Monday, 19 September 2016

Baby Huey

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Baby Huey is a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, which you may well recognise from the smoky crucible of the Goodwood Revival. It's been a stalwart of the RAC TT race in recent years, and the history file detailing its race prowess in the US over the decades is thick enough to clobber a whale into submission.
Huey was originally purchased by Louis D'Amico in 1964, who entered it into its first race at Lime Rock Park in May '65. He continued to compete in EMRA, IMSA and SCCA events until 1972 when the car was passed on to friend and fellow racer Skip Panzarella. The car enjoyed a varied and illustrious career, all the while keeping its original orange Alto Racing livery.
The small-block V8 under that artfully sculpted hood kicks out a rumbling 481bhp in its current race tune, which allows it to lap the Goodwood circuit in under 1m30s. And that's where you see it here, prowling around the paddocks and putting the wind up all those fragile E-Types and 250 SWBs. Brutal, angry thing.

Spotted at the 2016 Goodwood Revival - more photos here.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Radford Mini De Ville GT

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

...not just any Radford Mini De Ville GT, but George Harrison's Radford Mini De Ville GT. Starring in the Magical Mystery Tour movie, this was Harrison's own car that he'd had converted by Radford in 1965 from a stock Austin Cooper S. At first it was metallic black, and sported those unusual rally-style front lights and sideways-mounted VW Beetle tail-lights, along with a full-length Webasto roof and custom leather interior, although George didn't opt for the trademark Radford one-piece tailgate. In '67 the Mini was repainted in red and gold, and slathered with designs inspired by the Ajit Mookerjee book Tantra Art: Its Philosophies and Physics, something that John Lennon also did to his Rolls-Royce Phantom V.

After Magical Mystery Tour wrapped, Harrison decided to gift the Mini to Eric Clapton. The custom artwork didn't survive his ownership though, so what you're seeing here is the fully restored version. It's more of a best-guess than a faithful recreation as, for some reason, no detailed pictures of the car in period were available to work from - so its restorers had to piece it together using stills from the movie. Looks pretty incredible though, doesn't it?

Spotted at the 2016 Concours of Elegance - more pics here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Porsche 924 Carrera GTP 002

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Porsche 924 Carrera GT came as a bit of a surprise in 1980. Following the success of the nat-asp and turbo production cars, this fiery homologation model with its pumped-up arches, massive intercooler and copious vents made a clear statement of Porsche's intent to take the 924 racing. And at the 1980 Le Mans 24hr, that's exactly what they did - three racers, in Carrera GTP form, entered the Prototype Class run by teams from Germany, the USA and Great Britain.

The one you see here, GTP 002, remains the only factory-run Porsche race car to run under the British flag. It finished 12th overall - 5th in class - at the hands of Andy Rouse and Tony Dron, and it's recently been restored by Porsche Cars Great Britain; in fact, to celebrate 40 years of the 924, this project was no ordinary restoration: Porsche Centre Glasgow worked on the suspension and brakes, Swindon dealt with the engine, Hatfield took care of the gearbox, and the plumbing and electrics was sorted by Porsche Centre Leeds. The body was brought back to its 1980 glory by Porsche-approved repairer Road & Race Restorations. You can read more about the work here.

Spotted at Salon Privé 2016 - more photos here.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Peugeot Oxia

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Peugeot are great at concept cars. Always have been. The Onyx, the Proxima, the 907, they're all achingly beautiful creations, brimming over with brilliant ideas.
What's particularly brilliant about this one, the Oxia, is that it works. And I don't just mean it can trundle around a showground when required - it's got a bona fide race car heart, and can hit 217mph.

The legend goes that Peugeot spent eight million Francs on the Oxia programme, riding on the coat-tails of their motorsport successes; having kicked a comprehensive quantity of arse in Group B, at Pikes Peak, at the Paris-Dakar and, most relevant here, at Le Mans, they decided to throw a whole bunch of cash at an absurd mid-engined hypercar prototype with absolutely no production viability. Why not, eh?

So, the carbon-Kevlar Oxia had a Le Mans engine - the WM P88 twin-turbo V6, lightly detuned to give a sensible 670bhp. The whole chassis was scratch-engineered to match; four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, electronically-controlled diffs, the works. Initial aerodynamic projections predicted a top speed of 187mph, but then Peugeot took it to Nardo for testing and were pleased to note that it could actually do 217mph. For goodness' sake.

...and it wouldn't be a Peugeot concept without a raft of cockpit gadgets and gizmos. The Oxia has a radio-telephone, a CD player (radical for 1988!), and even a navigation system. In case you've been going so fast that you've ended up on the wrong side of the horizon and can't find your way back, presumably.

Spotted at the 2016 Concours of Elegance - more pics here.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Bristol Bullet

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

A true Bristol needs to be polarising. They've never built catch-all cars to please every eye - Bristols have always been challenging, offbeat, and even repellent to some. It's this repellency that forms the principal appeal for many owners, it's like being in a belligerent club.
The new Bullet, you'll be pleased to learn, is typically shocking. (Shocking in a positive sense, that is, for it is indisputably superb.) For £250k you get a retro-styled roadster that'll hurtle from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, all the while enveloping you in sumptuous luxury. And yet it's deliberately obtuse. There's no roof - none at all - and Bristol traditionalists will be aghast at the massive touchscreen in the dash. They'll choke on their pipes with renewed fervour when they learn that the body is made from carbon composites rather than hand-formed aluminium. But if you want a Bristol in the traditional-ish sense, this is the last chance to buy a new one - parent company Frazer-Nash are experimenting with electric and hybrid drivetrains, and the era of brawny, V8-powered Bristols will have this new Bullet as its full-stop.
Personally, I think it's utterly magnificent. Lottery ticket purchased, fingers crossed.

Spotted at Salon Privé 2016 - more pics here.