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DECEMBER 2017 - € 8,00

AUTO CLASS magazine

we only talk about cars that matter




The Very Best Of Our 2017

400-HP 718 Boxster S

AMG GT: ‘Til The End Of The Road


THE FASTEST WAY TO GET INTO TROUBLE ! Mental, Wonderful, Crazy-Fast, Pure. The SuperVeloce Is Super-Everything.




by Christian Parodi

We almost waited for it, dear December, for finally having the ideal way to look back at these 12 months and finally realize what a fantastic year it has been. Started and continued under the road trip as a common denominator that allows a passionate to experience the deepest passion for cars, 2017 has been a succession of emotions, test drives behind the wheel of the most fantastic supercars, but without forgetting surprising sports cars and more practical and less exclusive ones that have been able to make us spend pleasant moments behind the wheel. Trying to remember how many curves we have traveled is impossible, even more difficult would be to sum up those moments of adrenaline that only some roads are able to offer. So we reached number 60, celebrating our 50th issue in February, and with the awareness that the road traveled so far is a small part of an exciting climb that promises an even more breathtaking view as we go on.

Cover Page: Lamborghini Aventador SV Photo Credits: Giorgia Rossi

The next few months will be the natural and surprising evolution of what we set out to do every day, that is to give body and soul to those like you who can’t live without devouring tales of those days out of town, but also events and many projects that Auto Class will unveil slowly over the next few weeks. Just to “spoil� the surprise, I can anticipate that we are going to release two books that promise to be not-to-be-missed readings for anyone with a bit of automotive passion in their veins, let alone those who breathe cars all day long. I stop here, I do not steal other space, but I wish as always and more than any other time to thank you for the love that you reserve every month to us, helping to increase our numbers and the interest that gravitates around our work. The many e-mails that come to the office are the 100 octane petrol that drives us to dare more and more, sure that on the other side of the page (or screen) there are the right people. Thanks, happy reading and happy holidays.

AUTO CLASS magazine



EDITOR IN CHIEF Christian Parodi Alessandro Marrone

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bartolomeo Lazzarini Lomax Ron Morgenstein Enzo Rachelli Gian Romero Giorgia Rossi Jay Tomei Federico Vecchio Alessandro Venier Ilario Villani Andy Williams

MARKETING DIRECTOR Christian Parodi EDITORIAL STAFF Andrea Balti Manuel Bordini Carlo Brema Giorgio Conti Max Gonzaga Richi Mackie Marco Mancino Alessandro Marrone Roberto Marrone Christian Parodi Marco Rallo Tommaso Mogge

EVENTS 2018 Calendar Coming Soon



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It had been announced, but we would never have expected such a masterpiece. The new Vantage marks a clear step forward for Aston Martin, which with the “baby” model continues its design path introduced with the DB11 sister. Courage and confidence in making an important contribution to the world, mirrored by one of the two colors used for the official presentation, the new Vantage replaces the previous model, which between a facelift and another was around from 2005. And it does that with the stunning DB10 styles (the one driven by the world’s most famous secret agent) with a sleek look and lines that seem getting out of our hottest fantasies. The front end is even more pronounced than before, while the cut tail houses the rear lights that cross the entire width of the back. Underneath the bonnet, a twin-turbo 4-liter V8 powering 510hp and 685Nm of torque, which ground their violence on the rear axle thanks to a 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. Maximum speed of more than 310 per hour and a 0-100 of about 3 and a half seconds - the new Vantage is also the first Aston Martin to offer an electronic limited-slip diff for the benefit of a deep and visceral driving experience like the one that will live your pupils the very moment you will be lucky to have one in front of you. A provocative design that does not know half terms and which rightly grants deserved glory to the little son from Gaydon. For us it deserves a standing ovation, one that lasts hours and hours.


8 Love it or hate it, as most people out there do not even know what a Tesla car can do. Like a lightning strike, Elon Musk’s creature releases an exaggerated bomb under the name of Roadster representing the last-born in the “all electric” family. The Tesla Roadster has shocked everyone for the figures it brings, such as a 0-60 mph of just 1.9 seconds, a top speed of over 250 miles per hour (400 kph - yes, even better than a Chiron) and an estimated mileage of 620 miles (998 km), obviously on the basis of a much easier drive.


Unlike many other cases, the Roadster is a tangible reality and will soon be put into production, finally offering the opportunity to have a fast and efficient Tesla that is also aesthetically pleasing and still able to be used every day. There are in fact four places on board, luggage space and the new “Plaid mode”, a further evolution of the crazy “Ludicrous mode”, which can jump you into hyperspace in a fraction of a second thanks to the instant “torque” available as soon as you press the right pedal. There are three electric motors, one up front and two at the rear, which will land 10,000Nm on the ground (we counted the zeros several times, it’s right as you see it written!). It will take about $ 200,000 to get in your garage the fastest car in the world, but hey, you will not even spend a coin in petrol. And since the shock in front of the Roadster was not enough, Musk also announced that he intends to revolutionize the truck transportation segment too, showing the world his Semi Truck concept, called Semi. The Semi, which offers a central driving position, surrounded by two immense tablets by which to govern every aspect of the vehicle, will arrive in 2020, boasting an estimated 800 km autonomy (full load) towing 36 tonnes. Always in these conditions is able to reach 100 kph in about 20 seconds, otherwise it will take only 5 seconds. Pure madness. There will also be a second version with a limited range of about 480 km, always with four independent motors mounted on the rear. Tesla is also planning to build a Megacharger network, which will guarantee a recharge for 650 km in just thirty minutes of waiting. The future is here.











It’s not just the most powerful Corvette ever, but the best one. Mark Reuss, executive vice-president of the brand, is firmly convinced about that and it’s certainly not easy to move the slightest negative comment, as the brand new ZR1 looks like a warrior ready to annihilate the competition. The evolution of the LT4 from the Z06 gives life to the new 755 horsepower and 970Nm of torque LT5, which will try to kill the rear wheels thanks to an 8-speed automatic transmission or a 7-speed manual. The secret of the ZR1 is not only in the improvements made to its 6.2cc supercharged V8, but in the aerodynamic package that you will have to check when speccing your very one. You can opt for the low wing package, which will allow you to have a higher top speed and 70% more downforce than the spoiler fitted on the Z06. With the high wing option, however, available through the ZTK Performance package, there is also a front carbon fiber splitter, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and a dedicated suspension setting. The first ZR1s will begin to be available from Spring 2018 and at that point, with this new predator at large, the roads will no longer be the same.





MS 911




Let’s try to place our jaw in place and just admire the latest Singer’s creation, the US brand that takes classic Porsche 911s and makes them performance-wise and dynamically contemporary without losing that nerve typical of the time and the flavor that lives in one of the most unmistakable car shape in history. Commissioned and processed according to the requests of a lucky customer, we are facing the product of an All-Star Team, led by the same Singer, who for the occasion took in the game (among the various names) the experience and the engineering capabilities of Williams Advanced Engineering. For putting it simple, we have a 911-based 964 with expanded and lowered body, an air-cooled 6-cylinder with 500hp, a total weight not exceeding the tonne, 18-inch forged BBS Motorsport wheels with central locking , Brembo brakes and a 6-speed manual gearbox. There are so many details that enrich the outside, but especially the interior, with a constant search for perfection and a characterization that make this 911 the ultimate Porsche, without noting that in the end it is not even a Porsche. This Singer stands up to an artistic and motoristic level that has never been achieved so far, a hymn to objective beauty, something epochal, and that probably - despite being astonished at first glance - we can’t really understand. But the legitimate owner can, no doubt.



