Ferrari F50 – the perfect formula

Imagine you could design the ultimate driver´s car and start with a clean sheet of paper. What ingredients would you use for this extreme machine? How about this: a Formula One derived V12 engine, directly mounted to a carbon fiber tub, 6-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel-drive and the option to use it either as a real coupé or as real roadster. If that doesn´t sound mouth-watering to you, you came to the wrong page.

In 1995, Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo unveiled the Ferrari F50 at the Geneva Motor Show. As with it´s predecessor, the F40, the new model was introduced to celebrate the anniversary of the Ferrari company, which was 50 years old at the time. Montezemolo announced that Ferrari would build 349 units of the F50 – one less than they thought they could sell. Exclusivity was a no-brainer with this supercar then.

The basic concept was to create a Formula One driving experience for the road, therefore every bit of the F50 was related to the race cars that inspired the project. Whereas previous supercars from Ferrari (288 GTO and the F40) had used turbocharged V8 engines, the F50 recieved a naturally aspirated V12 engine – a further developement from the 1990 Ferrari 641 Formula One car. Putting out 520 horsepower and 471 Nm of torque, the engine was directly mounted to the rear of the carbon fiber tub – a stressed member of the chassis, like in a race car.

As usual for that period, Pininfarina did the design of the F50. Since the passenger cell and the whole body work was made out of carbon fibre, the finished car weight just 1230 kg. A 6-speed manual transmission sent the power to the massive 335-section rear wheels, which Goodyear developed specially for the F50.

Unsurprisingly, all this added up to outstanding performance figures: the F50 accelerated from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.87 seconds and reached a top speed of 325 km/h – with the massive wing.

However, one of the most brilliant systems of the Ferrari F50 was it´s clever roof construction. All F50 came as a coupé AND roadster – called “Barchetta” – at the same time. In other words, you could demount the roof of your F50 and assemble two roll-over protection pieces behind the seats instead – and vice versa of course. This procedure took about an hour and transformed the car drastically in looks. An additional canvas roof was also included, should your car be in “Barchetta” mode and the weather decided otherwise.

Even though the F50 was inspired by Ferrari´s race cars, it never went racing. However, three race prototypes had been developed, called F50 GT – even lighter, with more horsepower and a redline of 10.500 rpm!

Unlike the F40, which came only in red from the factory, the F50 could be ordered in five different colors: Rosso Corsa (Red, 302 made), Rosso Barchetta (Dark red, 8 made), Giallo Modena (Yellow, 31 made), Argento Nurburgring (Silver, 4 made) and Nero Daytona (Black, 4 made). These are the official numbers, however other colors have been spotted.

The Ferrari F50 has long been overlooked by collectors and car enthusiasts, mainly because of the iconic status of the F40. However, today people realize that this is truly one of the great masterpieces of automotive art and engineering. The Ferrari F50 follows the same analog supercar recipe as the Porsche Carrera GT, McLaren F1 or Pagani Zonda. It could definitely be called one of the top ten cars ever made.

Technical Specifications

Engine                                              V12, mid-engine, 65 degree

Displacement                                  4698.50 ccm (4.7 litres)

Power                                               520 horsepower at 8500 rpm

Torque                                              471 Nm at 6500 rpm

Valves                                               5 valves per cylinder

Frame                                               carbon-fibre monocoque

Transmission                                  6-speed manual

Tires                                                  245/35 ZR 18 (front)

335/30 ZR 18 (rear)

Lentgh                                              4480 mm

Width                                                1986 mm

Height                                               1120 mm

Wheelbase                                       2580 mm

Weight                                              1230 kg (dry)

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)                  3.87 sec.

Top speed                                         325 km/h (200 mph)

Videos

Retro review of the Ferrari F50 by MotorWeek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djByHLqSQmw

What´s it like to live with an F50

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7zyUHQMov8

Chris Harris compares the F50 and F40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MDTcXGsjuo

Salomondrin drives the F50 and other Ferrari supercars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m5-cuA1iso

Links

Official Ferrari website of the F50

http://auto.ferrari.com/en_EN/sports-cars-models/past-models/f50/#

Road Test by Car & Driver from 1997

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/ferrari-f50-road-test

Lamborghini LM002 – analog offroad monster

In 2015, Lamborghini gave green light to a third production model besides the Aventador and the Huracan lineup. The new addition in the model range will be an SUV, called “Urus”. In 2012 Lamborghini showed a concept car of this new model and – as expected – the opinions couldn´t have been more opposing. But real car enthusiasts know this was not the first offroad-going Lamborghini the world had ever seen: In 1986, Lamborghini presented the LM002 – a true offroad monster. And naturally, opinions back then were conflicting as well.

The story of the LM002 starts back in 1977. Lamborghini was looking for additional sources of income and decided to build a military vehicle for the US army. The first version was called “Cheetah” and built in the United States rather than Italy. The rear-mounted Chrysler engine resulted in less than optimal handling and the army did not take on Lamborghinis offer. Next came the LM001 prototype, LM standing for “Lamborghini Militaria”. Since it still featured the rear-engine-layout, it was another short-lived prototype as well. The third time though, Lamborghini got it right: In 1982, the LMA002 was presented as a complete redesign and now featured the V12 engine from the Countach LP500S in the front. But since the US army was still not interested in buying foreign made cars, Lamborghini had to look elsewhere for customers for it´s new model.

The italian company tried to convince the armed forces in the middle east to buy a fleet of LMA002s, but tuning six double-barrel carburetors in the middle of a war zone turned out to be rather unpractical. Over the next couple of years the LMA002 was carefully perfected, with a man named Horacio Pagani (!!!) working on the project. In 1986, the finished car was presented as Lamborghini LM002.

