With its single-seat layout, spidery suspension, and all manner of wings, a Formula 1 car might be insanely capable, but on the street, they're useless compared to the cars you actually drive. What happens when you marry the two? These machines find out.
One was built as a celebration of success, the other as part of a pair of failures. Together, they're two of the craziest machines to ever set foot on a racetrack.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
The Alfa Romeo 164 Pro-Car
In 1985, Alfa Romeo hit upon a partnership with the French F1 chassis builder Ligier. Alfa would provide the engine, a 3.5L V10, finally returning a historic brand to Formula 1. The partnership folded, and it never happened.
The engine did happen, though, and it was a beast. A 72-degree V10, it had five titanium valves per cylinder in later forms, quad camshafts, all-aluminum construction, and a titanium flywheel. At first, it produced 583 hp, but that figure would swell to 620 hp at a screaming 13,300 rpm in later variations. The problem was where to put it.
At first, Alfa Romeo's engine just sat on a shelf, even as manufacturers like Honda and Renault also built their modern F1 V10 engines. Happily, a solution presented itself with the creation of the Pro-Car series. The engine would be the only Alfa Romeo V10 ever produced; the vehicle they put it in would be the only Alfa Pro-Car ever made.
The proposed Pro-Car (Production Car) series was a very loose set of rules intended to campaign cars that looked just like road cars but had F1 technology. Alfa Romeo turned to Brabham to engineer the chassis, and the British company produced an exceptionally lightweight shell based on the popular 164 sedan. It was mostly carbon-fiber, weighed 1650 lbs, and was painted in two-tone red and black. Sure, it had a rear wing and racing slicks, but it mostly just looked like a fast family sedan.
How fast was it? Ludicrously so. With its mighty Alfa Romeo heart beating at 13,000 rpm, the 164 Pro-Car screamed through the quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds and went on to a top speed of 211 mph. It also handled extremely well, and when Riccardo Patrese showed it off at Monza in 1988, he was able to hit speeds well above the F1 cars of the day.
Sadly, the Pro-Car series never got off the ground, as other manufacturers didn't want to front development costs. Just two 164 Pro-Cars were made, and 15 of those glorious engines. It was an oddity, but an epically fast one.
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Renault Espace F1
The Renault Espace F1 is just as weird, but it has perhaps a happier backstory. Built to celebrate 10 years of partnership between Renault and Matra, it was essentially a working concept car that was revealed at the 1995 Paris Motor Show to gasps of disbelief.
Matra, a French company, had its own history of racing success, but was building the very successful Espace minivan for Renault. As a Formula 1-inspired tribute, Renault took an ordinary Espace off of the assembly line, cut out its floorpan, and replaced everything with carbon fiber. Oh, it also dropped in the V10 running gear of the championship-winning Renault-Williams F1 car.Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
With the chassis suitably reinforced and painted in brilliant yellow and black, the Espace looked like a steroidal version of the ubiquitous people mover. Its 4.0-liter Renault V10 made a whopping 800 hp, and it could shove the van to 60 mph in under 3 seconds.
There's also seating for four, unlike the Alfa, though it's not all that kid-safe out back. Cheerios dropped down the exposed velocity stacks might gum up the works.
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Source : http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/news/a7504/formula-one-v10s-hit-the-road/