April 19, 2014

Petrolicious finds an oasis of Chevy SS models in the desert

Filed under: , , , ,

1972 Chevelle SS

The things we are interested in while young often grow into passions later in life. Take Mark Lundquist for example, whose car collection is highlighted in a new video from Petrolicious. Out of high school in the late 1960s, he worked at a gas station and filled up many of the era's most prized muscle cars. He wanted one but couldn't afford it until years later after his kids went to college. Now, he finally has his dream collection, which includes two classic Chevrolet Super Sports.

First, there is a sleeper '65 Malibu SS with a fuel-injected 502-cubic-inch Chevy big block crate engine, making 502 horsepower and 567 pound-feet for torque hiding under the hood. The car might not scream out about its power at first glance, but it has enough muscle to hit Lundquist in the head with the sun visor whenever he gets on the throttle.

His other SS is a '72 Chevelle. He bought it bone stock with a 402-cubic-inch big block engine. Since the purchase, Lundquist redid the interior and had it painted, but he kept it otherwise as it left the factory. Both cars reside in a special garage full of automotive memorabilia in Joshua Tree, CA. If you're a fan of big 'ole American muscle, then scroll down to check out the video.

Continue reading Petrolicious finds an oasis of Chevy SS models in the desert

Petrolicious finds an oasis of Chevy SS models in the desert originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroën 2CV?

Filed under: , , ,

Screencap of Drive Channel's Chris Harris driving his favorite car, a Citroen 2CV

Most recently we've seen Chris Harris in the driver's seat of a Jaguar F-Type, a McLaren P1 prototype and a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. And outside the car, there was his indignation over the demonization of the Porsche Carrera GT after Paul Walker's death. So you might not expect him to say of a 1957 Citroën 2CV with all of 12 horsepower, "it's the antidote to all the modern stuff I drive."

That's only the beginning of the hosannas, Harris going on to call the runabout designed to carry two farmers and 50 kilograms of potatoes at 39 miles per hour "the most interesting car I have or ever will own." We could tell you why, but it sounds so much more distinguished when he does it. So you can watch him do so in the video below. Unsurprisingly, not a single drift was given that day.

Continue reading Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroën 2CV?

Chris Harris explains why the world's best car is... the Citroën 2CV? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

April 18, 2014

Vic Elford on driving the 917 in 1970 and today

Porsche 917K./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K. Photo by Terry Shea.

The Porsche 917 is unquestionably one of the all-time great racing cars. Taking advantage of a loophole through then-current FIA regulations, Porsche created a 600hp “production” car that dominated endurance racing for a couple of years before the FIA countered with new regulations that eliminated the 917′s loophole. But for two glorious years, the 917 bested all comers in endurance racing around the world, including earning the company’s first two of 16 overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen. Photo by Terry Shea.

In the most recent issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, I delved into the details of what eventually made the 917, particularly in the form of the updated, second-year 917K, such a winner. I had the opportunity to get driving impressions of the famed car from two perspectives: one from the famous racer who drove the car in its glory years and the other from an experienced vintage racer – and current owner – who has had plenty of laps in a very wide variety of vintage race cars, right up to and including 1970s and 1980s Formula 1 cars. In short, we talked to two guys with plenty of seat time telling us all about the drive.

Vic Elford at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion 2007./Photo courtesy of Porsche
Vic Elford at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion 2007. Photo courtesy of Porsche.

Vic Elford has long established his bona fides as a talented driver in virtually every type of race he entered, competing behind the wheel of everything from a Triumph TR3A to a Porsche 911 to Formula 1 and eventually to a series of Porsche prototype racers, giving the famed German maker victories in such events as the Daytona 24 Hours (the company’s first overall win in a 24-hour race in 1968), the Targa Florio and a host of other races. From rallies to hillclimbs to Formula 1 to Le Mans, Elford has done it all on four wheels. He even acquitted himself rather nicely on the biggest stage of stock car racing, placing 11th and 10th in his lone two entries at the Daytona 500, an unlikely place for an Englishman to shine.

Elford was with the 917 program from the beginning and immediately refers to the 917 as his most favorite race car whenever asked. The first-year 917 proved rather challenging and was considered dangerous by almost everyone who attempted to tame it, save for Elford.

