- Post is under moderationRecently I bought a home in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in America as well as the home of some of America’s earliest motorists, none more prominent than Willie K Vanderbilt. He was not only one of the richest men in America, but also one of the automobile’s staunchest advocates. He used his great wealth to promote racing whenever he could. He even had his name on the first major open auto-racing event, the Vanderbilt Trophy.
/ #1976-BMW-2002 / #1976 / #BMW-2002 / #BMW
In 1904, Willie K, in a Mercedes, set a World Land Speed record at Daytona Beach, Florida, of 92.30mph. He was often seen racing his Pierce-Arrow down Newport’s ritzy Bellevue Avenue. So it was fitting that a concours should be held in the grounds of his massive 70- room mansion, The Breakers. I’ve been attending automotive concours events for over 40 years, but I’ve never really had much input in putting one together until now.
The man behind this undertaking is Nick Schorsch, owner of the Audrain Auto Museum in downtown Newport. Nick is one of the most committed enthusiasts I’ve ever met. How he convinced General Motors to release to his museum its rarest and most groundbreaking concept cars, such as the Buick Y-Job, the Firebird III and a handful of others for an exhibit called ‘Styling The Future’, I have no idea. My good friend and professional auto appraiser, Donald Osborne, and I were asked to lend our support. Donald works with me on my TV show, Jay Leno’s Garage. With the staff of the Audrain Museum we were able to secure 40 of the automotive world’s best judges from five different countries, along with 98 world-class automobiles from 1899 to 1970.
Unlike a lot of concours events, the emphasis was not on technical restoration of the vehicles but on the story. The theme of our event was History, Luxury, Sport, so any vehicle that had all three could easily beat another which was missing one of them.
I also thought we should trim down the number of awards. A lot of concours events have become like Little League, where every kid is a winner and everybody gets a trophy. And when sponsors get involved it can become mind-numbing. To keep the award presentations brief, second and third places were given to the owners on the field and only the class-winners drove up to the podium. For the record, the Best in Show went to Joseph and Margie Cassini for their 1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Roadster, commissioned by film star Rudolph Valentino.
Of course Newport is a very high-end area with 30 or 40 mansions built at the turn of the last century, mansions no-one could afford to build today. Some remain, and Bugatti, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz were each able to rent one right on the water to show off their wares. The Bugatti one was like a French château. It all made for a good atmosphere for the event.
My contribution, though, was more rooted in the hoi polloi. I worry a bit about the greying of our hobby and how millionaires end up competing against billionaires. Where, I often wonder, is the next generation of enthusiasts going to come from?
So I came up with the idea of an event called ‘30 under 30’, for men and women 30 years of age or younger, who spend no more than $30,000 restoring their vehicles. The response was tremendous. We got MGAs, Corvairs, BMW 2002s, a Nissan GT-R, a Mercedes-Benz 300D, Chevy pick-up trucks… you name it. These young people all drove their cars to the event. Their enthusiasm was infectious.
Quite a few of these young people brought their parents with them, as if to prove to them: ‘See, it’s not a complete waste of time.’ The winner, Carter Kramer with his 1976-BMW-2002 , damaged his car on the way to the show and had to repaint his front spoiler on the morning of the event.
These young people all restored the cars themselves. One even cried because his car was being honoured on the same field as Bugattis and Ferraris. Normally the only time you see millionaires and billionaires crying on the concours field is when they lose.
That’s how we can inspire the next generation of enthusiast: by making it about the blood, sweat and tears of our hobby. So if you’re an old guy like me, the next time you go to a car show find the youngest entrant there and give them the thumbs up. It might just save our hobby.
Younger people embrace new technology like 3D printing, too. There are no more junkyards as cars get recycled but, with 3D printers, there is almost nothing you can’t make. Our hobby must evolve. I hope this event and the appeal to younger hobbyists will keep it going.
‘THE ONLY TIME YOU SEE MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES CRYING ON THE CONCOURS FIELD IS WHEN THEY LOSE’
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- Post is under moderationESPADA AT ABBEY ROAD
Lamborghini has celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Espada by taking a 1976 example on a tour to London. The Series III Espada visited the HQ of the RAC before travelling to Abbey-Road where, 50 years ago, the Beatles recorded Hey Jude at the famous Abbey Road Studios.
/ #Lamborghini-Espada-Series-III / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini / #1976 / #1976-Lamborghini-Espada-Series-III / #Abbey-Road / #Abbey-Road-Studios
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- Post is under moderationLANCIA GAMMA BERLINA 2500 / Patrick Hurst, NORTHERN IRELAND
Zero mileage #1976-Lancia-Gamma / #1976 / #Lancia-Gamma / #Lancia-Gamma-2500-Berlina / #1976-Lancia-Gamma-2500-Berlina / #Lancia / #Lancia-Gamma-Berlina
Yes indeed: this is the amazing story of an unregistered Lancia Gamma 2500 Berlina that was found in the back of a Turin Lancia garage, where it had sat unloved for 38 years.
