Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lamborghini Diablo

Lee from sent me this pic and it reminded me of my favourite matchbox cars. Some of which I still have somewhere ready for my future kids (and me) to play with. The angles and the silver and black wheels bring back memories of zooming them across the carpet, couch, bed or anyone who happened to be lying in the way.

The Lamborghini Diablo was built around a huge motor and I remember seeing one, actually three of them, for the first time and being blown away by the massively wide rear end and the tiny cockpit where you sat to 'guide' the thing.

The three Diablo's I saw were a SV, SE30 and a VT. Incredible cars based around a 5.7 litre V12 producing 492hp. By the time the production finished in 2001 was a 6.0 litre producing 550hp with a top speed over 200mph. Beautiful cars that are still head turners today.

More info here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Dodge Chargers are some of the coolest cars ever built especially the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Superbird. The front end treatment and the huge rear spoiler make these cars stand out wherever they are. They were very successful in NASCAR but didn't sell so well because the general public thought they were ugly. A top speed record of 200mph was set at Talladega by Buddy Baker in 1970 with the huge wing helping keep the back wheels on the track. It has been said it could have gone a lot faster without the wing but the record still stood for 13 years and was only beaten by 1mph.

All supercars have quirks and the Superbird had an excellent one. If you drove it slowly for too long it would overheat. You can imagine the excuse when the cop pulls you over, "Sorry officer. Any slower and it overheats." Wonder it if would have worked. Beautiful, brutal car that I would love in my garage but it probably wouldn't fit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ferrari 458 Italia

I have to tell you I am not a Ferrari fan. If I wanted a Formula One style steering wheel and lap timer, I would race open seaters, or go carts. Plus Ferrari's have this annoying habit of sounding like screaming cats. Taking a drive in a 599 recently convinced me of that.

Right, so now I have convinced you I am not a Ferrari fan let me tell you about the Ferrari 458 Italia. It's beautiful. Pininfarina staff must have had pixie dust sprinkled on them because this really is an amazing looking car. Yes it has a top speed of 203mph, 562bhp from its 4.5-litre V8, and only weighs 1380kg but it has all the F1 trickery that Ferrari drivers love so much and three exhausts to get even closer to the F1 sound.

So because it's a Ferrari I'm just going to look at it and imagine it parked on my deck so I can stare at it instead of the TV. Beautiful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

1956 Ford F-100

When it comes to old trucks I'm a sucker for Ford F-100's. However, I must confess I am a bit biased because my dad had one when he was young. The stories about it from him and his mates have stuck with me. Dad's F-100 was a red 1956 with a 308ci V8 and a piece of channel steel for the front bumper.

The motor was blue printed and rebuilt by an old guy who built racing engines. Dad mostly did this so he could win the annual 'race' at the 90 mile fishing contest where 2000 cars would line up and race off in opposite directions. Imagine that, 2000 cars, on a beach! I am hoping to get some pics of dads truck and old fishing contest photo's. There is meant to be one of dad going round the rocks at the end of the beach with wheels in the air and the running board digging into the sand causing a huge rooster tail. Fantastic.

The F-100 above is my idea of a beautiful truck. Love the matt paint, red rims and white walls. Very cool and very smooth.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

1937 Delahaye 135M Figoni et Falaschi Cabriolet

The coolest thing about having is finding beautiful motoring examples of makes I have never heard of. Delahaye 135M was the name of a chassis built by the Dalahaye Automobile Manufacturing Company and clothed by various famous coachbuilders of the time. This one is by French coachbuilders Figoni et Falaschi who built at least nine cars using the 135M chassis. Each one as beautiful as this. Figoni et Falaschi were considered the best French coachbuilders at the time and Delahaye had a reputation for 'powerful, reliable automobiles'. A match made in heaven then.

