One & the Same

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.

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One & the Same

Viper GTS: Spiritual Successor

In 1988 Bob Lutz suggested that Chrysler build a 400 horsepower sports car with no driver assists. Management was naturally skeptical of the plans for a spiritual successor to the Shelby Cobra, but Lutz being Lutz he pushed ahead with the plan anyway. A clay model was created, followed by a full scale prototype in metal. When the prototype was shown at the 1989 Detroit auto show it immediately became the darling of the event. The public gave a  hugely positive reaction to the Viper and Chrysler greenlit the production.

At the heart of Lutz’s Cobra successor sat an 8.0 l V10 engine produced by Lamborghini, which was a Chrysler subsidiary at the time. In the pursuit of saving weight the car was delivered without ABS, traction control or a permanent roof (a cloth, zipper and button one was deemed light enough). In a further tribute to the Cobra, Carroll Shelby drove a Viper as the pace car for the 1991 Indianapolis 500. 

The Viper’s weak point (aside from how difficult it was to drive) were its brakes. It could hang with other supercars all day long, but when it came to stopping the Viper was outperformed by just about everything. For the second generation Viper GTS, power was bumped up from 400 to 450 bhp and in 1996 the car was finally given airbags. It would be 2001 before it would come with ABS. Its chassis was stiffened and suspension was also revised all while shaving further weight off the car’s components. The Viper is the most Bob Lutz car that Bob Lutz ever made, and a worthy Cobra successor.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 21st 2016.

Viper GTS: Spiritual Successor

AMG Puts the Hammer Down

When it comes down to it, the only nation on earth that can hold a candle to the US in muscle car building is Germany. Oh, and Australia. Let’s talk about Germany though. The Germans, and AMG especially, understand the magic of a car with a massive V8, enough torque to vaporize the rear tires, and a mean street presence. More often than not, this is exactly what AMG does, and is exactly what they did with the 1987 300E ‘Hammer.’ 

The Hammer comes from the days before AMG was acquired by Mercedes, and was so good that it prompted Merc and Porsche to collaborate on the 500E as a response. AMG took a stock 300E, threw out the straight 6 and gave it the full hot rod treatment. It was lowered and had its fenders rolled. An aero package was added to lower its drag coefficient. Big fat tires were installed to maintain some semblance of control and at the heart of it all sat a 5.6 litre V8 bored out to 6.0 litres and making 375 horsepower. Top speed was 178 mph. 

This was an amazing car in 1987. It’s still got very respectable performance figures today at almost 30 years old. The fly in the ointment? When new the 300E Hammer cost the equivalent of $320,000 in today’s money. Pricey, yes, but worth it purely for the idea of a four door Mercedes that could run with the likes of Testarossas and 911 Turbos.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday September 14th 2016.

AMG Puts the Hammer Down

RTR for America

At 6’2” and weighing 215 lbs, Vaughn Gittin Jr. is not your average snake-hipped racing driver. It stands to reason, then, that his Formula D competition car would be larger than average too. Welcome to the Ford Mustang RTR.

When you think of the insane level of precision needed to go sideways at 100 mph+ without stuffing it into a wall, you think small, light sports cars from Japan. Not this time. Carbon fibre body panels and lightweight components keep the burly American under 2800 lbs with perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

Motivating that mass is a 436 cu.in. Ford Racing/Roush Yates V8 engine, which produces over 900 horsepower. Vaughn claims that this is a 9 second car at a drag strip. Too bad it almost never travels in a straight line!

This isn’t one of those ‘Made in England’ Ken Block Fiestas either. The competition Mustang RTR was built in Charlotte, North Carolina and is Stars and Stripes through and through. It’s one of the most recognisable cars in drifting, and has helped Vaughn to become one of the most successful American drifters ever.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday August 31st 2016.

