Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lancia 037 at the Limit

From Oppo.

Citroen - Even Weirder Than You Thought

Tested by Citroen for use in the DS during the early 1960s, this prototype 1,800 CC supercharged two-stroke V4 had - wait for it - a separate 200 CC four-stroke driving the supercharger.

We should all be grateful it never reached series production, as the resultant car would surely have achieved a critical mass of French-ness, destroying all life on earth in a massive explosion of unnecessary complexity and willful, unbridled odd.

More prototype DS engines here.

Tails - R35 GT-R & Gallardo

Wallpaper Wednesday - EA Civic, Car Craft Boon, Osaka

As always, open in new tab for hi-res.

NSX ITB Induction Music at Tsukuba

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

World's Highest Mileage Murciélago Wrecked

Those of you that regularly read evo magazine (those that don't really ought to) will be familiar with contributor Simon George's very early production 2004 Murciélago, commonly referred to 'SG54 LAM' after its registration number.  I'm sad to report that after a monumental 258,098 miles it's been written off in a track day incident late last November.  In a brief 'Fast Fleet' update published in issue 178, George describes the incident in gut-wrenching detail:

'Exiting a chicane the back end stepped out, the traction control couldn't save it and neither could the instructor.  The front offside of the car impacted heavily with the only tree withing 100 metres.  Informed of the incident, I shot out to the scene and, after establishing there were thankfully no serious injuries, it was a good few minutes before I lifted my head from my hands.'

worse than it looks - warped roof indicates a bent chassis

George operates, which rents instructed seat time in various exotics at track venues across the UK.  Business appears to have been brisk, and the fleet has grown to include a 458 Italia, a 599, an R8, various trackday weapons such as an Ariel Atom, Astons, Porsches, a MKII Focus RS, a Gallardo and even a second Murciélago - this time a pearl white LP640.  SG54 LAM, however, is the car that got 6th Gear started, and has also been George's daily driver since he purchased it new way back in September of 2004.  

Because of the car's history, he understandably feels a strong connection to the big orange beast, and has decided to fund its resurrection out-of-pocket, as the car was considered to be totaled by his insurance provider - with a warped roof and bent chassis, this will be no easy task.

gorgeous SG54 LAM in happier times - probably with more miles than my old beater Legacy wagon at this point

The near-tragedy of this unfortunate turn of events is that LAM had just returned, literally days earlier, from an extensive (and expensive - totaling £30k) 'refit and renovation', bringing it back to delivery appearance and mechanical fitness.  The car's been no Corolla reliability-wise, needing (if I recall correctly) two transmission rebuilds, two engine rebuilds (one partial, consisting of top end only) and several other less serious but not insubstantial problems tended to over the years - not a terrible record considering it spends three quarters of its existence on track, put through the paces by drivers of varying degrees of skill and experience, numbering in the thousands over the years.  George, as you'd expect, has a good working relationship with Lamborghini, who believe LAM to be the world's highest mileage Murci.

Though I can empathize with George's heartache, I'm also seriously excited about reading detailed updates of the car's rebirth in the months to come.  I wish him the best of luck, and here's to the next 241,902 miles!

note the mileage - crash happened less than 500 miles after extensive rebuild
Photo credits: evo, Ed Bolian