Skip to content

Die-cast: Auto World 1970 Chevy Camaro Z28

Auto World creates flashy second-gen Camaro Z28AMM1044_1970Camaro_1stPrepro-1

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

2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 Crew Long Box

Chevy’s new ‘mid-size’ Colorado only slightly smaller than Silveradocolo1

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.

No denying the Colorado Crew Cab is a smart looking truck.

No denying the Colorado Crew Cab is a smart looking truck.

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

Die-cast: CMC Aston Martin DB4

CMC creates rare, beautiful Aston Martin DB4aston2

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.

The Historyaston

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

2015 Kia Sedona SX Limited

Sedona roomier, more powerful, will carry 8Kia Sedona

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

Braking News: Finally we see the Acura NSX

Another cool car revealed at the North American International Auto Show

Photo: Acura

Photo: Acura

Besides showing off their NSX at the Detroit Auto Show, which is beyond cool, they are talking about a hopped up version. That sounds fun. Read more from AutoBlog.

Die-cast: Replicarz Blue Crown Special Indy 500 winners

Replicarz delivers 3 vintage Indy 500 winners in 1:43 scale

Bill Holland's 1949 Indy 500 winner, the same basic car, but in a brighter blue.

Bill Holland’s 1949 Indy 500 winner, the same basic car as Rose drove the two previous years, but in a brighter blue.

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.

Mauri Rose's 1948 Indy 500-winning Blue Crown Spark Plug Special.

Mauri Rose’s 1948 Indy 500-winning Blue Crown Spark Plug Special, No. 3.

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.

The History

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

Braking News: A really cool truck

The reveals continue in Detroit

Photo by Hyundai

Photo by Hyundai

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.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic

Luxury laden Mercedes ML400 will spoil youIMG_0006

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

Die-cast: Automodello 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I

tiger

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.

Read more

2015 BMW X4 xDrive 35i

BMW X4 blends car, SUV and gets it about half right X4-3

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.

Read more

2015 Subaru WRX Limited

Subaru’s WRX still wicked fast, and somewhat practicalIMG_0004

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.

Read more

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe RWD Premium

Sporty, stylish ATS Coupe takes aim at younger monied buyersats1

Cadillac has a hit on its hands with the compact luxury ATS sedan, and now there’s a sporty coupe for you to tuck in your garage next to the 4-door.

That’s certainly Cadillac’s hope. Its marketers are looking for a lot of well-off younger buyers opting for one of each, as both are fun and modestly priced in the entry-level compact luxury sport market. My previous ATS sedan test was mostly favorable, so I wasn’t surprised at how much I enjoyed the “majestic plum metallic” (metallic grayish purple) test coupe. This was the 2.0T RWD Premium model, so closer to top-end than bottom.

Read more

2015 Acura TLX 3.5L SH-AWD Tech

New TLX a blend of two Acura winnersTLX

Acura basically blends two of its fine sedans, the TL and TSX into one, now the mid-size TLX.

Beyond the alphabet scrambling, the tested dark blue TLX 3.5L SH-AWD Tech is a solid luxury sedan that will seat four in comfort, five if needed. This version comes too with all-wheel drive, a strong quiet V6 and all the tech features most folks expect at $40 grand and change.

Read more

2015 Dodge Challenger SXT

Chubby Challenger falls short in muscle car warschal1

Funny, muscle cars came and went in the 1960s and early 1970s as gas prices soared and insurance prices became an issue for many buyers. Yet muscle cars made a strong comeback in the last decade, despite high gas prices and a shift toward “green” eco-friendly vehicles.

So here we are with a refreshed Dodge Challenger for 2015. Its nose and tail have been tweaked and its interior remade to try and work some Mopar magic on this market segment. Hopes are that THIS Challenger will steal sales away from the ever-popular Ford Mustang, itself remade for 2015, and Chevrolet’s Camaro.

Fat chance!

Read more

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

Sonata loses styling pizazz as it attempts to blend into mid-size marketsonata

Looks aren’t everything and price isn’t either, but on both, the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata falls short of its predecessor.

The previous Sonata, the South Korean car maker’s mid-size sedan, featured chiseled good looks with a side accent line that gave it a fresh, energetic look that borrowed more than a bit from several recent Mercedes-Benz models. But as with all mainstream car firms, once they experience a little success, they blah-down the styling to make their cars look more generic. So it is with Sonata. While pleasant looking, it reminds of a Ford Fusion from the rear and nearly every other mid-size sedan in profile.

Too bad, looks HAD been Sonata’s secret weapon until now.

Its price also has been a major selling point, as have the prices of most Hyundai and Kia models. While the tested Sport 2.0T with 245-horse turbocharged I4, is reasonably priced, starting at $28,575. It’s loaded with a monster $4,950 “Ultimate” package that pushed the Venetian Red (metallic red) test car to $34,460, including its $810 delivery fee. By way of reference, last week’s similarly equipped Subaru Legacy with a boxer 6-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, was about a grand less.

