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The Bugatti EB 110, the super sports car of the 1990s

Let’s take a trip back to September 15, 1990, the Champs Élysées in Paris, a Bugatti EB110S drives down this famous road as a celebration of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th anniversary. With angular styling, Lamborghini style doors, and a massive amount of power … the super sportscar for the 90s was unveiled, the Bugatti EB110.

We are talking about a V12 powered supercar with a quad-turbo setup complete with intercoolers mounted on a lightweight carbon monocoque with about 550 hp being delivered to all four wheels through two differentials. If we compare that to the Lamborghini Diablo that was unveiled in January 1990, the Bull from Sant’Agata came with 492 hp and didn’t offer four-wheel drive until the 1993 Diablo VT version) … so it’s safe to say the Bugatti EB110 was very impressive at that time.

And that also reflected itself in the price, the 1990 Bugatti EB110GT was listed at 450,000,000 Lira (about $200,000 in 1990), but it did come with service and parts included for three years, the later released EB110 Super Sport had an MSRP of 550,000,000 Lira ($240,000 in 1992) compared to the Lamborghini Diablo VT MSRP in 1993 of $239,000 those numbers aren’t too crazy … but today’s values are even more impressive, only ten years ago, in 2011, a Bugatti EB110 would change hands for under $300,000, today we are talking about $3,000,000 for one that was recently sold by RM Sotheby’s.

The story of Bugatti was started in 1909 when Ettore Bugatti founded his company in Molsheim in the Alsace where he built the famous Bugatti Type 35, the Type 41 Royale, and the beautiful Type 57 Atlantic, sadly Ettore passed away in 1947, and even more unfortunate, his son Jean Bugatti was taken from him in 1939 already, so there was no successor to run the car building company and after about 8,000 Bugatti were built the Bugatti factory was bought by Hispano-Suiza in 1963 and the Bugatti cars went into the automotive history chronicles.

About 25 years later, in 1987, Romano Artioli was able to buy the rights to the Bugatti name and start building cars again, as he was Italian he opted to have Bugatti Automobili SpA located in Italy, in Campogalliano, Modena more precisely, and the design of his new factory made it unforgettable, even today, the at the time highly modern production facility was designed by a star architect and boasted state-of-the-art technology. The “Fabbrica Blu,” or blue building for the Development department sported the Bugatti emblem, and the large white ventilation ducts symbolized the heart of the factory.

But the economic collapse in the ’90s meant the number of customers for a super sports car like the Bugatti EB110 was dwindling fast, and a series of setbacks resulted in another demise in automotive history, Bugatti Automobili SpA ceased operations in September 1995, but five more EB110SS would be made by 1997 as German-based Dauer Racing obtained a license to build the EB110 and they even obtained the remaining stock from the factory grounds in Campogalliano, the factory itself was sold to a different company that went out of business before moving in, so this amazing production facility stood empty ever since.

In 1998 the Volkswagen Group came into the picture, obtaining the brand name and starting Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. with a headquarter that returned to Molsheim, back where Ettore Bugatti started this journey 90 years earlier, and some of the world’s most impressive hypercars were built, from the Bugatti Veyron in 2005 to the Bugatti Chiron from 2016, but this year, 2021, they are also finalizing the Centodiece, as an homage to the EB110 from the Nineties, a car that celebrates her 30th anniversary now.

To celebrate the fact the Bugatti EB110 was unveiled 30 years ago, owners took a total of twelve classic Bugatti EB110 back to Campogalliano to visit the famous Blue Factory again to pay tribute to their birthplace, ranging from the EB110GT to the EB110 SS and even the two factory race-spec models, this impressive collection of Bugatti EB110 was joined by the production prototype of the Bugatti Centodiece.

“With the EB 110, Bugatti developed a completely innovative super sports car 30 years ago that was pioneering not only for the brand but also for the automotive industry,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “Already 30 years ago, the technology, innovations, design, and handling were years ahead of the competition. At the same time, the EB 110 established the DNA of modern Bugatti hyper sports cars with its combination of a carbon monocoque, all-wheel drive, and four turbochargers.”

In the end, a total of 95 units of the Bugatti EB 110s and just 39 Bugatti EB 110 Super Sport cars were built in Campogalliano between 1990 and 1995, so only 135 original Bugatti EB110 exist worldwide, one of them being the famous yellow EB110 SS owned by Michael Schumacher, making the Bugatti EB110 a collector’s item for sure, and their value will only rise over the years to come.

Aston Martin DB5 Junior No Time To Die Edition

The latest James Bond movie is about to be released at the time of writing, and while Aston Martin themselves have already started their No Time To Die campaign by putting a 1:1 scale replica of the famous Bond DB5 inside a giant Corgi Toys box, there are others that plan to ride the James Bond wave this new movie will cause, just check out this amazing silver metallic DB5 Convertible ‘No Time To Die Edition’ … but it might not be what you would expect …

What you are looking at here is actually a two-thirds scale replica of the iconic Aston Martin DB5, all-electric by the way, created by ‘The Little Car Company’ together with Aston Martin and EON Production … only 125 units of this very special Aston Martin DB5 Junior No Time To Die Edition will be made worldwide, and it does include some of those famous Bond gadgets.

© 2021. All rights reserved. The Little Car Company. The Ferrari Testa Rossa J is hand-built in the UK under license by The Little Car Company. Use of the Ferarri brand is with permission of Ferrari s.p.a

The Little Car Company has a very interesting catalog of amazing classic cars, downscaled to be enjoyed by not only children but their parents too. How about a 75% reproduction of the legendary Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, called the Testa Rossa J, and limited to 299 units, they even have a complete configurator online to create your bespoke Testa Rossa J in just about any color you like.

But it gets even better, with the Bugatti Baby II, another 75% scale model, but this time of the 1920’s Bugatti Type 35, probably the most successful race car of all time with about 2,000 wins under her belt, but the story gets more interesting when Ettore Bugatti built a half-scale replica for his son Jean’s fourth birthday. Intended as a one-off, customers convinced Ettore to start building this smaller-scale version too, and in the end about 500 units were made almost a century ago.

© 2021. All rights reserved. The Little Car Company. The Bugatti Baby II is hand-built in the UK under license by The Little Car Company. Use of the Bugatti brand is with permission of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.

Today you can get a more modern version, which happens to be a little larger too, as a three-quarter Bugatti Baby II model from The Little Car Company, again limited to only 500 units, available in many different colors, this new Bugatti Baby II is a rear-wheel drive, battery-powered car that can reach a top speed of about 20 km/h in ‘novice mode’ but this can be raised to 45 km/h in export mode … the Baby II even comes with a ‘Speed Key’ like the Chiron, which releases 10kW and no speed limiter.

But back to the Aston Martin DB5 Junior now, and while we will discuss this new limited edition ‘No Time To Die’ version next, first let’s take a look at what The Little Car Company offers in their DB5 Junior range too, at a more democratic price. With a battery-powered engine delivering 5kW or 6.7hp from a 1.8kWh battery the base model DB5 Junior is listed at £35,000 (US$ 50,000) before options, but just like the big brothers from Aston Martin, you can opt for a DB5 Vantage Junior which comes with two batteries and doubles the power output to 10kW (13.4 bhp) and even comes with a limited-slip differential … at £45,000 ($62,000).

But we are here for the piece de résistance, the DB5 JUNIOR No Time To Die Edition that starts at £90,000, so about $125,000 … for a toy car … or is it. No, this 2/3rd scale replica is much more than a toy, this very special model is limited to just 112 units and comes with a massive power upgrade compared to the Vantage edition. Now 4 1.8 kWh batteries get installed delivering 16kW of power or 21.5 bhp that pushes this electric car up to 45 mph … this isn’t a toy anymore.

But wait, there is more, we are talking about a James Bond special edition, so that comes with Gatling guns behind the headlights, digital revolving license plates, a smokescreen generator, a hidden switch panel for the gadgets, and even a Skid mode, and while the real Aston Martin DB5 driven in the movie is a coupe, this one comes as a convertible, as this allows the child to be accompanied by an adult sitting side by side.

The paint on this Aston Martin DB5 Junior No Time To Die Edition is the period-correct Silver Birch while for the dashboard the correct Smiths instruments are fitted, being a limited edition, there are individually numbered chassis plates and genuine Aston Martin badges on this two-thirds replica.

Further testament we aren’t talking about an expensive toy here is the fact they did a 3D scan of a real Aston Martin DB5 to create this smaller-scale version, and while it’s electric, the fuel gauge has been replaced by a battery meter, but in their effort to create a safe car for a child to drive, they also fitted Brembo disc brakes, which regenerate when braking while Bilstein dampers and coil-over springs can keep up with the performance.

Ben Hedley, CEO of The Little Car Company, said: “Regarded as the most famous car in cinematic history, the gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5 awed audiences around the world over fifty years ago. Now, that story continues. As part of an exclusive partnership with EON Productions and Aston Martin, we have had the opportunity to create something truly unique for James Bond fans and collectors. We can’t wait to see the adventures these cars take with their owners.”

The Lotus Emira V6 First Edition

The long-awaited Lotus Emira was officially launched in early July 2021, with her official, public unveil during the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed, and this last gas-powered Lotus became an instant hit, people were literally lining up to put their order in, or better yet, to just get their name on the ‘pre-order’ list, as you couldn’t even order your Lotus Emira yet, and the ‘pre-order’ list was for RHD models only … but over the weeks after Goodwood FoS things changed, and at the end of September Lotus finally released both full specifications and the MSRP on the Lotus Emira V6 First Edition … a car loaded with technology, infotainment and comfort features.

