Ford was becoming frustrated with the continuing success of Enzo Ferrari’s racing machines. It came to a point that Henry Ford II was given an offer by Enzo to buy the company for an unheard of $18 million dollars. The buyout ended up falling through and Ford was left on its own to develop a racing team that could compete on the European circuits. Due to the non compete pact between American automakers, Ford knew it would have to look outside of its Dearborn, Michigan team for talent.
To make a long story short, Ford took over a GT racing project from Lola, hired a prominent racing manager in John Wyer, and then designed the original GT40s to be raced in 1964. The story is much more complex than that, but the legend that would come from this humble beginning is much more important. The initial GT/101 chassis was essentially a loser and Ferrari continued to laugh while running away with victories. By 1965, Carroll Shelby was taken away from his Cobra projects and started developing the next generation of GT40 for Ford. This car gave Ford a win at Daytona in the first race of the very next year.
Ford did develop several very special prototype cars including four roadster versions. Until recently, the GT/111 chassis was thought to have been destroyed long ago, but a chance find in London led to its discovery. Extensive restoration and consequential historic racing had finally brought it to the auction block at RM’s Villa d’Este with a value estimated between $3,900,000-4,700,000.
Hit the jump for more details on the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Full story
Alfa Romeo was returning to motor sports when it built the 1962 Giulietta Sprint Zagato. Zagato was a prominent designer and past collaboration with Alfa Romeo had proven fruitful in the Le Mans and Formula 1 circuits. In 1957, Alfa had formed a relationship with Bertone, another famous shop, to develop the Giulietta Sprint Speciale which was a high performance version. That car would become the basis for the new venture with Zagato.
The companies decided to concern themselves with form over function while developing the new GT racer. The plan was to offer the car to customers for their own GT teams and thus it needed to be a strong and reliable performer on the track. Zagato was a master and developing aerodynamically efficient and lightweight machines and the Giulietta Sprint Speciale chassis provided the perfect jumping off point.
Perhaps the reason these cars remain so special today is their overall beauty. The design was focused around performance, but in turn the body became very well recognized and an instant classic for Alfa. Combining the low roofline with the elongated and round body made the car desirable to collectors. The rarity of the “Coda Tronca” version lends to the high selling price at the recent auction that saw chassis 0184 sell for $420,800.
Hit the jump for more details on the 1962 Alfa Romeo Coda Tronca Full story
Whether or not you were young enough - or maybe not even born yet - to not remember the career of arguably the greatest auto racing driver in history, you still owe it to yourself and your love for racing to watch the just-released feature-length documentary of Ayrton Senna.
Regarded with so many superlatives both as a man and as a racer, Ayrton Senna was a larger-than-life character who happened to be the best at what he did: auto racing. The man was charismatic, passionate, and an all-around lighting rod. Unfortunately, he was also a victim of an accident that cost him his life.
Over the past year, the documentary about the greatest racer of all time was being developed and now, the final product is about ready to hit the shelves. Everything you want and need to know about Ayrton Senna is included in the documentary, including his early upbringing in Brazil, his meteoric rise to the top of Formula One, his unbridled rivalry with Alain Prost, and even the fateful afternoon in Imola in 1994 when everything ended so unexpectedly.
Ever the source of important automotive information, Top Gear is front and center in promoting the documentary. The British auto show has a review of it up on their site and in addition to that, the latest issue of the magazine, which will go on sale on May 18, will contain a free preview DVD of the documentary that includes film footage, outtakes, exclusive interviews with Alain Prost and director Asif Kapadia, and so much more.
If there ever was a documentary that puts serious truth to the phrase "must-watch", this one is it.
Think you knew Ayrton Senna? Guess again.
Any time multiple Ferraris can be found together in the same place is exciting; when there is a reported $100,000,000 worth of Ferraris, its downright spectacular! This weekend a collection of vintage and late model Ferraris will be showcased on the famed Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, CA. The Ferrari Club of North America is putting on the event and it will be open to the public for your viewing pleasure. In attendance last year were nearly 100 vintage Ferrari models covering the entirety of Colorado Boulevard for several blocks.
