Auto blogMon, 07 Jul 2014 19:57:00 EST
The Ferrari F40 has become one of the iconic cars of the last 50 years. It presaged the supercars of the future with its extensive use of carbon fiber and turbocharged engine, but it was also old school with no traction control, stability control or even anti-lock supervision to save the driver if they got in over their head. In its latest video, XCar Films takes a look at the F40 through the lens of a man in the UK who specializes in keeping them on the road and occasionally races these quintessential sports cars.
John Pogson has spent his entire life surrounded by engines. His father was a transport manager for a trucking company and he used to accompany him out on repairs. When he was old enough, John started repairing vehicles at a Lancia dealer, and from there, he started working for Ferrari. Eventually, he saved up enough money to open his own, independent Italian car garage. His new business proved successful, and Pogson's customers started asking him to race their Ferraris, including the F40 - something he did with great success. How could you say no to that opportunity?
While Italian cars are his specialty, Pogson also has a soft spot for all performance cars. The video shows him driving his AC Cobra with a claimed 600 horsepower and doing some smoky donuts in it. Scroll down to learn more about the F40 from one of the people that knows it best.
Though his irreverent demeanor party-goer image might suggest otherwise, make no mistake about it: at 34 years old (and with 37-year-old Mark Webber out of the race), Kimi Raikkonen is the oldest driver in Formula One. He's three months older than Jenson Button, a good year older than his former wingman Felipe Massa, three years ahead of Adrian Sutil and a good decade beyond the latest crop of up-and-comers on the grid. So it's only natural that we should start wondering how much longer he'll stick around, and now we may have our answer.
Speaking with motorsport journalists at the British Grand Prix this past weekend, the 2007 World Champion and winner of 20 grands prix, Raikkonen indicated that the next season will likely be his last. According to numerous racing news outlets, when asked how long he plans to stay on the grid, the famously terse Finn responded: "Until my contract is finished, and then I will probably stop. That is what I think is going to happen."
Kimi was a relatively unknown entity when Sauber gave him his first drive in F1 back in 2001, upon which he finished in the points on his first race. He moved to McLaren the following season, racked his first podium finishes, and took his first win the season after that. He finishes second behind Fernando Alonso the next season, well ahead of the rest of the pack, and switched to Ferrari two seasons later in 2007, winning the world championship on his first season in red. After just three seasons, Ferrari showed him the door and Kimi left F1 entirely, trying his hand at everything from the World Rally Championship to NASCAR. He returned to F1 with Lotus in 2012, and in a rare move for Maranello, was invited back for this season on a two-year contract.
Qualifying for the British Formula One Grand Prix was just as much a surprise for fans as it was for teams. Certain team weather radar displays didn't accurately pinpoint storm systems over the track, and in the case of at least two teams, the lack of data was compounded by poor decision making. That's how both Ferraris and both Williams got kicked out of qualifying in Q3 - the drivers already on track took advantage of a dry spell between rains, but Ferrari and Williams waited too long to get back out, and by the time they did it had started raining again.
Rain-induced bewilderment hit the front of the field as well. When all appeared resolved in Q3 but the clock hadn't yet run down to zero, drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo pulled into the pits thinking the day was done. However, a drying last sector of the Silverstone circuit meant the drivers still out could suddenly improve their times by four seconds in just that sector. When the bell tolled, those who fought to the last were those who lined up first: Nico Rosberg in the first Mercedes AMG Petronas, Sebastian Vettel in the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button in the McLaren, Nico Hülkenberg in the first Force India and Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren.
Hamilton had fallen all the way to sixth on the grid, a mortifying blow to his race and his championship challenge. He was followed by Sergio Perez in the second Force India, Ricciardo in the second Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne completing the top ten.
It's not every day that a Ferrari 250 GTO changes hands. It is, after all, one of the most highly coveted cars ever made, and there were only 39 of them built in the first place. So when one goes up for sale, it tends to fetch millions. Tens of millions, actually, and the prices keep escalating.
Throughout most of the 1980s they were trading hands for six figures. In 1989 one sold for $10 million. A few months later, $13 million. Prices fluctuated in the 90s, but by 2012, one sold for a whopping $35 million, eclipsed the following year at $52 million. Nobody knows what the next one will sell for, but we're about to find out.
That's because Bonhams has got one consigned for its upcoming auction at the Quail Lodge during Monterey weekend next month. And it's offering it without reserve, meaning that it could sell for the opening bid (however unlikely), it could break the previous record or it could land anywhere in between or beyond.
Among all the action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, Bonhams held its classic car auction, bringing in a massive $38.4 million in sales. And this was undoubtedly the highlight.
Bearing the chassis number 0384 AM, this 1954 Ferrari 375-Plus has a storied racing history, competing that year in such events as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Silverstone endurance race, where the late José Froilán Gonzalez drove it to victory. One of only five made, the 375 Plus packed a 4.9-liter V12 with 330 horsepower under aluminum barchetta bodywork by Pininfarina. It was subsequently owned by Kleenex scion Jim Kimberly, trading hands between owners on both sides of the Atlantic and was the subject of a legal dispute over its ownership four years ago.
With the dispute now resolved and after heated competition between two bidders, the Ferrari finally sold for £10.7 million, equivalent to $18.2 million at today's rates and accounting for nearly half of the day's sales totals. Other highlights included a 1902 De Dietrich 16-HP "Paris-Vienna" Rear-Entrance Tonneau and a a '75 Lamborghini Countach, each of which sold for around $1.7 million - the latter eclipsing the example that Bonhams also recently sold for $1.2 million.
