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.
2012 has been a very exciting year for supercar enthusiasts all over. Many high profile brands have launched new and exciting cars, and wowed many enthusiasts. But, if we were to point out which one of them had us head over heels, it would be Pagani.
With the launch of the Huayra, Pagani has swept the competition off the floor by achieving the highest number of laurels that any hypercar can achieve in a single year. This above video celebrates those laurels.
Most of the prestigious publications in Europe, like EVO, Top Gear and CAR Magazine, have nothing but praise for the Huayra. Even we do. We think this is a hypercar precisely engineered by angels and tuned to make Satan shiver at the mere thought of driving it.
With a delicate balance of Italian design and Bugatti-shaming performance, Horacio Pagani has every right to be proud of his masterpiece that has taken the world by storm.
Before we go on irritating you on how great this car is, check out the cool cinematography above that only the Huayra can pull-off.
One of the key selling points to any car’s success is its design. Even if the brand of a car is unknown, with the help of a good design, it can grab positive attention from the most discerning of critics. This focus on beauty is the main reason so many brands invest millions of dollars in design studios.
One of the most important steps toward the success of any project is to get the design right. It should not be pretentious but also should not be too bland. Nowadays, automobile designing is one of the toughest jobs in the industry. People who can draw and have passion for automobiles simply cannot call themselves a designer. It takes a certain skillset and experience to make a mark. The toughest part in designing a vehicle is balancing key elements such as aerodynamics with modern design that pays homage to the brand’s original design language. Take for instance the Jaguar F-Type. It’s a car that, Chief designer Ian Callum says, ushers in a whole new design language for the Leaping Jag while still keeping certain elements of the legendary E-Type alive. Customers of today’s world not only want a head-turning design but also a design that is recognizable.
This year, we have witnessed quite a few cars that have amazed the public through soulful beauty without compromising on aerodynamics and brand image. Here is a list of five cars that we think are the most beautiful cars, launched this year.
Being huge fans of the Prancing Horse, we dedicate this article to the brand that has created and sold beautiful pieces of art that move on four wheels. With designs that emanate Italy’s passion for racing and perfection, and power that not only is a source of melody but also the source of true Italian power, every Ferrari that has rolled-out of the Modena factory since its founding days have been well received by the discerning audience and stayed true to Enzo Ferrari’s philosophy "building the greatest cars in the world."
Also not to be forgotten is Ferrari’s favorite design studio, Pininfarina, which was headed by the creative genius, Sergio Pininfarina. Held responsible for strengthening the partnership between Ferrari, which his father started, Sergio’s creative skills helped him find a stylistic key which has made Enzo Ferrari’s cars a unique phenomenon on the international manufacturing scene for over half a century.
Designing almost every Ferrari that rolled-out from the Ferrari factory, from the Ferrari 250 GT to the unannounced Ferrari F70, one can compare today’s partnership between Ferrari and Pininfarina to the relationship between Apple iPhone and the AT&T — a partnership that is still strong today and will remain strong for the years to come.
We decided to showcase the Top-10 Ferraris, designed by Pininfarina and his team, that have stood the test of time and still look very desirable.
Click past the jump to feast your eyes on these beautiful models designed by Pininfarina’s studio.
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.
According to reports, Shelby had filed for an annulment of the marriage, citing that his wife had lied about her background and even her name, just before he died. Unfortunately, the annulment was not awarded posthumously, so it appeared as if the only other way to settle the dispute was in court.
Fortunately, the two sides managed to keep the case out of court by coming to an agreement on Monday and Mr. Shelby’s body will be laid to rest in the way that he requested, except for one minor compromise. The minor compromise is the fact that his estranged wife gets part of his ashes.
We’re glad to hear that the issue is settled, though we would have preferred to see his wife completely cut out of it. The most important thing, however, is that the issue is done and this legend can now be laid to rest peacefully and his children can hold their heads high that their father was laid to rest in the way he requested, though his son Michael says that they are still not happy with the results.
We absolutely love daredevil antics in cars and on motorcycles, given they are done safely and by professionals. The folks at Top Gear Live are just about to satisfy our craving by pulling off the first 720 on four wheels, which Top Gear has dubbed the “Deadly 720.” The term “720” refers to a pair of 360-degree loops in succession, so absolute perfection is required to succeed in tackling each loop.
