Thursday, February 23, 2017

BREAKING COVER: RANGE ROVER VELAR!

The latest addition to the Range Rover family fills the void between the Evoque 
and the Range Rover Sport.
  In 1970 Land Rover launched the original Range Rover. Almost half a century later that spirit of innovation continues with the introduction of the Velar, the fourth member of the Range Rover family.

Land Rover Chief Design Officer, Gerry McGovern, said: “We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything.”

Refined for every occasion and for various terrains, the Range Rover Velar uses unique sustainable materials and advanced engineering to continue Land Rover’s drive to go Above and Beyond.

The origin of the Velar name (pronounced vel-ar) dates back to the first Range Rover prototypes of the Sixties: the pioneers of the luxury SUV landscape. When development engineers needed to hide the true identity of the 26 pre-production Range Rover vehicles, they chose the name Velar, derived from the Latin velare meaning to veil or cover.

Monday, February 20, 2017

’17 CAMARO ZL1: CLOCKS 202.3 MPH!

Fastest Camaro ever makes one pass at 202.3 mph and backs it up at 193.3 mph on Germany’s Papenburg proving ground. Average top speed: 198 mph.
Chevrolet tested the ZL1 with 10-speed automatic transmission on the high-speed oval at Germany’s Automotive Testing Papenburg GmBH proving ground. Compensating for wind speed, the top speed is the average achieved from running the ZL1 in both directions on the 7.6-mile loop - 202.3 mph in one direction and 193.3 mph in the other direction!

Testing was conducted on the ZL1’s production Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires with pressure set at 44 psi, the recommended setting for extended high-speed driving. The car’s only deviations from stock were mandatory safety and data logging equipment.

Papenburg’s high-speed oval features 2.5-mile straights and 1.3-mile turns with 49.7-degree banking on the top lane. The steep banking allowed Chevrolet test drivers to run the ZL1 flat out around the track without lifting off the throttle in the turns.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 GUIDE: HIGH-PERFORMANCE RACING SCHOOLS!

If you are thinking about racing or own a genuine high-performance car and would like to track it, it’s really important to find the best schools out there. 
Driving is an extreme skill, one where you place the lives of others and yourself into your own hands. Before you take a look at some of the best high-performance racing schools, make sure to also check out great Sat Nav info, https://www.webuyanybike.co.uk/blog/best-satnav-app-for-motorcyclists/   Prepare for all the road has to throw at you by considering one of these top-driving schools of 2017.

ALLEN BERG RACING SCHOOL

Bearing the name of its founder, a retired professional race driver and former team leader and BMW Instructor, this school made it onto our list because of the obvious, its high credentials. Also, we liked that all courses are laid out and includes classroom briefings and track walks. They also host a road car track day at $330 which includes 2 hours of track time divided into 4 to 5 sessions on the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 2.23-mile road course featuring the world famous Corkscrew!
Cost: The 1-day course starts at $2,295. https://www.allenbergracingschools.com/

Friday, February 17, 2017

CAMARO: A HALF-CENTURY OF PERFORMANCE!

Golden oldie Gen I and Gen II Camaros showcase 50th anniversary celebration at 
Amelia Island Concours.
The first Camaro, Vin #10001, owned by GM, top & Dan McMichaels '73 Baldwin-Motion Phase III 454 Camaro, above, will be featured at Amelia Island Concours.

GM brass wasn't enthusiastic about adding a sixth model to Chevrolet's 1967 model lineup . . . until they saw the prototype. It was a knockout. The new Chevy, code-named Panther, began to appear in the automotive business journals and enthusiast publications more than a half-century ago. Anything General Motors did was big news in those days. In the wake of Ford's Mustang a new addition to a class of one, especially from the world's biggest and most powerful
Automotive manufacturer, was seismic news.

The formal name for Chevy's new sporty car came from a 30-year-old French/English dictionary: Camaro meant "pal", "comrade" or "warm friend." The marketing guys, just like the designers, nailed it - Camaro.