It´s fair to say the LM002 had little in common with what Lamborghini had produced before. It was a giant offroad-vehicle, with a 455 horsepower V12 engine (now from the Countach quattrovalvole), luxurious leather interior and permanent four wheel drive – the first time a Lamborghini powered all four wheels. When delivery started, it didn´t take long until some famous people got their hands on one: Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Van Halen, Mike Tyson, and Tina Turner to name a few. By the way, Tina Turners LM002 was the only one converted with a Mercedes-Benz automatic transmission. The standard LM002 came with a five-speed manual transmission plus offroad gear reduction.

The body parts of the LM002 were made in Spain and finally assembled at the Lamborghini factory in Italy. Since every car was basically hand-built, customers could order all kinds of special options. The offroad Lambo was designed to drive on all kinds of terrain, even deep sand. Therefore the LM002 rolled on gigantic 345-section Pirelli Scorpio tires, on all four corners! These special run-flat tires could be driven with almost no air in them and are almost impossible to find today. Of course they didn´t add to a great fuel economy either: aerodynamical as a house, carbureted V12 engine and a dry weight of 2.7 tons resulted in the thirstiest production Lamborghini in history. However, customers could order a 400 litre fuel tank to solve that problem! It´s no surprise then, that the LM002 was nicknamed “Rambo Lambo” by a british journalist.

Over it´s production life from 1986 to 1992, the LM002 recieved some updates. Most notably was the introduction of electronic fuel injection in 1990 which decreased the hump on the bonnet and improved vision and fuel economy. In total, 301 Lamborghini LM002 have been produced, with the last 60 vehicles being a special run called LM002A (A for American). They recieved chrome bumpers, special wheels and an interior with even higher quality materials. For a long period of time, the LM002 was not very sought after, since it´s not what most car enthusiasts look for in a Lamborghini. Fuel consumption and ultra expensive tires might have contributed to that as well. However, the LM002 was an important (and very cool) milestone for Lamborghini and the car world would be a more boring place without this analog offroad monster!

Videos

Jay Leno drives a 1990 Lamborghini LM002

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gceBgHjq_Oo

In-depth review of the LM002 by Saabkyle04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjCx-cvP7qY

LM002 driven and reviewed by SSC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoFm4xCzKOo

Old TopGear review by Jeremy Clarkson of the LM002

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdA81bPvXoI

Links

Official Lamborghini website (Masterpieces)

https://www.lamborghini.com/en-en/brand/masterpieces/lm002

Full specifications on LamboCars.com

http://www.lambocars.com/off_road/lm002_specifications.html

Analog News – Porsche unveils the new 911 GT3 with manual transmission at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence – a paraphrased quote from Steve Jobs. Porsche has proven just that by unveiling the new 911 GT3 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. It´s predecessor, the 991 GT3, came with Porsches PDK transmission only and even though it was great at doing it´s job, many enthusiasts missed a proper six-speed gearbox. Porsche has listened to it´s customers and now offers a manual transmission for the new 991.2 GT3 again, as a no cost option besides the PDK. It´s the same gearbox used in the 911R, even though it can´t be ordered with a single-mass-flywheel this time.

Of course the engine has been improved as well: 500 horsepower are generated by the naturally aspirated 4.0 litre flat-six, which revs to 9000 rpms – even higher than the previous GT3RS and 911R. Rear-axle steering and a lightweight construction help to corner very fast, as does the redesigned rear-wing by adding more downforce. The new look is a subtle yet effective improvement, with slight hints of RS and an overall more masculine look.

The two seater just weighs 1.430 kg and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is a stunning 320 km/h (200 mph). The interior has been tweaked as well, with many minor improvements over the previous model. The new 911 GT3 can be ordered now from Porsche, with prices starting at 152,416 euros. First customer cars will be delivered in june 2017. Porsche is one of the last manufacturers who gets the idea of analog driving and we definitely recommend checking out the new GT3!

Videos

Porsche official trailer for the new GT3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4PB-BDOTe0

 

EVO Magazine preview of the 911 GT3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIxSau8czNk

 

In-depth interview with Andreas Preuninger by DRIVETRIBE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHFSsdqLntw&t=904s

 

Carfection on the 911 GT3 at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8alonixpEUA

 

Links

Official Porsche 911 GT3 website (German version)

http://www.porsche.com/microsite/911-gt3/germany.aspx#home

Saleen S7 – star spangled supercar

If you think supercars only come from Europe, you would be wrong. Even though Europe certainly is the center of supercar manufacturing, sometimes an impulse from outside is needed to push the limits of what is possible. The Saleen S7 is exactly that.

Steve Saleen started out as a race car driver in the late 70s and built his own version of the Ford Mustang in 1984. His modifications were good and the cars started winning important championships shortly after – especially 24-hour-races. In 1997, Saleen-Mustangs won the first two places at the Drivers Championship in Le Mans. Because of this great PR, Saleen sold a lot of modified Mustangs for street use and became one of the most respected Ford tuners. But modifications can only go so far – the Saleen Mustangs already had been lengthened, with independent rear, new suspension and even a new engine developed by Saleen. The time was right to take all that knowledge and start over with a blank sheet of paper. In 2000, at the Pebble Beach Concours d´Elegance, Steve Saleen presented his take on the supercar – the Saleen S7.

The new star on the supercar market had 550 horsepower and an increadible 759 Nm of torque, generated by a 7.0 litre V8. The engine was based on a Ford motor, but since Saleen remanufactured almost every part, it was more of an own developement. That enormous power was then driven through a 6-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. The body parts were made from carbon fiber (manufactured in England) and wrapped around a steel-tube-chassis. Phil Frank did the design work for the S7 and the result looked as beautiful as anything Europe had to offer at the time. Aerodynamics played a critical role in the developement, which is why the S7 produced more downforce than it´s rivals. Even though the car was quite big physically, it only weighed 1.250 Kg (about 3000 pounds).

