Thursday, April 28, 2016

STEPHEN COX: BACK ON TRACK!

After the fire that ended my race on February 13 at Circuit of the Americas and sent me to the intensive care unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, I’m thrilled to say that I’ll be back on track next 
month, blogs Stephen Cox.
Fans are are invited to Stephen Cox's return to auto racing on May 14 at Midvale Speedway, 45 minutes south of Canton, OH.

WHAT: The Super Cup 100 stock car race 
WHERE: Midvale Speedway, 3825 W State St, Midvale OH
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2016 ~ racing begins at 6:30 pm EDT 

Monday, April 25, 2016

‘16 MINI COOPER S CLUBMAN: ROOM & ZOOM!

The bigger MINI Clubman may not be as much fun as its smaller siblings, but it’s an all-round sporty four-door with room, utility and a bit of Brit cheekiness,  
blogs Dan Scanlan.
It is a question for the ages: Can a four-door MINI be as much fun as a two-door? And will a MINI Cooper S version with four doors be even more fun?

The first Mini in 1959 started out as a tiny and economical family car, until people found out how much fun it was to play with. Then racecar maker John Cooper saw the potential and juiced the little car’s suspension and engine. But they were still tiny coupes until a ten-inch-longer Clubman Estate arrived atop a four-inch-longer wheelbase.

Now as the new MINI (reborn in 2001) enters its third generation, the past becomes the present as the BMW-owned company offers a genuine four-door MINI that’s longer than the already five-inch-longer ‘16 MINI two-door. And it’s called – you guessed it - the Clubman.
The MINI Clubman was offered in the second (2007-2013) generation with a third half-door and side-hinged rear barn doors. The longer Gen-3 Clubman keeps the barn doors in back, and gains two rear side doors plus two new turbocharged engines – a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter/3-cylinder and our Cooper Clubman S’s 2-liter, 189-horsepower four-cylinder engine.

Monday, April 18, 2016

CORVETTE C7: CALLAWAY GT3-Rs READY FOR ADAC GT MASTERS!

Callaway’s new racecars and team ready for ADAC GT Masters’ Opener.
No. 31, Whelen Motorsports C7 GT3-R - Americans Boris Said and Eric Curran, with Loris Hezemans substituting for Curran in selected races, including Oschersleben.

The ADAC GT Masters series begins its 10th anniversary season this weekend at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. The tough, 3.7-km (2.3-mile) German road course will host the first of seven events on the 2016 ADAC GT Masters calendar, with race weekends scheduled this summer at prominent German, Austrian and Dutch racetracks. The series features the world’s premier GT sports cars and drivers, with 33 cars competing for manufacturer and driver championships.

Callaway Competition brought three new C7 GT3-Rs to Oschersleben, as they have exclusive permission from Chevrolet to construct Corvette racecars for GT3 racing worldwide, except for North America. In pre-season testing, the Callaway Competition team’s C7 GT3-Rs have exhibited tremendous potential, achieving top-5 lap times, including recording a second-fastest lap time. Other new-for-2016 GT3 models include Audi’s R8, BMW’s M6, Mercedes’ AMG, Lamborghini’s Huracán and Porsche’s 911.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 NEW YORK AUTO SHOW: THE STARS!

Start spreading the news, there’s a car show in town. You’ll want to be a part of it, New York, New York. Road Test Editor Howard Walker blogs on what’s new at this year’s New York Auto Show.
For automotive aficionados, springtime in the Big Apple means only one thing, the New York International Auto Show at the cavernous Jacob K. Javits Center in Hell’s Kitchen. My vagabond shoes took a stroll through the aisles last week, and here are a few of the hits, and misses, from the city that never sleeps.

Audi R8 Spyder
No surprises here that after the arrival of the new, fresh-faced R8 Coupe, a drop-top Spyder would follow. And like the previous Spyder, it’s drop-dead gorgeous. Power comes from a 540-horsepower 5.2-liter V-10 which gives 0-to-60 sprinting in 3.5 secs. But arguably the more important figure is 20, which is the number of seconds it takes for the power top to drop!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

SHOP TOUR & PIG ROAST: THE DIGITAL DRIVE!

Even if we didn’t love cars, the spit-roasted pig was well worth the drive from Manhattan to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. The Porsche show of force really made the day.
An example of Akira Nakai's Porsche 911 magic, top. Above, THE DRIVE's Mike Guy with Schorr, senior and junior,  bookends.

Mike Guy, Editor-in-Chief of Time-Life’s new way-cool automotive website, THE DRIVE, hosted legendary Porsche tuner/coachbuilder, Akira Nakai and the conversion of a 911 into a wide-body RWB (RAUH-Welt-BEGRIFF) Supercar at their well-stocked in-house shop. He also extended an invitation to the Sarasota Café Racers and Jaguar Land Rover to join staffers and friends to watch the build. Since Nakai had flown in from Japan and Guy sweetened up the invite by adding a pig roast to the bill of fare, my son Stuart (VP Communications, Jaguar Land Rover) and I (CIO, Sarasota Café Racers) could not resist.

Friday, March 25, 2016

ETV SPACE CAR: EXTRA TERRESTRIAL VEHICLE!

You never know what you might see when you go to the New York International Auto Show, the country’s oldest show. It opened today!
 When I first saw the ETV it instantly reminded me of Woody Allen’s hilarious 1973 futuristic Sci-Fi comedy, Sleeper. It looked like it would have been right at home parked outside one of the Orgasmatron (sex-replacement) booths! But the ETV, the brainchild of Mike Vetter, is actually a fully functional vehicle that can be registered and driven on the road.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

’16 SHELBY-HERTZ GT350-H: RENT-A-RACER!

Fifty years after the ’66 Shelby GT350-H and ten years after the ’06 Mustang GT-H were introduced, Ford, Shelby American and Hertz have once again brought back the iconic performance car that you can rent.
A special run of Shelby performance-modified ‘16 Ford Mustang GT-Hs will be available for rent beginning Memorial Day weekend. As a throwback to the famed Shelby GT350-H "Rent-A-Racer" program of the 1960s, a total of 140 ‘16 Ford Shelby GT-H's will be available exclusively through the Hertz Adrenaline Collection at select airport locations in the continental United States. 

"The’66 Ford Shelby GT350-H became a legend from the moment it was introduced," said Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. "Ten years ago, the ‘06 Ford Shelby GT-H earned the same rock star status when it was introduced at the New York International Auto Show. We worked closely with Ford Performance to make the ‘16 Shelby GT-H the most exciting Mustang ever to wear the iconic Hertz black and gold livery."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

‘16 AUDI TTS: GOLF R IN A BESPOKE SUIT!

It’s all there, hidden under a sleeker skin with big wheels at each corner. Bottom line – Teutonic exotic bliss in a sleek if slightly derivative shape, with power and great grip, blogs Dan Scanlan.

This is the Audi TTS, its arcing body a Nano Gray metallic suit over the good stuff from the VW Golf R. Now the question is whether losing real back seats and storage room is a sacrifice, or is the TTS the way for two to go?


The Volkswagen Golf R’s good stuff – turbocharged 2-liter inline four with 292 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque, all-wheel-drive and 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – all go into a 110-pound-lighter Audi TTS. But it doesn’t show its stuff immediately. Our 2,400-mile-old Audi’s little engine launches a bit soft, then turbo boost kicks smoothly in to hit 60-mph in 5 seconds with the drive select set in “Dynamic.” That hikes engine and throttle response as well as stiffening up the steering and suspension feel.

Friday, March 18, 2016

2016 AMELIA ISLAND CONCOURS: THE BEST GETS BETTER!

Our intrepid photo-journalists at large - Maureen and Mike Matune – bring us highlights from one of the country’s premier shows.
The Amelia Island Concours has grown to include events over several days. Friday brought the Reliable Carriers Eight Flag Road Tour where Concours participants exercised their mounts over local roads, ending up in downtown Fernandina Beach. Here is Mark Moshayedi’s ‘65 Shelby-DeTomaso P70 racer, above. Originally conceived by Carroll Shelby to contest the USRRC championship, it featured a Peter Brock designed body over a DeTomaso constructed backbone chassis. It would never turn a wheel in competition as its proposed seven-liter engine never materialized.

A very appropriately attired Colleen Sheehan, above, right, poses with her ‘30 BMW, an example of one of its first automotive products. A variant of the Austin 7 manufactured under license, the cars are sometimes referred to as DIXI-BMW’s. A 15-horsepower L-Head Four, with a three-speed transmission, provides power for the 1,000-pound-plus machine. It’s a far cry from BMW’s The Ultimate Driving Machine.

NY AUTO SHOW DEBUT: SPYKER C8 PRELIATOR!

