost two decades for sale in the rest of the world. A small number of Panteras were imported to the US by grey market importers in the 1980s, notably Panteramerica and AmeriSport. After 1974, Ford US discontinued the Cleveland 351 engine, but production continued in Australia until 1982. De Tomaso started sourcing their V8s from Australia once the American supplies dried up. These engines were tuned in Switzerland and were available with a range of outputs up to 360 PS. The chassis was completely revised in 1980, beginning with chassis number 9000. From May 1980 the lineup included the GT5, which had bonded and riveted-on fibreglass wheelarch extensions and from November 1984 the GT5S model which had blended arches and a distinctive wide-body look. The GT5 also incorporated better brakes, a more luxurious interior, much larger wheels and tires and the fibreglass body kit also included an air dam and side skirts. Production of the wide body GT5 (and similarly equipped narrow body GTS models) continued until 1985, when the GT5-S replaced the GT5. Although the factory has not made its records available, an analysis based on Vehicle Identification Numbers by the Pantera Owners Club of America (POCA) late model (9000 series) registrar has shown that fewer than 252 GT5 Panteras were likely to have been built. The GT5-S featured single piece flared steel fenders instead of the GT5’s riveted-on fibreglass flares, and a smaller steel front air dam. The ‘S’ in the GT5-S name stood for “steel”. Otherwise the GT5-S was largely identical to the GT5. The POCA 9000 series registrar’s VIN analysis indicates that fewer than 183 GT5-S Panteras were built. Concurrent GTS production continued, on a custom order and very limited basis, until the late 1980s. The car continued to use a Ford V8 engine, although in 1988, when the supply of Ford 351 Cleveland engines from Australia ran out, De Tomaso began installing Ford 351 Windsor engines in the Pantera instead. For 1990 the 351 was changed to the Ford 302 cu in (4942 cc, commonly called a “5.0”). Incorporating a Marcello Gandini facelift, suspension redesign, partial chassis redesign and the new, smaller engine, the Pantera 90 Si model was introduced in 1990. Only 38 90 Si models were sold before the Pantera was finally phased out in 1993 to make way for the radical, carbon-fibre-bodied Guarà. Some say 41 were built (with the last one not finished until 1996), of which four were targa models. The targas were converted by Pavesi directly off the production lines. In all, about 7,200 Panteras were built.

 photo Picture 738_zpsulufuvca.jpg


Louis Delage started producing automobiles in 1905. He was very impressed by the Voiturettes (Light Cars) racing contests and participated, starting from 1906 and went on to win the 1908 Automobile Club de France (ACF) Grand Prix for Light Cars in Dieppe. The Type L is the customer version of the car that participated in the race. The Delage Type L was coachbuilt by J.Kelsch & Cie in Paris. It had a 1450 cc four cylinder engine which gave it a claimed top speed of 70 km/h (44 mph).

 photo Picture 493_zpsxsnu4lzc.jpg

There was a special display which brought together all 6 of the Delage race cars here, something which has probably never happened before. This was conceived as a celebration of 90 years since the marque won the World Championship of Car Builders title. Going up against Bugatti and Talbot, Robert Benoist and his Delage 1500 triumphed in all of the season’s Grand Prix events (Montlhéry, San Sebastian, Monza and Brooklands), earning the manufacturer the World Champion of Car Builders title. Louis Delage had gone to every effort to turn the 1926 two-seater Grand Prix – which was already extremely powerful – into an absolute winner. Albert Lory – the car’s designer – had made yet more improvements to what was already his masterpiece. The 8-cylinder 1500 cc engine was a mechanical marvel, designed with all the precision of a timepiece. With its twincam straight eight and its roller bearing mounted mobile parts, it could deliver more than 100 HP/litre and could reach 8500 rpm – more than what any other engine was capable of at the time. For the 1927 season, Delage had built four cars and five engines, numbered 1 to 4, and 1 to 5, respectively. In 1936, at the request of Prince Chula on behalf of his cousin Prince Bira – a brilliant private racing car driver – Lory designed two other chassis providing an independent front wheel suspension system. Built in the UK, these were named “GP5” and “GP6”, in accordance with convention. So in total, six cars were built. But the two “families” to which they belonged (1927 and 1936) were never reunited. They were all successful and the last ones produced even continued to race up until the early 1950s – evidence of just how ahead of their time these machines were. In fact, the last incarnation of the Delage Grand Prix raced against the very first Ferraris!

No. 1 is currently the best preserved which never had an accident and still has its original bodywork. In 1927, Delage entrusted the car to Divo, and in 1929, it took part in the very first Monaco Grand Prix. It is fitted with engine no.5, and having previously belonged to Briggs Cunningham, is now part of the American Collier Collection The Collier Collection @ The Revs Institute®

 photo Picture 191_zps8oze7rqa.jpg

No. 2 is the “laboratory car” which Robert Benoist drove in the first race of the 1927 season – the Montlhéry Grand Prix d’Ouverture. She set a Class F (1500 cc) world 24 hours record at Montlhery in 1932 when it was already 6 years old. Over the years, both the engine and the bodywork were replaced. It is currently on show at the Brooklands Museum, in the UK: Brooklands Museum

No. 3 is the car in which Robert Benoist won several races in 1927, which provide to Delage the world championship title. Built around engine no. 4, it was seriously damaged by Lord Howe in 1932. Christophe Pund, who planned to give back n°3 to life, will display on the stand all the original parts be reunited.

 photo Picture 348_zpsmmjzm243.jpg

No. 4 driven by André Morel in 1927, was taken to the US in 1929 to be raced by Louis Chiron in the Indianapolis 500. Once it returned to the UK, it was modified by Dick Seaman who allowed himself the satisfaction of winning the new ERA in numerous races. Fitted with engine no. 3, it was once part of Serge Pozzoli’s collection and currently belongs to the “Peter Giddings collection”.

The GP5 was ordered by Prince Chula for his cousin Bira who owned three Delage 1500s at the same time in the 1930s. It was built around engine no. 2, together with bodywork panels. Prince Bira raced it from 1937 up to 1946 in the Geneva Grand Prix. It is currently part of Jean-Claude Miloé’s collection.

The GP6 raced at Goodwood in 1949 with a Delage engine. At the time, it sported the Rob Walker Racing Team colours and, following an engine failure, was fitted with an ERA model in 1950, earning it the nickname “ERA Delage”. It continued racing up until 1952, going up against the first Ferraris and raced in 2016 at Laguna Seca and won its class. It is currently on show at the Peter Mullin Museum in California.

Elsewhere, this D8 has a Figoni body and was shown at the 1930 Paris Show. Before the Show ended, it was bought by the Maharajah Yashwantrao Holkar who asked for it to be repainted in the two tone black and ochre in which colours it is still seen today.

 photo Picture 190_zpsrn5ipfhf.jpg  photo Picture 189_zps7t3a4yio.jpg

Louis Delage started producing automobiles in 1905. He was very impressed by the Voiturettes (Light Cars) racing contests and participated starting from 1906 and won the 1908 Automobile Club de France (ACF) Grand Prix for Light Cars in Dieppe. The Type L is the customer version of the car that participated in the race. The Delage Type L were coachbuilt by J.Kelsch & Cie in Paris. It had a 4 cylinder 1450cc engine.


 photo Picture 302_zpsleyrusaw.jpg  photo Picture 301_zpsfiendjy3.jpg

There were two post war 135M cars here, with very different bodywork. The more dramatic of the pair was a 1947 Figoni car and the other was a later 1949 Victoria Chapron model.

 photo Picture 438_zpsycblsz1n.jpg  photo Picture 401_zpsthoe9suc.jpg

From the Baillon Collection that caused such a stir when it was shown here in 2015, this Delahaye 235 is definitely a rare example and, under the dust that has accumulated over 40 years of non-use in the Roger Baillon castle, the car appears to be complete and sound on its wire wheels. Nothing has been touched or vandalised, the engine contains its accessories, but the best surprise is the interior: except for a tear in the passenger door and the bottom of the driver’s door, the seat leather is well preserved and has a beautiful patina with a manufacturing quality that shows the quality of Henri Chapron. The dashboard instruments look complete, with the exception of the radio. The odometer shows 40,618km, and in the boot, there is a spare wheel, jack and crank. Henri Chapron produced just 41 sedans of this final production model Delahaye, out of a total production of about 85/86 chassis 235 between 1951 and 1954.

 photo Picture 321_zpsw2dj3dw9.jpg


 photo Picture 450_zpsj5203ycj.jpg


Sharing stand space with the other marques in the PSA Group was this DS e-Tense concept car.

 photo Picture 696_zpsenkruzyy.jpg  photo Picture 697_zpscgputiit.jpg  photo Picture 695_zpsnmdyodj7.jpg  photo Picture 694_zps5gssy0vp.jpg


 photo Picture 495_zpsczmrewsd.jpg


Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d’Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) specialised in manufacturing aircraft components and metal furniture. After the war the company supplied car bodies to Panhard, Simca and Ford France before branching out into automobile manufacture in its own right with the launch of the Vega at the 1954 Paris Salon. Government legislation had effectively killed off France’s few surviving luxury car manufacturers after WW2 but that did not deter Daninos in his bold attempt to revive what had once been a great French motoring tradition. A luxurious Grande Routière, the Vega took its name from the brightest star in the Lyra constellation and featured supremely elegant coupé bodywork welded to a tubular-steel chassis. There being no suitable French-built power unit, Daninos turned to the USA for the Vega’s Chrysler’s V8 engine, while there was a choice of push-button automatic or manual transmission. Launched in 1961 and advertised as ‘Le Coupé 4-places le plus rapide du Monde’ (‘The fastest 4-seat Coupé in the World’) the Facel II in manual-transmission form could out-accelerate two-seater rivals such as the Aston Martin DB4, Ferrari 250GT and Mercedes-Benz 3000SL. Sadly, it was destined to be the last of the V8-engined models, production ceasing in 1964 after an unsuccessful venture into engine manufacture effectively bankrupted the company. Production of the preceding HK500 amounted to only 500-or-so units between 1958 and 1961 and that of the Facel II to a mere 182. Today these rare Franco-American classics are highly sought after.

 photo Picture 236_zpsb1vlcz09.jpg  photo Picture 295_zpsrq51bzl2.jpg  photo Picture 769_zpscwblju6c.jpg


2017 is a big year for Ferrari as it marks the firm’s 70th Anniversary, and there are going to be lots of reminders of this throughout the year, with special events and displays celebrating the Prancing Horse. Retromobile was not going to miss out, and there was a fabulous collection of road and race cars here with a large area reserved for a special display.

This 1949 166 MM is a historically significant car, driven by Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon in which they scored a 24 Hours win.

 photo Picture 195_zpsfiphnrk4.jpg  photo Picture 197_zpszvtrhrzt.jpg  photo Picture 196_zpsuywdth0t.jpg  photo Picture 194_zpsbqxoq0wx.jpg  photo Picture 232_zpssiia0zy0.jpg

This 1952/53 Ferrari 500 F2 was driven by Ascari. The Ferrari 500 was a Formula 2 (F2) racing car designed by Aurelio Lampredi and used by Ferrari in 1952 and 1953, when the World Championship was run to F2 regulations. For 1952, the FIA announced that Grand Prix races counting towards the World Championship of Drivers would be run to Formula 2 specification rather than to Formula 1, after the withdrawal of Alfa Romeo from the sport. Ferrari were the only team to have a car specifically designed for the new formula. The car was powered by an inline four-cylinder engine which was mounted behind the front axle, improving weight distribution. Alberto Ascari used the car to win his first world championship, winning all but one race with the simple 500. The race he missed was because he was driving the 4.5-litre Ferrari at the Indianapolis 500, however Ferrari won the race he was absent from as well. The following season, Ascari won his second world championship, and Ferrari won all but the final race, which was won by Juan Manuel Fangio, back in racing after an accident which had damaged his neck. Ascari won seven consecutive World Championship races in the 500, a record which stood until Sebastian Vettel broke it in 2013. If the 1953 Indianapolis 500 (which was run to a different formula, and in which Ascari was not entered) is discounted, the run is extended to nine.

 photo Picture 231_zpspr2zp0oq.jpg  photo Picture 230_zpsmghkjdz1.jpg  photo Picture 228_zpsfdq0n5kc.jpg

This is a 1963 156 Formula 1 Dino race car. The Ferrari 156 was made in 1961 to comply with then-new Formula One regulations that reduced engine displacement from 2.5- to 1.5-litres, similar to the pre-1961 Formula Two class for which Ferrari had developed a mid-engined car also called 156 F2. Phil Hill won the 1961 World Championship of Drivers[2] and Ferrari secured the 1961 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers, both victories achieved with the 156. The 1961 version was affectionately dubbed “sharknose” due to its characteristic air intake “nostrils”. Then-Ferrari factory policy inevitably saw all the remaining sharknose 156s scrapped by the end of the 1963 season. Nevertheless, such a 156 is exhibited in the “Galleria Ferrari” at Maranello, probably a replica. A similar intake duct styling was applied to the five SP-series Ferraris in 1961 and 1962 that were also designed by Carlo Chiti, and then again over forty years later to the Ferrari 360. Ferrari started the season with a 65-degree Dino engine, then replaced by a new engine with the V-angle increased to 120-degrees and designed by Carlo Chiti. A V-6 engine with 120-degree bank is smoother at producing power because every 120-degree rotation of engine crankshaft produces a power pulse. This change increased the power by 10 hp. Bore and stroke were 73.0 mm × 58.8 mm with a displacement of 1,476.60 cc and a claimed 187 bhp at 9500 rpm. For 1962, a 24-valve version was planned with 197 bhp at 10,000 rpm, but never appeared. At the 1962 British Grand Prix, Phil Hill raced a new version with a six-speed transmission mounted in front of the engine. In August, at the German Grand Prix, Lorenzo Bandini tested a non-sharknose variant with modified front and rear suspension and a smaller radiator, heralding the 156 Aero used in 1963. The updated Ferrari 156, used in the 1963 and 1964 seasons, did not feature the distinctive sharknose design. but had a rather conventional intake, somewhat larger than the Ferrari 158 introduced in 1964. In 1963 the 12-valve version fitted with Bosch direct-fuel injection instead of carburetors achieved that power level. The last victory for the Ferrari 156 was achieved by Italian Lorenzo Bandini in the 1964 Austrian Grand Prix.

 photo Picture 226_zpsutqss1bq.jpg  photo Picture 229_zpsuplb7pqy.jpg  photo Picture 225_zpso1tcv3xs.jpg  photo Picture 224_zpslqcfdpqo.jpg

The Ferrari 500 TRC was built after the 1956 500 Testa Rossa with some modifications that were necessary to comply with the new regulations. From 1957 cars entered in the Sport category were required a minimum cockpit width, rigid doors and some removable cover. The Ferrari 500 TRC was propelled by a 1984 cc 180 hp four cylinder engine for a kerb weight announced for 680 kg. Claimed top speed was 245 kph.

 photo Picture 198_zps2ptefwpx.jpg  photo Picture 199_zps94fpcu02.jpg  photo Picture 200_zpsuvzcgzfj.jpg  photo Picture 201_zpsupk7sm5k.jpg  photo Picture 202_zps9u3wb2kv.jpg

Released at the Geneva Motor Show in 1957, the original 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina Series I used the 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and the body was styled differently from the Berlinetta. Cars left the factory on either 165R400 or 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67). About 36 examples were produced before a second series was shown at Paris in 1959.

 photo Picture 220_zpssp8rfu7k.jpg  photo Picture 218_zpsj4nwwemp.jpg  photo Picture 217_zpsa675knzm.jpg

This is a 1962 250 GT SWB, a car which you see more often than not these days in historic racing despite its value having got close to eight figures. Indeed it was one of the most notable GT racers of its time, the 1959 250 GT Berlinetta SWB used a short (2,400 mm (94.5 in)) wheelbase for better handling. Of the 176 examples built, both steel and aluminium bodies were used in various road (“lusso”) and racing trims. Engine output ranged from 240 PS (237 bhp) to 280 PS (276 bhp). The “lusso” road car version was originally fitted with 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato (CA67). Development of the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta was handled by Giotto Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, and young Mauro Forghieri, the same team that later produced the 250 GTO. Disc brakes were a first on a Ferrari GT, and the combination of low weight, high power, and well-sorted suspension made it competitive. It was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October and quickly began selling and racing. The SWB Berlinetta won Ferrari the GT class of the 1961 Constructor’s Championship. The car also won the1960, 1961 and 1962 Tour de France Automobile before giving ground to the GTO’s.

 photo Picture 214_zpsdnpnlbb1.jpg  photo Picture 215_zps8ycwzhdd.jpg  photo Picture 213_zpsgyqil0c2.jpg  photo Picture 216_zpsal5zofvz.jpg  photo Picture 211_zpsuesq3qmx.jpg

Related to the GTO is this, the one-off “Breadvan”, a one-off Ferrari. In 1962, the engineer Giotto Bizzarrini was hired by Count Giovanni Volpi, owner of the Scuderia Serenissima racing team, to upgrade a Ferrari 250 GT SWB so it would be competitive with the then-new Ferrari 250 GTO. Enzo Ferrari had refused to sell any GTOs to Count Volpi, due to Volpi’s hiring of former Ferrari employees at ATS. The donor car for this project was a 250 GT SWB Competition, serial number 2819 GT. This car had previously competed in the 1961 Tour de France, where it took 2nd place overall driven by Olivier Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi. The car was sold by Gendebien to Volpi shortly afterward for use with Scuderia Serenissima. As with other competition-spec SWBs, this car had a lightweight body and chassis, minimal trim, and a more powerful 286 bhp Tipo 168 engine with Testarossa-type heads. Bizzarrini applied all the ideas he had developed working on the GTO and together with the car body specialist Piero Drogo developed an aerodynamically advanced body, even lower than the GTO’s, with the roof line dramatically extended to the rear end following Kamm aerodynamic theory. The resulting shooting-brake appearance led to the French press nicknaming it “La Camionnette” (little truck), while the English-speaking journalists called it the “Breadvan.” Bizzarrini moved the engine and radiator further back to the cenre of the chassis than the GTO, and lowered it by fitting a dry sump system. The original three 46 DCN Weber carburetors were replaced with six twin choke 38 DCN Webers. The original 4-speed gearbox was retained. Giorgio Neri and Lucciano Bonacini of Modena were contracted to perform all the mechanical modifications and race preparation. The resulting car was significantly lighter than the GTO, at 935 kg (2,061.3 lb) compared to the typical GTO weight of 1,000 kg (2,204.6 lb). The rebodied Breadvan made its competition debut at the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans. It quickly passed all Ferrari GTOs and was 7th overall during the 4th hour when a driveshaft failure caused its retirement. Results at other races proved the design’s effectiveness, as the car won the GT class in two races during the 1962 season. The car’s last race in period was at the Coppa Gallenga Hillclimb in 1965, however since 1973 it has appeared regularly at historic races worldwide, including events such as the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Tour Auto.

 photo Picture 135_zpsoiwp9u1l.jpg  photo Picture 134_zps3w1ad72e.jpg

Final model in the 250 series was this 1964 250 LM. The mid-engined 250 Le Mans looked very much the prototype racer but was intended for production as a road-going GT. Descended from the 250 P, the Le Mans also appeared in 1963 and sported Pininfarina bodywork. Ferrari was unable to persuade the FIA that he would build the 100 examples required to homologate the car for GT racing. Eventually, 32 LMs were built up to 1965. As a result, Ferrari withdrew from factory participation in the GT class of the 1965 World Sportscar Championship, allowing the Shelby Cobra team to dominate. A 250LM, competing in the Prototype category, won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only the very early LM’s were true 250 models. All the others were made as 3.3-litre models, and as such should have been named 275 LM. The early cars were converted to the 3.3-litre engine.

 photo Picture 223_zps2a3cy6xl.jpg  photo Picture 222_zps9zkvxlu2.jpg  photo Picture 219_zpsezfoszih.jpg  photo Picture 221_zpsej2epcfs.jpg

The Ferrari 275 GTB is one of those Ferrari models whose price tag generally runs into 7 figures when it is offered for sale these days. The 275 was a series of two-seat front-engined V12-powered models produced in GT, roadster, and spyder form by Ferrari between 1964 and 1968. The first Ferrari to be equipped with a transaxle, the 275 was powered by a 3286 cc Colombo 60° V12 engine that produced 280-300 hp. Pininfarina designed the GT and roadster bodies, Scaglietti the rare NART Spyder, among the most valuable of all Ferraris made. The standard 275 GTB coupe came first. It was produced by Scaglietti and was available with 3 or 6 Weber twin-choke carburettors. It was more of a pure sports car than the GT name suggested. Some cars were built with an aluminium body instead of the standard steel body. A Series Two version with a longer nose appeared in 1965. The 275 GTB/4 debuted in 1966. A much updated 275 GTB, it generated 300 bhp from a substantially reworked 3286 cc Colombo V12 engine, still with two valves per cylinder but now with a four-cam engine and six carburettors as standard. In a departure from previous Ferrari designs, the valve angle was reduced three degrees to 54° for a more-compact head. The dual camshafts also allowed the valves to be aligned perpendicular to the camshaft instead of offset as in SOHC engines. It was a dry-sump design with a huge 17 qt (16 litre) capacity. The transaxle was also redesigned. A torque tube connected the engine and transmission, rather than allowing them to float free on the body as before. This improved handling, noise, and vibration. Porsche synchronizers were also fitted for improved shifting and reliability. The 275 GTB/4 could hit 268 km/h (166.5 mph). With new bodywork, it was the first Ferrari to not be offered with wire wheels. A total of 280 were produced through to 1968 when it was replaced by the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.

 photo Picture 205_zpslipzzvfu.jpg  photo Picture 210_zpsjrwtzisz.jpg  photo Picture 212_zpsmq4pgiok.jpg  photo Picture 209_zpsbwtt4hfc.jpg  photo Picture 207_zps1yxglmqv.jpg

Pininfarina built 200 275 GTS roadsters for the American market between 1964-1966 with entirely different bodywork (including 14 in right hand drive). The 275 GTS was replaced by the 330 GTS, leaving no 3.3 litre convertible in the range until the creation of the 275 GTB/4 NART Spider.

Completing the display was an example of the latest model to join the range, the 2 seater V8 engined 488 GTB.

 photo Picture 204_zpsnxl1bdmg.jpg  photo Picture 203_zpsrgwpeeb3.jpg  photo Picture 208_zps6qrcngka.jpg  photo Picture 206_zpsratlnvqe.jpg  photo Picture 227_zpsuulktpyc.jpg

There were plenty of other Ferrari models on stands across the show, again with a good mix of road cars and racing models, some much more familiar than others.

Far from familiar is this one-off, the 1950 166/212 Export with a body by Fontana which is often referred to as the “Uovo”, Italian for “egg”, a not illogical choice of name given its shape. It started off life as a 166 Barchetta Touring and was engage in the Tour of Sicily and then the Mille Miglia, where it crashed. Giannino Marzotto asked the designed Franco Reggani to design a new body which coachbuilder Fontana would then realise. In 1951, in its new guise, it entered the same two races but finished neither of them, but would go on to have more success winning the Coppa della Toscana and finishing second in Porto. It appeared many times in the 90s at events and then just disappeared before resurfacing a couple of years ago. It is up for auction later this year so who know where it will go next.

 photo Picture 125_zpsmz4usxko.jpg  photo Picture 124_zpsltcefgjg.jpg  photo Picture 123_zps912zoy2z.jpg

This car started off as a 1960 250 GT Coupe Pininfarina in Switzerland. Following an accident, the chassis was shortened by Vaccari and it received a body designed by Drogo. Eight years later the front was modified so it more closely resembled a 250 GTO.

 photo Picture 053_zps1wzd3jmb.jpg

Needing series production to stabilise his company’s finances, Enzo Ferrari asked Pininfarina to design a simple and classic 250 GT coupé. After the 250 GT Boano/Ellena, Pininfarina’s Grugliasco plant expanded and now had the capacity to produce the new 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina. It was introduced at Milan in 1958, and 335 near-identical examples were built by 1960. Buyers included Prince Bertil of Sweden. The GT Coupé eschewed the fender vents for simple, clean lines and a notchback look with panoramic rear window. The oval grille was replaced by a more traditional long narrow look with protruding headlights. Telescopic shock absorbers were also fitted instead of the Houdailles on previous 250s, and disc brakes were added in 1960. The original 165R400 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were later changed to 185VR16. The final 250 GT Coupé had a Superfast tail and was shown at the 1961 London Motor Show. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced. In line with the high-volume coupé, Pinin Farina also designed a plainer 250 GT Cabriolet for series production. Introduced at the 1959 Paris Motor Show, the GT Spider sported a look similar to the GT Coupé of the previous year, including the removal of the side vents. 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato tyres (CA67) were standard. On the Coupé the headlights were uncovered. About 212 were produced.

 photo Picture 755_zpszvnn4i4i.jpg

Now starting to generate a lot more interest than used to the case is the Lusso, or more properly the 250 GT/L Lusso. This model made its debut at the 1962 Paris Auto Salon and continued in production until 1964. The Lusso is constructed from steel with aluminium opening panels mounted on a tubular steel chassis. The engine is a single overhead camshaft per bank, 3 litre V12 Colombo unit, coupled to a 4 speed gearbox. The instrument panel is unusual in that the speedometer and the rev counter are housed in a pair of large circular binnacles which protrude from the top centre of the dashboard and are angled towards the driver. With just 350 cars produced the 250 GT/L Lusso is a very rare automobile and when these cars come up for sale, they now fetch over £1 million.

 photo Picture 739_zpsp3d0r06d.jpg

There was a further examples of the 275 GTB and GTS in the Show.

 photo Picture 353_zpsygebi0br.jpg  photo Picture 550_zpsiln740nd.jpg  photo Picture 441_zpsyjgeozud.jpg

This is a 365 GTC, a development of the earlier 330 GTC, offering increased power and torque over that car. In Ferrari terms the 365 GTC has been somewhat overlooked and with only 150 examples built and production only lasting a single year, the Ferrari 365 GTC is known by few. It is, by all accounts, one of the finest all-rounders Maranello has ever produced. Pininfarina designed and built the GTC’s steel body, blending the general design of the 275 GTS and 330 GTC while incorporating a nose resembling the 500 superfast. The Kamm-like ducktail rear from the 330 remained unchanged with the exquisite light cluster and two-element chromed bumpers adorning the rear-end. The main difference between the Ferrari 365 GTC and its older brother the 330 GTC was the bonnet slats instead of louvres on the front wings to improve the cooling of the engine compartment. Further minor yet important modifications were made such as the handbrake mechanism which switched from the umbrella-type mechanism as seen in the 330 GTC to a more modern fitment between the seats on the 365GTC. The clutch on the 365 GTC was also improved from a hydraulic to cable operation and the half shafts went to CV joints instead of the 330’s more basic U-joints. The more exciting news, however, was inside the engine bay. This Ferrari was equipped with the latest version of Gioacchino Colombo’s V12 engine, giving it power to match Pininfarina’s elegant bodywork. The displacement was increased to 4.4 litres over the 330’s 4.0 litre engine and the single camshaft improved bottom-end performance while retaining sonorous power at the other end of the rev-counter, this Colombo V12 is the one to have. It is no coincidence that this is the most powerful Single Overhead Cam of any Columbo V12 Ferrari producing an incredibly potent 320 bhp. The Ferrari 365 GTC’s short production run is likely explained by a range of factors. The ever-more stringent safety laws in the US contributed to its short run but it was the arrival of Ferrari’s brand new model, the Daytona, that really spelled the end for the Ferrari 365 GTC.

 photo Picture 447_zpsb1prznha.jpg

Looking very like the 330 GT 2+2 which it replaced, this is the 365 GT 2+2, which was launched in 1968. Unlike the 330GT2+2 car it replaced, which had a live rear axle on leaf springs, the 365GT 2+2 had independent rear suspension rather than the live axle of the 365 California. The 365 GT 2+2 was a luxurious car with leather seats, power steering and brakes, electric windows, and optional air conditioning. It quickly became the company’s top-selling model with about 800 produced in four years, 52 of which were right hand drive. When leaving the factory the 365 GT 2+2 originally fitted Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72). The car was produced until 1971 and 800 were made.

 photo Picture 014_zpse4ixeiad.jpg  photo Picture 014_zpse4ixeiad.jpg  photo Picture 013_zpsdc6h6k1u.jpg

There were a number of examples of the 365 GTB/4, better known as the Daytona. First seen at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, the 365 GTB/4 was the last of the classic front engined V12 Ferrari models. Almost immediately the 365 GTB/4 gained its ‘Daytona’ moniker from Ferrari’s 1-2-3 result in the 1967 24-hour race of the same name. The Daytona’s engine and handling certainly didn’t undermine its racing nomenclature. The 4.4-litre, 4-cam V12 produced an astonishing 352bhp and, despite its 1,633kg bulk, the Daytona was billed as the fastest road car in the world. Not only was 174mph more than brisk, but crucially, it was faster than the Miura. The 5-speed gearbox was mounted at the rear for a more optimal weight distribution, and helped give the Daytona its predictable handling and solid road-holding. Like so many Ferraris of the period, the Daytona’s beautiful bodywork was designed by Pininfarina with the car built by Scaglietti. The delicate front was cleanly cut with both pop-up and Plexiglas headlight varieties. The rear slope was suggestively rakish and a Kamm tail provided further clues as to the performance of the car. The wheel arch flares, although elegant in proportion, are the only real overt notion that this car has significant pace, until you drive one! A number of them had their roof removed in the 1980s when people wanted the far rarer GTS Spider version, but values of the cars are such now that I would hope no-one would even contemplate such an act of sacrilege again! Along with 123 “official” open-topped GTS cars, 1284 Daytona models were produced. Among the cars shown was the very the last of 123 factory-built Spider cars.

 photo Picture 324_zpsf3belrpa.jpg  photo Picture 324_zpsbql9vjgh.jpg  photo Picture 747_zpsekyjc5js.jpg  photo Picture 112_zpsyx5bmniq.jpg  photo Picture 514_zpshydayty1.jpg  photo Picture 513_zpssvbzzm1l.jpg  photo Picture 787_zpshw37wsth.jpg  photo Picture 774_zps74qo8srn.jpg  photo Picture 766_zpsdtijzrya.jpg

There were several examples of the 246 GT Dino. This car was created to honour Alfredo ‘Dino’ Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s only legitimate son, who sadly died of muscular dystrophy in 1956. Unlike any previous road-going Ferrari, the Dino utilised a V6 engine, the Tipo 156, which Alfredo himself had helped develop and strongly advocated during his working life. Following continued motor racing success and in order to homologate Ferrari’s 1966 Formula Two campaign, a new line of mid-engined production V6 coupés with Fiat running gear went on sale in 1967 in two litre 206 GT form. However, in 1969 a larger 2.4 litre Dino was introduced, named the 246 GT or GTS in the case of the Spider. Only 3,913 definitive Dinos were built before the introduction of the completely restyled V8 engined 308 in 1973. The voluptuous bodywork of the 246, which many regard as the prettiest ever to grace a road-going Ferrari, was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. It clothed a tubular chassis which carried wishbone independent suspension at each corner. The compact four-cam, 190bhp. engine was mounted transversely above the five-speed gearbox and just ahead of the rear axle, allowing for both a comfortable cockpit and some usable boot space.

 photo Picture 757_zpsnws98ilp.jpg

The Dino was replaced by the 308GTB and later 308 GTS, first appearing at the 1975 Paris Show. There were none of those on show, but there was a nice example of the later 328 version. This car seemed to be the one singled out by everyone. the judges loved it and gave it the “Best Ferrari” prize and it was also noticed by the birds, as by late afternoon, it was absolutely covered in their droppings, which was a real shame for one of the prettiest cars on display. Introduced at the 1985 Frankfurt Show alongside the Mondial 3.2 series, the Ferrari 328 GTB and GTS (Type F106) were the successors to the Ferrari 308 GTB and GTS which had first been seen in October 1975. While mechanically still based on the 308 GTB and GTS respectively, small modifications were made to the body style and engine, most notably an increase in engine displacement to 3185 cc for increased power and torque output. As had been the case for a generation of the smaller Ferraris, the model name referred to the total cubic capacity of the engine, 3.2 litres, and 8 for the number of cylinders. Essentially the new model was a revised and updated version of the 308 GTS, which had survived for eight years without any radical change to the overall shape, albeit with various changes to the 3-litre engine. The 328 model presented a softening of the wedge profile of its predecessor, with a redesigned nose that had a more rounded shape, which was complemented by similar treatment to the tail valance panel. The revised nose and tail sections featured body colour bumpers integral with the valance panels, which reflected the work done concurrently to present the Mondial 3.2 models, with which they also shared a similar radiator grille and front light assembly layout. Thus all the eight-cylinder cars in the range shared fairly unified front and rear aspects, providing a homogeneous family image. The exhaust air louvres behind the retractable headlight pods on the 308 series disappeared, coupled with an increase in the size of the front lid radiator exhaust air louvre, which had been introduced on the 308 Quattrovalvole models, whilst a new style and position of exterior door catch was also provided. The interior trim also had a thorough overhaul, with new designs for the seat panel upholstery and stitching, revised door panels and pulls, together with more modern switchgear, which complemented the external updating details. Optional equipment available was air conditioning, metallic paint, Pirelli P7 tyres, a leather dashboard, leather headlining to the removable roof panel plus rear window surround, and a rear aerofoil (standard on Japanese market models). In the middle of 1988 ABS brakes were made available as an option, which necessitated a redesign of the suspension geometry to provide negative offset. This in turn meant that the road wheel design was changed to accommodate this feature. The original flat spoke “star” wheels became a convex design, in the style as fitted to the 3.2 Mondial models, whether ABS was fitted or not. The main European market 328 GTS models had a tubular chassis with a factory type reference F 106 MS 100. Disc brakes, with independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, were provided all round, with front and rear anti roll bars. There were various world market models, each having slight differences, with right and left hand drive available. The V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 Quattrovalvole model, with an increase in capacity to 3185 cc. The engine retained the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system of its predecessor, but was fitted with a Marelli MED 806 A electronic ignition system, to produce a claimed power output of 270 bhp at 7000 rpm. As with the preceding 308 models the engine was mounted in unit with the all synchromesh five-speed manual transmission assembly, which was below, and to the rear of the engine’s sump. The 328 GTS continued in production for four years, until replaced by the 348 ts model in the autumn of 1989, during which time 6068 examples were produced, GTS production outnumbering the GTB (1344 produced) version almost five to one.

 photo Picture 404_zpsybsrijhu.jpg

The 308 GTB had a motorsport career, too, with the car entered both in Group 4 and being adapted, unlikely as it might seem, for Rally use.

 photo Picture 017_zpsbbhd9n0z.jpg

Last of the 365 cars was the car known as the 365 GT4 BB, or Berlinetta Boxer for short. This required a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. This attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engined competitors. The mid-engined 6- and 8-cylinder Dino racing cars were the result, and Ferrari later allowed for the production Dino road cars to use the layout as well. The company also moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing cars, but the Daytona was launched with its engine in front. It was not until 1970 that a mid-engined 12-cylinder road car would appear.The first “Boxer” was the 365 GT4 BB shown at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Designed to rival the Lamborghini Miura and the newly developed Lamborghini Countach, it was finally released for sale in 1973 at the Paris Motor Show. 387 were built, of which 88 were right-hand drive (of which 58 were for the UK market), making it the rarest of all Berlinetta Boxers. The Pininfarina-designed body followed the P6 show car with popup headlights. Though it shared its numerical designation with the Daytona, the Boxer was radically different. It was a mid-engined car like the Dino, and the now flat-12 engine was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely. Although referred to as a Boxer, the 180° V12 was not a true boxer engine, but rather a flat engine. It had 380 hp, slightly more than the Daytona. The 365 GT4 BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976, resurrecting the name of the earlier Ferrari 512 racer. The name 512 referred to the car’s 5 litre, 12 cylinder engine; a deviation from Ferrari’s established practice of naming 12-cylinder road cars (as the 365 BB) after their cylinder displacement. The engine was enlarged to 4943.04 cc, with an increased compression ratio of 9.2:1. Power was slightly down to 360 hp, while a dual plate clutch handled the added torque and eased the pedal effort. Dry sump lubrication prevented oil starvation in hard cornering. The chassis remained unaltered, but wider rear tires (in place of the 365’s equally sized on all four corners) meant the rear track grew 63 mm. External differentiators included a new chin spoiler upfront, incorporated in the bumper. A NACA duct on the side provided cooling for the exhaust system. At the rear there were now twin tail lights and exhaust pipes each side, instead of triple units as on the 365 GT4 BB. 929 BB 512 models were produced. The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injected BB 512i introduced in 1981 was the last of the series. The fuel injected motor produced cleaner emissions and offered a better balance of performance and daily-driver temperament. External differentiators from the BB 512 besides badging include a change to metric sized wheels and the Michelin TRX metric tyre system, small white running lights in the nose, and red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valance. 1,007 BB 512i models were produced.

 photo Picture 048_zpsgl30cqjj.jpg  photo Picture 503_zpsalh1dop5.jpg  photo Picture 403_zps79t8ungg.jpg

Object of many a poster on a young enthusiast’s bedroom wall when the car was new was the Testarossa and there were examples of the model here. A replacement for the BB512i, the final iteration of Ferrari’s first ever mid-engined road car, the Testarossa was launched at the Paris Show in October 1984. The Pininfarina-designed car was produced until 1991, with the same basic design then going through two model revisions, with the 512 TR and later F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996 before the model was replaced by the front-engined 550 Maranello. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. The Testarossa followed the same concept as the BB512, but was intended to fix some of the criticisms of the earlier car, such as a cabin that got increasingly hot from the indoor plumbing that ran between the front-mounted radiator and the midships-mounted engine and a lack of luggage space. This resulted in a car that was larger, and at 1,976 millimetres (78 in) wide the Testarossa was half a foot wider than the Boxer and immediately condemned for being too wide, though these days it does not appear anything like as wide as it did when new. This resulted in an increased wheelbase that stretched about 2.5 in to 100 in which was used to accommodate luggage in a carpeted storage space under the front forward-opening lid. The increase in length created extra storage space behind the seats in the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline half an inch taller than the Boxer. The design came from Pininfarina with a team of designers led by design chief Leonardo Fioravanti, the designer of many contemporary Ferraris. The design was originated by Nicosia, but the guidance of Fioravanti was equally important. Being a trained aerodynamicist, Fioravanti applied his know-how to set the aerodynamics layout of the car. This meant the large side intakes were not only a statement of style but actually functional – they drew clean air to cool the side radiators and then went upward and left the car through the ventilation holes located at the engine lid and the tail. As a result, the Testarossa did not need a rear spoiler like Lamborghini’s Countach yet produced zero lift at its rear axle. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36 was also significantly better than the Lamborghini’s 0.42. Pininfarina’s body was a departure from the curvaceous boxer—one which caused some controversy. The side strakes sometimes referred to as “cheese graters” or “egg slicers,” that spanned from the doors to the rear wings were needed for rules in several countries outlawing large openings on cars. The Testarossa had twin radiators in the back with the engine instead of a single radiator up-front. In conjunction the strakes provided cool air to the rear-mounted side radiators, thus keeping the engine from overheating. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, thus increasing stability and handling. One last unique addition to the new design was a single high mounted rear view mirror on the driver’s side. On US based cars, the mirror was lowered to a more normal placement in 1987 and quickly joined by a passenger side rear view mirror for the driver to be able to make safe easy lane changes. Like its predecessor, the Testarossa used double wishbone front and rear suspension systems. Ferrari improved traction by adding 10-inch-wide alloy rear wheels. The Testarossa drivetrain was also an evolution of the BB 512i. Its engine used near identical displacement and compression ratio, but unlike the BB 512i had four-valve cylinder heads that were finished in red. The capacity was 4,943 cc, in a flat-12 engine mid mounted. Each cylinder had four valves, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 9.20:1. These combined to provide a maximum torque of 361 lb/ft at 4500 rpm and a maximum power of 390 hp at 6300 rpm. That was enough to allow the Testarossa to accelerate from 0–60 mph in 5.2 seconds and on to 100 mph. The original Testarossa was re-engineered for 1992 and released as the 512 TR, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, effectively as a completely new car, with an improved weight distribution of 41% front: 59% rear. The F512 M was introduced at the 1994 Paris Auto Show, with the M standing for “modificata”. That car is easy to spot as it lost the pop-up headlights and gained awkward glazed in units.

 photo Picture 352_zpshfz5akux.jpg  photo Picture 356_zpsybolj24q.jpg

The F40 of 1987 was the successor to the 288 GTO. It was designed to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and was the last Ferrari automobile personally approved by Enzo Ferrari. At the time it was Ferrari’s fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car for sale. As soon as the 288 GTO was launched, Ferrari started the development of an evolution model, intended to compete against the Porsche 959 in FIA Group B. However, when the FIA brought an end to the Group B category for the 1986 season, Enzo Ferrari was left with five 288 GTO Evoluzione development cars, and no series in which to campaign them. Enzo’s desire to leave a legacy in his final supercar allowed the Evoluzione program to be further developed to produce a car exclusively for road use. In response to the quite simple, but very expensive car with relatively little out of the ordinary being called a “cynical money-making exercise” aimed at speculators, a figure from the Ferrari marketing department was quoted as saying “We wanted it to be very fast, sporting in the extreme and Spartan,” “Customers had been saying our cars were becoming too plush and comfortable.” “The F40 is for the most enthusiastic of our owners who want nothing but sheer performance. It isn’t a laboratory for the future, as the 959 is. It is not Star Wars. And it wasn’t created because Porsche built the 959. It would have happened anyway.” Power came from an enlarged, 2936 cc version of the GTO’s twin IHI turbocharged V8 developing 478 bhp. The F40 did without a catalytic converter until 1990 when US regulations made them a requirement for emissions control reasons. The flanking exhaust pipes guide exhaust gases from each bank of cylinders while the central pipe guides gases released from the wastegate of the turbochargers. Engines with catalytic converters bear F120D code. The suspension was similar to the GTO’s double wishbone setup, though many parts were upgraded and settings were changed; the unusually low ground clearance prompted Ferrari to include the ability to raise the vehicle’s ground clearance when necessary. The body was an entirely new design by Pininfarina featuring panels made of Kevlar, carbon fibre, and aluminium for strength and low weight, and intense aerodynamic testing was employed. Weight was further minimised through the use of a plastic windscreen and windows. The cars did have air conditioning, but had no sound system, door handles, glove box, leather trim, carpets, or door panels. The first 50 cars produced had sliding Lexan windows, while later cars were fitted with wind down windows. The F40 was designed with aerodynamics in mind. For speed the car relied more on its shape than its power. Frontal area was reduced, and airflow greatly smoothed, but stability rather than terminal velocity was a primary concern. So too was cooling as the forced induction engine generated a great deal of heat. In consequence, the car was somewhat like an open-wheel racing car with a body. It had a partial undertray to smooth airflow beneath the radiator, front section, and the cabin, and a second one with diffusers behind the motor, but the engine bay was not sealed. Nonetheless, the F40 had an impressively low Cd of 0.34 with lift controlled by its spoilers and wing. The factory never intended to race the F40, but the car saw competition as early as 1989 when it debuted in the Laguna Seca Raceway round of the IMSA, appearing in the GTO category, with a LM evolution model driven by Jean Alesi, finishing third to the two faster space-framed four wheel drive Audi 90 and beating a host of other factory backed spaceframe specials that dominated the races. Despite lack of factory backing, the car would soon have another successful season there under a host of guest drivers such as Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jacques Laffite and Hurley Haywood taking a total of three second places and one third. It would later be a popular choice by privateers to compete in numerous domestic GT series. Although the original plan was to build just 400 cars, such was the demand that in the end, 1311 were built over a 4 year period.

 photo Picture 546_zpsnhhrtvbl.jpg  photo Picture 549_zpsvfw3yyro.jpg  photo Picture 749_zpsfeehphnc.jpg

Following the F40 was always going to be a difficult challenge, but when the F50 appeared in 1995, it was clear that Ferrari had given the matter some considerable thought. This could almost be seen as a Formula 1 car for the road, as this mid-engined two seat roadster with a removable hardtop had a 4.7 litre naturally aspirated 60-valve V12 engine that was developed from the 3.5 litre V12 used in the 1990 Ferrari 641 Formula One car. Only 349 cars were made, of which 301 were red. Just 4 of them were black, making it, along with silver the least produced colour of the limited palate offered. The last F50 was produced in July 1997. These days this is the rarest of the quintet.

 photo Picture 052_zpspogshqpv.jpg  photo Picture 777_zpskijkdmha.jpg

Firmly placed in Ferrari’s history as one of their finest big GTs, the 550 Maranello’s combination of stylish Pininfarina lines and front mounted 12-cylinder engine meant this car had the potential to become an instant classic, following in the footsteps of its forebear, the 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’, and if you look at the way the prices are steading to go, it’s clear that the potential is being realised. Launched in 1996, and with modern styling cues, a 5.5 litre V12 engine producing around 485bhp and a reported top speed of 199mph, the 550 Maranello was a serious motor car. A less frenetic power delivery, the six speed manual box and excellent weight distribution were all factors in the 550 becoming the perfect European Grand Tourer. Ferrari updated the car to create the 575M.

 photo Picture 762_zps5svpslif.jpg

This is a 550 GTO, as entered in the Le Mans 24 hours race. Although not intended for motorsport, some privateer teams took it upon themselves to develop the 550 for use in various series. The first racing 550, known as 550 GT, was built for French team Red Racing to comply with international sporting regulations. The project was developed by Michel Enjolras and assembled in the Italtecnica workshop.[16] The car was first tested in April 1999 and was used in the GT3 class of the French FFSA GT Championship. In 2001 the car was then sold to XL Racing who continued the development and built a second car, known as 550 XL entering the FFSA GT and the American Le Mans Series. The older 550 GT also made an appearance at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans in the ACO GT class but failed to finish due to technical problems. In 2000, with financial support from some investors led by Stéphane Ratel, Italtecnica created another 550 race car meeting the more powerful GT regulations in the FIA GT Championship, the car being named 550 Millennio. The first car debuted in the 2000 FIA GT Championship season, entered by First Racing. The 2001 season saw two cars fielded by Team Rafanelli. The 550 Millennio was also developed to meet ACO LM-GTS regulations allowing Rafanelli to enter a single car in the 2002 American Le Mans Series season. In November 2000, German entrepreneur and engineer Franz Wieth launched another racing version of the 550, developed by Baumgartner Sportwagen Technik, and named 550 GTS. Two cars were built, with Wieth Racing entering one in the 2001 FIA GT Championship, then again in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2006 the Wieth’s Ferrari scored two wins in the Euro GT Series. Commissioned by Frédéric Dor’s company Care Racing Development, in 2001 Prodrive built a racing version of the 550 for various sports car series and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Initially known as 550 GTO and then renamed 550 GTS (but not related to Wieth’s project), a total of ten cars would be built over the next four years and campaigned by the Prodrive team as well as privateer customers. The cars were entirely built by Prodrive without any support from the Ferrari factory. The factory Prodrive team would win two races in the 2001 FIA GT Championship debut. For 2002 the BMS Scuderia Italia team would take over in FIA GT, recording four wins, while the Prodrive squad would take a single win in the American Le Mans Series. 2003 would be the best year for the cars, as Prodrive won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and took second in the GTS class championship in the American Le Mans Series with four wins, while BMS Scuderia Italia gained the FIA GT championship winning eight races. The Italian team would again take the FIA GT Championship crown in 2004, while Larbre Compétition won the GT1 class championship in the new Le Mans Series. BMS Scuderia Italia moved then to the Le Mans Series as well taking that championship for 2005. In the meantime Prodrive switched to their next project, the Aston Martin DBR9, leaving the maintenance of the 550 GTS cars to Care Racing Development. Hitotsuyama Racing entered a car in the 2004 JGTC and 2005 Super GT seasons, then switched to the Japan Le Mans Challenge winning the GT1-class title in both 2006 and 2007 editions. In 2008 Argentinian Automóvil Club Argentina Team entered 2 Prodrive 550’s, one of them scoring and achieving the fifth place in the Potrero de los Funes round. The last race of the 550 GTS was the 2009 FIA GT Paul Ricard 2 Hours where a car entered by French team Solution F achieved the seventh place. In late 2003, Australian Nations Cup Championship team Mark Coffey Racing purchased a 550 GT from Team Rafanelli to run in the 2004 Australian Nations Cup Championship. The appearance of the V12 Ferrari in Australia was eagerly awaited by fans of the category and the car was to be driven by popular young Danish driver Allan Simonsen who prior to the championship had raced the car alongside David Brabham to win the Bahrain GT Festival. In what was a limited campaign (the car only raced at 4 of the 7 rounds), Simonsen finished 7th in the championship against cars such as the championship winning Lamborghini Diablo GTR, Chrysler Viper ACR, Porsche 911 GT2 and the controversial 7.0 litre Holden Monaros. Simonsen broke the class lap record and scored a race win in the first round of the season at the Adelaide Street Circuit. Following the success of the Prodrive’s 550 GTS, Ferrari would develop the 575 GTC racecar based on the 575M, offering it as a customer car for privateers.