Whether it's Mozart, Beethoven or The Beatles, they all (arguably) pale in comparison to just the right engine note for many auto enthusiasts. Petrolicious has found one of the absolute best with its latest focus on a 1972 Ferrari 312PB.
The 312PB is important for more than just its ability to sound like an automotive symphony. It was also the final purpose-built prototype racer of the era from Ferrari before the Prancing Horse put its entire focus into Formula One. Maranello went out with a bang, though. The 312PB's design is simplicity itself with just a modified wedge shape combined with the necessary scoops and ducting to keep its 12-cylinder engine at full tune. The car won a string of races and scored the 1972 championship. Although even if it had been a loser, the racecar likely would have been famous just for its wonderful exhaust note.
In the video, Petrolicious expertly balances its interview with owner Steven Read with wonderful cinematography and just letting the Ferrari sing around the Willow Springs track. Crank up the volume and scroll down to get a wonderful earful of this sonorous vintage racer.
Ferrari's Special Projects division has apparently been keeping busy. We're sure that we don't even see half of the special one-offs Maranello's customer skunkworks unit produces, but we've been seeing quite a few lately.
The last one that popped up on our radar screens was the F12 TRS revealed at the recent Ferrari Cavalcade in Sicily, and now it seems that the Prancing Horse marque has delivered another. It's similarly based on the F12 Berlinetta, but instead of taking its inspiration from the 250 Testa Rossa with a unique roadster body-style, the F12 SP America pictured here seems to pay stylistic tribute to the 250 GTO - evident in the trio of nostrils in the nose, the unique side vents, the slates behind the windows and the restyled rear haunches that meld into an integrated rear spoiler.
This unique take of the F12 was delivered to its assuredly wealthy commissioner by Wide World Ferrari Maserati in Spring Valley, NY, which tells you as much as the chosen model name that this particular one-off is staying right here in the United States.
Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost is proving to be The Little Engine That Could, and it continues to acquit itself well, finding favor as one of the best powerplants in the world. To confirm it yet again, the tiny mill just won the International Engine of the Year award for the third year in a row, likewise also nabbing the title in the Sub 1.0-liter category.
Packing 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque with overboost (125 lb-ft normally), the tiny engine combines impressive power in a size small enough to be a carry-on item for a commercial flight. US buyers only got a taste of the award winner in the 2014 Fiesta, while the 1.0 EcoBoost has been available throughout the Ford lineup in Europe for a few years now. American sales have reportedly been strong, however, and next up in the US, the mill will find its way into the 2015 Focus.
The panel of 82 jury members from 34 countries also named the Mercedes-AMG 2.0-liter turbo found in the A45, CLA45 and GLA45 AMG models with 355 hp and 332 lb-ft as the best New Engine for 2014. The electric powertrain from Tesla won Green Engine prize, and the 4.5-liter V8 from the Ferrari 458 Italia took home the honor of top Performance Engine yet again. You can check out all the winners below, and scroll down further to read Ford's celebratory announcement of its award.
The Ferrari 458 comes from a long line of mid-engined V8 supercars to roll out of Maranello, from the 348 and F355 to the 360 and F430. Each has also bred a Spider version, and starting with the 360 Challenge Stradale (through the 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale), a hardcore performance version. But combining the best attributes of Spider and performance model is relatively new territory for Ferrari, one which it attempted only with the limited-production Scuderia Spider 16M. And if the latest rumors are to be believed, it's about to go at it again.
Though we can't verify its sources, 4WheelsNews says it has double confirmation from within Ferrari that a 458 Speciale Spider is in the works. When reached for confirmation, Ferrari refused to comment, as it typically does on the prospect of new models yet to be announced. Given the precedent of the Scuderia Spider 16M, it would seem to make sense, but for the time being we'll have to chalk this one up as a rumor.
If it were built, the Ferrari 458 Scuderia Spider (or whatever it would ultimately be called) would take the best of the 458 Spider and 458 Speciale to pack the 600-horsepower version of Maranello's sweet-revving 4.5-liter V8 underneath a folding hardtop. The latter is something the 16M did not offer, but crucially, the new McLaren 650S Spider does. We'd also expect only a limited number to be produced at a suitable premium over the Spider's $257k MSRP and the Speciale's $288k sticker.
In the late 1970s, performance cars suffered a huge blow when the necessity for better economy and lower emissions crippled their power. It took nearly a decade for the horsepower to return. Today, we're in the middle of another push for greater vehicle efficiency, but don't expect another era of malaise this time. Instead, lightweight materials, turbos and hybrids mean that everyone can be happy. However, the pressure to clean up isn't just for the mass market, supercars must improve too, but Ferrari at least seems to be taking on the challenge in stride.
Ferrari Powertrain Director Vittorio Dini recently told Automotive News Europe that the Prancing Horse will improve its current average C02 emissions of 270 grams per kilometer by 20 percent by 2021, to reach about 216 grams of C02 per kilometer. To achieve these lofty ambitions, the company will exploit a relatively simple path. "In the future, all of our V8s will use turbos," said Dini said to ANE. Also, its V12s will use hybridization because it'll be a better choice for them compared to the heat of multiple turbos, he claimed.
The first steps of this strategy are already in front of us. The new California T ditches its naturally aspirated V8 in favor of a smaller displacement, more powerful turbocharged unit, and the LaFerrari is already using the hybrid V12. Dini's quote certainly lends some credence to the rumor that the 2015 refresh for the 458 Italia may use an even more powerful version of the California's turbo V8. With a new Ferrari model planned for each year between now and 2018, the Prancing Horse seems unperturbed by any threats posed by emissions.