Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top 10 Muscle Cars which are readily available

Where do I find Muscle Cars?

I often come to vintage car auctions. Every time I go, it’s a refreshing experience. It lets me breath in the nostalgia of the 70’s. That’s why I noticed something recently. Whenever auctions come around, you can’t help but notice that Chrysler comprises a majority of the vehicles. Was Chrysler the only muscle car manufacturer in the 70’s?

Hell no. There are still plenty of other good muscle cars in America. They just don’t get the same amount of attention. In light of this dilemma, I sought for other classic automobiles on the net. Fortunately, the Sun-Sentinel had a top 10 post of attainable muscles (By this I am referring to the cars).

The list is composed of the usual favorites including my pick: the Pontiac Trans Am coupe (See the picture). For those who aren’t familiar with the vehicle, remember the movie Cannonball Run? The Trans Am is what Burt Reynolds rode in that fantastic car race! It houses a 6.6 Liter V8 engine (They just don’t make em like that anymore). The Trans Am topped the list. The Pontiac Trans Am was followed by the 1971-73 Datsun 240Z coupes, the 1971-73 De Tomaso Pantera coupes and the 1973-76 Chevrolet Nova SS.

The list was rounded out by (5) 1973 Ford Mustang Mach fastback (6) 1970-71 Plymouth Duster 340 coupes (7) the 1973 Mercury Cougar convertible (8) 1975-76 Chevrolet Vega Cosworth ed (9) 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442/W30 coupe and finally (10) the 1977-79 Chevrolet Corvette T-top coupe.

This is a pretty distinguished list of classic cars.

But like most top 10 lists, some notable names were not mention. One of my favorites failed to make it to the list. The 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. My father used to have one of these. It was painted sunfire yellow and it used to make all sorts of sounds. It sounded the way a car should sound, truly V8! It was the car that was featured in Dukes of Hazard. The Charger was sporty, strong, loud, mean, it was everything a muscle car should be.

Sources: The Sun-Sentinel

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“Somebody Took my Austin-Healy”

A red-over-black 3000 Mk3 was stolen March 3 at West London. Distraught owner Ian Dixon Potter is more than anxious to get the vehicle back. Look at the car, wouldn’t you be distraught?

Potter claims that the vehicle has a number of distinct features that will make it easily identifiable: the 1965 model is registered with a plate DGP 885C, larger wheels than normal cars.

The seats are old styled, blue rear seats, a Pye radio and the overdrive is operated with a switch marked AUX.

Well, if I got this car, I’d say my chances of returning it is as good as a pig who wants to fly. But anyways, I got Potter’s contact information, just in case anybody knows anything.

Ian Dixon Potter on 0207 2662506 or

Sources: Classic Cars Magazine

Monday, April 14, 2008

Going old School: The 2008 March Meet

Last March, it felt like Bakersfield stepped inside a time portal. It was actually March 2008 but the Famoso Raceway felt like it was in the swinging 60’s. The March Meet is a drag race molded in the tradition of the 60’s, with pits, staging lanes full of front engine disasters. There were funny cars, altereds, gassers and, of course, our personal favorite: hotrods.

The Smokers began racing in Famoso way back in 1951. Back then head-to-head march ups were still in fashion. In fact in 1959, a fella named Don Garlits came all the way from Florida to take on renowned racer Art Chrisman and the rest of California’s best drag racers. Garlits didn’t win, but it marked the first March Meet which eventually paved the way for the annual competition.

Today, the March Meet is organized by Blake Bowser and his father John Bowser. The drag circuit is operated and maintained by the Kern County Racing Association (KCRA). During this year’s March Meet the staff did an outstanding job, preserving the long line of legacy that it stems from.

It is considered by many as the top drag racing event of the year. It relives the past decades of drag racing in America. The last event, marked 50 years of March Meet races. These years have seen the birth of many racing greats such as Garlits, Chrisman, Prudhomme, McEwen, the Smokers, and a host of other hot rodders. And new names continue to be established today like Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "Mongoose" McEwen, along with some of the West Coast's best grassroots drag racers.

