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ON THE BLOCK: Rare Bentley Headlines Silverstone NEC Sale

October 21, 2014

211014silvauct-1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback

An incredibly rare and special 1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback, one of just three right-hand drive automatic examples produced, is set to headline Silverstone Auctions’ final sale of the year at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show on the 15th and 16th of November.

The late D Series car, estimated at between £800,000 and £900,000, is presented in impeccable, close to concours condition having benefitted from major works over the last few years.

Chassis number ‘BC9D’ was ordered on the 31st March 1954 by Mr. Alan G Clark. Clearly a discerning customer, Mr. Clark specified the car with an automatic gearbox and a number of special features including electric window lifts, flat petrol tank, Smiths ventilation and heating system and two RD 8187 Foglamps in place of the standard centre lamp. Being the late D Series it also benefits from having the larger 4.9-litre engine.

Like many of these Bentley models, the chassis was produced at the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe while some 170 miles to the south, the lightweight, aluminium coachwork was being handcrafted by H. J. Mulliner & Co. The current owner has maintained the car to the highest standard regardless of cost.

The car is offered for sale with an extensive history file for major works undertaken to it during the last few years. This includes a full respray in Shell Grey complimented by a mid-blue hide interior and dark blue Wilton carpets.

Commenting on the impressive car, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, Nick Whale, said: “This car is a beautifully styled masterpiece, offering gracious classic motoring with just a hint of modern convenience. It is beautifully presented and testament to the pampered existence it has lived.”

The Bentley joins an eclectic offering at the two-day sale taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, which contains more than 100 classic and modern sports cars and 12 historic motorcycles spanning some 58 years.

The full list of cars on offer can be viewed at

For more information on the Bentley please visit

IN THE NEWS: Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience Lets Public Drive Legendary Jaguars

October 16, 2014


(Whitley, Coventry – 16 October 2014). Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations today announces the launch of the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience. This range of exciting driving experiences gives participants the unique opportunity to take the wheel of cars including Le Mans-racing legend Jaguar D-type, legendary E-type and Jaguar’s most potent sports car ever, the F-TYPE R Coupé. Details of the new Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience may be reviewed at:

From November 2014 the Jaguar Heritage Driving Experience opens at an established 200-acre testing facility, Fen End, in Warwickshire, where visitors will be offered the chance to drive some of these icons of Jaguar’s rich product history.

Many of the vehicles in the collection will be driven by members of the public for the very first time, having been prepared for high octane test action following Jaguar’s recent purchase of over 500 outstanding British heritage cars from a private collector.

“This is the first experiential offering from our new division and is the first time in Jaguar’s history that we have made a collection of vehicles of this calibre available for ‘arrive and drive’ experiences. It’s an extremely exciting new project that underscores the very essence of what Special Operations is all about – celebrating heritage with our eyes firmly on the future.”  -

Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations Managing Director, John Edwards

The collection includes many iconic Jaguars, charting over 100 years of beautiful, fast cars from pre- and post-war road racers and Le Mans champions, to later sporting saloons and grand tourers. A variety of drive packages will be available, allowing visitors to experience a particular era or to journey through Jaguar’s history right up to present day heroes such as the F-TYPE R Coupé .

Example packages include:

Jaguar Experience (ranging from £95 to £250):

From passenger rides to driving alongside a seasoned professional (including some recognisable faces from the world of motorsport), visitors can choose from individual models – including an XK150 or Mark 2 saloon – or selected pairings such as the Series 1 and Series 3 E-type. There’s also the option to drive heritage cars alongside their modern counterparts, such as an E-type with a factory-fresh F-TYPE.

Le Mans Experience (£750):

Re-live the experiences of legends such as Mike Hawthorn and Duncan Hamilton for half a day, with drives in the iconic C and D-types that dominated the world famous 24-hour endurance race in the 1950s.  This package will also feature drives in the XKSS and F-TYPE R Coupé, and includes lunch.

Grace and Pace Experience (£2,000):

A full day of driving Jaguar Heritage legends, from post-war racers to sports saloons, coupés, roadsters and much more, including the new XFR and F-TYPE R Coupé models.  The Grace and Pace day will also feature opportunities to drive creations from the company’s Special Operations division, and includes chauffeur-driven transfers in classic Jaguar saloons to a lunch venue.

