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Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 BMW M240i xDrive Convertible

Test Drive - An Honest Take on the 2019 BMW M240i xDrive Convertible

Instant Love

I test drove the BMW M240i xDrive Convertible. The small BMW convertible showed me why I liked BMWs so much, it sparked the fire in my heart for BMWs once again, and I am not going back, ever. I love BMW, and now, finally, I definitely know why. It is for me. I am sure, if you had to chance to drive the M240i through a few bends on the mountain roads of the Gorges du Verdon canyon in France, the M240i would grow in your heart as well.

It is sublime!

I can’t even imagine what kind of a beast the M2 is. I haven’t driven it yet, but I am eagerly waiting to do so.

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2018 Mitsuoka Rockstar

2018 Mitsuoka Rockstar

One of our favorite coachbuilders finally has a product worth celebrating

Japanese coach builder Mitsuoka has launched a new project build called the Rock Star. The Corvette Stingray-bodied Rock Star is a Mazda MX-5 underneath a classic Americanized body. The nod towards one of the most iconic pieces of American car history is a fresh approach from a coach-building company best known for building what is arguably the world’s ugliest sports car. Compared to the positively ghastly Orochi sports car, the Rock Star is, well, a rock star that should have no problem establishing fans and groupies alike.

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2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible

2020 Volkswagen T-Roc Convertible

Volkswagen is testing its upcoming T-Roc Convertible, and this is the very first set of shots showing a camouflaged prototype of the drop top. The vehicle will replace the VW Golf Convertible in the range, and like that car, it will feature a soft top and frameless and pillarless doors.

It is going to be a four-seater vehicle with decent room in the back for passengers, powered by a range of mostly gasoline and probably diesel engines and at the moment it has no real crossover rivals in the same size and price bracket.

The soft top it uses looks like it’s very similar in shape to that of the current Golf Cabriolet, and it will pretty much offer the same experience as that car but will sit slightly higher off the ground and better off-road capability. But make no mistake, it is designed to spend most of its time on the road, and we doubt anybody will want to do serious off-roading in one of these.

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2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept ll

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept ll

This is not a concept anymore, ladies and gentlemen

The Porsche 911 Speedster Concept isn’t a concept anymore. It has evolved into a special edition model after the folks from Stuttgart introduced the 911 Speedster Concept II at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The 911 Speedster Concept II will be produced as a special edition model that’s limited to only 1,948 units. Porsche hasn’t announced pricing details for the limited edition roadster, but expect an announcement from the German automaker in the next few months. Keep yourselves updated because production of the 911 Speedster Concept II starts in the first half of 2019.

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2018 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS Exclusive Manufaktur Edition

2018 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS Exclusive Manufaktur Edition

“Call me Targa - Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS Exclusive Manufaktur Edition”

Porsche has added the 911 Targa 4 GTS Exclusive Manufaktur Edition to its lineup. It’s got a huge name to go with a ridiculous price tag. This special edition comes as a surprise because the 2020 Porsche 911 is all set to debut next month in Los Angeles.

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1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring

1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring

A classic open-top Prancing Horse, ready for export

The Ferrari 340 America was the first model in the America series conceived with export in mind, used as a means to increase Ferrari’s footprint in the United States. The 340 featured a brand-new Lampredi V-12 which made its way to Formula 1, with this particular car racing at Le Mans twice in the early ’50s.

The Ferrari America series was launched at the dawn of the ’50s to appeal to American customers who wanted less rugged interior premises, bigger engines, and more performance. The first car of this lineage was the 340 America, which debuted at the 1950 Paris Motor Show in full racing trim. Granted, most Ferraris back then were as much race cars as they were road cars, but a customer could personalize his car to be more friendly on the road with softer suspension, different gearbox ratios, or new engine settings.

As this is a Ferrari from the early days of the company, it was made in very few numbers, on order from importers or customers. Barely 23 cars were completed between 1950 and 1952, with three coachbuilders taking care of the body. Carrozzeria Touring built six Barchetta and two Berlinetta bodies, Vignale crafted five Spyder bodies, five Berlinetta bodies, and one larger Convertible, while Ghia built only four fixed-head Coupes.