Ferrari has always been known to create the most innovative and spectacular sports cars the world has ever seen. For the most part, only the super rich can afford the rarer and prized models, but this weekend will give the average Joe a chance to see them all. In attendance last year was a Pebble Beach Councours winner - 250 Series I Cabriolet - and other best in show cars such as the Agnelli 400 SA which came from the Museum in Maranello.
More details on the Ferrari Concours Event after the jump. Full story
Today most people consider the Ford Mustang to be the original muscle car. After all, it did start a revolution of sorts with companies building smaller cars with bigger engines to satisfy the appetite of the American consumer. Its seems to us that one legendary automaker, now more known for building your grandfather’s car, was poised to begin the horsepower arms race in the early 1950s. Oldsmobile was part of the larger General Motors conglomerate that had strict marketing and production plans for its various monikers.
The cars that utilized a big V8 were strictly Cadillac and LaSalle models. The main reason they needed a V8 was to move their behemoth bodies around, but GM also felt it helped distinguish those cars as the top of the line models. Oldsmobile was about to shake things up in more than one way. For starters, if they were going to make a more powerful production car that was also exhilarating to drive then they were going to need a completely new car body to work with.
At that time, the company had the compact 76 series cars and the very large 98 series. The company decided to use the underlying chassis of the 76 series, put a brand new V8 under the hood, and design a body to mimic the space race era. This would all come together to be the Rocket 88 car that is now legendary and truly began the muscle car era way back when it was introduced in 1949.
Hit the jump for more details on the Rocket 88 Full story
George Romney, the then-new chairman of American Motors Corporation, had big plans for the small American Company when he took over in 1954. World War II was over and the 1950s were in full swing. Not only were sales up for the big three automakers in the United States, but Hudson and Nash were doing well also. Romney’s big idea was to have Rambler become a company on its own and expand into a sector that Ford, General Motors, and Chevrolet had ignored thus far. Most companies were offering only large sedans and small economy cars. Rambler was going to split the market wide open with a mid-size model that featured aggressive styling and plenty of power.
Little did Romney know that his new Rambler Rebel model was destined to become the grandfather of the muscle car era. The first thing that Rambler needed to do was find a suitable engine that would bring performance and excitement to a lineup that had never had it before. Clearly, offering a V8 was the answer, and the new AMC 5.4-liter was perfect.
As history shows, 1957 was destined to be the first and most important year for the Rambler Rebel. As time went on and the car’s name was adapted to newer models from AMC, the original feeling of the car was lost. It is something that happens with many companies when they use a classic marquee in the wrong way simply to boost sales in the short term. Nonetheless, the short and successful years of the Rebel production have spawned numerous car clubs and followers throughout the United States and remains popular today.
Hit the jump for more details on the Rambler Rebel Full story
This is the one and only factory low-drag lightweight Jaguar E-Type and is a vehicle that should have been laid to rest a long time ago. In fact, the Jaguar was thought to be dead until Peter Neumark of Classic Motors Cars breathed new life into the last racing car ever built at Jaguar’s factory.
Only twelve lightweight E-types were built by Jaguar’s competition department back in 1963, but only one returned to undergo preparatory work for the LeMans race later that year. Malcolm Sayer designed the vehicle to have a special low drag body that would be coupled to a highly modified engine. This combination was set to take LeMans by storm and lead driver, Peter Lindner, to victory. Unfortunately, while on the Montlhery circuit, something went terribly wrong causing a crash that would end up killing Peter Lindner and destroying the Jaguar E-type. Sayer himself said that the vehicle could not be repaired and that opinion was echoed in the 1970s when a second survey confirmed the vehicle’s fate.
Fast forward to 2007 when Peter Neumark entered the scene. Determined to revive the crumpled E-Type, Neumark set out to make history with one of the most complex restorations to ever take place in the world.
