All posts in “Specialty”

1995 McLaren F1 with only 242 miles sets record auction price

Update: The McLaren F1 you see above set a new auction record for the model at Gooding and Company’s auction. The winning bid was $18,600,000, with the final sale price of $20,465,000. According to Hemmings this tops the previous record set in 2019 of a little over $19,000,000. The text has been updated.

With a run of just 106 examples, a massive top speed of 240 miles per hour, and a Le Mans-winning racing pedigree, every McLaren F1 sports car is special. Some are just a bit more special than others, though, such as the 1995 example you see above. It’s a unique color combination and only has 242 miles on the clock. It also set a record for sale price at Gooding and Company’s auction at Pebble Beach this year.

The car is the 25th McLaren F1 built and the only one to have been finished in a paint color called “Creighton Brown,” which the auction house notes was named after an executive who helped get McLaren’s road car business up and running. The interior continues the brown theme with dark and light leather throughout.

And as for the low miles, it’s evident beyond the odometer. Apparently it’s still sitting on the same tires it came with back in 1995. So, if you do happen to put more miles on it, please get a new set to drive on, and put the originals in a safe place for your safety and their preservation. The car also comes with all its matching luggage, its original watch, the complete tool chest, roadside tool kit, owner’s manual, service book and official book talking about the development of the car.

Gooding and Company says this is the lowest mileage F1 example to go to auction, and coupled with its unique color scheme, they expected a high price, and they got it. With a final sale price of $20,465,000, it’s the most expensive McLaren F1 ever sold.

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Virtually attend ‘The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering’ via our high-res photo gallery

While the description of the yearly “Motorsports Gathering” at the Quail may sound a bit odd to many of our readers at first blush — it’s basically a huge garden party for wealthy automotive enthusiasts to get a look at vintage and newly available vehicles targeted at their healthy checking accounts — there’s no arguing that the vehicles on display are worthy of attention. And since most of us either weren’t invited or couldn’t afford to attend (or both), the next best thing to being there is scrolling through our high-res gallery of live photos taken at the event.

Visitors to this year’s event were treated to the usual grade of high-end machinery that we’ve come to expect, which is to say the best, most desirable and most expensive in the world. Our gallery is filled with vintage racers from Ford, Ferrari and Jaguar, classic Trans Am competitors and even a gaggle of Volkswagen-based dune buggies. More modern machinery was also on display from Lotus, Pagani, Koenigsegg, Pininfarina and Acura.

Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace at high-end events, and this year’s gathering at The Quail was no exception. In addition to a strong showing from Rimac and Lotus we mentioned earlier, Lucid was in attendance as was Gateway Bronco (see here for more on that). We also got shots of things you may never have heard of like the Delage D12 and Radford Type 62-2. Oh, and the return of the Lamborghini Countach, too.

For those who keep track of such things, this year’s Best of Show winner was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster. You’ll see all that and more in our high-res gallery above. Enjoy!

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Bugatti Bolide gets a 40-unit production run

At some point in the past couple of years, Bugatti asked itself, “What if we built a radically light vehicle around the legendary 8.0-liter W16 engine?” Keep in mind that “radically light” is in comparison to the Chiron, which weighs about 4,500 pounds. The luxury firm from Molsheim, France, answered its question with a concept it called the Bolide, a track-only two-seater with an appetite for aero and downforce. Scooped-out bodywork, intense massaging, and throwing luxuries out the wraparound canopy dropped its weight to 2,737 pounds. That’s less than a Subaru BRZ for a car producing 1,824 horsepower on 110-octane race fuel. Bugatti called the Bolide a one-off, but guess what happens in a car market where someone throws $140,000 at a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser? Potential buyers made Zoom calls to Molsheim from their bank vaults while sitting on pyramids of money like the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” So now Bugatti is making 40 Bolides, the same number it made of its last track superstar, the Divo.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann was at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering to announce the production version. Bugatti said it is honing the Bolide’s aerodynamics and handling, and adding FIA-standard safety systems. The center-lock wheels will see production, as will a fuel bladder and pressurized refueling, a six-point safety harness with HANS compatibility, and an automatic fire extinguishing system.

There are prices to pay beyond MSRP for making dreams come true, though. The production vehicle gains some weight, coming in 460 pounds over the concept at 3,197 pounds. Changes to the engine tune mean horsepower takes a hit, too. The concept got its 1,824-hp puissance from 110 octane. The production W16 will drink far more accessible 98 RON gas, which is about 94 octane in the U.S., topping out at 1,577 hp and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. That drops the power-to-weight ratio from 0.67 to 0.49 — just behind the track-focused Koenigsegg Jesko at 0.51. Oh, the humanity.