It was ordered back in 1976 by an Englishman working in Turin, who planned to return to England so he asked for RHD. But he’d ‘disappeared’ by the time of delivery so the dealer simply pushed the car to the back of his garage, where it sat for nearly 40 years. When the business was wound up in 2014, Patrick Hurst heard about the car and bought it blind – with a total of just 16 miles on the clock! “I thought, what could possibly go wrong?” laughs Patrick. “When it was shipped back to Northern Ireland, its condition left me in a dilemma. The engine wasn’t running right and the bodywork had picked up some bumps and scratches during its hibernation. Part of me thought, ‘leave it as it is’ but the more I looked at it, the more I thought it had to be brought back as new.
“We decided to strip the car back to the shell and have it taken back to metal and repainted. I am glad it was stripped because I got to see it in its component parts and marvel at the engineering that went into the car. The new parts were mainly mechanical. It was a massive challenge but thank goodness for the Lancia Gamma Consortium.
“I set myself a budget of £10,000 but three years later and £25,000 spent, it’s finally finished. Many would say it’s financially crazy but I don’t really care; madness is not a scientific barometer, it’s a measure of your soul.” There are some interesting features. For instance, the front scuttle has chrome blanks over where the wiper spindles on LHD cars would be. The car is set up for right-hand wipers, and the RHD holes suggest either that the wrong part was used in production or this was the first RHD model produced but Lancia didn’t have the RHD scuttle ready. Either way, it is an interesting and unique feature. Patrick concludes: “The Gamma represents freedom of design spirit, attention to detail and quality. The doors close with a beautiful clonk and the seats are super-comfortable. Then there is the driving, steering, handling and gearbox. Gammas are still so undervalued.”
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- Post is under moderation/ #1976-Porsche-911-Turbo-3.0 930 versus #2018-Porsche-911-Turbo-S-Exclusive-Edition-991.2
/ #1976 #Porsche-911-Turbo-3.0-930 versus #2018 / #Porsche-911-Turbo-S-Exclusive-Edition-991.2
#Porsche-911-Turbo-930 versus #2018 #Porsche-911-Turbo-S-991 #Exclusive-Edition #Porsche-911-991.2 /
/ #Porsche-930 / #Porscge-911 / #Porsche / #Porsche-991 / #Porsche-911-991 / #Porsche-911-Turbo-991 / #Porsche-911-Turbo / #Porsche-911-Turbo-991.2 /Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCAR #NSU-Ro80 / #NSU
Name David Becker
Occupation Lighting engineer
From Surbiton, UK; lived in Seaforth, Sydney, since 1981
First classic Citroën DS23 EFI
Dream classic Iso Grifo (S1)
Favourite driving tune Ring the Bells James
Best trip Old Pacific Highway, New South Wales, Australia
EXPAT FINALLY FULFILS A DREAM
As a schoolboy growing up in England in the ’60s, the sight of an NSU Ro80 was like witnessing the arrival of a spaceship. Compared with other family saloons at the time, the Ro80 had an otherworldly quality about it. It was both stylistically and technically a major leap forward in design. It looked and sounded unlike anything else.
About 10 years ago, by then living in Australia, I decided it was time to hunt down a Ro80 so that I could convert those memories into physical effect. I set off searching via all the usual channels and eventually a car on the Scottish border caught my eye. It was from the last year of manufacture, #1976 , with just 46,000 miles on the clock, but – of all the fabulous colours – it was a disappointing metallic brown. Other than that, it seemed to fit the bill.
A deal was done and the NSU arrived about four months later. It was a horrible wet day when I set off to Port Botany to collect the car, which was parked at the back of a dismal and filthy shed, looking forlorn and covered in dust. After some effort, it coughed into life.
I set off back to Manly, a trip of about 30km, in the rain. The car was running very rough, stalling at every stop. I had read Martin Buckley’s comments in C&SC about how coarse these engines are at idle, but surely not as bad as this. The fanbelt was slipping and the car decelerated dramatically when lifting off the throttle, suggesting binding brakes. I got out after a couple of kilometres and felt the wheels. Both of the back ones were really hot, but I decided to press on with caution. As I approached the Harbour Bridge, I heard a sharp noise – the fanbelt had snapped, and the temperature started to rise quickly.
The traffic was getting busy so stopping was not a desirable option. I decided that, with luck, I could get to the bridge crest, coast down the other side and then pull off.
Anxiously, I watched the gauge shoot up… and it dawned on me that I might seize the engine on my first drive. As I turned into North Sydney, steam was spewing out and coolant poured onto the ground.
