Sports Car Digest – The Sports, Racing and Vintage Car Journal Sports Car Digest focuses on Classic Car Auctions, Concours d’Elegance, Vintage Car Racing, Road Rallies and other historic automotive events. Tue, 28 Jun 2022 19:21:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sports Car Digest – The Sports, Racing and Vintage Car Journal 32 32 10 Mediocre Cars Showcased For The 2022 Hagerty Festival Of The Unexceptional Tue, 28 Jun 2022 19:15:46 +0000 On July 30, Saturday, the much-awaited 2022 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional will take place. It is a unique chance to walk around the beautiful grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire to marvel and appreciate the most marvelously mediocre and underappreciated cars ever made.

The expansive grounds of the Grimsthorpe Castle offers lakeside walks, formal gardens, and even a children’s play area, guaranteeing a great family day out for all guests of the 2022 Festival of the Unexceptional. Show facilities were also improved for 2022 as they offer a wide array of food and beverage outlets, a new vehicle access point, more display cars, easy parking, and exclusive Hagerty entertainment.

The annual Concours de l’Ordinaire by Hagerty highlights 50 classic vehicles from 1967 to 1997. It also celebrates the world of mundane motoring with a whimsical and ironic take on the typical concours format. Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional is the only car show that celebrates the mundane. One of the best parts of the festival is that the blazers and the chinos can take a back seat as the dress code is simply smart casual.

As a preview of what the 2022 festival has to offer, the Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional has confirmed 10 cars that will be showcased on the Grimsthorpe Castle concours lawn.

Fiat Panda Italia

Fiat Panda Italia

It was back in 1990 when Fiat launched the special edition of the Panda in celebration of Italy’s hosting of the World Cup and Fiat’s sponsorship of the tournament. Based on the 750cc Panda L, it is thought that there are only a handful of these Panda Cup UK version left on the road. The example that will be displayed was registered on the day England beat Egypt 1-0. Though it is said that when England was kicked out of the tournament, Fiat removed all the graphics and the hubcaps and the example was returned to its original L spec.

Ford Fiesta Fanfare

Ford Fiesta Fanfare

Bought new in 1992, the first owner of this Ford Fiesta lovingly cared for it. It was used daily and carefully kept in the family garage at the end of the day. At the age of 87, however, the owner decided it was safer to stop driving. When the second owner took custody of the Fanfare, the odometer showed that it has travelled a mere 16,500 miles.

Mazda 1800

Mazda 1800

It has become an unofficial Festival tradition to have a rare Mazda on display. Last year, the spotlight was on a 1982 Mazda 929L estate. For this year, they are featuring the 1971 Mazda 1800, which is a very rare car that even the most zealous Festival fan might have a hard time recognizing the model.

The example was styled by Bertone, and it is thought that it is one of only three cars of the model in the UK. It is also one of the earliest surviving imported Mazdas.

Renault Mégane Scénic

Renault Mégane Scénic

In 1997, the Renault Mégane Scénic was awarded the European Car of the Year. Unfortunately, it seems that the survival rate of the model is extremely low. Just became eligible for the concours this year, the example that will be displayed is as original and unmodified a Scénic as possible, with 60,000 miles showing on the odometer. Do keep note of the genuine Renault teddy bear still in the car.

Vauxhall Astra Merit

Vauxhall Astra Merit

These days, Vauxhalls are not quite as popular especially after the Ford and Vauxhall rivalry wherein Ford seemed to have gotten the upper hand. Of course, each brand had their fans, but in the 90s, Vauxhall could not quite keep up with Ford in terms of magazine road tests. Powered by a modest 1.4-liter engine, even its specifications are fittingly unexceptional.

Moskvitch 2140

Moskvitch 2140

In 1930, Avtomobilny Zavod imeni Leninskogo Komsomola was a Soviet – now Russian – car maker that made Fords that were shipped out in component form. In 1939, they needed a new and much catchier name, hence, Moskvitch was born.

A late model of the 2140 which started production back in 1976 and ended in 1988, this 1986 model is finished in yellow and brown. It is powered by a 1.5-liter engine that drives the rear wheels.

Leyland Princess 2200

Leyland Princess 2200

The owner of the bronze example of the Leyland Princess 2200 describes their pride and joy as “A wallowy cornering gait, a super-smooth ride and the pleasing whine of its straight-six”. Designed by Harris Mann, who also designed the Allegro, Princess, and TR7, this 2200 model is a bit posh for the Concours de l’Ordinaire. It is rather exciting to see a low-mileage, surviving example in person.

Reliant Regal 21E

Reliant Regal 21E

One of the most recognizable British classics, it won’t be a surprise if the 1969 Reliant Regal will be an instant crowd favorite during the Festival, as it has built for itself a perfect image largely due to being the brunt of numerous jokes through the years. This model was once a relatively common, everyday transport. It is just less appreciated, so the odd-wheeled Regal is a perfect example for this year’s concours.

Ford Ka

Ford Ka

Similar to the Renault Scénic, the first-generation Ford Ka is another model that has recently been eligible to be part of the concours. The model did not last long on the road as it was prone to rust. So, it is even more surprising that the model that will be showcased at this year’s Festival is not just an early production car, but it was built in September 1996, the first month of production. It is also one of only 14 first-year cars that have reportedly survived.

Hyundai Lantra GLSi

Hyundai Lantra GLSi

UK critics were quick to dismiss the Hyundai when it first entered the market. Now, the Hyundai is considered to be at par if not better than the models that Ford or Volkswagen make. The example, a 1992 Lantra is a three-owner example with a glorious paintwork with grey velour trim. Powered by a 16-valve, 1.6-liter engine, the GLSi also proudly sports steel wheels and no air conditioning, a perfect specimen for the Festival of the Unexceptional.

Tickets for the 2022 Festival of the Unexceptional can now be purchased online.

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Kerrison Drogo Ferrari: An Oldschool Legend Mon, 27 Jun 2022 22:00:35 +0000 I thought that I would take a little time to recount the story of one of the most exciting-looking (and -driving) cars it’s ever been my privilege to own, albeit briefly.

In about 1991, I bought the remains of the Drogo bodywork that had adorned the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis number 2735 GT, when Chris Kerrison had owned it.  This was after he had bought it from Rob Walker, Stirling Moss’s entrant. Stirling had won the 1961 TT with it.

How the Kerrison Drogo Ferrari Found Its Way to Me

Chris Kerrison’s co-driver, Don Benson had had an accident with it in the 1962 TT at Goodwood, and Kerrison then sent the crumpled car to Drogo to Carozzeria Sportscars in Modena, who clothed it in a fantastically low aluminum body—something like a GTO but lower(!). Chris Kerrison then raced the car with some success, and later, when it had passed through several owners, David Cottingham in England got it and re-bodied back to SWB shape.

So I bought the cast-off Drogo body, now re-gone through again with new aluminum where necessary, and it was now mounted on a 250 GT 2 +2 chassis, 3611 GT. I’ve recently discovered that this GTE was originally given to John Surtees, then a Ferrari Works driver, when it was new in 1962.

The Drogo-bodied Ferrari 250 GT under reconstruction
The Drogo-bodied Ferrari 250 GT under reconstruction at Allen Goodall’s bodyshop in Redditch, England (photo: author’s collection).

Working on the Kerrison Drogo Ferrari

I gave the unfinished project to my dear friend Allen Goodall, a very underrated body man in England, where I lived at the time—and then I bought a 275 GTB engine, number 07677. Allen installed it and I went racing.

I entered Brands Hatch for a one-hour race and did the Coppa Inter Europa at Monza—and also raced her at Spa. Then I sold her in about 1994 to Dan Ghose, who raced it too. I remember also that Ghose’s co-driver crashed it (at Imola, I think). It was rebuilt and is still around.

It was a great car, though I could only drive it with my head cocked on one side when I had a helmet on, so low was the roof! I can remember that Allen had had to notch the chassis cross member that ran beneath the cockpit to slot the seat back into—there was no adjustable driver’s seat!

Kerrison Drogo Ferrari Kerrison Drogo Ferrari Kerrison Drogo Ferrari Kerrison Drogo Ferrari

The handling was terrific and very confidence-inspiring, so good was the balance of the chassis. Drogo had taken pains to mount the engine as far back in the chassis as possible and I can’t remember how short the propshaft was, but there wasn’t much of it. I had a good dice with an Aston DB4GT at Brands and won that one but can’t remember Monza and Spa now (though I think we finished both races well).