SCG 004S




After the impressive results and consensus gathered in motorsport, even the “common mortal drivers” will have the opportunity to sit at the wheel of one of the creatures of the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. The goal of the American visionary creator is to produce a carbon fiber supercar developed with the racing track as its deepest mantra, but suitable for day-to-day roads and regularly enrolled for an unrestricted use. This is the SCG 004S, which is a 5-liter twin-turbo coupe fitted with 650 horsepower and 720Nm of torque, available with a 6-speed manual gated gearbox, or with an automatic with paddles behind the steering wheel. As in the legendary McLaren F1, the driving position is in the middle, between the two slightly backward passengers and the analog instrumentation (without forgetting the usefulness of telemetry monitoring) suggests that the $ 400,000 needed are not an expensive request, ‘cause you’re about to bring home a supercar that wants to carve out an important role in the most exclusive supercars scene.







That of Dallara is a beautiful fairy tale, a daydream that after a long gestation due to the many efforts deployed in the racing world and to provide the basis for other cars that have indelibly marked the automotive panorama, becomes reality the very day of his founder Gian Paolo 81st birthday. The Stradale is the first road car ever built by Dallara, the result of a remarkable experience and a search that leaves nothing to the case, as tradition for the Italian maker. The 600 units that will be produced - 100 of them already sold - will give the possibility to turn from speedster to coupe fitting the removable windshield and adding doors and roof, while at the performance level we find a 2.3 EcoBoost brought to 400 horses. The Roadster configuration weighs just 855kg, while the Coupe variant is capable of generating up to 820kg of downforce - if equipped with the optional rear wing. Needless to say, it will be a lethal weapon on any track, but being able to leave home at the wheel is an added value that certainly does not go unnoticed. The chassis is entirely made of carbon fiber and the phenomenal power/weight ratio gives it a 0 to 100 kph of just 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of about 280 kph. With the increase of its production capacity, Dallara plans to build at least 10 units per month, starting next summer, with prices starting at around â‚Ź 155,000, excluding VAT. This is a beautiful dream, not just for Dallara, but for every cars enthusiast out there.



BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3 READY THE SECOND GENERATION’S WINNING BREED The first generation Continental GT3 has totaled 45 wins and 120 podiums over 528 races – these are really exciting numbers that Bentley bosses intend to maintain and improve with the arrival of the second generation, obviously based on the new Continental GT freshly presented to the public. Bentley Motorsport department did not go easy and managed to cut 900kg from its starting weight, not exceeding 1,300kg for this racing weapon ready to be put in the brawl in endurance championships around the globe. There will be its twin-turbo 4-liter V8 with 550 horsepower, while the boost in performance will be the result of a delicate study in the wind tunnel, huge use of carbon fiber and the numerous mechanical interventions that will make it a certain protagonist among the curbs. Debut is scheduled to take place in Monza, while we’re pretty sure it will take part in some races of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and the Intercontinental GT Challenge.









Pure performance at hand with the extreme M4 GTS first and with the M4 CS will no longer be exclusive to those who prefer two doors instead of four. In fact, BMW has just introduced the M3 CS, the most performance focused M3 since the times of the previous GTS. Driven by the same twin-turbo in-line 6-cylinder of the coupe counterpart, it delivers 460 horses and about 600Nm of torque, a good leap forward over the “standard” version. It will only be available with the 7-speed automatic twin clutch transmission and guarantees a 0-100 of just 3.7 seconds. This is not just a matter of numbers, however, as the M3 CS maintains and in fact raises the involvement of the driver that is expected talking about a BMW coming out of the M division. Improvements also for its aesthetics, with a look that accentuates aggressiveness and with use of a carbon fiber engine bonnet to save a few pounds from the overall weight - the same speeches for the roof, front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser, all goodies borrowed from the M4 GTS. Finally - though it does not really end here - it will be offered directly with the Harmony Kardon Audio system and Competition Package included. The production will stop at 1,200 units and there are still no exact figures about the price tag. Now if you take the vocabulary, you’ll find it as the definition of Super Sedan.



Words: Marco Mancino

Photography: Ron Morgenstein

SUBARU BRZ THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO Everything changes as you grow up. The world changes, our interests do, our fears, our hopes – we change indeed. And when we turn to look back, there are more and more things that we bring with us, emotions, memories, moments that fill our memory. I remember those summer days spent in the country with my grandparents, those sunny and hot afternoons that forced me to leave the bike in the yard and look for some shade under a tree. I would browse my favorite readings, which for an 8 year old child were not cars or motorcycles magazines yet, but a bunch of fantastic superheroes comics. Everyone had a costume, a secret life, an identity that would not even reveal to their family, and I lived those stories as if I were a second protagonist, a hero feared by villains and loved by good people. My comics mania has become a collection and despite growing up when I can, I give myself a healthy reading that takes me back in time, where

the biggest problem would be to eat broccoli at dinner. Nothing more serious than that. The Subaru BRZ, like its Toyota GT86 twin, has brought a breath of fresh air into the car world, especially in that slice that matters, that of real fans who want a fun car as well as beautiful. Expectations were many and the attractive price opened a door inside which many wisely decided to enter. Sales are going in the right direction and time has come for a mid-life update aimed at refreshing a sporty but never arrogant look. Small and light bevels to a clean design that can please everyone and be useful in dealing with the frenzy of the working week, waiting for a weekend when tires health will be severely tested. For me it’s a good opportunity to get back on the 2+2 coupe and enjoy another week of peace of mind. “My” BRZ is white, pure as an angel

landed to give me some other moment to keep together with my beloved comics collection. The superhero in question has almond eyes, a double exhaust at the back and the most canonical features that make it idol of the masses: rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated (boxer) engine and a manual gearbox. Obviously it is in perfect shape and its weight of 1,338kg gives it great agility between the curves - yep, the curves, its favorite habitat. The BRZ is at ease in any circumstance, I see it as an urban hero given the softness of the pedals and the gear lever, as well as the discreet load capacity of the trunk, but it really does not expect anything other than taking the situation in hand when in front of us a series of bends stand out. The 2-liter 4-cylinder delivers 200 horses, which are distributed on the rear axle through a 6-speed manual, but the transformation from Peter Parker to Spider Man takes place when


