Lap Around the Web – Sept. 24th, 2018

So you’ve got an old race car that competed amongst the top levels of the FIA GT Championship back in 1997 but now it’s just sitting and collecting dust in your tiny 12-car garage or warehouse in between vintage racing events. That seems like a waste and you want to drive it! So what do you do? You send your McLaren F1 GTR “Longtail” – the last of just 10 such cars built specifically for racing – to Lanzante, who can convert this track-only race car into something a little more livable that can be driven on public roads. So now your priceless racecar has a new lease on life and can be driven at your leisure! But what do you do now that the world is your oyster? You slap some Michelin all-seasons on those bright orange centerlock wheels and drive it through the freaking Swiss Alps, obviously!

Most of the best race cars are purpose-built from the ground up to be fast and focused and only find themselves driven on the street later if they had to be homologated that way. Maybe that’s why the Lancia Stratos is still such a special car to this day. It was always intended to be a rally car, first and foremost, and the fact that it could be driven on the road in either street or rally trim was merely a bonus. The Ferrari-sourced engine, combined with a super short wheelbase and wide track width made the Stratos a handful to drive, but with the right pilot, these cars are like scalpels in the hands of a world-class surgeon, able to cut through ribbons of tarmac with millimeter precious. It’s always a treat to see one of these rare and unique cars being used for its intended purpose, as demonstrated in the video above by Érik Comas.

On the other end of the rally spectrum is this oddity of a Mercedes-Benz 560SEC built to race in the grueling Paris-Dakar Rally. It’s a hodgepodge mix of Mercedes parts like the beefier transmission from a 6.3L V8 model that sends power to beefed-up G-Wagen axles, while the suspension has obviously been built to tackle some tough terrain with dual struts and heavy-duty springs at each corner. Inside are a pair of fixed racing seats, an aluminum roll cage that is pressurized to serve double duty as the compressed air tank for quickly filling up the tires. Unlike the Lancia Stratos, it’s not particularly beautiful and doesn’t sound like it was all that competitive either, but I’m sure it’s still plenty of fun for whoever owns it now.

And look at that, another Frankenstein Mercedes! This one, although it looks like a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, is actually a W204 AMG C63 chassis, suspension, interior, and most importantly, drivetrain underneath the skin of a mid-1980’s 190E. It’s been a five-year journey in the making to get to this point and there are still some finishing touches left to be done, but this German hotrod is ready to roll! As you can imagine, it’s a ton of work to make a car like this come together into the beautifully finished example you see here, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like it was well worth all the troubles and setbacks. Click the link to follow the entire build gallery on Facebook with lots of detailed photos and captions that explain how this amazing car came to be.

By | 2018-09-25T10:55:48+00:00 September 25th, 2018|Lap Around the Web|0 Comments

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