2006-12-27: The best of 2006 part 3: the finest new releases ...
The first half of the year was covered with speculation about a mysterious project, which culminated in the launch of the Ferrari P4/5 by Pininfarina at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Since then it has graced the cover of automotive magazines around the world and it was the most obvious choice for our short-list of 2006 new releases. The P4/5 was also one of the stars of the Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris together with the very impressive Audi R8 and the achingly beautiful Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.
Many months earlier in Geneva another Ferrari grabbed the world's attention; the 599 GTB Fiorano. With its daring design and stunning performance, it set new benchmarks in its class. Also present in Switzerland was the Saab Aero X, which is one of the most exciting concept cars of the year.
The year kicked off with the Detroit show where the muscle cars of old were revived in great style. Both the Chevrolet Camaro Concept and Dodge Challenger Concept were very well received and will enter the showrooms in the near future. Aston Martin surprised the crowd with the four-door Rapide Concept.
This concludes our 'best of 2006' series and the last of this year's news features. Our team would like to wish you all the best and many motoring hours for 2007.
2006-12-21: The best of 2006 part 2: the finest classic cars ...
With all the exceptional machines we have seen in vintage races and concours on both sides of the Atlantic, these eight cars were quite difficult to pick, but we feel we have come up with a good mix.
Surprisingly the fortieth anniversary of Ford's first win at Le Mans received little attention, but today we want to set that straight with a close look at the three GT40 Mk IIs that filled the first three places in 1966. Another almost forgotten anniversary was Lancia's ninetieth, which we celebrated earlier this year with the amazing D24 sports racer. Stirling Moss was a superstar driver in the 1950s and 60s and he's still going strong today. We were fortunate to capture him this season driving the unique Ferguson P99 four wheel drive F1 racer. Moss excelled in many different machines and on many tracks, but at the Nurburgring he really stood out. In 1960 he completed a unique hat-trick of wins in the grueling 1000 km sports car race with the featured Tipo 61 Birdcage.
Next up are two mid-engined Italian sportscars from an era when this engine layout was still revolutionary. In an attempt to test the market for a mid-engined road car Ferrari had Pininfarina 'dress-up' one of the 250 LMs, resulting in the one-off 250 LM Stradale. When the Serenissima 308 Jet pulled up at Villa d'Este in April, we had absolutely no clue what it was (a rare occurrence), but with some digging and help we managed to get a relatively clear picture.
This list would not be complete without a 1930s French car, or two. We have seen many very fine examples, but none struck us more than the breathtaking and highly advanced Bucciali TAV 8-32. A little more familiar is the Bugatti Type 50T Coupe Profilee with its beautiful Jean Bugatti styled body.
Next week we'll conclude 2006 with a round-up of the finest new machines launched in the past twelve months.
2006-12-18: Bonham's Gstaad Auction, four Maseratis and the latest news ...
For the first time Bonham's annual exclusive Ferrari sale in Gstaad, Switzerland was open to Maseratis and the neighbours immediately made their presence felt in the auction-room last night. For the fifth year in succession we travelled to the Swiss Alps to capture the unique event in words and pictures.
To celebrate the success of the Maseratis in the auction we have also decided to take a closer look at the six and seven figure machines. The top seller was the 151/1, changing hands for almost two million Swiss Francs. It was followed by the Tipo 63 Birdcage and the Tipo 65 Birdcage, with new owners for CHF 640,000 and CHF 840,000 respectively. A nicely executed replica of the ill-fated 151/3 managed to reach a very respectable CHF 250,000.
In the last week some exciting new releases for Detroit were also announced, which we did not want to keep from you. Most noteworthy are the Volvo XC60 and the gullwing Mazda Ryuga.
2006-12-14: The 2006 season's most noteworthy sports racers ...
Now that 2006 is drawing to a close, it's time to look at the year's highlights. Last year we could suffice with a single 'best of 2005' feature, but this year we have seen so many amazing modern, classic and racing cars that we decided to do three of them; one for every category. More than any year before, we have focused extensively on sportscar racing with in-depth features on the complete Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This week we start off the 2006 reviews with a very well illustrated look at the four most noteworthy sportscars; one for every class.
The most obvious racing car to make in our list is of course the Audi R10, which wrote history by becoming the first diesel engined machine to win at Le Mans. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Radical SR9. Designed at a very limited budget and with no time for testing, the Rollcentre entered example startled the crowds all around Europe. Sheer rotten luck stopped them from scoring a victory this year.
The GT2 class has been the playing ground for the 911 GT3 for many years, but this season the brand new Ferrari F430 GTC turned the tables by dominating the pace on both sides of the Atlantic. Whereas our other three picks are not very controversial, the Saleen S7R picked to represent the GT1 class most certainly is. We picked it because almost out of the blue, it regained competitiveness in a class dominated by the works prepared Astons and Corvettes.
Next week the finest classic cars shown around the world are up and we will conclude the year with a look at the most exciting new releases.
