The internet and Social Media has made it much easier both to publicise and to find out about upcoming events, but even so there are plenty of things to the car enthusiast that even an inveterate browser only learns about long after they have happened. The event in question here could have come in that category were it not for the fact that a couple of my Abarth owning friends mentioned it, having attended previously. Sure enough when they told me and I went to my favourite internet search engine, I found all the details and how book tickets, but without this tip off, I would never have known. The event in question is the opening over a weekend of Middlewick House, which can be found on the outskirts of Corsham in Wiltshire, just 20 or so miles from home. It is only when you learn that this is the residence of well-known petrolhead and historic racer, Nick Mason, that the interest in the event to the car enthusiast becomes more obvious.
As most people will know, Nick Mason came to fame from his role as the drummer and a founding member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. He is the only member to feature in every Pink Floyd album, and the only constant member since its formation in 1965. The success of the band meant he made a lot of money, and like more than a few other stars of the music world was able to indulge his passion for cars, amassing quite a collection over the years. The cars are not just static objects, either, as they get used and those that are track-ready compete regularly, with either himself, or his daughter or some other lucky individual behind the wheel. I’ve seen a few of them at events over the years, but the chance to see a much larger percentage of his collection was too good to miss, so I booked a ticket.
NICK MASON’S CARS
With a collection of around 40 – 50 cars, they are not stored actually stored at his home, but rather in a secret location not far away, which only the privileged few have visited. For this event a significant number of them, but by no means all, were brought over to Middlewick Hall, and put on display, either on the lawn area in front of the house, on the paths surrounding it, some in the old stable block that has been converted to garage accommodation, and a few more on lawns around the back of the house. Even though some of them are extremely valuable, thee were no barriers around them, and I am pleased to record that everyone seemed to be respecting the unobstructed access and photo opportunities and not abusing the fact that there was no protection around. Here in alphabetical sequence is what was on display.
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione: Although I am sure there are those who would beg to differ, my contention is that car styling in the twentyfirst century has gone through a period which will not be viewed particularly positively in years to come, with a myriad of forgettable designs and more recently plenty which in trying to be distinctive are just downright ugly. There have been a few high points, though, and top of that list for me must be the Alfa 8C Competizione, a lone example of which was to be seen here. As well as the looks, this car also has noise on its side, with a sound track which must rate as one of the best of recent times. So that is two boxes ticket for me. The press saw it rather differently, and were rather critical of the car when it was new, but for me, finding plenty to fault with the way the car drove. First seen as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the concept was conceived as a reminder for people who were perhaps slightly disillusioned with contemporary Alfa products that the company could still style something as striking in the 21st century as it had been able to do in the 1950s and 1960s. Public reaction was very positive, but Fiat Group Execs were very focused on Ferrari and Maserati and they were not entirely convinced that a car like this was appropriate as it could encroach on those brands’ territory. It was only in 2006, with new management in place that it is decided that a limited production run of just 500 cars would give the once proud marque something of a boost. Announcement of the production version, visually little different from the 2003 concept car was made at the 2006 Paris Show, and it was soon evident that Alfa could have sold far more than 500 cars To turn the concept into reality, Alfa used a shortened Maserati Quattroporte platform with a central steel section, subframes front and rear and main outer panels that were all made from carbon fibre, with the result that the complete car weighed 300 kg less than the GranTurismo. Final assembly was carried out by Maserati, with the cars being built between 2007 and 2010. Competiziones (Coupes) first, and then 500 Spiders. Just 40 of the Competizione models came to the UK. Most of them were sent to the US, so this car is exceptionally rare and is much sought after by collectors. They were fearsomely expensive when new, listing for around £150,000, but prices have never dipped far below this, so anyone who bought one, should they ever feel the need to sell it, is not going to lose money on the car.
Aston Martin Ulster: The Ulster was based on the MkII chassis, and was the apotheosis of the pre-war sporting Aston Martin. A replica of the 1934 team cars which had finished 3rd, 6th and 7th in the Ulster TT race, it was made available to amateur racers for just £750. One sold recently for £1.3 million. Aston Martin first exhibited the Ulster at the Olympia Motor Show in October 1934, introducing it as ‘a Replica of the three cars which ran so successfully in the 1934 TT race.’ Built on the shorter of the two MkII chassis, the Ulster differed little from its more run-of-the-mill siblings, though the engine was subjected to tuning and more careful assembly. Modifications included polishing the inlet and exhaust ports, and raising the compression ratio to 9.5:1 by means of domed pistons and a ‘stepped’ cylinder head, the result of these changes being an increase in maximum power to around 85bhp. The Laystall crankshaft and the valves and valve springs were of higher specification than those of the other MkII models. Lightweight, door-less two-seater bodywork was fitted and every Ulster was guaranteed to exceed 100mph with full road equipment, a phenomenal achievement for a 1½-litre production car at that time. Of the 31 Ulsters built, including 10 team cars, 28 survive and the whereabouts of all are well known. Mason has three: LM17, LM18 and LM21, which he’s owned and raced since 1973. Two of them were on display here.
Aston Martin V8 Zagato: Just fifty two examples of the coupé and thirty seven of the convertible were built between 1986 and 1990. The coupé was first unveiled at the 1986 Geneva Motor Show, and orders were quickly taken, despite only showing the drawing of the car. The decision to build the later convertible was controversial – all 52 coupés had already been purchased at the height of the supercar speculation market, and owners felt that producing additional cars would lower the value of the coupés. The convertibles consistently fetch higher prices than their roofed brethren. The V8 Zagato, as the name suggests, was based on the Aston Martin V8, but with a body by the famed Zagato coachbuilder. The design was an angular modern interpretation of the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato of the 1960s. The squared off grille was especially controversial. The Zagato was powered by a 430 bhp V8 engine with twin choke Weber carburettors. The all alloy car could hit 300 km/h (186 mph). It was a luxurious car, with a price tag of US$156,600 at the time, but with the high rarity, and being released at the supercar price boom of 1987 to 1990, by the end of the decade, the car was changing hands for £450,000. The later convertible sold for $171,000. In 1998, the famous comedian, Rowan Atkinson, purchased the first right hand drive car produced, chassis number 20013, and had it converted to Aston Martin Owners Club racing series C2 specifications. He crashed it in July 2001, whilst competing at an enthusiasts’ meeting, but walked away unhurt. Conversion was undertaken by Aston Martin Works Service and total rebuild cost was around 220,000 GBP. The famous Tadek Marek 5.3 V8 engine was reworked to produce an estimated 482 bhp carrying unique “580XR” designation. It retired racing in 2007, and Atkinson subsequently sold it at the Aston Martin Bonhams auction in Newport Pagnell on 17 May 2008, for £122,500.
Austin A35 race series: the diminutive A30 and A35 have long been popular in historic saloon car racing and there was a peak in interest when an entire class was allocated to the car at the Silverstone Classic when a log list of drivers from the world of sport and show business competed, in somewhat spectacular style, This is one of the carefully prepared cars from that series.
Bugatti Type 13 Brescia: The Type 13 was the first real Bugatti car. The Bugatti automobile had been prototyped as the Type 10 in Ettore Bugatti’s basement in 1908 and 1909 while he was chief engineer at Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik in Cologne, Germany. The Type 10 used a monobloc straight-four engine of Ettore’s own design. it was an overhead cam unit with 2 valves per cylinder, highly advanced for the time. A very-undersquare design, it had a 60 mm bore and 100 mm stroke for a total of 1131 cc. This was attached to an open roadster body with solid axles front and rear. Leaf springs suspended the front with no suspension at all in the rear. Cables operated rear drum brakes. On ending his contract with Deutz, Ettore loaded his family into the Type 10 and headed to the Alsace region, then still part of the German Empire looking for a factory to begin producing cars of his own. After World War I, Alsace became a part of France again, of course. The prototype car was preserved and nicknamed “la baignoire” (“the bathtub”) by the staff at Molsheim in later years due to its shape. Ettore restored it in 1939 and repainted it an orange-red color, earning it a new nickname, “le homard” (“the lobster”). It was moved to Bordeaux for the duration of World War II and remained there for decades before falling into private ownership. Today, the car is in California in the hands of a private collector. Upon starting operations at his new factory in Molsheim, Bugatti refined his light shaft-driven car into the Type 13 racer. This included boring the engine out to 65 mm for a total of 1368 cc. A major advance was the 4-valve head Bugatti designed — one of the first of its type ever conceived. Power output with dual Zenith Carburettors reached 30 hp at 4500 rpm, more than adequate for the 660 lb (300 kg) car. Leaf springs were now fitted all around, and the car rode on a roughly 79 in wheelbase. The new company produced five examples in 1910, and entered the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in 1911. The tiny Bugatti looked out of place at the race, but calmly took second place after seven hours of racing. World War I caused production to halt in the disputed region. Ettore took two completed Type 13 cars with him to Milan for the duration of the war, leaving the parts for three more buried near the factory. After the war, Bugatti returned, unearthed the parts, and prepared five Type 13s for racing. By the time production of the model ceased in 1920, 435 examples had been produced and the model had also formed the basis of the later Types 15, 17, 22, and 23. Most of the road cars used an 8-valve engine, though five Type 13 racers had 16-valve heads, one of the first ever produced. The road cars became known as “pur-sang” (“thoroughbred”) in keeping with Ettore Bugatti’s feelings for his designs. The car was brought back after World War I with multi-valve engines to bring fame to the marque at Brescia, which is why the model is often referred to as a Brescia Bugatti. The production “Brescia Tourer” also brought in much-needed cash.
Bugatti Type 35B: Very well known as a model, indeed many would tell you that this is THE classic Bugatti, is the Type 35 and there were a number of these here. The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35. The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 1991 cc overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced. This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars. A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewellery. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold. The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti’s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory. The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 litre engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp, and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans. Bought in bits back in the Seventies and built up around an original chassis, Mason then took his supercharged speedster racing in the Eighties. The blue beast still fires up a raucous treat today – after some furious hand-pumping for fuel pressure, that is.
Nick Mason is perhaps most closely associated with Italian-manufacturer Ferrari, and estimates he has owned 40 of their cars. His first purchase in the early 1970s was a Ferrari 275 GTB/4, which he comments would regularly wet-plug. His most notable purchase was in 1977 from his proceeds from the sale of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side Of The Moon, when he paid £37,000 for one of the 39 built Ferrari 250 GTO cars – he still owns the car, valued now in excess of £30M, and it was one of the cars on show at this event Mason and Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour drove the first two Ferrari F40’s back to the UK from Maranello. Mason was invited by Ferrari to purchase one of the 400 Enzo models (now sold replaced by a Blu Scozia-coloured LaFerrari), which he let Jeremy Clarkson borrow for reviewing purposes on the BBC motoring programme Top Gear. Mason agreed, on the sole condition that throughout the review, Clarkson promoted the release of the book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd. This led to Clarkson using Pink Floyd album titles in his description of the Enzo and The Stig driving round the track with “Another Brick in the Wall” playing (despite the fact that the Enzo does not come equipped with a stereo). There were 10 Ferrari models on display at this event, spanning almost the entire life of the brand from a rare early 50s car right through to the very latest SF90 Stradale model, one of three all finished in the same Blu Scozia paintwork.
Ferrari 250MM: Dating from 1953 and with a Pininfarina body, this is one of 18 such cars built. This one was re-stamped 0239EU for carnet reasons on behalf of its original Mexican owner. He raced the car in that year’s Carrera Panamericana where he placed an impressive seventh overall. For a vast majority of its life, chassis 0352MM remained in Mexican hands, though retired from competition to enjoy a lucky run of three restorations and countless concours appearances before finding its way into Mason’s collection in 2011.
