My Uncle Wink had one of the original Camaros and that’s the car I learned on to drive a stick shift. Talk about spinning your tires and kicking up gravel!
But in 1970 Chevrolet launched its second generation Camaro and its looks, with those single headlights that blended into the front fenders and the split front bumper, along with its fastback styling, wowed us teens. At the same time Chevy was introducing the Vega, Camaro’s little brother, reflecting similar sporty lines.
So I’m always happy to see the 1970 pony car, as Camaro was known then, in any model or format. Thanks to Auto World, the Z28 version in its Galaxy Gray (dark metallic silver) paint scheme with black racing stripes slashing across the hood and trunk is ready to kick your die-cast collection up a few notches. Best yet, Auto World’s 1:18 American Muscle series delivers at a reasonable price, just $84.99 in this case. Heck, a lot of 1:43 models cost that now. Read more
Chevrolet is patting itself on the back and most of the automotive media are ladling on the praise for Chevy’s new “mid-size” pickup, the Colorado.
The later probably has more to do with ad dollars being spent in the national publications, but there’s some justification. Yet let’s not go too full-bore crazy here, this is simply a slightly smaller pickup.
First, the idea of a mid-size truck has been out there a while, witness the Dodge Dakota. Years ago, Ford and Chevy both made compact pickups too, the S-10 in Chevy’s case. DO NOT confuse the Colorado with the S-10.
As trucks have gained popularity, they, like cars, have grown in size and stature. So this second generation Colorado is still big, just not as big as a full-size Silverado.
Let’s take some stock of the differences. But first note that the Colorado comes in two styles, Extended Cab and Crew Cab. Gone is a Standard cab without extra cargo room behind the front seat. Extended cabs now are the norm. The bright red test truck was the crew cab, which gives you full-size rear doors and a second row bench seat. This allows five people to ride in the Colorado comfortably, with rear seat room being particularly generous.
But here are the numbers you need to consider. The Colorado rides on a 140.5-inch wheelbase, just three inches shorter than a full-size Silverado. A Colorado is 224.9 inches long, just 5.1 inches shorter in length than a Silverado. The width is where you’ll notice the most difference when riding in a Colorado, as it is just 74.3 inches wide, about 5.7 inches narrower than Silverado. You’ll notice that in a lack of elbow room. More on that in a minute. Read more
Rare counts for a lot in the real, that is 1:1, vintage car world, and it’s making its mark in the diecast car market too.
CMC, the premier high-end diecast car model maker has made a habit of creating beautiful 1:18 models of rare race cars and elegant 1930s automotive style icons. The cost is up there, but so is the detail. You almost expect these models to start and drive off your desk or display shelf.
So it’s not surprising that CMC has chosen the rare 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato as its latest artistic endeavor, and in sumptuous Aston Martin racing green. For the record, the rare Zagato, which is the lightened version meant for racing, consists of 1,825 parts of which 1,394 are metal.
Only 19 Aston Zagato models were made over a 2 ½-year period from late 1960 into 1963. All were custom-made and designed by Gianni Zagato and featuring soft curves, which became popular in the 1960s on high-end cars like Astons, Jaguars and Ferraris.
At the time, Aston was trying to beat Ferrari’s 250 GT in sports car and endurance racing, so it made sense to go with a lightweight body made of thin aluminum plates and featuring minimal amenities in an effort to cut weight and increase performance. Riding on a short, 93-inch, wheelbase and weighing just 2,701 lbs., the DB4 was just 168 inches long. That’s about the same length as today’s Nissan Z350, but the Nissan is roughly 400 lbs. heavier. Read more
Kia becomes more competitive in the minivan market with its new Sedona, a roomier van with more power.
Pricing and extras, for that price, have been a hallmark of Kia products for several years once the South Korean automaker got serious about the U.S. market. Sedona is all that.
First, it’ll carry up to 8 passengers, with a second row bench, and its interior is many times quieter than the previous model as sound deadening technology has been used to the max. So it feels high-quality and looks sharp too with a less angled nose that Kia says helps it appear more like an SUV. But to be truthful it still looks like the minivan it is, just a tad different up front than other minivans.
A new 3.3-liter V6 engine with continuously variable valve timing and direct injection gives it 32 more horses than the previous 3.5-liter model. Still, in a van weighing 4,656 lbs. the van can feel heavy and a bit slow even when you give the accelerator a serious push. Most minivans feel this way though, so no surprise.
Interior room is generous and a rider feels comfortable, not cramped. The tested dark metallic brown van was the SL Limited model, the top of the line. It featured captain’s chairs in the second row and a third row folds down into the floor in back. These middle row seats also recline and feature foot rests too. Kia calls them Slide-N-Stow seats, which are standard even on the base L model that begins at $26,795 (including delivery). They flip forward and stow up against the front seat backs if you need more cargo room. Read more
Replicarz delivers 3 vintage Indy 500 winners in 1:43 scale
Before there were A.J. Watson or Frank Kurtis roadsters to dominate the Indianapolis 500 there were Lou Moore’s Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials.
These were blue (naturally) cigar-shaped front-wheel-drive, front-engine racers that, like Team Penske or Team Ganassi’s sleek cars today, were perfectly prepared and driven by some of the best hot shoes of the day. The result: three straight Indy 500 wins from 1947-‘49.