Hit the jump to see what dedication, passion, and 7,000 hours of hard work can accomplish. Full story
Oh, the benefits of technology. We can’t live with it and we can’t live without it. In the latest example of how our items like the iPad and the iPhone are shaping the way we find entertainment these days, we got news that John Galt Films Inc, the leading international producer of high octane vintage racing films, has released ten GT Racer applications for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. GT Racer is a documentary-style film that dives into the world of racing like no other film app we’ve seen in the past. The app is based on the GT Racer HDTV series that was aired worldwide on a number of channels and is now being transferred to the world of Apple apps.
Directed and produced by Alexander Davidis, the whole scene of GT Racer transforms your world and takes you back to the Golden Era of auto racing, one where you can take a look at the most exclusive series of international racing, featuring the 1950s and 60s Aston Martins, Ferraris, Maseratis, Porsches, Mustangs, Cobras, and so many other race cars as they compete in the some of the world’s most famous race tracks, including the Nurburgring, the Spa Francorchamps, Laguna Seca, and Carrera Panamericana.
More than the cars and the tracks themselves, GT Racer gives you the opportunity to feel the incredible atmosphere of the time, a time where high-octane racing wasn’t all about technological innovation as it was pure, unadulterated racing.
The GT Racer titles are developed by Smarphone specialists, Netframes, and include the following titles: Shaken & Stirred - Spa (Belgium); On Porto’s Street Circuit (Portugal); Big Speeds at Silverstone (England); The Nürburgring Factor (Germany); Legends of Lime Rock (Connecticut, USA); Ferraris at Laguna Seca (California, USA);
The Spa Six Hours (Belgium); Nordschleife: The 500 km Marathon (Germany); Fast Curves at Magny Cours (France); La Carrera Panamericana (Mexico).
Each of the episodes are now available at Apple’s iTunes store for $22.99 each.
It’s 1984 and you’re a wealthy individual looking to spend some dough. Clearly the run of the mill BMW or Audi is not going to do the trick so you start looking into the Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach. Both were the fastest sports cars of their day and since price is not a concern to you, the only thing that matters is making the best impression on your other rich friends. The thing is, your next door neighbor has a red Testarossa and you see your business partner pull up and squeeze out of his tiny Lamborghini every morning. You need something special. Enter the Hammer.
The W124 Mercedes-Benz is a classically proportioned luxury saloon. The three-box shape, with its clearly defined lines, looks so simple and pure compared to the edgier, more obviously styled lines of its E 63 AMG relative. AMG’s detailing was remarkably low key, especially for the 1980’s. This is going to be a perfect fit for your lifestyle and you can even haul the kids in the back seat if you had too. Can the Merc really hold its own against the Italian thoroughbred racing machines?
You better bet your bottom dollar, because this machine is no joke even when compared with the newest technology from these companies. The 396hp Hammer is going to be more expensive than a Testarossa, but not only will you be the only person that you know who owns one; you will also be doing 190mph which is more than the Ferrari.
Hit the jump for more details on 1984 AMG HAMMER. Full story
The automobile was not even thirty years old when racing had taken a firm hold on enthusiasts. Enzo Ferrari was driving his performance cars to championships all over the world and others wanted in on the action. Ettore Bugatti was one of these men and he decided to take on Ferrari in a very different way than the others. He initially started with smaller, lighter, and less powerful cars than the Ferrari racecars of the time. This allowed the cars to be more nimble on the track and even finish second behind Ferrari in the Grand Prix du Mans of 1911.
This major accomplishment gave Ettore Bugatti the supporters and money necessary to continue his small operation in Molsheim. He began to produce stronger competitors and won more races every year. By 1920, Bugatti had its own Grand Prix championship under its belt and was ready to expand the company into different areas.
Ettore was a very respected man and ran his company with an iron fist, Le Patron as he was known, acted as a member of the upper crust and often invited them for factory tours and extravagant meals. According to Bugatti lore, at one of these dinners a woman remarked, “Everyone knows you build the greatest racing cars in the world. But for a town carriage of real elegance, one must go to Rolls-Royce or Daimler, isn’t that so?” This statement must have enraged Ettore, whether he showed it or not to his guests, he knew this was true. His company had been one-dimensional for many years and it was time to take some risks in the public sector. What came next is one of the most revered luxury automobiles ever made, the Royale.
Hit the jump for more details on the Bugatti Royale. Full story