Ferrari 250 GTO: by some margin the most valuable car here, and one of the best known in Nick’s collection. The 250 GTO, was a GT car produced by Ferrari from 1962 to 1964 for homologation into the FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring Car category. It was powered by Ferrari’s Tipo 168/62 Colombo V12 engine. The “250” in its name denotes the displacement in cubic centimeters of each of its cylinders; “GTO” stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, Italian for “Grand Touring Homologated.” Just 36 of the 250 GTOs were manufactured between 1962 and 1964. This includes 33 cars with 1962-63 bodywork (Series I) and three with 1964 (Series II) bodywork similar to the Ferrari 250 LM. Four of the older 1962-1963 (Series I) cars were updated in 1964 with Series II bodies. When new, the 250 GTO cost $18,000 in the United States, with buyers personally approved by Enzo Ferrari and his dealer for North America, Luigi Chinetti. This model has since become highly desired by automobile collectors and sales have repeatedly set price records.The current record for world’s most expensive car was set in June 2018 when a 1963 250 GTO (chassis 4153GT) was sold in a private sale for $70 million. The 250 GTO was designed to compete in Group 3 GT racing, where its rivals would include the Shelby Cobra, Jaguar E-Type and Aston Martin DP214. The development of the 250 GTO was headed by chief engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. Although Bizzarrini is usually credited as the designer of the 250 GTO, he and most other Ferrari engineers were fired in 1962 due to a dispute with Enzo Ferrari. Further development of the 250 GTO was overseen by new engineer Mauro Forghieri, who worked with Scaglietti to continue development of the body. The design of the car was a collaborative effort and cannot be ascribed to a single person. The mechanical aspects of 250 GTO were relatively conservative at the time of its introduction, using engine and chassis components that were proven in earlier competition cars. The chassis of the car was based on that of the 250 GT SWB, with minor differences in frame structure and geometry to reduce weight, stiffen and lower the chassis. The car was built around a hand-welded oval tube frame, incorporating A-arm front suspension, rear live-axle with Watt’s linkage, disc brakes, and Borrani wire wheels. The engine was the race-proven Tipo 168/62 Comp. 2,953 cc V12 as used in the 250 Testa Rossa Le Mans winner. An all-alloy design utilizing a dry sump and six 38DCN Weber carburettors, it produced approximately 300 PS at 7500 rpm and 294 N⋅m; 217 lbf⋅ft at 5500 rpm of torque. The gearbox was a new 5-speed unit with Porsche-type synchromesh. Bizzarrini focused his design effort on the car’s aerodynamics in an attempt to improve top speed and stability. The body design was informed by wind tunnel testing at Pisa University as well as road and track testing with several prototypes. The resulting all-aluminium bodywork had a long, low nose, small radiator inlet, and distinctive air intakes on the nose with removable covers. Early testing resulted in the addition of a rear spoiler. The underside of the car was covered by a belly pan and had an additional spoiler underneath formed by the fuel tank cover. The aerodynamic design of the 250 GTO was a major technical innovation compared to previous Ferrari GT cars, and in line with contemporary developments by manufacturers such as Lotus. The bodies were constructed by Scaglietti, with the exception of early prototypes with bodies constructed in-house by Ferrari or by Pininfarina (in the case of s/n 2643 GT). Cars were produced in many colours, with the most famous being the bright red “Rosso Cina”.The minimalist interior of a 250 GTO reflects the car’s racing intentions. There is no speedometer, seats are cloth-upholstered, and neither carpeting nor a headliner was installed. Cockpit ventilation is via exterior air inlets. The exposed metal gate defining the shift pattern became a Ferrari tradition maintained in production models until replaced by steering column-mounted paddle shifters in the 2000s. As the 250 GTO was heavily derived from the earlier 250 GT Berlinetta SWB, Ferrari engineers constructed two 250 GTO prototypes in 1961 by converting existing chassis of this type. The first prototype, designated in official photos as the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Le Mans Berlinetta Sperimentale, was constructed from chassis 2643GT, originally a 1961 250 GT SWB. It was built to competition specification, which included a reinforced chassis, a competition gearbox and a Tipo 168/61 3.0 L engine tuned to 300 bhp, equipped with dry sump lubrication and six Weber 38 DCN carburetors. Pininfarina constructed a new lightweight aluminium alloy body for this prototype, which resembled that of the 400 Super America coupe. 2643GT was entered by Scuderia Ferrari in the 1961 24 hours of Le Mans, driven by Fernand Tavano and Giancarlo Baghetti. Although they were running as high as 8th overall, they were forced to retire at 4:45 am on Sunday morning due to engine failure. During the course of the race, Ferrari engineers gathered information about the performance of the car which was used to modify and improve it, including the addition of a rear spoiler. During the Le Mans race, 2643 GT suffered from high-speed instability, possibly due to the front end design. Following Le Mans, 2643 GT returned to the factory, where it was used for more testing. The prototype raced again at the 1962 Daytona Continental 3 hours, where it placed 4th overall and 1st in the GT class driven by Stirling Moss.Subsequently, it was sold to N.A.R.T. and a succession of private owners. The second prototype was also constructed from a donor car, although sources disagree on the chassis number and type. Several older sources mention the donor as a 1960 250 GT SWB, chassis 2053 GT. Alternatively, other sources have claimed that a 250 GT Boano (0523GT) or a 1959 250 GT SWB (1791GT) was used as the donor car. This prototype was created entirely by the Ferrari factory’s racing department under the oversight of Giotto Bizzarrini, including the bodywork. The original chassis was extensively modified, including relocation of the engine mounts lower and further back in the frame. A competition-specification engine was fitted, including six Weber 38 DCN carburettors. The bodywork seen on the second prototype in period photos was rough, unfinished aluminium. The body’s ungainly appearance lead the Ferrari team to nickname it “Il Mostro” (the Monster) and the press to call it “The Anteater.” Hammer marks, weld beads and bolted or riveted panels could be seen throughout, evidence of the continual modifications performed during factory testing in 1961. Although the body was crudely formed, it displayed features that would be seen in the production 250 GTO, including the overall profile of a low hood and high rear, triple front air intakes, engine bay cooling slots in the front fenders and plexiglass-covered headlights. The interior was hastily constructed and even more minimal than in the production 250 GTO, with scattered instrumentation and a bare aluminium dashboard. The second prototype was tested at Monza in September 1961 by Stirling Moss. Results were promising, as the prototype was able to lap the circuit faster than a 250 GT SWB. However, the high speed stability issues seen during testing of the first prototype remained. Shortly after this test, construction of the first production 250 GTOs began in late 1961 with chassis 3223 GT and 3387 GT. As the prototype was no longer needed for testing, the experimental body was scrapped. Regardless of the identity of the chassis, sources are in agreement that the second GTO prototype was either partially or entirely scrapped and is no longer extant in its 1961 form. If 2053 GT was indeed the chassis, it was then given a 250 GT SWB style body and sold to Jacques Swaters. 2053 GT crashed during the 1962 Nürburgring 1000 km and was then rebodied by Carrozzeria Sports Cars. Subsequently, 2053 GT was totally destroyed in an accident at the 1964 Spa 500km. Handbuild production, updates, and repairs throughout each car’s competition history result in differences both visible and invisible between individual 250 GTOs. Variance in air intake/vent configuration is common among cars. Modifications to the original bodywork were performed by the factory, Scaglietti, or other body shops, usually after crashes or according to a racing team’s wishes. In 1964, Ferrari tasked Mauro Forghieri and Mike Parkes with redesigning the 250 GTO’s bodywork, resulting in what became known as the GTO ’64 (or Series II). Three new cars were produced to the 1964 specification, and four earlier 250 GTOs were retrofitted to it by the factory. This redesign was intended to maintain the GTO’s competitiveness for one more year, as the FIA decided to not approve the 250 LM for GT-class racing during the 1964 season. The Ferrari engineers incorporated many of the 250LM’s aerodynamic features into the 1964 GTO. This resulted in a visual similarity between the two models, even though the GTO does not share the 250LM’s mid engine rear wheel drive layout. The factory also made minor modifications to the engine, gearbox, chassis, suspension and interior. Despite these changes, the overall performance improvement was slight. The GTO ’64 still saw some racing success with factory and privateer teams, including an overall win at Daytona in 1964 by Phil Hill and Pedro Rodriguez driving for NART. Three 330 GTO specials were made using the 250 GTO chassis and body fitted with 400 Superamerica 4.0L motors. Distinguished by a larger bonnet bulge, these cars were used briefly for racing and testing by Scuderia Ferrari before being sold to private customers. The 330 LMB is sometimes considered a GTO variant. These cars used a 4.0L 330 motor and a modified 250 GT Lusso chassis/body. Four were produced in 1963. Three 275 GTB/C Speciales were built in 1964/65. Despite their origins as competition versions of the 275 GTB, they are sometimes considered developments of the 250 GTO due to similarity of configuration and bodywork. The Ferrari 250 GT SWB Breadvan was a one-off racing car designed for Scuderia Serenissima by Bizzarrini after his departure from Ferrari. It was developed specifically to compete against the then-new 250 GTO. Although based on the earlier 250 GT SWB, the Breadvan provided an opportunity for Bizzarrini to develop the ideas he had first explored with the GTO, such as lower and more aerodynamic bodywork, incorporation of a dry sump, and radical lightening of the entire car. The 250 GTO’s racing debut was at the 1962 12 Hours of Sebring, driven by American Phil Hill (the Formula One World Driving Champion at the time) and Belgian Olivier Gendebien. Although originally annoyed that they were driving a GT-class car instead of one of the full-race 250 Testa Rossas competing in the prototype class, the experienced pair impressed themselves (and everyone else) by finishing second overall behind the Testa Rossa of Bonnier and Scarfiotti. Ferrari would go on to win the over 2000cc class of the FIA’s International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963, and 1964, the 250 GTO being raced in each of those years. 250 GTOs also won the 1963 and 1964 Tour de France Automobile, marking Ferrari’s nine year dominance of that race. During the 1962-1964 racing seasons, only a few other GT-class models were consistently competitive with the 250 GTO. These were the Jaguar E-type, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, DP212, DP214, and DP215, and the AC Cobras. In addition to official Scuderia Ferrari entries, many 250 GTOs were also raced by independent racing teams and private drivers. During this time it was therefore common for 250 GTO drivers to compete against other 250 GTOs. The 250 GTO was one of the last front-engined cars to remain competitive at the top level of sports car racing. The 250 GTO gradually passed into obsolescence following the 1964 season. Scuderia Ferrari withdrew the 250 GTO from its racing activity by 1965, leaving only a few independent teams and private owners to campaign it in endurance races, rallies and hillclimbs. By 1967, the 250 GTO was almost entirely absent from international racing, with only a few rally and hillclimb results during that year. Prior to the development of the 250 GTO collector market and associated vintage racing and show events, some of the surviving 250 GTOs were used in regional races, while others were used as road cars. FIA regulations in 1962 required at least one hundred examples of a car to be built in order for it to be homologated for Group 3 Grand Touring Car racing. Ferrari built only 39 250 GTOs (33 of the “normal” cars, three with the four-litre 330 engine sometimes called the “330 GTO”—recognizable by the large hump on the bonnet—and three “Type 64″ cars, with revised bodywork). It became a popular myth that when FIA inspectors showed up to confirm that 100 examples had been built, Enzo Ferrari shuffled the same cars between different locations, thus giving the impression that the full complement of 100 cars was present. In reality, no deception was required, as the production of the 250 GTO was covered by the homologation of the earlier 250 GT Berlinetta SWB model. These homologation papers were issued in 1960, but extensions were applied for and accepted multiple times between 1961 to 1964, allowing Ferrari to add modifications not covered under the original specification, including changes to the engine, transmission, and suspension. Additionally, since more than 100 bodies had been built according to the earlier 250 GT SWB specification, FIA regulations allowed a new body to be designed, leading to the development of the new 250 GTO body style. This method of homologation was not unique to Ferrari, as similar methods were used to homologate the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and the Jaguar E-Type Lightweight. While the GTO is now arguably the most valuable collector car in the world, it was merely a no-frills used race car in the late 1960s and very early 1970s. Many of the vehicles were offered at or acquired for four-figure sums. In contrast, restored Duesenberg Model J’s often traded in the vicinity of $50,000 around 1970. From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, classic car values rose rapidly and the 250 GTO became the most valuable Ferrari model, touted as the Ferrari that most completely embodies the characteristics of the manufacturer. Prices fell substantially during the car market crash of the early 90s, resulting in lows of $2,700,000 in September 1994 and $2,500,000 in May 1996. Prices began to climb again in the late 90s and have continued to rise through the present day. 250 GTOs have repeatedly broken records for most expensive car ever sold at auction or private sale. The current record for world’s most expensive car was set in June 2018 when a 1963 250 GTO (chassis 4153GT) was sold to David MacNeil in a private sale for $70 million. On August 25, 2018, RM Sotheby’s sold Greg Whitten’s 250 GTO 3413GT at their Monterey auction. The final price inclusive of buyer’s fee was $48,405,000, representing a new record for most expensive car ever sold at auction. The previous record was also held by a 250 GTO, 3851GT, which was sold at the Bonhams Quail Lodge auction in 2014. Scarcity and high prices led to the creation of several replica 250 GTOs on more common Ferrari chassis. Misrepresentations of the original cars, offered for sale at full market value, have been reported. Mason’s GTO has raced every year since ’62. Initially, it was just a device to go racing back then, long before it reached its now level of legendary status.” An early ’62 car, it’s raced every year of its life, originally campaigned by the Ecurie Francorchamps team, hence the yellow flash on the front wings. In fact, this livery is exactly how it ran 52 years ago, even down to that delicately stylised number 22. But in over half a century of competition, the car has evolved in some key areas. Take the motor. It still runs the original 300hp 3.0-litre quad-cam V12 fed by six surprisingly petite twin-choke downdraught Weber 38 DCN carbs, but only for road events. Hallowes explains. “The thought of losing this engine when racing – which means this would no longer be an all-important ‘matching numbers’ car – doesn’t even bear thinking about. There is now a second ‘sacrificial’ engine for racing, as its referred to by the team who look after the car. You never want to lose an engine, but if it has to be this one, it’s less of an issue.” A spare, original 250 GTO motor – that surely ranks alongside hen’s dentures and rocking horse manure in the unobtainable stakes.