Spyker’s exclusive third-gen, hand-built C8 Preliator debuts to the Press on March 24 at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. 
Spyker will join a very exclusive club of very limited production Hypercars at the NYIAS, including the Koenigsegg One:1 and Regera. Just 50 will be built!

"We are delighted to be back at the New York International Automobile Show to unveil the new Spyker C8 Preliator in one of our most important markets," said Victor R. Muller, Spyker's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. "Historically, Spyker has sold half of its production in the US, with a very large number of cars sold through the company's first US dealer, Manhattan Motor Cars".

The "Preliator" name, which means "fighter" or "warrior" in Latin, pays tribute to the company's aviation heritage: Warplanes were made by Spyker between 1914 and 1918. But even more so, Preliator symbolizes the uphill battles Spyker faced and won in the past couple of years.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

STEPHEN COX: TRAPPED IN A BURNING RACE CAR, PART II!

The fire that ended my race at COTA last month and sent me to the intensive care unit of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, also destroyed our on-board cameras. We were convinced that no video of the event existed, but last week's article drew over 50,000 readers and three videos surfaced. All three videos are very short and are presented uncut.
The first video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nmXIueTx1g&feature=youtu.be
comes from the on-board camera of a fellow competitor, Paul Kruse. I am briefly seen on the right side of the picture, falling ungracefully out of our team's Porsche 944 in a desperate effort to escape the blaze. My right arm is on fire, as can be seen in the sliding photo banner at the top of the page. The interior of the Porsche is a mass of flames as well, and my leg is still burning as I tumble backwards out of the car.

I would like to publicly thank Paul and all of my other fellow drivers for looking out for my safety during this incident. If any of them had failed to pay attention and steer clear of my car, the results could have been even more disastrous. The quality of drivers in this series is excellent. If you raced past my burning car, thank you for your attentiveness and good driving.

Monday, March 7, 2016

STEPHEN COX: TRAPPED IN A BURNING RACE CAR, PART I!

It was the same sound you hear when you pour too much lighter fluid on the charcoal as you're preparing a Fourth of July barbecue. A giant “whoosh” followed by a flash of flame. Except it was a thousand times louder. And it wasn't charcoal that was on fire. It was me, blogs Stephen Cox. 

On February 13, 2016, I was driving an eight-hour sports car endurance race at the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, TX. I started inside row eight and quickly realized that our car was very fast. Within just a few laps we were in the top ten and I had high hopes of scoring my fourth straight endurance racing victory, a personal record.

On COTA's massive back straightaway, the fastest point on the course, I smelled fuel and felt a cold spray over my right hand and leg. There was a sudden flash and my whole world turned a bright, terrifying orange. Everything was on fire. 

Flames poured through every crack in the firewall. My right hand was on fire. Splashed with fuel, my right leg was burning as well. Even the inside of the cockpit was ablaze as fuel vapor ignited and literally set the air on fire. I could see nothing. I could not steer the car off the track because I couldn't see the track. I stomped the brake as hard as I could, but it takes a while to get a Porsche from 125 mph to a dead stop.

Friday, March 4, 2016

’17 FORD GT: AMERICA’S LATEST ROAD & TRACK STAR!

Alex Pepe talks with Jim Owens, Ford Performance Marketing Manager, about the 
new GT and racing.
Top, Ford GT. Above, L to R: Jim Owens, Matt Sylvester, Focus RS, Assistant Marketing Manager, Alex Pepe and Tyler Weiland, TimePiece PR & Marketing, the person who made this interview possible.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the marketing manager for Ford’s Performance vehicles. Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale was our rendezvous point largely due to the focus of Ford’s annual showcase this year – ’17 GT. This year was quite special, as both the ‘17 Ford GT and ‘16 Ford Focus RS were displayed. Eventually, I was escorted outside and into Ford’s hospitality center, a rather luxurious RV. After several minutes of exchanging pleasantries and shaking hands, I sat down with Jim. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

’17 STINGRAY GRAND SPORT: CORVETTE RACING HERITAGE!

A snapshot of the new Corvette Grand Sport, plus Corvette's international racing legacy on and off the track.
Chevrolet is bringing back the Corvette Grand Sport, leveraging more than 50 years of technology transfer from the track, while incorporating the distinctive styling attributes and special-edition aura. It is also the first production model to incorporate the chassis and suspension elements of the high-performance supercharged model in addition to its wider tires and fenders. It was introduced today at the Geneva Motor Show.

