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

The EP9 is a Bolt from the Red

This is the EP9 from NIO and its parent company NextEV. It’s Chinese and it’s very, very fast. Before we get into all that here’s a little background on NIO. They’re a relatively young company but already have a Formula E driver’s championship under their belts, so they clearly know their way around a fast electric car. The EP9’s not just for the auto sites; tech bloggers are excited about it too. Hurrah for the cross pollination of interests! The fact of the matter is that as much as we all love thunderously loud cars powered by explosions, they aren’t the future. The future is electric, or something else that we can make or have an abundance of, but it ain’t finite fossil fuels (fingers crossed). NIO, for their part, are getting people interested. People who don’t usually care about cars. Good on ‘em!

To keep weight down the EP9 is made from a lot of carbon fibre. It has a carbon monocoque chassis built to FIA LMP1 standards and full carbon body panels. NIO have promised a range of 265 miles, with a full charge taking just 45 minutes (so they say). The battery packs can be removed out of the sides of the car and changed for fully charged ones in about 8 minutes. The car weighs 3825 lbs, which isn’t light, but it isn’t exactly underpowered either.

The EP9 contains an electric motor for each wheel, which combined produce the equivalent of 1360 horsepower (or one megawatt) and, get this, 4670 ft-lb of torque. That’s the kind of torque that pushes continents around. Seriously though that’s four and a half F350s worth. All that power combined with aero know-how from Formula E means that the EP9 just decimated the EV lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 7:05:12. The previous record for an EV was 7:22:00. So, quite a step forward then. Just six will be built and are they’re all spoken for by NextEV’s founders, but I’m liking where this electric halo car business is going nonetheless.

The EP9 is a Bolt from the Red

Lexus LFA: The High Price of Quality

The Lexus LFA is a bit of an oddball as supercars go. On one hand it’s a shining achievement in supercar building. On the other it’s extremely expensive when compared to other similarly capable cars. Its engine makes 553 horsepower and it has a top speed of 202 mph. Considering that a Nissan GT-R, which costs much, much less than the LFA, will go very nearly as fast, what the hell were Lexus playing at selling LFAs for $375,000 each? 50 of the limited run of 500 cars got the special Nurburgring package which pushed the price to $445,000. It’s one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built.

Exclusivity aside, there are a few areas in which the LFA is really rather special. It’s the result of over a decade of development from some of the finest car builders in the world; of insane attention to detail and driving dynamics. At its heart sits an aluminium and titanium V10 which, so say Lexus, can rev from idle to redline in 0.6 seconds. They actually had to fit the car with a digital rev counter because an analogue one couldn’t keep up. The engineers liken the engine’s sound to “the roar of angels” and while all those angels are roaring outside the car its occupants are treated to sound delivered by two ducts which connect to the firewall and contain specially shaped ribs like a guitar. This system was tuned by Yamaha’s musical instrument people and provides an engine note in two distinct octaves.

The LFA is by no means pretty, but that’s because it was designed with the idea that form follows function. Its carbon fibre and polymer bodywork produces a lot of downforce, because this is a car for driving. Ask anyone who’s had a go in one and the LFA gets a big thumbs up. It seems that this is a car built by engineering magicians to be the best that a car that doesn’t obsess over being at the cutting edge of the cutting edge can be. It inspires confidence because it’s familiar and it excites because it’s very fast. It’s in the same family as the cars that people learn to drive in, only it’s a much finer product. It’s incredibly advanced and painstakingly designed and built, but it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with unproven and experimental technology. It has mechanical suspension, not some super-reactive computer controlled business, just really, really good mechanical suspension. It’s a supercar for the well-heeled driver, not the flashy poseur, and for that reason it deserves respect.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 9th 2016.

Lexus LFA: The High Price of Quality

Meet the Ferrari Engined GT 4586

Oh to be a pro drifter, with sponsors who have deep, deep pockets. Ryan Tuerck, pro drifter and engine swapper extraordinaire, is at it again. Tuerck, along with what I’d imagine to be a massive, huge, gigantic amount of Gumout’s money and engineering magic from Huddy Motorsports present this: the GT 4586. V8 swaps in agile sports cars are nothing new, but they’ve never been done like this before.

The Ferrari V8 (F136, nerds) shoehorned into this GT 86 was used in the F430, California, and 458. It would have been easier to use one from a California because of its location in that car, but they wouldn’t have been able to call it GT 4586, would they? Out went the 2.0 litre Subaru boxer, and in moved the 4.5 litre V8 turned around 180 degrees from its home in a 458. The bottom of the windscreen frame was cut out to accommodate the engine’s throttle bodies and a very clever intake system fabricated which goes down through the dash and firewall, drawing air from outside the front quarter panels. Custom headers were fabricated to fit behind the front bumper and exit ahead of the front wheels. Opinions vary on whether the engine sounds as good here as it does in its natural habitat.

The radiator is moved to the trunk and fed cool air by a Le Mans style cowl mounted on the GT 4586’s roof. Hot air exits through vents in the deck lid. The V8 is mated to a 5 speed sequential racing transmission with a limited slip diff between the rear wheels. In the 458 this engine produces 570 horsepower. While the altered intake/exhaust paths may change this, the GT 4586 still has plenty of go, especially with all those bespoke racing goodies. The car will neither compete in Formula D nor see public roads (legally at least) so it’s been made extra strong at the expense of lightness with braces welded from the strut towers to the firewall and a full roll cage.

Oh to be a pro drifter.

Photos by Larry Chen, Speedhunters

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 2nd 2016.

Meet the Ferrari Engined GT 4586

Audi’s IMSA GT Monster

Audi’s insane IMSA GTO car didn’t begin in IMSA at all. Rather, the lunatic German began its career in Trans-Am racing in 1988. Audi was just coming off a scandal involving unintended acceleration in their road cars and decided to go racing to demonstrate their ability to build a car that was terrifying for all the right reasons. The car they turned up with contained the engine and running gear from that legend of legends, the Group B Quattro. Around this they built a custom space frame and covered it all in carbon fibre. Wide carbon fibre. The only panel it shared with the road-going Audi 90 was its roof. 

In Trans-Am trim, the 90 Quattro produced 510 bhp from its 2.1 litre turbocharged 5 cylinder engine. It won 8 of the 13 races it was entered in and helped Hurley Haywood to claim the driver’s championship that year. Trans-Am reacted by banning all wheel drive cars, and Audi became a factory-backed team racing in the more technologically adventurous IMSA GT Championship. Here, a bigger turbocharger allowed the car to produce a ludicrous 720 horsepower. With an engine sitting mostly ahead of the front axle and an exhaust exiting through the passenger door, Audi claimed victory in 7 of the 13 races they entered. 

The works team would have surely won the constructors’ championship that year, but for missing the first two races of the season and retiring from the third. The 90 Quattro IMSA GTO would prove to be a brilliant flash in the pan, as the bigwigs in Germany decided to concentrate their motorsport efforts on the DTM championship at home and pulled support for the IMSA team. Despite only racing for two years, the car became a cult favourite. Driver Hans-Joachim Stuck recalled the Americans sneering at this German saloon car turning up to race with a tiny engine, and would frequently start to yodel as he crossed the line to take the chequered flag.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday October 19th 2016.

Audi’s IMSA GT Monster

Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

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.

Group B Evolved: 288 GTO Evoluzione

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