Category Archives: Motoring

The Poor Man’s Ferrari California?


Following on from an attempt to compare the Triumph GT6 to the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO, here’s an even bigger stretch: comparing the Toyota 86 (also known as the Scion FRS and the Subarau BRZ) to the outgoing Ferrari California (replaced by the California T).

Just as the GT6 has half the cylinders of the GTO, the 86 has half the cylinders of the California. However, it has a lot more in common than the previous comparison. The dimensions are not wildly different. The displacement per cylinder, compression ratios and specific output are quite close. Of course the Ferrari has about two and a half times the power and torque, but that means you are less likely to wrap it around a tree.

Ok, so driving a Toyota doesn’t give quite the same bragging rights as driving a Ferrari, but you look a lot less foolish stuck in traffic in the former.

Toyota 86 / Ferrari California
Wheelbase              : 101 in                      105 in
Track front            : 60 in                       64.2 in
      rear             : 61 in                       63.2 in
Length                 : 166.7 in                    179.6 in
Width                  : 69.9 in                     75.1 in
Height                 : 50.6 in                     52 in
Length:wheelbase ratio : 1.72                        1.83
Kerb weight            : 3682 lb                     3825 lb
Fuel capacity          : 13.2 US Gal                 20.6 US Gal
Bore x stroke          : 3.39 in x 3.39 in           3.7 in x 3.05 in
Cylinders              : boxer 4                     V8 in 90 degree V
Displacement           : 121.93 cu in                262.22 cu in
Type                   : double overhead cam         double overhead cam
Compression ratio      : 12.5:1                      12.2:1
Fuel system            : direct petrol injection     direct petrol injection
Maximum power          : 197 bhp @ 7000 rpm          483 bhp @ 7750 rpm
Specific output        : 1.62 bhp/cu in              1.84 bhp/cu in
Maximum torque         : 151 ft-lb @ 6500 rpm        372ft-lb @ 5000 rpm
bmep                   : 187 psi                     214.2 psi
Bore/stroke ratio      : 1                           1.21
Unitary capacity       : 499.5 cc per cylinder       537.13 cc per cylinder
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Motoring


Gran Turismo

“The camel is a horse made by the designer, after a meeting of the board of directors.” —Giovanni Michelotti

The Ferrari 250GTO is the classic grand tourer; the car you would drive across the Alps to Italy in if you had US$20 million burning a hole in your pocket, life cover, nerves of steel, an understanding partner who was also a mechanic, no children, and a spare 250GTO. Or you could spend between $5,000 to $15,000 on a Triumph GT6+. It may not be a Ferrari, but it has the GT pedigree. It has been described as the “poor man’s E Type” after the Jaguar XK-E that Enzo Ferrari himself described as “the most beautiful car in the world.”

Introduced in 1966, the original GT6 was essentially a Triumph Spitfire with a fastback hardtop and the engine from a Triumph 2000 saloon. The body had been designed by Michelotti in Turin four years earlier. In 1968 the MkII, GT6+ in the US, was introduced with a vastly improved rear suspension. It did 0-60mph in 10 seconds and had a top speed of 109mph. By comparison, the 1962 GTO250 did 0-60mph in 14.1 seconds, although it had a much higher top speed of 175mph.

The O in GTO is for ‘omologato’ which means homologation. In other words it was built to race in a production car class, specifically Group 3 Grand Touring Car Racing. It won its class in the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in 1962, 1963, and 1964. Although the GT6 was never raced, it was derived from the Spitfire GT4 that came 13th overall and won its class in the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, beating the Alpine A110. However, just 39 GTOs were built compared to more than 40,000 GT6s, over 12,000 of which were the more desirable MkII model.

Of course you could buy a 250GTO replica but then you’d have ruined a perfectly good Datsun 240Z, a classic in its own right, and you’d be driving around in the equivalent of a plastic bag with Louis Vuitton written on it in permanent marker. Another advantage the GT6 has over other alternatives is the availability of parts (aside from the gearbox). British Motor Heritage stocks a wide range of new parts made using the original jigs.

Triumph GT6 MkII / Ferrari 250GTO
Wheelbase              : 83 in                  94.4 in
Track front            : 49 in                  53.2 in
      rear             : 49 in                  53.1 in
Length                 : 143 in                 173.2 in
Width                  : 57 in                  65.9 in
Height                 : 47 in                  47 in
Length:wheelbase ratio : 1.72                   1.83
Kerb weight            : 1905 lb                2094 lb
Fuel capacity          : 11.7 US Gal            35.1 US Gal
Bore x stroke          : 2.94 in x 2.99 in      2.87 in x 2.31 in
Cylinders              : Inline 6               V12 in 60 degree V
Displacement           : 121.925 cu in          180.203 cu in
Type                   : overhead valves        single overhead cam
Compression ratio      : 9.25:1                 9.70:1
Fuel system            : 2 St carbs             6 Weber 38 DCN carbs
Maximum power          : 104 bhp @ 5300 rpm     296 bhp @ 7500 rpm
Specific output        : 0.85 bhp/cu in         1.64 bhp/cu in
Maximum torque         : 117 ft-lb @ 3000 rpm   217ft-lb @ 5500 rpm
bmep                   : 145 psi                181.5 psi
Bore/stroke ratio      : 0.98                   1.24
Unitary capacity       : 333 cc per cylinder    246.08 cc per cylinder
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Motoring