Legendary automaker Ferrari is celebrating their 70th anniversary this year and the red carpet was rolled out in New York City’s Rockefeller Center to showcase some of the beautiful vehicles created through the years. It’s rare to see so many cars displayed in one place in Manhattan – space comes at a premium, so car shows and even this past summer’s Formula e races are generally relegated to the humbler outer boroughs. Million dollar babies such as these keep their appearances to the refinement of an exclusive concours d’elegance, so this was quite the treat for tourists and the few stalwart New Yorker Ferrari fans who braved the throngs to stare at the cars and dream. Front and center was the new LaFerrari Aperta, the new limited-edition special series hybrid with a v12 engine. The exhibit was capped on both ends by race cars; on the south end, the 2017 488 Challenge, and the north end, F2001 Chassis #211 raced by the legendary driver Michael Schumacher, and winner of the Monaco and Hungarian Grand Prixes (in 2001). Enough typing – you really just want to see the Ferrari porn.
A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to spend some time with a special car that had just been restored by our friends at Legendary Motorcar, a 1966 Ford GT40 Mk1 road car.
Not just any GT40 (as if there were such a thing), chassis number P/1028 has a unique Canadian history. The first road car delivered to North America, P/1028 did a short stint as a test car in Michigan before being put into service as a PR vehicle. You know, the vehicles that are sent out to auto journalists to flog. It also found its way onto the pages of Mechanix Illustrated and Playboy.
The car was sent north, to the care of Comstock Racing Team Manager Paul Cooke, where it was to be used to build buzz for the team’s P/1037. Cooke, who was on hand when the freshly restored car was unveiled at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, says that P/1038 lived in his Toronto garage during that time. It was his job to ensure that the car was visible at events all over, so Cooke drove it to media events, restaurants and the like during the week. Come race weekends, Cooke and the GT40 would arrive at host tracks a few days early in order for the local press to have a go at the exotic machine.
Shelby specialist Peter Klutt, owner of Canadian restoration house Legendary Motorcar, says that he actually wasn’t aware of the P/1028’s Canadian connection when the car was acquired. It wasn’t until the restoration began that the early history became apparent.
Not only was P/1038 the first North American road car, but it was the only one to be fitted with a full host of creature comforts like air conditioning and leather trim, making it truly a one of a kind car.
When the time came to send the car back to Ford, Cooke requested first right of refusal should the car ever go up for sale. That time came later, when Cook says he was deeply involved with a team that was racing McLaren cars in the Can-Am series. The asking price was around $2,500 at the time, which Cooke felt was a bit too steep to justify the purchase, so he let it go.
Last night at the Mecum Auction in Monterey, P/1028 sold for a whopping $4.4 Million.
Talk about the one that got away!
Mecum Auctions lot description
GT40 no. P/1028
Built at the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, P/1028 was the first road car delivered to North America. When P/1028 landed at the Ford Division headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, it was briefly used as a test and evaluation car on Ford’s test track. Shortly after, it served as Ford North America’s official Promotional GT40.
In many ways, these early road cars were production racing coupes slightly converted for the street, but they still carried many of their competition features, including only driver-side seat support, two fuel pressure gauges, battery-mount brackets in passenger foot well, lighter fiberglass, etc. At the same time, they developed P/1028 to be as comfortable and luxurious as possible to show the U.S. market, and it is the only GT40 outfitted this way. Fully optioned and fitted with leather upholstery and trim, padded dash, air conditioning, centered rearview mirror, heated windscreen and luggage boxes. In addition, the build sheet noted “undersealed chassis” and a “High Performance” 289 with a single Holley 4-barrel carburetor and Sunbeam Tiger air cleaner and rated at a healthy 335 HP. Using the same ZF 5-speed gearbox as the race GT40s, the road cars employed special exhaust silencers, softer brake pads and shock absorbers that were 25-percent softer than the race units. Making these road cars much more suitable for the street, still, the road coupes were capable of astounding performance, very similar to the production racing coupes.
Before P/1028 left Ford to go on its promotional tour, a series of photos were taken at Ford’s styling studio dated 3/9/1966 showing just more than 1,000 miles on the odometer. The first stop on the promotional tour was to the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. It was paraded around the event all weekend and was parked in the pit lane prior to the race, for spectators to get a closer look. After Sebring, the GT40 traveled through the United States to dealerships, car shows and exhibits. In the July edition of “Playboy” magazine, P/1028 appeared in a four-page spread discussing the car. Its next magazine appearance was in “Mechanix Illustrated,” September 1966, where Tom McCahill tested the GT40 at Ford’s test track in Dearborn.