The first warning shot that GM was poised to enter the sporty car market was Chevy's Super Nova that debuted at the 1964 New York Auto Show, just two weeks before the Mustang was introduced. Chevy followed up with the XP-836 and that high concept design codified the Camaro look. The long-hood/short-deck Chevy prototype spent eleven days in the Ling-Temco-Vought wind tunnel.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

V12 CAMARO: GEN I 12-CYLINDER PONYCAR!

If eight is great, twelve is torrid. The only substitute for cubic inches is 
more cubic inches! 
A Camaro, just off the assembly line, can offer its owner power, style and performance without much additional effort. Streetable Camaros are not uncommon on the National Parts Depot showfield at the Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals. Along with daily drivers, the grounds have even more cars, Camaros or otherwise that have seen many aftermarket upgrades. Every car at Carlisle may turns heads, but none will turn more heads than this V12 Camaro that will be part of the indoor Building T display. That’s right, a 12-cylinder car is coming to Carlisle in June.

Mike Heim, Quality Custom Rides, owns this V12 Camaro. He is bringing the V12 to the Carlisle Chevrolet Nationals after a smashing debut at SEMA in the fall of 2016. While guests will want to see the entire car, the engine itself will be getting a bulk of the attention. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

TRIUMPH SQUARE BARREL: A 500-CC TWIN FOR ALL SEASONS!

From WWII bomber to Grand Prix Winner, Triumph’s Twin was an incredibly flexible engine, blogs Stephen Cox.
Triumph took the world by storm in 1938 with its its Speed Twin, the first of the great British parallel twin street motorcycles. But their enthusiasm – and sales – were cut short by World War II, which began the following September.

Triumph engineers quickly adjusted to wartime production by re-designing the Speed Twin's excellent 500-cc power plant as a portable generator for military use. The cylinder heads and barrels were cast from aluminum and the generator's operating temperature was kept in check by connecting an external fan to the engine's handcrafted tin cooling shroud.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

MERCEDES-AMG & CIGARETTE RACING: SPEED THRILLS!

The Dynamic Duo dominates on land & sea!
Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing are celebrating 10 years of cooperation this year and will be unveiling the latest high performance boat designed in collaboration with Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Daimler AG. The new Cigarette Racing boat was inspired by the breathtaking new Mercedes-AMG GT R and will make its world premiere at the Miami International Boat Show on February 16, 2017.

For more information about luxury performance vehicles from Mercedes-Benz & AMG, please visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/index


Saturday, January 28, 2017

PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD: THE RICHARD PETTY CONNECTION!

Our man on the track, Stephen Cox, talks with Richard Petty about his connection to the winged Superbird.
It has been claimed that Plymouth's legendary winged ‘70 Superbird was the brainchild of NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The rumor has been around for decades but I've never found anyone with first-hand knowledge who could absolutely confirm or deny that the car's origins truly began with The King of Stock Car Racing.

But opportunity knocked a couple of weeks ago when Petty was in attendance at the Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL, which I co-host for NBCSN. I found him relaxing backstage late in the show and hollered, “Hey, King!” Although I don't know him well, he looked up with his trademark smile and immediately held out his hand.

I asked him point blank whether he was responsible for the development of the Plymouth Superbird. Petty paused and laid the back of his hand across his brow. “Well, let me get the dates right.”

Friday, January 20, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: LANCIA LORAYMO, ONE OF ONE!

This book is as much about Loewy’s logic of industrial design and creative process as it is about his bespoke Lancia.
Raymond Loewy, the Father of Industrial Design, is most familiar to consummate carguys because of Studebaker’s Avanti and Starliner coupes. Loewy was also responsible for designing streamlined locomotives, refrigerators, telephones, and logos for Shell Oil, Exxon, TWA and Lucky Strike to name a few.`

Written by Brandes Elitch, Lancia Loraymo follows the development of Raymond Loewy’s one-off Lancia, designed as a personal project to advertise the Loewy brand. Built for the 1960 Paris Motor Show, where it was the hit of the show, the Loramyo was reminiscent of the fabulous cars that graced the Concours d’Elegance circuit in pre-war France.

Its Flaminia chassis was specially prepared by Lancia to showcase a handcrafted Carrozzeria Moto aluminum body. It garnered enormous publicity for a few short years, and then disappeared. Like the intrigue that surrounds the fabled Chrysler Norseman dream car, the missing Loramyo came back to life when it was found 20 years later in a scrap yard in Sacramento, CA, missing its original drivetrain. It was scheduled to be crushed.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

We've suspected this for many years and now it's official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox. 
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

“We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, 'You know what? We're going to build a car in our garage and we're going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.'”

“But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don't think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I'd love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who's running at Putnamville and we're going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don't think it's practical anymore.”

Saturday, December 31, 2016

‘17 FIAT 124 SPIDER: CLASSICAL GAS!

It’s what happens when you take a Mazda Miata and add a little Italian brio, blogs Road Test Editor, Howard Walker.
Ready for a little Italian conversation class? Start by repeating after me: Bella piccolo macchina. Now say it with feeling, and maybe with an Italian-style shrug of the shoulders and upturned palms. The literal translation is ‘beautiful little machine’. And it’s also exactly how you’d describe Fiat’s new magnifico 124 Spider two-seater. Bella indeed.

You might have heard about this new 124. It was developed hand-in-hand with Mazda - yep, I scratched my head too when I first read that piece of news. Fiat borrowed the underbody structure of Mazda’s much-loved Miata MX-5 and wrapped it with its own bodyshell - every panel is unique to the 124 - and squeezed in its own piccolo engine. Just don’t call it a Fiata!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

‘17 JAG F-TYPE SVR: KITTY KITTY BANG BANG!

It prowls the streets with a ferocious growl, while its bite seems to melt rubber and asphalt. It has a very angry face, blogs Dan Scanlan.
It’s the latest supercharged cat from Jaguar, with a tiger under its alloy bonnet and an explosive snarl from its quad exhaust. Meet the F-TYPE SVR, which lives up to Jaguar’s claim of being the “lightest, quickest, most powerful” member of its line.The F-Type SVR’s supercharged 5-liter V-8 serves up 575-horsepower and 516-pound-feet of torque after and hooked to a recalibrated, fast-responding 8-speed ZF Quickshift transmission. Its Dynamic Mode gives it sharper throttle response with quicker shifting, staying in a lower gear for instant power on demand.


Power is available at throttle tip-in, getting to the ground via on-demand all-wheel drive. That meant our 7,000-mile-old Jag pinned us in our seats en route to 60-mph in 3.3 seconds, and 100-mph in 7.8 seconds. All four tires grabbed and went, with no wheelspin, as the quad exhaust wailed a seductive battle cry. The gearbox executed neat, fast downshifts with a throttle blip before each in Dynamic mode.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

CADILLAC RACING: BACK ON TRACK!

Cadillac’s all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R racecar will compete in the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series, Prototype (P) class.
The Cadillac DPi-V.R will first be driven competitively at the 2017 IMSA season opener - the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 28-29, 2017. Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing teams will field it. IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the fastest and most technologically advanced sports car racing series in North America.

“Cadillac is proud to return to the pinnacle of prototype racing in North America after a 14-year absence,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “Cadillac’s V-Performance production models - the ATS-V and CTS-V - are transforming our brand’s product substance, earning a place among the world’s elite high-performance marques. The Cadillac DPi-V.R further strengthens our V-Performance portfolio, placing Cadillac into the highest series of sports car racing in North America.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

’17 MERCEDES-BENZ SL65: SUNSHINE SUPERCAR!

“Dial ‘SL65’ if you want a classic aluminum-bodied two-seat roadster with an abundance of luxo-tech and V12 power,” blogs Dan Scanlan.
Inside the ‘17 Mercedes-Benz SL65 Roadster’s sleek-but-familiar frame resides a supercar’s worth of power - a handcrafted twin-turbocharged 6-liter V-12 with, delivering 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque at a low 2,300 to 4,300 rpm. And, builder Antonio Donadai’s signature on its carbon fiber engine cover!

