Much like the North American International Auto Show is the season opener in the Detroit area, the RM Motorsports Holiday Open house marks the end of the season. Every December RM Motorsports opens their doors for their holiday open house. I can never miss visiting there because the cars that RM have in their collection are simply amazing.
The main show room was filled with open wheel cars ranging from the 1960s all the way up to a Renault from the 2012 GP2 Series. But the Shadow that Jackie Oliver drove in the F5000 Championship takes the top spot for me. Shadow has always been a team that has fascinated me because they were monumental in Can Am and F1, but yet they hardly ever get the recognition they deserve. Their name really fits them, because they almost are a shadow nowadays.
And they made the best zeros.
From the Shadow we move to an Arrows 1981 F1 car. Arrows and Shadow are somewhat related, as Jackie Oliver help found Arrows after being with Shadow.
It’s weird to look at modern F1 cars, then come back and look at this flat and wide car knowing they’re from the same series, just 30 some years apart.
I love real analog gauges. Sure electronic ones are more accurate and can show much more information, but nothing can beat the old school needle.
Jacque Villeneuve’s championship winning car from 1995 gave me the biggest throwback however. I grew up watching CART and this era of open wheel cars reminds me of growing up. The shape, the rear fin, the side pods and even the wheels. Every part of these cars is a throwback.
From the 1995 CART season we go way back to the 1964 Indy 500 with the Gerhardt Offy.
The car was cool, but the engine was even cooler. A massive turbo hanging off the rear goes to show just how wild the horsepower wars were back in the ’60s.
I can never pass up a Cosworth engine.
Especially when it has eight stacks on top.
RM’s engine room is always something to look forward to. You never know what engines will be in there getting work done. Knowing their clients and cars, they’re usually V8s that are built right to the limit of their capabilites.
Cool headers need to come back.
Another cool spot is the storage area above the main garage. The parts sitting on the shelves up here make you wonder what series there came from and what cars they’ve been on. I’m guessing this KKK Turbo probably came off a Porsche or Audi.
Everywhere you looked it seemed like there was another turbo.
Or if you’re a naturally aspirated person, there were enough Weber Carbs to keep you happy.
Seeing this Smith tachometer with the redline needle reminded me of the open sequence to the film “Grand Prix.” If you’re not familiar, I highly suggest checking it out.
And the ever present turbo fan.
I’m not the only one that loves Shadow, RM has two Shadows from the Can Am Series and there are pieces and photos of the cars all over the place.
As well as pieces of whatever other cars are getting work done.
NACA ducts everywhere.
Finally, time for the cars. While open wheel cars took the front spot, the closed fendered cars were out back. There’s something about closed cockpit cars from the ’70s and ’80s that just looks so good.
This Mirage M6 Coupe has been here for the past three years, and every year it’s been closer and closer to being finished. The Westlake V12 is in and for the first time the wheels were on. Even though the car was scrapped for being too slow at Le Mans, it’s “low Drag” design really becomes apparent when it’s on the ground.
This Alba is a perfect example of GTP racing the ’80s. Albas raced in everything from the 1000km of Spa, Le Mans and in the GTP championship here in the United States. Like most race cars, the history is hard to trace, but this car is believed to have raced at Le Mans twice, ’85 and ’86 DNFing both times as well as in the Silverstone, Spa, Brands Hatch and Mosport 1000km races.
The car now is powered by a twin turbo Buick V6.
It seems no racing collection can be complete without a Porsche.
RM has two Porsche 962s, as you do.
And to round out the ’90s era Group C club, the Nissan GTP-ZX. That was an awesome era for sports cars.
But even with those cars, the other side of the workshop is where the real head turners were.
The Can Am era produced some of the most outrageous cars racing has ever seen. Massive wings, seven liter V12s, 1500 horsepower Porsches. It was the ultimate, the peak for race cars.
And a perfect example of that, is Shadow. This DN4 1A is powered by an 8.1 liter V8 making around 900 horsepower. Shadow won the Can Am Championship in this car, winning three out of four rounds in 1974. That was also the final year of the original Can Am Series after the 1973 Series was hurt by the fuel crisis and domination by Penske and Porsche.
Massive rear tires and massive exhaust pretty much sums up Can Am.
This Lola T70 was a welcomed surprise. The T70 is probably one of the most recognizable cars from the era, mostly thanks to all the replicas that have been made over the years.
I think pinstriping is due to make a come back in racing.
This is another T70, but this one is special. This T70 was driven by Mark Donohue in the 1967 Can Am Championship. I’ve become a huge fan of Mark Donohue because of the immense range of cars he raced. It seemed like no car could beat him. He won in NASCAR, the Indy 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, podium in F1, won the Trans Am and Can Am championships. I think he’s the greatest American driver to ever race.
Elsewhere RM Motorsports had a Capri being rebuilt to its former glory when it raced at Le Mans in 1972.
And how can you not love a wide body C2 Corvette? Thanks again to RM Motorsports for opening their doors and throwing an awesome holiday party. Seeing cars like this so close to my house is amazing. The history alone of these cars is enough to keep me entertained for hours. I always look forward to the end of the year just to see what awesome cars they have in store for us enthiusiasts.