RTR for America

Winged Warriors

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Like all of humanity’s best creations, the Dodge Charger Daytona was born out of a lust for going faster. These ‘Aero Warriors’ as they were known, came out of Ford and Chrysler battling for NASCAR supremacy in the late 1960s. First came the ‘69 Ford Torino Talladega, a fastback with a slightly smoothed and rounded nose for better aerodynamic performance. Mopar’s retaliation shot was the ‘69 Charger Daytona, equipped with a fully closed nose cone and a massive wing over the rear axle. The body was smoothed to be as slippery as possible and covers were added over recessed windows and the a-pillars to make them flush with the rest of the bodywork.

At the heart of the Daytona’s aerodynamic bodywork sat a 440 cubic inch Magnum V8, motivating it to become the very first NASCAR competitor to crack 200 mph, achieved at Talladega Superspeedway. For the 1970 championship year the design returned as the Plymouth Road Runner Superbird, complete with a horn that went ‘meep meep’. The fun couldn’t last though. The Aero Warriors were too fast, and NASCAR changed the rules to outlaw the design for the 1971 season.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram Wednesday June 22nd.

Winged Warriors

Bugatti Chiron: The Difficult Second Album

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The Chiron is Bugatti’s difficult second album. Think back to the Veyron. People went wild. The world had never seen a production car with 1000 horsepower. It was a marvel of engineering. It was the darling of the motoring press, because nothing like it had come before. It was ‘Armstrong walks on the moon’ wrapped sumptuous Corinthian leather. Fast forward 11 years, and the media hype surrounding the Chiron more often than not features words like ‘status symbol’ and ‘respek generator’. Being clever, rather than building an even bigger sledgehammer, is what matters now. We have the P1, the LaFerrari, and the 918 to thank for that.

Of course, the Chiron is still an astonishing achievement. The words ‘8.0 litre quad-turbocharged W16’ justify most of it. It has 1500 horsepower, 1180 ft/lb of torque, and will hit 62 mph in about 2.5 seconds. Bugatti says it’s got a top speed of 261 mph, but they’ve given it a speedo that goes up to 310 mph/500 kph just in case. Maybe there’ll be a tailwind. It’s a portly beast, weighing in at 4400 lbs, but this was never a car built to handle. It’s a car built to be more powerful than anything else in the history of four wheels, and at that it succeeds easily.

Yes, it’s amazing, and yes, they’ll all sell out immediately. If you’ve got the money to spend and you want the most powerful, most luxurious, and most ostentatious land missile money can buy, I hope you enjoy your Chiron. We could all drive around in sensible cars because they’re reliable, and because it’s a good idea, but people spend more money than they should and risk breakdowns because the rewards of driving a car you love are so great. The Chiron is that times $2.6 million minus the breakdowns. Whether it’ll enjoy the same place as the Veyron in automotive history remains to be seen.

Bugatti Chiron: The Difficult Second Album

Driving Nirvana

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Picture this: it’s 1961 and you’re a wealthy Californian. The sun is shining as you round another breathtaking corner on the Pacific Coast Highway in your shiny red 250 GT California. The fresh ocean air surrounds you, filling the cabin and your lungs. Dropping a gear, you hear the 3.0 litre V12 in front of you sing as you power through the bend. You’ve got 280 horsepower under your right foot, and miles of twisty roads ahead. Does life get any better?

That’s exactly the scene Ferrari’s American dealers had in mind when they asked Enzo to chop the roof off his 250 GT Berlinetta. They believed that California was the market for a beautiful, comfortable, fast convertible, and they were absolutely right.

The 250 GT California SWB came with the same race-derived Colombo V12 as the rest of Ferrari’s 250 Series. Handling was improved over its LWB older brother thanks to smaller dimensions. It featured aluminium body panels and four-wheel disc brakes courtesy of Dunlop. While designed to be an elegant convertible, the California still demonstrated Ferrari’s racing prowess. Privateers would cruise to the racetrack in comfort, go out and embarrass purpose built racecars, and then cruise home again in the evening. The 250 GT California is the embodiment of speed, luxury, and grace that Ferrari is known for.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, April 20th 2016.

Driving Nirvana