2012 Speedhunters Awards:<br/>retro Car Of The Year

Now we go back in time… This category features cars from the mid-’70s to the late-’80s: street, race or track cars; originals, replicas and rebuilds based on period shells. Looking at the most popular car features on Speedhunters for 2012 it looks like the classics tick the box for a lot of you: they generally allow more creativity and builders go even more extreme in their efforts to make individual, exciting cars. But even retro cars in their full original spec are often works of art. We’ve picked these nominations based on the web statistics for cars we’ve featured during 2012, and the final list represents some of the finest retro machinery from around the world.

1,000hp E21 Street Sweeper

Gatebil makes rich pickings for this category: the thousand-horsepower E21 was a real favourite of everybody who saw it at the Rudskogen Motor Senter in the Summer. A monster built for speed, an E46 M3’s S54 engine now sits under the hood, complemented by bespoke mechanicals constructed specifically for the project. Quality and quantity.

Bisimoto Porsche

Deciding on a favourite 911 is a tough choice at the best of times, but a wide-body 930 with a huge and high rear wing with ram-air intakes set-up is hard to top for extreme Porsche overload. When engine specialist Bisimoto turned their hand to a 1976 model, it was always going to be about what was happening out back: the front may be relatively subtle but the rear is a riot, with the twin-turbos hanging out the back on full show. A powerful, aggressive take on the old girl.

The ’83 Irwindale Corolla

This AE71 was picked up in the #FeatureThis programme at Irwindale 2012: an immaculate orange Corolla sitting on ATS Classics, with a period interior (tach and engine management laptop aside) and classic look. A lean, clean street machine.

Kremer’s K3 Porsche

How do you improve on a racing 911 from the factory? It’s not an easy (or popular) task to outgun the maker itself, but Kremer Racing took the already-winning 935 and applied industrial levels of horsepower, engineering know-how and an intimidating new body shape to create the K series of the late ’70s. Kremer Racing have now meticulously restored this K3, which is now back where it belongs: blasting around the racetracks of Europe.

Corolla With A Viking Heart

It’s back to Scandinavia for Roland Zetterström’s KE71 drifter, with modern detailing taking his bare-metal retro rebuild to a new level. But the carbon-kevlar panels and side-exit exhaust system are just one side of the Corolla: it’s what lurks under the hood that makes this car stand out. A KE71 with a Volvo motor is not something you see every day! A KKK24 and a shot of nitrous complete the picture.

The V8 Porsche

Heretic or hero? Tomoya Watanabe’s Supermachine firm presented their own take on the 930 – from the outside even more stock than the Bisimoto example but inside running to a very different tune. Out had gone the classic flat-six, and in, somehow, a seven-litre LS7 V8 had been inserted. With even more weight out back trick suspension was employed to make what was always a challenging car more manageable – and able to post faster laptimes than most modern Porsches can achieve.

Kiwi Audi S1

Rallying doesn’t get more heady than in the days of Group B: the mid-’80s period where fearsomely – overly – powerful cars blasted through the world’s stages: Formula 1 cars on gravel. And they don’t come more iconic than the Audi Quattro. This S1 homage was built up on an original production car base, and follows the S1 spec: short-wheelbase, turbocharged inline-five 20V with 500hp, all-wheel-drive, but then sprinkles some individuality and modernity over the result, like the pedal box, firewall and AWD system from a V9 Impreza WRX STi. All built up from a shell bought for the princely sum of $20, and still street legal.

Adrian Hall’s 1978 Ford Escort MkII

Here’s a car that has lived a full life and then some: a 30 year old Ford Escort MkII which has crisscrossed between the road and track. Its latest incarnation harks back to the Zakspeed Division 2 DRM Escorts of the late ’70s, though now the bodywork is carbon, it sits even lower and lighter and with the Cosworth YB it delivers an impressive 360bhp/tonne. The best MkII there is?

JDM Legends RX-7

Those lines, those colours! It could only be the early ’80s, and the JDM Legends RX-7 is a perfect summation of that era. And the inspiration was a Hot Wheels model! With a rare, first-generation turbo import to use as a base and an IMSA replica body kit ready to fit, this is a beautiful example of rotary retro.

Motorfix V8 Corolla

The Corolla seems to be perfectly suited to the idea of putting something big into something small. Like the Volvo-motivated Corolla above, it’s what’s under the bonnet that sets this car apart: in this cars a 1UZ V8. A head-on view highlights the low ride, aggressive offset and negative camber at the front; the exterior might not be pretty and the engine not the most powerful but this car is all about pure drifting pleasure.

Air-ride Lotus Esprit

Making a mess of a beautiful design is easy to do. Taking on a design classic as a project and not only improving it but creating something unique and individual is far more difficult. Yet Dean Meeson’s air-ride Series 3 Lotus Esprit retains the essence of the Giugaro original and adds in an extra wow factor, with the low-slung ride matched with a bespoke Alcantara cockpit. Time to pick the low-hanging fruit?

The BMW CSL Batmobile

Racing BMWs are rarely anything but spectacular, and the 1976 CSL ‘Batmobile’ is one of the most iconic racers of the period. Just four factory cars were built: one is the Art Car, and this restored, barn-in-Jakarata-find example still has its original engine in place. It’s all elbows-out wings and bodywork: from the shovel nose to the big wing hanging out back. No subtlety, the Batmobile is all about power and glory.

