Special Audi LeMans racer looks great, fast on track!
I first ran into Slot.it racers in while walking the exhibits at Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, 10 years ago and was impressed with the firm’s detailed car bodies. But I have to admit, at the time I thought, “Good luck. Hope you make a go of it.”
There’s plenty of competition in the slot world, with well-established players. … BUT Slot.it DID make a go of it, and now celebrates its 10th anniversary with the reissuing of its original Audi R8C LeMans racer. When first launched it was rare for a slot car maker to have such a new model, as the car had raced at LeMans in 1999.
But that’s just the start of how Slot.it has pushed the envelope for 1:32 scale slot cars. Its chassis and wheels are light, some models using hollow aluminum wheels, and its motors are tightly wound for power. Most enthusiasts consider these to be the top-level cars on the market, in looks, and performance. Continue reading Slot car: Slot.it 10th Anniversary Audi R8C→
Everything in the racing world just seemed better in the 1970s, and in the drag racing world Funny Cars were the rage. They looked, well, funny, sort of like souped up street cars with a LOT longer hoods and a giant air scoop sticking out of the windshield.
For race fans, these were full-sized Hot Wheels cars with monster nitro-powered engines that made them fly (sometimes, literally) down drag strips. Like any racing series, the NHRA Funny Cars had its legends, including machines like the Hawaiian, L.A. Hooker, Bounty Hunter and Big Daddy Don Garlits, who made a name for himself in a variety of dragsters through the years.
Here, Round 2’s Auto World brand comes with a new series, Legends of the Quarter Mile, including all of the aforementioned. Our review floppers (a common nickname) were the L.A. Hooker and Garlits machines. Back in the day these dragsters had fiberglass bodies fashioned to at least somewhat reflect the street models’ appearance. The L.A. Hooker machine was made to resemble a 1971 Mustang and the Garlits machine a ’71 Dodge Charger. Continue reading Die-Cast: Auto World Funny Cars→
Hyundai wasn’t happy to leave well enough alone, so it went and added a turbo to its sporty coupe/hatch, the Veloster.
Yes, you’ll still hear jokes about the name and its similarity to the famous dinos in “Jurassic Park,” but you won’t care. You’ll have a sporty car with reasonable oomph and a darned attractive entry price.
The Veloster Turbo starts at $21,950 and packs a twin-scroll turbo that takes the hatch up to 201 horses from the rather tame 138 hp the base model offers. It’s the same 1.6-liter direct-injected engine, but with the turbo it creates a lot more horses. Torque isn’t a neck strainer though.
The turbo spools up a little slower than some on pricier sports models, so there’s a bit of lag and it doesn’t punch you as you might expect. What you get is more gradual power, but power that nonetheless gives this Veloster better overall acceleration and top-end power than the base model. Continue reading 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo→
Barn find is a term used when somebody finds a really special car which has been sitting in the corner of a barn all covered up. What the treasure hunter will do is restore the car to the way it came out of the factory. But restoration projects are not just limited to the barn finds for the real cars.
The Pony Car market was red hot in 1967. After seeing what Ford had in the Mustang introduced three years before, the other manufactures jumped into the game big time. General Motors had two entries in the game, the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird which shared the same F-body platforms. There were differences between the two cars. The Firebirds bumpers were integrated into the design of the front end and its rear “slit” taillights were inspired by the Pontiac GTO.
For GM, the Firebird was their Plan B for Pontiac, who had initially wished to produce a two-seat sports car of its own design, based on the original Banshee concept car. However, GM feared such a vehicle would directly compete with Chevrolet’s Corvette. Whoa….can’t do that. Instead, let’s just have it compete with the Camaro. The Banshee was really a cool car and too bad some product manager had his toes stepped on.
Back to the Firebird which was not really a bad Plan B. Since Pontiac was the performance division of GM, there were two V8 engines: the 326 CID (5.3 L) with a two-barrel carburetor producing 250 hp; the “H.O.” (High Output) engine of the same displacement, but with a four-barrel carburetor and producing 285 hp or the 400 CID (6.6 L) from the GTO with 325 hp.
In 1969, it was off to the races as a $725 optional handling package called the “Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package,”, named after the Trans Am Series, which included a rear spoiler, was introduced. Of these first “Trans Ams,” only 689 hardtops and eight convertibles were made.
Of course where were some very famous Firebirds. Starting in 1977, the Firebird, and more specifically the Trans Am, received a number of roles in big movies, most of which starring Burt Reynolds. Later on a Trans Am, named KIT was he star of Knight Rider. What to take a guess on what KIT stood for? Cue the Jeopardy music….. Give up? Knight Industries Two Thousand. “Knight Rider, a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist. Michael Knight, a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.” Sorry, I watched way too much TV.
Promo model prices are on a similar scale with the real deals in that the tougher ones to find cost more to own. The first generation 1967-1969 Firebird promos were available in coupe and convertible and generally two or three colors for the coupe and one or two colors for the convertible. Many of the first generation promos have become difficult to obtain in presentable condition. This is due to the fact they were given to small children to play with making the attrition rate very high. I can attest to this myself!
According to John M. Witzke, who writes for the Firebird Gallery website, the 1968 Firebird Convertible is one of the rarest Pontiac promotional models and is considered the most sought after of the first generation models. Value of the first generation Firebird promos in near mint condition generally range from approx. $225.00 for a ’67 coupe to $475.00 for a ’68 convertible. The first gen, 67-68 tend to command the higher prices for collectors.
When the second generation was introduced in 1970, prices dropped in about half to around $180 until 1974 where they can be found for around $50. The second gen is considered to be a good starting point at collecting.
This was, and still is, a great car. There are several factors on why the Firebird has joined the orphan class, one being simply bad management at Pontiac. Too bad since the Camaro, which was killed with the Firebird and now the Camaro is back. I think there is an after market company which is taking the new Camaro and giving it a look similar to what the real deal could have been.
Maserati is just slightly below Ferrari on the ooh and aah list of exotic Italian cars that car lovers and race car collectors recognize.
So when CMC, the premier 1:18 die-cast car modeler, rolls out a stunning red Maserati 300S, serious collectors will take note. Back in the 1950s Maserati racers were primo and highly competitive with the likes of Ferrari and Jaguar in sports car competition, and the 300S generally was a success. But equally important, it had, and has, a beautiful shape.
The 1956 model that CMC recently unveiled featured a twin-plug inline 6-cylinder engine with 3 Weber carbs and a hearty 245 horsepower that could propel it from 0-60 in about five seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. THAT was moving in the mid-’50s. Continue reading Die-cast: 1956 Maserati 300S→
Small luxury utes are nearly as plentiful as entry-level small utes, and sometimes I wonder what you get for that extra $15 grand. But a week in the Mercedes-Benz GLK350 reminded me what it is, luxury looks, feel and ride.
A bunch of the little luxury utes handle pretty well and a few even look luxurious, but the GLK350 is a heck of a nice blend, and with a base price of $37,090 it’s one of the least expensive vehicles from the famous German automaker. This one added a variety of niceties, so it hit $46,930 before an $875 destination charge.
But the truth of the matter is that even at its base the Benz is luxury oriented and performance is the same, no matter how many extras you add.
Standard is a peppy 3.5-liter DI V6 that creates 302 horsepower so this ute will get up and go from a stop. But in a Mercedes you don’t want to be tossed into the back seat with muscle car power. So there’s a highly refined 7-speed automatic transmission that slips through the gears with velvety smoothness. You barely notice a gear shift. Continue reading 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK350→