Incidentally, the Berlinetta was also incredibly tractable, and I used to drive her down to the local pub—where she quite stole the show from all the modern Porsches, Ferraris, and assorted sports cars that used to go there at Sunday lunchtimes.

A while after I had bought the Drogo, Mick Wheeler wrote to me:

“It must have been sometime in the 1960’s when it came to the garage of our local spannerman Bill Basson. I was car mad at the time and would work for Bill Basson at weekends and holiday times just to be near racing cars. Dear Alan Stacey used to get his works-supported Lotus’s fettled there, and I was sometimes allowed to touch it.

When the Drogo came in for some minor bodywork repairs, I fell in love with it. I still think it’s the most beautiful car body ever. If ever the lottery comes up for me I will seek it out and buy it (I must start doing the lottery)!”

The photo below shows me with the car outside the farmhouse that I lived in at that time. Happy days!

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For Sale: Sir David Brown-Owned Aston Martin DB5 Convertible Mon, 27 Jun 2022 16:28:54 +0000 Aston Martin Specialists, Nicholas Mee & Co. are currently offering an Aston Martin DB5 Convertible. What sets this specific DB5 apart from the other legends is that this example was ordered and owned by the same man whose initials were given to the DB-series, the previous Aston Martin chairman Sir David Brown.

The Aston Martin DB5 Convertible’s significance in automotive history is undeniable. Only 123 examples were built adding to the desirability of the DB5, making it one of the most sought-after cars for collectors all over the world. The DB5 model rose to superstar status when it first appeared in coupe form in the 1964 film Goldfinger as James Bond’s car of choice. Through the decades, it has maintained its status as a symbol of British prestige and to this day, it has remained an icon. It was also part of the most recent James Bond film, No Time to Die.

Even amongst legendary cars, some are more desirable than others.

Out of the 123 DB5 Convertibles manufactured, one has set itself apart by being the only one ordered and owned by Aston Martin Lagonda chairman Sir David Brown himself. This makes the already desirable DB5 Convertible offered by Nicholas Mee & Co a truly unique history. It was in January 1964 when the example was delivered new to Sir David. It was built to the highest spec for a DB5 complete with a Power Lock rear axle, five-speed ZF gearbox which was new at the time, chromed wire wheels, and a Motorola radio. The factory build sheet shows that it was specified in a vibrant Caribbean pearl matched with a Dark Blue interior.

Sir David cherished the example for three years then it was acquired by garage proprietor and former Aston Martin DB4 owner John Wilkinson. It was under Wilkinson’s ownership that an Aston Martin in Newport Pagnell did some maintenance on the example. It was given a replacement engine block and in 1969, a newly stamped manufacturer’s identity plate was applied.

In 1994, a y ear after Sir David Brown passed away, Nicholas Mee & Co sold the example. Since then, it has been part of different Concours events across Europe. For the first time in 28 years, this piece of automotive history will once again be on offer.

It was given a major restoration that followed its original specifications back in 2014. They rebuilt the 4-liter engine, gearbox, suspension, brakes, and rear axle. They also gave the example a bare metal repaint, and complete retrim of the interior Connolly hide, as well as a new hood covering. After the work was completed, the example drives as beautifully as it once did when it was ordered by Sir David.

The DB series of sports cars and grand tourers were Sir David Brown’s vision. It started with the DB1 up to the Aston Martin DB11 that is being sold in the market. However, it was the DB5 that brought the DB series to international fame. The DB5 is one of the most coveted collector’s cars in the world. In total, just over 1,000 examples of all the variants have been produced including the Convertible and the performance-enhanced Vantage versions.

In 1947, after seeing an advert offering the sale of a “High Class Motor Business” in The Times newspaper, Sir David acquired Aston Martin. The brand had then stopped producing cars to focus on making aircraft parts during World War II. Sir David saved the struggling brand and was the reason that Aston Martin is making some of the finest cars in the world today which includes the model that still proudly carries his initials.

Nicholas Mee, Founder of Nicholas Mee & Co. shared, “The very fact that Sir David Brown owned this DB5 Convertible makes it one of the most special and unique DB cars of all time. The DB5 itself is the most iconic Aston Martin model ever produced, but this car’s provenance sets it apart.”

Mee added, “It is restored to precisely the same specifications Sir David ordered it in back in 1964, it’s a car he cherished and loved. This is a one-of-a-kind example of British automotive history.”

The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible is offered for £1,150,000.

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On Auction: 1966 Shelby GT350 Mon, 27 Jun 2022 16:17:31 +0000 A relatively low mileage and extremely rare 1966 Shelby GT350 is currently on offer at Collecting Cars auction platform.

It is believed that the GT350 example still carries its factory-applied paintwork, having been finished in Wimbledon White with blue racing stripes accent. For the interior, it was given a black theme, with black-trimmed interior matched with black carpets, a black dashboard, and a wood-rimmed steering wheel.

It sits on top of period correct 14-inch pressed steel wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich tires. The exhaust system of the example was recently replaced with a bespoke stainless-steel system as well as the propshaft. Otherwise, it is believed that the example was completely unchanged from its original specification.

Under the hood is a 4.7-litger overhead valve V8 engine fed by a single four-barrel carburetor that produces around 306 bhp and matched to a slick four-speed manual transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. The odometer shows 52,500 miles from new.

In 2019 it was shipped to the UK from the US and was then subjected to extensive restoration work.

Dragon Wheels Restorations did the most recent maintenance on the example back in 2021 at around 51,000 miles. The work included changing the spark plug, fitting a Petronix electronic distributor conversion, and fabrication and fitting of a custom stainless-steel H-pipe exhaust system.

It was also serviced in February 2021 where it got its engine oil changed, oil filter and gearbox oil change. A lot of work was also done on a variety of engine components where it was stripped down, repainted, and given zinc plating. In January 2021, a lot of other parts were stripped, cleaned, and refinished.

No impact damage is present on the bodywork. There are also no known electrical or mechanical faults, and no warning lights showing on the dashboard.

The sale will come with a selection of news articles, manuals, photographs, original spare wheel and jack, and a letter of accreditation from Shelby American. A collection of maintenance invoices on the extensive restoration work done on the car will also be included in the sale.

As of writing, the 1966 Shelby GT350 has a bid of £17,250 with the auction ending on July 1.

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Rarest Supercars At The London Concours (Gallery) Fri, 24 Jun 2022 16:09:25 +0000 In less than a week, the much-awaited event, the London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet will start. And just recently, they revealed a most stunning line-up of exotic supercars that will be on display during the three-day event.

Starting with the ‘Pursuit of Speed’ class, it consists of 15 of the most outlandish super and hypercars in existence today. On June 30, another 45 exotics will be displayed on the Honourable Artillery Company grounds for the dedicated Supercar Thursday, sponsored by Amari Lifestyle and in association with Drivers Union. The variety of truly spectacular cars (from the 1970s to the present day) will be seen in the central London location adding to the already impressive automobiles in the event which is showcasing cars from more than 100 years of motoring.

The huge variety of automotive exotica will include what many considers to be the ultimate supercar: the unparalleled Ferrari F40. In 1987, the F40 was launched in a relatively low-profile Civic Center in Maranello. It wasn’t long however, before it captured the attention of car fans all over the world. Designed by Pininfarina, the stripped-out, two-seater Ferrari was powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that was officially rated at 470 bhp. During practice, and on the road, a lot of people believe it was producing more, roughly over 500 bhp. It had a dry weight of 1100 kg with 426 lb/ft of torque. The F40 was simply speaking, very powerful. With the right driver, it could go from 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds, and 100 mph in only 8 seconds, and a top speed of 201 mph. Handling of the F40 was also superb, completing the package of an almost perfect supercar. It has been 35 years since it was launched, and throughout the decades the iconic and legendary F40 has kept its unique magnetism. The London Concours will give guests a chance to marvel at this legendary supercar as it is displayed in the heart of London.

Ferrari F40

Joining the F40 at the London Concours is its direct successor, the Ferrari F50. It entered production in 1995 as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration. After releasing the turbocharged F40 and 288 GTO, Ferrari gave the F50 a naturally aspirated, carbon tubbed 4.7-liter V12 engine matched with a 6-speed manual gearbox. It was officially rated at 512 bhp, but in terms of outright performance, the F50 seemed to be a little lacking, especially when compared to its turbocharged predecessor. The difference in performance was so evident that journalists were not allowed to figure the F50 at launch. With a obvious decrease in power, it was not surprising that the F50 was given mixed reviews at the time. In recent years though, the high-tech, highly-strung supercar is seen in a better light. What it lacked in power was made up by the highly responsive engine and overall purity of driving experience that the F50 provides. During its three-year production run, only 349 examples of the F50 were produced, which is one of the factors that make it one of the classic supercar legends.