 photo Picture 355_zpscojurham.jpg  photo Picture 354_zpslnx496yb.jpg

There were a number more historic Ferrari race cars on the dealer stands with a mouth-watering display shown by Fiskens. These included the 1967 166F2, the 246 Tasman, a couple of 312 F1 cars from 1969, and the 312 B2, 312 B3 “Spazzenove” and 312 T4.

 photo Picture 132_zps9l0vito7.jpg  photo Picture 131_zpsgplonlao.jpg  photo Picture 133_zpsiiqp8i9o.jpg  photo Picture 456_zpsoow8gzl5.jpg  photo Picture 455_zpspflown2e.jpg photo Picture 454_zpsgr5qqj91.jpg  photo Picture 453_zpsmc2xhbib.jpg


Sole Fiat on the FCA stand was a 500D from the much loved Nuova 500 family of cars, a model which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2017. Known as project 110, the brief for the Nuova 500 was to create a micro-car that would not only carry on the tradition of the earlier Topolino, but which would also take sales away from the ever popular Lambretta and Vespa scooters of the day. It clearly needed to be smaller than the 600 which had been released with a conventional 4 cylinder engine. Not an easy task, but development started in 1953 and by August 1954, two designs were ready to be shown to Fiat management. They selected one, and serious development began. At first the car was referred to as the 400, as it was going to have a 400cc engine, but it was soon realised that this was just too small, so a larger 500cc air-cooled engine was developed. It was signed off in January 1956, with production starting in March 1957 in advance of a June launch. Fiat’s marketing department got busy, with hundreds of the new car taking to the streets of Turin, each with a pretty girl standing through the open sunroof that was a feature of all the early cars. The press loved it. 50 units were shipped to Britain, where the car made its debut at Brands Hatch, and again the reception was enthusiastic. But the orders just did not come in. Fiat went for a hasty rethink, relaunching the car at the Turin Show later that year. power was increased from 13 to 15 bhp, and the poverty spec was lessened a little, with headlight bezels, brightwork on the side and chrrome hubcaps, a Nuova500 badge on the engine cover, winding side windows (the launch cars just had opening quarterlights) and the option of a heater fan. It was enough to get sales moving. The original car was still offered, at a lower price, called the Economy. In the first year of production, 28,452 Fiat 500s were made. Over the next 19 years, the car changed little in overall appearance, but there were a number of updates with more power and equipment added. A 500 Sport was launched in August 1958, with a more powerful version of the 499cc engine. It lost the soft top, having a ridged steel roof, to increase strength of the body. It was only available in grey with a red side flash. The first major changes came in 1960 with the 500D. This looks very similar to the Nuova, but with two key differences. One is the engine size: the D features an uprated 499 cc engine producing 17 bhp as standard, an engine which would be used right through until the end of the L in 1973; and the other is the roof: the standard D roof does not fold back as far as the roof on the Nuova, though it was also available as the “Transformable” with the same roof as the Nuova. The D still featured “suicide doors”. There were larger rear light clusters, more space in the front boot thanks to a redesign of the fuel tank and new indicators under the headlights. A year later, Fiat added a light on the rear-view mirrors and a windscreen washer, but the car still lacked a fuel gauge. Sales increased from 20,900 in 1960 to 87.000 in 1961, 132,000 in 1962 and by 1964, the last year of production, they hit 194,000 units. The D was replaced in 1965 by the 500F, which finally moved the door hinges from back to the front, owing to changes in Italian safety laws. There was a deeper windscreen and thinner door pillars, which increased the height of the car by 10mm, improving visibility for the driver. The 500F ran through to 1975, from 1968 alongside the more luxurious 500L which was added to the range in 1968. The L is easy to tell apart, with its bumper overriders. The final updates created the 500R, which incorporated many changes from the 126 under the skin of the classic shape, and in this form production continued alongside the newer 126 until 1976.

 photo Picture 584_zpsi5rqvint.jpg  photo Picture 583_zpsnykfci9q.jpg  photo Picture 582_zpstvjcv1ef.jpg  photo Picture 812_zpsq2an8seb.jpg  photo Picture 430_zps9vkiup5h.jpg

This is a 509, in Taxi livery.

 photo Picture 137_zps7dklndzn.jpg

It was nice to see an example of the original Fiat 600 Multipla here as well. This innovative design was based on the Fiat 600’s drivetrain, had independent front suspension for a good drive and accommodated six people in a footprint just 50 cm (19.7 in) longer than the original Mini Cooper. The driver’s compartment was moved forward over the front axle, effectively eliminating the boot but giving the body a very minivan-like “one-box” look. Two rows of rear bench seats were reconfigurable, allowing for a large, nearly flat cargo area. Until the 1970s, the Multipla was widely used as a taxi in many parts of Italy, and one of the cars here was in the livery as used in Rome in period. These days a good Multipla will command prices in excess of the £20,000 mark.

 photo Picture 358_zpsngqst3f3.jpg

Among my favourite cars of all time are the Fiat Dino Coupe and Spider and I was pleased to see a Spider here. They came about because of Enzo Ferrari’s need to homologate a V6 engine for Formula 2 racing cars. In 1965 the Commission Sportive Internationale de la FIA had drawn up new rules, to be enacted for the 1967 season. F2 engines were required to have no more than six cylinders, and to be derived from a production engine, from a road car homologated in the GT class and produced in at least 500 examples within 12 months. Since a small manufacturer like Ferrari did not possess the production capacity to reach such quotas, an agreement was signed with Fiat and made public on 1 March 1965: Fiat would produce the 500 engines needed for the homologation, to be installed in a yet unspecified GT car. The Fiat Dino was introduced as a 2-seater Spider at the Turin Motor Show in October 1966; a 2+2 Coupé version, built on a 270 mm (10.6 in) longer wheelbase, bowed a few months later at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1967. The two bodies showed very different lines, as they had been designed and were manufactured for Fiat by two different coachbuilders: the Spider by Pininfarina, and the Coupé by Bertone—where it had been sketched out by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Curiously the Spider type approval identified it as a 2+1 seater. The Spider had poorer interior trim than the Coupé, below par for its class: the dashboard was covered in vinyl, the metal-spoke steering wheel had a plastic rim, and the interior switchgear was derived from cheaper Fiat models. After a few months this issue was addressed, and Spiders produced after February 1967 had a wood-rimmed steering wheel as well as a wood trim on the dashboard like the sister Coupé car had since the beginning. Option lists for both models were limited to radio, metallic paint, leather upholstery, and for the Spider a vinyl-covered hardtop with roll-bar style stainless steel trim. The car was offered with an all-aluminium DOHC 2.0 litre V6, coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission. The same 2.0-litre engine was used in mid-engined, Ferrari-built Dino 206 GT, which was introduced in pre-production form at the 1967 Turin Motor Show and went on sale in 1968. Fiat quoted 160 PS (158 hp) for the Fiat Dino, while in 1967 Ferrari—presenting the first prototype of the Dino 206 GT—claimed 180 hp despite both engines were made by Fiat workers in Turin on the same production line, without any discrimination as to their destination. Jean-Pierre Gabriel in “Les Ferraris de Turin” notes that, “La declaration de Ferrari ne reposait sur aucun fondament technique”—Ferrari’s statement had no technical basis. The real reason for this difference was a mistake in between quotes made in SAE and BHP power output. In 1969, both Ferrari and Fiat introduced new 2.4-litre Dino models. The Fiat Dino 2400 premiered in October 1969 at the Turin Motor show; besides the larger engine, another notable improvements was independent rear suspension. The V6 now put out 180 PS, and used a cast iron instead of the previous light alloy engine block; the same engine was installed on the Dino 246 GT, Ferrari’s evolution of the 206. Whereas the original Dino was equipped with a rigid axle suspended by leaf springs and 4 shock absorbers, 2.4-litre cars used a coil-sprung independent rear suspension with 2 shock absorbers derived from the Fiat 130. Rather than engine power and absolute speed, the most important consequence of the larger displacement was a marked increase in torque, available at lower engine speeds; the Dino 2400 had much better pickup, and it was found more usable, even in city traffic. Other modifications went on to improve the car’s drivability and safety: larger diameter clutch, new dogleg ZF gearbox with revised gear ratios, wider section 205/70VR -14 tyres, and up-sized brake discs and callipers. Cosmetic changes were comparatively minor. Both models were now badged “Dino 2400”. On the coupé the previous silver honeycomb grille with the round Fiat logo on its centre had been replaced by a new black grille and a bonnet badge. A host of details were changed from chrome to matte black, namely part of the wheels, the vents on the front wings and the cabin ventilation outlets—the latter moved from next the side windows to the rear window. At the rear there were different tail lights. The spider also sported a new grille with two horizontal chrome bars, 5-bolts instead of knock-off wheels, as well as a new bumpers with rubber strips. Inside only the coupé received an entirely redesigned dashboard and new cloth seats, with optional leather seat upholstery; front seat headrests were standard on the coupé and optional on the spider. Spider and coupé bodies were produced respectively by Pininfarina and Bertone. 2.0-litre and early 2.4-litre cars were assembled by Fiat in Rivalta di Torino. Starting from December 1969 the Fiat Dino was assembled in Maranello on Ferrari’s production line, alongside the 246 GT. Between 1966 and 1969 there were 3,670 2.0-litre coupés and 1,163 2.0-litre spiders made; with only 420 built, the 2400 Spider is the rarest of the Fiat’s Dinos. Of the total 7,803 Fiat Dino produced, 74% were the popular coupés and only 26% were spiders. Spiders are worth big money now – good ones are over £100k – which means that the car is way beyond my means, but every time I see one, I go weak at the knees. To my eyes, it is one of the best looking cars ever made.

 photo Picture 241_zpsvewzhtti.jpg  photo Picture 735_zpstnixgbge.jpg


There were a couple of examples of Ford’s legendary GT40 here, among them a Mark III. This was a road-car only, of which seven were built. The car had four headlamps, the rear part of the body was expanded to make room for luggage, the 4.7-litre engine was detuned to 306 bhp, the shock absorbers were softened, the shift lever was moved to the centre, an ash tray was added, and the car was available with the steering wheel on the left side of the car. As the Mk III looked significantly different from the racing models many customers interested in buying a GT40 for road use chose to buy a Mk I that was available from Wyer Ltd. Of the seven MK III that were produced four were left hand drive. The more commonly seen race car was here also.

 photo Picture 056_zpsjovoynxd.jpg  photo Picture 057_zpsx9wkmmal.jpg  photo Picture 508_zpsrucwldhk.jpg  photo Picture 509_zpsicgc1oul.jpg

The Mark I Ford Escort was introduced in the UK at the end of 1967, making its show debut at Brussels Motor Show in January 1968, replacing the successful, long-running Anglia. The car was presented in continental Europe as a product of Ford’s European operation. Escort production commenced at the Halewood plant in England during the closing months of 1967, and for left hand drive markets during September 1968 at the Ford plant in Genk. Initially the continental Escorts differed slightly from the UK built ones under the skin. The front suspension and steering gear were differently configured and the brakes were fitted with dual hydraulic circuits; also the wheels fitted on the Genk-built Escorts had wider rims. At the beginning of 1970, continental European production transferred to a new plant on the edge of Saarlouis, West Germany. The Escort was a commercial success in several parts of western Europe, but nowhere more than in the UK, where the national best seller of the 1960s, BMC’s Austin/Morris 1100 was beginning to show its age while Ford’s own Cortina had grown, both in dimensions and in price, beyond the market niche at which it had originally been pitched. In June 1974, six years into the car’s UK introduction, Ford announced the completion of the two millionth Ford Escort, a milestone hitherto unmatched by any Ford model outside the US. It was also stated that 60% of the two million Escorts had been built in Britain. In West Germany cars were built at a slower rate of around 150,000 cars per year, slumping to 78,604 in 1974 which was the last year for the Escort Mark I. Many of the German built Escorts were exported, notably to Benelux and Italy; from the West German domestic market perspective the car was cramped and uncomfortable when compared with the well-established and comparably priced Opel Kadett, and it was technically primitive when set against the successful imported Fiat 128 and Renault 12. Subsequent generations of the Escort made up some of the ground foregone by the original model, but in Europe’s largest auto-market the Escort sales volumes always came in well behind those of the General Motors Kadett and its Astra successor. The Escort had conventional rear-wheel drive and a four-speed manual gearbox, or three-speed automatic transmission. The suspension consisted of MacPherson strut front suspension and a simple live axle mounted on leaf springs. The Escort was the first small Ford to use rack-and-pinion steering. The Mark I featured contemporary styling cues in tune with its time: a subtle Detroit-inspired “Coke bottle” waistline and the “dogbone” shaped front grille – arguably the car’s main stylistic feature. Similar Coke bottle styling featured in the larger Cortina Mark III (also built in West Germany as the Taunus) launched in 1970. Initially, the Escort was sold as a two-door saloon (with circular front headlights and rubber flooring on the “De Luxe” model). The “Super” model featured rectangular headlights, carpets, a cigar lighter and a water temperature gauge. A two-door estate was introduced at the end of March 1968 which, with the back seat folded down, provided a 40% increase in maximum load space over the old Anglia 105E estate, according to the manufacturer. The estate featured the same engine options as the saloon, but it also included a larger, 7 1⁄2-inch-diameter clutch, stiffer rear springs and in most configurations slightly larger brake drums or discs than the saloon. A panel van appeared in April 1968 and the 4-door saloon (a bodystyle the Anglia was never available in for UK market) in 1969. Underneath the bonnet was the Kent Crossflow engine in 1.1 and 1.3 litre versions. A 940 cc engine was also available in some export markets such as Italy and France. This tiny engine remained popular in Italy, where it was carried over for the Escort Mark II, but in France it was discontinued during 1972. There was a 1300GT performance version, with a tuned 1.3 L Crossflow (OHV) engine with a Weber carburettor and uprated suspension. This version featured additional instrumentation with a tachometer, battery charge indicator, and oil pressure gauge. The same tuned 1.3 L engine was also used in a variation sold as the Escort Sport, that used the flared front wings from the AVO range of cars, but featured trim from the more basic models. Later, an “executive” version of the Escort was produced known as the “1300E”. This featured the same 13″ road wheels and flared wings of the Sport, but was trimmed in an upmarket, for that time, fashion with wood trim on the dashboard and door cappings. A higher performance version for rallies and racing was available, the Escort Twin Cam, built for Group 2 international rallying. It had an engine with a Lotus-made eight-valve twin camshaft head fitted to the 1.5 L non-crossflow block, which had a bigger bore than usual to give a capacity of 1,557 cc. This engine had originally been developed for the Lotus Elan. Production of the Twin Cam, which was originally produced at Halewood, was phased out as the Cosworth-engined RS1600 (RS denoting Rallye Sport) production began. The most famous edition of the Twin Cam was raced on behalf of Ford by Alan Mann Racing in the British Saloon Car Championship in 1968 and 1969, sporting a full Formula 2 Ford FVC 16-valve engine producing over 200 hp. The Escort, driven by Australian driver Frank Gardner went on to comfortably win the 1968 championship. The Mark I Escorts became successful as a rally car, and they eventually went on to become one of the most successful rally cars of all time. The Ford works team was practically unbeatable in the late 1960s / early 1970s, and arguably the Escort’s greatest victory was in the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally, co-driven by Finnish legend Hannu Mikkola and Swedish co-driver Gunnar Palm. This gave rise to the Escort Mexico (1598cc “crossflow”-engined) special edition road versions in honour of the rally car. Introduced in November 1970, 10,352 Mexico Mark I’s were built. In addition to the Mexico, the RS1600 was developed with 1,601 cc Cosworth BDA which used a Crossflow block with a 16-valve Cosworth cylinder head, named for “Belt Drive A Series”. Both the Mexico and RS1600 were built at Ford’s Advanced Vehicle Operations (AVO) facility located at the Aveley Plant in South Essex. As well as higher performance engines and sports suspension, these models featured strengthened bodyshells utilising seam welding in places of spot welding, making them more suitable for competition. After updating the factory team cars with a larger 1701 cc Cosworth BDB engine in 1972 and then with fuel injected BDC, Ford also produced an RS2000 model as an alternative to the somewhat temperamental RS1600, featuring a 2.0 litre Pinto (OHC) engine. This also clocked up some rally and racing victories; and pre-empted the hot hatch market as a desirable but affordable performance road car. Like the Mexico and RS1600, this car was produced at the Aveley plant. Seen here was a Mexico.

 photo Picture 773_zpsmrgnw8hx.jpg

Also present were a couple of examples of the 1st generation Mustang.

 photo Picture 275_zpsm2d9yrxg.jpg  photo Picture 591_zps7e2tyiq4.jpg


 photo Picture 313_zpsanwijk9l.jpg  photo Picture 312_zpsn8om1n6c.jpg  photo Picture 311_zpsx8lwqqwx.jpg


There were very few Japanese cars in the show, so it was nice to come across a Honda Owners Club stand, with quite a contrast between two of the cars and the third one.

Two of the cars were NS-X models, with the new and eagerly and long awaited model presented with the familiar car that so shook up the supercar order on its debut.

 photo Picture 009_zps6qanmtue.jpg  photo Picture 008_zps01bdrv6c.jpg  photo Picture 007_zpsf5qrqxui.jpg

Final Honda model on the stand was an NS-X, shown just over a quarter of a century after Honda stunned the world with a true Ferrari-beater. Its origins go back all the way to 1984, when Honda commissioned the Italian car designer Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental), which had a mid-mounted C20A 2.0 L V6 configuration. After Honda committed to the project, management informed the engineers that the new car would have to be as fast as anything coming from Italy and Germany .The HP-X concept car evolved into a prototype called the NS-X, which stood for “New”, “Sportscar” and “eXperimental”. The NS-X prototype and eventual production model were designed by a team led by Chief Designer Ken Okuyama and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who subsequently were placed in charge of the S2000 project. The original performance target for the NS-X was the Ferrari 328, and later the 348 as the design neared completion. Honda intended the NS-X to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. For this reason, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was abandoned and replaced with a more powerful 3.0L VTEC V6 engine. The bodywork design had been specifically researched by Okuyama and Uehara after studying the 360 degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit. Thematically the F-16 came into play in the exterior design as well as establishing the conceptual goals of the NSX. In the F-16 and other high performance craft such as unlimited hydroplanes, single seat race cars etc. the cockpit is located far forward on the body and in front of the power plant. This “cab-forward” layout was chosen early in the NSX’s design to optimise visibility while the long tail design enhanced high speed directional stability. The NS-X was designed to showcase several Honda automotive technologies, many derived from its F1 motor-sports program. The NS-X was the first production car to feature an all-aluminium monocoque body, incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminium alloy frame, and suspension. The use of aluminium in the body alone saved nearly 200 kg in weight over the steel equivalent, while the aluminium suspension saved an additional 20 kg; a suspension compliance pivot helped maintain wheel alignment changes at a near zero value. Other notable features included an independent, 4-channel anti-lock brake system; titanium connecting rods in the engine to permit reliable high-rpm operation; an electric power steering system; Honda’s proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system (a first in the US) and, in 1995, the first electronic throttle control fitted to a Honda. With a robust motorsports division, Honda had significant development resources at its disposal and made extensive use of them. Respected Japanese Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima, for example, was involved with Honda in the NS-X’s early on track development at Suzuka race circuit, where he performed many endurance distance duties related to chassis tuning. Brazilian Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna, for whom Honda had powered all three of his world championship-winning Formula One race cars before his death in 1994, was considered Honda’s main innovator in convincing the company to stiffen the NSX chassis further after initially testing the car at Honda’s Suzuka GP circuit in Japan. Senna further helped refine the original NSX’s suspension tuning and handling spending a whole day test driving prototypes and reporting his findings to Honda engineers after each of the day’s five testing sessions. Senna also tested the NSX at the Nurburgring and other tracks. The suspension development program was far-ranging and took place at the Tochigi Proving Grounds, the Suzuka circuit, the 179-turn Nurburgring Course in Germany, HPCC, and Hondas newest test track in Takasu, Hokkaido. Honda automobile dealer Bobby Rahal (two-time CART PPG Cup and 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion) also participated in the car’s development. The production car made its first public appearances as the NS-X at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1989, and at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1989 to positive reviews. Honda revised the vehicle’s name from NS-X to NSX before final production and sale. The NSX went on sale in Japan in 1990 at Honda Verno dealership sales channels, supplanting the Honda Prelude as the flagship model. The NSX was marketed under Honda’s flagship Acura luxury brand starting in 1991 in North America and Hong Kong. It sent shockwaves through the industry, as the car was considerably better than the Ferrari 348 in just about every respect. But that was not the end of the story, of course. While the NSX always was intended to be a world-class sports car, engineers had made some compromises in order to strike a suitable balance between raw performance and daily driveability. For those NSX customers seeking a no-compromise racing experience, Honda decided in 1992 to produce a version of the NSX specifically modified for superior on-track performance at the expense of customary creature comforts. Thus, the NSX Type R (or NSX-R) was born. Honda chose to use its moniker of Type R to designate the NSX-R’s race-oriented design. In 1995, a Targa model was released, the NSX-T, which allowed customers to experience fresh air thanks to two removable targa top panels. The original NSX body design received only minor modifications from Honda in the new millennium when in 2002 the original pop-up headlamps were replaced with fixed xenon HID headlamp units.

 photo Picture 011_zpsuamxt8ud.jpg  photo Picture 010_zpsywf8rp71.jpg

The Honda Acty Van celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and accordingly there was one of these on the stand. The Acty was designed to be purely practical, so lacked luxury or customisation options. There have been 4 series. The first generation was produced from 1977 to 1988 (model series TA, TB, TC, VD, VH), the second generation’s years were 1988-1999 (model series HA1, HA2, HH1, HH2 with the E05A engine; HA3, HA4, HA5, HH3, HH4 with the EN07A engine – the Street continued in production until 2011) and the third generation’s years were 1999-2009 (model series HA6, HA7, HH5, HH6 with E07Z engine) with the van still in production. The fourth generation was introduced, as a truck only, at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show in 2009 on December 17, showing the HA8 series and continuing to use the E07Z engine. Since the merger of the Subaru Sambar and Daihatsu Hijet, the Acty truck has become the only remaining Kei truck not to have a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The first Acty trucks were introduced July 27, 1977, and replaced several Keitoras Honda had previously offered, such as the Honda TN360 (most recently sold as the TN7) and the Honda T360. On 1 September 1975, the Japanese Government revised the rules on Road Trucking Vehicle Law that regulated the dimensions and engine size of vehicles in this class. As a result, the first Acty trucks and vans were available with a “midship” mounted 545 cc 2-cylinder SOHC water-cooled engine, known as the EH engine, which produces 28 PS at 5500 rpm and 30 lb/ft of torque at 4000 rpm. This was about 50% larger than the engine used in the preceding TN7. Export models, with less emissions equipment, claim 30.6 hp at the same engine speed. The van was introduced November 1979, although a truck-based panel van with a boxy rear was available from the beginning (TB). To save money, the van uses the same taillights as the truck and also has side doors with centre mounted handles, meaning that the same pressing can be used for either side of the car. The Acty was exported to a number of markets, including Great Britain, where it is considered to have created an entire new category. The Suzuki Carry/Bedford Rascal was GM’s response to the Acty in the British market. An upper trim level of the Acty van intended mainly for passenger usage went on sale 1 February 1981 and was called the Honda Street (in Japanese); it was produced for two generations of the Acty van. Available with a standard or an all-new high roof design, the high roof was also made available for the Acty van (SDX only). The name was discontinued in 2001 after the Honda Vamos name had been reintroduced as a replacement trim level for the Street, on a shared platform of the Acty van. In March 1983 the four-wheel drive Acty/Street was added. This model receives 12-inch wheels for increased ground clearance and has an engine with an improved cylinder head, increasing power to 29 PS at 5300 rpm and torque to 33 lb/ft at 3500 rpm. This was also the first Acty/Street to receive a five-speed manual gearbox, initially only available on the 4WD models. In June 1982 the series received a facelift, with wraparound turn signals. At this time the Hondamatic version was added, as was the “Big Cab” version, with a passenger compartment stretched by 100 mm (4 in). While the Acty has round headlamps, the Street received square units after the facelift. Starting with model year 1985, the Acty/Street was exclusive to a chain of Japanese Honda dealerships established for small and commercial vehicles, called Honda Primo. The Acty was also sold in a few export markets, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. Subsequent models were marketed almost entirely in the Japanese domestic market only.

 photo Picture 012_zpsk9jnvpaz.jpg


 photo Picture 233_zpsxpkcbuqy.jpg


The large Jaguar Land-Rover stand was used not for the new products of this company but, in keeping with the theme of the event, for their Heritage operation, showcasing this new and growing side to their business.

On display was one of the continuation series XKSS cars. Jaguar Classic announced in November 2016 that they would be producing 9 of these cars, their second continuation series after producing Lightweight E Types back in 2014. Because the cars will be built to the exact specification of the 1957 originals, they do not meet a number of requirements for what is a new car and so cannot be road registered in the UK. As to the price, well you won’t get change from £1 million.

 photo Picture 588_zpswdjy52tv.jpg  photo Picture 589_zpsyi0vinil.jpg

Elsewhere there a few other examples of classic Jaguar models on display.

Jaguar stunned the world with the XK120 that was the star of the Earls Court Motor Show in 1948. Seen in open two seater form, the car was a testbed and show car for the new Jaguar XK engine. The display car was the first prototype, chassis number 670001. It looked almost identical to the production cars except that the straight outer pillars of its windscreen would be curved on the production version. The roadster caused a sensation, which persuaded Jaguar founder and design boss William Lyons to put it into production. Beginning in 1948, the first 242 cars wore wood-framed open 2-seater bodies with aluminium panels. Production switched to the 112 lb heavier all-steel in early 1950. The “120” in the name referred to the aluminium car’s 120 mph top speed, which was faster with the windscreen removed. This made it the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch. Indeed, on 30 May 1949, on the empty Ostend-Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, a prototype XK120 timed by the officials of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium achieved an average of runs in opposing directions of 132.6 mph with the windscreen replaced by just one small aeroscreen and a catalogued alternative top gear ratio, and 135 mph with a passenger-side tonneau cover in place. In 1950 and 1951, at a banked oval track in France, XK120 roadsters averaged over 100 mph for 24 hours and over 130 mph for an hour, and in 1952 a fixed-head coupé took numerous world records for speed and distance when it averaged 100 mph for a week. Roadsters were also successful in racing and rallying. The first production roadster, chassis number 670003, was delivered to Clark Gable in 1949. The XK120 was ultimately available in two open versions, first as an open 2-seater described in the US market as the roadster (and designated OTS, for open two-seater, in America), and from 1953 as a drophead coupé (DHC); as well as a closed, or fixed head coupé (FHC) from 1951. A smaller-engined version with 2-litres and 4 cylinders, intended for the UK market, was cancelled prior to production.

 photo Picture 130_zpsaxm6bz7t.jpg  photo Picture 600_zpsp6gg1wdw.jpg

Although bearing a family resemblance to the earlier XK120 and XK140, the XK150, launched in the spring of 1957, was radically revised. A one-piece windscreen replaced the split screen, and the wing line no longer dropped so deeply at the doors. The widened bonnet opened down to the wings, and on the Roadster the windscreen frame was moved back 4 inches to make the bonnet longer. The XK140’s walnut dashboard was replaced by one trimmed in leather. On the early Drophead Coupés, the aluminium centre dash panel, which was discontinued after June 1958, had an X pattern engraving similar to the early 3.8 E-Type. Thinner doors gave more interior space. On the front parking lights, which were located atop the wings, a little red light reminded the driver the lights were on. Suspension and chassis were very similar to the XK140, and steering was by rack and pinion; power steering was not offered. The standard engine, the similar to the XK140, but with an new “B” type cylinder head, was the 3.4 litre DOHC Jaguar straight-6 rated at 180 SAE bhp at 5750 rpm but most cars were fitted with the SE engine whose modified cylinder head (B type) and larger exhaust valves boosted the power to 210 SAE bhp at 5500 rpm. Twin 1.75-inch (44 mm) SU HD6 carburettors were fitted. While the first XK150s were slower than their predecessors, the deficit was corrected in the spring of 1958 with a 3.4-litre “S” engine whose three 2-inch SU HD8 carburettors and straight-port cylinder head increased power to a claimed 250 SAE bhp. For 1960, the 3.4 litre engine was bored to 3.8 litres, rating this option at 220 hp in standard tune or 265 hp in “S” form. A 3.8 litre 150S could top 135 mph and go from 0–60 mph in around 7.0 seconds. Fuel economy was 18mpg. Four-wheel Dunlop 12 in disc brakes appeared for the first time although it was theoretically possible to order a car with drums. When leaving the factory the car originally fitted either 6.00 × 16 inch Dunlop Road Speed tyres as standard, or you could specify 185VR16 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 as a radial option on either 16 × 5K½ solid wheels (basic models) or 16 × 5K wire wheels. Production ended in October 1960, and totalled 2265 Roadsters, 4445 Fixed Head Coupés and 2672 Drophead Coupés.

 photo Picture 273_zpsfnf21gjl.jpg  photo Picture 733_zpsyjoxgyze.jpg

Needing no introduction, even now, over 50 years since its Geneva Show premiere in 1961 is the E Type, and this was represented among the Jaguars on display. stunning the world at the 1961 Geneva Show. Considered by many to be Sir William Lyons’ greatest achievement, not only did the car have stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous styling, but it had explosive performance (even if the 150 mph that was achieved in The Autocar’s Road Test is now known to have been with a little “help”), but it was the price that amazed people more than anything else. Whilst out of reach for most people, who could barely afford any new car, it was massively cheaper than contemporary Aston Martins and Ferraris, its market rivals. It was not perfect, though, and over the coming years, Jaguar made constant improvements. A 2+2 model joined the initial range of Roadster and Coupe, and more powerful and larger engines came when the 3.8 litre was enlarged to 4.2 litres, before more significant styling changes came with the 1967 Series 2 and the 1971 Series 3, where new front end treatments and lights were a consequence of legislative demands of the E Type’s most important market, America. Many of the cars that were first sold in the US have since been repatriated, so there are plenty of them around now, but even so values continue to rise. Buy while you can still afford one!

 photo Picture 446_zps2fsblntw.jpg  photo Picture 402_zpsl0bcpyrn.jpg  photo Picture 448_zpsym65urci.jpg

One of the most loved Jaguars of all time, both when it was new, and still now, is the Mark 2 saloon. Many will tell you that it is not the 3 Series BMW that “invented” the “compact sports saloon” car class, but this model, which dates back to 1959. A thorough revision of the small Jaguar saloon that had joined the range in 1955, the Mark 2 was notable in that it was the first car to use the Arabic numeral in its name, as opposed to the Roman numerals of the larger Jaguar models. At launch, the earlier model which had hitherto been known by its engine size was christened the Mark 1. Although clearly based on that car, the updated car looked significantly different, with an increase of 18% in cabin glass area greatly improving visibility. The car was re-engineered above the waistline. Slender front pillars allowed a wider windscreen and the rear window almost wrapped around to the enlarged side windows now with the familiar Jaguar D-shape above the back door and fully chromed frames for all the side windows. The radiator grille was amended and larger side, tail and fog lamps repositioned. Inside a new heating system was fitted and ducted to the rear compartment (although still notoriously ineffective). There was an improved instrument layout that became standard for all Jaguar cars until the XJ Series II of 1973. As well as the familiar 2.4 and 3.4 litre engines, what made this car particularly special was that it was also offered with the potent 220 bhp 3.8 litre unit that was fitted to the XK150 and which would later see service in the E Type. This gave the car a 0 – 60 time of around 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph. No wonder that the Mark 2 became popular as a get-away car for the criminal fraternity, and to keep up with and catch them, many police forces bought the car as well. With revised suspension and standard four wheel disc brakes, the car was effective on the track, taking plenty of class wins when new, and it is still popular in historic racing circles today. The quickest and most successful private entries came from John Coombs, a man with significant race experience who operated a large Jaguar dealership in Guildford. Coombs would undertake modifications to meet the demands of his customers, so not all the cars that he worked on are the same. Jaguar replaced the Mark 2 with simplified and slightly more cheaply finished 240 and 340 models, as an interim measure until an all-new model was ready to take over from them. The 3.8 litre disappeared from the range at this time, but in the 7 years it had been in production, it had been the best seller of the range, with around 30,000 cars produced, as compared to 28,666 of the 3.4 litre and 25,741 of the 2.4 litre model.

 photo Picture 113_zpsioifvrah.jpg

Final Jaguar here was an XJR15, the world’s first road-car made entirely from carbon-fibre. Tom Walkinshaw conceived the concept in 1988 after seeing the XJ220 concept at the British Motor Show. Following Jaguar’s success at Le Mans, he enlisted Peter Stevens to develop a road-going version of the XJR-9, originally designated the R-9R. A number of wealthy racing enthusiasts were keen to own such a car and pressed Walkinshaw into manufacturing a ‘road going racer’. This car was originally intended to be a better alternative to the XJ220. Original owners included Derek Warwick, Bob Wollek, Vern Schuppan, Matt Aitken, Andy Evans and the Sultan of Brunei. In order to adapt the XJR-9 for road use, Stevens made a number of modifications to increase space and improve access. “Taking the race car as a base, we widened the cockpit by 75 mm (3.0 in) and raised the roof by 40 mm (1.6 in) to allow more headroom”, he said when interviewed in 1991. “The scale model was ready by Easter 1989, from there we went to clay… which was finished by October (1989). The first prototype was held up by Le Mans preparations but it was ready for Tom (Walkinshaw) to drive when he came back from France in July 1990”. TWR explicitly developed the XJR-15 as a road-going racing car, in the mould of the Jaguar C and D types, the Ford GT40 and the Ferrari 250 GTO. As such, the car complied with British construction and use regulations and could be registered by the owner for road-use in the UK, although with such a limited production run, the car was never type-approved. XJR-15 was derived from the Le Mans winning XJR-9 racing car, sharing many component parts The mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car is powered by a 450 bhp, naturally aspirated 24-valve V12 engine of 5993 cc, with a Group C bottom-end and Group A top-end. The engine features an advanced electronically managed fuel injection system with a very advanced (for its time) ‘fly by wire’ throttle. Transmission is via a TWR six-speed manual, unsynchronised transmission (a five-speed, synchromesh transmission was also available as an optional extra). The XJR-15’s chassis and bodywork are composed of carbon fibre and Kevlar (XJR-15 was the first road-going car built entirely of carbon and Kevlar composites, before the McLaren F1 used similar techniques in 1992). It was designed to comply with 1990 Group C regulations, being 480 cm long, 190 cm wide and 110 cm high. At 1,050 kg (2,315 lb), the XJR-15 weighed about the same as a contemporary VW Golf. Suspension is fully independent, with non-adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers all round. Front suspension is by wide-based wishbones, working push-rods to spring damper units mounted horizontally across the centre of the car. TWR racing practice is also followed at the rear, with vertical coil-springs mounted in units with uprights within the rear wheels, allowing for the maximum possible venturi tunnels. The engine forms a stressed member for the rear-frame. The bottom of the car is completely flat, in line with Group C practice. Steel disc brakes are fitted, with powerful AP four-pot callipers. The XJR-15 has a 0–60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a (gearing limited) top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h). Although marketed as a racer, the car had been developed as a “road-going-racer” and as such, the ride height was somewhat higher than required to take full advantage of under-body aerodynamics. Additionally, the suspension was softer than would be found on the XJR-9 racer and – in a last-minute deal – Tom Walkinshaw switched tyre suppliers from Goodyear to Bridgestone just before the race series started. When interviewed by Autosport[4] in 2011, Ian Flux recalled: “The worst thing was that Tom had done a deal with Bridgestone. At first, it was going to be on road tyres, but then they changed to slicks and wets. The fronts weren’t a problem, but they didn’t have moulds for the rears, so used F40 moulds instead. They went off very quickly and it was hard to judge how hard to push.” As Tiff Needell, who road-tested a development car at Silverstone early in 1991, put it: “the result is oversteer”. However, once accustomed to the characteristics, he went on: “Through the very tight chicane, the XJR-15 showed excellent change of direction and I was able to pick up power early for the long right hander leading up to Beckett’s. This gradually became a long right-hand power slide as my confidence increased.” Users of the car as a racer in later years would lower the suspension, fit a larger wing and proper tyres to restore race-car dynamics. As a road-car, the suspension was more softly set-up and with the right tyres, testers were unanimous in their praise. Ian Kuah, writing in World Sports Cars in 1992: “Considering its racing pedigree, ride quality is pretty good – at low speeds, better than a Ferrari 348…Levels of grip are far beyond those transgressed by any sane man, except perhaps when exiting a tight corner in a low gear when the sheer grunt pushing you through can persuade the huge Bridgestones to relinquish some grip. Seat of the pants feel and communication is terrific and the steering nicely weighted so that smooth inputs are easy. When it comes to stopping, the huge AP Racing brakes – with softer pads for road use – wash off speed with steely determination.” Ron Grable, the racing driver, writing in Motor Trend in May 1992: “As the engine sprang into a muted rumbling idle, it was impossible to keep from grinning. Easing the unsynchronised six-speed into gear, I accelerated onto the straight. Many race cars are diabolical to get moving…not so the Jag, the smooth V-12 pulled cleanly away, nearly as docile as a street-car. On the track, the XJR-15 is a truly wonderful ride, the perfect compromise between racing and street. You can say the savage edge of a pure race car has been softened slightly, or conversely, that it’s the best handling street car you can imagine. Being 100% composite, it’s so light that every aspect of performance is enhanced. Relatively low spring and roll rates are enough to keep it stable in pitch and roll, as well as deliver a high level of ride compliance. The brakes are phenomenal and the acceleration fierce. And always, there’s that V-12, a medley of mechanical noises superimposed over the raucous rise and fall of the exhaust.” The XJR-15 offers little in the way of practicality. Entry to the car, over a wide sill, requires the driver to step onto the driving seat. The gear-lever is mounted on the right-hand side of the driver (all cars are right-hand-drive), while the driver and passenger seat are extremely close together – almost central in the car. There is little in the way of sound insulation, so an in-car head-set system is fitted. There is virtually no storage space. However, considering the purpose for which it was intended, the interior was highly praised in contemporary road reports. Ron Grable again: “Aesthetically, the XJR-15’s interior is breathtaking. Expanses of shiny black carbon fibre woven with yellow Kevlar are everywhere, all fitting together with meticulous precision. Instrumentation is detailed and legibly analogue. The shift lever is less than 3 inches (76 mm) from the small steering wheel, and the motion between gears is almost imperceptible. The reclined seating position provides excellent forward visibility – over the top of the instrument panel you see only racetrack.” The car’s production was announced in a press release on 15 November 1990 with an official launch at Silverstone early in 1991. The XJR-15 was built by Jaguar Sport in Bloxham, Oxfordshire, (a subsidiary of TWR; it was a joint venture between Jaguar Cars and TWR to produce high performance sports cars) England from 1990 to 1992 and had no official involvement from Jaguar itself. Only 50 were made, each selling for £500,000.

 photo Picture 510_zps44q8ag5l.jpg


The recently launched Automobili Lamborghini PoloStorico is the Sant’Agata company’s heritage and restoration arm working in association with the huge historical resources in its Archivo Storico and running a certification scheme similar to Ferrari Classiche’s. PoloStorica was appearing at Rétromobile for the first time and displayed just a single car on its sizeable stand – 350 GT (chassis 0121). The Touring-(re)styled car is the first example of Ferruccio’s debut road car for which PoloStorico has masterminded a restoration – and only the fourth Lambo of any type – and it looked magnificent in white with black interior on its post-resto public première. That is no surprise because the works started in January 2015 and finished in September 2016 with 1150 hours dedicated to the bodywork and interior and a further 780 hours spent on the mechanicals (including the legendary V12) and electrics.

The first 400 GTs were essentially just the older 350GT featuring an enlarged, 3929 cc V12 engine, with a power output of 320 bhp and recognised by the change to twin circular headlights from rectangular units. Twenty-three of these cars were built, with three featuring aluminium bodywork, and then at the 1966 Geneva Show, Lamborghini presented a revised version, called the 400 GT 2+2, which had a different roofline, and minor sheetmetal changes compared to the earlier cars, still with the Carrozzeria Touring bodywork. The larger body shape enabled the +2 seating to be installed in the rear, where the 350GT only had room for luggage or +1 seating, without changing the wheelbase. The 400 GT 2+2 also had a Lamborghini designed gearbox, with Porsche style synchromesh on all gears, which greatly improved the drivetrain. 224 examples of the 400 GT 2+2 were built from 1966 to 1968, when it was replaced with the Islero.

 photo Picture 775_zpswyk4srbm.jpg

Which small boy (and perhaps car loving girl) did not lust after a Countach back in the 1970s and 1980s. A dramatic looking car, this was the stuff of dreams that you would only ever see at the London or NEC Motor Shows. Countach first made an appearance, as a concept in 1971, but it was 1973 before the production car made its debut, and despite unfortunate timing with fuel shortages and a recession, and a number of financial problems for its maker, the car sold well throughout its production life. The Countach entered production as the LP400 with a 3929 cc engine delivering 370 hp. The first production Countach was delivered to an Australian in 1974. Externally, little had altered from the final form of the prototype except at the rear, where conventional lights replaced the futuristic light clusters of the prototype. The styling had become rather more aggressive than Gandini’s original conception, with the required large air scoops and vents to keep the car from overheating, but the overall shape was still very sleek. The original LP400 rode on the quite narrow tyres of the time, but their narrowness and the slick styling meant that this version had the lowest drag coefficient of any Countach model. The emblems at the rear simply read “Lamborghini” and “Countach”, with no engine displacement or valve arrangement markings as is found on later cars. By the end of 1977, the company had produced 158 Countach LP400s. In 1978, a new LP400 S model was introduced. Though the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model (350 bhp), the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tyres were replaced with 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 tyres; the widest tyres available on a production car at the time, and fibreglass wheel arch extensions were added, giving the car the fundamental look it kept until the end of its production run. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which, while improving high-speed stability, reduced the top speed by at least 16 km/h (10 mph). Most owners ordered the wing. The LP400 S handling was improved by the wider tyres, which made the car more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original, while others prefer the more aggressive lines of the later models, beginning with the LP400 S. The standard emblems (“Lamborghini” and “Countach”) were kept at the rear, but an angular “S” emblem was added after the “Countach” on the right side. 1982 saw another improvement, this time giving a bigger, more powerful 4754 cc engine. The bodywork was unaltered, however the interior was given a refresh. This version of the car is sometimes called the 5000 S, which may cause confusion with the later 5000 QV. 321 of these cars were built. Two prototypes of the 1984 Countach Turbo S were built by Lamborghini, of which one is known to exist. The Turbo S weighed 1,515 kg (3,340 lb), while its 4.8 litre twin-turbo V12 had a claimed maximum power output of 758 PS and a torque output of 876 N·m (646 lb·ft), giving the car an acceleration of 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 335 km/h (208 mph). A turbo adjuster, located beneath the steering wheel, could be used to adjust the boost pressure from 0.7 bar to 1.5 bar at which the engine performed its maximum power output. The Turbo S has 15″ wheels with 255/45 tyres on the front and 345/35 on the rear. In 1985 the engine design evolved again, as it was bored and stroked to 5167 cc and given four valves per cylinder—quattrovalvole in Italian, hence the model’s name, Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole or 5000 QV in short. The carburettors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better breathing—unfortunately this created a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some body panels were also replaced by Kevlar. In later versions of the engine, the carburettors were replaced with fuel injection. Although this change was the most notable on the exterior, the most prominent change under the engine cover was the introduction of fuel injection, with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, providing 414 bhp, rather than the six Weber carburettors providing 455 bhp. As for other markets, 1987 and 1988 model Quattrovalvoles received straked sideskirts. 610 cars were built.

 photo Picture 785_zpspqg1gdji.jpg

Lamborghini had been toying for some time with the idea of a smaller and cheaper car, powered by a V8 engine, to rival the smaller Ferraris, and the result, the Urraco, was first seen at the 1970 Turin Show. It was styled by Marcello Gandini, and engineered by Paolo Stanzani. It was launched with a 2.5 litre V8 engine, engineered to be cheaper to build, with belt-driven camshafts, situated within a steel monocoque structure suspended on McPherson struts. It reached the market before the rival Maserati Merak and Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino, which should have given it a big advantage. But it did not. For a start, it was deemed not powerful enough, so even before the difficulties of the late 1973 Fuel Crisis made things difficult, the car did not sell well at all. The solution was to add more power, and this came when the engine was enlarged to 3 litres, with four chain-driven cams, which took power from 220 bhp to 265 bhp. A roll-hoop across the back of the cabin improved rigidity, and more powerful brakes were fitted. It sold better, though never in the sort of volume that had been anticipated, and the addition of an Italian market tax special P200 did not help much, either. Just 66 of these were built, whereas 520 of the original P250 models found buyers, and 190 of the more powerful P300s added to the total before production ceased in 1979. The story did not quite end there, as in 1976 a heavily revised version, with removable targa roof panels, appeared, called the Silhouette, and both were replaced by the Jalpa in the 1980s, though neither of these sold as well as the Urraco. This is a Silhouette.

 photo Picture 736_zpskrvy64zv.jpg


Representing Lancia on the FCA stand were a number of examples of the Flaminia, and further models were to be found in the show, meaning that man of the variants that were offered could be seen here. Named after one of the roads leading to Rome, like other Lancia models of the 1950s, the Flaminia was the replacement for the Aurelia. Built from 1957 to 1970, it was Lancia’s flagship model, produced in saloon, coupé and cabriolet versions. The Flaminia coupé and convertible were coachbuilt cars with bodies from several prestigious Italian coachbuilders. Four “presidential” stretched limousine Flaminias were produced by Pininfarina for use on state occasions. There were 12,633 Flaminias sold over 13 years. Coupés outsold the four-door saloon, an unusual occurrence otherwise seen at the time only in American compact and midsize models whose coupe versions were standard factory models that cost the same or less than the sedan, while the Flaminia coupes’ coachbuilt bodies made them considerably more expensive than the limousine-like Berlina. The Flaminia’s chassis was a development of the Aurelia’s, but was significantly upgraded. The front suspension was changed to a more conventional configuration with double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension retained the De Dion setup, with a transaxle mounted at the rear as in the Aurelia. The first Berlina was available with drum brake or discs, all other models used discs only. The original two bodies of the Flaminia were developed by Pininfarina and modelled after his two Aurelia-based motor show specials, named Florida, as seen in the Corrado Lopresto collection presented earlier in this report. The Flaminia’s engine was an evolution of the world’s first V6, which was introduced in the Aurelia. It had increased bore and decreased stroke. The engines were mounted longitudinally, powering the rear wheels through a 4-speed rear-mounted transaxle. A version with a larger engine was introduced in 1962. The first Coupe model was designed and built by Pininfarina, and was very similar to the Florida II prototype with a 2+2 layout, sitting on a shortened wheelbase relative to the Berlina. This proved to be the most popular of the Coupe versions, with 5,236 Coupés made(4,151 with the 2.5, 1,085 with the 2.8) up to 967. A second Coupe model was made available in 1961, styled and built by Carrozzeria Touring. These aluminium bodied cars can be easily distinguished by their four round headlights (rather than two on Pininfarina Flaminias), and a shorter cabin – the wheelbase was decreased significantly for the GT and Convertible, allowing for only two seats to be mounted. The GT was a coupé, while the Convertible was obviously a cabriolet version (with optional hardtop). The GTL, introduced in 1962, was a 2+2 version of the GT with a slightly longer wheelbase. The Convertible was in production until 1964, with 847 made in total (180 with the 2.8), while the GT and GTL lasted until 1965, with 1718 GTs and 300 GTLs made (out of which, 168 GTs and 297 GTLs with the 2.8). Final bodystyle, and the one seen here was produced by Zagato. This was also a two-seater. It used the same shorter wheelbase chassis as the GT, and had a very distinctive rounded aluminium body with pop-out handles. The Super Sport replaced the Sport in 1964, with the introduction of the 2.8 litre 152 bhp engine. The first Sports had flush covered headlights, later changed to more classic round ones. The Super Sport also saw some changes – the rear was updated to a Kammback, while the front was made more aerodynamic with distinctive tear-shape headlight casings. Until 1967, 593 Sports and Super Sports were built (99 Preseries, 344 Sports, 150 Supersports). The Farina Coupe was on FCA’s stand, and elsewhere were the Berlina and a Zagato bodied SuperSport.

 photo Picture 819_zpswyyentij.jpg  photo Picture 297_zpsp6qfpath.jpg  photo Picture 818_zpsw0dv3u2l.jpg  photo Picture 813_zps5klkca1w.jpg  photo Picture 389_zpsmx1nleur.jpg  photo Picture 388_zpsw8b8vgll.jpg  photo Picture 296_zps8jrjetki.jpg  photo Picture 298_zpsdv6el6xa.jpg  photo Picture 299_zpskxytcnas.jpg

Also on FCA’s stand was this somewhat unusual looking car, the Flaminia Loraymo. In 1960 the wildest Flaminia prototype was first shown: the Loraymo coupe from the studios of Raymond Loewy and realised in aluminium by carrozzeria Motto in Italy. Loewy was a French born artist who had established one of the leading industrial design studios in the USA. This studio designed all sorts of things: from logos to packaging and from office equipment to cars. These designs were usually attributed to Loewy while often he was just the promoter and had an elaborate staff of gifted designers to back him up. During the 1940s and 1950s the Loewy Studios had put their mark on Studebaker design, which was very advanced and influential at the time. Mid 1950s Loewy turned away from Studebaker and created a number of showcars with sport coupe styling. The Loraymo was one of those; it followed a 1957 BMW 507 coupe prototype with excessive “coke-bottle” curves at the sides and actually preceded the famous 1963 Studebaker Avanti. Styling-wise the Loraymo was sort of the intermediate model between Loewy’s exuberant BMW 507 special and the elegant and balanced Studebaker Avanti; aspects of both can be found in it without it being much alike. Why exactly Loewy chose the Flaminia 2.5 litre V6 (tuned by Nardi to produce 140 hp) platform for this special is unclear, perhaps he wanted some Italian flair to rub off on the design. Coke-bottle style sweeping curves had become a characteristic styling feature in Loewy designs, not that strange because the Loewy studios had designed the classic shape of the (small) Coca-Cola bottle. It became very popular and common in American car design from the mid 1960s but it was still quite unusual when the Loraymo was presented at the Paris Motor Show. Another important innovation shown on the Loraymo was the roof spoiler which was placed above the rear window. This must have been a first at the time and it was decades ahead of its time. Additional distinctive features were the jet-like nose flanked by cutaway and recessed fenders and the small air intake placed to one side of the hood. This last detail returned on many other car designs. Loewy has used the Loraymo as his personal car quite like Pinin Farina did with the Florida II before. Much later on it came into the possession of Lancia’s factory museum, which proves its importance, however odd it might look.

 photo Picture 816_zpsf9atsjng.jpg  photo Picture 815_zpssm7jqfti.jpg  photo Picture 814_zpsqweitbku.jpg  photo Picture 581_zps5dlsswze.jpg  photo Picture 580_zpsp4tjyaqi.jpg photo Picture 385_zpsvtwmfaxq.jpg  photo Picture 386_zpsk6y0udnd.jpg  photo Picture 384_zpsszvayxmk.jpg  photo Picture 383_zpsx56rbkjc.jpg  photo Picture 387_zps71us8aya.jpg photo Picture 817_zps8oivdf69.jpg  photo Picture 817_zpsr0zgycyy.jpg

The Flavia was here, in Berlina guise. Named after the Via Flavia, the Roman road leading from Trieste (Tergeste) to Dalmatia, and launched at the 1960 Turin Motor Show, the Flavia was initially available only as a four-door saloon, featuring a 1.5 litre aluminium boxer engine, Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, front-wheel drive and front suspension by unequal-length wishbones. This model was soon joined by a two-door coupé, designed by Pininfarina on a shortened platform. Vignale built 1,601 two-door convertibles, while Zagato designed an outlandish-looking light weight two-door sport version. The sport version has twin carburettors for extra power (just over 100 hp); however, this version of the engine was notoriously difficult to keep in tune. Even the single-carburettor engine suffered from the problem of timing chain stretch. Sprockets with vernier adjusters were fitted to allow for chain wear, and the cam timing was supposed to be checked every 6000 miles. Early cars also suffered from corrosion of the cylinder heads caused by using copper gaskets on aluminium heads; nevertheless, the car was quite lively for its day, considering the cubic capacity. Later development of the engine included an enlargement to 1.8 litres, a mechanical injection version using the Kugelfischer system, and a five-speed manual gearbox. Towards the end of the 1960s, when Fiat took control of the company, the Vignale and Zagato versions were discontinued. The coupé and saloon versions received new bodywork, first presented in March 1969 at the Geneva Motor Show. The engine increased to 2.0 litres, available with carburettor or injection, and four- or five-speed gearbox. The 2.0 litre models were only made with revised Pininfarina Coupe and revised Berlina bodies. The model was updated further in 1971, with squared off styling, becoming the 2000 in which guise it was produced for a further 4 years. Seen here was a Coupe with a lot of hard work undertaken on one side, which had been restored it to its former glory, with the other showing the state in which the car was found.

 photo Picture 349_zpszxiouu6t.jpg

Lancia replaced the long-running Appia with a new model in 1963, the Fulvia. Like the larger Flavia which had been shown 3 years earlier, it came with front wheel drive, and a host of exquisite engineering which ensure that even though it was expensive, it was actually not profitable for its maker, and was a direct contribution to the marque’s bankruptcy and take over by Fiat in 1969. It was not long before the initial Berlina saloon model was joined by a Coupe. First seen in 1965. the Coupe proved to be the longest lived of all Fulvia variants, surviving until 1976 when it was effectively replaced by the 1300cc version of the Beta Coupe. Before that, it had undergone a steady program of updates, with more powerful engines, including a capacity increase from the initial 1200cc of the narrow angle V4 to 1300 and then later 1600cc, and the car was developed into a successful rally machine for the late 60s. The Sport Zagato version was designed by Ercole Spada at Zagato and was intended to be the more sporting model of the range. It was also considerably more expensive. Early cars had an unusual side hinged bonnet, but this was changed on the Series 2 models which were launched in 1970, and which also switched to all-steel bodies. Seen here was a nice Zagato Coupe.

 photo Picture 764_zps2frjlxvj.jpg


The other part of the Jaguar Land-Rover stand was given over for the Land-Rover products and here the focus was showing the results of the classic restoration work that is now being undertaken with the Series One Land Rover.

