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04 Jun 2014

BMW 8 Series turns 25 [w/video]

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BMW 8 Series 25th anniversary

From the very beginning, the BMW 8 Series was a head turner. It was hardly a common sight in the first place, and the angular lines and low, pointed nose made the GT look like something special on the road. It’s been 25 years since the Bavarian brand’s flagship coupe of the ’90s debuted, and owners celebrated the anniversary in style in Germany.

The 8 Series still looks great today, but its popup headlights give away its age a little. You just don’t see them anymore. It was introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show as the 850i with a 5.0-liter V12 under the hood capable of 295 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Later, even bigger V12s would find their way in there. Production lasted until 1999, but they were rather exclusive with 30,621 built in its lifetime.

To celebrate the anniversary, several BMW clubs organized 120 examples for display at the company’s headquarters in Munich. The brand took advantage of the display to show off the ultimate 8 prototype as well. The one-off special packed a 550-horsepower V12 and a body with optimized aero. That engine eventually became the basis for the one in the McLaren F1.

When BMW showed off the Gran Lusso Coupe (pictured in the gallery below) with design help from Pininfarina at the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, it seemed like there was a whisper of a chance of the grand tourer making a comeback. BMW scuttled any speculation about that soon after, though.

Today, the 6 Series ticks most of the same boxes but just doesn’t have the same élan. Oddly, the i8 might be even closer in its attempt to push the limit of automotive technology in a stylish package. Scroll down to watch a video about BMW’s ’90s flagship below and read the full release about the 25th anniversary celebration at the headquarters in Munich.

Continue reading BMW 8 Series turns 25 [w/video]

BMW 8 Series turns 25 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Jun 2014

Porsche 911 Aerodynamic prototype cheated the wind ahead of its time

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Porsche 911 Aerodynamic Prototype

You might think that sports cars would have the lowest drag coefficient of all cars. And yes, they do tend to be more slippery than, say, SUVs or convertibles, but the sleekest vehicles on the road tend to be EVs, hybrids and luxury sedans. Sports cars, on the other hand, have aerodynamically detrimental needs for downforce and additional engine cooling. Still, the Porsche 911 is better than most, and has only gotten more so over the years. Its relatively narrow track and compact form mean it has a smaller frontal area than some other sports cars, and the gradual sweeping back of its headlights and windshield have only augmented its capacity for cheating the wind.

This 911 prototype, however, is even more aerodynamic than most. It’s based on a “G model” 911 from 1984, but employed such features as covered wheels, a new rear spoiler and a reprofiled front end to drop its drag coefficient from 0.40 to 0.27, making it as slippery as a modern sedan and better at cheating the wind than just about anything built up to that point, save for maybe the Tatra 77, Citroën SM or Tucker Torpedo.

Elements of this prototype ended up gradually making it into production Porsches for years to come, and you can clearly see early influences on the second-generation 964 and even on the 959. It’s featured here as the latest installment in a video series on rare historic Porsches unearthed from the company archives, following previous clips that featured a rare V8-powered 911 and a mid-engined 911 prototype. Scope out the latest episode in the video below.

Continue reading Porsche 911 Aerodynamic prototype cheated the wind ahead of its time

Porsche 911 Aerodynamic prototype cheated the wind ahead of its time originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jun 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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03 Jun 2014

Leno and Ian Callum pilot Jaguar XK120 at 2014 Mille Miglia

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Jay Leno Mille Miglia Jaguar XK120

Jay Leno has been in a British mood recently with his videos highlighting the McLaren P1, 1962 Norton 650SS and Steve McQueen’s 1956 Jaguar XKSS. He’s keeping the streak alive this week with a look at driving a Jaguar XK120 in the 2014 Mille Miglia historic rally with Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum.

The video show off Jay Leno’s Garage in top form. It’s way more than just Jay driving the 1,000-mile route from Brescia, Italy, to Rome and back. He also includes interviews with Stirling Moss about winning the race back in 1955, and racer Martin Brundle about what it’s like to drive a long-nose Jaguar D-Type this year.

Today, the Mille Miglia is only for historic cars, and it has a much more relaxed pace than the original all-out event. However, this isn’t entirely a cruise. Leno seems scared at times talking about it because the drivers are free to ignore the speed limits and open the cars up as much as they are willing to. The roads aren’t shut down for regular traffic, either, and things can be dangerous.

Sit down and make sure you have the video in HD because this is among the best from Jay Leno’s Garage. Scroll down to watch.

Continue reading Leno and Ian Callum pilot Jaguar XK120 at 2014 Mille Miglia

Leno and Ian Callum pilot Jaguar XK120 at 2014 Mille Miglia originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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02 Jun 2014

Cameron's house from Ferris Bueller finally sells for $1M

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Cameron's house

We don’t typically report on real estate here at Autoblog, but what we have here is no ordinary building or plot of land. This Chicago-area house was immortalized in the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as the childhood home of Cameron Frye, Bueller’s best friend, but more importantly, as home to the (fortunately replicated) Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder that played, as much as Matthew Broderick himself, a starring role in the film.

