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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

‘16 JAGUAR XF: THE CAT CLAWS BACK!

It all happens for Jaguar in 2016. A new XE compact sedan. A stunning new F-Pace sports crossover. And it all kicks off with a transformed, aluminum-bodied XF, blogs road test editor Howard Walker 
You gotta love the lyrics. “On a morning from a Bogart movie, in a country where they turn back time, you go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre, contemplating crime.” And all together now: “In the year of the cat”.
   
 It was the soft-rock anthem of 1976 by that Glaswegian folkie Alastair ‘Al’ Stewart. Go on, take a trip down memory lane and dial it up on iTunes. Fast-forward 40 years - yikes - to 2016 and I reckon ‘Year of the Cat should be anointed as the official anthem for Jaguar.

Monday, December 28, 2015

‘16 CADILLAC ATS-V: TORQUE IS KING!

The ATS-V Coupe’s aggressive looks plus a nimble chassis and powerful high-tech V-6 make it a match for BMW’s M, blogs Dan Scanlan.
The holy grail of sports coupedom is the BMW M4 – 425-horsepower and 60-mph from a standstill in 4.1 seconds, and the dance moves of a prima ballerina combined with a cheetah. And until now, maybe only Mercedes-Benz’s varied AMG products could take on the Bimmer for the golden ring of sports coupes. That was until now. Say hello to my new best friend – the ‘16 Cadillac ATS-V Coupe. It’s a compact two-door with twin-turbo 464-horse V-6 aimed right at BMW’s M4 coupe!

The base ATS has a 202-horsepower 2.5-liter Four, with a 2-liter turbocharged Four with 272-horsepower and a 335-horsepower V-6 available. But the compact Caddy king is our test coupe’s 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels, below. You get a six-speed manual with rev match, no-lift shifting (keep the pedal down for full turbo boost as you change gears) and launch control. Or you can have our coupe’s eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift. The only issue – some second-to-first downshifts clunked.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

ROY LUNN: GODFATHER OF THE FORD GT40!

Ford GT & Cobra owners, racers and Roy Lunn’s friends and family gathered at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club in Sarasota, FL to celebrate the legendary engineer and designer, known as the Godfather of the GT40. His accomplishments led to Ford’s domination of international sports car racing in the mid-late-1960s.
 On June 19th, 2016, racing enthusiasts, friends of the Blue Oval, automotive journalists and historians, and the Ford Motor Company, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of what is probably the most iconic event in auto racing history. It was on June 19th, 1966, when three GT40 Mark II-As, raced by Bruce McLaren & Chris Amon, Ken Miles & Denny Hulme and Ronnie Bucknum & Dick Hutcherson crossed the finish line, respectively - One-Two-Three - to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and change the face of International sports car racing.

“I want to congratulate you on your creative role in the historic Ford victory at Le Mans and winning the World GT Championship,” Don Frey, Ford vice-president and general manager, in a letter to Roy Lunn, (above with Neil Ressler and with FIA Cobra), dated June 28, 1966.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

FORD: TOTAL PERFORMANCE, ROAD & TRACK!

CarGuyChronicles Editor and Ford GT owner, Martyn Schorr chronicles Ford’s rich performance heritage from the 1920s through the golden age of musclecars. And, takes you inside Ford’s Skunk Works.
FORD TOTAL PERFORMANCE is 208 slick pages of Ford race and street car history from 1920s Fours, 1930s-1940s Flatheads, 1950s Y-Blocks and 1960s to 1971 big-blocks. It showcases Boss 302-351-429 Mustangs, Shelby GT Mustangs, Shelby & AC Cobras, Pantera, Torinos, Sunbeam Tiger & Lola-Ford GT and GT40s. Plus extensive coverage of drag racing, NASCAR, Indy, Trans-Am, Le Mans, Cosworth F1, Lotus-Cortina, ending with 2005-2006 GT and 2017 GT. Plus a lot of inside info, putting the reader inside Ford’s Skunk Works: SVA & Kar Kraft and the true story of its implosion. Lots of period photography from the author and Ford’s archives, many never seen before.

Monday, December 7, 2015

SAFETY: THE REAL RISKS OF AUTO RACING!