Also here were a number of early Range Rover models on display. The Rover Company had been experimenting with a larger model than the Land Rover Series as far back as 1951, when the Rover P4-based two-wheel-drive “Road Rover” project was developed by Gordon Bashford. This was shelved in 1958, and the idea lay dormant until 1966, when engineers Spen King and Bashford set to work on a new model. In 1967, the first Range Rover prototype was built (number plate SYE 157F), with the classic Range Rover shape clearly discernible, but with a different front grille and headlight configuration. The design of the Range Rover was finalised in 1969. Twenty-six Velar engineering development vehicles were built between 1969 and 1970 and were road registered with the number plates YVB151H through to YVB177H. Though being chassis no. 3, the vehicle YVB 153H is believed to have been the first off the production line as a vehicle in that colour was urgently required for marketing. The Velar name was derived from the Italian “velare” meaning to veil or to cover. Range Rover development engineer Geoff Miller used the name as a decoy for registering pre-production Range Rovers. The Velar company was registered in London and produced 40 pre-production vehicles that were built between 1967 and 1970. Most of these Velar pre-production vehicles are accounted for and have survived into preservation, and one of them was presented here. These models fetch very strong money when sold, between £60 -80,000 for the handful that have appeared for sale in the last couple of years. The production Range Rover was launched in 1970, and it was produced until 1994, undergoing quite a transition into a luxury product en route. Early models are currently the most prized ones.

 photo Picture 118_zpsvkbvgqul.jpg  photo Picture 119_zps3lpvl4rj.jpg  photo Picture 117_zpse6z84bxw.jpg  photo Picture 114_zpsk5fwcz36.jpg  photo Picture 115_zps7dnzbos2.jpg photo Picture 116_zpshemaydt3.jpg


A small display of cars associated with the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race, put on by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, was one of two exhibits in the corridor connecting Hall 1 to the rest of the complex. On show here were a couple of very different le Mans entrants, a Matra and the much more recent Peugeot 908.

 photo Picture 373_zpstcnsjzoh.jpg  photo Picture 372_zps1j5lzska.jpg  photo Picture 371_zps26hsgm0h.jpg  photo Picture 370_zpshgxs0qye.jpg  photo Picture 369_zpsb4ymr4bx.jpg


The story of Lister in the 1950s is one that strongly echoes that of David and Goliath. Founded by Brian Lister, an industrialist who built racing cars as a sideline, this Cambridge-based marque created formidable race contenders during the earlier part of the decade. However, the fitting of Jaguar and other large engines in the latter part of the decade made the Listers pretty much supreme; regularly trouncing the works offerings of Jaguar and Aston Martin on track. Nonetheless, all good things must come to an end and by 1958 their dominance was under threat from a new breed of sports racing cars known as the giant killers – Lotus, Coopers and Lolas that were nimble, light and steeped in aerodynamics, albeit lacking in raw power. Seeing that the writing was on the wall, and keen to secure the not insubstantial backing offered to him by Shell that came on condition that special emphasis must be put on the 1959 Le Mans team, Lister approached Frank Costin. Costin was a renowned and talented engineer, fresh from De Havilland’s pure aerodynamics department with aspirations of setting up his own engineering consultancy. After some considerable pressure from Lister, Costin succumbed to an in-house role as Chief Designer. He was assured that if he created a new aerodynamically efficient body for this year’s Lister then he could have free rein in designing a proper new space frame to go with it. This important example is the 1959 prototype Lister Streamliner, designed by Costin. The body covers the wheels and the design features a more streamlined front than the results of all previous collaborations between Lister and Costin. BHL 121 also achieved a higher top speed, being the first Costin to leave Cambridge with the Chevrolet OHV V8 engine, along with notable gains in road holding. However, by far its most striking attribute is its gorgeous, flowing silhouette, creating for many a vision of automotive beauty. BHL 121 was purchased by a Mr. John Ewers in 1959 and was campaigned during that season at Crystal Palace (as number 64), Silverstone (as number 1) and in the following year at the Goodwood B.A.R.C. Members’ Meeting (number 98), where it entered both the Whitsun Trophy and Whitsun handicap races. In 1960, the Lister then departed the UK for Rhodesia, where it was bought by a Mr. Jimmy de Villiers, who had it campaigned in anger by driver John Love. BHL 121 passed between a few further owners in South Africa until, much later in the 1980s, the Lister was purchased by Cedric Selzer from the United States. Selzer restored BHL 121, following which it was raced stateside by David Beckett. Eventually, the Lister went to the Hart family for a period of fifteen years, where it was looked after, restored and raced by Tony Garmey of Horizon Racing. BHL 121 enjoyed success in Garmey’s hands, winning many west coast vintage races. BHL 121 was latterly returned to the UK following an exacting restoration by Californian-based Canepa Design and is now run and maintained by renowned race preparers, Hall and Hall.

 photo Picture 790_zpsxyiilt6d.jpg  photo Picture 789_zpsuon2eknc.jpg


 photo Picture 590_zpsxaq9bvhw.jpg


There were two road-going Lotus models on the Owners Club stand. The very latest Exige model in the iconic JPS livery was joined by one of the original Seven cars.

 photo Picture 308_zpsp3ifm0aa.jpg  photo Picture 309_zpsn1cu9k31.jpg  photo Picture 310_zpskqbsgw7z.jpg

This is a Type 63, an experimental Formula One car, designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1969 season. Chapman’s reasoning behind the car was that the 3 litre engines introduced in 1966 would be better served by building a car that could take full advantage of its power while retaining the Lotus 49’s simplicity. Like the Lotus 56 for the Indy 500 (and later F1), the 63 chassis was designed around a four wheel drive system. This was not totally revolutionary at the time, as four wheel drive had been used on the Ferguson P99 F1 car that won at Oulton Park as early as 1961, but with little development thereafter. However, it was not a successful design. In fact, the Matra MS84 was the only 4WD F1 which scored points (driven by Johnny Servoz-Gavin, at the 1969 Canadian Grand Prix) something neither Lotus nor McLaren managed, while Cosworth did not even race their 4WD design. The 63 was an evolution of the 49, but featured wedge shaped rear bodywork and integrated wings, which would be used to great effect in the Lotus 72. John Miles, Lotus’ third driver was entrusted with the task of developing the car, while Graham Hill and Jochen Rindt used the 49 in the early races of 1969. The car proved difficult to drive and set up, and the four wheel drive system was especially problematic. After a single test run, Hill flatly refused to drive the car again stating it was a ‘deathtrap,’ as did Rindt, who agreed with Hill after taking the car to its best result, 2nd in the non-championship Oulton Park Gold Cup. This infuriated Chapman as he saw the 63 as another quantum leap ahead of its rivals, just as its predecessors had been. The car was entered at the 1969 British Grand Prix as a test run. Whilst Rindt finished fourth in the older 49 behind Jackie Stewart, Miles could only bring the 63 home in 10th place, confirming the car’s uncompetitiveness. After several other fruitless outings, the 63 was abandoned, but parts of the chassis design were worked into the Lotus 72, which debuted in 1970. The four wheel drive technology returned into F1 with the Lotus 56B in 1971. Like the Lotus 88, the 4WD cars proved to be huge white elephants for Lotus, but it paved the way for better models to follow.

 photo Picture 482_zpsj4emcou9.jpg


This is a 1966 M1B. Bruce McLaren launched the M1 at the Mosport Grand Prix for sports cars in September 1964, where he led the race until throttle problems dropped him to 3rd. McLaren contested the rest of the season, and the car attracted customers. The first customer car was delivered in 1965, and Graham Hill won at Silverstone. Meanwhile, engineer Robin Herd designed the M1B, with Tyler Alexander and Michael Turner. The chassis weighed the same, but was 20 percent stronger. Eventually, 28 M1Bs were built for the American market.

 photo Picture 440_zpsphqruhwj.jpg

Bruce McLaren’s team was the last front-running team to produce a 4WD car in 1969, a brand new chassis designed by Jo Marquart and designated the M9A. The car, complete with distinctive “tea tray” rear wing, was completed in time for Derek Bell to use in the British Grand Prix alongside the standard M7s, where he retired with suspension failure. After McLaren himself tested the car he compared driving it to “trying to write your signature with someone constantly jogging your elbow” and the car was never raced again.

 photo Picture 487_zpsq6hi5cwl.jpg


This is one of just three different 6-wheel Formula 1 cars that have ever been made, the 1977 2-4-0. It came after the 6 wheeled Tyrell P34. At March Engineering in Bicester, designer Robin Herd had watched the P34 experiment closely and, by late 1976, had come to the conclusion that the ‘four front wheels’ concept might have been a blind alley. In his assessment, the improved aerodynamics at the front were largely negated by the rear tyres which at 24″ (60 cm) diameter would still have accounted for 30 to 40% of the car’s total drag. He also felt that with a modern rear wheel drive F1 car, the extra grip could be employed more usefully for the driven wheels. With this in mind, Herd drew up plans for a six-wheeled car with four driven wheels at the rear and all of the wheels the same 16″ diameter. His theory was that with all six tyres the same size as the regular F1 front tyre, the car would not only be slimmer than normal F1 cars but would possess improved aerodynamic performance at the rear with much cleaner air passing over the wing. Four driven wheels would also mean better traction and, unlike the Tyrrell, there would be no problem with tyre development since the car would use exactly the same rubber as a conventional F1 car. Herd called this concept ‘2-4-0’, following the Whyte notation used to describe railway rolling stock: two wheels leading, four driven wheels, zero trailing wheels. With the apparent technical advantages of this concept laid out, Max Mosley (Herd’s partner at March Cars) gave the go-ahead for a prototype to be built. Mosley noted that the P34 had generated a lot of additional publicity for Tyrrell and, aside from the technical merits, believed a March six-wheeler would be an attractive package to present to potential sponsors. Unfortunately, the March team was at something of a low point financially during 1976/77 and the development costs of an all-new six-wheel car would be high. As a compromise measure, a 1976-design Cosworth DFV-powered March 761 was adapted by team mechanic Wayne Eckersley in a quiet corner of the Bicester factory. Existing parts from the factory stores were used wherever possible. A key feature of a car with four driven wheels at the rear would be the transmission. An ingenious gearbox design was required to minimise any frictional power losses. It would also have to be stronger (and hence heavier) to counteract the higher torsional and flexural stresses that the close-coupled four-wheel-drive system would generate. Herd’s original design for the gearbox casing recognised these factors and specified a series of strengthening ribs to counteract the additional loading. However, at some point in development it was decided that the casting would be very complex and expensive to produce. By way of a cost-cutting measure, some of the ribs were duly removed from the drawing. In fact, the design utilised a standard Hewland F1 gearbox for the first axle. To this, the new casing, gears and an extended pinion for the second axle were fitted. Practically, this meant that any 761 chassis could be easily adapted should the concept prove workable. Once the 2-4-0 was partially built, the press were invited to the factory in late November 1976 for a viewing of the hitherto ‘secret’ project. The unveiling generated a huge amount of interest with articles in several motor sport magazines plus a photograph on the cover of the following week’s Autosport magazine (dated 2 December 1976). Simultaneously, the company also outlined plans for a full running demonstration and developmental testing at Silverstone circuit scheduled for a fortnight later. The first test took place at Silverstone in late 1976. Unfortunately, on the initial lap the gearbox casing flexed and the gears became unmeshed. No immediate solution could be found and so the rear crown wheel and pinion were removed for the rest of the day’s testing. Effectively the 2-4-0 had become a two-wheel drive car again. Fortunately for March, it was a wet day at the circuit and the driver Howden Ganley could not push the car too fast. Consequently, the test was reported as a success by the media. The problems on the first lap highlighted the fact that the car needed a new, stronger gearbox casing and a serious development program. Unable to afford the time and resources that this would require, the 2-4-0 project was de-prioritised by the company. In February 1977, the car — now fitted with a stronger gearbox — ran again at Silverstone with driver Ian Scheckter at the wheel. Although it was another wet day, the car was run up and down the Hangar Straight and, with four driven wheels, Scheckter reported that the traction was ‘incredible’. Additionally, the events of the day again made Autosport magazine’s front page (dated 10 February 1977). But this was the end of 2-4-0’s F1 development history. On its reappearance at the Belgium GP in June, the converted 761 chassis had been reconfigured as a conventional four-wheeler. In August 2002 an article appeared on the 8W website that claimed, on the basis of an incorrectly identified photograph, that the 2-4-0 may have appeared in practice for the 1977 Brazilian Grand Prix at the end of January. The photograph in question actually showed the car testing at Silverstone in February 1977 and it is clear from contemporary reports of the Grand Prix that the 2-4-0 was not present. The author of the 8W article has now corrected the error but not before it was used as a source for a number of other websites. In 1979 the 2-4-0 concept was revived by British Hillclimb specialist Roy Lane. Lane had bought a March 771 chassis and with Robin Herd’s blessing was loaned the improved 2-4-0 transmission unit. The fact that the 2-4-0 was originally an inexpensive workshop conversion of the standard March F1 chassis meant that Lane was easily able to fit the unit to his car. Taking advantage of four-wheel traction, Lane won several British hill-climbing events in the 771/2-4-0 that year with the first win at Wiscombe Park in May. However, over the season the car proved troublesome and Lane eventually switched back to the four-wheel configuration. Despite only limited success in short duration racing events, the 2-4-0 concept was never disproven. It is possible that if a weight-shedding program had been pursued (possibly using stronger and lighter materials) and the car’s suspect handling improved, the 2-4-0 could have proved successful in F1. The concept would certainly have adapted well to ground effect which was the coming technology in grand prix racing. The WilliamsF1 team seem to have agreed with Herd’s theory because in 1982 they built and tested a 2-4-0–style six-wheeler – designated the FW08B. However, any hopes of seeing a 2-4-0–style race car compete in a grand prix were dashed when the FIA banned all four-wheel drive systems in this category. The FW08B remains on display in the Williams’s factory museum. The March 2-4-0 story was not without a silver lining for the company that built it. As Max Mosley had surmised, the car was indeed a huge publicity magnet. Additionally, significant income was generated for the team when the Scalextric company purchased the rights to produce and market a best-selling 1/32 scale slot-racing replica. The March 2-4-0 is currently housed in the Louwman collection in The Hague, the Netherlands.

 photo Picture 481_zps5tpxhikm.jpg  photo Picture 484_zpszun1ue3x.jpg


Displayed on the Maserati factory stand, alongside the latest Quattroporte, was the Eldorado, a car which became famous in 1958 as the first single-seater car in Europe to be sponsored by a brand not linked to the world of motorsport. The brand in question was Eldorado, an ice-cream manufacturer. This was the first example of modern sponsorship, where the car was painted in the colours of the partner company, abandoning the traditional colour assigned to each country by the International Federation. This was a real revolution for the day, of vital importance to the future of motorsport, which from that moment on opened its doors to new financial backers. Maserati was commissioned to build the car by Gino Zanetti, owner of the Eldorado ice-cream company. Determined to promote his brand on the international stage, Zanetti turned to the House of the Trident to create a single-seater car to compete in the “Trofeo dei due Mondi” (Race of Two Worlds) at Monza: the Automobile Club d’Italia had organised a 500 Mile race at the circuit based on the Indianapolis 500, with top American drivers lining up alongside Europe’s cream of the crop. The Maserati 420/M/58, chassis number 4203, was thus finished with a cream coloured livery, instead of Italian racing red. The name Eldorado was emblazoned in bold black lettering along the sides of the car, with two additional smaller logos on the nose and below the small deflector that acted as a windshield. The logo with the face of the smiling cowboy was positioned in the centre of the nose and on the sides of the rear fin. Below the two Eldorado brands on the sides, in bright racing red was “Italia”, denoting the nationality of the sponsor as well as that of the racing car manufacturer. The long silhouette of the “Eldorado” also bore the name of the driver chosen to race it in the “Monzanapolis”: Stirling Moss, one of the greatest drivers in the history of motor sports, and a former Maserati driver. The previous year, in 1957, the Modena-based manufacturer had won the Formula 1 World Championship with Juan Manuel Fangio, before deciding to withdraw from competitive racing and build racing cars on commission only for private customers, also providing them with assistance. This was precisely the ideal situation that Zanetti was seeking, and the reason why the Italian entrepreneur turned to Maserati. In the space of a few months, the engineer Giulio Alfieri created the “Eldorado”. The engine, derived from the V8 unit mounted in the 450S twin cam models, had its displacement reduced to 4,190 cc, generating 410 hp at 8,000 rpm; both the engine and transmission were offset to the left by nine centimetres. The aim of this decision was to ensure a more balanced weight distribution, taking into account the anti-clockwise direction of travel on the high banked corners at Monza. The gearbox had just two speeds while the De Dion rear axle had no differential. The tubular chassis was derived from that of the highly successful 250F, although it proved oversized compared to the latter, also as a result of numerous reinforcements introduced to enable the car to withstand the mechanical stress generated by the concrete track at Monza. To reduce the weight, Halibrand magnesium wheels were used along with Firestone 18-inch braided tread tyres inflated with helium. With these measures, the car weighed in at 758 kg. The aluminium bodywork, hand crafted by Fantuzzi, was characterised by an aerodynamic vertical fin behind the cockpit and a front carburettor scoop. On 29th June 1958, at the Monza track, the race was held in three heats to decide the final points table. This strategy was aimed at enticing European car manufacturers to enter their own cars, which had not originally been designed to compete in such a long race, and one that was so mechanically arduous. In the first heat Moss finished 4th. In the second he crossed the line 5th. In the final heat, however, his steering broke and the Maserati slammed into the guard-rail, dashing the English driver’s hopes of finishing the race in third place overall. Taking into account the three heats and the total number of laps completed, Moss nonetheless took seventh place in the end. He walked away unscathed from the crash and, all things considered, the “Eldorado” too suffered only limited damage, proving the value of its solid structure. Despite the success in terms of spectator numbers and entertainment value, the 500 Miles of Monza did not become a regular event on the racing calendar. Based on the findings from the race, the “Eldorado” was modified by the Gentilini bodywork shop, which removed the rear fin and reduced the hood scoop, after which the car was entered in the Indianapolis 500 in 1959. This time it was finished in red, the colour denoting Italy in competitions, but still emblazoned with the Eldorado sponsor’s name in white lettering on the sides, as well as the cowboy logo in a white circle on the nose and tail. The inexperience of the gentleman-driver, Ralph Liguori, meant that the car failed to qualify, as it set the 36th fastest time, with only the first 33 qualifying. With a professional driver behind the wheel, it would have been a very different result. But that is a whole other story. The Indy 500 race was dear to Maserati, which took victory in 1939 and 1940 with the driver Wilbur Shaw behind the wheel of an 8CTF. Shaw almost made it a hat-track in 1941, but was forced to withdraw during the penultimate lap while out in front, victory denied by a broken wheel. Maserati is the only Italian car manufacturer to have won on the Indiana race track and the only European brand to have triumphed on two consecutive occasions.

 photo Picture 425_zpsdvy3lgfs.jpg  photo Picture 427_zps8nloxuft.jpg  photo Picture 428_zpsxkuqzqkt.jpg  photo Picture 426_zpsm204sfms.jpg

Elsewhere I came across the lovely 3500GT. Maserati had made their first forays into the grand tourer market, with the 1947 A6 1500, 1951 A6G 2000 and 1954 A6G/54, but whilst these cars had proven that the expanding the business beyond race cars was feasible; these A6 road cars were still built at the rate of just a dozen examples a year, which hardly constituted series production. A different approach was going to be needed, with the objective of building fully accomplished grand tourers. An engine was not really a problem. The 2 litre twin cam unit that had enabled Maserati to achieve racing success and international visibility in the early 1950s, thanks to cars such as the A6GCM;, had already been enlarged to three litre capacity on the Maserati 300S. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri felt the next step was to design an all-new 3.5-litre engine; the resulting long-stroke six, designed foremost for endurance racing on the Maserati 350S, was ready in 1955. The main development efforts that led to the 3500 GT were carried out in 1956–57, despite the frantic activity required by Maserati’s participation in the Formula 1 world championship. Alfieri modified the 350S’s engine to suit a touring car, such as switching to a wet sump oil system and changing the engine accessories. He also made several business trips to the United Kingdom in order to contact components suppliers. None were found in Italy, as Italian taxation system and the industry structure forced manufacturers to design every part in-house; a daunting task for small companies like Maserati. Thus the 3500 GT alongside Italian Weber carburettors and Marelli ignition, used many British-made components such as a Salisbury rear axle, Girling brakes and Alford & Alder suspension parts. Clearly the bodywork would have to be Italian. According to Carrozzeria Touring’s Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni it was Commendatore Franco Cornacchia, a prominent Ferrari dealer, that put in contact Maserati owner Omar Orsi with the Milanese Carrozzeria The first 3500 GT Touring prototype had a 2+2 body, with superleggera construction and was white in colour; it was nicknamed Dama Bianca (White Lady). Two 3500 GT prototypes were shown at the March 1957 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva. Both had a 2,600 mm (102.4 in) wheelbase and aluminium bodywork; they were Touring’s Dama Bianca, and another one by Carrozzeria Allemano. Touring’s proposal was chosen for series production; few changes were made to it, chiefly a more imposing grille. Production of the 3500 GT started in late 1957; eighteen cars were built that year, the first handful leaving the factory before Christmas. All 3500 GTs had leather interior and Jaeger-LeCoultre instruments. A first Touring convertible prototype was shown at the 1958 Turin Motor Show, but it was a proposal by Carrozzeria Vignale (designed by Michelotti) shown at the 1959 Salon de l’Auto in Paris that went into production as 3500 GT Convertibile. The Convertibile did not feature Touring’s Superleggera construction, but rather a steel body with aluminium bonnet, boot lid and optional hard top; it was also built on an 10 cm (3.9 in) shorter wheelbase, and weighed 1,380 kg (3,042 lb). Front disc brakes and limited slip differential became optional in 1959, and were standardized in 1960; rear discs became standard in 1962. The 3500 GTi was introduced at the 1960 Salon International de l’Auto, and by the following year became the first fuel-injected Italian production car. It had a Lucas mechanical fuel injection, and developed 232 bhp. A 5-speed gearbox was now standard. The body had a lowered roofline and became somewhat longer; minor outward changes appeared as well (new grille, rear lights, vent windows). From 1961 convertible 3500s for export markets were named 3500 GT Spyder and GTi Spyder. In total, 2,226 3500 GT coupés and convertibles were built between 1957 and 1964. In the first year, 1958, just 119 cars were sold, while 1961 was the best-selling year, totalling 500. All together, 245 Vignale convertibles and nearly 2000 coupés were manufactured, of these, 1981 being Touring coupés, the rest were bodied by other coachbuilders: Carrozzeria Allemano (four coupés, including the 1957 prototype), Zagato (one coupe, 1957), Carrozzeria Boneschi (1962 Turin Motor Show and 1963 Geneva Motor Show ), Pietro Frua (two or three coupés, one spider) and Bertone (one coupé, 1959 Turin Motor Show) The last was a coupé by Moretti for the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. The car was replaced by the Sebring in 1964.

 photo Picture 748_zpsqwqomunh.jpg

Even more exclusive is this example of the 5000GT. The first car in the Tipo 103 series, was the Shah of Persia, delivered to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who had been impressed by the Maserati 3500. He commissioned Maserati’s chief engineer Giulio Alfieri to use a slightly modified 5-litre engine from the Maserati 450S on the 3500GT’s chassis. Carrozzeria Touring developed the superleggera tubing and aluminium body of the two-seater coupé. The second car, also a Shah of Persia by Touring, was displayed at Salone dell’automobile di Torino 1959. Specifications for the first 5000 GT were: Maserati 450S-derived four OHC 4,937 cc V8 generating 325 hp at 5500 rpm, with Lucas mechanical injection or four 45 DCOE Weber carburettor, a dual fuel pump, mechanical Magneti-Marelli ignition, dual spark plug, a 4-speed ZF gearbox (later 5-speed) and front discs with rear drums (later all discs). In 1960, the engine was modified: the displacement increased to 4,940 cc with a longer stroke and a smaller bore, with fuel injection added. The new engine developed 340 hp. The fuel injected 5000 GT was shown at the 1960 Salone di Torino. After the first body by Touring, the main body partner since 1960 became Carrozzeria Allemano which did 22 of the cars, designed by Giovanni Michelotti. Other builders were Pietro Frua (3), Carrozzeria Monterosa (2), Pininfarina (1), Ghia (Sergio Sartorelli) (1), Giovanni Michelotti (1), Bertone (Giorgetto Giugiaro) (1) and Carrozzeria Touring (2 more). In 1961, Bertone built a one-off 5000 GT that featured a body designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The car had a Tipo 104 chassis and a different engine than the standard 5000 GT. The 5000 GT was sold at prices around US$17,000 (twice the cost of a Maserati 3500), and in many respects individualised to the desires of its celebrity buyers, including Karim Aga Khan, Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli, sportsman Briggs Cunningham, actor Stewart Granger, Ferdinando Innocenti (Ghia-bodied 5000 GT), Basil Read, Swiss entrepreneur Otto Nef, count Giuseppe Comola, and president Adolfo López Mateos.

 photo Picture 049_zpsvau6dmh7.jpg

There were a couple of the very pretty Ghibli model – the first of three very different models to bear the name – on dealer stands. First unveiled in prototype form on the Maserati stand at the November 1966 Turin Motor Show, this grand tourer with an all steel body, characterised by a low, shark-shaped nose, was designed by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro, then working at Carrozzeria Ghia. Deliveries started in March of the following year. While the 1966 Ghia prototype was a two-seater, on the production car two emergency rear seats were added—consisting of nothing more than a cushion without backrest—and the Ghibli was marketed as a 2+2, though everyone tends to think of this car as a 2 seater, and the later Indy as the real 2+2 from the range. The first Ghibli cars were powered by a front placed quad-cam 4.7 litre dry sump V8 engine that prodiuced 306 bhp, mated to a five-speed manual or, on request, to a three-speed automatic transmission. It had a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds, a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The car also featured pop-up headlamps, leather sport seats and alloy wheels. A convertible version, the Ghibli Spyder, went into production in 1969. Its convertible top folded away under a flush fitting body-colour tonneau cover behind the front seats; thus the Spyder eschewed any vestigial rear passenger accommodation, and was a strict two-seater. A removable hard top was available as an option. The 4.9-litre Ghibli SS was released later in 1969. Its V8 engine was stroked 4 mm to displace 4930 cc, and put out 330 bhp; its top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph) made it the fastest Maserati road car ever produced. In all, 1,170 coupés and 125 Spyders (including 25 Spyder SS) were produced.

 photo Picture 737_zpsdhsryseg.jpg  photo Picture 554_zps28vsujrl.jpg

This is a Khamsin, the car conceived to take over from the Ghibli. First seen on the Bertone stand at the November 1972 Turin Auto Show, it was designed by Marcello Gandini, and was Bertone’s first work for Maserati. In March 1973 the production model was shown at the Paris Motor Show. Regular production of the vehicle finally started a year later, in 1974. The Khamsin was developed under the Citroën ownership for the clientele that demanded a front-engined grand tourer on the lines of the previous Ghibli, more conventional than the mid-engined Bora. In 1977 a mild facelift added three horizontal slots on the Khamsin’s nose to aid cooling. Inside it brought a restyled dashboard and a new padded steering wheel. One Khamsin was delivered to Luciano Benetton in 1981. Despite the many improvements over its predecessor, the Khamsin didn’t replicate its success; partly due to the concurrent fuel crisis that decreased demand for big V8 grand tourers. Production ended in 1982, with 435 vehicles made, a mere third of the Ghibli’s 1274 examples production run. 155 of which had been exported to the United States.

 photo Picture 063_zps2omcia6l.jpg  photo Picture 062_zps36biior3.jpg

Final Maserati of the show was the still current GranTurismo which was parked up alongside the legendary 250F race car.

 photo Picture 530_zpst7bkwdeq.jpg  photo Picture 529_zpsobei2jxw.jpg


In 1965 Matra’s CEO Jean-Luc Lagardère decided to develop a sports car that would be more accessible to the ordinary, non-racing public, a voiture des copains (car for chums), as its successor, and the result was the first “true” Matra sports car, (the Djet had been a René Bonnet design) the Matra M530. The car was named after Matra’s R.530 missile, and designed by a former Simca designer called Philippe Guédon. Like its predecessor, the M530 was built on a steel frame with polyester body and had a mid-engine. To accommodate a 2+2, mid-engine layout and a reasonable boot, various engine options were considered. In the end, the running gear came from Ford in Germany: the “high compression” 1699 cc Ford Taunus V4 engine and gearbox from the Taunus 15M TS were chosen. This combination was compact enough to fit between the rear seats and the boot. Other unusual features of the M530 were its targa top roof, pop-up headlights and, most notably, the outstanding avant-garde design. The first 530 (badged Matra Sports M530A) was shown to the public on March 7, 1967 at the Geneva Motor Show. It had a 70 DIN hp Ford 1700 cc V4 engine, which gave the car a top speed of 175 km/h (109 mph). It entered production a month later, incorporating modifications that included the addition of a chrome bumper bar to provide for the front grill much needed protection from parking shunts, a modest reshaping of the dashboard to give the passenger a little more knee room, and the repositioning of the ignition key to facilitate access. In its first two production years, the chassis was built by Carrier in Alençon and assembly was undertaken by French coachbuilder Brissonneau et Lotz at Creil. The engine bay of the early model 530 was accessible by removing the acrylic glass rear window. 1969 saw many changes to the 530. First, the running gear followed the same evolution as the Ford model it was taken from and power increased to 75 DIN hp by using a different carburettor. Secondly, Matra closed a deal with Chrysler Europe, to sell their cars through the Simca dealer network from 1970 onwards and jointly develop the M530’s successor. Finally, the cars were now constructed completely at the Matra Automobiles factory in Romorantin. Introduced at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show was the Matra Simca M530LX, which was a minor redesign of the 530A by Michelotti. The most notable changes were the rear hatch (now made of glass and opens with struts like a hatchback) and the front bumper. A budget version of the 530, the Matra Simca 530SX, was introduced in October 1971. The SX lacked the targa top roof and pop-up headlights; instead, there were four fixed headlights mounted on top of the front. The only available colours were orange and white, and the SX featured black bumpers instead of the LX’s chrome bumpers. M530’s production ceased in 1973, after a total of 9,609 cars (2,062 530A, 4,731 530LX and 1,146 530SX) were built.

 photo Picture 537_zpsoanku8vp.jpg

There was just one example of the now highly-thought of Rancho. Thought of as a leisure activity vehicle, the Rancho was created by the French engineering group Matra, in cooperation with the automaker Simca, to capitalise on the off-road trend started by the Range Rover, with an “off-road look” offered at a much lower price than the British car. The Rancho was launched in 1977. Designed by Antonis Volanis, the Rancho was based on the pick-up version of Simca’s popular 1100, using its front structure and a stretched chassis. The rest of the body was made by Matra from fibreglass and polyester, including the mouldings adorning the body, which made it look more “sturdy”. This technology would later be used on the Renault Espace, as well. The ground clearance was also increased. Unlike most off-roaders, it was not fitted with all-wheel drive, retaining the 1100s front-wheel drive layout. Other elements retained from the 1100 included the dashboard and front seats which were identical with the ones found in the Simca 1100 GLS. The Rancho was powered by the 1442 cc, 80 bhp version of the “Poissy engine” straight-4 engine. The Rancho’s optional third row of seats (making it an early MPV) shared head restraints with the normal rear seats. Sales of the model were quite respectable, but they could do nothing to alleviate the larger problems at Chrysler Europe (Simca’s parent company). Chrysler finally sold its European arm to PSA in 1978, which was then rebranded as Talbot in 1979. The Matra-Simca Rancho became the Talbot Matra Rancho. Production continued until 1984, and 57,792 were made. During its life, the Rancho was offered in several versions. Apart from the basic Rancho, there was the Grand Raid, around 2000 of which were built, fitted with such “off-road” extras as an electric winch on the front bumper and the spare wheel mounted on the roof – as well as a limited-slip differential. The Rancho X was the upscale model, with additional standard items such as alloy wheels and metallic paint. The Découvrable model’s rear cabin consisted of an open frame with roll-down fabric covers, which could serve as an “open” car during good weather. Finally, the Rancho AS was the commercial version, with no rear seat, making it exempt from the French tax on passenger cars. Rarest of the lot was the Midnight, only 100 of which were made. Although the bodies do not rust, the mechanicals are less durable, so there are not that many survivors, down to just single figures in the UK, sadly.

 photo Picture 363_zpsymyt2nym.jpg


A vast factory stand allows Mercedes-Benz to bring along a number of their historical treasures. Such is the value of some of them that they have to be given a secured display space with barriers to protect them from the crowds.

Oldest of the cars on stand was this spectacular 500K. Developed under the codename W29, the 500K was a very grand touring car built between 1934 and 1936. First exhibited at the 1934 Berlin Motor Show. Distinguished from the 500 sedan by the “K” for Kompressor (German for supercharger), only fitted to these performance cars, it succeeded the Mercedes-Benz 380 introduced just the previous year. It offered both a larger, more powerful engine and more opulent coachwork to meet customers’ demands for greater luxury and performance. The 500K used the same independent suspension as had been introduced on the 380, with a double wishbone front axle, double-joint swing axle at the rear, and separate wheel location, coil springs and damping, a world first. Consequently, it was a more comfortable and better handling car than Mercedes’ previous S/SS/SSK generation of roadsters from the 1920s, and offered greater appeal to buyers, particularly the growing number of well-heeled female drivers of the time. Pressing the throttle pedal fully engaged the Roots supercharger, inducing the five litre straight-eight engine to produce up to 160 bhp and making the car capable of over 160 km/h (100 mph), while consuming fuel at the rate of up to 30 l/100 km (9.4 mpg) as it did so. Three different chassis and eight bodies were available for customers; the two longer “B” and “C” four-seat cabriolet versions rode on a wheelbase of 3,290 mm (129.5 in), and would later be used on other sedan and touring car models. The short “A” chassis, with a 2,980 mm (117.3 in) wheelbase, underpinned the two-seater models: the Motorway Courier, and the 1936 Special Roadster which offered the highest performance. All models featured such advanced equipment as safety glass, hydraulic brakes, and a 12-volt electrical system sufficient to bear the load of the electric windscreen wipers, door locks, and indicators. Of the combined production of the 500K (342 cars), including 29 “Special Roadsters” during its two years in production, and the later 540K (419 cars) from Sindelfingen, the deliveries were: 70 chassis without body; 28 open cars (offener Tourenwagen); 23 sedans with 4 doors (mainly 500K); 29 sedans with 2 doors (mainly 540K); 12 Coupés; 6 Autobahn cruisers (Autobahn-kurier); 58 Roadsters; 116 Cabriolets A; 296 Cabriolets B; 122 Cabriolets C.

 photo Picture 412_zpslbnytgam.jpg  photo Picture 713_zps4vyepvy6.jpg  photo Picture 415_zpstdzprk80.jpg  photo Picture 413_zpse2t8d51u.jpg  photo Picture 411_zpsehvxk0db.jpg  photo Picture 410_zpsaonflm8v.jpg

The Mercedes-Benz W194 was the Mercedes-Benz entry for the 1952 Sportscar racing season, its first after World War II. Powered by a 3.0 litre SOHC straight-6, it ran off an impressive string of victories that included 24 Hours of Le Mans, Bern-Bremgarten, the Eifelrennen at Nürburgring, and Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana. Only ten W194s were made. It was succeeded by the Mercedes-Benz W196 on the track and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR on the road racing circuit. This led to the iconic Mercedes 300 SL W198 Gullwing road car in 1954. The racing W194 300 SL was built around a mere 140-150 pound welded aluminium tube spaceframe chassis to offset the relatively underpowered M194 engine.Designed by Daimler-Benz’s chief developing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the metal skeleton saved weight while still providing a high level of strength. Since it enveloped the passenger compartment traditional doors were impossible, giving birth to the model’s distinctive gull-wing arrangement. Like the production 300 SL “Gullwing” it birthed, the W194 borrowed its overhead cam straight 6 M194 engine from the regular four-door 300 (W189 “Adenauer”) luxury tourer introduced in 1951, with triple two-barrel Solex carburettors from the exclusive 300 S (W188). Designed with an innovative diagonal ihead (that allowed for larger intake and exhaust valves) and canted at a fifty-degree angle to the right to fit under the W194’s much lower bonnet line, it produced 175 hp in racing trim, considerably up from the 300s’ 150 bhp. Maximum torque was 207 Nm (153 lb/ft). Top speed was approximately 160 mph (257 km/h). Aerodynamics played an important role in the 2497 lb car’s speed. Unlike many cars of the 1950s, steering was relatively precise and the four-wheel independent suspension allowed for a reasonably comfortable ride and markedly better overall handling. However, the rear swing axle, jointed only at the differential, not at the wheels themselves, could be treacherous at high speeds or on imperfect roads due to extreme changes in camber. The enormous fuel tank capacity also caused a considerable difference in handling depending on the quantity of fuel on board. In 1952, the W194 scored overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in Bern-Bremgarten, in the sportscar race of the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, and in Mexico’s Carrera Panamericana. It also managed second and fourth places at its first outing, the Mille Miglia in 1952 and won the Rally Stella Alpina in 1955 in its last edition. These successes, especially those on the high speed open road races, were rather surprising as the W194 engine was fitted only with carburettors, producing 175 bhp, which was not only less than the competing cars by Ferrari and Jaguar, but also less than the 300 SL road car developed from it and introduced 1954. Low weight and low aerodynamic drag made the W194 fast enough to be competitive in endurance races. This works car finished fourth in the Mille Miglia with Rudolf Caracciola and was second in the Carrera Panamerica with Hermann Lang in 1952.

 photo Picture 414_zpsxgf95959.jpg  photo Picture 417_zps1jtc4w0i.jpg  photo Picture 416_zpscu1dfovy.jpg  photo Picture 418_zps8uu2z5q7.jpg

Displayed alongside it was the dramatic Wankel rotary engined glass-fibre bodied CIII of 1970. The C111 was a series of experimental automobiles produced by Mercedes-Benz in the 1960s and 1970s. The company was experimenting with new engine technologies, including Wankel engines, diesel engines, and turbochargers, and used the basic C111 platform as a testbed. Other experimental features included multi-link rear suspension, gullwing doors and a luxurious interior with leather trim and air conditioning. The first version of the C111 was completed in 1969. The car used a fibreglass body shell and with a mid-mounted three-rotor direct fuel injected Wankel engine (code named M950F). The next C111 appeared in 1970. It used a four-rotor engine producing 370 hp. The car reportedly could reach a speed of 290 km/h (180 mph). The company decided not to adopt the Wankel engine and turned to diesel experiments for the second and third C111s. The C111-IID produced 190 horsepower and was based on the 240D 3.0 W115 model OM617 engine. The C111-III was powered by a 230 horsepower @ 4,500rpm straight-five OM617 turbodiesel which broke nine diesel and gas speed records. With more aerodynamic bodywork that gave it an air drag coefficient of .191, the C111 eventually reached 200 mph at Nardò in 1978, and averaged [email protected] 195.4 mph over a 12-hour cruise. A later 500 hp 4.8 litre twin KKK-turbocharged V8 version set another record, with an average lap-speed of 403.78 km/h (250.958 mph). It was achieved by Hans Leibold in 1 minute, 56.67 seconds on May 5, 1979.

 photo Picture 408_zpssjvw3rey.jpg  photo Picture 409_zpsfekv1fuh.jpg  photo Picture 407_zpsygmwpzct.jpg  photo Picture 626_zps7hdhrxkt.jpg

