Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Stirling Moss Acquires Porsche RS 61

British motor racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss has purchased the Gooding & Co Amelia Island auctioned 1961 Porsche RS Spyder, one of the last Spyders built by Porsche that used the potent 4-cam engine. Just one week ago Sir Stirling fell three floors down a lift shaft in his own home, breaking multiple bones and chipping four vertebrae in the process.

Still in hospital recovering, the recent purchase should cheer him up as he acquired the Bob Holbert, Thomas Payne and Millard Ripley 1962 Watkins Glen SCCA National-Winning RS 61. Stirling himself raced the Porsche RS cars of the early sixties and very nearly won the 1961 Targa Florio in a similar car.

Lot 55 receieved a winning bid of USD1.705 million including the buyers premium. Delighted with their latest purchase, Stirling and his wife Suzie commented, "this makes a wonderful 30th Wedding Anniversary present” and added “its something to look forward too” when he recovers from his injuries.

Here is the full specification of the car Stirling has bought:
  • The Bob Holbert, Thomas Payne and Millard Ripley 1962 Watkins Glen SCCA National-Winning 1961 Porsche RS 61
  • Chassis No. 718.070
  • Engine No. P90505
  • One of only fourteen RS 61’s built
  • Exceptional US racing history with 13 Wins and 20 Podium Finishes in SCCA National Competition
  • One of the few RS 60/61’s with original bodywork
  • Coachwork by Wendler
  • Impressive, known ownership history from new, to which we can add Sir Stirling Moss OBE
  • Correct Type 547 engine and Type 718 gearbox
  • 1,678 CC DOHC Air-Cooled Boxer 4-Cylinder Engine
  • Twin Weber carburettors
  • Approximately 180 BHP at 7,800 RPM
  • 5-Speed manual gearbox with limited slip differential
  • 4-wheel finned alloy drum brakes
  • Independent front suspension with trailing arms and torsion bar
  • Independent rear suspension with wishbones and coil-over shock absorbers
  • Eligible for the Colorado Grand, Tour Auto and the Le Mans Classic

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Kids in a McLaren sweet shop!

Following todays official launch of the new McLaren's MP4-12C supercar, who else but the last two F1 world champions should be required to test it around the Goodwood circuit. Jenson and Lewis, you have the best jobs in the world!

Friday, 12 March 2010

BMW S1000RR Tablecloth Trick

I cant make my mind up whether this is staged, but staged or not, it's a mighty fine piece of advertising!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

U Rally- The Championship Charity Rally

Do you crave adventure? Do you love road trips? Are you free in August this year? Then why not enter a team into the Championship Charity U Rally, a fundraising event aimed at raising money for schools in Uganda with a mission, "To unlock the potential of Africa by driving for change."

With no set route, the destination is up to entrants, but in order to gain championship points teams must complete 'A series of challenges'. Without sounding like an episode of Top Gear the event promises to be a rewarding adventure. Entrants will have a chance to meet new people and see exciting places along the way whilst helping African children make a start in life.

With very few strict entrance rules, the type of vehicle entered is also entirely up to entrants. Motorbikes, cars, buses or milk floats are all eligible and there is no limit to the amount of passengers per team or vehicle. Several meeting places are also pre-organised, in the name of having a good ol' party.

Similar in spirit to the Mongol Rally, U Rally intends to fundraise as part of the rapidly growing charity Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS). Their aim is to widen access to education in Africa by founding and developing sustainable, low-fee secondary schools.

PEAS also work in collaboration with Bounce, the charity who provide sports facilities for schools in Africa.

Monday, 8 March 2010

ROAD TEST- A Tale of Two Norton Inter's

The Norton International was the pre-war flagship bike for Norton from its inception in 1932. Used for racing both by the Norton factory Works racers, clubman racers and for fast roadwork, the International was produced in 350 and 500 versions (with a few 600cc bikes for sidecar racers). The first bikes were produced with girder forks at the front and rigid rear ends , with plunger rear suspension appearing at first on the Works bikes and later on the customers models. The very last pre-war racing Inters were very quick specialist machines and were christened "Manx" by virtue of the marques immense racing record in the Isle of Man TT and Manx GP races.

Post war, the Inter acquired telescopic front forks as well as plunger rear suspension from 1947 until 1952, when the Inters had a final makeover with the adoption of a version of the acclaimed Featherbed frame, which took it up to its final demise in 1958

Keen to ride both the post war plunger and featherbed bikes on modern day public roads in Somerset, I spent a fabulous day in the brisk March sunshine comparing road manners whilst scaring a few horse riders in the process!

1949 Norton International 350 Clubmans

First up the 1949 350cc 'Plunger' Inter. Having spent many years in a leaking shed in Northumberland and once raced by Bill Camier in the 1949 Isle of Man TT, this Clubmans spec machine has been fully restored by Mike Pemberton and George Cohen.

Now demonstrating a distinctly road bias set-up, this machine has a comfortable but sporty riding position demonstrated by the turned up bars and lack of 'bum-perch' seat. The elegant but rorty Brooklands exhaust can, rear set footrests and lack of lights turn the balance back towards road racer. Considering the engine, recently rebuilt by George Cohen, has covered less than 50 miles since the rebuild, this road test was an exploration of handling rather than outright speed. We'll save that for another day at Wroughton Airfield.

Starting easily on the first kick, the 350 makes a fabulous noise. No doubt thanks to the Brooklands can, I scare a pair of juvenile ponies and their riders, trotting up the neaby bridleway. Cutting the engine immediately I make my apologies. Horse-hair-raiser over I restart the 350, again first kick.

Once underway, the free revving, all alloy single ohc motor begins to warm up and I am rewarded with a charmingly smooth power delivery. Positive gear changes are very straight forward and within a mile I am begginning to swing the Inter into corners with confidence. Approaching a bumpy kink in the road, I am keen to discover the cornering abilities of the plunger frame. Entering the bend at 55mph I learn a shift in body position to the rear of the bike helps the dampers smother road imperfections also emphasising the need for a bum seat.
On reaching a long straight I find even in run-in state this 350 Inter can still reach illegal speeds with ease as I instinctly overtake a Sunday-driver-driven Nissan Micra. Back in the fifities, the driver of an unsuspecting Ford Anglia would have received quite a fright. A practical, sporty machine with a wealth of charm and character, the '49 Inter is a real gem.

1954 Norton International 500 Clubmans

Next up, the 1954 Featherbed 500 Inter Clubmans, another machine with a fascinating history. Raced by G W Shekell in the 1954 Clubmans TT, finishing 12th at an average speed of 80.25 mph (the second Norton to finish) and restored by Bernie Allen in 2009, I rode this bike at last years Norton Owners Golden Jubilee event at Donington Park.
Restored to Clubmans specification, including an all alloy engine, no lights, rear set footrests, Manx front numberplate and seat, this Inter has a very purposeful appearance. Second kick brings the 500cc motor to life, producing a deeper but no less fantastic sound. The riding position of a racing featherbed is much heavier on the wrists than the earlier Inters, even with flat bars fitted, resembling that of a more modern sports bike.

Fitted with race cams, the featherbed Inter is happiest on an open throttle which makes for swift, rewarding progress especially blatting along country A-roads. The long Manx seat permits plenty of movement in the saddle, the drum brakes are soft by modern standards but provide ample stopping power.
With more grip than outright power, the 500 Inter is a very confidence inspiring machine and a bike that cries out to be ridden. The combination of low weight and a rev hungry engine make for a smile inducing road experience, the bike responding to delicate inputs and with none of the plunger's evident pre-war feel. With only 50 bikes built to Clubmans specification, this is a very rare machine as many were turned into Triton cafe racers. Following on his Honda VFR 750 my Dad commented, "You looked like you were having fun!", and indeed I was.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The 'Alfabeast'

Bike engined cars are a relatively tried and tested formula- Fit a high revving, compact Hayabusa motor into a featherlight, excellent handling chassis and Bob's your uncle, you'll have lots of fun. In the eyes of engineering challenges though, Crossbreed Cycles have done the complete opposite, fitting a 2500cc Alfa Romeo V6 lump into a hardtail, chopper style frame.

After receiving inspiration from the 1926 Harley Davidson racer at the Pamplona Collection auction recently, this bike is impractical for sure, but incites the same rebellious feeling in me.

Many readers will be quick to dismiss this project/post as Orange County Chopper's next episode but on closer inspection this bike displays a huge commitment to combining retro bikes and cars, in one macho, if not bumpy ride.

Consisting of a Kraftek frame, Kawasaki ZXR750 front end and four speed Harley gearbox, the Alfabeast also has two Weber downdraft carbs poking out right through the top of the tank!

Sources: Crossbreed Cycles, DucCutters

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Porsche 918 Concept Hybrid Spyder

Hot on the heels of Porsche's hybrid GT3 R racer, the sensational 918 Hybrid Spyder has crawled out from under the blankets at Geneva today. Mating a mid-mounted race bred 3.4 litre V8 with a pair of front axel mounted electric motors, this sleek answer to Audi's R8 and e-tron supercars, places Porsche at the forefront of high performance hybrid technology.

Each electric motor produces 109hp which, when used in conjunction with the 500hp RS Spyder derived naturally aspirated V8, results in 718hp! With all that power but still capable of returning 78mpg and 70g Co2/km the 918 Spyder secures the future existence for high powered, highly efficient supercars. Smaller in body than a Carrera GT, the 918 possesses Boxster proportions, albeit capable of a very un-Boxster-like 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and 194mph.

Resembling an intimidating hungry shark, Porsche designers have adopted styling cues direct from Porsche royalty, the Le Mans winning 917. Brimming with exciting new detail, the 918 is not shy in admitting a racy appearance. Side exit exhausts sit menacingly close to futuristic new wheels hiding electric motors and ceramic brakes. Let's just hope they put it into production.

Porsche have released a slick new video entertaining the idea that they designed the technology for this car over 100 years ago. So, are you still happy with your McLaren MP4 order Sir?

Source: Autoblog

Monday, 1 March 2010

Bonhams Auction- The Pamplona Collection

Bonhams hosted the auction of the Pamplona Collection at the RAF Musuem in London last weekend. The Spanish owned private collection of approximately 100 classic and vintage motorcycles, the majority built before 1950, included many rare models from names including Indian, Harley Davidson, NSU, BMW, Terrot, Peugeot, Wanderer, Griffon and many more. 

Also included in the sale were several in-line four cylinder machines from Henderson, Ace and Cleveland. The feature bike of the auction was a 1931 Brough Superior SS100 with a reserve set at £120,000. Hosted light heartedly by auctioneer Malcolm Barber, a very high percentage of the bikes sold successfully, although the Brough failed to sell with bidding reaching £85,000.

The RAF Museum in Hendon provided a fascinating back-drop for the Bonhams Pamplona Collection, this Phantom F4 fighter sharing hanger space with 1913 Griffon 350cc V-twin pedal assisted machine. The French built Griffon sold for £6,500 plus commission.

Fantastic 1926 Harley Davidson 74ci-1200cc Model J OHV racer was my pick of all the lots. Engineered to perform, this machine boasted an overhead-valve conversion, straight through pipes and with a wonderful period patina, provided an exceptional ownership proposition. Good value at £26,000 plus fees.

BMW was well represented with a range of single and flat twin engined machines including Lot 40, a beautfully presented 1936 494cc R5 reaching double it's estimate at £13,500 plus commission.

Beautifully demonstrated by Pops is this 1937 Czechoslavakian Bohmerland 603cc Langtouren boasting a long, low frame and for the first time on a motorcycle, cast alloy wheels. This ultra rare leading link front forked machine fetched £31,500.

Very rare 1923 Mabeco 596cc V-twin 'Indian Copy' received plentiful interest with a hammer price of £11,500

1931 'Streamline' Henderson 1300cc KJ Four capable of 100mph fetched £31,500 plus commission. 

This stylish 1936 NSU 494cc OSL sold for £5,750 plus commission.