If we actually did eliminate all danger from auto racing, would we really like what was left, blogs Stephen Cox?
                                                  Ed Carpenter, 2015, IMS
I began driving racecars in 1985. In the thirty years since, I've had a total of one serious neck injury while racing. It was at Plymouth Speedway in the summer of 1995. I have not had another neck injury since. It is true that this injury has had lasting effects that I would be pleased to live without. It is not my intent to minimize the severity of neck injuries. They are not fun.

However, they are not nearly as common as some would like us to believe. As amateur road racing champion Anatoly Arutunoff told me a while back, “The HANS device is a good solution to a very, very... very small problem.” Fact is, serious neck injuries are a relatively rare occurrence.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

BUGATTI & PALMER JOHNSON NINIETTE: HYPER-PERFORMANCE YACHTS!

Bugatti lifestyle branding partner, Palmer Johnson, creates a line of Hyper-yachts that pays tribute to the maker of the world’s fastest production sports cars.
 The makers of the world’s fastest production super sports car, Bugatti, and the world’s largest motor yacht builder, Palmer Johnson, are embarking on a joint project. Under license from Bugatti, the world-renowned yacht builder has designed a new series of stunning and elegant open carbon-fiber sport yachts. They feature distinctive Bugatti design elements and utilize advanced materials. The series bears the Niniette name and is available in three models from 42 to 88 feet and prices for the 42-foot model start at €2 million.


Company founder Ettore Bugatti had already developed racing boats and yachts in the 1930s. The visionary’s very personal relationship with his yachts is evident from the names he gave them: Niniette was the pet name of his daughter Lidia. Now, more than 80 years later, this tradition has been revived and the brand motto of “Art, Forme, Technique“ is once again being applied to a boat.

As with sports cars, Bugatti’s design team followed its approach “Form follows Performance”. The luxury yacht with its carbon-fiber hull showcases style elements of Bugatti’s iconic classic cars and combines them with the revolutionary hull shape of Palmer Johnson’s SuperSport series. The falling shoulder line of the Bugatti Type 57 C Atalante and the perfectly balanced proportions of the Type 41 Royale characterize the design. Purist, flowing surfaces and lines create a perfect equilibrium between elegance and sportiness.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

’16 MERCEDES-AMG GT S: FLIGHT OF THE SILVER ARROW!

Mercedes-Benz throws down the gauntlet to Porsche’s 911 with its breathtaking new AMG GT S super-coupe. Road Test Editor Howard Walker takes it for a spin.
There’s driving. And then there’s driving!
   
The kind of driving that gets your heart pounding like a supercharged jackhammer. Driving that has high-octane adrenaline fire-hosing through your veins. The kind of driving that has you shrieking like a sugar-rushed five-year-old riding Space Mountain for the first time. To experience all of the above, simply strap your bones into Mercedes-Benz’ new fire-breathing projectile, the 503-horsepower AMG GT S.
   
Here is the demonic descendant of Merc’s short-lived SLS supercar - the one with those funky gullwing doors, wrath-of-Thor soundtrack and $200,000-plus sticker. With this new AMG GT S however, Mercedes is targeting a broader demographic: sports car lovers with around $130,000 burning a hole in their chinos! Buyers with class acts like Porsche’s latest 911, Audi’s R8, Jaguar’s F-Type R and Aston Martin’s Vantage on their shopping list. The Merc scores huge on looks alone. Drink-in for a second all the sweeps and swoops of this piece of automotive art.
   
From those air-gulping intakes up front, to its mile-long hood, to that sensuously sculpted rear-end, this car gets more dropped jaws than Amal Clooney in Oscar de la Renta. Just standing still, it looks as if it’s clocking a buck-ninety on the Autobahn!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

‘15 FORD MUSTANG 5.0: SIXTH-GEN ROAD WARRIOR!

'This is a GT that can do daily commuting as well as weekend play, although it is more grand touring than some other muscle cars, blogs Dan Scanlan.'
This isn’t the first Sixth-Gen Ford Mustang GT I’ve tested. Nope - instead of starting with the 435-horsepower 5-liter Mustang, my first one was the Whipple-supercharged 725-horsepower Galpin Fisker Rocket with a dramatically restyled carbon fiber body penned by Henrick Fisker and a hand-finished Italian leather/suede interior. Now comes this sleek yellow GT, very reminiscent of the ‘69 Boss 302 Mustang my college buddy Michael had.