The company says Bolide development and production will take place over the next three years, the first example scheduled for delivery in 2024. The price: 4 million euros, or roughly $4.7 million U.S. at the moment, and a million euros less than the street-legal Divo. What’s the French word for “bargain?”

McCall Motorworks Revival Photos | Monterey kicks off with fancy airport party

Yesterday, the McCall’s Motorworks Revival happened, for the 30th time no less, kicking off Monterey Car Week. Which is another way of saying it happened before most people showed up. 

So what is it? Fancy cars parked among fancy planes while fancy people walk about with fancy food and cocktails. This differs from other Monterey events, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, in that it takes place at an airport rather than a golf course. It’s also more of an evening affair than a garden party, complete with a DJ, a band and dancing. Oh, and the cars are less impressive. That, admittedly, says more about the prime metal displayed elsewhere, especially at Pebble. There’s still a lot to ogle, even if you didn’t get to enjoy the fancy food and cocktails. We dispatched ace photographer Drew Phillips to take it all in and to put down an offer for us on that Citation Longitude. 

Amongst the new cars on display, most brought there by their manufacturers, we see a Corvette Stingray, Lucid Air, Aston Martin DBX, Land Rover Defender, Polestar 1, Hennessey Venom F5, Ruf 911s, and a big showing by Ford with a GT500, a Mustang Mach-E, a Bronco and multiple GTs. Two were done up to match an original parked alongside it, while the Bronco flanked an original prototype from 1966. Neat. Hopefully no one spilled Perrier Jouet on it. 

Classics? There were aplenty, but frankly, we’re most fond of the two VW buses: one towing the No. 22 1957 Denzel 1300SS Roadster in front of that Citation Longitude and another from Meyers Manx supporting an adorable flying boat with “Smiles for Miles” written on the side. Now that’s the kind of private plane I could get behind.  

New Lamborghini Countach teased again with three images

Lamborghini posted three more teaser photos of the coming Countach resurrection to its Instagram page. We’ll have to let the pictures do most of the talking since we don’t have any more information than we did when the first tease dropped a couple of days ago. We get a shot of a nose unlike any other Lamborghini in the current stable. A narrow black grille just inches wide splits the upper and lower section of the front fascia, recalling the area where the original exotic placed its black front bumper and fog lights. The name “Countach” appears on the right side of the coupe, in all lowercase letters just like the original, but stretched and angular befitting the brand’s modern design language.

A second shot exposes the engine cover, this a new design based on the clear cover that can be fitted to the Aventador. Three flat hexagon panels, thickly bordered in black, step down from the roof to the tail. Beneath them is the longitudinal and posterior V12 portion of the LPI 800 powertrain. The initialism stands for Longitudinale Posteriore Ibrido, and we’re still waiting for any information on that last bit, the hybrid. The V12 in the Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 received help from a supercapacitor, but that special edition didn’t get official designation as a hybrid. The last car from Sant’Agata to do so was the 2014 Asterion LPI 910-4 concept from the 2014 Paris Motor Show. The Asterion hid a V10 in back for the rear wheels, and two e-motors with a combined 296 horsepower on the front axle powered by a lithium-ion battery. The Sian produces about 785 horsepower, the Countach will deliver about 789, the Aventador S makes 690. So Lamborghini isn’t using electricity to chase gaudy numbers. Yet.  

The last pic presents the area behind the side window. This is a slightly tighter shot of an image that a site called Lamborghini Specs posted a few days ago, snagged somehow from the automaker’s customer-only site, Lamborghini Unica. This reveals a Huracan-like intake treatment, the opening descending from the roof to the rear fenders. Ahead of the intake, a row of slats harks back to Gandini’s Countach prototype that arranged a flat row of vents along the fender, just behind the glasshouse. The fender is decorated with a cap that could be the fuel filler or a charging port or something else.

Way back in 1987, Lamborghini worked up a Countach Evoluzione prototype to test new technologies that made their way into the last of the production Countach run and the successor Diablo. This Countach could be doing something similar. The brand has already been taking orders for whatever’s coming, so there’s an excellent chance it will be sold out by the time it debuts on Sunday, August 15, at Monterey Car Week.

