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2014 Audi TT Nuvolari Special Edition

2014 Audi TT Nuvolari Special Edition

Although the third-generation Audi TT has yet to arrive in dealerships — European deliveries are set to begin in December 2014, while U.S. customers won’t get it for the 2016 model year — the Germans have already developed a special-edition coupe. Dubbed Nuvolari, the model that precedes the commercial launch of the new TT over the pond pays tribute to an important figure in Audi’s history: Tazio Nuvolari.

Nuvolari is known as one of the greatest drivers in motorsport history. And for good reason, as the Italian-born ace has no less than 52 major racing victories to his name. His prodigious career spanned between 1924 and 1939, with a brief return from 1946 until 1950. He has driven various Bugattis, Alfa Romeos, Maseratis and Ferraris before switching to Auto Union, one of the most successful race car manufacturers of the 1930s. At the time, Auto Union incorporated four brands including Audi, which explains why Ingolstadt takes so much pride in Nuvolari.

Of course, the Audi TT is not in any way related to Tazio, but the TT Nuvolari Special Edition is a great way to stir emotions among classic motorsport enthusiasts. Especially in Italy, where this coupe will be launched on September 19th, 2014.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi TT Nuvolari Special Edition.

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2013 Lamborghini Aventador Follow Me Car

2013 Lamborghini Aventador Follow Me Car

In Dubai, the Lamborghini Aventador serves as a police car, but in Bologna, the supercar has a different, but equally special purpose. It serves as a "Follow Me" vehicle to guide taxiing aircraft. The Aventador Follow Me will act as a guide car from May 6th to May 19th as a publicity stunt for the company’s 50th anniversary.

The Aventador Follow Me Car features a white and red exterior theme and features a light bar on the roof to help guide the aircraft. Everything else remains unchanged, including the V-12 engine found under the hood.

This means that at the airport, the Aventador will unleash its usual 700 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque. With this power, the car can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds while topping out at 217 mph.

Plenty fast to guide aircraft…

Click past the jump to read more about Lamborghini’s other ways to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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2013 Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 Race Car

2013 Maserati GranTurismo MC GT3 Race Car

Maserati Corse unveiled their new GranTurismo MC GT3 at the Fiat Industrial Village Motorfest in Turin, Italy, but the reveal was a little behind considering the vehicle has already shown everyone what it can do by winning its first race at the last Superstars GT Sprint at Italian Autodromo Di Vallelunga. Driver Alessandro Pier Guidi was behind the wheel during the victory.

This race was just a preparation for the upcoming Superstars GT race in Pergusa set to begin in just a few days. Maserati hasn’t made an appearance in this series since 2004, but the company is now ready for another round with a race car that seems to be screaming "Here I am!"

The new GranTurismo MC GT3 Race Car was based on the MC Stradale street-version, but it adds a more racing-inspired appearance with a new front spoiler lip, new side skirts, and a huge rear wing that will provide stability during high-speed racing.

Stay tuned for more details.

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2013 Ermini Seiottosei 686 Roadster

2013 Ermini Seiottosei 686 Roadster

Most of us probably have no idea who or what Ermini is, but for those who do remember, it’s an Italian automaker that made a name for itself back in the 60’s. Over the past 50 years, the Italian car brand has been draped in covers, having produced a grand total of zero vehicles.

All that, though, is about to change because Ermini is looking at making a comeback with the new 686 sports car and Ermini has just released a handful of details on this long-in-the-making roadster. Unfortunately, there are still some specifications that Ermini has yet to reveal, but we have enough to bring you a review on the 686 Seiottosei.

We can gather that the Florentine-based automaker is preparing it to be a rear-engined, all-wheel drive sports car that will carry a tubular space frame and a tuned-up suspension.

As for the design of the car, that will be made as a collaborative effort between Giulio Cappellini and Design Team Ermini, and will feature things like extensive use of carbon fiber and the use of racing brakes, shock absorbers, and a transmission unit.

Looking at the renderings of the car, it certainly looks like a stunning sports car. The overall profile is aggressive enough to be a real looker. The huge rear spoiler is a definite turn-on. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a two-seater convertible, right?

To learn more about the 686 Seiottosei and see how it stacks up to the competition in its very small class, click past the jump.