In 1978, Mercedes-Benz made the decision to expand its efforts in rally competition. But its choice of platform to enter into the World Rally Championship was, to say the least, unique. At the time, the WRC was dominated by small saloons like the Fiat 131 Abarth and Ford Escort RS1800 — cars that finished first and second in the championship that year. Mercedes-Benz took a decidedly different route, as it had no small sporty sedan. What it did have was a large, heavy and expensive personal luxury coupe in the C107 SLC. While the choice would seem unnatural, under the direction of Erich Waxenberger the premier 450SLC was prepared and developed over the next few seasons into a rally winner. For the 1978 rally season, Mercedes-Benz entered what were effectively production 450SLCs into a few world rally events. These cars carried the standard M117 4.5-liter V8 — a single overhead cam, 16-valve 90-degree bank producing 227 bhp. The transmission was unusual for a rally car, as they carried the standard production 722.0 hydraulically controlled three-speed automatic. With little else than some skid plates, extra lights and roll cage protection fitted, these cars were entered into the gruelling Vuelta a la América del Sud — a 30,000 km lap of South America. Matched up against those Fiats, Fords and Africa-conquering Peugeots, the luxurious automatic Mercedes-Benz coupes seems to be at a distinct disadvantage. However, at the hands of Andrew Cowan, who would later go on to start Mitsubishi’s Ralliart race team, the big coupe won the event. Co-driving in Timo Mäkinen’s 450SLC was none other than Jean Todt, future Ferrari F1 director and FIA President. Video exists of the cars competing in 1978. While the standard 450SLC had proved unexpectedly triumphant, Mercedes-Benz was hard at work on a much improved model. Alongside the production M117 4.5s, Mercedes-Benz decided to up the ante on the rally effort with the introduction of the increased-capacity 5.0 M117. Now the the suffix E50, power increased to a reported 290-310, and the 5.0 ran in FIA Group 4 competition for the 1979, 1980 and (briefly) 1981 seasons. In order to help curb the substantial weight of the 107 chassis, aluminium doors, hood and trunk lid were produced for the 5.0. The 5.0s gained large black flares, some housing wider BBS RA light alloy wheels, instead of the standard Bundt alloys found on early cars. To order to conform to FIA Group 4 rules, the engine was destroked from the production 5,025 cc to 4,973 cc. Unlike previous Mercedes V8 blocks, this one was all aluminium to help reduce weight. Mercedes-Benz had to homologate the car in order to race, so the company created the C107.026. Ultimately, the company built 2,769 examples of the 450SLC and later 500SLC, but for 1978 the rules necessitated the production of at least 400 examples. These were obviously detuned compared to the race cars, but still packed a respectable 240 horsepower. As with the race cars, they featured aluminium bodywork to reduce weight. The automaker also had spoilers fitted, which was judged by some to be a bit shocking for the typical flagship Mercedes-Benz buyer of the time. (The owner could opt out of the spoiler, but doing so would also remove the aluminium bootlid and fit a standard steel unit in its place.) Mercedes-Benz claimed the use of aluminium cut 125 pounds off the curb weight. At the hands of Hannu Mikkola, the 450SLC 5.0 would win the Rallye Côte d’Ivoire and came second in the Safari Rally. Mikkola would ultimately place second in the World Rally Driver’s Championship for 1979, in part thanks to the 450SLC 5.0, and the 5.0 would continue to place in world rally events in 1980, finishing third at Rally Safari in the hands of Vic Preston, Jr. For the 1980 and 1981 seasons, Waxenberger once again turned the wick up on the C107. Now called the 500SLC, the C107 was moved to Group 2 – Touring Cars, as opposed to the Group 4 “Special Touring Cars”. This was allowed because over 1,000 units had been produced. The M117 was now over 300 hp, with Mercedes-Benz claiming an output of 329 hp by the end of the run. The biggest change between the 450SLC 5.0 and the 500SLC was the switch from the three-speed automatic used in ’78 and ’79 to a new four-speed unit. It also coincided with a nomenclature change at Mercedes-Benz, resulting in a 5.0 V8 for normal series production. However, while it shared the same M117 engine designation as the 450SLC 5.0, the internal structure of the engine was changed for larger-scale production. The 500SLC went 1-2 at the 1980 Bandama (Ivory Coast) Rally with Scandanavians Björn Waldegård and Jorge Recalde, and with Mikkola driving finished second at the Rally Codasur (Argentina) and third in New Zealand. These results contributed to a fourth-place overall standing for the SLC in the WRC. In the ultimate development of the 107 chassis, Waxenberger proposed a move to the much shorter (and lighter) SL platform. With the +2 taken out of the equation, the shorter wheelbase allowed for better response in cornering. As with the SLC, the 500SL carried a 722.2 four-speed automatic. To lighten the car, the windows were all replaced with lexan, while the roll cage material was changed to aluminium. A large, high-rise handbrake was fitted in front of the plastic Recaro racing seats to help rotate the big Benz. That rotation would be assisted by new drivers Walter Röhrl (the standing WRC Driver’s Champion that year) and Ari Vatanen for the 1981 season, which looked like it had the potential to be dominated by the big converted convertible. The only problem was funding. Daimler-Benz’s board called on Waxenberger to justify the budget, then promised only to deliver enough funds to run one car. Waxenberger, in a bold move, said he’d rather not run at all than only run one car and left the meeting. His wish was granted; funding to the rally program was cut for the 1981 season, leaving the ultimate development of the 500SL stillborn. The company hasn’t forgotten the project, though, as the 500SL rally has recently appeared in a promotional video of the bellowing convertible rally car sliding through the desert, and one of the four prototypes was crashed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with Roland Asch at the wheel during a demonstration run. In what may be an even more unusual twist of the racing heritage of the SLC, in 1978 Affalterbach-based AMG Motorenbau GmbH entered a variant of the 450 into the European Touring Car Championship in Group 4 (and later, Group 2). Competing against the likes of the Alpina-built BMW 635CSi, Luigi BMW 3.0CSLs, Zakspeed Ford Escorts, Speiss Volkswagen Sciroccos, Eggenberger-run 320is and some trick Audi 80 GTE full works cars, the privateer entrant seemed out of place and outclassed. In short, all of them were lighter, but not more powerful. AMG took the standard 4,520 cc M117 V8 and managed to massage it to a claimed 390 horsepower for the 1980 season. Massive 11-inch wide BBS magnesium wheels were barely contained under the hugely custom flared arches, and the entire chassis was lowered several inches. However, as no manual transmission had been homologated with the 450SLC, AMG was forced to retain the standard 722 three-speed automatic! This left the heavy Mercedes again at a disadvantage to the much lighter manual Audi, BMW and Mazda entrants. However, the AMG SLC once again showed the legendary Mercedes-Benz legacy for engineering prowess on its way out. At the Nürburgring Nore in June 1980, the SLC triumphed — a four-hour war of attrition saw the sole Mercedes-Benz (in the hands of Clemens Schickentanz and Jörg Denzel) emerge as the winner. It was the only time a C107 would win in the European Touring Car Championship, but it pointed the tri-star towards a return to circuit racing and an end to its self-imposed ban following the 1955 Le Mans crash.

 photo Picture 406_zpshq88h0ei.jpg  photo Picture 405_zpsygj513me.jpg

Completing the factory’s stand were two brand new cars, the Estate and Coupe versions of the latest E Class family, and these proved popular with visitors, as you could actually get in them and have a good look from the driver’s seat.

 photo Picture 624_zpsijvjmmpx.jpg  photo Picture 625_zpsj4lem69c.jpg  photo Picture 712_zps6fnicojs.jpg  photo Picture 711_zpseaj9m78s.jpg  photo Picture 424_zps1ydlif52.jpg

Elsewhere there were plenty more cars bearing the Three Pointed Star logo. Most unusual of these was this rear-engined 130H. From 1931 to 1939, Daimler-Benz AG produced three cars (Mercedes-Benz 130, 150 and 170 H) with rear engine as well as a few prototypes. The production numbers remained quite low for each of these models, especially compared to the production of classical front-engine Mercedes cars. At the beginning of the 1930s, inspired by modern streamlined shapes, there were attempts to move car engines from the forward compartment to the rear of the car. Such a move allows a reduction in the volume of the front compartment. At the same time, the voluminous rear provides a lot of space above and behind the rear axle. Moreover, when engines are rear mounted, the drive shaft is eliminated. The most famous such development was with the 1930s Tatra cars under the leadership of Hans Ledwinka. In 1930, Daimler-Benz entrusted Hans Nibel with the development of a small rear-engined car, starting from the same principles. In 1931, working with Max Wagner, the type W17 or 120(H) was created, a two-door, equipped with four seats, vertical front and rear wheel arches, and a four-cylinder boxer engine in the rear with a displacement of 1200 cc and a power of 25 bhp. There were also attempts with transverse four-cylinder inline engines. In 1932/1933 Mercedes built a prototype with a front similar to the later VW Beetle, and a longer tail. The front wheel of the type W25 D or 175 is slanted or tilted backwards, the tail fin attached to the middle of the hood divides the oval rear window, so it anticipated the small oval two piece rear window of the Beetle known as “pretzel form”. The “D” referred to the three-cylinder diesel engine OM 134 with an output of 30 bhp, but due to high noise level, this vehicle was again rejected. From this type, 12 test cars were assembled. The Mercedes-Benz 130H was a low-production automobile built in Germany in the 1930s. It was presented in February 1934 at the Berlin Car Show. Conceived by Hans Nibel, chief engineer of Mercedes Benz, the 130H was inspired by Edmund Rumpler’s Tropfenwagen. It followed on the Rumpler-chassis Tropfenwagen racers, which ran between 1923 and 1926. Created in 1931 by Nibel, it had the 1.3 litre sidevalve four-cylinder engine mounted at the back, hence the “H”, from German heck (rear), With the fan between the rear coil springs, it drove a transmission with three forward speeds, plus a semi-automatic overdrive which did not require the use of a clutch. (A similar idea was adopted by Cord for the abortive 810 in 1935.) The backbone chassis owed something to Hans Ledwinka, and suspension was independent at all four corners. Daimler-Benz put the 130H in production in 1934. Due to its suspension, handling proved poor, although perfectly adequate on German roads at the time, while its ride quality was superior to anything in Germany. The motor had a power of 26 PS and was able to propel the small two-door sedan at a speed of 92 km/h. The synchronised four-speed gearbox (which would be called later 3 + E by VW) is accommodated in front of the rear axle, the balance being provided by coil springs. The front axle was equipped with two transverse leaf springs. The car was sold as a sedan, an open-top sedan or a convertible (with and without cabrio cover and without side windows), each being fitted with two doors. Due to its extreme unbalance (⅔ of the mass on the rear axle), the car had very awkward handling. Because of the low sales volume, the model was discontinued in 1936.

 photo Picture 347_zpsv39nkisk.jpg  photo Picture 346_zpssgooeqnv.jpg  photo Picture 345_zpszigwwyij.jpg

Several more pre-war Mercedes were on offer on dealer stands, with a 500K joined by another 500 model and the earlier SS Sports Tourer with body by the American coachbuilder Fernandez and Darin.

 photo Picture 751_zpskpdximrz.jpg

Axel Schuette were offering this 1926 Mercedes Benz 630K supercharged short chassis. Initially known as the Mercedes 24/100/140 PS, this was a large luxury car designed by Ferdinand Porsche and introduced by Daimler in 1924. Production continued until 1929 by which time Daimler had merged with Benz & Cie as a result of which the car’s name changed to Mercedes Benz Typ 630.

 photo Picture 750_zpswynxozle.jpg

In 1927, Mercedes Benz introduced a new high performance sports car, the S which was directly suitable for racing events. This flat sporty silhouette was supported by the fact that the S and the SSK had a lower radiator grille compared to the K and the SS . At the request of the Mercedes Benz New York distributor, the car got the 2 seater torpedo sports cabriolet body named “Cannes” by Saoutchik . Approximately 8 Mercedes Benz 680S models received the two seats version of the “Cannes” body by Saoutchik.

 photo Picture 734_zpsmxtoc7u8.jpg

There were a couple of examples of the W188 300S model here on dealer stands. This was a two-door luxury sports tourer produced between 1951 and 1958. The company’s most expensive and exclusive automobiles, the elegant, hand-built 300 S (1951-1954) and its successor 300 Sc (1955-1958) were the pinnacle of the Mercedes line of their era. The pair’s conservative styling belied their technological advances, sharing numerous design innovations and mechanical components with the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”, including engine, suspension, and chassis. The hand-built two-door 300 S (W188) was Mercedes-Benz’s top-end vehicle on its introduction at the Paris Salon in October 1951. It was available as a 2-seat roadster, 2+2 coupé, and cabriolet (with landau bars, officially Cabriolet A). Although mechanically similar to the contemporary 300 (W186), the additional craftsmanship, visual elegance, and 50% higher price tag elevated the W188 to the apex of its era’s luxury cars. The 300 S was fitted with a high-performance version of the W186’s 2996 cc overhead cam, aluminium head M189 straight-6. Designed to give reliable service under prolonged hard use, the engine featured deep water jackets, an innovative diagonal head-to-block joint that allowed for oversized intake and exhaust valves, thermostatically controlled oil cooling, copper-lead bearings, and a hardened crankshaft. Triple Solex carburettors and 7.8:1 compression and raised maximum output to 150 hp at 5000 rpm. From July 1952 to August 1955, a total of 216 Coupés, 203 Cabriolet As, and 141 Roadsters were produced. The 300 SC appeared in 1955, featuring upgrades to both its engine and suspension. Following the high-performance 300SL Gullwing’s lead a year earlier, the SC’s inline-six received a version of its mechanical direct fuel-injection, which delivered a slightly detuned 173 hp at 5400 rpm. Mercedes-Benz’s “low-pivot” independent suspension was fitted in the rear. Only a pair of chrome strips on either side of the hood visually distinguished it from its precursor. Prices rose to DM 36,500, and 98 Coupés, 49 Cabriolet As, and 53 Roadsters were built through April 1958.

 photo Picture 064_zpsd3e99ats.jpg  photo Picture 061_zpsuqbomno1.jpg  photo Picture 745_zpsymqnqcgt.jpg

As always seems to be the case, there were lots of the 300SL Gullwing and the later open-topped Roadster model here across a variety of dealer stands. Known under development as the W198, the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer was the fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carburettor overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194. The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light) – was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts. Immediately successful and today iconic, the 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel injection, and world’s fastest top speed. Even with the upward opening doors, the 300 SL had an unusually high sill, making entry and exit from the car’s cockpit problematic. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column was added to improve driver access. The 300 SL’s main body was steel, with aluminium bonnet, doors and boot lid. It could also be ordered with an 80 kg (180 lb) saving all-aluminium outer skin at tremendous added cost; just 29 were made. Like the W194, the 300 SL borrowed its 3.0 litre overhead cam straight-6 from the regular four-door 300 (W186 “Adenauer”) luxury tourer introduced in 1951. Featuring an innovative diagonal aluminium head that allowed for larger intake and exhaust valves, it was canted to the right at forty-five-degrees to fit under the SL’s considerably lower bonnet line. In place of the W194’s triple two-barrel Solex carburettors, a groundbreaking Bosch mechanical direct fuel injection was installed, boosting power almost 25% over the Grand Prix car’s. Derived from the DB 601 V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter of World War II, it raised output from 175 hp to 215 hp, almost double that of the original Type 300 sedan’s 115 hp. An optional, even more powerful version, with radical camshaft developed 240 hp @ 6100 rpm and a maximum torque of 217 lb⋅ft @ 4800 rpm, but was rough for city use. The result was a top speed of up to 260 km/h (160 mph) depending on gear ratio and drag, making the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time. However, unlike today’s electrically powered fuel injection systems, the 300 SL’s mechanical fuel pump would continue to inject gasoline into the engine during the interval between shutting off the ignition and the engine’s coming to a stop; this unburned gasoline washed lubricating oil from the cylinder walls, which not only left them unprotected in affected areas during start-up but would dilute the engine’s entire oil supply if the car was not driven hard or long enough to reach a sufficient temperature to evaporate the fuel out of the oil. Exacerbating the problem was the engine’s large racing-oriented oil cooler and enormous 10 litre oil capacity, which virtually guaranteed the oil would not get hot enough. In practice, many owners would block off airflow through the oil cooler and stick rigidly to the appropriately low 1,000 mile recommended oil change interval. An auxiliary fuel pump provided additional fuel for extended high speed operation or cold starts; overuse would also lead to dilution of the oil., Clutch operation was initially very heavy, remedied by an improved clutch arm helper spring which reduced pedal force. From March 1963 to the end of production later that year, a light alloy crankcase was used on a total of 209 vehicles. Aerodynamics played an important role in the car’s speed, with Mercedes-Benz engineers placing horizontal “eyebrows” over the wheel openings to reduce drag. Unlike many cars of the 1950s, steering was relatively precise and the four-wheel independent suspension allowed for a reasonably comfortable ride and markedly better overall handling. However, the rear swing axle, jointed only at the differential, not at the wheels themselves, could be treacherous at high speeds or on imperfect roads due to extreme changes in camber. The enormous fuel tank capacity also caused a considerable difference in handling depending on the quantity of fuel on board. More than 80% of the vehicle’s total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz widely successful outside its home market and thoroughly validating Hoffman’s prediction. The 300 SL is credited with changing the company’s image in America from a manufacturer of solid but staid luxury automobiles to one capable of rendering high-performance sports cars. It should be noted initial sales were sluggish due to many things, of which the price was one. Initial prices were about $6,400, a new Chevrolet Bel-Air could be purchased for $1,700 in the same year. Then there were few mechanics, even at the dealers, who understood the fuel injection system enough to do repairs. Nonetheless, 1400 were built by 1957, at which point Mercedes introduced a roadster version which was broadly similar, but with conventional doors. It was produced until 1963, and achieved sales of 1858 units.

 photo Picture 419_zpsrx8mj116.jpg  photo Picture 507_zps7ypw8tin.jpg  photo Picture 506_zpsq51zzx6e.jpg  photo Picture 505_zpsdxnlomix.jpg  photo Picture 423_zpsh1hwmqnz.jpg  photo Picture 422_zpsihsw3hdx.jpg  photo Picture 420_zps1yk8uha8.jpg  photo Picture 778_zpse9tf9f6j.jpg  photo Picture 516_zpsukk1gbjx.jpg  photo Picture 758_zpszf32nnwo.jpg  photo Picture 753_zpsp3gulcrb.jpg  photo Picture 746_zpsssf4yvxm.jpg

Also here was the visually quite similar 190 SL (W121). First shown in prototype at the 1954 New York Auto Show, and was available with an optional removable hardtop, the 190 SL presented an attractive, more affordable alternative to the exclusive Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, sharing its basic styling, engineering, detailing, and fully independent suspension. Both cars had double wishbones in front and swing axles at the rear. Instead of the 300 SL’s expensive purpose-built W198 tubular spaceframe the 190 SL rode on a shortened monocoque R121 platform modified from the W121 small saloon. The 190 SL was powered by a new, slightly oversquare 105 PS Type M121 BII 1.9 L straight-four SOHC engine. Based on the 300 SL’s straight six, it had an unchanged 85 mm bore and 4.3 mm reduced 83.6 mm stroke, was fitted with twin-choke dual Solex carburettors, and produced 120 hp. In detuned form, it was later used in the W120 180 and W121 190 models. The car was available either as a soft-top convertible (initially priced at DM 16,500/US$ 3,998) or with removable hardtop (DM 17,650/$ 4,295). A small third-passenger transverse seat was optional. During its first years the 190 SL was available as a sports-racing model with small perspex windscreen and spartan one-piece leather covered bucket seats and aluminium doors. In 1959, the hardtop’s rear window was enlarged. Both the 190 SL and the 300 SL were replaced by the Mercedes-Benz 230SL in 1963.

 photo Picture 421_zps5afarori.jpg  photo Picture 274_zpsqtp8y5gf.jpg

Replacement for this were the “Pagoda” series of W113 cars. By 1955, Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Prof. Fritz Nallinger and his team held no illusions regarding the 190 SL’s lack of performance, while the high price tag of the legendary 300 SL supercar kept it elusive for all but the most affluent buyers. Thus Mercedes-Benz started evolving the 190 SL on a new platform, model code W127, with a fuel-injected 2.2 litre M127 inline-six engine, internally denoted as 220SL. Encouraged by positive test results, Nallinger proposed that the 220SL be placed in the Mercedes-Benz program, with production commencing in July 1957. However, while technical difficulties kept postponing the production start of the W127, the emerging new S-Class W112 platform introduced novel body manufacturing technology altogether. So in 1960, Nallinger eventually proposed to develop a completely new 220SL design, based on the “fintail” W 111 sedan platform with its chassis shortened by 11.8 in, and technology from the W112. This led to the W113 platform, with an improved fuel-injected 2.3 litre M127 inline-six engine and the distinctive “pagoda” hardtop roof, designated as 230 SL. The 230 SL made its debut at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, where Nallinger introduced it as follows: “It was our aim to create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance, which despite its sports characteristics, provides a very high degree of travelling comfort”. The W113 was the first sports car with a “safety body,” based on Bela Barényi’s extensive work on vehicle safety: It had a rigid passenger cell and designated crumple zones with impact-absorbing front and rear sections built into the vehicle structure. The interior was “rounded,” with all hard corners and edges removed, as in the W111 sedan. Production of the 230 SL commenced in June 1963 and ended on 5 January 1967. Its chassis was based on the W 111 sedan platform, with a reduced wheelbase by 11.8 in, recirculating ball steering (with optional power steering), double wishbone front suspension and an independent single-joint, low-pivot swing rear-axle with transverse compensator spring. The dual-circuit brake system had front disc brakes and power-assisted rear drum brakes. The 230 SL was offered with a 4-speed manual transmission, or an optional, very responsive fluid coupled (no torque converter) 4-speed automatic transmission, which was popular for US models. From May 1966, the ZF S5-20 5-speed manual transmission was available as an additional option, which was particularly popular in Italy. The 2,308 cc M127.II inline-six engine with 150 hp and 145 lb/ft torque was based on Mercedes-Benz’ venerable M180 inline-six with four main bearings and mechanical Bosch multi-port fuel injection. Mercedes-Benz made a number of modifications to boost its power, including increasing displacement from 2,197 cc, and using a completely new cylinder head with a higher compression ratio (9.3 vs. 8.7), enlarged valves and a modified camshaft. A fuel injection pump with six plungers instead of two was fitted, which allowed placing the nozzles in the cylinder head and “shooting” the fuel through the intake manifold and open valves directly into the combustion chambers. An optional oil-water heat exchanger was also available. Of the 19,831 230 SLs produced, less than a quarter were sold in the US. Looking identical, the 250 SL was introduced at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show. Production had already commenced in December 1966 and ended in January 1968. The short one-year production run makes the 250 SL the rarest of the W113 series cars. The 250 SL retained the stiffer suspension and sportier feel of the early SLs, but provided improved agility with a new engine and rear disc brakes. Range also improved with increased fuel tank capacity from 65 litres to 82. Like its predecessor, the 250 SL was offered with a 4-speed automatic transmission, and 4-speed or ZF 5-speed manual transmissions. For the first time, an optional limited slip differential was also available. The main change was the use of the 2,496 cc M129.II engine with a larger stroke, increased valve ports, and seven main bearings instead of four. The nominal maximum power remained unchanged at 150 hp, but torque improved from 145 lb/ft to 159 lb/ft. Resiliency also improved with a new cooling water tank (“round top”) with increased capacity and a standard oil-water heat exchanger. The 250 SL also marked the introduction of a 2+2 body style, the so-called “California Coupé”, which had only the removable hardtop and no soft-top: a small fold-down rear bench seat replaced the soft-top well between passenger compartment and boot. It is estimated that only 10% of the 250SLs that were brought into America were California Coupes. Of the 5,196 250 SLs produced, more than a third were sold in the US.The 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production through 23 February 1971, when the W 113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R107 350 SL. The main change was an upgrade to the 2,778 cc M130 engine with 170 hp and 180 lb/ft, which finally gave the W 113 adequate power. The performance improvement was achieved by increasing bore by 4.5 mm (0.2 in), which stretched the limits of the M180 block, and required pairwise cylinder casts without cooling water passages. This mandated an oil-cooler, which was fitted vertically next to the radiator. Each engine was now bench-tested for two hours prior to being fitted, so their power specification was guaranteed at last. The M130 marked the final evolution of Mercedes-Benz’ venerable SOHC M180 inline-six, before it was superseded by the entirely new DOHC M110 inline-six introduced with R107 1974 European 280 SL models. For some time, it was also used in the W 109 300 S-Class, where it retired the expensive 3 liter M189 alloy inline-six. Over the years, the W 113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer, and US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speed, which was ordered only 882 times and thus is a highly sought-after original option today. In Europe, manual transmissions without air conditioning were still the predominant choice. Of the 23,885 280 SLs produced, more than half were sold in the US.

 photo Picture 517_zpshefcqz5l.jpg

Also from the 1960s, was this W111 280SE Convertible. W111 was a chassis code given to a range of Mercedes’ vehicles produced between 1959 and 1971, including 4-door sedans (1959-1968) and 2-door coupes and cabriolets (1961 to 1971). Introduced as inline 6-cylinder cars with 2.2-litre engines, the W111 spawned a large number of variants: entry-level vehicles sharing the chassis and bodies but with 4-cylinder engines were designated the W110, and a luxury version with the same body but the fuel-injected 3-litre M189 6-cylinder engine was designated the W112. The Saloons were first to appear., at the Frankfurt Show in 1959. These were the “Fin Tail” cars, that replaced the Ponton range of models. An elegant 2 door Coupe followed a few months later, with production starting in the autumn of 1960 and a reveal in Stuttgart the following February for the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The convertible followed at the Frankfurt Auto Show a few months later. It was almost identical to the coupe, with the soft-top roof folded into a recess behind the rear seat and covered by a tightly fitting leather “boot” in the same colour as the seats. Unlike the previous generation of two-door Ponton series, there was initially only one model for the 2-door vehicle, the 220SE. An almost identical looking model, called the 300SE, came out in 1962. This was conceived to replace the older W187 300S car, but apart from having the Mercedes code of W112 and a 6 cylinder engine, it was very similar to the 220SE cars. Mercedes then continued to update the car with new engines, launching the car as the six cylinder 280 SE as part of the refresh of the range. The final derivative was the 280SE 3.5 offered from August 1969 with the new 200 bhp 3.5 litre V8 engine. In total, 7456 Convertibles were made.

 photo Picture 515_zpst4nrs12n.jpg  photo Picture 740_zpssval1iho.jpg

This is a CLK GTR AMG, the W297, and a sports car and race car produced by Mercedes-AMG, the performance and motorsports arm of Mercedes-Benz. Intended for racing in the new FIA GT Championship series in 1997, the CLK GTR was designed primarily as a race car, with the road cars necessary in order to meet homologation standards being secondary in the car’s design. Thus the limited production of road-going cars are considered racing cars for the road. After competing successfully in 1997, the race car was modified in 1998 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and renamed the CLK LM. Following the construction of the CLK LM and the CLK GTR road cars, the project would end in 1999 by being replaced by the Mercedes-Benz CLR Le Mans prototype. Even though the FIA GT1 class was cancelled in 1999, Mercedes was obliged to finally deliver the required minimum 25 road cars they had promised as per FIA rules. An initial road car was built in 1997 in order to meet initial FIA requirements, but this car was retained by Mercedes. For the other road cars, each was built by AMG at the Affalterbach factory between the winter of 1998 and the summer of 1999 and differed only slightly from the race car. Driver comfort and refinements were at a minimum in the construction of the road cars as Mercedes-Benz wished to not only offer customers a true race car, but also to attempt to keep the price low. The interior was upholstered in leather and an air conditioning system was offered. Two small storage lockers were also built underneath each upward swinging door. Traction control was also added for driver safety. The road car retained much of the design of the original CLK GTR instead of the CLK LM, including the V12 engine and many design elements. One key difference was the rear wing, which was a hoop-style integrated wing in place of the fixed separate racing wing on the road car. The road car shared the instrumentation, front grille, rear lights and the quad-headlamps with the Mercedes-Benz CLK.
Ilmor Engineering provided enhancements to the engine, increasing displacement from 5,987 cc to 6,898 cc, once stroked up to 92.4 mm (3.64 in). This increase in displacement coupled with the removal of an air restrictor allowed for a maximum power output of 612 PS at 6,800 rpm and torque of 775 Nm (572 lb/ft) at 5,250 rpm. Mercedes-AMG claimed a 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) acceleration time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 344 km/h (214 mph). The Guinness Book of World Records recorded the CLK GTR as the most expensive production car ever built at the time, with a price of US$1,547,620. Two road car prototypes were manufactured and do not have a numbered plaque that the subsequent production cars have on the door sills and centre console respectively. These prototypes have a plaque with the “Limited Edition” label. The second prototype (VIN WDBA2973971Y000002) was auctioned in 2003 by Bonhams for 800,000 Euros. Twenty coupés were made separate from the pre-production cars and each have a serial number labelled 01/25 through 20/25. No coupés were manufactured with the numbers 21/25 through 25/25. Instead, these numbers represented the initially planned five roadsters (an additional sixth roadster was made at the end of production run). While most of the coupes are finished in silver, chassis #19 has a dark blue paint scheme while #20 has a black paint scheme. Chassis #17 was formerly painted red but was repainted in silver when sold by Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale. Prototype #1 and production cars bearing chassis number #05, #07, and #13 have tartan interiors. Two of the 26 cars produced were equipped with RHD steering: one coupé (chassis number #13, silver exterior/tartan interior) and one roadster (chassis number #2, dark silver exterior/magenta interior). These were constructed for Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei. Both RHD cars were auctioned on 28 October 2009 by RM Auctions in London.[16] The roadster was sold for £616,000 (US$973,834) and the coupe for £522,500 (US$824,609). After the completion of the 20 original CLK GTR coupés, AMG’s specialist group H.W.A., who had assisted in the construction of the CLK GTRs, began construction of a roadster version of the CLK GTR. Built either by modifying an existing CLK GTR or by building a new car from spare chassis and parts[clarification needed], these cars were modified with the removal of their roofs as well as a reconstruction of their engine covers. Additionally, the rear wing was replaced by a separate black wing, close to the one on the racing version of the CLK GTR and the wing mirrors were mounted on the doors instead of the front fenders. Further, the Roadster is recognised by its different front grille, which has an integrated large three-pointed star instead of a small version above it. Two rollbars integrated in the cockpit headrests were used not only for structural integrity, but also for rollover protection. The roadster was 105 kg (231 lb) heavier than the coupé. A total of 6 CLK GTR Roadsters were built by the company.

 photo Picture 744_zpswunkatcr.jpg  photo Picture 743_zpsw8npqhdr.jpg


Shown on the Classic & Sports Car stand was this EX234 prototype. The EX234 project was instigated in early 1964 when the Abingdon engineering team’s thoughts turned to the issue of revising the MGB in order to give it a degree of chassis civility. The story behind the car was simple really; there was a palpable level of disappointment with the MGB, not so much for its styling or performance, but with the suspension system. The trouble was that the ‘B was designed around an independently sprung rear end but, due to time and cost factors, this arrangement could not be implemented. This meant that the familiar MGB live rear axle arrangement was employed. Effective it might have been, sophisticated, it was not, and many MG testers felt that the ‘B’s road manners had suffered accordingly. Given that BMC’s product range was moving – wholescale – towards Hydrolastic, it was a logical conclusion that any independently sprung MG sports car would need to use this layout, in order to achieve economies of scale. The decision was made, therefore, to go down this route – and using the Austin Gipsy’s final drive layout along with the now-familiar Hydrolastic layout of the ADO16. It was around this time that the decision was taken to drop the idea of updating the MGB’s suspension, but employ the layout in a new body. Now that EX234 could be considered an entirely new car, the next step was to expand the project’s remit and, if a range of engines could be offered (i.e., the A-Series as well as the B-Series), it could also be pressed into service as a Midget replacement, as well as a ‘B replacement. Pininfarina was duly tasked with producing new bodywork and, with its characteristic efficiency, they put together a tidy looking car within a few short months. The final Pininfarina EX234 was somewhat more compact looking than the MGB, and that was no doubt a decision taken purposefully in order to bridge the gap between the Midget and its larger brother. The EX234 that came back from Italy was A-Series powered and, according to David Knowles’ book, MG The Untold Story, there was never any serious work undertaken on a 1.8-litre version of the car. Still, the A-Series-powered, Hydrolastic-suspended sports car had a great deal of potential and, when finished, it acquitted itself very well with everyone who drove the car. Knowles’ book relates this: ‘Roy Brocklehurst took the EX234 prototype to Silverstone where, according to Jim Stimson, it was driven by a few trusted experts… including John Surtees. Roy said that they told him that they thought the roadholding was as good as any car they had driven.’ Certainly that indicates – yet again – the fundamental excellence of Alex Moulton’s Hydrolastic system. In the end, the EX234 became a victim of other – more pressing – priorities within the company. The MGB and Midget were still selling well, especially in the USA, and as a result the development of the EX234 was put on the back-burner. By the time of the BMC-Leyland merger in 1968, the EX234 had pretty much gone the way of the dodo – which is a real shame, given its dynamic excellence. However, the concept of the Hydrolastic MG did not die, as the existence of the ADO21, which came along a few years later, demonstrates. It was sold at the Bonhams auction at Goodwood on 24 June 2016 for £63,100, including premium.

 photo Picture 080_zpsuzf3go7s.jpg  photo Picture 081_zpsz0hw2o9m.jpg  photo Picture 083_zpsduwivfy7.jpg  photo Picture 082_zpssrkf2inf.jpg

Elsewhere there were only a couple of other MG models that I came across. Oldest of these was this 1938 Moncao Midget.

 photo Picture 368_zpsesvlkbt1.jpg

This is a TD, the 1950 replacement for the post-war TC, which combined the TC’s drivetrain, a modified hypoid-geared rear axle, the MG Y-type chassis, a familiar T-type style body and independent suspension using coil springs from the MG Y-type saloon. A 1950 road-test report described as “most striking” the resulting “transformation … in the comfort of riding”. Also lifted from the company’s successful 1¼-litre YA saloon for the TD was the (still highly geared) rack and pinion steering. In addition the TD featured smaller 15-inch disc type road wheels, a left-hand drive option and standard equipment bumpers and over-riders. The car was also 5 inches wider with a track of 50 inches. For the driver the “all-weather protection” was good by the standards of the time. For night driving, instrument illumination was “effective but not dazzling, by a pale green lighting effect”. There was still no fuel gauge, but the 12 gallon tank capacity gave a range between refuelling stops of about 300 miles and a green light on the facia flashed a “warning” when the fuel level was down to about 2½ gallons. In 1950 the TD MkII Competition Model was introduced, produced alongside the standard car, with a more highly tuned engine using an 8.1:1 compression ratio giving 57 bhp at 5,500 rpm. The higher compression ratio engine was offered with export markets in mind, and would not have been suitable for the UK, where thanks to the continued operation of wartime fuel restrictions, buyers were still limited to 72 octane “Pool petrol”. The TD MkII also featured twin fuel pumps, additional Andrex dampers, and a higher ratio rear-axle. Nearly 30,000 TDs had been produced, including about 1700 Mk II models, when the series ended in 1953 with all but 1656 exported, 23,488 of them to the US alone.

 photo Picture 545_zpsc5pjabgz.jpg

The other was an MGB GT V8, the fastest version of the MGB family which was launched in October 1962, this car was produced for the next 18 years, going on to become Britain’s best selling sports car. When first announced, the MGB was an innovative, modern design, with a monocoque structure instead of the traditional body-on-frame construction used on both the MGA and MG T-types and the MGB’s rival, the Triumph TR series, though components such as the brakes and suspension were developments of the earlier 1955 MGA and the B-Series engine had its origins back in 1947. The lightweight design reduced manufacturing costs while adding to overall vehicle strength, and with a 95hp 3-bearing 1798cc engine under the bonnet, performance was quite respectable with a 0–60 mph time of just over 11 seconds. The car was rather more civilised than its predecessor, with wind-up windows now fitted as standard, and a comfortable driver’s compartment offered plenty of legroom. The roadster was the first of the MGB range to be produced. The body was a pure two-seater but a small rear seat was a rare option at one point. By making better use of space the MGB was able to offer more passenger and luggage accommodation than the earlier MGA while being 3 inches shorter overall. The suspension was also softer, giving a smoother ride, and the larger engine gave a slightly higher top speed. The four-speed gearbox was an uprated version of the one used in the MGA with an optional (electrically activated) overdrive transmission. A five-bearing engine was introduced in 1964 and a number of other modifications crept into the specification. In late 1967, sufficient changes were introduced for the factory to define a Mark II model. Alterations included synchromesh on all 4 gears with revised ratios, an optional Borg-Warner automatic gearbox, a new rear axle, and an alternator in place of the dynamo with a change to a negative earth system. To accommodate the new gearboxes there were significant changes to the sheet metal in the floorpan, and a new flat-topped transmission tunnel. US market cars got a new safety padded dashboard, but the steel item continued for the rest of the world. Rostyle wheels were introduced to replace the previous pressed steel versions in 1969 and reclining seats were standardised. 1970 also saw a new front grille, recessed, in black aluminium. The more traditional-looking polished grille returned in 1973 with a black “honeycomb” insert. Further changes in 1972 were to the interior with a new fascia. To meet impact regulations, in late 1974, the chrome bumpers were replaced with new, steel-reinforced black rubber bumpers, the one at the front incorporating the grille area as well, giving a major restyling to the B’s nose, and a matching rear bumper completed the change. New US headlight height regulations also meant that the headlamps were now too low. Rather than redesign the front of the car, British Leyland raised the car’s suspension by 1-inch. This, in combination with the new, far heavier bumpers resulted in significantly poorer handling. For the 1975 model year only, the front anti-roll bar was deleted as a cost-saving measure (though still available as an option). The damage done by the British Leyland response to US legislation was partially alleviated by revisions to the suspension geometry in 1977, when a rear anti-roll bar was made standard equipment on all models. US emissions regulations also reduced horsepower. In March 1979 British Leyland started the production of black painted limited edition MGB roadsters for the US market, meant for a total of 500 examples. Due to a high demand of the limited edition model, production ended with 6682 examples. The United Kingdom received bronze painted roadsters and a silver GT model limited editions. The production run of home market limited edition MGBs was split between 421 roadsters and 579 GTs. Meanwhile, the fixed-roof MGB GT had been introduced in October 1965, and production continued until 1980, although export to the US ceased in 1974. The MGB GT sported a ground-breaking greenhouse designed by Pininfarina and launched the sporty “hatchback” style. By combining the sloping rear window with the rear deck lid, the B GT offered the utility of a station wagon while retaining the style and shape of a coupe. This new configuration was a 2+2 design with a right-angled rear bench seat and far more luggage space than in the roadster. Relatively few components differed, although the MGB GT did receive different suspension springs and anti-roll bars and a different windscreen which was more easily and inexpensively serviceable. Although acceleration of the GT was slightly slower than that of the roadster, owing to its increased weight, top speed improved by 5 mph to 105 mph because of better aerodynamics. 523,826 examples of the MGB of all model types were built, and although many of these were initially sold new in North America, a lot have been repatriated to Europe.

 photo Picture 532_zps6olybmyd.jpg


There were a couple of examples of the classic Issigonis-designed Mini here including the rare Traveller estate version.

 photo Picture 314_zpsylea9mgo.jpg

When Issigonis designed the Mini, he planned another vehicle to share the Mini’s mechanical parts, but with a more rugged body shell. This was an attempt to take a portion of the military vehicle business from Land Rover. Issigonis had previously designed the Nuffield Guppy in a failed attempt to break into that market. By 1959, BMC had working prototypes of what was codenamed “The Buckboard”, later to become the Mini Moke. These prototypes were shown to the British Army as a parachute-droppable vehicle, but poor ground clearance and a low-powered engine did not meet the most basic requirements for an off-road vehicle. Only the Royal Navy showed any interest in the Buckboard, as a vehicle for use on the decks of aircraft carriers. Early promotional material made much of the lightness of the vehicle, showing four soldiers travelling in the Moke off-road, then picking it up by its tubular bumpers and carrying it when (inevitably) its low ground-clearance proved inadequate. In a further attempt to make something for the army, a few four-wheel drive Mokes were made by the addition of a second engine and transmission at the back of the vehicle with linked clutches and gear shifters. This did nothing for the ground-clearance problems, and mechanical complications discouraged development beyond the prototype stage. This vehicle was called “The Twini” and was shown to the US Army—again with no success. Three of these vehicles were used by the Brazilian Army after being captured during the 1969 Rupununi Rebellion from Guyanese rebels, who had crossed the border into Brazil. During the Rhodesian Bush War there was an attempt by the Rhodesian Security Forces to create an Armoured Moke as an improvised fighting vehicle, which was seemingly unsuccessful. In parallel to its military past, the Mini Moke met with great success in the 1980s with a world-renowned actress and model: Brigitte Bardot. Eventually BMC gave up on the idea of selling the Moke to the military, and in 1963 the decision was made to build a civilian version, targeting farmers and light commercial applications. Several prototypes were built in 1963, one of which is still known to exist in Pinner just outside London, England. The Moke was launched onto the British market in 1964. The British Customs and Excise department decided that the Moke should be classified as a passenger car rather than as a commercial vehicle, which meant that it attracted purchase tax, reducing sales in its intended commercial market. The Moke attracted attention as a “cult” vehicle as a result of the unprecedented success of the Mini and through media exposure in the popular television series The Prisoner, as well as in the Traffic song “Berkshire Poppies”. Despite this, only about a tenth of the 14,500 British produced Mokes were sold in the United Kingdom. Mokes continued to be made in Britain until 1968. British-made Mokes were fitted with a low-end 848 cc transverse inline-four engine, detuned to use low-octane fuel. They used the same suspension, gearbox and 10 inch wheels as the standard Mini. In the initial offering, passenger seats, grab handles, heater, windscreen washer and a removable canvas top were all optional equipment delivered separately from the vehicle. Owners had to bolt these optional extras onto the vehicle themselves. The base price was GB£ 405. The “Mk I” Mokes had a single windscreen wiper and a floor-mounted headlight dip switch, and the only colour available was “Spruce Green”. In 1967, the “Mk II” Moke added a passenger-side wiper. Horn and headlight controls were moved onto the indicator stalk. These later British Mokes were also available in white. The John Player & Sons cigarette company ran a team of Mokes in autocross competitions on grass tracks through 1968. These vehicles were equipped with rollover protection and used the Mini Cooper S 1275 cc engine. Despite the lack of success in selling the Mini Moke to the British Armed Forces, an unknown number (unlikely to have been more than a handful) of examples were apparently used by Land Forces Falkland Islands during the Falklands War and its immediate aftermath; the source of these vehicles is unclear. At least one commandeered civilian Mini Moke was also used by the Argentinian Forces during their occupation of the islands. The Moke was built in Australia from 1966 to 1981 where it was originally marketed as the Morris Mini Moke and from 1973 as the Leyland Moke. Initially Australian Mokes had the same 10-inch wheels as British Mokes and Mini saloons but in 1968 these were replaced by 13-inch wheels with longer rear trailing arms, which made them more practical for gentle off-road or beach use than the British version. There was also a widening piece welded to the wheel arches, front and rear to allow for wider tyres and rims. The solid metal seats of the British Mokes were replaced with tubular-framed “deck-chair” seats. This variant started with a 998 cc engine, which was switched mid-production to 1,098 cc. In 1976, with the advent of new anti-pollution requirements (Australian Design Rule 27A), the locally manufactured 1,098 cc motor was replaced by an imported version of the 998 cc motor with an air pump and exhaust gas recirculation, which had been developed to meet UK (US?) anti-pollution requirements. For a brief period around 1971, Leyland Australia produced a variant referred to in Leyland literature as “Moke, special export”, but commonly called a “Californian”, which had a 1,275 cc engine and was fitted with side marker lamps and different rear lights to conform to US FMVSS standards. The fuel tank from the Austin Sprite or MG Midget was fitted beneath the rear load area, replacing the standard tank mounted in the left sidebox. The export Californian was readily recognisable by its roof and seats, trimmed in “Op-pop verve” black and white tiger striped vinyl or “Orange Bali” vinyl, which looked rather like a fruit salad, and was briefly marketed to the “flower power” culture in the United States. The name “Californian” and the 1275 cc motor were resurrected in 1977 for Australian market Mokes with denim seat covers, more comfortable seats (which concealed the same basic frame within), spoked wheels and complex tubular bumpers (known as “roo bars”). Australian Mokes were exported to many countries, and pioneered large-scale exports of Australian-made vehicles. Leyland Australia made much of these exports in its advertising. The use of Australian-made Mokes by the Israeli Army (complete with a machine-gun tripod mounted in the rear) attracted controversy and media attention. From 1975, a pickup version of the Moke was produced, with a 1.45 x 1.50 metre (55 x 59 in) drop-sided bed which protruded behind the back of the vehicle, and a cloth top over the cab area. At least two four-wheel drive Moke prototypes were manufactured by Leyland Australia in the late 1970s, but unlike the British version, these used just one engine. Leyland were planning to market this version, but Moke production in Australia ended in 1981 and all that remains of the project is one of the prototypes which is now owned by an enthusiast in Western Australia and a modified differential crownwheel with gearteeth cut in the side to drive the rear tailshaft, in the personal collection of a Melbourne Mini specialist. In 1977 a 1275 cc Cooper S-engined Moke (sponsored by Coca-Cola) was entered into the Singapore Airlines London-Sydney Marathon. The car was driven over 30,000 km (19,000 miles) over 30 days and finished in 35th place. As Australian Moke production wound down, manufacturing was transferred to British Leyland’s subsidiary in Portugal, which made 8,500 of the “Californian” Mokes in the Setúbal IMA plant between 1980 and 1984. In 1984 production was transferred to the Vendas Novas plant. Initially these Mokes were identical to late-model Australian Mokes; very soon, however, they were altered to use then-current British production Mini saloon components, including the standard-length Mini rear trailing arms and the 12–in wheels with modern low-profile tyres, which the saloon had acquired during the Moke’s absence from Europe. In 1990, British Leyland (by then called Rover Group) sold the “Moke” name to Cagiva, a motorcycle manufacturer in Bologna, Italy. Production continued in Portugal until 1993, when Cagiva transferred the tooling to their factory in Italy with the intention of restarting production in 1995—which they never did.

 photo Picture 449_zps0kt3llj1.jpg


In 1968, André Moynet tried his luck at Le Mans – and failed. In 1975, he returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe with refreshed prototypes and an all-female trio of racing drivers. But this was just the start of the surprises… Okay, so the United Nations proclaimed 1975 as the Year of the Woman – but that was unlikely to worry Jacky Ickx, Derek Bell and the other veterans of Le Mans. Nevertheless, on 14 June 1975, there was an unknown, blue-painted prototype in the pit lane, with a surprisingly feminine team: Christine Dacremont, Marianne Hoepfner and Michèle Mouton, the latter lady revered today as the most successful female rally driver of all time; but in 1975, her career was in its early stages. The blue race car with the orange muzzle was a looker, built by André Moynet – a man whose life history, even before 1975, read like an adventure novel. As a successful fighter pilot in the Second World War, he was decorated with military honours and, in 1968, promoted to the rank of Colonel in the French Air Force. When the War had ended, however, he had sought plentiful new challenges: as a test pilot, in politics, and as an ambitious creator of aeroplanes, boats – and eventually racing cars. As early as 1968, Moynet wanted to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his own prototypes, but only qualified as a reserve and did not make it to the starting grid. On his second attempt in 1970, his entry again failed to qualify but finally, in 1975, André Moynet was determined to succeed. His trump card was that he had managed to infect the president of Esso SAF with his sporting enthusiasm, plus he also had a new racing car… with a 2-litre, four-cylinder engine from Chrysler Simca putting out 190HP at 7,000 rpm. Simca wasn’t officially involved and the company allowed Moynet to remove the logo from the cylinder block just before the race. The five-speed gearbox was from Porsche and, more relevant than all this were the aerodynamics. The new Moynet LM75 was aiming for success. Dacremont, Hoepfner and Mouton were entered in the Group 5, under two-litre class – in direct competition with female duo Marie-Claude Beaumont and Lella Lombardi in the Alpine A441 of Elf-Switzerland. But just one and a half hours into the race, the Moynet started to suffer technical problems and, by the middle of the night, the rev-counter failed. The mechanics had no spare cable so, from then on, the drivers had to judge everything by ear – a real feat when driving on the edge, hour after hour. The legend says that André Moynet had already retired to the bar to drown his sorrows when an excited teammate ran to fetch him: the Moynet LM75 had taken the class lead, in front of the Lola T292. Contrary to all expectations, and seemingly against all odds, Moynet’s car went on to win the two-litre class. It was yet another victory in the life of Moynet. After the triumph came forgetfulness: for 35 years, the Moynet LM75 slept in a warehouse, before it was gently awakened and carefully made fit for racing. It is now for sale and was displayed on the Ascott stand.

 photo Picture 020_zpszexc5mhz.jpg


The UK’s National Motor Museum regularly takes a stand here, to promote themselves and to showcase a few of the cars from their vast collection.

