C300 helps Mercedes moves back toward top
Nearly two years ago I praised the GLK350, a small luxury ute that hit on all cylinders for luxury, equipment and performance. Now Mercedes goes deep again with its C300 sedan, one of its bread and butter offerings, a compact to mid-size sedan along the dimensions of a Lexus IS or, for us less monied folks, a Mazda6.
The C Class rides on a smoothing 111.8-inch wheelbase and weighs a middling 3,583 lbs. The car feels delicious.
How so? It’s a scrumptious blend of sporty power, an eager 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with 241 horses, and comfort. All that starts with a silky 7-speed automatic transmission that easily harnesses the turbo’s 273 ft-lbs. of torque, and cushions the ride with independent suspension at all four corners.
Ride is absolutely stellar, controlled and easy on the occupants, but still responsive enough to lend the car a sporty edge. Cornering is smooth with minimal body lean and as precise as you want it to be.
That’s courtesy of the test car’s Agility Select system that allows the driver to toggle through four settings, from Eco, to Comfort to Sport to Sport+. Moving up from Eco, each setting adds a few hundred engine revs and slightly firms the steering and ride. Eco naturally provides lackadaisical acceleration and a soft steering effort, but Comfort is close to right on for city driving. The C300 still has good power and handling is forgiving. Read more
TSM nails Chevrolet Impala with crisply executed body
We had a green 1955 Chevy 210, a plain Jane Chevy. The neighbors always had Impalas, including a white 1967 with its sloping rear window that blended beautifully into the long trunk, sort of a fastback look. The car had excellent lines, especially for a big car, but in subsequent years Chevy ruined its looks.
A lot of other folks liked the Impala Coupe’s looks at the time, and now TSM mines that market with its crisply executed Impala Coupe, this one in “Marina Blue,” a medium metallic blue, and 1:43 scale, so a perfect fit for your display shelf.
Chevy redesigned its long lean Impala for 1967 to enhance what was then called Coke-bottle styling. I never saw it that way, but there was a certain streamlining to the sport coupe’s profile, something that made it more than just another big car, and not as boxy as the Fords of the era. Read more
Unless of course you live in Dubai
Think of the last time you heard sirens and pulled over (You did pull over?) for an ambulance to pass you. Looked like any other ambulance, right? Truck based, big and boxy. But if you traveled to Dubai, you would see this Lotus Evora with lights and sirens on. Heck, I’d try to follow it but would need a really fast car.
It’s official my and Mark’s slot car tracks are crap
When I worked with Mark at Kalmbach Publishing he and a couple of other guys there got me into slot car racing. They gave me one crappy car and I was hooked. What car guy wouldn’t be? I was sucked in and started buying more cars off eBay. Most of the other guys I raced with had tracks and of course I had to build one. Mine is a much smaller replica of Road America, a track Mark and I both love and have driven on multiple times. I was happy with it until I saw this track pictured on the left. Read more
Dodge’s new Hellcat is one hell of a car! With a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque and will hit 60 in around 3.6 seconds. Wow that’s fast! Think how fast you could get to your bank to take a loan out to buy it. How much will you need? The most-powerful production sedan ever starts at $63,995. Car guys are all over this car. Vin #0001 Stryker Red 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat recently went for $825,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Vegas. After matching contributions from a local foundation, a total of $1.65M, more than any other charity vehicle in Barrett Jackson history, was raised. Pretty scary, right?
Be the first on your block to have one
Wellllllllll, not exactly. But you could be the first one to have a Hellcat image carved on your Halloween pumpkin. For real. The guys at WeRMopar.com did all the R and D so all you have to do is the carving. I’m all over this! Maybe I’ll add the sweet sounds of the real deal revving up its engine or maybe doing a burnout. Dodge has already created a ringtone. You in? Make sure you share your pumpkin on our Facebook page.
1970-71 Al Unser cars coming soon, plus Blue Crown Specials
I recently got a chance to see some pre-production photos of Replicarz’s latest Indy 500 die-cast models, these in 1:43 scale. So thought I’d share them with my die-hard die-cast fans.
Replicarz, the Vermont-based die-cast model distributor has been cranking out beautiful 1:18 scale IndyCar models for several years now and more are on the way. But next out, by late fall to early winter, are the firm’s first 1:43 Indy racers.
