Robb Report Australia

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Five fast gifts to get any revhead's motor running

Compiled by Larry Bean

If the only time you can stand to sit still is when you're behind the wheel of a high-performance vehicle, these gifts will really rev your engine.

They include driving a dozen of the world's finest new automobiles as a Robb Report Car of the Year judge, and owning an exceptionally rare or limited-edition roadster, racecar or three-wheeler.

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Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss Edition

The Lister Knobbly racers of the 1950s hold a special place in motorsports history because of their rarity and beauty and because of the men who drove them.

Drivers included Stirling Moss, who piloted a special ultra-lightweight magnesium-bodied version to victory at Silverstone in 1958. Overall, the magnesium Knobbly won 13 of the 14 races it entered. Brian Lister, the company's founder, built two examples of the car, and neither still exists.

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Andrew and Lawrence Whittaker acquired the Lister Motor Company in 2013 — 59 years after the first Lister racer debuted — with the goal of building 10 Lister Knobbly cars to the original aluminium-bodied specification. The shape of the body — the rounded fenders and bulging hood — is the source of the Knobbly's name.

After completing that series, the Whittakers began re-creating the magnesium-bodied Knobbly in an edition of 10 cars. The seventh car in the Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss Edition - $US649,000 (about $A876,400) - production run is being reserved for a Robb Report reader; seven was Moss's favourite racecar number.

These new cars are identical in specification to the original and are constructed using the same manufacturing methods. They employ the same chassis jig as Moss's 1958 racer, and their bodies are formed on the same wooden bucks that Lister used to shape the original cars. When finished, the cars are painted in the green-and-yellow livery of the Moss original.

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Magnesium is about 30 per cent lighter than aluminium, but it is expensive, and working with it is difficult and time consuming because, unlike aluminium, it can't be reshaped.

In addition to having a body made entirely of magnesium, each Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss Edition employs an engine sump, clutch casing, and differential housing made of the material. The extensive use of magnesium keeps the car's weight to just 840 kilograms.

The Stirling Moss Edition cars are equipped with a Jaguar D-Type specification engine and original-spec four-speed gearbox, both built by Crosthwaite & Gardiner. The 3.8-litre inline-six produces 255kW at 6750 rpm and 400Nm of torque at 4250 rpm — hugely impressive numbers for the original car's era.

The combination of power and light weight enable a 0-100km/h time of less than four seconds and a top speed of more than 300km/h.

Lister Motor Company will hold the seventh car in the 10-car production run through the month of December for a _Robb Report_reader. (Lister Motor Company, Lawrence Whittaker, lw@listercars.com, listercars.com) - Robert Ross

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Morgan Land's End Trials Special 3 Wheeler

Morgan West , the Southern California Morgan Motor Company dealership and a champion of the 107-year-old British marque, commissioned the factory to create a limited-edition 3 Wheeler called the Land's End Trials Special, ($A97,200, subject to change based on the exchange rate). Morgan is building only five examples, and the first is being reserved for a Robb Report reader.

The Land's End Trial, an annual motorsports event in England involving motorcycles and three- and four-wheeled automobiles, has been run since 1908. Morgan Motor Company founder H. F. S. Morgan himself participated in the trial in 1910, presumably piloting one of his three-wheelers along the 846-km round-trip route between London and Land's End, on the southwest tip of Cornwall.

The Land's End Trials Special features an entirely polished-aluminium body and cowl, a Yarwood black-leather interior with heated seats, and a full complement of Aero Racing accessories.

The interior also includes a brass plaque noting that this is one of the five examples of the special edition. The exterior is adorned with Land's End Trial graphics and a racing-number roundel. An 86kW, two-litre S&S V-twin engine and five-speed transmission power the superlight 3 Wheeler.

A photo album chronicling the build process completes this gift. (Morgan West, Dennis Glavis, dennis@morganwest.net, 310.998.3311, morganwest.net) - Robert Ross

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Bristol Cars Bullet

To celebrate its 70th anniversary next year, the boutique British automaker Bristol Cars will begin deliveries of the Bullet - $US300,000 (about $A405,100) - a stunning, retro-looking roadster (Bristol calls it a speedster). The company is going to build only 70 examples.

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This is the first vehicle Bristol has produced since the British holding company Kamkorp rescued it from insolvency in 2011. Kamkorp also owns Frazer-Nash Research, a British business that develops and builds electric and hybrid powertrains.

Different incarnations of Frazer-Nash Research and Bristol Cars were previously linked: In 1945 the Bristol Aeroplane Company built its first car, the 400, in collaboration with BMW and Frazer-Nash, which at the time was an automaker. Two years later, the aircraft maker established Bristol Cars.

The Bullet, the body of which is made from carbon fibre, is based on a namesake prototype built in 1966. That car was discovered after the Kamkorp acquisition, hidden under an old Earls Court Motor Show banner in the company's original factory in Filton, England.

