09 Oct

Porsche 962 to be honored at Amelia Island Concours in March, 2019

The Amelia Island Concours will celebrate the car’s 35th anniversary in 2019

962-1Amelia Island, Fla. – Racing is in Porsche’s blood and over the past 70 years the German sports car manufacturer has created some incredible racers; the 904, 917 and GT1 to name but a few. However, one of its creations stands as one of the most successful in all of motorsport and will be celebrated at the 2019 Amelia Island Concours. That car is, of course, the Porsche 962.

Next year the Porsche 962 will be 35 years-old, hard to believe when it still looks the part today. The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is to honor the prototype racing car that dominated America’s IMSA series. In that formula, the 962 won no less than 54 races with 1985 being its golden year, taking the top step at every event bar one. The 962 also won the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hour race three times.

The 962 was born out of necessity as the Group C Porsche 956, that had won Le Mans in 1982, did not comply with IMSA safety regulations. This issue led Porsche to evolve the design of its first monocoque racer and create the compliant 962. When international rules changed in 1985, the 962C ended up replacing the 956 globally.

962-2

Porsche’s 962 was ahead of its time with its extensive use of ground effects, something that kept it competitive for an unusually long period. Star drivers such as Mario Andretti and his son Michael, Indy 500 winner Al Unser and his son Al Jr., Derek Bell, and AJ Foyt have all claimed victory behind the wheel of a 962.

An amazing fact is that with victory at Le Mans as well as Daytona in 1986 and ’87, the 962 had technically been undefeated in 96 hours of endurance racing. Between its first IMSA win in 1984 and the final competitive victory in 1999, Porsche’s 962 tallied 142 victories and won 35 international championships.

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws more than 300 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. The 24th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2019. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

Courtesy Tyler Heatley, autoclassics.com

14 Aug

Lime Rock Park Historic Festival’s Honored Guest Brings $40M Bugatti

Peter Mullin to be the Honored Guest & Collector at Historic Festival 36, Bringing With Him the Fabled “World’s Most Expensive Car”

1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic famous as “World’s Most Expensive Car”

1936 Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic famous as “World’s Most Expensive Car”

LAKEVILLE, Conn. — Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance and the Gathering of the Marques, to be held on Sept. 2, 2018, as part of Lime Rock Park’s 36th annual Historic Festival, will be one of the largest showing of motorcars in the Northeast. According to organizers, more than 1,000 motorcars and motorcycles are expected to be showcased along the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park track, including more than 50 Bugattis—a record setting amount.

Held over Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2018, the festival is the only North American classic car race and concours held in the same location. Historic Festival Chairman Murray Smith explained, “No other event in the U.S. combines a first-class Concours d’Elegance with quality vintage competition on the same property, all on the same weekend. This year, the registrations have been impressive and we fully expect to have over 1,000 vehicles on display.”

Sunday in the Park is segmented into two parts: the Concours d’ Elegance, a showcase of nearly 300 outstanding and rare entries that will be judged with class winners honored during an award ceremony, and the Gathering of the Marques with 800-plus vintage and historic cars of all types.

Peter W. Mullin, the American businessman and philanthropist, will be the honored guest and collector for the Historic Festival 36. Mullin is the founder of the M Financial Group and chairman of its subsidiary, M Financial Holdings. Additionally, he serves as the chairman of Mullin Barens Sanford Financial. He is the founder and patron of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.

Peter was born in South Pasadena, California near Los Angeles, California, and after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he founded Mullin Consulting in Downtown Los Angeles in 1969. He served as its chief executive officer until 2003 and as its chairman until 2006.

Mullin co-founded the M Financial Group with Mark Solomon, Carl Mammel, and Eli Morgan in 1978. He serves as the chairman of its subsidiary, M Financial Holdings. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, it offers life insurance and other financial services to “the ultra-affluent and corporate markets.”

An avid car collector, Mullin established the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, in 2010. Additionally, he serves as the president of the American Bugatti Club. He is also a member of the Bugatti Trust.

1936 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster

1936 Bugatti Type 43 Roadster

As well as being Honored Guest and Collector, Mullin will be racing one of his Bugatti’s during the Bugatti Grand Prix portion of the Festival and will be bringing with him four show cars, including Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic – which was described as “the world’s most expensive car” in 2010 when it was purchased by Mullin. The $30 to $40 million dollar car was purchased by Mullin in 2010 and is on display at the Petersen Museum in California.

Additional multimillion-dollar Bugattis featured at Sunday in the Park will include the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff Drop Head Coupe from the Ralph Lauren collection as well as the Type 59 Grand Prix Bugatti of Greg Manocherian. “These Bugatti’s will be making rare and much-anticipated appearances,” Smith said.

More information about Peter Mullin will be found in The Daily Rev, the program guide available during the Historic Fest. Learn more about Lime Rock Park’s at Historic Festival 36.

1931 Bugatti Type 49

1931 Bugatti Type 49

To read more about Peter Mullins’ Bugatti’s to be featured at Historic Festival 36, upload this document overview of each vehicle.

Courtesy Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 36

27 Jul

Teens Turning Wrenches – Summer Auto Technology Program at Brian McMahon H.S.

By Robert Koch, Norwalk Hour

 

Norwalk, Conn.  — Learning has been a hands-on experience for a dozen incoming freshmen enrolled in a summer automotive technology course at Brien McMahon High School.

“I’ve always liked cars,” said student Dalia Fouquart. “I’ve learned about the engine of a car and the parts in the engine. It’s nice I get some hands-on activity. I’m actually building an engine here.”

New England Auto Museum partnered with BMHS to offer the summer enrichment course, which began July 3 and wrapped up on July 25.

“One of our main focuses is education,” said Michael Scheidel, NEAM founder. “And with the dire need for mechanics and hands-on people of all disciplines in the automotive industry, it makes sense.”

The course is part of an overall high school transition program for arriving freshmen, provided by the Carver Foundation and Norwalk Public Schools. The classes are co-sponsored by Norwalk-based Black Bridge Motors, and conducted by Black Bridge owner Scott Gilbert and chief mechanic Stan Diguiseppi Jr. in the former auto shop classroom at BMHS.

Scott Gilbert and Stan Diguiseppi Jr. talking to BMHS students about the importance of the mechanic’s toolbox at Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk

Scott Gilbert and Stan Diguiseppi Jr. talking to BMHS students about the importance of the mechanic’s toolbox at Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk

Students enrolled in the four-week course have met three times a week. Each student has assembled a plastic, scale model V-8 engine — provided by NEAM — and learned about the engine block, crankshaft, heads, pistons and other components.

“They’re going to get plenty of any academic focus through the traditional high school system,” said Gilbert, also interim CEO/president of NEAM. “What we wanted to do is provide a hands-on experience where they’re actually tangibly building something from start to finish and also layering on an academic blanket on top of that.”

Coursework is supplemented by guest speakers from the automobile business talking to the students about career paths and job opportunities.

The students recently visited Black Bridge Motors’ shop in South Norwalk to see actual cars under restoration. Before completing the course, each student will have given a presentation showing what he or she has learned.

BMHS Auto Technology class student admiring Black Bridge Motor’s shop truck equipped with a 550 hp Corvette LT-1 power plant

BMHS Auto Technology class student admiring Black Bridge Motor’s shop truck equipped with a 550 hp Corvette LT-1 power plant

On a recent afternoon, they stepped outside of the classroom of BMHS to view a sleek dark blue 1965 Shelby Daytona replica owned by Mark Schlegel of Norwalk. Schlegel, president of Rallye For Pancreatic Cancer, Inc., walked them through the origin of the classic race car designed to compete with European Ferraris.

“The whole concept of the car was to beat Ferrari at their own game (on) the longer tracks of Europe where they were much faster instead of the short courses that were here in America,” Schlegel said.

And that the Shelby Daytona did, winning the International Automobile Federation’s World SportsCar Championship in 1965.

Mikhail Moss, a student in the summer enrichment course, admired the car’s colors, lines and rear spoiler after stepping out of the driver’s seat. The summer course has given him and the other students a formal understanding of how automobiles work.

“Basically, I like cars and I just wanted to see how these engines work,” Moss said. Beforehand “I really knew nothing.”

BMHS Auto Technology class students get to sit in a vintage Nash Metropolitan recently upgraded with a modern Mazda Miata engine

BMHS Auto Technology class students get to sit in a vintage Nash Metropolitan recently upgraded with a modern Mazda Miata engine

BMHS Principal Scott Hurwitz said the school hadn’t used its auto shop for automotive learning for at least 15 years. That now has changed. He plans to bring the course back as part of next year’s summer enrichment program while looking for opportunities to expand automotive learning into the regular school year.

“What I’d really love to do is to look how we can keep the relationship during the school year,” Hurwitz said. “I don’t know how that would look, but definitely getting students down to Black Bridge Motors to see what they do. It’s a vision of a potential future career path that they maybe don’t even know exits.”

Black Bridge Motors and New England Auto Museum will be available to provide help. The museum is eyeing several Norwalk locations, including part of the large office building at 25 Van Zant St., as its future home.

Article reproduced by permission

14 Nov

Fall Attractions: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport at South Carolina CCA Museum

bmw1

Greer, South Carolina – In June, the BMW Car Club of America Foundation opened its first big public exhibition at the Museum & Archive near the BMW factory in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. The exhibition is entitled Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport and consists of 22 historic (and iconic) BMW race machines in the building – From the BMW 328 roadster than won at Zandvoort in 1939, to the Z4 GTLM car that raced in 2014.

And of course, most things in between, including the racing CSL’s, a TI/SA, the LeMans winning V12 LMR, M1 ProCar, David Hobbs’ ridiculous M1-C Prototype, Formula 1, Formula 2, Formula BMW, the first BMW to ever win a sanctioned race in North America (a Miller-Norburn 2002), and the list goes on. Opening day for the exhibition was sold out, with 400+ in attendance.

bmw2

This particular exhibition will be in place through at January 5, 2018. For 2018 – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 2002’s launch in the United States- BMW CCA will have a blow-out exhibition on all things 2002.

The BMW Performance Center is directly next door and the plant for the X-vehicles is directly across the street, so visitors can spend some time at those locations as well. BMW enthusiasts and motor racing fans in general on their way south this fall will find a visit to this exhibition well worth the trip.

The BMW CCA Foundation is a nonprofit organization, and exists only through the generosity of its donors. Donations are welcome and will help to sustain the CCA Foundation Museum & Archive. CCAF donors also help fund Tire Rack Street Survival, a national car-control training program for teenage drivers.

The Museum & Archive currently preserves about 45,000 BMW-related items, from rare cars to engines to art. It’s the largest such collection in the Americas. And if you’re a member of the BMW Car Club of America, it’s being collected and maintained on your behalf. Come see it!

Public Hours
No registration required, just drop in!

Monday – Friday
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Weekday Admission Prices
$10.00 – Adults
$5.00 – BMW CCA Members (with proof of membership)
$5.00 – BMW Employees (with id)
FREE – Children 12 and under

Courtesy BMW Blog
Article by Horatiu Boeriu
Article photos by Jon van Woerden Photography

More Photos from Heroes of Bavaria: 75 Years of BMW Motorsport

1973 E9 3.0 CSL, winner of the 1976 Daytona 24 Hour race with drivers Peter Gregg, Brian Redman & John Fitzpatrick

1973 E9 3.0 CSL, winner of the 1976 Daytona 24 Hour race with drivers
Peter Gregg, Brian Redman & John Fitzpatrick

1975 E9 3.5 CSL Grp 5 and 1977 E21 320i Turbo

1975 E9 3.5 CSL Grp 5 and 1977 E21 320i Turbo

1936 328 Roadster, overall winner of 1939 GP of Amsterdam later hidden in Holland during WW II

1936 328 Roadster, overall winner of 1939 GP of Amsterdam later hidden in
Holland during WW II

Radical 1981 M1/C driven by David Hobbs and Marc Surer

Radical 1981 M1/C driven by David Hobbs and Marc Surer

1994 E34 M5 IMSA Supercar Champion with driver David Donahue

1994 E34 M5 IMSA Supercar Champion with driver David Donahue

2000 Formula 1 BMW-Williams FW22-02 piloted by Ralf Schumacher to 5th place in the championship

2000 Formula 1 BMW-Williams FW22-02 piloted by
Ralf Schumacher to 5th place in the championship

1999 V-12 LMR overall victor at LeMans 24 Hour with drivers Yannick Dalmas. Pier Luigi Martini and Joachim Winklehock

1999 V-12 LMR overall victor at LeMans 24 Hour with drivers
Yannick Dalmas. Pier Luigi Martini and Joachim Winklehock

1996 McLaren F1 GTR finished in 8th place at LeMans 24 Hour driven by Nelson Piquet, Danny Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto

1996 McLaren F1 GTR finished in 8th place at LeMans 24 Hour driven by
Nelson Piquet, Danny Sullivan and Johnny Cecotto

Photos by Nick Ord

25 Sep

British museum relaunches apprentice program, and the first one is female

Emily Leese lands apprentice training at Britain's National Motor Museum  Beaulieu Motor Museum photos

Emily Leese lands apprentice training at Britain’s National Motor Museum
Beaulieu Motor Museum photos

Beaulieu, UK – Forty years ago, Doug Hill, now manager and chief engineer of the National Motor Museum in England, was the last graduate of the museum’s apprentice program. To keep alive the skills needed to preserve the museum’s 250-vehicle car collection, he’s relaunched the program — and its first apprentice is 18-year-old Emily Leese.

She had been a museum volunteer since she was 14. She has spent the last two years studying engineering at Sparsholt College. In addition to training with the five-person staff in the museum’s workshop, she will spend time with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood, working on Level 2 and 3 diplomas in classic vehicle restoration.

“I think I fit in quite well so far and all the guys have been really good,” Emily said in the museum’s news release. “I definitely feel like part of the team.

emily2

“I get involved in whatever projects are being worked on, from cleaning and polishing to putting things back together. Recently, I helped to re-fit the engine to our 1930 ‘Blower’ Bentley.

“I don’t know why I love cars so much, but I have ever since I was about 3 years old. Fixing things is my passion. I was always playing with toy cars when I was a child and wanted to be an AA (British equivalent of Triple A) lady! Even then, I decided that I wanted to have the knowledge to fix a broken-down car.”

The Beaulieu apprentice program is overseen by the Heritage Skills Academy and its engineering apprenticeships program, with funding from Beaulieu One Hundred group members, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and others, including the Worshipful Company of Coachbuilders and Coach Harness Makers of London, and with equipment donated by Draper Tools.

You can follow Emily’s work on her blog on the museum’s website.

Article courtesy Larry Edsall of ClassicCar.com

15 Jan

Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to feature Movie Cars class on March 12

The ‘Rain Man’ 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible restored by Wayne Carini Photo by Neil Rashba, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

The ‘Rain Man’ 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible restored by Wayne Carini
Photo by Neil Rashba, courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Amelia Island, Fla. – One appeal of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (and trust us, there are many) is the diversity of cars selected to appear each March. From the “Cars You Never Knew Existed” class (featuring automotive eccentricities like a four-door Porsche 928, or the aircraft-inspired 1948 Tasco prototype) to famous racing cars and CCCA Full Classics, the show offers something for everyone to appreciate. For 2017, the show will expand its range to include cars seen on the silver screen, starring in a new Movie Cars class.
Loads of cars have appeared in Hollywood films, but only a select number of them are considered stars in their own right. These are the cars that play leading roles, the ones we remember long after we’ve left the movie theater or drive-in. The special category was inspired by the popularity of the 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, featured in the Academy Award-winning 1988 feature film Rain Main. It was displayed by Connecticut-based restorer Wayne Carini in the Post War American Production Class at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Owned by Rain Main director Barry Levinson, the Buick will be making a repeat appearance at the 2017 show.
In the words of Concours Chairman Bill Warner “When Wayne Carini brought the 1949 Rain Man Buick Roadmaster to Amelia last year it triggered something important. Memories of special cars and movies often frame the central moments of our emotional lives. Usually they resurrect happy memories. Those feelings and memories are precisely what we’re shooting for with the Movie Cars class.”

Harry Yeaggy’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5, as seen in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’ Photo courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Harry Yeaggy’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5, as seen in ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball’
Photo courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Perhaps the best-known car to appear will be the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, driven by Sean Connery (as James Bond) in Goldfinger and Thunderball. As the most astute Bond fans know, two DB5s were originally built for the filming of 1964’s Goldfinger. One, the “Effects Car,” came with the full assemblage of gadgetry seen in the movie, making it too heavy and slow to drive. A second car, the “Road Car,” was built for the driving scenes, but gadgets were later added before the car was used in the filming of 1965’s Thunderball. Additionally, two other DB5s, known as the “Press Cars,” were constructed for promotional appearances.
The Effects Car was stolen from a Florida aircraft hangar in 1997, and has never been recovered. That leaves the Road Car as the sole surviving screen-featured James Bond DB5, and it’s this car, now owned by collector Harry Yeaggy, that will be appearing at Amelia Island.

Elvis Presley with the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, which has been restored to as-raced condition with a silver livery Photo courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Elvis Presley with the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, which has been restored to as-raced condition with a silver livery Photo courtesy Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Other cars to be shown include the 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider from 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair; the 1969 Porsche 917K, in Gulf livery, from 1971’s Le Mans; the 1958 Chevrolet Impala from 1973’s American Graffiti, recently restored by owner Ray Evernham; the 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder from 1976’s Gumball Rally; the 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Riviera Salamanca, from 1954’s Sabrina; the 1959 Corvette XP-87 Stingray Racer, campaigned in SCCA competition by Dr. Dick Thompson and later driven by Elvis Presley in 1967’s Clambake; and one of three Woodill Wildfires to appear in 1954’s Johnny Dark, now owned by Forgotten Fiberglass’s Geoff Hacker.

The Woodill Wildfire is pushed out of the garage in ‘Johnny Dark’ Photo courtesy Geoff Hacker

The Woodill Wildfire is pushed out of the garage in ‘Johnny Dark’
Photo courtesy Geoff Hacker

The 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place on March 10-12 at the Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carleton, Amelia Island. For additional information, or to purchase tickets, visit AmeliaConcours.org.

Poster for the 1954 film ‘Johnny Dark’ | Archive

Poster for the 1954 film ‘Johnny Dark’ | Archive

Article courtesy Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Motornews
About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $3.0 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities. The 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 10-12, 2017. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org

17 Nov

It’s a high-octane night with NBC’s F1 Racing commentators on November 28 at The Ridgefield Playhouse

Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett reporting from the Monaco Grand Prix in May  Photo NBCSN

Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett reporting from the Monaco Grand Prix in May
Photo NBCSN

Ridgefield, Conn. – After a sold out evening in 2015, NBC’s F1 Racing commentary team are set to return to The Ridgefield Playhouse. Danbury Porsche will present Inside F1: 2016 Year in Review with Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 p.m. For 65 years, F1 racing, the pinnacle of motorsport, has thrilled audiences all over the world. Drawing on a rich heritage that has a global resonance associated with precision, excellence, innovation, bravery, and no shortage of glamour, it has introduced us to iconic legends, fueled some of the greatest rivalries in sport and provided high-octane theatre-on-wheels.

Outside of the Olympic Games and the Soccer World Cup, Formula One is the most watched sport in the world. This up close and personal night will take you behind the scenes of the upscale race weekends on the day after the final race of the season! This multimedia event, including behind the scenes footage, will review the 2016 season and take you into the world of F1 with insight, humor and some rare stories. VIP tickets include a pre-event cocktail party from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., meet and greet with the commentators and a signed limited edition picture. This exciting night is partially underwritten by 109 Cheese & Wine and Moffly Media.

Formula 1 racing’s popularity has grown many times over in recent years. It isn’t that hard to see the appeal that the sport has to fans of all ages. F1 racing has gone from being an isolated sport for wealthy people mainly in Europe to an international phenomenon. Formula One is coming off its most-watched season ever for a single cable network, averaging 385,000 viewers for its 12 races on NBCSN.

For tickets ($50, VIP Meet and Greet Add-on $50), call or visit the box office at The Ridgefield Playhouse, (203) 438-5795. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a nonprofit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT; www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org

Courtesy Lisa Barrett, Ridgefields Hamlet Hub

Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Niki Rosberg have been locked in a battle for the championship all season, including this last lap collision in Austria in July  Photo Daily Mail

Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Niki Rosberg have been locked in a battle for the championship all season, including this last lap collision in Austria in July
Photo Daily Mail

09 Oct

New Clive Cussler Book on Classic Automobiles Available October 25th

Bestselling Author Clive Cussler with his automobile collection Photo G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Bestselling Author Clive Cussler with his automobile collection
Photo G.P. Putnam’s Sons

New York, N.Y. – Clive Cussler, the undisputed master of thriller fiction and author of five New York Times-bestselling series, has long had a passion for classic automobiles: he gravitates toward everything from majestic town cars that conjure up images of evening gowns and tuxedos at elegant soirees to powerful speedsters and sports cars that showcase the cutting-edge technology of their day. Not only are these cars built for the practical use of transportation—they are built for excitement and the insatiable rush one feels when he or she hears the engine’s growl. In short, these cars are built to thrill. In BUILT TO THRILL (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; October 25, 2016; $60.00), Cussler gives readers an exclusive look into his private life and his stunning collection of rare, classic automobiles. Picking up in 1948, where his previous book Built for Adventure left off, BUILT TO THIRLL will excite Cussler fans and car collectors alike.

In striking full-color photographs and engaging commentary, fans of Clive Cussler’s five bestselling series can explore the personal automotive collection of the literary master of mechanical marvels. Readers will explore the unique history of each model and the story of how it was found and restored—not to mention notes on where some of these dazzling machines have appeared in his novels. BUILT TO THRILL captures it all—fins, fenders, and furious horsepower—and runs from the forties through the fifties and sixties.

1951 Daimler “Green Goddess” Drophead Coupe on display at the Cussler Museum in Arvada, CO Photo British V8

1951 Daimler “Green Goddess” Drophead Coupe on display at the Cussler Museum in Arvada, CO
Photo British V8

Highlighting the new book is the 1951 Daimler DE-36 “Green Goddess” Drophead Coupe, which appeared as a concept at the 1948 Earls Court Motor Show that very nearly defied description. Over 20 feet long and almost seven feet wide, built on a limousine chassis, the drophead coupe in the Daimler booth tipped the scales at over 6,000 pounds. Ultimately, the concept’s jade green hue delivered a nickname – the Green Goddess – and a total of seven examples, all bodied by Hooper & Company, were built. Only four of the original seven cars are known to exist, one of which is in Mr. Cussler’s collection. Besides its enormous proportions, the car featured many unique luxury touches for its time including a power convertible top and tonneau cover and four wheel automatic jacking system. Dirk Pitt drove this “Green Goddess” in the book Cyclops.

1952 Meteor Special roadster in the Cussler Collection Photo Forgotten Fiberglass

1952 Meteor Special roadster in the Cussler Collection
Photo Forgotten Fiberglass

The Meteor Special roadster was a specially constructed fiberglass-bodied roadster with a custom frame. It was designed by Dick Jones in Southern California in late 1952; Jones was the archetypical California hot-rodder, designer and engineer. His first Meteor prototype was shown in 1953 at the Petersen Motorama in Los Angeles; it was featured by both Road & Track and Car Craft magazines. Mr. Cussler’s car is powered by a formidable four-carburetor 1952 DeSoto Firedome Hemi and it is very fast. Dirk Pitt drives the Meteor in the novel Trojan Odyssey.

1958 Buick Series 700 Limited Convertible Photo Cussler Museum

1958 Buick Series 700 Limited Convertible
Photo Cussler Museum

The 1958 Buick Limited was the heftiest, highest priced and most opulent monster ever to hit the streets in the fifties. Mr. Cussler’s example, with a Continental kit, stretches 22 feet. It is ostentatious magnificence in the first degree. The Limited was produced for only one year and eight hundred and thirty-nine were built and only about twenty are known to exist today. Visitors to the Clive Cussler Museum in Arvada, Colorado will see the Buick displayed with other gargantuan 50’s convertibles including a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, a 1958 Chrysler Imperial and a 1958 Edsel Corsair.. The museum is open between May and September, and ticket and schedule information is available at www.cusslermuseum.com

Clive Cussler has been heralded by fans and reviewers alike for his incredible ability to bring to life real-world feats of engineering, from the inner workings of a train in the early 1900s to the sophisticated submarines of present day. In BUILT TO THRILL, Cussler shares his special affection for classic cars—just like his hero, Dirk Pitt. Car enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this beautiful and exciting addition to the Clive Cussler canon.

Article courtesy G.P. Putnam’s Sons

17 Aug

N.A.R.T.’s 60th Anniversary Celebration; Special Movie Screening in Norwalk September 28th

Paul Newman with Luigi Chinetti Jr. at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1974 Archived Photo

Paul Newman with N.A.R.T Team Manager Dick Fritz at Bonneville Salt Flats in 1974 Archived Photo

Norwalk, Conn. – On Wednesday, September 28th at 6:30 PM, the New England Auto Museum will host a special one-night celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.) featuring film presentations on the Ferrari team’s Bonneville speed record attempts in 1974 and the development of the Ferrari N.A.R.T. Spyder at the Stepping Stones Multimedia Gallery in Norwalk. The goal is to raise funds for the nonprofit New England Auto Museum, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a permanent facility for display and education in automotive arts and technology.

In September 1974, with N.A.R.T.’s short racing season over, Luigi Chinetti Jr., son of Ferrari legend Luigi Chinetti, decided it would be fun to go to Bonneville in an attempt to break some old speed records; some by Ab Jenkins had stood for over 35 years. To do this would entail taking three cars, and a pit crew. Having raised about $40,000 in sponsorship deals, it was a viable proposition. Two Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona’s, one as a spare car, and a Le Mans prototype 512M, were dispatched together with an eclectic mix of drivers, 2-time Formula One world champion Graham Hill, actor Paul Newman and then current N.A.R.T. driver Milt Minter joined Chinetti Jr., to discover what could be achieved under the direction of team manager Dick Fritz.

Speed record breaking Ferrari 512M Le Mans Prototype on the Salt Flats Archived Photo

Speed record breaking Ferrari 512M Le Mans Prototype on the Salt Flats
Archived Photo

There were two courses at Bonneville: the straight-line course and also a 10-mile oval. It was the latter that was being used, with its straights of just over two miles in length, and the curves at each end that, through necessity were very long and gradual. The shorter distance records were attempted first in the 512M, and then progressively longer ones in the 365 GTB4, each record falling as the string of drivers took his turn at the wheel. It all seemed surreal, having two cars circulating in the middle of nowhere, coming in for rapid refueling, and driver change-over, and at the same time being filmed by CBS-TV. The only unfortunate thing was that the 24-hour record remained unbroken, as the 365 GTB4’s front right tire burst, affecting the suspension. A half-hour’s work to rectify the problem took the car out of the equation for breaking the record, so the team gave up the unequal struggle. After the event, Chinetti Jr. said, “It was easy to see how the old record had stood for so long.”

Denise McCluggage driving the N.A.R.T. Spyder at Sebring 12-Hour in 1967 Archived Photo

Denise McCluggage driving the N.A.R.T. Spyder at Sebring 12-Hour in 1967
Archived Photo

In addition to the Bonneville film, the program will include documentary footage by Peter Leahey about the development of the legendary N.A.R.T. Spyder. Luigi Chinetti’s influence with Enzo Ferrari was such that he convinced the factory to build a series of 10 275 GTB4/Spyders with bodies by Scaglietti which became known as the N.A.R.T. Spyders. The first N.A.R.T. Spyder was shipped to America in February 1967, just in time for the Sebring 12-hour race where it was driven by Denise McCluggage and Pinkie Rollo. They finished in a respectable 17th place and second in class behind a Shelby GT350, a good result considering that, mechanically, it was a standard production specification car. Of the ten N.A.R.T. Spyders built, the McCluggage car was the only one raced before being sold to a customer. Initially painted in pale yellow, it became even more well-known later on as the car Faye Dunaway drove in the “Thomas Crowne Affair” with Steve McQueen in the lead role. The car was resprayed maroon for the movie, with McQueen famously calling it “one of those red Italian things”.

Steve McQueen with the N.A.R.T .Spyder in “The Thomas Crowne Affair” Archived Photo

Steve McQueen with the N.A.R.T .Spyder in “The Thomas Crowne Affair”
Archived Photo

Complementing the Bonneville and N.A.R.T. Spyder film presentations, the event will include a panel of former N.A.R.T. team members who will share reminiscences on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the team’s formation in 1957. At this writing, this group includes former mechanics for N.A.R.T. Roger Colson and Francois Sicard, and it will be emceed by Jerry Cotrone, ex-Chinetti Motors employee and curator of the Malcolm Pray Achievement Center in Bedford, N.Y.

This special one-night commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the N.A.R.T. Racing Team will take place Wednesday, September 28th from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres, provided by Rive Bistro Restaurant of Westport, will be served in the hour before the show. Weather permitting, the actual Ferrari 512M that went to Bonneville will be on display in the museum’s courtyard. Location will be the Stepping Stones Museum Multi-Media Gallery at 303 West Avenue in Norwalk (Mathews Park). Sponsors of the event include Dragone Auctions, Hagerty Insurance, Pray Auto Body, Pray Achievement Center, Spacefitters Logistics & Technology Group and Rive Bistro Restaurant. Tickets will be $20 per person and space is limited to 150 attendees. Tickets can be purchased at www.neautomuseum.org

Article includes excerpts from “N.A.R.T. A Concise History of the North American Racing Team 1957 to 1983” by Terry O’Neil

N.A.R.T. Bonneville Record Runs
September 23 – 24, 1974

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05 Aug

Party Hats on: Events for Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Ready to Roll

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Camaro cruising, plant tours, historic cars part of celebration

Lansing, Mich. – It may be urban lore, but when asked for the meaning behind the name Camaro, some Chevrolet managers said it was a small, vicious animal that ate Mustangs.

General Motors unleashed the Camaro name on the world 50 years ago this summer. That means the tiny beast has a big party in the making, and Chevy will stage anniversary celebrations in August during Detroit’s Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual rolling salute to those who love cars.

The original Camaro, codenamed Panther, was designed to battle the Ford Mustang which was shown as a concept in 1962 and then introduced April 17, 1964. Mustang was the first American “pony car” and the inspiration for a small field of affordable sporty coupes with long hoods and a wide stance that grew to include the Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda, and Dodge Challenger. Imports such as the Toyota Celica and Ford Capri further expanded the pool.

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When it was time to name Chevrolet’s Mustang fighter, a project that had been codenamed Panther, GM held a playful press conference on June 28, 1966. Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes dubbed those in attendance as charter members of the “Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World” in their first and last meeting. Then he told the world the new car would be called the Camaro.

The public got its first look at the all-new Camaro in September 1966, and the original 1967 Camaro went on sale on September 29, 1966. GM sold 220,906 in the first year. Today, it is largely a two-car battle between Mustang and Camaro, both in their sixth generation, both smaller and lighter but retaining their mission to offer affordable performance. In 2015, Mustang won the sales race handily; selling 122,349 in the U.S. compared with 77,502 Camaros, and Ford maintains its lead through May of this year with almost 53,200 sales compared with 31,865 Camaros.

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With anniversary celebrations in full swing, GM has provided a look at some of the activities coming up.

GM will offer tours starting at 7 a.m. on August 18 of the Lansing Grand River plant, where the current Camaro is built. The 45-minute tours end at 3:30 p.m. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at building the Camaro from the ground up,” said Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. There will also be a car show, displays of past Camaros and a chance to talk to Camaro team members including Chief Engineer Al Oppenheiser. Owners can vie for spots in a parking area for up to 500 Camaros and there will be on-site food and Camaro merchandise for sale.

When GM resumed production of the Camaro in 2009 after a seven-year hiatus, it was built in Oshawa, Ontario. Moving it to Lansing in the fall of 2015 marked the first time the car has been built in Michigan. The all-new 2016 Camaro is smaller, lighter, and more agile and rides on a new platform. It was named Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2016.

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If robots are not your thing, Chevrolet will host “Camaros and Coffee” in Detroit starting at 7:30 a.m. on August 19. Everyone with a Camaro is invited to the Joe Louis Arena Riverfront parking lot where the first 500 cars will be staged and at 9:45 a.m. some 50th Anniversary edition Camaros will lead participants to Woodward Avenue to drive the Dream Cruise route.

And on August 20, the official day of the Dream Cruise, there will be a Camaro heritage display at the Chevrolet site along Woodward Avenue with some rare and iconic models as well as the new 2017 Camaro ZL1 and 1LE. For more Camaro history with pictures and design illustrations GM has created a special media site where enthusiasts can stay on top of event plans.

“Over the past half-century, the Camaro has fostered enthusiasm, camaraderie and memories like few other vehicles,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director of Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “It’s a passion Chevrolet takes seriously and the activities this summer are a way of giving back to those who have made the Camaro an icon.”

Source: Alisa Priddle, MotorTrend.com Photos: Chevrolet