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2007-12-26: Eight of the best cars seen out in 2007 ...
Ferrari 430 Scuderia The final days of the year are ideal to look back. So for our last update of 2007 we have picked eight of the finest and most interesting cars we have seen this year at races, shows and concours. All eight features are very thorough and well illustrated.
It was a very productive year for the Italians, highlighted by the introduction of the much acclaimed Ferrari 430 Scuderia and the Maserati GranTurismo. In particular the latter will be vital to the future of the company, which up to now struggled to sell their two-door cars. Very early in the year Toyota impressed us with the FT-HS Concept, which combines a high-tech drivetrain with a spectacular design with many interesting cues.
At Le Mans finally a serious pretender to Audi's throne stepped up; Peugeot. With the 908 HDi FAP the French greatly impressed at the shorter Le Mans Series races. At Le Mans the dramatically styled coupe could not quite match the Audis, but we believe the 2008 edition could be a true classic with more teams stepping up their game.
Mercedes (Benz) is well represented in this list with two cars. The oldest is the 1908 Mercedes 140 hp Grand Prix. It was built specifically for the third French Grand Prix and won with a commanding lead. The pictured example is highly original and will be on display at Brooklands the coming months to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the win. The other Mercedes is the lavish SSK Trossi Roadster, which took best in class at Villa d'Este in April. We could not ignore the fortieth anniversary of the legendary Cosworth DFV engine. It made its victorious debut in the back of the Lotus 49. The featured machine was used by Jim Clark to take his final Grand Prix victory early in 1968. To round off this best-of we take a close look at the only Ford-engined car to ever take a Can-Am win; the Lola T70 Mk2 Spyder entered by Dan Gurney's All American Racers. Although the Ford small-block engine was lighter than the more successful Chevrolet, it could not be increased in size enough to match it for power.
  2007-12-23: Bonhams Gstaad Auction report and slideshow ...
Bonhams Gstaad Auction Last week Bonhams celebrated the tenth anniversary of the annual auction at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland. For many years the sale was exclusively for Ferraris and Ferrari related automobilia. Since last year the policy has been been changed and Maseratis were also offered. This year the five star hotel's underground parking lot was packed with not only Ferraris and Maseratis, but also fine examples of other Italian marques. What has remained is the broad scope of the offered lots, appealing to a wide variety of budgets. Another trademark of the Gstaad Auction is that all the cars are in excellent condition and / or highly original.
Despite not having a real headliner, the 2007 edition of the Gstaad was very successful. The absolute highlight was a superbly restored Ferrari 275 GTB/2 6C, which changed hands for a staggering CHF 1,120,000. Also very interesting was a completely original Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet. It sold for CHF 360,000; well over the top estimate. The automobilia auction grabbed headlines with several brochures selling for twenty times the estimate.
For the sixth consecutive time our photographers traveled to the snow covered Swiss jet-set village. They sampled both the auction lots and the surrounding ski slopes. Fully intact they returned with a full report and a 90-shot slideshow. The report includes a list of all car lots and the prices they sold for.
All of the Ultimatecarpage.com contributors would like to wish you happy holidays and much prosperity in the new year.
2007-12-20: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 up close and personal ...
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 In the last few months there has been a large amount of speculation about an upcoming 'Super-Vette' and more recently the first specs have trickled through. Today Corvette took the wraps completely off the ZR1 , like a massive and early Christmas present. Most of the early specs were correct; the power comes from a 620 bhp, 807 Nm supercharged engine. With that LS9 all aluminum V8, the 'Super-Vette' looks set to become the fastest product ever to roll off the GM production line. Possibly the best news is that this powerhouse V8 will not be exclusive to the ZR1. Our favourite touch is the Bad Boy Vettes / Corvette Racing Skull mascot placed prominent in the engine bay. The Bad Boy Vettes fan club was already honoured by a special livery on the C6.R racing cars at Laguna Seca earlier this year.
The ZR1 will be officially introduced during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. The first examples of the 2009 model will hit the showroom floors in March of 2008.
  2007-12-17: Detroit news, American classics and Italian torpedo ...
Land Rover LRX While most people are busy stacking up food and presents for the holiday season, the automotive industry is hard at work preparing for the upcoming Detroit Motor Show. Land Rover will kick off their 60th anniversary year in style with the LRX Concept. A mix of a three door hatchback and the Freelander, it might signal a new model in the Land Rover line-up. If built, the coupe Land Rover will face the new BMW X6. This 'Sports Activity Coupe' will be powered by a variety of engines, including a brand new twin turbocharged V8. Employing direct injection and variable valve timing, it produces 400 bhp across a very wide range. Mazda will launch another concept of the much acclaimed Nagare design language. Dubbed the Furai, it is based on a Courage prototype chassis. Power comes from a three rotor rotary engine.
Some of the finest cars of the teens and twenties were produced in the United States. When launched, the Stutz Bearcat was one of the countries first sports cars. It is probably best known as the car that Erwin "Cannonball" Baker drove from coast to coast in a record breaking time. It was the inspiration for the outlaw races and motion pictures. The cars produced by duPont were even more exclusive. One the company's finest was the eight cylinder engined Model G. The featured Le Mans Speedster body style is one of the most beloved.
In the late 1940s, many sportscars featured cycle fenders to make them light and easily adaptable for open wheel racing. This body style received the nickname 'Siluro' or 'Torpedo' in Italian. A great example of this shape is the OSCA MT4, which is one of the earliest cars produced by the company founded by the remaining Maserati brothers.
2007-12-14: Friday French fest; Voisin and Figoni ...
Voisin C28 Aerosport French car designers of the 1930s are today well known for their curvaceous and often very elegant designs. There were few exceptions like Jacques Saoutchik and above all Gabriel Voisin. The designs of the aircraft constructor turned car manufacturer were heavily inspired by aviation and contemporary architecture. This led to a very unconventional mix of curves and straight lines that make any factory bodied Voisin easily recognizable. Sadly he reached an artistic peak when his company was on the verge of bankruptcy and of his finest designs only very few have been built and far less exist today. Topping all is the C28 Aerosport of which only three or four were constructed. The featured example is the only one known to have survived and it did so in remarkable original condition. Voisin always (probably rightly) claimed that this was the very first modern car with the front fenders integrated into the body. It is a functional work of art.
More exemplary of the conventional French designers is the Italian born Joseph Figoni. He clothed the Le Mans winning Alfa Romeos before he turned to some of the best loved street car designs fitted mostly on Talbot Lago and Delahaye chassis. One fine exception is this Duesenberg J Figoni Speedster. It was highly regarded from day one and after a spirited drive to the French Riviera in the Paris-Nice rally, it took first place in the Cannes Concours d'Elegance. A few years later the car was equipped with a supercharger, but fortunately the unique Figoni design was left unaltered.
Looking at the Voisin and the Duesenberg side by side, it is hard to imagine they were designed around the same time and in the same city. Paris must have been one exciting place in the 1930s!
  2007-12-12: Aston Martin concludes fantastic year with wild V12 Vantage RS ...
Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS It has been quite an amazing year for Aston Martin and the company decided to conclude it in great style. The first few months were dominated by the separation from Ford and the newly found independence. The real crown of the year came in June when the DBR9 scored the company's first Le Mans success since the win with the DBR1 back in 1959. In the fall the new DBS was finally shown to the public after starring in the latest James Bond movie.
Yesterday at the opening of the company's new design centre, CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez surprised the seven hundred strong crowd by taking the wraps off the Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS. As its name suggests, the car is a mix of the V12 drivetrain and the V8 Vantage body style. Fitted with a dry sump and reinforced parts the V12 produces a staggering 600. That is enough to propel the 1600 kg coupe to 100 mph in 8.5 seconds. At the moment the car is considered a concept, but if there is sufficient demand, limited production will be considered. The V12 Vantage RS is most certainly a fitting finale of 2007 for Aston Martin. It certainly builds anticipation as to what will come out of Gaydon next. We expect the next announcement to be a Prodrive build GT2 version of the V8 Vantage to be raced against Porsches and Ferraris around the world.
2007-12-10: American muscle, Italian thoroughbreds and the latest news ...
Dodge Challenger SRT8 Launched to much acclaim early last year, the very retro Dodge Challenger will enter production in 2008. Last Monday the books were opened for a limited edition SRT8, which will be launched in Chicago next February. Despite not having seen pictures of the complete machine, thousands have jumped at the opportunity to be the first to get their hands on the reborn Challenger. When the original Challenger was developed, the Can-Am Challenge took motor racing by storm with their advanced and very powerful racing cars. Many manufacturers had a go at it, but only few succeeded. Coming very close to victory was March with the stunning STP livered 707. The big-block engined machine was quick straight out of the box, but it was raced only a few times before the British manufacturer decided to focus on single seaters.
One of the most evocative auctions on the calendar is Bonhams Gstaad sale, which until last year was the exclusive domain of Ferraris. This year all Italian manufacturers are welcome, resulting a more diverse and arguably interesting line-up than ever before. One of our favourites is this unique Siata 208 CS Bertone Berlinetta. A full report from the snow covered Gstaad will follow after next week's auction. Another Italian thoroughbred of that era is the Lancia D23. Developed by brilliant engineer Vittorio Jano, these highly advanced racing cars were on their way to take the world by storm. Sadly an over ambitious F1 program put an end to all of Lancia's racing activities.