2006-12-11: Mid-engined Birdcage, Porsche triples, Supersonic Jag, more NAIAS news ...
For the last four years now Bonham's Gstaad Ferrari auction has been our annual Christmas special and this year will be no exception. There is however a rather fundamental change for this years auction; for the first time in its history it will also include Maseratis. As a preview for the always breathtaking auction, we would like to take a look at the Maserati Tipo 63 Birdcage, which was raced by Briggs Cunningham's team at Le Mans in 1961. Like several of the other exceptionally rare Maserati racing cars included in the sale, it was part of the impressive Rosso Bianco Collection. This will be the first time any of them are available for many, many years.
In recent years, Porsche has become a bigger player in the car market mainly due to the success of the Cayenne SUV. Next year a new generation of the Cayenne will be introduced. In good Porsche tradition, the design changes are minimal, but the complete engine range has received attention and the featured Turbo model now packs a 500 bhp engine. For purists, Porsche's entrance into this lucrative market is still a difficult subject and for them we have taken a closer look at the beautiful Porsche 908 Coupe prototype racer. Porsche's Cayman is also more to the purists liking and Techart have shoe-horned the 911's 380 bhp engine into the tight mid-engine layout to create the Cayman Widebody, which should give any naturally aspirated 911 a run for its money.
Aston Martin and Touring's relationship in the early 1960s is a great example of how British engineering and Italian styling could complement each other very well. In today's update we have a much rarer, but even more stunning example in the form of the Ghia-bodied Jaguar XK120 Supersonic.
At the NAIAS early next month two Japanese manufacturers will unveil some four door sedans; the latest generation of the Honda Accord and the Mitsubishi Lancer.
2006-12-07: The legendary Auto Union Type C up close and personal and dozens of new wallpapers ...
Although Porsche's racing record is without equal, single seater success still eludes the German company. The company's found Dr. Ing. Ferdinand Porsche however, was responsible for one of the most legendary Grand Prix cars ever; the Auto Union Type C. Designed for rules that only dictated a maximum weight and minimum width, the Auto Union packed a 520 bhp V16 engine. It was the fruition of two years of hard work and in 1936 dominated international racing in general and the company's big rival Mercedes Benz in particular. Despite sporting the revolutionary mid-engined layout, the Type C has gone into history as one of the most difficult to drive well; only the highly talented Bernd Rosemeyer fully mastered the 'silver arrow.' Both racing accidents and the War aggression have destroyed all but very few of the Auto Unions remaining today, which only helped them to gain a mythical status. This coming February Christie's will have the very rare opportunity to auction a D Type Auto Union. Despite not being as outrageous or successful as the C Type, it is expected to sell for over $10 million and break the current auction record.
To give you an insight why the Auto Unions are so highly regarded, we have taken a closer look at technical innovations and racing record of the Type C.
For our loyal supporting members we have also taken the time to expand our wallpaper section, which now contains 100 exclusive high resolution beauties, including one of the Auto Union. Not a supporting member yet? All the benefits and details can be found here.
2006-12-04: 2006 LA Auto Show highlights ...
While we were exploring the Essen showfloor, the wraps were taken off a series of striking concept vehicles in Los Angeles. Traditionally the LA show opened its doors just days before the NAIAS in Detroit and had very few major releases. By moving the show back a month, it has attracted a lot more attention. Today we would like to take a look at ten of the most impressive launches.
Ford grabbed the headlines by hiring ItalDesign to redesign the successful current generation of the Mustang. Designed by Fabrizio Giugiaro, the Mustang Giugiaro Concept is not necessarily an improvement. Reeves Callaway did manage to make a good thing better with his 616 bhp, Corvette based Callaway C16. Lamborghini literally took the wraps off the Murcielago LP640 Roadster, completing the line-up of the second generation Murcielago.
The Japanese manufacturers in force to show off the work of their California based design departments. We were greatly impressed with the Mazda Nagare Concept; yet another stunning design from the Japanese company. Honda also took centre stage with the Remix Concept. A closer look reveals the 'CRX' badge on the tail, which could lead the revival of a famous name in the Honda line-up. Volkswagen also looks set to expand their range with a mini-SUV judging by the Tiguan Concept shown in LA.
2006-12-01: Essen Motorshow Report and Slideshow ...
Today the doors of the Messe Essen opened for the annual Motorshow. Being an even year, there was no show in Frankfurt in September, making Essen the biggest automotive event in Germany. In recent years this always led to a larger number of spectators. Going back to their roots, the crowd is treated by the organizers to an impressive display of modern and historic racing cars. The plethora of racers present includes three 'Silver Arrow' Grand Prix cars, a host of Le Mans winners and Michael Schumacher's 1990 F3 championship winning Dallara. There are also a variety of new releases like the Volkswagen Passat R36, Brabus T13 and Techart Cayman Widebody. Inevitably there are also a large number of specialized tuning companies present to complete the spectacle.
Our photographic team ventured east to capture the show in its entirety. Their thoughts and impressions are captured in a full report and a 150-shot slideshow.