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Showing posts with label Sportscar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sportscar. Show all posts

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Rare French-made sportscars commissioned by Patrick Veyrat

~Rare ONES~ After talking about many cars so far across time, the story todays will begin with the dream sports car specially made for Patrick Veyrat whose initially collaborated with ARC (Ateliers-Recherche-Création), a Dijon, French based racing car manufacturer founded by Michel Faure. From what we have observed, ranging from the car' name to the maker, it is likely that this French-made sports car of the 1990s is included one of the rare and not widely known by the public.
The ARC Narval Concept is powered by a mid-rear mounted Gordini 1,300 cc (135 hp) engine. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
As quoted of Rare French Sports Car, the first figure is Patrick Veyrat who is known as a creative thinker and funder for the creation of reliable sports cars. He is also very famous as a reliable driver of many Ferrari cars in the past, which then made him obsessed with creating cars like the Ferrari 348 specifically intended for those with high financial capabilities. As self-aware that he does not have the ability and knowledge about engines and design of four-wheeled vehicles, and for this reason he feels need help from ARC to make real his dream car. 
The ARC Narval Concept designed by Michel Faure, and had built in co-operation with Jacques Durand (JIDE). (Picture from: Wikipedia)
On the other hand, as the company principal, Michel Faure was a professional engineer. Which in its early development, the automotive company based in Dijon, France, is known to have started its work as a racing car maker which all started in Michel Faure at young-ages when he built as a project a single seat mid-engined road car around certain race-car principals back in 1960s to 1970s.
The ARC Narval Concept is named after the sword billed whale known as Narwhal in English. (Picture from: Classic and Recreation Sportscar)
This car indeed sets the pattern for many of the sports racing cars to follow. It was called the ARC Narval, named after the sword billed whale known as Narwhal in English. As quoted of Wikipedia, this ARC Narval prototype had built in co-operation with Jacques Durand (JIDE) and is powered by a mid-rear mounted Gordini 1,300 cc (135 hp) engine.
The ARC Narval Concept sets as the pattern for many of the sports racing cars to follow. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
At the time, as a compact team, they seem to have everything ranging from money, vision, knowledge to talent. However, in fact the partnership broke up due to differences in direction, after completing the first two cars. In short, the cooperation is known to have resulted in two targa sports cars named the Veyrat 630 that were launched at the 1990 Paris Car Show.
Michel Faure at young-ages posed along with the ARC Narval Concept's wooden bucks. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
And from the pictures, one of the cars is powered by a PRV (Peugeot-Renault-Volvo) V6 engine. While the red ones was in fact a non-runner model and was then sold to an individual who completed it according to their own specifications.
One of two the Veyrat 630 prototypes commissioned by Patrcick Veyrat to ARC powered by a PRV V6 engine, and were launched at the 1990 Paris Car Show. (Picture from: FrenchAutoMuseum)
Not for long, Veyrat found new partner, Karfex that had experience with single seaters, sports racing cars of JDR and Alfa cup racers. This new models were heavier than the Faure's lightweight version, but by production car standards were still very light for their size and yet they possessed what appear to be rather sturdy chassis that made use of some specialised oval section tubing.
This Veyrat 630 prototype originally a non-runner model and was then sold to an individual who completed it according to their own specifications. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
Meanwhile, the Veyrat car made by Karfex known also as the Opio 630 was very similar in style to those two ARC prototypes, but noticeably had smoother curves than the ARC version, with sharper lines and harder curves. While the engines for these were now the 3 liter SOHC V6 of Alfa Romeo coupled with its 5-speed transaxle sporting few modifications save for a special exhaust system. 
The Veyrat 630 production version or the Opio 630 by Karfex powered by a 3 liter SOHC V6 of Alfa Romeo coupled with 5-speed transaxle, and few modifications save for a special exhaust system. (Picture from: RareFrenchSportscars)
These units produced similar power to the 2.5 litre PRV V6 turbo engine and 39 bhp more than the 3 liter non-turbo ones. However, as mentioned above they were about 30 kg heavier all up with their transverse transaxle, but more compact for mid-engine packaging.
The Veyrat 630 as the ARC further version named ARC Ellipse taken by Michel Faure down its original design. (Picture from: FrenchAutoMuseum)
In the mean time, back at the ARC cars, in which Faure takes the car version down its original route, and now powered by a 24-valve DOHC V6 drivetrain of the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio model with more over power of 40 bhp than the SOHC version.
The Veyrat 630 as the ARC further version named ARC Ellipse taken by Michel Faure down its original design. (Picture from: FrenchAutoMuseum)
Furthermore now the sports car called the ARC Ellipse, just how many were sold is open to question. Until now, not many would be a fair answer, while in later versions were shown too, but we're not sure if any were completed.
