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hall of fame

hall of fame

  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.


Happy Thanksgiving to all the TopSpeed readers, we hope that your Turkey Day is off to a great start. We all know the importance of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., but this day is also a very special one for the automobile racing industry.

On this day, 118 years ago — in 1895 for those that don’t have a calculator handy — America’s first ever automotive race , the Chicago Times-Herald Race, took place. It was a 54-mile journey from Jackson Park in Chicago to Evanston, IL and back, and it included just six cars at the starting line — two electric cars and three gasoline-powered cars.

Only four of the cars actually finished, and the highest top speed during the race was a sluggish 7.5 mph. The winner, Frank Duryea, managed to complete the icy course in nine hours, netting a $5,000 prize in the process (about $140,000 by today’s dollar value), and the second-place finisher took another two hours to reach the start-finish marker, which was a boulder near the Museum of Science and Industry.

This rock is now legendary in the automotive racing industry, as it marks the beginning of one of the biggest industries in America. Each and every year, a group of 100, or so, exotic cars and motorcycles make their way to "The Rock" on Thanksgiving day to celebrate the race (weather permitting). And this year is no different. The celebration typically kicks off around 9 a.m.

So, if you have some extra time between cooking and stuffing your face with Turkey, you should swing by and check out some of the cars and see the most famous rock in racing history! For those that don’t know, "The Rock" is southwest of the Museum of Science and Industry. Simply take the Museum exit on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and look for the line cars; you can’t miss it.

Check out a map of the original race after the jump.

Posted on by Simona  

Lamborghini Gallardo was unveiled in 2003 and during its decade-long run, it was Lamborghini ’s sales leader. Now — on November 25th. 2013 — ten years later, it’s time to say good-bye to an Icon in the supercar world, as the last Gallardo rolled off the production line.

The final Gallardo was number 14,022, and it was an LP 570-4 Spyder Performante variant draped in a Rosso Mars hue. The model will go to an unnamed private collector who will receive his car in the upcoming weeks.

To understand what a successful car the Gallardo was, you have to know that during its entire lifespan, Lamborghini sold a total of 30,000 units; nearly half of those were Gallardos. Also, before the Gallardo rolled into showrooms, the company sold a total of 250 units per year. The Gallardo’s presence drove sales numbers up to a total of 2,000 units per year.

With the Gallardo making its triumphant exit, Lambo will now focus on the supercar’s successor, which will be called either the Cabrera or Huracan.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante.

Meet "the most important car."

We’ve covered our fair share of rare and historic classic cars here at TopSpeed, but this 1931 Voisin C20 MyLord takes the cake. Its level of beauty and class is only overshadowed by its rarity and appraised value. It is truly a gorgeous thing to behold.

Powered by an innovative sleeve-valve V-12 engine riding on an underslung chassis, the two-door coupe was built in France by automotive and aeronautics pioneer Gabriel Voisin who was more well-known for his achievements in the air than on the road. He did, however, start Avions Voisin, one of the world’s most prestigious automotive brands of the day.

The one-off MyLord was only a concept vehicle and never saw full production, making this example the only one in existence. It was treated to a full restoration before heading to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance auction block in 2010. One fortunate bidder took home the MyLord, leaving a $2,750,000 check in its place.

Click past the jump to learn more about the Voisin C20 MyLord Demi-Berline

Posted on by TB +  

The Nissan GT-R is my hero. I was so amazed by the performance of the R35 generation of GT-R when launched that I modified the back of my Legacy 2.5GT to read “2.5GT-R” with an expensive and genuine GT-R emblem from Japan.

To put a badge from another car onto your own, as a grown man, is pretty pathetic in retrospect. But for the year or so that my Subaru was a 2.5GT-R, every time I saw the beveled red letters of that logo, I could not help but smile.

My car, I told myself, was sort of like a GT-R for people with dogs and cargo flexibility needs. I eventually grew up and mounted the GT-R emblem in prime position on my refrigerator, where it delights me even today.

Do not meet your heroes, they say. A lifetime spent worshiping a professional baseball pitcher, only to find out he is meaner than a rattlesnake and twice as deadly. Seeing the underbelly of any icon could ruin baseball altogether - if that was your life’s passion until seeing the bad parts up close.

I got to meet my hero last week via the 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Pack . While the car defined my day, and has consumed my thoughts ever since, I am unable to form an opinion even a full week later.