The concept of the S7 was inspired by Le Mans racecars and Group C prototypes. Steve Saleen believed that an american small-block pushrod V8 could have an advantage over the more exotic engines from european manufacturers. Since the engine of the S7 had only two valves per cylinder and was overall smaller, it could be mounted lower in the chassis and lower the center of gravity. That advantage really paid of: In 2004, the race-version of the Saleen S7 (called S7R) beat all the european cars at the FIA GT-Mastership series at Imola – Ferrari´s home race track. The race version S7R proofed that the S7 not only did look great, but it was a true racer as well.

With a price tag of close to 400.000 Dollar, the street version S7 was not exactly a bargain, but even more exotic than any well known sportscar from Europe. However, developement of the S7 wasn´t over yet: At the 2005 LA Auto Show, Saleen presented the next evolution stage of it´s supercar – the Saleen S7 Twin Turbo. Now producing 750 horsepower and gigantic 949 Nm of torque, performance went up into the stratosphere: zero to 60 miles an hour was achieved in under 3 seconds and top speed was claimed to be over 240 mph (386 km/h).

Still not enough power? Fear not, for Saleen released an upgrade for the S7 Twin Turbo in 2006 called “competition package”. An insane 1000 horsepower, send to the rear wheels only, made this S7 the most outrageous version of the american supercar. Some of the S7 Twin Turbos have been retrofitted with this upgrade and a few even recieved a big carbon fiber wing at the back.

The Saleen S7 was featured in some blockbuster movies, most notably Bruce Almighty from 2003, Redline in 2009 and Iron Man in 2008, were it could be seen in Tony Stark´s garage and workshop.

Less than 100 Saleen S7 have been made, including the race cars. Even though the S7 has been out of production for a while now, we may see some more examples of it in the future: In 2016, Saleen anounced to build seven more units of their supercar. Called “S7 LM” they celebrate the many victories the model has achieved over the years and will come with the 1000 horsepower engine. Special wheels, carbon fiber trim and a new suspension will seperate them from the previous Twin Turbo models. So if you want a brand new S7, this is your chance!

Technical Specifications – Saleen S7

Engine                                   8-cylinders, V-shape

Displacement                       7.007 ccm

Power                                    550 hp at 5.900/min

(750 hp at 6.300/min Twin Turbo)

(1000 hp Twin Turbo with competition package)

Torque                                  759 Nm at 4.000/min

(949 Nm at 4.800/min Twin Turbo)

Drive                                     rear wheel drive

Transmission                       6-speed manual

Weight                                  1.250 kg

(1.338 kg Twin Turbo)

Lentgh                                   4.774 mm

Width                                    1.990 mm (plus mirrors)

Height                                   1.041 mm

Wheelbase                            2.692 mm

Tires                                      275/30 ZR 19 front

345/25 ZR 20 rear

(275/35 ZR 19 front Twin Turbo)

(335/30 ZR 20 rear Twin Turbo)

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)       3.1 seconds

(2.8 seconds Twin Turbo)

Top Speed                              over 320 km/h (200 mph)

(over 386 km/h (240 mph) Twin Turbo)

Videos

Review of the Saleen S7 (Men and Motors)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKYGFB5RKk4

Steve Saleen interview about the S7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoD6caaQsp0

TV review and production of the Saleen S7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jh_K1B6ZmA

Ride with two Saleen S7 Twin Turbos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WJsVw8A0A0

Links

Official Saleen website

www.saleen.com

Press release by Saleen about the S7 LM

http://media.saleen.com/s7_le/

Pagani Zonda – technology meets art

Even though Pagani Automobili was only founded in 1992, you could fill books with the stories Horacio Pagani and his team created over the last 25 years. Pagani was born in Argentina and came to Italy as a young man, to pursue his dream of building the perfect sportscar. He began working for Lamborghini in the early 80´s and became Head of Composite Materials eventually. Pagani knew that the future of sportscars was in carbonfibre and urged Lamborghini to invest in an autoclave (an oven to produce carbonfibre panels). Lamborghini however had a simple answer for him: Ferrari did not have an autoclave, so they didn´t need one either. Pagani was not discouraged though – quite the contrary. He went to the bank and borrowed the money to buy an autoclave himself.

In 1988, he founded Modena Design and started research and developement of carbonfibre parts and composite materials. Ironnically, Lamborghini slowly started to realize the potential of composite materials and collaboreted with Pagani on many projects, like the Countach Evoluzione, the LM002, the P140, the Countach 25th Anniversary and the Diablo. Pagani started to work on his own car at that time too and founded Pagani Automobili in 1992. It took another seven years of developement though, before the Zonda was ready to be unleashed – but the wait was well worth it: the Pagani Zonda C12 debuted at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show and was well recieved. Even though people were sceptical at first wether this was just another concept car or not, when they saw the Mercedes-Benz emblem on the engine, all doubts dropped. At the end of the show, Pagani had more orders for the car than he could build in the first year.

The Zonda was initially called “Fangio” – named after Horacio Pagani´s mentor and legendary racing driver Huan Manuel Fangio. After Fangio passed away in 1995 however, Pagani decided to call his car “Zonda” after the argentinian wind. The “Fangio” name was later reactivated for the Zonda F. The first version of the Zonda used an 6.0 litre Mercedes-Benz V12 engine, internally called M120. It produced around 400 horsepower and 570 Nm of torque, which was good for a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. Since carbonfibre was Paganis expertise, the body of the Zonda was entirely made from the light, yet strong material. When it came to the styling of the Zonda, Pagani incorporated some of his favorite designs in the world: Patek Philippe watches, Riva motorboats and Le Mans racecars. The technological aspect of the car should represent a fighterjet.