With memories of the past and the exotically modified Mustang in my brain, how does the current 50th anniversary model fit in the annals of ponycars?  Like the good old days, Mustangs can be corralled with multiple powerplants, although they are a bit more high-tech these days.

Friday, November 27, 2015

MAZDA MIATA: TWO-SEAT ROADSTER FOR VERY LITTLE MONEY!

Stephen Cox blogs about enjoying top-down motoring without spending a lot of money.
You shouldn't spend your life wondering what it's like to own a small, fun sports car. With some careful shopping and a little homework you can get a fantastic pre-owned roadster for virtually nothing. No, it won't be a Ferrari. It won't even be a Porsche. But if you want the joy of true motoring, you can have it easily and at a ridiculously low cost.

There are a number of cars that fit the bill nicely. We'll talk about each of them in separate blogs. But we'll start with one of the finest used sports cars available today – the Mazda Miata MX-5. The Miata will make an average driver great. I've got thousands of miles in Miatas, both on the street and at full-tilt on some of America's greatest speedways. Trust me, this car does not disappoint.

The Fun-To-Drive Meter peaks at “10” from the moment you press the clutch and slip it into first gear. The steering is tight, the suspension gobbles up curves, and the stock brakes are some of the best I've ever experienced in a street car. The Miata does everything that a small roadster is supposed to do and delivers fun at the same time. From a pragmatic standpoint, the little Mazda returns an average of about 30 miles per gallon overall, and nearer 35 on the highway. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

$14 MILLION SALES: MECUM ANAHEIM AUCTION!

2005 FORD GT is top seller (at approximately $300,000) of 416 cars cars hammered sold throughout the three-day event.
 Held annually since 2012, the Southern California auction has established itself as an important part of the Mecum Auctions’ calendar. Volume and variety are always staple qualities of Mecum auctions, and the top 10 sales at this year’s Anaheim auction could easily qualify as one of the best demonstrations of this: Muscle cars, Ferraris, a ‘50s classic, a Corvette, a Resto Mod, a modern-day supercar, high-end luxury and more all claimed positions among top sales. The auction’s highest seller was a 2005 Ford GT (Lot S135.1) that hammered for $270,000 plus buyer vig.

The complete top 10 sales at the Mecum Anaheim 2015 auction include (all individual sales reflect hammer prices):
2005 Ford GT (Lot S135.1) at $270,000
1957 Ford Thunderbird F-Code (Lot S121.1) at $185,000
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback (Lot S127) at $170,000
1979 Ferrari 308 GTS (Lot S125) at $162,500
2008 Ferrari F430 Spider (Lot S188) at $145,000
2013 Bentley Continental GTC Mulliner Edition (Lot S100) at $145,000
1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (Lot S133.1) at $130,000
1963 Volkswagen 23 Window Bus (Lot F195.1) at $125,000
1969 Shelby GT500 Convertible (Lot S100.1) at $122,500
1956 Chevrolet Nomad Resto Mod (Lot S129) at $115,000

For access to complete auction results and other member benefits, sign up for the free InfoNet service offered at https://www.mecum.com/

Thursday, November 19, 2015

TRACK ATTACK: PORSCHE CAYMAN GT4 CLUBSPORT!

Porsche has added a new sports car for amateur and club racing to its Motorsports fleet: The Cayman GT4 Clubsport debuted today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. 
 The 385 horsepower mid-engine entry level racer, which is not legal for road use, is based on the successful street-legal Cayman GT4 sports car. Sales of the racecar by Porsche Motorsport North America started when it was unveiled in LA.

Just like its well-developed production sibling, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport is powered by a 3.8-liter flat-six engine, positioned directly behind the driver's seat. The racing version features a modified six-speed Porsche double clutch PDK transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel and a mechanical rear-axle locking differential specifically for racing.

Its lightweight strut front axle is taken from its big 911 GT3 Cup brother, which is campaigned in 20 one-make Porsche championships around the world. An enhanced lightweight strut suspension with transverse arms adopted from the 911 GT3 Cup, is at the rear. The racing brake system features large 15-inch steel brake discs all round. One-piece, six-piston aluminum fixed calipers are located at the front, with a four-piston equivalent at the rear. The anti-lock brake system features twelve settings. The Electronic Stability Program has been recalibrated for slick racing tires. Power steering is operated electro-mechanically.

Tipping the scales at just 2,866 pounds, the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, is a virtually turnkey racecar, delivered from the factory with a welded-in safety cage, a racing bucket seat as well as a six-point harness. The North American version comes with an 18.5-gallon (70-liter) or an optional 26.5 gallon (100-liter) FIA FT3 safety fuel tank. The car also comes with a central fire extinguisher system. Mounted on the front axle are 18-inch five-bolt forged wheels with 25/64-18 tires while the 18-inch five-lug forged wheels at the rear have 27/68-18 tires. Michelin® supplies the racing slicks.

In the USA, the new Cayman GT4 Clubsport racecar is available directly from Porsche Motorsport North America for $165,000. For 2016, homologation is anticipated for race series such as the VLN Long Distance Championship Nürburgring, the Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and PCA Club Racing Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East, as well as for other club-level competition events around the world.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

PETTY MUSTANG: BRIAN JOHNSON’S STAGE 2 BOY RACER!

AC/DC’s Brian Johnson buys his first American car, a supercharged 627-horsepower Petty's Garage Mustang. And he buys the first Stage 2 model, #1 of 43, from a genuine American hero – NASCAR legend, Richard Petty, below.
Sarasota Café Racer Brian Johnson, above, called me with an offer I couldn’t refuse. “Marty, come over to the house and we’ll go to lunch in my new kick-ass Mustang, the actual first built Stage 2 Petty Mustang. It's vicious. You drive and I’ll pick up the lunch tab. And, please let’s stay out of jail!”

Well, we stayed out of jail primarily because we were lucky. There’s nothing stealth about his Mustang, from its in-your-face Petty Blue and black exterior to its raucous exhaust note that really sings when the tach starts to go north of 4,000 rpm. Even when you’re standing still and idling at a light, it broadcasts its intentions: Let’s run!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

'15 ALFA ROMEO 4C: A GO-KART FOR ADULTS!

It’s got the speed and razor-sharp reflexes of a racecar with just enough leather and luxuries to live with. It talks loudly and carries a big heart, blogs Dan Scanlan. 
A.L.F.A. began in 1910 as "Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili in Milan. When Nicola Romeo took over, the name changed in 1920 to Alfa Romeo. Now it’s part of FCA – Fiat Chrysler Alliance – and the first Alfa to hit our shores since the 1990s is a baby exotic like nothing Alfa has made before.

Revealed in 2011 as a Concept, then as a production coupe in 2013, this baby Supercar hit American shores a year ago in a very limited (500) launch edition, followed with the 4C Spider.Think Italian supercar that shrunk in the wash!

The 4C Spider has brio – liveliness, verve, vivacity or just plain spirit. It also has a pure simplicity accompanied by a visceral rawness. Mounted midway in the carbon fiber chassis is an all-aluminum 1.7-liter dual intercooled, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, below, paired to an Alfa TCT (twin-clutch transmission) and DNA selector with four drive modes. Our 2,337-pound car had the optional racing exhaust, which keeps catalytic converter, removes the muffler and ends in dual exhaust tips. It barks on start-up and snarls, even at low revs. I set off a new Mustang car alarm when I started up next to it! The Alfa sounds best on  twisting roads with up-and downshifts sweetened by the exhaust snarl and crackle and turbo whistle. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

SHAKY DOG/SOPWITH: SWEEP WRL WITH BACK-TO-BACK WINS!

The most successful season in the 31-history of Sopwith Motorsports came to an end last weekend with two first-place trophies at Tulsa's 
Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. 
 In a joint effort with Shaky Dog Racing on Saturday and Sunday, the team participated in the GP2 division of the World Racing League's October Rush sports car endurance races. The McGunegill Engines/Boschett Timepieces/Impact Racing Mustang started midway back in the 29-car field in Saturday's nine-hour endurance race. Owner Chris Brierly drove the first shift, shattering the WRL's counter-clockwise GP2 track record and taking the early lead.

Despite falling four laps off the pace after two lengthy pit delays, team drivers Cletus Craft and Jason Mayher brought the Sopwith/Shaky Dog Mustang back to second place, less than forty seconds behind the leader late in the event. Driver Stephen Cox took over for the final stint, passing for the lead and bringing the team's Mustang home to victory after 335 laps, 570 miles and nine hours of hard racing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

COLLECTOR CARS: REBUILDING MY TOTALLY-NOT-COLLECTIBLE MUSTANG!