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Ferrari Anticipating Back-to-Back Record Profit Years

In 2011, Ferrari broke its own profit record by selling 7,195 cars and raking in a cool €321 million. That was all well and good, but one year wasn’t enough. The low-sales-high-profit automaker was already up 7 percent in total unit sales and 13 percent in profit at the halfway point of the year and the trend hasn’t slowed.

The increases put Ferrari on pace to sell 7,328 units and pull in €304 million in profit, so it has a little work to do in the profit side of the ledger, as 2011 had a strong finish. With the F12 Berlinetta debuting in Europe in September, hitting the second-half growth needed to break its record shouldn’t be a problem.

Ferrari chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is set on the fact that the company will break its own record profits again, making it back-to-back years of setting records. This is all coming while the rest of the automakers, particularly those in Europe, are struggling to sell cars and lower losses. This shows that Ferrari obviously knows how to keep its operating costs low and still maintain quality control and customer retention.

Regardless of it breaking the record, seeing a low-volume auto manufacturer making that type of profit is impressive. To boot, Ferrari is just about in line with the pricing of its competitors, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, so it’s not a matter of Ferrari just jacking up prices in hopes of profit. Simply good business by itself and parent company, Fiat S.p.A., is all we can attribute this success to.

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Correction: Audi Does NOT Own Ducati, Lamborghini Does

Okay, for ease of understanding we always just place Lamborghini under Volkswagen AG’s umbrella, but in reality, VW owns 99 percent of Audi AG who in turn owns Lamborghini... got it? In a third party, back-door kinda way, yes, VW does own Lamborghini... sort of. So earlier in the year, we mentioned that Audi had secured the Italian motorcycle builder, Ducati, for about $1 billion.

According to Audi’s financial report, it is not the owner of Ducati. How in the world does that kind of error slip through the cracks, right? Well, apparently, Audi follows the same school of thought as its parent company, Volkswagen AG, and tries to push the bounds of legality to get things done, a la Porsche getting a share of VW to exempt VW from paying taxes on the buyout.

Instead of Audi buying Ducati, Lamborghini actually bought it. This does two things for VW, Audi, and Lamborghini. First, it allows it to retain its Italian roots and secondly, it helps push Lamborghini’s overall fuel economy and emissions closer to the European standards that have plagued it in recent years.

So VW has found a way to slither its way through the EU rulebook and find a way around a very important law. Touché, VW, we bow to your supreme rule-bending abilities and the way you do it without us even noticing sometimes.

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Lamborghini builds 1000th Aventador

Lamborghini builds 1000th Aventador

The Lamborghini Aventador is far from a popular supermarket product that’s been priced half-off and is flying off of the shelves. Of course, there’s still something to be said for a supercar that costs a tad under $400,000 to have the kind of demand it has.

The supercar is just a little over a year old, but Lamborghini is already celebrating breaking the 1000-mode threshold of the Aventador. That’s right, Lamborghini Aventador number 1000 has rolled out of the production block.

The lucky owner of the 1000th Aventador - A German architect - was given the keys to his milestone supercar by no less than Lamborghini president and CEO, Stephan Winkelmann. The car is finished in the Argos Orange body color that was one of the first colors Lamborghini used on the supercar.

Here’s the most impressive part: orders for the supercar are full for the next year-and-a-half, which means that Lamborghini will have their hands full for quite some time just to meet customer demand of their latest pride and joy. If they keep this up, there’s no telling how fast it’s going to take for the Aventador to blow the Murcielago’s record of 4,099 units built.

When the time comes that Lamborghini introduces variants of the Aventador, expect sales to pick up even more, prompting us to believe that it’s only a matter of time before Lamborghini builds 4,100 models of the Aventador.

Only a matter of time.

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Lamborghini Opening a Prototype and Concept Development Center

Lamborghini Opening a Prototype and Concept Development Center

As if Lamborghini needed any more help developing super-fast cars that can nearly keep pace with F1 racecars, it is now dedicating an entire facility to developing and researching new cars. Yep, Lamborghini has just opened up its Prototype and Concept Development Center – that’s Sviluppo prototipi e vetture pre serie in Italian – to help it develop and test its new concept cars.

An important feature to this facility is that it also houses a miniature assembly line. This allows engineers to monitor exactly how new cars come together and what flaws develop in the manufacturing process. This small assembly line will also be responsible for running off Lamborghini’s limited production models, like the upcoming and non-street-legal production Sesto Elemento.

