Nik Schulz Illustration
Last summer we got some friends together and had our first photoshoot!
In 1978 Porsche modified a basically stock 911 SC with a roll-cage, skid plates, and long-travel suspension and entered it in the East Africa Rally, then considered the world's toughest.
The car's 3.0-liter flat six was good for 250 hp and a top speed of 130 mph. Although a mid-stream river rock damaged the rear tire, the Martini-liveried 911 still managed a 2nd place finish.
To think that a modified street car was competitive in one of the most grueling off-road events of the time is so impressive.
Hats off to the Porsche 911 SC "Safari"!
The original Mini was manufactured from 1959 to 2000 in largely its original guise. Among the reasons for its phenomenal, 41-year production run was its remarkable, space-saving layout. A longitudinally mounted, 4-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, and a compact, rubber-cone suspension system, meant that an incredible 80% of the floorpan was available for passenger use.
Right away the Mini established itself as a breakthrough production car. It soon emerged as a breakthrough sports car as well. In 1961 the British Motor Corporation released the Mini Cooper, a version modified and tuned for performance by race car designer and builder John Cooper. By 1963 the Mini's engine displacement had been expanded 50% beyond its original spec (from 848 cc to 1,275 cc) to produce the Mini Cooper S. It was this signature model that out-gunned and out-maneuvered the much more powerful competition in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally, a feat it pulled off three more years on the trot.
Such giant-killing performance in such a small, humble, inexpensive package, made the Mini Cooper S a legend that’s still highly regarded to this day.
In 1964 the Mustang took America by storm. To young baby boomers, the car’s handsome, understated styling was a marked departure from cars their parents drove. The inexpensive sticker price meant it was affordable. Almost overnight the Mustang created a new automotive category: the relatively compact, 2+2 sports coupe.
1965 was the first year of the fast back body. This one is shown with the optional 289, K-code V-8 engine, good for 271 horsepower, and wears the GT badging.
No other car, perhaps, captures America’s postwar optimism, success, and youth culture like the original Mustang. It's one of the 20th century’s great cars.
The Bronco debuted in 1966 as Ford’s first compact SUV. Simplicity and economy was the order of the day. All glass was flat, and the left and right door skins were identical—only the mounting holes were different. These no-nonsense, 1st-generation Broncos soldiered on for twelve years until Ford released the 2nd generation in 1978.
An able platform for hunters and adventures alike, the early Bronco, with its short, 92-inch wheelbase, performed well on America's backroads and trails. It even went racing, competing in the Mint 400, Baja 500, and the Mexican 1000 (the precursor to the Baja 1000).
These days old Broncos are the well-loved, elder statesmen of the off-road and overlanding communities.
The Army, in a hurry to find a light, capable, go-anywhere vehicle for the upcoming war effort, solicited designs from the American automobile industry. The catch? They needed a working prototype in 49 days. Only Willys and Bantam responded and only Bantam was able to deliver a prototype.
The design was a last ditch effort, however. Bantam was bankrupt, shutting down operations, and had no engineers on staff. The initial prototype was designed by a freelancer, Karl Probst. And although the prototype passed muster at the Army's proving grounds, Bantam was in no position to build the large numbers of vehicles that would be needed. So the Army gave the design to Willys and Ford to make changes and ready the car for production. By war's end, Ford and Willys combined efforts had produced over 600,000 jeeps.
As one reporter at the time put it, “It did everything. It went everywhere. Was as faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule, as agile as a goat."
The Jeep helped America and its allies win World War II and then went on to spawn an entirely new category of civilian automobiles. All this from a prototype which was designed and built in less than 2 months.
The Jeep is one of the 20th-century's great, iconic vehicles.
During the zenith of the American muscle car in the early 1970s, Ford, in partnership with the Italian manufacturer De Tomaso, offered something different: a mid-mounted, American V-8 wrapped in a sexy Italian body. Ford provided the engines. Ghia provided the styling. The car was the De Tomaso Pantera.
It arrived at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in late 1971, with a stated 330 horsepower (though it's claimed the true number was closer to 380hp). At 5.5 seconds, 0–60 mph, it was as fast as the Lamborghini Muira for half the price. What's more, it could be serviced at a local dealer—handy for working out kinks due to early production problems in the transatlantic venture.
By 1974, emissions regulations and a gas crisis had taken their toll on the Pantera. When new bumper standards for 1975 would have necessitated a major redesign, Ford deemed the project too costly and chose to stop importation.