Here’s a snapshot of Corvette racing history, starting in 1960:

1960 – Urged by Zora Arkus-Duntov, Corvette’s first chief engineer, racer Briggs Cunningham entered three mostly stock Corvettes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – each powered by the  283 cubic inch “Fuelie” small-block with mechanical fuel-injection. In a race dominated by European factory teams, Cunningham’s No. 3 Corvette, driven by John Fitch and Bob Grossman, won the large-displacement GT class and finished eighth overall. In fact, the top ten finishers included six Ferraris, two Aston Martins, a Porsche and the privateer Corvette.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

JAGUAR F-TYPE PROJECT 7: A ROCK STAR’S CHOICE!

Rock legend and AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson explains why he's added a new Jaguar F-TYPE Project 7 - Jaguar's limited production all-aluminum, fully road-legal two-seater roadster with bespoke aerodynamic aids – to his collection. 
How are you enjoying your F-TYPE Project 7 so far?

I love it. It's a proper Supercar and boy oh boy does it have some grunt to it. While it's blisteringly fast, I feel so safe in it. I love the steering, the handling, and those carbon ceramic brakes are amazing. The discs are as big as the wheels on my racing Mini! Just listen to that noise from the exhaust, who needs a stereo when you have a soundtrack like this?

Have you taken it out on the track yet?

Not this car. Last year I did an episode of my TV show, Cars That Rock, sitting in the passenger seat of a Project 7 while it was being hammered around Jaguar's Gaydon test track in the UK by chief engineer, Mike Cross. It was unbelievable. He was throwing it sideways to show the control, hammering down the straights at 125 mph. It just felt like a rocket.

Friday, February 19, 2016

LEE HOLMAN: 2016 HEMMINGS CONCOURS HEADLINER!

In 1966, a Holman & Moody GT40 Mark II was one of the three cars that finished 1-2-3 at Le Mans. John Holman’s son, Lee, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s iconic win and will be the honorary chairman and keynote speaker at the 10th annual Hemmings Concours.


Lee Holman grew up around NASCAR-winning Fords and the GT40s that rocked the sports car world by ending Ferrari’s rule over endurance racing. This year there will be many celebrations showcasing Fords four year – 1966-1969 - winning streak at Le Mans. Lee Holman is building authentic continuation H&M 427 Mark II GT40s, above, (photo by Darren Frank), and specialty TDF Mustangs and 427 Fairlanes. And, he’ll be headlining the Hemmings Concours. He also wrote the Foreword for Martyn Schorr’s new book on legendary Ford street performance and racecars, FORD TOTAL PERFORMANCE.

For the story on Lee’s involvement with the Hemmings Concours, please visit http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2016/02/19/lee-holman-of-holman-moody-fame-to-headline-2016-hemmings-motor-news-concours-delegance/?refer=news

For more information about FORD TOTAL PERFORMANCE, check out http://www.amazon.com/Ford-Total-Performance-Complete-High-Performance/dp/0760348588/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429561181&sr=1-1&keywords=Ford+Total+Performance%2C+martyn+Schorr




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

‘16 MUSTANG GT CALIFORNIA SPECIAL: A LITTLE CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

Ford has brought back the 1960s California Special package for its latest 5.0-liter Mustang GT. Road Test Editor Howard Walker gets to grips with this 
drop-top pony express.

We’re doing a little California Dreamin’ here, top down in a retro V8 Mustang California Special, Mamas & the Papas on the stereo. Life is good. And the Ponycar we’re riding here is a sweetheart; a ‘16 GT convertible with retina-searing Race Red paint, a throaty 5.0-liter 435-horsepower V8 under the hood and the super-cool California Special trim.

The original California Special was a limited-edition option on Shelby and GT Mustang coupes offered by SoCal Ford dealers way back in the late 1960s. Now they’re solid collector items.

They were badged GT/CS - for California Special - and offered with big-block 390 V8s as well as the rarer Cobra Jet 428. Production ran for less than six months, between February and August 1968. In total, just 4,118 were built.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CLOSING THE GAP: AMERICA'S ONLY MID-LEVEL ENDURANCE RACING CHAMPIONSHIP!

There are plenty of endurance races available to anyone who wants to race $500 junkyard relics. There are also some endurance races available to drivers who want to race million-dollar prototypes. But the options are pretty limited for those who want to race something in between, blogs Stephen Cox. 
A cavernous gap separates the numerous entry-level $500 series and the high-end Weathertech Sportscar Championship, which offers only four events of six hours or longer. For some time, North America has been starving for a good endurance racing series to fill that chasm. 