This unusual vehicle is one of five bottle cars purchased by Worthington’s brewery of Burton upon Trent in the early 1920s. They were built on Daimler 30hp car chassis. Worthington merged with its neighbour Bass in 1927, the bottle cars continuing to be used for promotional work for both brands throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The original 4,962cc Knight sleeve-valve engine was replaced with a Bedford engine shortly after the Second World War. This vehicle continued to work for Bass-Worthington until 1958. Motor vehicles have been transformed into a variety of unlikely body shapes to advertise a wide range of products including pencils, tea pots, shoes, batteries and tubes of tooth paste. The first bottle car is believed to have been built in 1906.

 photo Picture 002_zpsr9verdkv.jpg  photo Picture 001_zpsisjhcne4.jpg

Completing the display were three of the wacky GN Specials, and these were taken outside for demo runs by Duncan Pittaway and Mark Walker several times during the day. Oldest of them is the 1913 GN JAP. This has a wooden chassis with an air-cooled V8 5 litre engine. JAP would apply the expertise they learned from producing engines like this to good effect in the First World War. Four of these were built but they proved too costly and the venture was abandoned, though one of them was installed in this wooden chassis-ed GN and it survives to this day. The GN Aero also has an 8 cylinder engine, a V8 Curtiss as used in the First World War. The third one is GN Thunderbug, with a 2 cylinder engine, but each cylinder is a wapping 4.2 litres. None of these cars are easy to drive.

 photo Picture 006_zpsuey2rj9n.jpg  photo Picture 005_zpsocdw3loj.jpg  photo Picture 004_zpssskjovsa.jpg  photo Picture 003_zps7yo8w3y8.jpg  photo Picture 837_zpshtkxl2jh.jpg


There were a number of models from this long extinct marque here. Nash changed their branding to Rambler in the 1950s and then to AMC in the late 1960s, but were not large enough to be able to compete with the American Big Three and gave up in the 1990s. Oldest of the models I photographed was a 1932 1093 Four Door convertible sedan and there was also a 1947 Suburban here.

 photo Picture 553_zpslwsn2zq4.jpg  photo Picture 551_zpsthllbgy5.jpg

This futuristic looking car is a 1951 Nash Ambassador. Nash-Kelvinator president George Mason believed in fiscal responsibility, but also wanted to be “a bit daring, bold, and out of the mainstream” by making “cars noticeably different from those of the mainline Big Three producers.” Nash’s Vice President of Engineering, Nils Eric Wahlberg, had access to a wind tunnel during the war and believed that future cars should take advantage of aerodynamics to achieve many benefits. The company used revenue from its wartime contracts to develop a car that was “the most streamlined form on the road” and lower by 6 inches (152 mm) than the previous designs. Mason was also a convert to build a large aerodynamically clean family car for the postwar market and even championed the design’s enclosed wheels as a bold innovative feature. The resulting car reflected aerodynamic notions of its era, with a rear half resembling the 1935 Stout Scarab. Nash continued to use the Ambassador name on its top models 1949. The separate frame chassis of the 1941-1948 Ambassador was discontinued in favor of unibody construction for the 1949 models, a design the company introduced to the mass-market in 1941 with the 600 series cars. The Ambassador series continued to have a 121 in (3,073 mm) wheelbase and the automaker claimed the new chassis design included 8,000 welds making its “1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times as rigid as conventional cars.” After Nash rolled out its Airflyte body style, Ambassador sales enjoyed a significant gain by selling just four door and two door sedans in the 1949-1951 market place. They were manufactured at the Nash Factory (Kenosha, WI), and the Nash Factory (El Segundo, CA). The Airflytes also featured fully reclining seats that could turn the car into a vehicle capable of sleeping three adults. The 1950 Ambassador became the first non-General Motors automobiles to be equipped with GM’s Hydramatic automatic transmissions (cars with the automatic transmission has Selecto-lift starting, where the driver pulled the transmission lever on the column toward themselves to engage the starter). 1949 was the first year for a one-piece curved windshield, and front door wing windows featured curved glass as well. Mason also believed that once the seller’s market following World War II ended, that Nash’s best hope for survival lay in a product range not addressed by other automakers in the United States at that time – the compact car. With sales of the large Nashes surging ahead of prewar production numbers, Mason began a small car program that would eventually emerge as the compact Nash Rambler reviving the traditional Rambler marque.

 photo Picture 552_zps3h5knxdt.jpg


Sole Opel here was a GT, a model which in its first generation debuted as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows. The production vehicle used mechanical components from the contemporary Opel Kadett B and two-door hard top bodywork by French contractor Brissonneau & Lotz. The styling of the GT was often cited as similar to the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette which went on sale in September 1967. The Opel GT was equipped with a base 1.1 L OHV inline-four engine, which produced 67 hp (SAE) at 6,000 rpm. However, most buyers chose an optional 1.9 L camshaft in head engine, which produced 102 hp (SAE) at 5200 to 5400 rpm. Some of the early 1968 models also came with a slightly higher compression “H” code cylinder head. In 1971, due to emissions regulations, Opel reduced the compression ratio of the 1.9 L engine used in the US and output fell to 83 hp (SAE). There was also a GT/J model, which was a less expensive version of the 1900-engined GT which was sold only in Europe. Standard transmission was a manual four-speed. A three-speed automatic was available with the 1.9 L engine.The Opel GT uses a steel unibody and a conventional front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout. The engine is mounted far back in the chassis to improve weight distribution. Front suspension consists of upper A-arms and a lower transverse leaf spring. A live axle and coil springs are used in the rear. The power-assisted braking system uses discs in the front, drums in the rear. Steering is unassisted. One unusual feature of the Opel GT is the operation of the pop-up headlights. They are manually operated, by way of a large lever along the centre console next to the gearlever. Unlike most pop-up headlights, they both rotate in the same direction (counterclockwise from inside the car) about a longitudinal axis. One standard joke about GT owners was that you can easily spot them due to the heavy muscles on their right arm built up by using the lever to pop up the headlights. Designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell, the GT is a fastback, that has neither an externally accessible trunk nor a conventional hatchback. There is a parcel shelf behind the seats that can only be accessed through the main doors. Behind the parcel shelf is a fold-up panel that conceals a spare tyre and jack. The interior of the GT is surprisingly large for a car of its size, owing to its original design process in which the exterior metal was sculpted around an interior model. Headroom and legroom are sufficient for those over 6 feet (1.83 m) tall. During 1968 to 1973, a total of 103,463 cars were sold. The most collectible GTs are probably the first few hundred cars hand-assembled in 1968 and the 1968–1970 models with the 1.1 L engine, which totalled 3,573 cars. Of the later cars, 10,760 were the cheaper model (GT/J), which lacked nearly all chrome parts and offered fewer standard features. In some markets, items like a limited slip differential, front and rear anti-sway bars, heated rear window, and engine bay light were standard, although most cars were shipped without them. In North America, the GT was sold at Buick dealerships. Reasons for ending production were the need to redesign the car to remain competitive with up-and-coming sports models, such as the Datsun 240Z, as well as the termination of Brissonneau and Lotz’ bodybuilding contract. Unusually for the period, here was no Vauxhall equivalent model to the GT sold in the United Kingdom.

 photo Picture 765_zps1axps0wa.jpg


The Packard 645 Deluxe Eight was among the most well-engineered and refined motorcars of the time. This model was enhanced by the “Individual Custom Line” which featured 13 body styles from such custom body designers as LeBaron, Rollston and Dietrich. This particular Packard is one of a handful that received the rare Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton coachwork by Dietrich.

 photo Picture 759_zpscummqodg.jpg


One of the oldest cars at the event was this 1897 Panhard Charette Anglaise. This had a 2 cylinder 1648cc engine and a 4 speed gearbox.

 photo Picture 276_zpsyvkkvrkg.jpg  photo Picture 277_zpsg8wgxl7z.jpg

These are from the Dyna X family. Mindful of the precarious economic situation in France in the aftermath of war, and aware of government enthusiasm for expanding the strategically important aluminium industry, the Panhard company, which had been known in the 1930s as a manufacturer of expensive six- and eight-cylinder sedans, purchased the rights to build a lightweight compact saloon car designed by the visionary engineer Jean Albert Grégoire and first exhibited as the AFG (Aluminium Français Grégoire) Dyna at the Paris Motor Show in 1946. They called it the Dyna X. The dramatic change of direction was not well received by everyone at Panhard, but it did usher in a period during which Panhard was one of the most loyal followers of the Pons Plan. In view of the fates of France’s luxury auto-makers in the next ten years, and the huge development potential that Panhard extracted from the Dyna X, this adherence to the Pons Plan was probably good for Panhard, at least until the early 1960s. The Dyna was made production ready and was emerging in commercial quantities from Panhard’s Ivry plant by 1948: it set the pattern for Panhard passenger cars until the firm abandoned automobile production in 1967. Grégoire had during the 1920s and 1930s become known for his expertise in two particular areas of automobile construction, these being lightweight bodies and front wheel drive. The AFG Dyna, planned under difficult circumstances in occupied France, had an all-steel tubular frame chassis, to which was attached a lightweight aluminium four-door superstructure. The style of the saloon was modern and aerodynamic. The compact engine and the lack of a radiator permitted a wind-cheating front design on which the headlights perched like frogs’ eyes, between the wings and bonnet line. The shape of the car changed little during its model life. The Dyna X’s low profile engine was characteristically idiosyncratic. The two cylinder front mounted boxer unit was air-cooled. At launch in 1946 the 610 cc unit delivered a claimed maximum output of 24 hp at 4000 rpm, which by 1949 had increased to 28 hp at 5000 rpm. The car’s aluminium body gave it an excellent power-to-weight ratio and in this form a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph). The Dyna X made a considerable impression in the touring car championships of the late 1940s. The car was also noted for its frugal fuel consumption. Engine displacement was increased in 1950 to 745 cc, and to 851 cc in 1952, by which time claimed output had increased to 40 hp in the Dyna 130. The gearbox was a four speed manual unit controlled using a column mounted lever, featuring synchromesh on the top three ratios. Power was transmitted to the front wheels, front wheel drive having been a specialty and an enthusiasm of Grégoire for many years. As well as the four door saloon, alternative bodies included the two-door cabriolet and a 3-door estate version. A ‘Fourgonette’ light van version was also offered. The chassis and engine of the Dyna turned up in the Panhard Dyna Junior sports car of 1951 and were also a popular basis for low-volume lightweight sports cars produced by specialist manufacturers.

 photo Picture 126_zpsnrwc1wet.jpg  photo Picture 127_zpserzc9vze.jpg  photo Picture 253_zps2bfnjzwn.jpg  photo Picture 242_zpsvftwtyf2.jpg

This Pichon-Parat Dolomites Panhard, which sports a body by Chapron, dates from 1954. It is based on the X87 Panhard. 20 of them were made.

 photo Picture 255_zpsr1x6lhjf.jpg  photo Picture 256_zpskj9loyn2.jpg  photo Picture 257_zpse9fat6zb.jpg  photo Picture 254_zps4xgwtqiw.jpg


This car might be familiar to people who attended the Concours of Elegance at St James in 2014. It is, of course, a 1955 Pegaso Z-102 Touring Berlinetta, after Hispano-Suiza, close to the heights of Spanish motor manufacture. As part of state bus and truck manufacturer Enasa, Pegaso was run by ex-Alfa Romeo engineer Wilfred Ricart and its objective was to showcase Spain as capable of building cars rivalling the very best in the world. Using sophisticated four-cam, dry-sump 2814cc V8s (there was also a 3200cc option) with as many Webers as you liked and five-speed transaxles, the first closed GT (badged as an Enasa) appeared at Paris in 1951. Later cars, though remaining distinctive, were substantially more sleek and the car on the Pueche stand was one of just 86 Z-102s manufactured.

 photo Picture 768_zpsm5tlz9zp.jpg  photo Picture 193_zps2z19sgzc.jpg


Unlike stablemate Citroen, Peugeot does have a museum with many of the cars from their history on show, in a facility at their Sochaux factory called the “Aventure Peugeot”. It is a veritable treasure trove of what helped make this such an iconic and legendary marque and they had a selection of cars from the beginnings of car production right up to a recent concept on their large and busy stand. this year they decided to make a theme out of cars with the number “3” in their name.

Oldest such car, therefore as the Type 3 of 1891, the first Peugeot model to be made in significant numbers. In 1890, Armand Peugeot met with car technology innovators Gottlieb Daimler and Émile Levassor and became convinced that reliable, practical, lightweight vehicles would have to be powered by petrol and have four wheels. The Type 2 was the first such model. Peugeot’s one-time partner, Serpollet, continued with steam technology under the brand name Gardner-Serpollet until Serpollet’s death in 1907. The engine was a German design by Daimler but was licensed for production in France by Panhard et Levassor and then sold to Peugeot. It was a 15° V-twin and produced 2 bhp, sufficient for a top speed of approximately 18 km/h (11 mph). Armand Peugeot decided to show the quality of the Type 3 by running a demonstration model alongside the cyclists in the inaugural Paris–Brest–Paris cycle race in September 1891, thus gaining official confirmation of progress from the race marshals and time-keepers. His chief engineer Louis Rigoulot and rising workshop foreman Auguste Doriot proved the robustness of the design, as this demonstration car ran for 2,045 km (1,271 miles), from Peugeot’s factory in Valentigney to Paris, over the race course, and then back to Valentigney, at an average speed of 14.7 km/h (9.1 mph), without major malfunctions. This was the longest run to that time by a petrol-powered vehicle and about four times as far as the previous record set by Léon Serpollet from Paris to Lyon. Later the demonstrator became the first Peugeot sold to the public. A lightened Type 3 was entered into the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race in June 1895, finishing second and maintaining an average speed of 21.7 km/h (13.5 mph).

 photo Picture 567_zpsylmm3lku.jpg  photo Picture 566_zps9vpyl6qd.jpg  photo Picture 565_zpslpoo2vnv.jpg

Some 30 years later, Peugeot were making cars like this 301, a 1465cc four-cylinder large family car produced between 1932 and 1936. The original 301 can be seen either as a belated replacement for the Type 177, which had not been on sale since 1928, or as a return by Peugeot to that market segment after having left it for four years. The 301C saloon produced in 1932 and 1933 featured a six-light four-door boxy body, with space at the back for a separate boot. Slightly longer-boded versions without the separate luggage box were also available. The 301 CR introduced to the Sochaux lines after the summer break of 1933 was less angular, and the word “aérodynamique” featured prominently in Peugeot’s publicity for the restyled car. Another, bolder change to the look of the saloon came with the introduction of the 301D in 1934. The 301D was no longer a six-light saloon, and it featured a longer sloping tail which suggested the streamlining of the Peugeot 402 and 302 which would appear during the following two years. A variety of four-door 301s constructed on the same 2,720 mm (107.1 in) chassis were produced, although a longer 2,940 mm (115.7 in) wheelbase was also available for use, among other applications, as a taxicab with a middle set of seats that could be folded away (“strapontins”). There were also various 2-door versions which could be bodied as coupés or cabriolets. A commercial version, the 301T, had a tall van body replacing the usual passenger cabin section directly behind the B pillar. It was replaced in 1936 by the Peugeot 302.

 photo Picture 574_zpso36h5nmr.jpg  photo Picture 575_zpsjk4xefhf.jpg  photo Picture 573_zpsxfpthkxw.jpg  photo Picture 572_zpsik29hiy6.jpg

The Peugeot 203 was the first new design that Peugeot produced after WW2. The car was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show in 1947, but by then had already been under development for more than five years. Volume manufacturing was initially hampered by strikes and shortages of materials, but production got under way late in 1948, with buyers taking delivery of 203s from early 1949. During its twelve-year production run nearly 700,000 203s of all variants rolled off the assembly line in Sochaux, France. Between the demise of the 202 in 1949 and the launch of the 403 in 1955, the 203 was the only model produced by Peugeot. The majority of the 203s were saloon bodied, but Estate, Coupe and Cabrio versions were offered as well and it was the last of these two bodystyles which were on show here.

 photo Picture 381_zpslwrjr1ph.jpg  photo Picture 578_zps5wvdput8.jpg  photo Picture 577_zpsv2tfp7oz.jpg  photo Picture 576_zpsz7qop6yq.jpg  photo Picture 380_zps7uiumzjd.jpg  photo Picture 382_zpsmdfbkgp6.jpg  photo Picture 432_zpsqrvnfsbm.jpg

The Peugeot 403, introduced in 1955, approximately thirteen years after the demise of the 402, can be seen as the older car’s natural heir. Immediately after World War II the market demanded smaller cars, and Peugeot acknowledged this by concentrating during the late 1940s and early 1950s on their 202 and 203 models. The 403 made its debut in saloon body style on 20 April 1955 at the Trocadéro Palace in Paris. For several months before it was launched numerous 403s, their badges removed, were circulating on the local roads near the manufacturer’s PSA Sochaux factory, becoming so familiar that the locals no longer noticed them, but still attracting from Paris motoring journalists and photographers to a town that usually was of little interest to the national media. Styled by Pininfarina, the 403 featured ponton, three-box styling incorporating, except on the most basic models, an opening roof panel. The collaboration with Pininfarina marked the start of a partnership which would see the Italian designer producing designs for Peugeot, including those many mainstream volume models, for more than fifty years. Regarding the 403 itself there were persistent rumours that the design was one originally intended for a replacement Fiat 1900 which had been rejected when Turin had decided to defer replacement of the Fiat for another four years. Unusual in Europe at the time, but appreciated by customers, was the way that the rear doors opened wide – to a full 90 degrees. Also unusual were the windows in the rear doors that opened fully into the door frame to the point where they disappeared, despite the intrusion into the door frame of a wheel arch which must have made the fit of the window when opened very marginal. The 403 came with an enlarged version of the Peugeot 203’s 1290 cc petrol engine. Displacing 1468 cc, the straight-four unit employed pushrod-actuated valves and hemispherical combustion chambers and a crossflow cylinder head to produce 65 hp at about 5,000 rpm and 75 lb·ft of torque at 2,500 rpm. An unusual feature at the time was the thermostatically controlled engine fan which cut out when the engine temperature fell to 75°C and re-engaged when the engine temperature increased to 84°C. Claimed advantages included an improvement in fuel consumption of between 5% and 10% according to average speed and the avoidance, under many conditions, of fan noise. Another little noticed but ingenious feature involved a small hot water based heating device for the carburettor linked to the heater for the passenger cabin in such a manner that it operated only when the driver turned on the heater and not when the ambient temperature was high enough for the heater to be left off. The TN3 engine size gave the car a “tax horsepower” of 8 CV (8 hp), which placed it a class below the soon-to-be-replaced 11 CV Citroën Traction, but at least one class above the small cars produced by the principal competitor manufacturers. The 403 came with a manual 4-speed all-synchromesh transmission driving the rear wheels. The gear change lever stuck out from the right side of the steering column. For the Paris Motor Show in October 1957 the manufacture offered, at extra cost, an electro-magnetic Jaeger automatic clutch, activated when changing gear, but this was too costly to find many buyers. The wheelbase was lengthened by 10 inches to create the five door Peugeot 403 “Familiale” and “Commerciale” estate versions. The Familiale provided a third row of seats and was described as a 7/8 seater while the Commerciale offered a more conventional seat configuration for an estate car. The lengthened 403 estate had a solid rear axle fitted to an aluminium differential case. It came with a manual column change gearbox and, in its “Familiale” guise, fully reclinable front seats. Sunroof and steel belted radial tyres were standard. A diesel powered Peugeot 403 estate was introduced in the Autumn of 1958, the first of a long line, followed by a diesel saloon a year later. Although the car was subject to various improvements during the production run, these were mostly very minor in nature. Improvements for 1959 included moving the nozzles for the windscreen washer from the strip of metal between the base of the windscreen and the bonnet/hood a short distance to the rear edge of the bonnet/hood itself, thus presumably improving the angles at which the washer water hit the screen. This was also the year that the semi-circular ring inside the lower half of the diameter of the steering wheel used to operate the horn was replaced by a full circular horn-ring, so that drivers accustomed to holding the upper half of the steering wheel did not need to loosen their grip in order to sound the horn. Upon the 203’s discontinuation in 1960, a 47 hp version of its 1290 cc powerplant became available as an option on a reduced specification version of the 403, branded initially as the “403 Sept” (“7”) and soon afterwards as the “403 Berline Luxe”. Car tax in France was based on engine size, and the smaller engined 403 fell within the 7CV taxation class rather than the 8CV of the bigger version. . A two-door cabriolet version of the car was also offered, with a luxurious interior featuring high quality leather upholstery. In 1958 the 403 cabriolet cost 80% more than the entry level “berline grand luxe” 403 sedan, and presumably for this reason the convertible 403 was produced and sold only in very modest numbers. In the spring of 1961 production of the 403 cabriolet came to an end, in anticipation of the launch later that year of the manufacturer’s 404 Cabriolet. 2-door pickup and 3-door van commercial variants of the 403 were also produced. On display here was a 403 Cabriolet.

 photo Picture 434_zpsq8cukfev.jpg  photo Picture 433_zpsq4rfagyr.jpg  photo Picture 101_zps4gkqdg6d.jpg  photo Picture 829_zpsseglkuap.jpg  photo Picture 828_zpsrlb3m2oh.jpg photo Picture 604_zpsz9avrqrz.jpg

Breaking with the “3” theme was this 504 Rally car.

 photo Picture 556_zpspcysbknx.jpg

This is the SR1 Concept, a convertible, hybrid concept car which was unveiled to the general public at the Geneva Motor Show, in March 2010. The SR1 concept incorporates HYbrid4 technology, which was then launched in the Peugeot 3008 in 2011. In the SR1, at the front, a 1.6 litre THP petrol engine with a power of 215 bhp, is combined with a rear electric motor developing 70 kW (94 bhp). In electric only mode, the car becomes a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), while its combined cycle fuel consumption is only 4.9 litres per 100 km (58 mpg) and 119 g/km of CO2. When the two power trains operate simultaneously, the SR1 develops a potential maximum power of 308 bhp and also benefits from 4-wheel drive. The SR1 concept was the first indications of a new design direction and brand identity for Peugeot.

 photo Picture 571_zpsshp2yt4c.jpg  photo Picture 570_zpspg1miiyp.jpg  photo Picture 569_zpsmvnk9r9i.jpg  photo Picture 568_zps90jx21ch.jpg

There were a number of examples of the much-loved 205 GTi around the Show. From the extensive and big-selling 205 range, these days the GTi is the best known of the variants. Although the 205 was actually the second Peugeot to bear the iconic three letters, certainly the one that everyone remembers now is the 205 and not the earlier 505 model. Peugeot launched their new “supermini”, the 205 in January 1983, just one day after Fiat had presented the Uno, one of the car’s principal rivals. It was an immediate hit, with smart styling and a range of engines which combined with sharp handling made it good to drive. Mindful of the success of the Golf GTi, in the class above, and how a small car with good handling could take more power, as the Mini Cooper had proved, Peugeot came up with the GTi in early 1984. The first models had a 1.6 litre XU5J engine, producing 105 PS, which was uprated in 1987 with a cylinder head with larger valves thus becoming XU5JA, which took the power output up to 115 bhp. Visually the car retained the good looks of the 3 door version of the regular models, but it featured plastic wheel arch extensions and trim, beefier front and rear bumper valances and judicious use of red badging and trim. The shell also underwent some minor changes, including larger wheel arches (to suit the larger wheels , and the suspension was redesigned and sat lower on the GTI with stiffer springs, different wishbones and a drop-linked anti-roll bar. Red was a dominant colour inside. The car was an instant hit. At the end of 1986, Peugeot followed up with a more potent model, the 1.9 GTi, whose XU9JA engine produced 128 PS. Internally the engine of this car and the 1.6 model are very similar, the main differences on 1.9 litre versions being the longer stroke, oil cooler, and some parts of the fuel injection system. The shorter stroke 1.6 litre engine is famed for being revvy and eager, while the 1.9 litre feels lazier and torquier. Outside the engine bay the main differences between the 1.6 GTi and the 1.9 GTi are half-leather seats on the 1.9 GTi vs. cloth seats and disc brakes all-round (1.9 GTi) vs. at the front only; as well as the 14-inch Speedline SL201 wheels on the 1.6 GTi vs. 15 inch Speedline SL299 alloys on the 1.9 GTi. The 205 is still often treated as a benchmark in group car tests of the newest GTI models or equivalent. Peugeot itself has never truly recreated this success in future GTI models, although they came very close with the highly regarded GTI-6 variant of the Peugeot 306.

 photo Picture 294_zpsh4tizj6t.jpg  photo Picture 544_zpsekhuynsh.jpg

Parked up outside was this 309 Automatic, a rare survivor of the family hatch that Peugeot sold in from 1986.

 photo Picture 523_zpst8zlg5xt.jpg  photo Picture 522_zpsjood99fa.jpg  photo Picture 521_zpsnq2x0rhi.jpg

Something rather different is this 402 DS with a particularly aerodynamic body. This was an experimental vehicle which was completed in 1946 with a particular research in reducing air resistance by adopting a “water drop shape” inspired by aeronautic technologies at the time. The engine was Peugeot 1991 cc with higher performance.

 photo Picture 360_zpswoukzbjc.jpg  photo Picture 361_zps3qrrqwaa.jpg  photo Picture 359_zpsrewaqc3j.jpg

And finally, there was this 1894 Model 5 on the Fiskens stand. This example, Chassis N°164, was entered at the Paris Rouen race the same year by Mr. Louis Rigoulot alongside six factory entered cars. All cars finished the city to city race. 21 cars were qualified for the race and participated . Mr Rigoulot finished 11th overall. The Peugeot Type 5 was propelled by a 1.026 cc V type two cylinder engine produced by Panhard & Levassor under license from German Daimler Company. Transmission is by a four speed gearbox which utilised a double chain driving system.

 photo Picture 504_zpsnn3gxtpt.jpg


Porsche is another of the manufacturers who take a large stand in Hall 1, which they use to show off some of their Classic models.

This year the featured model was the 928, marking 40 years since the launch of what was then a very advanced GT. The first V8 engined Porsche, it was originally conceived to replace the 911, though as we all know, that did not happen, with the two complementing each other in the range during the 18 year life of the 928. By the late 1960s, Porsche had changed significantly as a company, and executives including owner Ferdinand Porsche were toying with the idea of adding a luxury touring car to the line-up. Managing Director Ernst Fuhrmann was also pressuring Ferdinand to approve development of the new model in light of concerns that the current flagship model at the time, the 911, was quickly reaching the limits of its potential. Slumping sales of the 911 seemed to confirm that the model was approaching the end of its economic life cycle. Fuhrmann envisioned the new range-topping model as being the best possible combination of a sports coupe and a luxury sedan, something well equipped and comfortable enough to be easily driven over long distances that also had the power, poise and handling prowess necessary to be driven like a sports car. This set it apart from the 911, which was intended to be an out-and-out sports car. Ordered by Ferdinand Porsche to come up with a production-feasible concept for his new model, Fuhrmann initiated a design study in 1971, eventually taking from the process the final specification for the 928. Several drivetrain layouts were considered during early development, including rear and mid-engined designs, but most were dismissed because of technical and/or legislative difficulties. Having the engine, transmission, catalytic converter(s) and exhaust all cramped into a small rear engine bay made emission and noise control more difficult, something Porsche was already facing problems with on the 911 and wanted to avoid. After deciding that the mid-engine layout didn’t allow enough room in the passenger compartment, a front engine/rear wheel drive layout was chosen. Porsche also may have feared that the U.S. government would soon ban the sale of rear-engined cars in response to the consumer concern over safety problems with the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair. Porsche engineers wanted a large-displacement engine to power the 928, and prototype units were built with a 5-litre V8 producing close to 300 hp. Ferdinand Piëch wanted this car to use a 4.6-litre V10 based upon Audi’s five-cylinder engine. Several members of the Porsche board objected, chiefly because they wished for Porsche AG to maintain some separation from Volkswagen. The first two running prototypes of Porsche’s M28 V8 used one four-barrel carburettor, but this was just for initial testing. The cars were sold with the planned Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system. When increasing concern within the company over the pricing and availability of fuel during the oil crisis of the 1970s became an issue of contention, smaller engines were considered in the interest of fuel economy. A push began for the development of a 3.3 litre 180 hp powerplant they had drawn up designs for, but company engineers balked at this suggestion. Both sides finally settled on a 4.5 litre SOHC per bank 16-valve V8 producing 240 PS which they considered to have an acceptable compromise of performance and fuel economy. The finished car debuted at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, going on sale later that year. Although it won early acclaim for its comfort and power, sales were slow. Base prices were much higher than that of the 911 model and the 928’s front-engined, water-cooled design put off many Porsche purists, not least because the design marked a major change in direction for Porsche started with the introduction of the Porsche 924 in 1976 which purists found hard to accept. Porsche utilised a transaxle in the 928 to help achieve 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, aiding the car’s balance. Although it weighed more than the difficult-to-handle 911, its more neutral weight balance and higher power output gave it similar performance on the track. The 928 was regarded as the more relaxing car to drive at the time. It came with either a five-speed dog leg manual transmission, or a Mercedes-Benz-derived automatic transmission, originally with three speeds, with four-speed from 1983 in North America and 1984 in other markets. More than 80% had the automatic transmission. Exact percentage of manual gearbox cars for entire production run is not known but it is believed to be between 15 and 20%. The body, styled by Wolfgang Möbius under guidance of Anatole Lapine, was mainly galvanised steel, but the doors, front fenders, and hood were aluminium in order to make the car more lightweight. It had a substantial luggage area accessed via a large hatchback. The new polyurethane elastic bumpers were integrated into the nose and tail and covered in body-coloured plastic; an unusual feature for the time that aided the car visually and reduced its drag. Porsche opted not to offer a convertible variant but several aftermarket modifiers offered convertible conversions, most notably Carelli, based in Orange County, CA. The Carelli conversions were sold as complete cars, with the conversion doubling the price of the car. A reported 12 units were made. The 928 qualified as a 2+2, having two small seats in the rear. Both rear seats could be folded down to enlarge the luggage area, and both the front and rear seats had sun visors for occupants. The rear seats are small (due to the prominent transmission hump) and have very little leg room; they are only suitable for adults on very short trips or children. The 928 was also the first vehicle in which the instrument cluster moved along with the adjustable steering wheel in order to maintain maximum instrument visibility. The 928 included several other innovations such as the “Weissach Axle”, a simple rear-wheel steering system that provides passive rear-wheel steering to increase stability while braking during a turn, and an unsleeved, silicon alloy engine block made of aluminium, which reduced weight and provided a highly durable cylinder bore. Porsche’s design and development efforts paid off during the 1978 European Car of the Year, where the 928 won ahead of the BMW 7 Series, and the Ford Granada. The 928 is the only sports car ever to have won this competition, which is regarded as proof of how advanced the 928 was, compared to its contemporaries. Porsche introduced a refreshed 928 S into the European market in 1980 model year. Externally, the S wore new front and rear spoilers and sported wider wheels and tyres than the older variant, but the main change for the 928 S was under the bonnet where a revised 4.7 litre engine was used. European versions debuted with 300 PS , and were upgraded to 310 PS for 1984, though it is rumoured that they typically made around 330 hp. From 1984 to 1986, the S model was called S2 in UK. These cars used Bosch LH-Jetronic fuel injection and purely electronic Bosch ignition, the same systems used on the later 32-valve cars, though without the pollution controls. North American-spec 1983 and 1984 S models used, among other differences, smaller valves, milder camshafts, smaller diameter intake manifolds, and additional pollution equipment in order to meet emissions regulations, and were limited to 234 hp as a result. Due to low grade fuel 16V low compression S engine was made for Australian market in 1985 model year. It had 9.3:1 compression ratio pistons instead of normal 10.4:1 but used same large intake, high lift cams, large valves etc. of other S engines. In 1982, two special models were available for different markets. 202 “Weissach Edition” cars were sold in North America. Unusual features were champagne gold metallic paint, matching brushed gold flat disc wheels, two-tone leather interior, a plaque containing the production number on the dash and the extremely collectible three-piece Porsche luggage set. It’s believed these cars were not made with S spoilers even though these were available in U.S. during this time period as part of the “Competition Group” option. The “Weissach Edition” option was also available for the US market 911 in 1980 model year and 924 in 1981 model year. 141 special “50th Jubilee” 928 S models were available outside the U.S. and Canada to celebrate the company’s 50-year existence as a car manufacturer. This model is also sometimes referred to as the “Ferry Porsche Edition” because his signature was embroidered into the front seats. It was painted meteor metallic and fitted with flat disc wheels, wine red leather and special striped fabric seat centres. Similar 911 and 924 specials were also made for world markets. Porsche updated the North American 928 S for 1985, replacing the 4.7 litre SOHC engine with a new 5.0 litre DOHC unit sporting four valves per cylinder and producing 288 hp. Seats were also updated to a new style, these cars are sometimes unofficially called S3 to distinguish them from 16-valve “S” models. European models kept a 4.7 litre engine, which was somewhat more powerful as standard, though lower 9.3:1 compression 32-valve engine together with catalytic converters became an option in some European countries and Australia for 1986. In 1986, revised suspension settings, larger brakes with 4-piston calipers and modified exhaust was installed on the 928S, marking the final changes to old body style cars. These were straight from the 928S4, which was slated to debut a few months later. These changes came starting from VIN 1001, which means that the first thousand ’86’s had the old brakes, but later cars had the later systems. This later 1986 model is sometimes referred to as a 19861⁄2 or 1986.5 because of these changes. The name is a little misleading as more than 3/4 of the 1986 production had these updates. The 928 S4 variant debuted in the second half of 1986 with an updated version of the 5.0 litre V8 producing 320 PS, sporting a new single-disc clutch in manual gearbox cars, larger torque converter in automatics and fairly significant styling updates which gave the car a cleaner, sleeker look. S4 was much closer to being a truly world car than previous models as only major differences for North American models were instrumentation in either kilometers or miles, lighting, front and rear bumper shocks and the availability of catalytic converters in many other markets. The Australian market version was only one with different horsepower rating at 300 PS due to preparation for possible low grade fuel. Even this was achieved without engine changes. A Club Sport variant which was up to 100 kg (220 lb) lighter became available to continental Europe and U.S. in 1988. This model was watered down version of the 1987 factory prototype which had a lightened body. Also in 1987 the factory made four white lightened manual gearbox S4 models for racecar drivers who were on their payroll at the time. These were close to same as later actual Club Sport models and can also be considered prototypes for it. An SE (sometimes called the S4 Sport due to model designation on rear bumper), a sort of halfway point between a normally equipped S4 and the more race-oriented Club Sport, became available to the UK. It’s generally believed these Porsche Motorsport-engined cars have more hp than the S4. They utilise parts which later became known as GT pistons, cams and engine ECU programs. Some of them had stronger, short geared manual gearbox. The automatic gearbox was not available. For the 1989 model year, a visible change inside was digital trip computer in dashboard. At the same time Australian models received the same 320 PS engine management setup as other markets. Porsche debuted the 928 GT in the late winter 1988/89 after dropping the slowly selling CS and SE. In terms of equipment, the GT was like the 928 SE, having more equipment than a Club Sport model but less than a 928 S4 to keep the weight down somewhat. It had the ZF 40% limited-slip differential as standard like the Club Sport and SE before it. Also like the CS and SE, the GT was only available with a manual gearbox. European 1989 CS and GT wheels had an RDK tyre pressure monitoring system as standard, which was also optional for the same year S4. For 1990 model year Porsche made RDK and a 0-100% variable ratio limited-slip called PSD (Porsche SperrDifferential) standard in both GT and S4 models for all markets. This system is much like the one from the 959 and gives the vehicle even more grip. In 1990 the S4 was no longer available with a manual gearbox. The S4 and GT variants were both cut at the end of 1991 model year, making way for the final version of the 928. The 928 GTS came for sale in late 1991. Changed bodywork, larger front brakes and a new, more powerful 5.4 litre 350 PS engine were the big advertised changes; what Porsche wasn’t advertising was the price. Loaded GTS models could eclipse US$100,000 in 1995, making them among the most expensive cars on the road at the time. This severely hampered sales despite the model’s high competency and long standard equipment list. Porsche discontinued the GTS model that year after shipping only 77 of them to the United States. Total worldwide production of 928s over an 18 year period was a little over 61,000 cars. Second-hand models’ value decreased as a result of generally high maintenance costs due largely to spare parts that are expensive to manufacture, with the result that there are fewer survivors than you might expect, though with values hardening, people are now spending the money required to restore these cars.

 photo Picture 597_zpsoyurcd9t.jpg  photo Picture 593_zpsutqddvj8.jpg  photo Picture 594_zpsflmb5abk.jpg  photo Picture 831_zpsaqqcxjwb.jpg  photo Picture 830_zpstxjce0sa.jpg

Also here was a model which was driven around the the world and a special one-off which was made in September 1984 for Chairman Ferry Porsche to mark his 75th birthday and which nowadays lives in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

 photo Picture 104_zpsekl5i7so.jpg  photo Picture 103_zps1pd8vjsh.jpg  photo Picture 102_zpsxsuwg92r.jpg  photo Picture 107_zps8wjdrnc4.jpg  photo Picture 110_zpsznm0mgmi.jpg  photo Picture 109_zpsdkgrpdvm.jpg  photo Picture 108_zpsfpwgsuma.jpg  photo Picture 596_zpsekrjtpqc.jpg  photo Picture 595_zpsp9pyovme.jpg  photo Picture 598_zpsryfp07cg.jpg  photo Picture 835_zps7j60cfbc.jpg  photo Picture 832_zps4obhls4t.jpg

Also on the stand was you might consider to be the car’s spiritual successor, the Panamera, the second generation of which was launched a few months prior to this event and which is surely going to follow in the successful steps of the first model with the name.

 photo Picture 834_zpsz8xt0ovg.jpg  photo Picture 833_zpscejmknv5.jpg  photo Picture 106_zpsmenyymb0.jpg  photo Picture 105_zpsi0ov65ov.jpg  photo Picture 838_zpsyqbgpvwz.jpg photo Picture 599_zpsejdaofnr.jpg

The 944 completed the display. Whilst its precursor, the 924, had received largely positive reviews, it was criticised by many including Porsche enthusiasts for its Audi-sourced engine and although the Turbo model had increased performance, this model carried a high price, which caused Porsche to decide to develop the 924, as they had with generations of the 911. They re-worked the platform and a new all-alloy 2.5 litre inline-four engine, that was, in essence, half of the 928’s 5.0 litre V8, although very few parts were actually interchangeable. Not typical in luxury sports cars, the four-cylinder engine was chosen for fuel efficiency and size, because it had to be fitted from below on the Neckarsulm production line. To overcome roughness caused by the unbalanced secondary forces that are typical of four-cylinder engines, Porsche included two counter-rotating balance shafts running at twice engine speed. Invented in 1904 by British engineer Frederick Lanchester, and further developed and patented in 1975 by Mitsubishi Motors, balance shafts carry eccentric weights which produce inertial forces that balance out the unbalanced secondary forces, making a four-cylinder engine feel as smooth as a six-cylinder. The engine was factory-rated at 150 hp in its U.S. configuration. Revised bodywork with wider wheel arches, similar to that of the 924 Carrera GT, a fresh interior and upgrades to the braking and suspension systems rounded out the major changes and Porsche introduced the car as the 944 in 1982. It was slightly faster (despite having a poorer drag co-efficient than the 924), the 944 was better equipped and more refined than the 924; it had better handling and stopping power, and was more comfortable to drive. The factory-claimed 0-60 mph time of less than 9 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph which turned out to be somewhat pessimistic, In mid-1985, the 944 underwent its first significant changes. These included : a new dash and door panels, embedded radio antenna, upgraded alternator, increased oil sump capacity, new front and rear cast alloy control arms and semi-trailing arms, larger fuel tank, optional heated and powered seats, Porsche HiFi sound system, and revisions in the mounting of the transaxle to reduce noise and vibration. The “cookie cutter” style wheels used in the early 944s were upgraded to new “phone dial” style wheels (Fuchs wheels remained an option). 1985 model year cars incorporating these changes are sometimes referred to as “1985B”, “85.5” or “1985½” cars. For the 1987 model year, the 944 Motronic DME was updated, and newly incorporated anti-lock braking and air bags. Because of the ABS system, the wheel offset changed and Fuchs wheels were no longer an option. In early 1989 before the release of the 944S2, Porsche upgraded the 944 from the 2.5 to a 2.7 litre engine, with a rated 162 hp and a significant increase in torque. For the 1985 model year, Porsche introduced the 944 Turbo, known internally as the 951. This had a turbocharged and intercooled version of the standard car’s engine that produced 220 PS at 6000 rpm. In 1987, Car and Driver tested the 944 Turbo and achieved a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds. The Turbo was the first car using a ceramic port liner to retain exhaust gas temperature and new forged pistons and was also the first vehicle to produce identical power output with or without a catalytic converter. The Turbo also featured several other changes, such as improved aerodynamics, notably an integrated front bumper. This featured the widest turn signals (indicators) fitted to any production car, a strengthened gearbox with a different final drive ratio, standard external oil coolers for both the engine and transmission, standard 16 inch wheels (optional forged Fuchs wheels), and a slightly stiffer suspension (progressive springs) to handle the extra weight. The Turbo’s front and rear brakes were borrowed from the Porsche 911, with Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers and 12-inch discs as ABS also came standard. Engine component revisions, more than thirty in all, were made to the 951 to compensate for increased internal loads and heat. Changes occurred for the 1987 model year. On the interior, the 1987 944 Turbo for North America became the first production car in the world to be equipped with driver and passenger side air bags as standard equipment. A low oil level light was added to the dash as well as a 180 mph (290 km/h) speedometer as opposed to the 170 mph speedometer on the 1986 model Turbos. Also included is the deletion of the transmission oil cooler, and a change in suspension control arms to reduce the car’s scrub radius. The engine remained the same M44/51 as in the 1986 model. In 1988, Porsche introduced the Turbo S. The 944 Turbo S had a more powerful engine (designation number M44/52) with 250 hp and 258 lb·ft torque (standard 944 Turbo 220 hp and 243 lb·ft. This higher output was achieved by using a larger K26-8 turbine housing and revised engine mapping which allowed maintaining maximum boost until 5800 rpm, compared to the standard 944 Turbo the boost would decrease from 1.75 bar at 3000 rpm to 1.52 bar at 5800 rpm. Top speed was factory rated at 162 mph. The 944 Turbo S’s suspension had the “M030” option consisting of Koni adjustable shocks front and rear, with ride height adjusting threaded collars on the front struts, progressive rate springs, larger hollow rear anti-roll/torsion bars, harder durometer suspension bushings, larger hollow anti-roll/torsion bars at the front, and chassis stiffening brackets in the front frame rails. The air conditioning dryer lines are routed so as to clear the front frame brace on the driver’s side. The 944 Turbo S wheels, known as the Club Sport design, were 16-inch Fuchs forged and flat-dished, similar to the Design 90 wheel. Wheel widths were 7 inches in the front, and 9 inches in the rear with 2.047 in offset; sizes of the Z-rated tyres were 225/50 in the front and 245/45 in the rear. The front and rear fender edges were rolled to accommodate the larger wheels. The manual transmission featured a higher friction clutch disc setup, an external cooler, and a limited slip differential with a 40% lockup setting. The Turbo S front brakes were borrowed from the Porsche 928 S4, with larger Brembo GT 4-piston fixed calipers and 12-inch discs; rear Brembo brakes remained the same as a standard Turbo. ABS also came standard. The 944 Turbo S interior featured power seats for both driver and passenger, where the majority of the factory-built Turbo S models sported a “Burgundy plaid” (Silver Rose edition) but other interior/exterior colours were available. A 10-speaker sound system and equalizer + amp was a common option with the Turbo S and S/SE prototypes. Only the earlier 1986, 250 bhp prototypes featured a “special wishes custom interior” options package. In 1989 and later production, the ‘S’ designation was dropped from the 944 Turbo S, and all 944 Turbos featured the Turbo S enhancements as standard, however the “M030” suspension and the Club Sport wheels were not part of that standard. The 944 Turbo S was the fastest production four cylinder car of its time. For the 1987 model year, the 944S “Super” was introduced, featuring a high performance normally aspirated, dual-overhead-cam 16-valve 190 PS version of the 2.5 litre engine (M44/40) featuring a self-adjusting timing belt tensioner. This marked the first use of four-valve-per-cylinder heads and DOHC in the 944 series, derived from the 928 S4 featuring a redesigned camshaft drive, a magnesium intake tract/passages, magnesium valve cover, larger capacity oil sump, and revised exhaust system. The alternator capacity was 115 amps. The wheel bearings were also strengthened and the brake servo action was made more powerful. Floating 944 calipers were standard, but the rear wheel brake circuit pressure regulator from the 944 turbo was used. Small ’16 Ventiler’ script badges were added on the sides in front of the body protection mouldings. Performance was quoted as 0 – 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds and a 144 mph top speed due to a 2857 lb weight. It also featured an improved programmed Bosch Digital Motronic 2 Computer/DME with dual knock sensors for improved fuel performance for the higher 10.9:1 compression ratio cylinder head. Like the 944 Turbo, the 944S received progressive springs for greater handling, Larger front and rear anti-roll bars, revised transmission and gearing to better suit the 2.5 litre DOHC higher 6800 rpm rev limit. Dual safety air bags, limited-slip differential, and ABS braking system were optional on the 944S. A Club Sport touring package (M637) was available as was the lightweight 16 inch CS/Sport Fuch 16×7 and 16×9 forged alloy wheels. This SC version car was raced in Canada, Europe and in the U.S. IMSA Firehawk Cup Series. Production was only during 1987 and 1988. It was superseded in 1989 by the ‘S2’ 944 edition. The 1987 944S power-to-weight ratio was such that it was able to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds thus matching the acceleration of its newer larger displacement 3.0 litre 944 S2 sibling. In 1989 the 944S2 was introduced, powered by a 211 PS normally aspirated, dual-overhead-cam 16-valve 3.0 litre version of the 944S engine, the largest production 4-cylinder engine of its time. The 944S2 also received a revised transmission and gearing to better suit the 3.0 litre M44/41 powerplant. The 944S2 had the same rounded nose and a rear valance found on the Turbo model. This was the first example of the use of an integrated front bumper, where the fender and hood profiles would merge smoothly with the bumper, a design feature that has only now seen widespread adoption on the 1990 onward production cars. Performance was quoted as 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds with a top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) via manual transmission. A Club Sport touring package (M637) was also available. Dual air bags (left hand drive models), limited-slip differential and ABS were optional. Series 90 16-inch cast alloy wheels were standard equipment. In 1989, Porsche released the 944 S2 Cabriolet, a first for the 944 line that featured the cabriolet body built by ASC-American Sunroof Company at Weinsberg Germany. The first year of production included sixteen 944 S2 Cabriolet for the U.S. market. For the 1990 model year, Porsche produced 3,938 944 S2 Cabriolets for all markets including right-hand drive units for the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa. This car was raced, including the British championship that was called the Porsche Motorsport Championship. Production was during 1989, 1990, and 1991. The 944 S2 power-to-weight ratio was such that it was able to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. In February 1991, Porsche released the 944 Turbo Cabriolet, which combined the Turbo S’s 250 hp engine with the cabriolet body built by ASC-American Sunroof Company at Weinsberg Germany. Porsche initially announced that 600 would be made; ultimately 625 were built, 100 of which were right-hand drive for the United Kingdom, Japanese, Australian, and South African market. None were imported to the U.S. and The Americas. In early 1990, Porsche engineers began working on what they had intended to be the third evolution of the 944, the S3. As they progressed with the development process, they realised that so many parts were being changed that they had produced an almost entirely new vehicle. Porsche consequently shifted development from the 944 S/S2 to the car that would replace the 944 entirely, the 968. The 944’s final year of production was 1991. A grand total 163,192 cars in the 944 family were produced between 1982 and 1991. This made it the most successful car line in Porsche’s history until the introductions of the Boxster and 997 Carrera.

 photo Picture 111_zpsmrb6lwwh.jpg

Officially we should call this car the GTS, as Porsche had the same naming conflict with Peugeot over this as they did with the 911 (which they had originally planned to call 901, of course), but the reality is that everyone knows this elegant machine as the 904GTS. Although on the rare occasions that you see one, it tends to look like a road car, the 904GTS owes its existence to the race track. After having withdrawn from Formula One at the end of the 1962 season, Porsche focused again on sportscar racing. The 904 debuted late in 1963, for the 1964 racing season, as a successor to the 718, which had been introduced in 1957. Porsche designed the GTS variant to compete in the FIA-GT class at various international racing events. The street-legal version, as seen here, debuted in 1964 in order to comply with Group 3 Appendix J homologation regulations requiring a certain number of road-going variants be sold by the factory. Porsche produced 106 904s at four or five a day with a list price of US$7245. Orders far exceeded the one hundred car requirement to satisfy homologation rules and more cars could readily have been sold. The 904’s mid-engine layout was inherited from the 718 RSK. It was powered by the 1,966 cc Type 587/3,] four-cam flat four-cylinder engine producing 198 hp, “probably the most complex four-cylinder” ever. It drove a five-speed transmission. Begun as the Type 547, its development began in 1953, when the previous VW-based 1,100 cc flat-four, used in the contemporary 356 hit the limit of its potential. Porsche realised it needed something all-new. The brainchild of Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, later Technical Director, it was hoped to achieve an “unheard of” 70 hp per litre, relying on hemispherical combustion chambers and two-choke Weber carburettors to generate 112 hp from the 1,500 cc four-cam engine. The 1.5 litre weighed 310 lb dry, eventually producing 180 hp. A complex design that proved “very taxing” to build and assemble, but very durable, it was used in 34 different models, including 550 Spyders, 356 Carreras, and F2/1s. The 904 was the first Porsche to use a ladder chassis and fibreglass body, appearing more like specialist racing cars than the modified sports cars typical at the time, and was painted white. The fibreglass body was bonded to its steel chassis for extra rigidity, and achieved a drag coefficient of 0.34. While many German race cars had used unpainted aluminium bodies since the famous 1934 Silver Arrows, most 904s were painted silver, the modern German national racing colour. Unusually for Porsche, the two-seater bodies were provided by contractors, which would later become standard practice among race car builders. The 904’s fibreglass body was made by spraying chopped fibreglass into a mould, the amount sprayed often varied in thickness over the shape of the car and as a result the weight of the various cars was somewhat inconsistent; some were heavier than others. Race-prepared four-cylinder 904s weighed in at approximately 1,443 pounds (655 kg) and the low weight gave the 904 the ability to accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in less than six seconds (using the standard rear gear, which would be typical at Sebring) and to reach a top speed of 160 mph. Frontal area was only 14 sq ft. The Porsche 904 rode on coil springs (the first Porsche not to use trailing arm front and swing-axle rear suspension. To satisfy demand, twenty 1965 models were produced, some featuring a variant of the 911’s flat six,. These were known as the 904/6. Porsche also built a few factory race cars with a flat eight-cylinder power plant derived from the 1962 804 F1 car, the 225 hp 1,962 cc Type 771, but these had a “disturbing habit” of making their flywheels explode. These cars were known as the 904/8. A number of modern replica versions have been produced.