The ARC Ellipse is powered by a 24-valve DOHC V6 drivetrain of the Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio model. (Picture from: FrenchAutoMuseum)
As we quoted from the French Motor Museum, during 1990 to 2000 sports cars specially built under commissioned of Patrick Veyrat, only 4 units, consisting of 2 units of Veyrat 630 Prototype, each 1 unit of Opio 630 and ARC Ellipse. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | RAREFRENCHSPORTSCARS | FRENCH MOTOR MUSEUM ]
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Friday, November 25, 2022

John Fitch's Phoenix prototype, an American Porsche 911 wanna be

~Rare ONES~ One of the attractions of the world's automotive lies in the unique design created by automotive designers specifically to provide convenience and comfort in driving. And for each design result that is considered appropriate and suitable for the times and trends, then put it into prototype form to undergo a series of trials before it is decided to mass produce. 
The Fitch Phoenix prototype was touted as the most ambitious from the 1960s era created by John Fitch, a former Corvette racer and Corvair tuner along with his neighbor, Coby Whitmore. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
By the way, not all of them will make it to this stage, so we encounter many designers' works that can be said to be good in design, but for one reason or another made them have to stagnant at the concept stage. However, we believed a good work always can find its right way to be born and known by the public. Indeed, there are many ways for automotive designers to convey their work to car manufacturers.
The Fitch Phoenix prototype final design was executed in steel by Frank Reisner’s Intermechanicca Group in Turin, Italy. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
Not to forget the following car prototype called Fitch Phoenix which was touted as the most ambitious from the 1960s era created by John Fitch, a former Corvette racer and Corvair tuner. Besides that, the car is an original American car that is touted to be the fiercest competitor of the Porsche 911 in a series of 500GT cars built based on Corvair underpinnings.
The Fitch Phoenix prototype's interior shows a rather strong Italian influence featured with the low seat backs. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
The car making process began, soon after Chevrolet released the 140-hp Corsa engine option on its Corvair in 1965, Fitch started tinkering with it in his Connecticut garage. It was there that the bespoke Sprint fastback model was produced and quickly became a favorite among those in the know. But you know it's actually his second project based on Corvair, due to since 1963, Fitch and his neighbor, a legendary cartoonist Coby Whitmore. They began work on a unique rear-engined prototype, which was intended as a super-exclusive grand touring coupe.
The Fitch Phoenix prototype is powered by an air cooled 164 c.i. Corvair flat six coupled a quadruple Webber carb setup made it capable burst out 170 hp at a low 5200 rpm. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
By using a quadruple Webber carburetor setting, Fitch coaxed an impressive 170 hp for the base model car powered by a flat six-cylinder air-cooled engine. He then fitted a targa upper body designed by Whitmore onto a shortened '65 Corvair chassis, installed Girling disc brakes, and added staggered front-rear 6 and 7-inch wheels. 
Uniquely, the Fitch Phoenix provided a weird spare tire hump on the fender. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
As quoted of Curbside Classic, the final design was executed in steel by Frank Reisner’s Intermechanicca Group in Turin, Italy and wedded to a highly modified Corvair drive train and running gear. Building on a base of readily available mechanical parts was essential to ensure that spares would be available and to simplify servicing.
The Fitch Phoenix prototype has a curb weight of just 2,150 lbs, and could reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 130 mph. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
Shortly after the Fitch Phoenix completed with a curb weight of just 2,150 lbs, it could reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds en route to a top speed of 130 mph, such an impressive figures for its time. Oh, there's also a spare tire mounted on the fender. As you can see, it fast and classy.
The Fitch Phoenix prototype, like so many other cars styled by a non-professional designer/studio, shows some good elements but a number of shortcomings too. (Picture from: CurbsideClassic)
In June 1966, John Fitch debuted his Phoenix, shortly after which the US. Congress gave their approval to the creation of the Bureau of Highway Safety to regulate and distribute automotive safety standards in the country. By the time those measures were put in place two years later it appeared debacle Unsafe at Any Speed had effectively grounded the Corvair which is implicated the Fitch-Whitmore GT prototype as well. As a result, the planned production of 500 units fell apart, leaving only one unit that was built as a prototype.😓
This car isn't just a (gorgeous) vestige of one of America's pioneering motorsports figures, it's also a tiny glimpse of proof into a strange, alternate timeline where high-horsepower, rear-engine, special-edition GM grand touring cars are well, as if unaffected and still there and holding on while this one has to step aside.😢 *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CURBSIDECLASSIC | ROADANDTRACK ]
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Sunday, November 20, 2022

The winding road of a rare British turbo sports car, the AC 3000ME

~Rare ONES~ Although it bears the name of a fairly well-known manufacturer, in fact this one British car was not known widely and we're also sure you have never heard of it before. The mentioned car was produced by AC Cars, a British automaker is perhaps better known through its collaboration result car with an American famous automotive designer, Carroll Shelby back in the 1960s named the AC Cobra. Here's she the AC 3000ME, one of sports cars made by the British manufacturer during 1979 to 1985.