Lotus plans to start building the Emira V6 First Edition in the spring, while the ‘i4’, the 4 cylinder version arriving in the autumn, pricing in the UK has been fixed at £75,995 while on the other side of the North Sea this new car will set you back €95,995, the US MSRP hasn’t been released yet, but a quick currency exchange leads to somewhere between $105,000 and $115,000 based on the £ and € pricetag.

The Lotus Emira V6 First Edition will come equipped with the supercharged 3.5-Liter V6 engine delivering 400 hp through either the standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, for the first year of production the customer has a choice of six colors, but Lotus intends to offer more shades a year later, and the First Edition is packed with options that come as standard, including bespoke badging naturally.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “The Emira is the most accomplished Lotus we’ve ever made, and to celebrate and reward our keenest early customers, we want to make the first cars extra special to own. The features have been carefully selected by our design team to make for a truly special and distinct First Edition.”

Taking the concept started by Elise, Exige, and Evora, the new Lotus Emira is really a giant step into the future, showing the brand signature and core value of the predecessors, but still improve on practicality, comfort, functionality, and technology. The Emira is built on a new lightweight bonded aluminum chassis, pioneered by Lotus and remaining an intrinsic part of their DNA.

This First Edition version comes with diamond-cut 20-inch ultra-lightweight wheels, optionally a silver or a black finish is available at no cost, while Lotus branded calipers are standard fitment too, to keep those expensive wheels safe, there is a TPMS, or Tyre Pressure Monitoring System fitted as First Edition specifications too.

The list of available colors has been deliberately kept very exclussive, from the press launch car in Seneca Blue to Magma Red, Hethel Yellow, Dark Verdant, Shadow Grey, and Nimbus Grey. They all match very nicely with the titanium exhaust and the Lower Black package that includes a gloss black finish on the air blades in the front bumper, front splitter, side sills, and the rear diffuser.

While the exterior is limited to six paint colors, you can choose from seven different shades on the interior, red, black, grey, tan when going for Nappa leather, or black Alcantara with either red, yellow, or grey stitching on the 12-way adjustable, heated seats that even come with a memory setting, that also includes the door mirrors.

Lotus wants to offer a very comfortable ride in their new Emira, so this car comes complete with climate control, cruise control, keyless start and selectable drive modes, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto while an integrated satellite navigation system is available on most markets, all available through a 10.25-inch centrally mounted touch-screen and a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster ahead of the multi-function steering wheel.

Apart from the Lower Black Pack, you’ll get three more packs as standard on these First Edition models, the Drivers Pack offers a choice between Tour or Sport suspension with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tires, or Sport suspension with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, the Design Pack comes with dark tinted glass, sports pedals and painted brake calipers in either black, red, yellow, or silver, and just so you don’t scratch those beautiful bumpers, the Convenience pack adds parking sensors to the front and a camera to the rear among other things.

Just in case, there are still a few options left to tick on that order sheet, but those will come on top of the base price for these Emira V6 First Edition models, like the £1,800 automatic transmission, or the Black Pack which contrasts the roof, cantrails, mirror housings, the Lotus badge and the exhaust tips for £1,200 only.

As already mentioned, production of the Emira V6 First Edition will start in the spring of 2022, while the 4-cylinder version will follow in the autumn of 2022, if you are looking to add a more base-level Lotus Emira to your driveway you’ll have to be patient until 2023 when they intend to release a £59,995 entry-level version with fewer options.

The Z8, BMW’s rarest modern convertible

There has been a brief period in time when James Bond, the famous UK spy didn’t drive an Aston Martin anymore but instead switched to BMW for transportation, In Tomorrow Never Dies he got behind the wheel of a large, four-door BMW 750iL while in Goldeneye he did drive an Aston Martin DB5 briefly but the ‘gadget loaded car in this instance was a BMW Z3, still, the best was yet to come, in The World is not enough he drove an absolutely stunning BMW Z8, and that’s the car we’re discussing here.

Well, not really the screen used Bond BMW Z8, that would be a problem as the car got cut in half in the movie, but a similar-looking 2002 model currently listed at auction on BringATrailer, at the time of writing, with six days left, the bids have gone up to $135,000, which isn’t bad as the original MSRP back in the early 2000s was $128,000 already, making this the most expensive car from BMW at the time, but I’m sure the bids will continue to rise as previous sales of BMW Z8 went above the $200,000 mark, one specific Z8 even sold for as much as $296,000 in August 2021.

The BMW Z8 was actually the production version of the Z07 concept car unveiled in 1997 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, as an homage to the classic BMW 507 Roadster built between 1956 and 1959, a car that has become extremely valuable today, especially with celebrity ownership on some of these, none other than Elvis Presley owned a BMW 507, it is believed there are just 202 BMW 507 in the world today, a far cry from the number made of the Z8 between 2000 and 2003.

In 1998 BMW also presented the Z07 concept as a coupe, but that one didn’t get developed further, instead, BMW focussed on the Z8, internal code E52, as a high-end production roadster, available with a removable hardtop, but still a two-seater convertible, just like the 507 from the Fifties, with a little over 5,700 units leaving the BMW factory between 2000 and 2003, but that wasn’t the end for the Z8, Alpina took over from 2003 calling it the Alpina Roadster V8, actually the last BMW 28 left the assembly line in November 2002.

This makes this specific, Titanium Silver Metallic 2002 model, currently listed on BringATrailer, a car from the final production year, with just 24,000 miles on the clock, this 4.9-Liter V8 beauty comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox delivering about 400 hp to the rear wheels only, a car that requires some respect when driving in the rain with those massive 295/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on the rear wheels, which are custom 20-inch Style 101 Multi-spoke wheels, the car does come with the original wheels the seller states.

This 2002 BMW Z8 comes complete with the color-matched hardtop, a special stand to keep said hardtop safe in your garage, and even a cover to keep the dust off, other than that this specific Z8 has received a few non-factory modifications, like adjustable H&R sway bars, a Performance Package front strut bar, a UUC short-shift kit, an Audiovox MediaBridge, and Eisenmann mufflers … I’m sure that big V8 rumbles even louder now.

The seller does mention the front bumper has been resprayed in the correct Titanium Silver Metallic (354) shade, but that was done to close up the holes the previous seller had drilled in the bumper to fit a license plate, after that the entire car was wrapped in XPEL PPF, Paint Protection Film so this modern-day classic’s paint will remain in pristine condition for years to come.

This is my personal opinion, but think the BMW Z8 is the most beautiful, sensual looking modern BMW, sure she’s nearly 20 years old now, but you can hardly tell, this is a virtually timeless design, a classic look, inspired by a car from the Fifties, resurrected in the 2000s, but still amazing looking today. There are some impressive cars from BMW in their 2021 lineup, and some are even more expensive than this 20-year old topless beauty … but for me, none of the ‘new’ BMW even come close to the Z8, not now, not ever.

Mecum auction reaches $36.8 Million in sales

The supercar and collector’s car market is still at a massive high at this moment, and that’s reflected in the latest auction results from Mecum when they held their annual auction event at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, a total of 1,101 cars passed the auction block, and they managed to sell 86% of those to happy new owners, in total 946 cars changed hands during this four-day event, reaching $36.8 million.

Mecum Auctions is the world’s largest collector car auction company, as usual, the Dallas auction offered cars for just about any kind of customer, from classic muscle cars over custom-made cars right up to supercars, and this time the best-selling car at the auction was made in Italy, a Verde Scandal over Nero Cosmos 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a mere 3,150 miles on the clock … selling for a massive $660,000, despite the fact she came on custom, non-standard, center-lock wheels.

The runner-up on the sales list went for a little over half as much, at $357,500, a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback changed owners, finished in an amazing looking Grabber Green, this specific Boss had a Concours frame-off restoration by a nationally recognized Boss restoration facility, this amount makes it very clear once again these classic muscle cars are becoming very expensive to add to your garage.

This is also made clear by the third place on the top list for this auction, a 1968 Ford Mustang GT500CR 900C Fastback that changed hands for $335,500, a car from the Triple B Collection, finished in red over black with the traditional white stripes, this one being serial no. SCR-0100 only had 378 miles since completion, this classic shattered her estimate between $250,000 to $275,000.

The complete top 10 collector car sales at the 2021 Dallas auction include:
1. 2019 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (Lot S154) at $660,000
2. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback (Lot S138) at $357,500
3. 1968 Ford Mustang GT500CR 900C Fastback (Lot S77.1) at $335,500
4. 1956 Chevrolet 210 Custom (Lot S133) at $253,000
5. 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible (F119.1) at $220,000
6. 2002 BMW Z8 Roadster (S95) at $211,750
7. 1966 RCR Ford GT40 Replica (Lot S126) at $203,500
8. 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith (Lot S193) at $203,500
9. 1969 Chevrolet COPO Camaro (Lot S116) at $200,750
10. 1999 Shelby Series 1 Roadster (S130.1) at $189,750

One that didn’t make it onto this top ten list is a 427 ci, 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, and while we aren’t allowed to call it after the famous car from the Nicolas Cage remake, one look at the photo and you immediately know what I’m talking about here. The hammer came down at $170,500 on this professional build that took three years to complete, originally a 351 Windsor engine but built to 427 CI by Performance Masters.

Next up is Las Vegas, where Mecum Auctions will be in early October with a 7,000-Mile Ford GT from 2006 as the highlight among 247 cars that will pass the auction block, if you’re in the market for an amazing collector’s item for your garage, make sure to check them out, and if you can’t make it to Vegas at that time, you might miss out on the chance of a lifetime.