This event not only relives history, it also makes history.

Look at the cars. Astounding.

Sources: Rod and Custom

Friday, April 11, 2008

A 1000 Spridgets?

HERITAGE MOTOR CENTER – Spridget50 has shaped to be one of the largest gathering of Spridgets ever.

The members: Healy Driver’s Club, MG Owners Club, MG Car Club, Austin-Healy Club and the Midget and Sprite Club gathered a 1000 Austin Healy Sprites and MG Midgets to mark the car’s 50th birthday. This was the largest collection of Sprites, Midgets and derivatives to be ever gathered in one place.

Many cars made appearances, as confessed by Classic Car Magazine, “Rare and historic cars such as the original press car 'PBL 75' and John Sprinzel’s Sebring Sprite 'PMO 200' with members of the Healey family…”

The Spridget is one of the cutest cars ever in automotive history. This event reminded us of the successes of the car as an economic and high-performance engine. Go Spridgets.

Long live Spridgets! Happy birthday!

Sources: Classic Car Magazine

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One of the Certified Classics: The 1936 Ford Coupe

Restoring a vintage or classic car is a hard task. The first thing you have to consider is finding a car that is in good condition. Think about the model you like and then you can search the net, classifieds, etc. for availability. That is hard enough. Imagine restoring a model that is very hard to find. Not only will availability be a problem, part finding will be an equally tougher task.

Ladies and gents, feast your eyes on the 1936 Ford Coupe. The lucky owner? John Mearns. The 1936 Ford Coupe is one of the rarest vehicles in the world today. I haven’t seen one in the flesh. Ever. To top things off, the vehicle was furnished with a new paint job, a new set of tires and a neatly packaged interior.

Where he found it? Well, on the internet of course (These days you can find everything there). It belonged to a retired car dealer. For an interesting side story: this car dealer bought a bunch of vintage and classic automobiles to raise money to buy one particular car. It wasn’t specified what car it was, but I can tell you now it wasn’t cheap. Anyways, Mearns saw the photos and went with his gut feeling. Take note, he bought the car without any firsthand knowledge of its condition. But it paid off. Lucky guy. Before he knew it, the car was being wheeled out on his garage by shippers.

For all you fellow restoration enthusiasts, take note. The first thing John did was to take the vehicle to a shop. It needed mass body work. The car was chopped in more ways than I can imagine. And John winced in terror as he witnessed his investment being torn down piece by piece. This was what kept him anxious for eight months. It was a patience project.

The roof was now better than ever. John continued the body work by installing a ’40 LaSalle Grille and a set of ’34 Chevy Master Deluxe hood sides. He also invested in customized fender skirts, as well as adding ’37 Lincoln Zephyr taillights and ’36 Packard headlights. Then he proceeded to giving it some final touches: modifying the hood, shaving the handles and installing a new pair of ’41 Ford bumpers.

Of course, the Coupe’s restoration is still far from finished. It still needs a new interior paint job. John is planning to take the Coupe to West Coast Customs (Yes, I think that’s the one in that MTV show). But you have to give praise to the man. It seems that the 1936 Ford Coupe is in good hands, and, I guarantee, we will be seeing more of this man’s car in the future.

John also made modifications for the Coupe’s chassis, drive train and wheels. Pending projects include, as stated, a new paint job, as well as other interior designs.

All I can say is that this man is officially a vintage car hero. I wish him all the luck he needs. For now, just enjoy the photos. I’ll keep you posted on what happens to this car.

For the meantime, this has inspired me to work on my 1969 Dodge Charger. The last time I worked on it was months ago. I think I’ll bring it to Henry (The local mechanic) to advise me on what pain I can use. The body has acquired small patches of rust which should be worked on immediately…

I’ll sleep on it for now.

