Past master Porsche

Past master: Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

The Porsche Carrera GT is easily one of AUSmotive’s top five dream cars. After stumbling across a brief test from Autocar, which was filed to YouTube only a couple of weeks ago, it inspired us to put together this Past master article.

Built in Leipzig from 2004–2007 the total production run of the Carrera GT was 1270. It’s powered by a race-inspired 5.7 litre V10 and is good for a still healthy 450kW (612hp). And it makes one of the sweetest sounds known to man.

It really does.

The Carrera GT is stunning to look at as well. It is quite simply one of the most desirable road going Porsches ever made. Yet, it has virtually nothing to do with the 911 on which Porsche’s reputation was built.

While time will shadow its performance and all-round capability the Carrera GT, for us, will always sit on a pedestal.

We trust you’ll enjoy the videos, wallpaper-friendly image gallery and press material that is waiting for you after the break.

Audi Fifth Gear Past master

Behind the wheel of the Audi Quattro

Audi Quattro

Time for a look at an old rally legend now, with the Audi Quatrro. It’s a car we’ve featured in our Past Master series and we’re always keen to see new material. This review from the Fifth Gear web team gives a reasonable insight into the car’s history and modern day context. Shame about the smoke from test car!

You can see the review in full after the break.

BMW Past master

25 years of the BMW M3 in pictures

BMW E30 M3

Last week BMW brought us news about the iconic M3 celebrating 25 years. There’s been just four generations of M3s in that time; if you compare the original E30 to the current E92 you begin to appreciate how long 25 years is in the life cycle of the modern car.

At launch the E30 hit the market with a 2.3 litre four cylinder engine. Peak power was rated at 147kW at 6750 rpm, with 240Nm of torque available from 4750rpm. The feisty pocket rocket tipped the scales at 1200kg. In contrast, the E92, released in 2007, has twice as many cylinders in its engine and almost twice the capacity. Maximum power from the 4.0 litre V8 is 309kW at 8300rpm, while torque has increased to 400Nm from 3900rpm. The listed weight of the manual equipped E92 is 1580kg. One interesting side note is the capacity of the fuel tank; 70 litres in the E30, reduced to 63 litres in the current model.

After the jump you can see a selection of images from all four generations of M3; E30, E36, E46 and E92. You get a good insight at the presence the M3 has made on racetracks around the world too. Basic specs will be given and a more comprehensive list is available for download (700kb PDF).

The only thing left to discuss is to let us know which M3 is your favourite. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

BMW Past master

Past master: BMW 700 – Der wagen mit profil

BMW 700

A couple of weeks ago I came across the rather quaint advertisement above for the BMW 700. What started as an idea to post up a simple ad with a paragraph or two has taken me on a journey of discovery for the BMW 700. I have found some great historic photo and video material, along with an extensive press release from BMW, celebrating the car’s 50th anniversary.

Despite the 1960s advertising claims, the BMW 700 is the lowest profile car featured in AUSmotive’s Past master series, but it is perhaps one of the most important, at least as far as BMW is concerned anyway.

First, some more about this little car that could. The 700 was built from 1959–1965 with over 190,000 units sold by the end of production. The two door Coupé was derived from the unsuccessful 600 model. It was the first production BMW to utilise a monocoque chassis construction. The 700, as it’s name suggests, was powered by a 700cc engine (697cc to be precise), but that’s where the normal convention ends. By today’s standards the small car took the unconventional format of fitting the engine in the rear of the car and, more unconventionally, the engine was a boxer-style two cylinder unit.

The 700 Saloon and Coupé made their debut at the 1959 Frankfurt Motor Show and at launch the engine produced 30 horsepower. The Coupé version was capable of powering the car to 100km/h in 30 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 125km/h. That sounds almost amusing by current performance expectations, but in 1959 it was setting new benchmarks. Here’s what one motoring journo said at the time, “You have the feeling that you’re sitting in a car with genuine sporting values, but without the rather harsh ride and limited space so typical of most sports cars.”