The first visitors to Jaguar’s Heritage Experience days will also be invited to exclusive guided viewings of the ‘Perfect Ten’ exhibition, installed at Fen End for a limited period following its recent launch at the Jaguar XE reveal at Earls Court, London. The ‘Perfect Ten’ is made up of iconic Jaguars selected by a distinguished panel including design director Ian Callum, Lord March of the Goodwood Estate and AC/DC front man Brian Johnson.  The selection includes the ultra-rare SS100 and the one-of-a-kind and priceless XJ13. More on the creation of the Jaguar ‘Perfect Ten’ can be seen in this short film:

The facility at Fen End will also feature a new branded merchandise outlet – where the recently launched Heritage ’57 Collection is available to purchase. Full details of the new collection may be found here:

For more information visit, email or telephone 0333 577 0156.

IN THE NEWS: Ferrari Marks 60 Years in North America with F60America. And You Can’t Have One.

October 10, 2014

F60America_proto_Pininfarina 3-4ant

Maranello, October 10th 2014. To celebrate Ferrari’s 60th year in North America, Maranello has returned to its 1950s and 60s tradition of producing strictly limited edition, built-to-order cars. The result is the F60America, of which just 10 will be produced. The new car combines our American clients’ two great passions – the V12 engine and open-top driving – and is being unveiled tomorrow evening at an anniversary celebration gala dinner at Beverly Hills City Hall.

The decision to produce such a strictly limited edition pays homage to another great tradition. Just 10 F60Americas will be built as was the case, for example, with the 1967 275 GTS4 NART Spider, the open version of the 275 GTB4 that the importer, Luigi Chinetti, specifically requested from Enzo Ferrari for his US clients.

The F60America is powered by Ferrari’s award-winning mid-front-mounted V12 which enables the car to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.1 seconds.

Powerfully muscular, the car is clothed in beautifully sculpted and exceptionally balanced volumes, honed, as ever, strictly to aerodynamic requirements in line with the marque’s DNA.

The F60America’s personality is instantly clear from its flanks which are characterised by an innovative diapason design theme.  The front of the car is dominated by the classic Ferrari single front grille with chrome finish and integrated air intakes for the brakes.

Two leather-trimmed roll-hoops are backed by carbon-fibre-trimmed flying buttresses which stretch from behind the cockpit to the rear, imbuing the elegant harmonious forms of the tail with a sense of movement.

The F60America can be closed with a light fabric top usable at speeds of up to 120 km/h.

The cabin’s asymmetrical design highlights the driver’s area with sporty red trim, while the passenger side is black, inspired by the historic Ferrari competition cars. The cabin trim is exclusive with the dash, tunnel and door panels on the driver’s side all swathed in composite materials. The racing seats also feature a stylised American flag motif on the centre of each seat and backrest.

The F60America’s bodywork adopts the classic North American Racing Team livery, and the special Ferrari 60th anniversary Prancing Horse badge on the wheelarches also appears on the tunnel in the cabin.

The wonderfully elegant and unique F60America has entranced US collectors and all 10 examples are already spoken for.

IN THE NEWS: Porsche Unveils 911 GTS with Enhanced Power and Performance

October 8, 2014


Atlanta. Porsche has revealed the second generation of 911 Carrera GTS models. The GTS models are available as coupe and cabriolet versions, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. These new models bridge the gap between the 911 Carrera S and race track tested 911 GT3. Several technical features heighten dynamic performance and driving pleasure, including the 430 horsepower engine from the Carrera S Powerkit which incorporates the Sport Chrono package and Sport Exhaust. The standard PASM active damper system lowers the ride height by 10 mm compared to the 911 Carrera.

When equipped with PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung dual-clutch transmission), the 911 Carrera GTS sprints from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds (Cabriolet: 4.0 seconds) – which is one-tenth of a second faster than the S model. Top track speeds for the GTS models range from 187 to 190 miles per hour, depending on drivetrain and transmission. Despite quicker acceleration and higher top speeds, the GTS versions retain a similar level of efficiency as the 911 Carrera S models.

Added performance and an extended range of standard features make the new models attractive in price as well. Standard equipment includes Bi-Xenon™ headlights with the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) and the Sport exhaust system, which delivers an unmistakable GTS sound. The Alcantara® interior features leather-trimmed sport seats with center panels made of made of Alcantara® – a traditional feature of all Porsche GTS models.
The exterior of the new GTS models differs significantly from the other Carrera variants. All GTS versions are based on the 911 Carrera 4 body with flared rear wheel arches and a wider track.

Also standard are 20-inch center lock wheels, painted in an exclusive gloss black. Special trim elements and tinted Bi-Xenon™ headlights accentuate the front end, while black trim strips on the customized GTS air intake and black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes distinguish the rear of the Carrera GTS models.