23 you start doing heel-and-toe, constantly tapping the red line and using as much as possible the “only” 205Nm of torque. A profane will be disappointed, he will not understand the secret of the BRZ, he will not even approach those mentally fast cornering, with a chassis that seems to have come out of the special issue of “Crazy-Car”. You have to get used to it in order to make the best out of it, and once the conveniences are set, the Toyobaru can cause unprecedented addiction. Time to turn off traction control and play with the rear - even in this case you have to approach corners very fast, be rude with steering wheel and pedals and feel the mechanical self-locking differential that makes its dirty work. It is not about speed in the pure sense of the word, it takes 7.6 seconds to go from 0 to 100 kph; the BRZ likes curves, it’s a mature car and knows exactly how to satisfy its driver, but first he will have to prove he is up to it. I’m sitting down, hugged by the fantastic leather and alcantara seats, the shift lever is close and the gear ratios seem endless with that 2.0 boxer puffing but always ready to be abused. You feel like driving a sports car, ‘cause you are on a sports car, if only the exhaust wouldn’t be so bloody delicate. I have to slow down the pace or I may end down some ravine and so I look around for a moment, noting that the cockpit is really a good place to be. Wide in height and width, with two small seats at the back and some good episodes (center conso-



le buttons, instrumentation behind the steering wheel) and some less good ones (clock, 7-inch navigator screen), but which do not affect at all my final opinion towards the car. I want one. I want one for all the remaining days of my life, I want to turn it into a project car and spend hours and hours watching it after having properly changed the wheels (yes, maybe sacrificing a bit of its agility, but in favor of a more sexier look). I drive miles after miles and I can’t get tired of it, I feel rejuvenated, I feel like in those beautiful and radiant summer days, but instead of reading the adventures of some fully dressed hero, I’m actually immersed in the action. The branches of the trees become more and more blurred around me, the road ever smaller and I keep tasting the technical capabilities of the Japanese coupe. If 200 horses are not enough it is because you are not going fast enough. Lucky that someone has realized that fun is a luxury that has to be felt by all sort of enthusiasts and that in a Country (Italy) where we are oppressed with taxes and stupid restrictions, there is a car that doesn’t care about high-end connectivity (still present in the BRZ) and can act as a car for the whole week and a fun weekends’ tool, or for any time the road ahead allows us. Becoming one with your own car without talking about the mythical Lotus? Done. And without giving up any luggage space, also by forgetting the number of my chiropractor.

SUBARU BRZ (2017-) Layout front-engined, rear wheel drive Engine 4 cylinder boxer – 1.998cc Transmission 6-speed manual gearbox Power 200 hp @ 7.000 rpm 205 Nm @ 6.400 rpm Weight 1.338 kg Acceleration 7,6 sec. Top Speed 227 kph Price from € 32.990



Words: Christian Parodi

Photography: Richard Montagner

MAZDA MX-5 RF SACRED FUN Take any automotive-focused discussion, serious or not, and in the end it will always be the winner: the MX-5, the Mazda that sold more than 950,000 units and motorized generations of enthusiasts has been able to upgrade itself without losing the secret of its own success, made of lightness and fun - so much fun. We find it at the top of every meeting between friends and never missing the point, because with that cheerful and happy look it can still turn upside down the grumpiest Monday morning. In short, you can’t call yourself a real car maniac unless you’ve driven one, and if you did, you’ve probably fallen in love with it. The MX-5 I have here is not a standard MX-5, but the new retractable fastback (RF), which explains itself as being a coupe with a rigid roof foldable as a targa (yes, just like the 911) and therefore keeping the rear pillars and the back rear window where you would expect them to be. It is a pretty nice thing that is especial-

ly useful for those who want to use the super Mazda as a daily, by taking advantage of a greater use and a decreasing risk of damage and scrape to the canvas roof as well as possible air and rain infiltrations during the cold seasons. A MX-5 must, however, be able to entertain and 45kg of structural fatigue could seriously jeopardize the great quality of the small Japanese star. So I took it away from the city, where the roads are wide enough to properly push the 4 cylinder 2-liter that features the RF in its Sport version. I like everything for the moment, especially the three quarter back that gains more elegance, not to mention the amaranth leather interior, the 6-speed manual gearbox, always very close to the driver and the excellent soundproofing with the roof closed driving en plein air gives some rustle, some turbulence, but nothing too invasive that can

go to notch the constant smile on your face. There is also a limited-slip diff that is here to dispense the right traction on the rear axle, but above all a weight that despite the rigid roof and the automatic drive mechanism, does not exceed 1.150kg. It takes a dozen seconds to pass from coupe to targa, but it is a process that needs to be done stationary (or at a maximum of 10 kph). At that point, the sense of habitability logically increases and finding the ideal driving position becomes way easier than when the little Mazda had the roof closed over my head. The steering wheel is precise, the soft clutch and the gearbox has its usual short movements, a real treat on this type of road. I turn off traction control, the only barrier between me and the true nature of the MX-5, which once again doesn’t care about Sport buttons or the most picturesque ways of calling a driving mode that turns from black to white - in this case it is “Open vein” or “Closed vein”. I let


27 you imagine my face when entering a hairpin I start taking measures with the magic world of the Miata, throwing the throttle to the floor and widening the back with ease and an inner peace that usually do not belong to me at all. The MX-5 will cost you more in tires than petrol, it’s good to keep it in mind - two fingers are enough to handle the steering wheel, right toe to push the brake and the heel of the same foot to keep the engine revving, taking advantage of its 160hp, which on such a weight, are the ideal figure. The trim is not rigid, though Bilstein sports suspensions are fitted, but through corners you will be able to decide when and where to break the perfect balance of the weights - all you have to do is finding the right place to do that. Time to play with the tail, with the “power” and occasionally slamming myself in the fastest curves holding down the gas and expecting me to be betrayed from one moment to another, but it does not happen, the MX-5 is sincere and every time it looks at me with its happy eyes, making me remember that driving for the pure pleasure of doing it is something wonderful. That’s why you definitely have to jump on an MX-5 - no matter what the generation or the type of engine - it’s a great car that offers tons of fun at a reasonable price and with maintenance costs


29 MAZDA MX-5 RF (2017-) Layout front-engined, rear wheel drive Engine 4 cylinder 1.998cc Transmission 6-speed manual gearbox Power 160 hp @ 6.000 rpm 200 Nm @ 4.600 rpm Weight 1.130 kg ca. Acceleration 7,3 sec. Top Speed 214 kph Price from € 31.150

lower than any other car you can think of up to the task. Of course, the RF is more sophisticated, modern, it has a 7-inch display at the center of the dashboard and keeps lacking storage compartments - except the pit between the two seats - the trunk has no flat bottom and will hardly fit the luggage for a weekend away, but after all what we really care about is still here. Thanks to an elastic gearbox and a featherweight, fuel consumption is your friend too, with a combined cycle of about 15.2 km/l. It is difficult to find an aspect that rises above the other in this car and perhaps it is the fact that it is able to satisfy in any situation and to please those customers who cannot give up at some ordinary madness on wheels to make the cabrio/coupe MX-5 another success in the making. Unfortunately, although it offers great spec as standard, it is necessary to pay at least € 31,150 to bring a new one home, but I’m sure that given the premises and the confirmations it has shown in person, it will be a purchase that will take residence in your garage for a long, long time. The MX-5 RF tastes a bit as a grand tourer, it wants to be an adult and mature car and it manages doing that - just a click and it’s a bit like choosing the program on your TV: a sports channel or a movie in relax ?