Ferrari 512S: 512 S is the designation for 25 sports cars built in 1969–70, with five-litre 12-cylinder (“512”) engines, related to the Ferrari P sports prototypes. The V12-powered cars were entered in the 1970 International Championship for Makes by the factory Scuderia Ferrari and private teams. Later that year, modified versions resembling their main competitor, the Porsche 917, were called Ferrari 512 M (for modificata). In the 1971 International Championship for Makes, the factory focused on the new Ferrari 312 PB and abandoned the 512 which was only entered by privateers. From 1972 onwards, the 512 (as the 917) was withdrawn from the world championship following a change in the regulations, and some 512s in private hands were entered in CanAm and Interserie races. Until 1967, Ferrari raced four-litre prototypes (see Ferrari P), but due to the high speeds it achieved in Le Mans, also by the seven-litre V8 Ford GT40, the rules were changed for 1968 limiting Group 6 prototypes to a maximum engine capacity of three litres, as in Formula One. Despite having a suitable engine, Ferrari sat out the 1968 season, to return in 1969 with the Ferrari 312 P. In that year, Porsche had taken full advantage of a loop hole with the Porsche 917, making the risky investment of building 25 examples of a five-litre car to allow homologation into the FIA’s Group 5 sports car category. Selling half of his business to Fiat, Enzo Ferrari raised the funds to match that investment. Surplus cars were intended to be sold to racing customers, which meant that several dozen high powered sports cars were available, and with each requiring two drivers in an endurance race, there was a shortage of experienced pilots. The engine of the 512 S was a completely new 60° V12 with 560 PS. Compared to Porsche’s air-cooled flat-12, it needed a maze of cooling pipes and a heavy radiator. Since the chassis was of sturded steel, reinforced with aluminium sheet, weight was 100 kg more than that of the alloy-framed 917. Notwithstanding the weight difference and higher center of gravity, the Ferrari 512 S and Porsche 917 seemed fairly evenly matched. At the beginning of 1970 the Ferrari 512s were hampered by predictable early problems, including a weak suspension and transmission issues, but the fact that Porsche already had six months of equally mixed experiences with its 917 in 1969 would be decisive for the rest of the season. Contrary to Porsche, Ferrari did not organise an intramural competition. At Porsche, JWA Gulf, KG Porsche Salzburg and later Martini Racing, all received direct factory support. Thus, at least four cars were real works cars, without putting strain on the factory itself, as personnel and funds were provided by these professional teams. And even the privateers like AAW Shell Racing and David Piper Racing received much better support than Ferrari’s clients. Ferrari did not adopt this modern scheme, but entered cars themselves in the traditional manner, as “Spa Ferrari SEFAC”. Having only a few Formula One drivers under contract in the previous years, with the sports car aces driving for Porsche, Ferrari could barely find qualified drivers for its entries. Besides the factory cars, there were the private cars of Scuderia Filipinetti, NART, Écurie Francorchamps, Scuderia Picchio Rosso, Gelo Racing Team and Escuderia Montjuich. Those private cars never received the same support from the factory. They were considered as field fillers, never as candidates for a win. At the end of the 1970 season, Ferrari had won the 12 hours of Sebring, while the Porsche 917 and 908 took the remaining nine wins of the championship season. At Le Mans, the Ferrari suffered from reliability problems, although it was considered to be equally fast to the 917. Four 512s were entered by Ferrari for that race, but the Vaccarella/Giunti car was out after seven laps, the Merzario/Regazzoni car was out after 38 laps and the Bell/Peterson car was out a lap later, and about five hours later the Ickx/Schetty car was out after 142 laps. For speed tracks such as Le Mans, Spa, Monza and the Osterrichring, an extra rear body panel designed to suit the 512 better was fitted on the car. The modified 512 M had proven to be fast at the end of the season, and Ickx/Giunti also won the Kyalami non-championship Springbok nine-hours race. As the loop hole for the five litre sports cars became obsolete after 1971, Ferrari decided to abandon factory entries of the 512 in favor of developing a new three litre prototype. In 1971, Penske entered an improved 512 M (No. 1040) in Sunoco livery which was able to challenge the 917, taking pole position several times. Just in time for the 24h of Daytona, Ferrari in January 1970 presented the required number of 25 512 S, as 17 complete cars and eight assembly kits, to the homologation authorities. Of those cars, fitted with the traditional even chassis numbers, ranging from 1002 to 1050, 19 were raced in 1970, five of them being spyders. Unlike Porsche, which has built over 50 917s in total, Ferrari could not sell off all surplus cars, and chassis No. 1046 was given to Pininfarina to be turned into a show car, the Ferrari 512 S Modulo. Of the 25 cars manufactured for the 1970 season, but not raced that year, the No. 1020 was converted at the end of the season as a 512 M and sold to NART, which entered it in competition in 1971. The No. 1024 remained unsold in 1970, was transformed into a 512 M and sold one year later to the Scuderia Brescia Corse. The No. 1036 was used as test car by the racing division of Ferrari. Later it was sold to Solar Productions for Steve McQueen’s Le Mans, also known as French Kiss with Death. The 1040, sold to Chris Cord and Steve Earle, was entered in 1971 by Penske at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and Watkins Glen, setting the pole positions at the American tracks. The 1046 had been disassembled for parts, used for the construction of the Pininfarina Ferrari Modulo, and likely remains under that body in Pininfarina’s museum. The 1048 was sold as a test car to Scuderia Filipinetti but not raced in 1970. The 1050 was sold to Corrado Manfredini (but only as chassis plus body), combined with parts of Nos. 1022 and 1032, transformed into a 512 M and raced in 1971. Eventually the factory team used nine cars for international endurance racing. The Scuderia Filipinetti (Switzerland, Herbert Müller) and NART raced two cars each. Écurie Francorchamps (Belgian importer of Ferrari), Escuderia Montjuich (Spain), Gelo Racing Team (Germany) and Picchio Rosso raced one car each. After the 1022, bought by the last team, was destroyed at the 24 Hours of Daytona, they would use the 1032. During the 1970 race season several other Ferraris 512 Ss were destroyed. That was the case with the 1012 spyder after its crash at practice for the ADAC 1000km Nürburgring. The 1026, having been raced as factory car No. 7 by Derek Bell and Ronnie Peterson at the 1970 Le Mans 24 hours, was destroyed during the Le Mans film, by Derek Bell. The 1032 chassis number was subject of controversy in the 1980s, and even Christie’s was involved. On the reconversion of the 1032 into a 512 M parts were used to rebuild it on the 1050 chassis
Ferrari Daytona Competition: The first racing version of the 365GTB/4 was prepared in 1969: an aluminium bodied car was built and entered in the Le Mans 24-hour race that year (the car crashed in practice). Ferrari did not produce an official competition car until late in 1970. The official cars were built in three batches of five cars each, in 1970–1, 1972 and 1973. They all featured a lightweight body making use of aluminium and fibreglass panels, with plexiglas windows. The engine was unchanged from the road car in the first batch of competition cars, but tuned in the latter two batches (to 400 bhp in 1972 and then around 450 bhp in 1973). The cars were not raced by the official Scuderia Ferrari team, but by a range of private entrants. They enjoyed particular success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with results including a 5th overall in 1971, followed by GT class wins in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4s took the first 5 places of the GT class. The final major success of the car was in 1979 (five years after production ended), when a 1973 car achieved a class victory (2nd overall) in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Ferrari BB LM: In 1974, Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) developed a racing variant of the 365 GT4 BB to replace the team’s Daytonas for use in sports car racing. NART’s car debuted at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1975 before earning a sixth-place finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring two months later. NART continued to use the car into 1978, by which time Ferrari had begun their own development of a racing variant of the updated 512 BB. Ferrari’s Customer Assistance Department extensively modified four 512s in 1978, adding wider wheel arches, a roof-mounted aerofoil, and reusing rear wings from Ferrari 312T2 Formula One cars. Power from the flat-12 was increased to 440 hp while the cars’ weight was decreased to approximately 1,200 kg (2,646 lb). The four cars, termed BB LM by Ferrari, were entered by Charles Pozzi, Ecurie Francorchamps, and NART in the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans, but none was able to complete the race. After the failure of the first batch, Ferrari worked on fixing the BB LM with a second development program in late 1978. The flat-12’s carburetors were replaced with an electronic fuel injection system to increase power to 470 bhp, a system later adapted to the 512 BBi. The production-based bodywork of the first BB/LMs was replaced by a new design developed by Pininfarina which was 16 in (41 cm) longer and carried over none of the original styling cues. The pop-up headlights were now replaced by fixed units integrated into the fascia, while the tail was lengthened to the maximum allowed by regulations. Nine of these revised BB LMs were built by Ferrari in 1979, while a further refined series of sixteen were built from 1980 to 1982. Amongst the BB LM’s best finishes was a fifth overall and first in the GTX class at the 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans. This exact car was raced by former Pink Floyd manager Steve O’Rourke at the 1980 24 hours of Le Mans to finish 23rd place. The 440bhp flat-twelve engine certainly reminds us of when endurance racing sounded as glamorous as it looked.
Ferrari F40: 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.
Ferrari 599GTO: The 599 GTB (internal code F141), a new flagship, replacing the 575M Maranello, styled by Pininfarina under the direction of Ferrari’s Frank Stephenson, debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in February 2006. It is named for its total engine displacement (5999 cc), Gran Turismo Berlinetta nature, and the Fiorano Circuit test track used by Ferrari. The Tipo F140 C 5999 cc V12 engine produced a maximum 620 PS (612 hp), making it the most powerful series production Ferrari road car of the time. At the time of its introduction, this was one of the few engines whose output exceeded 100 hp per litre of displacement without any sort of forced-induction mechanism such as supercharging or turbocharging. Its 448 ft·lb of torque was also a record for Ferrari’s GT cars. Most of the modifications to the engine were done to allow it to fit in the Fiorano’s engine bay (the original Enzo version could be taller as it would not block forward vision due to its mid-mounted position). A traditional 6-speed manual transmission as well as Ferrari’s 6-speed called “F1 SuperFast” was offered. The Fiorano also saw the debut of Ferrari’s new traction control system, F1-Trac. The vast majority of the 599 GTB’s were equipped with the semi-automatic gearbox, with just 30 examples produced with a manual gearbox of which 20 were destined for the United States and 10 remained in Europe. The car changed little during its 6 year production, though the range did gain additional versions, with the HGTE model being the first, with a number of chassis and suspension changes aimed at making the car even sharper to drive, and then the more potent 599GTO came in 2010. With 670 bhp, this was the fastest road-going Ferrari ever made. Just 599 were made. The model was superceded by the F12 Berlinetta in 2012.
Ferrari LaFerrari: If you wanted the most recent in the series, the 2013 LaFerrari, it was almost a pre-requisite that you had bought one of all the others, and probably a few other Ferraris as well. Launched at the 2013 Geneva Show, along with the Porsche 918 Spyder and McLaren P1, the LaFerrari has the distinction of being the first mild hybrid from Ferrari, which ensures that as well as providing the highest power output of any Ferrari, fuel consumption can be decreased by up to 40 percent. Owners may not care, but regulators certainly do! LaFerrari’s internal combustion engine is a mid-rear mounted Ferrari F140 65° V12 with a 6262 cc capacity producing 800 PS (789 bhp) @ 9000 rpm and 700 N·m (520 lbf·ft) of torque @ 6,750 rpm, supplemented by a 163 PS (161 bhp) KERS unit (called HY-KERS), which will provide short bursts of extra power. The KERS system adds extra power to the combustion engine’s output level for a total of 963 PS (950 bhp) and a combined torque of 900 Nm (664 lb/ft). Ferrari claims CO2 emissions of 330 g/km. It is connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and the car is rear-wheel drive. 499 units were built, each costing over $1million. This is the only one painted in this shade of blue.
Ferrari F12 Tdf: The F12 TdF was unveiled in October 2015, as a faster, lighter and more powerful special edition of the regular F12 Berlinetta. The accompanying press releases informed us that the the car was created in homage to the legendary Tour de France road races, which it dominated in the 1950s and 1960s with the likes of the 1956 250 GT Berlinetta. However, the full Tour de France name cannot be used, as this is registered to the famous annual cycle race held in France, and even the might of Ferrari’s often belligerent and bullying legal department clearly had not managed to get past that obstacle. The F12 TdF, described by its maker as “the ultimate expression of the concept of an extreme road car that is equally at home on the track”, keeps the same 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine as the regular F12 Berlinetta, but power has been boosted from 730bhp to 770bhp at 8500rpm, while torque has increased from 509lb ft to 520lb ft at 6750rpm. Ferrari says 80% of the car’s torque is available from 2500rpm. By comparison, McLaren’s 675LT features a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and produces 660bhp and 516lb ft – enough to give it a 0-62mph sprint time of 2.9 seconds. The older Ferrari 458 Speciale, meanwhile, made 597bhp from its 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8. The car is capable of reaching 62mph in 2.9sec and has a top speed of more than 211mph. Official fuel consumption is rated at 18.3mpg, with CO2 emissions of 360g/km. Ferrari says it has has used various modifications derived from its F1 cars to boost the engine’s efficiency. The F12 TdF uses a new version of the firm’s dual-clutch automatic transmission, which features shorter gear ratios. New one-piece brake calipers – the same as those used on the LaFerrari supercar – are said to provide “outstanding” stopping distances, allowing the F12 TdF to brake from 62-0mph in 30.5 metres. Ferrari says the car’s performance is “second to none”, but that it has also been conceived to be “an extremely agile and powerful car which could also be driven by less expert drivers”. The F12 TdF has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 21sec. The regular F12 Berlinetta completed the lap in 1min 23sec – the same as the new 488. The LaFerrari currently holds the fastest time on the course, with a time of 1min 19.70sec. Among the other changes made to the F12 TdF are larger front tyres, allowing greater lateral acceleration through corners. Ferrari says the car’s “natural tendency” to oversteer has been compensated for by the use of a new rear-wheel steering system. Dubbed Virtual Short Wheelbase, the system – which automatically adjusts the rear wheels for the optimum steering angle – is said to increase stability at high speeds while guaranteeing “the steering wheel response times and turn-in of a competition car”. The F12 TdF’s aggressive bodywork includes a longer and higher rear spoiler, larger air vents to channel air flow along the sides of the car, a redesigned rear diffuser and new wheel arch louvres. It sits on 20in alloy wheels. Overall, the changes combine to give the F12 TdF 30% more downforce compared to the F12. Ferrari says the redesigned bodywork has almost doubled the aerodynamic efficiency of the car compared to the standard F12, while the use of lightweight carbonfibre inside and out has reduced the F12 TdFf’s kerb weight by 110kg over the standard car, which weighs 1630kg. The cabin is deliberately stripped out. The door panels feature carbonfibre trim, while knee padding replaces the traditional glovebox. The majority of the cabin is trimmed with Alcantara instead of real leather. Aluminium plates feature on the floor instead of mats, again hinting at the car’s track-focused nature. Just 799 examples were built, around 20 of which came to the UK, with an asking price of £339,000, around £100,000 more than the regular F12 Berlinetta.