To give you an idea of just how much precision is needed, the engineers heading up the stunt have estimated that the customized buggy that Top Gear Live is using for this stunt must enter each loop between 24 and 26 mph, 2 mph more could result in excessive G-force and result in the driver blacking out and 2 mph too low would cause the buggy to fall from the loop. To help avoid driver error, Top Gear has fitted the special stunt buggy with an accelerator lock that will hold the accelerator in a precise position to maintain the prescribed speed, so the driver can focus only on keeping the buggy on the 58-meter-long track.
Despite the accelerator lock, we all know that any given car can run drastically different from one day to the next, so even with the lock, there is still a great possibility that the car will have too much or too little speed and we will see a spectacular crash. We are pretty certain that there will be tons of test runs on the actual day to make sure the car is perfect, so a crash is very unlikely.
Crash or not, we are all set to see history take place at the Top Gear Festival in the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on June 16th – 17th, 2012. Ah, the things people will do to get in a record book.
UPDATE 06/19/2012: The group at Top Gear finally attempted the “Deadly 720” this weekend, and just as expected… It all went exactly to plan. This places the Top Gear Live clan in the Guinness Book of World Record for the most loops by an automobile. Congrats to our Top Gear daredevils. We have also attached a video of the stunt (above). Hit the one minute mark to skip the introductions.
Click past the jump to read Top Gear’s full press release.
Carroll Shelby touched the lives of many people in the automotive world. During his racing career, he greatly changed the fortunes of Aston Martin by helping the British automaker take home a 1st place overall finish in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Shelby was not alone in this victory, as his co-driver, Roy Salvatori, and the car’s chief engineer, Ted Cutting both had heavy influence on this notorious victory.
Sadly, the automotive world has lost all three of these men this year, all within a handful of weeks of each other. First came Cutting’s death on March 22nd, then Shelby’s passing on May 10th, and finally capping off with Salvatori’s passing on June 3rd. Aston Martin feels that all three men deserve the proper send off and what’s better than bringing the car that all three of these men had a hand in to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Unfortunately, it appears as if this 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 will not be making a tribute run around the course, but it will be present for the pre-race festivities. While this is not quite on the scale of the thousands of cars that gave Mr. Shelby a moment of noise in tribute, it is still a gesture that proves Aston Martin truly feels that Carroll Shelby, Ted Cutting, and Roy Salvatori are extremely important to its storied racing history.
Our hats have to go off to Aston Martin for rolling out the old DBR1, we are very curious to see what kind of condition it is in. We are willing to bet it is exactly as it was the day it pull out of Le Mans boasting the checkered flag on June 21, 1959.
At this point, nearly a month after his death, we all assumed that Carroll Shelby was peacefully laid to rest in a plot of land or cremated, so his ashes may stay with his family or spread as he saw fit. According to a report by TMZ, neither of these scenarios are true, as his family is now fighting over who has control over his deceased body.
On one side we have Shelby’s children that are claiming that their father signed paperwork leaving the eldest son in control of the deceased former racecar driver’s body. It looks as if Shelby’s long estranged wife, Cleo, is fighting the children stating that being his wife, she has full rights to his remains. She is fighting this despite the fact that Carroll was in the midst of annulling their 14-year-long marriage citing her lying about numerous personal things, such as her assets and even her real name.
She is also arguing that there is no way that Mr. Shelby could have signed any papers giving his son control, as he did not have the “physical capacity or eyesight” to read, understand, and sign off on the papers.
Until this is all sorted out, Mr. Shelby’s body is stuck at the medical examiner’s office in a freezer, which is not the place for this automotive hero. He needs to be laid to rest in the place that he made clear he wanted to be prior to his death. If his estranged wife truly does care, she would allow him that right.
There is a silver lining to this whole thing and that’s that the annulment Shelby filed for in April is still pending and a judge does have the right to approve an annulment even after death. So in the end this could all be resolved with one tap of a gavel from a judge and Mr. Shelby can rest peacefully.
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