The next step in resto-modding my ‘80 Ford Mustang is underway, and I am positively giddy, blogs Stephen Cox.
 At this point any rational person is thinking, “And why would someone be positively giddy about what many may think is the most worthless, undesirable Mustang ever built?” I'm glad you asked.

Every car guy has a story about the car he drove as a kid. And every one of those stories ends the same way. They look at something on the far away horizon and mutter, “I sold it a few years later, but... wow... I sure wish I had that car today.” Well, I beat the system. I never sold mine.

Originally powered (and I use the term loosely) by a pitiful, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, I drove this car daily from 1982 through 1996. Thanks to witless and otherwise unemployable federal busybody regulators, the car's engine was hopelessly void of anything resembling power even while returning decidedly miserable fuel mileage.

Friday, October 9, 2015

ULTIMATE GT RACER: CALLAWAY C7 GT3-R CORVETTE!

Whelen Engineering sponsored first Callaway C7 GT3-R Corvette will be piloted by Eric Curran and Boris Said. 
Callaway proudly announces that Whelen Engineering Inc. will be the primary sponsor for the first of the new Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-Rs. Beginning in 2016, the Callaway Competition-built racer will compete with the world's fastest GT cars worldwide.

Sonny Whelen elaborates on the Callaway-Whelen association: "I'm very excited about working with the Callaway team in Europe next year. They have produced an amazing Corvette that will be a perfect way to promote the Whelen brand. Our objective is to penetrate deeper into European markets with our all-American made emergency lighting and siren products.”

Monday, October 5, 2015

SAVING AUTO RACING: ‘SIMPLIFY, THEN ADD LIGHTNESS!’

Colin Chapman had it right when he gave us that famous quote. Especially the simplify part, blogs Stephen Cox.
I was contacted by a motorsports complex executive recently regarding building a facility around the development of racing cars and performance passenger cars running on alternative “fuels”. It was a grand concept. The land was purchased, a big ground breaking ceremony took place, and there was lots of talk about bringing in a major racing series and television coverage (hence my involvement).

They envisioned multi-million dollar endorsements and interest from every major auto manufacturer. Special events were planned for electric cars and alternative-fuel racing machines. Not surprisingly, the entire idea sputtered and lost funding halfway through completion. They were gambling with a losing hand. They forgot what Colin Chapman said decades ago and paid the price.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

CHESAPEAKE BAY: ’15 ST. MICHAELS CONCOURS!

Mike Matune represented the Car Guy Chronicles at the ninth-annual Concours d’Elegance and Motor Tour along the shores of the Choptank River in Maryland.
Held on the fairways of the River Marsh Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, the St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance Concours blends pre and postwar European and American classics into an eclectic mix of automotive art, all for the benefit of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Shot of the show field, top, gives you an idea of what we speak. In the background, a boater takes his pride and joy for what could be its last jaunt of the year before it’s laid up for the Winter. The Dual-Ghia, above, was Eugene Casaroll’s dream of combining Italian coachwork, American running gear and show car styling. Built on a Dodge chassis with body by Ghia and styling by Chrysler’s Virgil Exner, about a 100 would see production between 1956 and 1963. They became the darlings of the rich and famous, from politicians like Ronald Regan, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson to actors like Sterling Hayden and Desi Arnaz to just about the entire “Rat Pack.” Joan and Sonny Abagnale finished their restoration just in time to debut it at the St Michaels Concours.

Friday, October 2, 2015

‘15 GOLD CUP: GOING FOR SVRA GOLD AT VIR!

Mike Matune stays dry long enough to bring us coverage of the wet and wild 
Gold Cup weekend at VIR.
With a nod towards poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the story of the 2015 Gold Cup weekend at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) could be wrapped up in the phrase, ”Water, water, everywhere …”. The point is illustrated by David Pintaric’s Corvette, above, with its grille full of VIR landscape and water teaming off every inch of the car as it drags a cloud of spray behind. A torrential downpour covered all three days of the race weekend. SVRA and Trans-Am competitors carried on through frequently arduous conditions to provide visuals only seen during wet weather racing.

David Nettleship splashes through Turn 6 in his Crossle 45F Formula Ford, right, throwing rooster tails off all four wheels. Normally in this corner racers ride the curb, sometimes all the way over to the “Gator Teeth” but the rain line required them to move further from the apex to avoid the standing water.