Ferrari SF90 Stradale: this is the very latest Ferrari model, and their most sophisticated yet.
Fiat Nuova 500L: 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.
Ford V8 Coupe Hot Rod: Ford produced three cars between 1932 and 1934: the Model B, the Model 18, and the Model 46. These succeeded the Model A. The Model B had an updated four cylinder and was available from 1932 to 1934. The V8 was available in the Model 18 in 1932, and in the Model 46 in 1933 & 1934. The 18 was the first Ford fitted with the flathead V‑8. The company also replaced the Model AA truck with the Model BB, available with either the four- or eight-cylinder engine. Rather than just updating the Model A, Ford launched a completely new vehicle for 1932. The V8 was marketed as the Model 18 in its initial year, but was commonly known as the Ford V‑8. It had the new flathead V8 engine. The Model 18 was the first low-priced, mass-marketed car to have a V8 engine, an important milestone in the American automotive industry. The 221 cu in (3.6 l) V8 was rated at 65 hp but power increased significantly with improvements to the carburettor and ignition in succeeding years. The V8 was more popular than the four-cylinder, which was essentially a variant of the Model A engine with improvements to balancing and lubrication. Model B was derived with as few technical changes as possible to keep cost low. Other than the engine, and badging on headlamp support bar (later: grille) and hub caps, it was virtually indistinguishable from the V-8. Its intention was to be a price leader, and as it offered more than the popular Model A, this should have been a winning formula. In fact, the new and only slightly more expensive V-8 stole the show, and finally made it obsolete. The V8 engine was previously exclusive to Lincoln products, which in 1932 switched to V12 engines only. Although there is a certain visual similarity with the predecessor Model A, the car was new. While the Model A has a simple frame with two straight longitudinal members, the new car got a longer wheelbase, and an outward curved, double-dropped chassis. In both models the fuel tank is relocated from the cowl as in Model A and late Model T, where its back formed the dash, to the lower rear of the car, as is typical in modern vehicles; thus requiring Ford to include an engine-driven fuel pump rather than rely on gravity feed. While the V8 was developed from scratch, the B just had an improved four-cylinder Model A engine of 201 cu in (3.29 L) displacement producing 50 bhp. When Ford introduced the Model A in late 1927, there were several competitors also offering four-cylinder cars, among them Chevrolet, Dodge, Durant, or Willys. That changed within a few years, soon leaving the new Plymouth the sole major make in the Ford’s price class with a four. Although sharing a common platform, Model Bs and Model 18s came not only in Standard and Deluxe trim, they were available in a large variety of body styles. Some of them, such as the commercial cars described below, were only available as Standards, and a few other came only in Deluxe trim. There were two-door roadster, two-door cabriolet, four-door phaeton, two and four-door sedans, four-door “woodie” station wagon, two-door convertible sedan, panel and sedan deliveries, five-window coupe, a sport coupe (stationary softtop), the three-window Deluxe Coupe, and pickup. The wooden panels were manufactured at the Ford Iron Mountain Plant in the Michigan Upper Peninsula from Ford owned lumber. One of the more well known and popular models was the two-door Victoria, which was largely designed by Edsel Ford. It was a smaller version of the Lincoln Victoria coupe, built on the Lincoln K-series chassis with a V8 engine; by 1933 Lincoln no longer used a V8 and only offered the V12, with the V8 now exclusive to Ford branded vehicles. Prices ranged from US$495 for the roadster, $490 for the coupes, and $650 for the convertible sedan. Production totals numbered from 12,597 for the roadster to 124,101 for the two-door sedan. Ford sold 298,647 V8-powered 18s in 1932, and except for the fact Ford could not keep up with V8 demand, the essentially identical four-cylinder B would have been a sales disaster: dealers switched customers to them from the V8, and even then sold only 133,539, in part because the V8 cost just US$10 more. The B was discontinued because buyers disliked four-cylinder models in general, and because of the huge success of the V8, not for being an inferior car. In fact, it persisted a little longer in Europe, where in many countries the tax system heavily favoured smaller-displacement engines. Today, the 1932 Model B, although always a little bit in the shadow of the V8, is a highly collectible car and people will pay thousands of dollars to restore one to original specification, which is ironic, as they were once cheap “throwaway” cars popular with hot rodders who would tear them apart and use them as the basis for a “build”, which is partly why it is so hard to find an unaltered specimen today
Frazer Nash Le Mans: The Le Mans Replica was the most sporting model produced by Frazer Nash in its post-War era. Initially called the Competition model, it was renamed in honour of the Frazer Nash that came 3rd overall at Le Mans in 1949. Only 29 were made between 1949 and 1954, of which 21 were the prettier Mark 1 version. Powered by a six-cylinder 2-litre Bristol engine, the Le Mans Replica was a quick and nimble vehicle which was competitive against the period Ferraris and Jaguars. Le Mans Replicas were successful in competition and raced with distinction at events as diverse as the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Le Mans 24 Hours and Goodwood Nine-Hours.
Jaguar D Type: Although it shared many of its mechanical components with the C-Type, including the basic straight-6 XK engine design, initially of 3.4 litres and later enlarged to 3.8 litres in the late fifties, the structure of the car was radically different. The innovative monocoque construction brought aviation industry technology to competition car design, together with an aeronautical understanding of aerodynamic efficiency. The structural design, revolutionary at the time, applied aeronautical technology. The “tub”, or cockpit section, was of monocoque construction, mostly comprising sheets of aluminium alloy. Its elliptical shape and comparatively small cross-section provided torsional rigidity and reduced drag. To the front bulkhead was attached an aluminium tubing subframe for the engine, steering assembly, and front suspension. Rear suspension and final drive were mounted to the rear bulkhead. Fuel was carried in the tail and the designers followed aviation practice by specifying a deformable Marston Aviation Division bag in place of a conventional tank. The aerodynamic bodywork was largely the work of Malcolm Sayer, who had joined Jaguar following a stint with the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the Second World War and later worked on the C-Type. For the D-Type, he insisted on a minimal frontal area. To reduce the XK engine’s height, Jaguar’s chief engineer, William Haynes, and former Bentley engineer, Walter Hassan, developed dry sump lubrication, and it has been said that the car’s frontal area was also a consideration in canting the engine at 8½° from the vertical (which necessitated the offset bonnet bulge). Philip Porter, in his book Jaguar Sports Racing Cars, says that “[a] more likely reason was to provide extra space for the ram pipes feeding the three twin-choke Weber carburettors.” Reducing underbody drag contributed to the car’s high top speed; for the long Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, a fin was mounted behind the driver for aerodynamic stability. For the 1955 season, factory cars were fitted with a longer nose, which lengthened the car by 7½ inches and further increased maximum speed; and the headrest fairing and aerodynamic fin were combined as a single unit that smoothed the aerodynamics and saved weight. Mechanically, many features were shared with the outgoing C-Type. Its front and rear suspension and innovative all-round disc brakes were retained, as was the XK engine. Apart from the new lubrication system, the engine was further revised as development progressed during the D-Type’s competition life. Notably in 1955 larger valves were introduced, together with asymmetrical cylinder heads to accommodate them. Jaguar D-Types fielded by a team under the leadership of Jaguar’s racing manager Lofty England were expected to perform well in their debut at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans race. In the event, the cars were hampered by fuel starvation caused by problems with the fuel filters, necessitating pit stops for their removal, after which the entry driven by Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt speeded up to finish less than a lap behind the winning Ferrari. The D-Type’s aerodynamic superiority is evident from its maximum speed of 172.8 mph on the Mulsanne Straight compared with the 4.9 litre Ferrari’s 160.1 mph. For 1955 the cars were modified with long-nose bodywork and engines uprated with larger valves. At Le Mans, they proved competitive with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs, which had been expected to win. Mike Hawthorn’s D-Type had a narrow lead over Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes when another Mercedes team car was involved in the most catastrophic accident in motorsport history.Driver Pierre Levegh and more than 80 spectators lost their lives, while many more were injured. Mercedes withdrew from the race. Jaguar opted to continue, and the D-Type driven by Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb went on to win. Mercedes withdrew from motorsport at the end of the 1955 season, and Jaguar again entered Le Mans in 1956. Although only one of the three factory-entered cars finished, in sixth place, the race was won by a D-Type entered by the small Edinburgh-based team Ecurie Ecosse and driven by Ron Flockhart and Ninian Sanderson, beating works teams from Aston Martin and Scuderia Ferrari. In America, the Cunningham team raced several D-Types. In 1955, for example, a 1954 works car on loan to Cunningham won the Sebring 12 Hours in the hands of Mike Hawthorn and Phil Walters, and in May 1956 the team’s entries for Maryland’s Cumberland national championship sports car race included four D-Types in Cunningham’s white and blue racing colours. Driven by John Fitch, John Gordon Benett, Sherwood Johnston and team owner Briggs Cunningham, they finished fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Although Jaguar withdrew from motorsport at the end of the 1956 season, 1957 proved to be the D-Type’s most successful year. Jaguar D-Types took five of the top six places at Le Mans; Ecurie Ecosse, with considerable support from Jaguar, and a 3.8-litre engine, again took the win, and also second place. This was the best result in the D-Type’s racing history. Rules for the 1958 Le Mans race limited engine sizes to three litres for sports racing cars, which ended the domination of the D-Type with its 3.8-litre XK engine. Jaguar developed a three-litre version to power D-Types in the 1958, 1959 and 1960 Le Mans races but it was unreliable, and by 1960 it no longer produced sufficient power to be competitive. The D-Type’s success waned as support from Jaguar decreased and the cars from rival manufacturers became more competitive. Although it continued to be one of the cars to beat in club racing and national events, the D-Type never again achieved a podium finish at Le Mans. By the early 1960s it was obsolete. Total D-Type production is thought to have included 18 factory team cars, 53 customer cars, and 16 XKSS versions. A 1955 car was sold at Sothebys in 2016 for £19,8 million, making it the most valuable British car ever.
Jaguar Mark 2: 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.
Jaguar E Type Series 3: The E-Type Series 3 was introduced in 1971, with a new 5.3 L Jaguar V12 engine, uprated brakes and standard power steering. Optionally an automatic transmission, wire wheels and air conditioning were available. The V12 was equipped with four Zenith carburettors, and as introduced produced a claimed 272 bhp, more torque, and a 0–60 mph acceleration of less than seven seconds. The short wheelbase FHC body style was discontinued, with the Series 3 available only as a convertible and 2+2 coupé. The newly used longer wheelbase now offered significantly more room in all directions. The Series 3 is easily identifiable by the large cross-slatted front grille, flared wheel arches, wider tyres, four exhaust tips and a badge on the rear that proclaims it to be a V12. The first published road test of the series 3 was in Jaguar Driver, the club magazine of the Jaguar Drivers’ Club, the only owners club to be officially sanctioned by Sir William Lyons and Jaguar themselves. The road test of a car provided by Jaguar was published ahead of all the national and international magazines. Cars for the US market were fitted with large projecting rubber bumper over-riders (in 1973 these were on front, in 1974 both front and rear) to meet local 5 mph impact regulations, but those on European models were considerably smaller. US models also have side indicator repeats on the front wings. There were also a very limited number of six-cylinder Series 3 E-Types built. These were featured in the initial sales procedure but the lack of demand stopped their production. The V12 Open Two Seater and V12 2+2 were factory fitted with Dunlop E70VR − 15-inch tyres on 15 × 6K wire or solid wheels. The final production E-Type OTS Roadster was built in June 1974. Total production was 15,290.
Lola T297: For 1979, Lola’s 2-litre sports car was the T-297, which continued the lineage of a great line of race cars. In 1970, Lola had introduced the T-210 and over the years it had evolved into a formidable contender, coming in second to Chevron in the 2-litre Championship in 1975. In 1976, the second in the Championship again, this time behind Osella. Osella would again keep Lola from achieving the overall championship in 1977, this time by only a few points. The T-297 was fitted with a 2-litre engine, usually from either Ford or BMW. The powerplants generated over 300 horsepower and was mated to five-speed Hewland gearbox. Ventilated disc brakes could be found at all four corners. The suspension comprised of double wishbones with outboard coils and dampers in the front with a similar setup in the rear. One of the highlights of the 1979 season was when Dorset Racing drove a 2-Litre T-297 in the Group 6 category at the 24 Hours of LeMans. The car would finish first in class. Mason competed at le Mans in this car in 1980 and it is believed to be one of the favourite cars in his collection.
March 86C: Dating from 1986, this March is powered by a 2660cc Turbo Cosworth V8 with 730bhp. This is chassis number 5. At the end of the 1986 CART PPG World Series, March Cosworths occupied the first three places. Designed by Adrian Newey the 86C won all but three of the seasons races, including a victory at the Indianapolis 500 with the eventual champion Bobby Rahal. Chassis No.5 enjoyed a fairly successful CART career driven by Michael Andretti setting one pole at Ponoco and a win at Phoenix International Raceway where he lapped everyone, most twice and won by a clear lap. Michael Andretti also won at Long Beach, the Milwaukee 200, as well as the Pheonix 200. He could have won at Portland but for a mistake on the run in to the finish in which he was beaten by 00.05 of a second by his father Mario in a Lola. It was fathers day!! Andretti Junior finished the season in second place behind Rahal also in a March 86C.