After six months of traveling around the United States, P/1028 was sent to Comstock Racing in Toronto, Canada to continue its promotional outings in Canada. Comstock Racing was Canada’s most successful racing team and had a great relationship with Ford and Shelby. On one occasion, Ken Miles was loaned to Comstock to race the group’s 289 Cobra at Mosport. P/1028 followed around Comstock’s Racing Coupe P/1037, and the rest of the Comstock racing team for the remainder of the 1966 season, traveling to tracks like St. Jovite, Mosport, Westwood, Watkins Glen and more. There is film of Eppie Wietzes driving P/1028 around St. Jovite during the Can-Am weekend, where it was used as the pace car.
After the 1966 season ended in Canada, P/1028 was shipped to Kar-Kraft, painted blue and was used as a Ford VIP car for Ford Executive Fran Hernandez. Sometime in 1967, P/1028 was finally sold to its first owner David Tallaksen a former 12 Hours of Sebring class winner. By 1969, the GT40 made its way to Monterey Historics founder Steve Earle and was featured in “Sports Car Graphic” magazine. After spending time with another California owner, P/1028 was purchased by the Schroeder family of Burbank in 1975. During their stewardship, the car was relatively frequently shared with the public. It was repainted in the famous Blue-and-Orange Gulf livery for a Gulf television ad in 1981 and was then displayed at the Justice Brothers Racing Car Museum in Duarte, California. It was exhibited at the 2003 Monterey Historic Races marking Ford’s Centennial.
After nearly 40 years of ownership, P/1028 was sold and a complete ground-up restoration was started. After completely disassembling the car, everyone was happy to find an extremely original car, the way an approximate 11,000 original mile car with an undersealed chassis should be. The original metallichrome silver paint was found under the Gulf, and dark blue layers of paint, almost all of the hard-to-find original pieces that came off the car for the Gulf commercial came with the car in boxes, and as Ronnie Spain states, “it is impossible to get a cleaner bill of health than this as far as originality of a GT40 chassis is concerned.” With the help of Ronnie Spain, Mark Allen, Jay Cushman and Graham Endeacott, Legendary Motorcar was able to finish P/1028 to an extremely high level of detail, sourcing as many original parts, pieces and material as possible. Today, P/1028 looks the exact same way it rolled down to the pits in Sebring 50 years ago. Between the historical significance, originality and quality of restoration, P/1028 is certainly one of the most important road-going GT40s in existence, and it is publicly for sale for the first time in its life.
Last year, I got to experience Castrol® EDGE® Virtual Drift with Matt Powers using the Oculus Rift headset. in 2016, the Titanium Trials are back with two new videos to launch Castrol® EDGE® Supercar Oil, pushing the limits of cars, virtual reality tech, and, of course, Castrol EDGE.
If you’re lucky enough to have ever seen the Koenisgsegg One:1 or the Aston Martin Vulcan in person, you know that they are breathtaking vehicles. On the track they are phenomenal supercars; this time, they teamed up with REWIND for a different sort of virtual reality – to have drivers Christoffer Nygaard and Darren Turner race against themselves in the supercars on a virtual version of the Ascari race track in Spain. Nygaard, a test driver for Koenigsegg and Turner, a two-time Le Mans winner, were recorded in virtual sessions on the simulator. The data was then combined to create their top virtual lap, ultimately racing their Clone Rivals on the real 5.435km track.
Aston Martin Vulcan:
SEMA 2015 has come, and after exhaustively walking around and around and around the Las Vegas Convention Center while not having even seen a quarter of it, it has gone. Dealers, builders, salespeople, OEMs, racing teams, equipment manufacturers, grease monkeys, designers, inventors – and of course, the media – converge in the brightly lit oasis of vice in the middle of the desert the first week of November. If there was a theme this year, it was most definitely trucks. Between the smoke from Vaughn Gittin Jr. drifting around Ford Out Front and the equally voluminous plumes emitted from the lungs of posing vapers, it was all about the trucks. Even the DUBB section of outside lot was conspicuously devoid of quantities of low riders, donks, and the blinged-out tuners its known for, instead full of lifted and accessorized pickups.