This SL is the seventh in a series of arguably the best known Benzes, born in 1954 as the 300 SL Gullwing coupe. Tests of uber-SLs are rarities, the last one we had an SL550 three years ago with 429 horsepower. It hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and 100-mph in 9.7 seconds, averaging 20 mpg on premium fuel with auto engine shutoff engaged. Now we had the latest SL65 with five different driving programs - Comfort, Sport, Sport +, RACE and Individual.

Friday, November 18, 2016

RACING'S GREATEST UPSETS: 1966 TRANS-AM ENDURO!

Stephen Cox blogs about Shelby American’s legendary Group 2 Mustang racers, Part 3 of 3.
John McComb ordered a new car for 1967. The choice was easy. Given his success in the 1966 Group 2 Mustang, he ordered a new notchback for 1967 to pick up where he left off with the Shelby program. The ‘67 Mustang was the model’s first major redesign and the car gained both size and weight. McComb didn’t care for either.

“Even though the ’67 car had a wider track, it was a heavier car, so I don’t really think the wider track helped,” McComb said. “The ’66 car was just a very reliable, quick car. I always thought the ’66 was better than the ’67 anyway.“

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ELECTRIC PACESETTER: JAGUAR UNLEASHES LATEST CAT!

Jaguar gives us a sneak-peak into its future. And it’s electric, blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker.
 
The undisputed star of this week’s Los Angeles auto show is an all-new, all-electric performance crossover from Jaguar, called I-Pace.

While its official title is I-Pace Concept, this sleek, head-turning five-seater is essentially the same car that will hit the streets in a couple of years, priced - and we’re guessing here - from around $60,000.

Despite the badge and its five seats, this new I-Pace shares zip, zero, nada with Jaguar’s recently launched F-Pace SUV. The entire car has been developed from a clean sheet of paper, using some very cool battery technology and featuring dramatic, so-called “cab-forward” styling.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

RACING'S GREATEST UPSETS: 1966 TRANS-AM ENDURO!

Stephen Cox blogs about Shelby-American’s legendary Group 2 Mustang racers, 
Part 2 of 3.
The next weekend John McComb was racing again. The Trans-Am Series Six-Hour Pan-American Endurance Race was to be held at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. The sanctioning body mandated a second driver for each team due to the length of the event. McComb chose veteran Brad Brooker, a successful club racer who had logged plenty of miles in the Group 2 notchback’s nearly identical twin, the Shelby GT350.

Run entirely in a downpour late on Saturday evening, September 10, 1966, the Pan-American race would become an epic battle that still stands as the #12 Group 2 Mustang’s greatest triumph. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

HOT CARS, HOT SALES, HOT PANTS!

Jim Palam delivers some auction sizzle from Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas, 2016.
With more than $32.5-million in total sales, the Barrett-Jackson 2016 auction machine, October 13-15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, was cookin' with high-octane. If you missed the show or the extensive television coverage, here's a look at some hot picks from Car Guy Chronicle's correspondent on the Left Coast.

Originally a Shriner's Parade vehicle, this restored ‘23 Dodge Graham chemical fire truck, top, now sports a shiny fire bell and blown 426 Hemi motor. Hammer Price: $93,500. Bombshell Betty is a ‘52 Buick Super Riviera racecar that holds six World Land Speed Records. A brutish ‘50 Buick Straight-8 powers this Steampunk hottie with a rocket-induction custom intake manifold from Hart's Collision-Racing Shop. Hammer Price: $36,300.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

ST. MICHAELS CONCOURS: SHOWTIME ON CHESAPEAKE BAY!