Just five examples of the Zonda C12 were made – one for crash testing, one for further developement (called “Nonna” and still at the factory) and three for customers.

One year later, at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, Pagani presented an updated version of the Zonda – the Zonda S. Now featuring a 7.0 litre V12 engine with 550 horsepower and 750 Nm of torque, the body recieved some new details too. The nose was more pointy and flowed into a new front lip with fog lights. At the back, the rear spoiler got divided into two pieces and the air-intake for the engine was improved as well. 16 Zonda S have been produced.

In 2002 – at the Geneva Motor Show as usual – Pagani showed the Zonda S 7.3 to the public. Body changes were minor, the engine however was even bigger: the 7.3 litre Mercedes-Benz V12 now produced 555 horsepower, while the massive torque of 750 Nm was available from very low revs on. With a weight of just 1280 kg, top speed was claimed to be 335 km/h. 17 examples of the Zonda S 7.3 were produced, one was kept by Mr. Pagani himself.

Finally in 2003, Pagani released it´s first roadster. The Zonda Roadster was based on the S 7.3 but needed to be redesigned to compensate for the missing roof. Pagani achieved it with almost no weight increase over the coupé. The roadster was produced until 2006, production numbers vary from 11 to 40 examples.

You could argue that the Zonda had not fully evolved until 2005, when the small italian company from San Cesario sul Panaro presented the Zonda F. Now named after Horacio´s friend and mentor Fangio, the Zonda F was a major redesign of the existing car. Many exterior and interior changes had been made and the 7.3 litre engine had been upgraded to 602 horsepower (650 hp with the optional clubsport package). Carbon ceramic brakes became an option for the first time and production of the Zonda F was limited to 25 units.

Following the established pattern, Pagani presented the Zonda Roadster F at the Geneva Motor Show in 2006. Other than the missing roof, no major changes were made for the Roadster F. It came with the more powerful 650 horsepower engine right away. Like the coupé, 25 untis were built between 2006 and 2009.

Pagani Automobili did a lot of research and developement for the next version of the Zonda, the Zonda R – a track-only race car. Pagani had produced race versions of the Zonda in the past, called Zonda GR and Zonda Monza. But even though the Zonda R was based on the Zonda F, it can be considered a completely new car. Almost all the parts had been redesigned and specially developed for the Zonda R. It had a 6.0 litre V12 race engine from Mercedes-Benz, previously used in the CLK GTR racecar. With 750 horsepower to play with, it smashed the lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in 2010 – 6:47.48 minutes. As if that wasn´t impressive enough, Pagani continued the developement of the Zonda R and presented the Zonda R Evolution in 2012 and the Zonda Revolución in 2013.

The developement of the street legal Zonda wasn´t over yet either: in 2009 Pagani unveiled the Zonda Cinque – a special request of a Hong Kong dealer who wanted a road-going version of the Zonda R. Like the name “Cinque” (Italian for “Five”) implies, only five units should be made. The Zonda Cinque featured many details of the Zonda R, most importantly an automated gearbox with paddles behind the steering wheel. The power was upped to 678 horsepower and the chassis was constructed of the latest composite materials Pagani had developed in-house: carbotanium – a blend of carbonfibre and titanium. Two white Cinques, one blue, one orange and one green have been made.

With just five Zonda Cinques made, demand was higher than supply. Therefore Pagani introduced the Zonda Roadster Cinque in 2010, which was essentially the same model but as a roadster. Featuring the snorkel between the seats but no roof, you could hear the engine sucking air into the combustion chambers. Probably one of the most exciting driving experiences ever. As with the coupé, five units have been made in the following colors: three in white, one in yellow and one in red.

Another new introduction made at the Geneva Motor Show 2010 was the Zonda Tricolore. As homage to the “Frecce Tricolori” – the aerobatic demonstration team of the italian air force – Pagani built three examples of a stunning blue carbon fiber Zonda. The body is a mix of the Zonda F and Zonda Cinque, while the drivetrain is the same as in the Cinque. It featured a unique fin on the engine cover and is certainly one of the most beautiful Zondas ever created.

Officially, production of the Zonda ended in 2011 with the last Zonda Tricolore. Fortunatly, only officially – many special one-off Pagani Zondas have been made over the years and continue to be made. If a customer has ideas for a unique version of the Zonda and the money to back them up, Pagani will still build you a custom Zonda. To show how popular the custom order Zondas have become, here is a list of the known examples:

– Zonda PS

– Zonda Absolute

– Zonda GJ

– Zonda HH

– Zonda Uno

– Zonda Nero

– Zonda 760RS

– Zonda 760LH

– Zonda 764 Passione

– Zonda Fantasama

– Zonda RSJX

– Zonda LM

– Zonda Roadster LM

– Zonda JC

– Zonda 760

– Zonda 760 Roadster

– Zonda ZOZO

– Zonda 760 AG Roadster

– Zonda Kiryu

– Zonda 760 VR

– Zonda MD

– Zonda Mileson

– Zonda Zeus

– Zonda Oliver Evolution

Starting with the Zonda 760RS, Pagani even developed a more powerful version of the 7.3 litre V12, now producing 760 horsepower! Luckily, many Zonda 760 owners opted for a manual transmission and the result can only be described as one of the best cars ever made: Beatiful body shape, lightweight construction, 7.3 litres of screaming V12, 760 naturally aspirated horsepower and a manual transmission. Nothing left to say –exept that I hope Pagani continues to build as many of them as possible.