#onlythebest THE


We thought that being able to put on paper the strong emotions we experienced during the endless miles spent at the wheel of extraordinary cars was the difficult part. As a matter of facts, the toughest part of our job is to choose the best episodes, to be all in agreement and to design an internal ranking among the over 100 cars tested this year. We spent late hours at the office, we talked for whole nights and drank an unspecified number of coffees, but in the end we all agreed on what should not miss our usual end of the year article. Here are our choices, let us know what you think about it and prepare for a pretty intense 2018.







33 The most performing “Mc” of the Sport Series is in fact the best supercar we’ve driven. And it’s not just for its price, consistently cheaper than its competition, but the exclusivity of the materials, the design and the ability to make even the most standard A to B special. The twin-turbo V8 is powerful and the combination of frame and braking system makes the rest, offering an adrenaline driving experience like you’d have on a roller coaster marathon.






N LP610-4


Do not think we’re cheating, in order to add an extra supercar at all costs. What the Huracan can do, the ease with which it takes speed and allows you to face even the most demanding corners, is supernatural. There are no words, just you being pushed against the seat, the scream of the V10 and its 610 horses, until the moment you start turning the steering and inside of you it’s time to prey, but fortunately you find yourself catapulted exactly where you would like to be. The only problem is getting down - yes, ‘cause that you will never want to leave it!







37 We always give space to vintage cars and in some cases the border between classic car and authentic masterpiece is extremely subtle. This is the case of the Ferrari F40, which celebrating its thirtieth anniversary still combine thrilling performance and a menacing look with a brutal delivery, typical of those years that are getting farther away. Just look at it, can you feel your legs trembling? Well, driving it brings you across another dimension.






39 Mathematics is not an opinion and 415 horses under an anorexic body of only 925kg are the business card of the exclusive 3-Eleven, the “open� Lotus produced in only 311 units and ready to unleash hell on your weekend on track. But there is more to it, since it is in fact approved for road use and we, in its bare cabin, took it and carried it on a winding road, experiencing one of the most extreme and crazy experiences ever. Contrary to what you can think of, the 3-Eleven is pretty easy to push hard, but for bringing it to the limit it requires liver. Quite a lot of.








41 Driving a Ferrari has a unique charm, a magic halo that hardly succeeds in explaining. Crossing the gates of the Maranello factory at the wheel of a red 488 GTB is the ultimate image that every car enthusiast has wellprinted in mind since the moment he learned to say “mom�. Whatever is happening, keeping your hands on the steering wheel of the blistering-fast twin-turbo V8 of 670hp, automatically turns into a series of moments that earn the right to be kept among the most beautiful memories of your life.





Anyone can give you an SUV, that’s no longer a surprise. The real thing is being able to reinvent yourself, renewing a recipe that for many is now fading. Peugeot, with the new 3008, has not only created an exceptional SUV, but a car that offers practicality, elegance, the grandeur you would expect from a classic SUV and the desire to renew the environment in which you will spend long hours on the motorway (or in traffic), family trips and more simply every day of your working week. It does this with a fresh look, a refined and despised cockpit, and those small (and many) details that make the real difference. The 3008 has also been declared car of the year, not by accident.



Volvo is not new in producing excellent cars ready for any use and climatic conditions, featuring interesting new features in terms of safety and state-of-the-art technology. The new XC90 has a mastodontic image, but a small 4-cylinder engine that will make fuel consumption good for everyday use. Choosing the right spec, just like the one we’ve tested, and you will have a fantastic lounge on wheels with comfortable leather armchairs, an audio system that’s worthy of a lyrical theater and a full range of driver and passenger goodies. Along with the Peugeot 3008, which is even more surprising, the best SUV we have ever tested.









We have lost track of the kilometers driven, no way to remember the number of hairpins we have faced in this long and wonderful year. There have been numerous stops as well, where coming out of the car we literally fell mouth-open in front of scenarios that seem to be borrowed from other planets. More than anything else there has been one who has left something inside us, like an animal call that is waiting to be awakened and experienced again. The road that winds along the highest tarmac strip in Europe, the Col de la Bonette, and climbs over rocky cliffs and drifts through stretches of meadows grasses, with marmots and pristine vegetation overlooking at our passage, until joining the majestic Col du Restefonde. A landscape that takes your breath even by looking at a photography.




We do not want to be conceited, but sincere, and after having participated in various driving tours, cars meets and events of all kinds, the driving day that made our hearts beat the most was that of September 24th, starting in Courmayeur and climbing the Colle del Piccolo San Bernardo, the Col de l’Iseran and the Colle del Moncenisio with a group of supercars and sports cars. There were beautiful cars, nice curves, but especially extraordinary car guys. It was one of those days that you would have never missed, but if we think we have already prepared at least three days like this for next year, everything takes a sweeter taste. Check our agenda, we are waiting for you!

or f e Tim






Words: Alessandro Marrone

This is one of those days that touch your inner spirit, those moments in which as soon as you have a second of psychological break, you start thinking about how lucky you are to be living in the same period of similar engineering masterpieces. A pile of iron and more noble materials such as carbon fiber, crazy figures on the technical sheet and the most insane ability to transgress any rule of common sense and understatement, give us a perfectly current supercar that however is able to make us live an epochal driving experience. The Aventador SuperVeloce, as the name suggests, is the symbol of speed, it is the 119th element on the periodic table, it is a chemical reaction that takes place inside our body and that raises the sensory shock to a level of physical pleasure that you feel every time the digital tachometer starts rising - and know that it does that in the blink of an eye, constantly, without the slightest intention of starting back over again before you have pinched the full scale. While you observe it you are assailed by a series of inputs that inevitably revolve around the violence of its design, the anger of its edges, the dynamism of every stretch studied and realized to bring out an effectiveness that knows no half terms. The abbreviation SV - SuperVeloce (which means super fast) - has firm roots in the legacy of Lamborghini and in Sant’Agata they certainly could

Photography: Giorgia Rossi

not baptize this special edition as “ICrushYour B on e s A n d T h e n I’ l l St ar t P l ay i ng S h an gai”, but the meaning is pretty much that. Starting from the base of one of the fastest supercars ever produced, the Aventador LP7004, today’s Aventador SV, is kindly entrusted to us by our friend Raul Marchisio, founder and owner of RM Autosport Monaco, a former professional driver who would be able to put sideways your living room table with Christmas dinner already set. It is one of the 600 models produced in coupe version, finished in Verde Ithaca color and with the carbon style package “the more, the better”. You can’t take your eyes off it and the hateful thing is that once on board you’re not able to look at it from the outside, for the rest there are all the ingredients that make a Lamborghini iconic and that turn a daydream into a two-seater with a naturally aspirated V12 in central rear position, a huge adjustable wing to overcome an equally huge diffuser and the four exhaust tailpipes one next to the other. The aesthetic metamorphosis between a standard Aventador and an SV jumps to the eye even before your brain has received the nerve impulse, noting the numerous aerodynamic appendages such as the front splitter, side skirts, new ultralight rims with center


locking (matching with the body), details in carbon and the more aggressive and provocative rear in automotive history. You know it’s a car, but standing next to it you feel like challenging the wrath of a dragon awakened from a very long sleep – it’s nervous, annoyed and can’t wait to take off the head from your body. We leave the busy streets of the Principality and we head towards a few kilometers of asphalt quite clear and smooth enough to allow us letting the bull to be unleashed, aware of the fact that no road will be wide and long enough to ground its 750 horses, despite allwheel drive contributes in making the driving experience less frightening than it could be. On paper, the Aventador SV should be a difficult beast to tame, with a stiff trim like an adamantium board and a single clutch 7-speed sequential gearbox that every time seems like throwing an anvil straight into the middle of your back - actually it is even much more pronounced. Difficult to describe with words the blind fury with which the SV increases its revs run and thrusts its large body along roads that climb to the hills above Monaco. The noise is deafening but delightful, a primordial bark that reiterates that the n/a 12 cylinders absolutely do not have to die and how they are able to represent the quintessence of the highest driving pleasure. The 6.5cc could not be the



