The Lotus Elite was Lotus’s first ever GT car and was what really launched Lotus into the forefront of racing. When it debuted in 1958, no one had seen anything like it. The Elite boasted a paltry curb weight, thanks to its unit-body construction that was 100 percent fiberglass, instead of the more typical fiberglass body-on-steel frame construction.
The powerplant was manufactured for Lotus by Coventry Climax, and varied in power, depending on the Elite’s options. This 1,216 cc engine pumped out between 75 and 105 horsepower, and threw power to the rear wheels via an MG-built 4-speed early on or a 4-speed ZF trans in their later years. That may not seem like much by today’s standard, but for a 4-cylinder of the late-50s and early-60s, that was amazing. Plus its lightweight body created a weight ratio ranging from about 10 pounds per horsepower to 20 pounds per horsepower.
The Elite’s body was a thing of beauty, as it looked very quirky, but boasted a 0.29 drag coefficient, which is better than even the 2002 Acura NSX with its 0.30. Its long nose and rounded cabin just added the the car’s character, but its backside just didn’t fit in with the rest of the car.
Regardless of the super-skinny wire wheels and tires, the Elite Series II actually handled pretty well. It can attribute this to its 4-wheel independent suspension, which was unheard of at the time, with dual wishbones upfront and Chapman struts on the rear. These are similar to MacPherson struts in construction, except that they use a drive shaft and light radius rod in place of a lower control arm.
Also revolutionary for the era was its use of 4-wheel disc brakes and inboard brakes on the rear. These inboard brakes help reduce the vehicle’s unsprung weight, keeping the spring and strut movement more stable.
Click past the jump to read about the Elite Series II’s pricing. Full story
Jay Leno has admitted to not being a "Ferrari guy," or at least a "modern Ferrari guy," but as far as classic Ferraris go, the comedian still has a soft spot for them. So when fellow comedian Adam Carolla brought his classic Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 to show Leno, the two car nuts proceeded to talk car chops about the iconic Ferrari model.
Built from 1964 to 1967, the 330 GT 2+2 holds a special appeal in the eyes of Ferrari collectors. Carolla’s model, in particular, looks especially fresh given the years it already has out on the road. It doesn’t command the same drool as the Ferrari 250, but it’s no less a collector’s piece.
As soon as their two-man discussion finished, Carolla gave Leno the keys to the 330 GT 2+2 for a nice test drive. That’s when things turned to pure comedy as the 330 GT 2+2 first runs out of gas before developing a vibration that ended up getting caused by an improperly lubricated speedomenter cable that eventually led to the actual needle to fall off.
Great stuff, as always, from two of the funniest car nuts around.
Pikes Peak is the home of the dramatic wreck, thanks to its 156 twists and turns over a 12-mile-long mountain course. Thanks to Paul Dallenbach, we got a really cool first-hand account of one of the two most dramatic wrecks of this year’s run. Fortunately, he is doing well and seems ready to hop back in the driver’s seat.
By far the most dramatic wreck, but only because we get to see the entire thing unfold, is the one that Jeremy Foley and his co-driver endured. As his Lancer Evolution was heading toward an area very appropriately named “Devil’s Playground,” Jeremy lost control of his Evo and went straight over the hill, rolling about 10 times – by our count – before finally coming to a smoking rest. The two had Dallenbach-like luck, as neither broke any bones, according to reports, but the co-driver is suffering from a sore shoulder. Check out the dramatic video above.
Click past the jump to see additional footage of other wrecks from the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Full story
Launched in 1951, the DB3 was never the successful race car Aston Martin hoped it would be. It was powered by a Lagonda straight-6 engine with 133 HP, which only proved to be very unsuccessful, but that was partly rectified in 1952 when Aston Martin replaced the 2.6 liter engine with a larger one: a 2.9 liter with 153 HP. These changes didn’t drastically improve the DB3, but it improved by placing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at Silverstone in May 1952 and was then forced out of Le Mans.
After that, Aston Martin had to take some serious measures to save the failing race car. They asked designer A.G. Watson for some assistance and the following year - in 1953 - the company came up with a new prototype in Charterhill, UK. This new version was called the DB3S and featured a lighter chassis with a reduced wheelbase and a few other modifications that helped it be more successful on the race track.
The new DBS3 stayed in production until 1956 during which Aston Martin produced a total of 31 units: 11 work cars - that have never been raced - and 20 cars being sold for customer use.
Hit the jump to read more about the Aston Martin DB3S. Full story
AMG has been around since 1967 – we bet you didn’t know that – and its success story is amazingly interesting, mostly due to the immediate success it had. The AMG project actually began as a side job for Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. The two gained notoriety by modifying the 300 SE’s engine into quite the racer, by installing direct fuel injection back in the mid-1960s.
In 1967, Aufrecht and Melcher left Benz-Daimler and started AMG in a small workshop in a barn. The real success came in the 1970s when AMG developed a 300 SEL 6.8 like no one had ever seen before. It was tuned up to 320 ponies at 4,750 rpm and 541 Nm (399 pound-feet) of torque at 3,500. This allowed the heavy 300 SEL to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.5 seconds, and easily win its class at the 24-hour race in Spa Francorchamps and take a second place overall finish.
The history lesson that Mercedes-Benz gives us on the AMG brand is available online in its fullest and progresses through each decade and even gives us a look at what the future holds for AMG. It outlines the AMG E-Cell and talks about its racing future too, which continues to look rather promising.
So head on over to Mercedes-Benz’s site and have a look at the history of AMG. It’s a pretty easy read and is broken down into small, easy-to-understand sections. Happy B-day, AMG, we hope to see 45 more from you!
Evanta Motor Company has made itself a nice niche in the automotive realm by manufacturing extremely accurate reproductions of some of the rarest Aston Martins in the world. The latest model it is selling is likely one of the most unique models to date.