This is truly an impressive show of dedication to manufacturing only the best vehicles that are as flawless as they possibly can be, but also looks like a huge waste of money. Then again, who are we to question Lamborghini’s ways? There is obviously reasoning behind this dedicated factory, we just don’t see its real-life purpose just yet.

On an aside, Lamborghini reps are also touting the construction of the building itself, as it is the first ever multi-story industrial building that earned a “Class A” energy certification. So, not only will this building build some of the baddest concept cars ever made, but it will conserve energy in the process.

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2013 Puritalia 427

2013 Puritalia 427

Italians are famous for their amazing supercars and we’re not just talking about the Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s of the world. There are also the Maserati’s, Pagani’s, DeTomaso’s, and a little known company that was just launched by the name of Puritalia. This start-up company definitely has some large shoes to fill hanging out in this group, but they have promised to start building hand cars characterized by "simplicity and purity of driving experience." Their first car is called 427, a clear reference to one of the most iconic roadsters ever made - the Shelby Cobra - from which it will take some of its body lines.

The Puritalia 427 will have a total weight of less than 2200 lbs, making it both light and compact. It will be built on an aluminum frame, while the body will be made from lightweight materials.

As far as power is concerned, the 427 will run on American muscle in the form of V8 engine with an output of 445 HP. The company will also tack on a supercharger that will increase the power to 605 HP, if the customer so chooses.

The official debut for the Puritalia 427 will be made at the end of June 2012. The company hopes to sell a total of 427 units in 2013.

UPDATE 07/03/2012: Puritalia has released the official images of their brand new 427 sports car - a model inspired by the 1965 Shelby Cobra. Paolo Parente Puritalia’s founder said: "We decided to design and engineer the 427 simply because a similar car doesn’t exist. The result, a powerful car using best in class technologies and materials to enhance and elevate the drivers experience. An exclusive item to own and designed for those (like us) who still love the pleasure of driving their own car and not be driven by it." Check out the new images in the gallery provided!

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Rally Co-Driver, Gareth Roberts, Killed in a Racing Accident

Rally Co-Driver, Gareth Roberts, Killed in a Racing Accident

As auto enthusiasts, we all often dream about racing cars professionally and how sweet it must be to navigate these powerful machines to within inches of the bounds of physics. Well, unfortunately, we tend to overlook the fact that with all of that risk comes the potential for severe injury and even death. Unfortunately, we experienced the risk involved in car racing this weekend as up-and-coming rally co-driver, Gareth Roberts, perished in a crash at the young age of 24.

Gareth was in his typical position in the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 that Craig Breen was piloting in the Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia, rattling off the upcoming track directions and related speeds when Breen lost control of the Peugeot and put it into a guardrail. According to reports, Gareth was impaled by the guardrail and lost his life as a result of the injuries.

According to statements from teammates and crew members, Breen and Gareth had been really working well with one another and were starting to garner a lot of attention in the rally world. Gareth also had a bright future as a driver, once he learned the necessary skills, but that unfortunately, never came to fruition.

We are deeply saddened by the death of this young man and pass our condolences onto his family, friends, and his racing team. This is really a reminder of just how dangerous racing truly is, especially rally racing, and we hope that the rally world can learn from this tragedy and make strides toward this type of thing not happening again.

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PistonSpy Tours gets you in on the spy photography action!

PistonSpy Tours gets you in on the spy photography action!

Ever wonder what it would be like to sit in the wings as the newest, hottest supercar desperately tries to conceal its newest generation? Feel at home with a camera in your hand and money in your pocket? PistonSpy Tours is now offering a few lucky people a chance to do just that as they embark on a trip through some of the most popular testing grounds in the world for the opportunity to catch these cars in action.

For a fee ranging from £700 to £1100, these lucky folks will be able to tour either Germany, Italy/Alps, or Sweden with a guide to take pictures or videos of vehicles that have not been introduced to the market just yet. The tour will last four days and will include pick up/drop off at the airport, fuel used during the trip, hotels/guest houses, breakfast and evening meals, and the vehicle that will be shared during the trip.

At the end of this adventure, guests will be able to take home a gallery of their shots and will also get the chance to sell them to the automotive press to make some extra cash. All in a day’s work during this remarkable working vacation!

