history

history

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Motion Performance was the largest company that performed aftermarket tuning on GM vehicles. While designing the Corvette Manta Ray GT, one of many Motion Performance-tuned vehicles, builders used a 1972 `Vette as a model to explore different design schemes and see what worked.

This concept car made its auto show rounds, changing owners many times in the process, but most enthusiasts simply saw it as a deformed version of the Manta Ray GT. Several years ago this custom Corvette made its way back onto the selling block and when its original builder, Joel Rosen, was question about it from a potential buyer, he wrote it off as a poorly duplicated version of one of Motion’s Corvette kits.

As time went by and Rosen learned a little more about the car, he came to find out that this was the long-lost and long-forgotten concept car he worked on in 1972. Talk about a strange set of events to lead up to finding one of the rarest Corvettes on the planet.

Ultimately, the detail that gave the Corvette away was a flawed paint job that remained underneath certain panels on the vehicle. This type of painting flaw – using a primer that it too dark for its yellow top coat – created a nasty green-like color that was later painted over with pearl yellow paint.

This awesome Motion Maco Shark/Motion Manta Ray GT hybrid is truly a one-of-a-kind vehicle that is lucky to be around, and collectors around the world can now find it for sale again on Ebay. Is this Custom Corvette Mutt up to snuff for a collector to sink some serious cash into?

Click past the jump to read our full review and find out.

For what seems like forever, Porsche has turned out beautiful sports cars one after another and many times these beauties packed quite a punch too. One of these brawn-meets-beauty machines was the limited production 1989 Porsche 911 Speedster.

This model marked the first time that the “Speedster” moniker was slapped on a Porsche in 30 years, as the last one was the 1959 Porsche 356 Speedster . This model was coming at a rather awkward time though, as the U.S. was in a recession and Porsche was really starting to struggle. The famed automaker was banking on this limited model to help re-launch the “Porsche “ name in the minds of enthusiasts.

With its stylish lines and extremely high-powered six-cylinder engine, this model indeed helped thrust Porsche back to what it once was. The question is how does this aging high-performance machine stand up in today’s market?

Well, we will find out soon enough, as one of these rare 911 Speedsters is about to hit the auction block on via RM Auctions on June 9th through 10th in Hampton, NJ.

Click past the jump to read our full review on this classic Porsche

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.

Read the full review after the jump.

The working relationship between Aston Martin and Zagato started 50 years ago when they introduced the DB4GT Zagato in October 1960. Over that span of time, this dynamic duo created some of the sleekest sports cars, leading up to the 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato . One of those exquisite vehicles was the DB4GT Sanction II Zagato in 1991, which will be up for auction at Bonhams’ May 19th Aston Martin sale.

The DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II is powered by a 3.6 liter straight-six engine that delivers a total of 352 HP and a peak torque of 330 lbs-ft. The model can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 153 mph.

The original DB4GT Zagato was built in a limited run of 20 units, but the Sanction II Zagato was even more rare, limited to only 4 units. The reason behind this is that there were four unused chassis numbers from the original 1961 DB4GT Zagato, and in 1991, Aston Martin approved the build of these four vehicles. They were then uprated to GT specifications and sent to Zagato to get bodied like the originals.

As previously mentioned, one of these four units will be available for auction at Bonhams’ Aston Martin sale, but some lucky auction-goer will have to hand over a large check in order to take this rarity home. The DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II has been estimated at £1.2 - £1.5 million (between $1.95 - $2.4 million at the current exchange rates).

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 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.

Holden SS V-Series Special Edition

So we all have seen strange trademarks and copyrights, plus we have all seen companies fighting over whether or not a trademark or copyright is legal. First you have Windows, then you have Apple, both of which are extremely common words that are trademarked. As of late, you have Macintosh slapping a trademark on the all-too-common “App Store” phrase. Well, how about this for a weird one, “SS” is now an official trademark of GM.

Well, technically the trademark reads “The mark consists of the letters SS in a fanciful design,” meaning the actual letters are not trademarked, but the design with letters are, make sense? So this leads us to speculate… After 51 model years of including the “SS” moniker on vehicles – the first came on the 1961 Impala – why do this now?

We know that the Impala SS is on its way – thanks for that Chevy – but what does GM have up its sleeve? The vast majority of us media folk, TopSpeed included, assume that this means an actual SS model is in the works. There have been rumors afloat that GM will release police package Caprice models as the SS model, and some of the details seem to align.

First, consider the fact that the Holden Commodore was once rumored to become the 2014 Chevy SS , but was never officially confirmed, then add in the fact that the Commodore is now the Caprice PPV . We think you can do the math. It looks like our friends over at GM Inside News were actually correct when they reported the Commodore-turned-SS rumor in 2011. At this point we just have to wait until GM officially announces it, but for now it looks like this is certainly happening.

On an aside, this would also mark the return of the Pontiac G8 , in a way, as the G8 was actually a Commodore in Pontiac garb. Funny how it all comes full circle, huh?

It’s a car that will more than likely just take up some space in someone’s garage, but it could still fetch millions at an auction the same way one of its contemporaries did just over a year ago.

The piece of automotive racing history that we’re talking about is the Gulf Team Davidoff McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, and should you have millions of dollars in your piggy bank, you’ll be happy to know that the car is headed to the upcoming Pebble Beach Auction in August 2012 in Carmel Valley, California.

Judging by the level of interest surrounding this car, the sky is really the limit on how much it’s going to go for at the auction. Combine that with the fact that a similar make and model was sold last year for $3.9 million, and you have a rare racing car that’s going to sell for a lot of zeroes.