McLaren F1 GTR: The McLaren F1 GTR is a racing variant of the McLaren F1 sports car first produced in 1995 for grand touring style racing, such as the BPR Global GT Series, FIA GT Championship, JGTC, and British GT Championship. It was powered by the naturally aspirated BMW S70/2 V12 engine. It is most famous for its overall victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans where it won against faster purpose-built prototypes in very wet conditions. The F1 GTR raced internationally until 2005 when the final race chassis was retired. Gordon Murray, creator of the McLaren F1, originally saw his creation as the ultimate road car, with no intention to take the car racing. Although the car used many racing technologies and designs, it was felt that the car should be a road car first, without any intent built into the creation of the car to modify it into a racing car. However soon after the launch of the McLaren F1, the BPR Global GT Series was created. Starting in the 1994 season, the series featured racing modifications of sports cars such as the Venturi 600LM, Ferrari F40, and Porsche 911 Turbo. Viewed as a possible replacement for the defunct World Sportscar Championship, major manufacturers were taking interest in the series. At the same time, teams were also looking for faster and more capable cars for the series top class, GT1. Many teams, such as those run by Ray Bellm and Thomas Bscher, seeing the potential in the McLaren F1 road cars, turned to Gordon Murray in an attempt to convince him to offer factory backing on racing versions for the BPR series. Finally, Murray relented and agreed to modify the F1 into a racing car, agreeing to build several chassis for competition in the 1995 season. An unused F1 chassis which was meant to become #019 was taken by McLaren and modified by the company as a developmental prototype. Because of the similarity to a race car, extensive modification was not needed to actually turn the F1 into a racing car. Bodywork modification saw the addition of various cooling ducts, most noticeably a large one in the centre of the nose and two placed in the location of the storage lockers on the side of the car. A large adjustable fixed wing was added to the rear of the car. Even the 1995 versions of F1 GTR generated enough downforce to run along the ceiling at 100 mph. The interior was stripped of all luxuries and given a full racing cage. Carbon brakes replaced the stock units. Because of the rules at the time, the BMW S70 V12 engine was required to use an air restrictor to limit power output to around 600 PS (592 hp; 441 kW), making the racing car less powerful than the road car, yet faster and more nimble due to a lowered overall weight. Features such as the central seating position, Butterfly doors, and even the standard gearbox were retained. McLaren co-ordinated a 24-hour test at Magny-Cours to find weaknesses in the car and develop upgrades to supply to the teams. A total of nine chassis would be built for the 1995 season, with #01R being retained by the factory as a test mule, except for a one-off use by Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. British team GTC Racing received two F1 GTRs, with a third being used to replace a destroyed car. David Price Racing, BBA Competition, Mach One Racing, and Giroix Racing Team would all receive one chassis each, while the final chassis, #09R, was sold to Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, for his car collection. At Le Mans 1995, the Kokusai Kaihatsu McLaren obtained victory and the highest practice top speed of the year, reaching 281 km/h (174.605 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight. Following the success of the 1995 season, McLaren set forth to upgrade the car to remain competitive, especially against the threat of newer sports cars appearing such as the Ferrari F50 GT (which was withdrawn quickly) and the Porsche 911 GT1. They were assisted by BMW Motorsport, who at the time decided to use their connection to McLaren to enter sports car racing by running their own race team with F1 GTRs. Among the modifications were an extension of the front and rear bodywork, including a larger splitter attached to the front of the car. The bodywork was also modified to allow it to be removed more quickly for easier repair. The car’s standard gearbox was modified to include a lighter magnesium housing and more robust mechanicals. These modifications allowed for the weight of the GTR to be lowered by 38 kg. Due to demand, nine more new GTRs were built, while two older GTRs (#03R and #06R) were also modified to the 1996-spec. The F1 GTR 1996 was the fastest variant in terms of straight line speed – the car hit 330 km/h on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in 1996, which is 13 km/h faster than the 1997 long-tail F1 GTR and even 6 km/h faster than the 1996 Porsche GT1. With the BPR Global GT Series reformed into the FIA GT Championship in 1997, rules regarding the cars used in the premier GT1 class were altered. Homologation specials like the Porsche 911 GT1 had already proven their worth in the final races of 1996, while newcomer Mercedes-Benz was showing the potential of their new CLK-GTR in testing. McLaren was therefore forced to give the F1 extensive modifications in order to be able to compete against cars that had been meant as race cars first and not road cars like the F1. First and foremost, the F1 required extensive modification to its bodywork in order to gain as much aerodynamic downforce as possible. Although it retained the same carbon-fibre monocoque as the road car, the entire exterior of the car was purpose-built. A much longer nose and tail, as well as a wider rear wing, were designed in order to maximize the amount of aerodynamic downforce, while the wheel arches were widened in order to allow for the maximum amount of grip from the tyres allowed by the rules. Ground clearance was also changed to 70 millimetres (2.76 in) front and rear, rather than the 60 mm (2.36 in) front and 80 mm (3.15 in) rear clearance of the 1996-spec car. The engine also saw extensive modification, with a stroke reduction bringing the BMW S70 V12 down to 5,990 cc in an attempt to prolong the life of the engines, while still maintaining the air restrictor-controlled 600 bhp. The standard gearbox was replaced with a new X-trac 6-speed sequential transmission. A total of ten more GTRs were built, with none of the previous cars being upgraded to the 1997-spec. In order to be allowed to construct cars that were so radically different from the F1 road car, McLaren was forced to build production road cars using the GTR ’97’s bodywork. These cars came to be known as the F1 GT, of which only three were built. The 1997-spec cars are commonly referred to as the “Long Tail” version due to their stretched bodywork, most noticeably at the rear. At Le Mans 1997, the car reached 317 km/h (196.97 mph) on the Mulsanne straight. This was still slightly slower than some of the field, including the Porsche 911 GT1 Evo’s – 326 km/h (202.57 mph), Nissan R390 GT1’s – 319 km/h (198.22 mph) and TWR Porsche Joest LMP’s – 320 km/h (198.84 mph). This one, chassis number 10R was McLaren’s factory test car for the 1996 season. It has been converted to road car spec. Mason acquired it from Ron Dennis as part of a swap for an Indy Car that Dennis wanted.
Porsche 991: The 991 introduced in 2012 is an entirely new platform, only the third since the original 911. Porsche revealed basic information on the new Carrera and Carrera S models on 23 August 2011. The Carrera is powered by a 350 hp 3.4-litre engine. The Carrera S features a 3.8-litre engine rated at 400 hp. A Power Kit (option X51) is available for the Carrera S, increasing power output to 430 hp. The new 991’s overall length grows by 56 mm (2.2 in) and wheelbase grows by 99 mm (3.9 in) (now 96.5 in.) Overhangs are trimmed and the rear axle moves rearward at roughly 76 mm (3 in) towards the engine (made possible by new 3-shaft transmissions whose output flanges are moved closer to the engine). There is a wider front track (51 mm (2 in) wider for the Carrera S). The design team for the 991 was headed by Michael Mauer. At the front, the new 991 has wide-set headlights that are more three-dimensional. The front fender peaks are a bit more prominent, and wedgy directionals now appear to float above the intakes for the twin coolant radiators. The stretched rear 3/4 view has changed the most, with a slightly more voluminous form and thin taillights capped with the protruding lip of the bodywork. The biggest and main change in the interior is the center console, inspired by the Carrera GT and adopted by the Panamera. The 991 is the first 911 to use a predominantly aluminium construction. This means that even though the car is larger than the outgoing model, it is still up to 50 kilograms (110 lb) lighter. The reduced weight and increased power means that both the Carrera and Carrera S are appreciably faster than the outgoing models. The 0–60 mph acceleration time for the manual transmission cars are 4.6 seconds for the Carrera and 4.3 seconds for the Carrera S. When equipped with the PDK transmission, the two 991 models can accelerate from 0–97 km/h in 4.4 seconds and 4.1 seconds. With the optional sports chrono package, available for the cars with the PDK transmission, the 991 Carrera can accelerate from 0–97 km/h in as little as 4.2 seconds and the Carrera S can do the same in 3.9 seconds. Apart from the reworked PDK transmission, the new 991 is also equipped with an industry-first 7-speed manual transmission. On vehicles produced in late 2012 (2013 model year) Rev Matching is available on the 7-speed manual transmission when equipped with the Sport Chrono package. Rev-Matching is a new feature with the manual transmission that blips the throttle during downshifts (if in Sport Plus mode). Also, the 7th gear cannot be engaged unless the car is already in 5th or 6th gear. One of Porsche’s primary objectives with the new model was to improve fuel economy as well as increase performance. In order to meet these objectives, Porsche introduced a number of new technologies in the 911. One of the most controversial of these is the introduction of electromechanical power steering instead of the previous hydraulic steering. This steering helps reduce fuel consumption, but some enthusiasts feel that the precise steering feedback for which the 911 is famous is reduced with the new system. The cars also feature an engine stop/start system that turns the engine off at red lights, as well as a coasting system that allows the engine to idle while maintaining speed on downhill gradients on highways. This allows for up to a 16% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions over the outgoing models. The new cars also have a number of technologies aimed at improving handling. The cars include a torque vectoring system (standard on the Carrera S and optional on the Carrera) which brakes the inner wheel of the car when going into turns. This helps the car to turn in quicker and with more precision. The cars also feature hydraulic engine mounts (which help reduce the inertia of the engine when going into turns) as part of the optional sports chrono package. Active suspension management is standard on the Carrera S and optional on the Carrera. This helps improve ride quality on straights while stiffening the suspension during aggressive driving. The new 991 is also equipped with a new feature called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). Porsche claims that this new feature alone has shaved 4 seconds off the standard car’s lap time around the Nürburgring. PDCC helps the car corner flat and is said to improve high-speed directional stability and outright lateral body control, but according to several reviews, the car is more prone to understeer when equipped with this new technology. In January 2013, Porsche introduced the all-wheel-drive variants of the Carrera models. The ‘4’ and ‘4S’ models are distinguishable by wider tyres, marginally wider rear body-work and a red-reflector strip that sits in between the tail-lights. In terms of technology, the 4 and 4S models are equipped with an all-new variable all-wheel-drive system that sends power to the front wheels only when needed, giving the driver a sense of being in a rear-wheel-drive 911. In May 2013, Porsche announced changes to the model year 2014 911 Turbo and Turbo S models, increasing their power to 513 hp on the ‘Turbo’, and 552 hp on the ‘Turbo S’, giving them a 0–97 km/h acceleration time of 3.2 and 2.9 seconds, respectively. A rear-wheel steering system has also been incorporated on the Turbo models that steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction at low speeds or the same direction at high speeds to improve handling. During low-speed manoeuvres, this has the virtual effect of shortening the wheelbase, while at high speeds, it is virtually extending the wheelbase for higher driving stability and agility. In January 2014, Porsche introduced the new model year 2015 Targa 4 and Targa 4S models. These new models come equipped with an all-new roof technology with the original Targa design, now with an all-electric cabriolet roof along with the B-pillar and the glass ‘dome’ at the rear. In September 2015, Porsche introduced the second generation of 991 Carrera models at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Both Carrera and Carrera S models break with previous tradition by featuring a 3.0-litre turbocharged 6-cylinder boxer engine, marking the first time that a forced induction engine has been fitted to the base models within the 911 range
Renault-Alpine A110: another recent acquisition, this is definitely a future classic, so a perfect addition to Nick’s fleet!
Subaru Impreza 22B: In 1998, Subaru produced a widebody, coupe WRX STi called the “22B STi” produced between March and August 1998. The 22B was used to commemorate both Subaru’s 40th anniversary as well as the third consecutive manufacturer’s title for Subaru in the FIA World Rally Championship. On the release of the sales, all 400 Japanese units sold out in from 30 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the report. Another 24 were produced for export markets—16 for the UK, along with another 5 for Australia, and 3 prototypes. The 16 cars imported to the UK were modified by Prodrive, with longer gear ratios, and UK specification lights. Because 50 22Bs had already been imported privately into the UK, Subaru had to wait until 1999 to register the 16 officially imported cars under the VCA’s Single Vehicle Approval scheme. The 22B had the EJ22G engine (note, the internal Subaru material states the closed-deck block comes from a version III EJ20G). This means the displacement was increased from 1,994 cc to 2,212 cc, bored up to 96.9 mm. Officially, it produced 280 PS at 6,000 rpm and 363 Nm; 268 lb/ft at 3,200 rpm of torque, fuel feed by Electronic Fuel Injection and an IHI RHF 5HB turbocharger. This car was given a unique colour of blue and had fender flared wide-body taken from the Peter Stevens designed WRC car, thus widening the width by 80 mm (3.15 inches). The car has a unique hood, front and rear fenders, a WRC-inspired front bumper and a unique adjustable rear wing. During assembly, a WRX Type R chassis was taken off the line. The fenders were replaced with the 22B STi fenders. The suspension is provided by Bilstein, while the brakes were four-pot front/two-pot rear STi calipers, painted red. The wheels were increased in size from the standard WRX Type R STI Version from 16- to 17-inches and the clutch was upgraded to a sintered twin clutch with a ceramic disk. The origin of the name 22B has been debated. The 22 referred to the 2.2-litre displacement and the B was thought to be for the Bilstein suspension. This would correlate with the idea that Subaru sells a Legacy Spec B, where the B represents the Bilstein suspension. However, the B is actually a Subaru internal code for Turbo. 22B is also hexadecimal for the number 555, in reference to State Express 555, Subaru’s major sponsor in the WRC from 1993 to 2004. The car’s curb weight is 1,270 kilograms (2,800 lb).
As well as the cars, Mason’s Aerospatiale Helicopter was also on show.
Whilst the cars were the draw to this event for a lot of people, it would seem likely that a lot of people actually came for the chance to look around the rest of the estate and to take advantage of the locally-sourced food that was on offer either to consume on site or to take home. Middlewick House is situated at the end of a long and narrow lane off the main road from the middle of Corsham, and is situated in a massive estate of farm and parkland. The Masons bought it in the mid 1990s from the Parker-Bowles family, and whilst the house itself was not open for internal inspection, you could wander around the outside to see just what a lovely property and setting this is.
