Together with its predecessor the 500K, the magnificent Mercedes-Benz 540K was arguably the most noteworthy production model offered by the Stuttgart firm during the 1930s.
A development of the 500K, whose independently suspended chassis it shared, the 540K was powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged straight-8 engine. The 540K featured the company’s famous Roots-type supercharger system, in which pressing the accelerator pedal to the end of its travel would engage the compressor.
Launched at the Paris Salon in October 1936, the Read More
The 330 GTC debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966 and was intended to fill a gap in Ferrari’s line-up between the four-seat 330 GT 2+2 and the racer-on-the-road 275 GTB. Later that year, the open-top 330 GTS was introduced at the Paris Salon.
The 330 GTS features a 4-liter, 300-hp version of Ferrari’s familiar 2-cam, 60-degree V12, mated with a 5-speed all-synchromesh transaxle. Testing a 330 GTS Spyder in 1968, Road & Track magazine found the fully sorted, Read More
Big changes at GM for 1970 included the end of the corporate edict forbidding engines larger than 400 cubic inches in its intermediate models. Chevrolet’s “big-block” V8 was enlarged to 454 ci and formed the basis of the LS6 option, intended to help Chevrolet wrest control of Super Stock drag racing from Chrysler.
The redesigned 1970 Chevelle SS was the perfect platform for the LS6 engine, which was underrated at 450 hp and 500 ft-lb of torque. It was backed Read More
After 1973, Americans had to get used to pressing their faces against the glass and watching the Europeans get all the good stuff, beginning with the Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS and BMW 3.0 CSL. Even entertaining cheap stuff like the MG B V8 and Triumph Dolomite were forbidden. It seemed destined to be no different when VW launched the hot version of its new Golf sub-compact, the GTI, in 1976.
With more horsepower and a stiffer suspension, the GTI Read More
The advantages of four-wheel drive had been shown at Indianapolis in 1967, and George Bignotti sought to profit by combining it with the Ford V8 in 1968. He bought a single four-wheel-drive Lola with Ford V8 power for Al Retzlaff, to be driven by Al Unser. It was this car. In the 500, Unser qualified the 4WD Lola outside the second row in sixth position but crashed on lap 40 when a spindle broke. After being repaired in England, it Read More
Alfa Romeo’s first all-new offering of the post-war period arrived in 1950. Designed by Dr. Orazio Satta Puliga and intended for volume production, the 1900 was the first Alfa to employ unitary construction and-in keeping with the company’s sporting heritage-was powered by a twin-overhead-camshaft engine. The 4-cylinder unit displaced 1,884 cc and produced 90 hp, an output sufficient to propel the four-door saloon to 93 mph.
Although ostensibly a humble family conveyance, the 1900 was endowed with sporting credentials that Read More
Porsche revived the Carrera name for its top-of-the-range 911 in 1972-73. Designated Carrera RS (Rennsport), the newcomer was intended as a limited-edition “homologation special” to enable the factory to enter Group 4 competition in the Special GT class, with a minimum build requirement of 500. However, the demand for this fabulous car proved so great that the production run was later extended by another 1,300-or-so units, qualifying the RS to also compete in Group 3, which it would dominate. The Read More
Surprisingly, 50% of all Ferraris produced by the mid-1960s were built with four seats.
The 365 GT 2+2 was launched at the Paris Salon in October 1967. Sleekly styled in the manner of the limited-edition 500 Superfast, the 365 GT 2+2 was the most refined Ferrari to date.
Based on the contemporary 330 GTC, the chassis was made of Ferrari’s familiar combination of oval and round steel tubing. Developing 320 hp in its 365 GT incarnation, the well-proven 4.4-liter V12 Read More
Ford’s classic 1932 roadster, better known as “the Deuce,” is the quintessential hot rod. Great-looking, with timeless lines, light weight, especially when shorn of its fenders, equipped with a souped-up Ford flathead developing three to four times its original output, and transmitting that power through a 3-speed top-loader with a Lincoln-Zephyr close-ratio cluster, this historic roadster, and many like it, were enthusiastically raced at California’s dry lakes and later at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Top speeds of over 130 mph Read More
Although it’s hard to believe today, BMW nearly didn’t survive the late 1950s and 1960s. Thirsty and expensive Baroque sedans, the hard-to-find V8-powered 507 sports car (253 built), and the tiny egg-shaped Isetta wasn’t really a formula for success.
The “New Class” 1,500-cc sedans of 1962, which led directly to the 2002 and a successful series of 2,500-, 2,800-, and 3,000-cc sedans and coupes, changed that, in rapid succession. Perhaps the crown jewel of BMW’s renaissance was the E9 coupe-better Read More