Videos

In-depth interview with Horacio Pagani by XCAR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b5IMor7Hb4

Harry Metcalfe drives “Nonna” and the Zonda 760RS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beutB6R0Zqg

TopGear review and lap of the Zonda R

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL2B_wN4XW0

Zonda F Passenger Ride

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gwuFZAZh9M

 

Links

Official Pagani Automobili website

www.pagani.com

Great information on all Pagani models ever produced

http://www.paganihistory.com

Pagani Fanpage Prototype Zero

http://www.prototypezero.net

Porsche Cayman GT4 – analog driving lives on

Don´t be fooled – analog driving experience does not equal vintage cars. Even though there aren´t many pure driver´s cars on the market today, the ones manufacturers currently offer rank amongst the best ever made. Don´t believe me? Then let´s look at probably the best modern analog car out today – the Porsche Cayman GT4.

The first Porsche Cayman was presented at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA) as the coupé version of the popular Porsche Boxter. Like the Boxter, the Cayman featured a mid-engine layout and a smaller price tag than it´s big brother, the 911. Driving enthusiasts prefered it over the Boxter due to it´s enhanced torsional ridgidity and soon more powerful versions, like the Cayman S and Cayman R followed. This first generation of Porsche Cayman is known as “Type 987c”.

In 2012 Porsche unveiled the second generation of the Cayman, named “Type 981c”. Even lighter than the first generation model, with increased horsepower and a fresh look, it was a clear improvement all around. But the biggest hit was still to come: At the Geneva Motor Show 2015, Porsche finally presented what enthusiasts and journalists had been waiting for since the beginning of the Cayman model line – the GT4.

Every true Porsche fan gets excited when someone mentions the letters “GT”. Not because it means “Gran Turismo”, but because of the legendary models associated with this badge: 911 GT3, GT3RS, GT2, GT2RS, Carrera GT and even the ultra rare GT1. The GT-version is always the pinnacle of what Porsche is capable to build. But since these models are the best of the best, there is one downside: the price. So when Porsche came out with the Cayman, enthusiasts counted 1 and 1 togehter: What if Porsche made a GT-version of it´s smallest, lightest and most affordable sports car? A Cayman on steroids? Wouldn´t that be the ultimate driving machine? Ten years later, Porsche had an answer to this question. And the answer was YES!

OK, let´s get right into it: the engine of the Cayman GT4 is the bigger 3.8 litre flat-six from the 911 Carrera S. Putting out 385 horsepower and 420 Nm of torque, zero to 62 mph is accomplished in just 4.4 seconds and top speed is 295 km/h (183 mph). Andreas Preuninger, who is the genius behind the Porsche 911 GT3 and many other Porsche models, was responsible for the GT4 project as well – so it was no surprise, the GT4 turned out great. The front suspension, brakes and many other parts of the chassis are taken from the 911 GT3. Following the idea of a sports car for every situation, the suspension can be adjusted to fit all needs – hard track days or street cruising and everything in between.

There are some optional extras you can specify to enhance the track experience even further: Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are pricey but worth every penny when you need to stop really fast. Full carbon-fibre bucket seats and four-point harnesses keep you in place while driving, and the Sport Chrono Package with Track Precision App monitors your progress.

Finally, the interior presents you with the last (and probably most important) piece of a true driver´s car: the 6-speed manual transmission. Carried over from the 911 GTS, this transmission is just what you need to enjoy the GT4 at all speeds. The steering wheel is the smaller version and like the rest of the cabin wrapped in beautiful Alcantara. By pushing a button on the center consule, you can activate the sports exhaust and make the GT4 sound even better. Another cool option is the “Clubsport package” which adds an anti-roll-bar behind the seats, a fire extinguisher and a battery disconnect switch. As always with Porsche, if money is no object you can specify almost any color and interior trim you fancy.

For real racer car drivers, with no ambition to use their car on public roads, Porsche released the Cayman GT4 Clubsport at the LA Auto Show in 2015. It´s a dedicated race car, with paddle-shift transmission and no interior trim whatsoever. The GT4 Clubsport (not to be confused with the optional Clubsport package of the regular GT4) has 385 horsepower as well but is not street legal. If you are looking for a genuine racer for the track, this might be one of your best choices.

The newest generation of the Porsche Cayman and Boxter (Type 982) came out in early 2016 and is called 718 Cayman and 718 Boxter. Unfortunatly, Porsche had to replace the six-cylinder engine with a four-cylinder unit to improve emissions over it´s complete model lineup. But Porsche also stated that this does not mean future GT-versions of the Cayman or the Boxter can´t feature the flat-six we know and love. It just means the special engines are reserved for the special models.

The Cayman GT4 proves that the analog driving experience lives on. A lightweight chassis, powerful engine and manual transmission is still everything you need. And Porsche is one of the last car manufacturers who remembers that. At the time of writing this article, rumours have come up about a new Cayman GT4 RS – an even more hardcore version of the GT4 but street legal! Let´s see if Porsche makes the greatest modern analog car even better. Wouldn´t be the first time.

