Thursday, 24 July 2014

Captur & DeZir

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Renault's new Captur is proving to be rather successful - the rakishly styled mini-MPV seems to be everywhere. The combination of keen pricing and strong EuroNCAP ratings is quite a lure for young families, and it helps that it's all wrapped up in a package that sidesteps the mundane.

The Captur concept, however, was something rather different. Renault are superb at building concept cars, their motor show designs always featuring pioneering materials, methods and aeshetic executions. It's all very post-modern - weird for the sake of weird, and brilliantly so. Take a look at this orange marvel, the original Captur styling exercise from 2011; based on the Nissan Juke platform, it features swoopy carbon-fibre bodywork that bears similarities to Mazda's wind-hewn conceptual designs. It's got seats woven from plastic strands, display readouts on the bullet-camera wing mirrors, and some of the coolest bespoke tyres you've ever seen. Imagine if the production Captur looked more like the concept...!

And here's another concept from the same series that pioneered this new design language: the DeZir.
This one appeared in 2010 as an all-electric concept, its profile somewhere between Audi R8 and Alpine A110. It's got saucy butterfly doors, copious perforations, and a windscreen like the Stig's visor. An indicator of a future electric performance car from Renaultsport? Well, we can but hope.

Spotted at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

RA22 Celica GT

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

One of the most exciting elements of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the sense of discovery - there's something fresh and surprising at every turn. And one of the coolest cars up at the rally stage wasn't even an official entry; this 1975 Toyota Celica had been brought along by Midgley Motorsport as part of their retro Toyota entourage, as they were running a TE27 Corolla on the rally course as well as an AE86 and a TA64 Celica Twin-Cam Turbo. The Midgley family opened the first Toyota dealership in the north of England in 1966 and have been involved in motorsport ever since.
Like all of their cars, this is a period-perfect peach of a thing, dripping in classic detail and fastidiously prepared; it was built as a faithful replica of Ove Andersson's RA22, although it's too good to rally so they use it as a road car. I first saw it in 2012 and it looked as if it had only just been finished back then. And you know what? It still does. They must enjoy polishing it as much as driving it.

Click here for more from the 2014 FoS.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

'68 Camaro 302

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

I've always had a thing for the first-generation Camaro, ever since I built my first model kit at the age of around six or seven - Santa saw fit to put a 1969 Z/28 in my stocking, and it's sat close to my heart ever since.
Metaphorically I mean, obviously, I don't carry it around with me. That'd really unsettle a jacket pocket.

The one you see here is actually a '68, but it's broadly similar. (Well, from a distance, at least - they share the same silhouette, but the '68 and '69 in fact have totally different bodies aside from the bonnet and boot - change for the sake of change, as was the USA's keenness for distinct model years at that time.) All of the classic styling details are in place - the arcade-game taillights, the V-shaped grille, the rear side windows pinched by the coupe roofline and the rising haunches, the finned hubcaps, the copious chrome accents... it's always a struggle to pick a favourite muscle car as there are so many to choose from, but I reckon I'd be pretty darned happy with a first-gen Camaro on the drive.

Spotted at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed - click here for more.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Koenigsegg One:1

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

With the spiralling media furore around the Big Three hypercars of the moment - P1, 918, LaFerrari - it's easy to forget that there's an even bigger hitter on the scene: the Koenigsegg One:1. Behold, ladies and gents, the world's first megacar...

That isn't just a grandstanding title, it does make sense; you see, the new Koenigsegg's power output is the equivalent to one megawatt. Furthermore, it enjoys a perfect ratio of one PS (that's German for horsepower, kinda) for every kilogram that the car weighs. So that's 1,360kg, and 1,360PS - or 1,341bhp, if you will - which explains the One:1 name.
Based on the ineffably impressive Agera, with its dihedral doors and super-advanced construction, it expands the 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 into a whole other realm of surreal performance, running from 0-60mph in 2.8 seconds and going on to a top whack of 280mph. Two hundred and eighty. Crikey.
They're only building half a dozen of them, and they've all been sold, I'm afraid. Still, here are some pictures for you to enjoy. Have you ever seen so much shiny carbon-fibre?

Spotted at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed (where there were two One:1s!) - click here for more photos.

Friday, 18 July 2014

De Tomaso Mangusta

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

De Tomaso have always built wilfully odd cars, fusing coachbuilt Italian style with bought-in engines; their first model, the Vallelunga of 1963, had a Ford Cortina crossflow, but they're better known for the later efforts that shoehorned in thudding American V8s. Like this thing, the 1966 Mangusta.
The name is Italian for 'mongoose' - an animal that kills cobras; the story goes that De Tomaso had initially been promised a supply of top-spec V8s by Ford that ended up being installed in Shelby Cobras instead... whether apocryphal or not, it does lend the old girl a sense of vengeful purpose.

Pioneering a new modus operandi for De Tomaso, the Mangusta featured contemporary Italian supercar styling - crafted by Ghia - with a 289ci Ford V8 mounted amidships (in the same state of tune as a Mustang GT350), although there's a tangible refinement and maturity to the Mangusta that distances it from its Countach-on-PCP successor, the Pantera. And, of course, the Mangusta has a staggeringly beautiful, unique rear end that flips open like a beetle's wings - you can't argue with a styling quirk like that, can you? Magnificently strange.
Only 401 examples were built, with just 120 thought to survive today. This one was spotted by SSBB on the concours lawn at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed - click here for more photos.