Tag Archives: 24 Hours of LeMans

Die-cast: NEO’s 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

Cad1NEO’s Cadillac fastback exudes class, substance with extreme late-1940s styling

I’m a sucker for fastback coupes. That usually means cars like a mid-1960s Mustang or Barracuda. Yet here’s a new old one to consider, the 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe.

This is a car with presence, class and substance. Incredibly, it also was fast and a sales standout for Cadillac as the brand fought to re-establish itself after World War II.

NEO has created a beauty in 1:18 scale resin that American Excellence supplied for our review.

The HistoryCad7

The Series 62 was launched in 1940 as an entry-level Caddy, but wrapped up production in 1942 as auto factories turned their efforts to war machines. The third generation Series 62 designed by GM’s noted Harley Earl went into production as a 1949 model, riding on a 126-inch wheelbase, measuring 214 inches long and touting GM’s new overhead-valve V8.

The engine was a big deal, replacing a lower powered and heavier L-head model. The new 5.4-liter, 331 cu.in. V8 delivered 10 more horses at 160 and this model weighing 200 lbs. less than the 1948. So impressed was Motor Trend, then in its infancy, that the Series 62 became the magazine’s first Car of the Year. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1949 Cadillac Series 62 Club Coupe

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2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro

Audi Q5 blends luxury, utility with clean turbo diesel

Audi Q5/Standaufnahme Luxury sport-utility vehicles all pretty much look alike, and all are loaded with luxury and high-tech features, so it’s in the blending of all these features where excellence outs itself.

Even in high-end utes it has been uncommon for me to be fully comfortable with the size, the looks, the performance and the fuel consumption. Audi’s Q5 changed all that.

This was not your standard Q5 either. This was the TDI quattro model with 8-speed Tiptronic automatic that allows you to paddle shift your way through the gears, if you so choose. TDI stands for Turbo Direct Injection and the Glacier White Metallic ($500 extra) test ute wasn’t shy about its diesel power, slapping a bold TDI decal on the doors and the words, “Clean Diesel” under that.

First, Audi has done more for diesel in the last 10 years than any automaker, both in development and in publicity. Audi developed a turbo diesel for its prototype racers, even winning the noted 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race with a turbo-diesel powered racer.

So power and efficiency are built into the Q5’s 3.0-liter TDI V6. How much? This boasts 240 horsepower while delivering an EPA estimated 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Those look like reasonable estimates as I got 27.5 mpg in a week’s drive, about 60% being city miles. Continue reading 2014 Audi Q5 TDI quattro

Die-cast: Autoart E-Type Jaguar

Beautiful E-Type one of Autoart’s best efforts 

One of my favorite early toys was a Jaguar XKE, a metallic red Matchbox car. I loved it for its shape, that long lean hood and its rounded tail. It was exotic.jag1

I’m not alone in my love for the early 1960’s E-Type, it was a landmark design that stirred the automotive world, and still does. The E-Type was unveiled at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show to rave reviews and the early Series 1 Jags, made from 1961-’68, are noted collector cars, even if their electronics were a bit sketchy.

Now comes Autoart’s long-awaited version in 1:18 scale, and while it will be available in a variety of colors, the review model is a glorious Carmen Red – perfect!

jag5For the record, the rear-drive E-Type featured a 3.8-liter DOHC 6-cylinder engine with aluminum head and twin cams and three SU carbs. While it might not seem like much today, the Jag punched out 265 horses and delivered a top speed of 150 mph – exotic indeed. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart E-Type Jaguar

Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s

Ixo’s Ford GT40 models offer good detail, value in 1:43 scale

Ford’s GT40 is the most beautiful enclosed race car ever made, and one of the most successful too. That’s my design bias, but the GT40’s success can’t be argued.

Ixo's version of the 1967, '68, and '69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.
Ixo’s version of the 1967, ’68, and ’69 LeMans-winning Ford GT40s.

Funny thing, it was created to settle a score at the highest levels of the automotive world. In the early 1960s Henry Ford II was rebuked in efforts to buy Ferrari and declared war on the Italian sports car maker and race team. The GT40, originally with a Lola chassis and various Ford V8 engines, was his weapon. By 1964 the first GT40 was raced at the Nurburgring 1000km endurance race and then the 24 Hours of LeMans, where three were entered and one led. All failed to finish. Yet ultimately the GT40 would win four straight LeMans 24-hour endurance races from 1966 through 1969, a remarkable run that ended Ferrari’s reign as the LeMans champ. Ferarri has not won LeMans since.With the annual endurance race being run in late June, this is a good time to look at what the diecast world offers regarding the only successful U.S. manufacturer’s race efforts. Continue reading Die-cast: LeMans-winning Ford GT40s