With the addition of the new GTS models, the 911 family now consists of nineteen sports cars which range from 350 to 560 hp. MSRP for the 911 Carrera GTS starts at $114,200, while the 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet starts at $126,100. The 911 Carrera 4 GTS will have an MSRP of $120,900 in Coupe and $132,800 in Cabriolet form. A destination charge of $995 is not included in the MSRP. The four models will be available at U.S. dealers by the end of 2014.

IN REPROACH: Aston Martin Teases with Très Shiek Lagonda Images

October 1, 2014


Following the release of a prototype in Oman a few weeks ago, Aston Martin has released a gallery of images to show more of what we’re missing. These include for the first time a glimpse of the exquisitely detailed interior. Chic as it may be, it is still only for a sheik to enjoy as the Lagonda remains a UAE-only model.

Lagonda_09(1) Lagonda_08(1)

AT THE SHOW: Volkswagen Displays Brilliant Ducati-Powered XL Sport in Paris

October 1, 2014


Wolfsburg / Paris, October 2014 —There has never been a sports car like the XL Sport concept that is being shown for the first time by Volkswagen at the Paris Motor Show. This is a car that uncompromisingly furthers the development of the lightweight sports car. Based on the XL1, the most fuel-efficient production car of all time, this 168-mph machine is a compelling blend of efficiency and emotion.

The XL Sport houses one of the finest achievements in engine technology—the V-Twin adapted from the new Ducati 1199 Superleggera, the world’s most powerful two-cylinder motorcycle. Like the XL1, of which only 250 will be built, the Superleggera is also being manufactured in a limited edition of 500 units, using a process that embraces hand fabrication and high-precision industrial manufacturing. The XL1 and the Superleggera, two icons of lightweight carbon and magnesium design technology, thus unite to create a unique sports car. With the XL Sport, Volkswagen and Ducati impressively demonstrate how high-tech developments can lead to synergies between Volkswagen Group brands.

Pioneering aerodynamics. The Ducati 1199 Superleggera has the best power-to-weight ratio of any production motorcycle in history. In the car world, the XL Sport achieves a similar record—the best ratio between weight (1962 pounds), power (147 kW/197 hp) and aerodynamics (CdA of 0.44 square meters). It’s a combination that allows the car to reach an impressive top speed of 168 mph on just 197 hp.

The vehicle’s aerodynamics are one key reason the car performs so well. The coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.258 and the low frontal area of 1.7 sq m combine to give a CdA of 0.44 sq m, one of the best values ever achieved and a major triumph for Volkswagen’s aerodynamicists and designers. The achievement is made all the more impressive due to the fact that the concept’s performance-car design brief demanded wide tires, apertures for cooling air, and optimal downforce.

There are a number of individual features that contribute to the XL Sport’s arrow-like performance, in addition to the uncompromising styling. These include special vanes that direct the air at the front into specific channels, wheelarch vents, an optimized underbody, lift-reducing air ducts in the hood, an extendable rear spoiler (powered by the same unit as in the Lamborghini Aventador), and adaptive air vents incorporated in the rear hatch.

The world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine. The Ducati 1199 Superleggera’s V-Twin engine was slightly modified for use in the XL Sport, but is basically the same as the motorcycle’s. Thanks to its tough, lightweight titanium connecting rods, the 1199 cc double-overhead-camshaft engine can rev up to 11,000 rpm. The Superquadro’s high speeds are made possible by its extreme bore/stroke ratio of 112 mm by 60.8 mm and the exceptionally short crankshaft stroke associated with it.

In addition, the two four-valve cylinders, which are arranged at an angle of 90 degrees to each other, feature desmodromic valve control (positive valve closure) that is typical of the high-revving Ducati engines and requires the finest of precision engineering to ensure optimum valve clearance. Other features of the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine are the use of magnesium-alloy for the clutch, cylinder head, and oil pan covers, the two throttle valve discs, and the two fuel injectors per cylinder. Last but by no means least, the XL Sport has a newly developed step-down transmission to reduce engine speeds by a factor of 1.86. Torque from the V-Twin engine (99 pound-feet) is transmitted to the rear axle via a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission. From a standing start, the XL Sport takes 5.7 seconds to reach 62 mph.

Racing chassis. The significantly redesigned chassis, high-revving engine, and aerodynamic performance firmly plant the XL Sport in the racing realm. The chassis incorporates high-strength steel subframes which house upper and lower control arms at the front with pullrod actuation for the dampers, while the control arms at the back have pushrods—similar to the layout for a racing car. The forged magnesium-alloy wheels, which save 53 pounds compared to aluminum-alloy rims, are fitted with 205/40 R18 front and 265/35 R18 rear high-performance tires. The XL Sport has a powerful ceramic brake disc setup.