Lotus celebrates its 40th anniversary at Hethel with a limited edition Elise that is available only in Europe. Vauxhall has also taken the wraps of a limited edition model; the Astra VXR Nurburgring Edition. At Essen last week Volkswagen showed the 'speakered-up' Golf Variant RaVe 270.
  2007-12-07: Bugatti Type 41 Royale or the Golden Bug up close and personal ...
Bugatti Type 41 Royale In 1927 Ettore Bugatti fulfilled a long standing dream of building the most luxurious and exquisite car ever. Originally known as the 'Golden Bug', the new Bugatti easily eclipsed anything the likes of Hispano Suiza or Rolls Royce had to offer in more than one way. The official name for the 12.7 litre engined machine was the Bugatti Type 41, but most referred to it as the 'Royale'. This was more a reflection of the people it was intended for than of the actual customers; no royal has ever owned a Royale. Unfortunately the exceptionally high price meant that only three cars were ordered and another the other three built were retained by the Bugatti family. Some profit was eventually made by selling the remaining engines for railroad use.
Today the Royales have broken many price records; when five of them were gathered to celebrate the eightieth anniversary earlier this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, they were (conservatively) insured at $12 million each. It offered a great opportunity to take a closer look at the Royales, four of which are in corporate collections or state owned museums. This Kellner Coach has held the record for the highest price ever paid for a car at an auction, while this Binder Coupe de Ville was bought by VW for a reputed $20 million. The other three have been in the same hands for over four decades with the Weinberger Cabriolet on permanent display in the Henry Ford Museum and both the Coupe Napoleon and the Park Ward Limousine take up a prominent position in the Schlumpf Collection.
2007-12-05: New Bitter, Special Koenigsegg, Super Saleens, A3 drop top and more ...
Bitter Vero After the failed attempt to revive the Bitter CD, company founder Erich Bitter has quietly worked on a brand new production car. He showed this Bitter Vero to the public for the very firs time at the Essen Motor Show this week. Based on the Holden Statesman, the very luxurious and fast four-seater is aimed directly at the Maserati Quattroporte. Brabus used Essen to reveal their take on the SLR McLaren Roadster. With 20 bhp more and some cosmetic modifications, it has made the SLR even more exclusive. Following the original motorsport theme of the Essen Motor Show, Porsche took the wraps off the 2008 version of the 997 GT3 Cup.
Not all manufacturers need motor shows to unveil a new machine. While most of the media were anxiously awaiting Audi's motorsport plans, the company revealed the all new A3 Cabriolet in the factory in Hungary. Koenigsegg was even more modest when announcing the new Edition versions of the CCX and CCXR. They will be limited to 14 and 6 examples respectively.
Now under new management, Saleen continues to produce exciting Ford based machines. Last month in LA they showed two new models for 2008 based on the Mustang GT; the 580 bhp H302SC and the 620 bhp S302 Extreme.
Mitsubishi released the first images of the Concept-RA to be launched this January in Detroit. It is rumoured to be the replacement for the Eclipse and might make it out to Europe for the first time in many years. The concept car features a very high performance diesel engine.
  2007-12-03: Essen Motor Show report and slideshow ...
Essen Motor Show This Saturday the doors of the Messe Essen opened for the first day of the 2007 Essen Motor Show. The annual event is the world's largest tuner show in the world, but also features sufficient modern and historic (racing) cars to entertain even the purest of purists. One of this year's themes was modern car design, which attracted several recent concept cars. There was also a nice collection of racing cars of the last four decades to celebrate the 40th running of the Motor Show. A particular highlight of that display was the nose to tail line of a Lotus 49 and Lotus 72. This showed just how quickly the transition from the 1950s and 60s cigar design to the modern wedge shape took place. For motorsport enthusiasts the biggest news from Essen was that Audi will enter the Le Mans Series in 2008.
Amidst the many tricked out machines there were also a number of world debuts. Easily overlooked was the brand new V8-engined Bitter Vero, which will enter series production later this month. In the main tuner hall Brabus was prominently present with their own version of the SLR Roadster. Another attention grabber in that hall was the brand new and insanely powerful 9ff 9GT, which will go top speed record hunting in the near future.
Our photographers ventured east last Friday to capture the Motor Show's tops and flops before the crowd rushed in on Saturday. Their thoughts and impressions can be explored in our full report and exclusive slideshow. All of the new releases will be looked at in greater detail in the next news features.