This is rare for me. Love it or hate it, I generally get a good sense of a car’s merits and issues within a few minutes behind the wheel.

But the GT-R is very different. Our time together was more of a fling than going steady, but if I thought I loved the GT-R more than anything else in the world before I drove it, what do I think now?

Still hard to say. I do know that sitting down in the GT-R for the first time was very intense on a number of levels. The hoon before me had every setting in race mode, and, frankly, I was not prepared for the performance the GT-R offers its drivers every second it is on the roads.

So while I try to stop shaking with cold sweats after only a few full-throttle sessions, the GT-R is better than a hero to me. It was better than everything I had previously read or knew about the vehicle.

We are putting together the full Driven review for next week, but until then, please enjoy these TopSpeed First-Drive Video reviews of the 2014 Nissan GT-R .

Click past the jump to see me sweat it out while hitting 60-mph in a claimed 2.8 seconds.

Posted on by TB +  

By the early 1960s, the Corvette had triumphed over the Thunderbird and was now firmly America’s sports car for the second-gen’s arrival as a 1963 model. Car guys, pilots and engineers all over America had taken the lightweight-big engine formula to heart with their prized first-gen Corvettes , but now they wanted more performance by every measurement. Much more speed, in particular.

Chevrolet had similar ideas when brainstorming ways to replace the C1 as far back as 1957. The Q-Corvette concept was a working idea of a smaller, lighter and nimbler Corvette than ever before. Four-wheel discs were to be standard, and the car was could hold its own on a racetrack right off the showroom floor.

Over the C2’s relatively short time — until 1967 — this Corvette became the quickest factory machine ever in the quarter-mile with the 11.02 second time recorded by the 1967 Corvette L88 Sting Ray Convertible .

Click past the jump for the full history of the 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2, with highlights from two prize-winning concours examples.

Posted on by TB +  

The swinging 60s just brings up this roasted and muddy air of sex, sweat and drugs. Enough to intoxicate even the plastic hippies among us, the 1960s is rapidly becoming the most profitable segment of the classic supercar market.

And for good reason. Simple leather is mixed with gasoline until emotions boil. This list spans such greats as the Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB Competizione to the 365 GTB/4 Daytona . And what a long, strange trip it was between those two masterpieces.

The birth of the Porsche 911 , the Aston Martin DB5 , the Shelby Cobra and Ford GT40, the Maserati Ghibli Spyder and many more.

All of the cars from this era are rich in prose. Sean Connery’s name pops up repeatedly, and so does Steve McQueen and Sir Paul McCartney. These were mens’ men in a time of changing morals on a global scale.

But the coupes and ragtops these gents preferred are really fit for the ages. So throw on some Aviators and slip into your slimmest racing loafers.

Click past the jump for a sunny-Sunday donut run in the Top-Ten Best Supercars from the 1960s.

Posted on by TB +  

Dream cars are such a regular and normal part of every car guy and gal’s life growing up. Waiting for that license, dreaming about the wild places you will go and friends you might meet. For generations of enthusiasts until the 1950s, however, such dreams were so unattainable they were foolish.

The only non-mass-market car around was the coach-built Phaeton from Rolls-Royce , Mercedes-Benz or Duesenberg .

Such was the gulf between the rich and poor at the time that it makes today’s 99-percent protests seem as ridiculous as they are. In those days, the ratio was more like 99.99999 percent versus the 0.00001 percent.

You can probably guess which group we and most young car shoppers would fall into. And it is not the one with the nines.

For a generation of hot-shot former military officers, pilots and engineers: coming home from the battle fronts of Europe and the Pacific had whet their appetites for speed. The enormous volume of men and women enchanted by steel machinery during wartime was unprecedented.

But coming home, the cars these speed demons found were lumbering, great heavy beasts with no power and little cornering ability whatsoever. These men were chasing the rush they felt in fighter bombers - but in a stylish and affordable package.

The Corvette from 1953 was the answer to these wishes and much, much more. Initially just a throw-away concept for the Motorama events, such was the demand that Chevy had no choice but to produce the car for sale.

But those shapes could never be made in steel! And never made in time to get the car to eager buyers. So a stop-gap solution was born to make the panels out of fiberglass over a ladder frame chassis. Little did the fabricators know, this template would underpin America’s sports car for the next 75 years or more.