Chevrolet kicked off the reveals Monday night with a slew of beefy Camaros including the Gen Six COPO Camaro introduced by NHRA Camaro Funny Car driver Courtney Force. The piece de resistance was the Silverado 3500HD Kid Rock Concept, with none other than Kid Rock himself on hand to talk about how he collaborated with Chevy on the over-the-top 4WD dually.
Friday’s drive-out was led by legendary Chip Foose driving the 1965 Chevrolet Impala Impostor. Impostor, because it’s a meticulous build of an Impala-like body on a C6 Corvette. Cars cruised out to a lot across Paradise Road for the SEMA Ignited afterparty.
In its sophomore year, Friday Night’s SEMA Ignited was much more pulled-together this year. Gone was the tedious center-stage viewing of the awkward take-and-re-take of Builder’s War hosts, replaced by a better organized car show, a greater number of food truck vendors, and a larger track that kept a busier shedule. With Jerod DeAnda of Formula D and Red Bull Global Rallycross MC-ing, SEMA had a stable of Formula Drift drivers – Odi Bakchis, Ryan Tuerck, Michael Essa, Robbie Nishida, Dean Kearney, Daigo Sato, and Vaughn Gittin Jr. to name a few – out every hour for drifting demos.
On the half hour, ride-alongs were available in some of the tuned Mustangs from Ford Out Front, making SEMA Ignited a great bookend to the car girl or guy’s dream week to the massive trade show in Vegas.
Celebrating its 20th year, the 2015 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance once again set up circles of gorgeous cars and motorcycles in the Connecticut town’s Roger Sherman Baldwin Park. Held over two days – American cars on Saturday and International cars on Sunday – the family-friendly drew crowds keen on looking over the now-classic BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and so many other marques. The Grand Marshal for 2015 was none other than James Glickenhaus, familiar to car people and Concours attendees as a frequent exhibitor of cars from his collection and as the owner of the singular Pininfarina-designed P4/5.
This year, severe thunderstorms threatened the Sunday show, and the parade of cars was moved up an hour in a bid to beat the rain. The rain won the race however and a downpour caused delays, but the majority of the stalwart New Englanders stuck it out and stayed for the eventual passing of the storm.
With a little bit of everything, over the two days the featured automobiles range from the year 1896 to present-day super cars. One wonderful aspect of the Greenwich Concours is the collection of curious and quirky cars that participate annually. There is always at least one Eastern Bloc automobile entered; previous years have included a Russian Volga, Lada, and even an East German Trabant. This year’s Cold War entry was just as fascinating – a 1985 Zil 41045. Part of the Kremlin fleet this plush, armored, and oh-so-80’s stretch limo was decked out with fancy carpeting, leather seats, sirens, and a car phone. Behold the Car of The Party. (h/t to Serge A. for that phrase.)
Several other cars of note include the 1964 Nissan Cedric, and – yes, this splendid Datsun 280Z is certainly Concours-worthy.
Ever hear of a Puma? It’s a Brazilian car, this one a 90 hp GTS Spider from 1980.
Every car on the lawn in Greenwich has a story, and Steve McQueen’s custom 450 hp 4×4 Dune Buggy “Baja Boot” led the parade of cars.
The People’s Choice Award was won by the 1954 MG TF Roadster owned by Keith & Brenda Murphy, and Best In Show was won by Andrew Benenson’s 1951 Cisitalia 202C Cabriolet.
There are those who are fortunate to be able to afford super expensive, ultra exotic, sports cars, who believe that they should be displayed and not driven. Some of these folks will bring their babies out to car shows or the occasional cruise through the ritzy part of their city before having their detailer clean them up and return them to their cocoon. Then, there are those that use them as their makers intended.
Or sometimes, not exactly how their maker intended, in the case of Tax The Rich 100. These characters have access to a wide variety of exotic cars and gleefully beat the living snot out of them while creating glorious videos of the action.
Their latest is just 57 seconds long, but in that time they manage to bring a Jaguar XJ220 to life in all its flaming glory. I’ll bet you can’t just watch it once!
This is the sharper, more focused version of the Grancabrio; equipped with more power, adaptive suspension, faster gear changes and added loudness.
