We don't limit our addiction to speed to just automobiles. Anything that can launch or get launched into tremendous amounts of speed is just adrenaline-pumping goodness all around. TopSpeed's Hall of Fame gets down to the nitty gritty of all things fast.
If we were to say the name “Robert Glenn Johnson Jr” not many people, besides hardcore NASCAR fans, would know who we are talking about. However, mention the name Junior Johnson and “Mystery Motor” and nearly every NASCAR fan knows what we’re talking about. If you haven’t figured it out, Robert Glen Johnson Jr and Junior Johnson are the same person.
The Mystery Motor refers to Junior Johnson’s most famous car, which was a 1963 Chevy Impala SS with an extremely rare Mk II engine. This engine was a very limited production model that was wedged between the Mk I 438/409 engine and Mk IV 427 engine. This engine only saw roughly 50 total units produced, though some claim there were only 18 ever produced, making it one of the rarest GM engines ever built.
Shortly after these engines went out to various Chevrolet drivers, Chevy pulled the plug on its race sponsorship and the owners of the cars were stuck with modifying and fitting the engines themselves. Junior Johnson’s Mk II 427 wound up being the most powerful built at the time and resulted in a total of seven wins, nine pole positions, 13 top-5 finishes, and 14 top-10 finishes in just 33 races in the 1963 season. Its overall power and rarity earned it the name “Mystery Motor.”
Following the 1963 season, Chevy had began production of the Mk IV 427, rendering the Mystery Motor ineligible for NASCAR competition and reducing Johnson’s win total to less than half the following year.
If you have ever wanted to own a piece of automotive and NASCAR history, this is your chance, as RK Motors Charlotte has put Johnson’s 1963 Impala SS up for sale, Mystery Motor and all.
The name Carroll Shelby may not be quite as familiar to new automotive enthusiasts as it is for older generations, but his creations are no stranger to anyone that follows and loves performance automobiles. Mr. Shelby was not only a genius when it came to building high-performance American muscle, but he was also an accomplished racecar driver.
Carroll managed to parlay his racing roots into a partnership with Ford that spanned over 50 years. However, that partnership almost never happened, as his first choice in partners was Chevrolet. Imagine that, a “Shelby Camaro ” or “Shelby Corvette,” it just doesn’t quite sound as good as "Shelby Mustang ,” does it?
Carroll Shelby lived a full life, as he graced this world with 89 years of his presence and nearly 60 of those years he was providing us gearheads with examples of his automotive skill, be it winning races or designing hot rods. Carroll Shelby will be missed dearly by everyone in the automotive world, but we are not here to mourn the passing of this legend. Nope, we feel that the right way to send off this legend is by celebrating his long and legendary life.
Click past the jump to read the complete life history of Mr. Carroll Shelby
The Talbot line of racecars had quite a storied racing history, despite the fact that they were constantly out-powered by the likes of Maserati , Mercedes-Benz , and Alfa Romeo . Talbot always relied on its impeccable fuel mileage and extreme durability to conquest these giants of the race world in endurance racing, such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
By far, Talbot’s biggest achievement was its 1-2 finish in the 1950 24Hours of Le Mans, using T26 Grand Sport and a Talbot-Lago Monopasto. The chassis that was originally scheduled to run in the 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans, chassis No. 110057, but hit a few snags and was not quite ready for the race. Following the victory, the driver of its replacement in the Le Mans purchased it and began its racing history.
Unfortunately, this 1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport had none of the success that its replacement had, as it had a long string of did-not-finish results stretching from 1951 through 1953. The curse of 110057 came to a head when Guy Mairesse was tragically killed in it when he crashed this T26 during testing at Coupe de Paris at Montlhèry.
After that tragedy, its owner at the time, Georges Grignard, parked it in its transporter and laid little more than an eye on it for four years until a savvy T26 enthusiasts, and its current owner, caught wind that one was sitting unused at Grignard’s house. The purchase almost never happened, as it was reported that Grignard wanted an unreasonably high price for this crashed racer, but apparently the two eventually came to terms.
If you have ever wanted to own a piece of Le Mans history, this is the time, as RM Auctions is offering chassis 110057 up for auction on May 12, 2012. Despite its cursed past, this is a rare model that is sure to fetch a premium and will only continue to go up in value.