Brian Fothergill of Replicarz says the company will offer the 1970 and 1971 Indianapolis 500 winners, both driven by Al Unser, available in 1:43 scale at $89.99. The cars are both PJ Colt designs, the PJ in this case standing for Parnelli Jones, one of the team owners for Unser’s first two Indy wins. Read more
It’s no surprise really, BMW’s 3 Series rear-drive sport sedan has for decades been the holy of holies for auto enthusiasts and many magazines that cater to their Bimmer fetish. Lexus got the idea to fight the 3 Series about 10 years back, launching the IS series in 2005 as it looked to induct younger buyers into the Lexus family.
Slot.it creates a fast, good-looking Can-Am McLaren
I Always have loved Can-Am cars, their shape, their power and the fact that many of the best drivers from the late 1960s and early ‘70s ran them.
So for slot car racers it’s happy news that Slot.it is extending its stable of Can-Am (Canadian-American Challenge Cup) cars with a new McLaren M8D from 1971. Slot.it has been producing highly competitive slot racers for 10+ years and this McLaren is as fast as its past models.
Slot.it cars have lightweight chassis with strong magnets and are well balanced to begin with. Add in a 21,500-rpm sidewinder motor and they are fast and easy to drive right out of the box. The real racer’s engine cranked 680 horses, so it’s appropriate that Slot.it gives the model a high-revving motor.
There aren’t a ton of Can-Am cars available, but this is a nice addition with its crisp paint and tampo printing job to create a stunning glossy black racer with yellow rear wing.
With the addition of just one larger magnet atop the standard bar magnet, the well detailed test car was turning laps within 0.1 seconds of my best current Can-Am racer made by Revell Monogram. With the proper silicone tires, this will easily be among your quickest, best-handling cars, and with little prep time. Read more
Oh, I had one of those…….
Bet I could count on one hand the amount of guys who never played with model cars growing up. We had them because there was a connection. Our parents, relative, or the guy down the street had one. Yup, he was the cool guy. We smashed them, burned them, and blew them up. Boy did I get busted for that one. Of course we did have special ones that never went out of our bed rooms like your first one. Remember it? I remember mine and it wasn’t a Rambler. I was probably about five or six. Dad and I had an HO train layout so we made several trips to the local hobby shop growing up in Madison, WI. to get more stuff. There it was, the shiny bright object before I even knew about shiny bright objects! It was a promo model car and dad knew I wanted it but I would have to do one thing first. OK, I’m giving a deep dark secret here. Like Linus, from Peanuts, I had this blanket that, well I sucked on. Hey I was a kid. So I gave it up. Yup, I wanted it that bad. Now you’re wondering what was the car? You would never guess in a million years! Wait for it…..an early 60’s Volkswagen Beetle, and it was pink. An early view of my softer side:) As I picked up on how this whole deal worked, I was giving up all kinds of promo models for doing stuff my parents wanted me to do and I made them think it was their idea.
Look ma, no hands!
Just the other day I was “just looking” on eBay and came across another early car I had that let me run it around with a remote control. This 1958 Ford Hardtop made by AMT was exactly like it. Took two D batteries and you could run it forward and backwards and turn it left and right. Hey this was the technology of the day. One of my relatives must have given it to me as a gift at one time, this one went for 140 bucks recently on eBay while this red 57′ sold for 99 bucks. But I also had one even cooler than that, a 1958 Skyliner that retracted the top just like the real one back into the decklid. Couldn’t find one but it was exactly the color of the real deal here only nowhere near as complicated.
The Skyliner was the only true hardtop convertible in the world when it was introduced in 1957. The top came down with a touch of a button but that was the simple part. To get the top into the deckle took three roof drive motors driving four lift jacks, four door-lock motors, ten solenoids, and four locking mechanisms for the roof. 610 feet of wiring made sure all that stuff was talking to each other. A good example is hard to find and when one is it will take about $75,000 to take it home. Too rich for me. I’m going to keep looking for the model I once had. Give me a shout if you find one.
Norev creates colorful 1:18 Porsche 917K racer
Racing fans, especially those dialed into the LeMans scene of the 1970s know Porsche 917s were king of the hill, or racetrack, as the case may be.
