Engine swap-a-bration: Concorso Italiano highlights once-repowered Ferraris

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Ferrari serial number 0438. Photos courtesy Concorso Italiano.

For all their vaunted status and multiple millions they sell for these days, Ferraris were once used cars – yesterday’s news with an engine that in many cases proved a liability rather than another part of the mystique. So while an engine swap in any other car’s past might make for a curiosity, engine-swapped Ferraris qualify for a class all their own at this year’s Concorso Italiano.

As Randy Cook, author of two books devoted specifically to engine-swapped Ferraris – Bowtie Ferraris and Blue Oval, et al, Ferraris – noted, not every vintage Ferrari owner likes to admit that his car once relied on something as common as a Chevrolet or Ford V-8 for power. “Some people do, though some don’t want the notoriety,” he said. “Even when it’s public knowledge, some don’t want it to be publicized.”

Yet Cook has documented 99 instances in which former owners ditched the original Ferrari engine for one either more powerful, more reliable, or more easily serviced: 76 of them using Chevrolet engines, 14 using Ford engines, four using Buicks, two using Offenhausers, and one each using a Chrysler, Mercedes, and Maserati engine. Pretty much all of them occurred in the mid-Fifties through late 1960s.

Cook said he believes still more engine-swapped Ferraris remain undocumented. “My guess is that every one that went to South America had an American engine in it at one point,” he said.

Generally, Cook said, owners of street-driven Ferraris chose to repower their cars following a failure of the original engine. As for Ferraris dedicated to racing, about half got repowered following an engine failure, the rest because another engine was cheaper to maintain or because another engine proved more competitive.

“For example, they could still run the same class with a 5.0-liter Chevrolet engine that they previously ran with the original 3.0-liter Ferrari engine,” Cook said.

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Ferrari serial number 0235.

Noteworthy examples of Ferraris that once relied on something other than Ferrari power include 0666, the first 250 Testa Rossa, which famously sold for $16 million five years ago (and which had a Ford V-8 installed in the mid-1960s); and 0235, a 212 Inter Pinin Farina cabriolet displayed at Paris and Brussels when new (and which later received a Chevrolet V-8).

Almost every engine-swapped Ferrari returned to Maranello power during the price bubble of the late 1980s and early 1990s, largely thanks to collector Dick Merritt, who stockpiled at least two dozen removed Ferrari engines during the years prior. Cook said that, to his knowledge, only one Ferrari remains with its swapped engine still underhood: serial number 1175, the 1959 250 GT Series 1 Pinin Farina coupe that he once owned and that inspired the Concorso class when Tom McDowell spotted it at last year’s event.

Perhaps due to the reluctance of current-day Ferrari owners to address the engine-swap history of their cars, Cook said he and McDowell are still searching for examples to fill the class. Among those slated to appear are the above mentioned serial number 0235 and serial number 0438, a 1954 500 Mondial once powered by a 320hp Corvette V-8.

Concorso Italiano takes place August 20 at Black Horse Golf Course in Monterey Bay, California. For more information, visit Concorso.com.


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Four-Links – electric Ferrari, electric cabover, GMC Twin Six, fastback Grand National

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Servicing a Ferrari can sometimes cost as much as an entirely new car. And then there’s their apparent propensity to catch fire. But out of adversity comes opportunity, and Eric Hutchinson embraced the former to create the latter when he bought a fire-damaged 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS and converted it to electric power using three AC51 HPEVS electric motors good for a combined 465 horsepower. Engine Swap Depot has the details.

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* Another unlikely place for an electric drivetrain? A cabover truck. Yet that’s just what Nissan attempted in 1973 with its EV4-P and EV4-H concept trucks, as we learned from Japanese Nostalgic Car this week.

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* A more typical cabover engine choice might be the GMC Twin Six V-12 of the 1960s, one of the last attempts to wring as much power out of gasoline engine packaging for big trucks before the era of diesel took over. Mac’s Motor City Garage has more on the unusual engine.

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* Speaking (slightly) of appropriateness, how was it ever appropriate that Buick named its Grand National after the stock car racing series but it was Chevrolet and Pontiac’s chassis-mates to the Grand National that got the aerodynamic aids for stock car racing? As one of our readers pointed out earlier this week, one intrepid Grand National owner embarked on a project to rectify that by adding a Monte Carlo Aerocoupe’s rear glass to his GN and making it look factory.

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* Finally, there’s probably no more inspiration to swapping a Volkswagen’s VR6 into a Triumph TR6 than the nameplay, but as we see at Stance is Everything, at least one hot rodder went ahead and built a VR6-powered TR6 anyway.


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Ramapo Concours d’Elegance announces 2016 classes

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A BMW 3.0 CSL and a BMW M1 on the grounds of Ramapo College. Photos courtesy Ramapo Concours d’Elegance.

