Tag Archives: Ferrari

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Docklands Delights

February arrives and brings with it the promise of a new auto season, both on and off the race tracks and concours halls. The Rétromobile in Paris is an annual high point but now here in London we have a show worthy of comparison, if one accepts that it is still in a developmental stage. I am, of course, referring to the London Classic Car Show, now in its third year and double the size of the original.

Right from the start the show had some good ideas, taking advantage of the space available they created the Grand Avenue so that the attendees could see the exotic collection of cars actually in motion and experience the physicality and noise of racing engines, we’re all kids at heart, especially when encountering a V12 Matra……….

Another feature that is very popular with attendees is Car Club Square. I am firmly of the opinion that any classic show should encourage the car clubs who are the foundation of our thriving classic scene.

Where there are classic cars to be found, there will be dealers and they too provide an important element of the show, bringing their stock for out appreciation and hopefully, for them, our custom.

 

There are some enhancements for 2017, notably the addition of the Historic Motorsport International, backed by the Historic Sports Car Club. This gives a new dimension to the show and will greatly broaden the range and variety of cars on hand.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017 is the Beaulieu Autojumble and there will be a pop-up version at the LCCS on the Saturday and Sunday to give those of us less well heeled folk something to afford.

 

2017 will see a number of features specially aimed at enthusiasts. 70 years of Ferrari will be celebrated with a display reflecting the glory of the brand specially put together by Joe Macari, former Le Mans racer and one of London’s leading specialists on high performance cars.

Half a century has passed since the introduction of the Cosworth DFV, the engine that changed Formula One out of all recognition. At Zandvoort in June 1967 Jim Clark took a dominant victory in his Lotus 49, the first of 155 Grand Prix in the following 17 seasons. So a tribute to Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin’s stroke of genius is most appropriate and to illustrate the scope of the engine’s career there will be a display of cars at HMI, it is bound to be a highlight.

The opening day, Thursday 23rd February will feature a salute to one of the greatest racing drivers of them all, Jacky Ickx, who will be present as the show’s Guest of Honour.

Not only that but two of his co-drivers from his six wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Jürgen Barth and Derek Bell will also be present. Completing the circle of Le Mans’ giants will be five-time winner Emanuele Pirro, so if La Sarthe is your thing head on down to Docklands.

The London Classic Car Show and HMI will be held at ExCeL London, on 23-26 February, with access to both shows included in the entry price. Historic Motorsport International will open its doors at 12.00pm on Thursday 23 February, while the London Classic Car Show will burst into life at 3pm that afternoon.

Tickets to the 2017 London Classic Car Show/HMI are now available from the show website – thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk – and start at £24 for single adult entry (£27 on the door on the day). Gala evening standard entry costs £42 or for access to the Grand Avenue Club, where the interviews take place, tickets cost £70.

 

To get a flavour of the event have a scan through Simon Hildrew’s stylish photopgraphy from 2016; go along, you will not regret it.

John Brooks, February 2017

 

 

Ferrari at the Palace – 2016

Back in 2015 I came up with a theory that you could measure the value of a car event by the quality of the Ferraris on display, a shaky premise to be sure but as good as any other subjective tool. So now at the fag end of the year it is an opportunity to look back at some of Maranello’s finest that I encountered on my travels.

The approach of autumn is heralded by some of the finest car events of the year. Salon Privé continues to delight those of us fortunate enough to attend with an eclectic selection of cars for our delectation and the Ferrari crop in 2016 is no exception to this rule.

Perhaps the place to start is at the top and the 2016 Best in Show which was awarded to this fantastic Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa which has recently been totally restored by DK Engineering, whose painstaking skills have rightly been recognised..

This example, 0614MDTR, has a well documented competition pedigree. Starting life across the Atlantic, the 500 TR became a fixture at the Nassau Speed Weeks in ’56 and ’57 plus appearances at the Cuba Grand Prix, with the original owner, William Helburn scoring a class second with Le Mans Legend, Olivier Gendebien, in February ’57 edition.

