Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Brabus Super G 700 6x6

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Sometimes, cars spiral into absurdity. This quite big thing here is a case in point - the venerable Mercedes G-Wagen has been consistently popular since 1979, with no significant updates to the design because, well, it is what it is: a vaguely militaristic, hardy, all-terrain Merc that'll bounce over sand dunes, ford rivers, withstand gunfire and never break down.
In recent times, though, it's all got a little silly. Mercedes-Benz decided to put a 5.0-litre V8 in it in 1993, and then a 5.5 in 2005, before waving the AMG wand over the G-Wagen to furnish it with a supercharged 5.4-litre, allowing it to accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.5s. In something with the aerodynamics of a housebrick. And it didn't end there - Brabus, Lorinser and Carlsson all had a go at tweaking it, then AMG had another go themselves in 2006, boosting it to almost 500bhp, which swelled to over 600bhp by 2012... and then they thought 'OK, sod it, let's build a six-wheeled version'. That received an AMG V8, natch, and then we arrive at this, the very zenith of the whole silliness, the Brabus Super G 700 6x6. As the name suggests, it's got 700bhp-odd, six wheels, and not a lot in the way of subtlety. It's supremely expensive, guzzles fuel like a supertanker, and is pretty much impossible to park - so, as you might imagine, the West End of London is currently full of 'em...

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

Monday, 28 July 2014


Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS is a complex and beguiling thing - at once devastatingly pretty and utterly ruthless. And the process of turning one into a GT3 racer effectively involves rubbing over the words 'utterly ruthless' with a luminous highlighter pen, over and over again.
What you end up with is the frightening orange charger that you see here before you. The unmistakable gullwing doors remain, but they're no longer the key aesthetic feature; they've been superseded by an aggressive aero package that beefs up the lines exponentially. And just look at the pure-function interior - uncompromising carbon-fibre buckets that are wafer-thin, a handful of buttons, and a sodding great air hose to stop the driver drowning in his own sweat. Oh, and it's all very, very orange.

Spotted at the 2014 Goodwood FoS - click here for more photos.

Friday, 25 July 2014

S54 240Z

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Datsun 240Z was basically the Japanese E-Type - a long-nosed coupe with an eager straight-six, not too expensive, timeless lines, and endlessly desirable. Of course, they're a bit cheaper than old Jaguars these days, which is why you see this sort of thing happening...
The 240Z you see here, resplendent in searing Tango, is packing a BMW engine. And not just any humdrum Beemer six, but an S54 - the 3.2-litre lump found in the E46 M3. So that's about 340bhp-odd powering something that weighs as much as your shoes. Fun, huh?

Spotted at the Retro Show - click here for more. (And there's a build thread here.)

Phwoar, look at it making mincemeat of this Morris Minor...

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.