53 youngest out there, but it doesn’t fear comparisons and manages to set off the SuperVeloce from 0 to 100 kph in just 2.8 seconds, also thanks to the exceptional traction of the four big tires, 255/35 /20 at front and 335/25/21 at the rear. The rear wing is then adjustable in three different settings, using a special tool, joy for those who want to use it on track. The engine never whispers, at idle or just moving it makes the rocky walls around us trembling, constantly waiting to be thrown at over 8000 rpm. The torque of 690Nm allows you to throw behind any remaining shred of common sense and that physical relationship with the chassis quickly becomes something morbid, something you can’t stay without, thanks to what is probably the most important technical upgrade, magnetorheological suspension.

In Sant’Agata they certainly could not baptize this special edition as “ICrushYourBonesAndThenI’llStartPlayingShangai”, but the meaning is pretty much that.

LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SUPERVELOCE (2016-2017) Layout mid-rear engine, all wheel drive Engine V12 cylinder 6.498cc Transmission 7-speed automatic gearbox Power 750 hp @ 8.400 rpm 690 Nm @ 5.500 rpm Weight 1.675 kg Acceleration 2,8 sec. Top Speed 350 kph Production 600 units (Coupe)


56 Once in you are embraced by two skeleton-

like bucket seats, beautiful and far from the idea of comfort that some boring journalist would like to find along something like fuel consumption (by the way, 24.7 l/100km in the city, 16 l/100km combined). The arms are extended forward towards the steering wheel in alcantara - ideal link for a controller alive just like a reptile heart - and the eyes bounce between the road and the familiar jet fighter cockpit, entirely covered with carbon fiber and alcantara, as the sky, the door panels and any other corner where your eyes will rest when they are not too busy trying to keep you alive. The Aventador SV is challenging, not only for its size and its power, but because it has a nervous behavior, analog feedbacks in an era where we are taught by the electronic capabilities of most sports cars. The gearbox will not be crazy fast and will shudder a bit, especially in city traffic, but when it’ll start kicking your body, that only accentuate the violence of a supercar that is already an instant classic. Just like in a sentimental relationship, we fall in love with the defects, ‘cause they’re part of it and those nuances that may seem obsolete, too extreme or even exaggerated, are those peculiarities that make the SV something able to go well beyond good and evil. The cult of speed on wheels has these forms, this voice, this apparent ability to make us feel fragile and unfit to exploit its full potential. This is what

puts us in our place and makes us understand that this time is different, that every corner is a challenge against ourselves and that at the end of the day we will have lived a totally different experience from any other. Some remove the mats, add two spoilers and some badges here and there, raise the price tag, invent some catchy slogans and discover hot water. When Lamborghini uses the letters SV it is because the magic potion is so hot that it turns every dream into reality and the Aventador SV is a

purebred bull exasperating every concept of automobile. The LP750-4 is the peak of contemporary motoring that winks at modern supercars. Difficult to find a rival that answers in the same way to the desire for something so pure and with enough horses to dye your hair in white at the first push on the brakes or at the first acceleration, the choice is yours.





Words: Alessandro Marrone

Autumn has now peeped out, greedily stealing precious hours of light from those intense driving days that was starting at dawn and culminating in the most red of summer sunsets, constantly looking for the highest peak to climb, the most engaging switchbacks and that limit between maximum grip and total loss of control of the rear, with tires that start to run furiously slipping out of the corner. That moment of extreme excitement, a sort of controlled shaking of hands on the steering wheel and sensory pleasure in losing control - for a few seconds only, until you focus your eyes to the next curve and set the car exactly where it should be. The road under the tires of the AMG GT is slimy and insidious this morning, the sun plays hide and seek behind a thick array of gray clouds and the huge bonnet of the creature born in Affalterbach points to the snowy peaks above Cuneo, to end at its best the fantastic experience lived with Gino Luxury & Motorsport for our Performance Tour, an adventure developed through six exciting episodes that saw us at the wheel of some of the best sports cars available today - cars that, moreover, do not expect anything other than you to take the driver’s seat, thanks to the exclusive programs offered by GinoScuderia.

Photography: S. Lomax

It’s not just the temperature, which does not seem wanting to change from 8 degrees, or the little light coming from a cloudy sky above us, there are a few hours for reaching our first shooting location and pay homage to one of the most beautiful grand tourer ever produced by the three-pointed star. The road in front of us is (obviously) winding and full of bends and I do not intend to stop until I have put the wheels on a bit of snow. There is always a challenge, a goal, that something that provides fuel to the engine of our emotions, otherwise it would be a simple job and we would not like it so much. I set the navigator and found in a few seconds the ideal driving position, sitting as always very low but with a good view of what is around me. In city traffic, luckily not oppressive given the time of the day, I can slip into the streets using the wow effect of the AMG GT, thanks to which many stop admiring it and giving me way at junctions and gesticulating in extensive approval. The GT replaces the beautiful and menacing SLS, loses the gullwing doors and a few liters from its engine, but gains two turbos and still manages to keep high the bar of involvement. Look at it, especially from the front, it seems so huge and that front grille with vertical slats that characterizes the facelift

contributes to give it a threatening connotation as the look of a shark attracted by some tasty blood. Low, very wide and with jaws wide open and ready to swallow the curves that lead to the mountains, the GT has only two seats and a rounded tail that emphasizes the sensuality of a completely new design that has very few rivals in its segment. Few that become even less due to the fact that one must in addition spend several thousand Euros more. The GT is the first step of the same model, but be assured that you will never miss the extra horses available with the GT S. The 4-liter V8 delivers 476hp and as soon as I press the gas I am instantly pressed to the seat thanks to a torque of 630Nm, available at just 1700 rpm. The roar of the exhaust accentuates the drama, just like the burble and crackles as I coast, but everything is perfectly in line with the speed you can gain in a few hundred meters.