The car seen here is chassis #0116/A, the third 340 America built, and one of the 6 Barchettas by Touring. It ran briefly in period, its highlights being a couple of entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Owner Pierre-Louis Dreyfus shared the car in 1951 with well-known Grand Prix driver Louis Chiron and, in 1952, Rene Dreyfus. While the car didn’t reach the finish line on either occasion, it went on to sell for $8,430,000 during the 2016 RM Sotheby’s auction in Monaco.

Read on to understand why the 340 America commands such high prices.

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2018 Smart ForEase Concept

2018 Smart ForEase Concept

It’s funky, cute, and an attention-seeker

This may sound surprising, but Mercedes’ city car brand, Smart, is marking its 20th anniversary this year. To celebrate it, the marque is unveiling the ForEase electric open-top concept at the Paris Motor Show. The car looks super cute, but would it practical option to buy should it go into production?

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2019 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder

2019 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder

Turbocharged or all-motor? We don’t know yet, but it will be cool!

It’s been two years since Porsche updated the current Boxster, also giving it a "718" badge, and it seems that the German firm is finally working on a new iteration of the higher-performance Spyder model. First introduced in 2009 and relaunched in 2015, the Boxster Spyder is a modern tribute to the 718 Spyder of the 1960s, and the upcoming will be the first to actually wear the iconic "718" badge next to the "Spyder" lettering.

Introduced in 2016, the facelifted third-generation Porsche Boxster gained a couple of major changes compared to its predecessor. While the styling and interior didn’t change much compared to the previous roadster, the new Boxster changed its name to the 718 Boxster, a tribute to a sports car from the late 1950s, and switched to turbocharged engines for the first time ever. There isn’t a lot of information to run by as of this writing, but the spyder configuration is pretty obvious in the spy shots. First spotted in snowy weather in northern Europe, the upcoming sports car hit the Nurburgring track for some high-performance testing in April 2018. And we can see a few differences. The soft-top roof is different toward the back, while the engine hood features the famous flying buttresses. I also spotted a few changes front and rear. They’re not massive, but they do make the Spyder a bit more aggressive. Under the hood, it should get the most powerful engine ever fitted in a Boxster, but the nameplate’s switch to turbocharging makes things a bit complicated. We should find out more later this year, but until then let’s have a closer look at the spy shots in the speculative review below.

The new 718 Boxster Spyder could break cover in the Fall of 2018.

Updated 09/26/2018: The Porsche 718 Boxster was testing yet again with its top down. This time, however, there are no changes to be noticed so this thing is clearly ready for its debut. Expect to see it under the lights at the Paris Auto Show in October or the Los Angeles Auto Show in November!

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1961 Plymouth Asimmetrica Roadster

1961 Plymouth Asimmetrica Roadster

It’s one of just two

Virgil Exener’s swansong within the Chrysler Corporation, the Plymouth XNR prototype, created quite a stir at the dawn of the ‘60s and Ghia thought it would be profitable to turn it into a road car. The Asimmetrica was thus born, but even it was too extreme for the consumer and only two were built, both of which had NASCAR goodies hiding under the hood.

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1978 Shakee Can Am racer

1978 Shakee Can Am racer

One of the first cars built by Fabcar Engineering

Also known as the Shakee Sports Racer, this car is one of the first built by Fabcar Engineering from Roman Slobodynski’s designs. The former AAR Chief Designer was commissioned by Tom Spalding.

Inspired by early ’70s Can Am beasts, the Shakee never raced in the Citicorp Canadian-American Challenge itself which had, by 1978, turned to a single-seater formula where former F5000 open-wheelers were converted to closed-bodywork sports cars. It was most likely used for SCCA-sanctioned races or Autocross events.

Tom Spalding was involved in the Can-Am series running the Bob McKee-designed Schkee DB1 which won the first race of the rejuvenated series with works driver Tom Klausler a year before.

The car doesn’t have a verified racing history but is akin to C-Production sports cars that run in SCCA championships in the US.

