Photo Album: Luxury Supercar & Concours d’Elegance Weekend – Vancouver 2012

September 11, 2012

This past weekend (Sept. 8th and 9th) marked the third annual Luxury Supercar & Concours d’Elegance Weekend, held on the grounds of the beautiful Van Dusen Gardens in the Shaughnessy region of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The size of the show this year nearly doubled in comparison to the previous year and, it must be said, the thought given towards the layout, open-space and ambiance of the swooping lawns of Van Dusen in displaying these vehicular beauties was an appreciated improvement over any other car-show I’ve ever attended at the historical garden. Well done, organizer(s)… 😉

For this year’s event, special attention was given towards celebrating certain themes. Among those were: 50 years of James Bond cars, Classic Supercars, the 60th Anniversary of Porsche in North America, 50 years of Shelby cars, Mercedes-Benz roadsters, classic Italian motorbikes and (almost) 100 years of Aston Martin.

The weekend culminated with the Shaughnessy Concours d’Elegance, awarding trophies on Sunday to the Best In Class. And Sunday was my chosen day for attending the event, seeing as how the Saturday was absolutely jam-packed with loads of people at the event during one of our last days of blistering Summer-y sunshine before Autumn announces its arrival.

This turned out to be a smart decision on my part, as Sunday was forecasted with overcast skies and a noticeable cooling in temperatures. Less people and less sunshine = a more comfortable and relaxed viewing (and photographical) experience all around.

Some notable cars in attendance were the new 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish, the 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 by Figoni, the 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Vignale Coupe (stunning), the return of the 1967 Toyota 2000GT (the only one in Canada), the Ferrari F40 and Enzo supercar, the wide assortment of Lamborghinis both old and new, the army of Shelby Mustangs, the 4 (or was it 5 ?) McLaren MP4-12C’s in varying trim and colour packages, the Mercedes/Mclaren SLR 722, the Spyker C8, the 1947 Humber Sedanca D’Ville (owned by King George VI)… and so on…

It goes without saying that this was one of, if not THE, most extraordinary vehicular event this fair, west-coast city has ever laid host to… So without further ado, let’s allow the photos to illustrate the extravagance and automotive rarities that were bestowed upon our region for one fine weekend in September… Hope you enjoy the photos.

-Words and Photography: Blake J.

Photo of the Day: Jaguar XJ220 S

February 20, 2012

The criminally overlooked Jaguar XJ220 S from the mid-90’s – only 9 (6 were road-legal) versions of this lightweight 1050 kg monster were made by Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) in conjunction with Jaguar for homologation purposes. It produced an amazing 680 bhp from its twin-turbo V6, hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds and would top-out at 228 mph…

-Blake J.

Photo of the Day: Jaguar D-type and E-type in Wales

January 5, 2012

Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with the proper accompanying words for an image so personal, poignant and escapist – one that instantly tugs at your motoring heart. Even more difficult if you’ve actually driven the route(s) contained within said image on a previous overseas driving-holiday – the plethora of beautifully visceral memories are right *there*, as if you were subconsciously in the moment itself, re-feeling the moment in time.

Driving throughout the incredibly stunning Welsh countryside amidst the endlessly gliding, curving and falling roads of the region does that to you – It’s a bespoke landscape unlike anything you’ve ever seen and navigated throughout before, bordering on the dreamlike. Every year I try my absolute best to hike the trek over to the UK for my necessary dosage of raw, mechanical interaction with something fun and burbly, thereby mixing all of the sensations together to create an escapist elixir that has become almost essential to my well-being and sanity now…

It’s become my ultimate drug of choice.

Photo by: James Lipman

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Steve McQueen in his Jaguar XKSS

November 21, 2011

Yes, bit of a classic Jaguar-fixated day today but after completing the D-Type article I couldn’t help but share this great vintage photo of the ever-so-cool Steve McQueen in his ridiculously beautiful Jaguar XKSS with you all. What’s an XKSS I hear you ask…? And why do I now want one more than my next breath…? Well, let me explain…

Following Jaguar’s departure from motor racing at the end of 1955, a healthy number of partially-built D-Types remained unsold at the factory. So, in order to recoup some of his investment, Jaguar boss Sir William Lyons made the decision to convert the remaining chassis, bodies and engines into limited road-legal versions to sell to the general public.

Tragically, only 16 of these stunning XKSS variants were built and sold before a terrible fire at the Browns Lane factory in Coventry completely destroyed the remaining D-types awaiting their XKSS conversions.

Too much cool happening here...

-Blake J.

Reborn and Remembered: Jaguar D-Type ‘Long-Nose’ (video and photos)

November 21, 2011

When Jaguar pulled out of competitive racing at the end of 1955 (following the horrific 1955 Le Mans accident), it was left to the factory-blessed Ecurie Ecosse team to carry on with the Jaguar name within Motorsport realms…and carry on it did, as the short-lived Jaguar D-Type (introduced in 1954) was to dominate (and win) nearly every race it entered and subsequently become one of the great motorsport icons.

The D-Type captured outright victories at Le Mans from 1955 to 1957, with near misses in ’54 and ’58. On fast-flowing circuits the D-Type reigned supreme and took on all other comers with utmost ease. Here’s a video from 1956 featuring onboard footage and ‘live-mic’d’ commentary from Mike Hawthorn as he does a relatively slow lap of the Le Mans road-circuit whilst commuters and cyclists go on about their day…

Following on from where the C-Type left off, the D-Type was an aesthetic tour-de-force lavished with a truly impressive technical pedigree. The basic outline was penned by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer (who later aided in designing the legendary E-Type) and featured a (at the time) radical chassis layout: a stress-bearing monocoque with two bulkheads joined together by longitudinal tunnels, all beautifully wrapped in a riveted aluminium outer-skin not unlike that of an aircraft’s fuselage.

