Sweet dreams of a very special Jaguar and a birdie at Pebble Beach…Merc use Pebble Beach for another road-going F1 ‘tease’…

Short of playing the dauntingly difficult golf course, the next most challenging thing about being at Pebble Beach is to witness the spectacular display of fabulous vehicles that make up the Concours d’Elegance without any hope of ever owning such beasts other than in ones dreams.

Some guru once said that reality is wrong and that dreams are real, in which case I am now the proud owner of an unique Pininfarina bodied 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE.

The result of a full nut and bolt restoration taking 6725 hours, my new car came second in its class at what is considered the leading automotive beauty parade in the world.

And not without good reason as my XK120 features unique bodywork by famed Italian coachbuilder and design house Pininfarina.

Manufactured in 1954, it was first delivered to a Mr Max Hoffman, a New York-based importer of luxury European automobiles.

Like my dream self, Max was a petrol-head who inspired the production and refinement of several vehicles from the main manufacturers, including the Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘GullWing’ and the BMW 507 that eventually earned him a spot in the US Automotive Hall of Fame.

It is believed that it was Max..not me..that inspired Pininfarina to reinterpret the shapes of the XK. The new look sensation was unveiled it at the 1955 Geneva Motor Show after which its history became a little clouded.

According to David Barzilay, chairman of UK-based Classic Motor Cars, the company responsible for the latest reincarnation, there was only one XK120 produced by Pininfarina, which makes ‘my car’ one of the rarest Jaguars in existence.

In 1978, a German gentleman bought the vehicle with the intention of restoring it. Unfortunately, he never got round to it and eventually decided to sell. CMC purchased the car and set about the daunting task of restoring every nut and bolt.

The company’s team of specialists faced a number of challenges during the restoration, from finding the original paint colour to remaking the bumpers and rear window screen.

“Some of the original parts were impossible to find so we had to remake items such as the bumpers and chrome work by hand from photographs. We had to scan the front and rear end of the car and make mock ups of the lights, which were then scanned and 3D printed. Smaller missing parts were also 3D printed in-house,” said David.

The rear window was also missing so the company had to scan the window aperture and have a new rear screen made from the data.

During the pre-restoration inspection it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as a basis and that at some point the vehicle was painted Burgundy and had tan leather seats.

According to David, there were no signs of the original paint colour and it all came down to the last nut and bolt. When the front screen was removed a small section of original paint was discovered and used as a colour match.

The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original colour of the trim. The team eventually found a small sample of original ochre tan leather that was used to recreate the interior.

The shape and pattern of the door cards were created by looking at similar Pininfarina designed cars from the period. One heck of an effort to produce a dream result!

Talking of which. There I was on the short Par 4 third at Pebble Beach having hit a slight draw around the corner of the dogleg to be in perfect position for a short pitch to the green. Then above the roar of the crowd, I heard my wife’s voice: “If you don’t get up right now, you’ll miss the bus to work.”

Restoration specification:

  • Full body restoration including complete new front end, new rear quarter panels, inner arch panels, boot floor, sills and door skins
  • Full chassis repair and repaint
  • Front and rear bumpers remade
  • 80% of the original chrome work remade
  • Rear screen and screen surround remade
  • Full interior re-trim
  • Full engine and gearbox rebuild
  • Full engine and gearbox rebuild [Engine spec: XK 120 3.4 SE (C-Type Head) straight-6, Double SU H6 carburettor, 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS) @ 5300 rpm]
  • Suspension components refurbished
  • Completed to original Jaguar equipment specification

Merc use Pebble Beach for another road-going F1 ‘tease’..

It’s been said many times that the Monterey Car Week has it all. So what better place to unveil yet another ‘tease’ about a road-going Formula 1? Yes, that right…a road-going Formula 1. Not a new idea, but perhaps Mercedes-AMG Project One will be the realisation of a dream. And, of course, it should be, as deposits have already been taken on all 275 to be built.

Bits and pieces about the ‘family sedan with the same engine you see screaming around on the track’ have already been put about by the men from Merc, but details about the powertrain have been hard to come by. Until Pebble Beach that is, where The Quail, an arena for auto junkies, was used to show the world what lies beneath the Project One’s skin.

Ferrari slotted an F1 V12 into the F50 and the Porsche Carrera GT was powered by a detuned LMP1 prototype engine. Caparo promised plenty with the T1, but people weren’t overly enamoured with its penchant for catching fire.

Mercedes-AMG is promising the Project One will finally deliver on the dream, thanks to the hybrid powertrain from the championship-winning W06 F1. Given its formidable form on the track, a powertrain with such a pedigree should have no trouble burning things up in the traffic light grand prix.

Power will come from a V6 displacing just 1600cc, boosted by an electrically assisted turbo attached to the cylinder bank. It’s expected to have a redline somewhere north of 11,000rpm like the F1 car, but some things will need to change. Having a road car idle at 4000rpm just isn’t practical.

Like the Formula 1 vehicle, the Project One will be boosted by a hybrid system adapted to cover short distances on pure electric power and just like an E-Class it can be plugged it into the wall. Unlike an E-Class, the F1 engine will have to be completely rebuilt every 50,000kms.

AMG has been unable to find a dual-clutch gearbox capable of spinning at up to 11,000rpm without disintegrating into a million bits, so it’s down to an eight-speed unit. Grunt will be provided to all four wheels, but exactly how will have to wait until September 14, when the real thing is finally unwrapped at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Fans and buyers, are expecting a power output around 1000hp, which would put the car in a similar realm to the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Although the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 come close to matching that figure, their more conventional bodywork and connection to regular road-going cars means they’re fighting in a totally different weight division.

So, why fork out between two and three million US dollars for something that may be impossible to take for a Sunday drive? Well, for a start, there’s the look at me and how rich I am bit and the fact that limited run vehicles like this have an astronomical appreciation rate.

Whereas the average Joe Blow’s car depreciates by about 25% the minute it’s driven out the showroom, these beast more than double in value, allowing the owner to ‘flip’ at an enormous profit.

Raging Bull shows off its feminine side

Not that Merc had it all its own way over at The Quail. At long last, Lamborghini has begun to take the event seriously and stormed in with a first time performance of special versions of the new Aventador S, Huracán Performante and RWD Spyder.

All three vehicles featured special trim and colours that are part of Lambo’s Ad Personam bespoke program that allows customers to choose from an infinite combination of colors and materials. Not very special when one considers the vehicles themselves, but definitely something to hang a PR hook on. More like a Paris catwalk than an auto show. But what the hell?

The Aventador S coupé featured a vibrant orange, Arancio Xanto exterior with visible carbon fibre on the roof and in the lower portions of the vehicle. Nero Ade leather and Alcantara interior were accentuated by orange stitching and inserts and Dianthus rims in matte titanium added to the ‘muscular’ exterior.

For the V10 Huracán Performante, which holds the production record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it was a stunning deep green, Verde Hydra color palette matched with Narvi bronze wheels and bronze gloss livery on the front bumper. The inside cabin, clothed in black, Nero Cosmus, with Nero Ade Alcantara inserts, featured bronze stitching on the steering wheel and the optional Style package.

The open-topped Huracán, the rear-wheel-drive example is said to have stunned audiences with its silver, Grigio Astarte styling, coupled with gloss black Giano wheels. An Elegante Interior in Nero Ade leather with brown Terra Emilia contrast color and Grigio Chronus stitching tops off the inside experience.


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