Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Rotary Clubman

This is some next-level modifying - possibly the coolest car I've seen this year.
From the outside it appears to be a standard (bodily-speaking, that is) Mini Clubman Estate, sitting improbably low over a set of Performance Challenger rims - it's even painted in a gloriously nineteen-seventies-esque Leyland shade of bilious green. But under the skin, hundreds upon hundreds of hours have gone into turning this unassuming base into an incredibly effective drag racer; the spaceframed nose holds a Mazda 12A rotary engine, while the custom chassis ensures that the bespoke suspension, tubbed arches, fuel cell, rollcage and all of the other toys hide cunningly within the car's factory-standard footprint. In a word, sensational.
Click here for more.

Aero-Eunos

The mkI MX-5 is one of the most enjoyable cars I've ever owned - even a simple trip to the shops was a thrilling, oversteery adventure. But I can't imagine how much fun this one must be...

The builder of this car, an automotive designer and aerodynamicist, has put a lot of thought into the airflow and stability of the little Eunos, as evidenced by the canards, diffuser, and that vast rear wing. This aerodynamic grip is complemented by further grip of the mechanical kind, thanks to the 9"-wide ATS Classics and their 215-section Toyo Proxes T1R tyres. A huge amount of tinkering has gone on under the bonnet too, with a bespoke turbocharger setup bolted to the 1.6-litre twin-cam along with a Megasquirt standalone ECU, oversized injectors and fuel pump, a large intercooler and much more besides.

For some, the MX-5/Eunos/Miata is a delicate, simple thing, to be enjoyed for its precision and purity. For others, as we see here, it's a gateway to otherworldly levels of performance. 240+ forced-induced horses in a sub-900kg, rear-wheel drive car with genuine ground-effect? I can think of few cars more fun.
Via Speedhunters

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Juanky Dodge 500

This may well be the perfect modified truck. Finished by Juanky Built and displayed at SEMA, it features the perfect blend of timeworn elegance, sumptuous interior appointments and groundbreaking embellishments. There's a whacking great V8 under the bonnet, polished truck rims (with, I would guess, half an inch shaved off the lips to enable them to run lo-pro car tyres), and a shiny tank for the air-ride mounted on the bed that's been refinished in glassily lacquered wood. The premium feel of the diamond-stitched interior is cheekily offset by a multitude of brass knuckles controlling the air-suspension and the truckbed. There's not a thing I'd change, it's superb.
Now, how do you pronounce 'Juanky'...?
Via stickydiljoe

'Bagged Audi 100

The 1968-76 Audi 100 has really come into its own as the retrobarge of choice on the VAG scene. They're a pretty scarce commodity, so when they emerge they tend to be done right. As this '73 model certainly is...
You can't really go wrong with a flat 1970s paint shade to complement the original chrome and leather seats. This is a rare two-door model - the sheer size of the thing meant that most were sold as more practical foor-doors - so it lends its form rather well to the girthsome, slab-sided, frame-laying lowrider treatment. It rides on Bagyard airbags over period-perfect BRM alloys, contemporised by virtue of being a rather modern 7x17" all round. Very nice indeed.
Click here and here for more.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Teal Genesis Coupe

It's interesting how Hyundai have gone from being manufacturers of cheap objects of derision to genuinely capable and desirable cars within the space of a couple of decades. The Hyundai Pony was never a rival to its European peers, but the modern Genesis Coupe is a genuinely strong alternative to the likes of the Audi TT and Nissan 370Z.
This particular Coupe looks almost like a CGI rendering - the sort of car you'd find in a Need For Speed game rather than a real street car; the ultra-low stance over those rainbow-shimmering 19" rims, the unique shade of teal that simultaneously absorbs and refracts sunlight, the swooping bodykit (a brave move in an OEM era)... it's an approach that combines the old and the new, applied to a name that is growing in stature. So, on the whole, it works. And that's good - more desirable Hyundais, please.
Via Stance:Nation

Pro-Street Austin America

Arguably the coolest Pro-Street cars are those which are built on unassuming bases. And while a drag racer based on an Austin 1100 would seem outlandish in the UK, it's a real headturner in the USA due to the base car's obscurity.
The Austin 1100 was available in a number of guises; launched in 1962 as the Morris 1100, you could variously find them badged as Riley Kestrel, Innocenti IM3, MG 1100, Wolseley 1100 and Vanden Plas Princess. It was also available across the Atlantic as the Austin America, although it was far from a roaring success over there. So it's pretty cool to see one that's received 'the treatment'; this one's got a fuel-injected, nitrous-infused V8 mounted way back under the bulkhead, Powerglide two-speed transmission, rollcage, buckets, Mickey Thompson wheels - the ad on Craigslist is mysteriously vague, but you can throw an offer in here.
The Austin 1100's most famous role was, in Countryman guise, being mercilessly thrashed by a branch-wielding Basil Fawlty. But he wouldn't have dared to lay a finger on this one... it would have ripped his arm off.

Friday, 23 November 2012

'77 Wartburg 353W

The Wartburg 353 is one of those basic, agricultural, utilitarian Eastern Bloc cars that seemed bleak and austere in period, but are now enjoying a certain retro chic. Like the Trabant 601, or the Skoda 120.
This particular one is very impressive indeed, taking its styling cues from the retro/stance scene; the suspension for Wartburgs isn't that well-served by the aftermarket, as you might imagine, so this 353 has been lowered on a custom setup - Citroën AX shocks and Mercedes W210 springs at the front, Renault Clio shocks and Mercedes W203 coils out back. The wheels, which look like oh-so-trendy BBS splits as found all over the VW and BMW scenes, are actually custom-painted Chrysler LeBaron rims on one-off hubs.
To retain that retro East German charm, the 353 keeps its 50bhp two-stroke engine - after all, this machine was built for show, not go. And everyone loves the smell of two-stroke.
See Stance:Nation for more.

Kadett D Caravan

No, not 'caravan' in that sense... in an Opel Kadett context, the word means 'estate'.
This is rather a special one too. Ten years ago it might have sounded absurd that a brown eighties Kadett estate might be considered cool, but cool this undoubtedly is: it's wearing a polished set of BBS RS, it's got a C20LET under the bonnet (that's a turbocharged 2.0-litre DOHC, fact fans), and it's parked on a railway line. What could be cooler than that?
More here.