Spotted

2015 –

This is the home for the fast, the beautiful, the wild or the unusual from the road car world. My only rule for spotting is that the car must be stumbled upon unexpectedly, and not part of an organised display. Otherwise, anything goes – and all according to my own, entirely questionable, automotive tastes.

2016

Somewhere in Germany…

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Rather strangely, the owner of this GT4 had forsaken the nearby Nurburgring 24 Hours. Perhaps he thought the same as he saw us passing in a 997 Turbo.

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This is the first Jaguar F-Type SVR I’ve seen – and I suspect it must be a prototype as they are not supposed to be in production yet.

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A couple of GT4 twins at Brunchen during VLN3.

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9FF 997.1 GT3. Could it be a 750 GTurbo?

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Crazy little Abarth 127 adopted a parking position with prime viewing as the cars dropped into Brunchen.

Somewhere in Switzerland…

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I have it on good authority that this is a Riley Special – apparently this kind of contraption is very popular on the continent. I can see why – it looks wicked fun.

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Is there anything cooler than an Alfa Montreal with the Swiss Alps in the background?

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We exchanged a cheeky thumbs-up with with the owners of this 458 Speciale Aperta. Speciale, indeed.

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We bumped into this Peugeot 504 Targa Caruna in a Swiss service area. A little digging revealed it to be the only one in the world. The driver enjoyed a sandwich before heading off towards Italy. Good lad!

Lake Como, Italy.

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Alfa 4C retracing the torturous route driven by Richard Hammond on Top Gear. And, yes, it does get bloody narrow through those little villages.

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By Italian standards, this wagon driver is actually leaving quite a big gap to the 356.

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Somewhere in the distance there is a Dino 246 GT. I really, really want it.

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Numerous FIAT 124s were breezing around Como during our visit. They were mostly in convoy with Z4s, SLKs and MX5s, suggesting they might be road testing against the competition. I thought it looked horrendous in the photos but actually it’s quite striking in the flesh.

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Lovely British-registered Sunbeam Alpine fitted the dolce vita vibe of Tremezzo perfectly.

Valeggio cul Mincio

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Chasing the Mille Miglia around the Italian countryside in your Ferrari 550 Maranello? Nice life if you can get it.

Somewhere in Italy…

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Ferrari California T in an extremely striking shade of blue.

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A couple of Ferrari F12s and some old 911s hanging out waiting for the Mille Miglia to pass through.

Sant Agata, Italy.

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This British-registered Ferrari F355 GTB was obviously following the Mille Miglia and had wandered into enemy territory at the Lamborghini factory. Brave move…

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OK, so perhaps it’s not strictly a ‘spot’ if it’s just outside the factory but this Aventador SV Roadster looked and sounded out of the world, even at parking speeds.

Collezione Umberto Panini, Modena, Italy.

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The only example in the world and we bump into this Peugeot again – this time at a car museum on a cheese factory in rural Modena. A small world, indeed.

Maranello, Italy.

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Ferrari 456GT making the pilgrimage to Maranello.

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Does this technically count as a ‘spot’ of the new Ferrari GTC4 Lusso? I’m having it anyway.

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The new F12 TdF looks wonderfully dramatic from the front but maybe a bit Mansory at the side / rear. Either way, that drivetrain must qualify it as the most desirable new car on the planet at the moment.

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Ferrari 308 GTB making the pilgrimage to Maranello. Such a beautifully-proportioned car.

Goodwood, Chichester, UK. 74th Members’ Meeting.

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The perfect wheel / colour combination for a TVR Sagaris. This would look so awesome side-by-side with my Exige in the garage.

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Ferrari 16M in lairy Giallo.

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The ultimate Lotus track weapon.

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This is doubtless a replica Cobra, but when it looks so gorgeous, would you really mind?

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Alpina Roadster S offered a discrete alternative to the Z4M – and with no limiter could apparently achieve 165mph.

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The 458 Speciale is bound to achieve ultimate classic status as the last naturally aspirated V8 Ferrari.

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Unusual Gordon Keeble is as classy and understated as any of its 1960s GT rivals.

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The great ‘could-have-been’ for Caterham. If the Elise hadn’t landed, could this have achieved mainstream success?

2015

Goodwood, Chichester, UK. Revival Meeting.

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Hard to believe that a Diablo SV could look subtle, but specified without giant wing and ludicrous graphics, this actually looks pretty cool.

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Apparently the Porsche 993 Carrera RS is now a £250k car. Gulp.

Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK. Gold Cup.

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The Porsche 918 might be the most numerous of the big three hybrid hypercars but it’s such an exquisitely finished and proportioned car. This one has even been allowed out in the rain.

Shelsley Walsh, Worcestershire, UK. British Hillclimb Championship.

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I don’t recall ever having seen a Matra Murena before, though my old memory is prone to self-deception these days. Lovely three-abreast seating arrangement is striking and it was quite cute in an early-80s kind of way.

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The first Lexus RCF I’ve seen. It looked purposeful and distinctly Japanese and will doubtless do virtually nothing to dent M4 sales.

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The once unloved 308 Dino GT4 is now a picture of delicate sophistication somehow. I’m not sure when that happened but giallo certainly suits it.

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Singing V6, mid-engined dynamics, everyday usability and a removable roof to enjoy those VTEC sonics…the NSX makes quite a compelling package for itself as a second-hand buy.

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Jensen GT sold in tiny numbers. This is another car I honestly can’t recall having seen in the flesh, though I suppose I must’ve done at some point.

Llandudno, Wales. UK.

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Who would have thought that my first GT S would be spotted in Tesco car park? This looks like an absolute weapon and a really well-resolved design. ‘Want’ levels dangerously high.

The UK motorway network.