Enter the World Racing League. Now beginning its third season of operation, the WRL boldly goes where no series has gone recently... into the mid levels of amateur endurance racing. The series offers a full 15-race schedule and racing from coast to coast at some of the finest venues on the continent including Circuit of the Americas, Mid Ohio, Virginia International Raceway and Texas World Speedway.

The WRL's power-to-weight classing system makes the series affordable, yet clearly more professional various $500 racing series. The WRL is open to experienced drivers and those who have passed an approved driver's course. The result is the cleanest, contact-free racing this author has ever experienced.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SCTA BONNEVILLE NATIONAL SPEED TRIALS 1949-1968: REQUIRED READING!

If you love the history of land speed racing during the golden era of hot rodding and performance, this set of books is a must-have.
When it comes to chronicling the heritage of land speed racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats and helping to preserve the venue, few people are as passionate as author, photographer and publisher, David Fetherston. His latest effort is SCTA Bonneville National Speed Trials 1949-1968, a two-volume set.

If you’re a Bonneville history buff, this two-book set, SCTA Bonneville National Speed Trials – 1949–1968 is for you. These two books are a compilation of Bonneville racing history, each with a chronological reproduction of the first twenty years of all the actual racing programs from 1949-1968. This never before assembled set of programs has previously been impossible to find. Here you have it all in this one book set!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

‘16 Nissan 370Z : SPORTS CAR OR GRAND TOURER?

The 370Z Roadster is still fast, fun and cozy comfy for two. But there are others that do it better and have a bit more room without feeling it, blogs Dan Scanlan.
Yutaka Katayama, best remembered by media as consummate enthusiast, Mr. K, may not have been thinking “topless” when he birthed the original 240Z in 1970. But Nissan was when it revived the Z in 2002. It was a real convertible version of the iconic two-seat sports car - smaller and lighter than the last generation and not saddled with a roll bar.

But as we checked out the ‘16 Nissan 370Z Roadster on a chilly winter week, it’s hard to forget that this version is more than six years old. So in a world where other marques’ lightweight sports cars remind us what “sports” means, has the 370Z aged into the grand touring class?

The latest Nissan 370Z Roadster Touring Sport weighs 3,521 pounds vs. 3,353 for the top coupe model, added weight due to the top mechanism and chassis stiffening like a suspension tower cross-brace. That didn’t seem to blunt the performance of our 4,400-mile-old, 332-horsepower V-6. A 370Z Coupe we tested a few years ago with a six-speed manual hit 60-mph in 5.7 seconds, while a 350-hp 370Z NISMO we tested in 2015 did it in 4.9 seconds.

Friday, February 5, 2016

FORD GT: FOUR-CAR TEAM FOR LE MANS!

Four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will compete at Le Mans in June, 50 years from Ford’s GT40 1-2-3 finish in 1966. The new Ford GTs will run numbers 66, 67, 68 and 69, to commemorate Ford’s 1966-1969 outright wins.
The organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest), today confirmed that all four Ford GTs have received a place on the prestigious entry list for the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. All four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will compete for GTE Pro class glory at the world’s greatest motor race, which takes place on June 18-19.

“It was great to see all four Ford GTs up there on the Le Mans entry list today,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director, who attended this afternoon’s press conference in Paris. “Newcomers are by no means guaranteed an entry, whatever their history or ambitions, so we thank the ACO for giving Ford the opportunity for a four car assault in June.”

BARRETT-JACKSON SCOTTSDALE: CARS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED!

Our man on the Left Coast, Jim Palam, blogs about some two and four-wheel machines you may have missed while binge-watching the hobby’s premier auction.
While overall auction totals at Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale showed a decline from the big numbers in 2015, there was little evidence of a downswing in enthusiasm for sellers, buyers and attendees at the self-proclaimed, "World's Greatest Car Auction" in 2016. Our West Coast contributor Jim Palam looked for vehicles that were less in the media's spotlight and more in the hearts of the Car Guy throngs enjoying the extravaganza. Take a look...