Ferrari fans will be delighted to know that the Maranello ‘halo car’ will also be present at the London Concours. Officially, Ferrari has given it the code name F60, though it is more commonly known as the Enzo. Twenty years ago, the Enzo was launched at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, and it immediately made its mark as a technical masterpiece. Powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine, it has a gigantic 650 bhp and 485 lb/ft of torque matched with an F1 inspired 6-speed Graziano automated manual gearbox.

The capability of the twenty-year-old Enzo is so powerful that it can even match the supercars of today. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 3.1 seconds, and has a top speed of 217 mph. Only 400 examples of the Pininfarina designed two-seater coupes were produced. It was certainly a powerful rival, going up against the Porsche Carrera GT and the Mercedes-McLaren SLR. Back in 2002, one had to be invited to be able to acquire the Enzo, and those who took up the offer got so much more than what they bargained for; for £450,000, they go a legendary car that actually appreciated in value over the years. These days, Enzos are worth millions.
A very special version of the previously mentioned Mercedes-McLaren SLR will also be displayed on the hallowed grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company. The Mercedes-McLaren SLR ‘MSO Edition’ is a special SLR variant which was redesigned and improved by the Special Operations team at Mclaren. One of only 25 examples designed by Gordon Murray, the hyper-GT was given an overhaul and was upgraded by the McLaren team. Upgrades on the 5.4-liter supercharged engine included a weight-saving ceramic exhaust system that allowed the all-aluminum 617 bhp motor to breathe more freely. For improved cooling, the MSO edition cars was also given an uprated radiator. To increase the downforce of the SLR, it was fitted with new wheels and carbon-fiber front and rear bumpers designed by McLaren. Even the shock, dampers and the steering mechanisms were not spared as they were also fine tuned to give the SLR better handling.

The Lamborghini Diablo will also be featured in the upcoming London Concours, though the example they will be showcasing is an extreme version optimized in SV form of the archetypal supercar. The SV or Super Veloce is an iconic poster car that can rival even the F40. Introduced by Lamborghini in 1995, it was also the first time that the marque used the SV moniker since the 70s when they gave the distinguished name to the Miura SV.

Compared it to the standard Diablo, which was already a powerful and intimidating automobile all on its own, the Diablo SV was lighter, firmer, and more aggressive. Powered by the 5.7-liter V12 engine that produces 510 bhp in SV trim, which is 35 bhp more than the standard, matched with a rear-wheel drive 5-speed open-gated manual transmission with a huge 335-section rear Pirellis. Even though the Diablo SV is a two-wheel drive, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, with a maximum speed of 204 mph. In 1998, VW and Audi took over Lamborghini, so it is safe to assume that the raw SV can be considered as the last breed of the true Lamborghinis.

Mercedes-McLaren SLR

These impressive and exquisite supercars will be on display on the lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company in less than a week. This year, they will also be awarding two special, supercar focused Concours trophies. The first is the Supercar Thursday Trophy which will be given to the most exceptional supercar of the 45 ‘Supercar Thursday’ exotics which will be chosen by the London Concours judging panel. Supercar owners will be themselves will be voting for the Drivers Union Trophy. This trophy would be given to the supercar that the supercars owners have picked as the supercar that they would likely drive home – except for their own supercar.

London Concours Director Andrew Evans shared, “We’re delighted to reveal more of the exotic machines that will take on a starring role at our event in just under a week’s time. Supercars are always central to the London Concours, and we know just how popular they are with our guests. We’ve pulled out all the stops this year to put one a show like never before, with great support from our partners Drivers Union and Amari. The 6th edition of our automotive garden party will feature the most spectacular range of automotive exotica yet – it certainly isn’t one petrolheads will want to miss.”

Evans added, “Away from the cars, visitors will be treated to a delectable array of food and drink options, as well as a painstakingly curated line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. London Concours 2022 is set to once again be an occasion of total indulgence; proving once again why it’s the Capital’s ultimate automotive summer garden party. We really can’t wait to welcome everyone to the HAC next week.”

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Barn Find BMW 507 On Offer At Bonhams Audrain Concours Auction Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:31:41 +0000 A rare, barn find BMW 507 will be on offer at the Bonhams Audrain Concours Auction scheduled on September 30. The BMW 507 is one of the most coveted automobiles of the collector car world, and this example has been kept in a nondescript garage for more than forty years.

Only 252 examples of the 1957 Series II Roadster were produced. The flagship sports car of BMW appealed to the elite at the time. Owners of the BMW 507 included the likes of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley to King Constantine II of Greece. To date, the 507 is arguably still the most collectible and most desired BMW model.

This matching numbers example was equipped with the desirable Rudge knock-off wheels and optional hard top when it was delivered new to Caracas Venezuela. It eventually made its way to Montreal, Canada and in 1979, the late father of the vendor was able to acquire the example.

It is interesting to note that after acquisition, the glamorous statement car was driven straight to a simple garage in a nondescript part of Philadelphia. The example was kept there for 43 years and was never driven during that time except for being started up every once in a while.

1957 BMW 507 Series II Roadster

The family has kept a fleet of 507s for more or less 50 years. Kept in its mostly original state, the example was given a makeover during the 1970s, and was given a ‘Pontiac Bright Blue Metallic’ finish before it was acquired by the current owner. For the interior, the original leather was kept, and it has a nice well-used look.

Bonhams US Motor Cars Senior Specialist Eric Minoff shared, “This treasure of a garage find, which has been squirreled away for more than 40 years, offers a spectacular opportunity to the serious collector – and it’s offered at no reserve.

“The new owner has the choice of sympathetically refurbishing or fully restoring this recently discovered gem,” Minoff added.

The BMW 507 joins other desirable collector cars that will be part of the upcoming second Bonhams Audrain Concours Auction including a 1929 Packard Model 645 Deluxe Eight Roadster, a 1963 Facel Vega Facel II Coupe, and a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Sports Saloon.

1957 BMW 507 Series II Roadster

This 1957 BMW 507 Series II Roadster is estimated at $1,800,000 to $2,200,000 and is offered at No Reserve.

Just last year, Bonhams conducted their debut sale at the Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week firmly establishing themselves on the collector car calendar. This year, Bonhams is returning to the prestigious event with exciting lots to offer.

“We are so excited to be returning to this exclusive venue and look forward to welcoming back our East Coast clients and collectors to the Audrain Concours Auction and to working with our partners at this world-class Concours,” Minoff shared.

Bonhams is still accepting consignments of collector motorcars and collections for this East Coast sale. Those who are interested to consign their vehicles or to receive a complimentary auction valuation may send them an email at or call +1 (415) 480 9028 (West Coast) or +1 (917) 340 9652 (East Coast)

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Ferrari Debuts 5 Models At Goodwood Festival Of Speed Wed, 22 Jun 2022 15:45:56 +0000 In a few days, the Goodwood Festival of Speed will commence and as part of Ferrari’s 75th Anniversary, they will be displaying an impressive variety of Prancing Horse cars including 5 models which will be making their UK debut. Many passionate Ferrari collectors are also representing the brand as they showcase an excellent array of classic racing Ferrari models. The models vary from the first ever Ferrari, the 125S, to the iconic 156 Sharknose, the very successful 250 LM, the Ferrari Challenge 488 evo, and the Ferrari 333 SP endurance racer.

Ferrari 296 GTB

First in the list of making their UK debut is Ferrari’s first V6-hybrid, the 296 GTB. Powered by a 2.9-liter mid-rear-mounted V6 that generates 663cv and a hybrid system that is able to deliver another 167cv to the rear wheels, the 296 GTB has a total of 830cv. The 296 GTB that will be displayed at the Festival of Speed has an exquisite Rossa Corsa finish with a Baby Blue racing livery which was part of the optional Assetto Fiorano pack which comes with fixed racing dampers and more aggressive aerodynamics.

Ferrari 296 GTB

The color scheme of this 296 GTB was inspired by the historic racing livery of 1960s and 1970s Maranello Concessionaires racing team by Colonel Ronnie Hoare. At the time, there a lot of other racing cars like the 250 LM, 275 GTB, and 365 GTB4 Daytona were wrapped in a similar livery.

In 2014, importing rights were returned to Ferrari SpA. Before that, however, Maranello Concessionaires were also the ones who managed importing Ferrari cars to the UK, and many cars were registered under the numberplate “EHF 1”. Maranello Sales, based at the historic Tower Garage in Egham, still has ownership of the EHF 1 numberplate. They have generously loaned the numberplate to Ferrari North Europe to complete the historic link of Ferrari in the UK.

Ferrari SF90 Spider

Ferrari SF90 Spider

The Ferrari SF90 Spider joins the 296 GTB at the Supercar Paddock. It is an open-top version of the SF90 Stradale which was launched to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari in 2019. Powering the SF90 Spider is a 3.9-liter V8 engine that produces 780cv that is connected to three additional electric motors that are connected to the two front wheels and between the engine and gear box which produces another 220cv. The combined total power output of the V8 engine and the electric motors is an impressive 1000cv. A journalist from Autocar magazine picked the specification for this SF90 Spider and it will be featured along with a full review of the car in an upcoming issue.

Ferrari 812 Competizione

Ferrari 812 Competizione

Joining in the Supercar Paddock is the Ferrari 812 Competizione. Based on the Ferrari 812 Superfast, this is a limited series car with a 6.5-liter V12 engine tuned to give 30cv more, with a total power output of 830cv. The 812 Competizione also have a revised front and rear track and suspension settings to give the front and rear a more aggressive aerodynamics. It was also equipped with an innovative rear-wheel steering system for faster turn-in and sharper handling. The 812 Competizione also has a powerful soundtrack that is capable of reverberating all through the Goodwood Festival of Speed grounds.

Ferrari Daytona SP3

Ferrari Daytona SP3

An outstanding example of Ferrari’s design language from maestro Flavio Manzoni, the Daytona SP3 was influenced by the classic Endurance racers from the past like the 330 P3/4 and the 250 LM. Coming from the “Icona” range of cars, the Daytona SP3 is the third car in the range, released after the exquisite Monza SP1 and Monza SP2 which have been raking in a series of awards including the “Best of the Best” in the Red Dot Design Awards back in 2019.

Ferrari One Off SP38

Ferrari SP38

The Ferrari SP38 is another car from maestro Flavio Manzoni. Entered by a private client, it was it was designed according to the specifications set by the client as part of the One-Off programme of Ferrari which gives clients the unique chance to literally create the Ferrari of their dreams. Based on the chassis and engine of the Ferrari 488 GTB, the Ferrari SP38 features bespoke bodywork that was crafted in carbon-fiber. A lot of the details and visual features of the surface were also inspired by the design from the iconic Ferrari F40.

The Ferrari Roma will also be joining the display of Ferraris at the Festival of Speed. Embodying the La Dolce Vita lifestyle, the Ferrari Roma is a stylish 2+2 front-mid-engined V8 coupe. Joining it is the Ferrari Monza SP2, a limited series car which was part of the Icona range. It was inspired by the simple yet elegant racing barchettas in Ferrari’s history.

Completing the display are two cars that can give the 812 Competizione a run for its money in terms of “Best Soundtrack Ever”, the Ferrari 599XX and FXX K. Both models are equipped with the most exciting and most memorable V12 engines ever installed in a car. Designed exclusively for track use, the XX cars are not homologated for road or race, giving Ferrari engineers free reign to test their new technologies on the track. The principles learned from these tests are often the ones that make it on the road cars of Ferrari.

Ferrari’s presence at Goodwood Festival of Speed wouldn’t be complete without the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team and Ferrari Driver Marc Gené. Scuderia Ferrari will be displaying the Ferrari 599XX and FXX K from the XX division in the Supercar Paddock. The team will also be using the Ferrari F2009 from 2009.

Many passionate Ferraristi will also be joining the 75th Anniversary celebrations by bringing their own classic racing Ferrari cars that represent some of the greatest moments not just in the history of Ferrari, but in the history of motor sport.

The models that will be showcased at the Ferrari 75th Anniversary at the Goodwood Festival of Speed include:

1947           Ferrari 125S
1950          Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta
1953          Ferrari 250 MM
1955          Ferrari 857 S
1955          Ferrari 750 Monza
1957          Ferrari 250 TR58
1960         Ferrari 246S Dino
1961          Ferrari 156 ‘sharknose’
1961          Ferrari 156 ‘Sharknose’
1961          Ferrari 246SP
1961          Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB SEFAC
1962          Ferrari 250 GTO
1964          Ferrari 250 LM
1965          Ferrari 365 P
1966          Ferrari 275 GTB/C
1967          Ferrari 312/68
1971          Ferrari 312B2
1972          Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
1989          Ferrari 639
1990          Ferrari 640
1995          Ferrari 333SP
1997          Ferrari F310B
2002         Ferrari F2002
2008         Ferrari F2008
2009         Ferrari F2009
2022         Ferrari 488 GTE
2022         Ferrari 488 Challenge

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will run from June 23 to 26.

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2022 Le Mans Classic Sale By Artcurial Motorcars Tue, 21 Jun 2022 17:10:36 +0000 As part of the celebration of the 10th edition of Le Mans Classic, Artcurial Motorcars will be presenting 189 exceptional lots for the Le Mans Classic sale. On Saturday, July 2, Automobilia, Motorcycles, and Collectors’ Cars will go through the block and offered for sale on the Bugatti Circuit at Le Mans.

Artcurial Motorcars Director Matthieu Lamoure shared, “From the Maserati A6 GCS, delivered new in France, to the Airstream caravan, this edition of Le Mans Classic promises a spectacle as exciting in the auction tent as on the 24 Hour circuit!”

The 2022 Le Mans Classic sale will have 137 collectors’ motorcars which will feature competition cars, Grand Tourers, sports cars, classics, cabriolets, youngtimers, and curiosities. There will also be 19 exceptional motorbikes coming from two collections. 33 automobilia lots will also be offered which includes two helmets: one was worn by Alain Prost in 1989, while the other was signed by the Tour Auto winners. 87 out of the 189 lots are offered at No Reserve.

The featured collection for the Le Mans Classic sale is the one that has been dubbed the discovery of the year. The Pierre Héron Collection will offer 24 exciting barn-find French cars that has been buried in dust for 40 years. An exclusive collaboration between Renault and Artcurial Motorcars offers 8 remarkable lots with an impressive history.

Other featured vehicles include:

1954 Maserati A6 CGS/53 Fiandri Spyder #2071

This example was delivered new in France and was immediately raced at the Tour de France Automobile 1954 where it took the class victory and placed 6th overall. It is one of the most authentic examples of the A6 GCS and it comes with a complete and open history as well as a well-documented racing provenance. It is estimated at €3,250,000 – €3,650,000

1983 Renault RE40 #03

Four-time F1 World Champion Alain Prost raced the example during the 1983 season and it is estimated at €800,000 – €1,200,000.

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
from Artcurial Motorcars

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

This matching numbers example was sold new in Germany. It is estimated at €950,000 – €1,150,000.

1986 Toyota Tom’s 86C Group C

This example is the only Toyota Tom’s 86C factory car remaining and it even has a known Group C history. It is estimated at €500,000 – €700,000 and is offered at No Reserve.

1937 Frazer Nash BMW 328
from Artcurial Motorcars

1937 Frazer Nash BMW 328 Roadster

Previously owned by Earl Howe, this example has a rich and prestigious history. BMW Classic worked on a high-level restoration on the example, making it eligible for all top international historic events. It is estimated at €50,000 – €700,000.


There are also two very interesting collections that will be offered at the Le Mans Classic sale. The Renault Icons collection which will offer eight legendary Renault vehicles, with most of them offered at No Reserve. 24 French barn-find cars which has been hidden from the world for almost 40 years will be offered from the Pierre Héron collection. Most of the barn-find vehicles are Delahaye, Grégoire, and Talbot cars.

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Rolls-Royce Black Badge Showcased At Festival Of Speed Mon, 20 Jun 2022 13:15:42 +0000 Festival of Speed visitors this year are in for a real treat as they will have the chance to witness the global public debut of Rolls-Royce’s full Black Badge product portfolio.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Regional Director UK, Europe, Russia, and Central Asia Boris Weletzky shared, “Each year many clients, friends of the brand and media come together for the Festival of Speed. With its location, just a stone’s throw away from The Home of Rolls-Royce on the Goodwood Estate, the Festival of Speed is a very important event for the brand. This year, our full Black Badge portfolio will be displayed at the event on the Laundry Green. I am delighted to showcase such highly Bespoke cars in vivacious colours and luxurious hues, testament to the creativity of our artisans, designers and engineers.”

Adjacent to the Goodwood House and on the Laundry Green, a selection of highly Bespoke commissions will be displayed. These are the Black Badge Wraith, Black Badge Cullinan, Black Badge Dawn, and the purest expression of Rolls-Royce Black Badge so far, the Black Badge Ghost. Each commission shows the aesthetic sensibilities of the client as well as the marque’s unmatched craftsmanship.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates Black Badge at the Festival of Speed

Black Badge

The Rolls-Royce Black Badge was launched in 2016 to cater to a new kind of client. Giving a permanent Bespoke treatment to their motor cars, the Black Badge has a darker aesthetic, more expressive of the client’s character, and more dramatic in terms of material. It was also designed with more control, torque, and power. The Black Badge are for trailblazers, innovators, and for those brave enough to dare.

Since the Black Badge was introduced, more and more clients have answered the call and pushed the boundaries to bring to life their vision of their own Bespoke commissions.

Black Badge is the highly successful alter ego of Rolls-Royce. Currently, it represents 27% of commissions it receives worldwide, and it is represented by the infinity sign. The same symbol, known as a lemniscate, was used on Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking Rolls-Royce powered Blue Bird K3 hydroplane.

Rolls-Royce designers were the ones who suggested to use the symbol to mark the Black Badge motor cars symbolizing their own continuous pursuit of power, as well as the infinite possibilities that the darkness gives. Today, the symbol can be seen in the interior of a Black Badge motorcar.

Five new powerful creations will be presented for this year’s Festival of Speed.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates Black Badge at the Festival of Speed

Black Badge Ghost

In 2021, the purest and most technologically advanced Black Badge motor car to date was launched: the Black Badge Ghost.

It has a specially selected Galileo Blue and Black exterior finish to show the dramatic intent of this Black Badge Ghost commission. The brake calipers are in contrasting red and a single wheel center pinstripe are also in Galileo Blue. For the interior, the blue theme is continued as the seat piping and the Bespoke interior leather are also in Galileo Blue.

The VIP area will be displaying the second Black Badge Ghost, in Lime Green finish, which is a stark contrast to the dark carbon fiber Spirit of Ecstasy.

Black Badge Cullinan

Cullinan is a super-luxury SUV named after the largest rough Diamond in the world. It was designed to make luxury travel effortless anywhere. A unique Black Badge Cullinan was created for the event, and since launch, the Black Badge Cullinan has gone on an interesting Bespoke journey. The commission brings together the essence of utility, power, and effortlessness that is embodied in the Black Badge Cullinan. The example presented was given a Dark Olive finish with a single Mandarin coachline matched with Mandarin brake calipers. Adding to the aesthetic of the exterior are the signature Black Badge design flourishes, a milled carbon fiber Spirit of Ecstasy, and a 22-inch Black Badge wheels.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates Black Badge at the Festival of Speed

Black Badge Dawn

Nothing expresses open-top luxury than the Black Badge Dawn. Presented in a Jasmine and Black two-tone finish, the commission embodies the spirit of adventure and freedom. This two-tone design can also be seen on the steering wheel, while the look of the bold coachwork is completed by the 21-inch Black Badge wheels.

Black Badge Wraith

The Black Badge Wraith is the embodiment of the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the world. Created for those who dare to defy convention, as athleticism and powerful luxury is brought together in this Grand Tourer. Presented in Tucana Purple with a black upper body, it has a Mandarin coachline that showcases the marque’s surface finish capabilities. For the interior, a matching Mandarin and Black theme was done to create a dramatic and powerful design.

Four cars will be presented on the stand, and a Rolls-Royce Black Badge Ghost will also be participating in the hill climb up to four times a day in the exclusive ‘First Glance’ showcase. A Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith will also be showcasing the agility of the Black Badge by joining the ‘Michelin Supercar Run’. Between their scheduled high-speed runs, the two motor cars will be displayed in their Paddocks.

There will be other Rolls-Royce motor cars that will be showcased at the Festival of Speed including a Black Badge Dawn as a Courtesy Car and a Black Badge Cullinan as a Festival Course Safety Car.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates Black Badge at the Festival of Speed
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Auction: 1965 Lola T70 MK1 Spyder Mon, 20 Jun 2022 11:40:42 +0000 Collecting Cars is now offering a rare 1965 Lola T70 MK1 Spyder once driven by Sir Stirling Moss. This extensively raced Lola is on offer to global bidders until June 23.

The example made its debut in 1965 at Silverstone when it completed a number of races under David Good. One of the races is the Brands Hatch Guards International Trophy where it was driven by Roy Pierpoint. It was then brought to South Africa to participate in the Sunset Series, competing in the 1965 Kyalami 9 Hour.

It’s stint in Hollywood was as a camera car for the unfinished F1 movie “Day of the Champion” by Steve McQueen. It was then driven at Nürburgring by Sir Stirling Moss, Sir John Whitmore, and as reports say, McQueen himself. The recently released documentary “Steve McQueen: The Lost Movie” shows footage of the car.

In 1967, it was acquired by Doug Serrurier, a South African racer and constructor. It was then extensively raced in southern Africa and raced several times in the Kyalami 9 Hour. Achievements of the example include a first-place win in the Rand Grand Prix with Paul Hawkins and a second-place win in the 1965 Rhodesian Grand Prix also with Hawkins. They also claimed victory at the Lourenco Marques 3 Hours and Roy Hesketh 3 Hours.

It has been in long term ownership, with the current custodian keeping the example for the past 13 years. The current custodian also entered it in a number of historic races at Wanneroo Raceway.

It recently completed a second restoration to bring the vehicle back to its correct MK1 specifications, including an MK1 design chassis with period correct MK2 rear suspension modifications which were done to a lot of MK1 cars from 1965 to 1966. It is in fresh, ready-to-run condition.

John Starkey’s book ‘Lola T70: The Racing History and Individual Chassis Record’ is respected as a near-definitive guide to the model and it has documented the example well. It also recognized the current owner. John also assisted with sourcing key components for the example’s most recent restoration.

After its long and illustrious racing career, this T70 was lost for many years. The remains of the T70 was finally found by local enthusiast Jannie Van Aswegen in South Africa. Some parts were also recovered like the gearbox, four suspension corners, some chassis parts, steering assembly parts, two sets of wheels, amongst others.

A collector in Australia acquired the project who resold it to another in New Zealand where it was partially restored. Thirteen years ago, it was acquired by the current custodian who completed the restoration with the guidance and key components from Chris Fox from Fox Racing Developments in the UK.

A fresh race engine in the form of a period-correct Ford 289 block and heads set was installed and matched to a period-correct Italian-made Weber IDA 48’s, AVIAID 289 GT40 oil pan, and eight-into-four sand bent exhaust.

Except for the digital Stack chronometric tachometer which was installed for its reliability, the cockpit was given period-correct Smiths instruments.

The T70 also has a variety of spares including six extra Hewland gear ratio sets, ITG Racing air filters, twelve new Eibach springs in a variety of rates, original suspension parts, uprights, and drive shafts which were replaced during the restoration.

The sale will come with a letter from Doug Serrurier detailing its ownership as well as a collection of dyno sheets, photos, magazines, race programs, and copies of programs from its competition history. Service receipts for the engine rebuilt and most of the major restoration components will also be included.

Fresh from a restoration, the paint is in excellent condition though there is a small scratch on the front chassis cross member which has been touched up. There is also some minor scuffs on the top of the rear chassis cross member. For the interior, it is also in excellent condition, with the seats, switchgear, steering wheel, and gauges showing almost no wear.

The new tank bag has never had fuel and the car has not been run since its most recent restoration. As required of a newly assembled race car, safety checks and run-up tests has to be done on the brake and clutch bleed, corner weighting, suspension alignment.

As of writing, the 1965 Lola T70 Spyder MK1 has a bid of A$210,000 with the global public bidding ending on June 23.

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Sneak Peek Of Gooding & Company’s London Auction At The 2022 London Concours Fri, 17 Jun 2022 23:46:44 +0000 The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, recently announced that there will be an exclusive preview of the upcoming London Auction by their auction partner, Gooding & Company. This September, there will be two really exceptional classics that will be on offer at Hampton Court Palace leading. Before then, they will be joining an equally impressive list of machinery that will be on display at the beautiful lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company from June 28 to 30. The display will showcase over 100 years of motoring and they will feature a variety of automobiles from the finest classics to the rarest modern supercars.

Leading the Gooding & Company preview is a Ferrari that is arguably one of the most beautiful automotive of all time: the gorgeous, track specified 250 GT SWB in ‘Competizione’ garb. In October 1959, the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta was unveiled at the Paris Auto Salon and it was offered in either a road-going steel body or a racing-specified alloy shell. The SWB that will be showcased later in the month has a well-documented period race history which includes its participation at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans. The example, bearing chassis 2021 GT is back in the market after an impressive 20-year long term ownership. It had recently gone through an extensive collaborative restoration. Every detail of this SWB was fine-tuned to ensure that it is as original as possible. It is a really fine example of the very special competition tuned 1960s Ferrari.

1960 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta Competizione

Gooding & Company will also display a sports car from another well-respected marque: a Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet. In 1931, the Bugatti Type 55 “Supersport” was launched, and it immediately grabbed attention for its impressive performance, with a top speed that can go over 110 mph. The Type 55 had a variety of bodies it was offered in like the cabriolet, coupe, and even roadster designs.

The example is a Cabriolet designed by a renowned French coachbuilder Gangloff. It is powered by a supercharged 2.3-liter eight-cylinder engine. Only 38 units of Type 55 were manufactured, and the example was able to keep its matching-numbers engine and original Gangloff Cabriolet coachwork. Later in the month, the upcoming Concours will allow guests to look at the details of this truly exceptional and extremely rare car in an intimate setting.

These extraordinary vehicles gives a unique preview of the upcoming London Auction from Gooding & Company. It will be held during the sister event of the London Concours, the Concours of Elegance. Set in Hampton Court Palace, it will be joined by other exemplary cars like the Frazer-Nash Le Mans Replica, which is the faster Frazer-Nash from the post-war period. The British marque created the Le Mans replica to celebrate their third-place win at the La Sarthe in 1949. Only 50 examples were produced during their four-year production run, so it is not surprising it is a highly coveted model.

Bugatti Type 55

Another example that will be part of the upcoming London Auction is a truly special Aston Martin and has proven itself to be one of the most famous and coveted model, the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible. In 1963, the iconic DB5 was introduced as an improved model of its predecessor, the DB4. A year later, in 1964, it reached superstar status when it became part of the internationally acclaimed James Bond film, Goldfinger. Having already reached superstar status, its rarity is also something that draws the attention of collectors. Only 1,059 DB5s were produced from 1963 to 1965. Only 123 of which are convertibles. From the open top DB5s, only a handful had the Vantage upgrades, making it not just one of the most desirable, it is also one of the most valuable Aston Martins of all.

On September 3, those exemplary classics will be on offer. The preview will be announced in the coming days.

For those interested to know more, they can visit the Gooding & Company website.

London Concours Director Andrew Evans shared, “We’re immensely grateful to our auction partner Gooding & Company for bringing these exceptional classics to our event later this month – adding yet more star power to our show, which is shaping up to be our most spectacular yet. With everything from the rarest, most elegant classics to outlandish modern hypercars; from Japanese performance heroes to American Muscle car icons, there really will be something for everyone. Further star car announcements will follow in the coming weeks, as we build towards the 6th edition of our unmissable event.”

Evans added, “Beyond the array of fantastic machinery, guests will be treated to a decadent range of food and drink options, as well as a carefully curated line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. London Concours 2022 is set to be another occasion of total indulgence; the Capital’s ultimate automotive summer garden party.”

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66th Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance Announces New Displays And A Special Guest Thu, 16 Jun 2022 17:48:46 +0000 The 66th Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance – the world’s longest continually running concours – recently announced two new displays and a special guest. Two special displays will be set up in honor of the 75th Anniversary of Ferrari and as well as the 60th Anniversary of Shelby American.

A special guest appearance by Pixar Animation Studios Creative Director of Franchise Jay Ward was also recently announced. Ward worked as a key advisor for the internationally acclaimed Cars franchise. On June 24, Friday, Ward will serve as a featured guest and an honorary Concours judge for the “Start Your Engines” kickoff event.

Ward stated, “I’m incredibly excited and honored to be a part of the Hillsborough Concours this year and am looking forward to seeing all the incredible vehicles on display. The cars of Route 66 have a special place in my heart, as we featured ’The Mother Road’ in the movie Cars.”

1966 Shelby GT350

At the special exhibit for the 75th anniversary of the legendary “Prancing Horse”, some of the cars that will be featured include a 1949 Ferrari MM Barchetta, a 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, and a 1968 Ferrari 330 GTC.

For the 60th anniversary of Shelby American, the Hillsborough Concours will display a 1965 427 Cobra, a 1966 Shelby GT350, and a 1969 GT500 Fastback.

Other special displays that guests can expect at the 2022 Hillsborough Concours aside from the Ferrari and Shelby American anniversary include: Modified European Sports Cars Through 1987 and Yellow Cars! The Concours will feature more than 180 cars and motorcycles that will be showcased in 20 judged classes of “Automobile of Distinction”.

On Friday, the Concours weekend will start with a “Start Your Engines” kick-off party. Saturday will feature the 21st annual Hillsborough Tour d’Elegance.

The weekend finale will be the much-awaited Concours. Where the most exceptionally rare and beautiful automobiles from almost every genre and marque are displayed. Automotive enthusiasts will be able to see a variety of automobiles from hot rods and muscle cars to sports fans set on the beautiful setting of the Crystal Springs Golf Course.

1968 Ferrari 330 GTC

The all-volunteer Hillsborough Concours Foundation partners with the Town of Hillsborough to organize the annual sell-out event. Proceeds from the event are for the benefit of AbilityPath, The Guardsmen, and the Hillsborough Schools Foundation.

Title sponsors for the event include Franklin Templeton Investments, Fiduciary Trust International, Putnam Automotive Group, and Kerns Fine Jewelry. Additional sponsors to the event include Lucid Motors, CourseCo Inc., Hagerty, Bonhams, The Candy Store, and Highway One Classic Automobiles.

Tickets to all three events can now be purchased online.

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2022 Brands Hatch Masters Historic Festival Wed, 15 Jun 2022 17:23:41 +0000 16th Masters Historic Festival

The Masters Historic European season made its second visit to UK soil, for the 16th running of the Masters Historic Festival – the premier historic racing event on the Kent circuit. Alongside the customary Masters Racing Legends, for 70s and 80s Formula One cars, Masters Sports Car Legends and Masters Pre-66 Touring cars, crowds were treated to the sight of the LMP and GT field which comprised the Masters Endurance Legends.

The Peugeot 90X of Steve Tandy navigating the picturesque GP loop at Brands Hatch.

Superb support

The weekend also saw grids from the Gentlemen Drivers – offering a sublime array of GT cars from the 1960s, the quirky and diverse Youngtimer Touring Car Challenge – where Sierra Cosworths fought with Lolas and TVRs as a plucky Trabant 601RS picked its way around the circuit, and the Equipe Libre – a field stacked with pre-66 race cars, TVR Griffiths battling Lotus Elans and Austin Healeys, in some of the most thrilling and absorbing racing of the whole weekend.

The Shelby Cobra of David Methley lays down a perfect arc of rubber as he applies the power into the first turn.

Superb racing with more than a tinge of nostalgia

Two elements appear to be becoming somewhat customary in the 2022 season of historic racing in the UK. It seems that unexpectedly, the sun will appear to shine when these historic racers are turned out, secondly, the racing really feels to have stepped up a notch – with hard fought and noticeably clean and respectful racing throughout the fields, it’s an example of the true entertainment one gets from spectating at motorsport events.

Much is made (and lamented) of the artificial overtakes in some top tier series, and Twitter implodes with any controversial pass made in Formula One, where here we see yet again, the respect and skill of drivers delivering an exhilarating showcase of racecraft – testament to the continued success of historic racing on these shores.

The battling Lolas and Chevrons in the Masters Sports Car Legends presented one of the more visceral experiences of the weekend.

Brands Hatch – The perfect historic race setting?

Brands Hatch too, when the GP loop is employed (as it was for the Masters Festival) is a superb place for all involved, a phenomenal circuit to drive, with countless undulations and elevation changes, a sublime blend of fast and slow paced corners and genuine potential to pass, if your pace is befitting of that. For the spectator, there are few places better, numerous unfenced viewing points, open paddocks and the ability to watch long unbroken sequences of racing from a single spot, put it firmly at the top of the pile for viewing pleasure.

For the photographer too, the elevation changes offer a distinct advantage, when twinned with the verdant woodland that enshrouds the GP loop, it facilitates a rewarding array of shots from an event, and the chance to experiment in a spectacular historic racing setting.

The McLaren MP4/1 of Steve Hartley - shot at 1/5s through the woodland.

