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2015-07-31: Mighty six-cylinder engined Maseratis ...
Maserati 350S For many years, Maserati successfully campaigned competition cars powered by a succession of six-cylinder engines. The very first of these was the 6C 34 built for the 1934 Grand Prix season. Based on the earlier 8CM chassis, the car featured a very large six-cylinder engine, which was more powerful yet lighter than the straight eight previously used. This was critical as the new-for-1934 regulations stipulated a maximum weight of just 750 kg. Unfortunately, the added power made the car difficult to drive and the 6C 34 was quickly replaced by the independently sprung and V8-engined V8RI in 1935. Only a handful of 6C 34s were built and our detailed article features two original cars and the reconstructed Mille Miglia racer.
One of the very last six-cylinder engined competition cars produced by the Italian manufacturer was the 350S, which debuted in 1956. It was very much an experimental sports racer developed alongside the V8-powered 450S and featured a new engine that had been designed for the upcoming 3500 GT road car. Like the 6C 34, the 350S did not quite handle as well as other contemporary Maseratis and its racing career was very short. Of the three examples built, one was fitted with a V8 and became the 450S prototype and another was re-engined with a V12. Our article features the sole survivor, which made a rare outing at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where Maserati was one of the featured marques.

2015-07-29: All new Ferrari 488 Spider and early Ferraris headed for auction ...
Ferrari 488 Spider Ahead of the official launch in September, at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Ferrari released the first details of the new 488 Spider. It shares the twin-turbo V8 engine with the 488 GTB launched earlier this year. Displacing just over 3.9 litres, it produces a hefty 670 hp. What sets the new Spider apart from the GTB is the steel roof that can be folded away neatly behind the passenger compartment. Ferrari spent a lot of time fine-tuning the 488 Spider's aerodynamics, making it the most efficient car produced by the Italian manufacturer yet.
At the upcoming Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction, Ferraris will once again take centre stage, one year after a new world record was set when the ex Maranello Rosso Ferrari 250 GTO found a new owner for over $35 million. This August, the sale is headlined by this 250 GT LWB Interim Berlinetta. One of seven built in 1959, it combines the long wheelbase chassis with the design that was due to be used for the upcoming SWB; hence the Interim type name. The car on offer was raced extensively in period and following a crash was not seen in public for nearly fifty years. Beautifully restored and Ferrari Classiche certified, it was first shown at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2014 and later also appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to show it goes as well as it looks. The pre-sale estimate for the rare Interim is $9 - $12 million.
A slightly earlier Ferrari due to cross the block is this 212 Vignale Cabriolet. Of the 79 212 Inters built, just four received this body-style. This particular car spent most of its time in Switzerland and between 1972 and 2012 in the hands of just one owner. The new owner restored the car himself and his lovely work was awarded a second in class at Pebble Beach, behind the Ferrari that would go on to win best of show. The lovely Vignale Cabriolet can be yours for an estimated $2.4 - $2.8 million.

2015-07-27: Mazda Monday with six rotary engined sports racers ...
Chevron B16 Mazda Mazda, literally, took centre stage at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed. All eyes were of course on the 1991 Le Mans winning 787B, which was driven by among others Valentino Rossi. Our attention, however, was grabbed in particular by this Chevron B16 Mazda that sat stationary in the paddock. Powered by a Mazda 10A engine, this was the very first car to race at Le Mans equipped with a Mazda rotary engine. It proved quick but fragile and after little over a season of racing, the unique Mazda-engined Chevron was retired from contemporary racing by its Belgian owner. He sold the car to the current owner over two decades ago, and he has only cleaned the car. It is believed that the Mazda-engined B16 has not run since 1971, which should make it one of the most original B16s in existence.
Another British sports racer powered by a rotary engine that starred at Goodwood was this Tiga GT286. It was one of two built in this configuration for the 1986 IMSA Lights championship and features a striking Rusty Jones livery. The best result for this GT286 Mazda was a second in class at Riverside.
In addition to the Le Mans winning 787B, Mazda also brought a slightly earlier 787 and the RX-7 GTO and RX-792P that originally raced in the IMSA GT Championship. The latter three are still run by Mazda North America and will again be campaigned at the upcoming Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

2015-07-24: An all-encompassing look at the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR ...
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Roadster Having travelled the world for the better part of 15 years to visit the finest automotive events, we are not easily stunned any more. We definitely were at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed were all but one of the surviving Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs were lined up side by side. The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the World Championship winning 1955 campaign with the 300 SLR. Well ahead of its time, the Mercedes-Benz sports racer was derived from the equally successful W196 Formula 1 car. In addition to the two-seater body, it also featured a three-litre version of the eight cylinder engine. This remarkable unit featured desmodromic valves and direct fuel injection. Highlighted by Stirling Moss' record breaking performance in the Mille Migla, the 300 SLR absolutely dominated. Sadly, the car will also be forever linked to the deadliest accident in motorsport history, which saw Pierre Levegh launch off the back of another competitor into the crowd at Le Mans, killing himself and 80 spectators. Mercedes-Benz withdrew the other cars from the race shortly after the accident. It would be the only race the German manufacturer entered in 1955 that they did not win.
So seeing just one of these priceless machines is special but seeing five of the six surviving examples lined up side-by-side was more than spectacular. Three of the cars also ran throughout the weekend, which has enabled us to further expand our 300 SLR gallery, which serves to illustrate a comprehensive article with car-by-car histories of each of the seven Roadsters built.

2015-07-21: V8-engined BRM Can-Am racer and Isdera Imperator ...
BRM P167 Chevrolet Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen two very different machines that both clearly boasted the distinct rumble of a V8 engine. The earliest of the pair is the very rare BRM P167 Chevrolet. Built for the 1971 season, it was an evolution of BRM's original Can-Am design and featured more aggressive aerodynamics. First raced in the European Interseries championship, it scored a pair of wins in the hands of Brian Redman. The car did not fair quite as well in the Can-Am series, which prompted BRM to abandon the project. The cars were then raced by the late David Hepworth in Europe. His family has retained both P167s along with all but one of the other BRM Can-Am cars. This year, the featured P167 was restored with the help of original mechanic John Brooke. The work was completed, literally in the paddock of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and as can be seen in this 19-shot gallery, the very rare BRM was run to the top on each of the event's three days.
Powered by an altogether more sophisticated but similarly sounding V8 is the Isdera Imperator 108i, which we captured at last month's Modena Trackdays. This rare, German supercar was created by the highly talented engineer Eberhard Schulz. His skills were so diverse that he was offered jobs in both the engineering and design departments at Porsche. Following his spell at the German company, he started to produce cars of his design. Among them was the Imperator, which was built in very small numbers between 1983 and 1991. Inspired by the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, it featured a spaceframe chassis, gull-wing doors and a Mercedes-Benz or AMG V8 engine. The pictured example is the fourth Imperator built and was originally owned by a German Olympic gold medal winner. In its current ownership, it was restored and subtly modified with the help of Eberhard Schulz himself.