What I love about cars of this time is that the cars were always raced and then used as daily drivers. Not something easily done these days and a testament to how strong and powerful they were. By 1937 the Delahaye cars were winning lots of races and had a 3.2 litre, six-cylinder, overhead-valve motor (from a Delahaye truck) producing 110bhp with triple Solex carburetors. Cool.

Find out more here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

B-702 by Blastolene

The Blastolene boys build some of the most outrageously cool vehicle art around. This one designed by Michael Leeds and built by Randy  is called the B-702. It is almost 20ft long with a 702ci V12 from GMC backed by an Allison 4 speed.

The bodywork just flows and it looks like it's going 200km/h sitting still. Very cool. Check out the other pics and google it because the V12 sounds incredible and amazingly produces 650 lb.ft. of torque at a very low 850 rpm!

A great example of beautiful motoring on a scale I like, big. Check out the other Blastolene cars at Read the stories to. They are real car nuts. Excellent.

View more pics of it here.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Claude Lelouch's "C´etait un rendezvous"

I heard about this movie recently and easily sat through the 8 minutes high speed driving through the streets of Paris. The film is a great example of beautiful motoring and even though Jay Leno was able to make his The Fast and The Famous video early in the morning he wouldn't be able to do this through Paris today.

The film was made in one take with a camera mounted on the bumper of a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. A F1 driver friend of the director did the driving and it is claimed he hit over 200km/h. Whatever the top speed it's a beautiful film and a great drive. Definitely on a par with the car chase in Ronan which I think is one of the best ever. 

Sit back, turn the sound up and enjoy. Look for the pigeons and the garbage trucks.

P.S. Get more beautiful motoring on our Facebook page.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lamborghini LM002

The Lamborghini LM002 makes the Hummer look seriously anemic. When Lamborghini decided to try and break into the Military market they did it in real style. After two attempts that didn't go so well they came up with the LM002 and immediately sold a lot of them to the Saudi Arabian army and Libya. Great.

Not many people could get the smile off their face after driving this brute with run flat tires, 76 gallon fuel tank, a 400+hp Lamborghini Countach V12 and 145mph top speed. It didn't take off as a military vehicle so it got sold to us normal folks. Well sort of normal.

The car was nick named the Rambo-Lambo and Sylvester Stallone even owned one for awhile. Civilian models had air conditioning, tinted windows, leather and a great stereo mounted in the roof. All up about 300 were sold.

The 80's were a great time for beautifully over the top vehicles. I'm sure I would get some bad looks driving this through Auckland, and probably would have to re-mortgage to pay for the fuel, but .... it would be cool.

Watch a video of one here. Sounds great.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

'Ursaab' Saab Prototype 92001

I have been holding to this pic because I've seen it around and about on different blogs. After World War Two Saab were wondering what market to go into and decided to give cars a go. The result was some very cool, aerodynamic cars. I find it interesting two of the other main factors were front wheel drive and winter capability. I'm not sure those go together but maybe it meant it had a heater.

To me this car could have been like the 2CV: unbreakable and wildly popular. The two cylinder 2-stroke motor developed a whopping 18HP and was mounted transversely. Not a speedster by any means it was driven a lot and covered thousands of miles in testing. In fact Saab were so committed to testing their test cars covered approximately 530,000 miles (thats a few times around the world) before the final production models went into production in 1949.

This is the beautiful start to Saab's automotive history. Read more about it here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Alfa Romeo 6C 2500

The Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 was first built in the 1930's and yet looking at this 1945 model my first thought was it could be a modern car. Beautiful lines and colour combine to give it a 'new' ultra modern look. Alfa Romeo really build beautiful cars but they hit it out of the park with the 1945 6C 2500.

6C refers to the straight 6 under the bonnet and the 2500 is the cc size. Capable of producing up to 110HP the car accelerated well and did very well in racing. Alfa Romeo worked with a lot of different coachbuilders to produce some stunning 6C models. Read more about the 6C here. It is a long and interesting history of beautiful motoring.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

1976 3.0 CSL by Frank Stella

I had the opportunity to see the BMW Art Cars at the Auckland Museum and they were amazing. Beautiful works of art that go very fast.

