Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Italian cars

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Italian cars

The 500 or other types of supermini are the perfect car for tootling around the narrow streets of Rome. This type of car is all well and good for going to work and picking up shopping, but hardly an eye catcher, something with a bit more oomph is needed for touring, racing or just feeling good, enter the Italian Stallions.
For saving face there are the Italian sports car range including such pioneers as Enzo Ferrari, Feruccio Lamborghini and Ettorre Bugatti,
These designers and producers created some of the World's most desirable motor cars.


Cars designed to make you gasp and shudder when you see them, let alone travel in them. Lambo started life in 1962 with the production of the V12 350GT this was followed by the 400, however after these two flagship cars, things started to hot up.
Ferruccio released the Miura, inspired by the Ford GT40 at the Turin motor show, well actually only the Miura's chassis was shown however everybody stood in awe, the look and design of the chassis had people placing multiple orders and we know the rest. The Countach pronounced 'Koontash' was released an instant hit, followed by numerous not so well known models, till the Diablo, Murcielago, Gallardo and most recently the Reventon released in 2008 with a limited no. of models built.

Lamborghini LP500 Prototype


Ferrari founded back in 1929, by Enzo Ferrari.

This Supercar company has always been famed for their exquisite supercars including the Testarossa, F40, F50 and the more recent Enzo as well as building and designing auto's Ferrari operated and owned one of the most successful racing teams ever ' Scuderia', still a big name car racing today.
FIAT now owns the Supercar division of the company, due to Enzo running into financial problems in 1969, however he still kept control of the racing team.


Yes we know that Bugatti was actually founded in Molsheim in France, but our argument is, only an Italian could come up with the iconic design and flair of the Bugatti range of cars which include the 1932 Royal.
More recently the revived Bugatti name was released in the form of the EB110 released in 1996. This car was the work of Entrepreneur Romano Artioli who acquired the name and hired the Lamborghini designers who worked on the Miura and Countach.
Volkswagen Ag now own the name and have recenlty just relsed the fastest road car in the world the Veyron a car with 1008 BHP and four turbo's, it is also rumoured that VW are working on a 4 door supercar version, project Lydia, possibly to compete with the rumoured 4 door Porsche Panamera Turbo.
Other Italian car manufacturers include:-
Alfa Romeo
De Tomaso
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AC Cobra history

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

AC Cobra history

AC & Carroll Shelby
Not many cars have had the same track record & inspiration as the AC Cobra in the mid 60's, mind you Dodge the people behind the Viper have recreated this many times through various replica models. AC worked by placing the biggest engine possible in the lightest frame, and dressing the car as a two seater sports car with definition and character, no roof and fun on country roads.
The AC Cobra company emerged back in 1901, the first car didn't actually materialise till 1953 with the intro of the second generation model. Renown motoring engineer John Tojeiro started to create his own two seater sports car, the model was based on the Ferrari 166 Barchetta (aka The Little Boat). The car was flying, but it wasn't how it should have been, the racing model needed more power.
The firstly choice was a 2.7 V8, then a 4.2 was chosen. These engines were the work of Carroll Shelby who was greatly impressed by all of AC Cobra's cars racing in the US, powered by there either Bristol or MG engines.
However AC soon realised a 4.2 or even a 4.7 wasn't enough, they needed more power, over 350 BHP. A V8 with a seven litre capacity was needed pushing the 427 upto 485 BHP. Modifications were fitted to allow the car to cope including widening it and upgrading the shocks and springs.
This range of cars in the 1950's were the epitomy of racecars, by the 1960's and 70's the AC Cobra 427 and others started to show there age compared to modern autos such as the Lotus Elan. There cars lacked modern refinements however there performance was amazing 0 - 100 in under 13.7 secs. The competition version the 427 had 580 BHP and could accelerate to 100 mph in under 10 seconds. One of the most defining features was its side exit exhausts. Tojeiro's soon became part of AC's evolution, usually driven by MG or Bristol engines, when he sold one of his engine designs to the company.
These automobiles are now a very rare marque, only a few exist. The car was made famous yet again through its appearance in the film Twin Town filmed in Swansea starring Rhys Iffans. This British racing car truly made its mark.




