Tag Archives: McLaren P1

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Ally Pally?

2016 JB General

While I careen down the autobahn of life I figure I have witnessed a fair amount of automotive stuff, but events sometimes prove that theory to be, if not redundant, a bit shaky. Take Friday, for example, I went up to London, Alexandra Palace to be exact, to see a car show. Well there was a car show, “The Classic & Sports Car Show” to be exact but it was not like others I have attended.

2016 JB General

Usually the show’s organisers cajole owners and car clubs to bring along stuff for us to admire and lust after. Manufacturers too are encouraged to show examples of their heritage to reinforce their brand image and values. However this show had but one stand that could be considered an exhibit, the rest of the affair was wholly made of car dealers and others selling goods and services, some car related, some not. A bazaar for the modern times, especially in the cosmopolitan ant heap that is London.

2016 JB General

The centrepiece was the grandly titled “A Century of Supercars”, as voted for by 17,000 readers of the magazine, giving the People’s Choice for the most desirable supercar of them all.

2016 JB General

The motors concerned ranged from the Bentley 4½ Litre Blower to a McLaren P1 via various Lamborghinis, Ferraris and a Bugatti. Now one might have thought that cars used as examples of their breed would be impeccable in their provenance but getting hold of an original Blower Bentley, one of the 55 built, seemed to be a step too far. The Bentley on show UW 7771 was originally a 4½ litre with a saloon body from Harrison, sold to a Mrs Beit in January 1930. Some time after the War it became a replica Blower when raced by a chap called Butterworth. Does this matter? Well yes and no, some would find it important, others would confine such discussions to the “How many angels could dance on the head of a pin?” drawer………….you be the judge.

2016 JB General

The winner of the poll was, unsurprisingly, the McLaren F1 and doling out whatever award was on offer was John Surtees, the only man to have won World Championships on two wheels and on four.

2016 JB General

Another feature of the show that was heavily promoted was the Live Parades on the roads around the Palace. Leader of the pack was the Tyrrell P34, unique in its configuration of four wheels at the sharp end.

2016 JB General

Leaving the hall to snap the parade I encountered a gentleman who was looking for the place that shuttle bus would leave to take him back to Wood Green tube station. He remarked that he had only come to see the Tyrrell, then it was back to deepest Wales. Emboldened, as I am at such events, I enquired what interest he had in this piece of Grand Prix history. “My name is Bob Tyrrell, Ken was my father.” He was a charming chap and I would have cheerfully spent more time with him recalling the era when I was actually interested in Formula One. However the lure of the Great Western train back to home proved too strong.

2016 JB General

This encounter set the tone for the day, I bumped into a few other petrol heads, some I already knew, some I did not, but we all shared a passion for cars. I was wondering what to make of the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa on the GTO Engineering stand. I heard a voice, “Must be a customer car, the factory TR’s had De Dion rear suspension.” Such detailed knowledge is common at such events and serves as a reminder to me to keep schtum rather than revealing the limitations of my wisdom concerning the automotive universe.

2016 JB General

There was naturally an auction going on in the background, Coys had assembled a fine selection of cars that were way out of my league price-wise.

2016 JB General

One lot that caught my attention was this 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV and my interest was heightened when I discovered that the original owner was one Rod Stewart. Through buying his records back then I had contributed in some small way with his acquisition of this Italian classic. Every picture tells a story indeed.

2016 JB General

There were dealers all the way through the two halls, with all manner of other goods for sale, including vintage clothing.

2016 JB General

One stand that did get my attention was the fine graphics on display at triplespresso, I am a sucker for the clean lines of this kind of art.

2016 JB General

Was the show worth going to? Not easy to answer, a brisk trade seemed to be going on all round  but there was little of the passion that you can feel at the Rétromobile or Techno Classica. As they would say in The Godfather, “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” and that may be the factor that I missed. Perhaps I am not part of the target audience.

2016 JB General

One thing that did put a spring in my step was transported both back in time and to and from Wood Green tube in a red Routemaster, fifty years or so have gone since I used to traverse North London in such a vehicle, some things never go out of fashion.

John Brooks, October 2016

 

Swiss Franks

It has been all go here at DDC Towers, Sebring last week and the Geneva Motor Show the week before. So catching our breath before press censorship is introduced here in the UK, we have the reflections of our Special Correspondent on the Swiss Show.

The Geneva Motor Show 2013 – “Some thoughts”

The Geneva Motor Show has grown to become one of the most important international automotive exhibitions in the world. It started in 1905 at a time when Switzerland was very reluctant even to embrace the coming of the motor car, setting speed limits of just 3-7 m.p.h. and introducing a law which forbade the use of motor vehicles on Sundays! Yet the show achieved world status by 1934 and in 1952 had toppled Brussels as the most important European event of its kind.
We can identify two factors that contributed to this success. First, Switzerland is one of the wealthiest nations on the earth. Secondly, Switzerland has had no proper motor industry of its own; Piccard & Pictet (Pic-Pic) of Geneva had gone by 1920 and Martini by 1934. Like Belgium, Switzerland became mainly an assembler of foreign cars, General Motors having a factory in Biel/Bienne from 1934 to 1975 and Chrysler assembling some 14,000 Plymouth Valiants and 4,500 related Dodge Darts among others in the AMAG plant at Schinznach Bad between 1948-75. There was the odd small manufacturer such as Monteverdi, and Saurer and FBW were prominent commercial vehicle makers. A few coachbuilders, Graber, Beutler and Gangloff for example, became famous names but there was nothing acting as major competition to the world’s big manufacturers. (However, we should not forget that Switzerland furnished the motoring world with three of its greatest designers: Marc Birkigt, Louis Chevrolet and Georges Roesch.)
Switzerland was thus an open free market par excellence and we find the big players often opting to launch their new models at Geneva which traditionally takes place in the early Spring, the time when the new comes to life.

Such has been the case for this 83rd Geneva Show and 2013 has been a bumper year for new car launches at the Palexpo centre which has housed the show since 1982
Among the newcomers were:

gen01
LaFerrari is Maranello’s successor to the Enzo. It is a petrol-electric hybrid with a combined 950 b.h.p. available, using a 6.2-litre V12 and 7-speed transmission driving the rear wheels. One electric motor supplies 161 b.h.p. to the wheels ; the other is used to power the ancillaries.  They are charged by braking or from excess torque from the engine. Only 499 are to be made.

gen02

We saw the McLaren P1 first at the Paris Salon but this is the production version. It too is a petrol-electric hybrid, its twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 contributing 727 b.h.p. to a combined output of 903 b.h.p. Just 375 cars are due to be constructed.
gen03

The new Rolls-Royce Wraith is the most powerful Rolls ever made. It has a 624 b.h.p. 6.6-litre V12 propelling it to a 0-60 m.p.h. time of 4.4 seconds, although Rolls-Royce do not see the car as a particularly sporting model.

gen04
The name recalls a car the company made before the war. The original Wraith was introduced in 1938 as a replacement for the entry-level 20/30 model and used a straight-6 o.h.v. engine but production was curtailed by the outbreak of hostilities. Its successor, the Silver Wraith, had the overhead inlet/side exhaust engine found in the early cars made in the newly adapted Crewe factory.
This new model has a shorter wheelbase and a wider rear track than its related Ghost and development work was carried out at the Nürburgring – notice the front opening doors!
gen05
Volkswagen’s amazing XL1 – 340 m.p.g. from an 803 c.c. turbo diesel and a 230-volt lithium-ion battery!
The story started when Ferdinand Piech ordered the development of a “one litre” car, implying 100 km from 1-litre of fuel. A carbon-bodied, tandem-seat single-cylinder prototype was created which Piech drove in 2003 from Wolfsburg to Hamburg at an average fuel consumption of 317.4 m.p.g. and a speed of 43.5 m.p.h. Further development, including replacing the impractical tandem-seating with a conventional side-by-side arrangement, has yielded this impressive result which boasts a drag co-efficient of only 0.189!
gen06
The car’s 2-cylinder engine which is effectively half of a Polo’s 1.6-litre turbo diesel.
gen07
The Austrian KTM X-Bow, introduced here five years ago, has finally acquired some doors, side-windows and a windscreen to become the X-Bow GT.
gen08
The wipers, screen-wash and heated glass are optional extras!
gen09
The Bentley Flying Spur may look similar to its predecessor but the aluminium and steel body is completely new. The car is powered by a 6.0-litre W12.
gen10
Two years after it appeared at Geneva in concept form, the Alfa Romeo 4C is now ready for production. It has a 1.8-litre 4-cylinder turbo, delivering 240 b.h.p. to the rear wheels via a paddle shift.
gen11
This is its carbon-fibre tub. The car will be built by Maserati in Modena.
gen12
Maserati has come up with a 4-seater version of its GranTurismo MC Stradale where the two rear seats replace the roll-cage. Carbon-fibre is used for some of the bodywork, for example the bonnet which now has an airscoop.
gen13
The Spyker name re-appeared at Geneva with this B6 Venator concept which has a mid-mounted V6 375 b.h.p. engine driving the rear wheels.
gen14
Lamborghini celebrated its 50th anniversary with this Veneno model based on the Aventador. The design focuses on aerodynamic efficiency and the chassis and outer skin are formed from carbon-fibre re-inforced composite materials. It also has four-wheel drive and racing style pushrod suspension. Only three are expected to be made.

David Blumlein, March 2013