Vic Elford at speed at Sebring in 1971 on the way to winning with teammate Gerard Larrousse./Photo by Pete Lyons courtesy of Porsche
Vic Elford at speed at Sebring in 1971 on the way to winning with teammate Gerard Larrousse. Photo by Pete Lyons courtesy of Porsche.

“The first year, 1969, it was pretty unstable,” recalls Vic, “to such a point that, for example, on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, coming to the kink, you couldn’t just lift off, you had to ease back on the throttle. At the Mulsanne corner it was even worse – you had to ease back on the throttle and then go easy and very gently onto the brakes, because if you snapped off, what happened was that aerodynamics were in their infancy then and nobody knew much about them, including even [Porsche Engineering Chief Ferdinand] Piech. What happened at high speed was that if you snapped off the throttle, the back end just sort of came up in the air and started steering the front, which at 220 MPH wasn’t really very nice.

Although not original, the Martini & Rossi livery sported by the 917 with chassis #037 mimics that of the car driven by Vic Elford at the 1971 Daytona 24 Hours, where a high-speed blowout of the right rear tire nearly destroyed the original./Photo by Terry Shea
Although not original, the Martini & Rossi livery sported by the 917 with chassis #037 mimics that of the car driven by Vic Elford at the 1971 Daytona 24 Hours, where a high-speed blowout of the right rear tire nearly destroyed the original. Photo by Terry Shea.

“Even that didn’t bother me too much, because one of the things about that very first car was that it was very unstable. Being unstable didn’t bother me as much as it did most of the other [drivers] because I came from a few years of rally driving first. One of the things about high-speed rally cars – and it’s true to this day – they are inherently unstable. Actually, that’s not quite the word. They are very stable. They are inherently basically oversteering cars. You can twiddle them around, twitch them around, do what you like with them. So, when the 917 started behaving in that way, it really didn’t bother me because I was quite used to being sideways at high speeds.”

Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen. Photo by Terry Shea.

The 12-cylinder, 580hp 917, an evolution of significant order over the previous top Porsche, the eight-cylinder 908, was so much faster and more powerful than the other cars at Le Mans in 1969, it should have walked away. And when Vic was leading the race by some 50 miles over the second-place car with just a couple of hours to go, the transaxle bellhousing cracked, ending Porsche’s attempt at winning the world’s most famous race. Even worse, the lone privateer in a 917, an Englishman named John Woolfe, died on the first lap in a fiery crash that red flagged the race for two hours.

Lamenting the loss of Woolfe, Vic describes the situation: “That was an accident looking to happen that first year. John Woolfe simply shouldn’t have been driving it. He didn’t have the experience. He didn’t have the ability to be in a car like that. He just never should have been in it.”

Porsche 917K during action at the SVRA event at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K during action at the SVRA event at Watkins Glen. Photo by Terry Shea.

With an admitted “photographic memory for roads,” Vic explains the situation on a difficult, high speed section at La Sarthe: “White House in those days was a very, very tricky combination of corners. After Arnage corner, there is a long straight, which was already there and then there was a left and a long right and then another right, leading into what are now the Porsche curves. But, at that point, the old track – before the Porsche curves, you used to go straight on. This was just two-lane national roads. We used to go over a little hump-backed bridge, in fifth gear, doing around 200 MPH. We go over a little bridge, change down to fourth gear while we were in the air. Then there would be probably about a 60 degree right, still very fast in fourth gear, as opposed to fifth, at around 180 MPH, and then a tighter left-hand corner through what was then known as White House corner or Maison Blanche.

“Just one, little white house on the right, absolutely at the edge, three feet from the edge of the track. As we used to go through there – accelerating through there – the car would start to slide just a touch. A little bit of opposite lock, not much, out toward the White House on the right and then before we got to the edge of the road, we would give it a little twitch on the wheel and stop the slide so that it would then start to come slightly back the other way.”

Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K at speed at Watkins Glen. Photo by Terry Shea.