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How can a car which looks so ungainly in the photos carry such handsome menace in the flesh? The new GT S is far more my kind of car but I’ve grown to really appreciate the SLS.

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SL65 Black is hard to justify when compared to the SLS; V12 excepted.

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New Honda Civic Type-R would’ve looked better in a two-door format but still delightfully ludicrous.

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I’ll be honest that I’ve always thought the Aventador a bit pointless somehow. All that power and size seems a bit gauche and overblown for my tastes. Still, what an outrageous thing to behold out on the mean streets of West Yorkshire: Unbelievable road presence. I still don’t really harbour much desire to drive one, though.

Brooklands, Weybridge, UK.

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At some point I’ll doubtless become accustomed to the 991 GT3. For the moment though, it’s the contemporary car I covet above all others.

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Perfect Integrale.

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The ugliest beautiful car in the world and the rather divine 599GTB.

Nottingham, UK.

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I had to pull over to capture the ultimate supercar looming in the rear-view mirror. There’s still nothing to touch the F40, almost 30 years since inception.

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Bit of a cheat, this, as it was on Sytner’s forecourt. Still, they’re as rare as hen’s teeth. Not sure about the auto ‘box but otherwise the Alpina B3 GT3 looks pretty special in person.

Betws-y-Coed, Wales.

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Chanced upon this Lotus Evora prototype out in North Wales. It was covered in sensors and looked to have a 400 front.

Oulton Park, Little Budworth, UK. MSVR.

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Another day, another Ultima.

Droitwich, UK. Chateau Impney Hill Climb.

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Grass-chopping Ultima.

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Petite Westfield XI juxtaposes vast Ferrari Testarossa.

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Yellow V12 Vantage S with contrast carbon fibre bits and anthracite wheels is about as far from traditional Aston elegance as it’s possible to find – and yet strangely alluring.

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The less said about the Countach Anniversary Edition the better. History has not been kind to it; though it is certainly dramatic.

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AC Ace squares up to 930 Turbo in a sports car showdown.

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Another V12 Vantage in a questionable hue.

Donington Park, UK. British Touring Car Championship.

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What a delight to see this Morgan Aero Supersports among the more prosaic machinery of the BTCC paddock.

Donington Park, UK. Historic Festival.

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The proliferation of Porsche 2.7 RS replicas, evocations and retro efforts means I really struggle to identify a genuine one. Even Henry Hope-Frost was unsure so at least I’m in good company.

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This V12 Vantage S occupies its place on the Aston Martin grey spectrum with aplomb.

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I’d not seen an S63 coupe up close before. Utterly opulent and rather garish: the perfect S-Class then.

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The last time I saw a Caterham 21 was at a Silverstone track day. It was about the only thing I overtook all day, remarkably. I think the 21 has aged reasonably actually and feels like a good car released at the wrong time.

Silverstone, UK. World Endurance Championship.

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The ultimate sharp-suited bare-knuckle fighter: Aston Martin DBS.

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Ferrari F12.

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Ferrari 365 GTB/4 BB surely the most desirable of the Berlinetta Boxers? A full 300kg lighter than the 512 that followed – and scarcely any less powerful.

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Not sure about the heritage livery but the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 is still rather lovely.

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. World Endurance Championship.

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First Ferrari California T I’ve seen. I actually quite liked the old California, certainly in dark colours. This looks OK as well.

Rechberg, Austria. Rechbergrennen.

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Recorded simply for the lunacy of the paint job.

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A couple of tidy E30 M3s.

Somewhere in Bavaria.

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BMW i8 is still shocking, and shockingly awesome, to see out on the road around other cars.

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I was so bewildered by the sight of a Lamborghini Diablo VT in a rural Bavarian village that I struggled to get to my camera. Exchanged a wave with the driver.

Speyer, Germany.

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As subtle as a brick to the face but I still rate the Gallardo as a total game-changer which forced Ferrari to reassess its own cars.

Eindhoven, Holland.

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This was lurking at the back of Aston Martin Eindhoven. Looks almost restrained by contemporary standards.

Nurburg, Germany.

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Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06 was chilling at Hotel Am Tiergarten, fresh from a lap of the Nordschleife.

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Box-fresh Porsche 991 GT3 RS was cruising the roads around the Nurburgring, obviously taking part in a photo shoot. Needless to say, it looks mega.

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Aston Martin Vantage GT12 sounded out of this world.

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As did brand new Audi R8 V10 Plus.

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BMW 2M / M2 – depending on the marque’s intended nomenclature.

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Unidentified prototype on the autobahn near the Nurburgring. Answers on a postcard, please.

Arnhem, Holland.

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Yet another E30 M3 – this one wore signs of proper, hard use.

Goodwood, UK. 73rd Members’ Meeting.

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When did a Fiesta suddenly grow larger than a Daytona?

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Ferrari 196S and Aston Martin DBR1 replicas made a fine pairing.

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When the Ford GT was first announced I thought it seemed rather a poor pastiche of an old classic. Today it looks fantastic – and has certainly aged significantly better than the Ferrari 360 which was its showroom competitor a decade ago.

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Singer, Autofarm or something else altogether? Let me know if you know.

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Characterful NSU TT evoked special saloon racers of the early 70s.

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Now the 991 GT3 has stopped catching fire, it’s become unutterably desirable.

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Daytona dwarfed this time but a Peugeot 206.

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I’m slightly breaking my own rules here: this Miura was parked in the GRRC section of the event but it was just too striking and too beautiful not to document. The detailing and proportions are God-tier.

Croft, UK. British Rallycross Championship.

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Box-fresh Alpina B4 stood out in the Croft paddock, complete with appropriate number plate. This car was decked out to the nines with sat nav, head-up display and strident red leather. Still a discrete M4 alternative.

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