McLaren: Inside The Technology Centre – Video

May 23, 2012

Insightfully revealing new video here from the Drive Channel on YouTube showing the inner-workings of the mysterious McLaren Technology Centre. Most of what is shown in the 26-minute video has been previously unseen by film-crews, so to derive some sort of visual access to parallel McLaren’s notoriously precise methods of detailed engineering is a joyful encounter… Enjoy 😉

To be honest (and a bit nit-picky), I’m not entirely sold on the presenter’s abilities (or school-boy wardrobe selection) during this rare opportunity to ask some of the more pertinent and intriguing questions that could/should have been asked… but regardless, a great job by the cameraman/crew in capturing the interior aura and static mood of this near-otherworldly entitiy of McLaren.

-Blake J.
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Eric Clapton’s New Ferrari: 512BB Boxer Tribute From A 458

March 22, 2012

Longtime Ferrari fanatic, Eric Clapton, has presented his one-off homage to the classic late ’70s V12 512BB as built by Ferrari’s own ‘Special Products’ Division, which exclusively handles bespoke one-offs such as this.

Based on the underpinnings of the 458, it has been given the name SP12-EPC (obviously after its registration plate – ‘SP’ = Special Products ’12’ = year of Reg.) Yet contrary to many other reports on the interweb, the car still retains its original 458-derived V8 heart, not a transplanted V12… despite the notable increase in desireability if that were the case

The Enzo headlamps also tempt that V12 notion even further but official Motor Vehicle documents don’t lie… Further details are understandably scant at best this early on but surely the singer/songwriter will (hopefully) be providing up-close and possibly onboard experiences to worthy journalists and his fellow Ferrari fanatics/historians in the near future…

Until then, have a gaze at the photos that captured the car’s debut at London Ferrari Dealership HR Owen last night…

The original V12 512BB Boxer...

 -Blake J.
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What Were They Thinking: 1978 Corvette ‘America’ Concept

March 21, 2012

There are moments within the extended life-run of an iconic, homebred sportscar where ambitious minds and questionable visions intersect to create something that begs to ask a question that was never even asked in the first place… In this case – ‘Why wouldn’t a Corvette owner/enthusiast desire a 4-door version to haul his family and friends around in…?’

I know. There are so many responses to counter that question, but it didn’t stop Chevrolet from embarking on a… erm…. ‘design study’ in 1978 to flesh out the possibilities of a 4-door family ‘Vette.

The Corvette ‘America’ (snappy name) was designed and built by California Custom Coach in Pasadena, California in very small numbers – one prototype and five ‘production’ models – achieved by basically taking two Corvettes, cutting them in half and then stitching/welding them up, hence the increaed 30-inch wheelbase and subsequent visual awkwardness…

At the time, a base-model Corvette would stretch you back about $13,000-$14,000. So when the $35,000 price-tag was announced for the 4-door America, orders didn’t exactly flock-in as they had anticipated…

In the end, only the 6 were made and the silver ‘vette pictured here is the only known remaining survivor – the others having succumbed to uncaring owners and/or crashes of various sorts… I couldn’t even imagine what an oversteering moment in one of these would feel like. Probably frightening.

I think one left is enough.

Though, in its defense, I can’t help picturing this above red version as the sort of vehicle that the characters from The Banana Splits would have driven, if they could have…  And that makes it instantly cool in my books.

-Blake J.
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The Astronaut’s Choice: 1969 Chevrolet ‘Astrovette’ Stingray Corvettes

March 9, 2012

By the time the Apollo 12 crew landed and enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the moon in November 1969 (the sixth manned space flight under the Apollo program but only the second Apollo crew to land on the moon), Astronauts had garnered (and enjoyed) an almost Rock ‘n Roll-like fervor about them, undoubtedly helped along by their psychedelic space-travelling ways. So, what better way to augment this public appreciation (and have fun) in the vehicular sense than with matching, bespoke 1969 ‘AstroVette’ Stingray Corvettes.