Technical Specifications – Porsche Cayman GT4

 

Engine                                   6-cylinders, flat

Displacement                       3.800 ccm

Power                                    385 hp at 7.400/min

Torque                                   420 Nm at 4.750-6000/min

Drive                                      rear wheel drive

Transmission                        6-speed manual

Weight                                    1.340 kg

Lentgh                                    4.438 mm

Width                                      1.817 mm (plus mirrors)

Height                                     1.266 mm

Wheelbase                             2.484 mm

Tires                                        245/35 ZR 20 front, 295/30 ZR 20 rear

0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)         4.4 seconds

Top Speed                               295 km/h (183 mph)

Videos

Chris Harris drives the Cayman GT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9-Sr8RPty4

Jethro Bovingdon (EVO Magazine) in-depth interview with Andreas Preuninger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGVWojMMeg4

The Drive compares the GT4 to the GT4 Clubsport

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM5CmtCSbwM

XCAR / Carfection review of the Cayman GT4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfHwmTIyr7E

Links

Official Porsche website for the GT4 Clubsport race car

http://www.porsche.com/germany/sportandevents/motorsport/customerracing/racingcars/cayman-gt4-clubsport/

Road & Track Magazine about the rumours of a Cayman GT4 RS

http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/news/a32604/porsche-dealer-suggests-the-existence-of-a-40-liter-cayman-gt4-rs/

Ferrari 308 – Mustache not included

Back in 1973, Ferrari was looking for a competitive advantage in the small sports car segment. While the Dino 246 was a success, it lacked the power and aggressive looks of more modern cars on the market – mainly the Porsche 911, Lamborghini Urraco and the Maserati Merak. All these models were 2+2 seaters, so the 246 replacement had to be as well. Unlike the Porsche 911 with it´s rear engine layout, Ferrari wanted to keep the engine in the middle, between the seats and the rear axle. The result was a styling, done by Bertone instead of Pininfarina, which left many journalists disappointed. The new V8-engine however, was received very well and delivered 255 horsepower. Like the 246, the new 308 started out not called Ferrari, but Dino 308GTB4 2+2 instead. The new model was introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1973 and production lastet until 1980. A total of 2826 of the Dino 308GT4 (later officially called Ferrari) had been built.

1975 then saw the shape that we know, love and call “308”. Ferrari had noticed that looks were much more important to it´s customers than practicability, therefore the rear seats were deleted and the new 308 GTB became a two-seater. This time the styling was done by Pininfarina and recepted very well by the media. Introduced at the Paris Salon 1975, the first examples of the 308 GTB featured body parts made out of fibreglass – the first time in Ferrari´s history. Just one year later though, Ferrari changed to steel for the bodies and just 712 fibreglass 308s, called “Vetroresina”, had been made. It´s no suprise that the 308 GTB Vetroresina is the most sought after 308 model today.

The open-top version of the 308 GTB followed in 1977. Called the 308 GTS, it came as a targa with a removable fibreglass-roof. In order compensate for the missing roof, the chassis of the 308 GTS had to be strengthened for rigidity – a weight increase of 60 pounds over the Coupé. The GTS became the big seller though: Ferrari sold 4139 GTB and 8010 GTS overall.

The engine of the 308 GTB and GTS was nearly identical to the 308GT4 and used four Weber carburetors. However, since the USA was the biggest market for Ferrari, the italian company had to play by US emission regulations, which became even stricter in the late 70´s. The carbureted engine could not meet those requirements anymore and in 1979, it was replaced by an electronic fuel injection system from Bosch. The updated 308 was called GTBi or GTSi and even though emissions went down, power decreased as well: the 308 GTBi / GTSi was rated at 205 hp (214 hp for european versions), a drop of 30 horsepower compared to previous models.

Luckily, in 1983 Ferrari had a solution to increase horsepower again while keeping emissions low: the 308 GTBi / GTSi Quattrovalve (or QV) used a four valve cylinder head for the first time on the 308 model. Power was back up to 240 hp, almost were it had started. The QV did recieve some minor body modifications, most notably some extra louvers in the front bonnet and 15″ wheels instead of 14″. The Quattrovalvole is considered the most refined 308 model and today one of the most desirable ones. Production of the Ferrari 308 lastet until 1985, when it was replaced by the 328 – which looked almost identical. More than 12.000 Ferrari 308 had been produced.

OK, now it´s time to adress the elefant in the room: Magnum P.I.

Arguably one of the coolest TV shows ever, the privat investigator from Hawaii made the Ferrari 308 world famous. Thomas Magnum, played by Tom Selleck, used the Ferrari (which belonged to Robin Masters in the Series and therefore had ROBIN1 as license plate) as his daily ride and to solve cases.

The show used three different models over the years: In season one, it was a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS (one mirror, no rear spoiler, no front hood vent, red vents behind the headlights). For season two and three, the production company went for the newer GTSi model (two rectangular mirrors, black vents behind the headlights). Finally, the QV was seen in the remaining five seasons of Magnum (black vents on the hood and a black spoiler on the rear of the roof panel). More than one 308 at the time was used for filming the show and they had to be modified in order to accomodate actor Tom Selleck, who is 6´4″ / 193 cm tall. Most of the cars used for the show were auctioned off at the end of production and some can be seen in museums or collections today. Fun fact: the 308 was not a product placement from Ferrari for the TV show. The production company had initially intended to use a Porsche 928 but Porsche wouldn´t modify it with an extra large sunroof – which was needed for aerial shots. So the company decided to use the Ferrari 308 instead.

