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Some Iconic Cars Are Celebrating Anniversaries

There are some iconic cars celebrating anniversaries right now – and the time that’s passed might scare you a bit.

You probably won’t believe how long it’s been since these motors hit the road.

They rightfully have their place in car history and it’s time to celebrate them as they mark major milestones.

And there’s also a big motorsport anniversary to note as well.

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A big anniversary year for fast Fords

There is plenty to celebrate for fans of fast Fords, with several models passing milestones.

Chief among them is the Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, which is 30 this year.

The RS500 was originally developed for homologation purposes to give the 1980s’ favourite repmobile, the humble Ford Sierra, a chance to compete in World, European and British Touring Car Championships.

It was famous in the UK, where it performed in the British Touring Car Championship in the hands of drivers such as Andy Rouse, Steve Soper and Tim Harvey.

It also competed in the 1988 World Touring Car Championship and enjoyed success in Australia, too, in the hands of legendary Touring Car driver Dick Johnson.

Just 500 RS500 road cars were made, 75% of which were finished in black, the rest in either white or Ford’s distinctive Moonstone Blue.

They were finished by Aston Martin Tickford, with a bigger turbo, while the main external identifier was its outrageous ‘whale tail’ spoiler – a far cry from the average showroom Sierra. 

It’s not only the Cossie that’s celebrating.

This year also marks 15 years of the Mk1 Focus RS, 15 years of the Mondeo ST220 and 15 years of the Focus ST170.


The Ferrari F40 is 30 this year

Ferrari is making a big fanfare of its 70th anniversary this year and rightly so.

But rarely has it made more of a fanfare than it did in 1987 when it launched the F40 to mark its 40th anniversary.

It was presented to the world in July 1987 in Maranello, Ferrari’s home.

It was also significant because it was the final car to be signed off by Enzo Ferrari himself before his death.

It was a definitive car, the ultimate expression of the technology thus far developed by the Prancing Horse, but at the same time it went back to Ferrari’s roots when racing cars were also road vehicles.

An extreme derivation of the 308 GTB and of the 288 GTO Evoluzione prototype, the Ferrari F40 was and is a masterpiece of engineering and style, which entered the collective imagination as a symbol of an era.

Ermanno Bonfiglioli, who as head of special projects was responsible for supercharged engines, has not forgotten the excitement of that July day in 1987.

He said: "I have never experienced a presentation like that of the F40. When the car was unveiled, a buzz passed through the room followed by thunderous applause.

“No one, except for close associates of Enzo Ferrari, had yet seen it.

“Indeed, the company had cloaked the development and testing of that car in unusual secrecy.

“And the surprise at such a stylistic leap was almost shock. The timeframe was also unusual, within the very short arc of 13 months, the chassis and bodywork moving ahead quickly and at the same pace as the powertrain.

“It was June 1986 when we began designing the engine of the project F 120 A.

“The eight-cylinder 478 hp twin-turbo was a derivative of the 288 GTO Evoluziones, but a number of innovative contents enabled the F40 to become the first production Ferrari to exceed 320 km/h.

“We paid maximum attention to the weight of the engine, thanks also to the extensive use of magnesium, such as oil sump, cylinder-head covers, intake manifolds, and gearbox bell-housing were in this material that cost five times as much as aluminium alloy and that was never used in such quantities in subsequent production cars.

“This is just a small example of this car's "difference".


The all-American Chevrolet Camaro is 50

An iconic car if ever there was one – the Chevrolet Camaro is half a century old.

It was conceived as a direct response to the Ford Mustang, which enjoyed runaway success from its launch.

Available as a two-door coupe or as a convertible, the Camaro was rear-wheel-drive and had big power.

You could have a 3.8L, 4.1L, 4.9L, 5.0L, 5.4L, 5.7L or 6.5L engine under your hood.

Proper engines, we’re sure you’ll agree.

Chevy realised that its Corvair compact sporty car just wasn’t up to the task of taking on the Mustang.

The Camaro had the same setup as the Mustang – rear-drive and front-engined – as well as being able to accommodate the choice of engines above.

The battle of the muscle cars began and the rest is history.


Renault marks 40 years in Formula One

It was July 1977 that French manufacturer Renault entered its very first Formula 1 Grand Prix to embark upon a new chapter in its long and illustrious history – one that dates back to the very infancy of motorsport.

Over the ensuing decades, Renault competed successfully in all forms of the sport, from circuit racing to conventional and cross-country rallying, record-breaking attempts and endurance racing.

It was therefore perhaps inevitable that its various motor racing exploits would ultimately lead Renault to F1, the pinnacle of the sport.

In the four decades that have elapsed since Renault has enjoyed plenty of success.

Not only has the manufacturer notched up a long list of victories, but its enviable record has been achieved by ongoing innovation in the areas of aerodynamics, chassis and engines.

Memorable among its achievements are its 1990s collaboration with Williams and Benetton.

In that era, it powered Nigel Mansell to the 1992 victory, Michael Schumacher to his first two World Championships and then Damon Hill to his only title, taking constructors’ titles into the bag.

Back as a constructor, Renault also took Fernando Alonso to back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006.

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