CFRP body. Because the XL Sport is a sister model to the XL1, it shares the same basic design. Like the XL1, the central monocoque and most of the body panels are manufactured in carbonfiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) using the RTM (Resin Transfer Molding) process. The monocoque features slightly offset seats for the driver and passenger.

The wing doors of the XL1 and XL Sport are reminiscent of a high-end sports car’s. They are hinged at two points: low on the A-pillars and just above the windshield in the roof frame, so they swivel upwards and slightly forwards as well. The doors also extend far into the roof, giving an exceptionally large amount of entry and exit space. In order to keep the weight as low as possible, the windows are made from polycarbonate and are fixed in place: just a segment of the lower area of the side windows can be opened.

Compelling proportions. Despite sharing its underlying design with the XL1, the XL Sport has a look of its own. The reason for this is that the XL1 was designed for ultimate fuel efficiency, whereas the XL Sport’s design brief included uncompromising driving dynamics. The XL Sport is longer and wider than the XL1 because of the need for additional downforce on a 168-mph car and because of the packaging requirements of the chassis and powertrain. The XL Sport showcased in Paris is 168.9 inches long (versus 153.1 in for the XL1), 72.7 in wide (65.5 in), and 45.4 in mm high (45.4 in). The wheelbase has also been increased to 95.4 in, up from : 87.6 in.

Design concept. As outlined above, the concept car builds on the dynamic and expressive design of the XL1. The surfaces have an even more muscular appearance as they extend over the significantly broader fenders and the large wheels.

The XL Sport’s broad front section is marked out by dual LED headlights and the XL1’s signature LED daytime running lights. The XL Sport features air intakes on either side of the headlights for the vanes which feed the air around the car’s front end. In common with the XL1, the front section of the XL Sport does not have a conventional radiator grille, yet it retains the current Volkswagen design DNA, with horizontal lines dominating this area. The cooling air supply for the Ducati engine is via vents in the rear fenders.

Whereas the XL1 is at its widest at the front and tapers towards the rear, the XL Sport is just as wide at the back as at the front. From above, the shape is that of a classic racing car, with a waisted cockpit area. Air intakes and outlets at the A- and B-posts ensure optimal air flow and cooling for the drive unit. Like the XL1, there are no conventional door mirrors: instead, they are replaced by e-Mirrors, small streamlined cameras integrated in the fenders that send images of the surroundings behind the car to two displays inside the vehicle. In front of the rear wheelarches, the ‘Motore Ducati’ lettering refers to the 1199 Superleggera engine in the rear.

At the rear, the new XL Sport has four specific eye catching features. First, the extremely wide, flat rear has distinctive “shoulders” above the wheels and an extendable rear spoiler that occupies almost the full width. Second, as with the XL1, there is a coupe-shaped roofline without a rear windshield. The rear hatch that merges into the roofline conceals the Ducati engine, the seven-speed DSG transmission and 3.8 cubic feet of luggage space, and incorporates five louvers that open automatically to cool the drive unit. Third, the iconic red LED ribbon follows the shape of the rear section and is framed at the sides by another, vertical, LED element which serves to emphasize the XL Sport’s width. Fourth, there is a black diffuser that merges almost seamlessly into the completely enclosed underbody and is finished at each side with a chrome exhaust tip.

Interior design. The interior of the XL Sport is based on the XL1’s, but has been modified and individualized to conform with the change in the vehicle’s mission. For example, the XL Sport boasts a digital instrument cluster that includes a lap timer and oil pressure display. A carbonfiber cowl extends across the top of the instrument cluster to completely eliminate reflections. The XL Sport’s steering wheel has decorative red stitching and has been equipped with aluminum-alloy shift paddles to facilitate ultra-quick gear shifts. There are further classy details to add a sporty touch, with anodized aluminum accents around the air vents, the climate control fascia and the DSG shift gate. The seat belts are red, picking up on the theme of the contrasting red stitching on the steering wheel.

