Successful art forgers, dishonest though they may be, are incredibly skilled. If you can fool people who make a living dealing in multimillion dollar paintings you’re doing something right. To take new materials, create art, and then sell it as the real thing using artificial aging takes talent and audacity. Minus artificial aging and deception, this is what Broadley Automotive does with their T76 and other cars once built by Lola. Just as Guy Hain forged the sculptures of Auguste Rodin by using the original molds, Broadley uses all of the original tooling and body molds that Lola used to build the iconic T70. The 1960s racing cars that roll out of the Cambridgeshire factory today are so indistinguishable from the originals that the FIA grants them Historic Technical Passports, letting them race alongside original Ferraris, Porsches and GT40s.
Lola’s version, the T70, was designed in 1965 and featured a British chassis powered by American V8s (one was disastrously equipped with an Aston Martin V8). Chevy-powered T70s won 5 out of 6 Can-Am races in the 1966 season, but performed less well in European races because the big American engines didn’t like the lower quality of European fuel. Engine reliability was a problem and the T70s did their best work in shorter sprint races while in Europe. The pace of development was fast, and by 1967 the M6 McLaren was untouchable in Can-Am racing. Penske racing did, however, win the coveted Daytona 24 Hours with a T70 in 1969.
With Lola sadly going the way of too many other British car builders, Broadley Automotive stepped in and bought up the tooling, body molds, drawings, and everything else required to build “big banger sports racers”. The production process is identical to the one Eric Broadley (father of Broadley boss Andrew) set out in the ‘60s. The cars are produced from aircraft-grade aluminium with brand-new period correct engines, switchgear and Daytona-conquering noise. In the interest of safety there are a couple of updates, like a stronger transmission casing and modern pistons in the brakes. Imagine caning one of these sports car wonders without worrying about anything breaking and putting you into a tree! Delivery to your door happens within 16 weeks of you picking up the phone to order one. Of course, all this history and craftsmanship comes at an eye-watering price, but that’s not really the point, is it?
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday Dec 7th 2016.
The Ferrari 288 GTO has some fantastically special cars in its family tree. It was the first Ferrari to bear the GTO name since the legendary 250 GTO, and its crazy cousin, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, served as the prototype for the equally legendary F40. AND it was designed to compete in Group B, the holy grail of motorsport lunacy. Crikey.
Unfortunately for the 288 GTO, Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto’s fatal crash in the 1986 Tour de Corse put an end to the 600 horsepower monsters. Group B was banned just as the GTO was about to step into the fray. Based on the 308 GTB to save money and construction time, the 288 was in reality a very different car. It was wider, lower, and packed with goodies like upgraded suspension, extra lights and a racing transmission mated to a 2.9 litre twin-turbo V8. It produced 400 horsepower, and was the first road-legal production car to hit 300 kph.
Not content with their amazing creation, Ferrari set to work once more. They wanted something nastier, scarier, more evolved. The 288 was lightened to a featherweight 2072 lbs, and the boost was turned up so that the engine now produced 650 horsepower. Incredible lightness, power, and an aerodynamically revised body put the Evoluzione’s top speed at a terrifying 225 mph. 272 288 GTOs were produced, but just 5 Evoluziones were ever built. Miraculously none of them were crashed as a result of monstrous turbo-lag and all of them survive to this day.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 28th 2016.
The Tyrrell P34 is undoubtedly one of the most unique and recognisable Formula 1 cars of all time. Its six-wheeled design, penned by Derek Gardner, aimed to skirt the rules that limited how wide front wings could be. In order to leave room for all the needed components (suspension, steering, the driver’s legs) the front wheels would sit well outside the edges of the front wing. To remedy this problem, Gardner devised his six-wheeled layout. By using 10 inch front wheels and tires he could fit everything neatly inside and under the confines of the front wing, reducing drag for higher straight line speed and providing the rear wing with cleaner air for cornering downforce. The problem with using smaller front wheels was the decreased contact patch which made cornering very difficult. So he just added another set, and connected them to the first.
When the car was unveiled in 1975 it was kept under a sheet with hoops to mimic the silhouette of normally sized front wheels. Imagine the surprise when that sheet came off! It’s clever aerodynamics and 3.0 litre Cosworth V8 made it quite a competitive car during the 1976 season, with its crowning moment coming as a 1-2 finish at the ‘76 Swedish Grand Prix. Jody Scheckter remains the only driver to have won an F1 race in a six-wheeled car, despite the fact that he hated the thing and referred to it as ‘a piece of junk’.
Changes to the car for the 1977 season meant that it was no longer very competitive and the idea was eventually scrapped. However, it’s worth mentioning that Tyrrell wasn’t the only team to toy with the idea of a six-wheeled F1 car. Williams and March Engineering developed prototypes with four rear wheels on two rear axles, while Ferrari built a version of their 312 T with four rear wheels on one axle. That’s right, a Ferrari F1 car with duallies. It was tested by Niki Lauda and Carlos Reutemann, with the latter crashing it at Fiorano and burning it to the ground.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 7th 2016.
“Our French friends had the idea to wrap two lying men with fiberglass and put them on wheels. The skin consisted solely of blue paint, and they were so light, the wind had already dented them.” So starts the @petrolicious video on the Alpine Renault A110 ‘Berlinette’, the very first World Rally Championship winning car.