Got A Sweet Tooth? Then this ‘51 Crosley conversion Good Humor truck, top, is just what you need. It was quickly gobbled-up for $27K. In One Word, Deadly. The Black Widow, above, was a truly lethal competitor when it was campaigned throughout the Southwest by Don's Chassis Shop during the 1960s-1970s. Induction setup today includes Hilborn EFI from Imagine Injection of Phoenix.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

IGNORE GRAVITY: CIGARETTE RACING & MERCEDES-AMG!

Maximum impact on land and sea.
For the sixth consecutive year, Cigarette Racing and Mercedes-AMG have once again overcome nature on land and sea. Their mission: Ignore Gravity! The Cigarette Racing 41’ SD GT3 will be on display with its inspiration, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 racecar at the Miami International Boat show. From Thursday, February 11 until Monday, February 15, Cigarette will be showcasing the latest in performance boating. Visit Cigarette Racing at the show to see this impressive pair in person or visit Cigarette Racing at www.cigaretteracing.com on February 11 to see the full reveal. Also, #cigaretteracingteam  #mercedesamg  #ignoregravity

For more information about the latest Mercedes-AMG vehicles, please visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/future/model/model-All_New_2016_C190_AMG_GT


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

JAGUAR F-TYPE SVR: A RIGHT, PROPER SUPERCAR!

Capable of accelerating to 200 mph, the new F-TYPE SVR is the first Jaguar to wear the SVR badge and has been developed to exploit the two-seat aluminum sports car’s full potential while retaining its day-to-day usability.
The new ‘17 Jaguar F-TYPE SVR will make its global debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show on March 1, 2016 and will go on sale in summer-2016. Lighter, faster and more powerful, the new F-TYPE SVR takes performance, dynamics and driver involvement to a new level yet retains the comfort and duality of character inherent to all Jaguar cars.

“The new F-TYPE SVR is the first series production Jaguar to be developed by Special Vehicle Operations and benefits from everything we know about precision engineering, performance and design,” said John Edwards, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. “The result is a 200-mph, all-weather Supercar that you can drive every day. And, we even made a convertible version so that enthusiasts can revel in the sound from the new titanium exhaust system.”

‘16 BUICK CASCADA: A REAL CONVERTIBLE ASSET!

Buick re-ignites the memory of the stunning ’04 Velite concept convertible with its new Euro-built Cascada, below. Road Test Editor Howard Walker takes one for a spin from the Key West to Miami.
Remember back at the 2004 New York Auto Show when Buick pulled the wraps off an exceedingly sexy-looking four-seat convertible called the Velite, above? At the time there were huge expectations that GM would green-light it to production of this gorgeous two-door luxury soft-top. Word was that it would be based off GM’s Zeta rear-drive platform used in the new Camaro and Aussie Holden Commodore and feature a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 rated at a muscular 400-horsepower. Alas, nothing ever came of the Velite, despite Bob Lutz, GM product supremo at the time, fighting hard for it to get the go-ahead.

Now fast forward 12 years and I’m at the wheel of the spiritual successor to the fab Velite, driving from Key West along the arrow-straight A1-A to Miami in Buick’s brand new Cascada droptop. OK, it’s front-wheel-drive, and packs only half the Velite’s 400 horses. But it’s four-seat, soft-top which Buick is launching at a time when four-seat convertibles are
decidedly thin on the ground. Remember the Chrysler 200. The Toyota Solara. The Volvo C70? All deceased.

Monday, January 25, 2016

’65 CHEVELLE FLASHBACK: STOCKER STREET EAST!

Back in the day, Norman Mayersohn was a hands-on drag-racing editor at Car Craft magazine. Since then he’s gotten a haircut and has held positions as Auto Editor, Popular Mechanics magazine and Deputy Auto Editor, The New York Times. And, he's been a friend for decades. He reminisces about winning races and setting national records in his ’65 Chevelle Super/Stock.
Norman, top, with record-setting crapbox Chevelle sedan at the 1974 SPORTSnationals and, above, left, with CarGuyChronicles editor, Marty Schorr, at Speed Week at Bonneville in 1985. I was there representing Buick and he, auto editor of Popular Mechanics.

OK, folks, this car is the “Stocker Street East” project that I cobbled together at Car Craft in the 1970s. It followed the O/Stock ’65 Chevelle station wagon that John Mackey and I built in 1971, my senior year of college, for NHRA Division 1 racing. The wagon, built on a shoestring, set the NHRA national record at 13.55 at the Englishtown, NJ points meet in May of 1971.