Bugatti reveals the final version of the one-off La Voiture Noire

Bugatti is ready to deliver the La Voiture Noire, a one-of-a-kind model introduced at the 2019 edition of the Geneva auto show. Based on the Chiron, the coachbuilt coupe meets the same quality standards as a series-produced car.

Making the La Voiture Noire a reality took two years because it underwent a long list of tests before Bugatti signed it off. As we’ve previously reported, it was blasted with thousands of gallons of water to ensure it’s watertight and was driven flat-out on a track, among other evaluations. Over 65,000 engineering hours were invested into the project, a number that underlines the significant differences between the La Voiture Noire and the Chiron it’s related to. And yet, Bugatti managed to keep the show car’s lines and finer design details intact during development.

While the quad-turbocharged, 1,479-horsepower 8.0-liter W16 engine comes from the Chiron, all of the carbon fiber exterior panels are new and the wheelbase is slightly longer. Bugatti also notes each headlight features 25 individually-milled elements, and that the grille was 3D-printed. Overall, the La Voiture Noire wears a purer, more touring-oriented design than the aforementioned Chiron and the Divo. It’s not fitted with a rear wing, for example.

Interior photos haven’t been released, but we’re told the seats are upholstered in Havana Brown leather. It creates a classic ambience that matches the turned aluminum inlays scattered across the cabin, like on the center console.

There is but a single example of the La Voiture Noire, and Bugatti’s not taking bids. The coupe is already sold to an anonymous collector, who paid 11 million euros (about $13.4 million at the current conversion rate) for it before taxes enter the equation. Time will tell if the new owner reveals his or her identity, drives the car, or keeps it tucked away in a private collection. In the meantime, the French firm will work on bringing the Centodieci to production.

Perhaps inspired by Bugatti’s success, some of the other luxury carmakers have started breathing new life into the long-lost tradition of coachbuilding during the past few years. Rolls-Royce notably created a yacht-inspired, one-of-a-kind convertible called Boat Tail for an anonymous couple that reportedly paid approximately $28 million for it.

What’s in a name?

La Voiture Noire literally translates to “The Black Car” in French. It’s entirely black, but there’s more to it than paint and trim. Bugatti design boss Achim Anscheidt explained his team drew inspiration from one of the four examples of the Type 57 SC Atlantic built; it was driven by Jean Bugatti, the son of company founder Ettore Bugatti, and nicknamed La Voiture Noire. It enigmatically disappeared before World War II, and it hasn’t been found since. It could have been destroyed during the conflict, but there’s a sliver of a chance that it’s hidden in a barn somewhere in a remote part of France; crazier things have happened. If found, it would be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Pagani’s track-only Huayra R sounds like it will pack a naturally-aspirated V12

Pagani’s Huayra is preparing to put on a racing suit, just like its predecessor, the Zonda, did in 2009. And a video posted on the firm’s social media channels suggests engineers may have ditched the turbos.

Listen to the short video in the Instagram post embedded below. It’s the Huayra R’s V12 engine singing its heart out. While the actual footage reveals little that we don’t know, the soundtrack seemingly comes from a naturally-aspirated engine. We don’t hear a pair of turbos spooling up. That’s unusual, because the regular Huayra is powered by a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 6.0-liter V12 that’s twin-turbocharged to over 750 horsepower.

Pagani hasn’t given any specs on the engine, though. Previous reports have suggested the engine will have more than 900 horsepower and the ability to rev beyond 9,500 rpm. Certainly the video supports the high-revving prediction. We would expect Pagani to be using a version of the 6.0-liter AMG V12, as it has on all of its supercars, though without turbochargers. And that’s not just because Pagani has always used AMG engines, but because there aren’t many companies with a V12 in its parts bin, and developing one from scratch would be extremely expensive for a small company like Pagani.

Pagani will release more details about the Huayra R in the coming weeks, and we expect the model will make its official debut online during the first half of 2021. It will likely arrive as a limited-edition car with a seven-digit price tag, and we wouldn’t be surprised if every available example is spoken for by the time it breaks cover. It might be the last variant of the Huayra, too. Production of the Roadster has already ended, and the next Pagani hypercar is currently being developed. It’s tentatively scheduled to break cover before the end of the year.

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Did the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series set a new Nurburgring record?

According to well-known YouTube Nürburgring-watcher Misha Charoudin, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series likely set a new production car record at the famous German race track. According to the channel’s calculations, the 720-horsepower AMG GT Black Series likely crossed the finish line with around 6:43 showing on the stopwatch. If that’s true it would be a new record, taking top billing away from the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, which did the deed in 6:44.97. It also wouldn’t be a big surprise, since Mercedes was known to be honing the car at that exact track for years.

