Wednesday 27 June 2012

A Gentleman and a DB6

I've always thought that what makes classic cars such an enjoyable environment to be part of is some of the fantastic people that belongs to it. Mind you, it is unfortunately not always the case but when a great car is driven by a nice person the joy is exponentially bigger.
On my way home from work I spotted an astonishingly restored DB6 just out of the workshop peacefully resting on a driveway. This town is compulsive about strangers taking pictures outside the usual touristic spots and I know way too well how tricky it can be. I decided to take out my camera nevertheless and moreover I decided not to hide it when a distinguished gentleman came out of the front door and stepped towards the car. To my surprise he didn't get nervous and on the contrary he politely asked if I was done with the picture, he simply didn't want to ruin the shot. I told him straight away that I would have loved the picture to be in my blog minus the licence plate and he happily agreed. We then had a little conversation and I asked if it was a '66. To my surprise he answered "I guess you're right, I can't remember right now. We restored a couple of these, you know". A quick and friendly chat followed and I have to say he obviously didn't look like a mechanic. He didn't say more about who he was and why "they restored a couple of these" and I decided not to ask. We parted in a friendly matter and I left with a smile on my face. Three days later I'm still wondering who he was and I'm still happy I didn't ask.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Back to the old bank

Only few things are as exciting as classic cars to me and old abandoned racetracks are one of these. Audi and Red Bull seem to share my opinion in this regard and decided to take an R8 LSM to one of the oldest race tracks in Europe, in fact possibly the second ever made. 
But the Autódromo de Sitges-Terramar is far from being legendary for the right reasons. The track was completed just in time to host the 1923 Spanish GP but none of the drivers or teams received any money since the builders didn't get payed for their work and decided to seize the ticket office and take all the money. As if that wasn't enough the drivers complained about the junctions between the scary 60 degrees bank and the straights being apparently not well connected. 
This particular detail is ever so clear in the Red Bull video where some nice slow-mo underline the car trading the rough gap. I don't understand spanish too well but is pretty clear that the point of putting Carlos Sainz and Miguel Molina in the R8 is to beat the 45.8second lap record set by Louis Zborowski Miller in 1923. It is impressive to see that the record is improved only by three seconds with Sainz lowering the bar at 42.6.
The track might have had its troubles but the quality of the construction is incredible and the colossal banks look scarier than ever before. Enjoy.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Treasures from Greece

We all know about the economic climate in Greece and it was just a matter of time for interesting classic cars to appear on the market. This seems to be Dimitrios Spyropoulos' Veloce Classic and Sports good chance to get some very interesting cars up for sales. His company is based in West London and thou some cars still seem to be in Greece judging by the pictures, his business seems well established and I would be happy to go and check it out if anyone's interested.
These are three cars that I found particularly interesting.
This Lamborghini Miura S appears to be a present from Aristotle Onassis to Stamatis Kokotas, a famous Greek singer in Greece. The ad also states "The car needs complete restoration. The engine is overhaulted by the Lamborghini factory and is on preview from the Lamborghini Museum in St. Agata." A quick check on chassis numbers reveals that the car was completed on the 24th of December 1968, and whether chassis and engine match, the color should be Red and Black, with Blue interior. Some specialised websites also note that is was rebuilt as 434th car. Sure there's some interesting history to discover about this car.
Another little gem is this Fiat Ghia 1500. I always liked this model and sure it would be a welcomed car in many events. It looks very straight in the pictures and I really don't think it's a car that is worth messing too much with, therefore it should be as good as it looks. If the pictures match the real conditions of the car, the price seems right at£15500 or near offer. 
My personal favourite of the whole lot thou would be this Lancia Flaminia Zagato 3C, one of my all time favourites. The car is said to be modified at the source for hillclimb races and would be interesting to find out who actually made that unique one-piece bonnet. The story of this car could very possibly make it one of the most amazing Flaminia in the world.
Please contact me if you need any more info or better still, if you want me to visit Dimitrios' London office. I think I'll get in contact with him very soon.

London in love with Alfa

It is a great pleasure to see how many vintage Alfa are popping out everywhere in London, all used and all well maintained. Sometimes I really really love this town.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Michelotti Spyder for Sale

There's an unique opportunity to acquire the last car ever designed by Michelotti, and wether its shape is in my opinion a love it or hate it, the story behind this unique Ferrari sure makes for a very interesting piece of history.
Born in 1972 as a the 71st Daytona Spyder out of 121 ever produced, the car was sold to Reno, Nevada. It started a brief career in cinema acting as a spare car in the 1976 movie "The Gumball Rally" but it will be heavily damaged that same year while starring in "A Star is Born". Luigi Chinetti acquired the car and rather than have it repaired as it once was, decided to send it to Michelotti in Turin.  The result is not one of the the happiest designs of the designer but it will turn out to be his last ever. The car would be presented at the 1980 Turin Motor show, the same year the designer died.
Straight lines and a thin front bumper are tightly wrapped around the 365 chassis and enormous V12 and wether the front might have its estimators I think the rear end is the bit where the concept fails to impress.
Still the heritage that comes with this unique car makes it an extremely interesting vehicle to enjoy, especially considering what an amazing car the 365 is.
RM Auctions traded it in 2006 and 2007, where it sold for $385.00, way below the estimate. In 2010 it was Bonhams chance to sell it starting from an estimate between €525-675k. The car did sell but I can't seem to find reliable sources for the final offer.
It is now on sale privately via a contact on Please enquire if interested.

Monday 11 June 2012

Getting ready for 24h of Le Mans 2012, Truth in 24 II

This year's 24 of Le Mans is almost here and is worth a little warming up for what it seems to be a very promising year. Last year's battle was one of the best ever, with an amazing battle between Peugeot and Audi. The french bidding on the new 908 and the germans trying to keep up their winning streak on the R18 TDI. Audi dominated for most of the 2000s and Peugeot started questioning them since 2007 managing a victory only  in 2009.
In 2010 Audi replied with a win and record distance of 5410.71km, more than 2000km more than Peugeot managed the year before. 2011's new regulations forced both companies to bring brand new cars to the grid, and Audi decided to change coach style from an open top barchetta to an enclosed cockpit of a more traditional LMP format. The race was on. I would love to tell more about this amazing race but Audi of America for decided to produce and distribute for free an amazing documentary about this race.  They have done it before for the equally amazing 2008 edition but decided to make it available in free streaming only for the american users. They haven't done the same mistake twice and "Truth in 24 II"has been available for download without charge and in HD on itunes from day one. I really recommend downloading it HERE.
Some user made the first episode available in HD on youtube and AUDI did the same for the second one. I will attach both below.
Do yourself a favour and watch them both while getting ready for Le Mans 2012 on the 16th of June. Peugeot will not be trying again but Toyota is back in the equation this year and we can be sure they will do anything possible to forget missing the target in 1998 and 1999. Will Audi keep winning?

ps- don't forget to switch the HD on, go full screen, sit back and enjoy these amazing stories.