The 700 was an immediate success for BMW and it helped steer the company away from financial trouble, starting a new era of prosperity. In 1960, waiting lists for the car had blown out to several months, but BMW still sold 35,000 examples. This accounted for 58% of the annual revenue.

BMW used the 700 to provide sporting success, too, by making a roadster style 700RS model. It is a stunning looking car. With a tubular space frame and an aluminium body the RS model had 70 horsepower. Again, not big numbers, but with the car itself weighing just 600kg and top speeds approaching 200km/h it’s no surprise to read the car achieved notable results, including the 1961 German Circuit Championship for Walter Schnieder. Hans Stuck, father of Hans-Joachim Stuck, also won the 1960 German Hillclimb Championship in a 700 RS.

In 1962 BMW extended the wheel base by 32cm to make the 700 LS. Indeed, my first experience of the BMW 700 was at the 2008 German Autofest in Canberra where a 700 LS Luxus won best in show, you can see some pics of this car at the end of this article.

A series of fantastic period advertisements for the car can be seen after the jump, along with a number of images, all accessible in wallpaper-friendly sizing by clicking on the pics you like. More on the BMW 700 can be found at (not accessible with Firefox, use Explorer on PC or Safari on Mac OS). Enjoy!

Audi Past master

Past master: Audi ‘Ur-Quattro’

Audi UR quattro

Few cars have captured the public imagination or established a niche for a manufacturer as well as the original Quattro did for Audi. Indeed, now, the term quattro (with lower case ‘q’) is applied to any Audi with an all-wheel drive system. This, though, is the car that started it all for the Ingolstadt outfit.

Interest in the Quattro has been revived of late with the reveal of the TT RS, which has a punchy five cylinder turbo, just like the original. Both cars had their first public reveal at the Geneva Motor Show—the Quattro in 1980, the TT RS in 2009.

The Quattro was built from 1980 until 1991 and had three engine variations during that time. All featured the famous inline five cylinder turbocharged configuration, starting with a 2144cc 10v (1980–87), before getting a minor tweak to 2226cc (1987-89), which also improved low down torque. The final revision (1989-91) took the engine to a 20-valve DOHC setup, while keeping capacity at 2226cc.

While the road car in itself was something of a revolution, it was on the world rally stage that the Quattro really shook things up. Audi’s new technical masterpiece was able to exploit Group B regulations to their maximum, with the benefits of all-wheel drive pioneered by Audi leaving its rivals eating dust.

Like the road cars, the rally going Quattro received a number of updates throughout its life. Starting with the comparatively tame looking A1, A2 and Sport Quattro evolutions which helped bring back-to-back World Rally Championship success to Audi in 1983 and 1984. The follow up to these cars was the wild aero kitted Sport Quattro S1. In 1986 at the peak of their development the car was believed to have a power figure as high as 441kW (approx 600bhp). This is still considered to be the most powerful WRC car of all time.

The Audi factory team pulled out of WRC part way through the 1986 season, but the car continued to gain notoriety through its efforts at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. Audi won the event three times on end from 1985 to 1987. This included world record times to Michèle Mouton (1985) and Walter Röhrl (1987).

To reflect on the Quattro one has to look past its awkward proportions and boxy shape and simply admire the technical prowess the car possessed. The Quattro has left a lasting legacy for Audi and the World Rally Championship.

To help further appreciate this legacy there are a number of images, YouTube clips and a few press releases from the Audi archives to boot. You might also like to check out the Ur-Quattro’s Wikipedia page for further detail.

UPDATE 4 April: A brief article on the Quattro appears in Issue 7 of Road Magazine.

BMW Past master

Past master: BMW M1

If the M1 Homage has whet your appetite to learn more about the BMW M1, then I trust you will enjoy this clip from The three minute clip gives a brief history of the car and you will also see iconic racer Hans-Joachim Stuck give his thoughts on the M1 Procar series.