The Sport is propelled by the same engine that resides beneath the elegantly long bonnet of the regular Grancabrio and Granturismo (the coupe) but has been tuned to serve up even more power.
The Ferrari-sourced 4.7 litre V8 transmits its 450 horses to the rear wheels through the standard car‘s ZF gearbox, which has also been ’breathed on‘ to reduce gear changes by half. All of this combines to permit a 0 to 62 time of 5.2 seconds.
At the risk of being accused of overstatement, this car is almost improbably beautiful and simultaneously aggressive. It‘s all elegant lines and perfectly placed bulges, not to mention a pair of the nicest hips in the business sitting low on 20-inch graphite wheels. Stand back, gaze at it for a second and you‘ll realise that it‘s a striking machine from any angle.
I‘d tested the coupe version, the Granturismo Sport last year and couldn‘t get enough of it but this car had added appeal; as the name would suggest, it‘s a soft top. And it was red.
Selecting Sport mode does many things that are beyond my understanding. The entire car becomes even more taut and lively by remapping induction, ignition, damping but most importantly, it gets louder.
Starting it from cold will give you a satisfying enough sound but as your hand inevitable strays to the Sport button, a relatively refined idle becomes a guttural growl, then a sharp bark when you dip the throttle. A cacophony of pops on the overrun will then widen your grin. All of this gets better when the Grancabrio is introduced to tarmac.
I got myself installed behind the ’wheel and into the supportive seats. The ride is refined and the cabin is surprisingly well insulated from road and wind but thankfully not the delights produced by induction and exhaust. It will cruise contentedly for as long as you want it to and you‘ll be perfectly comfortable.
However, you‘ll get the most out of this car on fast, clear A roads with the roof down. It was still a bit nippy so I had my seat heater on maximum.
Gearing down from almost any speed will produce blinding acceleration and at the first set of good bends, you‘ll experience the tremendous grip at all four corners.
Point the car in and you‘ll be rewarded with accuracy, apply some good throttle on the exit and you‘ll feel a touch of movement from the back wheels.
An intuitive traction system ensures that even the most ignorant of drivers can convince themselves that they have talent. If there‘s even the slightest hint of body-roll, the Grancabrio Sport will not bother telling you about it.
Run out of road and the huge discs and calipers will heave the big car down from the most impossible of speeds without any drama.
This is a superbly balanced car and Maserati has not achieved this by accident. A lot of attention has been given to things like mounting the gearbox at the rear, counter-balancing the mid-front positioned engine, lowering the suspension and stiffening the springs and dampers. All of this has been dialled into this sport-focused car but without the loss of any of its character or unquantifiable Italian flair.
I was left with the feeling that this was not simply a GT convertible and not quite a supercar but a fine blend of both. The Sport is blisteringly quick, accurate and sounds fantastic if it‘s a tool for a couple of hours of fun but is also impeccably behaved and supremely comfortable on longer hauls.
This is a car that any manufacturer would be proud of but isn‘t – because they haven‘t built it. However, Maserati has and I always expected it to be this good.
Another week, another supercar smoked by a car jockey. This time, the scene is a hotel in Monaco and the victimized machine is a Lamborghini Aventador. It would appear that after successfully backing the bull into a parking spot, the valet gave the throttle a blip, presumably to hear it snort. The only problem was that the semi-automatic seven speed was in gear. The car leaped ahead, right into a Toyota Rav4.
Wrapping up what seems like Ferrari week here in The Garage, let’s start Friday with a quick clip from the blokes at Top Gear, featuring the most unfortunately named Ferrari of all time.
The lads got their hands on the much awaited La Ferrari earlier this week and proceeded to tick off the Ferrari media corps by dropping a tiny teaser video online ahead of the embargo time. That clip was yanked off the web in a hurry and now, a couple of days later they have shared another short video. The visual quality seems to be somewhat less than expected, but the sound is spectacular. I’m still not sure the exhaust note makes up for the name though.
Following yesterday’s destruction of a Ferrari F40 in Toronto, I thought it might be fun to string together a few Ferrari crash videos for your viewing, errr, pleasure.
First up, we have perhaps one of the most infamous Ferrari crash videos, which also happened here in Canada. The scene was Targa Newfoundland and the driver was Calgary’s Zahir Rana. The car was Rana’s FXX, which came to rest in a lake. It was epic.