Mike Matune brings us highlights from one of the top East Coast Concours.
As the show season winds down, we always look forward to the St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance for one last hurrah. To celebrate its tenth year on the Concours calendar, it returned to the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. This location allowed the showcasing of stunning wooden boats and outstanding automobiles, delivering pure sensory overload. Making its debut at St. Michaels was the North Collection’s ‘33 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. Under its flaming Italian Racing Red paint is body done in the style of Touring, build by Pettenella.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

SVRA HEACOCK CLASSIC: THE GOLD STANDARD!

Mike Matune goes trackside at VIR to bring us highlights of the Gold Cup historic races.
The SVRA wrapped up part of its season at the Heacock Class “Gold Cup historic races at VIRginia International Raceway. Optimum weather and VIR’s lush surroundings welcomed a bevy of seasoned racers. Spectators were treated to the sights and sounds of some great big-bore historic racecars.  Olthoff Racing (www.olthoffracing.com) of NC showed up with three Superformance GT40s, top, including those of Harry McPherson (#2) and Jeff McKee.

Curt Vogt brought his ‘70 Mustang, above. While it is a genuine Boss 302, it has no race history and is prepared to the current vintage rulebook as opposed to period standards. The engine puts out close to 600 horsepower and Vogt used every one of them as he manhandled the beast around VIR, frequently testing the limits of the track’s “friction circle”.

RACING'S GREATEST UPSETS: 1966 TRANS-AM ENDURO!

Stephen Cox blogs about Shelby American’s legendary Group 2 Mustang racers, Part 1 of 3.
On a hot summer afternoon in late August 1966, the telephone on John McComb’s desk rang. On the other end was automotive design engineer Chuck Cantwell of Carroll Shelby’s legendary racing shop, calling with the surprising news that Shelby had a Mustang Group 2 racecar for sale.

McComb was delighted since his prior inquiries at Shelby had been met only by rejection. He had raced MGB sports cars for years but his first taste of Ford V-8 power came while driving Peter Talbert’s notchback Group 2 Mustang earlier that summer in the Trans-Am event at St. Louis. McComb and Talbert were leading the race until an exhaust pipe came loose, forcing them to settle for third place. But McComb was already hooked. The car was more powerful than anything he’d ever driven. He wanted one of those Mustangs.

In the summer of 1966 McComb had called Shelby American to purchase his own Group 2 Mustang, only to be told by Cantwell that none was available. Only 16 would be built that year and all were spoken. That was  until an odd and tragic coincidence occurred. Ford race driver Ken Miles, for whom one of the coveted Group 2 Mustangs had already been reserved, was killed in a practice crash at Riverside International Raceway on August 17, 1966.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

’59 STINGRAY: TRIBUTE TO A MASTERPIECE!

It’s “the Sting of Inspiration’ blogs CarGuyChronicles’ Jim Palam, who succumbed to the magnetic appeal of the Fiberfab Centurion.
Bill Mitchell's real XP-87 Stingray, top, photographed with two other Corvette legends - SR-2 and the iconic Grand Sport coupe - by Marty Schorr at the GM Proving Ground. Jim Palam's photo of the Fiberfab Centurion, above.

In 1959 GM design chief Bill Mitchell  wasn't buying into the ban on manufacturer-sponsored racing proposed by the Automobile Manufacturers Association. He assembled a team of designers, headed up by Tony Lapine and working with Larry Shinoda, Chuck Pohlman and Gene Garfinkle, working on the XP-87 project in his secret “Hammer Room” studio. Peter Brock had worked on the XP-87 design prior to the team being assembled and he moved on to another Corvette Concept.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

RADNOR HUNT: THE BEST GETS BETTER!

For two decades, the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance has showcased 100 two and four-wheeled examples of design and engineering excellence. Our ‘dynamic duo’ Maureen and Mike Matune, bring you highlights of the 2016 event.
Twenty years ago Michael Tillson had the idea of holding a Concours on the grounds of the historic Radnor Hunt. Limited to just 100 distinctive and varied cars, the Concours would combine an idyllic setting with landmark cars and motorcycles. Today sees the event, not just surviving, but prospering thanks to the dedication of Tillson, his board, staff and innumerable volunteers who dedicate themselves each year to continuing the Concours’ legacy. Benefiting from all this is the Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern, PA, allowing them to provide horseback riding experiences to those with therapeutic needs.