 photo Picture 091_zpsg2twdc8g.jpg

There were a number of 356 models on the dealer stands, as ever. The 356 was created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche (son of Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company), who founded the Austrian company with his sister, Louise. Like its cousin, the Volkswagen Beetle (which Ferdinand Porsche Senior had designed), the 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilising unitised pan and body construction. The chassis was a completely new design as was the 356’s body which was designed by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, while certain mechanical components including the engine case and some suspension components were based on and initially sourced from Volkswagen. Ferry Porsche described the thinking behind the development of the 356 in an interview with the editor of Panorama, the PCA magazine, in September 1972. “….I had always driven very speedy cars. I had an Alfa Romeo, also a BMW and others. ….By the end of the war I had a Volkswagen Cabriolet with a supercharged engine and that was the basic idea. I saw that if you had enough power in a small car it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered. And it is more fun. On this basic idea we started the first Porsche prototype. To make the car lighter, to have an engine with more horsepower…that was the first two seater that we built in Carinthia (Gmünd)”. The first 356 was road certified in Austria on June 8, 1948, and was entered in a race in Innsbruck where it won its class. Porsche re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. Fewer and fewer parts were shared between Volkswagen and Porsche as the ’50’s progressed. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd were handcrafted in aluminium, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied. Looking back, the aluminium bodied cars from that very small company are what we now would refer to as prototypes. Porsche contracted with Reutter to build the steel bodies and eventually bought the Reutter company in 1963. The Reutter company retained the seat manufacturing part of the business and changed its name to Recaro. Little noticed at its inception, mostly by a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles. By the early 1950s the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. The class win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a factor. It was always common for owners to race the car as well as drive them on the streets. They introduced the four-cam racing “Carrera” engine, a totally new design and unique to Porsche sports cars, in late 1954. Increasing success with its racing and road cars brought Porsche orders for over 10,000 units in 1964, and by the time 356 production ended in 1965 approximately 76,000 had been produced. The 356 was built in four distinct series, the original (“pre-A”), followed by the 356 A, 356 B, and then finally the 356 C. To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupés and “cabriolets” (soft-top) built through 1955 are readily identifiable by their split (1948 to 1952) or bent (centre-creased, 1953 to 1955) windscreens. In late 1955 the 356 A appeared, with a curved windshield. The A was the first road going Porsche to offer the Carrera 4 cam engine as an option. In late 1959 the T5 356 B appeared; followed by the redesigned T6 series 356 B in 1962. The final version was the 356 C, little changed from the late T6 B cars but with disc brakes to replace the drums.

 photo Picture 752_zpspjwq19xw.jpg  photo Picture 512_zps6oinnct2.jpg  photo Picture 786_zpsd8uvjr9i.jpg  photo Picture 555_zpsabmk3fhm.jpg

The 914 was born of a joint need that Porsche had for a replacement for the 912, and Volkswagen’s desire for a new range-topping sports coupe to replace the Karmann Ghia. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen’s developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche’s founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make this that project. Ferdinand Piëch, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project. Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America. On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. However, development became complicated after the death of Volkswagen’s chairman, Heinz Nordhoff, on April 12, 1968. His successor, Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart. In Lotz’s opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T, Porsche’s next lowest price car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914/4 became Porsche’s top seller during its model run, outselling the Porsche 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide. Volkswagen versions originally featured an 80 PS fuel-injected 1.7 L flat-4 engine based on the Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Porsche’s 914/6 variant featured a carburettor 110 PS 2.0 litre flat-6 engine from the 1969 911T, placed amidships in front of a version of the 1969 911’s “901” gearbox configured for a mid-engine car. Karmann manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly. 914/6 models used lower gear ratios and high brake gearing in order to try to overcome the greater weight of the 6 cylinder engine along with higher power output. Suspension, brakes, and handling were otherwise the same. A Volkswagen-Porsche joint venture, Volkswagen of America, handled export to the U.S., where both versions were badged and sold as Porsches, except in California, where they were sold in Volkswagen dealerships. The four-cylinder cars were sold as Volkswagen-Porsches at European Volkswagen dealerships. Slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them; its place in the lineup was filled by a variant powered by a new 100 PS 2.0 litre, fuel-injected version of Volkswagen’s Type 4 engine in 1973. For 1974, the 1.7 L engine was replaced by a 85 PS 1.8 litre, and the new Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was added to American units to help with emissions control. 914 production ended in 1976. The 2.0 litre flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E, which provided an entry-level model until the 924 was introduced.

 photo Picture 761_zpsbksq7gw5.jpg  photo Picture 760_zps8qalx3is.jpg

There were lots of examples of the 911 on various dealer stands, with everything from early models to some of the later cars, including a 996 GT2. There were a number of race 911s here as well.

 photo Picture 714_zpsdvpluwqc.jpg  photo Picture 715_zpssxqz3eif.jpg  photo Picture 716_zpst4rory2a.jpg  photo Picture 717_zps0tdoxeef.jpg  photo Picture 444_zps4yzcxoy3.jpg photo Picture 443_zpsbraa8fbj.jpg  photo Picture 439_zpscbxdpv6j.jpg

Final road-going Porsche here was a Carrera GT. Synonymous with Porsche’s endurance racing programme and Le Mans in particular, where they have triumphed some 17 times, the design of the Porsche Carrera GT is firmly rooted in its motorsport lineage. After success in 1998 at the famous 24-hour race, a team of engineers started work on a new mid-engined V-10 model utilising advanced technologies and materials. However, the project was soon put on hold as the company decided to focus its energies in a different direction with the introduction of a new SUV and the development of the Porsche Cayenne. Fortunately, the Carrera GT project was kept alive, and a prototype was shown at the 2000 Paris Auto Show. Response to the car was enthusiastic prompting Porsche to commit to a limited production run of 1,500 cars. By the end of production in 2006, only 1,270 cars were built, making it rarer still. With its 5.7 litre, dry sump V-10 engine (producing around 612 brake horsepower) sitting low in the carbon-fibre chassis, the Carrera GT weighed in at 1,380kg and was capable of 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of 205 mph. Open the driver’s door and you are immediately aware that this is a totally focussed, seriously fast Porsche with the sense of function only just lightened by the Beechwood gear knob – a nod to the famous Porsche 917 and its racing past.

 photo Picture 770_zpsejewwiis.jpg  photo Picture 767_zpsq6degvso.jpg

This is the Porsche 917K – Kremer K81, which was displayed on the Ascott stand. With the all-new Group C sports car regulations due to be introduced the following year, the 1981 season turned out to be an interim year. The leash on the Group 6 prototypes was already loosened to allow manufacturers to run new engines and/or cars a year early. Porsche used this opportunity to test the engine for the upcoming 956 Group C car in anger during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One of their privateers, Kremer Racing used the same loophole for Le Mans, not to look ahead but to bring an old legend out of retirement; the Porsche 917. The Group 6 regulations of 1972, which stipulated a three-litre displacement limit, had rendered the 917 obsolete from World Championship event. In the following decade, Kremer Racing actually restored one of the original 917s for a customer, so they had intimate knowledge of the twelve-cylinder engined racer. The two Kremer brothers reckoned there was life left in the design, especially if it was updated to suit the latest tyre technology. So, instead of bringing one of the existing cars out of retirement, Kremer Racing decided to build a brand new 917, with support from Porsche. One of the main reasons to start from scratch was that Kremer reckoned the original all-aluminium spaceframe chassis would no longer be up to the task. Already stressed to and at times beyond its limits, the lightweight frame was likely not capable of dealing with the much higher loads produced by 1981-specification, slick tyres. Using the drawings supplied by Porsche and a higher gauge material, a new, sturdier frame was built. The new chassis tipped the scales at 65 kg compared to 50 kg of the original. The suspension geometry was also altered to make the most of the latest tyre technology. Porsche offered Kremer Racing a choice of two versions of the Type 912 engine. The first was the 4.5-litre unit of the flat-12 that had powered the 917 early in its career and the second was the larger, 5-litre engine fitted to the later developments. While the second option was obviously more powerful, it was also thirstier. Taking into consideration the particular needs of the Le Mans track with its long straights, the Kremers understandably opted for power over frugality. Producing around 600 bhp, the big engine was mated to the tried and trusted five-speed gearbox. The design and construction of the new 917 K/81 (K was for Kremer this time, not Kurz) took longer than expected, so the aerodynamics had to be rushed. Naturally, the original design of the 917 was carried over but again changes were made to incorporate the latest ideas in aerodynamics. Ideas was the best description as there was no time to actually test the final package in the wind-tunnel. Among the most obvious alterations were the removal of rounded lower sections of the body in favour of slab sides to help generate some ground effect. A full width rear wing was fitted, mounted between two sizeable tail fins. With backing from French real estate company Malardeau Enterprises and BP, the 917 K/81 was fielded by Kremer Racing for the all-French line-up of Bob Wollek, Xavier Lapeyre and Guy Chausseuil. With the exception of a brief shakedown at the Nürburgring, the car was untested. As a result, it suffered from a variety of problems, in particular on the important long straights where the 917 barely breached the 300 km/h barrier. This was partly addressed by changing the gear ratios but it was also obvious that there were also aerodynamic problems. With a qualifying time that was a full 17 seconds slower than the pole-sitting works Porsche, the new 917 started the race back in 18th. A steady run saw the car move into the top ten during the opening hours of the race but it then hit a variety of problems. It was finally forced to retire after seven hours following an off that had damaged an oil line, eventually resulting in terminal damage to the engine. By that time, a grief-stricken Bob Wollek had already left the track following the fatal accident of his close friend Jean-Louis Lafosse. Repaired, Kremer’s 917 was brought out once more for the Brands Hatch 1000 km of the World Championship. Shared by Wollek and Henri Pescarolo for the occasion, the car proved better suited to this track and even took the lead briefly. Sadly, it was prompted to retire once more, this time with a suspension failure. This really was the end of the contemporary racing career of the Porsche 917 as the one-off machine was retired and displayed as the centrepiece in the Kremer Racing showroom.

 photo Picture 022_zpsqnudgsb0.jpg


The special display that lined the lengthy corridor that connects Hall 1 to Hall 2 is traditionally used for one or more special displays and this year the focus was on Group B Rally cars, marking 30 years since the series was ended, following the death of Henri Toivonen in 1986. Most of the familiar and a few less commonly seen entrants from this era were on show making a great reminder of just what we have been missing in this sport ever since.

The iconic Audi Quattro was represented, of course, both in its original form and the later short wheelbase S1.

 photo Picture 142_zpsz5zqjbcf.jpg  photo Picture 143_zpsxazrb6jq.jpg  photo Picture 141_zpsnyeqa0pb.jpg  photo Picture 140_zpskl54p9t4.jpg

Citroën entered Group B rallying with the BX in 1986. The specially designed rally BX was called the BX 4TC and bore little resemblance to the standard BX. It had a very long nose because the engine (a turbocharger fitted version of Chrysler Europe’s Simca Type 180 engine) was mounted longitudinally, unlike in the regular BX. The engine was downsleeved to 2,141.5 cc (from 2,155 cc) to stay under the three-litre limit after FIA’s multiplication factor of 1.4 was applied. The rally version of the BX also featured the unique hydropneumatic suspension, and the five-speed manual gearbox from Citroën SM.[14] Because of the Group B regulations, 200 street versions of the 4TC also had to be built, with a 200 PS at 5,250 rpm version of the N9TE engine. The 4TC was not successful in World Rally Championship competition, its best result being a sixth place in the 1986 Swedish Rally. The 4TC only participated in three rallies before the Group B class was banned in late 1986, following the death of Henri Toivonen in his Lancia Delta S4 at the Tour de Corse Rally. Already discouraged by the car’s poor performance in motorsport and the demise of Group B, Citroën was only able to sell 62 roadgoing 4TCs; build quality and reliability problems led Citroën to buy back many of these 4TCs for salvage and destruction. With only a fraction of the original 200 examples remaining, the 4TC is now highly sought after.

 photo Picture 146_zpsrf3gtqis.jpg  photo Picture 145_zpsnsclkqrb.jpg  photo Picture 144_zps2wmihvr7.jpg  photo Picture 147_zpsvrc7bmdc.jpg

Surely one of the most unlikely Group B contenders, the Citroën Visa Mille Pistes was a development of the preceding Visa Trophée and Visa Chrono models that the works team had campaigned in the early 1980s. Developed under the direction of Guy Verrier and intended to give amateur rally drivers access to the premier Group B category, the Mille Pistes (named after the eponymous event) kept the basic front-mounted, transverse engine layout of the Visa road car, but added four-wheel drive to the package for the first time. Its engine was the same 1,360cc overhead-cam four found in various Citroën/Peugeot models, boosted in power to a maximum of 145bhp (in ‘Evo’ tune) courtesy of a pair of Weber 40DCOE twin-choke carburettors. The customer version, 200 of which were built to meet the homologation requirements, came with 112bhp as standard. Stripped of the road car’s steel body panels and glass side windows, which were replaced by plastic, the Mille Pistes weighed only 850kgs, giving it a respectable power-to-weight ratio despite the rather small engine. The Mille Pistes made its debut on the 1984 Safari Rally; the example driven by Chomat/Breton finished 13th and winning its class, which was a highly creditable result for a brand-new car on such a tough event. In truth, the Mille Pistes was never going to challenge for outright victory, but the car did achieve further class wins at the RAC (1984), Swedish (1986 and 1987), Monte Carlo (1987), Portuguese (1987) and 1000 Lakes (1988) Rallies.

 photo Picture 150_zpsoy7ljavw.jpg  photo Picture 151_zpspsmtuucl.jpg  photo Picture 148_zpsgvv1jsh9.jpg  photo Picture 149_zps3pyiex3z.jpg

This is one of 4 genuine Ferrari 308 GTB Rally cars produced.

 photo Picture 180_zpsd18ciqxc.jpg  photo Picture 179_zpsr6ybgyqd.jpg  photo Picture 183_zpsyp8lkaxj.jpg

Ford RS200

 photo Picture 159_zpsbixlbnuy.jpg  photo Picture 158_zpswsdwhqhu.jpg

Follow on to the Stratos was the 037, and there were a couple of these here. The Lancia Rally (Tipo 151, also known as the Lancia Rally 037, Lancia 037 or Lancia-Abarth #037 from its Abarth project code 037) was a mid-engine sports car and rally car built by Lancia in the early 1980s to compete in the FIA Group B World Rally Championship. Driven by Markku Alén, Attilio Bettega, and Walter Röhrl, the car won Lancia the manufacturers’ world championship in the 1983 season. It was the last rear-wheel drive car to win the WRC. In 1980 Lancia began designing the 037 to comply with the then new FIA Group B regulations that allowed cars to race with relatively few homologation models being built. Abarth, now a part of the Lancia-Fiat family, did most of the design work, even incorporating styling cues from some of its famous race cars of the 1950s and 1960s such as a double bubble roof line. The car was born from the collaboration between Pininfarina, Abarth, Dallara and the project manager, engineer Sergio Limone. Prior to its first participation in the 1982 World Rally Championship season, 200 road-going models were built to comply with Group B regulations. The Lancia 037 was a silhouette racer; while it was loosely based on the Lancia Montecarlo (also known as Scorpion in the US and Canadian markets) road car, they shared only the centre section with all body panels and mechanical parts being significantly different. Steel subframes were used fore and aft of the production car centre section, while most of the body panels were made from Kevlar. The mid-engined layout of the Montecarlo was retained, but the engine was turned 90 degrees from a transverse position to a longitudinal position. This allowed greater freedom in the design of the suspension and while moving engine weight forward. An independent double wishbone suspension was used on both the front and rear axles, with dual shock absorbers in the rear in order to cope with the stresses of high speed off road driving. The 037 is notable as it retained the rear-wheel drive layout that was nearly universal for rally cars of the pre-Group B period; nearly all subsequent successful rally cars used four-wheel drive, making the 037 the last of its kind. Unlike its predecessor, the first 037s had a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder supercharged engine. Based on the long stroke twin cam which powered earlier Fiat Abarth 131 rally cars, the four valve head was carried over from the 131 Abarth but the original two carburettors were replaced by a single large Weber carburettor in early models and later with fuel injection. It features a ZF transaxle. Lancia also chose a supercharger over a turbocharger to eliminate turbo lag and improve throttle response. Initially power was quoted at 265 hp but with the introduction of the Evolution 1 model power jumped to 300 with the help of water injection. The car made its competition debut at the 1982 Rally Costa Smeralda in Italy, where two cars were entered but both retired due to gearbox issues. The 1982 season was plagued with retirements for the 037, but the new car did manage to achieve several wins including its first win at the Pace Rally in the UK. The 1983 season was considerably more successful for the 037: Lancia took the 1983 World Rally Championship Constructors’ title with Germany’s Walter Röhrl and Finland’s Markku Alen its principal drivers, despite serious competition from the 4WD Audi Quattro. Both drivers, however, missed the final round of the series, despite Röhrl maintaining a mathematical chance of the drivers’ title: such honours instead went to Audi’s veteran Finn, Hannu Mikkola. For the 1984 Constructors’ title defence, Lancia introduced an Evolution 2 version of the 037 with improved engine power, up to 325 bhp, from an enlarged 2111cc engine, but this was not enough to stem the tide of 4WD competition, losing to Audi in both 1984 championships, and again to the 4WD Peugeot 205 T16 in its final works season in 1985. Indeed, Alen collected the final 037 win, and the sole one for the E2 model, on the 1984 Tour De Corse, before it was finally pensioned off in the Martini sponsored Lancia factory rally car line-up in favour of its successor, the uniquely supercharged and turbocharged 4WD Delta S4, for the season-ending RAC Rally in Great Britain. Driver Attilio Bettega died in a 037 crash in 1985.

 photo Picture 170_zpser2rsnqn.jpg  photo Picture 171_zpsiqfqnwzi.jpg  photo Picture 169_zpstkmd9xob.jpg  photo Picture 157_zpsdmg3agbl.jpg  photo Picture 156_zpseoajxhim.jpg

Follow on to the 037 was the S4, which competed in the World Rally Championship in 1985 and 1986, until the Group B class was disbanded and the cars were eventually banned from competition completely by European sanctioning body FIA. The S4 took full advantage of the Group B regulations, and featured a midship-mounted engine and all-wheel drive for superior traction on loose surfaces. The car’s 1,759 cc inline-four engine combined supercharging and turbocharging to reduce turbo lag at low engine speeds (rpm).The car produced a maximum output of 480 hp, but some sources even claim that the Delta S4 was capable of producing 500 hp. In 1985, Lancia engineers tested an S4 engine under extreme conditions, reaching 5 bars boost, developing around 1000 horsepower. An engine capacity multiple of 1.4 was applied to forced induction engines by the FIA and the choice of 1,759 cc put the S4 in the under 2,500 cc class, which allowed for a minimum weight of 890 kg (1,962 lb). The combined super/turbocharger system (often referred to as twincharging) was a development of the 037 engine that produced 350 hp with a supercharger only. The method of turbocharging and supercharging an engine is referred to as twincharging. The Delta S4 was the first such example of this technology. Contemporary turbochargers were inefficient, as they did not produce boost at low RPMs. This phenomenon, known as turbo lag, negatively affects driveability, an important aspect of any car. Superchargers do not suffer from lag as they are powered directly from the engine’s crankshaft, rather than by the exhaust gases. However, because of this direct mechanical connection, the supercharger presents a significant parasitic load to the engine at higher RPMs. Lancia designed their twincharger system so the supercharger provides instantaneous boost in the lower RPM range, switching to the turbocharger for more efficient higher RPM engine operation. Like Peugeot’s earlier 205 T16, the mid-engine Lancia Delta S4 was a Delta in name and body styling only (for marketing purposes), and shared virtually nothing in terms of construction with the production front-engine Delta. The chassis was a tubular space frame construction much like the 037. It featured long travel double wishbone suspension front and rear, with a single large coil over at the front and separate spring and twin shock absorber at the rear. The bodywork was made of a carbon fibre composite with front and rear bodywork fully detachable for fast replacement due to accident damage, allowing ease of access during on-event servicing. The bodywork featured several aerodynamic aids including bonnet opening behind the front-mounted water radiator with Gurney flap, front splitter and winglets moulded into the front bumper panel, flexible front skirt, and rear deck lid wing that featured both a full aerofoil wind section twinned with a deflection spoiler. The door construction style was brought from the 037 with a hollow shell all-Kevlar construction that had no inner door skin, no door handle or window winder. The door was opened with a small loop and the windows were fixed perspex with small sliding panels to allow some ventilation and passing of time cards and suchlike. The all-wheel drive system, developed in cooperation with English Hewland, featured a centre differential which allowed for between 60 and 75% of the torque to go to the rear wheels. Between October 1985 and 1986 Lancia built 200 examples of a road-going version of the Delta S4, officially named Lancia Delta S4 but widely known as “Stradale”, for the purpose of homologation in Group B. In Italy the car was priced at about 100 million Lire: five times the price of the most expensive Delta of the time, the HF Turbo. The Stradale’s chassis was a space frame, similarly to the racing cars, built out of CrMo steel tubes and aluminium alloy for the crash structures; it was covered by epoxy and fibreglass body panels. Like the rally car these cars mounted in a midships position a 1.8-litre engine, equipped with Weber-Marelli IAW integrated electronic ignition and fuel injection, a supercharger, a turbocharger and two intercoolers. In road tune the 1.8 produced 250 PS at 6750 rpm and 215 lb/ft at 4500 rpm. The “Stradale” kept a three differential four-wheel-drive system; the centre differential sent 30% of the engine torque to the front open differential, and 70% to the rear limited slip one. Lancia claimed the car could reach top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph) and accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in six seconds. In contrast to its bare bones racing sisters, the S4 Stradale featured an Alcantara-upholstered interior, sound deadening, a suede steering wheel, and was equipped with power steering, trip computer and air conditioning. The Group S Lancia ECV was to replace the Delta S4 in the 1987 season but Group S was scrapped along with Group B and Lancia used the production-derived Delta in 1987.

 photo Picture 167_zpslz6ufi0u.jpg  photo Picture 168_zpswwxev1or.jpg  photo Picture 166_zpsaz7iipv7.jpg

Mazda RX7

 photo Picture 177_zps6g2u6xwl.jpg  photo Picture 178_zpsv6tws5lt.jpg  photo Picture 176_zpsegqjqukt.jpg

Also here was the 4WD mid engined MG Metro 6R4 of 1984 (6-cylinder, rally car, four-wheel-drive) was a world away from the best selling city car to which it bore only a superficial cosmetic resemblance. The competition car effectively only shared the name of the production Metro as it featured a mid-mounted engine with four wheel drive transmission enclosed within a semi-monocoque seam-welded tubular chassis. The development of this vehicle had been entrusted to Williams Grand Prix Engineering. The resulting car was shown to the world in May 1985. It was powered by a David Wood designed bespoke 3-litre V6 powerplant which used some of the engine architecture of the Cosworth DFV. It featured twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The engine was a break from the norm, as it wasn’t turbocharged as the majority of its competitors were. The engine was mounted back to front in the car, with the forward end of the engine facing the hatchback and the gearbox attached conventionally behind it and, therefore, in the middle of the vehicle. The four-wheel-drive was permanently engaged, and drove separate propshafts to the front and rear differentials. The rear differential was mounted on the side of the engine sump with one driveshaft running through the sump to the nearside rear wheel. Much of the outer bodywork was made of GRP, with the only exception being the roof panels (which were aluminium), the steel doors and the remaining panels from the original Metro shell. The doors were, however, concealed by plastic airboxes. Indeed, models now on show generally have stickers demonstrating where it is safe to push from when moving the vehicle, so as not to damage the bodywork. The 6R4 appeared in two guises. There was a so-called Clubman model which was the road going version which developed in the region of 250 bhp, of which around 200 were made and sold to the public for £40,000 (the homologation version). A further 20 were taken and built to International specifications which had a recorded output of over 410 bhp. At its launch in 1985, Rover announced that it would complete the necessary number of cars required for homologation by November of that year. This was undertaken at the group’s large manufacturing facility at Longbridge. The car was to participate in the Lombard RAC rally in November 1985, and an example, driven by works driver Tony Pond, finished a highly respectable third, behind two Lancia Delta S4s. This good start was unfortunately not repeated, and although a 6R4 was entered in rallies at Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal and Corsica during the 1986 season, none of the Metros managed to complete a course. The majority of these problems were related to the V6 powerplant which suffered teething issues. Halfway during the 1986 season, Group B was banned (following a series of fatal crashes in which both competitors and spectators lost their lives). From that point on, the 6R4 was always going to be limited in front line competition, although they were run with limited success for the remainder of the year. A number passed into private hands and have proved formidable rally and rallycross cars. Despite the expiry of the 6R4’s homologation the MSA still allow the cars to run in competition although engine sizes have been limited to 2800cc (single plenum engines) and 2500cc (multi-plenum engines). Austin Rover withdrew from the rallying scene at the end of the season, but in 1987 all the parts and engines were sold to Tom Walkinshaw Racing, whereupon the V6 engine reappeared in the Jaguar XJ220, this time with turbochargers added.

 photo Picture 162_zpshaxigzwt.jpg  photo Picture 161_zpsa8om8av1.jpg  photo Picture 160_zpsvt9igt7q.jpg

Nissan 240 RS

 photo Picture 185_zpstcdmkpoj.jpg  photo Picture 186_zpscuy8orft.jpg  photo Picture 188_zpsdhrz3vnk.jpg  photo Picture 187_zpsiihjtbf1.jpg

Opel Manta 400

 photo Picture 184_zps1ylg0tgj.jpg  photo Picture 182_zpstvpx2dni.jpg  photo Picture 181_zpsntsvovty.jpg

Peugeot produced their 205 T16 to compete against the Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta of the mid 80s. To homologate the 205 T16 (“Turbo 16”) Group B rally car, Peugeot had to produce 200 road-going examples. According to the Group B regulations, these had to be based on a current production road car. Peugeot decided to base the Group B rally car on the two door version of the 205. The engine was based on the cast iron block of the Diesel version of the then new XU engine family, albeit with a specially developed 16-valve head. The gearbox came from the Citroen SM but was mounted transversely. The car had all wheel drive. The body was built by Heuliez, where standard three door bodyshells from the production line were delivered and heavily modified. Heuliez cut off the complete rear of the car and welded in a transverse firewall between the B-posts. The rear frame was then built in a mixture of sheet steel profiles and tubes. The front was modified in a similar way with a tube frame carrying the front suspension. The completed bodies were delivered to Simca (Talbot) for the 200-series production cars and to Peugeot Talbot Sport for the competition versions. All street versions (VINs P1 to P200) were left hand drive and identically kitted out in dark grey colour, except the first (VIN P1) that was painted white and carried all the competition cars’ decoration for demonstration purposes. The competition cars of the first evolution series (VIN C1 to C20) were built at the sport department Peugeot Talbot Sport and presented to the public at the same day as the standard street version. Later competition vehicles of the Evolution 2 series (VIN C201 to C220) were built differently as the rear spaceframe had no more sheet steel profiles in it but was completely made from tubes only. Apart from the appearance, the road variants had practically nothing in common with the regular production model and shared the transverse mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout of the rally car, but had less than half the power; at around 200 PS. The T was for Turbo; the 16 stands for 16 valves. Outwardly similar to a normal 205, the T16 had wider wheel arches, and the whole rear section lifted up to give access to the engine. Underneath, the complex drivetrain from the rally car was kept to abide by the Group B rules In addition to the Group B model, the lesser 205 GTI was also FIA approved for competition in the Group N and Group A categories. Peugeot Talbot Sport’s factory 205 T16s under Jean Todt were the most successful cars to compete in the last two years of the World Rally Championship’s Group B era, winning the 1985 and 1986 Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles with Timo Salonen and Juha Kankkunen respectively against such notable competition from Audi, Lancia and Ford, with an Evolution 2 model being introduced for the latter of those two seasons.

 photo Picture 165_zpsieyauusc.jpg  photo Picture 152_zpsf2gojjfg.jpg  photo Picture 155_zpsoq33xp85.jpg  photo Picture 154_zpsba3fy56t.jpg  photo Picture 153_zpsqvjgl1q4.jpg  photo Picture 164_zpsyqtf7oxa.jpg  photo Picture 163_zpsttz8qhxw.jpg

Final car in the display was a Renault R5 Maxi Turbo. In response to Lancia’s rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault’s Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production, asked Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini. The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1,397 cc Cléon-Fonte with fuel fed by Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a Garrett AiResearch T3 turbocharger OHV 2 valves per cylinder Inline-four engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 PS at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 221 Nm (163 lb/ft) at 3250 rpm. Though it used a modified body from a standard Renault 5, and was badged a Renault 5, the mechanicals were radically different, the most obvious difference being rear-wheel drive and rear-mid-engined instead of the normal version’s front-wheel drive and front-mounted engine. At the time of its launch it was the most powerful production French car. The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe. Many parts later transferred to the Alpine A310, such as the suspension or alloy wheel set. The R5 Turbo was conceived with dual intent, promoting the sales of the common R5 and being homologated in the FIA group 3 and 4 categories of the rally championship (today WRC). All the motorsport derivatives were based on the Turbo 1. The factory pushed the engine output up to 180 PS for the Critérium des Cévennes, 210 PS for the Tour de Corse, and by 1984 as much as 350 PS in the R5 Maxi Turbo. Driven by Jean Ragnotti in 1981, the 5 Turbo won the Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing in the World Rally Championship. The 2WD R5 Turbo soon faced the competition of new Group B four-wheel drive cars that proved faster on dirt. There are several victories throughout the early 80’s in the national championships in France, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, and Spain, many victories in international rallies throughout Europe, with wins in iconic rallies such as Monte-Carlo. After the factory ceased support, it lived a second life being developed by many teams and enthusiasts to compete in regional championships and local races in which it was ubiquitous and reached many success for almost 20 years. At the time of retirement, the newly created historical categories allowed these cars to return to international events and competitions, living a third life. For these reasons it has accessed to a legendary status and has a huge fan base.

 photo Picture 174_zpscw7osxyp.jpg  photo Picture 175_zpsqdmavoux.jpg  photo Picture 173_zps3hqab5nl.jpg  photo Picture 172_zpspbds1fzq.jpg


Final manufacturer of the domestic three, Renault also have a vast stand, and they always bring along an array of models from their “Histoire et Collection”, usually with a specific theme in mind.

This is a 1911 Type CH, which was built from 1910 to 1912. In the history of Renault, this model’s birth year will always be remembered for the catastrophic flooding of the Seine: From January 22 to February 3, 1910, the plant was submerged. At the very worst of the flood, with the shop floor under 2.20 metres of water, the press wrote that «the factory is used to overcoming adversity, and we safely predict that the powerful Billancourt establishments will be working day and night to resume production». They were right: it was business as usual after two months of arduous labour. Clearly, natural disaster could not hold back progress: when the Type CH was released it boasted an avant -garde engine design (featuring heated carburettor and original patented cooling system) and a gearbox with direct-drive top gear, using the patent filed by Louis Renault back in 1898. Throughout this period in Renault’s history, the company would patent numerous inventions for improving lubrication, engine cooling and fuel intake. There was even a patent for a lightweight rigid rear axle system.

 photo Picture 652_zpsfht0otuq.jpg  photo Picture 651_zpsxs7pfxk7.jpg

This is a 40CV, a large car produced from 1911 to 1928. It was sold in many variations which were known by two letter names such as the CG, ES and JP. Originally launched with a 6-cylinder 7.5-litre engine (7,539 cc), this was replaced by a larger 9.1-litre 9,120 cc engine when the “Type HF” version of the 40CV replaced the “Type HD” version in August 1920. In 1922 the 40CV was fitted with a hydraulic servo-brake system. The 40 CV was replaced by the Renault Reinastella in 1928. A 40CV won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1925, and a modified single-seater NM became well known in 1926 for being able to cover 50 miles at a speed of 190 km/h (118.1 mph) and broke the 24-hour record by covering 4167.57 km at an average speed of 173.6 km/h (107.9 mph). Between 1920 and 1928 the Renault 40CV served as official transport for the French president, usurping a role previously filled by the Panhard 20CV.

 photo Picture 630_zpsb1cmpd1t.jpg  photo Picture 629_zps3yfqcsqw.jpg  photo Picture 628_zpsnzkkmm2m.jpg  photo Picture 627_zpsa9iggzk0.jpg

This is a Viva Grand Sport. Engineering developments during the thirties brought a tremendous increase in automotive power and speed. At the same time, intercontinental air flight was becoming an everyday reality, and engineers and motorists alike would look to the world of aviation for inspiration. As a result of these two trends, aerodynamic streamlining became a major vogue. For Renault, the turning point came at the 1934 Paris Motor Show, with streamlined design becoming apparent on the Viva and Nerva ranges. Sister models in the six-cylinder Viva range were the shorter, more powerful Vivasport, and the sleek Vivastella. These two design influences would merge in 1935 to produce the Viva Grand Sport, a very neat, well-balanced car with smooth, uncluttered lines, available in several closed and open-top versions. The advertising campaign for the cabriolet version invited motorists to “experience a new joie de vivre with a Renault Grand Sport”. As the eight-cylinder Nerva models declined, as a result of the difficult economic conditions of the recession years, the powerful, comfortable, easy-to-drive Viva Grand Sport would end up topping the Renault range. And, with various enhancements, it would keep this position through till 1939.

 photo Picture 643_zpsyddugg6g.jpg  photo Picture 642_zpswksq1gwh.jpg  photo Picture 641_zpswbbn516d.jpg  photo Picture 803_zpshelqyocx.jpg  photo Picture 656_zpsl6mredkw.jpg

This 1939 VivaStella Grand Sport, the last produced has only covered 14,000 miles since new. The Renault Vivastella was an executive car introduced by Renault in October 1928 and produced for the model years 1929 – 1939. The car was modified and changed with unusual frequency even by the standards of Renault in the 1930s, and following its evolution in retrospect is rendered more complicated by the way that the Renault catalogue frequently listed two succeeding generations of the model simultaneously, but the Vivastella always occupied a place in the manufacturer’s line-up a little below the slightly longer Renault Reinastella. The Vivastella was introduced at the 22nd Paris Motor Show in October 1928 as a more luxurious version of the Renault Vivasix. A second generation model was introduced in 1935, the new Vivastella (Type ACR1) with a new aerodynamic body. Further new versions were introduced from 1936, at approximately six monthly intervals, one after another, with the final BDZ1 with a new engine of 4085cc and 100HP, and an (even) more aerodynamic body.

 photo Picture 648_zpsj7o1z7wz.jpg

This is a ReinaStella, a luxury-class car manufactured between 1929 and 1933. The car was unveiled at the 1928 Paris Motor Show as the Renault Renahuit. The original Reinastella was the first of Renault’s Stella series, high-end luxury automobiles intended to compete with contemporary marques such as Hispano-Suiza, Rolls-Royce, Daimler, Lincoln, Packard, and Cadillac. The Stellas, or Grand Renaults, were marked with a star riveted to the radiator grille above the famous Renault lozenge. The Reinastella was, at 5.3 meters (17 feet) long and 2 meters (six feet) wide, the biggest car ever produced by Renault upon its market debut. It weighed about 2.5 tons and was the first Renault to be fitted with a 7.1 litre, 8-cylinder engine, delivering a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph). It was also the first Renault to have its radiator placed ahead of the engine, leading the way for all future Renaults. The bonnet of the Reinastella was longer than that of the later Nervastella and Vivastella, but like those later models the Reinastella was available in different trims: a closed sedan, berline, and town car. Coachbuilding was by leading French coachworkers, exhibiting the luxurious fittings of the golden age of classic bodywork. These models were produced until 1931. In 1933, a coupé, the Reinasport, was introduced. It was a lighter and more economical car, designed to compete with British and American models in the difficult economic environment of the Great Depression. In its day, the Reinastella had the same cachet of luxury and privilege in the Francophone world that Rolls Royce had in Britain and America. As a result, it may sometimes appear in contemporary popular media as a symbol of wealth. For example, it appears in The Adventures of Tintin series of Belgian comics The Blue Lotus (1936) and The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941). The high proportion of aluminium used in construction made all the Stellas desirable for recycling during World War II. Only a few hundred examples of the vehicle were produced, and most of those that survive are in museum collections.

 photo Picture 646_zpsienamh3g.jpg  photo Picture 644_zpsk8tlstjl.jpg  photo Picture 645_zpsiwjpxwty.jpg  photo Picture 800_zpsxouui26r.jpg  photo Picture 801_zpspntcd1r9.jpg photo Picture 802_zpst7wp5kp7.jpg  photo Picture 801_zps0loxwioa.jpg  photo Picture 657_zpsd2picnms.jpg

This van is a Dauphinoise, based on the Juvaquatre, a small family car produced between 1937 and 1960, although production stopped or slowed to a trickle during the war years. The Juvaquatre was produced as a saloon until 1948 when the plant switched its full attention to the new Renault 4CV. During the second half of 1952 the plant restarted production of the Juvaquatre saloons for a period of approximately five months. In 1950 a van based station wagon body joined the range; later models of the station wagon (from 1956 on) were known as the Renault Dauphinoise. The saloon found itself overshadowed and was soon withdrawn from production after the appearance in 1946 of the Renault 4CV (which was France’s top selling car in the post-war years). However, there was no estate version of the rear engined 4CV or Dauphine, and the Juvaquatre “Dauphinoise” station wagon remained in production until replaced by the Renault 4 in 1960.

 photo Picture 804_zpsyexyucnh.jpg  photo Picture 805_zpshgxca0ye.jpg  photo Picture 639_zpsai8k31hs.jpg  photo Picture 638_zpsg4wqnrff.jpg

Launched at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1980, the R5 Turbo car was primarily designed for rallying, as a response to Lancia’s rallying success with the mid-engined Stratos, Renault’s Jean Terramorsi, vice-president of production, asked Bertone’s Marc Deschamps to design a new sports version of the Renault 5 Alpine supermini. The distinctive new rear bodywork was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Although the standard Renault 5 has a front-mounted engine, the 5 Turbo featured a mid-mounted 1397 cc Cléon-Fonte turbocharged engine placed behind the driver in mid-body in a modified Renault 5 chassis. In standard form, the engine developed 160 PS. At the time of its launch it was the most powerful production French car. The first 400 production 5 Turbos were made to comply with Group 4 homologation to allow the car to compete in international rallies, and were manufactured at the Alpine factory in Dieppe. Once the homologation models were produced, a second version named Turbo 2 was introduced using more stock Renault 5 parts replacing many of light alloy components in the original 5 Turbo version. The Turbo 2 was less expensive, but had nearly the same levels of performance, top speed of 200 km/h (120 mph) and 0–100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. A total of 3576 R5 Turbos were manufactured during a four-year production run.

 photo Picture 649_zpsduuaj6pz.jpg  photo Picture 650_zpscrwiov08.jpg  photo Picture 700_zps12afrrer.jpg  photo Picture 702_zpscey5j8du.jpg  photo Picture 701_zpsdpgii6j0.jpg

Although a very French product of its time, its inspiration comes from America. In the late 1950s, Renault was envious of the growing success in North America of the Volkswagen Beetle and were looking for ways they might match the Volkswagen’s success with their own Renault Dauphine. At a convention of North American distributors that took place in Florida, Renault’s US dealers called for the creation of a Dauphine coupé/cabriolet which would improve Renault’s image in the critical US market. Renault’s chairman, Pierre Dreyfus, agreed, and since the concept had been born at a convention in Florida the car instantly became known within the company as the “Renault Floride”. Ironically, the “Floride” name was considered unsuitable for 49 of the 50 states of the USA, however, since it could have implied disrespect to states other than Florida. For this reason an alternative name, “Caravelle”, was from the start used for North America and for other major markets (including the UK) where the principal language was a form of English. The Floride was unveiled at the 1958 Paris Motor Show. A small rear-engined design by Pietro Frua at Carrozzeria Ghia, it used the floorpan and engine of the Renault Dauphine. The car was offered as a 2+2 coupe, a 2+2 cabriolet and as a convertible, the latter being a cabriolet with a removable hardtop. The 89.2 in wheelbase was shared with the Renault Dauphine but longer overhangs meant that overall the Floride was longer by a significant 12.6 in, as well as being slightly lower and very slightly wider. At launch the Floride, like the Dauphine on which it was based, came with an 845cc four-cylinder water-cooled engine mounted at the back of the car. However, the power unit on the Floride was fed using a Solex 32 mm carburettor as against the 28 mm diameter of the Solex carburetor on the Dauphine. The Florides making their French show debut on the stand at the 1958 Paris Motor Show came with a claimed power output of 37 hp. By the time deliveries commenced, in early summer 1959, it was also possible for customers to specify a performance version, engineered by Amedee Gordini, which produced 40 hp by means of various modifications to the inlet manifold and camshaft, and a compression ratio raised from 7.6:1 to 8.0:1. Power was delivered to the rear wheels via a three speed manual transmission with synchromesh on the upper two ratios. For a supplement of 200 New Francs customers could instead specify a four speed transmission on the slightly heavier coupé version of the car. Having regard to the car’s power-to-weight ratio most customers chose to pay extra for the four speed gear box. Although designed by Frua of Italy, the car’s body was constructed locally, by the automobile body maker Société des usines Chausson, based in Asnières-sur-Seine at the northern edge of Paris, and known in France as the producer of many of the school bus bodies used for transporting children in country areas. In October 1959, the Floride, along with the Renault Dauphine, appeared with significant suspension improvements. The new suspension was conceived by the by now almost legendary automotive engineer Jean-Albert Grégoire and baptised by Renault “Suspension Aérostable”, being intended to improve the car’s ride and road holding. The addition of extra rubber springs at the front reduced roll and auxiliary air spring units (mounted inboard of the conventional coils) at the rear gave the rear wheels a small degree of negative camber and increased cornering grip. In March 1962, the Caravelle received a new 956 cc engine that would be also used by the new Renault 8 from June. Although the new “Sierra” series five-bearing engine shared no components with the existing 845 cc Dauphine engine, it was conceptually very similar: the engine size was chosen in order to come in (slightly) below the top of the 5CV car tax band in France. It had a sealed cooling system as well as a new front suspension, new rear geometry, new steering, and a new gear linkage. Moving the radiator behind the engine also freed up an extra 12 cm of space behind the front seat. Maximum power output increased to 48 hp. Four-speed transmission, already included in the price at no extra cost on some export markets, now came as part of the standard with the new engine even for French buyers, although bottom gear still made do without synchromesh The upgraded cars, first presented at the 1962 Geneva Motor Show, now featured disc brakes on all four wheels: the Floride was the first French volume car to benefit from this enhancement which also reduced unsprung weight by approximately 6 kg The Caravelle name also replaced the Floride name in all markets from 1962 onwards. In 1964 another R8-derived engine of 1108 cc was introduced to the Caravelle, producing 55 hp. This model was tested by “Autocar” magazine in November 1965, who found it had a top speed of 89 mph and accelerated from 0-60 mph in 17.8 seconds, with an “overall” fuel consumption of 30.2 mpg. The Caravelle’s performance closely matched that of the contemporary Triumph Spitfire 4 under most headings, though the Spitfire was a couple of mph ahead on top speed. The British car market was still protected by tariffs at this time, but even allowing for that the Renault looks expensive in this company: The Caravelle came with a UK recommended price of £1039 as against £666 for the Spitfire 4. Production got under way slowly, with only 3,777 cars completed in 1959. However, in 1960, following the important “Aérostable” suspension upgrades, Renault produced 36,156 Florides. By the mid-1960s the Caravelle, which had been fashionably styled at launch, was looking dated, while the reduction and elimination of internal tariffs within the Common Market led to intensified competition in France for buyers of inexpensive sports cars, notably from Italy. Between 1966 and 1967 annual production tumbled from 4,880 to 2,991. During 1968 only 1,438 were produced, and it was during the summer of that year that Renault withdrew the Caravelle.

 photo Picture 655_zpsqlogfbvx.jpg  photo Picture 654_zpsmdzdrt51.jpg  photo Picture 640_zpscgp2iaay.jpg

There were also a series of Renault’s concept cars here. This is the Initiale and it dates from 1995 when it was unveiled 22 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show that year. The Initiale served as the brand’s vision of a proper flagship model. It went on to become a production car in 2002 with the launch of the Vel Satis, but most of the magic got lost on its way to the assembly line. The exterior styling is — should we say — daring. It certainly won’t go down in history for being one of the prettiest concepts to carry the diamond logo, but the car’s shape is nonetheless striking. From the extended bonnet and massive glass panoramic roof to the impressively long rear doors and the big rear hatch opening with a V-shaped window, the Initiale is imposing. And then there’s the comfy interior created in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. The two pulled out all the stops with the cabin by developing an automatically retractable dashboard, armchair-styled wide seats, and a multimedia system capable of playing movies on laser discs. The lovely wood trim spread throughout the cabin together with the ambient lighting created a cozy atmosphere to highlight the idea of treating passenger space like a living area rather than a plain car interior. The 4.9-meter-long Initiale tipped the scales at a rather hefty 2,500 kg (5,511 lbs), but even so Renault claimed the concept would reach an impressive top speed of 190 mph (306 kph). How was that possible? Simple. Lurking underneath that elongated bonnet was a V10 3.5-litre engine borrowed from the 1994 F1 cars of Williams-Renault and Ligier-Renault. In this application, the unit developed 392 hp and 360 Nm (265 lb-ft) delivered to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. The Initiale concept had it all: F1 power, all the luxury Renault could offer in the mid-1990s, tons of spaces inside the cabin — all wrapped up in a uniquely shaped package.

 photo Picture 633_zpsmjz0t07f.jpg  photo Picture 634_zpssnslpbdj.jpg  photo Picture 631_zps70zdp3nm.jpg  photo Picture 632_zpsdigq1uwa.jpg

A few years before that, Renault showed us the Laguna concept. which arrived at the 1990 Paris Show. Designed by Jean-Pierre Ploue, who would go on to become director of design for all of PSA-Peugeot-Citroen, the Laguna was intended as a styling exercise previewing a roadster for the new decade. The swoopy concept featured a surprisingly restrained powerplant in the form of a front-mounted turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine driving all four wheels. 210 hp was the output, giving the Laguna a 0-to-62 mph sprint time of just 6 seconds, though given the modest weight of the bodywork and the concept’s aerodynamic profile, that was perhaps expected. The interior had room for two, but not much of a windscreen. It was also very “seaQuest DSV.” “Laguna is a roadster which is dedicated to ‘driving for the love of it’,” the press release from the Paris motor show promised. “It’s a 100 percent driver’s car, which still manages to make significant contributions to technological innovation in the area of passive safety.” Active safety came from — no, not the helmet things that looked like props from “seaQuest DSV” — but a roll-bar that would pop out 1/10th of a second before a collision. A low windscreen promised some relief from the intense wind forces that one would presumably encounter at a top speed of 155 mph, inevitably inviting comparisons to a light Sea-Doo watercraft, but the 100-percent drivers could also wear facemasks with integrated headphones that pumped in the audio system via an infrared linkup, in addition to offering helmet-to-helmet communication. Unlike the vast majority of concepts from the early 1990s, some of which were admittedly more whimsical than the Laguna, the roadster did pave the way for the Renault Sport Spider that debuted in 1996, offering a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated straight-four producing 148 hp. The Spider featured some of the design themes seen in the Laguna concept, but for the sake of practicality, the styling had become more functional, reminding us of an open-top version of the Consulier GTP. The Laguna name, meanwhile, made it into production on a range of unremarkable midsize cars three years after the 1990 concept debuted.

