Local metalworking master, Christopher Rünge, has spent the better part of a decade toiling away in his small shop in Alexandria, MN, hand-forming huge sheets aluminum until they look like the gorgeous vehicle you see above. Taking his inspiration from Porsche race cars from the 1950s, Christopher designs and builds these cars from the ground up, incorporating rebuilt air-cooled Porsche motors, his own custom chassis, and a thin aluminum skin over an equally delicate aluminum wireframe. If you’ve ever seen one of his builds at Cars & Coffee, you’ll understand why Christopher is becoming a household name amongst collectors and enthusiasts around the globe, with his cars being featured all over the internet, and even making it onto an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. The former professional snowboarder now turned car builder sat down recently with Classic Driver for an insightful interview about how he got where he is today and what inspires him to keep pushing into the future.
There have been dozens of headlines and hundreds of YouTube videos about the Urus, Lamborghini’s new SUV. It seemed that even in the modern world of platform sharing to the Nth degree, nobody expected Lamborghini to actually make a practical vehicle. Unfortunately, it seems most people have forgotten that Lamborghini pioneered the performance truck/SUV category long before the Urus came along. Long before the Porsche Cayenne, the Bentley Bentayga, and Ford Raptor, there was the “Rambo Lambo”, or LM002: a leather-clad military vehicle that borrowed the 5.2-liter V12 from the Countach. With massive tires and tons of suspension travel, it was as fun to drive as it was scary. Not fast by modern standards (0-60 MPH in about 7.5 secs), it was considered a ballistic missile at the time. Instead of going around corners like the Countach, it would simply drive straight through them, soaking up the curbing and anything else that stood in its way. Just watch the video above if you need any more reason to appreciate the original performance SUV.
It’s not really fair to call Hoonigan’s Baja Bug the “Scum Bug” anymore. What started out as a $2500 Baja Bug has received some major upgrades in the past year including a brand new motor, a custom cage, huge King shocks, and some gnarly new wheels and tires. Now, the team takes their badass Bug down to Mexico to pre-run the Baja 1000 and have a good time. This is just part 1 so stay tuned for future episodes as they continue to bounce around the Baja peninsula chasing the race.
Few things get me more excited these days than vintage Alfa Romeos. For better or worse, there are a lot of ratty ones out there that make great drivers or restoration candidates. The conundrum with restoring a car like this is that once it’s nice, it’s often considered too precious to drive the way it was meant to be driven. That’s why I love this ’71 Alfa Romeo GT Junior 1300. It’s been beautifully restored and modified, but not with number-matching parts. Instead, the evil geniuses at Retropower simply set performance targets and then went with the most clever ways they could think of to hit them. So instead paltry 1.3-liter I4 making a hair over 100 hp, they installed a 2.7-liter Cosworth YB motor that puts out 298 hp and revs to 9,000 RPM. Power gets sent through a trick Sadev 6-speed sequential gearbox and you just know the suspension has been fully built out to handle whatever the driver can throw at it. Of course, if you’re going to go through all the trouble of tripling the factory horsepower, it only makes sense you’d want to reduce weight wherever you could with carbon fiber panels and a simplified cabin. The result is a curb weight just under 2,000 lbs. What a little monster this old Alfa turned out to be. To learn more about this build, head over to Speedhunters.
Having a fast car that can handle a race track means nothing if you don’t have a driver that is equally competent. And that’s why it’s so magical watching professional hotshoe and Safari Porsche 911 builder Leh Keen dance his way around Sebring International Raceway in a vintage 911 on well-worn Hoosiers. I don’t think I need to say much more other than watch the video. His skills are mightily impressive.