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Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB Graces Mulholland Drive

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

I was recently invited to attend a car TV show launch in London featuring a restored 1962 Sebring Sprite raced by Sir Stirling Moss. The show was National Geographic’s Car S.O.S and, having the privilege of watching the screening of the first episode, I learnt a certain movie star raced in the same car and series as Moss.

Car SOS - Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Car SOS – Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

This actor was the original “King of Cool”, none other than Steve McQueen. If you’re unfamiliar with his work (although I highly doubt it), he’s the guy in the dark green Ford Mustang in the most famous car chase movie of all time, Bullitt.

I knew McQueen liked racing cars and I always associated him with Le Mans 1971 and Bullitt 1968, but I didn’t realise he bumped fenders with the epitome of the gentleman racer, Sir Stirling Moss.

Sir Stirling Moss' 1962 Sebring Sprite

Sir Stirling Moss’ 1962 Sebring Sprite

Later that evening I managed to chat with the show’s presenters and get up close to the little race car. I peered into the tiny cockpit and imagined battling it out on track, looking in my mirrors as McQueen and Moss prepared to take a dive down the inside – yes, this is fantasy; I’m not deluded enough to think Moss would ever be in my mirrors.

These were the hay days of racing cars, the days when gentleman with fat wallets could climb into cars and race with the stars.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Inspired, I dug a little deeper and discovered a recent video of McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB on YouTube. The car channel, theAFICIONAUTO not only managed to get hold of McQueen’s beloved Fezza, but they also took it for a spin down Los Angeles’ Mulholland Drive.

In fact, going back to the movie, Bullitt, McQueen actually owned and drove his 275 GTB at the time of its filming. As the Italian masterpiece makes it way along Mulholland Drive, you get to hear it’s glorious V12 song, all the while taking in some of McQueen’s favourite sights.

Ferrari’s Classiche department has since restored the 275 GTB, leaving as flawless as the day it left Maranello.

Steve McQueen - Ferrari 275 GTB

Steve McQueen – Ferrari 275 GTB

Because this is a classic Ferrari, price tags are going to be high, but when you factor in the previous owner’s own tag as “The King of Cool”, the price is going to soar – by soar, I mean over $10M. This is the money a lucky bidder forked out for the GTB at an RM action in August 2014.

Yes, it’s a lot of money, but if you sit back and watch the video below, take in the sights, the sounds, and imagine every bend through the eyes of “Mr Cool”, you’ll get some idea as to why people part with so much of their hard earned cash.

If you like the look of the little Austin Healey Sebring Sprite, check out Car S.O.S. and watch Moss take it for a good thrashing after its restoration.

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Mighty Car Mods: Chasing Midnight

Moog and Marty - Mighty Car Mods

The guys at Mighty Car Mods have done it again, releasing another of their beautifully shot films. Finding themselves back in Japan for a third time (check out their other Japan drifting YouTube vids), Marty and Moog immerse themselves in Japanese car culture by visiting their drifting buddies, The 88s.

I absolutely love the Japanese attitude towards building custom cars and helping one another out. Mighty Car Mods’ latest JDM drifting film, Chasing Midnight captures this coming together and willing to help perfectly.

Whilst the guys didn’t entirely understand the Jap way in modding cars when it came to slamming and welding the suspension, Marty and Moog end up with a MAAAAD drift car they end up giving back to the 88s after some serious tyre-smoking action.

If you are into car culture, this film is a must.

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What’s The Most Unreliable Car You’d Happily Own?

Chap broken down

“Buy with your head, not your heart,” is something you’ll either hear from your parents, partner or non-car person. I’ve had this kind of advice fired at me from all angles over the years… thankfully, the wife is (slightly) more understanding.

Luckily, if you are like me and born with high-octane sluicing around in your arteries, this advice goes unheard, no matter how persistent the messenger. I’ve bought cars with my heart every time I’ve fancied a change, and to hell with reliability and MPG, especially with my first two. When you’ve just passed your driving test and you are still in your teens, money is usually an issue, especially when it comes to insurance – you are advised to select something simple, sensible and cheap for both insurance and maintenance.

1978 MGB GT

1978 MGB GT

“Bugger that,” was my immediate response, all ready knowing full well I wanted an MGB GT. A 1983 Ford Mustang quickly followed, then an Alfa, a Maserati, an M3… the list goes on.

People spend silly amounts on various hobbies, such as art, flying, fashion and golf, so why is driving your desired car a problem to these people who harp on about MPG and reliability?

Funnily enough and despite the marque’s bad reputation for breaking down, the Alfa I owned was reliable and extremely fun to drive. My 147 was Russo red with cream leather and top-spec alloys; it was a lovely looking thing, too. The older Alfas are not so reliable, which leads me onto the point of this post – notoriously bad for electrical and mechanical failings, there is one particular model I’d happily own, despite the bad rep.

Alfa Alfetta GTV6

Alfa Alfetta GTV6

The combination of the Alfa Romeo GTV6’s looks and V6 wail is enough to hammer the last nail into the proverbial pragmatic coffin. With looks this good accompanied by the mechanical opera soundtrack, who cares if you spend more on fuel and recovery trucks?

This is defiantly a car you’d gawp at over your shoulder every time you parked up and walked away.

Here’s the Italian beauty in full flight in 007’s Octopussy. 

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What’s That One Car You Wish You’d Kept?

