28 February 2011

Having a Breather

I came across this Mini whilst browsing around on certain car forums. The front mounted carbs and wide arches certainly give this Mini an aggressive feel.

26 February 2011

Coventry Transport Museum: Le Mans Display

A few weeks ago my dad told me that Coventry Transport Museum currently has a Le Mans display on in the main lobby for a limited time, so I went along today with a couple of mates to see what cars they had on display. The selection wasn't huge but it was great to see these cars up close without big crowds like you would find at Silverstone or Goodwood.

Coventry Transport Museum caters for all types of cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes and competition vehicles. I first went when I was around 6 years old and as far as I can remember the museum has always been free. Here is a selection of photos from the Le Mans display.
After we had looked around the Le Mans display we went into the main part of the museum and had a look at the other cars on display. The vehicles ranged from the late 1800s up to today. It was interesting to see the evolution of car design as well as the social and environmental changes over the past 100 years. Some of the older cars had the original purchase price when new on a plinth next to the vehicle and in many cases the cost new was more than a years wages for a typical worker. It goes to show that only the wealthy had the privilege of owning a car, a very different tale when compared to modern times.

Here is a few photos from different areas of the museum.

If you live near Coventry you should look into visiting Coventry Transport Museum as it's a good way to spend a few hours and it's free.

24 February 2011

Manx Rally 1987

I can remember when I was only a few years old my dad showed me a video of the 1987 Manx Rally that he had recorded onto VHS. Having been at such an impressionable age I can remember watching this video all day every day. The only noise you could hear coming out of the living room was the waste gate chatter from s Sierra Cosworth or the evocative exhaust tone from an Audi Quattro.

Sure, Group B was gone and the Group A cars were undermined as being somewhat tame in comparison but seeing any quick car being driven around the Manx is something special. The video below is the exact footage I watched as a small child. I can't help but feel that it's videos like this that shaped my enthusiasm for cars and motorsport.

Weight Transfer

18 February 2011

E92 M3 - Competition Pack

My buddy picked me up in this E92 M3 recently so took the opportunity to take a few photographs. This is the first M3 I have been in and the first thing that struck me was the shear speed in which the car accelerates. The car has an auto box but was incredibly quick when changing up or down. I've noticed on a few performance cars now how the engine management system will blip the throttle when you change down in order to reduce engine braking. If the car were a manual I'd want this feature removing as that is part of the fun about dancing on all three pedals.
The car had an aggressive look about it that can only really be appreciated when up close to it. The huge alloy wheels looked great but also gave a surprisingly good ride.
The car sounded awesome and felt very stable in a wide array of corners as well as general driving around. I can only imagine what this thing would sound like with a full racing exhaust system.
The interior had been finished very nicely with leather bucket seats. I would expect nothing less from the 'M' brand but this car did have a high quality feel to it.

17 February 2011

Lancia Beta Monte Carlo Turbo: 1979 - 1982

Lancia have always been renounced for their huge success within the world rally championship. The Statros, 037, Delta S4 and group A Intergrale have all been hugely successful. As well as competing in rallying, the Stratos and Monte Carlo (037 in Group B format) were used in racing as well.
The Monte Carlo turbo was used in 'Group 5' racing at the end on the 70s where it competed in endurance racing. Due to the racing group regulations all turbo charged cars had a factor of 1.4 applied to the displacement of the engine. As the Monte Carlo had a KKK turbocharged I4 1400 cc power plant that produced 370 bhp the car fell into the 2.0 litre/ 780kg class.
Over the years the Lancia went through a few changes where the power had been increased. The first variant had the 1400cc power plant tweaked to produce 490bhp and the second variant saw the displacement increase to 1773cc. The power didn't increase but the torque was greatly improved.
The 1773cc engine had been developed by Abarth to allow the Lancia to go 'Porsche hunting' but sadly it never made it to the track. Lancia spent more time developing a new car for the 'Group C' class that was due to start in 1982 instead of pursuing the Monte Carlo any furthur. In the few years that the Monte Carlo Turbo was used for competition racing it was very successful and showed that Lancia didn't just dominate in world rallying.