The inaugural Ramapo Concours d’Elegance took place on the campus of Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, last June 6. As with the Cars and Coffee events that inspired it, the show was a success, raising money to support both Ramapo College and the Hackensack University Medical Center. With the debut event now in the rearview mirror, the Ramapo Concours has announced its classes for 2016.

2015 Ramapo Concours d'Elegance

The Micro Car Class carries over from 2015.

Unlike more traditional concours events, which repeat popular classes and designate a few special or tribute categories each year, the Ramapo Concours features (nearly) all new classes for its sophomore year. Since BMW’s U.S. headquarters is in nearby Woodcliff Lake, and since BMW is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, the Bavarian brand is featured heavily in this year’s festivities, with classes for Rare BMW Models; Early BMW Motorcycles; BMW 2002 – A Brand Icon; and BMW M Cars – New and Vintage. The show’s next class, Micro Cars, will likely be populated with more than a few BMW Isettas, the bubble car (built under license from Italy’s Iso) that kept BMW in the black in the mid to late 1950s. The Micro Car class is the only carry-over from 2015.

2015 Ramapo Concours d'Elegance

2015’s Shelby-Powered Class will be replaced by 2016’s 60s American Muscle.

Rounding out the 2016 event will be 60s American Muscle; Retired Race Cars (open to all years and models); Rally Cars; Lamborghini (all years and models); and Ferrari (all years and models). Each class will be judged for first, second and third place, and additional awards will include the Student Judges Award, the Presenting Sponsor Award, the President’s Award, and, of course, Best in Show.

The 2016 Ramapo Concours d’Elegance will take place on Saturday, June 11, followed by a scenic driving tour of the area on Sunday, June 12, ending at the Thayer Hotel on the grounds of the West Point Military Academy. The tour is open to all, though tickets (which include a catered lunch) must be purchased in advance.

For more details on the 2016 Ramapo Concours d’Elegance, visit RamapoConcours.com.


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"Gran Turismo Sport" trailer shows off awe-inspiring realism

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The march toward Polyphony’s latest installment in its hugely-successful Gran Turismo series has just gotten more exciting.

The game is called Gran Turismo Sport and it’s currently available for pre-order. If you’re a PlayStation owner, you’ll definitely want to do just that judging by the amazing realism and some exotic new locales showed off in this new trailer.

The trailer give us a more thorough taste than before, when the series announced its exciting partnership with the FIA for an online racing league. The trailer also shows off an Alfa Romeo 4C racer, so watch closely. 

Pre-order the game and you’ll get a special car in-game depending on where you’ve bought it.

Special cars for those that pre-order

The freebie cars announced so far have included a Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] Mustang Group B Rally car, a Toyota FT-1 Vision GT Group 3 racign car, and a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1.

One standout versus the regular Gran Turismo games is that all 140 cars available to drive in the game will feature interior cameras with detailed imagery just like a real-life driver would see. 

Additionally, given how technology has advanced, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that Gran Turismo Sport includes compatibility with VR headsets and a mode for 4K screens. The Photo Mode also now lets users place their cars in front of more than 1,000 scenes across the world.

The game is due for release on November 15.

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Source: Motor Authority

Why the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan A Better Sport

There is good news for the next calendar year: The next-gen Lamborghini Huracan will offer that RWD experience. A departure from the first Huracan, which offered AWD, the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 will mark a return to the rear. Why does it matter? As with any new model, even the most pragmatic of test cycles cannot predict everything and every machine can be improved.
[embedded content]The clip above is the official introduction of the Lamborghini Huracan.

The Lamborghini Huracan 610-4 stepped in to fill the rather large shoes of the outgoing Gallardo—the social and non-threatening offering. That is not to say that the Gallardo is not a beast, it simply means it lies somewhere beneath the more extreme brand offerings. The Huracan was developed to serve in that capacity, beneath the more aggressive and powerful Lamborghini Aventador and Veneno machines. Let us take a look at how the next-gen Huracan will measure up:

The 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 at a glance:

  • While the AWD LP 610 car is certainly nothing worthy of a scoff, some drivers found it irritating on the track. The return to a RWD corrects the issues of using an AWD on the track, giving more of the decision-making power back to the driver and away from the computer. Track braking was also a problem area.
  • The RWD LP 580-2 delivers the solution to these woes via the capacity to nail the proper performance figures in admirable times while providing that distinctive and historic Lamborghini driving experience.
  • She hits the 0-60 mile per hour jump a shaving slower than her predecessor, and packs the same healthy 5.2-liter V10 tweaked to grip the back.
  • Further adaptations include the ever-so-slight grill changes. She is also 73 pounds lighter on her wheels thanks to the reduction in equipment feeding the front.