Hennessey Venom 775 F-150: $100k Ford Super Truck Limited to 100 Units

Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) officially completed the development of their Ford-based Venom 775 F-150.

The F-150 Venom is powered by a 5.0L V8 engine, the engineers have increased the output power of the vehicle by adding an additional 375bhp to the standard 400bhp. The model currently delivers a maximum output of 775 bhp at 7000 rpm and 685 lb-ft of torque at a low 4,800 rpm. The acceleration from 0-60mp is achieved in 3.9 seconds and the ¼ mile sprint is achieved in 12.0 seconds at 117mph.

Additionally, HPE has made a few enhancements on the model including a 3.0 L twin screw supercharger, new intercooler system, air filtration upgrades, throttle body and engine management system.

The F-150 weighs about 2000 lbs lighter compared to the TRX, the model is nimble both on- and off-road and is also capable of both RWD and 4×4 modes.

The off-road performance of the vehicle has been improved by an off-road upgrade that adds integrated front and rear Venom bumpers, front LED bar, a 6-inch lift and a 20 inch Hennessey 10-spoke wheels wrapped in 35-inch off-road tires.

The Ford-based super trucks will be built in Texas and limited to only 100 units worldwide. Hennessey will offer the customers a three-year or 36,000 mile warranty and customers buying the tuned F-150 will spend a total of $90,000 to $110,000.

Complete List of Upgrades:
• 3.0L Twin Screw Supercharger Upgrade
• Air-to-Water Intercooler System
• Dual Core, Dual Pass Intercooler Bricks
• High Flow Intercooler Pump
• Upgraded Air Filtration
• Upgraded Fuel System
• Upgraded Heavy Duty Tensioner
• Upgraded Lightweight Supercharger Pulley
• Upgraded Spark Plugs
• Upgraded Throttle Body
• ECM Calibration
• TCM Calibration
• Stainless Steel Cat-Back Exhaust
• Professional Installation
• Chassis Dyno Tuning & Road Testing (Up To 400 Miles)
• Serial Numbered Dash & Engine Plaques
• Hennessey Exterior Graphics
• Venom 775 Exterior Graphics
• Hennessey Embroidered Headrests
• 3 year/36,000 Mile Limited Warranty

Sport Kit:
• Coilover Suspension Lowering Kit Including Traction Bars
• 22″ Wheels with Tires
• 3 year/36,000 Limited Mile Warranty

Off-Road Kit:
• Venom Front Bumper
• Front Bumper LED Light Bar
• Venom Rear Bumper
• 20″ Hennessey 10-Spoke Wheels
• 35″ Toyo Off-Road Tires
• Front Suspension Leveling Kit
• Overall Lift Is 6″
• Hennessey Exterior Emblems
• Professional Installation
• 3 year/36,000 Limited Mile Warranty

GTO Engineering Reveal New Ferrari California Spyder Revival

GTO Engineering has revealed the third model of its Revival series, the California Spyder Revival. The model will be revealed to the public at the Goodwood Revival event from 17th to 19th of September 2021.

The vehicle is based on the 1960 SWB California Spyder, it was designed by Pininfarina and completed by Scaglietti and they are limited to only 106 units worldwide. The California Spyders were produced by Ferrari in SWB and LWB guise.

The California Spyder Revival can be customised to whatever the customer prefers, the vehicle will either be equipped with a standard 3.0L , upgraded 3.5L or a 4.0L engine joined to either a standard four or a five-speed manual gearbox.

The key element of the vehicle will be the hand built aluminium body and interior manufactured with GTO Engineering’s own tooling, the interior can be finished in a range of high quality leathers and optional smaller wooden steering wheel in a vintage style with an original style horn.

The pricing of the California Spyder Revival is indicated between £750,000 to £850,000. The pricing depends on donor vehicle, final specifications, local taxes as well as shipping. The deliveries have been scheduled at the end of 2021.

Nissan Introduces 2021 GT-R T-Spec

Paying homage to its iconic Skyline heritage, the 2021 Nissan GT-R T-Spec is a true track-ready performer boasting 565 horsepower output via its twin-turbo R38DETT engine. The limited model also gets wider fender flares, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, blacked-out hood ducts, and gold-colored forged aluminum wheels. If you’re ready for the thrill of right-hand drive drift, it’s a sweet import.

2022 Genesis GV70, raging at VW ID.4 tech and thoughts on a new Lexus LFA | Autoblog Podcast #696

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor James Riswick. This week, they talk about driving the Genesis GV70, VW ID.4 and VW Taos. They talk about ways Chevy could “fix” the Camaro. James ranked all the James Bond films based solely on their starring cars. Next, they reach in the mailbag and discuss the question, “Do you think Lexus will make a successor to the LFA and, if so, what do you guys think it would be like?” After ruminating on that query, they dip into the mailbag a second time to recommend a sporty crossover to a listener in this week’s Spend My Money segment.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Autoblog Podcast #696

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Flashback to the Grande Fête Bugatti 110th anniversary in Molsheim

September is a special month for Bugatti; every September 15th the town of Molsheim in France is celebrates Ettore Bugatti, the founder of the company 112 years ago. This year marks his 140th birthday. In this flashback feature, we take a look at the 2019 festivities from Bugatti’s 110th Anniversary Tour Finish-line and Grand Fête that were held at the company’s HQs.

Bugatti 110th Anniversary

Back in September 2019 the 110th Anniversary tour started in Milan with around 20 cars driving towards Montecarlo – Aix-en-Provence – Beaune – Paris before ending up at the factory in Molsheim. Additional Bugatti owners joined in for the 2-day tour and the parking lot was probably the biggest gathering of Bugatti cars ever seen.

Enjoy the stunning lineup which I captured below.

After a warm welcome at the entrance and the parade of precisely lined-up Chirons, the guests were able to explore nearly one hundred cars from different epochs. One focus of the festive exhibition in the park around the Château as well as the North Remise and the South Remise were the Bugatti world record vehicles including the historic Bugatti Type 35 – the most successful racing car of all time. There were several EB110s to be seen too.

The record cars on display included the EB110 SS Ice Speed Record, the record-breaking Veyron Super Sport from 2010 and the Veyron Vitesse WRC. In 2013, this Roadster set a new world speed record for open-top series-production sports cars with a speed of 408.84 km/h.

And just few weeks earlier, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ had become the first hyper sports car to break the magical 300mph barrier (482.80 km/h).

I especially liked the fact that the car was untouched since the record run, dirty and full of smashed bugs. Stephan Winkelmann and Andy Wallace gave me a preview of the hidden record car, which was later shown on stage.

Earlier that day I had met Andy Wallace in one of the historic buildings, next to the famous Type 35 C and he spent an hour telling stories about his racing career and technical details behind breaking speed records. Tires were always a big concern, and they experimented with temperature sensors and so on. I’m still very grateful for this fascinating insight – Thank You Sir!

The stunning exhibition continued with a selection of rare historic Bugatti cars, some provided by the famous Schlumpf Collection – the largest Bugatti collection in the world, along with several private lenders including a Type 30 Torpedo, a Type 40 Roadster, a Type 46 Surprofilé, a Type 57 Galibier, a Type 57 S Corsica and the famous Type 35 racing car.

The second focus was on coachbuilding. The English word “coach” refers to a carriage or a car, and coachbuilding is equivalent to haute couture in the fashion sector: it is about creating unique specimens. The invited guests on Saturday afternoon and the general public on Sunday were able to see modern creations like the Bugatti Divo, La Voiture Noire, Centodieci (European premiere) as well as prototypes from Bugatti’s long history such as the EB110, the two Veyron pre-series vehicles 5.0 and Veyron 5.5, the concept studies Veyron 18.4, Chiron 18.3 and the Vision GT.

Most of the factory buildings were accessible, from the Atelier to the assembly area, the car configuration lounge and the final inspection zone in the shop floor. The last photo gallery further below takes the reader on a virtual tour!

For the 110th Anniversary weekend, different temporary tents (well, more like elegant glass buildings) were installed on the lawn. The hospitality area was further packed with surprises like the Bugatti Baby II prototype which is a 75% scale replica of the Type 35 of which 500 units will be produced. Did I mention that the scale car comes with up to 10kW electric engine?

Bugatti and Jacob & Co started a collaboration on highly sophisticated timepieces, two anniversary
models were shown.

Definitely a weekend to remember and I raise my glass of Champagne Carbon to express my congratulations to 110 and counting years of preserving the Bugatti Legacy.

That’s all!

Photos by David Kaiser and @aaronandcars for the EB110 Prototype

10 Incredible Cars From Monterey Car Week

Photography by Kristina Cilia

Monterey Car Week is just over a month in the past at this point, and still, something about the 2021 edition just seems to have left a great feeling in the air. It may have been the return of the event after the 2020 edition was canceled, or it could have been that given the extra year, the presentation and detail of all the cars were given just that much more time to be made perfect. Whatever the reason, we’re not going to deny reveling in it.

Over the entirety of the car week, there were several cars that could have been labeled as incredible, amazing, exceptional, and the like. However, unlike other car sites out there on the internet, we kind of like the slightly more off-kilter cars here, the less-famous but still amazing cars that get lost in the myriad of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and the like.

As such, for this list, we’re going to show you 10 incredible cars from the Monterey Car Week that you may not have given a second glance during the extensive coverage during the event. Each of these cars is special, historically important, or just plain awesome, and each really does deserve a mention.

De Tomaso Pantera

1972 De Tomaso Pantera

De Tomaso is a brand name that is not the first to the lips of many American automotive enthusiasts when mention is made of Italian sports cars. Founded by Argentinian-born Alejandro de Tomaso in Modena in 1959, the first decade of its existence was in building specialized racing cars, including Formula One chassis for Frank Williams. During this time, they also produced a limited number of road cars, including the Vallelunga and the Mangusta during the 1960s.