 photo Picture 647_zpsmwyrrjne.jpg

Rather more recent was the Trezor concept. a two-seater electric concept car with autonomous capabilities which was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. The car secured the Festival Automobile International’s Most Beautiful Concept car of the Year 2016 award. The car is expected to become a commercial product by 2020. The car is unique due to its lack of lines across the body with the only visible seam occurring where the roof connects to the lower portion of the car. The main reason for the lack of visible seams is its clamshell style roof which opens up to allow passengers to enter the interior. The single piece canopy opens by hinging forward on struts. The car also uses a carbon-fibre chassis and a wooden frame under the bonnet, which was built with French bicycle manufacturer KEIM, to function as a luggage rack. It had to carry on the legacy of the Dezir, extreme beauty and economy while sacrificing top speed. The car has a drag coefficient of 0.22 which makes it one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in the world. The exterior lighting signature of the car changes when switched to autonomous mode. The car rides on 21 inch front and 22 inch rear wheels with gaps between spokes in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, besides carbon-fibre scoops to aid in brake cooling.There are no doors, instead you open the roof and climb out. The car has an electric motor developing 260 kW (349 hp) and 380 Nm (280 lb/ft) torque, allowing the car to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than four seconds. The car has two battery packs with independent cooling systems optimised by variable geometry honeycomb shaped air intakes in front. The car has a brake operated energy recovery system, developed from the Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) technology developed for Formula E cars. The interior and the windshield of the car are coloured red. The car also has an OLED touchscreen covered with Gorilla Glass on both the centre console and steering wheel. The steering wheel is rectangular and can extend in width when the vehicle is in autonomous mode to give the driver a panoramic view of the dashboard.

 photo Picture 636_zpsrrqrjchi.jpg  photo Picture 635_zpsavtadzl5.jpg  photo Picture 637_zpsdesq8bdf.jpg  photo Picture 653_zpsjgfisujb.jpg

Separate to Renault’s own display was one elsewhere in Hall 1, which was for what are sometimes referred to as “youngtimers”, more recent classics. This year the entire stand featured the products of Renault, with every car on show featuring a Turbo, marking 40 years since the French brand first applied turbocharging (to a Formula 1 race car). Most of these road cars are rare now, so this was an interesting display.

 photo Picture 677_zpsym6za5h8.jpg

Certainly rare now is the R18 Turbo. The R18 was launched in April 1978 with familiar 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines. Over the coming years, the range expanded with an estate body, diesel engines, and a 2 litre petrol, but the excitement came from the Turbo version which was introduced in September 1980, borrowing from other Renault models. The R18 Turbo featured a 1565 cc engine rated at 110 PS, five-speed gearbox, negative offset front suspension, four-stud alloy wheels, rear spoiler, dashboard and interior fittings from the Renault Fuego. It proved quite popular when new, but survivors are few.

 photo Picture 680_zpsmvypwejw.jpg  photo Picture 679_zpszgrcgnae.jpg  photo Picture 683_zpsod3zhm2f.jpg  photo Picture 682_zpscgzxicow.jpg  photo Picture 660_zpsacmlakfl.jpg photo Picture 661_zpsdctbvqr2.jpg  photo Picture 660_zpsybs5lppf.jpg  photo Picture 072_zpseyc5ckrz.jpg  photo Picture 666_zpsfuwn5zkb.jpg

Eighteen months after the debut of the second generation R5, the “supercinq” as it is sometimes known, Renault produced their response to Peugeot’s 205 GTi, the R5 GT Turbo. Many were convinced that this was a better car, though it did have a reputation for unreliability and hot starting was quite an issue with fuel vaporising in the carburettor as the engine cooled. It used a modified four cylinder, eight-valve Cléon 1,397 cc engine, a pushrod unit dating back to the 1962 original (in 1,108 cc form). It was turbocharged with an air-cooled Garrett T2 turbocharger. Weighing a mere 850 kg (1,874 lb), and producing 113 hp, the GT Turbo had an excellent power-to-weight ratio, permitting it to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. To differentiate it from the standard 5, it came with blocky plastic side skirts. Unfortunately, turbo lag was an issue, along with poor hot starting, and it was considered rather difficult to control. The same engine was used, with similar issues, in the Renault 9 and 11 Turbos. In 1987, the facelifted Phase II was launched. Major changes in the Phase II version included installing watercooling to the turbocharger, aiding the Phase I’s oil-cooled setup, which extended the life of the turbo. It also received a new ignition system which permitted it to rev 500 rpm higher. These changes boosted engine output up to over 118 hp. Externally, the car was revamped, with changes (including new bumpers and arches) that reduced the car’s drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.35. Giving the Phase II a 0–100 km/h time of 7.5 secs. In 1989 the GT Turbo received a new interior, and in 1990 the special edition Raider model (available only in metallic blue, with different interior and wheels) was launched. In late 1991 the Renault 5 GT Turbo was discontinued, superseded by the Clio 16v and the Clio Williams. Survival rate of the R5 GT Turbo is low and few cars are particularly original, so this was nice one to behold.

 photo Picture 667_zpsnm7jwq1w.jpg  photo Picture 658_zpsnipfgu3n.jpg  photo Picture 071_zpsh0lucqyx.jpg  photo Picture 681_zps9j5ylvea.jpg  photo Picture 693_zps2pseze9t.jpg

Very rare these days, since as well as rust taking hold, a number of these Fuego cars lived up to their name and burst into flames, this stylish car replaced the Renault 15 and 17 coupés of the 1970s. It was marketed in the United States by American Motors Corporation (AMC), and was also assembled in several countries in South America. The Fuego’s exterior was designed by Michel Jardin, working under Robert Opron (who previously designed the Citroën SM, Citroën GS, Citroën CX in the 1970s, and then followed with the Renault 25 in 1984). It was heavily based on the Renault 18, sharing its floorpan and drivetrain, but featuring a new front suspension design developed from the larger Renault 20/30. The design kept the familiar double wishbone layout common with the Renault 18 but no parts were interchangeable and the design incorporated negative scrub radius geometry. The new suspension design would later be introduced in the facelifted Renault 18, and with minor refinements (larger bushings, etc.), it was used in the Renault 25. In 1984, the Fuego dashboard was added to the facelifted R18. European production continued into 1986 (to 1985 in France and 1986 in Spain), while Renault Argentina produced the Fuego from 1982 until finally ending production in 1995 with the 2.2 litre “GTA Max” (the final phase III facelift introduced in 1990). It was the first mass-produced four-seat sports model to be designed in a wind tunnel. The resulting drag coefficient (Cd) factor of 0.32-0.35 depending on model and year. In October 1982, the Turbo Diesel model was classified as the then-fastest diesel car in the world with a top speed of 180 km/h. The Fuego was the first car to have a remote keyless system with central locking that was available from October 1982. The system was invented by Frenchman Paul Lipschutz (hence the name PLIP remote which is still used in Europe), and later introduced on other Renault models. The Fuego was also the first car to have steering wheel mounted satellite controls for the audio system. This feature became popularised on the new 1984 model Renault 25. A number of different engines and trims were offered which in Europe initially comprised the 1.4 litre TL, GTL; 1.6 litre TS, GTS; 2.0 litre TX, and GTX., A 2.1 litre Turbo Diesel was also produced for LHD European markets in the 1982-84 period. The Fuego Turbo, launched in 1983 included a new front grille, bumpers, wheel design, interior trim and a revised dashboard on LHD models. The Fuego became the number one selling coupé in Europe during the years 1980 through 1982. The official Renault website states that a total of 265,367 Fuegos were produced. In France (thus, excluding Argentina and Spain) the number produced from 1980 to 1985 was 226,583.

 photo Picture 673_zpsccjgmzcc.jpg  photo Picture 676_zpswuvvtrmx.jpg  photo Picture 077_zpsggntjvmj.jpg  photo Picture 676_zpsmlmcuolh.jpg  photo Picture 076_zpsyvmna0vn.jpg  photo Picture 077_zpsggntjvmj.jpg  photo Picture 692_zpsw3vhnyyz.jpg  photo Picture 691_zpsdwnsknvp.jpg  photo Picture 689_zpseory5rwp.jpg  photo Picture 671_zpsgwvrifxk.jpg

This an R9 Turbo, one of the family-sized Renault version of the R9 and R11 range of the 1980s. First to appear was the R9, in September 1981 as a 4-door saloon while the 11 arrived in 1983 as a 3 or 5-door hatchback. Both had been developed under the Renault code name L42 and were designed by Robert Opron. Renault had begun the conception of the Renault 9 in 1977, as a “four metre” model (referring to its length) to fit between the Renault 5 and the Renault 14. Opron conceived a traditional three-box design to appeal to the traditional customer and avoid the poor reception that had met the Renault 14’s styling. Exhaustive consumer studies suggested that buyers rejected innovation, resulting in a rather nondescript design, albeit of modest elegance. By the time the models entered production, Renault had assigned more than 500 people to the project, logging 14,500,000 hours of study and testing, constructing 44 prototypes, testing 130 engines, and test-driving prototypes more than 2.2 million km. Both cars were also more conservatively engineered, although they retained front-wheel drive, Renault abandoned the Douvrin transmission-in-sump engine which it had shared with Peugeot-Citroen in the Renault 14, in favour of its in-house power unit – the venerable C-type “Cléon” engine with an end-on mounted transmission. This mechanical layout, along with the 9/11’s suspension design, was to become the basis of all small Renaults for the next 15 years or so. The Renault 9 was awarded the 1982 European Car of the Year, while the Alliance appeared on Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 1983, and was the 1983 Motor Trend Car of the Year. Although the 9 and 11 cars had different names and body styles, they were identical under the skin, and were intended to jointly replace the older Renault 14. The 11 was also distinguishable from the 9 by its front end, which featured square twin headlights, which had been introduced on the North American Alliance. The 9 also received this new front end in 1985 and both models were face-lifted for a final time with matching nose and interior upgrades for the 1987 model year. A version of the 9 was manufactured and marketed by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in the United States as the Renault Alliance and bearing a small AMC badge. With 623,573 examples manufactured for model years 1982–1987, AMC offered the Alliance as a two or four-door sedan and as a convertible, beginning in 1984. The Renault 9 and 11 continued in production in France until 1989, a year after the launch of the Renault 19. However, production continued in other countries, with the end finally coming after nearly 20 years when production in Turkey was discontinued in 2000. At launch, both cars used Renault’s ageing Cléon-Fonte engine overhead valve engines in either 1.1 or 1.4 litre format, and a basic suspension design which won few plaudits for the driving experience. The exceptions were the 9 Turbo and the 11 Turbo hot hatch, which used the turbocharged engine from the Renault 5. The 11 Turbo was introduced first, and originally only with three-door bodywork. Unlike the 5 Turbo or the 205 GTi, the 11 Turbo had a more comfort-oriented focus. Although the cars were heavier than the Renault 5, the increased power in later models was enough to ensure higher performance, thanks to its 113 hp. The rally-tuned version was impressively fast, producing about 217 hp. The newer F-type engine which had been developed in collaboration with Volvo appeared from late 1983 on in twin-carburettor 1,721 cc guise (F2N), powering the upmarket GTX, GTE, TXE, and TXE Electronic (Electronique in France) versions. These larger-engined versions were specifically developed with American needs in mind, although they also happened to be well-suited for a changing European market.

 photo Picture 075_zpsw1vzxlpm.jpg  photo Picture 073_zpseukcuwkk.jpg  photo Picture 074_zpsvm66llci.jpg  photo Picture 688_zpsrs4vv95l.jpg  photo Picture 690_zpsfcuzmud5.jpg photo Picture 687_zpshyzb0f8c.jpg  photo Picture 685_zpsllmorjc8.jpg  photo Picture 686_zps3hu2lxzn.jpg  photo Picture 079_zpstatoch7d.jpg  photo Picture 675_zpsdai1wjky.jpg photo Picture 678_zpsesezt21z.jpg

Introduced in the end of 1983 for a March 1984 start of sales, the Renault 25 was a large step forward in nearly every aspect from the Renault 20 / Renault 30 range it was replacing. Its five door liftback body was penned by designers Gaston Juchet and Robert Opron of Citroën SM fame, and the unconventional style (the wraparound rear window was its most famous feature) was aimed at giving the car a notchback look in order to overcome customer preference outside France for formal sedans in the segment. The 25 was one of the first cars designed from the start for aerodynamic efficiency; its drag coefficient (Cd) was 0.31, a key factor in improving fuel economy. The TS model briefly held the unofficial title of “world’s most aerodynamic mass production car” with a Cd of 0.28, and at its launch the 25 was easily the best in its class for fuel economy. All Renault 25 models were front-wheel drive, with four cylinder (2 litre and 2.2 litre petrol injection or 2.1 litre diesel) and six cylinder (2,849 cc and 2,458 cc turbo injection) engines mounted longitudinally forward of the front axle. The 25’s performance was above average for its class, with the V6 Turbo specification a match for the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. The 25 was praised for its ride comfort and spirited handling (despite slight understeer, and torque steer on V6 Turbo models). A newly designed manual transmission drew unanimous praise for its precision and smoothness (although the detent spring on fifth gear could cause mis-selection of 3rd gear), and though the futuristic interior designed by Italian designer Marcello Gandini (of Lamborghini fame) was controversial, the 25 was highly regarded for its quiet, spacious and well lit passenger compartment. Equipment levels were high and set new standards for French cars, the 25 including among other features, an express up and down feature on the driver’s power window, voice alerts (covering items such as improperly shut doors/bonnet/boot – oil pressure, engine temperature/charging circuit and blown bulbs), and one of the world’s first remote stereo controls, mounted to the right of the steering column (controlling volume +/–, station search, station select (jog wheel) in radio mode & Volume +/–, mute and track advance (if supported)). For the first time since World War II, Renault had a realistic chance of breaking into the full size market segment outside France. The Renault 25’s least durable part was the automatic transmission. As a result, most 25s remaining are the five speed manual and few automatics have survived. Three automatic transmissions were used on R25: MJ3, 4141, both three speed, and a new four speed AR4, later used on the Renault Safrane as AD4/AD8. Due to the poor quality and design of the ATF cooler, especially on the later AR4, these versions have gained a poor reputation for reliability. A leaking ATF cooler could lead to gearbox failure with little or no physical warning, except for ATF stains beneath the vehicle to which not all drivers paid attention or not quickly enough. The first transmissions started failing within a few years, while the model was still in production. Renault then prepared a package that was to replace the original poor quality cooler regardless of vehicle age and mileage. However, the cooler location in front of the right wheel could not be changed. As a result, Renault 25 Automatics with the AR4 transmission are rare today. The car underwent a facelift in June 1988, with a new front end, taillights, interior materials, and front suspension. Essentially, every panel was changed on the facelifted car, with the intent to smooth the styling. The new version also featured more powerful engines, the 2.2i engine being dropped and replaced by a 12v version of the 2.0i engine which produced 140 bhp. There were a small number of run out post facelift cars fitted with the 2.2i engine to use up stocks, these were rated at the normal 123 bhp for that engine. Production ended in February 1992, to make way for the Renault Safrane.

 photo Picture 664_zpsffkihh2o.jpg  photo Picture 663_zps0cimmven.jpg

Very rare now is the R21 Turbo. Produced when just about every manufacturer rushed to strap a turbo onto their regular cars, to create versions with higher performance (and often some challenging dynamics), the R21 Turbo was launched in 1989, around the time of the facelift of the model which had originally been seen in late 1985. There was a Quadra four wheel drive version as well as the standard front wheel drive car.

 photo Picture 659_zpszuooayoi.jpg  photo Picture 662_zpseokj5329.jpg  photo Picture 662_zpsewtucegi.jpg  photo Picture 665_zpscqvfglt8.jpg

The Safrane was launched in April 1992, to replace the ageing Renault 25 in the full-size market segment. Its clean, aerodynamic styling was quite conservative and very typical of early 1990s car design, The Safrane carried over the Renault 25’s five door hatchback/notchback design that had gained wide customer acceptance in France. Despite the traditional preference for saloon bodies in the executive car segment, Renault decided to compete on the base of added practicality of the rear door and split folding rear seat as well as originality. Given the preference for German saloons from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz of many executive car buyers, this can be viewed as good marketing tactics, allowing Renault to draw the buyers looking for alternatives, rather than compete head on. The Series 2 Safrane featured slightly (but visibly) different front ends in different versions, in an attempt to emphasize the unique status of more upmarket models, although these treatments differed in different markets. The Safrane’s design was a deliberate effort to overcome the R25’s main weaknesses — insufficient chassis stiffness and poor build quality. Renault was also keen to take noise reduction to best in class levels. These constraints resulted in a much heavier car than its predecessor (+200–300 kg / 440-660 lb.) due to a heavily reinforced chassis and the liberal use of sound proofing materials. At launch in 1992, the Safrane offered six engines including one diesel, ranging from 2 to 3 litres and manual or automatic transmissions. All petrol engines were fuel injected and were fitted with three way catalytic converters, as required in Europe after 1993 for engines of all sizes. The Safrane was also the first Renault to be equipped with air bags. The Safrane’s launch was free of the build quality problems that ruined the Renault 25’s reputation. Critics praised the car’s comfortable and spacious interior, excellent noise insulation, and incisive handling. However, the manual transmission’s cable actuated shifter (a first on a Renault) drew heavy criticism for its rubbery, uncommunicative feeling that spoiled the driving experience — a significant issue in the European market where more than 80% of cars sold are manuals. Critics would also conclude that the car’s acceleration and fuel economy was not up to the competition’s standards, pointing out towards the engine’s relative lack of power and torque compared to the vehicle’s weight. As a result, sales outside France (where national preference guaranteed good results) remained limited, and the Safrane did not break the Germans’ lock on the executive car market. In the end of 1993, a 115 PS 2.5 L turbodiesel was added to the range, increasing Safrane’s attractiveness, yet it faced tough competition from the likes of Audi’s 140 PS (138 hp) direct injection diesel of the same size, introduced a few months later in the Audi 100. The Renault Safrane was considered the most frequently used official car of former President of France, Jacques Chirac. In 1994, Renault launched the high performance Biturbo version available in RXE and Baccara models. This model featured a twin turbo, 262 PS (258 hp) evolution of the 3.0 L V6 of the Alpine A610, developed with the assistance of German tuning firms Hartge and Irmscher, coupled with all wheel drive. However, it was only available with a manual transmission, as no automatic gearbox existed anywhere in the world for a transversely mounted engine of that horsepower with AWD. Given that automatic transmissions and V8 engines are strongly preferred in the price class where Biturbo competed, it is not surprising that only 806 Biturbos were made. Production ended in September 1996. In the same year, the French coachbuilder Heuliez presented the Safrane Long Cours, which was something like a station wagon version of the Safrane Biturbo in luxury Baccara trim. The Safrane was phased out in 2000, having sold in fewer numbers than its predecessor.

 photo Picture 078_zpsd0x236ur.jpg  photo Picture 672_zps9xycd8di.jpg

The display also included the bonkers R5 Turbo and a Renault Alpine GTA Turbo.

 photo Picture 669_zpsuou3vuky.jpg  photo Picture 668_zpsojthmbzn.jpg  photo Picture 670_zpsencyhcpd.jpg  photo Picture 674_zpsiu8flv9y.jpg  photo Picture 684_zpsbohjtduj.jpg

Not surprisingly, there were a number of other Renault models elsewhere in the Show. Among them was another 40CV, this one needing something of a restoration, as well as another R5 Turbo.

 photo Picture 490_zps5wblbc6e.jpg  photo Picture 492_zpssudkyr4g.jpg  photo Picture 491_zpsfjwci4pj.jpg

This 4CV from 1957 was displayed complete with a pair of handcuffs hanging from the seat-rail, was built for the traffic police. It was equipped with 12-volt power and an extra battery to power the radio-telephone. Renault disapproved of the transformation, however, and just 75 of the cars were created.

 photo Picture 718_zpscpwmbgpy.jpg

The Dauphine was huge success for Renault globally, with over two million of them being produced between 1956 and 1967, all of them in a single body style – a three-box, 4-door saloon – as the successor to the Renault 4CV. All the cars looked the same, though there were variants, such as the sport model, the Gordini, a luxury version, the Ondine, and the 1093 factory racing model, and the car formed the basis for the Caravelle/Floride, a Dauphine-based two-door coupé and two-door convertible. The car’s predecessor, the 4CV had been a success for Renault, too, with over 500,000 produced by 1954. The Dauphine was born during a conversation with Lefaucheux and engineer Fernand Picard. The two agreed the 4CV was appropriate in its postwar context, but that French consumers would soon need a car appropriate for their increasing standard of living. Internally known as “Project 109” the Dauphine’s engineering began in 1949 with engineers Fernand Picard, Robert Barthaud and Jacques Ousset managing the project. A 1951 survey conducted by Renault indicated design parameters of a car with a top speed of 110 km/h (68 mph), seating for four passengers and fuel consumption of less than 7 L/100 km(40 mpg). The survey indicated that women held stronger opinions about a car’s colours than about the car itself. Engineers spent the next five years developing the Dauphine. Within the first year, designers had created a ⅛th-scale clay model, studied the model’s aerodynamics, built a full-scale clay model, studied wood interior mockups of the seating, instrument panel, and steering column – and built the first prototype in metal. Having largely finalised the exterior design, testing of the prototype began at Renault’s facilities at Lardy by secrecy of night, on July 24, 1952. Using new laboratories and new specially designed tracks, engineers measured maximum speed, acceleration, braking and fuel consumption as well as handling, heating and ventilation, ride, noise levels and parts durability. Engineers tested parts by subjecting them to twisting and vibration stresses, and then redesigning the parts for manufacture. By August 1953 head engineer Picard had an almond-green prototype delivered to Madrid for dry condition testing, ultimately experiencing only five flat tyres and a generator failure after 2,200 km. Subsequently, Lefaucheux ordered engineers to test a Dauphine prototype directly against a Volkswagen Beetle. The engineers determined that noise levels were too high, interior ventilation and door sealing were inadequate and most importantly, the engine capacity was insufficient at only 4 CV (748 cc). The four-cylinder engine was redesigned to increase its capacity to 845 cc by increasing the bore to 58 mm, giving the car a new informal designation, the 5CV. By 1954 a second series of prototypes incorporated updates, using the older prototypes for crash testing. Lefaucheux followed the testing carefully, often meeting with his engineers for night testing to ensure secrecy, but did not live to see the Dauphine enter production. He was killed in an accident on February 11, 1955, when he lost control of his Renault Frégate on an icy road and was struck on the head by his unsecured luggage as the car rolled over. The Flins factory was renamed in his honour, and he was succeeded on the project by Pierre Dreyfus. By the end of testing, drivers had road tested prototypes in everyday conditions including dry weather and dusty condition testing in Madrid, engine testing in Bayonne, cold testing at the Arctic Circle in Norway, suspension testing in Sicily, weatherseal testing in then-Yugoslavia – a total of more than two million kilometres of road and track testing.In December 1955, Pierre Bonin (director of the Flins Renault Factory) and Fernand Picard presented the first example to leave the factory to Pierre Dreyfus, who had taken over the project after Lefaucheux’s death. Renault officially revealed the model’s existence to the press through L’Auto Journal and L’Action Automobile et Touristique in November 1955, referring to it simply by its unofficial model designation “the 5CV”. Advance press preview testing began on February 4, 1956, under the direction of Renault press secretary Robert Sicot, with six Dauphines shipped to Corsica. Journalists were free to drive anywhere on the island, while under contract not to release publication before the embargo date of March 1, 1956. The Dauphine debuted on March 6, 1956 at Paris’ Palais de Chaillot with over twenty thousand people attending, two days before its official introduction at the 1956 Salon International de l’Auto in Geneva. Renault considered the name Corvette for its new model, but to avoid a conflict with the recently launched Chevrolet Corvette instead chose a name that reinforced the importance of the project’s predecessor, the 4CV, to France’s postwar industrial rebirth. At introduction, the Dauphine was positioned in the marketplace between the concurrently manufactured 4CV, and the much larger Frégate. The new model followed the 4CV’s rear-engine, four-door three-box sedan format, while providing greater room and power and pioneering a new focus for Renault on interior and exterior color and design.The Dauphine used a version of the 4CV’s water-cooled Ventoux engine with capacity increased from 760 cc to 845 cc, and power increased from 19–32 hp. Engine cooling was facilitated by air intakes behind each rear door and a vented rear fascia. The Dauphine had a front-hinged boot lid, which housed the headlights and opened to a seven-cubic-foot boot. The spare tyre was carried horizontally under the front of the car, behind an operable panel below the bumper. The interior featured adjustable front bucket seats and a rear bench seat, a heater, painted dash matching the exterior, twin courtesy lamps, a white steering wheel, rear bypassing (vs. roll down) windows, twin horns (town and country) selectable by the driver and twin open bins on the dashboard in lieu of gloveboxes. Exterior finishes included a range of pastel colours. The Gordini version was offered with a 4-speed transmission, four-wheel disc brakes from 1964 and increased horsepower, performance tuned by Amédée Gordini to 37 hp. The 1093 was a factory racing model limited edition of 2,140 homologated, which were tuned to 55 hp and featured a twin-barrel carburettor, rear track rods, four-speed manual transmission and tachometer, had a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph), and were produced in 1962 and 1963. All were painted white with two thin blue stripes running front to back along the hood, roof and boot. The Dauphine was made under licence in a number of countries around the world.

 photo Picture 084_zpsrr7logbh.jpg  photo Picture 085_zpsyemtw488.jpg

Final Renault of note was this R4 Savane, on the Auto Plus Classique magazine’s stand, one of the last versions of La Regie’s long-running small car, production of which ran from 1961 to 1986 in France and continued a few years beyond that in Slovenia. More than 8 million were sold though rust has claimed the vast majority of them.

 photo Picture 535_zpsfq7lyrui.jpg  photo Picture 536_zpswx3jghgm.jpg


The associated Renault-Alpine display this year concentrated on the road cars, with an example of each of the main models that has been produced, all of them painted white.

 photo Picture 799_zpslvipkl6u.jpg  photo Picture 798_zpsji4nbjrt.jpg

The Alpine story goes back a few years before the 1955 launch of the first model and involves Jean Rédélé, the son of a Renault dealer in Dieppe, who in 1950, started activities in automobile competition where he would collect results and class victories in such sport events as the Monte Carlo rally, the Mille Miglia, the Tour de France and the challenging Liège Rome Liège race. These successes came from behind the wheel of a small Renault 4 CV sedan but for Jean Rédélé that was only the beginning. He dreamed of providing his country with a small sports car utilising mass production mechanical elements. Jean Rédélé first prepared a special Renault, the body of which was designed by Michelotti and produced by Alemano in Italy. It was, however, with the support of the French coachbuilders Chappe brothers based at Saint-Maur that Jean Rédélé was able to produce the Alpine A106. The Chappe brothers were indeed specialists in fibreglass composite production. The Alpine A106 was based on a Renault 4 CV platform. The designation of this new sports car makes reference to Jean Rédélé’s success in the Alpine Rally associated with the 106 production reference number of the Renault 4 CV. On June 25th 1955, the Société des Automobile Alpine (Automobile Alpine Company) was founded. The Alpine brand was officially launched on October 6th of the same year and the A106 was first exhibited at the Paris Motor Show. This was the first model of the Alpine story and 251 examples were made between 1955 and 1959. The model exhibited here is the Alpine A106 entered at the 1959 Mille Miglia. The engine is a in line four cylinder with 747 cc capacity producing 38 hp, driving the rear wheels through a five speed gearbox, with drum brakes all round. The claimed top speed was around 150 kph (93 mph). The car was small, measuring 3700 mm (145,6 in.) in length, 1450 mm (57 in.) wide and the weight was just 550 kg (1213 lb.).

 photo Picture 606_zpsqltyof9k.jpg  photo Picture 607_zpsjbpz5gwp.jpg  photo Picture 703_zpsidtmgfak.jpg

Replacing the A106, was the A108, which was launched at the Paris Motor Show in autumn 1957. Initially production volumes were low and the company’s principal offering continued to be the older 106 model until 1960. The Alpine 106 had taken its name from the first three digits of the four-digit homologation number of the old Renault 4CV on which the car was based. Applying the same logic the new car should have been called 109 because it used mechanical components from the newer Renault Dauphine which was registered under the French homologation number 1090, but instead the new car, which inherited many of its non-mechanical components from the 106, was given the name Alpine 108. In this form, where the 106 had used an engine from the Renault 4CV, the new model, as launched in 1957, used the Gordini version of the 845 cc engine fitted in the Dauphine. 1960 saw the introduction of an Alpine 108 cabriolet and a 2+2 coupé called the GT4. These versions were slightly longer than the original and featured a newly developed “beams and backbone” chassis with the beams at each end supporting cradles which carried respectively the engine at the rear and the steering mechanism at the front. This basic architecture would be used for Alpine sports cars until the Alpine A110 was phased out in 1977. These models, like the original coupé, were assembled by Chappe et Gessalin, but with a wheelbase lengthened by 7 cm. The mechanical elements were as before, with the Renault Dauphine engine offered in 845 or 904 cc form. By the time production of the 108 came to an end in 1965, fewer than 100 of these lengthened versions had been produced. The 108 played an important part in the transformation of Alpine into a mainstream (though always low volume) car producer. In 1960 an upgraded version of the model known as the Berlinette Tour de France replaced the original “coach” version of the car. The obvious visual difference was at the front, where the headlights were now integrated into the front wing behind a windcheating perspex cover. This was the model offered in the show rooms from autumn 1960 and which continued in production until 1965, preparing the way for the commercially more successful A110. The A108 was also produced in Brazil, thanks to an agreement with Willys-Overland. Renamed as the Willys Interlagos, the model was built in three versions: berlinetta, coupé, and convertible. The car also had a successful racing career. From 1962 to 1966, a total of 822 Interlagos were made in Santo Amaro, São Paulo. Seen here was a rare Cabriolet.

 photo Picture 610_zps9mmhbczb.jpg  photo Picture 609_zpslnpenkg4.jpg  photo Picture 608_zpsyaxbmt18.jpg  photo Picture 704_zpsfbc5pz4f.jpg  photo Picture 705_zpsp3r35uq6.jpg

The A110 was introduced as an evolution of the A108. Like other road-going Alpines, the 1961 A110 used many Renault parts – including engines. But while the preceding A108 was designed around Dauphine components, the A110 was updated to use R8 parts. Unlike the A108, which was available first as a cabriolet and only later as a coupé, the A110 was delivered first with “Berlinetta” bodywork and then as a cabriolet. The main visible difference with the A108 coupé was a restyling of the rear body to fit the larger engine, which gave the car a more aggressive look. Like the A108, the A110 featured a steel backbone chassis with fibreglass body. The A110 was originally available with 1.1 litre R8 Major or R8 Gordini engines. The Gordini engine delivered 95 hp at 6,500 rpm. The A110 achieved most of its fame in the early 1970s as a victorious rally car. After winning several rallies in France in the late 1960s with iron-cast R8 Gordini engines the car was fitted with the aluminium-block Renault 16 TS engine. With two dual-chamber Weber 45 carburettors, the TS engine delivered 125 hp at 6,000 rpm. This allowed the production 1600S to reach a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). The longer wheelbase 2+2 Alpine GT4, originally considered a version of the A108, was updated with A110 engines and mechanicals, now being marketed as the “A110 GT4”. The car reached international fame during the 1970–1972 seasons when it participated in the newly created International Championship for Manufacturers, winning several events around Europe and being considered one of the strongest rally cars of its time. Notable performances from the car included victory in the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally with Swedish driver Ove Andersson. With the buy-out of Alpine by Renault complete, the International Championship was replaced by the World Rally Championship for 1973, at which time Renault elected to compete with the A110. With a team featuring Bernard Darniche, Jean-Pierre Nicolas and Jean-Luc Thérier as permanent drivers and “guest stars” like Jean-Claude Andruet (who won the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally) the A110 won most races where the works team was entered, making Alpine the first World Rally Champion. Later competition-spec A110s received engines of up to 1.8 litres. As well as being built at Alpine’s Dieppe factory, A110 models were constructed by various other vehicle manufacturers around the world. The Alpine A110 was produced in Mexico under the name “Dinalpin”, from 1965 to 1974, by Diesel Nacional (DINA), which also produced Renault vehicles. The Alpine A110 was also produced in Bulgaria under the name “Bulgaralpine”, from 1967 to 1969, by a cooperative formed between SPC Metalhim and ETO Bulet, whose collaboration also resulted in the production of the Bulgarrenault. In 1974 the mid-engined Lancia Stratos, the first car designed from scratch for rally racing, was operational and homologated. At the same time, it was obvious that the tail-engined A110 had begun reaching the end of its development. The adoption of fuel injection brought no performance increase. On some cars, a DOHC 16-valve head was fitted to the engine, but it proved unreliable. Chassis modification, like the use of an A310 double wishbone rear suspension, homologated with the A110 1600SC, also failed to increase performance. On the international stage, the Stratos proved to be the “ultimate weapon”, making the A110, as well as many other rally cars, soon obsolete.

 photo Picture 797_zps9j8es1ku.jpg  photo Picture 611_zpsiw4qisux.jpg  photo Picture 612_zps5zy9geup.jpg

Next up the A310. This was first launched in 1971, but in 1976 it underwent a major update. It was restyled by Robert Opron and fitted with the more powerful and newly developed 90-degree 2664 cc V6 PRV engine, as used in some Renaults, Volvos and Peugeots. The later V6 received a black plastic rear spoiler as well, useful for keeping the tail planted but somewhat marring the purity of the original’s lines. With 150 PS on tap, the A310 PRV V6 was Renault’s performance flagship capable of 220 km/h (137 mph) and acceptable acceleration. The tail-heavy weight distribution gave handling characteristics similar to the contemporary Porsche 911. Sales did pick up, more than doubling those of the four-cylinder predecessor, but then tapered off as production continued without any updates to make it a serious Porsche competitor in the marketplace. Sales were predominantly in France, with 781 cars sold in its home market in 1979 (its best year). By 1984 less than five hundred Alpines were sold in France, while Porsche sold about 1600 in spite of industrial strikes in Germany. From late 1980, the rear suspension was shared with the mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo. Rather than the previous three-lug wheels, the A310 also received the alloys used for the 5 Turbo, albeit without the painted elements. In the later models (1983-1984) a “Pack GT” which was inspired from the Group 4 A310 racing cars would be developed, it gained wheel arches and larger spoilers front and rear. A few Alpine A310 V6 Pack GT Kit Boulogne were built (27 examples), here the PRV V6 was bored out to 2.9 litres and was then further modified by Alpine, fitted with triple Weber 42DCNF carburettors that pushed power to 193 PS. The car was replaced in 1985 by the GTA model.

 photo Picture 794_zpsg0idztqp.jpg  photo Picture 796_zpskii6mvmu.jpg  photo Picture 793_zpsi8zncab2.jpg  photo Picture 623_zpss1vafylg.jpg  photo Picture 619_zpsxwkunfgw.jpg photo Picture 618_zpscrcchr2m.jpg  photo Picture 708_zpsyhiqpcmy.jpg

Follow on to that car was the GTA, the first car launched by Alpine under Renault ownership (though Alpine had been affiliated with Renault for many years, with its earlier models using many Renault parts). It effectively updated the design of its predecessor, the Alpine A310, updating that car’s silhouette with modern design features like body-integrated bumpers and a triangular C pillar with large rear windshield. It used the PRV V6 engine in a rear-engined layout, with extensive use of Polyester plastics and fibreglass for the body panels making it considerably lighter and quicker than rivals such as the Porsche 944. It was one of the most aerodynamic cars of its time, the naturally aspirated version achieved a world record 0.28 drag coefficient in its class. The GTA name, used to denote the entire range of this generation, stood for “Grand Tourisme Alpine” but in most markets the car was marketed as the Renault Alpine V6 GT or as the Renault Alpine V6 Turbo. In Great Britain it was sold simply as the Renault GTA, Rather than being cast in a single piece as for the preceding A310, the new Alpine’s body was cast in a large number of small separate panels. This required a major overhaul of the Alpine plant, leaving only the sandblasting machinery intact. The car was also considerably more efficient to manufacture, with the time necessary to build a finished car dropping from 130 to 77 hours – still a long time, but acceptable for a small-scale specialty car. The PRV engine in the naturally aspirated model was identical to the version used in the Renault 25, a 2849 cc unit producing 160 hp. Also available was the smaller (2.5 litres) turbocharged model. The central backbone chassis (with outriggers for side impact protection) was built by Heuliez and then transferred to Dieppe – aside from the body, most of the car was subcontracted to various suppliers. At the time of introduction, daily production was ten cars. This soon dropped considerably, as the somewhat less than prestigious Renault had a hard time in the sports car marketplace. The average production for the six full years of production was just above 1000 per annum, or just above three per day. The first model introduced was the naturally aspirated V6 GT, which entered production in November 1984, although press photos had been released in September 1984. The car was first shown at the 1985 Amsterdam Rai, immediately after which it also went on sale. In July 1985 the Europa Cup model appeared; this limited edition model was intended for a single-make racing championship and 69 cars were built (54 in 1985 and 15 more in 1987). In September 1985 the turbo model followed, which increased the power of the PRV unit to 200 PS. At the 1986 Birmingham Show the right-hand-drive version was presented and UK sales, as the Renault GTA, commenced. In early 1987 a catalysed version appeared, with fifteen less horsepower. This meant that the Turbo could finally be sold in Switzerland, and later in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands when they adopted stricter legislation. The catalysed model had lower gearing in fourth and fifth gears, in order to somewhat mask its power deficit. In 1988 anti-lock brakes became available. For the 1989 model year the Mille Miles version appeared. With the non-catalysed engine, this model heralded a re-focus on the Alpine name. The Renault logo was gone from the car, with an alpine logo up front and a large “Alpine” print appearing between the taillights. However, as the name ‘Alpine’ could not be used in the UK the name Alpine was removed from cars destined for the UK; there was no large print at the back of these cars and a UK specific logo was fitted to the front of the car. The Mille Miles, a limited edition of 100 cars, also featured a special dark red metallic paintjob, polished aluminium wheels, and a large silver grey triangular stripe with the Alpine “A” across the left side of the front. In February 1990 the limited edition Le Mans arrived, this car had a more aggressive body kit with polyester wheel arch extensions and a one piece front with smaller headlights. Wheels were 3 piece BBS style produced by ACT, 8×16″ front & 10×17″ rear. Many of these changes were adopted for the succeeding A610. The regular V6 GT and V6 Turbo ended production during 1990, while the Le Mans version continued to be produced until February 1991. 325 of these were built in total. Also in 1990, Renault was forced to install the less powerful catalysed engine in cars destined for the home market, leading to grumbling amongst Alpine enthusiasts about the loss of power (down to 185 PS) while the 25 Turbo saloon actually gained power when it became catalysed. In response Danielson SA, a famous French tuner, created an upgraded version of the Le Mans with 210 PS.

 photo Picture 614_zpsvr903kht.jpg  photo Picture 613_zpskvekdzrm.jpg  photo Picture 795_zpsd0oxecyj.jpg  photo Picture 709_zpstdw56lzi.jpg  photo Picture 710_zpsg91ofp3y.jpg

It looked very like its predecessor, the GTA, even though just about everything about the car was altered. There was a limited budget at the beginning of the development project so its appearance does not differ much from the GTA, and it looks particularly similar to the USA market GTA with its pop-up headlights (this was believed to be because the Alpine, when viewed head-on, strongly resembled mid-80s versions of the Ford Sierra; but the actual reason for that and for the batteries to be in the front was to better balance the weight between the front and the back). Nonetheless it was a completely different car, sharing only the windows with the GTA. The basic concepts of all Alpine cars are there, with the rear engine, and the steel backbone chassis that all Alpines since the A110 had had. The car was solely branded as an Alpine, as linking Alpine and Renault together (first as Alpine-Renault then Renault-Alpine) seemed to detract from the Alpine brand’s sporty image. The PRV engine remained, but it was enlarged to 3 litres, which enabled it to produce 250 PS (247 hp) and 260 lb/ft) of torque. The A610 Albertville 92 was presented in 1991 for the Olympic Games. 2 examples, and other Renault cars, were used to drive VIPs, before being sold as occasion. They had a specific colour (Gardenia White) and interior, but used the same engine and had the same technical specifications. The A610 Magny-Cours was created for the Williams-Renault Formula One victory in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours in July 1991. 31 cars were built, with specific colour and interior. The A610 did not result in an improvement in sales over the commercially disappointing GTA and the car was discontinued in 1995, despite acclaim from the motoring press, and approval from Top Gear.

 photo Picture 615_zpsmj5oiho8.jpg  photo Picture 616_zpsrlx59rmf.jpg  photo Picture 617_zpshpjgamsp.jpg

Final car here was that Alpine Vision Concept, a mid-engined two-seat coupé that made its public debut at the Geneva Motor back in March 2016, having been unveiled by Renault boss Carlos Ghosn at an event in Monte Carlo, a location chosen as a nod to the original Alpine’s historic early successes on the Monte Carlo Rally. A whole new team and division has been set up within Renault to help launch and develop the Alpine brand. The division has a dedicated boss (Michael van der Sande) and deputy managing director (Bernard Ollivier, a former Renault Sport chief), a head of design (Antony Villain, the man behind recent Alpine concepts) and a head of sales and marketing (Arnaud Delebecque, a Renault veteran who also has rallying experience). Ghosn said the time was right to launch Alpine as the Renault group was a strong and profitable business. He said Alpine represented a long-term investment that would build over time. “We will build and invest patiently,” he said. The plan is not to relaunch Alpine as a single-model entity but as a brand with several sporting models, including an SUV that has been hotly tipped to join the new sports car in 2018. The production version of the new sports car will be unveiled before the end of 2016 and go on sale in the second quarter of 2017. The Alpine relaunch was originally planned as part of a joint venture with Caterham, but this ended in 2014 when Renault bought out Caterham’s 50% stake. Indeed, the whole project was considered in doubt at one point, because it had been seen as a pet project of former Renault chief operating officer Carlos Tavares, who left the firm in 2013 before taking over at PSA Peugeot Citroën. However, that was not the case and the Alpine project has progressed in the background. Renault came close to reviving Alpine in 2008 before the global financial crisis made the project a non-starter. In 2012, the 50th anniversary of Alpine was celebrated with the Mégane racer-based Alpine A110-50 concept car, and later that year the comeback proper for Alpine was announced with the Caterham deal. Further concept cars followed last year, including a virtual one created for the Gran Turismo video game and the Alpine Celebration at Le Mans, a concept that edged the Alpine brand closer to production again and forms the basis of the new Vision. Although officially billed as a show car, the Alpine Vision is a very close preview of the model that will go into production next year. Alpine design director Villain said “80% of the style of our forthcoming car” is reflected in the latest concept. Concept car features not set to make production include the wing mirrors and wheels, but the design is otherwise representative of what Alpine will put into production in 2017. Very few details of the car have been confirmed by Alpine at this stage. It has been revealed that the engine will be a turbocharged four-cylinder unit of an unspecified capacity. However, Autocar understands the engine will be a 1.8-litre unit developed from the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine used in the Clio RS. The engine’s outputs are also undisclosed at this stage, but sources have indicated the Alpine will have around 250bhp as standard and up to 300bhp in a higher-performance version that will use more aggressive turbocharging. It is understood to be hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, something backed up by the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters in the interior of the concept car. There was no comment on whether or not the Alpine would be offered with a manual gearbox from van der Sande, although he said there are no plans for an electric version at present. Alpine has confirmed a 0-62mph time of less than 4.5sec. A kerb weight of around 1100kg is also expected, with lightness considered to be of greater importance than outright power. Indeed, Ollivier told Autocar last year: “The ratio of light weight versus power is not negotiable; it’s the DNA.” The design references the classic Alpine A110 and other past Alpines with details such as central circular lights at the front with a cross graphic in them. The cabin is very high-tech, and an Audi TT-style digital dashboard is one of its notable features. There’s a rich mix of materials, including leather, aluminium and carbonfibre, as well as plenty of nods to motorsport, with twin bucket seats, harness belts and aluminium fastening buckles. The interior is understood to be very driver-focused, with a low-slung driving position and limited switchgear. Other features of the production car previewed by the Vision concept include a Sport mode, which will most likely sharpen the drive further. The interior is deliberately a much more modern affair, and based around the driver, with particular attention paid to the steering wheel, seats and TFT display. The bespoke chassis is mid-rear engined, is lightweight, made from a mixture of materials, and has been designed and engineered by Renault Sport.The car has no rear spoiler, and the all the main aerodynamic work is underneath the car, where it has a flat floor and a rear diffuser. The Vision is not about aero, however, with the emphasis mainly on simplicity and driving pleasure. A kerb weight target of 1000kg was originally given to the project, although this was abandoned because it would have required the use of expensive carbonfibre bodywork. Renault’s chief competitive officer Thierry Bolloré said the Alpine brand was ideal in becoming a technology leader in the Renault group, and would pioneer with lightweight materials and aerodynamic solutions. As with the earlier Celebration concept, the Vision gets bespoke Alpine badging and branding without any Renault badges. The white-coloured Vision concept is a development of the blue Celebration concept. It has been adapted to be more of a road car, in contrast to the racing brief of the Celebration. The new Alpine will be built at Renault’s factory in Dieppe, which was Alpine’s original production plant. The factory currently builds Renault Sport models, as well as Bluecar electric vehicles for the Bolloré company that runs car sharing schemes in Europe. The factory will be subject to significant investment according to van der Sande, to ensure Alpine cars meet the quality sports car customers expect. A price of around £40,000 is tipped for the Alpine, which would put it in direct competition with the Porsche 718 Cayman, but it is anticipated that it will be less than the €80,000 an old Alpine will cost on the used market.

 photo Picture 622_zpsohh3q6p4.jpg  photo Picture 621_zpszz7bavzi.jpg  photo Picture 620_zpsuoz5fxpc.jpg  photo Picture 707_zpsaibhxnct.jpg  photo Picture 706_zpszxnwtm6o.jpg

There were further examples of the A110 elsewhere in the Show.

 photo Picture 024_zpsjhf0fuyp.jpg  photo Picture 350_zpspuxosicu.jpg  photo Picture 351_zpsxfqfxhmx.jpg


Although Rolls Royce started to sell cars in the post war period with a standard factory body, there were still plenty of customers who preferred to approach one of a number of coachbuilders for something that bit more bespoke. This is one such example of the Silver Wraith of the early 1950s.

 photo Picture 258_zpsgtpuv8hm.jpg  photo Picture 259_zpsdk9of0ws.jpg


Sole Rover car here was this 1938 Rover 14 Tourer. Although there had been Rover 14 models since 1928, this comes from the P2 generation, an “entirely new” car, announced on 14 October 1938 with a more powerful engine, 1901 cc, new coachwork, “easy-clean” wheels and additional refinements including synchromesh on 3rd and top gears (not essential on cars with freewheel), automatic chassis lubrication and anti-roll stabilisers front and back. The track is now 48 inches, tools are now in a rubber-lined tray. This model was part of the Rover P2 range, along with Rover 10, Rover 12, Rover 16 and Rover 20 variants.

 photo Picture 283_zpscbhhg3yq.jpg  photo Picture 281_zpsosnid4iu.jpg  photo Picture 284_zpswfnmft40.jpg  photo Picture 282_zpsgta4wq69.jpg


This is a 1955 2300 Cabriolet Chapron, one of just 5 such that were produced, and a car which was shown at the 1955 Paris Motor Show.