These Germanic wonders created massive horsepower and their sleek lines and body work created massive downforce. They were the unchallenged endurance racers of the time.
Norev, a French die-cast model maker, introduces a new 1:18-scale collection of 917s that raced at LeMans in France, along with other noted circuits worldwide. The review car was the blue and green Martini & Rossi Racing Team’s No. 35, driven by Gerard Larrousse and Gijs Van Lennep in the 6-hour endurance race at the famous Watkins Glen circuit in 1970.
The 917K was the highly successful short-tail version of the 917, winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in both 1970 and 1971. The long-tail models originally introduced by Porsche in 1969 were highly unstable. The short tail Kurzheck version, which is where the K comes from, ran away with the sports car championships for both years.
In 1971 a 917K was clocked at a top speed of 243 mph at LeMans and was the presumed victor, even before the race was run. The Martini team was a popular and successful entrant for years and this model is of Martini’s “psychedelic” livery that featured a wild blue and bright green paint scheme that excited fans and journalists, even though it was not, ultimately, a winner. Read more
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy reunite for VW TV spot
Did I ever tell you that I’m a huge Star Trek fan? Yuppers since the original series was on in the 60’s all the way to the end with the last of the franchise TV show, Enterprise. I have built most of the Enterprises along with some other star ships. In fact, what caught my eye about this spot is the screen grab on the left from the kid’s bedroom. Pretty close to what I had.
Me and William Shatner are tight. A couple of years ago a flying buddy of mine made a flying replica of the Enterprise A and I made a video, uploaded it to my YouTube site and that’s when the fun began. Views started climbing faster and faster. I started digging down into the comments and it turns out “The Shat”, Bill wants all his close friends to call him that, tweeted about the video and I tweeted back. Yup, we’re tight:) Go check it out but hurry right back.
Ok, back on topic here. VW is using the duo to introduce its e-Golf electric vehicle and its XL1, the mini-spaceship coupe that’s only sold in Europe due to its $140,000 price tag. Ouch! You know how I feel about electrics. Fun spots though. Read more about them and less about me here.
Established luxury makes may want to check that rearview mirror as Kia and its cousin Hyundai are gaining on them, rapidly.
Case in point, the new Kia K900, the separated-at-birth twin to Hyundai’s luxurious Equus. Both the K900 and Equus are ladled with luxury features, look as luxurious as any full-size luxury sedans on the road, and are as quiet as Miller Park in October – quieter!
Sound deadening and a smooth-running 5.0-liter V8 create an interior that could pass for a sensory deprivation tank, if you close your eyes. You won’t want too though because the interior looks great too and cradles you in its soft leather trimmings.
Did I mention that you’ll pay on the order of $10 grand less than a “traditional” luxury make?
Consider the K900 starts at $59,500 and even at that price you get much of the luxury trimmings that came on the metallic gray test car, which added a $6,000 VIP package to push this to $66,400, including a $900 delivery fee. A Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-Benz or other full-size European luxury sedan will run you considerably more. But then their logos have been around longer.
Certainly value is a big part of the Kia’s story, but while value talks, performance walks. That is, it puts you in the hunt for luxury sedan buyers’ stock option checks. Read more
Autoart’s Pagani Huayra is a super supercar, but pricey like the real deal
Italy is the home of supercars, but I remember when Ferrari was pretty much the only super car that folks recognized by name. In fact, there weren’t all that many super cars out there.
Then came Lamborghini (also from Italy), then McLaren (from England) and now Pagani, another Italian firm. These boutique supercar builders create small batches of $1+ million road warriors that could be raced, but that mostly sit around in rare car collections and occasionally show up at high-profile car shows, now known as concours.
One such beautiful beast is Pagani’s Huayra, which Autoart now creates in 1:18 scale. The Huayra is named after Wayra Tata, which I’m told means “God of the Winds.” That is in Quechau, the official language of the Inca empire. I’ll have to brush up on my Quechau to confirm that.
In any case, Pagani started making supercars in 1999, first launching the Zonda. The Huayra, only the second Pagani model, debuted in 2011 and went into production in 2012 under the watchful eye of designer Horacio Pagani. Read more