The modernist house was designed in 1953 by A. James Speyer, who studied under architectural legend Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (who incidentally designed the gas station in Montreal where we shot a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta some six years ago). The glass pavilion that was used as the garage where that Ferrari was showcased in the movie was added in 1974, and was used in the mid-80s for filming the movie.

Fast forward to 2009 when the house and the accompanying pavilion were put on the market, listed at $2.3 million. But with no buyers, the price began to drop: first to $1.65 million in 2011, then to $1.5 million last summer and down again to $1.3 million later last year. Now five years on the market, the house has reportedly finally sold for $1.06 million – less than half its original asking price.

The problem in selling the property – located at 370 Beech Street in Highland Park, Illinois – apparently revolved around the separation of the two structures: house and garage. Here’s hoping that whoever bought it will find as fitting a use for the glass pavilion as Cameron’s dad did.

Cameron’s house from Ferris Bueller finally sells for $1M originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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02 Jun 2014

1928 Renault Type NN Tourer from Indiana Jones up for auction

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1928 Renault Type NN Tourer

It’s uncommon for a film’s sequel to surpass the original, and it’s even rarer for the third movie in a series to be the best. However, that’s arguably the case with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Its perfect combination of exciting action set pieces, humor and great performances from Harrison Ford and Sean Connery might make it the pinnacle of the franchise. Now, a 1928 Renault Type NN Tourer with an on-screen role in one of the film’s major scenes is heading to auction in the UK from Historics at Brooklands.

The Renault shows up in the fantastic tank chase scene late in the film where Donovan, the villain, rides in it for a time. For Indiana Jones filming in Spain, the car was painted and made to look dirty, but when the movie finished, it went to the UK for a repaint and engine rebuild.

The Type NN has humble beginnings for a movie star. Its design is quite utilitarian with a four-door tourer body, but the rear seats and interior panels are removable to expose its wooden floorboards and convert it into a makeshift pickup. That way, French farmers could load it with produce during the week and use it as a family car on the weekends. A four-cylinder engine with a claimed 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make tank chasing somewhat difficult in real life.

This Type NN comes with both a French and UK registration, according to Historics at Brooklands. It estimates the Renault will sell for 9,000-14,000 pounds ($15,075-$23,450) at the June 7 auction. That seems reasonable for a car that combines a funky design with some very interesting provenance. Scroll down to read the full description of this movie star car.

Continue reading 1928 Renault Type NN Tourer from Indiana Jones up for auction

1928 Renault Type NN Tourer from Indiana Jones up for auction originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Jun 2014 15:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 May 2014

BMW M1 really was the Ultimate Driving Machine

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BMW M1

Life giving you lemons? Make lemonade. That’s the spirit in Munich that lead to BMW producing the only mid-engined sports car in its 98-year history. The project resulted from a collaboration with Lamborghini (now owned, incidentally, by arch-rival Audi) to meet Group 4 homologation requirements. Lamborghini withdrew, the FIA changed its rules, but BMW built it anyway.

Arguably one of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s finest designs, the M1 packed a 3.5-liter inline-six, driving 273 horsepower to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual. The Procar racing version turbocharged that output up to 850 hp and attracted the top drivers in a one-make F1 support race series.

Over the course of three years, the Bavarian automaker only built 456 examples of the M1, and for BMW enthusiasts, there’s no vehicle more coveted. But don’t take our word for it – let Petrolicious tell one noteworthy owner’s tale in the video below.

Continue reading BMW M1 really was the Ultimate Driving Machine

BMW M1 really was the Ultimate Driving Machine originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 May 2014 12:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 May 2014

Crashed McLaren F1 is the saddest way to see its beautiful underbody

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McLaren F1

Friends, this is why we can’t have nice things. A McLaren F1 was flipped down an embankment in Italy yesterday, and this video of the crash’s aftermath is about as sad as when Old Yeller was shot.

According to Italy’s La Nazione, this one-off, red-on-white F1 was crashed during a four-F1 tour between the towns of Saline di Volterra and Pomarance in the province of Pisa. It’s unclear what caused the driver to lose control and invert our British hero on a grassy hill, although as this is a McLaren F1, we wouldn’t be remotely surprised if speed ended up being a factor.

YouTuber Marchettino, an Autoblog reader and well-known source of videos from Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, was on the scene to capture the video available below. The footage shows the McLaren accelerating away, only to cut away to the aftermath of the wreck. Emergency personnel were tasked with righting the stricken hypercar, a process that was accompanied by the cringe-worthy cracking of its Peter Stevens-designed bodywork. At least they had the decency to cover the crumpled Brit with its fitted black cover as they loaded it onto a flatbed, a fitting yet somehow disturbing visual.

According to reports, the driver and passenger were airlifted from the scene with non-lethal injuries, and both are recovering in a hospital. Given the rising worth and rarity of F1s, despite the extensive damage in evidence, we reckon that this won’t be the last the world sees of this special car. Take a look below to view the video.

Continue reading Crashed McLaren F1 is the saddest way to see its beautiful underbody

Crashed McLaren F1 is the saddest way to see its beautiful underbody originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 May 2014 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 May 2014

Nissan Safari police truck a sort of A-Team van from Japan

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Nissan Safari Police Video

Television today might be at one the best points in the medium’s history with shows like Mad Men, Louie, True Detective and streaming offerings like House of Cards. However, none of those come close to the number of car chases and explosions of ’70s and ’80s offerings like Charlie’s Angels, The A-Team or The Dukes of Hazard. Apparently, this prevalence of action at the time wasn’t just an American phenomenon. In Japan, a show called Seibu Keisatsu fulfilled the nation’s need for shootouts and stunts.

Nissan was a major sponsor of the show, and therefore the brand’s vehicles were used extensively, including a highly modified Nissan Safari SUV (also known as the Nissan Patrol), pictured above. In the show’s lore, it was equipped with radar, a camera and a fire extinguisher capable of turning over a car. The series ran 236 episodes from 1979 to 1984, and with the trailer below as indication, that allowed time for plenty of car jumps and explosions.

The entire Seibu Keisatsu series is now coming out in Japan on DVD and Blu-Ray packed in a fake gun case. The trailer below shows off some of the action of the series. It all starts out normal enough, but about a minute into the video there are all sorts of Nissans jumping and crashing. Plus, there is a guy on fire in a shootout. This show looks like some seriously cheesy fun. Scroll down to get a taste of it.

Continue reading Nissan Safari police truck a sort of A-Team van from Japan

Nissan Safari police truck a sort of A-Team van from Japan originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 May 2014 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28 May 2014

Ferrari 412 picks up a teak cargo bed

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Ferrari 412 pickup

While marques like Porsche and Lamborghini having already branched out into SUVs, with Bentley and Maserati soon to follow, Ferrari remains one of the few high-end automakers that refuses, for better or worse, to follow suit. But the boys in Maranello never said anything about a pickup.

That’s precisely what we have here, although as you might have guessed, this was not (unlike the similar treatment BMW applied to the previous M3) a factory-authorized conversion. Instead it was undertaken by the London Motor Group, parent company to the London Motor Museum and London Supercar Workshop. It’s based on a late-80s Ferrari 412, the 2+2 coupe that preceded the 456 GT, which in turn was replaced by the 612 Scaglietti and then the FF, itself Ferrari’s first hatchback. In other words, it comes from a line that was ripe to mark a first in terms of Ferrari body-styles.

The one-off retains the 4.9-liter V12 and just about everything forward of the cabin. But behind it’s got a three-foot pickup bed lined in teak. The London outfit also gave it a twin-barrel hood scoop, variable exhaust and a custom Bang & Olufsen sound system to round it out. The vehicle is set to feature on the History Channel’s Ultimate Wheels, alongside a VW camper, Ford Mustang, Group B-inspired Audi and a unique Bristol.

Continue reading Ferrari 412 picks up a teak cargo bed

Ferrari 412 picks up a teak cargo bed originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 May 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27 May 2014

Maserati returns to Indianapolis to commemorate historic win

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Maserati 8CTF at Indy

This past weekend was Memorial Day weekend, folks, and you know what that means: racing. There was the Monaco Grand Prix for Formula One fans, and back Stateside there was the Indianapolis 500. You might expect to see a name like Maserati pop up at the former more than the latter, but that wasn’t always the case.

These days its all about Dallara chassis powered by Chevy or Honda, but over the course of a century there have been plenty of foreign automakers that have won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. McLaren won it twice in the 1970s, Mercedes and Peugoet won during the race’s pre-WWI infancy, and in between them Boyle Racing won it two years in a row with a Maserati chassis and engine.

The car was the Maserati 8CTF “Boyle Special,” and its first win came 75 years ago. So to mark the occasion (as well as Maserati’s 100th anniversary), the car was brought back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a revival lap. Unfortunately Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 three times (twice in the Maserati) and went on to be president of the speedway, died in a plane crash the day before his 52nd birthday in 1954. So in his place fellow three-time winner Johnny Rutherford took the wheel of the 8CTF in front of the gathered crowds.

The celebration also marked the 8CTF’s entry as the first import automobile to be registered with the Library of Congress, meeting the criteria set down by the Secretary of the Interior to be immortalized as an historically significant automobile.

Continue reading Maserati returns to Indianapolis to commemorate historic win

Maserati returns to Indianapolis to commemorate historic win originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 May 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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