This trip is only being offered for a short time and only 1-3 guests will be able to join the guide, so make your reservations quick! Contact pistonspy.mobile@gmail.com for more information.

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Fiat Squashes Speculation of Buying into Mazda, but will Increase Chrysler Ownership

Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider. These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.

After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.

We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.

Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.

It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.

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A Ferrari 599XX Evo will be auctioned off for earthquake victims

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Italy, leaving behind a number of victims, including Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Maserati who had to stop production because their production plants are just 25 miles away from the center of the quake. Even more detrimental is the fact that 17 people were killed and another 350 were injured) during this natural disaster, but Ferrari is doing what they can to help the victims left behind.

In order to help the victims of the earthquake, Ferrari will hold an auction next week, with the most important unit on the block being a 599XX Evo, the extreme, non-homologated sports berlinetta with a commercial value of €1.3 million (about $1.6 million).

Next to 599XX, the auction will include a number of Formula 1 items, including a V8 engine, racing suits and helmets donated by the Scuderia’s drivers, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, and numerous memorabilia items from the works racing cars from past seasons. The Online Ferrari Store will also dedicate a section to this event, where customers will have the opportunity to purchase auction items, including Prancing Horse watches.

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Video: BMW Zagato Coupe opened up at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Video: BMW Zagato Coupe opened up at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Last week, we let you in on BMW’s newest creation, the Zagato Coupe, which is obviously based on the 2011 Z4 sDrive35is, sans the ragtop. At that time, we didn’t have any real engine news to give and the details are still pretty spotty at best. We have learned that the engine pumps out a rather impressive-for-its-size 400 horsepower, but that’s not even the most incredible part.

The most impressive part of this Zagato concept is not its power or stunning looks. What draws us in is its impressive sound. This beast does not sound like your typical, comfy BMW. It actually sounds like a purebred racecar just looking for a little asphalt to lay some vulcanized rubber upon. We can now share this sound with you, thanks to a video from Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este of this fantastic Bimmer rolling up to the red judging mat.

One thing that we were waiting for while watching the video was for the driver to get a little randy and accidentally put a little too much foot into it and spray gravel all over the photographers. Thankfully, Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este hires only the most professional of folks to drive these display cars and no such thing happened. We are not too sure if we could have resisted the urge to put that 400-horsepower turbocharged beast and the agility of the trailing photographers to the test. And that is why we are not driving cars to the judging mat at these shows!

Enjoy the above video and keep your fingers crossed that BMW will actually release this awesome machine. The video starts a little slow with a series of gratuitous shots of the Zagato’s sexy exterior. You can skip to the 0:57-mark to get right to the piston-pounding action.

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Alfa Romeo Cleans up at Concorso d'Eleganza

Alfa Romeo Cleans up at Concorso d’Eleganza

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2012 is in the books and one automaker, which was surprisingly not BMW – the sponsor of the event – cleaned up house by taking home four awards, including the most prestigious award. The winner of three of the four awards is a 1933 6C 1750 GS, an ultra-rare specimen from Alfa Romeo. The main prize that this beauty won was the “Concorso d’Eleganza Best of Show” by vote of the jury, which is the top award. In addition to this top prize, the Alfa Romeo also took home the “Coppa d’Oro Villa d’Este” and the “Tropheo BMW Group Italia” by public vote.

The 6C 1750 GS was part of a series of road and race cars that Alfa Romeo manufactured from 1929 through 1933. While all of the models have their own special place in automotive history, this 1933 6C 1750 GS is especially rare. This model was designed by Figoni coach builders and boasts a 1,752 cc in-line six-cylinder engine, which cranked out a then-impressive 102 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 126 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm.

In addition to the 6C taking home three awards, Alfa Romeo took home yet another award. This prize was handed to the 4C, as it won the “Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes,” which is voted on by the public. This sleek and sexy sports car takes its styling cues from the 8C Competizione and boasts a 200-horsepower 1,750 cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An official at the event was quoted “…the 4C represents the essence a of true sports soul in accordance with the brand’s values: performance, Italian style and technical excellence for maximum driving pleasure in complete safety.” And we certainly agree with that interpretation.

In closing, we tip our hats to Alfa Romeo and impatiently await the release of the 4C’s debut in the U.S. in 2013.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

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