When the road allows and winks at the AMG, I make a quick movement on the left paddle, climbing a pair of gears from the 7-speed automatic gearbox, jot down with ignorance and like a muscle car that has understood that it


61 takes a frame and a serious set-up to manage certain powers, I am invested by the consequences of my pseudo-criminal behavior: the bonnet seems to flinch, the sat-nav voice disappears swallowed by the 8-cylinder roar and my hands hold the steering wheel as hard as possible, limiting sudden movements a few centimeters from the gravel strip that delimits the roadway from a dramatic epilogue. You know it’s powerful, but you’re not ready for the explosiveness of its progression, partly because of its “abundant” look: the fact is that in reality the weight does not exceed 1690kg, ‘cause there is a carbon fiber transmission shaft and the body is made of aluminum. Here is explained how it could face those hairpin bends in so much fluency, not afraid of that desire to widen the tail. The front end is precise, the steering is soft (in any driving mode) and the g’box is very fast - with traction controls active, it will be your guardian angel, without being able to rely on them, a little responsibility is required, because despite engineering spells, 500 horses on the rear axle are never easy to handle. After some photographic stop where I can admire it with more peace and serenity, especially the futuristic cockpit that offers the usual technological gadgets combined with a really valuable design, it’s time to get back to driving and not settle for a few inches of snow remained in the middle of some field in the gloom.


63 Bravo Sebastian Ziegler, you did a great job! Sebastian is the man who completely assembled and then signed the engine of this model and as usual for AMG has left its deserved autograph under the bonnet, the true heart of this provocative coupe. Miles are eaten as if they were a succulent last meal, without any thrift and without any intention of wasting even a minute of the little time available - despite everything I still can’t understand the supernatural power of this AMG. Just a pressure on the throttle and I can see it from the outside watch it as it flashes - beautiful, elegant, a thunderbolt that abducts and combines the physical pleasure of a high speed drive to the emotional one that you feel following the right path, the one that does necessarily end the life of your tires, offering you the possibility to perform some bandit maneuvers with only half pedal pressed. And those crackles, which as the tachometer’s needle approaches the red line, increase in intensity and seem to rise in tone. The dance between hands and steering wheel resumes along a series of three or four bends and while the snow finally fills the landscape on the side of the road, I begin to experience that bitter taste that anticipates something that is coming to an end. The day at the wheel of the GT, the Performance Tour or more simply the road that is interrupted by a barricade and a sign prohibiting access to any type of vehicle.

MERCEDES AMG GT (2017-) Layout front-engined, rear wheel drive Engine V8 cylinder 4.0cc – twin-turbo Transmission 7-speed automatic gearbox Power 476 hp @ 6.000 rpm 630 Nm @ 1.700 rpm Weight 1.690 kg Acceleration 4 sec. Top Speed 304 kph Price as new from € 129.700


64 I stop in the middle of the road, I open the door and go down to read the municipal directives on the sign. Meanwhile, the V8 mumbles incessantly and the exhaust starts ticking, I turn to the car and I understand that this is one of those cases in which the destination does not matter, because the real fun is the journey and that a closed road means that you have to find another way to unleash the GT horses and keep enjoying the sweet taste of satisfaction that an exceptional car can give you. Many are able to bring you from one place to another, making you have fun, but a few are those with which you would escape for the sheer pleasure of doing that thing that binds all

of us car nuts - driving. The AMG GT collects an important legacy and raises it thanks to a simplicity of use that the SLS could not fully convey. It’s damn beautiful from everywhere you look at it, it thunders like the sky during judgment day and turns heads like a supercar, literally. You do not miss anything, not even the desire to accompany you anywhere, since it also has a large trunk. Another closed road, alpine passes are now off limits and the time at our disposal is coming to an end, time to return to the base and let someone else write his own great story, his personal story of a day of driving behind the wheel of a dream car.

Auto Class would like to thank Gino Luxury & Motorsport for the precious collaboration, having made the realization of the “Performance Tour” possible. We also remember that the book is now available in our shop, with all the episodes of this fantastic adventure, extra contents and much more. With our friends and the cars at Gino L&M, see you next year, while having fun with their Scuderia program and all the other available offers.








Words: Marco Mancino

Photography: Federico Vecchio

Drive it. Hold the steering wheel tight, be firm on the throttle and do not shift gear until the rev counter pinches the red line – just drive it and do not worry about anything else. I believe that this simple word is the definitive mantra that flashes in the head when we are face to face with those cars designed to entertain, even before being considered as avantgarde vehicles useful to move from one place to another. Moreover, we know very well that driving is one of those actions that are taken for granted, but that for a circle of enthusiasts represents a real nirvana, a place in which to escape and free all the anxieties and tensions accumulated during the week. Drive, even without a destination, even better if with someone with whom to share your emotions, that if lived in the right car will be strong and numerous. There is a “but” - as in all beautiful stories - and the evil witch who stands between our daydream and reality can be represented by the lack of the primary ingredient: the right car. And so, as usual, we admit that at the typical question “What is the car of your dreams?” we really do not know what to answer, not being able to give up any of the thirty or so sports cars that come to mind within a few seconds. It would take a loto f cars and well there is, it’s called GinoScuderia. Allow me to play with words, because since the dealer Gino S.P.A. (with its many dealers scattered between Piedmont and Liguria, in northern Italy) gave birth to the Gino Luxury & Motorsport program, the passion for sports cars has become a dream finally come true, not only by those who are lucky enough to be able to put in the garage the supercar of their dreams, but also for those who can give voice to their emotions by taking advantage of the various short term rental formulas. One step at a time and let’s proceed with order. It is easy to get lost in the gleam of your eyes greedily running through the curves of the cars currently available in the



GinoScuderia program: in front of us we have a boutique with only high-level entertainment cars, starting from the elegant Maserati Ghibli and the Mercedes AMG GT, passing through the comfortable and fast BMW M4 and AMG A45. A large lineup of Lotus is not missing, a brand for which Gino S.P.A. is official dealer for Piedmont and Liguria, with a wide choice of all models and various specs, including special editions – like for example the Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 350 and the brand new Evora Sport 410, produced in only 150 units per year. Finally, representing the category of XS hot-hatches, a Mini Cooper S, but not a standard Mini, but 1 of the 6 JCW Petrolhead Edition produced for the Italian market, daughter of an incomparable driving feeling and also providing a GoPro mount through the tow hook! Now imagine being able to drive them all, without worries of any kind and only caring about your enjoyment, choosing the ideal road to enhance one car rather than the other - the dedicated staff that will follow you and advise during the entire duration of your daydream will take care of all the rest. The rental formulas available to you are 4 and meet any need - the most complete and convenient is the so-called FORMULA CLUB that with only cost ₏ 6,500 (including VAT) offering you to choose between 5 from the 8 cars available and use 1 for week, for a total