Woolfe was out of his league, having gotten off to a good start, running with the leaders, but simply unable to control the slide and navigate the corner at White House. But as Vic points out, “Nobody else ever died in a 917. I have a theory about this. I think one of the reasons is that, by the time we got to 1970 and then into 1971 later on as well, the car had such phenomenal performance, that there were very, very few drivers who were capable of driving it to its limit, which meant that the more normal drivers, whatever they got to, there was always plenty left in the car. So, the car was basically under stressed.”

“There were really only a handful of us who could to the limit. There were Jo [Siffert], Pedro [Rodriguez] and me from the start. And then I suppose one would include Brian [Redman] and Derek [Bell], when they came into driving them later on. There was really nobody else. Nobody could drive it to the limit like we could, especially the short one. The short tail one, you could push that to unbelievable limits.”

The upswept, truncated rear tail section of the 917K--the feature that tamed the beast--was almost accidentally discovered by the Wyer team during post-season testing in 1969./Photo by Terry Shea
The upswept, truncated rear tail section of the 917K – the feature that tamed the beast – was almost accidentally discovered by the Wyer team during post-season testing in 1969. Photo by Terry Shea.

During post-season testing in 1969, Porsche, with the help of the John Wyer team (the same guys that won the 1968 and 1969 Le Mans 24 with an old, outdated Ford GT40 as privateers), significantly redesigned the 917′s bodywork, creating the upswept truncated tail that became the signature feature of the 917K, a car that started dominating in 1970.

“It was a beautiful car to drive,” says Vic, “absolutely beautiful, right from the word ‘go’ in Argentina, when it became officially a 917K for the first time. It was, from then on, just lovely to drive. With the long-tail car, you had to be very, very precise. With the short-tail car, you could move it around a bit. If you made a mistake going into the corner, it didn’t really matter much, because you could get it a little bit sideways and could sort it out. But with the long tail, once you committed to a corner, you couldn’t change your mind, so you had to get it right first time. You couldn’t slide the car, move it around – it just didn’t like it.”

Greg Galdi with his 917K between turns eight and nine on
Greg Galdi with his 917K between turns eight and nine on “The Boot” at Watkins Glen. Photo by Terry Shea.

Although he is not likely to slide his 917K around, Greg Galdi does have plenty of experience with hustling vintage iron (and aluminum and magnesium and…) around the track, having campaigned everything from an Lotus 11 to a Lotus 23 to a trio of Caterham Sevens he built himself to a Lola T-70 to a trio of Formula 1 cars powered by both 3.0-liter Cosworth DFV and the later 3.5-liter DFZ engines. He has driven sports cars, such as the factory BMW M3s that had great results in top-level U.S. sports car racing in the late 1990s and then eventually moved up to a Porsche 908 and later a 956 before stepping into the 917, which he has enjoyed at such famed tracks as Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, and Road America.

While he doesn’t have the chops of Vic Elford, Greg remains a successful businessman who has taken the opportunity to pursue a hobby plenty of us would indulge in given the means and the time. Also, to Greg’s credit, he remains humble enough to realize that, despite all of his experience behind the wheel, his driving remains a hobby and not a profession as it was for Vic. When Greg gets behind the wheel, even as he pursues faster laps, he does so with the knowledge that his ability to put food on the table is not predicated by his performance and reputation at the track.

Greg Galdi drives his Porsche 917K on the streets of downtown Watkins Glen during the annual festival that closes the roads and allows the vintage racers to take laps of the original course run on the streets./Photo by Terry Shea
Greg Galdi drives his Porsche 917K on the streets of downtown Watkins Glen during the annual festival that closes the roads and allows the vintage racers to take laps of the original course run on the streets. Photo by Terry Shea.

But he does give us a unique perspective about what it’s like to drive a state-of-the-art 1970s race car in 2014. When Greg bought the car, he had it delivered to Laguna Seca, during the 2011 Rennsport Reunion event. His first familiarization with the 917K, and its 600hp flat-12, were at the famed northern California track. “I had driven Laguna several times,” says Greg, “and I also have an iRacing simulator that I use, which makes such a difference. So, I get out there, within a few laps, I’m up to speed. As opposed to normally, it probably takes me a session and a half. And that’s precious time that you get to enjoy yourself and work up your skills.

“The view out of the front of that car is terrific. You see right in front of you. The nose really drops off, so you see really well. You’re pretty tight in there because it’s a pretty small car. It’s really meant for smaller people than I am. It helps a lot if you’re 5’9″. Vic Elford must have been scrunched up in there. Something else that has happened is that the helmets have gotten thicker. I think back in the old days they probably weren’t very thick. Now, it’s at least a couple of inches, which you lose all around.

Porsche 917K during action at the SVRA event at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea
Porsche 917K during action at the SVRA event at Watkins Glen./Photo by Terry Shea.

“Boy, there’s no feeling like coming down that straightaway and pressing that pedal down. It’s got a very long travel and you push that down and you just feel that torque propel you up that hill. Coming up that hill and making that left at the Corkscrew [at Laguna Seca], I don’t care what you’re in, that’s an exciting turn. The road drops out from under you.”

When I asked Greg how it compared to driving the other vintage racers he has owned, he responds, “I would say ‘comparatively easy.’ It’s a car that demands respect because of its horsepower, which is somewhere around 600. The car is about 1,800 pounds and you have some big, fat tires on it, but they’re grooved, so you’ve got to give the torque some respect. But, boy, it’s a great chassis and it’s very communicative to the driver and it tells you what it’s doing and it’s real fast! It really scoots along with all of that torque. It just moves along.

“I drive this car more like 50 or 60 percent [of its limits]. The Formula 1 cars, with the exception of the absolute top speed, I’ve probably gotten a quite a bit out of the [McLaren] M23, that it has to give. I would say 70, 80 percent. If I have peaks above that, it’s a particular track on a particular day with a nice, fresh set of tires and everything’s working right and you’ve had some time.

“But I watch Bobby Rahal jump into anything and that immediately becomes the fastest car in the pack. There’s a reason why professionals are professionals. They had two things: They have a tremendous amount of time dedicated to training and honing their skills. And another thing is, they have a lot of skills. I don’t have either of those. I don’t have a tremendous amount of time that I spend with the car relative to a professional. I would have had to start when I was about six or so in go-karts, like most of these guys did, to develop those skills. These are early cars. There was a high risk involved in these cars. There’s not much impact protection. In many of these cars I drive, my feet are in front of the axle line and things like that. There’s no championship money. There are no prizes. There is no sponsorship coming. The best thing I can do is drive the car back into the trailer at the end of the weekend and I’ve had a good time and exposed some people to an era that they otherwise would never get to see.”

The June 2014 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, which features the above 917K, is on newsstands now.

Wall, South Dakota, 1960s

WallDrugSD_1000

Where the hell is this place? Right on Main Street in downtown Wall, South Dakota, and Wall Drug appears to be one of the most popular postcard photo locations in the world, so it’s a surprise that we have yet to run across it in our carspotting series. The above photo of the store, from sometime in the 1960s, came to us from ForwardLook.eu, which attributed it to Bill Hustead, presumably the son of founders Ted and Dorothy Hustead, while we found the below photo from sometime in the 1950s floating around on the Internet. What do you see here?

WallDrugSD_800

The Craziest, Coolest Mustangs That Never Were

Ford released a trove of drawings and photos from its archives, and we dug through them all to offer the craziest and coolest Mustangs that never were.






April 17, 2014

Your iPhone Will Be the Center Console in Volvo’s New Cars

Today at the New York International Auto Show, Volvo provided a live demo of how Apple’s CarPlay system -- a newly developed in-car interface for the company’s iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c -- will work in the company’s upcoming vehicles.






The Miata Celebrates 25 Years of Brilliance With a Limited Edition

Hard to believe the utterly amazing Mazda MX-5 Miata is 25 years old, which means it's time for the obligatory anniversary edition.






The Mustang at 50: Inside the Evolution of an American Icon

Fifty years ago today, Ford unveiled the Mustang. It was a sleek and sporty car, named for a fighter plane and slightly European in flavor. Company brass hoped it might be something of a hit and expected to sell 100,000 of them in the first year.






The Secret Sauce to a Mustang’s Design Is Still Clay and Tape

The heart of the car-design process still resides in the artistry used decades ago.






April 16, 2014

How to Put a Mustang on Top of the Empire State Building

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, Ford recreated a publicity stunt it pulled in 1964 when it placed a Mustang convertible on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.






April 15, 2014

KW Coilovers for the new BMW M235i and all BMW 2-series

KW is pleased to announce the release of three new coilover kits for the BMW M235i and BMW 2-series. Depending if you choose Variant 1, 2 or 3 the rebound and compression damping can be altered individually to suit the driver’s needs. The stainless steel KW coilover bodies are threaded for a continuous, German TÜV-approved lowering of up to 50mm. The adaptive KW DDC coilovers with an optional smart phone app control and the KW Clubsport systems for the BMW 2-series coupe are also in development and will be available soon.

low_KW_V3_Fahraufnahme_02_F22_BMW2er_

The new BMW 2-series is already designed for fantastic driving dynamics and is very popular for BMW enthusiasts around the world. In order to fine tune your driving experience KW has developed three different coilovers for street use. The KW Variant 3 kit has independently adjustable compression and rebound damping and is the ideal choice for the performance orientated 2-series owner. Rebound damping is adjustable with 16-clicks and allows for a firmer ride to account for a change of wheel-/tyre combination while the compression damping is adjustable independently with 12-clicks of the adjustment wheel. When combined the driving dynamics of the BMW 2-series Coupé can be tuned to suit the drivers’ requirements. KW equips the Variant 3 with damper valve technology similar to the KW Competition 2-way coilovers for optimal performance. Knowledge gained from KW’s BMW Z4 GT3 development programme flows into the KW street applications. This YouTube link gives a closer look at the KW valve technology:

KW’s Variant 2 offers adjustable rebound with 16 adjustment positions while the KW Variant 1 kit comes with pre-set dampers. All KW coilover kits are setup on KW’s in house suspension dyno before shipping to ensure fantastic performance straight from the box. KW V1, V2 and V3 coilover kits lower the 2 series a German TÜV approved 50mm on the front and rear axle on all models except the BMW M235i which is already lower from factory. For this model, the German TÜV-tested adjustment range is between 10 and 35mm on the front axle, and 5 to 35mm on the drive axle.

low_KW_V3_Edelstahlfederbeine_F22_BMW2er low_KW_V3_Hinterachsdaempfer_F22_BMW2er low_KW_V3_Lieferumfang_F22_BMW2er low_KW_V3_Trapenzgewinde_F22_BMW2er low_KW_V3_Vorderachsfederbein_F22_BMW2er low_KW_Standaufnahme_F22_BMW2er

The post KW Coilovers for the new BMW M235i and all BMW 2-series appeared first on BMW Tuning Mag.

Eibach Suspension Components for the BMW 2 series Coupé

With the new 2 series Coupé, BMW draws upon an old legend, the famous 2002 from the 1970s. With a number of specially adapted Eibach Suspension Products you can now sharpen the car’s profile even further.

The Pro-Kit Performance Springs lower the centre of gravity, which makes for better handling and sharpens the coupé contours. Alternatively the Sportline Sport Performance Springs are available, which lower the centre of gravity even further. Both variants will soon also be offered as the B12 Pro-Kit and B12 Sportline complete suspension packages which include specially adapted Bilstein mono-tube gas pressure shock absorbers.

Currently in development and available soon, are the Eibach Pro-Street-S Coil-Overs, which will allow individual height adjustment.

The Eibach Anti-Roll-Kit Performance Sway Bars can be combined with all suspension packages and will reduce the 2 series Coupé’s body roll tendency whilst contributing to the dynamic handling.

To round off the set-up further in visual terms, Eibach has available its aluminum Pro-Spacer Wheel Spacers, which make the compact BMW look even racier.

All Eibach suspension components, which are available through authorised dealers, are provided with a high-quality corrosion protection and are TÜV-certified.

The post Eibach Suspension Components for the BMW 2 series Coupé appeared first on BMW Tuning Mag.

UPDATED: Deal Would Allow Tennessee Bus Rapid Transit Project to Proceed

Tennessee lawmakers have approved a bill banning the construction of bus rapid transit anywhere in the state.






April 14, 2014

A Hideous-Beautiful Electric Motorcycle Inspired by Drug Use

We’ve seen a lot of strange motorcycles over the years, but this crazy electric motorcycle from Johammer J1 is by far the strangest yet.