To one side of the front lawns where a lot of the cars were to be found was a small lake, which was a real draw for a lot of people, and the area beyond this was a wood, with paths criss-crossing it. To the other side you could find a well-stocked and very attractive Walled Garden, and behind the house was an area where a number of animals were housed, before the parkland started, extending as far as the eye could see.
Tucked away was a large barn with some farm equipment in it, and a rather nice Gypsy-style caravan. Among the other items in here was a classic Ferguson Tractor.
SUPERCAR and CAR PARK DISPLAY
Parked in a line facing the lawns where some of Nick Mason’s cars were displayed were an array of supercars and other vehicles which had been selected by the car-park marshalls as mini-show in their own right, and this area was certainly popular, as when I arrived there were as many people among these cars as I could see among the real event cars. As ever, the latest supercars were particularly popular among the younger attendees, but the adults seemed to be enjoying them too!
Among cars costing several times the value of this one was an Abarth 124 Spider, with a plate that I did not recognise, so I am not sure who owns it. Eagerly awaited, the 124 Spider went on sale in September 2016. 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. Sales ended in 2019, with around 1800 examples brought to the UK, so this is always going to be a rare car.
Conceived in 1956, this design was launched as the TD21, and it was quite a departure from the lovely, but rather “post-war” TC21. However, on its arrival in dealer’s showrooms, it quickly set about changing established views of the Alvis. Following the loss of coachbuilders Mulliner and Tickford (who were now tied to other companies), Alvis turned to the Swiss coachbuilder, Graber whose tradition of producing sleek, modern and very elegant saloons and dropheads proved a good fit in terms of the way Alvis saw their future. Graber first presented this new style to the Alvis board in late 1957 who were very impressed with the Swiss company’s flowing design and commissioned the body to be built on the new TD chassis. To ease logistical problems, Park Ward of London, built the Graber designed bodies in the UK. The Alvis Three Litre TD21 Series I was produced between the end of 1958 and April 1962, and was powered by the TC’s 2993 cc engine, uprated by 15bhp to 115 as a result of an improved cylinder head design and an increased compression ratio. A new four-speed gearbox from the Austin-Healey 100 was incorporated, while the suspension remained similar to the cars predecessor, independent at the front using coil springs and leaf springs at the rear, but the track was increased slightly and a front anti-roll bar added. From 1959 the all drum brake set up was changed to discs at the front retaining drums at the rear. In April 1962, the car was upgraded with four wheel Dunlop disc brakes in place of the disc/drum combination, aluminium doors, a five-speed ZF gearbox and pretty recessed spotlights either side of the grille, these improvements coming together to create the TD21 Series II. The car would be updated in 1963 to create the TE21, with its distinctive dual headlights proving a recognition point, and the later TF21, continuing in production until 1967 at which point Alvis ceased car manufacture.
This version of the Vanquish started life as the Project AM310 Concept that was unveiled at the 2012 Concorso D’Eleganza at Villa D’Este on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. The concept car was based on the fourth generation VH platform. It included a tweaked version of Aston Martin’s familiar grille and headlight design and a more pronounced bulge in the bonnet – with the real One-77-inspired flourishes saved for the sides and the rear, the side vents run almost to the door handles (from One-77), new rear light design from One-77, and a 5.9-litre V12 engine that produced 550 PS. Aston Martin later announced that the concept would be put into production as the all new Aston Martin Vanquish. The exterior styling of the Vanquish is an evolution of the DBS with many styling cues such as the elongated side strakes being inspired by the Aston Martin One-77. The boot lid included an integrated rear spoiler designed to look as if it is impossible to make; this was done on the orders of Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez. The car has an exposed carbon fibre side skirt showing its all carbon fibre body. The Vanquish uses the new VH Generation IV platform which is lighter and uses more carbon fibre components than the VH Generation II platform used in the DBS. The car featured an all new interior based on the one found in the exclusive One-77. The standard interior was trimmed in hand stitched leather and alcantara and was available in a range of colours. The centre console features an revised infotainment system over the one found in the DBS. The car was available as either a 2-seater or 2+2. The Vanquish used an upgraded version of Aston Martin’s flagship 5.9-litre AM11 V12 engine called the AM28 with a power output of 565 bhp at 6,750 rpm and torque of 457 lb/ft at 5,500 rpm. The Vanquish can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds, and has a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph). Like most Aston Martins, the engine is front mid-mounted for better weight distribution, with the power going to the rear wheels. The Vanquish has 51/49 front/rear weight distribution, and a kerb weight of 1,739 kg (3,834 lb). It uses a fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves. The Vanquish uses an updated Touchtronic II six-speed automatic gearbox. It was the first Aston Martin model to be available with launch control. The combined space of cabin and a boot that, at 368 litres, is more than 60% larger than that of the DBS. The brakes are ventilated carbon ceramic discs, 398 mm (15.7 in) six-piston callipers in the front and 360 mm (14.2 in) four-piston callipers in the rear. The suspension is a lightweight aluminium front subframe with hollow castings with independent double wishbones incorporating anti-dive geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar, and monotube adaptive dampers in the front and independent double wishbones with anti-squat and anti-lift geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar, and monotube adaptive dampers in the rear. It has a three-stage adjustable adaptive damping system including normal, sport and track modes. The tyres are Pirelli P Zeros, 255/ZR20 in the front and 305/30 ZR20 in the rear. The vehicle was unveiled in the London Film Museum, Covent Garden, followed by 2012 Monterey Car Week. Deliveries to UK and Continental Europe began in late 2012. In August 2014, Aston Martin revealed technical modifications to the Vanquish. The changes include a new eight-speed Touchtronic III gearbox and upgraded AM29 V12 engine that produces 568 bhp and torque of 465 lb/ft. The changes greatly enhanced performance, with an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds, and a top speed of 324 km/h (201 mph). In 2013, Aston Martin unveiled a convertible version of the Vanquish, called Volante. The Volante includes a full carbon fibre body, triple-skin lightweight fabric roof, 50% larger boot than its predecessor and the third generation Brembo 398 mm × 36 mm front and 360 mm × 32 mm CCM rear Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brake discs with six-piston front and four-piston rear brake callipers (from the One-77). The Vanquish Volante is 13% torsionally stiffer than the outgoing DBS Volante. The carbon fibre-skin of the Vanquish Volante was created by the engineering team at Aston Martin. The vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Deliveries to Europe began in late 2013. On 16 November 2016, Aston Martin announced the new Vanquish S model. The Vanquish S features the same AM29 V12 engine, with power now increased to 595 bhp, and a new aerodynamic package. The Vanquish S can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, and the top speed remains unchanged at 201 mph (324 km/h). The starting price at launch was £199,950 and deliveries started in December 2016. Aston Martin also unveiled a convertible version of the Vanquish S called the Vanquish S Volante in 2017.
Following the unveiling of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003 at the North American International Auto Show designed by Henrik Fisker, the production version, known as the V8 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005. The two seat, two-door coupé had a bonded aluminium structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long car featured a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats. In addition to the coupé, a convertible, known as the V8 Vantage Roadster, was introduced later in that year. The V8 Vantage was initially powered by a 4.3 litre quad-cam 32-valve V8 which produced 380 bhp at 7,300 rpm and 409 Nm (302 lb/ft) at 5,000 rpm. However, models produced after 2008 had a 4.7-litre V8 with 420 bhp and 470 Nm (347 lbft) of torque. Though based loosely on Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine architecture, this engine was unique to Aston Martin and featured race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enabled it to be mounted low in the chassis for an improved center of gravity. The cylinder block and heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system and engine management were all designed in house by Aston Martin and the engine was assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany, which also built the V12 engine for the DB9 and Vanquish. The engine was front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. Slotted Brembo brakes were also standard. The original V8 Vantage could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds before topping out at 175 mph. In 2008, Aston Martin introduced an aftermarket dealer approved upgrade package for power and handling of the 4.3-litre variants that maintained the warranty with the company. The power upgrade was called the V8 Vantage Power Upgrade, creating a more potent version of the Aston Martin 4.3-litre V8 engine with an increase in peak power of 20 bhp to 400 bhp while peak torque increased by 10 Nm to 420 Nm (310 lb/ft). This consists of the fitting of the following revised components; manifold assembly (painted Crackle Black), valved air box, right and left hand side vacuum hose assemblies, engine bay fuse box link lead (ECU to fuse box), throttle body to manifold gasket, intake manifold gasket, fuel injector to manifold seal and a manifold badge. The V8 Vantage had a retail price of GB£79,000, US$110,000, or €104,000 in 2006, Aston Martin planned to build up to 3,000 per year. Included was a 6-speed manual transmission and leather-upholstery for the seats, dash board, steering-wheel, and shift-knob. A new 6-speed sequential manual transmission, similar to those produced by Ferrari and Lamborghini, called Sportshift was introduced later as an option. An open-topped model was added to the range in 2006 and then in the quest for more power a V12 Vantage joined the range not long after. All told, Aston produced 18 different versions of the model in a production run which continued until 2018, with a number limited edition cars swelling the ranks.
Final Aston model here was a Rapide AMR. This version of the Rapide was launched in June 2018, very much as a high-performance iteration of the model first seen in 2012. The 5.9-litre naturally aspirated AM29 V12 engine produces 603 PS (444 kW; 595 hp) and 630 N⋅m (465 lb⋅ft) of torque, courtesy of better air flow to the engine and new calibration software. The 8-speed automatic transmission has also received recalibration for better shift timing. The car now comes standard with Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres and 21-inch alloy wheels, the biggest wheels ever fitted to an Aston Martin. The new model features carbon ceramic braking system with six piston calipers at the front and four piston calipers at the rear featuring 400 mm and 360 mm brake rotors front and aft. The car features a new front grille, “sprout” fog lamps and side sills, rear diffuser and bootlid made from carbon fibre. The Rapide AMR can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 4.4 seconds and can reach a claimed top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph). Interior options include a One-77 steering wheel, a personalised plaque along with logos and a variety of colour schemes. Production was limited to 210 examples only.
Quite a contrast to all the supercars was this splendid example of the Austin Seven, Herbert Austin’s masterpiece which did much to put Britain on wheels in the 1920s. The first Sevens were built in 1922, and were four seat open tourers. Nicknamed Chummy, the first 100 featured a 696cc four cylinder engine, which was quickly upgraded to the 747cc unit that remained until the end of production some 17 years later. The first cars had an upright edge to the doors and a sloping windscreen, but from 1924, the screen became upright and there was a sloping edge to the doors, as well as a slightly longer body. Stronger brakes came along in 1926, along with a slightly taller nickel-plated radiator grille, conventional coil ignition, a more spacious body and wider doors. An even longer and wider body arrived in 1930, as well as a stronger crankshaft and improvements to the brakes which coupled front and rear systems together so they both worked by the footbrake. In 1931 the body was restyled , with a thin ribbon-style radiator and by 1932 there was a four speed gearbox to replace the earlier three-speeder. 1933 saw the introduction of the Ruby, a car that looked more modern with its cowled radiator. There were also Pearl and Opal versions. Development continued, so in 1937 there was a move to crankshaft shell bearings in place of the white metal previously used, and the Big Seven appeared. The last Seven was made in 1939, by which time 290,000 had been produced. Aside from saloons and tourers, there had been vans and sports derivatives like the Le Mans, the supercharged Ulster and the rather cheaper Nippy. Around 11,000 Sevens survive today.
First of a couple of Austin Healey models I came across was this rather splendid 3000, one of Britain’s most popular classics. 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
Also here was a Mark II Sprite. The Mark II to Mark IV were all very similar and represented the evolution of the model throughout the 1960s, The Mark II was announced at the end of May 1961. It used the same 948 cc engine with larger twin 1 1⁄4 inch SU carburettors, increasing power to 46.5 bhp. A close-ratio gearbox was fitted. The bodywork was completely revamped, with the headlights migrating to a more conventional position in the wings, either side of a full-width grille. At the rear, styling borrowed from the soon-to-be-announced MGB gave a similarly more modern look, with the added advantages of an opening boot lid and conventional rear bumper bar. The result was a much less eccentric-looking sports car, though at the expense of some 100 lbs extra weight. It followed the MG version of the car which was introduced a couple of weeks earlier as ‘the new Midget,’ reviving a model name which had been a great success for the MG Car Company in the 1930s. The Midget was to prove more popular with the public than the Sprite and by 1972 had completely supplanted it within the BMC range. In October 1962, both Sprites and Midgets were given a long-stroke 1098 cc engine. A strengthened gearbox with Porsche (baulk-ring) synchromesh was introduced to cope with the extra power – 56 bhp. Front disc brakes were also introduced at the same time and wire wheels became an option. 31,665 Mark II Sprites were made. The Mark III Sprite was also marketed as the Mark II MG Midget – differences between the two were again restricted to minor trim detailing. Although still 1098 cc, the engine had a stronger block casting, and the size of the crankshaft main bearings was increased to two inches. A new (slightly) curved-glass windscreen was introduced with hinged quarterlights and wind-up side windows. Exterior door handles were provided for the first time, with separate door locks. Though the car could now be secured, with a soft-top roof the added protection was limited. The rear suspension was modified from quarter-elliptic to semi-elliptic leaf springs, which gave a more comfortable ride for a near-negligible weight penalty as well as providing additional axle location, the upper links fitted to the quarter-elliptic models being deleted. Though scarcely sybaritic, these changes helped the Sprite and Midget compete with the recently released Triumph Spitfire. 25,905 Mark III Sprites were made. The next upgrade was presented at the London Motor Show in October 1966. Besides receiving the larger 1275 cc engine (which disappointed enthusiasts by being in a lower state of tune than that of the Mini-Cooper ‘S’), the Mark IV and its cousin the Mark III MG Midget had several changes which were more than cosmetic. Most notable is the change from a removable convertible top, which had to be stowed in the boot, to a permanently affixed, folding top of greatly improved design, which was much easier to use. Separate brake and clutch master cylinders were fitted, as car manufacturers’ thoughts began to turn to making their products safer. For the 1970 model year cast-alloy wheels were fitted and the grille was changed to resemble that fitted to the MG Midget. 22,790 Mark IV Sprites were made. The Healey connection was discontinued in 1971, so the final 1,022 Sprites built were simply Austin Sprites
The Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car (designed by Frank Lamberty and Julian Hoenig) first appeared at the 2003 International Geneva Motor Show and the 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on 30 September 2006. There was some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning R8 Le Mans Prototype (LMP). Initial models included the R8 4.2 FSI coupé (with a V8 engine) and R8 5.2 FSI coupé (with a V10 engine). Convertible models, called the Spyder by the manufacturer, were introduced in 2008, followed by the high-performance GT model introduced in 2011. The Motorsport variants of the R8 were also subsequently introduced from 2008 onwards. An all-electric version called the e-Tron started development but would only reach production stage when the second generation model would be introduced. 6-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx described the R8 as “the best handling road car today” and the car was well received by everyone who drove it. The car received a facelift in 2012 and a new model called the V10 Plus was now added to the range. Production of the Type 42 ended in August 2015.
