Porsche made a name for itself in the 1950s racing small, lightweight, and nimble sports cars. By the early 1960s, the 356s and 550 Spyders weren’t quite cutting it anymore so the German brand turned to the Italy-based coachbuilder Carlos Abarth to optimize the shape of their 356 for aerodynamics while also cutting weight wherever possible. The end result was the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth. It was 5 inches lower, while also shorter and narrower than the 356 it was based on. This had a tremendous effect on lowering the car’s aerodynamic drag and the lightweight aluminum bodywork shaved off 45 kg in the process. It’s a shame only 20 of these lightweight racers were built because they dominated the race track at the time, racking up multiple class wins in prestigious events like the Targa Florio and the 24 Hrs of Le Man in the early 1960s. It paved the way for Porsche’s lightweight, aerodynamic-focused designs that led the way for a long lineage of successful race cars including the 904, 917, 956, and 962. To read more about the Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth, visit Classic Driver.
Decades before we had the SCCA Spec Miata series, people used to race their Mini Coopers. A full field of these cars was recently invited to the Goodwood circuit for a Betty Richmond Trophy as part of the 77th Members Meeting at the historic British circuit and it turned out to be some fabulously exciting racing. Top Gear’s Chris Harris got in on the action, driving a well-prepared example owned by Nick Swift and he shares just what it was like in the video below. Although 130 hp in a race car doesn’t sound like much, that’s almost double what they left the factory with. And with only about 1,370 lbs to move around, these cars can be properly rapid, especially when you realize you’re going over 100 MPH in what is essentially a tin can. In any case, Chris Harris does a brilliant job of both having fun and sharing the experience with the rest of us.
If you follow Stanceworks at all, you might’ve seen the crazy Ford Model A pickup truck that Mike Borroughs has been building for the past couple of years. Although he started with a rough shell, he’s built himself quite the motorsports-inspired hot rod today. With a supercharged 5.0-liter Ford Coyote V8 up front and a custom frame that features pushrod suspension, this thing is built for speed. Every little detail is painstakingly executed to perfection, from the custom grille shutters framed inside the original Model A grille to the super lightweight centerlock wheels borrowed from a Mazda prototype racecar. As it sits, this Model A (if you can still call it that) weighs less than a Miata but that fire-breathing V8 produces over 750-hp at the tires. What an absolute monster. Now all Mike has to do is drive it and enjoy it!
Maybe there’s another reason why AC Cars built so few examples of the AC 3000 ME, but the idea of pairing 1980s British build quality with 1980s Italian reliability probably didn’t do anybody any favors. The lovely red wedge you see here is called the AC 3000 ME and it was the pet project of two motorsports engineers named Peter Bohanna and Robin Stables. A decade in the making, the car officially went on sale in 1978 to a somewhat lackluster reception. After selling just 80 cars over a 6-year span, the team brought in some fresh engineering talent from the BRM race team and went to work building the MkII car like the one you see here. Despite the good looks and the glorious Alfa Romeo 2.5-liter “Busso” V6, it never made it out of the prototype stage and this is the only MkII AC 3000 ME in existence. What could’ve challenged the Lancia Stratos with a roar, faded into obscurity with a whimper. To learn more about the AC 3000 ME, head over to Silodrome.
Raul Marchisio grew up racing in secret. His father bought him a go-kart but didn’t like the idea of him racing it. Still, he’d sneak off to the track, towing his kart behind his scooter. After working his way up the ranks in karting, he eventually got into rally racing before an accident forced him to give up the thing he enjoyed doing the most. After moving to Monaco and pivoting from racing to selling cars and racing equipment, he was able to save up enough to buy his childhood dream car, a Lamborghini Countach. Now he gets his thrills in the hillside roads around where he lives, making an event out of each trip behind the wheel of his Countach.