2022 Brands Hatch Masters Historic Festival Photo Gallery

The Ford Falcon of Trevor Buckley leads a gaggle of cars around the tricky, off camber Paddock Hill Bend. The Peugeot 90X of Steve Tandy navigating the picturesque GP loop at Brands Hatch. ]]> 0
What Makes A Racetrack A Classic? An Investigative Look At Some Of The Best Wed, 15 Jun 2022 16:45:40 +0000 Motorsports, for better or for worse, 80% of the time need to be run at dedicated facilities built precisely to host them. These facilities have garages to perform mechanical work in, a slow area to leave and join the dedicated racing surface from those garages, and a length of specially prepared tarmac that is grippy, smooth, and winds its way around the landscape. We are, of course, talking about racing tracks.

However, throughout the history of motorsports, there have been innumerable amounts of tracks prepared, presented, raced on, and used for all levels of motorsport, yet only a handful are truly remembered as great tracks. In the United States alone, there are over 1,000 race tracks, but when you say COTA, everyone knows that that is Circuit Of The Americas. If you say Brainerd International Raceway, a few of the older folks will nod their heads as they remember the days of Can-Am, but most people will go “where’s that?” It’s in Minnesota, by the way, and is “famous” for having the single longest straight of any track in America.

Going international, you can mention tracks like Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Circuit de la Sarthe, Kyalami, and the like, and a lot of people that watch motorsports will know exactly what and where you’re talking about, and a rough layout of the track itself. Yet the question remains… what makes a track truly a classic, that everyone knows, even if they’re not into motorsports? To answer that, we’re going to look at three of the all-time greats.

Monza: The Temple Of Speed & How It Gained That Name

The original 1922 layout of Monza
The original 1922 layout of Monza. Image Via: Wikipedia.

Officially Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, this historic track was originally built in 1922 just outside of Milan, Italy, and had two different courses that could be joined together to form a massive 10 km (6.2 miles) course. The “speed loop” of the original layout was a 4.5 km (2.8 miles) mostly oval track, with the “road course” running around the outside of it for a length of 5.5 km (3.4 miles). It was immediately popular, as the cars of the time could get up to near their top speeds on the speed loop, and since the automobile was still a relatively new invention, it was exciting to see these machines show just what they could do.

Throughout the years, the track has had multiple reprofilings, each of which unfortunately came about because of fatal accidents. In fact, one of the deadliest days in Italian racing history came in 1928 when 27 spectators and driver Emilio Materassi all died from a high-speed crash, which led to the track having slower speed corners added at the end of the massive back straight. Throughout all these reprofilings, Monza was still known as the place you wanted to go if you wanted to see the cars of the day reach their top speeds.

The current layout of the Temple of Speed
The current layout of the Temple of Speed, with the old 1950s profile behind it for comparison. Image via Via: Wikipedia.

The track has not changed much since the last major reprofiling in the 1970s, with the only major change being the Variante del Rettifilo, the chicane at the end of the front straight, being made a sharper turn than before. If you watch a race at Monza, you can actually see the two previous layouts of the front straight in that chicane, with the original track being the run-off area that rejoins the track just before the Curva Grande, and the first edition of the Variante del Rettifilo being the run off on the inside of the left hand second corner. It may not seem like that large of a track, but the official track length as of 2022 is 5.793 km, or 3.6 miles on the nose.

The famous Curva Parabolica racetrack
The famous Curva Parabolica, which slingshots cars down the front straight at Monza. Image via Via: Summer In Italy.

The question is, however, why is a track with a grand total of 11 corners considered one of the most classic, one of the greatest, that has ever been laid down? The answer to that comes in two parts, the first of which lies with the name that the track has earned over the years: The Temple of Speed.

From a purely technical point of view, Monza is a brutal test of engine endurance, brakes, tire wear, and balancing aerodynamics. There are three primary straights in a lap, those being the start/finish straight from Curva Parabolica to the Variante del Rerttifilo, from Curve di Lesmo 2 to the Variante Ascari, and from Ascari to the Parabolica. During each of these straights, engines are at full power, wide open throttle, and if you include the Curva Grande as a straight, which is taken at full throttle in many racing series, a modern day racing engine is at full power for just about 75% of a lap.

F1 racecars on the Monza racetrack
The super-fast front straight at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix in 2021. Image via Official F1 Media.

Balanced against that is the fact that each straight and the Curva Grande all end braking zones where speeds sometimes over 300 KPH (186 MPH) need to scrubbed down to about 100 KPH (62 MPH) in under 200 meters, often under 100 meters in Formula One cars. What this provides for both drivers and spectators are excellent passing zones, where the bravest of the late brakers will either take the inside line of the corner or spear off into the runoff areas.

The other major reason that Monza is one of the most classic tracks of all time is that it is one of the best spectator circuits on the modern day racing calendar. By being, in a word, a “simple” track of straights, heavy braking zones, and amazing corners, there are plenty of areas around the track that grandstands have been set up, and the walking paths between these can also see the course through fences. The only restricted area is around the paddock, for obvious reasons, but otherwise you can watch races from pretty much anywhere around the track.

Of course, with a lot of fans, great views, some of the fastest speeds on a racing calendar, and most racing events being a full weekend of events, the atmosphere around the track is just the icing on the cake of spectator engagement. Adding to the atmosphere even more is the fact that Monza, when Imola is not used in the calendar, is considered the home track of Ferrari. As such, you will often find a large group of fans of the prancing horse grouping together, and collectively, they are known around the world as the Tifosi.

The Tifosi at Monza
The Tifosi at Monza when Ferrari driver Charles LeClerc won in 2019

Anyone who has watched any F1 race at Monza on TV in the past few decades has seen one of the signature moments of “tifo,” or a visual display of support for a team by use of colors or flags, that occurs when the cars arrive on the grid before the formation lap. A gigantic Ferrari shield flag is unfurled in the grandstands and waved enthusiastically, often the focus of the opening shot of TV coverage, and can sometimes be accompanied by red smoke flares being set off around the track.

To bring it together, it is actually very simple math that makes Monza one of the greatest tracks of all time. On its own, as shown during the shortened F1 season in 2021, it is a challenging, high speed, technically demanding track that pushes machinery and driver to be committed to the race. Combine that with some of the most rabid fans anywhere in the world of motorsport, literally turning entire grandstands red in support of Ferrari. Add a dash of speed, mix vigorously with history, and bake for one race distance, and you have the perfect recipe for a classic track.

Spa-Francorchamps: Classic Because Of So Many Different Parts Being Perfect

The original 1922 layout of Spa-Francorchamps
The original 1922 layout of Spa-Francorchamps. Image Via: Wikipedia.

While Monza is not the shortest track on many racing series’ calendars by far, it is a speck of dust next to the longest track that still uses all of its racing surface, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Spa, as it is often called, is a monster of a track that is draped over a small mountain in the Ardennes forest of Belgium, and has an official track length of 7.004 km, or 4.352 miles. What surprises people even more is that this distance is half the original track length!

Designed in 1920, the original track layout combined public roads between the towns of Francorchamps, Malmedy, and Stavelot with a dedicated track surface that was located at the crest of a hill between Stavelot and Francorchamps, famous for its almost 170 degree hairpin turn, La Source. The original length of 14.982 km (9.310 miles) was widely regarded by drivers as a dangerous, fast circuit, and as such attracted those that wanted to show their dedication to going around it as fast as possible.

Unlike many other tracks that were reprofiled or redesigned after major accidents or fatalities, Spa was left unchanged until the late 1970s. Running out of money and with safety starting to become a major point in motorsports, the track finally had to acquiesce and the newer 7 KM circuit was drafted, and then built.

The 2022 layout of Spa-Francorchamps
The current circuit in 2022, still considered one of the most demanding, technical, and fastest tracks on any race calendar. Image Via: Wikipedia.

The new circuit, however, was still a very demanding course, and is often ranked by drivers of everything from touring cars to Formula One as one of the best courses on the calendar. It has the most elevation changes of any current F1 circuit, it’s the longest by far, and it’s also one of the fastest, with some corners being taken at wide open throttle.

Of course, you cannot talk about Spa-Francorchamps without mentioning the corner. Possibly the most famous complex in all of racing, Eau Rouge/Radillion is a remnant of the dangerous 14.9 km course. After plunging downhill on a straight, drivers need to quickly sweep the car left, then hard right as the car bottoms out due to compression, and then almost immediately turn left again as the car crests a small hill, going light and sometimes causing cars to spin out spectacularly.

Looking downhill from the Source grandstands towards the fearsome Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners
Looking downhill from the Source grandstands towards the fearsome Eau Rouge and Raidillon corners. Image via : Wikipedia.