Object of many a poster on a young enthusiast’s bedroom wall when the car was new was the Testarossa and there was a nice example of the 512TR version 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 64 mm (2.5 in) to 2,550 mm (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 490 Nm (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.
Launched at the 2015 Geneva Show, the 488GTB followed the lead set by the California T in bringing turbocharging into a modern-day, mid-engined V8 Ferrari supercar for the first time. The engine is completely new when compared with its V8 stablemate, not only in components but also in feel and character. It is a twin-turbocharged 3902cc unit whilst that in the California T is 3855cc. In the 488 GTB, it produces 660bhp at 8000rpm and 560lb ft at 3000rpm. Both outputs are significant increases over the normally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 used in the 562 bhp 458 Italia and 597 bhp 458 Speciale, and also greater than the car’s biggest rival, the McLaren 650S. The torque figure of the 488 GTB is such that it also exceeds the 509lb ft at 6000rpm of the normally aspirated V12 used in the range-topping Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The mighty new engine in the 488 GTB drives the rear wheels through a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox derived from the 458. It features a new ‘Variable Torque Management’ system which, Ferrari says, “unleashes the engine’s massive torque smoothly and powerfully right across the rev range”. The gear ratios are also tuned to “deliver incredibly progressive acceleration when the driver floors the throttle”. The 488 GTB can crack 0-62mph in just 3.0sec, 0-124mph in 8.4sec and reach a top speed of 205mph. Its 0-62mph and 0-124mph times match the McLaren 650S’s, but the Woking car’s top speed is slightly higher at 207mph. The engine also accounts for the ‘488’ element of the car’s name, because each of the engine’s eight cylinders is 488cc in capacity when rounded up. The GTB suffix, standing for Gran Turismo Berlinetta, is a hallmark of previous mid-engined V8 Ferraris such as the 308 GTB. Not only is the new turbo engine more potent than the 4.5-litre V8 from the 458 Italia, but it is also more economical. Combined fuel economy is rated at 24.8mpg, compared with 21.2mpg in the 458 Italia, and CO2 emissions are 260g/km – a 47g/km improvement. Ferrari’s HELE engine stop-start system features on the 488 GTB. Developments on the dynamic side include a second generation of the Side Slip Angle Control system, called SSC2. This allows the driver to oversteer without intruding, unless it detects a loss of control. The SSC2 now controls the active dampers, in addition to the F1-Trac traction control system and E-Diff electronic differential. Ferrari says the result is “more precise and less invasive, providing greater longitudinal acceleration out of corners” and flatter, more stable behaviour during “complex manoeuvres”. Learnings from the Ferrari XX programme have also been incorporated into the 488 GTB, something that Ferrari says allows all drivers and not just professionals, to make the most of its electronic and vehicle control systems. It also claims the 488 GTB is “the most responsive production model there is”, with responses comparable to a track car. The 488 GTB has lapped Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in 1min 23sec – two seconds faster than the 458 Italia, and half a second quicker than the 458 Speciale. The dimensions of the 488 GTB – it is 4568mm in length, 1952mm in width and 1213mm in height – closely match the 458 Italia from which it has evolved. Its dry weight is 1370kg when equipped with lightweight options – 40kg more than the McLaren 650S. The new look, styled at the Ferrari Styling Centre, features several new aerodynamic features that improve downforce and reduce drag. Most notable is the addition of active aerodynamics at the rear through a ‘blown’ rear spoiler, where air is channelled from the base of the glass engine cover under the spoiler. This contributes to the 50% increase in downforce over the 458 Italia. Also new is a double front spoiler, an aerodynamic underbody, a large air intake at the front that references the 308 GTB, a diffuser with active flaps, new positioning for the exhaust flaps and new-look lights. The interior has been redesigned to be made more usable, including new switchgear, air vents and instrument panel. The multi-function steering wheel remains, while the infotainment system gets a new interface and graphics. The Spider followed the closed coupe model six months later, and it soon became the bigger seller of the pair, as was the case with the 458 models.
The Ferrari F12berlinetta (Type F152) is a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer which debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and replaces the 599 grand tourer. The naturally aspirated 6.3 litre Ferrari V12 engine used in the F12berlinetta has won the 2013 International Engine of the Year Award in the Best Performance category and Best Engine above 4.0 litres. The F12berlinetta was named “The Supercar of the Year 2012” by car magazine Top Gear. The F12berlinetta was replaced by the 812 Superfast in 2017.
There were a couple of examples of the elegant F Type here, both of them with the Coupe body style, the R and the even more potent SVR.
The 720S – a complete replacement for the 650S – was a star of the 2017 Geneva Show, and it was clear on looking at it, that the Woking firm really is increasingly a serious threat to Ferrari’s supercar supremacy, even before learning that total sales in just five years of production had passed 10,000 units. The 720S was presented as the firm’s new core model and the first of 15 new-generation McLarens, half of which will be hybrids, promised by 2022 under CEO Mike Flewitt’s ambitious Track 22 development plan. The 720S obeys all existing McLaren design rules. It is a two-seat supercar based on an all-carbonfibre tub, with aluminium space frames carrying the front and rear suspension, and it is powered by a twin turbo V8. However, within that envelope, it has been redesigned and updated in every detail. The exterior introduces a new ‘double skin’ door construction that eliminates the need for the prominent side air scoops previously thought essential in supercar design, while the engine grows to 4.0 litres, up from 3.8-litres, and now produces 710bhp. McLaren has further developed its carbonfibre chassis tub and upper structure, taking lessons from previous models, including the P1. Now dubbed Monocage II, the structure is cited as the key to the 720S’s 1283kg dry weight, which undercuts all competitors and beats that of its predecessor by 18kg. Monocage II’s stiffness has allowed McLaren’s designers to give the 720S remarkably thin A-pillars, a deep windscreen, B-pillars set well back and slim, glazed C-pillars, all of which contribute to first-class all-round visibility for the driver. The body panels are made either of carbonfibre or superformed aluminium, and their novel shape plays a key role in the 720S’s impressive aerodynamic performance. Low down at the front there are anti-lift aero blades reminiscent of those on the P1, while ultra-compact LED headlights fit into frontal ‘eye sockets’ that allow room for vents to feed the air conditioning and oil cooler. The body sides incorporate channels, formed by two skins and flowing past the dihedral doors, so cooling air can be directed along the body into the engine bay, uninterrupted by turbulence and resulting in a 15% improvement in cooling airflow. On the outer, lower part of the doors, there are F1-inspired blades that direct air away from the front wheel arches, assisting downforce and cutting drag. A big under-body diffuser at the rear sweeps up from the 720S’s flat floor almost to its rear wing, where the two elements frame the ultra-thin LED tail-lights. Because the top of the 720S’s engine is a remarkable 120mm lower than that of the 650S, the car also has a low, teardrop-shaped engine cover that allows an uninterrupted flow of air over the roof to the hydraulically actuated rear wing, which has a DRS drag reduction setting for optimal straight-line performance, an Aero setting for downforce in corners and a Brake setting (which sets the wing a steep 56deg from the horizontal) to increase drag and improve chassis balance under heavy braking. The result, says McLaren, is that the wing has 30% more downforce and its aero efficiency (the ratio of downforce to drag) is doubled. McLaren claims “new heights of performance” from its expanded turbo V8, now re-engineered for a capacity of 3994cc, thanks to a 3.6mm lengthening of its stroke. The engine also has lighter pistons and conrods and a stiffer, lightened crank, plus twin-scroll turbochargers with faster-spooling turbines, capable of spinning at 145,000rpm, and electronically controlled wastegates. In total, 41% of the engine’s components are new. A cast aluminium air intake system, visible through the mesh engine cover, feeds extra air to the more potent engine that now uses two injectors per cylinder. But rather than simply pumping in more fuel, the improved injection system gives more accurate metering, which helps to cut CO2 emissions by around 10%, to a class-leading 249g/km. Combined economy falls by a similar percentage to 26.4mpg. The 720S’s peak output of 710bhp is produced at 7000rpm, while maximum torque of 568lb ft is delivered at 5500rpm. The engine, longitudinally mounted behind the occupants, drives as before through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox mounted end-on to the engine, but McLaren says further refinement of its control software brings smoother gearchanges at low speeds and faster, sharper shifts at higher speeds. The launch control has also been improved, and as before, there are three driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Track — that govern both engine and dynamics. The chassis weight savings, allied to other reductions in mass, including 2kg from the brakes, 3kg from the electrics and 1.5kg from the airboxes, contribute as much to the 720S’s enhanced performance as its 11% power increase. The power-to-weight ratio is now 553bhp per tonne (up 15%) and, according to McLaren, beats the best in the segment. As a result, McLaren claims a “crushing” 0-60mph time of just 2.8sec, 0-124mph in 7.8sec and a top speed of 212mph. The 720S will also dispatch a standing quarter-mile in 10.3sec, representing a blistering performance for a pure road car. To accompany the performance, the 720S has a carefully engineered engine note which can be further enhanced with an optional, louder, sports exhaust system. Despite its performance potential, McLaren is adamant that its new car is as easily handled by ordinary drivers as it is by experts, with throttle response calibrated to provide “the optimum blend of immediate reaction and progressive comfort”. Although only five years old, McLaren’s all-independent system of front and rear double wishbones has been completely re-engineered, both to allow wheel geometry changes and, thanks to a redesign of the uprights and wishbones, to cut unsprung mass by 16kg. The 720S has an updated version of the Proactive chassis control electronics used by the 650S. The system features hydraulically interlinked dampers at each corner that remove the need for anti-roll bars, but the big improvement for the 720S’s system, which is dubbed PCCII, results from new software developed during a six-year collaboration with the University of Cambridge and using sophisticated information gathered by 12 new sensors and accelerometers. The result is even better contact between the tyres and the road surface. The system can assess conditions and adjust the suspension every five milliseconds. It also includes a Variable Drift function, which allows you to slide the car without losing control, and McLaren Brake Steer, pioneered in F1, which enhances agility in corners and traction out of them by braking separate wheels. McLaren engineers have retained electro-hydraulic steering for the 720S, despite rivals’ adoption of electric only systems, because they still feel it gives superior “clarity of feel”. Brakes are large, ventilated carbon-ceramic discs and the tyres are specially developed Pirelli P Zeros, 245/35 ZR19s at the front (up from the 650S’s 235s) and 305/30 ZR20s at the rear. McLaren claims a 6% increase in mechanical grip, which is about the same advantage as fitting track-focused Pirelli Corsas to a 650S. Although the 720S closely follows the outgoing 650S in its major dimensions, there are differences between them. The thin pillars, the depth of the windscreen and the all-round glass give a commanding view to all points that modern supercar drivers will find surprising. The redesigned interior surfaces have been ‘pushed away’ from the occupants as much as possible, to further enhance the feeling of space. Unlock the door and various instrument and courtesy lights go through a welcome sequence as the mirrors unfold. Opening the door also triggers an elaborate sequence on the upright TFT screen which changes its configuration according to driving mode. The driver can also ‘declutter’ the instruments, for example when on a track, via a special Slim mode. There’s a central 8.0in infotainment screen on the centre console, with ventilation settings carried along the bottom. The layout of switches, most of which are machined from aluminium, is simple. Standard cabin trim and seats are plush but, as with previous models, colour and trim material upgrades are available. McLaren has already begun taking orders, with the first cars due to be delivered in May. The entry price in the UK was £207,900. All 400 units of the Launch Edition version were sold even before the general public saw the car though many of these then hit the pre-owned market quite quickly, traded in once owners could take delivery of a car in the spec that they really wanted. McLaren’s goal is to sell around 1200 – 1500 720S models a year.
