Tuesday, 29 September 2015

LaSupra

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



Every now and then a car appears on the scene that transcends mere fads and fashions, waves two wanton fingers at the rulebook, and makes everybody re-evaluate just what's possible in the sphere of fiddling about with old cars. The car you see here is - whisper it - LaSupra.

The brainchild of a father-and-son team, Peter and Lasse, this Lancia Delta has been tweaked and honed for the best part of a decade. Its current guise - the latest, but by no means ultimate, iteration - features Toyota Supra running gear and some frankly eye-watering aero addenda. You can see it looking about 5% less bonkers here on Speedhunters back in June 2013... and here it is in April of last year, re-liveried in the spirit of Speedhunters' #JoyOfMachine ethos, and with the Toyota twin turbos swapped for a sodding great Precision 6266, angling total beef toward 700bhp-odd. And as you pore over the photos you can see just how fastidious and pernickerty the build has become - every millimetre of the car has been analysed and streamlined for purpose and performance. The fact that it's a bit of a looker is merely a happy coincidence.

As ever, you can click the photos to expand!
Spotted at RRG14 - click here for more pics from the event.

















Thursday, 24 September 2015

1968 Miura P400

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



Lamborghini Miuras are always special. With ideas pinched from the humble Mini (the transversely-mounted engine, the gearbox-in-sump arrangement) and an overtly race-car-for-the-road ethos that saw the car designed behind Ferruccio Lamborghini's back - he was more keen on building luxurious grand tourers - it had solid pedigree right from the start. The fact that Marcello Gandini styled it to look like some kind of boisterous spaceship has ensured that it's every bit as jaw-dropping today as it was when it was unveiled in Geneva in 1966.

The shouty SV is the poster-kid for countless retro supercar droolers, but let's just take a moment to enjoy the elegance of the early P400. This 1968 example (ignore the '73 plates), resplendent in baby blue, just drips charm, simultaneously managing to be aggressive and delicate, friendly and foreboding. It's one of the all-time great designs, mankind can be very proud of this one.

Spotted at Salon Privé 2015 - more pics here.









Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Subaru Vanguard

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



This fabulously aggressive Standard Vanguard is the work of Toulmin Motors in Windsor, who have been growing in stature with their fresh focus on retro custom builds. They've just fitted air-ride to a Rambler wagon, and are in the process of doing the same to an Austin A30, which is also receiving a dinky Suzuki twin-cam, but the Vanguard is the craziest of the lot - beneath that brutally scraped and lacquered body resides the chassis and running gear from a Subaru Impreza. Which should surprise a few people...
Full feature coming soon in PPC, keep your eyes peeled.






Friday, 18 September 2015

Lancia Sport Prototipo Zagato

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



This rather splendid little thing was crafted by the Lancia Works team in 1964 to compete in the Targa Florio. It was very much a superleggera concept, with light alloy bodywork, minimal interior embellishments, and plastic windows. This made for pretty eager performance thanks to the 148bhp 1.8-litre boxer under the bonnet, and it sounded spectacular too. Marco Crosina and Fernando Frescobaldi drove the car in the '64 event and, despite an unfortunate DNF due to an unexpected foray off the road, it was the darling of the Works team and they lovingly embraced it back into the fold.
Motorsport, however, is a money game, and Lancia's bigwigs felt that it made more sense to race the standard Flavia Zagato so that they could sell some motors off the back of it; the Sport Prototipo ended up languishing in Lancia’s Reparto Corse for a few years, forlorn and largely forgotten.

Salvation came in 1967 however, when Works racer and champion Claudio Maglioli found the car and convinced department head Sandro Fiorio to sell it to him, along with any spares that were kicking around. Maglioli ended up keeping it in his workshop for over twenty years, steadily restoring it, before selling it on in 1991; the buyer kept it for 21 years before offering it up for auction in Monaco in 2012, and that's where its current owner Heinz Swoboda got hold of it. SSBB caught up with him at this year's Salon Privé, where he proudly explained that "my wife has painted the period race numbers back on with household undercoat and a thick brush." An impressively gung-ho approach for a car that, back in 2012, cost him a tasty €190,400. No word on whether or not he's planning to keep it for a couple of decades, although that does seem to be what the car demands...

More from Salon Privé 2015 here.












Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Money Pit

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis



Gassers are a very special kind of madness, holding drag fans in their thrall while utterly baffling folks who don't know what they are. They look belligerently strange, they offer surprising performance that often belies their donor bodies' humble roots, and they're just downright nuts.
In the 1940s and '50s, the American street rod scene was flourishing, and drag racing was a natural development. Different race classes evolved, with the gassers being the ones that ran on regular pump gas (or at least some derivative thereof) rather than the alcohol mixtures of the more hardcore builds. Unlike alkies, gassers were the sort of cars that were driven to the strip, raced, then driven home again. And as time passed and competition modifications became increasingly sophisticated, so a certain function-over-form aesthetic developed - they wore skinny front tyres and fat rears, the front ends jacked up to aid weight transfer, with beam axles to save weight, plastic windows, stripped out interiors and, usually, sodding great V8s.

The Money Pit is an example of what happened when the gassers came to Britain. Drag racing arrived in the UK in 1964, and it was immediately popular, with the aesthetics and engineering transferring neatly from US to UK cars. This particular one is a 1957 Ford Thames van - a period build, all pre-1960s and original, including that 318ci (5.2-litre) Mopar V8. Well, it's a bit racier than the Thames' stock 1,172cc sidevalve motor anyway...

Spotted at the 2015 Goodwood Revival - more photos here.