 photo Picture 547_zpsetsgsoxw.jpg  photo Picture 548_zpspuzhr7s2.jpg


Sharing stand space with the Peugeots was this Simca 1100, present as the firm, after its Talbot period was absorbed into the Peugeot range. The 1100 was the result of “Project 928”, started in 1962, finalized by engineers Philippe Grundeler and Charles Scales. The design was a result of Simca’s market research in the early 1960s, which showed the increasing popularity of front wheel drive cars that provided better utilization of space and comfort in small cars. In Spring 1962, Simca organised a 1966–67 launch of a new range of front wheel drive cars with saloons, estates cars and light commercial vehicles to be included, all fitting into France’s 6CV tax class – between the Simca Mille and Simca 1300. Both transverse and longitudinal engine placement were tested, and in 1963 the transverse-engine design was approved. The Simca 1100 was one of the first designs outside Fiat to feature a transverse engine with an end-on gearbox and unequal length driveshafts (now near-universal amongst small cars), a possible result of Fiat influence as a major shareholder. In 1963, Chrysler took a controlling interest in Simca, approving the project in 1964, with a production target of summer 1967. The short timetable included developing a new transmission, and using a larger version of the rear engined rear wheel drive Simca Mille (Simca 1000) “Poissy engine”, displacing 1118 cc (the Mille used a 1.0 litre engine, the 1500 a 1.5 litre engine). When first shown on Sardinia and at the Paris Auto Show in 1967, the 1100 was advanced in design, featuring a hatchback with folding rear seats, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, an independent front (double wishbone) and rear (trailing arm) suspension using torsion bars. Numerous permutations were available, with a manual, automatic and semi-automatic transmission. The engine was slanted to allow for a lower bonnet; and the engine, gearbox, and suspension were carried on a subframe to allow the unibody to be relatively unstressed. The body was welded to the frame, not bolted. The 1100 was reportedly studied closely by Volkswagen when the latter company was designing its Volkswagen Golf, after making rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive vehicles. The 1100 was (along with the pricier Renault 16 & Austin Maxi), one of the first hatchback designs, with a folding rear seat and in three and five-door variations. Different equipment levels were defined as LS, GL, GLS and “Special” tags. Three- and five-door estate cars were also included in the range. The car was fitted with Simca Type 315 petrol OHV “Poissy engines” with 944, 1118, and 1294 cc variants, depending on year and market. A “stroked” 1118 cc engine displacing 1.2 litres was introduced in 1971 to the UK market as the Simca 1204. It was also sold in the US in limited quantities. In 1974, the sporty TI appeared with the 1294 cc engine (82 PS), at the time when the car also saw a cosmetic redesign. Based on the 1100 chassis, the Matra engineering firm created a crossover derivation named Matra Rancho. The 1100 had a four-speed manual gearbox and room for five people. There was also a three-speed semi-automatic gearbox that required manual shifting but used an electronically activated clutch. The 1100s transmission configuration was the same as the one introduced by Fiat on the 1964 Autobianchi Primula, in that it was transverse and axial with the engine giving the “engine on one side, transmission on the other” layout copied on almost all “hatchbacks” and front wheel drive vehicles throughout the world ever since. In France, the 1100 was very successful, achieving best-seller status, but it was less competitive in non-European export markets. Perhaps the car with the strongest claim to be the first “Hot Hatch” was the Simca 1100 Ti which was available on sale in 1974 with 82hp (up over 40% from 58hp of the standard models) which dramatically improved performance and sent the top speed over 100mph for the first time to 105mph and a 0-60mph time of 12 seconds. Based on the 1100 Special introduced in 1970, distinguishing features of this performance version were its six-headlamp and foglight arrangement, front disc brakes, front and rear spoilers, alloy wheels, matte black grille and single colour paint scheme (red), items which would be adopted by the many Hot Hatches that would follow. Based on the Simca 1100 range introduced in 1967, the front wheel drive hatchback was a top seller throughout Europe and said to have inspired VW to replace its rear-engined range with a new front-engine product range including the Polo and Golf. Another early hot hatch was the Renault 5 Alpine (called Gordini in the UK due to Chrysler owning the Alpine model name there) which first went on sale in May 1976 and also pre-dated sales of the Volkswagen Golf GTi, by two months. The 1100Ti was never sold in RHD in the UK. Three LCV versions with van, pick up and High Top Van bodystyles were also available. In France and most European markets these were sold as the “Simca 1100 Fourgonnette”. In the UK the high-roof van was called the Simca VF2 (short for “Voiture Fourgonnette”), and was sold from December 1972. The regular low-roof van was called the VF1, while an even higher roofed version introduced for 1978 became the VF3. The pick-up model arrived in December 1975. Commercial versions lasted until the spring of 1985, three years after the 1100 passenger car models had been removed from the market. In the United Kingdom, commercial models assumed the Dodge nameplate after 1976 and were called Talbots after 1979. The commercial models were sold as ‘Simca Fixaren’ (“the fixer”) in Sweden, where they were fitted with a 66 PS version of the 1.3 litre engine. In addition to the dedicated van models, there was also a two-seater commercial version of the three-door hatchback available to French customers from December 1976. This, the 50 PS 1100 AS (for Affaires et Societés, businesses and companies) qualified for a considerably lower tax rate. Although this was the best-selling car in France for a while in the early 1970s, it is rare even in its home country.

 photo Picture 100_zpsmjtgjmq0.jpg  photo Picture 099_zpsk8qzs1gs.jpg  photo Picture 096_zpshzqhrxft.jpg  photo Picture 098_zps4dmrdyxy.jpg  photo Picture 097_zpswqytwxax.jpg photo Picture 559_zpsfinweb5s.jpg  photo Picture 558_zpsrbxrpfak.jpg  photo Picture 557_zps8eg6mldj.jpg  photo Picture 602_zpsybrwwvtw.jpg  photo Picture 601_zpszdzjbz1w.jpg photo Picture 603_zpsrpi4xo2l.jpg

Elsewhere, there were a couple of other Simca models. Better known of these was a 1200S Coupe. The boxy 1000 saloon served as the platform for the 1000 Coupe, a handsome sports coupe that made its appearance in 1962. Conceived to raise the profile of the new 1000 internationally, and mindful of the precedent set by Renault with their (initially Frua bodied) Renault Floride, Simca had turned initially to Facel to discuss a joint project with Facel producing the bodies, but Pigozzi felt that Facel’s proposal lacked the necessary style and was considered unrealistic: there were also concerns that Facel’s parlous financial position might impact the project adversely. Simca then turned to Bertone and commissioned a coupe version of their new car. Bertone gave the job to a recently recruited young designer called Giorgetto Giugiaro and the car, having already been heavily trailed, was formally launched at the Geneva Motor Show early in 1962, though official French homologation for production only took place in November 1962 and customer deliveries did not begin until 1963. The style of the car was widely admired, but the cost of the Bertone built body made it difficult for the car to compete on price alone, while use of the standard 944 cc engine block from the Simca 1000 meant that performance did not live up to its racey styling. From the start Simca presented the Coupé 1000 as a separate model. The car was moderately successful, especially in France, selling 10,600 cars in 5 years. In 1967, Simca upgraded the car to the more powerful 1200S Bertone Coupe that, with a horsepower upgrade in 1970, could reach the dizzying speed of almost 112 mph (180 km/h), making it the fastest standard production Simca ever built. When production ceased in 1971, it was revealed that around 25,000 of these cars had been made.

 photo Picture 246_zpsihsnsziz.jpg  photo Picture 245_zpsvmgor7yj.jpg  photo Picture 244_zpsbh41iqal.jpg

Back in the 1930s, Simca was still making Fiat based cars under licence. This 1950 Simca Huit (Eight), an 8CV car, was based on the Fiat 508C-1100 and was launched in 1937. It had the same 1100cc engine as had been in the earlier Simca 6, but was a more modern car with a 4 speed gearbox, instead of the more common 3 ratios, independent front suspension and four doors without a central pillar. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937, leaving the 5 and the 8 in production until the outbreak of World War II, and production resumed after the war. The firm nevertheless remained closely connected with Fiat, and it was not until 1938 that the shortened name “Simca” replaced “Simca-Fiat”, by which time the badge had been changed to resemble a swallow, and the slogan “appetite of a bird”, which was meant to indicate the range’s fuel economy potential had been adopted. This car was shown on the massive Peugeot stand, as following a time when Simca was owned by Chrysler, Peugeot bought the company in 1978, rebranding the then product range as Talbot a few months later. In the 1930s, Simca was still making Fiat based cars under licence. This 1950 Simca Huit (Eight), an 8CV car, was based on the Fiat 508C-1100 and was launched in 1937. It had the same 1100cc engine as had been in the earlier Simca 6, but was a more modern car with a 4 speed gearbox, instead of the more common 3 ratios, independent front suspension and four doors without a central pillar. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937, leaving the 5 and the 8 in production until the outbreak of World War II, and production resumed after the war. The firm nevertheless remained closely connected with Fiat, and it was not until 1938 that the shortened name “Simca” replaced “Simca-Fiat”, by which time the badge had been changed to resemble a swallow, and the slogan “appetite of a bird”, which was meant to indicate the range’s fuel economy potential had been adopted. This car was shown on the massive Peugeot stand, as following a time when Simca was owned by Chrysler, Peugeot bought the company in 1978, rebranding the then product range as Talbot a few months later.

 photo Picture 128_zpss1gy534b.jpg  photo Picture 129_zps4qdg69wb.jpg


 photo Picture 451_zpsat0gm2h5.jpg


This is one of the famous 105 Alpine cars. It dates from 1934. This one is chassis number 35499 and was ordered by Dr Roth to compete at Brooklands and it had the Alpine body that featured on the works cars. After securing victory, the bodywork was changed to be that of a single-seater made by ERA but more recently it has been restored to its original look.

 photo Picture 497_zpsemx92olg.jpg  photo Picture 496_zpsrfa5ykr6.jpg  photo Picture 791_zpsuqcie2nt.jpg

Auction House RM Sotheby’s had an example of the Talbot 150C “Goutte d’Eau” on their stand. one of only two examples built by Figoni et Falaschi with fully enclosed front fenders—a feature more often seen on the company’s Delahaye designs of this period. The finished car left Talbot on 25 November 1937 carrying body number 677 and was identical to the body mounted earlier that year on chassis number 90107, the famous and widely photographed Goutte d’Eau that belonged to Princess Stella of Karputhala. Like so many other exceptional cars, chassis number 90110 was hidden during the war years, although it is likely that it was damaged during the hostilities. On 25 June 1946, the car was registered in the books of the famous coachbuilder Hermann Graber in Wichtrach, Switzerland. At that time, the owner, Mr H. Frey from Wengen, commissioned a new convertible body for the chassis in the post-war idiom, a procedure that was common at the time. Graber’s design drawings for this cabriolet are dated 11 May 1946. Importantly, the original chassis, engine, and drivetrain were retained. Mr Frey enjoyed his car for the next 20 years before it was acquired by Mr G. Frey of Zürich on 4 April 1966. Twenty-one years later, Mr G. Frey sold the car to the current owner on 29 January 1987. The car has therefore only had three owners for the past 71 years. In 2000, the owner decided to bring the car back to its first Figoni et Falaschi configuration. Auto Classique Touraine in Tours, France, was commissioned for the work. Managed by Patrick Delâge, grandson of Louis Delâge, Auto Classique Touraine is famous for its meticulous construction techniques, always seeking the highest level of originality and authenticity. The company was an ideal choice as it had already crafted a perfect re-creation of a Goutte d’Eau body for another T150-C SS. It took close to three years to complete this outstanding re-creation of the original fully enclosed teardrop coachwork. The progression of the work to a wholly authentic and correct standard is fully documented by a movie that was made over the course of the restoration. Furthermore, the paintwork has been recently treated by Agerra Detailing SA in Switzerland to display a better than new look. The Goutte d’Eau, or teardrop, is justly regarded as one of the most beautiful and enticing designs of all time. It is a shape that elevates form to the realm of art and a reference point for iconic beauty against which all other late-1930s automobiles are measured. Aficionados and amateurs alike are stopped in their tracks at concours when confronted with the serene perfection of its lines. Coupled with what the French call belle mécanique, nimble road manners, and superior acceleration for its time, courtesy of the T150-C SS chassis and drivetrain, it is a very exciting package that speaks directly to any serious automotive enthusiast.

 photo Picture 121_zpsmdkow73d.jpg  photo Picture 122_zpskotcjgmz.jpg

At the 1954 Paris Motor Show, Talbot-Lago presented their last new engine: the new four-cylinder still had the typical twin laterally mounted camshafts, although it was upgraded to five main bearings. The new 120 PS 2,491 cc engine was called the T14 LS, but it did not have a car to go in until May 1955 when the Talbot-Lago 2500 Coupé T14 LS was finally presented. In addition to its intended use for a road going car, the engine’s size, precisely conforming to the racing engine category of 2.5-litre engines without compressors, hint at Tony Lago’s other ambitions for the new power unit. The first car had all-aluminium bodywork, but later cars used more steel. 54 of these coupés were built, but they proved hard to sell – the stylish bodywork couldn’t quite hide the thirties’ underpinnings. The engine developed for the car by Talbot proved unacceptably fragile. Lacking the resources to engineer the necessary improvements, for 1957 Talbot-Lago had to resort to buying in an engine. They chose the V8 2580 cc light-metal unit made available by BMW, albeit with the bore diameter slightly reduced, to 72.5 mm, which gave rise to a 2476 cc engine displacement, positioning the car (just) within the 14CV car tax band. Reflecting the company’s export plans, Talbot now rebranded the car as the “Talbot Lago America” and (finally) came into line with other French automakers by placing the driver on the left side of the car. Market response remained lukewarm, however, and only about a dozen of the BMW-powered Talbot Lago Americas were produced. It was now, in the early summer of 1958, that Tony Lago decided to accept an offer from Pigozzi, for the sale of the Talbot brand to Simca. With the sale of the business to Simca, the new owners found themselves with the final handful of the Talbot Lago Americas, which were still awaiting engines. There was now no question of Simca being permitted, or wishing, to produce cars with BMW engines, and the only solution available was to fit the last batch of cars with Simca’s own 2351 cc V8.[This engine had its roots in 1930s Detroit, and was originally provided by Ford to give the (then) Ford Vedette produced by their French subsidiary a flavour of the driving experience offered by an unstressed US style V8 sedan. It was by no stretch of the imagination an engine for a sports car, and even with a second carburettor produced only 95 bhp, as against the 138 bhp of the BMW-engined cars from the previous year’s production. Claimed top speed was now reduced to 165 km/h (103 mph) in place of the 200 km/h (124 mph) listed the previous year. In addition to installing their V8 engine, Simca replaced the laterally sliding windows in the doors of the final cars which now wound down into the door in the conventional manner: the change also involved adding front quarter lights / quarter windows at the front end of each door. At the 1959 Paris Motor Show a stand had been booked for what was by now the Simca-Talbot brand, but a late decision was taken not to exhibit a Lago America, and the stand was instead given up to a hastily constructed “motorshow special” prototype of which, after the motor show, nothing more would be heard. The Simca-engined cars, still bearing a list price in excess of 2,000,000 Francs, proved hard to sell, with just five of the Simca-powered car sold according to one source. No further cars were produced once the final batch of cars from the Talbot production era, having received their Simca engines and window modifications, had been disposed of.

 photo Picture 192_zpsh3cn3jen.jpg

The Talbot name reappeared in 1979 when all the cars that had been sold under the Chrysler Europe were rebranded. Among them was the newly launched Sunbeam Lotus, an example of which was to be seen here, in the first of the two colour schemes in which the car was offered. The first ones were black and silver and the later ones, with a revised flush plastic grille were two tone blue and silver. The Sunbeam started off life as a Chrysler, launched in 1977, as the long awaited replacement for the Hillman Imp, production of which had ended a year earlier. Based on a cut-down version of the Avenger chassis, this neat looking hatch was initially offered with a choice of 1.0, 1.3 and 1.6 litre 4 cylinder engines and it retained rear wheel drive at a time when all the rivals were switching front wheel drive This was a move forced upon its maker by the lack of capital to do anything else, but whilst it was not great for space efficiency, it would have an advantage when it came to the sporting versions and indeed for what would turn out to be a very successful career in motorsport. The sporting road cars hit the market in 1979, and these are the only examples of the Sunbeam that you tend to see these days. By the time they hit the market, the Chrysler badging had gone, as a consequence of the sale of Chrysler’s European business to Peugeot-Citroen in the summer of 1978 meant that by mid 1979 a new name was required. The old Talbot branding was dusted off and overnight the cars all became Talbots. The first potent Sunbeam to appear had been the Ti, a sort of modern day version of the Avenger Tiger, with a 110 bhp twin carb 1600cc engine under the bonnet. It went on sale in the spring of 1979, as an appetiser for something more special, which had been unveiled at the Geneva Show in March, a few weeks earlier. The Sunbeam Lotus was the fruits of Chrysler’s commission to sports car manufacturer and engineering company Lotus to develop a strict rally version of the Sunbeam. The resulting ‘”Sunbeam Lotus” was based on the Sunbeam 1.6 GLS, but fitted with stiffer suspension, a larger anti-roll bar and a larger transmission tunnel. The drivetrain comprised an enlarged 2172 cc version of the Lotus 1973 cc 907 engine, a 16 valve slant four engine (the Sunbeam version being type 911, similar to the “Lotus 912”), along with a ZF gearbox, both mounted in the car at Ludham Airfield, close to the Lotus facility in Hethel, Norfolk, where the almost-complete cars were shipped from Linwood. Final inspection, in turn, took place in Stoke, Coventry. In road trim, the Lotus type 911 engine produced 150 bhp at 5,750rpm and 150 lb/ft of torque at 4,500rpm. In rallying trim this was increased to 250 bhp Production cars were not actually ready for deliveries to the public until after the mid-year rebranding, and thus became the “Talbot Sunbeam Lotus”. At first these were produced mostly in black and silver, although later models came in a moonstone blue and silver (or black) scheme. The car saw not only enthusiastic press reviews, but also much success in the World Rally Championship – in 1980, Henri Toivonen won the 29th Lombard RAC Rally in one, and, in 1981, the Sunbeam Lotus brought the entire manufacturer’s championship to Talbot. There is an enthusiastic following for Sunbeam Lotus cars these days.

 photo Picture 763_zpsrhqldwaj.jpg

One final Talbot arrived later in 1981, the Samba. Desperately needing a small car in the range, this hastily produced model was an adaptation of the far from new Peugeot 104Z, but enough was done to make it look different that it found some buyers, and the decision to add a Pininfarina styled Cabrio model to the range was certainly a good way of adding some interest to the range. The car was produced until 1986.

 photo Picture 249_zpsfoiw9nf9.jpg  photo Picture 250_zpswptqfpvw.jpg  photo Picture 248_zpsmidrfmue.jpg


Once again, there were a number of tanks on show, supplied by the Musée des Blindés, which is to be found in Saumur in the Loire Valley. These are always a popular feature of the show.

Dating from 1916 s this Schneider CA1 Assault Vehicle, of which 377 were made and it is the only known survivor. It was not every effective, and indeed 76 out of 132 of them were destroyed at Berry au Bac on 16th April 1917.

 photo Picture 070_zpsb4midwdo.jpg

This 1917 Schneider Type CD weighed 10 tonnes which meant it needed all of its 60HP to make it move. It was used to pull artillery. 110 were in service at the end of the First World War and it is the last one left.

 photo Picture 069_zpskmuxfoug.jpg  photo Picture 068_zpsmuocf9sq.jpg

Also the last survivor is this, the first French tank, which had 65 CV and weighed 14 tonnes. It had a 50 km range.

 photo Picture 066_zpsdvw2mreo.jpg


This is the name given to a Club for very early Veteran and Edwardian cars, and their display included a superb set of cars from marques that are familiar and some that are not. Many of them were taken outside and they pottered around the site, taking many, especially young children for a ride.

There was a theme to the display, which celebrated the products of Adolphe Clement (1855 – 1928), one of the great French industrialists of the late 19th century. In 1914 his factories at Mezieres were dismantled by the enemy in the war and those at Levallois were requisitioned for war production. His marque did not survive after the war, and then in 1921 he decided to finance Andre Citroen including the Levallois plant. In 1935, as proposed by the “les vieux macarons” association that the “les vieux tacots” group was formed, a month later rechristened “les teufs teufs” for cars made before 1906. This makes it the 6th oldest car club in the world.

First of the Bayard a Clement cars was this 1904 AC4R which had a 4 cylinder 2300cc engine which put out 20/24HP.

 photo Picture 034_zps4sp4seoe.jpg  photo Picture 033_zpsodiwigsg.jpg

From 1905 is this Bayard a Clement AC2V Bis which had an experimental 1500 cc 15 HP four cylinder Rolland Pilain engine. The top speed was 50 kph (31 mph).

 photo Picture 029_zpsh1afznav.jpg

This Clement Bayard CB10 dates from 1913. It has a 12 HP 2300cc engine, and a 3 speed gearbox with transmission by drive shafts which gave it a claimed top speed of 65 km/h.

 photo Picture 037_zpsd7rsrknt.jpg  photo Picture 039_zps0dlde1dn.jpg

This 1901 Gladiator Type 4 has a 1 cylinder 669cc engine which generates just 6.5HP and Chain Drive.

 photo Picture 031_zps7hptvg71.jpg  photo Picture 030_zpsakn15bfz.jpg

Also from 1901 is this Stirling Light Car, which was sold in South Africa to a Scot. It was made under licence from Clement Panhard and has an 839cc engine generating 5HP.

 photo Picture 032_zpsvbmomct5.jpg

This is a Renault Type C. Announced in the press as early as November 1899, the Renault C Type was presented in April 1900 at the Vincennes Car Show, organised within the frame of the World Exhibition. In 1900, 4100 automobiles were manufactured in France, of which Renault completed 179, mainly C Type voiturettes, a significant increase on the 80 cars that they had built in 1899. The main change introduced by the C Type when compared to the previous A and B Type was the adoption of an innovative cooling system using water. The engine cover of the car becomes therefore in square shape, with cut sections, on which are fixed the elements that enable the cooling mechanism or radiators. The chassis, designed the same way as the A and B types, is both longer and larger and presented in three forms: convertible with 2/3 seats with removable backseats, “barrel” 4 seats and coupe 2/3 seats. At the time, the success in the famous city to city races had a major influence on purchases as there were many automobile manufacturers and many saw this as the best way to differentiate one from another. After its first victories in 1899 during the Paris-Trouville, Paris-Ostende and Paris-Rambouillet races, the young Renault Frères Company claimed its legitimacy in automobile competitions by finishing first with the Renault C Type in two additional races, the Paris-Bordeaux and Paris-Toulouse, in 1900. The latter victories were one of the reason behind this car’s commercial success, with 350 sales linked to these victories.

 photo Picture 038_zpsnzj2zeqz.jpg


Sole Triumph model here was the Stag. Envisioned as a luxury sports car, this car was designed to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz SL. It started as a styling experiment, cut and shaped from a 1963–4 Triumph 2000 pre-production saloon, which had also been styled by Michelotti, and loaned to him by Harry Webster, Director of Engineering at Triumph. Their agreement was that if Webster liked the design, Triumph could use the prototype as the basis of a new Triumph model. Harry Webster, who was a long time friend of Giovanni Michelotti, whom he called “Micho”, loved the design and took the prototype back to England. The end result, a two-door drop head (convertible), had little in common with the styling of its progenitor 2000, but retained the suspension and drive line. Triumph liked the Michelotti design so much that they propagated the styling lines of the Stag into the new Mark 2 2000/2500 saloon and estate. The initial Stag design was based around the saloon’s 2.5-litre six cylinder engine, but Harry Webster intended the Stag, large saloons and estate cars to use a new Triumph-designed overhead cam 2.5-litre fuel injected V8. Under the direction of Harry Webster’s successor, Spen King in 1968, the new Triumph OHC 2.5 PI V8 was enlarged to 2997 cc to increase torque. To meet emission standards in the USA, a key target market, the troublesome mechanical fuel injection was dropped in favour of dual Zenith-Stromberg 175 CDSE carburettors. A key aim of Triumph’s engineering strategy at the time was to create a family of engines of different size around a common crankshaft. This would enable the production of power plants of capacity between 1.5 and 4 litres, sharing many parts, and hence offering economies of manufacturing scale and of mechanic training. A number of iterations of this design went into production, notably a slant four-cylinder engine used in the later Triumph Dolomite and Triumph TR7, and a variant manufactured by StanPart that was initially used in the Saab 99. The Stag’s V8 was the first of these engines into production. Sometimes described as two four-cylinder engines Siamesed together, it is more correct to say that the later four-cylinder versions were half a Stag engine. It has sometimes been alleged that Triumph were instructed to use the proven all-aluminium Rover V8, originally designed by Buick, but claimed that it would not fit. Although there was a factory attempt by Triumph to fit a Rover engine, which was pronounced unsuccessful, the decision to go with the Triumph V8 was probably driven more by the wider engineering strategy and by the fact that the Buick’s different weight and torque characteristics would have entailed substantial re-engineering of the Stag when it was almost ready to go on sale. Furthermore Rover, also owned by British Leyland, could not necessarily have supplied the numbers of V8 engines to match the anticipated production of the Stag anyway. As in the Triumph 2000 model line, unitary construction was employed, as was fully independent suspension – MacPherson struts in front, semi-trailing arms at the rear. Braking was by front disc and rear drum brakes, while steering was power-assisted rack and pinion. Although other bodystyles were envisaged, these never made production, so all Stags were four-seater convertible coupés. For structural rigidity – and to meet new American rollover standards of the time – the Stag required a B-pillar “roll bar” hoop connected to the windscreen frame by a T-bar. A removable hardtop was a popular factory option for the early Stags, and was later supplied as a standard fitment. The car was launched one year late in 1970, to a warm welcome at the various international auto shows. Sadly, it rapidly acquired a reputation for mechanical unreliability, usually in the form of overheating. These problems arose from a variety of causes, all of which are now well understood, and for which solutions have been identified, but at the time, they really hurt the reputation and hence sales of the car. They ranged from late changes to the engine which gave rise to design features that were questionable from an engineering perspective, the choice of materials which necessitated the use of antifreeze all year round, the engine’s use of long, simplex roller link chains, which would first stretch and then often fail inside fewer than 25,000 miles; the arrangement of the cylinder head fixing studs, half of which were vertical and the other half at an angle causing sideways forces which caused premature failure of the cylinder head gaskets. and poor quality production from a plant troubled with industrial unrest and poor quality control. At the time, British Leyland never provided a budget sufficient to correct the few design shortcomings of the Triumph 3.0 litre OHC V8, and the dealers did not help matters. The Stag was always a relatively rare car. British Leyland had around 2,500 UK dealers when the Stag was on sale and a total of around 19,000 were sold in the UK. Thus the average dealer sold only seven or eight Stags during the car’s whole production run, or roughly one car per year. This meant that few dealers saw defective Stags often enough to recognise and diagnose the cause of the various problems. Many owners simply replaced the engine altogether, often with the Rover V8, Ford Essex V6, or even the Triumph 6-cylinder engine around which the car was originally designed. Perhaps thanks to such a reputation for its unreliable engine, only 25,877 cars were produced between 1970 and 1977. Of this number, 6780 were export models, of which 2871 went to the United States. The majority of cars were fitted with a Borg-Warner 3-speed automatic transmission. The other choice was a derivative of the ancient Triumph TR2 gearbox which had been modified and improved over the years for use in the TR series of sports cars. Other than the choice of transmissions there were very few factory-installed options. On early cars buyers could choose to have the car fitted with just the soft-top, just the hard-top (with the hood storage compartment empty) or with both. Later cars were supplied with both roofs. Three wheel styles were offered. The standard fitments were steel wheels with Rostyle “tin-plate” trims. Five-spoke alloy wheels were an option, as were a set of traditional steel spoke wheels with “knock-off”‘ hubcaps. The latter were more commonly found on Stags sold in North America on Federal Specification vehicles. Electric windows, power steering and power-assisted brakes were standard. Options included air conditioning, a luggage rack, uprated Koni shock absorbers, floor mats and Lucas Square Eight fog lamps, and a range of after-market products, most of which were dealer installed as optional accessories could also be fitted. Rather unusually for a 4-seat touring car, the accessory list included a sump protector plate that was never produced. This was probably included as a slightly “gimmicky” tribute to Triumph’s rallying successes. Nowadays, the Stag is seen in a very different light, with lots of very enthusiastic and knowledgeable owners who enjoy the good points of this attractive looking car and who revel in the fact that the market has not yet boosted prices into the unaffordable category, as one day will surely happen.

 photo Picture 243_zpson0accrj.jpg


The Tyrrell P34 (Project 34), commonly known as the “six-wheeler”, was a Formula One (F1) race car designed by Derek Gardner, Tyrrell’s chief designer. The car used four specially manufactured 10-inch diameter (254 mm) wheels and tyres at the front, with two ordinary-sized wheels at the back. Along with the Brabham BT46B “fancar” developed in 1978, the six-wheeled Tyrrell was one of the most radical entries ever to succeed in F1 competition and has been called the most recognizable design in the history of world motorsports.The P34 was introduced in September 1975 and began racing in the 1976 season. It proved successful and led other teams to begin design of six-wheeled platforms of their own. Changes to the design made for the 1977 season made it uncompetitive and the concept was abandoned for Tyrrell’s 1978 season. The other six-wheeled designs ended development and F1 rules later stipulated that cars must have four wheels in total. The existing frames have since seen some success in various “classics” race events, but today are museum pieces. For the mid-1970s, F1 stipulated that the maximum width of the front wing was 1.5 m. Considering the needed room for the driver’s feet, the steering mechanism, suspension and the normal front tyre size, this meant the front tyres projected above and out to the sides of the wing. P34’s basic concept was to use a tyre that would be small enough to fit entirely behind the wing. This would have two effects; one would be to lower overall drag and thus improve speed on straights and the other was to clean up overall aerodynamics so the rear wing would receive cleaner airflow. However, given the space limitations such a tyre would have to be quite small, eventually settling on a 10 inches (250 mm) diameter. This had too small a contact patch to offer reasonable cornering performance, which led to the use of four wheels instead of two. Adding more wheels also had the advantage of offering more total brake area. The downside was increased complexity of the steering system and a physically larger suspension system. The steering complexity was solved by connecting only the front pair of wheels to the steering wheel and connecting the rear set to the front with a bell crank. Initially considered to be a problem area, Joel Rosinsky later declared that “The steering is so gentle and absolutely free of reaction that you might have thought it was power-assisted!” The new design was unveiled at the Heathrow Hotel in late September 1975. The car was initially kept under a tarpaulin with hoops over the wheels that make it look conventional, leading to astonishment when the tarp was pulled off. Some in the audience were convinced the design was a publicity stunt. The car first took to the track at Silverstone on 8 October 1975, and after more tests, Tyrrell decided to build two more examples with a slightly longer wheelbase to race in the 1976 season. The stretched versions first ran in the Spanish GP in 1976, and proved to be very competitive. Both Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler produced good results with the car, but while Depailler praised the car continually, Scheckter was unimpressed. The P34’s golden moment came in the Swedish Grand Prix. Scheckter and Depailler finished first and second, and to date Scheckter is the only driver ever to win a race in a six-wheeled car. The car seemed to be particularly good down the straights and through long corners, like at Anderstorp, Watkins Glen, Mosport Park, Fuji and the Österreichring, but it struggled on bumpy circuits like Brands Hatch, Jarama and the Nürburgring where the grip was actually variable because depending on the contours or bumps on the track one of the front small tyres would touch the road, but the one in front or behind it on the same side would not. Scheckter left the team at the end of the season, insisting that the six-wheeler was “a piece of junk!” For 1977, Scheckter was replaced by Ronnie Peterson, and the P34 was redesigned for cleaner aerodynamics, and some redesign was done on Peterson’s car to accommodate his height. The P34B was wider and heavier than before, and, although Peterson was able to string some promising results from the P34B, as was Depailler, it was clear the car was not as good as before. Tyrrell blamed the problems on the increased weight, now 190 pounds (86 kg) over the 1,268 pounds (575 kg) F1 minimum. This placed more strain on the brakes and made it struggle through the corners. Others have blamed Goodyear’s failure to properly develop the small front tyres. Late in the season an attempt to address the handling was made by increasing the track of the front suspension, but this moved the tyres out from their original hidden position, essentially eliminating the whole advantage to the concept. In November 1977, Tyrrell introduced his car for the 1978 season, and it had a conventional layout. He commented “In the meantime, we have closed the book on our six-wheeled project, and I am sure the cars will become something of a collector’s piece”. Tyrrell kept the frame that Scheckter won on, and sold the rest. More recently the P34 has been a popular sight at historic racing events, proving competitive once more. This was made possible when the Avon tyre company agreed to manufacture bespoke 10-inch tyres for Simon Bull, the owner of chassis No. 6. In 1999 and 2000 the resurrected P34 competed at a number of British and European circuits as an entrant in the FIA Thoroughbred Grand Prix series. Driven by Martin Stretton, the car won the TGP series outright in 2000, the sister car repeating that success in 2008 in the hands of Mauro Pane; this example is today part of a private collection in Italy. Stretton also achieved numerous pole positions and class wins at the Grand Prix Historique de Monaco. The P34 has also been seen a number of times at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

 photo Picture 485_zpsexw51dld.jpg  photo Picture 486_zpsopuym9b8.jpg


Final car on the FCA stand was this Vignale Gamine, sometimes known as the “noddy car”. Produced from 1967 to 1971, the Gamine was based on the Fiat 500, but unlike that car, however, the Gamine had an open-top Roadster structure and only two seats. Styling was by Alfredo Vignale. The Gamine is sometimes related in design to the Fiat 508 Balila. A hard-top was offered at an extra cost, and is considered these days to be quite rare. It was powered by a 2-cylinder, air-cooled engine of 499.5 cc from the Fiat 500 sport, the sporty version of the 500, and an engine later to be offered on the 500F, producing 21.2 bhp, which was enough to get the car to 60 mph, just. The Gamine was Alfredo Vignale’s baby project, but while the design was fairly cute, the performance was lacklustre even for the times. A high price, mediocre handling and versatility, meant that the Gamine never sold very well. In fact, the slow sales drove Carrozzeria Vignale out of business, forcing Alfredo Vignale to sell his production line to De Tomaso.

 photo Picture 820_zpsyj0agmah.jpg  photo Picture 821_zps47sd5sjd.jpg  photo Picture 431_zpspjlnfsir.jpg  photo Picture 429_zpscafuwktd.jpg


This is a 1928 Avions-Voisin C11 Charteorum. It was discovered in 1967 on the property of a Côte d’Or farmer and has not been touched since.

 photo Picture 494_zpsgtqfrmw1.jpg

This is the prototype 1935 C28 AeroSport. In a rather cruel twist of fate, Gabriel Voisin reached an artistic peak when right when his company was under receivership. Perhaps having the bankruptcy hanging over him like the Sword of Damocles brought out the best in him. In those final years, Voisin managed to combine the aerodynamic shape of his first cars with the Art Deco designs that dominated his late 1920s work. Amazingly at this time he had little resources left other than his own talent. It proved sufficient to produce some of motoring’s finest designs. One of the reasons Voisin originally strayed away from the aerodynamic shapes was the influence of his friend, business partner and artist Andre ‘Noël-Noël’ Telmont. Towards the end of 1933, ‘Noël-Noël’ and Voisin parted ways, leaving the design of the bodies now solely in Voisin’s hands. In the previous years, he had focused more on the technical and mechanical designs, which included the development of a variety of new engines including a V12 and seven cylinder radial engine. The latter was intended for “The Car of the Future Project”, which would have a monocoque type chassis and independent suspension all-round. Unfortunately the dire condition of his company forced Voisin to concentrate on the present. At the 1934 Paris Salon, Voisin’s new design direction had taken shape in the form of the C24 Aerodyne. As the aptly chosen name suggests, the new Voisin had a very aerodynamic shape, but still incorporated some of the Art Deco design cues. The roof line had a very round shape and looked as if it was part of a much larger circle. One of the most amazing features was the fully automated sliding roof. It sported several ‘portholes’ that lined up with rear window, which enabled the driver to look behind him even with the roof opened. Not much later Voisin also showed a two-door variant of this design on the C27 chassis, but both cars remained one-offs. Voisin was back at the Paris show a year later with the brand new C28 chassis and the promise of a range of aerodynamic bodies inspired by the Aerodyne. The most exciting these was present in completed form; the C28 Aerosport. This highly aerodynamic two-seater coupe was the first or one of the first to use pontoon style front fenders, which looked like they were part of the body. As with so many of Voisin’s bold ideas, this body treatment would later be the norm and formed the basis for modern car design. The other two and four door models available from the factory for the C28 chassis featured more conventional separate fenders, but still bore a close resemblance to the Aerosport. Under the fabulous aluminium bodies, the C28 was still every bit a Voisin. The Knight patented sleeve-valve six cylinder engine was derived from the original C23 powerplant with a slightly larger bore for a displacement of just over 3.3 litre. Brought alive by Voisin’s super-quiet Dynastart, the straight six produced around 100 bhp, which was sufficient to bring the large car up to its cruising speed of 150 km/h. Like so many luxury cars of the day, the C28 was fitted with a Cotal semi-automatic gearbox. The silent and smooth drive train was installed in a conventional, but underslung ladder frame chassis. The chassis was available in 3-metre short and a 3.2 metre long wheelbase version, depending on the body fitted. Production of the C28 commenced in earnest early in 1936 with the top of the line Aerosport model selling for 92,000FF, compared to 70,000FF for a comparable Bugatti Type 57. Sadly only Voisin’s friends and admirers opened their wallets and not much later Gabriel Voisin lost control of his company. One of the new management’s first decisions was to cut prices, but that did not help much. The C28’s price was still too high, its sleeve-valve engine underpowered and outdated and the styling too daring for most. Eventually only around sixty C28s were produced in total and only three or four Aerosports. In 1937 the C30 with a conventional side-valve engine was introduced, but it proved too little, too late to save Voisin.

 photo Picture 836_zpss57hscjg.jpg  photo Picture 437_zpsm6f2r16b.jpg


Sole Volkswagen that I photographed was this classic Type 2 Pickup model.

 photo Picture 136_zpsbwvfeieq.jpg


2017 marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of Swedish marque Volvo, and this was being marked in a relatively low key way on the Owners Club stand. There were just two examples of the brand on the stand. Older of the pair was a PV544. The Volvo PV is a series of two-door, four-passenger car models — the PV444 and the PV544 — made by Volvo from 1947 to 1966. During World War II’s early stages, Volvo decided that a new, smaller car that could deliver good fuel economy would assure the company’s future. A raw materials shortage during the war drove home the point that an automobile should be smaller, and also complicated Volvo’s ability to mass-produce the product. In 1944, when the car was finally introduced to a car-hungry public, response was very positive and orders poured in from the Swedish population. It was another three years though, until 1947, before series production began. The PV quickly earned a reputation for being strong and rugged, although the design was considered outdated from early on. The PV also competed successfully, in the American SCCA class but also internationally, with a second-hand PV544 memorably winning the Safari Rally in 1965. The PV444 was Volvo’s first uni-body car. Its body structure was influenced by the 1939 Hanomag 1,3 litre, which was purchased and studied by Volvo engineers. It was also the first Volvo in almost 20 years to come with a 4-cylinder engine (earlier models had used side-valve straight sixes). The first PV444s were powered by a 40 PS 1.4 L inline-four engine designated the B4B, with three main bearings, overhead valves, and a single downdraft carburettor. The power of this engine increased to 44 PS in October 1950, and to 51 PS in October 1955. US models, beginning to appear in the US in early 1956, received an up-rated version called the B14A which was given twin side-draft 1½ in S.U. carburettors for a total of 70 hp. Most early US sales were limited to Texas and southern California. American customers also had the option of European delivery, in which case they could also get a cheaper model with the basic B4B engine. By the 1957 model year[vague], engine displacement was increased to 1.6 L and both single downdraft- B16A and twin side-draught carburetted B16B versions were offered. In 1958, the PV544 was phased in. Subtle differences with the PV444 included the introduction of a curved one-piece windshield to replace the two panes of flat glass, larger taillights, and a ribbon-type speedometer. The 444’s 3-speed manual transmission was also supplanted by a 4-speed unit in the 544. The next significant change occurred in 1962, when the B16 was replaced by Volvo’s new B18 engine, initially developed for the P1800 sports car introduced the previous year. This 1.8 L engine had five main bearings. Again single and twin carburettor versions were offered, designated B18A and B18D, respectively. The U.S. market saw very few B18A cars since the United States’ public prioritised performance over fuel economy. Also in 1962, Volvo changed from 6- to 12-volt electrical systems. In 1963 Volvo began producing the 544 at their new Canadian Dartmouth/Halifax plant, the first Volvo plant to be located outside of Sweden. The PV544 was also made as an estate (wagon) version, the Duett, initially designated the P445 and later the P210. The 544 received incremental mechanical revisions and trim changes until its final production year of 1965. Exactly 440,000 units were built during the 18-year run. The car had so endeared itself to its owners that Volvo ran self-deprecating advertisements in late 1965 and early 1966 imploring PV owners not to be angry with the company. The Duett’s utility allowed Volvo to continue the wagon’s production through the 1969 model year. These were then replaced in some markets by a high-roof version of the Volvo 145, called the Express.

 photo Picture 268_zpsmkkqvsig.jpg  photo Picture 266_zpsegidyr1r.jpg  photo Picture 260_zpsfmswo8xf.jpg

There was also an example of the P1800 range on this stand and at least one more elsewhere in the Show. The P1800 was a one-time venture by the usually sober Swedish Volvo, who already had a reputation for building sensible sedans. The project was originally started in 1957 because Volvo wanted a sports car to compete in the US and European markets, despite the fact that their previous attempt, the P1900, had failed to take off with only 68 cars sold. The man behind the project was an engineering consultant to Volvo, Helmer Petterson, who in the 1940s was responsible for the Volvo PV444. The design work was done by Helmer’s son Pelle Petterson, who worked at Pietro Frua at that time. Volvo insisted it was an Italian design by Frua and only officially recognised that it was by Pelle Petterson many years later. The Italian Carrozzeria Pietro Frua design firm (then a recently acquired subsidiary of Ghia) built the first three prototypes between September 1957 and early 1958, later designated by Volvo in September 1958: P958-X1, P958-X2 and P958-X3. In December 1957 Helmer Petterson drove X1, the first hand-built P1800 prototype to Osnabrück, West Germany, headquarters of Karmann. Petterson hoped that Karmann would be able to take on the tooling and building of the P1800. Karmann’s engineers had already been preparing working drawings from the wooden styling buck at Frua. Petterson and Volvo chief engineer Thor Berthelius met there, tested the car and discussed the construction with Karmann. They were ready to build it and this meant that the first cars could hit the market as early as December 1958. But in February, Karmann’s most important customer, Volkswagen forbade Karmann to take on the job, as they feared that the P1800 would compete with the sales of their own cars, and threatened to cancel all their contracts with Karmann if they took on this car. This setback almost caused the project to be abandoned. Other German firms, NSU, Drautz and Hanomag, were contacted but none was chosen because Volvo did not believe they met Volvo’s manufacturing quality-control standards. It began to appear that Volvo might never produce the P1800. This motivated Helmer Petterson to obtain financial backing from two financial firms with the intention of buying the components directly from Volvo and marketing the car himself. At this point Volvo had made no mention of the P1800 and the factory would not comment. Then a press release surfaced with a photo of the car, putting Volvo in a position where they had to acknowledge its existence. These events influenced the company to renew its efforts: the car was presented to the public for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1960 and Volvo turned to Jensen Motors, whose production lines were under-utilised, and they agreed a contract for 10,000 cars. The Linwood, Scotland, body plant of manufacturer Pressed Steel was in turn sub-contracted by Jensen to create the unibody shells, which were then taken by rail to be assembled at Jensen in West Bromwich. In September 1960, the first production P1800 left Jensen for an eager public. The engine was the B18, an 1800cc petrol engine, with dual SU carburettors, producing 100 hp. This variant (named B18B) had a higher compression ratio than the slightly less powerful twin-carb B18D used in the contemporary Amazon 122S, as well as a different camshaft. The ‘new’ B18 was actually developed from the existing B36 V8 engine used in Volvo trucks at the time. This cut production costs, as well as furnishing the P1800 with a strong engine boasting five main crankshaft bearings. The B18 was matched with the new and more robust M40 manual gearbox through 1963. From 1963 to 1972 the M41 gearbox with electrically actuated overdrive was a popular option. Two overdrive types were used, the D-Type through 1969, and the J-type through 1973. The J-type had a slightly shorter ratio of 0.797:1 as opposed to 0.756:1 for the D-type. The overdrive effectively gave the 1800 series a fifth gear, for improved fuel efficiency and decreased drivetrain wear. Cars without overdrive had a numerically lower-ratio differential, which had the interesting effect of giving them a somewhat higher top speed of just under 120 mph, than the more popular overdrive models. This was because the non-overdrive cars could reach the engine’s redline in top gear, while the overdrive-equipped cars could not, giving them a top speed of roughly 110 mph. As time progressed, Jensen had problems with quality control, so the contract was ended early after 6,000 cars had been built. In 1963 production was moved to Volvo’s Lundby Plant in Gothenburg and the car’s name was changed to 1800S (S standing for Sverige, or in English : Sweden). The engine was improved with an additional 8 hp. In 1966 the four-cylinder engine was updated to 115 PS, which meant the top speed increased to 109 mph. In 1969 the B18 engine was replaced with the 2-litre B20B variant of the B20 giving 118 bhp, though it kept the designation 1800S. For 1970 numerous changes came with the fuel-injected 1800E, which had the B20E engine with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection and a revised camshaft, and produced 130 bhp without sacrificing fuel economy. Top speed was around 118 mph and acceleration from 0–62 took 9.5 seconds. In addition, the 1970 model was the first 1800 with four-wheel disc brakes; till then the 1800 series had front discs and rear drums. Volvo introduced its final P1800 variant, the 1800ES, in 1972 as a two-door station wagon with a frameless, all-glass tailgate. The final design was chosen after two prototypes had been built by Sergio Coggiola and Pietro Frua. Frua’s prototype, Raketen (“the Rocket”), is located in the Volvo Museum. Both Italian prototypes were considered too futuristic, and instead in-house designer Jan Wilsgaard’s proposal was accepted. The ES engine was downgraded to 125 bhp by reducing the compression ratio with a thicker head gasket (engine variant B20F); although maximum power was slightly down the engine was less “peaky” and the car’s on-the-road performance was actually improved. The ES’s rear backrest folded down to create a long flat loading area. As an alternative to the usual four-speed plus overdrive manual transmission, a Borg-Warner three-speed automatic was available in the 1800ES. With stricter American safety and emissions standards looming for 1974, Volvo did not see fit to spend the considerable amount that would be necessary to redesign the small-volume 1800 ES. Only 8,077 examples of the ES were built in its two model years.

 photo Picture 261_zpswxxkvzk8.jpg  photo Picture 267_zpsokwhpoc0.jpg  photo Picture 771_zpsdkqw0jlz.jpg


There is a sizeable area to one side and towards the back of Hall 1 which is reserved for trade and autojumble stands You could easily spend many hours browsing among these with an array of everything from books, vintage brochures and display cabinet after cabinet of enticing looking models to that elusive spare part for your classic. There are few bargains here, but you do see plenty of people clutching something bulky and awkward looking that they clearly have sourced here.

 photo Picture 539_zps1bx3x03h.jpg  photo Picture 540_zpslvqecwtz.jpg  photo Picture 541_zpsldhrirou.jpg  photo Picture 538_zpshdjajbet.jpg  photo Picture 543_zpstbwegema.jpg photo Picture 542_zpssgsshniu.jpg  photo Picture 138_zpsjhv56kyf.jpg  photo Picture 139_zpsgrw8pgoz.jpg  photo Picture 286_zpse69mdhr3.jpg  photo Picture 285_zpsd8uzsqjg.jpg

Rétromobile takes place at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles, which is easy to get to, taking just under 1 hour from either of Paris’ airports. As in previous years, I flew into Orly Airport, and chose to stay in the Hilton Hotel there, for sensible money (hotels in the city cost far more!), and from there it was an easy journey on the OrlyVal, the RER and a Tram, right to the front gate of the site, which I reached just before 10am, when the gates open. I stayed until 7pm, when the event closed. The event is popular, with over 118,000 visitors reported during the 5 days and sure enough on the Saturday when I went, it got progressively busier during the morning and early afternoon, but the last couple of hours are relatively quiet, and the photographer can then charge around the site taking all the photos that were too elusive earlier in the day. I was able to enjoy a second day in Paris – well wrapped up, as it was rather cold, with February weather that is little different to that which you get in the UK. It all made for a most enjoyable weekend, and one I will look to repeat in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *