Best in Show at Radnor Hunt, 2013: 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS Boattail Convertible Coupe by LebaronPosted: October 29, 2013
Coachbuilt cars tend to attract a crowd. The name Isotta Fraschini is a well-known one inside the world of classic car connoisseurs, but not really known as well in the automotive public. This particularly pretty burgundy boat-tail coupe at Radnor Hunt is the first one I’ve gotten a good look at and I was very impressed. The brightwork looked great, the coachwork was full of great details and the car’s history offered a lot of information on just how famous this one is. Owned by a silent-film star actress by the name of Marguerite Clark and her aviation pioneer husband Harry Williams, this gorgeous convertible had only 22,000 original miles on the clock. It fully deserved its win at Radnor Hunt this year, and the owner, Peter Boyle, looked incredibly proud. Congrats to Mr. Boyle on your award-winning Isotta Fraschini, thank you for showing it at Radnor this year.
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The Cord L-29 was a revolutionary automobile for its time. It’s one of the first cars to ever be assembled with front-wheel-drive, but uses a longitudinal engine layout, unlike every FWD car sold in America today. The car had a 137.5″ wheelbase and the steering took 4 turns from lock-to-lock, but reports came in at the time that it was actually a very good handler. It had inboard brakes, De Dion drive system, and and full instrumentation (including an ammeter). In its day, it was a shock to the system.
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Jaguar has quite a storied history with regard to sporting automobiles. The E-Type is still remembered and revered as one of the most beautiful cars ever made (even Enzo Ferrari admitted to this at one point). But, this story isn’t about the E-Type, or the XJ6, or the modern Jags that people lust after. This is about what I see as a potential diamond in the rough–the last generation of the venerable Jaguar XJS, a car that I think is a bit overlooked. Read the rest of this entry »
200mph with the roof down, in one of the fastest cars on the planet, the Hennessy Venom GT.
A Wankel, or rotary, engine is a bit of an automotive conundrum these days. It is a technology with some very distinctive pros and cons, making it very controversial amongst car people. In fact, Mazda is the only company that has dabbled with it in modern production cars, and the RX8 just recently went out of production. The rotary is the trademark feature of their RX line of sports cars, in the same way that a rear engine design is the hallmark of the Porsche 911. I got my first taste of a rotary when I reviewed the RX8, and I thought it was quite fun. So when my friend Shane told me I could borrow his ’91 RX7 convertible for the afternoon, while he was at work, I jumped at the opportunity. Sunny day, convertible sports car, rev happy Wankel motor, it sounded like a great time to me.
The BMW 6-Series can be a tough car to really pin down. Based on its market price and its layout, it is a direct competitor to cars like the Jaguar XJ and the Porsche 911. That said, its size is on the big side for a personal coupe, yet it wears its size well. I was at the Greenwich Concours and BMW had this and a 750i available for test drives, so I took the plunge and gave this rather expensive droptop a good shakedown. Then, I got a chance to drive a 750i, equipped with xDrive AWD, the long-wheelbase body, and the M-Sport trim (an interesting combination that should definitely go over well in the Northeast, where AWD is an important selling point). I took each out and asked myself a question: These two cars are based on pretty much the same platform in different lengths–which one does the job that it sets out to do in the better manner, and which one is actually better overall? I was surprised by the results. Read the rest of this entry »
…gets his hands on a McLaren 12C Spyder. Chaos, tire-destroying awesome ensues all over the Ascari test track. As an engineer, I happen to be completely bowled over (in a good way) about the work that went into this design–it’s a masterpiece of automotive design and engineering. Watch the video to see more.
-Albert S. Davis
Sunlight falls gently on the forest floor, a slight breeze rustles leaves on the trees, birds chirp, bees buzz, and the temperature can only be described as perfect. This serenity of nature was disturbed while the echo of mechanical torment emanated from the exhausts of my Jag as I flew past. The beauty of the setting was but a blur as I was catapulted forward by a stampede of 500 angry mares. Rapid acceleration, then all the opposite as I get on the brakes for an upcoming bend. I click the left paddle for an aggressive downshift into 2nd, and as the engine roars up near redline, a series of crackling explosions erupt from the exhaust. It is a symphony that could shake the strongest foundations, and it was so moving from the driver’s seat that I burst out laughing like a giddy little girl. This was my favorite moment during my recent drive in this XKR convertible; one that I feel exemplifies the car’s specific appeal. Read the rest of this entry »
My first day in Germany earlier this year I was treated to these fine sights before I even had a chance to sleep off my jet lag. Evidently a BMW club was having a meeting near Cochem so there was some very interesting stuff rolling around this famous medieval city. There were others driving around but I found the M1, 2002 convertible, 2500 CS, and pair of 507s stood out the most. I had never seen a 507 in person before, and here I saw two of them go by on the street within minutes of each other. The thrill of seeing these cars helped me stay awake for quite a while before we finally rested. Read the rest of this entry »
This DE 36 DHC is not a product of the German parent of Mercedes Benz. The Daimler name was actually shared by two separate companies for a period of time, one the German company we all know and the other the oldest automotive marque from Britain. This car is the latter, and is one of just 6-7 DE 36s built. Under the hood lies a 5.4L straight 8 with 150hp, and at around 3 tons the DE was most certainly meant for relaxed cruising in style. This DE 36 DHC recently sold for a little over a half-a-million dollars in 2010. It was brilliant to see in person this summer, literally stopping me in my tracks when I saw it. Not many cars can outshine a Bentley S1 or various Rolls Royces that were around it, but this Daimler succeeded. This is automotive art like we no longer have today. Enjoy the pics.
The GTX1 is a roadster conversion of a Ford GT by Gennadi Design. 600 GTX1s were planned but only around 100 or so wer completed by the time production ended in 2008, making this quite a rare car. In addition to the roof modification GTX1s were also upgraded to around 700hp, given better suspension, new interior parts, and given a few visual bits to set them apart from a standard GT. It is easy to mistake one for a standard GT though, and I had to do a double take on this one to notice the lack of a roof; at which point I took off after it to get these pics. This is the first GTX1 I have seen on the street. Enjoy.
This new M6 is the very essence of the trend for modern cars; heavier with more power. BMW has gone a bit too far this time I think because the M6 now weighs 4500lbs, and that is nearly as much as a VW Touareg. This sort of weight is not really what comes to mind when I think of a sports car, and it renders the car’s 560hp far less impressive than it suggests. I am not a fan of this new M6, and I am someone who covets the previous M6 with the V10. A GT car should have some solid weight, but it should not be bordering SUV territory; enough is enough. Carlos hits the nail on the head at (3:27-3:35), saying he can respect it but he doesn’t desire it. That is the problem I see too, and it is one that I see shared by the Bugatti Veyron and other cars like this. Sure companies can engineer a heavy car to perform well on paper, some of the numbers the M6 achieves are staggering (especially considering the weight), but at the end of the day heft is heft when the laws of physics step in. There is an answer somewhere for making cars faster and more efficient, and adding weight like this is not it. Motor Trend hit it on the head in this vid.