A new owner, Boris ‘Bob’ Said, took a class win in the Nassau Trophy. Said competed in the 1959 US Grand Prix at Sebring and was the father of well known endurance and NASCAR driver, Boris Said III. The Ferrari was sold on again to James Place, who campaigned it at Meadowdale and Elkhart Lake, eventually sticking a Chevvy engine to replace the 2-litre, four cylinder Italian unit. A Ferrari engine was eventually put back and now we have this most elegant mid-50’s barchetta to admire and enjoy.

Another piece of 50’s style from Maranello was this Ferrari 250 Europa. One of two prototypes and the sole example of a short chassis with Pininfarina styling.

Powered by a 3-litre V12 version of the classic this model was the ancestor of the Ferrari 250 GT range.

Fast forward some 30 years, to another legendary Ferrari, the 288 GTO. Back in 1982 the FIA introduced Group B regulations to encourage a move to production-based cars for competition as opposed to the prototypes in Group C that raced in the World Championship and Le Mans. A minimum production run of 200 examples was mandated but the laws of unintended consequences intervened. Porsche and Ferrari considered building cars for the tracks, whereas Austin-Rover, Audi, Ford, Lancia and Peugeot introduced Group B cars to rallying. The vastly increased performance of the new cars led to several incidents with spectators being killed or injured. The final straw came with the deaths of Lancia star, Henri Toivonen, and his co-driver, Sergio Cresto, on the Tour de Course, when, inexplicably, their Delta S4 left the road and caught fire. Group B was finished, cancelled by the FIA.

One of the reasons that there was little enthusiasm for racing either the Porsche 961 or the Ferrari 288 GTO is that it was cheaper to buy a Porsche 956/962 and have a shot at outright victory as privateer teams beat the Werks car on several occasions, even at Le Mans. The cancellation of the FIA regulations might have caused Ferrari a problem but the designation GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato) guaranteed demand and in the end 272 cars were built. They sold out immediately, the 288 GTO achieved iconic status.

Looking at the auction houses gives a clue as to why this matter, the spiritual ancestor of this car, the 250 GTO, achieves prices way, way in excess of any other car. The 250 GTO is the Holy Grail of Ferraris, the ultimate object of desire for those with ‘Il Cavallino Rampante’ in their hearts. A look through the list of owners of the 288 GTO turns up some well known names, four FIA World Champions, Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Bobby Garretson. F1 notables such as Adrian Newey, Eddie Irvine, Walter Wolf, Jean-Pierre Van Rossem and Michele Alboreto have had a 288 GTO as have endurance racing stalwarts Fredy Lienhard, John Bosch, Giuseppe Lucchini, Hans Hugenholtz, Martino Finotto, Rik Bryan and Jean Blaton aka ‘Beurlys’. Arguably the most famous owner was front-man from the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, proving that

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

However it was not just sentiment or the collection of stars that purchased the car that makes it special, the 288 GTO was a very important car in the Ferrari story. It was the first Ferrari to utilise the modern technology developed from motor sport to enhance performance and the driving experience. Powered by a 2.8 litre V8 with twin turbochargers installed longitudinally in a tubular chassis derived from the 308 GTB and clothed by a body made of a glass-fibre or mixes with Nomex and/or Kevlar.

To quote Joe Sackey, author of the book that is the last word on the 288 GTO. ‘This car epitomised a new beginning for Ferrari, and served to popularize its road-going cars in a way that previous models had not. The 288 GTO was truly the last car that Enzo Ferrari had any direct influence on, personally naming the car and setting a mandate for his men which left little doubt about his goals by stating: “What we have to do is build a new version of the Berlinetta. We shall call it the GTO.” ‘ No pressure then, but the result of this encouragement speaks for itself, it is a truly special car, even by the standards of Maranello.

If the 288 GTO had restored Ferrari’s reputation for producing the ultimate supercar, then its successor, the F40, propelled this status to the heavens. The F40 was intended to celebrate Ferrari’s 40th anniversary and it took the performance of the 288 GTO to another level and was claimed to be the fastest car in the world at the time of introduction in 1987 and the first road-legal production car to exceed 200mph.

It was not just the performance but also the dramatic style of the F40 that caused shock waves when publicly unveiled to the world at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Enzo Ferrari was well aware that his time was short, as he was approaching 90, and he encouraged his workers to create the ‘ultimate Ferrari’, he would have felt satisfaction at the results of his encouragement.

 

Available only in ‘Rosso Corsa’ and despite the eye-watering price tag, the F40 was a best seller, 1,311 examples were produced in the production run stretching from 1987 to 1992. The Ferrari F40 is right up there in the pantheon of Maranello’s heroes.

 

Any serious consideration of the roll call of Maranello’s Heroes would have to include the 365 GTB/4 or perhaps the even more precious 365 GTS/4. This handsome beast catapulted Ferrari back to the top of the supercar tree in the face of the challenge of the Lamborghini Miura, much as the 288 GTO and F40 would do in the following decades. Moreover the car was nicknamed as the ‘Daytona’ in a salute to the 1-2-3 victory in the 1967 edition of the Daytona 24 Hours, despite heavyweight opposition from the normally rampant Ford factory effort that suffered with catastrophic transmission failures in all their entries. To beat Ford so comprehensively in their own backyard must have been particularly sweet for Enzo Ferrari, especially in view of the drubbings that Ferrari endured in 1966 at the hands of the Detroit giant,  the Daytona designation was allowed to stick.

The Daytona was first presented at the 1968 Paris Salon and although production was slow to begin with, by the time the model was replaced in 1973 1,284 examples were built. The numbers on the convertible were were much smaller, all but 18 of the 122 production run were destined for the US market and this is one of the few.

The premium attracted by the desirability of the open top has led to some conversions from the original coupé. Author and Ferrari expert, Anthony Pritchard, in his excellent book The Road Ferraris, gets quite cross about this vandalism as he sees it: “Prices of the open cars are ludicrously high, even by classic car standards, and rather foolishly some Berlinettas were rebuilt as convertibles by Autokraft and other concerns, with sellers often anticipating similar prices. Original Daytona Spiders are worth a very great deal of money, but converted coupés simply debase the coinage, and no genuine and serious enthusiast, as opposed to misguided investors, would buy one.” Well that told us.

Another strikingly elegant convertible on display was this 250 GT Series ll Cabriolet that was introduced at the 1959 Paris Salon. 202 examples of this car were made up to 1962.

No assembly of Ferraris would be complete without a Dino and this 246 GT is particularly attractive. The Dino is a truly landmark car in Ferrari’s history. Glen Smale in his great book, Ferrari Design – The Definitive Study  had this to say: “Pininfarina readily admit that the stylistic approach of the Dino concept served as the foundation for all successive mid-engined Ferraris. Perhaps this fact serves to highlight the importance of this model.”

So there I rest my case, a high bar has been set and with the 70th birthday of Ferrari in prospect the Salon Privé will have its work cut out to go one better in 2017, I look forward to seeing the results.

John Brooks, December 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Classic Car Show

To Birmingham’s NEC with The Special Correspondent for the 2012 Footman James Classic Car Show. The Show has expanded this year to fill even more halls and the extra space is very welcome.

Of course it being the NEC there are always a few issues………….the lighting in the exhibition halls remains sub-standard and arguably in breach of Health & Safety legislation, and the level of grumpiness shown by those unfortunate to travel to Birmingham by car was at an all time high. Tales of 45 minutes to get parked at the facility were common, not excusable at such a venue. On the other side of the ledger, those of us arriving by train were greeted by an enthusiastic bunch of staff, who cheerfully steered us all the way to the other side of the site. One could not fault that welcome, so credit where credit is due, more to the point the staff were still there and still cheerful we came to leave.

