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Ferrari Spider design leaked, off road MINIs + more - Good Oil
Toy company leaks LaFerrari Spider design
A couple of weeks ago it was professional swearer and occasional chef Gordon Ramsay who blew the lid on Ferrari’s plans for a convertible version of its LaFerrari hybrid hypercar. Thinking he was down the pub instead of on the set of the first episode of the new-look Top Gear television show, Ramsay showed off with abandon the key to the drop-top Fezza he’d been purportedly sent by the manufacturer.
But now leaked images of a 1:43 scale die-cast model car — believed to have been commissioned by Ferrari — have appeared on the internet, giving all and sundry a close-up look at the detail in the LaFerrari Spider ... albeit in miniature form.
The images appeared on the AutoEvolution.com car blog and the model shown is thought to have been commissioned from blueprints for the real thing.
Of course, not a lot can be discerned from it, save for the fact that pundits appear to have got their predictions about a complex folding hard-top mechanism wrong; the lack of any roof at all on the model suggests a removable panel ... or a forgetful model-maker.
The model-maker in question is Kane & Company; a Hong Kong-headquartered firm specialising in open wheeler racing models and performance cars (and whose website will have a certain breed of car enthusiast wiping away tears of joy with a handy credit card).
The 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Spider is rumoured to be a seriously rare beast, with only 200 planned for production. The LaFerrari coupe was already considered exclusive when it was released three years ago. The new hypercar is expected to feature the same powertrain as the coupe; a 588kW 6.3-litre V12 engine augmented by a 120kW electric motor (delivering total output of 708kW and 700Nm).
And if you’re feeling flush, a price of around $2 million is being bandied about for the roadster... er, the real one that is, not the model.
Concept realises perfect use for gigantic Minis
Mini traditionalists no doubt suffer from sore throats with all the tsk tsk-ing they do every time a larger, modern Mini passes by them on the road.
That the BMW-built Mini is more reliable, more economical and safer doesn’t register of course; did Michael Caine drive one through sewers beneath the streets of Turin while winking at the camera and kissing a lady?
No, he did not. But speaking of Italian jobs, Mini of Italy has built an off-road themed concept version of a Mini Clubman and, in the process, has quite possibly realised the perfect proportions for the brand’s five-door hatch.
The concept is called the All4 Scrambler and takes its inspiration from a BMW R Nine T Scrambler motorbike.
With its matte-grey paint and knobbly tyres it looks absolutely spot-on. This is how BMW should be building and marketing the Clubman; as a crossover soft-roader with attitude. Those tyres fill the arches more conclusively.
That luggage rack somehow looks quite modern and those spotlights suit it perfectly. Inside the cabin, the rich tan upholstery mimics the R Nine T’s seat.
All the car needs to realise its rough terrain destiny is a slightly raised ride height, a bash plate up front and underfloor protection below.
The All4 Scrambler concept will remain just that though; a concept. It has been built for a motor show and, short of driving onto plinths in various showrooms around Europe’s Mini dealer network, it doesn’t look likely to go off-road and feel the squelch of mud coursing through its exaggerated tyre tread.
A company that restores FJ40s?
Here at The Good Oil we’re rather fond of the old Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Series 4x4. Its compact, rugged style — possibly best exemplified by the mid-1970s models — has long been a favourite, with a bay in our fantasy 10-car garage roped off awaiting the perfect example.
Of course, in New Zealand with our extreme terrain, perfect examples are almost entirely extinct. Thanks to its rugged reliability, a new FJ40 that didn’t drive straight from the showroom into the paddock or bush was a rarity.
Back before the days when a 4x4 SUV was acceptable family transport, the Land Cruiser was a work tool, plain and simple.
Retirement usually meant a cut-down cab, a Chevy or Holden engine transplant and duty as a boat launcher or beach hack, rather than the soothing touch of a sympathetic restorer.
We’ve seen the odd well-groomed Kiwi survivor appear on auction sites, but their unusualness inevitably means they come with eye-wateringly high price expectations.
Over on the West Coast of the US though, Land Cruiser FJ40s are much more plentiful.
The dry climate and their immediate popularity (they bucked the trend for homegrown pick-up trucks, finding a strong audience for the burgeoning Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1960s and 70s) means that today there is a vibrant owner/enthusiast scene. And glory be. If you want a pristine FJ40 of your own, there’s even an American company that will restore and build one to your exacting specifications. For a price. It’s called The FJ Company and we strongly recommend a visit to their website (fj.co), if only to have a quick drool. It’s almost like shopping for a brand new Cruiser. You can choose from a variety of styles — Classic, California, Sport and Custom — and the company will perform a full frame-off restoration of any donor 4x4 in order to create a drivable, modernised version of what, let’s face it, was never traditionally a comfortable vehicle to drive every day.
The process will only cost anywhere between around $78,000 and $107,000.
Yes, well. It would seem those stratospheric prices for tidy Land Cruisers aren’t restricted to New Zealand after all.
1968 YEAR 100,000th Land Cruiser sold
100 UNITS Of prototypes ordered by US Government from Toyota in 1950
2 ALTERNATIVES Land Cruiser was Toyota “Bandeirante” in Brazil and “Macho” in Venezuela
2001 YEAR Localised Toyota FJ40 production finally ended in Brazil