The 3.0 CSL was the car that I really enjoyed and even got down on my hands and knee's to look under its skirts. It didn't disappoint. Under the bonnet is a 3.2L straight six engine with a very large turbocharger that produced 750bhp in race tune. Very cool to get so up close and personal to an amazing car.

It was was entered into the 1976 Le Mans by BMW and driven by Brian Redman and Peter Gregg. After qualifying 8th it didn't do so great in the race as it had to be retired at the four hour mark with an oil leak. It was entered into a 6 hour race later in the year but after qualifying on pole retired after 33 laps with drive train failure.

Read more about the car and Frank Stella here, the whole BMW Art Car Collection here and download the image as a background here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

1965 Chevrolet Corvair

The Corvair is a cool looking car and with its Flat Six a very interesting part of Chevrolet history. Lots of American's seem to have had them as first cars and wish they had kept them.

As one of the first 'Compact Cars' the Corvair heralded a new style. The car was very radical for Chevrolet because the engine was rear mounted, it stopped and it handled. Journalists fell over themselves to drive it when it was released and it sold very well. One of the coolest versions was a turbocharged model introduced in 1962 that had 150HP. Great horsepower in a light vehicle.

In 1965 Ralph Nader wrote a book called Unsafe at any Speed about the automotive industries reluctance to put money into safety features. It used the Corvair as a case study and that badly affected sales. So with that, the Mustang, and what seems to be a lack of interest at GM, a beautiful car was laid to rest.

Photo credit

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1947 Cisitalia 202 Spider Nuvolari

The best thing about having this website is indulging my passion for the motorcar and finding beautiful cars I have never heard of. The Cisitalia is one of those cars and the 1947 202 Spider Nuvolari is a sight to behold. Cisitalia was an Italian motorcar company owned by Piero Dusio and they provided the chassis that Pininfarina using the famous Fiat 1100 motor. The motors however were highly worked with high compression pistons, forged connecting rods, billet crankshaft, dry sumped and developed between 55hp and 65hp. Pretty good for a very light car and if you went for the Mille Miglia package you could get even more horsepower with a 9.8:1 compression ratio.

It is interesting to note that todays cars are up in the 10's and 11's to 1 compression ratio's but the technology to make it all hold together came from cars like this. Also the Cisitalia ran a gear driven fan and water pump for reliability - no broken fan belts - and the body shape was the forerunner to real aerodynamic cars. When you remember this car was built in 1947, amazing. Another great example of beautiful motoring.

Great selection of pics here at Cisitalia info here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Salt Flat racers

The lure of the Bonneville Salt Flats is very strong to the racers who head there every year and the cars are beautiful examples of speed and function. I hope to get there and see the spectacle myself in the next few years. Maybe even build something myself one day. That would be cool.

A lot of Lakesters were made from P51 Mustang, P47 Thunderbolt and P38 Lightening long range fuel tanks and had every sort of engine and drive combination you could think of put in them. In almost no time these cars were easily achieving over 200mph in speed trials.

These cars are a beautiful sight and started the legends of many engine builders and race car builders like Mickey Thompson and Chet Herbert.

See some great pics from the 50's on the Selvedge Yard blog here and read about the legendary 1951 Tom Beatty Lakester here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1970 Mercedes Benz 280SL

One of these was parked across the road from my favourite lunch bar last week and it was so cool I almost asked the lady owner for a drive. The '67 to '71 280SL is definitely one of the most beautiful cars you will see on the road today.

The "Pagoda" style roof on this model SL looks fantastic and really adds some drama (sorry couldn't think of a better word) to the car. The sides of the roof were raised to make entry and exit easier plus it reportedly made the roof stronger.

This convertible is one of the few you will look cool in and is a supreme example of beautiful motoring.

Read more about the SL here.