Related reading
AUSringers – BMW M1 on the Nordschleife
autoblog – BMW M1 Procar race celebrates 30th Anniversary of the M1
USautoparts – BMW M1—the original M car

Audi Past master Porsche

Past master: Audi RS2

Audi RS2 Avant

The RS2 was Audi’s first ‘RS’ quattro model. A collaborative work between Audi and Porsche in the mid 90s, the RS2 was not only the world’s fastest production wagon, it was also one of the fastest cars money could buy.

On sale for just three years (1994–96) the RS2 was based on the S2 and built on the Audi 80 platform. The S2 was built in coupé, estate and saloon models by Audi, although, the only variation imported to Australia was a very limited number of coupés. An initial run of 2200 RS2s was planned, in Avant guise only, but demand saw the final production end closer to 2900 units. Just 180 of these were made in RHD and none were imported to Australia—despite plans from then importer Inchcape to bring 25 RS2s down under, to be sold at an estimated cost of $145,000.

(Clearly the above image shows there is at least one RS2 in Australia, and you can read more about this car after the jump.)

Transformation of this otherwise humble estate car into a serious performance weapon took place at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen factory. Audi would deliver basic S2 shells and Porsche would then work their magic. They did this by giving the 2.2 litre inline 5 cylinder engine a bigger turbo, along with several other modifications, including a larger intercooler, larger injectors, modified camshafts, modified exhaust system and a revised engine management system. Porsche also supplied the wheels, brakes (via Brembo) and, of all things, the wing mirrors. The engine was good for 232kW/450Nm, enough to propel the RS2 from rest to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

Porsche also tweaked the suspension, with revised Bilstein struts and stiffer anti-roll bars, sharpening the generally mild and dull characteristics of the Audi 80 platform.

Despite these revisions the RS2 couldn’t really shake the fact it was based on the 80 and tipped the scales at 1600kg. As good as the RS2 was, it was unable to achieve universal acclaim from the motoring media of the day. Subsequent RS models from Audi, including the RS6, have certainly improved the breed. One thing the RS2 did do, though, was show the world that a niche market did exist for estate cars with supercar performance.

In fact, so strong was the performance of the RS2, when tested by UK publication Autocar it was revealed the Audi-Porsche lovechild could accelerate to 30mph in just 1.5 seconds. Amazingly, at the time, that was faster than both the McLaren F1 road car and Jacques Villeneuve’s Williams F1 car. The quattro system obviously did a great job of getting power through its wheels then!

BMW Past master

Past master: BMW E30 M3

The BMW E30 M3—the most successful touring car ever.

The festive season is a time to reflect and enjoy the company of loved ones. So what better time, then, to reflect on one of BMW’s finest motoring achievements. There wouldn’t be too many motoring enthusiasts that don’t go weak at the knees when they see an E30 M3 on the road today. It’s all about respect—from its classic 1980s styling, to its racing heritage and, of course, to its place in the history books as one of BMW’s best ever road cars.

The opening paragraph makes a bold claim, but it is one made by many and the little M3’s honour roll makes for impressive reading. Four consecutive wins in the Nürburgring 24 hour race (1990–92), four wins in six years at the Spa 24 hour race (1987, 1988, 1990, 1992) are impressive enough. But add those to a list of series wins, including the inaugural World Touring Car Championship (1987), two British Touring Car crowns (1988, 1991), two European Touring Car Championships (1987, 1988), two German DTM titles (1987, 1989) and even an Australian Touring Car Championship for ‘Gentleman’ Jim Richards (1987) to name just a few, and what you have is a serious race car, with some genuine pedigree.

Of course, this pedigree translated very well to the road-going version as well. The original M3 had a 2.3 litre four cylinder and kicked off with 143kW, before various updates took the power well beyond 160kW. It loved to rev and was described by Classic & Sports Car as recently as 2002 as having a “beautifully balanced chassis, razor sharp steering, and sweet singin’ twin-cam four”.

Bona fide E30 M3s are a rare sight in Australia, but included below are some images of one I saw at Wakefield Park earlier this year, complete with US licence plates and all! If you know anything more about the history of this car I’d love to hear it.

In addition to those pics, and the clip above from, I have also included links to related reading and a selection of pages from a US-spec M3 brochure.