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1959 GSM Dart

1959 GSM Dart

South Africa’s unknown, lightweight sports car

The GSM Dart is a lightweight sports car produced in South Africa between 1959 to 1964. The lightweight vehicle was built by Glass Sport Motors, a company founded by Bob van Niererk and Willie Meissner in Cape Town, South Africa in 1958.

Meissner established GSM after he discovered glassfiber reinforced plastic manufacturing during a visit to England. The technology was new at the time and had not reached South Africa. The Dart was actually the country’s second production car, with the first having been launched in 1957 by G.R.P. Engineering. Although production of the Dart spanned over five years, only 35 examples were built, which makes it a rare collector’s item. Let’s find out more about it in the review below.

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Lamborghini Huracan Spyder Gets A Facelift

Lamborghini Huracan Spyder Gets A Facelift

But, why? The current car doesn’t look old from any angle

Have you ever heard of supercars getting mid-life facelifts? The Lamborghini Huracan is an exception. The car has been spied twice with heavy camouflage, clearly indicating that the Huracan is being refreshed for the market. The last update seen on the Huracan range was at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, when Lamborghini introduced the Spyder Performante, but now it looks like theHuracan Spyder is due for some changes inside and out. Get ready to witness the Huracan’s rebirth!

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2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible

2021 BMW 4 Series Convertible

BMW finally ditches the hardtop

BMW is set to launch an all-new 4-Series two-door sometime in 2019 or 2020, and while the G23 coupe version will not feature any dramatic changes over the current model, the G22 droptop will. Spy shots indicate that for the first time in two generations (E93 and F33), BMW is giving up on the folding hardtop design in favor of the more traditional soft top option which it last used on the E46 model discontinued in 2006.

Heavy camouflage covers the prototype spotted, but this important change is quite evident as the canvas top is left completely bare (quite obviously on purpose). It might be an illusion caused by the camo, but it also appears this new 4-Series has a longer hood and rear decklid compared to its predecessor.

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2018 Ferrari Monza SP2

2018 Ferrari Monza SP2

It’s the Ferrari 812 with classic styling and seating for two

Ferrari’s shock launch of two brand-new super cars, the Monza SP1 and SP2 put everyone under the pressure of a choice: to go or not go solo. The SP2 is the Barchetta that encourages you to be friendly and take someone with you for the passenger ride of a lifetime aboard the fastest non-hybrid Prancing Horse ever – with no windshield!

The Icona line of special, limited run cars is off to a scorching start with two new beauties dubbed the SP1 and the SP2 Monza. The name isn’t new; instead, just like the cars, it draws from Ferrari’s long and storied racing heritage. The Monza was one of Ferrari’s Barchetta-style sports racing cars from the ‘50s which had its successes on the track but faded into obscurity in the decades that followed. It’s nice to see Ferrari bringing back this nameplate, especially on such eye-wateringly beautiful cars.

It’s good to know that the Icona program is set to run for at least four years, so we’re certain we’ll see more amazing products coming their way considering Louis Camilleri assertion that Ferrari looks to debut up to 15 new cars in the following years. The scope is to increase the sales to $5,000,000,000 by 2022 which would be a 68% increase from the figure registered at the end of last year.

While we’re almost sure that some of those sales will come off of the launch of Ferrari’s much-rumored SUVs, we’ve got to live in the moment and enjoy the Monza SP1 and SP2 for what they are: Ferrari’s fastest non-hybrid cars. The fact that they follow the old norm of a front-mounted V-12 sending the power to the back wheels is just the cream atop an amazing pie.

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1958 Porsche 550a Spyder

1958 Porsche 550a Spyder

The little German giant killer

The Porsche 550 is a true icon of Porsche history. Known as both a race car and a sports car, the 550 was the kind of machine you could drive to the track, take the win, then drive back home. The famous British-American racing driver Ken Miles called it the “greatest long-distance racer in the world,” and despite its low power figures, this plucky little two-door could take down cars with far more power and straight-line speed. Eventually evolving into the even-quicker 550a, the 550 is now widely recognized as one of the more desirable collectible Porsches in the world.

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 550a Spyder.

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