Archives for May 2015

Lancia Stratos Family Bustup

Lancia Stratos Collection

You’d hope it wouldn’t come to this, but I guess if it’s going to be any specific car, it might as well be one of my favorites of all time, the Lancia Stratos.

A High Court dispute between Ernst Hrabalek and his son Chris, over the ownership of a collection of four Lancia Stratos cars, went to trial in London in February this year and the decision has been handed down by the High Court today (21 May). Ernst Hrabalek claimed that he had merely allowed his son repeatedly to borrow the cars over a 15-year period, whereas Chris Hrabalek believed that his father had gifted the cars to him in 2000, when Chris had completed his first degree.  The Court accepted that Ernst Hrabalek had led people to believe that he had made a gift of the cars to Chris, but felt that Ernst had misled those people.  The Court then went on to find in favour of Ernst Hrabalek that in fact no gift of the cars had been made to Chris.

Kinda rough, but I’m guessing with the increasing values of historic cars these days, it’s going to get a lot more common to see family fights end up in the law courts. Guessing there won’t be too many friendly toasts at Christmas at their house this year…

Porsche 911 (991) GT3 RS Video Review

Everyone loves a winner, and this my friends, is a winner (along with the first time I’ve ever lusted after a purple car….)


And as an aside, Chris (and Neil the cameraman) are trying to keep making these videos (and making them free), so would appreciate any support you can provide at this link. It really is the right thing to do if you like the stuff he puts out (and I like it a lot).

2016 Chevrolet Camaro Details Release


It’s been anticipated for a long time, but the official details and pics of the 2016 Chevy Camaro have been released promising higher levels of performance, technology and refinement.

The Gen Six Camaro provides a faster, more nimble driving experience, enabled by an all-new, lighter architecture and a broader powertrain range. Six all-new powertrain combinations are offered, including a 2.0L Turbo, an all-new 3.6L V-6 and the LT1 6.2L V-8, which is SAE-certified at 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) – for the most powerful Camaro SS ever. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.


To make it not only the best Camaro ever, but one of the best performance cars available, Chevrolet focused on three pillars of development:


  • Vehicle mass has been reduced by 200 pounds or more, depending on the model, creating a more nimble, responsive driving experience
  • Most efficient Camaro ever, with a new 2.0L turbo SAE-certified at 275 hp (205 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) – and delivers more than 30 mpg on the highway (GM-estimated), and 0-60 mph acceleration well under 6 seconds
  • Efficient performance in a new 3.6L V-6 featuring direct injection, continuously variable valve timing and – for the first time – Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), offering an SAE-certified 335 hp (250 kW) and 284 lb-ft of torque (385 Nm), for the highest specific output of any naturally aspirated V-6 in the segment
  • The most powerful Camaro SS ever, with a new 6.2L LT1 direct-injected Small Block V-8 rated at 455 hp (339 kW) and 455 lb-ft of torque (617 Nm) (as a note, this is pretty much straight from the Corvette!)
  • Magnetic Ride Control active suspension available on Camaro SS for the first time
  • With improved handling and performance, the Camaro SS delivers better lap times than the fifth-generation’s track-focused Camaro 1LE package.



  • All-new Drive Mode Selector, which tailors up to eight vehicle attributes for four modes: Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and – on SS models – Track settings
  • Segment-exclusive, Interior Spectrum Lighting that offers 24 different ambient lighting effects on the dash, door panels, and center console
  • High-definition, configurable color displays – including available dual, 8-inch-diagonal screens.



  • More athletic-looking, sculptured exterior that complements the tighter, leaner architecture – and offers all-new, modern lighting signatures, including light-emitting diode (LED) technology
  • Greater emphasis on customer personalization with wider range of choices, including 10 exterior colors, five interior color combinations, lighting options and a full complement of dealer-available accessories available at launch – including wheels, stripe packages and additional accessories
  • Aerodynamically optimized design that is the result of 350 hours of wind tunnel testing, reducing drag on LT models and improving downforce on SS
  • All-new, interior with shifter-focused center console, intuitive controls, flat-bottom steering wheel, and higher quality materials throughout
  • Unique control rings around the air vents used for temperature and fan speed adjustments, eliminating the need for conventional buttons



Lotus Evora 400


Not sure the big boss at Lotus understands what a supercar is these days if he’s classifying this as one, but it’s faster and supposedly more involving that all the Evora’s before, so that can’t be a bad thing. More details and the price below from the press release…..