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Porsche history

(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Porsche cars

1948 to present day

During the war Ferdinand Porsche AKA Ferry and a select few of his proven employees had started development on the 356 in their workshops and he decided to move to Gmünd in Kärnten.
The first of these designs was completed on 17 July 1947, however on June 8th 1948 the Kärnten state government issued a special permit homologating the motor car. After returning from prison, Professor Dr.-Ing.h.c., Ferry's father, stated "every single bolt was just right".
No 1 was then followed by 52 additional cars built in Gmünd, production in Stuttgart took over from 1950 - 1965 subsequently amounting to 78,000 units of the 356 model Porsche No 1 - This was a mid-engined roadster, completed and homologated in Gmünd. The engine was 1131 cc & produced 35 bhp. The first few of the new 356 coupes were made of light alloy.
1948: The first Porsche 356 cabriolets were manufactured
1950: Production of all cars in took place Stuttgart, Germany.
1951: Introduction of the 1300 & 1500, the 1500 became the car of choice.
1952: The introduction of the much acclaimed 1500 S.
1953: The introduction of the 1300 S.
1954: This year marked the production of the first 200 Porsche Speedsters.
1955: Production of the 356 A series starts the proven 1300 and 1300 S power units soon joined by the 1600, 1600 S and 1500 GS - the first Carrera a 1.5 with 4 overhead cams, a symbol of the new porsche sports engine range - 1100cc engines dropped from the range.
1958: The 356 model was given an extra 10 horses 110 bhp, A 1500 GS Carrera GT. The Speedster was replaced by the Convertible D. 1300cc engines dropped from range.
1957: 1500GS de Luxe model launched.
1959: Porsche Carrera 1600 GS-GT, uprated to 1.6 115 bhp. The 356 B series is introduced, the Convertible D renamed the Roadster.
1970 - The search for ultimate Power
1971: September, 6 cylinder engine developed for the Porsche 911, 2341 cc and introducing a new power and performance range the T, 911 E & S. 916 sports cars running a powerful six cylinder 2.3 Litre capable of producing 190 bhp. Race models released the 914/8 models with an 8-cylinder racing engine already built 2 yrs previously (2997 cc, 260 bhp & 300 bhp/221 kW).
A 914 is given to Professor Ferry Porsche 260-bhp version for his 60th birthday.
1972: The Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 and the 2.8 Carrera RSR released. 914 receives extra power 1971 cc, 100 bhp.
1973: Following the plant shut-down in summer the new range reveals significant modifications in body design, Release of Porsche Carrera RS 3.0 Sport, a 2994 cc, 230 bhp engine. The RSR 3.0 2994 cc, 330 bhp with a larger rear wing & widened wheel arches with air intakes. Within the 914 series uprate dfrom 1.7 to 1.8 litre version.
1974: In autumn the first Porsche Turbo code-named the 930 then came, the code-named 935 in the years to follow, with maximum output up to 850 bhp.
The Porsche 935 - 850 BHP
1975: The Carrera 3.0 dropped after plant shut-down summer. Last 914 range receive a two-liter power unit, with lower compression 95 bhp. Autumn the 912 E (USA only) featuring a VW engine jins lineup.
1976: Porsche's new entry-level 924, the 1st water-cooled engine fitted up front - running an Audi engine 1984 cc, 125bhp. The introduction of bodyshell hot-galvanizing on both sides extending the life of all models.
1977: The 928 launched late autumn a top model seen as the successor to the 911 utilising V8 power using American dimensions 4474 cc, 240 bhp. The 911 now known as "Porsche 911 SC".
1978: The 928 1st and only sports car in world history to be voted Car of the year.
1979: The 924 remains Porsche's best seller.
1980 - Onwards and upwards
1980: The 924 Carrera GT 210 bhp given greater power than the 911 (204 bhp)
1981: The 924 Turbo now features a 177 bhp engine. Frankfurt Motor Show the concept Turbo Cabriolet four-wheel drive.
1982: The Porsche 944 based on the 924 with wider wheel arches and 4 cylinder engine introduced, a clear effect on sales of the car, which start to go down for the first time.
1983: After 20 years another status car, the Porsche 911 SC Cabriolet becomes a best seller right from the start.
1984 & 1985: The 928 S becomes even more powerful, all 911 Carrera models are now also available in a Turbo look. The status of Porsche success points up, the 924 and 944 remain best-selling models.
1986: A four valve 928 S4 enters the market. The Porsche 911 Turbo now available as Targa Top and Cabriolet models.
1987: No significant changes or releases.
1988: The new generation Porsche 911 Carrera 4 four-wheel drive. The 964 series is available first as a coupé, running a six-cylinder Boxster engine. The 944 S2 is available as both a coupé and cabriolet, the Turbo version receives an all-new five-speed gearbox.
1989: The Porsche 911 Turbo is dropped from the range, production ceasing in autumn 1989. Tip tronic released over parts of the range.
1990 - A new breed of performance
1990: The new Porsche 911 Turbo released September sporting a 3299 cc, 320 bhp.
1991: The 968 based on the 928 replaces the classic 944. The 8-cylinder power unit of the Porsche 928 featured in the GTS 5397cc, 350 bhp, 911 Carrera RS competition boosted in power to 260 bhp.
1992: The 911 Turbo comes with a 3600 cc, 360 bhp. The 968 released as a two seater with Clubsport trim with less features and a lower price.
1993: Porsche presents modified 911 code-named the 993. The car featured a more streamlined body, new multi-link rear axle and either a 6 speed manual gearbox or 4 speed Tiptronic and a 3600 cc, 272 bhp water cooled engine. The new 993 built as a Carrera coupé featuring rear-wheel drive.
1994: The new Carrera 4 enters production A 911 featuring an extra-light chassis, a larger rear spoiler and engine increase 3746 cc, 300 bhp production starts on a 993 Cabriolet.
1995: The new 911 T with its 3.6 litre engine running at 408 bhp released. GT2 Turbo given rear wheel drive and 430 bhp. 911 Carrera receives 285 bhp, New Targa with a sliding glass roof enters the market.
1996: Boxster released 1996 Paris Motor Show
1997: New Porsche 911 model released running a 3387 cc, 300 bhp. Carrera 4S, Targa and 911 Turbo remain unchanged until March 1998.
1998: The new 911 Cabriolet released March.
(End of an era Ferdinand Porsche, passes away)
2000: New versions of the most famous version released.