Instead of rehashing the great debate about the never-ending quest to set records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, we’ll just recap a few highlights: Does it matter? Is it repeatable? Is it relevant to actual street performance? Do the mods that make it fast at the ‘Ring make it worse on the road? Now that those are out of the way, let’s add this unqualified statement: ‘Ring records are nothing if not impressive and newsworthy.

If Charoudin’s projected time is accurate — and he’s been on the mark in the past — we expect confirmation from Mercedes-AMG will be coming in short order. Probably with onboard video, and probably with much pomp and circumstance. We look forward to it.

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The McLaren 765LT is even quicker than we thought

We have good news and bad news for those who happily find themselves in the market for a brand-new supercar. We’ll start with the good: The McLaren 765LT is even quicker than initially announced. According to the British automaker, the 765LT will run from 0-124 mph (a nice, round 200 kilometers per hour) in seven seconds flat.

Sure, that’s a scant 0.2 seconds quicker than previously claimed, but in the world of supercars, a couple of tenths is a major achievement. McLaren further claims a 0-60 time of 2.7 seconds and a 9.9-second quarter-mile time, which is impressive no matter which way you slice it. So is its 205-mph top speed, courtesy of a 755-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine.

Now for the bad news: If you haven’t already obtained a guaranteed order from McLaren, you’re out of luck. The automaker says it will produce 765 units for 2020, and they are fully allocated.

Along with those two nuggets, McLaren says it’s also showing off some MSO-customized examples of the 765LT to buyers. Two themes have so far been unveiled, the first of which is called Strata (above left). It’s “inspired by a city skyline and realized in a three-color design requiring 390 hours of hand painting and finishing,” the automaker says. The Azores orange, Memphis Red and Cherry black scheme carries on into the interior, as well.

The second theme is called GEOHEX and features Tarmac Black and Tokyo Cyan paint inspired by a 3D honeycomb. A large array of carbon fiber elements inside and out reportedly complete the look. Sadly, we don’t have pictures of this finish, but we’re sure those will eventually leak out.

Buyers who really love carbon fiber, though, may prefer the MSO Bespoke Carbon Fiber Body treatment (above right). One car has already been produced with a glossy finish, but McLaren says it can also tint the visual carbon with a number of colored finishes.

Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Prototype Ferrari 812 Superfast caught making awesome noises at Fiorano

In January, spy photographers snapped an 812 Superfast prototype testing around Maranello. Bodywork revisions included an open front intake, smoothed-out bumpers, taped-up side sills, covered air extractors behind the rear wheels, and new bodywork around the exhaust outlets with what appeared to be additional venting. The Supercar Blog suspected the prototype was a hardcore version of the 812, possibly earning the hallowed “GTO” appellation. Autoevolution went further with the speculation, writing that a reworked 6.5-liter V12 would produce 850 horsepower, a 61-hp jump over the standard 812, and would rev beyond the 9,000-rpm limit in the Ferrari LaFerrari.

At least one more of these testers has been caught on video around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, giving us a chance to hear what’s going on underneath the patchwork skin. YouTube user Varryx got the footage, doing us the favor of including a regular 812 lapping the circuit for comparison. The differences are clear. The 812 is already praised for its glorious exhaust note. The prototype, which looks to have put on a more finished rear valance, snarls more during downshifts and bellows with a lower, angrier pitch on the flyby. 

We’re still not sure what it is, but perusing Ferrari Chat forums reveals members having a conversation about an “812 VS” for nearly two years now. VS is Italian for Versione Speciale, the thrust here being a track-focused and lighter 812. The Speciale cars began with the one-off 1955 375 MM Berlinetta Speciale — “MM” representing Mille Miglia, another name mooted for the special 812. The denomination has returned a few times throughout the decades, used most recently on the one-off 458 MM Speciale commission shows in 2016.

Keeping in mind that this is all speculation until Ferrari reveals the real thing, one Ferrari Chat poster wrote we’ll get “a somehow more powerful blistering naturally aspirated large V-12 track oriented version of the prodigious 812 Superfast. As one of, if not the last of, its kind this will be a high-priced limited edition. Likely limited to 799 pieces. Probably priced at $750,000 or more and approaching $1 million for Tailor Made cars. Prospective launch date 2020. Confidence level 80%.” That production figure matches the number of F12 TDF units Ferrari built. Another forum member said the 812 VS will make 860 metric horsepower, which comes to 848 of our horsepower.

Supposedly, Ferrari had planned the debut the car at the Geneva Motor Show. As of now, suspicions have settled on Ferrari showing an SF90 Spider in September, and this hardcore 812 VS with “organic and pure” bodywork in October or November. We’re also waiting on the mid-engined hybrid supercar spotted all over Maranello of late, so it could be an especially flouncy year for prancing horses.

McLaren Sports Series model with V6 hybrid delayed to 2021

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, “This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we’re going to do very little. I think it’ll take us the whole of ’21 to climb back [to] where we are.” Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back “a handful of months.”

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don’t know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The “little” that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and “dealers are [also] already opening for appointments.” Since we’re still not halfway through 2020, it’s hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It’s good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

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Gordon Murray T.50 beats weight target thanks to ‘Weight Watchers’ meetings

Gordon Murray is staying on the offensive about his T.50 supercar, working the phones recently to let all know that “This car will deliver — and this is a promise — the driving experience of [a McLaren] F1, but better, better in so many ways,” because he and his team have “fixed the things we knew were wrong with the F1.” As they say in the Westerns, them’s big words. Two factors he credited for the T.50’s estimated performance specs are bespoke parts, and the relentless focus on weight savings they enable. The team behind the supercar doesn’t need to restrict any component to parts-bin sourcing, doesn’t need to check with production or accounting departments, and can create or re-engineer any part to serve a single vehicle. Technology improvements since the creation of the McLaren F1 and the use of a bespoke 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 gives the team even more freedom than Murray had with his icon.

This has led to ruthless weight shaving, helped by what Murray described as “Weight Watchers” meetings. The Cosworth V12 comes in at less than 400 pounds, cutting 132 pounds compared to the 6.1-liter V12 in the F1 — the designer citing the S70 BMW engine as part of the reason he overshot his 2,205-pound (1,000-kilogram) target for the 2,579-pound McLaren. Carbon brake technology wasn’t polished enough in the early 1990s to get the units to work on the McLaren, so the F1 used heavier iron brakes, a setback the T.50 won’t suffer. The Xtrac six-speed manual transmission cuts 22 pounds compared to the six-speed sequential box in the F1. The all-carbon moncoque and body panels are less than 330 pounds, the driver’s seat and frame weigh 15 pounds, the twin outboard passenger seats weigh less than seven pounds each. Murray told his team they wouldn’t be able to take any weight out of the pedal box, since he designed it himself. His engineers cut seven ounces. They shaved the windshield glazing to be 28% thinner than what would be standard for this application. The materials analysis team modeled the stress loads for all 900 nuts, bolts, washers, and fasteners in the T50, designing them with just enough material — titanium, of course — to do their jobs. 

This and more is how Gordon Murray Automotive beat the 2,205-pound target for the T.50 by 45 pounds. That will put the T.50 260 pounds above the hardcore 260-horsepower Lotus Elise Cup 260, 180 pounds under the 181-hp MX-5 Mazda Miata Sport. Yet the T.50 has 640 horsepower in everyday guise, which can be cranked up to 690 hp with ram air induction in certain modes. That lower figure is 22 hp more than the F1, for a car weighing more than 419 pounds less, part of what Murray means when he says the T.50 is “the F1 for the next generation, with all the same targets. But of course my toybox is much bigger now.” Backing that up, Murray said about a third of the deposits received so far come from people who own a McLaren F1, another 40% of deposits come from buyers under 45 who had McLaren F1 posters on their walls in their youth, but who’d been priced out of the astronomical F1 market.  

From now until the end of June, the GMA teams are finalizing details, tooling, and working with suppliers on parts. If all goes well, there’ll be a working prototype ready for road testing in September. Production on the 100 road cars and 25 track-only cars begins in late 2021, deliveries to start in early 2022. About 25 slots remain for the road car, so anyone with a $740,000 to put toward the $2.5 million starting price should send word to England.