By chance, there was a workshop a few paces away and, after waiting an hour, I drove the NSU into the garage. It was fixed the next day, and I continued the journey home with only slightly less trepidation. That night, I was reading a fabulous Brooklands compilation of road tests through the life of the Ro80. The last story is by Buckley, from C&SC, July 1995. As I looked at a photo of him cornering with gusto, there was something familiar about the English numberplates.
I went outside with a torch and, sure enough, there parked on my drive was NMX 630P! My thus far soured experience was transformed in an instant. It felt good to own the actual vehicle featured in a publication, particularly one examined by such a notable enthusiast.
I quickly set to with remedial work. The brake pistons were all in poor condition, but, once cleaned and with the odd replacement plus new seals, they worked perfectly.
With a fresh set of plugs, a thorough clean of the carburettor and a few miles of use, the engine started to run well. There’s no smoke on start-up, indicating that the rotor seals are in good shape. There was some minor rust in the front wings that I’ve attended to, but the NSU was otherwise in great shape.
Some years ago, I was pottering around a second-hand shop and noticed a classic car encyclopaedia, co-authored by Martin. I casually started flicking through it until I reached the NSU section. There, to my astonishment, was a doublepage article featuring NMX! So, with such published exposure, any thought of a respray to replace the brown is banished from my plans.
The NSU is incredibly modern to drive, and lives up to the expectations formed in my youth. I like everything about it, in fact. It’s adequately powerful for today’s traffic conditions and supremely stable at speed. It’s still a relaxing and very capable high-speed car. Modern risk-analysis techniques ensure that any advancements in automotive engineering are incremental.
So no car manufacturer today could come up with the sort of leap forward that the Ro80 represented in 1967. To quote Buckley: ‘We will never see its like again.’
‘As I looked at the photo of Buckley cornering with gusto, there was something familiar about the plates’
Buckley’s enthusiastic cornering style hasn’t changed much in 20 years: here he is, putting the car now owned by Becker through its paces, for C&SC’s July ’1995 issue.
With backdrop of Sydney Opera House… …and the Harbour Bridge in the distance. Brake calipers needed seals and pistons. Alongside De Lorean, at CARnivale in 2014.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSometimes in life you just get lucky and, thanks to being in the right place at the right time, a plum job falls into your lap. That’s exactly what happened to me when Kelsey Media suggested that I might like to become Editor of this magazine.
Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity, for two primary reasons. For a start, it was like returning home. I’ve spent most of my working life involved with motoring magazines of various sorts but, for the past 13 years, have been concentrating on other publishing projects in different areas. So, getting back into the motoring scene again is like meeting-up with an old friend.
But the second – and probably more important – reason is that I have a deep affinity for BMW. I’ve been a fan of the marque since the year dot, and have owned four different models over the years. My first, a #1976 / #BMW-E9 / #BMW / #BMW-3.0CSi , was bought in the late- 1980s, as a long-term restoration project. The car was a runner with a good engine and gearbox, but bodily, things weren’t quite so encouraging!
I’d got the vehicle with renovation in mind, and was resigned to enjoying what was left of the MoT, then taking it off the road for the work to begin. But, as is typically the case, the condition under the outer panels was a good deal worse than anticipated; basically, the car was rotten from the waistline down.
Everything took much longer than planned, was a good deal more expensive and, after a year or so, I simply ran out of spare cash. The car was laid-up in a garage and there is sat – sadly neglected – for many years. A succession of ‘life events’ got in the way, the chance to re-start the restoration never came and, with much regret, I sold the CSi about four years ago. I still regret it, especially now.
The other BMWs I’ve run and enjoyed include an E90 330i, an E60 535d M Sport and, currently, a leased, F10 520d M Sport. The latter is a ‘work car’ which I got long before this editing job materialised. Needless to say, it’s proved excellent in every respect. But I’ve loved my time with all of them, and appreciated the different qualities they offered, on a daily basis; those ordinary little things that still make driving a quality car a real pleasure.
I know that BMW drivers have long laboured under an unfortunate reputation for being pushy, over-aggressive and sometimes even obnoxious. There may be a degree of truth embedded in this stereotype, but I intend to make sure that the content we’ll be providing every month will help set the record straight.
There are plenty of decent, thoroughly likeable and relaxed individuals who own, drive and appreciate this fine marque, and I’m here to make sure that BMW Car continues to shine a spotlight on these dedicated and genuine enthusiasts.
The sad day when my part-restored 3.0 CSi left me. I still regret selling it, on an almost daily basis!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationClassic Audi Retro Cool #Audi-100S-Coupe-C1 #1970 / #1976 Audi’s first coupé is still one of the best looking; here’s a brief history of this rare car… Words Davy Lewis. Photography Audi AG.
