CMC’s 1956 Ferrari D50

Ferrari’s Lancia spinoff a beauty of its own redesign … CMC Ferrari D50

If you’re a connoisseur of vintage Formula 1 cars you may be synched with the differences between the Lancia D50 and Ferrari D50 and how they are linked.

CMC knows its stuff when it comes to F1 cars and so once it produced the Lancia D50 it wasn’t a huge stretch that it would create the Ferrari model. Now it has, again in 1/18 scale, and again a museum-quality build.

Our review model was the first offering in this line, the unmarked Ferrari D50, model No. M-180. Naturally it’s a bright shiny Ferrari red with prancing horse logos on either side of the cowl, just in front of the cockpit. Continue reading CMC’s 1956 Ferrari D50

2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn

VW Golf GTI is one rockin’ little hatchback …2018 VW Golf GTI

Nimble handling, turbo power and sporty ride are nearly forgotten in the auto world now that SUVs and crossovers rule the roads.

But Volkswagen has a long memory and it mastered handling years ago. With turbochargers added to VW’s economical 4-cylinder engines it now has power licked too.

Add to that a good ride, affordable pricing and good gas mileage and what you’re defining is VW’s Golf GTI. I drove its upscale Autobahn edition, and even that lists at a reasonable $35,965, including delivery. Continue reading 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI Autobahn

2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

Expedition a BIG winner in the SUV wars … 2018 Ford Expedition

Big is big when it comes to large SUVs, but some drive better, are easier to handle and Ford has improved both in its new Expedition, a huge craft to be sure.

But for 2018 the Expedition is all-new from the wheels up, and it shows. This was an enjoyable drive and perfect for a large family or someone hauling a bunch of folks regularly. Continue reading 2018 Ford Expedition Limited 4×4

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Die-cast: Automodello’s 1963 Ford Mustang II Concept

Ford Mustang II Concept showed where Mustang was going … Automodello's 1963 Ford Mustang II Concept

If you’re a Mustang nut, and let’s face it, there are lot out there, you’ll likely know the story of the 1963 Mustang II concept car.

If not, hang on and just know that Automodello is producing two versions of the rare one-off concept car used for several months to hype the production car that debuted in April of 1964 at New York’s Worlds Fair.

Automodello plans 1/24 scale die-cast resin models in the original white with a blue stripes, and another very limited Tribute Edition, in red. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello’s 1963 Ford Mustang II Concept

2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec

Acura creates racy crossover with RDX … 2019 Acura RDX

Whatever you think of crossovers, I’m here to tell you that some are sporty, some are fun to drive, and a few combine that with luxury befitting a fine sedan.

Acura’s RDX AWD A-Spec, newly restyled for 2019, is one of the above. It’s a rip-roaring good time that handles like a sport sedan and rides like a luxury car, when in its Comfort drive mode. Continue reading 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec

2019 Volvo XC40 AWD R-Design

Volvo XC40 a fun, sporty crossover … 2019 Volvo XC40 AWD R=Design

Volvo, the Chinese-owned luxury car maker that builds its cars in Sweden and Belgium, has been on a roll now for a couple years. Its lineup of crossovers, like its wagons of the past, are well designed, utilitarian, but with enough luxury to easily take on its luxury ute competitors from Europe and North America.

Now comes the Volvo XC40, its first small crossover. I drove a bright metallic white ($595 extra) model with black roof to accent the handsome crossover. The combo adds a little more flair and a sporty look, aided by this being the T5 R-Design model. Continue reading 2019 Volvo XC40 AWD R-Design

Cool School, Cool Tool

Most fun I ever had at school

2019 dodge challenger, challenger widebody, challenger hellcatThat’s because the topic was one of my favs, cars, and in this instance I would learn how to drive one on racetrack. The car was the 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Widebody and the racetrack, GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. It was hosted by an organization that I belong to, Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and sponsored by Dodge and Jeep who also provided the 2019 vehicles myself and the other automotive journalists would drive. They included several Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebodys, a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. My ride for the day would be this cool blue Challenger. “The MAMA Track School was started as an effort to ensure MAMA members are properly skilled and comfortable when driving on a racetrack, especially since we host two popular track events each year,” said MAMA President Jill Ciminillo.

More zoom, less dollars

With the debut of the R/T Scat Pack Widebody, not only do buyers get the Hellcat Widebody’s aggressive looks, it also costs them about 40% less. Sure you could sell buying this car to your wife because it can carry a couple of kids in the back but don’t tell her that this is probably the best Challenger suited for the track. Shhhh!

2019 dodge hellcat widebody, dodge hellcat, challenger widebody, hellcat, 392 v8, hemi

The Scat Pack is an option you would add to the R/T-level trim, and it’ll set you back around 42 grand but that includes the destination fee and a gas-guzzler tax of $1,000 on manual-transmission equipped models. You can avoid the tax by getting the automatic transmission but in the end it becomes a wash. The optional automatic transmission avoids the gas-guzzler tax, but its extra cost dodge challenger, 2019 challenger widebody, widebody hellcatnegates any advantage there. The Widebody package adds another $6,000, throw in leather interior, technology packages and other fun stuff will continue to bump the price well into the high $50,000 challenger hellcat, dodge hellcat super beerange. However, take notes, it’s  nearly $20,000 less than a fully loaded Hellcat and provides about as much fun even though the Hellcat has 232 more horsepower.

On the track

R/T Scat Pack plus Widebody equals FUN! Under the hood is the 6.4-liter Hemi V8, putting out 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. Add the 305mm Pirelli P Zero rubber that comes as part dodge challenger, 2019 challenger widebody, widebody hellcatof the Widebody package and it’s good for zero-to-60-mph in roughly four seconds when equipped with the eight-speed automatic in the car I drove.

Scat Pack models get a specially tuned version of the three-mode adaptive suspension system that uses stiffer front springs, special shocks, larger sway bars at both the front and back, and big six-piston Brembo front brakes and makes this a fun drive. I experienced this first-hand on the two-mile track with driving instructor Elvis Komskis  from CGI Motorsports.  Our track training session covered everything from braking techniques, vehicle weight management, vision instructions and appropriate driving position. First Elvis drives showing me the course, then I drive.  Then we head back and he shows me way to improve in the sessions that followed.

While I can drive Road America blind folded, at least in the beginning, I drove at GingerMan Raceway like I had one on. But I eventually got the hang of it and managed not to harm Elvis in the process.  The layout simulates the full spectrum of driving situations: high-speed straights and short sprints, long sweeping corners and tight apexes, heavy and light braking, and elevation change. It’s a fun course!

The Scat Pack Widebody is a fun car combining the Challenger’s retro styling and the road of a Hemi. It makes for a great track car and gives up very little in terms of everyday drivability to get there. OK, now go sell your wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION
For those that admire the Challenger’s retro style and Hemi roar but have pined for a sharper instrument, look no further. While it’s still more GT than sports car, the Scat Pack Widebody proves that this big coupe can hold its own when given the right tools to work with. And, .

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