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SCG 007 hypercar to swap twin-turbo V6 for twin-turbo V8

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus began the long tease to its SCG 007 LMP1 hypercar with a set of sketches in June 2018 that clearly incorporated cues from the SCG 003. Refining that original sketch for 18 months produced a longer, smoother design with pontoon-like front fenders and a rear wing seamlessly integrated into a more tapered rear end. The first powertrain mentioned for the 007 was a twin-turbo V6 with 800 horsepower and a 200-hp hybrid component. In the WEC’s Hypercar class where SCG will try to win Le Mans outright, regulations cap maximum combined output at 740 horsepower, and electric assistance can only power the front wheels above 80 miles per hour. Late last year, Jim Glickenhaus told us SCG decided to shed the hybrid portion, since “We can make max allowed HP from our ICE, and our powerplant will be lighter and less complex.” A new announcement last week means the end of the V6, too, SCG partnering with French engine developer Pipo Moteurs on a “whole new custom V8 twin-turbo engine.” 

Pipo Moteurs opened for business in 1973, and has a track record of wins mainly in World Rally Championship with teams like Peugeot and Ford, and European hillclimbing with BMW. We expect the 007 to mark the first time SCG takes a V8 into top-level racing; the SCG 003 road car was powered by BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the road car housed a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 from Honda

SCG plans to get the 007 down near the WEC’s minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds). Evo reports that the first wind tunnel tests are finished, the engineering program scheduled to continue through to summer 2020. Subsystems should enter production in August 2020, the first shakedown runs happening a month later. The math so far shows the hypercar regulations enabling laps times of three minutes and 30 second around the Circuit de la Sarthe, about 15 seconds off the best qualifying lap for the pole-sitting Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at Le Mans last year, 13 seconds adrift of the fastest lap set during the race by the second-place Toyota.

Next year’s a long way away, though. The hypercar class only has three entries for the moment, Toyota, SCG, and ByKolles scheduled to run after Aston Martin dropped out, and many wonder if that will be enough to keep a top-level worth running. The ACO and IMSA announced a new class to integrate the former’s LMP1 with the latter’s DPi into a new category possibly called LMDh, the first race the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Lamborghini had been examining a hypercar entry and Peugeot had committed, but Peugeot pulled out after the LMDh announcement. Being able to race internationally and run Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans with one car is a huge lure to automakers. It’s not clear yet if the hypercar rules can be shoehorned into the new category, of if ACO will want to try. 

Assuming the 007 makes it to Le Mans at some point, SCG will produce at least 20 roadgoing versions to satisfy homologation rules, priced around $2.1 million, roughly the same price as the SCG 003. 

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McLaren Elva production cut from 399 units to 249

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt revealed the production quota for the new Elva speedster will drop from 399 units to 249. The boss explained lopping volume by 38% with, “the feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249.”

While it’s to be expected that owners investing $1.7 million in a specialized road car would promote exclusivity — and thereby residual values — it seems dubious that McLaren would return 150 down payments if the automaker had 399 orders. More likely, the global market for windscreen-less roadsters, no matter how technologically advanced, couldn’t absorb all 399 Elvas on top of 500 total Ferrari SP1 and SP2 Monzas, 88 Aston Martin V12 Speedsters, 40 Pagani Huayra BC Roadsters, and 12 Bentley Bacalars.   

The production revision puts the Elva in company with the McLaren F1. Ron Dennis would have built more F1 road cars, but the market (just 20 years ago!) wasn’t ready for a supercar that cost $810,000 before special requests, so production ended after 106 road and racing chassis’ and a complete set of parts for another. The Elva represents technical high points for McLaren, too, being the company’s lightest-ever car outside the F1, able to hit 62 miles per hour in under three seconds, and announcing its presence with the dual-exit “Nirvana” titanium exhaust. The handling, designed to be less intense than that of the Senna but more supple than that of the Speedtail, kept engineers up late due to the Elva being lighter than the Senna yet more powerful.

Nevertheless, even without sharing its rear lights with an Italian bus, as the F1 did, the Elva may have had a hard time convincing shoppers it deserved to be the second-most-expensive model in the carmaker’s Ultimate Series range, at the same time as being the least practical. The Elva runs about $700,000 more than the Senna and $500,000 less than the Speedtail. A lightly used P1 can be had for as low as $1.2 million.

Autocar writes that build slots are still open for the model Flewitt called “a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements,” and if you’re in the market, their values just went up. McLaren will begin building Elvas when Speedtail production ends later this year or early next.

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Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

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The Apex AP-0 is a 649-hp EV that weighs 2,645 pounds

Apex Motors sounds like a brand new name in the game, but the Hong-Kong-based company’s been around for more a few years and through a few transformations. In 2015 a maverick outfit of car designers banded together under the name Elemental to reveal the RP1, powered by 1.0-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines. By 2017, the 1,278-pound coupe could produce 2,205 pounds of downforce and was running Goodwood. By 2019, the Elemental RP1 had turned into the even-more-evolved Apex AP1, putting out 400 hp from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and blitzing from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.

