Funny Fiber Double Take: 1974 Bradley GT II v. 1980 Aquila

Kit cars don’t get much love on these pages. Well, to be fair, they don’t get much love, period. But kits cars do offer something; exotic(ish) looks on a pedestrian budget. And strangely enough, some kit car and limited-manufacture cars have begun to be considered collectable in their own right. So when I came across two unique Volkswagen-based bits, I thought “why not?”

So today we have two very limited production examples of fiberglass laid over a VW chassis. Which is the winner? Let’s start with the Bradley GT II:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1974 Bradley GT II on eBay

Tapas Turbo: 1977 Porsche 924 Carrera GT Replica

If the 924 Turbo was an impressive development of the first water-cooled chassis for Porsche, the subsequent developments were outstanding. Porsche brought the Carrera name to the 924, added GT and turned up the boost, widened the flares and created a legend in its own right. The 2.0 in GT form produced over 200 horsepower; in later GTS form, nearly 250 horsepower. Instead of the 6″ wide wheels of the 931 we saw yesterday, 911SC front 7″ Fuchs were matched with 8″ wide 930 spec rear wheels. Konis were standard, but early 924 springs were used to actually lower the car slightly. Boxed flares in the rear were met by better integrated flared fronts to cover the much wider track. But the big story was the boost; the M31.50 engine was a tower of power in period, giving the lowly 924 Le Mans winning speed and making it faster than the 911SC. Indeed, the model was a homologation special to allow Porsche to race the car in Group 4 racing. Porsche would use the development GTR models to score impressive class victories in 1981 and 1982 at Circuit de la Sarthe, but it was the 1980 result of 6th overall that was most impressive.

The model was largely the basis for the more mainstream 944 Turbo that was developed later, and often is mistaken for being the later model because of the similarities between the body and look. But a fringe of Porsche enthusiasts appreciate the early Carrera GT even more than the 951, and consequently quite a few have undertaken making replicas. As only 406 Carrera GTs were made, they’ve become fairly unaffordable for most, so this exacting replica in Spain offers a chance to drive a legend at a fraction of a real one’s price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 924 Carrera GT Replica on eBay

Outstanding E32 Face Off: 1988 BMW 735i and 750iL

Such was the depth of BMW’s great designs from the 1980s that often the E32 is overlooked. Unlike the E23 it replaced, the scaled-up Claus Luthe-inspired design really worked and the heavy-weight look of the 5-series in a fat suit was met with more aggression, yet still elegantly. As you’d expect from a car intended to challenge the W126, BMW threw the kitchen sink at the 7-series, upping not only the technology, luxury and interior materials utilized in the E32, but the engine offerings, as well – the M70 and later M73 V12s beat Mercedes-Benz to the market with silky smooth and powerful twelve cylinder motors that were the trump card with the Trump types.

Yet while popular and well built, finding good examples of especially early 7s has become quite difficult. Today we have two interesting examples to consider. Both are far from original, though each in their own way is compelling. For those who like subtle speed, there’s a M70-powered, low mileage 750iL Alpina B12 5.0 clone from Japan. If you’re a little more in-your-face and like to row your own, there’s a Racing Dynamics-inspired 735i 5-speed. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 750iL Alpina Clone on eBay

1975 Sbarro 328

One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing up cars for GCFSB has been the head-scratchers I come across; cars I knew little (or, in the case of today’s, nothing) about. This Sbarro 328 Roadster replica is a great case in point. Of course, replicas are neither a new phenomena nor are they particularly unique. Often, they fail to capture the essence of the original car and if an enthusiast is unwitting enough to actually mistake the fabrication for the original it can be borderline offensive to real examples. Volkswagen based Bugattis, Fieros turned into F40s, Bentley badges slapped on a Chrysler 300 – you name it, it’s just downright ugly.

But this one is interesting, at the very least to me. Italian-born Franco Sbarro started his company in 1971 in French-speaking Switzerland and immediately started copying German automobiles. They’re still open today, continuing to build limited-run prototypes, but in the 1970s a majority of their work seems to have been based upon historic cars; Bugattis, GT40s, Lola T70s. What was interesting was what they built these replicas on; Sbarro installed fiberglass copies of the originals over BMW or Mercedes-Benz chassis with original components. In the case of the 328 replica you see here, the engine, chassis, rear suspension and transmission was based upon the E10 2002. Some of them even wore 2002 Turbo alloys. In front, Sbarro utilized NSU components for the front suspension and steering. Headlights came from a Mercedes-Benz. The result of this hodge-podge was surprisingly good, managing to capture a fair amount of the aesthetic of the original without looking too out-of-shape, though they were admittedly slightly shorter and more squat that the original. Having standard BMW running gear simplified the importation process, and consequently Sbarro offered these replicas in the US market through a Florida dealer.…