This manufacture of sports cars was enough to garner interest from Ford, after their row with Ferrari in the same decade. In 1971, Ford bought up an 84% stake in the company and started to provide V8 engines for the newest model, the Pantera.

It was during this period, from 1971 to 1974, that the De Tomaso Pantera became the hottest mid-engined sports car of the early 70s. The first year saw 1,007 Panteras sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships, and these first cars used a Ford 302 V8. They also had literally no rust proofing, and the manufacturing quality was, in a word, shoddy.

Therefore, in 1972, Ford became far more involved in the manufacturing side of things. A new model came from this, the Pantera GTS, which was built both as a homologation car for Group 3 regulations in Europe as well as a reinforced car to handle the new Ford Cleveland 5.8L V8 that was installed, producing 350 HP. However, for the US, the engine was tuned only to about 270 HP, and the car was still badged as just Pantera.

DeTomaso Pantera

In 1974, America finally got the full-fat Pantera GTS, with the engine turned up to 350 HP. Sadly, this was also the final year that Ford would import the Pantera, so original 1974 Pantera GTS’s, like the ones in the pictures, are exceedingly rare to find in good condition. Ford sold back their share of the company to de Tomaso in 1975, however, they kept the engine supply deal, and provided the Cleveland, and later Windsor, V8 throughout the remainder of the Pantera’s lifetime.

What makes the De Tomaso Pantera incredible is that by 1974, you had a mid-engined, 5-speed, Italian sports car that had a gearbox from ZF and an engine from Ford. Now, as many American muscle car fans will know, the 5.8L Cleveland V8 is an absolute gem of an engine in the eyes of tuners. These days, it’s not rare to see a Pantera or Pantera GTS chucking out an easy 400 HP, which in the 1970s put them in competition with the first Lamborghini Countach models in terms of power.

Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R parked next to a 356 A Coupe

To say that Porsche has stuck to their guns regarding car design is like saying the sky is blue. So as the company from Stuttgart pushed ever onward into the 21st century, they kept adding newer and fancier tech to their 911 flagship. All-wheel-drive became the standard, semi-automatic gearboxes were introduced as options and then became the standard, and some, but not all, Porsche enthusiasts felt that the true spirit of the 911 was starting to be lost.

Then came 2016, and with it, the Porsche 911 R. A limited production series of only 991, the 911 R was everything that those same enthusiasts wanted. The car was released with a standard spec, which was rear-wheel-drive only, powered by a 4.0L flat-six that punched out 493 HP, which was coupled to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual. The only options? You could have the radio and air conditioning deleted to save extra weight.

Porsche 911 R

Without those two items removed, the 911 R was still very lightweight at 1,370 kg (3,020 lbs) and screamed to 60 MPH from a standstill in 3.7 seconds if you were precise with your shifts. This was from extensive use of lightweight aluminum in the construction of the car, as well as some bits being made out of carbon fiber. This also made it quite expensive, with each unit at $190,000.

But what it gave for that money was about as close to Porsche nirvana as the company has ever offered in the 21st century. A tail-happy, powerful, manually shifted, ridiculously fast 911 that loves the road and the track in equal measure. A 911 that flexes its muscles and shows that a rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine car can still corner so hard your head will roll off your shoulders before the rear tires give up.

That is, simply, what makes it incredible. It’s pure classic 911, but in the 21st century.

1956 Maserati A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta

1956 Maserati A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta

We all know that throughout the 1950s and 1960s, some of the rarest, most collectible, and frankly most expensive Italian sports cars were produced. Multiple GT’s from Ferrari and Lamborghini were made, and still command attention on the auction circuit to this day. However, many overlook the contributions that a little company formed by 4 brothers, all with the last name Maserati.

The history of the A6 generation of Maserati road cars, when the company was under the management of “Commodore” Adolfo Orsi, is extensive and worthy of an entire article on its own. Suffice it to say, from 1947 to 1955, the A6 inline-six engine, in a variety of configurations, powered Maserati racing cars to multiple top finishes in road rallies, including the Targa Florio and the Mille Miglia.

Based on these successes, the 1956 A6G 2000, more commonly known as the A6G54, grand tourer was announced to the public. Under its long hood, it hid a 2.0L, triple twin-choke Weber carbureted inline-six that put out a strong 160 HP. Four body styles were offered: a three-box Carrozzeria Allemano coupe penned by Giovanni Michelotti, of which 21 were made; a Coupe and a Gran Sport Spyder by Frua, of which 6 and 12 were made respectively; and a competition-fastback berlinetta coupe, designed by Zagato, of which 20 were made.

Of them all, the Zagato Berlinetta was the best suited for racing, and many of the Zagato versions were raced by wealthy privateers in road racing events. During this time, many of these cars were damaged and needed restoration and a few were lost to crashes that damaged the cars beyond repair. A very select few, however, were never raced, and one of those models made an appearance at the 2021 Concours d’Elegance during Monterey Car Week, as shown in the picture above.

Due to the exceptional rarity of original condition cars, well maintained and only needing partial touching up and restoration work here and there, these cars are exceptionally expensive at auction, in the rare cases they are even offered at auction. In fact, during the 2018 Monterey Car Week, during the Pebble Beach auctions, a 1956 A6G54 Zagato Berlinetta that had raced in the 1956 Mille Miglia, which was the 11th overall produced and had been extensively restored, moved across the block to a new owner for $4.515 Million USD. 

1934 MG P-Type Midget

1934 MG P-Type Midget

The 1934 MG P-Type Midget is, for lack of a better term, “not famous.” However, it is still an incredible car because of the effect that it, along with a few other cars, had on the entirety of British sports cars throughout the following decades.

The P-Type Midget is a tiny car, with a wheelbase of only 87 inches and a track of only 42 inches. It is powered by an 847cc inline-four engine that produced a whopping 36 HP, and could scream long the English B-roads at a mind-altering 74 MPH. Okay, we’ll admit, it’s not the fastest car to ever exist in the 1930s, not by a long shot, but it was mass-produced, with just over 2,500 cars made.

While not being the most expensive or fastest sports car, the biggest effect it had came from its body profile, which was that of a long bonnet (hood), a rearwards cabin, and a very short tail. If this sounds like a recipe for pretty much every roadster produced from the 1950s onwards, that’s because it is.

1952 MG TD and a replica 1958 Porsche 718 RSK

Multiple cars took the profile of the Midget and put it to use, that of a short, agile car with a long hood, a short cabin, and minimal overhang. It even influenced the design of the best-selling roadster of all time, the Mazda MX-5, throughout its now 30 years of production.

This is because the Midget, in all its forms, was designed not to be the fastest in a straight line. At the time in the 1930s, English back roads were narrow and twisty, with only a few sections with decent straights, and that’s where the Midget was built to live, and is where every roadster has since.

BMW 507 Roadster

BMW 507 Roadster

In the 1950s, BMW was enjoying immense success after restarting production after the devastation of World War 2. The 501 and 502 sedans were selling well, despite being very expensive for the average German, with most of the sales coming in the form of exports to other countries.

An importer of these BMWs for the US, Max Hoffman, had an idea of creating a US-centric model, a classically styled roadster that would show off BMW’s excellent engines, and would shame the cheap-and-cheerful MG and Triumph roadsters that were starting to gain traction with those in the sunny parts of America. After a few aborted designs, designer Albrecht von Goertz designed the BMW 503 Coupe, and the 507 Roadster.

What Hoffman had not accounted for, however, was the difficulty of making a lightweight, powerful roadster purely for export across the sea. As the aluminum body needed to be hand-hammered to shape, and then attached to the chassis. BMW’s newest engine, the 3.2L  M507/1 V8, was the heart of the car and produced just about 150 HP.

Originally intended to be a mass-production, thousands-imported-per-year car, the difficulty in making the car, the massively expensive overseas shipping, and the fact that the car was meant to be a challenger to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL saw the car fail spectacularly. Intended to sell in the US at a 1950s expensive $5,000, it finally ended up on North American shores at $10,000, or just under $95,000 in 2021 dollars.

Throughout its entire lifetime, only 252 units were made from 1956 to 1959. Many people desired the car, but very few could afford it. Elvis Presley had one. Hollywood stars John Derek and Ursula Andress had one each. These were some of the highest-earning musicians and actors of their time, and even then these were expensive cars.

However, von Goertz’s design was solid, his lines were classic, and BMW quietly stashed away the design in their vaults for over 40 years, until in 1999, the BMW Z8 was revealed as a production model. Designers Henrik Fisker and Scott Lempert drew heavily from the 507, and the Z8 officially recognized the 507 Roadster as its predecessor car.

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder

2013 Porsche 918 Spyder

Not all the cars during Monterey Car Week that are incredible are old or classic. A perfect example of this is the 2013 Porsche 918 Spyder, one of the holy trinity of high-performance, hybrid-powered supercars that cemented the term “hypercar” into the common vernacular.

Combining the howling grunt of a 4.6L mid-mounted, racing-derived V8 with the torque and immediate power of two axle-bound hybrid motors, the 918 Spyder has monstrous 887 HP on tap. Thanks to the availability of 100% torque at 0 RPM from the electric motors, the 918 Spyder launches to 60 MPH in 2.8 seconds and keeps going well beyond 200 MPH.

This performance-oriented hybrid technology was not common before 2013, with only race cars and a few concepts really fiddling around with it. But when 2013 brought us the Ferrari LaFerrari, the McLaren P1, and the Porsche 918 Spyder, the supercar landscape was changed forever.