American Shakotan Toyota Cressida

It’s 1979 gone mad: a zombie driver scraping the ground and scaring the neighbours. With those gigantic takeyari pipes touching the clouds at the back, this cult classic Cressida is a fine SoCal take on a very Japanese subculture. And it’s a daily driver?!

The Honda-powered Escort Speed Machine

“Why? Because I wanted to!”. That’s as good an answer as any as to the reasoning behind this extreme MkII Escort. Although the word Escort might be pushing it, given the TVR chassis underpinning the car and its Honda S2000 engine… But this is a no compromise speed-machine, an as with all the cars here, a celebration of individuality, creativity and the joy of machine.

Jonathan Moore

Speedhunters Awards 2012

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hard choice between the escort and rx7


no s30?


Wow, this is simply the most difficult choise to make... Looks even between competitors!
Scandinavian love, my vote goes to Viking Heart.


No Z?  That ain't right..


@bhop73 The S30 chassis are going into the Oldtimer category: 1975 and older


@MichaelManalo different category as they belong to the late '60s early '70s.


No red skyline, no care.


Easy choice for me, Bisimoto's Prosche ! : D


Diggin how many Porsches there are on this list.


torn between the RX and the biso 930....


too bad it doesn't mention about the motor swap in the American Shakotan Toyota Cressida


Shit this is tough.


Between the LS Porsche, American Cressy and the 1000HP E21....


The BMW, Bisi Porsche, Orange Corolla, Zombie Cressida and the bagged Lotus.
I seriously can't cast a vote. I am a Toyota guy, but I love a 1,000hp in a rather sedate package... the Lotus plays to my inner desire for doing something totally out of left field... and I can seriously stare at the back of that Porsche forever.


What, no write-in? Damn, 'cause I'd nominate this:
Looks bad-ass in person.


Im torn between the Jagermister K3 & the Kiwi S1 both are such Incredible & individual machines! Although nearly every car in here is a top notch example in both looks AND performance!


RX7 because hotwheels


Darn this is so hard. Either the Bisi 930 or the K3.


Ford Escort MkII for the win...


Woohoo lots of Corolla love in here!


Why must you make me choose?! Can't I vote for 'all of the above'?


Shakotan Zombie '79 Cressida full feature here !!!


shakotan zombie Cressida
2jz-ge VVTi powered 5 speed
Stance/Serialnine coilovers/camberplates
Independent rear suspension swap
Speedster Racing formula mesh


I had to go S1, all the cars here deserve to be here, but only one is Group B.


How are we supposed to choose with so many awesome cars. All of them deserve to win :)


every year this happens!! i cant choose JUST one car...! But you just cant ignore 1000hp!


Tough choice, but I voted for the RX-7 since it looks very much like the future dream-project that I have been thinking about for a while.


Leaning towards the K3 but the JDM Legends RX-7 is also my favorite


I'd just like to point out that there are 3 KE70s in this. That's a good thing though.


No love for the Escort? I'll admit I passed it up in favor of the Audi S1 but still... I thought it would be very popular.


FUUUUU... What are you doing to me?? Hahaha, so much win in this feature!!


the zombie cressida hands down!


All great cars, but the Bisi Porsche is the stuff dreams are made of IMO.


The V8 Porcshe, Bisimoto Porsche & air-ride Lotus Esprit is my favourite, final pick is the V8, absolutely awesome


The V8 Porcshe, Bisimoto Porsche & air-ride Lotus Esprit is my favourite, final pick is the V8, absolutely awesome


I'm crossed between the brick powered rolla' and the X30. Hard choice mayne.


@RodChong  @MichaelManalo ah alright, got it! i thought it just so happen to all be from 80s-70s lol


I can't choose seriously... The RX7 is SO rare and well done, and that Escort MK2, damn. Kremer K3 is also mind-blowing.
Yet, I choose Escort.)


can i vote all of it?


Where's the KP30 by racer86 ??!!!!!! Run baby RUN


For me, it all comes down to heritage, which the Kremer Porsche and the BMW 'Batmobile' have in absolute spades.  And, between those two, the Jagermeister livery pulls at my heartstrings like no other.  Kremer K3, the winner.Of the rest, the RX-7, because Hotwheels.


Why you deleted love at first sight Audi s2?


Link this over to the Retrobeutes facebook page :)


I would bet $$$ that most people only voted for the e22 because it says 1000hp in the title LOL


I would bet $$$ that most people only voted for the e21 because it states 1000hp in the title LOL


bagged Esprit <3 <3 <3


did the draggin' kaiser not make it into this category?? i came in expecting it to be in this very very tough fight


It will be in the Oldtimer Category... '75 and earlier


@cherepovets too new. we messed up the year on that...


@TEC Oldtimer catgory '75 and earlier :>


Hard to choose between the Bisimoto Porsche, Batmobile and E21 but I had to go E21. Timeless body, glorious style 5s and 1,000hp.


@Toji004 And they missed the feature in the first place.


The Kremer K3 porsche, stunning pics and great article.


Toughest vote yet! I've gone for the Bisimoto as I loved the article and 2012 has really given me a better appreciation of old 911's so its fitting I'd vote for one. Second place would maybe be the Corolla, there was something cool about that build I couldn't put my finger on...


Most difficult choice so far. I went with the Kiwi Audi S1 as I think it's a top-level build without coming from a huge shop the likes of Kremer, Bisimoto, etc.


Kremer K3....CSL Batmobile....Audi S1