Sources: Rod & Custom Magazine

Monday, April 7, 2008

Coys to be headlined by Ferrari in Monaco

Coys is one of the leading names when it comes to car auctions. It is a British Company that deals with the acquisition of the world’s greatest cars. They have had a good year so far, kicking things off with a celebrity car auction at London. The company recently announced that they have two more auctions coming up, May 10 in Monaco and May 25 at Brands Hatch. Coys declared that they will be sending 60 cars to each auction.

Tim Nevinson from Classic Car Magazine describes the auto line-up of the upcoming auctions, “At Monaco a 1958 works supported Austin Healey that took part in the 1962 and 1965 Monte Carlo Rallies is likely to start at around £150,000, as well as a Porsche 550RS and a Bialbero Abarth from 1959. Two Ferrari specially commisioned shooting brakes are also for sale at Monaco, Luigi Chinetti's Ferrari Daytona shooting brake from 1972, and the last Vignale bodied Ferrari 330 GT shooting brake.”

On the other hand, the Brands Hatch Auction will also be featuring Porsche, headlined by the GT3 RS. Which experts say would start off at an estimated £55,000 to £75,000. A 1965 Lotus Elan, which competed in the Bahamas Speed Weeks from 1965 to 1966, is approximated at £35,000 to £45,000. To finish things properly, the line-up will also feature an Aston Martin DB6 Mk 2 Volante, a rare 1939 Malcolm Campbell designed Bentley and, last but not the least, another Ferrari.

It seems that Coys is making all the right moves to strengthen their grip on the car acquisition market. As of late, the company has shown genuine interest in crossing the seas. Coys is not settling for Europe alone. I think they want their prestigious occupation to reach the states, as well as other parts of the world.

More power to Coys!

Sources: Classic Car Magazine

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Plymouth Tradition

On June 15, 1957, a then brand new Plymouth Belvedere V-8 Sports Coupe was buried at the Tulsa County Courthouse lawn. The car was intended to remain buried for 50 years.

You might ask, is there anything else to the story?

And that is what I am about to tell you. During the 1950s the Plymouth was regarded as an advanced automobile. To the people of Tulsa, it represented a wonderful product of American ingenuity. The kind of ingenuity that cannot be shattered by eternity (Well, in this case eternity is just 50 years).

“Suddenly It’s 1960” was the marketing pitch for the Plymouth Belvedere in 1957. The town committee of Tulsa decided to conduct a special competition to acquaint townspeople with the new Plymouth Belvedere V-8 Sports Coupe.

The competition posed the question “What the population of Tulsa would be in the year 2007?” Numerous citizens participated in the competition. Answers were placed on a piece of paper, with the participants’ respective names and other contact information. These answers were placed at the trunk of the new Plymouth Belvedere V-8 Sports Coupe, which was buried underneath the earth for 50 years!

The rule was that the car will be excavated on June 15, 2007. As explained by a blog, “When the car and artifacts are excavated, the person whose guess is closest to Tulsa’s 2007 population is to be awarded the Belvedere. If that person is dead, the car is to be awarded to his or her heirs. Today, reminders of the event are only noted by bronze plaque on the courthouse lawn”.

“Suddenly It’s 2007” was the catch phrase of the much anticipated unearthing of the Plymouth Belvedere.

“What happened?” you ask, in the fresh pictures we see a Plymouth Belvedere that is ruined by rust. As confessed by John Neff, who witnessed the event, “What's interesting is that there are no rust holes or rust spots, there's just a veneer of rust completely covering the vehicle making it look as if the car were plucked from its tomb and deep fried right before the unveiling”.

Neff continues, “We haven't heard any news about who correctly guessed what the population of Tulsa would be in 2007 and therefore has won the '57 Belvedere, nor whether it's been confirmed that car customizer Boyd Coddington will restore the vehicle before it's awarded to the winner. For the winner's sake, we're hoping he or she isn't given the car in this condition.”

In whatever case, I think this Plymouth Belvedere should be given a higher resale value. Tradition has made it more expensive and irreplaceable. I think this was a good way of preserving the value of the Plymouth Belvedere in the automobile industry. Moreover, I think other brands should continue competitions like this today.

Sources: Ted’s Garage Blog, Autoblog