Once inside the Show there was a bewildering array of automobile heritage, the quality of the content certainly matches any other event of its kind, anywhere. There were so many jewels to see, such as the Aston Martin Atom, a prototype built in 1939. This was the only example of the marque that David Brown drove before acquiring the company in 1947, all of the glories that followed can be traced back to this advanced car and the impression it made on DB.

While in the fullness of time out Special Correspondent will produce one of his Rare and Interesting pieces I propose to have a quick look at what was on offer that caught my eye. A car that represented a significant step in the German Auto industry was to be found on the Audi stand. The work of Paul Jaray back in the ’20s inspired Ferdinand Porsche when designing the Wanderer Type 8.

Porsche would develop the aerodynamically efficient shape when producing one of his masterpieces, the Volkswagen. Jaray’s Ugly Duckling turned into a swan.

The Coventry Transport Museum’s collection provided another pioneering vehicle, the Ferguson R4 Prototype. Harry Ferguson designed a four wheel drive system back in the early ’50s, it featured independent suspension and Dunlop disk brakes and Maxaret anti locking device, all very advanced for the time.

The backbone of the Classic Car Show is the support provided by the car clubs. Stand after stand featured great cars backed up by real enthusiasm and deep knowledge of those manning the exhibition. Questions, no matter how basic, were generally answered with patience and good humour. So while virtually all the stands had something to interest there were some that I preferred to others. A tad Orwellian I suppose, all exhibits are equal but some are more equal than others…….Bugatti for instance had several fine cars, all promoting the scene at Prescott…………….from the early days to the present.

The Maserati stand also had a nice bunch of cars, I have always been a fan of the Trident, even more so since visiting the factory a few years back.

Strange, but Ferrari does not appeal to me in the same way, though who could resist this Dino?

This gorgeous Continental was the pride of the Bentley/Rolls Royce stand.

One strange trend that was more common than might have been expected was adorn a “barn find” with some straw…………..what this achieved was anyone’s guess.

And of course the trend was taken to the next level with a string of onions draped on a Citroën Traction Avant……………..no stereotypes here then, no none at all……………..what next we hesitate to enquire?

There were a few competition cars at the Show, mainly sportscars such as the Jaguar XJ220 that won its class at Le Mans in 1993 but was subsequently disqualified, a casualty in the long running conflict between TWR boss, Tom Walkinshaw, and Alain Bertaut of the ACO.

No such problems afflicted the Aston Martin DBR9 in 2007, with a convincing GT1 class win.

Less successful was this TVR, first retirement in the 1962 race.

Shows such as this always throw up a few oddities, who could resist a chance to sit in a truck used by the Great Train Robbers?

Try explaining Del Boy to an American, eh Rodders?

And this optional extra for all aspiring Bond villains would prove very tempting on the M25 morning commute.

Candidate for the worst colour scheme on display………this Lea Francis Lynx, representing the end of the line for the marque.

The 2012 Footman James Classic Car Show was another resounding success and if you have even a sniff of petrol in your veins you should seriously consider making the trip in 2013, I will be there certainly.

Here is a gallery of images, please excuse the weird colour in some shots, them pesky lights again.

John Brooks, November 2012

 

 

 

Landing Lights

The last of the treasure from the Michael Keyser archive, this time back some 40 years to 1972………..a time of Ferrari, Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti………………

I Like A Bit Of A Cavort……..

I don’t send solicitor’s letters…………I apply a bit of……………pressure.

The immortal lines from Chas in the epic movie “Performance”, all understated menace.

Perhaps a bit more Max and Paddy-like were the antics of the GTE Pro leaders on the last lap of the 6 Hours of Estoril. Rob Bell and Richard Lietz, in a typical Ferrari/Porsche battle, had been going at it, hammer and tongs, for over an hour. It was an utterly engaging contest between two top line pros in two top line cars, either would be a worthy winner. Most other photographers had legged it back to the pits for the finish but Pedro and I just knew it was all going to kick off…and it did. Handbags swinging, panels bashing, the pair contested the penultimate corner, whoever emerged in front would win, simple as that. Well, our Geordie Lad held his nerve and his line to take a well deserved victory, proper GT Racing.

To both drivers and both teams, Salut!

Imola Investigata

The Imola circuit, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, is best known for the Formula 1 races that have been held in the past, particularly the San Marino Grands Prix, world championship events named after the local republic which gave Italy the chance to have two grands prix each season on her soil. But Imola is not a stranger to sports car races, the very first four-wheeled race held there being for cars with two seats.

In fact the first three Imola Grands Prix were for sports cars. It was in June 1954 that Imola hosted a race for two-litre sports racers. This was at the time when there was intense rivalry between Maserati and Ferrari, be it in the world of Formula 1 or even in the 2000 c.c. sports category. In the latter Maserati had been gaining the upper hand with its attractive A6GCS 2000, having already succeeded in the Giro di Sicilia, the 6-Hours of Bari, at Naples and in the Targa Florio. But Ferrari had hit back in the all-important Mille Miglia when one of its new Mondial models came second overall in the hands of Vittorio, the oldest of the racing Marzotto brothers, beaten only by Ascari’s D24 Lancia. The Mondial was Ferrari’s contender for the hotly contested two-litre class and was based on the Type 500 Formula 2 double championship winning Grand Prix four-cylinder car of 1952/53.

The Ferrari factory sent two Mondials to Imola for that first car race, both having Scaglietti bodies based on some ideas of Dino Ferrari with unusually small front grilles. That competent and versatile Italian Umberto Maglioli drove one to victory and Robert Manzon took fastest lap in the other before retiring; Luigi Musso could only manage third for Maserati that day.

Forza

 

 

Cesare Perdisa took revenge for Maserati in the following year while in 1956 the chief race at Imola was for sports cars up to 1500 c.c. This resulted in a win for Eugenio Castellotti in an OSCA despite strong competition from three Team Lotus Elevens.

We jump ahead some sixteen years and find the beautiful Ferrari 312P sports racer winning a non-championship race at Imola – Merzario obliged with team-mate Ickx in second place.

By 1974 Ferrari had abandoned sports car racing officially to devote all its racing energies to the world of Formula One and Maserati, suffering changes of ownership, had long since ceased to be a force in sports car racing. Into this breach stepped temporarily the V12 Matras and for the first time we find the French blue displacing Italian red with the Matra MS670C winning in the hands of Pescarolo and Larrousse.

Imola went on to hold further World Sports Car rounds and Italian honour was upheld with Brambilla’s win in 1977 with the Alfa Romeo T33SC/12 and Fabi and Heyer’s success in the Lancia LC2/83 six years later. But we had to wait until 2004 before the old protagonists set to again on this circuit.

The context was the FIA GT Championship and it was at Imola that Maserati gave its new MC12 its racing début. Although the new cars from Modena were not yet eligible for points, they nevertheless finished on the road in second and third positions leading home three Ferrari 550 Maranellos – it was quite like former times! Yet to be fair to Ferrari their cars scooped enough points (technically 2nd, 3rd and 4th) to give the BMS Scuderia Italia squad the GT Teams title.

Trident Returns

 

 

And so to 2011 and the Bleu France invades again, Peugeot fending off Audi. No more of the big Maseratis but the red of Maranello is happily at Imola once more in the GT section and the pace-setting 458 Italia winning the Pro GT category. And there were works blessed Lotuses there again.

Red Line Moment

 

 

 

 

 

There's a Red House over yonder......

 

 

David Blumlein, August 2011

 

WHAT IS A RACE CAR AND WHAT ISN’T – OR DO YOU REALLY OWN A FERRARI?

 

Some Restoration Needed

 

 

As someone fast approaching my seventh decade, when I began my involvement in motorsport old, obsolete race cars were either left to rot out back of one’s shop, or even dismantled and cut up to provide parts for their successors. They were not, in any sense, venerated for their past accomplishments.

Today that has all changed. Not only are they accorded the status once reserved for human beings who affected history, they now enjoy the mantle of being art objects, right along side the paintings of Rembrandt and Picasso. They also share one other thing with these masterpieces: the prices they command in the marketplace.  And, therein can be found controversy.

Unlike a Rembrandt or a Picasso, race cars, old and new, are “tools,” that were never intended to become cherished collector items. Over the course of time they were changed, or even duplicated as necessity dictated.  Until the European Union came into existence, motorsport was a universe filled with, and controlled by the paperwork needed to travel from one European country to the next.

For example, if a car was destroyed, its replacement, or replacements if it was wrecked again, more often than not would be given the same chassis number, so it conformed to the paperwork. Thus, there might be two or three examples of the same vehicle to have been created over the course of its original career. Moreover, if that career was lengthy, more than likely it would be modified for the sake of competitiveness. After all, it was “a tool.”

The effect of this has been to play havoc in authenticating what now are considered investments, rather than living memories. Some companies, such as Porsche have been “collector friendly” when comes to the process, others, such as Ferrari, have been much less so.

The latter, for example has established a “classics” department, which for money will bless one’s prize as being a “real” member of the breed. Of course, to attain that entrance one has to meet the standards set by the Italian manufacturer, which until recently had a strict policy that a car must be exactly as it was when it left the factory to qualify. And, oh yes, only Ferrari’s classic department could right any uncovered flaws. The problem of course in Ferrari’s case is that so many of its sports racers achieved their fame, and thus their current value in guises that were distinctly non factory in character. The unique “250 Drogo created “Bread Van,” which started life as an undistinguished 250 Short Wheelbase Berlinetta which falls into this category is a perfect example of the insanity of that position.

Happily, the Italian firm as backed off, and now acknowledges the existence of these modified Ferraris, accepting their preservation “as is,” if in somewhat grudging fashion. If one talks to Ferrari, the company will claim only the highest motives in trying to maintain the firm’s good name and prevent “fakes” from reaching the marketplace.

Certainly, there is more than just a little legitimacy to that posture. However, there is likewise some who would suggest that there are financial incentives as well. Keep in mind that a Ferrari 250 GTO, a beautiful sensual coupe, originally produced to give the company the edge in the GTs production arena in the early 1960’s, now sells for as much as $29 million, and you get the point.

However, there is a larger picture here. Simply put, shouldn’t one worry less about the specific heritage of a particular GTO, and more about using it for something much nearer to its original intended purpose: i.e. driving fast? The vintage and historic world has become much more about wealth and egos than about enjoying history.

Ferrari talks about “replica” bodies and other non original components/ Of course, a preserved race car that is thirty, forty or fifty years old are going to contain new pieces because they were built for “the moment” and not “the ages.” Tube frames wear out, engines blow up, suspensions develop cracks, and bodywork is a fleeting” proposition at best. The bottom line is if your ego demands a Rembrandt like purchase, then buy a Rembrandt, and leave the tools alone.

What Ferrari, and others have done maybe wrong, but the vintage and historic community has let them do it. It is time for all involved to take a more reasoned attitude, and enjoy that they have been blessed with.

Bill Oursler, August 2011

 

Past Time

Just One Cornetto……………………

Looking through the excellent archives at www.sutton-images.com for another project, I stumbled upon this. Forty years ago this week, Ferrari mechanics are pictured at the Nurburgring, enjoying a post lunch ice cream whilst contemplating the guts of a 312B/2.

They got the Meccano set back together in good order and were able to see their drivers Clay Regazzoni and Mario Andretti finish 3rd and 4th. Team leader Jacky Ickx, starting from the front row, speared off the Nordschleife on lap 2, while chasing eventual winner, Jackie Stewart.

Not sure what Alonso would make of it all……………………………………..

John Brooks, July 2011