The brand new AP-0 is the follow-up. As the naming scheme suggests, it takes the top spot in the lineup ahead of the AP-1 by having battery-electric power, a single electric motor turning the rear axles with 649-hp and 427 pound-feet of torque, a 320-mile range on the WLTP cycle, and a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. Top speed is 190 mph.

Just as remarkable, and even more unusual for an EV, the whole package weighs 2,645 pounds. Compared to a McLaren 720S, the AP-0 is 4.5 inches shorter but 3.4 inches wider, and while the Apex gives up 61 hp and 131 lb-ft to the Englishman, the AP-0 weighs almost 500 pounds less than the 720S. Compared to performance EVs, the Apex weighs about 1,380 pounds less than a Tesla Model 3 Performance, 1,700 pounds less than a Rimac Concept 2, and almost 2,500 pounds less than a Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

The Apex packs a floor-mounted, 90-kWh lithium-ion battery that consumes 1,213 pounds of its curb weight. When plugged into the right CCS charger, the pack can refill 80% of its charge in 15 minutes; on a standard Type 2 charger, filling up from empty takes eight hours.

The chassis and bodywork is entirely carbon fiber, a central carbon tub and modular spaceframes laid on a rigid carbon spine connect the front to the rear. Outside, the Le Mans-like fin houses a retractable LIDAR system up front and a cross-shaped taillight in back. Built as a road-legal racer for gearheads and sitting just 3.7 inches off the ground, there’s an adjustable pushrod suspension with automatic ride-height adjustment, 14-inch carbon ceramic rotors with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston in the rear, and a pair of 19-inch center-lock wheels up front paired with 20-inchers in back. 

Behind gullwing doors, the carbon, aluminum, and leather interior makes every occupant feel like a racer with a single-seater-style, reclined and feet-up seating position. Three displays for the driver sit atop the instrument panel behind a square steering wheel. To help drivers make the most of track days, Apex says the AP-0 can “gamify the way drivers can learn new racetracks and deliver the ultimate immersive racing experience” through augmented reality projection. The software-based “instructor” can be improved through over-the-air updates. To ensure the instructor knows what it’s talking about, Apex said it wants to build an FIA-approved race track, followed by a racing academy, around its Hong Kong HQ. 

The ambitions only begin there. When off the track, that LIDAR unit is intended to provide Level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with the company saying Level 4 potential is already built in. More handily, the AP-0 will come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. That’s all down the way, though, the AP-0 not scheduled to enter production until the latter half of 2022, costing around $195,000 for U.S. buyers. If all goes well from here to there, Apex plans to build up to 500 units per year in Britain, what it calls its second home, on the way to introducing a wider lineup of offerings.

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McLaren Elva M1A Theme by MSO channels Bruce McLaren’s 1964 race car

McLaren Special Operations hit up Twitter to show a version of its new Ultimate Series speedster, christened with the full name of Elva M1A Theme by MSO. The Elva takes its design cues from the M1A race car that Bruce McLaren developed for sports car racing in the 1960s. McLaren first entered his black #4 racer in the 1964 Canadian Grand Prix and put everyone on notice; the M1A equaled the lap record at Mosport Park four times and broke the record seven times. As buyers lined up, McLaren commissioned English firm Elva to build replicas for privateers. Although the historic M1A was an advance on the McLaren’s “Jolly Green Giant” Cooper-Oldsmobile, the M1A inaugurated the McLaren lineage that would soon dominate sports car racing. This modern Elva M1A goes about as far as it can to channel its inspiration, adopting the black exterior and red seats of the original — but not the 4.5-liter Oldsmobile engine.

Instead of painting the speedster black, MSO took the much better option of coating the carbon fiber bodywork in clearcoat. The only touches of paint are the silver slash and red pinstripe running front to back, splitting into a low runner along the sills, and the white roundel with the race number. We’re not sure what’s going on with the wheels, though — they’re the same design as those on the Elva that launched in November, but in mirror image. The other big splash of color appears on the seats, topped with crimson Alcantara. 

MSO didn’t mention any limitations on this theme, so it’s possible there could be more than one among the 399-unit Elva production run; Bruce McLaren built three works versions of the original M1A, and Elva produced 24 customer cars. And yes, the historic car was powered by an all-aluminum 3.5-liter Oldsmobile V8 that Traco bored out to 4.5 liters, producing 310 horsepower breathing through four Weber carbs. Oldsmobile not being an option anymore, the Elva homage goes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 804 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which helps ensure buyers get their $1.69 million worth.