Lotus Cars is delighted to announce the prices of the new Evora 400. The latest supercar from Lotus combines high performance with the legendary Lotus benchmarkhandling and is lighter, more efficient and dynamically better than ever, providing a purer driving experience.


UK prices will start from £72,000 (US is $89,500). For this price the car benefits from a high level of standard specification including 370 mm composite two piece brake discs from AP Racing, a Limited Slip Differential, automatic air-conditioning and infotainment system including satellite navigation. In addition to this, the options list includes automatic transmission at £2,000, Alcantara or Leather trim upgrades at £2,500 and metallic paint at £900.

A “Black Pack” option, available at £1,250, provides a distinctive look, with selected exterior panels including the roof, sills and centre section of the three-element rear wing in gloss black and a dark headlining in the interior. Lightweight forged alloy wheels can be fitted for £2,000 and cruise control and yellow or black brake callipers are priced at £300 each.


Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus plc states: “We know that the Lotus Evora 400 can deliver the performance of a car costing significantly more and we are conscious that the pricing is highly competitive. Yet, the greatest merit which no other sports car or supercar can deliver is a peerless Lotus driving experience.”

Jean-Marc Gales concludes: “The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced. It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance and our global dealer network of 179 dealers which will grow to 200 by the end of the year is excited to be able to deliver this high performing benchmark handling supercar to the ever growing customer waiting list.”

The new Lotus Evora 400 laps the Lotus test track at Hethel six seconds faster than the previous Evora S in a time of 1 minute 32 seconds. Combining high performance with the legendary Lotus benchmark handling, it is faster and dynamically more capable than the previous Lotus Evora leading to greater agility and a more involving drive.


Maximum speed is 186 mph (300 km/h) and acceleration 0-60 mph is just 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2 seconds). Over two thirds of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged and charge-cooled mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 400 horsepower and 410 Nm of torque. A new aluminium chassis incorporates a new interior and the lightweight composite body has changed significantly both front and rear.

The new Evora 400, which was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March, will enter production for European markets in the summer and deliveries will commence in August this year. North American markets will receive the Evora 400 as a 2016 model year in December, with China taking first deliveries in early 2016.


Ducati Diavel Titanium

Sometimes I like bikes too, especially when they’re as pretty as this (and I have yet to see or hear a Ducati that I didn’t like to be honest).


For 2015 Ducati wanted to take the bold and unique Diavel to a whole new level of prestige and desirability. In addition to inheriting the undisputed dynamic capabilities shared with all the other models in the Diavel family – and, of course, that unmistakeable design – the Diavel Titanium features elements made from the motorcycle industry’s highest-quality materials. The defining feature on this Diavel is titanium, chosen on account of its extraordinary strength and lightness. The broad tank covers (central and side) and headlamp cover are made of titanium, which, in this instance, has been banded and chemically satin-etched to provide unique nuances of colour. On the passenger seat cover, redesigned and widened for this special version, titanium has been combined with carbon fibre.


Carbon fibre has been used to make the redesigned air intakes, now wider and more powerful-looking. The radiator covers, micro windscreen, front and rear mudguards, front sprocket cover and filler cap surround are also made of carbon fibre. The Diavel Titanium’s exhaust pipes stand out on account of their high-grade Zircotech black ceramic coating. The silencers – made of brushed stainless steel – stylishly complete the colour contrast on the exhaust while the rear view mirrors are black and machined from solid aluminium. Exclusivity is enhanced even further by the hand-stitched seat made of Alcantara® embellished with leather inserts, a dedicated plaque, and dark chrome finish on the frame. Completing the version are the extraordinary dedicated machine-finished forged wheels.


Elegant, sophisticated, and always drawing a crowd, the Diavel Titanium is limited to just 500 bikes, with each one given a unique identification number which is inscribed on a special plaque fixed to its tank.

Audi TT Clubsport


Showcasing some of Audi’s latest technology (which they’re deeming close to production ready), they this week unveiled the Audi TT Clubsport. Sporting a wide body stance, upgraded engine and a fair bit of lightening, it looks little on the spectacular side.


The Audi TT clubsport turbo has a power-boosted 2.5 TFSI engine with 600 hp of power and 479 lb-ft of torque, the latter from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm, combined with an electric compressor to fill in the low/laggy turbo part of the rev-band. This power is transferred via a manual six-speed transmission.