Gas Monkey Garage 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline

Gas Monkey Garage 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline

Even if you’re not a real car guy, you probably harbour fond memories of freedom thanks to the automobile – whether it was a piece of junk “first car” or a “daddy’s BMW” car, four wheels and an engine meant doing whatever the hell you wanted… away from your doorstep.

If you’re a car guy like me, you’ll have loads of fond memories from your early days of motoring, whether you got all oily under the hood or you lived your days out on mad road trips. I’ve loved all of my cars but there is the “one” I wished I’d kept, much like Gas Monkey Garage’s first car pictured above and below.

Gas Monkey Garage 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline

Gas Monkey Garage 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline

The ratrod 1952 Chevrolet Fleetline was the first car that bought Fast N’ Loud’s Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman together. In one episode, Rawlings finds out the car is up for sale, and despite setting him back $50K, he manages to reunite her with Gas Monkey Garage.

1978 MGB GT

1978 MGB GT

My first car was an orange 1978 MGB GT, and although I spun it in the rain on my first day of legal driving, crunching the rear wing, if I knew then what I know now, I’d have kept her and fixed her up. What I ended up doing was selling her on and buying a 1983 Ford Mustang, much to my mother’s distain.

As I learnt to drive in a tiny 1.0-L Rover Metro, the MG’s rebored 1.8-L engine sounded amazing. The low cockpit was an entirely different world to that of the modern car I learned in – the big steering wheel, leather seats, cool dials and increase in power left me shaking with excitement. She smelt of petrol, oil and leather, and going too fast around corners meant immediate correction, something I hadn’t learnt in my time with the instructor.

My time with her was short, but I wish I’d kept her, and the more I think about those exciting days, the more I want to buy another MGB GT.

Midlife crisis? Who cares…

What’s the one car you still wished you washed every Sunday morning?

As this is Gargling Gas, here’s Richard Rawling’s sweetheart doing a burnout.

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Gas Guzzling Music

Ferrari F40

Ferrari F40

Petrolheads will understand why opening a window and letting rip through a tunnel beats any form of music, especially if you have a car with big displacement and horsepower. I won’t rule out the smaller engines with turbos as many owners (I’ve owned two WRXs) love the sucking, hissing, whooshing and warble of BOV and big exhaust.

However, nothing quite beats the throb of V8 (especially the Ford GT), the scream of Italian V6 or the roar of either a V10 or V12. Having owned and driven pretty much all types of engine, my favourite note comes from BMW’s inline-six from the E46 M3 – it’s raw, raucous, dirty and earth-shattering when the revs go past 5500. The only engine to top this for me is the V8 from the F1 cars before they went all turbo – I attended the British GP in 2010, and the first time they took to the track, I experienced serious goosebumps.

The brilliant video below is a compilation of some of the best engine sounds around. Whilst some are missing, it’s a great way for the petrolhead to kick back and take in the combustion engine’s suck, squeeze, bang and blow sound track.

Is your favourite engine in there? If not, what’s your favourite sounding car?

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Sleeping On The Job

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit - The Driver

1977 Pontiac Firebird Esprit – The Driver

In the world of crime, getaway cars are more important than the heat you are packing, for a whilst a BB gun would fool the general public and the entire staff of a bank, a useless engine will have you worrying about showers and soap before you’ve shouted, “Drive!”

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald

If I think “getaway car” my mind always goes to the days of 60s London, the Kray Twins, “Mad” Frankie Frazer and the other real life gangsters who paired Savile Row suits with brass knuckle dusters. British cars of the era weren’t particularly fast, including those of the Police, so when gangsters starting using the power and might from the 3.8-L Jaguar Mk 2, the Old Bill didn’t stand a chance… until they started using them as motorway cars.

Jaguar Mk2

Jaguar Mk2

The Mk 2 gained a reputation as a fast car among criminals and the police because of its 220-bhp straight-six engine. In its day, 0-60-mph in 8.5-seconds was pretty impressive for a big car, another reason criminals used them – along with the getaway driver and four gunmen, you still had room for the all-important SWAG and perhaps a few body parts. Although it wasn’t entirely inconspicuous because of its grandeur, it was a sleeper in its own right because you wouldn’t exactly expect it to burn rubber.

’67 Shelby GT500 “Eleanor”

In the movies we’ve seen all types of getaway car, from the Pontic Firebird in The Driver (1977) to the Minis from the Italian Job. A lot of movies show the bank job getaway cars as monstrous black muscle cars or vehicles like the Ford GT500 Mustang, Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds… which is cool in fantasy but…

Whilst these fantasy cars look great on film, I suspect in real life they’d get you caught pretty quick – not only would you stick out like a sore thumb, modern police cars wouldn’t struggle too much to keep up.

This leads me onto wolf in sheep’s clothing cars, Q cars, and the 2011 movie, Drive. In this brilliant crime movie (derived from the James Sallis novel of the same name), a stuntman (Ryan Gosling) uses a bland and boring silver Chevrolet Impala (the most popular car purchased in California at the time) as a getaway car. The Impala looks like any other car on the street, only under it harnesses extra power (300-bhp).

In the clip below, a mechanic tells the driver, “Plain Jane and boring; just like you asked for,” exactly what makes a sleeper so cool. Inconspicuous and fast without anything giving the game away – these assets are what the ultimate sleeper and getaway car are all about.

Check out the opening movie scene below, probably my favourite intro into any film – in fact, this clip almost plays out like a mini-movie in its own right.

If you like the concept of the sleeper car, check out our sister Sleeper Cars site on G+.