Among this year’s three featured classes was the iconic Mercedes Benz 300SL. One of the numerous high-level examples was Marianne MacDunna’s 1956 Gullwing. She is the original owner of this car that was raced by Graham Hill in Nassau and Roger Penske in Vineland.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

STEALING THE 500: SHELBY'S 1968 TURBINE-POWERED INDY CAR!

Stephen Cox blogs about Carroll Shelby’s assault on Indy - Part 2 of 2.
Ken Wallis was running out of time. Both of Carroll Shelby's turbine-powered cars were now at Indianapolis but they were nowhere near race-ready condition. His drivers, McLaren and Hulme, had only a six-day window before they returned to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.

In a desperate bid to make the cars competitive, Wallis used a liberal interpretation of USAC rules to design a new annulus (the engine opening that fed air to the turbine). When measured by technical inspectors, the annulus was under the legal 16-inch limit. But at full throttle on the track, a variable valve system opened to permit greater airflow into the turbine.

At best, this was a careful translation of the rules. If they were caught there was no guarantee that USAC wouldn't immediately disqualify the Shelby/Wallis Turbines. Such a move would be an unmitigated disaster not only for the team principals, but also for Goodyear, their drivers and their sponsors.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

ROLEX REUNION: SHOWDOWN IN SALINAS!

Tireless Mike Matune wraps up his Monterey Car Week coverage with action from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Every August brings the Granddaddy of U.S. historic racing events to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, CA, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (RMMR). A celebration of the best in racing history captivates with four track days and a dazzling array of cars. The Penske/White Ferrari 512M, above, is certainly eye-catching. Finished to a very high standard, typical of Penske Racing, the car was thwarted by new racecar bugs and bad luck. Mark Donahue and David Hobbs would compete in the major endurance races of the day at LeMans, Sebring and Daytona and a third place Daytona finish was likely its high point. Owner Lawrence Stroll presented and drove the car in Group 7A. This year BMWs filled the field to help celebrate BMW’s Centennial. Among them was Fred Schulte in his 2002, right, with Daytona 24-Hour history.

Monday, September 5, 2016

‘16 VW GOLF R: SCALDING HOT HATCH!

‘This is my favorite hot hatch, coming alive when we played and feeling fun when we commuted. But it is pricey,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.

I realized that my blue 4-door Golf R is a muscle car and a family car when I parked it between a replica Cobra and a ’57 Ford Fairlane. The 292-inch, 206 horsepower Fairlane could sprint to 60 mph in 11.2 seconds. A real 427 Cobra would take 4.5 seconds to get to 60 mph. The turbocharged 292 horsepower VW could go to 60-mph in under-5 seconds.The Golf R is a modern hatchback that could do what its cruise-in mates did – haul people and haul, period!

The Volkswagen Golf R’s turbocharged, direct-injected TSI two-liter four-cylinder engine is hooked to a twin-clutch DSG automatic gearbox and 4Motion all-wheel-drive. There’s 280 pound-feet of torque available from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm. With the dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox, it’s almost a second quicker to 60-mph than a manual-equipped version, two independent gearbox units allowing for a quick gear change with no interruption in power. 

The DSG has “Normal” and “Race” driving modes, along with an “Individual” so the driver can program “Sport” or “Normal” into steering, engine, cornering lights and exhaust note individually. The transmission has its own “Sport” mode, which lets the DSG hold on to the gears for longer, as well as shifting down earlier as necessary. Or you can paddle shift, each downshift getting an engine blip.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

MONTEREY MADNESS: LAGUNA SECA PRE-REUNION!