The compact sports car takes a full stance on the road with track widths of 1,736 mm (68.3 in) in front and 1,729 mm (68.1 in) at the rear. The car is 4.33 meters (14.2 ft) long and 1.97 meters (6.5 ft) wide, including the side mirrors – 14 cm (5.5 in) wider than the technical platform upon which it was based. Its angular fenders contribute a separate additive shape to the car body. They take the characteristic design motif of the Audi TT* to an extreme and accentuate the distribution of engine power to all four wheels – the quattro drive. The fenders of the show car – painted in the exterior color Ferro Titanium – are open at the front and rear. Air from the car’s slipstream flows through them to cool the brakes. The Singleframe grille and large air inlets – whose vertical fins form a continuation to the light signature of the Matrix LED headlights – are also optimized for maximum air throughput.


The manually adjustable rear wing is an advanced development of the Audi Sport TT Cup with which the brand very recently launched a dedicated race series. It is now 20 cm (7.9 in) wider, and the side flaps, which feature the four rings, were given a new geometry. The wing consists of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRF) as do all other add-on parts: the air inlets and the large splitter at the front, the side panels and side sill trims as well as the voluminous diffuser at the rear whose lateral segments reference the motif of the air inlets.

Updated BMW 3 Series – 2016 Model

2016 BMW 3 SeriesBilled as a mid-cycle refresh, the latest announced changes from BMW are actually a little more extensive than the usual spit and polish approach to bodywork thats commonplace for the these things. It looks like (and I’m really hoping it’s true) they’ve listened to complaints around the crap steering and not up to par sportiness of the current generation with updated components and setup to address those areas.

2016 BMW 3 Series Front

And the other big news is the appearance of the 340i – replacing the 335i at the top of the none-M badged models. The BMW 340i is the first model in the BMW line-up to be powered by the all-new inline 6-cylinder engine (B58) from the new modular BMW EfficientDynamics engine family. The lightweight and rigid all-aluminum unit with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology replaces the N55 powered 335i and tops the 3 Series line-up. It produced a maximum power of 320 hp between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm, a 20 hp improvements over the previous model. Peak torque is an impressive 330 lb-ft, which is available from 1,380 rpm. The new BMW 340i Sedan equipped with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds while the BMW 340i xDrive model takes just 4.6 seconds. All 340i models are governed to a top speed of 155 mph. The new EfficientDynamics 6-cylinder engine is equipped with the latest generation of BMW’s innovative TwinPower Turbo technology, featuring twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing. It also incorporates VALVETRONIC fully variable valve lift.

2016 3 Series BMW interior

Although BMW still offer a manual option (at least on the non-diesel versions), the default choice is not the 8-speed automatic, meaning gone are the days of getting your BMW with manual for a couple of grand cheaper than the auto – it’s now a no-cost option (but we should be grateful it’s still there on the list – there’s lots of manufacturers just killing this option altogether over here).

2016 3 series BMW estate station wagon

Some of the specific changes for the updated suspension include: new geometry of the chassis with new front struts with five bolt upper anchors points (versus 3 previously), redesigned electric power steering, new rear damper technology, and updated Dynamic Stability Control. All these updates translate to increased handling capabilities as well as feedback to the driver. It’ll definitely be interested to hear the autopress comments when they get their hands on one.

3 series rear new 2016
There’s also a track handling package available. Designed for the driving enthusiasts and available on the gasoline engine models only, consists of Variable Sport Steering, Adaptive M Suspension and M Sport Brakes with high temperature Euro brake pads mounted to blue calipers that highlight the new 3 Series sportiness while sharpening handling. The package includes 18” Light alloy wheels in Orbit Grey with Michelin Super Sport Tires, which emphasize maximum performance while providing excellent handling. Optional 19” wheels are also available on all 340i models. Variable steering of any kind scares the crap out of me (have you ever read a decent review of such a system for a performance car?) so not quite sure why that would be a key part of the track package. But I guess we’ll see.


There’s also a few minor changes for exterior and interior designs, all seem nice enhancements (like automatically getting what was previously the Sportline option as standard on the 328i, 328d and 340i models). And the now obligatory announcement that the line will include a plug-in hybrid coming out in 2016, with a 22 mile electric only range when needed (handy for avoiding the congestion charge in London!).

Kermit’s new 563bhp Merc G-Wagen?