In June 2018, McLaren unveiled the top-of-the-line sports series variant online. The car, called the 600LT is based on the 570S and is the third McLaren production car to receive the longtail treatment. Inspired by the 675LT and the F1 GTR Longtail, the body of the car has been extended by 73.7 mm (2.9 in). The car also features enhanced aerodynamic elements such as an extended front splitter and rear diffuser, new side sills, and an aero-enhancing fixed rear wing for increased downforce. McLaren claims that 23% parts on the 600LT are new as compared to the 570S. The carbon fibre monocoque utilised in the 600LT is modified and this combined with the extensive use of carbon fibre in the roof along with the cantrails and front wings, results in a weight saving of 96 kg (212 lb) over the 570S, with the total weight amounting to 1,247 kg (2,749 lb). Another distinguishing feature of the 600LT is the lightweight titanium exhaust system which is mounted on top of the rear of the car which harks back to its original application in the Senna. The interior features sports bucket seats from the P1 and Alcantara trim but can be optioned with the much lighter bucket seats found in the Senna. The 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine utilised in the 600LT is tuned to produce a maximum power output of 600 PS (592 bhp) (hence the 600 in the name) and 620 N⋅m (457 lb⋅ft) of torque, achieving a power-to-weight ratio of 479 PS per tonne. Performance figures and production numbers of the car remain unknown. Production of the 600LT started in October 2018. In January 2019, McLaren unveiled the convertible variant of the 600LT at the Detroit Auto Show. Due to the use of the same carbon monocoque as the other models in the 570S lineage the 600LT Spider required did not need any extra modifications to incorporate a folding hardtop roof. As a result, the Spider weighs 50 kg (110 lb) more than the coupé while maintaining the same performance statistics. The Spider has the same engine and aerodynamic components as the coupé and share the roof folding mechanism with the standard 570S Spider which can be operated at speeds upto 40 km/h (25 mph). The car can accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds, to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 8.4 seconds (0.2 seconds more than the coupé) and can attain a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph) with the roof retracted and 323 km/h (201 mph) with the roof closed. The car can achieve a dry weight of 1,297 kg (2,859 lb) when equipped with the MSO ClubSport package which includes the removal of air-conditioning and radio, titanium wheel nuts and the replacement of the standard seats with the carbon fibre seats from the Senna. The car has received rave reviews.
Unveiled online in December 2019, the 620R is a road legal iteration of the 570S GT4 race car. The car shares its Monocell II carbon fibre monocoque chassis with the 570S GT4 race car as well as the engine which, not subject to racing restrictions and ECU changes is now rated at 620 PS and 620 Nm (457 lb/ft) making it McLaren’s most powerful sports series model. Other changes include semi-slick Pirelli P zero Trofeo R tyres with track only Pirelli racing slicks being optional, a bare minimum racing interior with the carpeting removed, carbon fibre racing seats with six-point harness, door pull straps, carbon fibre shift paddles, 12 o’clock mark on the steering wheel, McLaren Track Telemetry system (MTT) and deletion of air-conditioning and infotainment system; although they are available as no cost options, adjustable coilover motorsport dampers; which feature 32 individual settings per corner to allow the driver to tailor rebound and compression rates to their preferred settings, stiffer anti-roll bars have and track-focused carbon-ceramic brakes with 390 mm brake discs Arther front and 380 mm brake discs at the rear with forged aluminium calipers. The adjustable rear wing made from carbon fibre is shared with the 570S GT4 and allows the 620R to generate 185 kg (408 lb) of downforce at a speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). The large wheel sizes of the car (19 inch at the front, 20 inch at the rear) allow for no mechanical adjustment when the standard tires are switched for racing slicks. The rear wing has an integrated third brake light to make the car road legal. Performance figures include 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 2.9 seconds, 0-200 km/h (124 mph) acceleration time of 8.1 seconds and a top speed of 322 km/h (200 mph) which is less than the 600LT due to the car’s focus on aerodynamic enhancements. Production of the 620R will be limited to 350 units. Each car will come with a numbered plaque on the interior. Three basic interior colours will be offered namely Onyx Black with orange racing stripes, Silica White with orange racing stripes, and McLaren Orange with white racing stripes. A special colour palette will be offered by MSO along with a livery inspired by the Senna GTR.
Final version of the popular T Series sports car was the TF, launched on the 15 October 1953. Although it looked quite a bit different, this was really just a facelifted TD, fitted with the TD Mark II engine, headlights faired into the wings, a sloping radiator grille concealing a separate radiator, and a new pressurised cooling system along with a simulated external radiator cap. This XPAG engine’s compression ratio had been increased to 8.1:1 and extra-large valves with stronger valve springs and larger carburettors increased output to 57.5 bhp at 5,500 rpm. In mid-1954 the engine capacity was increased by 17 per cent to 1466 cc and designated XPEG. The bore was increased to 72 mm and compression raised to 8.3:1 giving 63 bhp at 5,000 rpm and a 17 per cent increase in torque. The car was now designated TF1500, and externally distinguished by a cream background enamel nameplate on both sides of the bonnet, placed just to the rear of the forward bonnet-release buttons. Production ended at chassis number TF10100 on 4 April 1955 after 9,602 TFs had been manufactured, including two prototypes and 3,400 TF1500s. A number of replica models have been built in more recent years, with the Naylor of the mid 1980s being perhaps the best known.
In 1969, now under the ownership of British Leyland, the Mini was given a facelift by stylist Roy Haynes, who had previously worked for Ford. The restyled version was called the Mini Clubman, and had a squarer frontal look, using the same indicator/sidelight assembly as the Austin Maxi. The Mini Clubman was intended to replace the upmarket Riley and Wolseley versions, and a new model, dubbed the 1275 GT, was slated as the replacement for the 998 cc Mini Cooper, the 1,275 cc Mini Cooper S continuing alongside the 1275 GT years until 1971. The Clubman Estate replaced the Countryman and Traveller. The original “round-front” design remained in production alongside the Clubman and 1275 GT. Production of the Clubman and 1275 GT got off to a slow start because the cars incorporated “lots of production changes” including the relocation of tooling from the manufacturer’s Cowley plant to the Longbridge plant: very few cars were handed over to customers before the early months of 1970. Early domestic market Clubmans were still delivered on cross-ply tyres despite the fact that by 1970 radials had become the norm for the car’s mainstream competitors. By 1973 new Minis were, by default, being shipped with radial tyres, though cross-plies could be specified by special order, giving British buyers a price saving of £8. The most significant update after this came in 1976, when the engine was upgraded to the 1100cc A Series unit, cloth seat trim was made standard and the wiper functions were moved to a column stalk. The Clubman models were deleted in 1980, effectively replaced by the Metro, and they are relatively rare these days. The 1275 GT is often incorrectly described as the “Mini Clubman 1275 GT”. The official name was always just the “Mini 1275 GT”, and it was a separate, distinct model from the Clubman (although it shared the same frontal treatment as the Mini Clubman, and was launched at the same time). It had the 1275cc A Series unit and a 4 speed gearbox, as well as larger wheels. It was also deleted in the autumn of 1980. Although moderately popular when new, it is now seen as something of a poor substitute for the Cooper models, and the survival rate is pretty low, so you don’t see them that often.
Porsche unveiled the facelifted 991.2 GT3 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Extensive changes were made to the engine allowing for a 9,000 rpm redline from the 4.0 litre flat-six engine derived from Porsche 911 GT3 R and Cup racing cars. The engine has a power output of 500 PS (493 bhp) and 460 Nm (339 lb/ft) of torque. Porsche’s focus was on reducing internal friction to improve throttle response. Compared to the 991.1, the rear spoiler is 0.8 inch taller and located farther back to be more effective resulting in a 20% increase in downforce. There is a new front spoiler and changes to the rear suspension along with larger ram air ducts. The car generates 154 kg (340 lb) of downforce at top speed. The 991.2 GT3 brought back the choice between a manual transmission or a PDK dual clutch transmission. Performance figures include a 0-97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration time of 3.8 seconds (3.2 seconds for the PDK version) and a quarter mile time of 11.6 seconds. The GT3 can attain a top speed of 319 km/h (198 mph).
The latest version of the 911 is code-named the 992 and the first of these cars hit the streets in early 2019 following a premier at the 2018 Los Angeles Show. As is usually the case with Porsche, it takes some time for the full range to be announced, so even now it is still building up with the GT3 variants due here in the summer. The car seen here was a 911 Carrera.
Porsche revealed the latest Boxster Spyder based on the 981 Boxster in April 2015 at the New York Auto Show. The styling of the car is similar to the previous generation Spyder, continuing the twin hump rear deck and manually operated canvas top. It also shares some styling with the Cayman GT4, using the same front and rear fascia. The engine is also shared with the Cayman GT4, a 3.8 litre flat-6, making this the largest and most powerful engine used in a Boxster with 385 bhp. It was the lightest Porsche, weighing 1,315 kilograms (2,899 lb). This was achieved through the use of aluminium doors and rear boot lid, a manually operated roof and unique lightweight 20 inch wheels. The air conditioning and audio system were also removed, although they can be added as no cost options. Braking is via larger brakes than used on the Boxster S, being 340mm front and 330mm rear units taken from the 911 Carrera S. Also shared with the GT4 is a limited slip differential combined with Porsche Torque Vectoring and features a 20mm lower ride height. Additionally it also borrows the steering rack from the 911 Turbo S along with the same reduced diameter GT steering wheel as used in both the GT3 and GT4. The Boxster Spyder was only available with a 6 speed manual transmission. The Spyder had a base price of US$82,100 and was only available as a 2016 model with a total worldwide production of 2400 units, with 850 destined for the US.
IN THE CAR PARK
When I arrived, in the middle of the day, the large field that was being used for the public car park was fairly full, and I had been warned that there were likely to be plenty of interesting cars to be found here, so before heading past the ticket inspection point, I did a quick tour to see what I could find. Clearly the most interesting cars had been separated out for that Supercar display outlined above but there were a few more notable cars worthy of a picture as can be seen.
I was expecting to see a couple of Abarth 595s in the car park, and sure enough here they were, parked up together. These belong to my friends Rob McCarthy and Pete Burgess, who were the people who had alerted me to this event, and had both said they were coming. It did not take long once I was inside the the event to find them both, either!
Even more recent a model is this, the latest version of the Continental GTC.
A real rarity now is this Accord Aerodeck. This was from the third generation of the Accord, introduced in Japan on 4 June 1985, and in Europe and North America later that year. It had a very striking exterior design styled by Toshi Oshika in 1983, that resonated well with buyers internationally. One notable feature was the hidden headlamps. Because this generation was also sold as the Honda Vigor, the Accord received the hidden headlamps. Honda’s Japanese dealership channel called Honda Verno all had styling elements that helped identify products only available at Honda Verno. As a result, Japanese market Accords had a Honda Verno styling feature, but were sold at newly established Japanese dealerships Honda Clio with the all-new, luxury Honda Legend sedan, and international Accords were now visually aligned with the Prelude, the CR-X, and the new Integra. The retractable headlamps of the third generation Accord sedan were in Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, KY region (Arabian countries) and on cars in Taiwan that were imported from the United States. In other countries, the Accord sedan had conventional headlamps, including in Japan from July 1987, on “Accord CA”, with CA standing for “Continental Accord”. Accords in all other bodies (hatchback, AeroDeck, coupe) had only retractable headlamps worldwide. At its introduction in 1985, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award. The third-generation Accord became the first Honda to employ double wishbones at both the front and rear ends. While more expensive than competitors’ MacPherson strut systems, this setup provided better stability and sharper handling for the vehicle. All had front sway bars and upper models had rear sway bars as well. Brakes were either small all-wheel discs with twin-piston calipers (only available on the Japanese-market 2.0-Si model), larger all-wheel discs with single piston calipers, or a front disc/rear drum system. ABS was available as an option on the 4-wheel disc brake models, though not in North America. Base model Accords rode on 13-inch steel wheels with hubcaps with more expensive models having the option of 14-inch alloy wheels. The Accord’s available engines varied depending on its market. In the UK there was the choice of a 2 litre carburettor and fuel injected engines. The Accord’s trim levels ranged from spartan to luxurious. In the Japanese home market, the Accord was available with a full power package, heated mirrors (optional), a digital instrument cluster (optional), sunroof (optional), cruise control, and climate control (which was also optional). Some North European export models also had heated front seats and head light washers. North American and Australian Accords were not available with most of these options, presumably (and in the U.S. in particular) because Honda was seen as a builder of economy cars, and not to cannibalise sales from the recently introduced Acura line. Throughout the different markets, in addition to the sedan model the Accord was available with different bodystyles which included a three-door hatchback, a three-door shooting-brake called Accord AeroDeck, and a two-door coupe which was added in 1987 for the 1988 model year. The coupe, which was built exclusively in Honda’s Marysville, Ohio factory, was “reverse exported” back to Japan where it was known as the US-coupe CA6. The range was updated with a new generation model in 1989.
This is a Morris Oxford Six, a 1938 cc six-cylinder car, known as the LA series which was made between 1929 and 1933. It was much more successful than the 1921 version. Alongside the tourer and the new all-steel saloon, a fabric-bodied car was offered until 1932, when it and the tourer were dropped and a coupé introduced. The all-steel body was made over the road at Cowley by W R Morris’s joint venture with American Edward G Budd, Pressed Steel Company. It had striking similarities to a recent Dodge body. By 1930 supply problems were such that it was replaced by a similar but coachbuilt (wood framed) body.
This very imposing car arrived late in the afternoon just as I was heading back to my car. The Wolverhampton firm of Sunbeam built its first car in 1899, but it was in the Louis Coatalan years of 1909 to 1933 that the firm achieved the ranks of greatness, producing a string of record breaking racing machines and outstanding sports saloons. These included the fabulous Sunbeam 1000hp which set a land speed record of 203.792mph in 1927, and the smooth and potent 12/16. Their passenger cars were noted for their excellent build quality and refinement, as typified by the Sunbeam 16 of the late-1920s. The example you see here is a large and imposing Sunbeam 16.9 Saloon, powered by a six-cylinder 2,129cc over-head valve engine.
This was a most enjoyable event, and a real surprise addition to my calendar. That it was so busy suggests that it is well enough publicised, even if the news of the weekend’s opening does not feature that strongly in the usual car event sources, that perhaps it need not be announced any more widely. Now I am on the email distribution list, I have to hope I will get details of the 2022 event and that not only will I be able to attend but several others, envious of what I saw and eager to have a look for themselves will be able to do so as well.