Family, Faith, and Speed.......
My wife works for a major healthcare provider. She's the brains of the operation since she has a Masters in Nursing. Our daughter takes after one of her grandmothers with her passion for music. Really great kid! Even loves aviation, one of my passions, and is looking at a possible career in it.
I'm heavily involved in a variety of volunteer rolls at the Catholic Church we attend. I love speed!!! I'm a pilot, car guy, and ride a Suzuki Hayabusa. 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, 0-100 in 5 although I'll have to take Suzuki's word on that. I love going for rides with friends and enjoy the twisties where my bike really shines. I've been in the cockpits of a DC-8, DC-9, 767, 747, MD-80, and Embraer 190. I spend a week each year volunteering at the EAA flyin in Oshkosh. Love the Thunderbirds (autographed one of my F-16's) and the Blue Angels. Love the roar as they make passes.
After the game this year between the Chiefs and Buccaneers, (go Chiefs) there will be an MVP named. Please not Tom Brady. In the past that player would have been awarded a new car or truck. But not this year since Hyundai has started sponsoring the game, they haven’t given one out. The last winner was Brady in 2015 giving him a total of four. Please not five. Just in case you don’t know, I’m a Packer fan and still smarting from the loss to the Bucs.
France, Germany, Iran, New Zealand, South Africa, and England all at one time manufactured Jeeps, Javelins, Americans, Hornets and more through partnerships put together by AMC’s E-VP, International Operations Roy D. Chapin Jr. One of those unique partnerships was set up about 2,000 south of the company’s major assembly operation, Kenosha, WI, in Mexico with Vehiculos Automotores Mexicanos, S.A.
For 40 years, this government-controlled company imported and produced automobiles and light trucks under license from Willys, AMC, Eagle, Jeep, Chrysler, Renault and designed their own vehicles based on AMC platforms.
One of the more interesting cars they designed and produced was the VAM Lerma, a cross between the Concord and Spirit. It was available as a three-door or a five-door hatchback, something not available on AMC cars built in Kenosha. It was named after Lerma, a city in Mexico where VAM produced engines. This wasn’t just a warmed-over Concord, it featured a different interior and the only element carried over from AMC was the instrument panel. It was focused on the top-end market in Mexico and never exported. While I couldn’t find sales numbers specific to the Lerma, it was a top 10 seller and at one time held a 9% market share. But when Renault bought into AMC in the mid-eighties they had no interest in building AMC cars in Mexico and the partnership ended.
The Lerma lives on
It’s a 1/43 diecast model of the Lerma manufactured by IXO Models in Hong Kong. Besides this, they make all kinds of hard-to-find cars, motorcycles, and trucks based mostly on non-u.s models.
This one has a ton of miles on it. While it was manufactured in Hong Kong, I bought it off eBay and it came from Spain. That’s a lot more miles than you would see on the real deal. While I knew about VAM because of my dad working at AMC, I had never seen a model until I was poking around on Facebook and found a group of VAM enthusiasts.
The detail on this one that I acquired has amazing details. While the doors, hood, and hatch don’t open, there is a full interior. Exterior details include a hood ornament, simulated glass headlights, windshield wipers, side view mirrors, even the scripted name of the car on the back. I don’t normally collect cars this small because they lack the details of their larger counterparts but would consider any of their cars.
I have never seen a Mexican made AMC car for sale. I would imagine they would be priced similar to their Kenosha-made cousins although with no snow should be in pretty good shape. There is a very active group of fans who continue to be fans of the brand and are very active on Facebook. How’s your Spanish?
The Shelby guys have thought of everything with the racy 2020 Mustang GT 500 …
By Paul Daniel and Mark Savage
PAUL: I sort of backed into loving Mopar stuff after Chrysler bought American Motors Corp. in the late 1980s. I’ve always been the kind of person who has a soft spot for the underdog. I’ve driven all the Challengers, with the exception of the Red Eye, and enjoy the driving experience they provide. In fact, if I could go out and buy a high-performance pony car I’d go buy one. That was until I drove the 2020 Mustang GT 500. Continue reading 2020 Mustang leaves Mopar guys snake bit→
I love going car spotting but sometimes the cars come to me like this 1963 Corvair. One of the fun things I do during the summer is work at Ironwood Golf Course, about five minutes from my house. One day I show up to work at a really big golf outing and what’s parked right out front? This 1962 Corvair Monza Continue reading A priceless Corvair→
I was out this afternoon pandemic grocery shopping and on the way home at a four-way stop my heart started pounding. There it was, a brand new Corvette C8 in Artic White, a carryover from the C7, but it could have been in any color. It was brand new and still had dealer plates on it. Mark and I can’t wait to drive one of these as we both believe at the C8’s base price, $58,900 for the coupe and $66,400 for the convertible, get you into supercar land with money to spare.
This year’s Chicago Auto Show shapes up to be one of the best in a very long time. Mark and I traveled down to Chicago during media days and there was a lot of excitement.
Other cool stuff
How about this Ford GT that was manufactured out of liquid carbon fiber. Ford says they will make about a dozen of these this year and they take about three times longer to make than the standard Ford GT.
I remember my dad, who worked at the National Parts Distribution Center in Milwaukee, came home one day in February 1970 and told me the big news that AMC had bought Jeep. I was probably just as excited as he was knowing that we would soon be having Jeeps show up in our driveway. One that I remember most is a 1980 Jeep Grand Cherokee Golden Hawk just like this one that recently sold on Bring A Trailer. Not only did this give the middle finger to Wisconsin Continue reading These Jeeps aren’t cheap→
It’s amazing how this Danish company, started by a carpenter in 1932 making wooden blocks, has grown into a powerhouse. In 2015, The Lego Group became the world’s largest toy company by revenue, with sales amounting to US$2.1 billion, surpassing Mattel. They do it by coming up with cool new stuff all the time like its line of Lego Technic. This is more than just connecting plastic blocks. With this series builders can create more than just something basic, they can build something that will do stuff like this Bugatti Chiron. This 1/18th scale model features logoed spoked rims with low-profile tires, and detailed brake discs, an accessible cockpit, Technic 8-speed gearbox, detailed W16 engine and the pistons move! Geeze I wish is were bigger so I could hop in and experience the Chiron’s mind-numbing speed.
Wait! What? Lego built one!
Damn! They actually did it! A team of 16 specialist spent 13,000 man hours and utilized almost 4,000 pieces to pull it off. This is amazing. When are they going to make it available in their store?
No silly boy, not a Ferrari but still a name that resonates performance. This only has two wheels and it’s a brand new Ducati 959 Penigale. Was I surprised? Well you bet and then some. For the past five years I have ridden my 2007 Suzuki Hayabusa all over the place and just recently crossed the 60,000 mile mark. That might not seem lot a whole lot but in the motorcycle world, it’s like 200,000 miles in a car. I’ve taken really good care of it, with a couple of oil changes each year, lubing the chain almost every ride, and replacing it every other year, I even had the engine dynoed last winter. I was ready to hang onto it after all, it’s a legendary ride. Continue reading A hot new Italian ride arrives in my garage→
And his dad before him but this Christmas will be my first without him after his passing away in February. The car dad always talked about buying was a Nash Healey. The car was introduced in 1951 beating the Corvette by two years. There were just over 500 manufactured so they are rare now going for north of $100,000.
I found this video Hemmings made that made me think of this. It’s a video about a dad and son’s bond with cars and I thought I’d share it. Boy, if this doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.