The AC 3000ME is started its life story as a sports car prototype called Diablo was engineered by Peter Bohanna in collaboration with Robin Stables back in 1973. (Picture from: AROnline)
The car begins its life story as a sports car prototype engineered by Peter Bohanna, a former Lola Cars employee in collaboration with Robin Stables, a former racing mechanic and Lotus dealer back in early 1970s. As quoted from AROnline, the controversial AC 3000ME sports car is the fruit of the creative thinking of both whose said directly influenced by the legendary motorsport success of the Ford GT40 and Lola T70.
The Bohanna-Stables Diablo concept looked impressive enough to convince AC Cars top brass to put it into production. (Picture from: AROnline)
Uniquely, this glassfibre-bodied two-seater sports car prototype was reportedly created afters hours in Lola's drawing office and concieved as a kit car, and powered by a mid mounted 1.5 liter Austin Maxi engine. However, this was a delicately-styled concept car was far more than a pretty body. Furtermore, it's already featured independent coil springs and wishbones all round, subframes front and rear, and a rigid tub structure.
The AC 3000ME is a two-seater sports car produced by AC Cars during 1979 to 1985, is featured with a wedge-styled, and a unique pop-up headlights. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
Originally, the mentioned above prototype named the Bohanna-Stables Diablo (nothing to do with the Italian-made Lamborghini Diablo) was first unveiled at the 1972 Racing Show in London, and immediately drew favourable comparisons with Italian exotica, such as the Dino 246GT and De Tomaso Mangusta.
The AC 3000ME is a 2-door coupe introduced at the London Motor Show in 1973, but did not hit the road until 1979. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
After the exhibition ended, it seems that the Bohanna-Stables Diablo prototype managed to attract the British car maker AC Cars attention due to its design is considered capable of filling the UK sports car market niche. At least that's what Keith Judd of AC Cars believed when he spoke to the car creators and then drove the Diablo prototype over to the AC Cars factory in Thames Ditton to show the car to his boss, Derek Hurlock.
The AC 3000ME later version chassis was a perimeter frame whose central tub was made of folded sheet steel with an integrated roll-over bar.. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
In short, AC Cars done several car test series upon the one-off running prototype at the time. It seem during the tests, the Bohanna-Stables Diablo concept was appeared impressive enough, so it managed to convince the British company top brass to purchase the car production rights, and as soon as possible put it into the company production lines. All then went quiet, nothing happens until the British automaker shown off a revised Diablo (non-runner) model as the AC 3000ME at the 1973 Earls Court Show. The car named after its 3 liter, mid-mounted engine it has.
The 3000ME’s interior was so well-appointed by the standards of that era that it even featured a gated shifter for the AC-designed 5-speed gearbox. (Picture from: Silodrome)
The sports car appeared in a distinctive wedge-shaped and in accordance with the trends of the time, while the price wasn’t confirmed, although AC management hinted that it would be between £3,000 to £4,000, and that deliveries would begin in July 1974. As a result, during the exhibition the company managed to collect as many as 250 orders for this car. By 1974, the styling was finalised. The shape of the Diablo was retained with some modifications to the nose, a higher roofline and improved air intakes design. During the 1970s to 1980s, many comments that arose related to the 3000ME performance were considered less impressive.
AC-Ghia Concept based on the 3000ME’s running gear looked different from its donor car. (Picture from: AROnline)
So some third parties then make an increase in performance so that the car can run faster. Unfortunately none of those third party work was adopted by AC Cars to be applied to the production car. Besides that it turns out that this 3000ME car design had got a touch of design one of the Italian famous coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Ghia, as part of vague possibility of joining forces with the American manufacturer Ford Motor Company.
AC-Ghia Concept based on the 3000ME’s running gear looked different from its donor car. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
For the reason then  AC Cars sent two 3000MEs to the Italian coachbulider. In short, the Ghia design studio given a touch of Italian style to the British-made sports car, and called of the AC-Ghia Concept, after completed, the car shown off at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show. Unfortunately, Derek Hurlock was not interested by the Italian-style car, even though the car was actually not disappointing in terms of appearance and performance. Of course this caused the joint production effort with Ford to fall apart. 
AC-Ghia Concept based on the 3000ME’s running gear looked different from its donor car. (Picture from: AdrianFlux)
It's not only Ford who is interested in the 3000ME rescued, it turns out that there are other potential applicants from America who are also interested, namely Barry Gale of one of the US De Tomaso Pantera importers with the aid of Carroll Shelby. They considered selling the AC 3000ME in the US under the named of Shelby ME is powered by a 2.2-litre Chrysler turbo engine. Nothing came of the plan, and only a single car was made in the end of 1980.
Barry Gale was attracted to the AC 3000ME with aid of Carroll Shelby to sell it in the US under the name of Shelby ME, and powered by Chrysler drivetrain. (Picture from: AROnline)
But what happened next, no one had ever imagined before, the car failing its first 30 mph frontal impact test, and that led to changes to the structure and underpinnings were needed to be re-engineered in order to allow the car passed the test, that's a time consuming process. Apparently it did not affect the company to continue promoted the 3000ME at several major auto shows at the time, but deliveries were no longer being promised. As a result until 1976 the company managed to get 1,200 orders for the car. AC's engineers worked hard to get the 3000ME into production by re-engineering it for the Ford Essex 2,994 cc V6 drivetrain.
The AC 3000ME weighed about 2,487 lbs and had a 40/60 front-to-rear weight distribution. (Picture from: Silodrome)
Unfortunately the large number of orders was not a blessing for AC Cars, rather a new problem, because their finances were not able to handle all of those orders. Not to mention that most of them have an unusually high bespoke content, which makes the conditions even more difficult to deal with. After extensive delays, the first 3000MEs were delivered in 1979, six years after its debut, and at the time, AC Cars could only produced just 76 examples. The first production car rolled off the line in 1978 (there were 11 prototypes before that), and the initial reactions in the media were very positive indeed.
The AC 3000ME featured an in-house suspension system comprising upper and lower A-arms with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers both front and rear. (Picture from: Silodrome)
Once again the bitter pill must be swallowed by the company, it didn't seem like the right time to market a new car, because it was in 1979 that later known as the Second Oil Crisis, fuel prices were rocketing, and the world heading towards a rather unpleasant global recession. It’s therefore unsurprising that AC was struggling to sell the 3000ME in anywhere near enough numbers to allow it to break even. In 1984, and after 76 cars had been built, Derek Hurlock decided to sell the company, and immediately looked for a buyer.
The AC 3000ME is powered by a mid-mounted Ford Essex 2,994 cc V6 engine coupled with 5-speed Hewland gearbox. (Picture from: AROnline)
In his search for the company buyer at the time, Derek Hurlock had experienced health problems. Shortly thereafter a Scottish entrepreneur David MacDonald stepped in and made an offer for the 3000ME production tools and the rights to license the AC name with it. Finally an agreement was reached, so all production equipment including the molds and jigs were immediately moved to north.
The Ecosse Signature prototype built in 1988 based on the AC 3000ME Mark 2 prototype. (Picture from: AROnline)
The new company of AC (Scotland) plc, was established in a new factory in taken over from the Scottish Development Agency at Hillington in Glasgow. And from the Glasgow-based factory, 30 cars were built, while development on an updated car was set-up. A prototype powered by Alfa Romeo’s excellent 2.5-litre Busso V6 engine prepared, followed by a nearly-complete Mark 2 prototype. But luck is unachievable and misfortune is unavoidable, this Scottish company was forced to cease its car production as well in November 1985. 
The Ecosse Signature prototype is powered by a Fiat twin-cam from the Croma Turbo. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
So once again, AC Cars operational returned to Thames Ditton until the Hurlock family sold their holdings to William West a year after AC (Scotland) closed its doors. The rights to the AC marque then were then aquired by Brian Angliss. From the ashes of the AC (Scotland) venture then came the Ecosse Car Company Ltd, in which the 3000ME tried to make a comeback under new name of the Ecosse Signature
The Ecosse Signature prototype debuted at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show, several potential customers came in. (Picture from: AllCarIndex)
It started when John Parsons and ex-BRM Technical Director, Aubrey Woods, joined forces to buy the remains of the company, and moved it to Hertfordshire in England. They took the former Mark 2 prototype, removed the Alfa V6 engine, and replaced it with a Fiat twin-cam from the Croma Turbo. With that much power, it will definitely have a lot of performance. Then they brought the prototype to show off at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show, several potential customers came in.
