Rétro­mo­bile Last Porsche 917 built and Shelby’s own Co­bra 427 emerge from hid­ing

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

KRE­MER PORSCHE 917

The heroic yet doomed fi­nal Porsche 917 re­turned to France for Rétro­mo­bile af­ter 35 years hid­den in a Swiss col­lec­tion, a high­light of a show shin­ing with in­ter­na­tional gloss, if lack­ing the event’s tra­di­tional French ec­cen­tric­ity.

‘It was built in 1981 by Kre­mer, who had been given the tech­ni­cal draw­ings of the 917 by Porsche,’ said the As­cott Col­lec­tion’s Xavier Micheron. ‘Even by 1981 stan­dards, the top speed of the 917 was still very high, and the works 936 was prov­ing un­re­li­able, so Kre­mer felt there was still de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial in the old de­sign.

‘ They gave it lower- drag aero­dy­nam­ics, and bet on 600bhp and light weight – but even so, it needed more fuel than ex­pected. At Le Mans in 1981 it was out­qual­i­fied by Kre­mer’s own 911-based 935 and driver Bob Wollek stormed out at the end of his first stint, re­fus­ing to drive it any more.’

SHELBY CO­BRA 427

Car­roll Shelby built three street pro­to­types as well as his com­pe­ti­tion 427s. ‘ This was the orig­i­nal PR demon­stra­tor,’ said re­storer Alain Rüede. ‘It did the show cir­cuit with Ford fac­tory driver Ray Ged­des. Shelby kept it un­til sum­mer 1967. It came to Europe in ’69, and went into a Swiss col­lec­tion.

‘It didn’t need much work, but who­ever looked af­ter it didn’t have the right spe­cial­ist knowl­edge. We re­stored it, re­in­stat­ing the rare orig­i­nal dry- sump sys­tem, with the oil-filler on the front wing, and the orig­i­nal black vinyl hard­top. The en­gine still needs dyno-test­ing but it’ll be ready for the Spa Clas­sic where it’ll race for the first time.’

RANGE ROVER ‘RE­BORN’

Jaguar Land Rover chose Paris to launch its Range Rover Re­born project, hon­our­ing the fact that the car was ex­hib­ited at the Lou­vre when new as an ex­am­ple of cut­ting- edge in­dus­trial de­sign.

‘All parts are avail­able to an ex­tent, ei­ther through com­plete re­fur­bish­ment or man­u­fac­tur­ing, but the big­gest thing is the body pan­els – we’ve re­freshed the tool­ing to build th­ese,’ said JLR’S Sally Polokovsky. ‘ We’re in the process of re­verse- en­gi­neer­ing the whole car, iden­ti­fy­ing rare spares. Where there’s no op­tion we’re look­ing at bring­ing tool­ing back or com­mis­sion­ing re­place­ments. Kien­zle no longer ex­ist so we’ve com­mis­sioned re­place­ment dash clocks from Smiths, for ex­am­ple.’

JLR is also to open a pres­ti­gious show­room in Coven­try, ded­i­cated to sell­ing ‘cars with prove­nance’.

RE­NAULT LA­GUNA

Re­nault launched its new Alpine sports car at the show, its dis­play fea­tur­ing an ex­am­ple of ev­ery road car the mar­que pro­duced. Also present was Pa­trick le Que­ment’s 1990 La­guna con­cept, which bridged the gap be­tween the Eight­ies’ hefty 2+2 GTS and to­day’s lightweights.

It was built to show­case Re­nault’s new 210bhp 2.0-litre en­gine in a com­pos­ite body. The La­guna name ended up on Re­nault’s next fam­ily sa­loon, but the con­cept sur­vived as the 1996 Sport Spi­der, en­gi­neered and built by Alpine.

LAN­CIA FLAMINIA ZA­GATO MODIFICATA

This unique Lan­cia has just been re­stored by GT La­bel of Lille, and was started up the week be­fore the show for the first time in 35 years.

‘It was dis­cov­ered in a barn in Greece,’ said re­storer Lau­rent Kocz­incki. ‘It’s al­ways been of a unique de­sign, more like an As­ton Martin DB4GT Za­gato than the other Za­gato Flaminias, but it was also de­signed for rac­ing, fea­tur­ing a one­piece flip-front bonnet. Ev­ery­thing has been re­stored, in such a way as to re­tain its patina. We’re cur­rently try­ing to learn of its race his­tory.’

‘It was built in 1981 by Kre­mer, us­ing tech­ni­cal draw­ings of the 917 pro­vided by Porsche’

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