The Chevrolet Corvette C1 is a very special automobile. Collected here are three incredible examples of this ground-breaking achievement for affordable dream cars ever since.

Click past the jump for this debrief of the 1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1.

Posted on by TB +  

The Ferrari F50 is by far the least popular of the firm’s first four generations of modern hypercars. All the world’s respect and awe for the F40 met the F50 at its debut, but the tide quickly turned for this $480,000 machine after reviewers and Ferrari customers alike revealed the F40 replacement’s familiar styling hid dynamics and a driver experience nowhere near the ferocity of the legendary original.

Instead of a peaky and violent Group B reject like the F40 , the F50 was a heavy, high-speed missile with limited tractability at low speeds from the V-12 versus the explosive F40’s twin turbochargers and short gearing.

Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with the performance of the F50, which easily spanked [the hottest thing available from Lamborghini at the time, the Diablo VT in sprint pace, as well as maximum velocity. The construction is carbon-fiber with the rigidity of a fortified bunker, the rear wing is eye-catching, and the 1990s makeover of the F40 ’s simple nose was beautiful, at first.

The F50 largely included the F40 ’s exaggerated and exotic proportions and clamshell hoods front and back. Headlamps above the bumper and hood’s leading edge were possible via shrouded enclosures for the first time in three decades, and the unadorned intake wears only a simple and modest prancing horse.

The F50 is an enjoyable case study for armchair experts and everyone else forced to endure Ferrari ’s frequent grandstanding. It also shows a few nice things for all supercar fans, especially those who are, unfortunately, not debating which Ferrari to purchase (at least not any time soon)!

Click past the jump for the full debrief of the Ferrari F50: the Ferrari’s hypercar sophomore album that is now a study in what *not* to do when replacing a legend.

Posted on by TB +  

The 2014 STI risks getting lost in the shuffle of the next-gen WRX ’s launch at this fall’s Los Angeles auto show . As is customary for Subaru when upgrading the Impreza -based models, the next-gen STI will follow the regular WRX as a projected 2016 model year intro.

That is more than enough time to fall in love again with the current model’s brash styling, forceful turbocharged power delivery, and better tech integration in the cockpit than ever before. 305 horsepower and a 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph means the WRX STI is still a favorite here in the TopSpeed Garage .

Introduced for 2011, the current STI’s strength as a Subaru performance flagship is fully intact. As a low-volume model, its boxer rumble casts a performance glow over even the base $18,000 Impreza sedan. No changes to the STI for 2014, aside from the audio system now offering integration of Aha’s music app.

First-hand driving impressions of this track toy are included, as are comparisons with the WRX STI’s potent competition from the BMW 135i and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution .

Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Subaru WRX STI, still a game-changer with wild turbo boost and AWD traction to make every corner seem like a straightaway.

Posted on by TB +  

The BMW 2002tii is one of the most fun-to-drive and affordable classic cars available. Most classic cars have a distinctly fragile and wooly way of handling and accelerating down the road, causing drivers to think... ‘Don’t floor the throttle because something might break!’

Not in the BMW 2002tii. This car is plugged into the tarmac and every pebble is felt through the giant unassisted steering wheel, pedals and shift knob.

The seating position and performance sensations are far more modern than the VIN number stamp would have you believe. It was this light and nimble attitude that brought BMW back from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1960s, when Germany was reeling from a prolonged recession even as the rest of the world danced in tie-dye shirts and went to Woodstock.

BMW had big problems at the time, most critically being a lack of cash to invest in the business. Their primary 1500 sedan was well-regarded in Germany as a more agile and cheaper Mercedes alternative, but the small sedan was a fish out of water on U.S. roads clogged with millions of Ford Mustangs . Sedans and BMW ’s U.S. sales were out of gas as two-door coupes became all the rage.

As with some other TopSpeed Hall of Fame models like the NART Ferrari Spider from last weekend, the beginnings of the BMW 2002 legend start with a strong-arm tactic from a U.S. importer.

Against BMW’s protests, he cajoled them into adding their largest engine under the 1500’s hood and chopping the rear doors. Instant sports coupe and American success meant nothing less than salvation for this historic engine manufacturer.

And for a clue about the origin of the 4 Series coupe names, a quick look at the (odd) 1500 sedan becoming the (even) 2002 two-door explains BMW ’s logic.

Click past the jump for the full review of the 1972 - 1974 BMW 2002tii, with special highlights on this sport model’s extra performance and style.


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