The biggest impact that the 918 had on future developments in hypercar hybridization is that it combined both schools of thought about how to deploy hybrid power on a supercar, that of a motor attached to the transaxle, and that of a motor driving the axle alone. It also helped bring regenerative braking, something seen only on Formula 1 cars and LMP1 race cars to that point, onto the road.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

Mercedes CLK-GTR

In the mid-1990s, endurance racing was in a bit of a strange place. The Group C era had ended in the early 1990s, and the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) categories had not yet been created. This left a void at the very top end of 12 hour and 24 hours races, and so the FIA created the GT1 category to both be its own type of racing, as well as the top class in endurance series.

To say that some of the most famous cars to race came out of this category is not overstating the fact. The McLaren F1 GTR, the Porsche 911 GT1, and many others were quickly developed for the new category, but none were as straight-up crazy as the Mercedes CLK-GTR. It was a car of many firsts for Mercedes, including being the first midengined car completely developed in-house, as well as carrying the most powerful naturally aspirated V12 that Mercedes-AMG had produced to date.

Mercedes CLK-GTR

That 6.9L V12 put down 612 HP to the rear wheels and was mated to a semi-automatic 6-speed transmission. The body of the car was the first time that Mercedes had made the entire shell out of carbon fiber, and the safety cell was a combination of carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb for extreme strength. This would prove to be quite valuable, as during the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, the CLK-GTR driven by Peter Dumbreck moved out of the slipstream of a Toyota GT-One as it crested a small hill in the track and simply took off, flipping over the guard rails into the forest beside the track.

This was discovered to be a massive aerodynamic miscalculation, as the car itself only had a coefficient of drag of 0.25, which is extremely slippery. However, with the cockpit of the car and the sealed sides of the car, it also formed the shape of a wing, hence even getting a small amount of disruptive air under the front of the car turned it from being sucked to the road to being airborne.

The CLK-GTR, then, is incredible because it showed that even in the modern age of Formula 1 and GT racing, you had to pay attention to aerodynamics. If you ever wondered why top-class endurance cars went from being relatively similar to road cars to having ducting, gaps, and small aerodynamic vents everywhere, it was to prevent another car from taking off while racing.

1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Ti

La Carrera Pan Americana racers highlighted at Laguna Seca during the RMMR 2021

Before the supercar era started properly with the Porsche 959 and the Ferrari F40, the ability to go down to your local car dealer and buy a “race car for the road” was a much simpler prospect. Many of the major races, including some rallies, distance races, and especially touring car races, were filled with slightly modified road cars that put up some serious competition to dedicated racing machinery.

None, however, reached the popularity and fame of the Alfa Romeo Giulia GT, and the several models that were based on it. The little executive sedan was designed with the wheels pushed out to the four corners of the car, to give cabin room. The car was light at 1,000 kg (2,205 lbs), with aluminum and steel combined to make the body and chassis. But what made it spectacular was the absolute gem of an engine under the hood.

In the Giulia 1300 Ti, the 1.3L twin-cam inline-four was fitted with a sing down-draft carburetor for 81 HP. This may not sound like much, but with the wheels out to the ends of the car and the light weight, the little Italian would corner eagerly, accelerate hard, and could even sustain powerslides that would make a modern-day drifter weep tears of joy.

The Giulia 1300 Ti is incredible because it, and its brethren, convinced Alfa Romeo to spawn one of the greatest light-GT cars ever made, the Giulia GTA. A performance powerhouse, the GTA had a 1.6L twin-cam inline-four that put out 170 HP, in a coupe version of the Giulia that was intentionally stripped of any excess weight. It dominated touring car racing for almost a decade, and it was all because the original Giulia sedans, either intentionally or not, proved to be touring car masters.

1953 Kurtis Kraft 500S

1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge

Kurtis Kraft is a name that probably only the most hardcore racing history fans know about. However, this company, founded by Frank Kurtis in the late 1930s, would have a lasting impact throughout the world of racing.

The basis of the company was to produce lightweight, affordable midget sports and racing cars that were easy to drive and were power-dense. Light weight was achieved through the use of aluminum for the chassis, and fiberglass body panels. Power-density was achieved by pairing the car with the famous Offenhauser inline-four racing engine.

1953 Kurtis 500S Dodge

Where the Kurtis 500S comes into the picture is that between 1950 and 1960, the Indianapolis 500 was part of the FIA world championship, hence the 500S (500 Sport) nomenclature. These cars were fitted with the Offenhauser 4.4L inline-four, running at a compression ratio of 15:1, which meant that it was more than a liter per cylinder and power crept up through the 700 and 800 HP milestones. In a car that weighed 820 kg (1,800 lbs) with the engine in, these little midgets turned into little rocketships.

In fact, a Kurtis 500S won the 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955 editions of the Indianapolis 500, and almost every winner between 1947 to 1964 was powered by a “Big Offy” Offenhauser engine. What makes that incredible is that, in 1953, the Kurtis 500S cost “only” $4,985, with the engine included. To put that in perspective, that comes out to just under $51,000 USD in 2021, while IndyCars these days are worth several million dollars.

1968 Ford GT40 Mk I No 6 (Gulf Livery chassis #1074, M1 0001)

1968 Ford GT40 Mk I No 6

If ever there was a car that defined the ultimate in American sports car design, the Ford GT40 is that car. Low, long, and powered by either a 4.7 or 7.0L V8, the GT40 succeeded in its mission of winning Le Mans and showing one Enzo Ferrari that the company from the USA could indeed race and win on the big stage.

The FIA, which at that time controlled the regulations around endurance racing, changed the rules around engines in 1967 for 1968, no longer allowing unlimited size engines to participate in endurance racing. This caused the official GT40 program to close down, as the Mk II and Mk IV GT40s had been produced to dominate the unlimited class. However, Gulf Oil executive vice president Grady Davis had bought one of the original GT40’s, chassis #1049, and had entered as an independent for the Daytona and Sebring endurance races in 1967. When Ford shuttered the GT40 program, he saw an opportunity to make Gulf Oil very popular.

Through JW Automotive Engineering, under the management of the experienced John Wyer, Gulf Oil bought out the GT40 racing team, and all remaining chassis. By introducing a 4.9L Windsor V8 into the car, and renaming the production to Mirage Mk I, Gulf Oil was able to enter 3 GT40s as Group 4 cars into the 1968 and 1969 endurance seasons.

The changes were very minor, with a slightly raised roof that added about another inch of headroom, and the 4.9L Windsor V8 was tuned to 425 HP. Other than that, the original shape of the GT40 remained. This was also a very important car, as it was one of the first time carbon fiber, in a very rudimentary form, was used to reinforce the body shell of the car. Chassis 1074 also served as the camera car for Steve McQueen’s epic Le Mans film, and it is the only Gulf Oil car to win both as a Mirage (1967 24 Hours of Spa) and a GT40 Mk I (1968 12 Hours of Monza).

Lamborghini teaser previews rebirth of original Countach LP500

Lamborghini’s Countach revival at last month’s Monterey Car Week perhaps didn’t quite make the splash the company was hoping for. Many critics skewered the reskinned Sian as a retro cash grab, leaving Acura’s vague announcement of a new Integra at the same time to generate far more excitement on the interwebs. Now Lamborghini’s teasing the return of another Countach, but we think this one will face sunbstantially less ire.

Lamborghini posted a mysterious teaser to social media yesterday, but kept coy on what exactly it was. The teaser’s text merely said, “50 years ago it paved the road to the future. Now it’s back on the road,” accompanied by a roaring V12 soundtrack. No image of the car is actually shown, but we do get footage of craftsmen crafting a fantastic bucket seat that looks like the love child of Irving Harper and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe sofas.

This is almost certainly a re-creation of the driver’s perch of the original Countach LP500 concept that debuted on March 11, 1971, at the Geneva Motor Show. The yellow Gandini wedge would go into production in 1974 and sear itself into the imaginations of adolescents around the globe.

However, this isn’t a straightforward restoration project from Lamborghini’s Polo Storico restoration center. After the show rounds, the Countach LP500 concept was used as a test mule, its 5.0-liter V12 reportedly destroyed and replaced with a four-liter closer to the production LP400’s. Ultimately, according to Lamborghini, the concept gave its life in a 1974 crash test in order to homologate the production car.

As the car was scrapped, it’s technically not possible to restore the original. So, is Lamborghini re-creating the Countach LP500 concept? That part remains to be seen, but whatever it is, it’ll likely be a better homage to the legend than the LPI800-4.

Is Nissan Going to Finally Stop Milking the Current GT-R?

There’s a new Nissan supercar coming, eventually. However, that’s about the only news that’s been confirmed at this point. Everything else is little more than speculation, bits and pieces of information gleaned off news reports, remarks by company executives and from the fact that surely, the R35 can’t remain in production forever.

See also: our guide to the latest and greatest GT-R, the 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

Early Beginnings: The GT-R as a Standalone Model

2001 Nissan GT-R Concept
2001 Nissan GT-R Concept
Image courtesy of Top Gear

The current-generation Nissan GT-R started out as a concept vehicle way back in 2001. Then the production of the R34 Skyline GT-R was coming to an end and Nissan were looking for a worthy replacement that could be made available in international markets.

An enhancement of the 2001 concept, dubbed the GT-R Proto, was displayed at the 2005 Tokyo Auto Show before the production-ready GT-R was finally unveiled in 2007 at the same event. There was no denying the tsunami effect its launch had on the car community back then. Nissan dropped ‘Skyline’ from its name and positioned it as a standalone flagship model.

