Monday, February 28, 2011

Spyker C8

by Mike -

In 2005 I had a test drive in the new Spyker C8 Spyder. My test driver was Rene Villeneuve, cousin to Jacque and nephew to Gilles. It was a very quick test drive, at least while Rene was driving. I was a little more cautious when I was behind the wheel.

The Spyker is perhaps the most unusual design for a modern super car. I have always wanted one but have not bought one yet. It is really art on wheels with aluminum used extensively, very high quality leather interior, a mid-mounted high power Audi V8 and design features not seen on other cars.

I did not video my test drive but fortunately Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear did have a camera along for his test drive. The Stig also drives in the video below.

Visit Spyker here and there are two for sale on eBay now. I also read today that Spyker is selling the sports car business so that they can focus on Saab, read the press release here.

Click on the Images for a larger view.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is This A Real Bizzarrini?

by Mike -

On January 15, 2011 in London at the Coys Autosport auction a 1968 Bizzarrini GT 5300 was sold. But was it a real Bizzarrini GT 5300? This car was reported by Coys as sold for £250,000 (approximately $405,000 US).

There have been some questions raised among Bizzarrini followers about the history of this car. Coys claimed in their catalog description of this car, Lot 224, that it was "Manufactured on the 8th of June 1968, this Bizzarrini is described as being in good condition throughout."

Clearly Coys presented this car as an authentic Bizzarrini GT 5300. The picture above and all pictures of the Coys car below are from the Coys Internet listing here.

The questions arise for many reasons, the first being that this chassis number, IA3*0308, is the same chassis number as that on a car owned by a long time owner who has assured me since this auction that he still owns Bizzarrini chassis number IA3*0308. In the picture below, of the chassis number stamped on the Coys auctioned car, the chassis number does not appear as on other Bizzarrini GT 5300s, mine for example, has a * between the IA3 and the series number (0308 in this example and 0256 in the case of my car). Other knowledgeable Bizzarrini people have told me that the * should be in the location as I described. This symbol should be a "star" not just crossed straight lines as they are on the Coys car.

Another problem is the body design, and there are several design issues with this car. 

Below the Coys car is in the top half of each picture and four other correct Bizzarrini GT 5300s are shown for comparison. The last picture of the interior is my own Bizzarrini GT 5300 chassis number IA3*0256. I took all of the other pictures of the correct cars shown below.

The holes in the body above the trunk lid should not be there in the red Coys car. The original body design had two chrome air vents on each side just below the rear window and above the trunk lid. The blue car below is correct.

Click on the images for a larger view.

The front bumper is curved on the Coys car, it should be straight as it is on the green car below which is a Best in Show winner at Concourso Italiano in Monterey.  It also seems like the gas cap cover on the Coys car is rectangular, it should be round as on the green car. The headlight covers are larger than they should be - more elongated.

In the pictures below you can see the side air vents are of different shapes and sizes than the correct red car in the lower picture, which is a Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance class winner sitting next to my silver Bizzarrini, also a multiple award winner.

There are problems with the interior as well. The first is that this is a series one interior and a 1968 model should have a series two interior (the layout of the dashboard is different between a series one and series two interior). The ignition key should be to the left of the steering wheel as it is on the lower car below and the cigar lighter should be on the dash below the three indicator lights as on the lower car.

Is it possible that two Bizzarrinis could have the same chassis number? Yes, it is possible but Coys did not mention this in their description of this car.  I am not aware of any historical evidence to support two cars with chassis number IA3*0308 and I have asked Bizzarrini experts this question.

The design problems with the Coys car are concerning and I have only mentioned some of the problematic items. It is possible that this is a re-body Bizzarrini but the Coys description does not mention a re-body and that would not answer the chassis number question.

I contacted Coys about my questions and I sent them a draft of this article a few days before publication. Their response was not illuminating and they did not answer my questions.

There are doubts that lead a reasonable person to question the history of this car.

Part 2 is here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Historic NASCAR Race Cars

by Mike -

Late last Saturday afternoon I was alone in the display room at Club Auto Sport in San Jose, California, where I am a member. The place was dark and set up for the Daytona 500 party the next day. I decided to take pictures of the classic NASCAR race cars on display. Here they are.

Car: No. 28, Oldsmobile
Driver: Buddy Baker
Owner: Harry Ranier
Sponsor: Napa/Spectra

This car (The Gray Ghost) won the Daytona 500 in 1980 from pole position with an average speed of 177.602 MPH - this is still the record for the fastest Daytona 500 ever!

Car No. 43, below, is Richard Petty's 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour Road Race Car. Richard Petty is one of the greatest drivers of all time. This car is raced today in historic races by John & Christine Davis.

Car No. 22
Driver: Sterling Marlin
Owner: Junior Johnson
Sponsor: Maxwell House

In 1992 this car had five pole positions including the Daytona 500 but did not win. This car finished this season with 13 top 10 finishes. 

It is campaigned today by Ralph Borelli.

Car: UNO 1-80;81 Buick Regal
Driver: Buddy Baker
Sponsor: International Games

This car was in the top ten 9 times in 1981 and 11 times in 1982. Buddy Baker had a very distinguished racing career that includes many firsts for speed including the record speed holder for the Daytona 500.

Club Auto Sport is here.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Reserve Was Not Met On My Iso Rivolta eBay Listing

by Mike -

I listed my Iso Rivolta GT for auction on eBay 12 days ago. The auction ended this past Wednesday after 10 days and the reserve price was not met. There were more than 3500 visitors, 244 watchers,13 different bidders and 40 total bids - so a lot of interest.

The bidding started at $200 and ended at $35,601. I have more than $50,000 invested in this car (none of it wasted) and I included an original Owner's Manual and Parts Catalog, both are rare and together are worth around $1,000 (I bought these separately). The sale of this car was not planned when I bought it last August as I described in the eBay listing.

It seems that eBay bidders are looking for a bargain (OK, so we all are). It would be difficult to buy one of the other recent Iso Rivoltas that have come up for public sale with price ranges of more than $20,000 and then spend the money it would take to make those cars as good as mine for less than $50,000 total.

Buying a poor condition car would cost much more in the end. I remember advice from Keith Martin, the Editor of Sports Car Market Magazine, "Buy the best car you can afford".

The expired eBay listing for my Iso Rivolta is here.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Engine

by Mike -

The engine in the Bizzarrini GT 5300 is a 5.3 liter V8 that is capable of 400 plus hp. Giotto Bizzarrini chose this engine because he thought it was the best engine available in the 1960s. It was mated with either a single Holly carburetor or four Weber carburetors. The engine sits way back in the chassis so that there is almost a perfect 50/50 weight distribution front to back.

The engine is placed so far to the back that the distributor is located below a panel on the front of the dash board just below the windshield in the image below. This panel is removed to work on the distributor.

The special engine selected by Bizzarrini is the Chevrolet Corvette 327 cid engine with a Muncie 4-speed transmission and a Salisbury differential with in-board rear disk brakes.

Last year I changed the intake manifold on my Bizzarrini from a Moon manifold to an authentic Bizzarrini designed manifold (both with four Webers). Above is the Moon manifold installed and below is the new manifold before installation.

Work in progress.

The new Bizzarrini manifold installed and working great.

The removed Moon manifold and Weber carburetors.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Below is the cover of the original Bizzarrini Owner's Manual that came from the factory with my car.

Below is a sales brochure from the 1960s for a Bizzarrini GT 5300.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interesting Cars At Auction - Amelia Island

By Mike - 

RM Auctions, March 12, 2011.

1975 Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer

Estimate: $125,000-$165,000 US

380 bhp, 4,390 cc horizontally opposed, mid-mounted 12-cylinder engine with dual overhead-camshafts, four Weber carburetors, five-speed manual gearbox in rear transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes.

RM says, it is one of 387 built, extremely rare in the U.S. with low mileage and a single American owner since 1978.

A very aggressive looking Ferrari. Read more here.

1968 Lola T70 MK III GT Coupe

Estimate: $150,000-$250,000 US - OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE

600 bhp, 355 cid pro-built Chevrolet V8 engine, four Weber carburetors, Hewland five-speed manual gearbox, independent front and rear suspension, and four-wheel ventilated hydraulic disc brakes. 

RM says this car is fresh from a three year professional restoration and race-ready. This car has no known race history but comes with a rumor that it was part of the movie Le Mans. Read more here.

1967 Ferrari 330 GTS

Estimate: $650,000-$800,000 US

345 bhp (SAE), 300 bhp (DIN) 3,967 cc Tipo 209/66 V12 engine with single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank, triple Weber, five-speed manual gearbox in rear transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes.

RM says it is matching numbers, one of only 99 built and this is the correct factory color. 

I like this color, it is a non-red Ferrari. Read more here.

1959 Aston Martin DB MKIII Saloon

Estimate: $135,000-$185,000 US

Estimated 195 bhp, 2,922 cc DOHC six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front suspension and factory disc brakes.

RM says this is an original California LHD example, in current ownership since 1969 and the engine has been up-rated to DBD specification, including DB3S camshafts.

I love a left hand drive Aston Martin. Read more here.

1964 Porsche 911

Estimate: $125,000-$175,000 US - OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVE

28 hp, 1,991 cc horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes.

RM says this is one of 232 911s built in 1964, of which only 45 are known to exist. This car has matching engine, transmission and body. 

A rare first year Porsche 911 but at 28hp it is likely not so fast but what a piece of history. Read more here.

Click on the images for a larger view.