Tag Archives: Colin Chapman

Car spot: A British classic

Even though they are now owned by a Chinese company

When I think of great British automotive names, Lotus immediatley comes to mind mainly because of Jim Clark and Colin Chapman. That dynamic duo won with just about any car they put on the track. It’s that great racing heritage that lives on to this date with their sport cars

Take for example this week’s car spot the Lotus Evora. Normally a very easy car to spot, this one even more because of its color. It’s factory. I checked. Launched in 2008 at the British International Motor Show, it was based on the first all-new vehicle platform since the introduction of the Elise in 1995.

How could I possibly miss this car at the gas station?

A Toyota-sourced 3.5-litre 24-valve 2GR V6 engine, mid-mounted engine powers the car. I could not find out a horsepower number for that engine but on the S version, not sure if this one was or not, comes with supercharger pumping out 416 hp. The standard Evora does 0-to-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, 0 to 100 in 11.8, and the quarter-mile in 13.4 at 105 mph. Top speed is 162.  Evora S reaches 60 in 4.3 and 100 in 10.4, and it covers the quarter-mile in 12.8 at 110. It also adds 10 mph to top speed.

Besides being fast, the car is super light and slippery with a drag coefficient of 0.337. Super light because it’s constructed on a lightweight aluminum tub with an additional front crash structure also made from aluminum, along with a steel rear sub-frame that houses the drivetrain. The chassis was designed to utilize proprietary 6000 Series alloy extrusions, which are bonded with an epoxy based adhesive and riveted together to increase torsional rigidity. All this for around 100 grand.

I actually got to talk to the owner and he seemed to be a true enthusiast and has had the car on the track at Road America. It also turns out that he is a Ducati owner. I like him.

I want to back up for a bit. After Colin Chapman’s death, the company passed through several hands being owned by General Motors, then Romano Artioli and DRB-HICOM. It is currently owned by Chinese multinational Geely. Nowadays what doesn’t China own?

Here’s a bit more information on Chapman that I discovered while watching a documentary on Netflix about John DeLorean. Chapman invested into DMC when DeLorean was desperate for cash and just before DeLorean was busted in an FBI sting for trafficking cocaine. It was shortly after Chapman’s investment that he passed away on December 16, 1982.

Be sure to check back next week for another car spot and have a great weekend.

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1957 Vanwall Special

Britain’s Vanwall was dominant F1 racer, briefly …Replicarz 1957 Vanwall Special

Vanwall, the name alone sounds intriguing when attached to a green monopasto racer that somewhat resembles a racing cigar. Vanwall is the team name for one of Britain’s first Formula One race teams, the first to win the F1 Constructor’s Championship, in the first year it was offered, 1958. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1957 Vanwall Special

Die-cast: Automodello’s Ford 3.0-liter V8

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The engine is 1/12 scale!

Automodello creates the engine, and Lotus 49

Few engines have the pedigree of Ford’s 3.0-liter twin cam V8, nor can boast the overwhelming success. But calling it a Ford is a bit of a stretch.

Most folks refer to the engine as the Cosworth DFV (double four valve) because Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin of Cosworth designed and created the cast-aluminum engine. Ford bankrolled it after Colin Chapman of Lotus fame enlisted the help of Ford Britain’s Walter Hayes. Arm twisting ensued and Ford forked over the money.

Ultimately the engine became the go-to powerplant for Formula 1 cars for more than 10 years and also powered Indy Cars for much of the 1970s and ‘80s. In fairy tale fashion the engine won its first race, the Dutch Grand Prix, in June of 1967.

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The V8 was a stressed member of the Lotus 49 chassis.

Automodello now releases its 1:12 resin version of the iconic racing engine. Just 499 are being made.

The History

After Chapman snagged Cosworth the money, the small racing engine company developed the lightweight DFV over a couple years, setting its debut for the 1967 F1 season. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello’s Ford 3.0-liter V8