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The tilt-winged Zenvo TSR-S now has carbon fiber wheels

Danish auto manufacturer Zenvo only produces five hand-built cars each year, so it’s a fairly big deal every single time one is completed. Not only is each car unique per customer requests, they’re also unique due to newly in-house-developed technologies, options, and techniques. In the case of its most recent build of the TSR-S supercar, it has previously unavailable features such as carbon fiber wheels and a new “hybrid” transmission. 

The TSR-S is mostly known for its insane actively tilting rear wing (see the video below), but this most recent iteration should be known for its beautiful carbon fiber work. In addition to the numerous interior and exterior panels and parts made from traditional carbon fiber weave, the hood features a beautiful blue-tinted geometrically designed weave. On the side of the car, ZENVO is seen in a lower stripe with a hand-laid opposing weave pattern. Zenvo calls this feature a “bespoke watermark carbon fiber graphic.” Customers have the options to color-tint anything that shows exposed carbon fiber, and numerous sections can be designed with special weaves and graphics.

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Yet, the standout carbon fiber feature on this car is not a weave at all. Zenvo used what it calls fragmented carbon fiber, also known as forged composites as seen on Lamborghinis. Essentially, it’s crushed or flaked carbon fibers shaped and molded within resins, which provide a distinct artistically chaotic look. Zenvo used the fragmented carbon fiber on the engine and for the wheels.  

The wheels are created with hand-cut pieces that are then hand-placed, and each one takes two technicians about one week to complete. Using carbon fiber wheels reduces weight by about 133 pounds, as each wheel is roughly 33 pounds lighter than an equal aluminum wheel. 

This TSR-S also has an altered powertrain. The 1,177-horsepower twin-supercharged 5.8-liter flat-plane crank V8 remains, but the transmission is new. Zenvo’s seven-speed sequential gearbox with helical-cut dog gears is joined by a “hybrid module which yields a power boost, further traction control, and even the addition of an eighth forward gear with the electric motor providing reverse drive.” No further details were provided.

This level of exclusivity and customization is easily a seven-figure endeavor. The TSR-S starts at $1,619,000. 

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The Mansory Cabrera is a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a bullish mug

Mansory does not care if a car is rare or special or unique. If it’s not a Mansory, it’s probably not good enough. But it might qualify to become a Mansory. The aftermarket tuning and design company has captured the limited Aventador SVJ and transformed it into a new vehicle called the Cabrera, which sports new looks and has more power.

Lamborghini will only produce 900 Aventador SVJs, and of those 900, three will go under the knife at a Mansory workshop. Mansory quotes a motto, “one car per decade,” and says the Cabrera “marks the start of several special editions on the occasion of Mansory’s 30th anniversary in 2020.” The name Cabrera is a breeding line of the Spanish fighting bull, similar to the names Miura and Gallardo.

The Cabrera has an entirely distinct face thanks to a new set of LED headlights. Rather than the chunky stock units that point toward the rear of the car, the new four-unit headlights are slim and horizontal. With the adjustments to the headlights came tweaks to the hood and front fascia. New air inlets on the front apron improve radiator air flow and help improve downforce. The carbon fiber widebody kit, which adds 1.6 inches in width, continues with bulbous wheel arches, aerodynamic side skirts, and a rear “double diffuser.” Extra downforce comes courtesy of a massive angular rear wing, and aggressively designed forged lightweight wheels (9×20 and 13×21) are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires.

The body kit is also designed to help cool the upgraded 6.5-liter V12 engine. While the “normal” SVJ makes 759 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque, the Cabrera makes 810 hp and 575 lb-ft. Mansory claims zero-to-62 mph in 2.6 seconds and a top speed of 221 mph.

Inside, Mansory takes the Aventador’s fighter-jet inspiration literally. The forged carbon fiber has “arrow-shaped decorative seams,” that look awfully similar to stealth bombers. That’s also mimicked with imprints in the seats. Every part of the interior has been redone and refitted with upgraded materials, including the ceiling, which has a colorful accent spine.   

The Cabrera is only one of many vehicles that were launched surrounding the canceled Geneva Motor Show. Other new custom creations include the Lamborghini Urus Venatus and the Bentley Continental GT V8 Convertible.

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