Super Stock NHRA racing is likely one of the most badass motorsports on the planet, or at least it was back in the 1960s. It was once about as close to stock vehicles as you could possibly get, yet they still screamed down the track.
One of the dominant and most memorable cars of the 1960s was Dave Stickler’s Camaro Z/28 dubbed “Old Reliable.” After it claimed the Stock Car World Championship in the 1968 season, “Old Reliable” was retired and sold.
In 1993, a buyer used VIN data saved by the Sticklers to track down this beast, after it had been repainted and raced in various events across the nation. Few actually knew what the Camaro once was, but this buyer knew what it was and wanted it, badly. According to some sources, when this buyer went to buy “Old Reliable,” it was actually scheduled to be chopped up for scrap metal.
One question that comes to mind is how good of condition can a car that was about to be scraped be in? From what we can see, this thing is in excellent shape and is certainly set to pick up a premium price, now that it has been listed for sale on Ebay by RK Motors Charlotte.
In the 1950s, Ferrari was all about racing and built a wide range of vehicles to participate in varying classes. One of the more rare models was the Ferrari 225 Sport, which only had 20 total units built until 1952. This model also acted as the stepping stone toward Ferrari’s leap in to the famed 3.0-liter V-12 engines.
Even rarer is the 225 Sport Spyder ‘Tuboscocca’ whose body was manufactures by the esteemed Alfredo Vignale. Not only is the body very much functional for racing, but it also screams sheer elegance. What’s even more impressive is that only 12 of these 225 Sport Spyders ever existed.
This retro racer has a storied racing history dating back to its first race on October 11, 1952 at the Bologna-Raticosa hill climb, where it took home 1st place. After its 2nd place run in 1963, this 225S Spyder went into storage for 17 years until it was exported to Italy, restored in 1983 and began racing in vintage races around the world.
The 1983 restoration was its final one, as it is currently being offered for sale via RM auctions in Monoco. It is due to be sold on May 12, 2012 and will likely fetch a rather pretty penny.
UPDATE 05/16/2012: The 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Spyder Toboscocca was sold in Monaco for an impressive €2,520,000 (about $3.2 million).
Click past the jump to read our full review and see how much this car will fetch.
Ferrari has always had a famed bloodline of racecars, but few hold the amount of clout of the 1957 625 TRC Spider. There were only two of this famed roadster ever built, chassis 0680 MDTR and 0672 MDTR. If you so happen to have a large chunk of money laying around, you can own a piece of racing history in the form of chassis 0680 MDTR, as RM Auctions has just listed it for their 2012 auction in Monaco.
In August of 1957, this Ferrari and its owner, Johnny von Neumann, ventured to Austria, Germany and took 1st place in its class in just its first time on the track. In its second race, at Laguna Seca, the 625 TRC took 2nd place. In all of the 11 races it ran in the 1957 to 1958 season, this Ferrari took 1st place three times, and landed in second or third place four times. It continued on to have a prolific career, even in vintage races all the way up to 2011 Montery Historic Races.
UPDATE 0516/2012: The 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Spider was sold in Monaco for a staggering €5,040,000, or about $6.4 million, a record for this particular model. This was the first time in 30 years that this model was available for auction and it is one of the only two models ever built.
Not many Japanese automakers quite have the storied history of Datsun and Nissan . Even the now dominant Honda lineup is little more than a teenager in comparison to Nissan’s worldwide presence. With all of this history comes a lot of heritage, and it is obvious that Nissan and Datsun took and still do take this heritage very seriously, as they have over 400 various Datsun and Nissan vehicles dating back to the 1933 Datsun 12.
Recently, Nissan and Renault CEO, Carlos Ghosn, got to pay this warehouse turned pseudo museum a visit. He didn’t just waltz in and take a quick look at cars, as most of us do when we go to car shows. Nope, he hopped into a nearly 75-year-old, mint condition Datsun 17 Phaeton and went for a spin around the entire facility.
Seeing this warehouse full of classic cars that we rarely get to see is amazing in itself. The fact that Nissan takes special care to make sure these cars remain in impeccable shape truly shows how much Nissan respects its past. We all know that manufacturers hold back special models and keep them in good condition to show them off at later dates, but to see it on this scale and not dealing only with special models is impressive.
Nissan actually houses a staff full former staff and volunteers to keep about 70 percent of these classic imports operating. The warehouse also houses several classic Nissan rally cars and a wide array of Nissan-produced police cars.