Mike Matune presents highlights from the race before THE race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Monterey Car Week has grown exponentially and now includes over 40 individual events, but one not often mentioned is the Pre-Reunion. Held the week before the legendary Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, it may have smaller fields and fewer exhibits, but the cheaper tickets and smaller crowds make it really enjoyable for racing aficionados. Some 300 cars show up to compete in 11 groups over two days. Many of the same cars will be featured on the “Big” weekend, while some are exclusive to the Pre-Reunion.

Richard Griot’s McLaren 6A, top, sits at the “intersection” of the Can- Am and USRRC series. In 1967 Bruce McLaren used it to win the Can-Am championship and in 1968 Mark Donohue preformed the same feat in the USRRC. It is interesting to compare the lines of this early small-block racer with the later big-block M8s. As expected for the featured marque, BMWs made a great showing, including “CH” Deehan in David Hinton’s CSL Turbo, left.

Friday, September 2, 2016

STEALING THE 500: SHELBY'S 1968 TURBINE-POWERED INDY CAR!

Stephen Cox blogs about Carroll Shelby’s assault on Indy - Part 1 of 2.
He wasn't the first to try, nor was he the last. Armed with a huge budget, a massive turbine engine and two of the finest drivers on the planet, in the spring of 1968 Carroll Shelby was ready to steal the Indianapolis 500.

The plan was straightforward. Ken Wallis, a 38-year-old British aircraft engineer, had designed the famed Granatelli-Lotus Turbine with which Parnelli Jones had nearly won the race in 1967. Wallis had left Granatelli's team and was now looking for work. Shelby hired Wallis to build the team's racecars, and then hired reigning Formula 1 champion Dennis Hulme and defending Can-Am champion Bruce McLaren to drive them.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MONTEREY MADNESS: JET CENTER REVIVAL!

Mike Matune never misses a party – even when he’s covering Monterey Car Week.
Twenty-five years ago Molly & Gordon McCall invited a few like-minded friends to a gathering of car people to kick off Monterey’s Car Week. Begun as a shop party with a collection of cars, it grew from one hanger to another and then another. Along the way aircraft were incorporated along with the finest in cuisine and spirits. Today Motorworks Revival is still going strong with no signs of slowing. Far more than the original 50-100 guests enjoy a life-style event, all to benefit the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation. This Grand Touring style Studebaker Woody, right, combines the best of many generations of custom cars

This shot, top, represents two distinct periods of American ingenuity and success. The plane is a B-25 bomber which rose from America’s industrial might to help defeat the Axis in WWII. Nestled under its wing is a collection of Shelby and Ford’s finest that took on the racing world in the 1960s and emerged victorious.

Monday, August 29, 2016

MONTEREY MADNESS: SALES DOWN; EXHILARATION UP!

Here are Jim Palam’s top ten picks, just a fraction of the magnificent exotica that populated the Monterey Peninsula during Car Week.
 1953 Ferrari 250MM Vignale Spider ‘Pebble Car’ on Ocean Avenue in Carmel.

If you were among the many thousands of automobile enthusiasts zipping around the auctions, races, shows and events in the Monterey Peninsula this August, you may have been struck by this of many befuddlements: $49 hotel rooms renting for $549! Plus Lengthy hikes from your car to events and interminable waiting times for popular restaurants. Not to mention jammed freeways and city streets. And, a pop-up Car Mecca populated by wildly delighted attendees from around the globe.

Upon reflection, it seems there’s very little that can dampen spirits when Car Guys and magnificent machines are mixed together. It didn’t matter that my hotel mattress felt like a slab of granite because visions of Lolas and Bugattis, Astons and Ferraris lulled me blissfully to sleep each night! Overall sales for Monterey Car Week 2016 were down approximately 14%:
 $339.7M compared to $396M in 2015.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

’64 TEMPEST: THE GRAY GHOST RIDES AGAIN!

Car Guy Chronicles’ Mike Matune is trackside for the return of the Gray Ghost at The Monterey Pre-Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Fans at the annual Pre-Reunion, held a week prior to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, were given a real treat with the return to active competition of the Gray Ghost. In 1971 a team of moonlighting Pontiac engineers, including Herb Adams, raced Sandy Adams ‘64 Pontiac Tempest in SCCA’s Trans-Am series.

