Archive for the ‘Classic Sportscar’ Category
I’m just going assume that this is fake and that photoshop, not neglect, is to blame for this Jaguar XK and Porsche 356 racer rusting away amongst the trees.
Update: Ugh. A few emails from readers and Frederik’s comment on Facebook have confirmed that these are indeed authentic. One of whom pointed me to this article about a German who purchases vintage cars and allows them to rust in his “garden” as a sort of art project. What an asshole.
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An unnamed 28-year-old driver was passing under the limb of a beech tree in the Gokayama area of Toyama Prefecture at the exact moment that the tree decided to call it quits. The driver escaped with minor injuries; which is something of a minor miracle when you see the damage to the passenger compartment in this photo.
What makes it all the more frustrating is that this tree has been identified as a potential hazard, but local historic preservation in the area barred its removal.
More (if you have the stomach for it) at Japanese Nostalgia Car.
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Jaguar’s original plan was to build 18 E-Type lightweights, but ultimately only 12 were built. In the years since, 2 were converted to low-drag bodywork and one is (currently) considered too damaged to rebuild. That makes 9. For fifty years, those 9 cars had to be enough and today they are among the most coveted GT racers in the world. A handful of workshops have made a decent business of reproducing lightweight specification parts—and even turnkey replicas. Now Jaguar has decided to finally follow through on the original build order and make the remaining “missing” 6 lightweights.
When I say original build order, I mean it. Jaguar intends for these to be perfect continuations of the build—down to using the 6 reserved chassis numbers from the original run. That means that right now there are craftsmen at Jaguar assembling full aluminum monocoques, dropping an alloy version of the 3.8 liter straight six fitted with a D-Type wide angle cylinder head, and mating it to a 5-speed ZF gearbox. There are Jaguar employees fitting aluminum bonnets and hardtops and vented bootlids.
So now there will be 6 more. Do they have the same provenance? No. Will they be as hotly desired as their older sisters? Nope. But none of that matters. What matters to me is that sometimes the original manufacturers show the same enthusiasm for their motorsport heritage that the rest of us have.
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These photos from Tour Auto 2014 shot by Remi Dargagen for Classic Driver are absolutely stunning. Sure, he’s got some good subject matter in these exquisite sports and racing cars, but the environments are simply astounding. Really it’s shots like these that make me want to attend these kinds of events. All too often there are shots from staging areas showing a lineup of cars waiting their turn, or bedded down for the night. But seeing these machines in these environments is so tantalizing. Remi definitely focused his attention on the right things here. Marvelous.
Click through to Classic Driver’s article for the complete collection.
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Car restoration is dirty business, and you feel that grime intimately: There will be chunks of rust stuck between your neck and your collar. There will be endless layers of paint slowly being sanded away. Twisted pieces of steel will be stuck in the soles of your boots from every stupid broken-off bolt you’ll have to drill out. I can understand why restoration shops would rather wait until the car is finished, polished, and with the proper beginnings of a sunset behind her before they get out the camera. What ends up happening, though, is that restorers web sites all tend to look the same: beauty shots of the finished car. There is rarely even a single photo of the car before restoration began.
Germany’s AlpineLAB shows us the kind of beautiful documentation that can happen when a truly passionate restoration workshop has someone on staff that knows a thing or two about curating a web site. Of course, there are miraculously beautiful photos of the finished product worthy of any of the glossies on the newsstand. But the commitment to documenting the restoration and the race history of their Alpine 110 projects is so very refreshing. What I appreciate most, however, is their opening the archives to show us the specific period articles and photography of these cars’ race history. People spend a lot of time establishing a car’s provenance, it’s very appreciated to see those archives opened up for all of us and not just prospective buyers.
The Alpine 110 was an astoundingly capable little machine. I’ve read it described as a car that you wore rather than drove. That kind of machine deserves the treatment that AlpineLAB has given it. I imagine that as more and more restorers enter the community having grown up on the web, the more of this kind of wonderful storytelling we’ll see brought to the world. Clear your afternoon and click over to their site for more of their build stories. These images are but a taste.
Thanks for sending this in, Jürgen!
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I suspect that photo opportunity that the entrance provided was not the key decision factor for the Triumph Works team when they chose the Hotel de France as their accommodations for LeMans in 1963 and 1964, but it may as well have been. I often prattle on about the lack of pit access and being able to wander amongst the teams and cars before or after the races, but this… this is something else.
Whether the factory cars were just pulled out in front of the hotel for a quick photo and then tucked back into transporters or garages and out of prying eyes, or whether they just sat out front, I don’t know. I like to think it’s the latter. The idea of the team cars just sitting out for a night before one last shakedown run on the hour drive to La Sarthe is too wonderful a notion to not daydream about.
Incidentally, Hotel de France’s Facebook page seems to demonstrate their continuing close relationship with vintage motoring and frequently hosts classic car tours.
Photos via Hotel de France. Thanks for sending these in, Willem!
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Close your eyes and imagine your perfect racing workshop.
I suspect that no two of you have the same image in your heads. For some of you, it’s a pristine Garage Life-ready half museum, half garage. A few of you have a neon-bedazzled, diner-inspired, American Graffiti-esque explosion of color. For some, it’s a humble pole barn and a lift. Hell, Garage Journal is filled with hundreds of different takes on seeking perfection in automotive spaces.
This series of photographs of Bob Wilson’s shop that Amy Shore shot for Petrolicious comes as close as I think I’m ever likely to see of the image I have in my mind. Not overly sterile; not overly bright; just a cozy little hobbit hole of a workshop with just the right tools and just the right cars to work on. And that unassuming brickwork just visible outside the shop… Gorgeous.
You really owe it to yourself to click over to Petrolicious for the whole series.
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At least I didn’t have as bad a day as these guys did a few years ago.
Props to Rick Ostman for posting this image to the Vintage Road Racing Archive Facebook group.
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Enter the Austin Healey Sprite
Roy Salvadori takes the Sprite into a bend …a touch on the brakes …drop down to third …into controlled drift …foot hard down in third
On the reverse of this ad was printed the chassis and drivetrain. Holding the ad to a window showed an “x-ray view” of the car. Creating an interactive print ad in 1958 is pretty impressive.
What’s more, here’s video of Roy Salvadori’s referenced road test of the Sprite at Silverstone:
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It’s auto show season. While the latest supercars and minivans are being debuted in Detroit and LA, let’s remember that some of the best racing cars ever made didn’t have so much as a sheet to pull back when they debuted. Today’s vehicle launches are multimedia extravaganzas of celebrity-hosted augmented reality audio visual choreography that seemingly had more effort in their planning than the econobox they’re revealing.
Not so with the Cooper 500 shown here. Just pull up a cafe chair to set the engine on, hand paint a placard with the maker’s name, and park ‘em over by the rollup warehouse door. Done and done.
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