• The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth Now Available

    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth is a new and limited edition model in the Sport Heritage range. It teams the Japanese company with a famous name from the car world. Abarth was originally founded in 1949, and has specialised in small sports cars for 60 years, including being featured as the sportier end of the FIAT brand.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    The 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Abarth already sponsors the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team and supplies a number of specialist vehicles as part of that relationship. So it seems only right that Yamaha honour them by producing a total of 695 bikes with some exclusive lightweight parts.

    Typically for a factory special, the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth features the standard 950cc three-cylinder engine with traction control and slipper clutch. But what it does gain is a full lightweight Akrapovic exhaust system with titanium double slip-on silencer. So that will help acceleration a bit, as well as making you sound faster.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Just running in the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth

    Also helping you feel faster is a sportier riding position, thanks to swallow ‘clip-on’ style handlebars and the single racing seat. It’s finished with a suede cover and red stitching. And the seat cowl is one of the new lighweight carbon parts which feature the Abarth logo, along with the carbon front mudguard.

    Online order registrations opened on January 17th with the first 95 customers getting an invitation to an exclusive Yamaha VIP Abarth Experience, along with their choice of companion. The events will be confirmed when the new owners finish their purchase, and will take place between May 1st and June 16th 2017 at circuits in Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria and the UK.

    Each event includes the chance to test drive a range of Abarth vehicles on the circuit, take a drive with a professional racing driver, and also be given the chance to visit Abarth’s Turin headquarters by prior appointment throughout 2017.

    Once the initial 95 models of the 2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth have gone, the remain 600 are available to order from your local Yamaha dealer from April 2017. And to be fair, you’ll have as much fun on the road or track on the XSR900 as you would in any car.

    Then again, if you do appreciate small, four-wheeled vehicles, then you might like the fact Abarth have also procuded a concept car to match the bike. The 695 Tributo XSR has the same grey and red livery, an extensive array of carbon fibre, and also gets an Akrapovic exhaust system.

    2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth and Car

    It’s just a shame they haven’t produced a matching motorcycle trailer and made it all available as a set!

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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  • CADILLAC RACING: BACK ON TRACK!

    Cadillac’s all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R racecar will compete in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, Prototype (P) class.

    The Cadillac DPi-V.R will first be driven competitively at the 2017 IMSA season opener – the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29, 2017. Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing teams will field it. IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the fastest and most technologically advanced sports car racing series in North America.

    “Cadillac is proud to return to the pinnacle of prototype racing in North America after a 14-year absence,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “Cadillac’s V-Performance production models – the ATS-V and CTS-V – are transforming our brand’s product substance, earning a place among the world’s elite high-performance marques. The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”

    The DPi-V.R has been designed to contribute to the functional performance of the prototype using elements gleaned from the current lineup of Cadillac V-Performance models, especially the CTS-V. The racecar is equipped with the new Rear Camera Mirror, first seen on the Cadillac CT6 Sedan and available on the 2017 Cadillac CTS, XT5 and Escalade.

    “The DPi-V.R racecar was an exciting new canvas for the Cadillac design and sculpting team,” said Andrew Smith, Global Cadillac Design executive director. “The studio embraced the opportunity to interpret the Cadillac form language, line work and graphic signature for this premier prototype racing application.”

    Design details giving the DPi-V.R car its distinctive Cadillac appearance and presence include the vertical lighting signature; the sheer, sculptural quality of the body and bold bodyside feature line. Plus, V-Performance wheels, Brembo brakes, V-Performance emblems, and a canopy graphic inspired by the Cadillac “daylight opening.” Even subtle cues such as the cooling vents and the air intake were designed in the studio, the latter in the trapezoidal shape of the Cadillac crest.

    A, race-prepped, naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that shares architecture with Gen III Cadillac CTS-V (640 horsepower) and Gen V Cadillac Escalade (420 horsepower) engines, powers the DPi-V.R. The engine produces approximately 600 horsepower when tuned for racing as defined by IMSA-mandated air restrictors, with a maximum allowable rpm of 7,600. The engine transfers power to the rear wheels through an X-TRAC paddle-shift transmission.

