Long-nosed Corvette XP-700 concept a mixed bag of styling …
General Motors was big into concept cars in the 1950s, many having fighter jet and missile styling, be it the nose, tail or just the model and engine names, such as the Oldsmobile’s Rocket 88 in Pontiac’s Starfire.
So, naming an experimental or concept car the XP-700 seems natural enough, and that’s what Chevrolet did with its body styling experiment for Corvette on the 1959 auto show circuit. The XP featured a wide-mouthed, low-slung Ferrari-style nose protruding from the already recognizable quad headlights in rounded fenders that Corvette introduced in its 1958 model. Continue reading Die-cast: NEO’s 1959 Chevrolet Corvette XP-700→
The times, and location of car columns, is a changin’ ….
There comes a time to say goodbye to parts of our lives.
Since 1984 my byline has appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel, and later the Journal Sentinel, first on feature stories, then business stories and since at least 1989 on a car review column, Savage on wheels. On Jan. 21 my last column appeared in the Sunday Cars section.
We had a lot of fun in those early Sentinel years. Just for grins I tested a military version of the Hummer during the Gulf War, drove the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, tested a watercraft on Lac La Belle, a Duck at the Wisconsin Dells, and drove a one-horse open sleigh at Old World Wisconsin. I even got to fulfill a childhood dream by taking a 3-day Skip Barber racing class at Road America, and while the Andretti clan didn’t have anything to worry about, I had a blast, and got faster each day.
By my estimate I’ve driven more than 1,500 cars and trucks for my reviews, although never a Ferrari or Lamborghini. Yet I did get to drive a Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Lotus, along with numerous Jaguars, Audis, Mercedes, Lexus, and Jeeps, even off road. Heck, some brands I tested in that stretch are long gone — Plymouth, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Saturn, Scion, Suzuki. Looks like brands starting with P and S are doomed!
Don’t ask which car was my favorite, I can’t pick just one.
I left the paper 18+ years ago for a magazine career at Kalmbach Media and there was no reason the Journal Sentinel had to let me keep writing the column. But the editors did, and I’m eternally grateful.
So this is just an online thank you note to everyone who has supported me at the newspaper, and all my faithful readers for 30+ years who have been critiquing (mentally and via email) my reviews, my annual Zoomie awards, and stories from the Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee auto shows. It was a great ride. Thanks so much.
But wait, there’s more … While bidding goodbye to my newspaper home of 35 years, this is not goodbye for Savage on wheels. There’s still my website, AND, some good news will be coming shortly from another trusted Milwaukee media outlet that plans to carry my weekly car and truck reviews. So stay tuned!
Lancia was a late-comer to Formula 1 racing after World War II, but it had the genius of engineer Vitorrio Jano as its secret weapon. He had created the successful Alfa Romeo 8C pre-war.
So in late 1954 Lancia’s beautiful and unusual D50 joined the F1 circuit for the last race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix where 2-time world driving champ Alberto Ascari put it on the pole with the fastest time.
While setting a fast pace with a record lap, it wasn’t reliable and lasted only 9 laps. But what had captured the racing public’s interest and other designers’ attention was its design with two outrigged pannier gas tanks, its off-center engine mount and low seating position to better distribute weight.
Now CMC nails the design in 1/18 scale with another hand-built metal die-cast model consisting of 1,598 parts, and no, I didn’t count them all.
Gianni Lancia wanted to be a part of the F1 racing world so had Vano design the radical D50. Unfortunately it basically bankrupted his car manufacturing company by mid-1955 and he handed over the team to Enzo Ferrari. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC’s 1954-55 Lancia D50→
Today, rich folks will plunk out a half a million bucks for a new Ferrari or Lamborghini and think they have something special, unique. Yet hundreds are made of such models.
Consider the rich folks of the 1930s who selected a fine chassis and drivetrain from a high-end manufacturer, like France’s Delage, and then commissioned a coachmaker to build a one-off body, just for their chassis. Ah, now that’s exclusivity.
That’s exactly what happened in 1937 when a Delage D8-120 S chassis was built and delivered to coachbuilder Pourtout that created a hand-formed aluminum body for the car. And what a body it was!
Now Automodello recreates a 1/24 scale cast resin version of this streamlined beauty. It’s a knockout!
The Delage D8-120 S Aerodynamic Coupe is fantastic is a true one-off designed by famed stylist Georges Paulin. Records show the body alone cost $18,000 to build, roughly $300,000 in today’s coin.
The car was first shown at the Paris Auto Show in 1937 and Louis Delage, the carmaker’s owner, drove the car for three years before it was sold. Delage had always believed in proving his car’s mettle by racing them, one even winning the 1914 Indianapolis 500. So performance was important to him. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello’s 1937 Delage D8-120 S→
Some cars are sexy, some are nasty, some are fast. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer is all of the above, a lawn dart of an automobile with a long nose and a monster rear wing. Looks like it could nail any competitor to the pavement.
Autoart creates a beautiful 1/18 scale version of the GT3 racer as it was presented to the media a couple years back in a gorgeous matte metallic gray paint scheme with yellow racing stripes and a No. 1 on each door. Who’s to argue with that?
If you’re deep into NASCAR or IndyCar racing you may not know much about GT3 cars. But Group GT3 cars are Grand Touring (get it?) cars that race in various series around the world. The GT3 designation started in 2005 under rules set by FIA, the international racing rules group.
In essence GT3 cars must be based on production GT cars and have 500 to 600 horsepower and weigh between 1200kg (2,645 lbs.) and 1300kg (2,866 lbs.). They also feature ABS, traction control and include built-in air jacks to facilitate quick pit stops. Currently about 40 cars have been approved, or homologated to race in GT3, including the likes of Audi, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford (GT), Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, along with the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is built in conjunction with Mercedes’ AMG performance unit in Sindelfingen, Germany. Under its massive hood is a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 that creates 622 horsepower, while the production model has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that tops out at 577. The older naturally aspirated engine is simpler and more reliable for racing, hence the difference. Oh, and top speed is 206 mph. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Mercedes-AMG GT3→
The Noble M600 may be the fastest car you’ve never heard of, and no wonder in the U.S. market because it’s not readily available here.
Nope, Noble is a British supercar made outside Leiscester, England, where it sells for 200,000 pounds. How much that translates into U.S. dollars after the Brexit vote may require a phone call to your local banker .
But Automodello’s new 1/43 scale version is a modest, considering the original’s price tag, $119.95. And we shouldn’t be surprised that Automodello takes on the Noble for a model as it has been mining models of some of the lesser known makes and rare vintage cars and racers that other die-cast and resin model maker have steered clear of. For the record, this is Automodello’s first model of a currently produced car and away from its vintage lineup.
Noble Automotive was founded in 1999 by Lee Noble who wanted to build his own high-performance mid-engine, rear-drive car. What many of us call a driver’s car.
Ferraris are fine, but Lamborghinis have been pressing the styling envelope more during the past 20 years or so. The new Huracan, Spanish for hurricane, continues the Italian car maker’s design dominance.
Long, low and sleek with little slits of headlights and taillights and an engine just behind the supercar’s two bucket seats give the Huracan both an elegant and bullet-like appearance.
Autoart nails it again with this, a composite-bodied model of the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 in a stunning orange pearl paint scheme. This thing will nearly glow on your display shelf.
Few engines have the pedigree of Ford’s 3.0-liter twin cam V8, nor can boast the overwhelming success. But calling it a Ford is a bit of a stretch.
Most folks refer to the engine as the Cosworth DFV (double four valve) because Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin of Cosworth designed and created the cast-aluminum engine. Ford bankrolled it after Colin Chapman of Lotus fame enlisted the help of Ford Britain’s Walter Hayes. Arm twisting ensued and Ford forked over the money.
Ultimately the engine became the go-to powerplant for Formula 1 cars for more than 10 years and also powered Indy Cars for much of the 1970s and ‘80s. In fairy tale fashion the engine won its first race, the Dutch Grand Prix, in June of 1967.
Automodello now releases its 1:12 resin version of the iconic racing engine. Just 499 are being made.
Autoart recreates Bugatti’s first modern supercar, the EB110 GT
Bugatti’s existence is best characterized by a rollercoaster. Its ups have been spectacular, and its downs, well, also were outs.
But in September of 1991 its new owner introduced the new mid-engine EB110 GT, the 110 signifying the 110th anniversary of company founder Ettore Bugatti’s birth. The EB110 was a supercar ahead of its times in several ways. Sadly, sales results weren’t one of its successes.
Now Autoart has creates a 1:18 version of the 110 GT with its usual eye to detail, and in four colors, blue, white, silver and the dark red of our sample.
Bugatti, an Italian who built his successful company in France, created beautiful high-performance cars for years, its heyday being the 1920 and 30s. But the company floundered after World War II and ceased production in 1963, only to be revived in 1986 by Romano Artiolli. When it appeared in 1991, the 110 GT was Bugatti’s first car in roughly 40 years and it was spectacular.
The supercar featured the low lean look that Ferrari and Lamborghini had been taking to the bank for years, but added scissor-style doors and a 3.6-liter quad-turbo V12 and all-wheel-drive to make it both racy looking and giving it top-shelf performance. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Bugatti EB110 GT→
For a century Maserati has been churning out distinctive, sporty and often championship winning cars. Maserati’s place in the U.S. market has never been huge, but their cars’ reputations for speed and style have been legend. They are considered rare gems in the U.S.
Autoart knows that and introduces another stunning Maserati model in 1:18 scale, this one the racing version of Maserati’s two-seat supercar, the MC12. The review car is the 2010 FIA GT1 Champion in the beautiful turquoise and black Vitaphone Racing Team livery.
Maserati got back into racing in 2004, after a 37-year absence, creating only 25 MC12 models initially and another 25 the following year. That gave the Italian car maker plenty in order to be eligible for FIA endurance racing in Europe.
Always having a close relationship with Ferrari, due to their proximity in Italy, Maserati planted the MC12 on the Enzo Ferrari exotic sports car chassis. So the Maserati has bona fide performance DNA at its core. The body and engine tuning was all Maserati, but at its heart is a true Ferrari heartbeat, a 6.0-liter Ferrari V12 mounted at 65 degrees. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart Maserati MC12→