Joining the effort at the Pre-Reunion were Herb Adams, right, and original Trans-Action team member Harry Quackenboss, left. Here they study some photos With Marty Amon of Peterson Motorsports (provided by CGC’s Mike Matune) as they work to set up the car. It’s like the intervening decades never occurred!

The car had last turned a wheel in anger more than fifteen years ago. Its return to the track is a result of a herculean effort by owner/driver John Hildebrand, Randy Peterson of Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma and LJ's Speed & Machine Shop of Napa, CA.

Monday, August 8, 2016

‘16 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE SRT: HEMI HAULER!

This Jeep Grand Cherokee is the biggest beast in the SRT family, and the most luxurious and all-weather capable, blogs Dan Scanlan. 
Birthed by the Street and Racing Technology team responsible for the V-10 Dodge Viper as well as the Charger and Challenger SRT392s and Hellcats, this hunkered-down Grand Cherokee commands respect both on and off road.

“Regular” Grand Cherokees make do with a 3.6-liter V-6, a 3-liter EcoDiesel or a 5.7-liter V-8. But our 5,600-mile-old Grand Cherokee SRT has a 6.4-liter HEMI with aluminum alloy heads. It funnels its 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic hooked to a traditional shifter, as well as paddle shifter.

This Jeep has four-wheel-drive. But it’s a full-time Quadra-Trac 4x4 system with a big mechanical "wet" clutch and electronic limited slip differential in the rear that allows up to 100 percent of torque sent to one rear wheel if needed. Torque split and suspension damping is handled with a new Selec-Trac center console knob. Our 5,104-pound SUV had Auto, Sport, Tow, Track, and Snow modes, which control all-wheel drive, transmission, paddle shifters, stability control, suspension and steering.
 Auto is the default and launches quick off the line when your right foot demands, with torque split 40 percent front, 60 percent rear. Eco lets the engine shift into 4-cylinder on highway and deceleration to save gas, with second gear starts.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

TIME TO WIN: A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF A SHORT TRACK RACER!

Last season was a dream year. Seven starts produced three poles, a track record, five podiums and three wins, blogs Stephen Cox. 
This year, not so much. My car caught fire in a well-publicized road race at Circuit of the Americas, burning the team's Porsche to the ground and sending me to intensive care.

Driving for NASCAR's Rohrbaugh Racing at Midvale Speedway in June, we set a new track record and won the pole but went home a disappointing second place after a controversial finish. Rohrbaugh has the best team in the Super Cup Series. We have the best crew chief and mechanics. We have the best equipment. The time to win is now.

The series visits Virginia's Lonesome Pine Raceway on August 6th. Built in 1972, the venue is among the finest bullrings in the south. I remember working pit lane at Lonesome Pine as part of Speed Channel's announcing team for the Hooters Pro Cup Series over a decade ago. This will be my first time driving the track.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 PITTSBURGH VINTAGE GP: GO FAST; DO GOOD!

Charity-driven GP has donated in excess of $4.35 million since 1983 to support Autism and educational organizations.
This year’s Grand Marshall was Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff, racer, author and consummate car guy. Don’t let his ‘55 Thunderbird fool you, it’s a veteran of the European historic rally circuit and he raced it over the weekend.

The Royale Formula Ford Challenge marked a return of open-wheel, single-seat, purpose-built racecars to the PVGP. They did not disappoint, as Christian Morici would lead virtually from the drop of the green flag, taking the win and setting a new course record in the process.

Anticipation runs high early on Saturday morning as the Pre-War/Select MG-T Series cars take to the track for the day’s first session. These cars create a time warp back to the infancy of U.S. sports car racing. Other than MG vehicles are invited to participate in this class. Peter Patterson’s Allard J2X, below, moves through “Westinghouse Turn” with the sun still on the horizon.