The beneficiaries of these superb race cars were Mauri Rose and Bill Holland, top-flight drivers of the day.
Now we’re the beneficiaries of Replicarz’s efforts to bring accurate replicas of these historic racers to Indy fans in 1:43 scale, a bit more affordable and shelf-friendly than the 1:18 scale models that Replicarz has built its reputation on for detailed home-grown diecast and resin models. These new models list at $89.95 each.
After WWII there were a lot of old recycled race cars from pre-war that made the Indy 500 starting field for several years as racers retooled. It was only natural as the war had stopped racing in its tracks from 1942 until resuming in 1946. Read more
The reveals continue in Detroit
I really love the big auto shows like the NAIAS going on in Detroit. The manufacturers pull out all the stops with new concepts. Some make it into production and some don’t. I hope this Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck hits the streets soon.
The auto show season is up and running
It began today when the North American International Auto Show opened in Detroit. Lots of reveals including and all-new Ford GT supercar which will be racing at Le Mans next year and a brand new Shelby GT350R. The “R” for racing. Bet both of these would be a hoot to drive.
Most of us will never drive a Mercedes-Benz M Class, and that’s probably just as well because we’d all just be spoiled.
There’s not much to put a person off, unless it’s the price. But even there you have some choices to make that might allow a few more of us to afford one.
I drove a “steel gray” ML400 4Matic, the bi-turbo V6-powered unit that is one step away from the ultimate luxury mid-size sport-utility truck from Mercedes. It listed at $62,900, but ladled on 16 options that pushed it to $79,310.
Don’t let that price scare you off completely though. While this had all-wheel-drive and that powerful 329-horse V6, a lesser buyer could sneak into an ML350 with just rear-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V6 that cranks 302 horsepower along with a torque rating of 273. The ML350 starts at $49,225, including delivery.
For those who prefer the slightly better mileage a diesel offers, Mercedes even has a BlueTEC model with 2.1-liter 4-cylinder diesel for $50,725. It delivers 200 horses, but a whopping 369 lb.-ft. of torque.
All this is to say that luxury has its price, but you do have copious options from power down to goodies to coddle you and your favorite passengers. Read more
Mark and I get to drive some really cool cars but never the STP Lotus Type 56. An AutoWeek reporter did. Boy there’s not much we wouldn’t do to get a ride in that bad boy. I loved the STP turbines and Andy Granatelli. I am also a big fan of Parnelli Jones who came just a couple of laps shy of winning the 1967 Indy 500 had it not been for a $6 part. This really freaked out the Indy establishment that an engine with no pistons could win their race and slapped on some intake restrictions so it couldn’t do it again. That didn’t bother Granatelli who called on Colin Chapman to build the Type 56 Lotus, the car you see here. Unlike the ’67 turbine where the turbine sat next to Jones, the design had the turbine located behind the driver instead of next to him making the Lotus go faster.
You could drive it but….
You’d have to come up with at least a half a million bucks because that’s the neighborhood the gavel will drop at the Barrett-Jackson Auction January 17th in Scottsdale, AZ. Even if Mark and I both sold our homes and everything else we would still be short of the winning bid. Plus, if we did win it, we’d pretty much be sleeping by it in some storage shed. Bummer.
I saved up for that______ (name of car goes here) for a long time
A friend of mine forwarded me this Corvette spot. One of the best I have seen in a long time. Look in the mirror because I bet a lot of you can relate to it if you ever saved up for that special car.
Get Smart, you’ll like this Sunbeam Tiger in any color
Baby Boomers who still can’t get the “Get Smart” theme song out of their heads will recall Maxwell Smart racing to a stop in a red Sunbeam Tiger at the start of every show. The song ran on while Max walked down stairs and a long hall of opening and closing sliding doors.
That TV gig was the Tiger’s celebrity hook in 1965, but at its heart, what made this remake of Sunbeam’s Alpine roadster special, was a Ford V8 under its hood. But Tiger’s celebrity, its life, was short. The powerful sports car was made from 1964 to mid-1967 in West Bromwich, England.
When is a car not a car, or an SUV an SUV?
When it is an X4, BMW’s new blended vehicle. From the front it looks like a BMW sedan, it even has four doors, but a decidedly taller profile that unfortunately looks bloated and bulbous, especially from the rear. Think Honda Crosstour, but with a better nose.
Plainly this is a vehicle meant to appeal across several market segments and it succeeds in several ways, but mainly as a car.
WRX is Subaru’s abbreviation for wicked fast!
Has been for 23 years too, and yet, this flipped-out head case of a car is still a rush, a thrill, a beast. But it’s way more affordable than most speed-oriented machines, and as practical in most ways as any sedan, plus not all that tough on gas, considering.
Let’s start with a few numbers. The WRX, which is a Subaru Impreza on steroids, starts at $27,090 (including delivery), comes standard with all-wheel-drive to make it stick to the street, boasts 268 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque and is rated 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in its 6-speed manual configuration. Weight is just 3,267 lbs.
I grew up when MTV had just started out
Of course being a car guy, I’d always look for one in a video. Right off-hand the one stands out is in Billy Joel’s 1983 video Keeping the Faith in which his then wife Kristie Brinkley rolls into the courtroom in a ’56 Chevy convertible. Click on the image on the left to view the video. The scene I’m talking about is around 4 minutes in. How many do you remember? This compilation that Hagerty created might help.