2016 Lamborghini HuracanThe first-gen Lamborghini Huracan in her regular attire.

2016 Lamborghini HuracanThe first-gen Lamborghini Huracan dressed for success. 

Overall, not only is the 2016 Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2 a return to RWD, she is around $30k less than the AWD, making it a win-win.

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What if your next Uber driver picked you up in a Bugatti?

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Requesting an Uber driver is kind of like playing automotive roulette: You never know what you’re going to get.

Odds are good that a Toyota Camry or a Nissan Altima might pop up, but some lucky passengers in Dubai wound up with something much more impressive.

ALSO SEE: M4 driver with death wish drifts through Moscow streets

Instead of an expected Toyota, passengers were picked up by entertainer Coby Persin in a Bugatti Veyron. Like most Veyrons, it wasn’t exactly a subtle one as you’ll see in the video.

Even in Dubai, where supercars are commonplace, a Bugatti as an Uber is certainly out of the ordinary. Persin took over a friend’s account and set off along the sidelines of Sheikh Zayed Road in the rapidly-expanding industrial sector of Dubai not far from the dealership where he picked up the car.

His passengers definitely enjoyed the surprise, with one asking him how fast the car can accelerate. When Persin obliges, the look on her face is pretty much priceless, though that is to be expected in a Bugatti.

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Source: Motor Authority

Mahindra KUV100: An SUV for the Future Types

Mahindra brand of India has been busy creating concepts for their own burgeoning market, including the KUV100 SUV, their entry into the hatchback crossover arena. The company has been slinging images of the newbie around Mumbai and intends to take on competitors like the Ford Figo, Hyundai Grand i10 and Maruti Suzuki WagonR.

Mahindra KUV100Images courtesy of MahindraKUV.com gallery

The Mahindra KUV100 SUV will be offered in both diesel and standard petrol, with no mention of an electric or hybrid offering just yet. The brand launched the TUV300 earlier in the year, which looks very much like an Indian version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Because the swanky new KUV100 is still a concept, it simply looks cooler than its predecessor, but it may appear quite similar in production form—a perhaps smaller version of it. That said, it is important for potential buyers to be realistic about what a concept vehicle is actually going to look like when it hits the market. Automakers spend countless hours and dollars drumming up love for their new offerings– but by the time the actual product emerges, too many hands have had their way and it is often a disappointment in comparison to its promise.

The Mahindra KUV100 is pronounced “One double Oh” and will be rolling out over the next few months as the major auto shows begin to occur. The SUV concept was developed in the company’s own facility in Chennai adhering to global standards and regulations, including those pesky emissions. According to director Pawan Goenka of Mahindra (which is actually named Mahindra & Mahindra, like an egotistical law firm): “We are all set to create a new segment with the launch of the KUV100 which also marks our foray into ground up petrol engines. An ambitious project from the very start, the KUV100, is all set to carve its niche amongst first time car buyers with its unique propositions.”

Mahindra KUV100So…is this what American automakers will be driving while they are living in India making the most of the economic auto boom?

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Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2018 Jeep Wrangler: Car News Headlines

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Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato concept, 2016 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato concept, 2016 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

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Aston Martin teamed up with Italian design house Zagato to develop a new custom creation based on its Vanquish supercar. The result is the stunning Vanquish Zagato which will be on display this weekend at the 2016 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

We’ve just driven Rolls-Royce’s Dawn convertible. It’s soon to be the only convertible in Rolls-Royce’s lineup but fortunately it’s the type of car that’s extremely hard to fault.

A new generation of the Jeep Wrangler bows next year and judging from spy shots posted today it will look a lot like the current JK model. The spy shots show the four-door Wrangler Unlimited but there are also the 2-door Wrangler and a new pickup in the works.

You’ll find all of these stories and more in today’s car news, right here at Motor Authority.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato concept debuts at Villa d’Este

2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn first drive review

2018 Jeep Wrangler Ultimate spy shots

GM to compensate 2016 Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia buyers for misstated MPG

Uber’s autonomous Ford Fusion to hit the roads in Pittsburgh

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS diesel on hold, facing further EPA scrutiny

First look at TVR sports car’s iStream Carbon chassis

2016 Chevrolet Malibu video review

Mazzanti’s latest teaser for EV-R supercar previews aero tech

2016 Mini Cooper Clubman gas mileage review

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BMW sued over i3’s extended-range electric powertrain

2014 BMW i3 REx, Catskill Mountains, New York, Oct 2014

2014 BMW i3 REx, Catskill Mountains, New York, Oct 2014

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BMW has been hit with a class action lawsuit regarding a potential issue afflicting the extended-range version of the automaker’s i3 electric car.

According to the suit, which was filed in a District Court in Los Angeles last week, the extended-range i3, known as the i3 REx, can reduce power to unsafe levels without warning. Here’s what the suit, filed by MLG Automotive Law, has to say:

“If the car is under any kind of significant load (such as going up a hill, or loaded with passengers), the speed of the car will dramatically decrease as the battery charge diminishes.

“The lawsuit alleges that this can result in the car slowing to speeds of 45 miles per hour on the freeway, without warning.”

The reduced acceleration under high-stress, low-charge situations is a problem High Gear Media staff have experienced. The 34-horsepower 2-cylinder range extender (shown above) is simply not powerful enough to maintain the car’s performance in all situations when the battery is depleted.

The cause is due to the i3 REx’s programming that requires it to exhaust essentially all of its battery capacity before the range extender switches on. According to Green Car Reports, this is so the car can qualify as a battery-electric vehicle (BEVx) under California zero-emission vehicle rules.

BMW updated the i3 REx with a software tweak last year. The update included a warning that flashes onto the car’s dash about potentially reduced performance when the car’s battery drops to 2 percent.

MLG Automotive Law says its goal with the suit is for BMW to halt the sale of i3s until they, as well as all existing cars, are “repaired at BMW’s expense.” MLG is also asking for compensation from BMW for each owner. 

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Source: Motor Authority

Mercedes Short Film Introduces Mobility on Land, Water and in the Air

In a new short film, Mercedes celebrates the world premiere of their luxury motor yacht against the picturesque backdrop of the south of France. The Mediterranean coastline offers the perfect, luxury setting for the movie’s protagonists, which include the Arrow460-Granturismo the S-Class Cabriolet and the H145 Mercedes-Benz Style helicopter.

The film illustrates Gottlieb Daimler’s “dream of mobility with the Mercedes star in the three dimensions of land, water and air,” according to a company press release. In addition, these three models were chosen because they “represent the brand’s sensual pure design as well as high standards in terms of luxury, aesthetics and technological perfection,” as stated in the press release.

Check out the video below.

Mercedes-Benz Inventory

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Tupac's 1996 Hummer H1 sells for $337,000

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Shattering pre-sale estimates, a 20-year-old Hummer H1 once owned by slain rapper Tupac Shakur sold recently for $337,114 at auction. That price represents a roughly 700 percent increase over what an H1 not owned by the rapper would sell for today.

RR Auctions, which sold off the Hummer for its current owner, didn’t say who the top bidder was, other than that the person is from the Midwestern United States and that they want their identity to remain confidential.

DON’T MISS: What if your next Uber driver picked you up in a Bugatti?

As such, it is not clear just what is next for the Hummer. It may remain in private, or it may be displayed.

“It’s an incredible piece of hip-hop history that evokes the invincible spirit of one of rap’s true lyrical giants,” said Robert Livingston, Executive Vice President of RR Auction, in a release issued to the media. “We are thrilled at the price achieved and with the continued success of our specialty themed auctions.”

MUST SEE: Car flies through roundabout after driver falls asleep at wheel

The 1996 Hummer was commissioned by Tupac just a few months before he was shot outside a boxing match in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although modest by modern customizing standards, the Hummer boasted a tricked-out interior of leather and burl wood, plus a Clarion audio system with a 12-disc CD changer. That was high-tech back in 1996, and we can only imagine what tunes Tupac pulled up while he was still alive.

After Tupac died, the H1 passed through several owners, but it only shows 10,100 miles on its odometer.

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Source: Motor Authority

Aston Martin Reveals Remarkable Vanquish Zagato Concept

If you find yourself near Lake Como this weekend, it would be worth your while to stop by the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Aside from the scenic venue, Aston Martin will be pulling back the curtain on the new Vanquish Zagato Concept. While it may be impossible to improve upon perfection, Zagato has a knack for building the world’s most beautiful cars. The famed Italian styling house is known for low volume coachbuilding, which means their creations are regularly sought after by collectors.

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The new Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept marks the fifth collaboration between England and Italy, and the four previous builds have been mainstays of our magazine since 1985. One day we will gather together classic Zagato bodied cars for a Throwback Thursday, but for now lets dive into the details of this stunning supercar. Starting with a solid foundation of a 2016 Vanquish, Andrea Zagato and his team did away with several of the body seams and replaced them with one-piece carbon fiber panels.

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“We pride ourselves on our strong partnership and the creation of the Vanquish Zagato Concept was a true shared experience,” says Zagato’s CEO, Andrea Zagato, “it represents the essence of an important design relationship that dates back over fifty years.”

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Our favorite feature of this concept is the roof. The double bubble design slopes down quickly from the cockpit to make the greenhouse appear smaller. Carbon fiber rocker panels and diffusers give the body a ready to race appearance.

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Italian style and attention to detail permeate the interior. Anodized bronze and aniline leather along with Zagato’s trademark Z emblems are just a few of the aesthetic upgrades. Captivating details can be found everywhere you look; so if you find yourself staring for hours don’t say we didn’t warn you. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more coverage of this weekend’s events.

Aston Martins For Sale

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