2007 Nissan GT-R
2007 Nissan GT-R
Image courtesy of Oliver Marriage, Auto Express

It became the first GT-R made available in other markets outside of Japan and it showcased the best of Japanese automotive brilliance to the rest of the world. Among other things, the car featured an independent transaxle 4WD system, the first one developed completely independently by Nissan, paired with a dual-clutch transmission, operated by paddle shifters.

Nissan Takumi Craftsmen
Nissan Takumi Craftsmen
Image courtesy of Motor Authority

Takumi & the GT-R

Then who can forget Takumi? A Japanese term that ordinarily refers to a master craftsman who has perfected his skill over several years of hard work and dedication at the highest levels.

At Nissan’s Yokohama plant, the Takumi is a designation shared by 4 individuals of almost mythical status – the engineers who bear the enormous responsibility of handcrafting every Nissan GT-R engine, making sure that all the individual components work together in complete harmony. These men possess more than a century’s worth of experience between them and together, they are able to create a mechanical masterpiece that powers every GT-R.

Power, Torque, & More… For Days

The first Nissan GT-R was fitted with a hand-built 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine that generated 480-hp at 6,400 rpm and 430 lb-ft of torque from 3,200 rpm to 5,200 rpm. It is essentially the same power plant in today’s GT-Rs but continuous tweaks and enhancements have boosted that power output to a thumping 565-hp and 467 lb-ft of torque.

That power output, complemented by Nissan’s incredible Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA), made for some truly impressive performances, especially when it came to speed and acceleration.

For example, the 2007 GT-R could rocket off the line and hit 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds before going on to complete the quarter mile run 8.4 seconds later at 120 mph. 

It was potent enough to take down more established rivals like the Ferrari California, 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera and even the 2009 Gallardo LP560-4; cars that were significantly more expensive than the $69,000 GT-R. It was not long before people started referring to the GT-R as ‘Supercar killer’ or the more ominous-sounding one – Godzilla. It’s a nickname that’s stuck to this day.

How is the Nissan GT-R Faring Now?

The Nissan GT-R is now in its 14th year and the Japanese carmaker, to its credit, has made constant improvements to the car, mostly under the skin to create an even more formidable supercar.

The latest iteration of the car can hit 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and fly past the quarter mile marker in 10.9 seconds at 128 mph. These are still impressive numbers but there’s no denying that the once imperious GT-R is rapidly losing its mojo. It is becoming much harder to justify its hefty price tag too that can reach north of $200,000 depending on the model trim and specifications.

2019 Nissan GT-R Special Edition
2019 Nissan GT-R Special Edition
Image courtesy of Nissan

Available market data lends further credence to this statement. Being a supercar, volume production was never a priority but even then, GT-R sales numbers have not been particularly encouraging, especially in recent years.

The Nissan GT-R first hit the American market in 2008 and in that year, a record high 1,730 units were sold. The second peak came in 2014 when 1, 436 units of the car found new owners. However, that number has steadily trended downward since then.

In 2020, only 301 GT-Rs were sold. The story is not much different in Europe where numbers have mimicked the downward slope of GT-R sales in America.

To be fair, Nissan have tried their hardest to keep the GT-R alive and kicking. The supercar’s performance has been offered in several packages that include the base model and variants like the Track Edition, Black Edition and of course, there’s the NISMO GT-R and the NISMO GT-R N Attack.

Then, you have the limited edition specs like the Midnight Opal Edition, 45th Anniversary Edition and the GT-R Naomi Osaka Edition, of which 50 units were planned to celebrate the brand’s partnership with the Tennis star.

To top it all off, there’s the exclusive GT-R 50, designed in partnership with renowned coachbuilder, ItalDesign, to celebrate the nameplate’s 50th anniversary. A total of 50 units will be produced, with each one priced at a cool $1.1 million.

Nissan GT-R 50 by ItalDesign
Nissan GT-R 50 by ItalDesign
Image courtesy of Nissan

Apart from the Nissan GT-R 50 by ItalDesign, very little has changed with regards to the GT-R’s external design and it is an area where the carmaker has, deservedly so, received some knocks.

The interior has also been criticized for its liberal use of cheap-looking plastic. Initially, it was not that big a deal when the car cost less than $70,000, especially with the level of performance offered. However, the complaints started to mount as the price increased steadily over the years and the interior layout remained stuck in the ‘dark ages’.

Overall, it’s gotten to the point where it almost looks like the same car is being offered year after year no matter how much Nissan tries to ‘differentiate’ each new release. The market can be quite unforgiving and the legend of the almighty GT-R risks being ridiculed if Nissan doesn’t not step up its game with a complete redesign or replacement.

What’s Next for the GT-R?

As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, it does looks like the ‘big change’ is indeed coming and all hope may not be lost yet for the GT-R. Various automotive news sources from Japan have confirmed that there will be a new Nissan supercar but there’s little to indicate that a firm decision has been made by the company executives regarding exactly how to approach its development.

Nissan GT-R R36 speculative render
Nissan GT-R R36 speculative render
Image courtesy of Enoch Gabriel Gonzales

Earlier this year, Top Gear reached out to Philip Klein, Nissan’s product planning executive, to ask about the next-generation R36 GT-R. He confirmed that a new GT-R was indeed in the works but also added, ‘yes, you guys have to be patient because we will meet your expectations.’

How patient? You might wonder. Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to be in for the long haul. In May 2020, Nissan produced a promo video that detailed the future of the company’s product lineup and the GT-R was noticeably absent. That indicates that a new GT-R could still be up to 3 years out, and that’s me being quite the optimist.

There are quite a few issues that need to be addressed by the carmaker even as it mulls over a possible path for its next-gen supercar. Emission regulations are stricter than ever and this, coupled with the recent shift towards electrification in the automobile industry does pose an interesting question. Will the new Nissan GT-R be all-electric or will there be some sort of hybrid powertrain? These options are again challenging prospects as going this route will no doubt add extra bulk in the form of batteries and electric motors, to a supercar that’s no lightweight in the first place.

The Issue of Cost

In September 2020, Ivan Espinosa, senior vice president in charge of global product planning had an interview at Nissan’s Japan Headquarters. He was worried about the implications of deploying an electrified drivetrain for the GT-R.

According to him, ‘The GT-R is a supercar, but at the same time it’s a supercar that’s attainable and that’s accessible to many people.’ That statement about affordability may raise some eyebrows especially when you look at how the prices of GT-Rs have been trending upwards over the years.

However, he does make a good point regardless. Just look at the insane price tags of all-electric supercars like the Rimac Nevera, Lotus Evija and the Pininfarina Battista. It’s doubtful that the company would find many customers willing to pay anything that’s even remotely close to the prices of these cars, for a new GT-R.

The financial position of the carmaker is also another valid consideration here, one that could very well influence the timeline of a new Nissan supercar. Nissan is going through some really challenging times.

For the 2020 fiscal year, the company reported an astounding loss of 448.7 billion yen ($4.09 billion) and free cash flow of negative 391 billion yen ($3.56 billion). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and global chip shortage is most likely not going to make 2021 financial figures any more pleasant to read. There is the very real possibility that Nissan may just be too financially strained to invest significantly in the development of a new GT-R, at least for the foreseeable future.

My Two Cents…

2022 Nissan GT-R NISMO Special Edition
2022 Nissan GT-R NISMO Special Edition
Image courtesy of Nissan

Whichever way you look at it, the journey ahead for the upcoming GT-R is filled with potholes that the carmaker will need to carefully navigate. The current-gen GT-R has run its course and is long overdue for a change. However, all the signs point to the fact that Nissan is not quite ready, or financially capable, to let go of the current-generation GT-R.

As I write this, plans have already been completed to unveil yet another iteration of the supercar – the 2022 GT-R NISMO Special Edition in October 2021 in Japan. It will follow the same formula as all the other variants before it; a few extra horsepower, some mechanical tweaks beneath the skin, the same external appearance and dreary interior.

It’s almost depressing. At this point, one can only hope the company recovers soon enough from its travails and delivers on a completely new, next-gen GT-R, sooner than later, both for the company’s sake and for people like us that still have a strong fondness for the fabled Japanese supercar.

Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance 2021

The 16th running of Salon Privé, one of the most notable and stylish Concours, saw automotive royalty once again descend on the ornamental gardens of Blenheim Palace, reinforcing its claim to be one of the most prestigious events in Europe.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal Palace in the UK, built in the early 18th Century during the English Baroque period. Over its 300 years, it has been inextricably linked with English history and now lies under the ownership of His Grace, the 12th Duke of Marlborough.

Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance has continued to gather momentum and recognition over its previous editions. Highly regarded, it has firmly established itself as one of the most prestigious events on the UK calendar, attracting year on year an incredible and exquisite collection of motorcars representing the most delectable designs and reflections on motoring heritage.

This year indeed was no exception, with the influential Concours d’Elégance attracting a phenomenal array, along with the centrepiece “Red Collection” – an exclusive curated collection of some of the most iconic and highly sought after cars in the world.

Salon Privé is also a launchpad for new models from prestigious manufacturers, with the UK and global debuts of a number of models, with hybrid and electric powered supercars leading the charge. Touring Superleggera launched their Touring Arese RH95 for its Global debut, with Land Rover also debuting the Range Rover Sport SVR Ultimate Edition.

Salon Privé attendees were also treated to the unveiling on these shores of the remarkable Battista Anniversario, the all-new 1873bhp, all-electric hypercar from Automobilia Pininfarina.