    Cadillac and its designers collaborated with key partners including chassis builder Dallara, teams from Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing and ECR Engines to prepare the 6.2-liter V-8-powered Cadillac DPi-V.R over the past year.

     

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  • HOT CARS, HOT SALES, HOT PANTS!

    Jim Palam delivers some auction sizzle from Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas, 2016.

    With more than $32.5-million in total sales, the Barrett-Jackson 2016 auction machine, October 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, was cookin’ with high-octane. If you missed the show or the extensive television coverage, here’s a look at some hot picks from Car Guy Chronicle’s correspondent on the Left Coast.

    Originally a Shriner’s Parade vehicle, this restored ‘23 Dodge Graham chemical fire truck, top, now sports a shiny fire bell and blown 426 Hemi motor. Hammer Price: $93,500. Bombshell Betty is a ‘52 Buick Super Riviera racecar that holds six World Land Speed Records. A brutish ‘50 Buick Straight-8 powers this Steampunk hottie with a rocket-induction custom intake manifold from Hart’s Collision-Racing Shop. Hammer Price: $36,300.

    No clowning around: Hot Rod Circus is a not-so-tame ’30 Ford Model A custom coupe built in Finland by Heath Garage and captured by Richard Rawlings for a Barrett-Jackson flip via Gas Monkey Garage. Hammer Price: $49,500.

    Q: What do you get when the gang at Intense Automotive Design rebuilds a 550-horsepower Mosler MT900S Supercar? A: The IAD 2,500-horsepower Twin-Turbo Land Shark – capable of a sizzling 0-150 mph in 6.7 seconds. Wind tunnel and computer tests show a possible top speed of 375 mph! Hammer Price: The auction’s #4 top seller at $220,000.

    How hot is this custom ‘65 Plymouth Belvedere Wagon? Hot enough to make the cover of Hot Rod Magazine – and cool enough to run a Vortec supercharged 360 Magnum engine.
    Hammer Price: $22,000.

    Fordvergnügen: The fun you have spending over $90,000 and 2 years customizing a ‘75 VW Super Beetle convertible! Features include a 1,835-cc engine, radiant PPG Metallic Orange Glow paint, and frenched ’39 Ford headlights and taillights. Hammer Price: $20,900.

    Light My Fire! Here’s a flammable combination: Drop a 550-horsepower Chevy engine in an all-steel ‘49 Ford Anglia custom coupe. Add a Demon carb, TCI Turbo 350 trans and a 9-inch Ford rear. Wrap it all up in a blaze of fiery paint and hit the ignition! Hammer Price: $39,600.

    Remember Hot Pants? These slivers of 1970s style are alive and well in Vegas, Baby.
    Hammer Price: Undisclosed.

    How to cool down: Three days of Auction Fever can leave you punchy and parched. Thank goodness this cleverly restored ‘26 Boyle-Dalton visible gas pump was on the floor and customized into a one-of-a-kind Texaco beer pump. Hammer Price: $10,925.

    Words & Photos: Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/
    For more information about Barrett-Jackson auctions, please visit http://www.barrett-jackson.com/Events/Event/Home/Scottsdale-2017/5a0b6fec-3238-4bae-baba-7d93140cba83

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  • 150 MG cars at Arundel Castle

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    It was the MG Rally at Arundel Castle in West Sussex on Sunday 19 April 2015 with over 150 cars on show, ranging in age from the late 1920s to the modern day MGF sports models on the Lower Lawns in the Castle grounds.

    Bryan McDonald, Castle Manager, comments: “We were delighted to welcome the MG Owner’s Club back to Arundel Castle for 2015. The MG Rally’s display of perfectly preserved vehicles is always a favourite with our visitors.

    To further enthuse classic car aficionados, Arundel Castle has introduced three more new events for 2015 including:

    • Jaguar Day on Sunday 05 July
    • Classic Cars Gathering on 12 July
    • MG Car Club – SVW Register on 09 August

    Here’s some pictures from the day…

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