Unfortunately, the restyled Ecosse Signature sports prototype was dissapeared shortly afterwards launched, due to Parsons and Woods couldn’t secure the investment funds needed to get the car into production. It was a sad end to the 3000ME, a car that promised so much back in the heady days of 1973 but, in the end, it proved too ambitious a venture for such a small company.😢 *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | ARONLINE | AC3000ME | WIKIPEDIA | SILODROME | ADRIANFLUX | ALLCARINDEX ]
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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Here's a Lotus-inspired sports car from Brazil

~Rare ONES~ If someone asked to us about the most potential place on the globe where the best motorized vehicle engineering lies besides the main countries which are in Western Europe, North America and East Asia, off course we directly pointed to Brazil. As we all know, the country which is located at the southern tip of the American continent also having abundant the best talents of the automotive world.
The Lobini H1 is built by a Brazilian automaker, Lobini with the goal of building a competitive sports car by using local talents and resources. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
It's no wonder later from their hands that extraordinary Brazilian automotive designs were born. Call it such this one of the Brazilian-made sports car named the Lobini H1 whose appearance looks like the Lotus Elise. This gorgeous sports car was designed by former Lotus designer Graham Holmes, so it's clear where this Brazilian sports car gets its Elise styling.
The Lobini H1 prototype during a trial run on the Pirelli track. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
As quoted of Diseno-Art, the mentioned above sports car is produce by a  Brazilian automaker company named Lobini Empreendimentos (later the company name changed to Lobini Automóveis in 2003). For you info, the Lobini name is a short of the company founder names, Jose Orlando Arrochela Lobo and Fabio Birolini. Reportedly, this Moinho Velho-based automotive company was founded in 1999 with the goal of building a competitive sports car by using local talents and resources.
The Lobini H1 prototype during a trial run on the Pirelli track. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
The Lobini H1 prototype was successfully launched in 2002 and was born as a roadster powered by an Alfa Romeo V6 engine with a sturdy and sporty suspension calibration. The car first appeared in public at the São Paolo Motor Show and got a pretty good reception at that time. After that the Brazilian company plans to start producing as many as 100 units per year, while also using some of them for use in racing competitions. 
The Lobini H1 has a nice front end coupled with new headlights and an aerodynamic styled bodywork. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
The first production version of the Lobini H1 sports car appeared in 2005. Even the Brazilian company had shipped one of its cars to England, as part of cooperation with Lotus for Lobini technical validation in Europe. For some reason, it is possible that the Brazilian company is experiencing serious financial problems so it has to change ownership. In 2006, Lobini was acquired by Brax Automóveis and at the same time they presented the new 2007 Lobini H1 model to appear at the Salão do Automóvel 2006.
The Lobini H1 is powered by a Volkswagen 1.8L turbocharged 20V engine coupled with 5-speed manual gearbox. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
The production version of the H1 was no longer powered by an Alfa Romeo drivetrain, instead was powered by a Volkswagen 1.8L turbocharged 20V engine, the same one used in some versions of both Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 coupled with 5-speed manual gearbox. The German-made engine develops power of 180 hp @ 5,700 rpm, so it can bring the H1 to accelerate from rest to 100 kph in 6 seconds, and go on to a top speed of around 225.308 kph. That's not bad, isn't?
The Lobini H1's cabin featured with 2-bucket racing genuine leather seats, and a four-point harness. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
Meanwhile the body is made of fiberglass produced by fellow Brazilian sports car manufacturer Chamonix mounted on a carbon steel tubular chassis. Furthermore, the automaker provided the H1 sports car into 2 variants, ie 2-seater targa and coupe. The targa variant has a removable hard-top roof, vice versa the coupe gets a fixed roof. Both got a redesigned front end with new headlights and an aerodynamic kit. While inside the cabin, both variants of the Lobini H1 comes with leather seats available in light gray, dark gray or black.
The Brazilian automaker provided the Lobini H1 sports car into 2 variants, ie 2-seater targa and coupe. (Picture from: Geocities.ws)
In addition, each Lobini H1 can be personalised by order, the customer able to specify exterior color (over 10,000 options) and also an even greater choice over the interior materials such as leather and carpeting. The automaker hopes it could be fulfilled the customer desired to make their H1 looks different than others, and off course they should be spent extra more money due to it would be cost more than the standard ones.
At that time the standard version of the Lobini H1 was offered with a price tag of around 170,000 BRL (approx $90,000). Unfortunately, the production of this Brazilian sports car was ceased in 2012, and during its 7 year production period it was only able to build around 70 units. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | AUTOENTUSIASTAS | DISENO-ART | WIKIPEDIA | GTPLANET ]
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