Tag Archives: Mark Donahue

Cool car guys I’ve met

Up close and personal

TV 11, WLUK, green bay, wi., road america, indy 500, race drivers

My days as a TV sports reporter in Green Bay provided me with opportunities others dream about. Almost all of them came because I spent lots of time at my favorite place, Road America, located about an hour south of Green Bay. I loved when there was a race coming up because it meant I’d be down there a bunch of times that weekend. Nobody else in the Green Bay television market covered motorsports like I did. I loved it. I got to interview some cool car guys. While some people might be intimidated by their names, I’d just walked up to them, videographer in tow, and asked them if I could chat with them. Hey they put their pants on the same way I do, one leg at a time. The only one who turned me down was Bobby Rahal who was having a crappy practice day at Road America. So here are the ones that did talk to me and I still remember to this day. Continue reading Cool car guys I’ve met

The 60’s: Big hair, cheap gas, and colorful cars

promotional model cars, automotive history, savageonwheels.comWin on Sunday, Sell on Monday

While that isn’t true so much anymore, it was huge in the 60’s as all the manufacturers were into racing, mostly the Trans Am series, even tiny American Motors. The Javelin had just been introduced in ’68 as AMC’s entry into the pony car category. The colors were red, white, and blue, the company’s corporate colors. AMC entered a pair of Javelins and were successful enough to unseat Ford’s Mustangs from second place in the championship, a remarkable feat given that it was AMC’s first season. This was big for the company because the pony car market was hot and they were tardy to the party with the Mustang, Camero, and Barracuda coming out about four years ahead of AMC

Promotions galore

AMC needed to get its dealer’s involved and hosted a dealer event in Denver. I remember this because my dad had talked about it when he worked there. They gave the dealers this base white ’68 Javelin and added red and blue similar to the cars that were racing. If you look closely, they didn’t spend a lot of time in the masking department. Like the real deal, these promo models now are had to find, especially in good condition. I found this one on eBay recently sold for $177. The price due at least partially to the paint rubbed off. I have seen these go for $250 at swap meets.

RWB_javelin_front_Promo_model_cars  RWB_Javelin-side_promo_model_carsRWB_Javelin_promo_model_cars

Enter Roger Penske

Back to the real deal. For 1968 to get a red, white, and blue Jav you would order a white one and the dealer would take care of painting the red and blue. These are hard to find and if you do stumble upon one, most likely they are a clone as it was easy to do. While ’68 was a great year for the Javelins in the Trans-Am series, ’69 kind of stunk and AMC didn’t like that. So they went to Roger Penske with pretty much a blank check and said make us win. Penske wasn’t really getting paid anything from Chevy so this was a great deal and the winning would come, due mostly to the driving of Mark Donahue.

javelin_70-TA_ad1970 AMC Javelin Promo Model, promotional model carsSo on to 1970 with Penske/Donahue. This limited edition Trans-Am Javelin was introduced in time to promote the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am Season. Only 100 limited edition units were manufactured at AMC’s Kenosha plant, pulled from the standard production line and painted in factory Red, White & Blue to replicate the Javelin Racing team colors. They featured a high-performance 390 with factory ram-air induction, along with other fast stuff. It also included a custom Trans-Am homologated front cow-catcher and a rear adjustable “air-foil” style spoiler. Only 30+ of the original 100 cars have been discovered and are currently registered through the Trans-Am Javelin Registry. Johan did produce a 1970 Javelin, like this one I have but to my knowledge only the ’68 was done in red, white, and blue.

1970_AMC_Javelin_TransAm_rwbOK, yup I’m an AMC guy but this era was one of the best in racing history and while the read deal, according to Hagerty, will cost you about 25 grand, and good luck getting the owner to part with it. This replica pops up on eBay and you can get it for a whole lot less.

 

Die-cast Car: Automodello Griffith Series 200

Newcomer Automodello scores with Griffith

I know cars, but beyond the Griffith sports car name, this Series 200 race car was new to me. That’s how rare they are in the car world (only 192 were made), and in the die-cast car world.

But rare is good when you’re collecting. The review car is a stunning 1:43 metallic blue Griffith Series 200 from Automodello, a newer specialty die-cast car maker from Buffalo Grove, Ill. To make this one even more special, it’s one of just 85 Tribute Editions that were made to mark Jack Griffith’s 85th birthday. He founded the car company. The car’s license even reads “85 Jack.” Plus this model is autographed by Griffith and Bill Warner, who puts on the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance each year and which recently honored Griffith. Continue reading Die-cast Car: Automodello Griffith Series 200