Concours d’Elégance

The curtain-raiser to the five days of automotive extravagance at Salon Privé is the highly regarded Concours d’Elégance. With a diverse panel of judges, an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and expertise were applied in the meticulous analysis of the fine machinery on show.

Uniquely, the judging panel comprises members of the International Chief Judge Advisory Group (ICJAG), the gold standard when it comes to the focus of provenance, authenticity, and condition in Concours judging.

1938 Mercedes-Benz 540k Cabriolet A Sindlefingen

The Winners

Taking the award for ‘Best of Show’ was a quite incredible 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540k Cabriolet A Sindlefingen. Entered into the Pre-War Tourers category, its imposing aesthetics and meticulously maintained condition saw it take not only the class win but the overall award in addition. Considered one of the most coveted of all pre-war cars, the two-seater Cabriolet A coachwork is twinned with the longer wheelbase chassis – an absolutely incredible piece of automotive history, and rightfully a star of Salon Privé in 2021.

The Churchill Cup for Most Exceptional Design went to an incredibly elegant De Tomaso Mangusta from 1972. Entered to contest the Low Slung Sports class, the Mangusta oozes with sleek and sophisticated style, resplendent in red, this car certainly shone in the eyes of the judging panel.

The People’s choice award, in true British fashion, was awarded to the 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk1 Monte-Carlo Rally car. With a celebration of World Rally champions at Salon Privé this year, there was evidently some impassioned feelings towards rallying history in the Oxfordshire air.

A full list of class winners and show winners from the 2021 Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance

  • Best in Show – 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Cabriolet A Sindelfingen
  • Churchill Cup – 1972 De Tomaso Mangusta by Ghia
  • People’s Choice – 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk1 “Monte Carlo Rally”
  • Preservation Award – 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk1 “Monte Carlo Rally”
  • Duke of Marlborough Award (Motorcycles) – 1901 Triumph Minerva 3/4hp
  • Chairman’s Award – 1951 Jaguar XK 120 OTS
  • Class A – Competition Motorcycles – 1951 Moto Guzzi 500cc Bicilindrica
  • Class B – Exceptional Motorcycles – 1975 MV Agusta 750 Sport
  • Class C – Early Pioneers – 1904 Cadillac 814hp Model B rear-entrance tonneau
  • Class D – Pre War Tourers – 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Cabriolet A Sindelfingen
  • Class E – Pre War Sports – 1938 SS 100 3½ Litre Roadster
  • Class F – Fit for a King – 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville
  • Class G – Racing Greats – 1865 Ford GT40 Mk1
  • Class H – Post War Open – 1962 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupé
  • Class I – Post War Closed (European) – 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este Coupé
  • Class J – Post War Closed (British) – 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 by D’Ieteren Freres
  • Class K – Post War Tourers – 1946 Tatra T87 Aerodynamic Saloon
  • Class L – Pininfarina Design – 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Spider 101 Series
  • Class M – 60 Years of the Jaguar E Type – 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight ‘Lindner Nocker Low Drag’
  • Class N – Low Slung Sports – 1972 De Tomaso Mangusta by Ghia
  • Class O – Classics of the Future – 1993 Jaguar XJ220
  • Class P – Rolling Bones Hot Rods – 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe
  • Spirit Award – 1903 Panhard et Levassor
  • Most Exceptional Coachwork – 1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Tourer by Barker
  • Most Opulent – 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Park Ward Four-Door Sports Saloon
  • Coup de Coeur – 1937 Talbot Lago T15 Cabriolet by Worblaufen
  • Best Interior – 1947 Bentley MkVI Cabriolet by Franay
  • Most Elegant – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS
  • Most Iconic – 1966 Jaguar E-Type 4.2 FHC

Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider by Zagato

The Red Collection

A specially curated centrepiece for the Salon Privé 2021 event, the Red Collection brought together some of the most desirable and collectible cars ever produced, all sensational and striking in their red paintwork.

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza Spider by Zagato is no stranger to Salon Privé, having featured in 2020, winning not only its class but also the prestigious Best of Show award. It has also starred at Heveningham Concours and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance. Carrying chassis number 2111044, this early works car was registered to Scuderia Ferrari in 1932.

Starring alongside was a sublime Ferrari 166MM. Considered by some to be the Ferrari that carries the most historical significance, this car won the Mille Miglia and 24h Le Mans in 1949, cementing Ferrari‘s presence on the motorsport map with these two historic wins.

Another notable Italian addition to the Red Collection was the Maserati 250S, chassis number 2409. Raced initially as a works car, the pedals have been graced by names such as Fangio, Scarlatti, and Moss, the latter having tested this car in period, returning in 1984 to compete in the Mille Miglia.

In this remarkable display, we were also treated to other incredible works of automotive repute, with a Ferrari F40, Mercedes Benz 300SL Coupé Gullwing, Pagani Zonda F Clubsport, McLaren F1, Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti, Amilcar C6, Pagani Huayra Roadster, and Porsche 904 Carrera GTS completing this phenomenal installation.

Lancia Delta Integrale GrA as part of the tribute to World Rally Champions

Legendary Rally Cars take to the Palace Grounds

The final day of Salon Privé saw a degree of added dynamism with a live-action tribute to World Rally Champions. Celebrating also the 20th Anniversary of Richard Burns’ WRC title, the parkland surrounding Blenheim Palace saw the return of rally giants decades after they first appeared here on the Lombard RAC Rally.

An eclectic mix of cars was present, some hosted on display near the main field, others taking to the tarmac on an incredible Hill Sprint, departing from the Palace gates in a haze of tyre smoke and dust, with anti-lag and exhaust notes echoing around the grounds, to the delight of a huge number of spectators who lined the route.

From a 1970s ex-Bjørn Waldegård Ford Escort Mk2, through 80s icons such as the Lancia Delta Integrale 16v and Audi Quattro Sport S1 E2, to the formidable Subaru Impreza WRC and Ford Focus RS WRC of the 1990s and early 2000s. To stand and witness the incredible power at close quarters of such prestigious rally machines was truly a sight to behold.

After the second of two runs on the Hill Sprint, there was a grand departure, where a number of the displayed exhibits left the palace grounds via the same route, and spectators were treated to some displays of spirited driving in the automotive exotica that had been lusted after all weekend.

McLaren 765 LT Spider

Salon Privé goes from strength to strength

Salon Privé, now in its 16th year, continues to grow both in size and in reputation. Cementing its position amongst the greatest Concours events in the world and supported in ever-growing numbers, it seems fitting that Salon Privé has announced that in 2022, there will be a new event that sees the organizers return to their London roots.

Salon Privé, the Chelsea Edition will debut from the 21st to 23rd April 2022 as a complimentary event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Designed to be energetic, high on style, and with a party atmosphere, London will see this exclusive event add to the already burgeoning classic car and Concours scene that has evolved over recent years.

Meanwhile, Blenheim Palace will be ready to host the 17th installation of Salon Privé in early September as is befitting to tradition.

Photo Gallery

The new California Spyder Revival

Let me start by stating I’m a Lamborghini guy through and through, that’s my main interest in the automotive world, the Lamborghini Countach drew me into the history of Ferruccio Lamborghini and how he built his own factory to compete with the rest of the world, and at the time in 1963, to offer an alternative to the cars from Maranello, from Ferrari, back then under the direction of the legendary Enzo Ferrari.

And while these two companies have remained competitors ever since, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some cars from the Prancing Horse, for instance, the classic Dino, or the stunning Daytona, especially in the topless Spyder variant, and talking about a Spyder, I have always loved that 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and yes, I know it was just a replica, but it was a copy of one of the best looking Ferrari models in history if you ask me.

While a Lamborghini Miura is a seven-figure car these days, a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder is well into the 8-figure price tag now, if listed for auction they come close to $20,000,000 today, and that’s because these beautiful cars are so rare, built between 1957 and 1960 you had the Ferrari 250 GT LWB California, with a 2,600 mm wheelbase and a Colombo V12 engine, a 3-liter SOHC with a maximum power of 237 hp, after 50 units were built, the 250 GT SWB California Spyder was unveiled at the 1960 Geneva Motor Show, this one came with a shorter 2,400 mm wheelbase, but a more powerful engine with 276 hp, 58 would be built, and this version became the more desirable one to get today.

With only 108 units of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder in the world, trying to obtain one might be a difficult enterprise, and a very costly one (for instance, chassis #2935GT once owned by Alain Delon sold for $18,450,296 (€16.23 million) at an Artcurial Auction in Paris in February 2015), and clients that are in the market for such a car usually have some cash to burn, they more often than not already have a nice selection of classic high-end cars in their collection … but if supply isn’t there, all the money in the world won’t help you to get one of these 108 original California Spyders … in comes GTO Engineering.

We’ve posted an article about GTO Engineering before when they introduced the 250 GT SWB Revival, later they also released the ‘Squalo‘, from the Italian word for Shark, a name GTO Engineering decided on because of the shark-like styling for their all-new car, which will be a sub-1,000kg, V12-powered car, combining the looks and the feel of a classic car, but with modern underpinnings and performance, complete with a bespoke wheel and tire package in large diameter, but with a classic design.

But those two cars are closed coupe models, just as a reminder, GTO Engineering also has a 250 TR Revival model available for those looking for that amazing race car version, but now they are ready to unveil what I consider the best looking of them all, the 1960 Ferrari SWB California Spyder Revival, a reincarnation of one of the most iconic Ferraris ever made, the hand-built, tool room copy based on the 1960 SWB California Spyder will make its global debut at the upcoming Goodwood Revival in September 2021.

