Monday, 1 September 2014

Kart-style Metro

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There's going to be a lot of photos coming to SSBB in the near future from the 2014 Retro Rides Gathering, but I thought we should start off with just a few snaps of one of the unexpected stars of the show: this Metro City.
It's extremely straight and clean, which all works to its credit, but you've probably noticed the key modification: flying in the face of the arms race of inches that's going on in the world of wheels, this Metro has gone the other way. What you're seeing here is a shiny set of 10" Force Racing Mamba-style split-rims, with 195/50 B10 tyres. This presumably does the acceleration all kinds of favours, and also looks weirdly brilliant. It certainly put a smile on everybody's face.

More photos of RRG14 here.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Ambassador-spec Capri II

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

A few snaps here of a beautifully preserved mkII Capri. It originally belonged to the British Ambassador to China, who had a special crate made to ship it over there. It's now on only its third owner - a lifelong Capri enthusiast back here in the UK - has just 14,000 miles on the clock, and still enjoys its diminutive 1,600cc motor and three-speed autobox. A lovely timewarp piece with an interesting history - I wrote a feature on it for this month's Retro Ford magazine, which you should go out and buy. Right now. Ta.

Spotted at the Players Classic - click here for more photos.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hayabusa Imp

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

One of the shining stars of the 2014 Retro Show, this Hillman Imp is more than just a flawlessly finished restoration... it's got a frickin' bike engine in the back!
Converted by Z-Cars (who have all kinds of fun stuffing superbike engines into Minis and what-have-you), the rear of the car behind that chequerplate firewall has been gutted, spaceframed, and fitted with the motor from a Suzuki GSX1300R - the fabled Hayabusa, which kicks out a howling 160bhp-odd in standard tune. To make the Imp as light as possible it's been stripped of pretty much everything, with the interior featuring little more than a pair of minimalist Kirkey buckets and a custom mesh dash. There are lots of neat detail touches - the position of the exhaust outlet, for example, and those gulping side intakes - while the Imp's quirkiest feature, the opening rear window, suddenly becomes rather useful for getting to the engine. Very nicely done indeed.

Spotted at the 2014 Retro Show - click here for more photos.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Berg Cup E30

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This E30 3-Series is the work of Thomas Ostermann - Berg Cup hero and all-round BMW champ. He took the car to victory in the up-to-3-litre class of the 2013 KW 8v Trophy, helped enormously by the car's no-nonsense attitude, severe weight-loss program and aggressive aero package.
The car began life as a Hartge H26 - a 325i-based tuner special with hot cams, a spicier ECU and various other tweaks - before being totally stripped down by the difficult-to-please Ostermann and rebuilt to Group A Touring Car spec. This naturally evolved, by virtue of the varied events he competed in, to comprise fibreglass panels, a weight reduction down to 950kgs, the Group 2 arches from a BMW 2002, fibreglass M3 bumpers, and BBS rims that are 9.5" wide up front and a distinctly weird 10.7" out back. An impressive package overall, is it not? Oh, and it's a four-door, which scores extra why-the-hell-not points. Sounds pretty good too...

Spotted at the 2014 Apex Festival - click here for more photos.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

TWR Mazda RX-7

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

A few snaps here of a rather cool RX-7 racer... and not just any RX-7, but the very car that Tom Walkinshaw drove to victory in the 1981 Spa 24hrs alongside Pierre Dieudonné. Impressively, it's still competing in its original spec, and even wearing most of the original paint!
I wrote a feature on the car for the latest issue of Banzai - it's in the shops today, you should buy it. Yeah? Or download it from here. Nice one.

...and click here for more photos from Goodwood's 72nd Members' Meeting, where these pics were taken.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Nothelle-Kamei Audi Coupé

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This retro Audi race car is a bona fide 1980s original, dating back to the '81 Group 2 season. It's been fully restored in Belgium by Johan Aerts, who's faithfully retained its period features; the 240bhp five-cylinder motor (originally built by Henri Lotterer), the chunky arches and split-rims, even that old-school steering wheel. One or two concessions have been made to modern safety - the Hans-compatible Recaro seat, for example - as this is no museum piece or show pony: Aerts revived it to race. It's competed in numerous classic events, including BRAVO (Belgian Racing Automotive Vintage Organisation) races - fittingly at the hands of André Lotterer, Henri's son - and you see it here lurking in the paddocks and pouncing up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It's even had the bonnet freshly autographed by Rolf Nothelle himself - clearly impressed with the restoration. As well he should be, it looks glorious.

Click here for more snaps from the 2014 FoS.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

SEAT Ibiza Cupster

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Life begins at 30, as they say. (Don't they? No? OK, well, whatever.) And this year is the SEAT Ibiza's 30th birthday, so what better way to celebrate than by, er, cutting its head off?
The Ibiza Cupster is a one-off styling exercise that incorporates various classic speedster cues - chopped down windscreen, little roll hoops behind the seats and what-have-you. The body is actually all stock Ibiza up to the shoulder-line, but then it all gets a bit silly (in a wonderful way, of course), although those sculpted bucket seats actually sit around 80mm lower than they would in the standard hatchback, to save your barnet from wind-derived vandalism. It's got a shouty 178bhp turbo four-pot and it's bright orange. That work for you? I think it's pretty cool...

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

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bōsō Sunny

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Bōsōzoku is a subculture that often takes a lot of explaining. Literally meaning 'reckless tribe', the ethos traces its roots back to illegal motorcycle street-racers of the 1950s, their outrageously styled bikes tearing up the streets of suburban Japan with little regard for safety or the law. Fast-forward sixty years, however, and this is what bōsō means today...
The modern bōsōzoku car actually owes a lot to the styling treatments of their forefathers in the 1980s, which are enjoying a huge renaissance of late. We're talking sump-clattering ride height, surreally caricaturised bodykits, jutting sharknoses, comically extended exhausts, in-your-face retro colour schemes - a deliberately jarring aesthetic. Imagine a Group 5 racer from the 1970s, if it were animated by Marvel Comics. It's the kind of vibe that makes the vast majority of onlookers laugh and scoff. Which is just what the bōsō driver wants.

You don't see a lot of cars styled in this manner in the UK; the Nissan Sunny you see here is something of a show regular, evolving gradually over the years. At last year's Retro Show it was wearing flat green paint, and as you can see it's now rocking a rather splendid black-and-gold affair, complete with skyscraping pipes. A real 'why the hell not?' car that SSBB just loves.

Spotted at the 2014 Retro Show - click here for more photos.