Not only is this a model of the famed DRB1 that Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori piloted, but it is a full-size model. On the surface that sounds normal, but when we say “model,” we mean that as in the type you bought in the toy store as a kid... Yup, this model is a disassembled “AirFix” type model.
If you don’t recall, these are the types of models where the pieces are molded into square frames and you have to twist the pieces from the frames to separate them. This model includes all of the basics you would see in the standard “AirFix” model, including: race-ready seats, fiberglass body panels draped in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green, grille, wheels and tires, steering wheel, dashboard, gear shifter, and even a replica of the 1959 Le Mans trophy.
No, you can’t whip out the superglue and throw this bad boy together. This 20- by 10-foot beast is intended to sit in a rather spacious collection and be viewed by awe-struck onlookers. Everything in this kit is 100 percent identical to the model that won the 1959 Le Mans and to make it even more desirable, Evanta is including an Aston Martin baseball cap signed by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, both of whom past away earlier this year.
You can catch a glimpse of this massive dedicatory piece at the Goodwood Revival Car Show, which kicks off on September 14th and lasts through the 16th. If you have some extra scratch laying around, you can also snag up this one-off piece, as Bonhams will be auctioning it off at the Revival Car Show. Unfortunately, no estimated pricing was given, but we are certain it’ll fetch in the $100,000 range.
Click past the jump to read Evantra’s official press release.
It’s that time of the month again when fans of Forza 4 wait with breathless anticipation to see what new car pack the people from Turn 10 Studios will release for the game. Well, the August Car Pack has just been released and true to what has now become a monthly wait, the new DLC content comes with plenty of muscle...both new AND old.
It’s also appropriate that the two faces of the August DLC pack are two muscle cars that certainly have no love lost for the other: the Ford Mustang Boss 302 and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
Joining in on the fun is the new Scion FR-S, the 1989 Mercedes-Benz #63 Team Sauber-Mecedes C9 racer, the Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Coupe, and the 1962 Lincoln Continental.
Before you check out the full teaser and a batch of photos of the cars in the DLC, it was be mentioned that anybody looking to download the pack will have to shell out $7. Not a bad price to pay if it means you can bring your muscle car wars to Forza 4.
We all know the Camaro ZL1 rather well by now. If not, crawl out from under that rock you’ve been sleeping under and we will let you know that it’s the biggest and baddest new Camaro available. It pumps out a monstrous 580 ponies at 6,000 rpm and 556 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. This all adds up to roughly a 4.4-second sprint to 60 mph.
The car you may not have heard of is the 1969 Camaro “Red Devil.” The name “Red Devil” says it all, as this Camaro is by far one of the baddest classic Camaros out there. This `69 Camaro boats a 7.0-liter V-8 engine from a Corvette Z06 with a ZR1’s cylinder heads, valve train, and supercharger installed, which gets it to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds.
The question is, can this modernized `69 Camaro beat the technology-packed 2012 ZL1? The video above lets us know who’s boss, and you might be surprised to find out just how closely matched these two cars are, despite the 2012 ZL1 giving up 176 horsepower and the “Red Devil” coming up a little short in the technology department.
Check out the above video to see these two duke it out on the track, as Mark Stielow whips them both around GingerMan Raceway.
The James Bond movie franchise has featured some of the most iconic British cars in the world, none more so than the Aston Martin DB5. We all remember the classic speedster that not only appeared in five Bond movies, but also became a hot toy collectible for a generation of young Bond fans back in the day.
It appears that people are nostalgic for the fabled DBS because the car, in true Bond fashion, is making a comeback in the latest installment of the franchise, Skyfall.
This video provided to us by the movie’s dedicated page explains just how important a role the DB5 has played in the Bond movies. The classic British look, combined with all those gizmos and gadgetry that could give the Batmobile a run for its money, really holds a special place in the hearts of Bond fans.
To see that it’s coming back in Skyfall only adds to our anticipation of seeing the movie, which incidentally opens in theaters later this year. There aren’t that many things in this world that can render James Bond into the background, but the Aston Martin DB5 is one of them.
After all, there’s a reason why 007, and all of us for that matter, can’t seem to get enough of it.
The final of a series of four Ferraris being auctioned on behalf of the late Sherman Wolf’s estate is an ultra-rare 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Competition Vignale Spider. Only a total of 10 340 MM models were ever produced, with chassis No. 0350 AM, the example scheduled for auction, being the final of the 10 built.
Bodied by Vignale, this fine example boasts an elongated hood, rounded and some what bug-eye-like headlights, a large open mouth, and curvy front fenders. You also get a short windscreen that actually is in an “M” shape, giving in a unique look. Down the side of this classic Ferrari racer, there’s a set of port holes to extract heat from the engine and a forward-pointing arrow with the number “64” on it.
The backside of this 340 MM is as short as the front end is long and it is rather round. It boasts a pair of small brake lights and a pair of heat extractors for the rear brakes. Protruding from the underside are a pair of exhaust pipes that the engine exhales through.
The corners of this 340 MM boast wire wheels, just like it had in its racing days. The entire body is draped in a white undercoat with a blue strip that circles the entire car, front to rear. The body and paint are in their original and un-restored condition, so expect a few bumps and bruises here and there. For the most part, however, the body looks to be in excellent shape.
Under the hood of this 340 MM is a Aurelio Lampredi-designed 4.5-liter V-12 engine that pumps out 375 horsepower. This engine is known more for its lightweight design and efficiency, as its cylinder heads and block are from a cast alloy, which is both strong and lightweight.
This super-rare Ferrari will not come cheap, however, as Gooding & Company expects it to fetch between $4.5 and $6.5 million.
Hit the jump for the official press release.