A good exit from Radillon is essential because the next kilometer of the course is uphill, along the Kemmel Straight. This straight is a remnant as well of the old course, but instead of continuing out into the countryside, heading for Malmedy, a very fast series of essess called Les Combes slows cars down for the short blast to the constant radius hairpin, Bruxelles. Formula One cars will reach this point, about 2 kilometers (just under a mile) into the track in about 50 seconds after crossing the start/finish line.

From there, one of the two fastest corners on the entire circuit comes after a short left hander and a sprint downhill, the double apex Pouhon. In GT cars, there is a very short braking period and the corner is usually swept through in 3rd or 4th gear. Formula One cars take this corner by lifting ever so slightly off the gas to turn in, and then foot to the floor to scream through the second apex. A series of essess follows shortly in the Campus Complex, before the hard right hander at Stavelot that is the official start of sector three of the course, the back straight.

The fastest part by far of the circuit, as cars exit Courbe Paul Frere, they accelerate to top gear and top speed, taking the gentle curves in the road absolutely flat out, heading for the second most famous corner on the track. Blanchimont is a “gentle” left hand corner, but at over 200 MPH, it’s a sharp, hard left. F1 cars will take this corner absolutely flat, without a hint of a lift, and the driver will experience upwards of 3 to 4 lateral G’s. GT cars can take it almost flat, just needing a minor lift to get the nose turned in.

Finally, at the end of the circuit, there is the famous Bus Stop chicane, which, before the track was fully enclosed in a motorsport park, actually was a bus stop between Francorchamps and Stavelot. It has been reprofiled a few times, from a step out-step in chicane to the current tight-S chicane, but it is still a tricky corner because you are braking from maximum speed, and a lot of race-winning, last-chance passes are made here with some bravery and hard braking. After a quick blast down the start/finish straight, cars then go around the slowest corner on the circuit, La Source hairpin, and start the whole journey again.

The beautiful, fast, difficult Spa-Francorchamps nestled in the Ardennes forest
The beautiful, fast, difficult Spa-Francorchamps nestled in the Ardennes forest. You can actually just see the outer edge of the town of Francorchamps at the very top of the picture. Image Via: Wikipedia.

So what makes it classic? Apart from two legendary corners, it is one of the most technically demanding courses for a driver, and is very difficult to set a car up for. You have sections where you want to have the minimum amount of drag on the car, but there are corners where you absolutely must have strong downforce or the car will spear off into the barriers. Despite the speed and difficulty, it is also a course with multiple passing zones sprinkled everywhere.

One of the biggest things about Spa is that it is so large, so spread out, that it is not uncommon to have different weather at different parts of the track. It could be sunny and warm at the start/finish straight, but raining heavily at the Campus Complex, and when it rains at Spa, it rains. Team strategists have probably used more Advil and Tylenol for the headaches that the circuit gives them than any other track, as a call into the pit lane is a huge roll of the dice. This is because the pits, at least in the endurance and GT configuration, are about 1.5 kilometers long, with the entrance at the Bus Stop, and the exit just after Raidillon.

Take the speed of Monza, add some wickedly fast corners, some challenging and technical corners, and a couple of moments around the course where you need to take your brave pills, and you have a circuit that will live on for eternity. Just Eau Rouge through Raidillon is enough to put this circuit here, but it was designed by people that knew what they were doing, and they made one hell of a circuit.

Monaco: The Ultimate Classic Track

Current layout of the Circuit de Monaco
Circuit de Monaco, current layout. Image Via: Wikipedia.

Monaco. You simply say the name, and depending on who you talk to, they either envision the French Riviera, a city that celebrates and embraces excess, or the famous Monaco circuit layout, which is also sometimes called the Cote d’Azure layout. It’s that third one we’re talking about here, and when people say that Monaco has history, they are not lying.

Monaco, with the exception of 2021, has been a staple of the Formula One calendar since the start of the championship in 1950. While it has had some changes over the years, the basic layout, without the swimming pool complex or La Rascasse hairpin, has remained the same. The race is so popular, so famous that it is one of the races needed to achieve one of the most difficult milestones in motorsports, the Triple Crown.

To date, only one driver, Graham Hill, has been able to achieve the Triple Crown. To put your name beside his, you need to win the Indianapolis 500, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There are many drivers that have two of the races under their belts, and Fernando Alonso famously came very close in 2018 to achieving an Indy 500 win.

Yet, critics of the race state that it is slow, processional, with very few chances to overtake, and is too tight and too small for modern F1 cars. Being completely fair, every point they are making is absolutely true. The race can sometimes literally be won or lost in qualifying, and once the cars settle into their order, despite a lot of effort, it is nearly impossible to pass as the circuit just never lets up the pressure.

Top down view of the Monaco racetrack next to the marina
Looking over the marina at Monaco during race week. There’s easily more than a billion dollars worth of yachts in this picture alone, the Monaco GP is that serious of an attraction. Image via Via: Formula 1.

Yet, talk to a fan of F1 that has literally only watched one full season. Say Sainte Devote, the Tunnel, Mirabeau, the Loews Hairpin (formerly the Grand Hotel Hairpin), and that fan will instantly know the corner you’re talking about. It’s the one circuit that no matter how much or how little of a fan of F1 you are, you know the layout.

While both Spa and Monza are technical tracks that combine many elements into one to make a classic track, Monaco is a classic because it celebrates the spectacle of motorsports. Nowhere else in the world will you find a city that effectively shuts down for an entire weekend to watch cars effectively go in a circle around their streets. Sure, the racing might be processional and the overtakes are few and far between, but for the Monegasque, it’s the race.

It’s when you’ll see some of the most expensive yachts in the world tie up at the marina, overlooking the back section of the track. It’s when you will see some of the greatest drivers in the world attend multiple functions that you might just have been lucky enough to get a ticket to. It’s where you can be sitting just a few scant feet away from the most technologically advanced race cars in the world.

Another factor that makes it a classic track is that for many of the drivers, it’s their home grand prix. Once you’ve “made it” as an F1 driver, and you’re earning your multiple millions of dollars per season salary and getting all that sponsor endorsement money, it’s almost expected you’ll buy a condo in the city and live there. More often than not it’s because Monte Carlo, as a principality, has no income tax and is a tax haven for the rich, but it’s also because the city is so vibrant, with a character and personality that only exists in Monaco.

Every driver on the Formula One grid, if they were to only ever win once, want it to be Monaco. You are on it the whole way around, there is barely any time to breathe or adjust settings, and the margin for error is measured in millimeters. Get it wrong, and as the famous saying goes, “You’re going into the wall.” Get it right, and you become immortal. Ayrton Senna’s spectacular 1988 qualifying session, where he earned pole over “The Professor” Alain Prost by a scarcely believable 1.5 seconds, is still considered one of the greatest qualifying laps of all time in F1. Not just Monaco, across the entire history of the sport. He earned the title “The King of Monaco” for good reason.

Sure, the circuit might be classic in and of itself, but it’s the city, the people, the history, and one of the jewels you need for the Triple Crown that makes it a classic.

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2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este Mon, 13 Jun 2022 15:45:52 +0000 The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is as much about the place and the people as it is about the cars and the competition. The combination of this perfect location, and these priceless vintage autos, puts this event above all others.

The first Concorso d’Eleganza was held along the shore of Italy’s Lake Como in 1929. By that time, the elegant Villa d’Este was more than 350 years old. The Villa celebrates 150 years at a hotel in 2022, while the Concorso has survived various fits and starts over the past 93 years. It is now the preeminent, can’t-miss event on the vintage car calendar.

50 priceless cars, each perfect in its own way. Most have been painstakingly restored to nearly-new condition…and then there’s this 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sport race car. Imperfectly beautiful, warts and all, with much of the original patina that echoes years of racing, and a sound that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Another Bugatti took top honors at the Concorso. This 1937 Bugatti 57 S was chosen “Best in Show” by the International Jury at the Concorso.

Ferrari was the featured marque at the Concorso, with “The Cavallino at 75”…eight autos celebrating eight decades of the Italian icon. Each one a wonder to behold, with the unmistakable rumble of a Ferrari V12 engine impressive even while standing still.

The BMW Group celebrated the 14th anniversary of their cooperation with the Concorso with an impressive array of autos spanning decades of production in both consumer and racing cars.

Each auto was polished to perfection before facing the scrutiny of judge and jury.

The people watching was nearly as much fun as the auto appreciation. Everyone seemed to have a camera, and this was truly the place to both see and be seen on Lake Como.

There are more memorable images from the 2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in the gallery, below.

2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este Photo Gallery

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