With 2017 winding down, it’s time to look back at some of our favorite articles and stories from around the interwebs this past year. We’ve compiled 10 of the most interesting stories we found this year into one place so you can read through them while you’re sipping eggnog or whatever else people do around this time of year.
On a lighthearted, less-expensive note, I got a kick out of this Dirt Every Day video where Fred and an air-cooled VW specialist take a ratty old Meyers Manx and tackle the 300 miles between Bend Oregon and the beach. With only 38 horsepower on tap on a good day and a multitude of mechanical issues, the two friends eventually make their way to their destination. Although it doesn’t make sense to use a buggy like this for an overlanding rig, it sure does look like a heck of a lot of fun to drive!
It’s one thing to watch the 24 Hours of Daytona on TV, trying to stay awake while hopping between the disappointing TV coverage and better, but spotty internet streams. It’s another thing entirely to be there, in the pits, the center of the action, trying to keep your team’s car alive and make it to the finish line. “When Darkness Falls” beautifully chronicles the thoughts, emotions, and challenges of working on pit lane during one of the most grueling races in the world, as told by the team behind the #57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS. It’s definitely worth a watch.
The Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is the most beautiful car in the world. It just is. The proportions are perfect, with the curvy aluminum skin stretched tight to form the sensuous shape, while the big, doe-eyed headlights help frame the “face” of the car. The cockpit is perfectly formed out of glass and Lexan, creating a beautiful, airy greenhouse. And tucked neatly behind the driver’s shoulders is a small but mighty 2.0-liter V8, capable of revving to over 10,000 RPM and propelling the flyweight road rocket to over 180-MPH, an insane speed for a street car in the 1960s. What makes the car all the more precious is the rarity: given the huge price tag at the time, Alfa only built 18 of these gorgeous cars, each by hand, and each styled by a different Italian coachbuilder. No two are the same. For more on this glorious car, head on over to Classic Driver and check out their gorgeous photos.
It’s always worth sharing the sights and sounds of some of the world’s fastest and most desirable race cars ripping around the track during the 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting. Between the Ferrari F40 LM, Porsche GT1, and especially the McLaren F1 GTR, these are some of my all-time favorite cars of the 1990s. Seeing them all on track together at the same time is almost too much of a good thing for me to handle. Just sit back and enjoy.
The Ferrari 250 GTO is commonly considered to be one of the most beautiful and valuable race cars ever built. In its heyday, it was raced by all of the best drivers, and as you might expect, the GTO dominated the GT racing scene. Phil Hill was one of those legendary drivers, and he shared some of his favorite stories about the history of the 250 GTO and what it was like to race in this awesome piece for Road & Track. It’s a great read full of really interesting insights into some of the Scuderia’s best racing days. Plus, I just thought it was cool that Phil’s 250 GTO has Minnesota collector plates on it!
Why are modern-day rally cars limited to production-based cars or spec cars with stringent regulations? This documentary on the fastest days of rally chronicles the no holds barred attempts by automakers to win. Gobs of horsepower, composite body panels, and cutting edge innovation all led to cars that were virtually uncontrollable, even in the best of conditions. Add to that fans standing in the middle of the road as the cars literally fly by at well over 100 mph, and it became a regular occurrence that people would get hurt, or even die. Ultimately, the sanctioning body stepped in and banned the fastest Group B class, shifting the focus to more production-based touring cars that have formed the basis of rally racing ever since. This is a long video, but if you’ve got about an hour to spare, it’s definitely worth a watch.
This past summer, we were all about taking the perfect road trip. For some people though, the best road trips don’t even involve roads. For instance, Jim Bob from Stanceworks hit the trails in Utah in his Tacoma and some buddies for an 8-day adventure in the truest sense of the word, spending most of their time far away from pavement and civilization. From the beautiful waterfalls to derelict mining sites, this is the sort of trip that any self-described adventurer should make at least once in their lifetime. Head on over to Stanceworks to read the rest of the story and check out all the amazing photos.
Although Rosemary Smith might look like your grandma at first glance, this 79-years-young race car driver has built quite the career for herself driving to win. After spending most of her life competing in rally events all over the UK and Europe, she’s now had the rare opportunity to test drive a Formula 1 car for the first time! With guidance from current Renault F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, it was a treat watching Rosemary make the transition from the old-school rally cars she was used to driving into the big leagues of a Formula 1 car, which makes her the oldest person to drive such a car. Consider this your must-watch, feel-good video of the week.
Restoring a barn find is rarely an easy task, especially if it’s been sitting untouched for decades. But when that barn find is your father’s Aston Martin DB5 that he had bought 45 years prior to use as his daily driver, it’s hard to pass on the chance to restore it to its former glory. So after a 2,000-hour restoration with a friend, this Scottish chap finally had himself a mechanically sound DB5 that bared all the beautiful patina and stories of his father’s ownership. What an awesome story!
Madman Ken Block is at it again with his Gymkhana series, this time partnering with Toyo Tires to create Climbkhana: an all-out, sideways assault up Pikes Peak in his 1,400 hp ’65 Mustang. Pikes Peak is a scary climb at 15 mph so seeing Ken literally fly up the hill, often sideways with all four tires engulfed in smoke, using every last inch of the road is nothing short of humbling. If you want to see some of the most intense precision driving in the world, you’ve got to watch this.