For the record, a base Sonata SE with a 2.4-liter I4 that creates 185 horses starts at $21,960. As with most mid-level sedans today, there’s also a hybrid starting at $26,810 and a Limited 2.0T, much as this was equipped, starting at $34,335. So you could get into a Sonata at a lower cost than the test car. A 1.6-liter I4 turbo model is coming soon too, as an Eco model.

Read more

2015 Subaru Legacy 3.6R Limited

Subaru upgrades Legacy to take on Camry, Accord, Fusion legacy

Subaru strengthens its position in the mid-size market with an even more appealing Legacy sedan, but it retains a major advantage, all-wheel drive.

While past Legacy models (see the reveal at the Chicago Auto Show) may have felt a little bargain basement in their interiors, the new Legacy eradicates any hint of that and takes full dead-on aim at the segment leaders, Toyota’s Camry, Honda’s Accord and Ford’s Fusion.

What Legacy lacks in styling it makes up in quality feel, good interior design and performance. My Venetian Red Pearl (metallic red) test car was the top-end 3.6R Limited. Outside of an option or two, Legacy doesn’t get any better than this.

First, that number means it comes with Subaru’s strong 3.6-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine that generates 256 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque. The boxer, which is a flat engine that can be placed lower in the chassis for better balance, delivers heady power for getting on the freeway. Not sure about a boxer? Well, Porsche engines are of similar design!

Now linked with Subaru’s excellent Lineartronic (Subaru’s name) CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), the power is delivered smoothly, but with good low-end torque to get this luxurious sedan moving from a standing stop. Many CVTs lack low-end oomph, but that’s not a problem with Subaru’s LCVT.

Read more

2015 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 4-Door

New VW Golf looks old, feels newgolf2

There’s a saying about everything old being new again, and the reworked 2015 Volkswagen Golf is a sterling example.

The Golf and Rabbit hatchbacks have been sold by VW since 1974, this latest iteration being the seventh generation. Toyota’s Corolla is one of the few competitors to be around longer, it launching in 1966.

Still, the essence, the useful four-door hatchback that’s fun to drive remains the same for Golf. And while its lines have been tweaked a bit and the car stretched by 2.1 inches, you’ll have no trouble picking out of a crowd. Golf looks like a Golf, for better or worse.

That’s a matter of taste, but from a performance standpoint, the Golf is easily one of the more fun compacts on the road. Handling and ride are as good as, or better, than most of its competitors, and it has a lot of worthy competitors, such as the Mazda3, which also is a delight.

Golf is just flat out fun to drive. Its steering is light and easy, helped by the car’s modest 2,963 lbs., about 79 lbs. lighter than the previous Golf. The car also is responsive so you can toss this hatch into a corner at speed and feel good about it.

There is precious little body roll and Golf’s front-drive layout helps it track well through a corner, while the electrically assisted steering is speed variable, so firms as you hit the highway. Naturally we’re not racing these, but you feel sporty in the Golf and more importantly on Wisconsin’s deteriorating roads, the car handles and rides well over bumps. This is what surprised me most.

Read more

2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

C300 helps Mercedes moves back toward top

            Mercedes-Benz has rejoined the top-tier of luxury automakers after a decade, or more, of struggling with design and execution while other luxo-makes were raising the bar.MB2

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.

MB5That’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

2015 GMC Yukon 4WD SLT

GMC Yukon continues to go BIG!

            If you’re the type of driver that feels bigger is better you’d better hustle off to a GMC dealer and declare your love for the 2015 GMC Yukon.yukon1

This is a heavyweight that’ll pull at least 8,200 lbs., has room for 6 or 7 adults, rides high and commands the road like little else, except its bigger brother, the Yukon XL. Note that Chevrolet has its own versions of both, with Chevy’s Tahoe being a twin to Yukon, while the Suburban is comparable to the Yukon XL.

            Let’s be perfectly clear, you don’t need a Yukon, unless you tow a big boat, large trailer or happen to have a big-boned large family. But you may want one if even a bit of the aforementioned is true and you intend to tow something heavy.

Start with its dimensions. The tested Yukon rides on a 116-inch wheelbase and is 203.9 inches long. The XL expands the wheelbase to 130 inches and grows 21 inches in length. That’s a lot more cargo room. The XL also is the one you want if you need to carry 9 adults. There’s more legroom in the third row seats.

But legroom and headroom are decent in the second and third rows even in the Yukon. The downside with Yukon is that there’s precious little cargo room behind row three. In fact, grocery bags are about it, unless you strap some cargo to the roof.

Read more

2014 Range Rover Supercharged (LWB)

LR1Big Rover a tough powerful beast, and pricey too

Land Rover has pounded out rough-terrain handling trucks for years. Think of safaris and you think of Land Rovers, usually with a tire mounted on the hood and a rhino charging after it.

Today’s Land Rovers and Range Rovers are just as capable in the bush, but civilized enough to lug the queen around her estate, if need be. The tested Aintree (a town in England) Green Range Rover Supercharged LWB (long-wheelbase) is exceedingly long on the luxury, while still designed to dominate any terrain you throw at it, mud, slush, rocks and streams.