In contrast to the 108 original California Spyder built by Ferrari that can be found in collections globally in perfect factory spec as they left the gates in Maranello, this new California Spyder Revival by GTO Engineering is a bespoke build for the customer, these new cars can be fitted with an in-house built Colombo replica V12 boasting the original 3-Liter displacement, but you can also opt for an upgraded 3.5-Liter version, and if you really insist, GTO Engineering will fit a 4-Liter V12 engine in your California Spyder Revival, bolted onto either a 4-speed manual gearbox or an optional 5-speed unit.

Every single unit of the California Spyder Revival is meticulously hand-built during a 1,500-man-hour process, being a topless car, special attention has been focussed on torsional rigidity, the team of specialists at GTO Engineering will continue where the workforce of Maranello left off in the Sixties, with each area of the build being better or matched in terms of quality and manufacturing standards than the sixty-year-old original.

We are talking about an all-aluminum body, carefully replicated by the artisans at GTO Engineering, using in-house tooling, but the body and engine are only part of this amazing looking California Spyder Revival, the interior is another masterpiece, upholstery in the finest Italian leathers is available, and just in case the original steering wheel from the Sixties seems too large, the client can opt for a vintage-looking, period correctly styled, but smaller unit.

Mark Lyon, Founder and Managing Director of GTO Engineering said: “It’s very exciting to be able to start talking about our latest addition to the Revival series: the California Spyder Revival. It is one of, if not, the most iconic Ferrari road car from the Sixties and it’s something we’ve worked hard over recent years to develop, following on from the success of the 250 SWB Revival and 250 TR Revival models. The feedback from both previous and new Revival-series customers is encouraging and we’re looking forward to working with more owners to create their dream car.”

GTO Engineering is planning to deliver the first units of this amazing looking California Spyder Revival by the end of this year, within 3 months we should be seeing the first customer taking delivery of this beauty, the official press release from GTO Engineering even lists pricing, between £750,000 and £850,000 (that’s US$1,040,000 to $1,177,000 at the exchange rate at the time of writing) depending on the donor vehicle and options the customer specifies as each one of these is tailor-made for that specific client, so these ‘Revival’ Spyders don’t come cheap, but compared to the real, original Sixties ones, this is a bargain for sure.

New 2021 Nissan GT-R T-Spec – The Last of the R35

A few months ago, Nissan announced the arrival of the GT-R NISMO Special Edition. This was expected to be the last of the iconic R35 GT-R line, and the car has already been axed in several markets worldwide. However, the Japanese giants have one last hurrah in store, and it’s called the ‘T-Spec.’

Nissan has just announced the addition of a GT-R T-Spec that will join the likes of the existing line-up. Visually, this new iteration pays homage to the JDM Nissan Skyline legends of yesteryear; it’s got two new, exclusive color schemes, a wider front end, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, and gold-colored NISMO forged wheels.

A side view of the Nissan GT R R 35 T

A side view of the Nissan GT R R 35 T

According to CarAndDriver, One of the color schemes the T-Spec will be available in is called Midnight Purple. Sounds familiar? It’s the scheme from the R33 Skyline GT-R. The other one, we reckon, is even more iconic. Called the Millennium Jade, this green-ish hue was used on the R34 GT-R V-Spec II Nur, one of the rarest GT-Rs ever made.

Nissan has also made it clear that the T-Spec is more than just a pretty paint job. For starters, there are the forged wheels – these 20-inch units are manufactured by Japanese wheel giants, Rays, and weigh less than the ones on the standard car. Then there’s the addition of carbon-ceramic brakes, courtesy of the GT-R NISMO.

A view of the brake discs connected to the Nissan GT R R 35 T

A view of the brake discs connected to the Nissan GT R R 35 T

The T-Spec isn’t equipped with the same powertrain as the NISMO Edition, but it’s still a monster of an engine that powers the car. The hand-assembled, twin-turbo VR38DETT V6 packs a powerful punch, putting out 565bhp and 467 lb-ft of torque. Helping this power get to the wheels is a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission and the GT-R’s rear transaxle ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system.

A view of the wheels connected to the Nissan GT R R 35 T

A view of the wheels connected to the Nissan GT R R 35 T

The Nissan T-Spec is very likely the last we’ll see of this generation of the mighty Godzilla. The car will be available in limited numbers, along with the NISMO Special Edition, and will go on sale in the US in late 2021. Prices for the GT-R T-Spec and GT-R NISMO Special Edition have been announced at $138,490 and $215,690, respectively.

Nissan also announced that a GT-R Track Edition will also be available soon; however, this car will only be available in its home market of Japan.

 – Submitted by Vishal Venugopal

Bugatti Built a Pool Table for 30 Hyper Rich People…Carbon Fiber Galore

Bugatti Lifestyle collection recently unveiled the new Bugatti Pool Table, a US customer will receive the first licenced Bugatti Pool Table featuring a unique plate decorated with EB logo and an engraved edition number 1/30.

Complimentary items that will accompany the new Pool table include a wall-mounted cue support finished in carbon fibre, a high resolution 13 inch touch screen to keep track of the scores and lamp operations.

Additionally, the carbon fibre pool cues feature anodized, CNC-machined aluminium ends formed in the same design as the buttons of the Bugatti Chiron and Divo.

Customers can fully customize their Bugatti Pool Table by selecting individual carbon and leather colors they desire. The Bugatti Pool Table will be limited to 30 units only.

Tesla Model S Sets Nürburgring Lap Record for Fastest Production EV

The Tesla Model S Plaid now holds the record for being the fastest production EV around the Nürburgring. A time of 7:35.579 meant it was a whole 11.431 seconds quicker than the Porsche Macan Turbo, which previously held the record. The news off Team-BHP.com was first tweeted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and the Nürburgring soon released a statement confirming the same. 

A side view of a Tesla Model S Plaid being tried out on the track

The ‘Plaid’ powertrain has been the most significant update that the Model S has received since its first launch in 2012. It includes a tri-motor electric powertrain producing 1020 hp and 1,050lb-ft of torque – enough to propel the car to a claimed top speed of 200mph with a 0-60mph time of 1.99sec.


Musk mentioned in his tweet that the car that set the record was in complete stock guise and “directly from [the] factory,” leading us to believe that there were no changes or adjustments made to the tires, brakes, or suspension.

A side view of the Tesla Model S Plaid driving on a road with blue sky in the background

A side view of the Tesla Model S Plaid driving on a road with blue sky in the background

He also mentioned that the next target for the Model S Plaid would be to set another lap-record, this time in a track-specced iteration, with additional aerodynamic pieces, carbon-ceramic brakes, and stickier tires. However, this will not be a company effort.

A side view of a Tesla Model S Plaid being tried out on the track

The Nürburgring lap record is an impressive feat for the EV; however, it’s worth mentioning that the 1,914hp quad-motor Rimac Nevera will very likely be quicker around the Nordschleife, if (or when) it does give it a go.

– Submitted by Vishal Venugopal

Nissan GT-R T-spec comes with a Godzilla green interior

It seems rather late in the year to reveal a 2021 model, but Nissan has just dropped a new variant of its GT-R supercar. Called the T-spec, it’s a limited production variant of Godzilla positioned above the GT-R Premium model. It comes in a couple of throwback colors from the GT-R’s extensive history, as well as a green interior that is, frankly, awesome.

While the T-spec soldiers on with the same 565 horsepower, 467 lb-ft twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 that the GT-R has had since its 2017 update, the car does feature a number of upgrades to set it apart from the standard GT-R. For one, the front fenders are wider units last seen on the 2020 Track Edition. Behind them lurk brake air guides and carbon-ceramic rotors from the harder-core GT-R Nismo. A carbon-fiber rear spoiler rounds out the changes that would have any effect on performance.

You’ll be able to identify the T-spec cars by their black hood ducts, color-matched mirrors, and Rays forged aluminum alloy 20-inchers finished in a gold exclusive to T-spec cars. Naturally, badges identifying it as such can be found on the grille, rear, center console, and door sills.

As an homage to its predecessors, the T-spec comes in two colors not available on lesser GT-Rs, Midnight Purple and Millennium Jade. The former was introduced on the 1995-98 Skyline GT-R, known by its chassis code as the R33 generation. Variations of the color were brought back twice for the following R34 generation, each time released as a limited edition.

Millennium Jade, on the other hand, was exclusive to the 2002 Nür edition cars, named after the Nürburgring where Nissan tested the GT-Rs (and held a long-standing production car lap record) long before every automaker and their mother were comparing lap times. The Nür cars were the last Skyline GT-Rs until the R35 burst onto the scene in 2008.

Inside, Nissan is introducing a new color called Mori Green, and it is fantastic. The automotive kingdom desperately needs more green interiors that resemble my parents’ Chevy land yacht from the early 1970s, and boy does this cabin deliver. A forest-y green adorns the semi-aniline leather-appointed seating, while soft-touch surfaces atop the dash give off a more grayish appearance. A unique quilted headliner rounds out the T-spec differences in the interior.

Curiously, Nissan USA’s press release describes it as a 2021 model year car, while Nissan Japan describes it as a 2022 model year car. We’re not sure if this is a typo, or if it spells out something more ominous about the future of the U.S. market GT-R. After all, the GT-R is rumored to have a hard production stop sometime next year, after which a redesign might bow. We’ve reached out to Nissan for clarification and will update the article if we learn more.

In Japan, the T-spec is limited to 100 cars, with potential customers being determined by lottery. Nissan hasn’t said how many will be sold stateside, except that it is a limited production vehicle with a “very limited” number to be made available. GT-R T-specs will cost $140,285 including a $1,795 destination fee when it goes on sale this winter alongside the previously announced, $217,485 GT-R Nismo Special Edition.

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