/ #Audi-100S-Coupe / #Audi-100-Coupé-C1 / #Audi-100-C1 / #Audi-100 / #Audi /
Retro Cool Audi 100 S Coupe. Everyone like a classic Audi and they don’t come much better looking than the 100 S Coupé. You could say that as Audi’s first foray into the coupé market, they nailed it first time. This 1970 model comes courtesy of Audi’s press department and looks truly stunning photographed in their studio.
Compared with its ‘sensible’ sibling, the 100 saloon, the 100 S Coupé was a revelation. It featured a very sleek profile with a long bonnet, muscular haunches, and a sweeping, fastback rear. Looking at it now, over 40 years later, there are definitely echoes of the design language in the current A7. It also has a touch of Aston Martin DB5, especially around the rear quarters. From the front, the large, Audi rings dominate things, complemented by a brace of twin headlights, giving a sporting appearance.
Under the bonnet of the S Coupé, Audi fitted a 1.9-litre 4-cylinder engine that made a lively (for 1970!) 112hp. 0-60mph took a leisurely 10+seconds and the top speed was around 118mph. But it was rear-wheel drive and weighed less than 1100kgs; with relatively skinny rear tyres, provoking a slide was not difficult.
In 1976, Audi refreshed the 100 range and the Coupé was dropped in favour of the more practical hatchback, which also received the new, inline five-cylinder engine.
Which means that the 100 S Coupé is a rare beast today, with fewer than 31,000 cars produced worldwide. To put that into perspective, almost 800,000 more saloon versions of the 100 were built. Today, classic car traders are asking from around £40,000 for a decent S Coupé.
You can trace a direct lineage to the present day, with the recently launched A5 Coupé. Of course Audi’s most famous coupé is the Ur-quattro, which re-wrote the rulebook and brought fourwheel drive to the masses.
QUICK SPEC #Audi-100S-Coupé
Engine 1.9-litre 4-cylinder
Transmission 4-speed manual
Top speed: 118mph
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- Post is under moderationCAR MERCEDES-BENZ 450SEL 6.9
Year of manufacture #1976
Recorded mileage 33,487km (see text)
Asking price £49,950 Vendor Avantgarde Classic, Tamworth, Staffs; tel: 07968 694448; www. avantgardecars. co. uk
WHEN IT WAS NEW #Mercedes-Benz-450SEL-6.9 / #Mercedes-Benz-450SEL-6.9-W116 / #M100 / #Mercedes-Benz-450SEL / #Mercedes-Benz-W116 / #Mercedes-Benz-M100 / #M100 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-Benz-S-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-S-Class-W116 /
Max power 282bhp
Max torque 406lb ft
0-60mph 7.2 secs
Top speed 140mph
This non-sunroof W116 is splendidly original and well kept, with a fantastic history file including all of the factory books and tags. The firstaid kit remains unopened and the spare, probably still with its first XWX, retains the cardboard tag, though it’s no longer wired to the valve stem. The car was bought new in Cannes and has been in Germany for the past seven years. It was painted during the latest ownership, and every fuel receipt kept shows a diet of only super unleaded. There are 12 stamps in the service book, the first seven from the supplying main dealer. The body is straight and rot-free; it was resprayed after a deer strike that slightly dinged the right eyebrow, and the owner insisted on a full repaint. All of the chrome is smart, the alloys unscuffed and shod with newish Toyos. Beneath, you can still see the M-B green underseal.
Inside, the factory hide has never been Connollised. The driver’s seat base has a few creases, but that’s about it. The Becker Monza radiocassette player remains, with its handbook and warranty card. The speedo was changed at 105,000km, so the real figure is 138,000 – or 86,000 miles. The motor is tidy, having had the cam covers and airbox refinished. Its fluids are clean, the transmission fluid nice and pink and sweet smelling. The inner wings are excellent, and the underbonnet sound deadening is new because it’s pretty much a consumable on Mercs of this era.
The 6834cc V8 starts instantly, and playing with the ride height setting reveals that the air suspension is functional. Oil pressure when warm is the usual Mercedes full-deflection 3bar, dropping to 2bar at tickover, and the temperature steadies at c80ºC. It squirts off (in near silence) with some alacrity, and feels as if it would simply keep accelerating at the same rate until it hit 140mph, all delivered with a sublime ride. It’s not intimidating, but it does convey a slightly menacing air – even in Thistle Green. Quite remarkable, and the aircon works. It will be sold with a fresh MoT.
EXTERIOR Repainted to a high standard, on a rust-free structure.
INTERIOR Leather pretty much as it left Untertürkheim, plus some patina.
MECHANICALS Iron fist in a velvet glove.
For Stonk; ride; rarity
Against Air suspension can get expensive, but it’s spot-on
SHOULD I BUY IT?
If you want what’s probably the best in the UK, and wish to be hurtled in comfort, look no further.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.