Alpine began as a standalone manufacturer and tuner of Renaults, with company founder Jean Rédélé successfully campaigning his Renault-based creations in races around Europe. As with AMG and Mercedes, the larger company took interest in Alpine’s success and bought the smaller out to provide Jean with more money to do his thing. The A110 was produced and updated between 1961 and 1976, and its rear-mounted engine never exceeded 1.8 l. It featured a steel chassis with a fiberglass body on top, and was licensed for production around the world. In Brazil it was sold by Willys (yes that Willys) as the Interlagos, and was built in Bulgaria under the very sexy name ‘Bulgaralpine’.
Through the early 1970’s the Berlinette was an extremely successful rally car, but by 1974 the Lancia Stratos (the first car designed from the ground up for rally racing) had joined the fray and the Berlinette, along with many of its pre-1974 peers, was in decline. Engine and suspension updates failed to produce any meaningful increases in performance or points, and the A110 was retired from active racing duty. Its elegant styling make it a crowd favourite at historic rallies around the world to this day.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday July 27th 2016.
The original Mille Miglia is one of motorsport’s legendary races, run at a time when health and safety came second to excitement. The thousand mile race over open public roads was conceived by an Italian Count in protest of the Italian Grand Prix being moved from his hometown of Brescia to Monza. The track was set as a lap of Italy from Brescia to Rome and back, and entry was restricted to unmodified production cars. Out of 77 starters only 51 made it to the finish line of the very first Mille Miglia. The race cemented the legendary status of marques such as Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Alfa Romeo, regularly attracting 5 million spectators along its route. Who wouldn’t want to see beautiful cars tear by on open beautiful roads?
Unlike modern rallies, the Mille Miglia sent the slowest cars out onto the course before the more powerful factory-backed competitors. Each car was given a number based on the time at which it started the race, so Sterling Moss’s legendary #722 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR set off at 7.22 am. He and navigator Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson set the absolute record for the thousand mile lap with a time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. Their average speed over that time was an eye-watering 97.9 mph/157.6 km/h. The race was held twice in its original format after that record-setting run, but the time was never beaten.
While probably for the best, it’s a shame that there aren’t many races left that match the drama and danger of the Mille Miglia. Holding it on public roads was divine madness. One year, German driver Hans Herrmann at the wheel of a low-slung Porsche 550 Spyder saw the gates of a railway crossing begin to lower as he approached. Tapping the back of his navigator’s helmet to tell him to duck, he floored the nimble little Porsche and flew under the barrier just before the train passed. That was the kind of race that the Mille Miglia was. Unfortunately, you’re only lucky so many times. At the 1957 running Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago, desperate to win, waited too long to change tyres on his 4.2 litre Ferrari. He lost control and crashed, killing himself, his navigator, and nine spectators. Five of those were children. The race was subsequently banned, and is now held as a timed rally at legal speeds open to pre-1957 cars which attended or raced in the original Mille Miglia.
Posted @Whippstagram on Intsagram, Wednesday June 29th 2016
When the E-Type Jag went on sale in 1961 Enzo Ferrari called it ‘the most beautiful car ever made’. The Museum of Modern Art agreed, and exhibited an E-Type as part of a six car show of sublime design. (Watch this space for more on those cars) Jag’s designers certainly earned their paycheques on this one.
The Series I was a masterpiece with the legs to match its looks. For the money, it couldn’t be touched. The E was based on the tubular chassis with monocoque principle that had made the D-Type such a formidable racer. Powered by Jaguar’s venerated straight six XK motor, it was capable of 150 mph in a straight line. That’s what journalists reported anyway, as Jaguar engineers fettled the engines of press cars, raised the rev limiters and sent them out on racing tyres. Still, four wheel disc brakes and independent suspension made the E-Type an unbeatable performance car for its price.
The E-Type went through 3 series during its production-span, culminating with the 5.3 l V12 powered Series 3. The car became an icon of the 60s for its simple, beautiful cool and its spirit of having fun and living fast. It’s design still wins awards to this day. Makes you wonder which cars of today will age so gracefully.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram.
The 787B was Mazdaspeed’s weapon in the World Sportscar Championship’s Group C, as well as the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship. Designed by Nigel Stroud with a carbon-kevlar monocoque built in the UK, the car was Anglo-Japanese teamwork at its finest. To this day it’s the only Japanese car to take overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, achieved with a screaming rotary engine that produced 900 horsepower or 700 in race trim for the best possible reliability. Its engine is also unique amongst Le Mans winners as the FIA outlawed rotaries at the end of the 1991 season.
Despite lacking the outright lap time pace of its competition the 787B was very a reliable car. Due to this reliability, Mazdaspeed arrived at Le Mans quietly optimistic about their chances.
In addition to being reliable the 787B enjoyed better fuel economy than the offerings from Porsche, Jaguar, and Mercedes. Team principal Takayoshi Ohashi abandoned his usual conservative strategy and instructed his drivers to race as if they were in a short sprint race. Mazdaspeed meant business at Le Mans 1991.
The #55 787B driven by Johnny Herbert, Volker Weidler, and Bertrand Gachot started from 19th position and moved through the field as rival cars retired with mechanical problems. With six hours remaining and the #55 car in second place, the leading Mercedes C11 was forced into the pits with reliability issues. Johnny Herbert was driving at the time, and at the last pit stop demanded that he be allowed to stay in the driver’s seat. He completed the final 40 minute stint and brought home victory for Mazda. After his final pit stop, Herbert had taken off without having his drink bottle refilled. As a result, he was so dehydrated by the end of the race that he had to be helped out of the car and missed the podium because he was receiving medical attention. Gachot and Weidler were more than happy to celebrate in his stead. The #55 787B was immediately retired from racing and shipped back to Japan to be displayed at the Mazda museum in Hiroshima, where it lives to this day.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, April 7th 2016.