This particular F1 GTR Longtail also happens to have an interesting history behind it. It was originally built as chassis number 027R, but ultimately ended up as a spare car - chassis 028R - after sustaining damage during one of its transports. In the end, the car wound racing in a number of racing events, highlighted by its participation during the 1997 FIA GT season.

Should you be interested in owning a true hard-to-find racer, you better break open that piggy bank because you’re going to have to pay a fortune for the chance to show off the car to your buddies.

Find out more about the 1997 Gulf McLaren F1 GTR ’028R’ Longtail after the jump.

Chevrolet Chevelle Z-16

Cloned classic cars are everywhere. Heck even my dad has a cloned 1966 Chevelle SS. There is one difference between my dad, along with most other cloners, and one Bobby Patton, they have no problem admitting that their vehicle is officially a clone.

Mr. Patton apparently purchased a 1965 Chevy Chevelle from a gentleman and figured out that there is one extremely rare model in 1965 that the average person wouldn’t recognize from a regular old Chevelle. This model is the 1965 Chevelle Z16 , which features a boxed frame, different engine stampings, special badges, different rear end, and the most obvious one, a unique VIN.

After tricking some car show judges into giving him a nice collection of trophies, Mr. Patton decided he was going to try and make a quick buck off of this clone by auctioning it off. Well, the problem is that he didn’t identify the vehicle as a clone, but as one of the few Z16s in the world, and was trying to get a cool $100K out of it.

The crack detective team at Chevelles.com sniffed out this fraud and began a conversation with the man that was auctioning the car. The conversations were not accusatory, but instead an attempt to help the guy realize that whoever sold him that car had tricked him. One of the folks talking to Mr. Patton pointed out numerous errors with the vehicle, including a homemade cowl VIN tag, incorrect speedometer, wrong engine stamping, wrong frame, and many other things.

Obviously, the guy kept pressing the issue and it took several days for him to come to his senses and pull the car from the auction site. That was a little too long, as someone reported him to the Ohio State Highway Patrol and they paid him a nice visit.

He claimed to have purchased the car that way, but the cops found out from the original owner that the car was badged, titled, and sold as a Chevelle 327SS, not a Z16 . A long story short, now his car is impounded and he is serving two years of probation. Who would have known cloning a car could cause such issues?

Image is of a real Chevrolet Chevelle Z16.

Though not all auto buffs enjoy watching auto races, there is no disputing that all car buffs love race cars. This becomes even more amplified when you look at classic racecars, as this was back when racecars were really racecars. There were no restrictor plates or standardized engine manufacturing, if one maker could maximize power within the regulations of the sport, it was all good. Nowadays, racecars are, for the most part, mechanical copies of one another with a differing bodies.

So, when a classic race car hits the auction block, affluent car buffs’ ears perk up just a little bit, especially when a legend hits the block. The latest legend to be scheduled for auction through RM Auctions is the 1968 Alfa Romeo T33/2 ‘Daytona’, particularly chassis No. 75033.99. Ed McDonough, an Alfa Romeo expert, stated that chassis No. 75033.99 was a racing car of the 1960s, but the overall record keeping of chassis by Alfa Romeo was poor, so records of all of its races are a little sketchy, as are details of how many chassis were built.

McDonough estimates that 20 chassis were built and that this particular chassis was involved in one of the best showings by Autodelta/Alfa Romeo, as it was a part of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes at the 1968 500 KM race in Imola, beating Porsche by a wide margin.

The owner of the vehicle claims that the vehicle is in operating condition and is “very reliable.” It has a Dutch and U.K. road registration, and FIA, HTP, and FIVA documents.

This racing legend features a 270-horsepower, 2.0-liter V-8 engine – yes, a 2.0-liter V-8 – and a six-speed gearbox. It also features independent front and rear suspension, and has a 2,250 mm (88.58-inch) wheelbase. So, if you are in the market for a turnkey classic racer, you can snag this one up May 11 or 12, 2012 in Monaco. There is no estimated price, as of yet, but it will certainly crest the $100K mark, easily.

Hit the jump for the official press release and more pictures.

Nissan 200SX

Back in the 1990s, Nissan was knees deep in sports cars. These sports cars began with the Sentra SE-R, then moved to the mid-range 240SX, and at the top end was the 300ZX. Even after the Sentra SE-R was eliminated in 1995, the 200SX SE-R, which was little more than a restyled Sentra, came into existence.

In the late 1990s, this all went away, as the 300ZX disappeared after 1996, and the 200SX and 240SX vanished in 1999. The Z-car was resurrected with the 350Z , then the 370Z , but the SX lineup has since remained dormant. Now with Subaru and Toyota teaming up to bring a new mid-level sports car to the marketplace, Nissan has again begun talks of releasing its own mid-level sports car.

According to Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, Nissan’s head of design said "It is the time to look at that [smaller engines]. With 370Z, we still don’t know next generation will have a larger or smaller engine." The chances of a Z-car with a lower engine size are rather doubtful, given that it has always increased in size throughout its entire lifespan. Plus you have to add in that the Z-car crowd is a tight-knit group that will likely not take change too well.

Those points all lead to Nissan possibly creating an all-new mid-level sports car, maybe even bearing the “SX” nameplate . A good possibility could be a 250SX bearing the same – or maybe better version of – the 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine found in the 2012 Sentra SE-R. This could also spawn a base level 200SX that has the 140-horsepower engine that you can find in the base 2012 Sentra, maybe with a few upgrades to punch up the power a bit.

Given the fact that the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT 86 are not speed demons, Nissan would need to worry more about it looking and handling well, as opposed to making it a screamer. As of now, this is purely speculation, but it damn sure would be a cool thing to see!

Image is of the 2011 Nissan Esflow Concept which is said to preview the future sports car.


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