Motorsports Monday: 1971 Porsche 911 RSR Martini Racing Tribute – REVISIT

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On the verge of three years ago I took a look at a neat 911 Carrera RSR tribute. Rather than take the typical path of copying the IROC cars, the builder of this particular car chose the “Mary Stuart” Martini Racing example to clone. The car was named because the wrap around rear duck-tail spoiler reminded some of the high collars which were the vogue during Mary, Queen of Scots’ reign. With its unique tail offsetting those iconic colors, it is certainly an attention getter. However, the seller has now attempted to shift this car more or less continually since 2013 – first at an asking price of $165,000, then dropping in 2014 to $135,000, and now back up to $165,000 presumably to try to capitalize on the current 911 market. It is without a doubt a neat build and unique execution, so even though it’s unlikely to trade this time around again I thought it was worth another look:

The below post originally appeared on our site September 9, 2013:

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I think Martini Racing colors are just awesome. Some people insist everything looks better in “Gulf Blue”, but for me, it’s those Martini stripes that made some of the best looking race cars (and in a very few cases, even improved road cars). Case in point is today’s example; perhaps one of the strangest downforce attempts of the 1970s on a Porsche – the Mary Stuart tailed Martini Racing RSR. While a neat design in some ways, it certainly looks odd from other angles. Today’s 1971 911 is a recreation of the original, but you can’t deny that it looks fantastic in the proper Martini Racing colors of the 1973 RSR:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 911 RSR Martini Racing replica on Ebay

Widened Wagon: 2001 Audi S4 Avant RS4-spec

After a string of quick Mercedes-Benz wagons, it’s time to take a look at the maker most associated with bonkers 5-doors. While Audi may have never imported any of their fastest wagons into the United States, since the 5000CS quattro Avant the maker has been intrinsically linked with speedy family rides. While we got some good ones in the former, the 200 20V quattro, and the C4 and C5 S6 Avants, the real speed was always in the “RS” line. With the exception of the S6 Plus, all of the top-tier models have carried the RS moniker and traditionally have been the engine blueprint many Audi fans have followed to get the best speed. If they’re really devoted, they take it to the next level and copy the look as well. The result can be very impressive, as shown in this RS4-spec 2001 S4 Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

1973 Mercedes-Benz 280SE ‘Red Pig’ Tribute

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The 1971 Mercedes–Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG is one of my favorite cars ever. The ‘Red Pig’ entered 1971 24-hour race at Spa as the over-weight underdog. To everyone’s surprise, it finished 1st in it’s class and second overall thanks to the madmen at AMG who took the already impressive M100 engine and pushed it to 428 horsepower and 448 lb-ft. This example for sale in California isn’t the famous Rote Sau, but it is a very nice tribute that will have you yelling ”Sooie!”

Cosworth-off: Real v. Replicas

Is there a better known name across multiple marques than Cosworth? From the DFV formula one engine to Can-Am, Touring Cars to Rally, I can’t think of a more versatile or storied engine supplier. Just the other day, Paul took a look at an expensive and questions asked 1986 190E 2.3-16V Cosworth, and that got me thinking about some listings I’ve run across. Today, then, I have an interesting question and two very different cars that share one word – Cosworth. Both are legends in their own right and both are rare to see in the U.S.; and each for each model I have a valuable original and a replica. Which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16V Evolution II on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1977 Porsche 911S RS Tribute

Like the M3 from earlier, the Carrera RS has been a model that is the dream of many Porsche enthusiasts and the subject of many replicas. Some are merely cosmetic, others go for wild and exacting recreations. But the value of 911s has progressed to the point where something interesting is happening; track cars now make a viable option to convert back to street cars. It wouldn’t surprise me if we see the same thing occur with the E30 M3 market where tracked out original M3s get converted back to street cars. But this later 911S has been given the RS treatment by notable builder Musante Motorsports. I had the pleasure to work with Chris Musante before his business was fully off the ground; his attention to detail and knowledge of building Porsche air-cooled motors is certainly top of the field, and an early 911 that Chris just rebuilt recently won the Lime Rock Vintage Festival show. It’s no surprise then that this 1977 model that Musante Motorsports built looks awesome:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Porsche 911 RS Tribute on eBay

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL v. “1956” HMDE 300SL Replica

There are a lot of famous cars that I dream about owning but just aren’t realistic. I’d love a Lancia Stratos, for example. And a Porsche 917K. But since my bank account doesn’t currently contain quite enough commas in the balance statement to make that occur, they’re going to remain dreams. Of course, for reasonable amounts you can buy quite convincing replicas of these cars; Hawk makes a very good Stratos copy, and RCR makes one killer-looking 917K knockoff. While purists decry these fakes as degradation of the brand, when well executed I find these replicas really intriguing. They offer an opportunity for not only mere mortals to own them, but more importantly they offer people who would never get to see them driven a chance to experience the shape in the wild. Another such car that gets traded for the same amount as the GDP of some small African nations is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing”. Considered by many to be the first “supercar”, the 300SL’s performance and design was otherworldly in the 1950s and though it’s not the most expensive Mercedes-Benz model they remain firmly out of the grasp of any but the most well-heeled enthusiasts. Like many Ferrari models, Mercedes-Benz has carefully sought out and squashed any attempts at building replicas, and few that remain floating around look close to the original. But today I have both a stunning original example and a reasonably accurate replica that you could actually buy and drive. Is the replica worth spending money on, though?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL on Hemmings