Model Year Power Weight 0-60 / 0-100 Top Speed
308GT4 2+2 1973-80 255 hp 1450 kg 7.7 s. 250 km/h
308 GTB / GTS 1975-79 255 hp 1330 kg 7.0 s. 252 km/h
308 GTBi / GTSi 1979-83 205 hp 1447 / 1465 kg 7.3 s. 235 km/h
308 GTBi / GTSi QV 1983-85 240 hp 1447 / 1465 kg 6.1 s. 255 km/h
Videos

Ferrari 308 GTBi QV Car Review by Paul Woodford

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXjk_dT2xOM

1976 Ferrari 308 GTB Vetroresina – Full test drive by SCC TV

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3587ukM5X0

Hagerty 1983 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV ride along

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5UmGGqpV3o

1981 Ferrari 308 GTSI – Magnum P.I. inspired

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0DKItZUQSE

Links

Book recommendation: Ferrari 308 Series Buyer´s Guide & Owner´s Guide

https://www.amazon.com/Ferrari-308-Buyers-Guide-Owners/dp/1588500063/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486904899&sr=8-1&keywords=ferrari+308+series

Magnum P.I. fanpage with information about the 308 in the series

http://magnum-mania.com/Articles/The_Ferrari.html

Lotus Elise – just add lightness

Think of a small, super-light sportscar. Take that thought, make it open-top, fun to drive, yet affordable at the same time. You are thinking about the Lotus Elise now.

The Elise was a turning point for Lotus Cars based in Hethel, England. The project started in 1994 as M1-11 or “One Eleven” and went into production in 1996 as Lotus Elise. It marked the return of Lotus founder Collin Chapman´s philosophy: “First take simplicity, then add lightness”. Therefore Lotus developed an aluminium tub which was bonded together instead of welded – with great result: the final car weight just 725 kg (1600 Ibs.).

Furthermore, car enthusiasts now had the chance to buy a mid-engined car for a reasonable amount of money. Until then, the mid-engine layout was exclusively used in very expensive supercars. Chief engineer Richard Rackham constructed the chassis and designer Julian Thomson and his team designed a beautiful fiberglass body for the Elise. The first version of the small sportscar, called “Series 1” or “S1”, was first shown on the Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA) in 1995 and production started the following year. Between 1996 and 2000 more than 10.000 Lotus Elise S1 were produced, including many special edition models.

In November 2000, Lotus presented the Elise Series 2 (S2) with a completely fresh look. This was part due to new crash regulations that made the S1 no longer complient with EU safety standards. Even though the Elise S1 had been a huge success, Lotus needed a developement partner to fund the investment required for a S2 model. General Motors jumped in and Lotus helped GM with the developement of the Opel Speedster / Vauxhall VX220 in return. The new Elise S2 featured a redesigned chassis and suspension, as well as a new ECU programming for the Rover K-Series engine. Lotus had used Rover engines since the S1, in 2006 however they changed to Toyota as engine supplier because Rover went bankrupt. Many special editions and race versioned of the Elise S2 followed, most notably in 2004 the Exige. Even though the Exige is now considered a sperate model, it basically is the Elise with a fixed roof.

The most recent generation of the Lotus Elise is the Series 3 (S3), started in 2010. Even though considered by some as just a “facelift” of the S2, many improvements have been made over the years: the S3 features improved engines which comply with Euro 5 regulations and new LED daytime running lights including indicators.

Currently, Lotus offers these Elise models:

Model Power 0-62 / 0-100 Top Speed Weight
Elise Sport 136 hp (PS) 6.5 s. 204 km/h 866 kg
Elise Sport 220 220 hp (PS) 4.6 s. 234 km/h 914 kg
Elise Cup 250 250 hp (PS) 4.3 s. 248 km/h 931 kg
Elise 250 Special Edition 250 hp (PS) 4.3 s. 248 km/h 899 kg
Elise Race 250 (Race Car) 246 hp (PS) 248 km/h 900 kg

The Lotus Elise and it´s sibling Exige are some of the last true analog driver´s cars still in production today. Even though the basic concept of the car is over 20 years old, it still shows that not much is needed for to make a happy driver behind the wheel. A great chassis, lightweight construction and cool looks have always been the main part of the equation for a driver´s car. So we urge you, go out and get one (or more) while they last!

Which one would you buy – the open-top Elise or the fixed-roof Exige?

Videos

Full documentary on the development of the original Elise (2:20 hours!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-TiFKr2yb0&t=4123s

Carfection drives the new Elise Cup 250

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OT-HhDrfbAo

Richard Hammond drives the Elise S2 & Exige

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js1s6teZutM

Tiff Needell review of the Elise S1 for old TopGear

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btcgmHLWaiE

Links

Official Lotus website – about Elise

http://www.lotuscars.com/about-elise

Great information about all Elise models

http://www.hazelnet.org/elise/

Lamborghini Countach – the ultimate poster car

Even today, it´s hard to think about a more iconic car than the Lamborghini Countach. The star of countless bedroom walls and Hollywood movies shocked the world with its extreme design when it debuted at the 1974 Geneva Motor Show – and the world has not recovered from that shock ever since. Even though the Countach is more than 40 years old, it still has head-turning capabilities unmatched by most other cars.

In the early 70s, Automobili Lamborghini was not in great shape. Even though the company had already produced a star with the Miura, it struggled to sell it´s cheaper models, which were supposed to be the main stream of revenue. Luckily, an even bigger hit than the Miura was in the pipeline: the Countach started to take shape as a concept car – a collaboration between Lamborghini and the renown design house Bertone. Marcello Gandini was the young designer at Bertone responsible for the body of the Miura and many other Lamborghini models, and he designed the iconic shape of the Countach as well.

 

Gandini gave the Countach futuristic doors which opened upwards – a feature he had previously used on the Alfa Romeo Carabo concept car. These iconic doors became known as the famous Lamborghini “scissor doors” and have been featured on all Lamborghini top models ever since. The name Countach is italian slang and can be translated as “awesome” or “hot” (Listen to Valentino Balboni talking about the Countach in the first video for more details). After a couple of prototypes, the first production model of the Countach premiered in 1974: the LP400, with 375 horsepower and a top speed of over 300 km/h.