More power is not what the AMG Gs needed, but they’ve got it, alongside some eye-melting new colo(u)rs – check it out at the Top Gear website (and yes, I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t just shut the site down when Jeremy Clarkson got the boot the other week)

Source: It’s the new 563bhp Merc G-Wagen – BBC Top Gear

Audi TT 2016 Model Details and Pricing

Audi TT 2016 Blue

Audi today announced pricing for the all-new 2016 Audi TT model line. The iconic vehicle boasts an exciting new design characterized by the use of innovative technologies and driver-focused performance.

Audi TT Digital Dashboard Display

The Audi TT revolutionizes the way the driver interacts with the vehicle through the innovative virtual cockpit. An entirely digital instrument cluster, the virtual cockpit replaces traditional gauges and interfaces for a customizable driving experience. Unveiled at the 2015 Consumer Electronic Show, the virtual cockpit combines the functions of a central MMI® system with a conventional instrument cluster in one unique, 12.3-inch 1440×540 pixel TFT display with superb 3D graphics and brilliant clarity. The TT will also feature the most advanced version of Audi connect®, including picture navigation, read-aloud news headlines, Facebook® and Twitter® alerts, access to more than 7,000 Web radio stations, personalized RSS news feeds and more.


The Audi TT Coupe and Roadster will feature a 2.0L TFSI® engine with 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque for a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds (coupe) and 5.6 seconds (roadster). The performance tuned Audi TTS Coupe will feature a 2.0L TFSI engine with 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque for a 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. All models offer standard Audi drive select and quattro® permanent all-wheel drive for exceptional dynamics, excellent traction and superb grip. In its first application, the Audi drive select system on the 2016 TT now allows the driver to adjust the quattro all-wheel drive system, as well as the shift points, throttle response, steering.


The quattro system has been specifically tuned for the TT & TTS to continuously shift power to the wheels that grip and has a rear-wheel bias when the Audi drive select is in the dynamic mode. The unique quattro calibration reads sensors 150 time every 10 milliseconds to optimally adjust power. This gives the quattro system the ability to shift up to 100% of power to the rear or the front axle when needed.

Model Pricing
TT Coupe 2.0 TFSI $42,900
TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI $46,400
TTS Coupe 2.0 TFSI $51,900


THE Best Muscle Car Auction 


Held May 12th to 17th this year, Dana Mecum’s 28th annual Spring Classic Auction is recognized as the original, largest and best muscle car auction in the world. If you’re in the Indianapolis region it’s definitely worth checking out live, but there’s usually lots of TV coverage as well.


Mecum Auctions’ deep muscle car roots will be well represented this year by the consignment of some of the world’s most sought after muscle cars including the lowest-mileage 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda (Lot S111) known to exist.


With nearly 2,000 consignments, there are a host of other unparalleled greats set to cross the auction block as well, with many to be offered as part of Mecum Auctions’ select catalog segments. This year’s Spring Classic catalog collection showcase will take place during Thursday and Friday evening and throughout the afternoon on Saturday, May 15-17. The high-energy and high-dollar action will captivate the attention of collector-car enthusiasts as these collections, some of the world’s most valuable muscle cars and more, cross the auction block.


Bringing class and diversity into the auction lineup, a hand-picked selection from the Don Davis Collection is a unique assemblage of 18 stellar cars that reflect Mr. Davis’ 35 years of passionate dedication to acquiring low-production, historically meaningful cars. The collection, a majority of which has been treated to concours-quality restorations, is highlighted by his two Shelby Cobra Roadsters, a stunningly restored 1967 Shelby 427 CSX3356 (Lot F183) and a rare automatic-equipped 1965 Shelby 289 CSX2549 (Lot F186). Also to be offered from this select group is Davis’ 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta (Lot F188) that was factory built to U.S. specifications and is unrestored save for a single repaint.


Other featured collections include the 1958 Fuelie Collection (Lots S91-S98), a special selection of eight 1958 Fuelie Corvettes representing every color available that year from Larry Gerig’s Corvette Classic Museum in Fort Wayne, Ind.; the Danny Hill Collection (Lots S130-S149), a selection of 23 big-block full-size muscle cars from the Golden Era of Muscle; the Rick Baker Ford Collection (Lots F213-F241); the Mike Yager “My Garage” Collection (Lots T226-T236), a group of 11 Corvettes from the Effingham, Ill.,-based auto museum owned by Yager, CEO of MidAmerica Motorworks; and a quartet of specialty muscle cars from the Mike Guarise Collection (Lots S103-S106), to name just a few.