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Pagani Zonda history

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Zonda Timeline

1988 - This Italian Super Car company was the brainchild of formerLamborghini cars composite department manager, Horacio Pagani. The company was named Pagani Composite Research and worked very closely with Lambo on many projects, this included restyling the Countach Anniversary, P140 and the Diablo.
While working on this project, Horacio started planning his own concept supercar, this was known as the "C8 Project," he showed the illustrations to Juan Manuel Fangio & even planned to name the project the Fangio F1.
1991 - Modena Design and Pagani collaborated, this particular company was setup to cope with ever increasing levels of engineering, design, model construction, prototypes and moulds.
1992 - Brought the Fangio F1 prototype construction.
1993 - The Fangio F1 was tested at the Dallara wind tunnel, and achieved positive results, the same year Juan Manuel introduced Pagani to Mercedes-Benz.
1994 - German car manufacturer Mercedes agreed to supply a V12 engine for the project.
1999 - After much planning, design and engineering, the final car, now renamed the Zonda C12 (Changed as a mark of respect for Juan Manuel Fangio who had passed away) was presented to the world at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
2005 - The Italian supercar manufactuer announced that they planned to triple their production output within the next three years and at the same time tackle and conquer the US market by 2007.
Pagani still remains an independent company, however now has close working relationships with the likes of Daimler-Chrysler and AMG. Mercedes AMG develops and supplies all the companies V12 engines. Over the last years the company has yearned for more and more power, therefore Zonda has used tuned and re-engineered versions of the Merc M120 V12.
The first supercar was developed using a 6.0 litre engine and has now progressed to a 7.3 version, the same used in the SL65 AMG. The company, however hasn't limited itself, they were also part of the development of the new Chrysler ME Four-Twelve.


Pagani's sole car is powered by an AMG tuned V12 DOHC and is mid-mounted. This particular Mercedes engine is exclusively used on this car. The Supercar's aerodynamic design was due to inspiration of two things - The fighters planes of the Airforce and the famed Sauber-Mercedes Silver Arrow Group C cars. The Zonda is deemed one of the worlds best supercars ever, epitomized by its stylized exhaust pipe.
Zonda models and engine sizes
C12 6.0 L (5987 cc)
C12 S 7.0 L (7010 cc)
C12 S 7.3 L (7291 cc)
C12 S Roadster
C12 S Monza
GR (racing car)
Zonda F
Roadster F
Future classics
The Italian super car manufacturer have already announced that a new model dubbed the C9, this will be powered by AMG's next gen V12. The engineers on the project are aiming 627 lb ft. of torque are will be using a new Bosch TCS system ( Traction Control System). In addition the the C9 will feature full active aerodynamics.
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Noble history

(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

UK supercars

Noble cars a very specialist car company based in the UK, producing outstanding and very quick cars with the hand finished touch, by select craftsmen and specialists. A range of sportscar with a realistic price tags usually powered by such engines as the Ford Mondeo 2 Litre with the addition of two Turbos.
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Lotus Exige GT3

(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Exige GT3

On the 2nd of December 2005 at the annual FIA GT Championship presentation ceremony in Monte Carlo in Monaco, a new Exige prototype was unveiled. This car was designed for one main reason, to enter in the FIA series. A series of races for race cars that have power to weight ratio equally, and also a direct lineage to their road car versions.
The Exige GT3 was developed by Lotus Sport, the auto itself is a single seater prototype and with the aid of the performance division engineered to a high spec from the original model.

A new car

It weighs only 750 kg, and strictly sticks to Colin Chapman's philosophy of "performance through light weight". It utilises a race prepared 1.8 2ZZ-GE VVTL-i engine and a Roots supercharger with an air to air intercooler which uses the Lotus T4e ECU to produce 285 bhp @ 7,800 rpm. This creates a power to weight ratio of 380 bhp / tonne or 2.6 kg / PS.
Like the standard Lotus Exige, the GT3 is kitted out with the award-winning light weight aluminium bonded chassis, as well as light weight 5-spoke forged alloys, carbon panels, revised high downforce aerodynamics with added race front splitter and adjustable rear wing made from Carbon fibre. The car even has FIA approved 6-point roll cage, ignition kill switches, uprated suspension & brakes and with 3-way adjustable Öhlins dampers. and the whole thing is complimented by Lotus sequential 6 speed gearbox, and data logging system.
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Lotus Esprit

(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)

Lotus Esprit


Since the release of the 1st Lotus Esprit in 1976 till present day and the release of the new model in 2008, the car has been an Icon worthy of Hollywood films and real car drivers.
Esprit (1976 - 1980)
The Lotus Esprit was first shown to the world in 1974 as as a car style project by famed Italian design studio Giugiaro Design. The show car was so successful, and received instant enquiries, that Lotus took the successor to the Europa into immediate production. The Esprit had a Glass-Fibre body, steel chassis with backbone and specifically engineered 907 multi-valve engine this was mounted in the middle, each wheel was fitted with independent suspension, a real trademark for the first Esprits.
Esprit Turbo (1981 - 1987)
The 2nd mark used a turbocharger utilising technology learnt from track racing and applied, this saw a power increase to 210 bhp from a 2.2 litre engine. The Turbo Esprit was uprated also with rear suspension & stronger chassis. The Lotus's styling was even enhanced a deeper front spoiler and taller rear spoiler, this enhanced the cars handling at higher speeds. The Esprit Turbo was now able to reach 0-60 mph in 6 secs and 150 mph Top speed. The power was increased to 215 bhp in 1986 with the addition of the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection used on such cars as the Golf GTI. The designer Burt Rutan was contracted by Lotus to make a prototype 2-seat ultralight car whilst Chapman developed a small lightweight engine. The project was never finished before Colin Chapmans death.

Turbo (1988 - 1989)

The Lotus Esprit gave up its original lines of Giugiaro and was given a complete makeover including curved and softer lines. The Lotus esprit interior was also redone all the electrical system was completely overhauled with wiring, switches gauges and central locking. In 1989 the car was given an ECU with Delco base components. The original bhp was increased 228 bhp, even the 0-60 times were reduced to a quicker 5.2 secs the increase made the Lotus Esprit capable of reaching 155 mph. To handle the power increase a Renault built 5 speed gearbox was fitted. The Esprit SE came after with the overall power of the increased 280 bhp this was aided by a Lotus developed Chargecooler & enhanced ECU which utilises 6 fuel injectors. The Esprit SE was fitted with a deeper frontal air dam & rear wing. The 0-60 time fell to around 4.5 seconds and top speed around 165 mph. In 1991 three Esprit variations were produced, the standard Turbo SE, the Jim Clark Esprit version, and the X180R a street legal version of the racing car.
Esprit S4 & S4s (1994-1995)
The S4 was an iconic milestone for Lotus. The Exterior was changed new front and back bumpers, valances, new sidepods, rear wing mounted in the middle, and 17 inch rims were added.
The interior received a larger passenger area and airbag then power assisted steering increasing the Lotus cars refinements. In 1995 the Esprit S4 was added to with the intro of S4s. An aggressive looking car with sleek more aggresive rear wing providing the extra downforce needed. The turbocharger was uprated, this increased the S4s to 300 bhp, the car was given racing suspension shocks and springs. The car was capable of reaching 165 mph and 4.6 seconds 0-60 mph time.
Le Mans / Lotus GT1 Esprit (1996)
In 1996 a new version of the Esprit was unveiled on the Paul Richard racing circuit for the 1st race of the GT series, the GT1. It ran a V8 Lotus engine, a six-speed racing gearbox, Formula 1-style aerodynamics, carbon brakes, down to the min weight limit of 900 kg. The Esprit GT1 performed well, but was forced to retire due to a fractured exhaust.
1997 saw the release of the V8 a compact, light but powerful 3.5 litre V8 twin turbo charged. The car became the fastest road legal Esprit - 0 to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds max speed 180 mph, the car adopted a new found supercar status.
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