Through a special GM lease program, Astronauts were given the privilege of driving any GM car, for a year, for only $1. The Apollo 12 crew of Alan Bean, Richard Gordon and Charles Conrad decided to take GM up on this rather kind offer by obtaining matching ‘vettes distinguished by their Gold and Black paint-scheme and distinctive red, white and blue logos on the front wings reading ‘LMP’ for Lunar Module Pilot.

To this day, sadly, only Alan Bean’s ‘Astrovette’ is accounted for and has undergone a full, extensive restoration… In a recent BBC Documentary from Top Gear’s James May titled ‘James May On The Moon’, Alan was reunited with his old Corvette Astrovette after some 40 years…

More pics…

-Blake J.
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Classic 70’s and 80’s BMW Motorsport: A Photo Album

February 28, 2012

The BMW Motorsport Division was a dominant force on racetracks worldwide in the 1970’s and 80’s. Both privateers and the BMW works teams taking chequered flags on a fairly regular basis. Here we present an assortment of mostly rare photos from that exciting era… Enjoy..!

The unstoppable 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ having a spit of flame on the overrun.

BMW E21 320 Turbo Group 5 being tended-to in a convenient manner while an M1 Procar sits off to the right and a 3.0 CSL hovers in behind… Nice black-sasquatch boots by the way

E30 M3 leaping its way across the chicane

M1 Procar driven by Hans Stuck

E24 635CSi just stepping out for a dab of oppo…

BMW M-mechanics sorting through their combined wizardry on the 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ lump.

The 2002 wide-body racer belching out some flames

Page from an old Alpina brochure showcasing the BMW 2002 and 3.0 CSL racing efforts – look at the dish on those wheels..!

A classic photo from the era – 3.0 CSL flying at the Nurburgring

The 2002 cocking a leg up on the push from the bend

The E24 6-series having a sideways glance towards the corner

M1 Procar advertising one of the oddest-ever combinations of sponsors – Bosch, BBS, Penthouse and Pooh Jeans… The perks must have been outstanding..!

Oh y’know… just a regular Autobahn commute on a Monday morning

Alpina-liveried 3.0 CSL…

The JPS (John Players Special) sponsored E24 635CSi…

Not really a competition-based photo, but who could turn down an Alpina-smothered 2002 on lock…

The 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’ attacking a bend…

Another one of the E24 635CSi…

E30 M3 braking late for the corner…

E21 320 Turbo Group-5 car clearing some tarmac.

More leaping shenanigans… Not exactly a ‘motorsport’ photo but a classic 2002 pic nontheless

Going slightly off track here again – the T100 F2 car of 1967

The E9 3.0 CSL ‘Art car’ being chased by a Martini-liveried Porsche 911

The M-cars of the 80’s – E30 M3, E28 M5 and the E24 M6

Again, not exactly motorsport-related… but who doesn’t enjoy a sideways M1

In conclusion, how could I NOT include the competition-spec BMW Microcar…!?

-Blake J.
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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. 
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Photos of the Day: Steve McQueen and His Two Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Lussos

December 16, 2011

Today’s rare POTD features the King of Cool contemplating over two utterly gorgeous Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lussos with his wife Neile nearby, reading a magazine. The 2nd photo shows his German Shepherd accompanying the excellent photo in tail-wagging appreciation of the Italian prancing horses that McQueen would come to make rather famous…

These incredibly rare photos were captured by Steve’s photographer-friend, William Claxton in 1963 and will be auctioned off on December 19, 2011 in Paris, France as part of French auction house Articurial‘s Une Histoire d’Homme sale. The Dec. 19 auction is aimed at the discerning gentleman with a taste for the finer, gentlemanly things in life including vintage cars, luggage, movie posters, vintage toys, rare watches and other assorted goodies.

Sale prices for the photos are estimated at between $2000-$2600… Sign-up on their website if you fancy owning some very cool pieces of our gentlemanly history from the past.

-Blake J.
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