 

In many respects, the new Countach represented again what made Lamborghini successful in the first place: a fresh and candid mindset about what a supercar should be like. But even so, Lamborghini was still in financial trouble and if canadian business man Walter Wolf had not ordered some custom-made modified Countachs, the story of the Countach might have had ended just there. Wolf wanted the new and super wide Pirelli P7 tires on his cars, so the wheel arches had to be redesigned to accomondate a 345-section tire. These modifications were carried over to the production model and from 1978 to 1982, the updated version of the Countach was sold as LP400 S.

Lamborghini´s neighbor and main competitor Ferrari wasn´t sleeping though and with the 512BB they sold a car with more displacement. Of course, that was not acceptable for Lamborghini. 1982 saw the third version of the Countach, named LP500 S. The displacement went up from 3.929 ccm to 4.754 ccm and the power from 353 hp (LP400 S) back to 375 hp, where it had started with the LP400. The torque increased too, from 361 NM to 411 NM. Even though the car was slightly heavier, the topspeed improved as well, mainly due to better gear ratios.

But the developement of the Countach was far from being over yet. In 1986, the fourth evolution stage of the iconic supercar was being presented in Geneva: the Countach 5000 quattrovalvole. The name “quattrovalvole” says it all – four valves. The switch from two to four valves really paid of: the power went up to 455 hp and a massive 500 NM of torque. Even Ferrari couldn´t match those numbers at the time and sales of the Countach increased.

The final version of the Countach came as celebration of the 25th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini in 1988. The company had not only survived many economic challenges but also created one of the most iconic cars ever. Even though there were no mechanical changes on the Countach 25th Anniversary, it recieved new seats, an improved air conditioning and electric power windows. The biggest difference however, was the exterior styling, conducted by a young talented man named Horacio Pagani (!!!).

Pagani´s job was to make the Countach complient with US crash regulations and he managed to create a fresh and aggressive look while doing so. The 25th Anniversary became the best selling Countach model ever and when production ended in 1990, Lamborghini kept the last Countach to roll of the assembly line. It remains in the factory museum in Sant´Agata and can be visited there along with many other Lamborghini models.

There are cool cars, super cool cars and then there are cars which change the automotive landscape forever. The Countach ist definetely one of the latter. Over 2000 Lamborghini Countach have been made and all of the five evolution stages have their own cool details. Now I want to hear from you: which is your favorite Countach model and why?

 

Model Year Power 0-62 / 0-100 Top Speed Units
LP400 1974-78 375 hp 5.6 s 316 km/h 150
LP400 S 1978-82 353 hp 5.9 s 292 km/h 237
LP500 S 1982-85 375 hp 5.6 s 300 km/h 323
5000 QV 1985-88 455 hp 4.9 s 295 km/h 610
25th Ann. 1988-90 455 hp 5.0 s 295 km/h 657
Videos

Legendary Lamborghini testdriver Valentino Balboni talks about the Countach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mBWDjThVLQ

 

Richard Meaden (EVO Magazine) drives a Countach LP400 S

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igDEg7MhPIw

 

Car journalist Harry Metcalfe about living with a Countach

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZuZBZyV6Eg

 

Jay Leno about his Countach 5000 quattrovalvole

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2vcT1bq2XA

 

Links

https://www.lamborghini.com/en-en/brand/masterpieces/countach

http://www.lambocars.com/countach/

Welcome to AnalogDriver!

I´m glad you found your way over here! This blog is about true driver´s cars and legendary supercars. In a world where technology is taking over every aspect of life, these cars unite people around the globe who seek an analog driving experience.

What exactly does “analog car” mean?

The word “analog” is derived from the ancient greek language and describes a signal with the same input as output. In other words, what you put in, you will get back. We are talking about cars that make the journey worthwile, by the way they feel and respond to your driving inputs. In contrast to modern cars with cutting edge technology, operating every aspect of the vehicle yourself is not considered work – it´s pure joy.

So is this just another vintage car page?

Not exactly. It´s more of a niche car site since most of the cars discussed here were built between 1980 and 2010. And here is the reason for that: In the early 80s car technology had evolved to a solid level, regarding performance and ownership, while offering a very analog operating experience. In the following three decades this level of technology didn´t change to dramatically and was gradually perfected. By the early 2000s, we had sportscars like the Lamborghini Murciélago and Gallardo, Pagani Zonda, Porsche Carrera GT, Saleen S7 and many more. Naturally aspirated engines, manual transmissions and a beautifully designed body – the pinnacle of the supercar.

However, around 2010 sportscar technology took a different turn: The new focus was not driver involvement anymore – but laptimes. Sportscars got loaded with electronic systems and eventually hybrid drivetrains. Laptimes got faster and it took less skill as a driver to achieve them. That´s all fine and good, the cars featured on this page however, are not about laptimes. They are about character, feel, sound, emotion and the human-machine-connection. Fortunatly, this breed of cars hasn´t vanished completly – at least not yet. A great example for modern analog cars is the Porsche Cayman GT4 or the 911R. But less and less cars of that character are coming out, therefore I refer to the 80s, 90s and 2000s as the “golden age” of sportscars.

About me and the purpose of AnalogDriver

My name is Magnus and I´m from Germany. I decided to write this blog in english to reach as many analog car enthusiasts from around the world as possible. I figured since this is a niche topic, I shouldn´t limit the audience to german speaking people. I will do my best to deliver well written articles, but please forgive me if there is a mistake or two.

The aim of AnalogDriver is to connect and unite people who feel the same passion for analog cars as I do. So feel free to engage in a polite and friendly discussion and find fellow car enthusiasts from around the world. I hope you enjoy the content on this blog and if you have ideas for cars, stories or feedback, send me an email at info@analogdriver.com . And now – pedal to the metal!