69 of 5 weeks in total during the year. On balance it is just € 185 a day to drive exclusive supercars and lethal track weapons, without thinking about those boring (and expensive) things like stamp duty, insurance, maintenance, etc.). The other rental formulas are instead the WEEKLY, where you only need to pay a deposit and with rates starting from € 649 you will have the possibility to drive the car of your dreams, live it and fully enjoy it with 700km included in the package. The WEEKEND formula is designed to live a driving experience focused precisely on the weekend, with prices even more appealing and keeping the level of fun high. Finally, the DAILY formula will leave you face to face with your ideal car for 24 hours of pure adrenaline. Imagine what you would have done if you had offered a similar opportunity as a child within your favorite toy store - toys have changed over time, but we are still those bright-eyed children who are now slobbering in front of a carbon fiber spoiler. We have experienced this exclusive opportunity in first person in 2017, with our “Performance Tour” - finally available on our shop - selecting some of the GinoScuderia proposals and taking them where they would have realized our most intimate fantasies. It was an intense and exciting journey that gave us tre-



mendous thrills, memories that are integral parts of our passion and moments that we will never forget. The human relationship and the possibility to satiate this unusual disease are the basis of a project designed and desired by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. The courtesy and preparation of the staff that will follow you is of the same high standards, whether it is renting or buying, without forgetting the birth of the Gino Boutique, a department aimed at selling high-end cars no longer new. All that remains is to choose what you want to drive, go to the headquarters in Cuneo and come back home with a few hundred extra horses under the bonnet - knowing that the sweetness of this taste will create plenty of addiction. Drive, drive without caring about your destination, drive as if there was no tomorrow, drive your dream on wheels because someone has listened to the hopes of all car guys out there. Auto Class carefully selects its partners, involving exclusively high-level realities such as Gino Luxury & Motorsport. Another year has literally flown and together we have written fantastic pages of adventures behind the wheel. Behind the corner there are new roads to travel together and we will do it at full throttle, in the name of this common passion called “automobile�. Because the car world is more beautiful, if shared with the right people.

TECHART 718 BOXSTER S Words: Alessandro Marrone

Photography: Giorgia Rossi




The last test driving day in Leonberg arrives and brings with it the sorrowful feeling that is about to close a beautiful chapter lived in the sunny town at the gates of Stuttgart. We left the 718 Boxster S as last, to close the curtain as it should be, or it would be better saying to open it in beauty, since from our arrival the weather has improved steadily and today a hot sun shines in the sky above us. The 718 cabrio, which shares a lot with the Cayman, is specced with the same care and looks forward to shuffling Porsche’s entry level two-seater. That passed under the hands of Techart does it from the very first moment you see it: white and with much more accentuated shapes thanks to the improved front splitter, side skirts and the fixed spoiler at the back. The black rims are “in house” products and are 21 inches with fluorescent green trim that resumes the details you also find inside the passenger compartment. The suspensions have been lowered by 35mm compared to the traditional 718 S (25mm compared to the models equipped with PASM), the exhaust has only titanium tailpipes and in this case are also finished with carbon fiber tips. Aware that it dynamically differs under some shades compared to the rigid roof counterpart, I jump aboard and after turning the key and giving birth to the small but prominent 2.5 4-cylinder turbocharged, I open the roof and enjoy the sun’s rays. Driving with the open roof is the best way to eliminate any barrier with the outside world


77 - the sound of the exhaust, not so much increased in volume but rather lowered in tone, enters more freely in my ears, the frustration of the air becomes more insistent when I leave the town behind me, with the consequent approval of all five of my senses, now on alert to capture every little signal I am offered this day of driving in the German countryside. The engine warms up quickly, selecting Sports mode and then Sport + finally going to call into question the upgraded performance available, which equals to 50 hp and 60Nm more - just like on the 718 Cayman S. What’s changing in this case is the lack (on the test model) of a self-locking differential and a deeper perception of speed, once launched on the same roads as my previous test (see Auto Class #58). The 400 horses are easily added by Techart’s specialists, which in this case can achieve a significant increase in power for working on a turbocharged engine, continuing to offer the official guarantee on the various components. The 2.5 pushes hard regardless of the engine revs, I decide to sink the right foot on the throttle - it can take a fraction of a second or even less and then I throw myself into the dense woods of Renningen, which once again delights me as the most exclusive natural har-



monic case in the world. Suspensions are more rigid - you feel that no matter the speed - but the Boxster’s behavior is never scorbutic and while I am comfortably seated on the sporty alcantara seats, I keep the steering wheel firmly, varying corners’ entry at each time and exploiting the total lack of traffic to forget half-measures and go full throttle In the same way, next to some harder bend, I literally throw myself on the brake pedal, sometimes even slightly unbalancing the rigid body of the 718, a simple movement on the steering wheel, and it does everything else, mumbling from the double exhaust with what is becoming the next-generation Porsche soundtrack. Like it or not, downsizing is no longer a news, and luckily brings with it many positive aspects, first of all an overall boost in performance. The ease with which the turbo-Boxster gains speed is disarming - it limits fuel consumption when it is not necessary to take advantage of all of its power (and in this case the 400hp go back to the standard 350) and allows you to drive in perfect ease. A look in the rearview mirror, I downshift two gears and drag me along the perfect asphalt strip that winds in a hilly area not far from where we left a few inches of tires the day before. My eyes are fixed forward and always focus on the next corner, almost as if trying to reach the perfect horizontal line called horizon. Without even noticing it seems that all the relaxation and the feeling of harmony with the outside world that a roadster can offer you has turned into an alternative way to rattle like a maniac in the passenger compartment as if I had been bitten by a tarantula. The speed drops dramatically, engine revs increase, and in this moment the maximum torque and turbo thrust show once again that the new generation of Boxster (and Cayman) are meant to be driven in a completely different way from the flat-6 that we love so much. More responsive, but not too far from what I enjoyed with the standard 718. Techart succeeds in characterizing Stuttgart’s entry level models with a meticulous search for the ultimate and finest materials, noble colors and a more convincing sound that does not distort the starting tone at all.

TECHART 718 BOXSTER S (2017-) Layout mid-rear engine, rear wheel drive Engine 4 cylinder 2.5cc – turbo Transmission 7-speed automatic gearbox Power 400 hp / 480Nm Weight 1.460 kg ca. Acceleration 4,0 sec. Top Speed 296 kph Price car as tested €81.434 (+ VAT)


80 The sun begins to fall and shadows stretch. The air that enters the uncovered cockpit is no longer boiling like a few hours ago and I keep unwilling to spin in that crowd of tall trees that point to a blue sky that minute after minute gets darker. Time is passing by and I try to get everything I can, as if I never had such an occasion, but in reality the real drive is already over - I am now living a personal moment, a relationship of mutual trust that man and machine can share even in the simplest of contexts, seeing the world around as a landscape, a container that is there and waiting, enjoying the show of pure driving pleasure. Said by me which I’m not a huge fan of convertibles, the 718 Boxster S from Techart has probably been the test drive that gave me more and still today I can experience that deep sense of satisfaction, as if I still was there. It was probably the same horizon for which I am so fond of, which has returned the same sensations and tried to reach me and the Boxster.