IN THE GARAGE: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe

September 28, 2014

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VIN WP0AD29917S783821
Exterior [L041] Black
Interior [LE] Stone Grey Full Leather
Motor 3.6 L Turbocharged H4 rated at 480 bhp
Gearbox [G975] 6-Speed Manual
Exterior Condition Excellent (2+)
Interior Condition Outstanding (1)
Drivetrain Excellent (2+ )
Braking Excellent (2)
Suspension/Ride Excellent (2)
Tires/wheels Very Good (3+)

THE EVERYDAY SUPERCAR. Porsche Turbo. For four decades, those two words have evoked breathtaking performance, meticulous engineering and an assertive, sometimes audacious sense of style that has never been equaled. While each generation of the 911 Turbo aimed to one-up the previous one, perhaps the greatest leap came with the 997 model Turbo in 2007. It not only sported impressive numbers like 480 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque (with the Sports Chrono package), but it was the way in which that performance was applied. Porsche’s new Variable Turbine Geometry all but eliminated turbo lag and back pressure, thus the powerband of the twin-turbo 3.6-litre motor was unlike anything before in a turbocharged performance car (peak torque 1,950-5,000 RPM), virtually equal to one that is normally aspirated. Mated to a pinpoint 6-speed gearbox—the last generation to feature a manual—and the 997 Turbo Coupe delivers an exhilarating, driver-oriented experience. The 911 Turbo presented here is well optioned to further enhance that, including:

  • Sports Chrono Plus
  • Adaptive sports seats
  • Full leather interior
  • Factory short shifter
  • Multi-function leather steering wheel

Massive Bridgestone Potenzas with very good tread (~75% remaining) surround the stock 19″ Turbo alloy wheels OR Gloss Black 19″ Tech Art Alloys. Combined with the Turbo Coupe’s standard adaptive AWD, 350mm inner-vented disc brakes with multi-piston monobloc calipers, and an alphabet soup’s worth of electronic driving aids, it makes for a incredibly civilized canyon carver or track-day darling.

The first thing we notice about this 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe is the deep, brilliant shine of its all-original Black paint. It is near flawless and the pampering given by its two owners is evident in every detail. Likewise, the interior is showroom fresh. The full leather upholstery shows virtually no wear and is more indicative of a car with test-drive miles than one that’s been enjoyed for more than 60K. Again it’s a testament to the care it’s been given its entire life. Mechanically, it benefits from a fresh major service and is entirely free of leaks, smoke and unusual noises. Clutch and gearbox are taut with no signs of wear. The 997 Turbo’s electronic, variable-assisted steering is precise with no slop, while the stock suspension provides superb feedback, perfectly balancing the car’s blistering performance. The optional Tech Art wheels are flawless while the stock Turbo alloys show only one minor rash on one wheel. Both sets are shod with Bridgestone Potenzas, with very good tread on both (Turbo alloys ~75%; Tech Arts ~%70). This 911 Turbo Coupe truly is the best of both worlds. It presents like a garage queen, but fully recognizes—at its soul—that it is a Porsche and isn’t the least bit shy about being driven.

In many ways, the Porsche 997 Turbo Coupe is the materialization of all things Porsche. It unmistakably carries the legacy of Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche’s ideal of the “formally harmonious product” he envisioned when designing the 911, yet it is an awe-inspiring marvel of technology at the same time. The combination of its revolutionary Variable Turbine Geometry combined with a host of electronic driver aids like adaptive all-wheel-drive, Porsche Traction Management (PTM), Enhanced Porsche Stability Management (PSM), and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), to name a few, made this the most drivable turbocharged performance car ever. It is brute power delivered through an unprecedented range. It invites the driver to explore its limits but can also keep itself perfectly in check, should the driver choose not to challenge their abilities. Porsche 911 Twin Turbo Coupe No. 3821 takes that even further with the added torques from its Sports Chrono Plus package, as well other driver-oriented options like Adaptive Sports Seats and a thicker, multi-function three-spoke steering wheel. Despite the technological brilliance of the PDK gearbox found in the 997.2 and 991, there is and never will be a substitute for the supple yet crisp shifts of its optional short shifter working through manual gears. It is neck-snappingly quick—3.7 seconds to 60 MPH and a top speed of 193 MPH—putting it within a car’s length of exotics like the Ferrari Enzo, Lamborghini Murcielago and McLaren MP4-12C. Yet it’s a car that is equally at home hauling bags of mulch with pygmy relatives in the back seats. Creature comforts like cold air conditioning, power windows and sunroof, and a full leather interior make for a pleasant cockpit. Ride is firm but not punishing, steering easy at lower speeds without losing road feel, and fuel economy is decent to boot. Maintenance costs are more akin to its Audi and Volkswagen cousins than the supercars it is compared to on spec sheets. It is a car that provides staggering performance in a real-world package. Formally harmonious, you might say.

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