Aside from a few grey-market cars, the car was only available outside the United States until De Tomaso ceased production of the then flared-and-spoilered Pantera in 1992.
Today, with it's early teething problems cured, the Pantera is a relatively affordable, mid-engined super car, and certainly a unique part of automotive history.
The handsome 3.0 CSL (Coupe, Sport, Light) traces its design history back to BMW's Neue Klasse (New Class) cars of the early 1960s, a line of potent, modern, sports sedans intended by chief designer Wilhelm Hofmeister to put the company on a new performance footing.
The car's shape was solidified in 1968 with introduction of the 2800 CS (a body style known internally as the E9). Despite its elegant design, this 4-seat grand tourer, didn't exactly fly off showroom floors. It cost more than a contemporary Porsche 911 or an E-type Jaguar and, as such, had trouble enticing buyers.
In 1971, BMW raised the coupe's engine displacement from 2.8 to 3 liters. To raise the CS's value proposition, they took it racing at Le Mans and to the European Touring Car Championships. In order to do so, they had to homologate the racing version for the road. The result was the new, lighter 3.0 CSL.
1973 brought a final homologated version, sporting a series of wings and spoilers, developed by BMW, and tuner Alpina, to improve the car's handling at racing speeds. This turned the CSL into the world-beating "Batmobile" that dominated European Touring Car racing until 1979.
The CSL's racing dominance helped raise BMW's stature but the 1973 oil crisis hampered sales. In total, no more than 1,265 3.0 CSL models were produced.
The 3.0 CSL shown here was created in 1975 when French racing driver Hervé Poulain invited his friend Alexander Calder to paint the car he would campaign that year at Le Mans. The result was the first BMW art car. BMW liked the result so much that commissions by Frank Stella, Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others, followed.
This 3.0 CSL represents the car in what, I think, was its most beautiful guise: an elegant coupe, in muscular racing trim, with a livery by one of the 20th century's most talented artists.
In 1973, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW launched a top-of-the-line version of the its crisp handling 2002, the 2002 Turbo. It would be the world's first fuel-injected, turbocharged production car.
With wide fenders and a war-painted front spoiler, the ground-breaking 2002 Turbo made a strong statement and, at the time, a controversial one. A mere month after BMW announced this in-your-face, performance machine, the OPEC oil crisis hit. When it reached showrooms the following year in 1974 the general public thumbed its collective nose. BMW enthusiasts, however, couldn't help but cheer.
Even the reversed "2002 turbo" script on the front spoiler caused an uproar. It was intended to notify drivers, through their rearview mirrors, that an autobahn heavyweight was fast approaching. The implication? Get out of the way! This proved too provocative for the German government which threatened to ban the car. BMW demurred and offered the Turbo without its telltale graphics, though many drivers added them later.
When pushed, the 2002 Turbo churned out 170 hp, 40 hp more than the 2002tii, and a full 70 hp more than the carbureted, base model 2002. As with all early turbocharged cars, however, lag was a problem. Below 4,000 rpm there was no fanfare. Pushed through that rpm barrier though, the turbo whistled, and the 2002 surged in earnest up to a top speed just over 130 mph.
Despite its outward bravado, the Turbo was a sensitive beast. If autobahn sessions were too fast, for too long, the engine could overheat causing head gasket failure.
The iconic car was produced for only two years. Just over 1,600 cars were manufactured. Today the 2002 Turbo has stood the test of time not only for its power, handling, and bold looks, but as the car that ushered in the modern, turbocharging era.
After Group B rally racing collapsed in 1986 due to a spate of fatalities, Audi sought new a motorsport venue for its game-changing Quattro 4-wheel-drive system. After a brief stint in the American Trans-Am series, Audi set its sites on the 1989 IMSA Camel GT championship, specifically the GTO class ("O" for GT cars over 2.5 liters).
They lifted the engine and drivetrain from the 2-door Group B rally car and dropped it into a tube-frame racing car, built to resemble the 4-door Audi 90. According to the homologation rules, the only piece of the original Audi 90 that had to be utilized was the roof.
The result was an impossibly wide, 720 hp track beast that dominated the 1989 season. By spreading the acceleration loads over all four wheels, the Audi made better use of its power with less tire wear. The car could brake later, corner faster, and take virtually any racing line.
Despite dominating the field, Audi didn't have the car finished in time for the first two races of the season and thus missed an opportunity to contest the championship. Still, proved to be a major technical and performance achievement and today is seen as a legend.