There are many parallels. Like the wagon, the four-door's body was actually a ’64 that John, a high school buddy, put a ’65 nose on. And I built the engine, a 250-horse 327, at the Truppi-Kling shop, as I did for the wagon. The T-K shop is where I spent all the time I should have been in class. It’s also where I got the education that has fed me all these years!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

’16 JAGUAR F-TYPE R: POLARIS WHITE SEX MACHINE!

My British friends would say the car is brilliant, blinding, the dog’s bollocks and that I must have been chuffed to have it for a few days. All true, blogs Motorbooks 
publisher, Zack Miller.
Really, there’s nothing the F-Type R does not do well. It looks sharp and modern while making a nod to its ancestry. It’s wicked fast, and with all-wheel drive it inspires confidence (even for book publishers). Its exhaust note is intoxicating. I’m hard pressed to think of much that I didn’t love about the car. I guess it’s a bit of a submarine for visibility when the top is up, and I didn’t care for the economy feature that kills the engine at a stop and restarts it when you remove your foot from the brake (though in fairness you can disable that feature—when you reach over to turn on Active Exhaust!).

For Zack Miller’s complete drive report, please visit
http://blog.quartoknows.com/quartodrives/2016/01/08/out-on-the-street-2016-jaguar-f-type-r/

For more information about the latest performance-luxury vehicles from Jaguar, please visit http://www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/f-type/index.html?utm_content=content

‘15 JOHN COOPER WORKS MINI: SIZE MATTERS!!

This is my favorite adult go-kart, but its price, and hard suspension on some surfaces on SPORT – not as much fun, blogs Dan Scanlan.
When Alec Issigonis designed the first MINI in 1959, it was a tiny 120-inch-long coupe. Then racer and tuner John Cooper got hold of one in 1960 and made it a tiny terror on race tracks and rally courses around the world.

Fast forward millions of MINIs later, and its family has grown in variety as well as size. But despite the MINI Paceman, Countryman and Clubmans out there, the BMW-owned company hasn’t forgotten what made MINIs maxi, or who made them fun. So while the latest MINI Hardtop is five inches longer than the last generation (151.9 inches), John Cooper’s spirit and big (for its size) power remains.
·     
The MINI lineup starts with a turbocharged 134-horsepower 1.5-liter/3-cylinder (11 more than the previous 4-cylinder), then the Cooper S’s 2-liter, 189-horsepower (8 more) Four. But our John Cooper Works Hardtop has the ultimate - a turbocharged 2-liter, 228-horsepower/236 pound-feet of torque Four. The new engine gets a specially developed turbocharger integrated in the exhaust manifold, with direct injection and BMW’s fully variable VALVETRONIC valve control. That makes it the most powerful MINI, each horsepower nudging only 11.5 pounds of hot hatch around! 


Thursday, January 14, 2016

TOP TEN: BUICK’S PERFORMANCE LEGACY!

Ten milestone vehicles that established and advanced  Buick’s performance heritage for more than 100 years.
Performance has been part of Buick’s DNA since its earliest days, when stripped-down chassis and powerful Buick engines pushed the pioneers of motorsports to victory. Racing success helped forge the brand’s reputation for durability. Now, more than a century later, that legacy of performance complements the refinement for which Buick has always been known.
Here are 10 milestone models that helped establish and advance Buick’s performance heritage:

1. 1909 Buick Racecar
In 1909 – two years before the first Indianapolis 500 – the 2.5-mile-long oval at Indy was inaugurated with the Prest-O-Lite Trophy. The 250-mile race was won by Bob Burman, driving a Buick and averaging more than 53 mph. Of the nine cars that finished the race, three of them were Buick models.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

LOST TREASURE: SHASTA SPEEDWAY'S 1951 SEASON TROPHIES!

You just never know what you'll find in the bottom of your grandmother's closet, blogs Stephen Cox. 
Northern California's Shasta Speedway held its first full season of competition in 1951. The 3/8-mile former horse racing track had been opened to motor racing the previous summer and immediately attracted the attention of a mechanically-inclined teenager from Indiana.

Bud Pedigo had dated my grandmother, Ruth, when they attended high school together in Indianapolis in the mid-1930s. After graduation, they went their separate ways. My grandmother later married and made her life in Indiana.

Meanwhile, Pedigo nearly killed himself in a motorcycle accident on the old Southport Road covered bridge that spanned White River on the city's south side (a modern bridge remains there today). He recovered, but walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Pedigo then left Indiana to chase his fortune in California.