"We felt that an unreleased exclusive speedster design — our very own barn find, if you will — would be a superb way to celebrate Bristol's 70th anniversary," says development director Noamaan Siddiqi.

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The new Bullet is powered by a naturally aspirated V8 that the company named Hercules, after a 14-cylinder radial aircraft engine that Bristol Aeroplane built during the mid-1930s. The V8 produces 280kW of power and 500Nm of torque, enabling the lightweight Bullet to sprint from 0-100kmh/h in less than 3.8 seconds. The Bullet can be ordered as a left-hand or right-hand driver, and with a manual or automatic transmission.

The Bullet is destined to become a rarity for reasons beyond its limited production run. "Bristol Cars will never again release a car with a conventional powertrain," Siddiqi says, explaining that future Bristol models will use Frazer-Nash's hybrid or electric power trains.

"It is the only chance to own a new Bristol with that beautifully cultured Hercules V8." (Bristol Cars, +44.20.7603.5555, sales@bristolcars.co.uk, bristolcars.co.uk) - Shaun Tolson

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Revival Cycles Custom Motorcycle

Motorcycle owners like to talk about the feeling of freedom that comes from riding their bikes. Alan Stulberg and Stefan Hertel, the co-founders of Revival Cycles in Austin, Texas, derive that sensation from designing and building custom projects such as the one offered for this gift, starting at $US50,000 (about $A67,500).

"Once we have control of the entire build, all the options open up, and we can come up with more interesting ways to blend the form and function," says Hertel. "When we are building a full custom bike, we don't have to be limited by what is in front of us; we can focus on what the bike should be." That's what they did with the Henne Revival BMW Landspeeder, a recent build shown here.

The Revival team begins with an existing bike or, as it did for the Landspeeder, uses a vintage bike for design inspiration. Then, Hertel says, he and the crew "seamlessly blend it with modern technology." The Landspeeder is based on the 1928 BMW R37 that Ernst Henne rode at record-breaking speeds in the late 1920s and into the mid '30s.

The client commissioned the Landspeeder to be a static display — a sculpture that would be exhibited in a gallery with the rest of his motorcycle collection. But Revival built the bike so that it can be ridden, as it does with all of its projects.

"We work hard to find a sweet spot where the end result is different and unique without becoming unrelatable or unrideable," Hertel says. "We strive to produce one-of-a-kind, high-performance sculptures that are equally at home while on display in an art gallery, on the racetrack, or out on the roads during a Sunday joyride."

For this gift, the complexity of the project will dictate how long the build process takes and when the Revival team can get started on it. Hertel says most custom projects take about 6 months to complete. (Revival Cycles, Alan Stulberg, custom@revivalcycles.com, revivalcycles.com) - Shaun Tolson

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Robb Report Car of the Year Experience

If you and your friends have ever wanted to spend a day driving the world's best new cars, this is your chance to do so. Robb Report is offering one reader and 23 of his or her guests the chance to serve as judges for next fall's Car of the Year event, which will be held in Napa Valley, California.

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The Car of the Year experience - $US899,000 (about $A1.21 million) - begins with private-jet transportation to Napa Valley from Los Angeles, provided by Delta Private Jets.

The first night of the event will feature a multi-course meal prepared by Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, his Michelin three-star restaurant in Yountville. Wines from the Spire Collection will be paired with each course.

The following day will include rounds of golf and spa treatments at Meadowood Napa Valley, a tasting of rare expressions of the Balvenie (and a bottle for the recipient to keep), and dinner at the Restaurant at Meadowood hosted by the Michelin three-star chef Christopher Kostow.

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After dinner, guests will retire to their rooms, where crackling fires in wood-burning fireplaces will lull them to sleep — and a good night's rest is imperative, because a full day of driving awaits.

Robb Report's Car of the Year competition always features an astonishing assemblage of world-class automobiles. Past entrants have included Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Bugattis, Rolls-Royces, Ferraris, and McLarens.

The guest judges will enjoy the thrill of driving sedans, sports cars, and SUVs from these brands and others on the scenic backcountry roads of Napa Valley. After they test-drive the dozen or more vehicles, the guest judges will join members of Robb Report's editorial staff for a final dinner at Lokoya's new winery in St. Helena, California, to share their reviews and final rankings and help determine Robb Report's 2018 Car of the Year.

The next day, the guest judges will fly by private jet back to Los Angeles, leaving Napa Valley with memories of delectable bites, tantalising sips, and exhilarating drives.

Recipients of this gift are responsible for their own transportation to and from Los Angeles. The gift must be purchased by February 1, 2017, and enjoyed between October 27 and November 11, 2017. (Robb Report, Colette Alderson, colettea@robbreport.com, robbreport.com) - Shaun Tolson

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