For 1955, great care was given to reduce drag and assist with airflow underneath the car as it topped 180 mph along the legendary Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. The body was lengthened (known as the ‘long-nose’ version of ’55) and the driver gained a fin directly behind him to aid in stabillity. The D-Type also boasted disc brakes on all 4 corners at a time when all other competitors were using drums to halt the forces of nature.

Back in the Summer, the Harvington Motor Company had been entrusted by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust to complete an engine rebuild on this classic D-Type from 1956 (driven by Hawthorn in the above video) in time for the Mille Miglia Classic. Since then, the D-Type has remained within the safe hands of the Jaguar Heritage fleet and only comes out on special occasions or if you have the required funds and acceptable reasoning to do so…

Engine removed for rebuild

This past weekend a good friend of mine in the UK – with amazing automotive ‘connections’ it should be noted – wrote to me detailing his epic drive behind the wheel of this very D-Type that was driven by Mike Hawthorn at the 1956 Le Mans where it placed 6th overall. Estimated to be worth in the region of $7-$11 million dollars, I am without words and beyond the realms of petrolheaded jealousy to describe my friend’s drive in this iconic D-Type from Jaguar’s past… It must have been absolutely incredible.

Here’s a video of those first few carefully-driven miles immediately following the engine rebuild by Harvington Motor Company…

-Blake J.

A.I Spotlight: Jaguar XJ13 – The Le Mans Racer That Never Was (+ video)

November 7, 2011

Jaguar’s prolific wins at Le Mans tally up to an impressive 7 outright victories, with the last one coming in 1988 via the XJR9 Group C ‘Silk Cut’ racecar. After Jaguar pulled out of competitive Motorsport in 1955 (following the horrific crash at Le Mans where 83 spectators were killed), it became the duty of various privateer teams to honour and preserve the Jaguar name, occasionally with unofficial support and assistance from Jaguar themselves.

The XJ13 of 1966 was essentially Jaguar’s attempt to return to competitive racing with a fully-fledged works racecar and was built specifically to race against the Ford GT40 and Ferrari P4 at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race. Yet, rather sadly, it never even made it over to France – rule changes for the year capped engine capacities at 3 litres and the XJ13’s V12 was a snip under 5 litres.

Designed by aerodynamicist Malcolm Sayer, whose previously impressive creations included the C-type and D-type, the XJ13 was a race car through and through with styling taking a backseat to aerodynamic efficiency. In the case of the XJ13 though, it was a stunning creation of a flowing, aggressive sculpture where operative begets brutal elegance…

Only 7 of these experimental 5L quad-cam V12s were made - only 2 in XJ13-spec with gear-driven camshafts.

The whole project itself was overseen by techinical director Bill Heynes and noted engine designer Claude Bailey, who both shared a passion for seeing Jaguar return to racing after over a decade’s absence. The main highlight of the XJ13 project was its monstrous V12 engine – a quad-cam, 5-litre beast exerting 502 bhp. The 1248-kg XJ13 was extensively tested in ’66 by Jaguar’s legendary test-driver, Norman Dewis, at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) and managed to set a new lap-record time on the MIRA circuit, helped along by hitting 175 mph on the straights alone.

As testing and tuning wore on though, the XJ13 was deemed unlikely to prove competitive against the Fords and Ferraris of the day (not least because of the engine-cap regulation change as well) and the entire project was eventually abandoned into a corner of the Jaguar factory. Though, not all was lost during this exercise, as lessons learned during the development stages of that brutal V12 eventually trickled down into the road-going versions – an engine constant within the Jaguar line-up from 1971 – 1996.

Dewis entering the XJ13 in '71 for a film crew shooting a promo-film...

It wasn’t to be the end of the story for the XJ13 though. After sitting for 4 years under a dustcover, the car was rolled out to MIRA in ’71 to be driven by Norman Dewis for a promotional film. Dewis was blasting past the cameras at speeds of 145 mph when the rear offside wheel broke away under load, sending the car into a series of dramatic somersaults before it finally came to rest. Amazingly, Dewis emerged alive and intact, the car not-so much. Despite the overwhelming wreckage, the XJ13 was rebuilt and its beautiful body panels were lovingly re-created by Abbey Panels.

...which ended rather horribly.

To this day, the lone XJ13 (there was only ever 1 built) remains one of the most stunning racing cars ever (and never) produced. It was simplicity and beauty resulting from the burgeoning aero-knowledge of the day and a reminding testament to those that designed with their pencils and dreamt with their hearts…

**Nice on-board clip here from the Motor Trend folks…

**And a beautiful short film documenting the inspirational importance of the legendary XJ13 when Jaguar was recently tasked with creating their gorgeous CX-75 concept supercar.

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Eagle E-type Jaguar

October 24, 2011

The timelessly beautiful and stunningly sexy Jaguar E-type recently celebrated its 50th Birthday. Automotive Magazines ran multi-page homages, Jaguar enthusiast car-clubs showed up in record-breaking droves, various TV shorts were produced and Eagle commemorated the event by placing its bespoke re-creation of the iconic British sportscar on sale to the public… for half-a-million GBP, mind… (yikes)…but if you could afford one, wouldn’t you buy one…?

So incredibly beautiful that it warrants an essential frontal view as well…

-Blake J.

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