The coolest thing about this whole visit is that Nissan filmed it and posted it online for all to see (the video is above). This is extremely unique, given the fact that the general public does not have access to this extravagant collection.
This lack of access may soon change, as former Nissan SVP, Kenichi Sasaki, stated that he hopes to see a Nissan Museum built so the public can enjoy these classic models. Our collective hats go off to Nissan for keeping these cars in this great of condition and allowing us a sneak peek into this restricted warehouse.
The best-selling luxury performance car in the U.S., the Chevrolet Corvette , has finally been inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame after six decades of proving what it can do on the track. The induction is a great birthday present for the Corvette, since 2013 marks its 60th anniversary .
Corvette first competed at Sebring in 1956, and 231 Corvettes have since competed in the Twelve Hours of Sebring race. Corvette has racked up an impressive 24 class wins in this legendary race, with seven of these won by Corvette Racing, the most successful team in the history of the American Le Mans Series. In Sunday’s 60th anniversary race, Corvette Racing placed second and third in the GT Class.
“We are thrilled that Sebring has recognized the success of the Corvette on the race track by inducting it into the hall of fame,” said Russ Clark, Chevrolet marketing director for Performance Cars.
“Even more important than the awards and race wins are the benefits to our production vehicles as a result of our racing programs,” said Clark. “We have been successful at transferring racing technology to the street, especially in our high-performance vehicles such as the Corvette ZR1 , Z06 and our carbon fiber models, including aerodynamic, powertrain, chassis, braking, safety and design features.”
During September, most people in the automotive world are focused on the Frankfurt Motor Show and the many tasty treats ready to hit the floor, but in Bowling Green, Kentucky their focus was the induction of former Corvette Racing Driver, Ron Fellows, into the Corvette Hall of Fame. The National Corvette Museum’s 17th Annual Labor Day celebration took place over the 2011 Labor Day weekend and when Ron Fellows showed up for his induction ceremony, a bright red 2012 Corvette Z06 "Spring Mountain Special Edition" was there waiting for him.
The Z06 "Spring Mountain Special Edition" features many of the options available on the 2012 model, including the full body, white racing stripes and the carbon fiber hood. Other Corvette model elements were also borrowed including the Centennial Edition’s black wheels with the red stripe and seats with the special “100 Years” embroidery; and the custom Grand Sport hash marks reminiscent of the 2007 Ron Fellows Z06 which also had the Canadian Maple Leaf seen on this model.
The special edition was further customized for the Hall-of-Famer with a reworked carbon graphic displaying Ron ’s Corvette Racing Number 3 and the words "Hall of Fame," as well as graphics from Mosport Raceway - a Canadian Track that Fellows co-owns - and the Ron Fellows Performance driving school.
Considering its name - SEMA/Spring Mountain Special Edition - we fully expect this special edition to show up at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show in November, but the vehicle may also be used at the Ron Fellows Performance Driving School at Spring Mountain Raceway outside of Las Vegas.
UPDATE 10/27/2011: Chevrolet has finally unveiled the official details on the Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows ‘Hall of Fame’ Tribute - or Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows SEMA Edition as it was first announced. "This Torch Red show car honors Fellows’ service behind the wheel, using accessories offered from Chevrolet matched with custom graphics. It’s a fitting salute to one of the fastest men ever to drive a Corvette." Hit the jump for the full list of highlights.
Hit the jump for the video of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Ron Fellows SEMA/Spring Mountain Special Edition unveiling.
By most engine-powered automotive standards, a car than can run 88.8 km/h (55.2 mph) is best described as a snail trapped in an enormous steel chassis. That’s how far technology has come in today’s world with supercars capable of running over 250 mph on a good day.
But if you take away a car’s engine - the heart and soul of any vehicle – then you’re pretty much stuck with a car that can only go as fast as how hard you push it. That is, unless you rely on another understated energy source, one that, ironically, is the most powerful form of energy in the universe: the sun.
Over the past few years, numerous people have built solar-powered cars with the intention of setting the land-speed record for such a vehicle. Entering the year, the world record for the fastest solar-powered car belonged to the General Motors Sunraycer, a car that clocked in a top speed of 79 km/h while being powered by silicon solar cells back in 1988.
Two weeks into 2011, a team from the University of New South Wales in Australia broke the 22-year old record with the Sunswift Ivy.