You might be surprised to find out that the tested Rover’s starting price is $105,300, plus an $895 delivery fee, which compared to the base price seems a bargain. Amazingly at six digits the Rover did not come with any running boards or power step-up and nary a third-row seat. Yet there were options that pushed this luxury land yacht to $122,900.

What’s an option once you hit $106 grand or so? Many apparently.

The lovely test ute added a vision assist pack that included a surround-view camera that allows you to view the truck’s perimeter. Cool! It also included automatic high-beam headlights and adaptive Xenon lights, plus a blind spot monitor with a closing vehicle sensing & reverse traffic detection system. That alerts you if you’re about to ram a stopped or suddenly slowed vehicle and also see out the back. Many luxury cars and trucks now have similar systems. The package also featured configurable mood lighting (Shagadelic baby!) and a leather steering wheel (again, something most $30 grand vehicles have, or offer). Price tag? A modest $1,760.

But there was so much more.

Read more

Die-cast: CMC 1938 Bugatti 57SC Corsica

 

CMC’s Bugatti Corsica a work of artbug1

Bugatti has always been a brand for the upper echelon buyers, folks who want the best, the most beautiful and who value quality and uniqueness as much as performance.

No wonder that CMC has chosen a 1938 Bugatti as its latest 1:18-scale work of art.

In 1938 Bugatti created one of its most rare cars, the Bugatti 57 SC Corsica Roadster. The 57 SC chassis and engine was all Bugatti, but its flowing body was a combined effort designed by Jean Bugatti along with Eric Giles. Giles was designing the car for his brother, British Col. G.M. Giles, later chairman of the Bugatti Owners Club. This was back in the day when the wealthy could basically design their own coachwork to be installed exclusively on a manufacturer’s chassis.

cmc-ProduktfotoCoachbuilder Corsica, of North London, constructed the car’s sensuous body with its large sweeping pontoon fenders and long lean arrow-like hood. Alligator, then a popular luxury hide, was used for the interior.
Now owned by Californian John Mozart, the car won Best of Show at the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours. There’s no denying this is a beautiful car, well restored.

Read more

Recent Articles

27
Jan

Die-cast: Auto World 1970 Chevy Camaro Z28

Auto World creates flashy second-gen Camaro Z28AMM1044_1970Camaro_1stPrepro-1

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

24
Jan

2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 Crew Long Box

Chevy’s new ‘mid-size’ Colorado only slightly smaller than Silveradocolo1

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.

No denying the Colorado Crew Cab is a smart looking truck.

No denying the Colorado Crew Cab is a smart looking truck.

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

19
Jan

Die-cast: CMC Aston Martin DB4

CMC creates rare, beautiful Aston Martin DB4aston2

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.

The Historyaston

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

18
Jan

2015 Kia Sedona SX Limited

Sedona roomier, more powerful, will carry 8Kia Sedona

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

16
Jan

Braking News: Finally we see the Acura NSX

Another cool car revealed at the North American International Auto Show

Photo: Acura

Photo: Acura

Besides showing off their NSX at the Detroit Auto Show, which is beyond cool, they are talking about a hopped up version. That sounds fun. Read more from AutoBlog.

15
Jan

Die-cast: Replicarz Blue Crown Special Indy 500 winners

Replicarz delivers 3 vintage Indy 500 winners in 1:43 scale

Bill Holland's 1949 Indy 500 winner, the same basic car, but in a brighter blue.

Bill Holland’s 1949 Indy 500 winner, the same basic car as Rose drove the two previous years, but in a brighter blue.

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.

Mauri Rose's 1948 Indy 500-winning Blue Crown Spark Plug Special.

Mauri Rose’s 1948 Indy 500-winning Blue Crown Spark Plug Special, No. 3.

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.

The History

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

13
Jan

Braking News: A really cool truck

The reveals continue in Detroit

Photo by Hyundai

Photo by Hyundai

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.

12
Jan

Braking News: Ford reveals two vehicles in Detroit

The auto show season is up and running

Photo: AutoWeek

Photo: AutoWeek

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.

12
Jan

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic

Luxury laden Mercedes ML400 will spoil youIMG_0006

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

9
Jan

Chasing Classic Cars: The STP Turbine

stp-turbineI am totally jealous!!!!!!!!

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.

9
Jan

Cool Vids: A commercial we all can relate to.

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.

 

 

 

 

6
Jan

Die-cast: Automodello 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I

tiger

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.

Read more

3
Jan

2015 BMW X4 xDrive 35i

BMW X4 blends car, SUV and gets it about half right X4-3

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.

Read more

27
Dec

2015 Subaru WRX Limited

Subaru’s WRX still wicked fast, and somewhat practicalIMG_0004

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.

Read more

26
Dec

Chasing Classic Cars: The ones that helped make music

I grew up when MTV had just started out

MTV, music video cars

YouTube

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: