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

nart5

05 Aug

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

cam1

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.

cam2

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.

cam3

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.

cam4

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

09 May

Famous Ford Model AR “Car-Toon” Truck to be featured at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Robert Luczum’s 1928 Ford Model AR “Car-toon” Truck   (Photo Robert Luczun)

Robert Luczum’s 1928 Ford Model AR “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

Norwalk, Conn. – There’s a special 1928 Ford Model AR Roadster Pickup that’s a big hit with both kids and adults that will be on display at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk on Sunday June 19th from 10AM to 3PM.

Owner and artist Robert Luczun has spent more than three thousand hours airbrushing cartoon characters on the car, dating back from 1896 up until his newest addition of characters from the hit movie “Frozen”. The car has been a crowd-pleasing hit at many events including the New York Auto Show, Comic-Com NY, the Hilton Head Concours, the Newark Art Museum and the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA.

It has been termed a true work of art by automotive and art experts alike including Gary Bennett, Vice President of Barrett-Jackson Auctions who said “This is one of the most unique vehicles I have ever seen, it is amazing! It’s absolutely a fabulous car!”

Kids and adults love recognizing the characters on the “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

Kids and adults love recognizing the characters on the “Car-toon” Truck (Photo Robert Luczun)

The truck will be part of the collection of over 100 show cars on display at the show and the Model A Ford will be one of the show’s featured marques. Model A’s followed Ford’s legendary Model T and almost 5 million were built during its production run from 1928 to 1931. Today, the Model A is one of the most collected and beloved antique cars in the United States and around the world.

The other featured marque at this year’s show will be Alfa Romeo headlined by the Grand Marshal of the show Alfredo Gulla of Larchmont, NY, an Alfa Romeo dealer for 55 years, who is welcoming the brand’s return to the U.S. market.

In addition to Model A Fords and Alfa Romeo cars, anyone interested in showing a car at this year’s Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register HERE – it’s only $10/per car to pre-register ($15 at the show entrance). Spectator admission is free. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

04 May

Award Winning Lotus Elan S4 Sprint will be displayed at the Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk on June 19

David Porter’s 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint (Photo David Porter)

David Porter’s 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint (Photo David Porter)

Norwalk, Conn. – Renowned local car collector and vintage race car driver David Porter will be displaying his 1971 Lotus Elan S4 Sprint roadster in the Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk on June 19, 2016 from 10AM to 3PM. Porter, who resides in Darien, restored the car from virtually barn-find condition over a period of three years doing all the mechanical work himself. The car represents the last iteration of Colin Chapman’s Elan S4 series of cars originally introduced in 1968. The unique paint treatment on the Series 4 Sprint models was meant to evoke the Gold Leaf cigarettes livery of the company’s Grand Prix cars which had won multiple world championships. David Porter is well known at local car shows both for the Lotus and also his immaculate Jaguar XK-150S which won both the People’s Choice Award and the Coachmen Car Club trophy at last year’s NEAM Father’s Day show in Norwalk.

The S4 Elan was introduced in 1968 and can be distinguished from its predecessors by its slightly flared wheel arches, wider tires, and Jaguar tail lights. The S4 also had an aggressive-looking bulge in the bonnet to house the Stromberg carburetors. The much anticipated Sprint version was announced in 1970 at the Earls Court Motor Show, and promised more power for the 1971 cars. Ex-BRM engineer Tony Rudd was able to squeeze an incredible for the time 126 horsepower out of the little 1600 Twin Cam, labeled the ‘Big Valve’ engine. This gave the 1,500 pound Elan lively performance and demonstrated yet again the advantage of adding lightness. It bears repeating that the Elan is an extremely important car. The classic Ron Hickman design was actually the first Lotus to utilize the famous backbone chassis, and the way the car perfectly captured the essence of ’60s British motoring was recognized decades later by Mazda in their development of the original Miata. It also helped establish Lotus as a legitimate manufacturer.
David Porter’s car has been stunningly well restored and is considered an almost perfect example of the S4 Sprint model. It won its class in 2015 at the Lime Rock Historics concours and has won recognition at several other shows including the Alden Sherman Classic in Weston, CT.

The perfect car for a brisk run in the countryside (Photo David Porter)

The perfect car for a brisk run in the countryside (Photo David Porter)

Anyone interested in showing a car at this year’s Father’s Day Car Show may pre-register HERE – it’s only $10/per car to pre-register ($15 at the show entrance). Spectator admission is free. Dash plaques will be available for the first 100 cars to register.

New England Auto Museum
The New England Auto Museum will be an exciting new attraction for the state of Connecticut and throughout the Northeast. This non-profit organization will build a first class facility dedicated to preserving, interpreting and exhibiting historic automobiles and automobile artifacts. It will serve as both an educational learning center as well as a display center to highlight an ever changing evolution of car history and its impact on society. Find more information at www.neautomuseum.org

25 Apr

Grand Marshal Announced for NEAM Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Alfredo Gulla kept the faith, welcomes Alfa Romeo brand back to the U.S.

Alfredo Gulla at his Alfa Romeo Fiat dealership in Larchmont, NY (Photo Fiat500USA.com)

Alfredo Gulla at his Alfa Romeo Fiat dealership in Larchmont, NY (Photo Fiat500USA.com)

Norwalk, Conn. – Alfredo Gulla, founder and owner of Alfredo’s Foreign Cars, dba Alfa Romeo Fiat of Larchmont and Larchmont Chrysler Jeep Dodge, has been named Grand Marshal for the second annual New England Auto Museum Father’s Day Car Show at Mathews Park in Norwalk. The event is scheduled for Sunday, June 19th from 10AM to 3PM and proceeds will support the nonprofit New England Auto Museum building and education funds.

This year the Father’s Day Show will celebrate Alfa Romeo as one of its featured marques, and Alfredo Gulla will be honored as one of the original U.S. dealers for the brand in the early 1960’s as well as for his success in regaining the franchise for its North American relaunch by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

From his dealership near the Connecticut/New York state border, Alfredo Gulla waited nearly 20 years for his beloved Alfa Romeo to return to the U.S. market. Gulla began selling the Alfa Romeo 4C two seat sports cars last year, and in 2016 will begin receiving the new Alfa Guilia sedans, recently displayed at the New York International Auto Show.

“I was always in touch with Italy and Milan, and the rumors were that Alfa and Fiat would return, so it was always ‘Wait and hope, wait and hope,'” Gulla says “It is a real pleasure to see these two brands come back to America.”

Gulla at his Larchmont, N.Y., store in 1963; for Fiat or Alfa Romeo, he says, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage (Photo Automotive News)

Gulla at his Larchmont, N.Y., store in 1963; for Fiat or Alfa Romeo, he says, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage (Photo Automotive News)

As a young man, Gulla immigrated to New York in late 1956 from Catanzaro, Italy — a city of about 100,000 people on the instep of the Italian boot. He found work in a small import car dealership in Larchmont, and five years later, when that dealership was for sale, he bought it.

At first, sales at what would become Alfredo’s Foreign Cars were confined to parts and service. But within months, Gulla had secured an agreement with Fiat to sell new cars. Gulla bought his first two — a Fiat 500 and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta — and began decades of selling Italian cars to people in the metropolitan New York area.

His customers included fellow Italian immigrants and their progeny, who sought a small piece of their native land. It included the famous — he sold convertibles to Groucho Marx and Henry Kissinger, for example — and the not-so-famous.

Alfa Romeo and Fiat models in Alfredo’s showroom in the early ‘60’s (Photo Automotive News)

Alfa Romeo and Fiat models in Alfredo’s showroom in the early ‘60’s (Photo Automotive News)

They were good years, for the most part. Always, Gulla says, whether it was a Fiat or an Alfa Romeo, he sold the brand, the history, the Italian heritage. “I hope, the fact that I’m Italian blends a little bit with the cars we are selling,” Gulla explains.

But Fiat and Alfa Romeo’s troubles grew in the United States as their sales fell in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By 1995, Alfa would pull out of the United States and retreat to Europe, despite the pleas of Gulla and other dealers.

Only when Fiat S.p.A. assumed control of a bankrupt Chrysler in 2009 was Gulla truly optimistic. His was among the first Fiat franchises to be awarded in 2010 when Chrysler began to sell the Fiat 500 in North America. Finally last year, Gulla’s Fiat of Larchmont was on the initial list to receive an Alfa Romeo franchise.

Even now, he is at the dealership and his nearby Chrysler store almost every day. Gulla says he believes Alfa’s return to North America will seem at first slow and regional. “But in the near future, with all the new models coming over, we will see a bigger impact for the brand.”

As Grand Marshal of the NEAM Father’s Day Car Show, Gulla is looking forward to greeting customers from years gone by as well as introducing the technological marvels of the new cars to another generation of “Alfisti.”

Adapted from article by Larry Vellequette, Automotive News

The iconic Alfa Romeo Spider celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016 (Photo: Hemmings)

The iconic Alfa Romeo Spider celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2016 (Photo: Hemmings)