Luxury Italian Wrap






Photos by Alessandro Venier - “An Italian Garage” - Zagato



Riccardo Vojvoda Sound Design

Alessandro Venier DOP

Edoardo Vojvoda director

EPISODE III In 1967, Piero Rivolta, short after taking over the firm in Bresso, realized that the high performing cars market was ready for a new range of Iso models. Iso Rivolta was producing the GT300/340 and the Grifo in various versions at that time. Although in 1962 the success of GTs had very solid bases and was an undoubtable brand new element, time did not fail to ill-treat Renzo Rivolta’s beloved car. In 1967 sales began to slow down. What a few years before had been the symbol of a milestone in the way of making cars, was forced to give in to its own evolution. Giorgetto Giugiaro’s line, a true inspiration to other models to follow, say Maserati, Mexico and Alfa Romeo GT was noticed for its sporty character, as comfortable as a sedan, and easy to drive in the city traffic. Renzo Rivolta used to say that his coupée was to be entered with your hat on; no compromise on comfort and smooth driving. In 1964, during an interview, Mr. Barbieri, head of “Edizioni Scientifiche”, has revealed he had chosen his IR340 for its noiseless drive that let him and his fellow passengers talk as amiably as in his living room. He had not been able to do so, in his former cars (first in his Cavallino) but the GT was not a real priority. Piero, in fact, thought it could still continue selling well for a few years to come. He focused on a new model, in an area of interest still far from Iso’s vision. A highly performing car meant to destabilize his business competitors. After all, competition in that sector was modest, since Maserati Quattroporte was up to any request in the field of highly performing sedans. Meanwhile, Giugiaro, after leaving Bertone, had

joined Ghia where Alejandro De Tomaso was to become chairman. Rivolta asked Giugiaro to design a new vehicle, with the body and mechanicals still being produced at Iso. So the GT300/340 chassis was made 20cm longer to easily make place for rear seat passengers. According to Rivolta’s and Giugiaro’s intentions, the line was to respect the body of a sedan and preserve what was typical of the brand: outline, sport and elegance. Giugiaro drew inspiration from his previous Grifo, designed only a few years earlier. Keeping the roof outlined and a well-balanced rapport among volumes, he created a new concept of a car; a coupé with four doors, the mechanicals being the same as in the GT and in the Grifo: a 5.4L Chevrolet, from 300 to 350Hp, Borg Wagner four-shift gear box or, on demand, a five-shift to F or a two-shift automatic box with torque convertor. The chassis was a masterpiece by Pierluigi Raggi, developed with Giotto Bizzarrini to grant solidity and roadability. A De Dion rear axle architecture made the difference in road handling. John Lennon was so bewitched by the new Iso that he decided to buy it as soon as he saw it at London’s Car Exhibition. The first months were not without obstacles. The chassis arrived pre-assembled by Ghia and immediately showed problems in their fittings. A number of magazines wrote about water leaks during the tests, doors that would not close properly and other imperfections that could not be acceptable in such a high-ranking car. Piero Rivolta realized that the only way to make significant improvements in his products was



to be able to check its phase of the production process and decided that chassis and internal parts had to be assembled in-house. This changed the story of the super sedan made in Bresso. The S4 (45 S4s had been so far produced) was then replaced by the Fidia. The Fidia was first presented in 1968, on the Acropolis in Athens, below the Parthenon and took its name from the Athens temple’s architect and sculptor. Its fitting made the difference, being more accurate and of higher quality in leather and materials, sometimes personally chosen by Mrs. Rivolta at Franzi’s in Milan. In 1969 the GT300/340 adventure had come to an end. Sales were definitely slowing down and time had come to present a new four-seats coupé model. The car that had been a benchmark for competitors was soon to end production. The story goes in 1969 an American client asked for a one-off Iso. Based on the GT300, offering to pay for the project expenses too. Mr. Rivolta went back to Bertone’s and entrusted the design of the requested one-off to a young Marcello Gandini. In 1969 the car was shown at New York’s Car Exhibition and instantly became a hit among visitors and specialists. Piero Rivolta believed he had found the heir to his GT300/340: it was the Rivolta GT 2+2; no matter whether the story of the supposed American client was or was not true, in a few months the new car was in production. On Christmas Eve 1969 Piero realized he had not bought a present for his wife Lele. Too late. Shops were closed. He could not stand disappointing his wife and an idea came across his

mind. He reached his cellar, found a piece of wood, carved his wife’s name on it, wrapped it up and placed it under the Christmas tree. The next morning Lele opened her present and asked for an explanation. “Your present for this year is a new Iso car, the Lele” said a radiant Piero. Maybe his young wife didn’t feel the same enthusiasm, although her name was to be printed on car history books. The Lele represented a neat breaking point in the GT evolution, embodying the streamlined elements of the 70s as the GT 300/340 has represented those of the previous decade. Two eras so different from one another, based on opposite assumptions, but Rivolta could not possibly be aware of that, not in 1969. Lele’s outline preceded that of Lamborghini’s Jarama. Some of the details would be found in many of the future cars, such as the Montreal: tense outlines, fast back tails, pneumatic eyelids and wide glass components. All small series as well as Iso profusely used parts derived from production cars; for example, rear lights were from Fiat 124 Coupé and the front ones in S4 and Fidia were twins with Fiat 125’s. Lele, the GT substitute, offered a comfortable seat for four and mounted a Chevrolet 300/350Hp first and a Ford Cleveland 351C with 325Hp after 1972. They were regularly produced with manual gearbox, Borg Warner four-shift followed by 2F fiveshift like in the Fidia, for the Italian market. The S4s and the very first Fidias (first few of them to be made) used to mount Grifo’s dashboards and seats. After 1970 Fidia and Lele would present the same internal parts.

The Lele dashboard sports two central tubes already seen in the Espada and the modern design seats with integrated headrests. The power-train had already been seen in the GT as well as the chassis, without remarkable modifications. When the sale conditions imposed by GM became unsustainable for the Iso, Mr. Rivolta accepted some suggestions from Ford and replaced in 1972 the Chevy Block with a 351C Cleveland engine that had already been mounted on the De Tomaso Deauville and Pantera since 1971. The Cleveland, though, was heavier and bulkier than the Chevrolet and a chassis reinforcement was immediately necessary; Bizzarrini got hired once again and this was his chance to go back to Iso. The engineer form Livorno had been initially engaged by Renzo Rivolta to supervise the testing of the GT and the Grifo and help in the making of the Chassis. So, when Piero called him back, it was like coming home again. The Lele was to be produced in a “Sport” version, too, with a black resin bumper replacing the stainless steel one. The lightened inside parts and a “Marlboro” version was also produced (5 cars) to celebrate its debut in F1 with the IsoMarlboro team, in 1973. A few years went by and the oil crisis had its consequences, rallies and trade union demonstrations invaded streets and squares. The supercars resembled what world protesters fought against in 1968; they were status symbols of that world. The new Iso owners opted to give up. The firm closed on December 31st 1974. 285 Leles and 192 Fidias had come out form the assembly lines. It was the end of Renzo Rivolta’s dream to


make high performance cars that could match top speed, comfort and reliability altogether. But the Iso Rivolta today is not entirely related to past experiences and the dream survives in the concept Vision designed by Zagato for the Gran Turismo Sport PS4 game; 5 pieces of the small series will also be made. Their mechanicals will derive from the Corvette Callaway, with a V8 twin turbo charged of 1,000Hp. The Griffon, the winged lion, which complemented the products of the house in Bresso for so many years, will stand out again on a hood, carrying around everything that brand has represented for the Italian automobile excellence. When you come across an Iso on the road, just wave at it. It will be like paying homage to Renzo and Piero Rivolta’s great adventure.




Auto Class Magazine - 60 December 2017  
Auto Class Magazine - 60 December 2017  

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