Monday, 11 July 2016

Meyrignac Coupé

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Among the myriad delights of the Cartier Style & Luxe concours lawn at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed nestled a gaggle of swoopy, curvaceous Alpines of various provenance. Their number included the lesser-spotted Willys Interlagos (an A108 built under licence in Brazil), and that in itself would normally be a show-stopper... were it not for the presence of an angular hunk o' cheese parked nearby, confounding passers-by with its lashings of what-the-hell-is-that-ness.

What it is, in fact, is the Meyrignac Coupé: a prototype that popped up at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, designed and built by Parisian whippersnapper Denis Meyrignac and based on the Alpine A110 1600S Berlinette. It was an inventive and exciting thing that, like so many aspects of French culture, was ultimately quashed by relentless bureaucracy. The authorities demanded that the Coupé be subjected to expensive emissions type-approval (and bear in mind that it was running an already-approved Renault motor...), all of which led the exasperated Meyrignac to park it in a corner of the garage and leave it to rot. Fortunately for the car, however, Meyrignac went on to work on a freelance basis for the Renault Formula 1 team before moving to auto design studio SERA, so his creds were strong; when Renault Classic learned that he still had the prototype, they offered to restore it for the Goodwood concours. Which was nice. Looks pretty sharp, doesn't it?

More pics from the 2016 FoS here.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Carbon EP3

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Envy is the modifier's curse. Having recently bought an EP3 Type R, I now find that I'm always peering at other people's EP3s for inspiration - this green one, for example, made me consider the possibility of fitting Mitsubishi Evo IX wheels.

But this carbon-fibre affair? It's sent my aspirations into overdrive. Now I really want a carbon bootlid, and StopTech brakes, and a ducktail, and air-ride, and... ah hell, it's all good here. Inspiration indeed. Inspiration and deep, deep envy.

Spotted at the 2016 Players Classic - more pics here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

BMW 2002 Hommage

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

It seems like BMW are having a lot of fun these days, doesn't it? They've certainly got this retro-futuristic concept thing nailed, with the 2002 Hommage being the latest show car to emerge bristling with the accoutrements of a factory full of nostalgic dreamers.
Taking the formidable new M2 as a base, this car shamelessly steals from the old 2002 Turbo's box of aggressive tricks, not least the iconic mirrored 'obrut' on the front spoiler. It's got massively pumped-up arches, to evoke the old Turbo's bolt-on items, an off-centre roundel on the rump, scene-stopping wheels, and track-focused aggression in spades.
And yes, obviously there's a turbo. Quite a big one. The M2's boosted 3.0-litre straight-six also has various M3 internals, and there's a race exhaust here along with heavy-duty cooling and lubrication. You're looking down the thick end of 370bhp. Time to redraft your lottery-win garage wishlist...

Spotted at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed - more pics here.

Monday, 4 July 2016

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. Back in 2013 it was wearing flat green paint, then it moved onto a rather splendid black-and-gold affair, complete with skyscraping pipes, and just look how fairground-fabulous it is now. A real 'why the hell not?' car that's hard not to love.

Spotted at the 2016 Retro Show - click here for more photos.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Bagged 356 Speedster

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Simple instructions for how to win at life: acquire 356 Speedster, paint beige, fit air-ride, park in grass. That's pretty much it. Ask James Munro, owner of this low-down Outlaw, he'll tell you. Life doesn't need to be complicated, you just need a cool car with a twist. Satisfaction will surely follow.

Spotted at the 2016 Players Classic - more pics here.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Bugatti Chiron

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

The Bugatti Veyron was launched eleven years ago. That's a little surprising, isn't it? VW's vast slab of opulent horsepower has become such a symbol of hypercar excess that we hadn't really noticed it becoming a little long in the tooth. Time, then, for a replacement...

At first glance, the new Chiron appears to be a case of evolution rather than revolution, but the still waters of this car run very deep indeed. It carries over the Veyron's 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 motor, but in heavily revised form that offers 1,479bhp. Which is rather a lot, frankly. And its 1,180lb.ft of torque is enough to ensure that the tarmac behind its wheels will always be rucked up like an old hallway rug. It'll do 0-62mph in 2.5s, 0-124mph in 6.5s, and 0-186mph in 13.6s, going on to a top speed that's governed to 261mph for safety reasons (i.e. that your face might actually come free from its moorings and splatter against the rear bulkhead). It'll do 288mph if you trick the limiter. That's the world we're living in.

Spotted at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed - more photos here.