Graham Hill’s Indy winning Lola a small gem
I was sitting in the packed main grandstand just shy of the pit exit for the flying start of the 1966 Indianapolis 500 when tires and suspension pieces and racer nosecones started exploding in the air. It was eerily similar to two years earlier, but without the fire and smoke, when I’d witnessed the most horrifying crash in Indy history. Thankfully, this time, no one was seriously injured.
But in the melee about a third of the starting field was eliminated, including favorites like A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney and Don Branson. Yet a British rookie and Formula 1 champion, Graham Hill, picked his way through the carnage in his rear-engined Lola to run near the front all day. Favorite and 1965 Indy champ Jim Clark was setting a strong pace in his brilliant red STP Lotus, but he spun twice during the race, leading to folks saying that STP stands for Spinning Takes Practice. Hill snuck past Clark on one spin though, ultimately gaining the win after another F1 great, and Hill’s teammate, Jackie Stewart’s car failed with less than 10 laps remaining.
Racers were simpler and more delicate looking, yet beautiful, in the 1960s. Now Spark Model delivers a stellar version of the red and white American Red Ball Special that Hill drove to the 1966 Indy win, in 1:43 scale.
Continue reading Die-cast: Spark 1:43 1966 Indy 500 Winner
Chevy’s Korean micro car comes up short
Chevrolet’s Spark is a confusing car.
Why? Chevy has a perfectly fine entry-level car, the Sonic. Why it felt a need to go bargain basement with its Spark, a Daewoo (remember that name?) designed four-door micro or city car seems like a decision from the pre-bankruptcy General Motors.
Let’s get out our microscope and examine Spark, which some folks insisted should be called the Speck. It’s small, riding on a 93.5-inch wheelbase and weighing just 2,269 pounds in 2LT trim, as I drove it, with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Consider that most cars now have 5- or 6-speed transmissions and you can see what road we’re headed down.
Spark is made in South Korea and comes in three trims, base, 1LT and 2LT and is aimed directly at the youngsters who simply can’t afford anything larger. Its base price is $12,245, close to its main competitor, the Nissan Versa, but you’d also compare it with Scion’s (Toyota’s entry-level youth brand) iQ or Hyundai’s Accent. Some might argue it would have competed with the Smart car a few years back too, but even the Spark offers more and is a smarter choice than the Smart. Continue reading 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT