Thursday, 23 March 2017

Eggenberger BMW E28

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This isn't just any old 528i. This particular one is actually the last remaining Group A BMW E28 in existence.
Built by revered race outfit Eggenberger in 1982, it was campaigned in period by Enzo Calderari, finishing 6th in the 1982 European Touring Car Championship, sister car to the title-winning Grano/Kelleners Eggenberger car. The 528i passed into private hands in 1983, racing in Italy throughout the 1980s.
It's recently been refreshed by Geoff Steel Racing, and impressively it still has its original BMW Motorsport shell and all the correct trim.That outrageously citrusy paint really brightens up a grey day too, doesn't it?

Spotted at 75MM - more pics here.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Group A Volvo 240 Turbo

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

When a car is truly cool, it transcends scenes and generations. Consider this Volvo 240 Turbo: built for no-nonsense, function-over-form circuit racing over thirty years ago, today it wouldn't look out of place on a retro stance showground. It combines that fusion of crisp and uncluttered old-school lines, race car aggression, and purposeful gait over oh-so-aspirational wheels that's just so hot right now...

Race teams started testing the 240 Turbo as a Touring Car racer in 1983, with Thomas Lindström often found behind the wheel pushing the limits and taking notes. He'd go on to campaign the car you see here in the ETCC, with his team TL Racing AB competing without official Volvo involvement. The car was actually remarkably close to the production model - even the centre-lock assemblies were crafted in such a way to mount them to the original hubs; naturally the team beefed up the brakes, added a rollcage and installed a rapid-refuel system.
1984 saw Volvo Motorsport enter Group A with their official works cars, and a lot more of them entered the series, but the car you see here was the trailblazer: Lindström and his peers (Team Infra Paint, Sportpromotion, and IPS Motorsport) were the forefathers of the Volvo 240 Touring Cars. And this old turbobrick's aged rather well, hasn't it?

Spotted at 75MM - more pics here.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Wooding Group 2 Escort RS1600

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Arguably the coolest car at Goodwood's 75th Members' Meeting wasn't even supposed to be there. Despite not appearing in the programme and not venturing out onto the track, this sublime little Mk1 Escort was making a proper show of itself in the Group A paddock, surrounded by Sierra RS500s and causing a scene with its revvy, shouty BDG.
The '72 RS1600 wears the period Texaco colours of Hamburg's Wooding race team. The outfit campaigned the DRM in 1971 and '72, running Alan Mann-style torsion bar setups and roaring twin-cam motors, although the team disbanded in 1973 and the cars went on to new lives elsewhere. This particular one passed through various hands; documentation from 1983 shows it still in Wooding livery with Robert Pucher as the owner; he sold it to Alfa Romeo racer and Ferrari dealer Fritz Neuser, who passed it on to German Ford collector Helmut Stein in the early 1990s. Stein owned it until 2013 - in his tenure it had enjoyed a hillclimbing career, with modifications to the floor, tunnel and bulkhead, but importantly it retained its unique torsion beam arrangement and was a prime candidate for restoration to historic Group 2 specs.

Simon Hadfield Motorsport spent two years on the resto, during which time it received new (correct) floorpans and bulkhead, an Alan Mann-style 6-point rollcage, FIA-friendly seat and harness and a plumbed-in extinguisher system. And the engine... oh, that's something else. An alloy-blocked 2.0-litre twin-cam Cosworth BDG built by Craig Beck Racing, it runs Lucas mechanical fuel-injection and produces an astounding 279bhp at a frankly silly 8,750rpm.
Shakedown tests saw it running quicker than the more powerful Group 2 Capri RS2600, which speaks volumes for the Wooding chassis setup. I can't wait to see this gorgeous little Escort out and about on the classic racing scene...

Spotted at 75MM - more pics here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Air-ride Austin-Healey

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Inarguably one of the coolest cars on the scene right now is Max Marshall's bagged 1958 Austin-Healey 100-6. Its unmissable hook is that it takes the engineering cues of the modern stance scene and applies them to a heavily patinated British classic; how many vaping twenty-somethings in MkIV Golfs would have had their heads turned by a Healey before this came along, d'you think...? Exactly. It's a groundbreaker.

Max's dad found the car in 2011, on sale in California. They repatriated it and, upon getting it back to the workshop, were delighted to find that the salt-free, sunny climate had preserved the thing beautifully. Furthermore, it quickly became apparent that its original schoolteacher owner had stopped using it in 1974 and it hadn't turned a wheel since - the period tax disc was evidence of this, as was the '74 newspaper wedged under the carpet!
Without an immediate plan, the car sat in the Marshall garage for a few years until inspiration struck one day at the Players Show, when Max suddenly got the urge to bag the old roadster. And so that's exactly what he did; with the engine revivified and the brakes freed off, the Healey was delivered to RIIVA Design, who fabricated custom brackets to fit the Air Lift Performance bags and 3P digital air management system. It was all ready by last year's Players Classic, and to say that it dropped jaws is a vast understatement. It's a clear demonstration that adding air-ride to a stock body with stock wheels and tyres can really do the business if you choose an unexpected base car. Max is basically just winning at life with this Healey.

Spotted at the 2016 Players Show - more pics here.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Ferrari 400 Superamerica

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

There's been a lot of chatter recently about the questionable naming of the new Ferrari 812 Superfast. Sure, it sounds like a character from a comic written by a child, but the Superfast name actually dates back to 1964 - the Ferrari America range (a no-nonsense naming strategy, these were big, luxurious V12 sports cars aimed squarely at the American market) was topped by the 500 Superfast. It offered 395bhp, which was pretty devastating in the mid-'60s. here's another Ferrari with an amusing name: the Superamerica. Specifically, this is a 1962 400 Superamerica LWB Coupé Aerodinamico. Whereas the Superfast had a 5.0-litre Colombo V12, the Superamerica had a smaller 4.0-litre variant, but nevertheless served up 340bhp and such natty features as all-round disc brakes and a choice of coupé, spider, cabriolet or long-wheelbase coupé aerodinamico styles.
This rare covered-headlamp model made its debut on Ferrari's stand at the 1962 Turin Motor Show, before being delivered to American racing driver Erwin Goldschmidt. It's recently been restored and shown at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. You see it here at 2016's Salon Privé.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Wide-arch E36 Touring

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

This angry little bruiser was all over the show scene in 2016, making great waves in its efforts to annoy people - colossal spoilers like this invariably draw negative attention, much to the amusement of their owners, while others decried the logic of lavishing such expense on a humdrum E36 estate. But there's more to this build than first meets the eye...
Sure, the ballsy aesthetics are pretty unmissable; aside from that vast 66" chassis-mounted wing, there's also the super-wide diffuser, and the aggressive 4" wide-arch conversion over those custom split-rims (made from original 7x15" BMW wheels, incidentally, and converted to 11x17" up front and a whopping 12x17" out back). It's sitting on the floor thanks to an Air Lift setup. But this isn't all show and no go - not by a long shot. Its owner, Edward Johnston, has rather brilliantly swapped in an S50B30 motor from an M3, along with the M3 gearbox, brakes and LSD. So it's not just a show poser. It's really bloody terrifying.

Spotted at Show and Glow 2016 - more pics here.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Testarossa Spider

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Launched in 1986, OutRun was one of the defining titles of the burgeoning driving videogame genre, its pie-in-the-sky Testarossa Spider offering a glimpse of surreality against a constantly colour-shifting purple and orange sky.
...however, life often reflects art, and that very same year a real Testarossa Spider was spirited into being. Just one. A silver one, painted thus because the chemical symbol for silver, Ag, matched the inverted initials of its intended owner, Gianni Agnelli.
Built as a gift to commemorate Agnelli's twentieth year at the head of Fiat SpA, the silver wedge was artfully decapitated and fitted with a folding metal roof. It was also tailored specifically for Agnelli's needs by the fitment of a clever Valeo system to help with his inability to drive using both legs; an accident in his younger days (in which he was caught by his missus having a bit of slap 'n' tickle with another girl - in driving the girl home he clipped a lorry at 140mph, resulting in an impressive accident that wrote off his right leg) meant that controlling all the pedals in the traditional sense was impossible, so the Testarossa Spider had a push-button system to operate the clutch.
There have been numerous other Spiders crafted since, mainly by Pininfarina for the Sultan of Brunei - and you may recall seeing Michael Jackson in a black one in an old '80s Pepsi ad - but this car is the only official Testarossa Spider built by Ferrari. Interestingly, Agnelli only hung on to it until 1991, selling it to a mate who expressed an interest. But don't judge him too harshly - Ferrari had just given him a Valeo-equipped F40...

Spotted at the 2016 Windsor Concours - more pics here.