Grand National Roadster Show – Choices

The Other Candidates

How Do You Predict?

There have been so many different kinds of vehicles that have earned the title America’s Most Beautiful Roadster that one has to wonder how a judge fairly compares the merits of such diverse contenders.

2014AMBRChevy

The 2014 AMBR was a Chevrolet Cabriolet – a four-door!

FourPastAMBRs

A few past AMBRs. Clockwise from top left, 1951, 2010, 2011, and 2013. See? It’s not all Deuces.

RobertHoffmanRoadster0

“Red Hot Attraction,” with a custom chassis by American Stamping and hand-built body, is in the style of a ’32 Ford rod, but really springs from the imagination of Robert Hoffman from Haninge, Sweden. Engine is built up on an aluminum Hemi block with Hilborn fuel injection.

MikeGordonDeuce01

Mike Gordon’s ’32 Ford doesn’t look like a “Deuce” with that Packard grille, but with those turbo scrolls and exhaust trumpets (below) drawing the eye and pumping its Ford Windsor 428 V8 up to 1,500  hp, who’s arguing?

MikeGordonDeuceTurbo 1926ModelTWInset

At the other end of the scale from Mike Gordon’s mighty Deuce is Dawn and Dustin Smith’s “Mint T,” entirely owner-built. The body is said to be completely stock, but I don’t think you can say the same about a chrome-plated carburetor

Steve Lykken Deuce Pickup

There were two Deuce Pickup Roadsters entered. Steve Lykken’s Brookville is the pearl gray one above with panel beating and chassis work by Henry Wehr and 350 Chevy. Below is Ted Davis’ version, running a replica Model A block in alloy, with reproduction Riley head. The frame is a real Model A, boxed.

Ted Davis Deuce Pickup

Willy Stryker 28-29 Roadster

It’s just my ignorance of hot rod nomenclature that I cannot figure out why Willy Stryker’s Roadster’s ’32 Ford frame makes it a “1928/29 Ford Roadster.” In traditional hot rod fashion it’s powered by a flathead Ford, but in this case it’s French, and has a pair of twin-choke Italian Weber carburetors

4 Deuces

What a poker hand! Four Deuces! Clockwise from upper left are – Larry Christensen’s with a 392 Hemi, Ted Davis’ with an alloy model A block by Donovan, a replica Riley head, and a Pepsco blower, Per Martinsen’s with its blown flathead, and Gene Hetland’s, powered by what is claimed to be one of only three overhead cam Ford Cleveland 351 V8s made.

Since I wrote that, Mike Markovich (Thanks Mike) has indicated my source was mistaken. This is apparently not an OHC engine, but the only pushrod 302 with four valves per cylinder, one  pushrod operating two valves.

Dale Fode '34 Ford

Hardly a panel on Dale Fode’s ’34 Ford went unaltered. Mark Willis and Bob Stewart (no relation) built it around a blown Chevy LS7.

Grasshopper T

Beau Boekmann and Megadealer Galpin Ford collaborated on “Grasshopper T,” a recreation of the November, 1960 Hot Rod cover car. Its 1949 Oldsmobile 303 V8, enlarged to 461 CID, is blown by a modified GMC 4/71 supercharger.

Burt Diehl T Roadster

Burt Diehl’s T roadster has a genuine T body (like “Grasshopper T” above) and a Ford Model B four with a replica Miller overhead valve conversion. S&S carburetors are said to be what you’d see on a Harley.

Meyers '36 Ford

Someone counted the louvers on Beth and Ross Meyers’ ’38 Ford and came up with 251. The engine is a Lincoln 430 (A Hot Rod Lincoln!) with a McCullouch Supercharger. Seats are from a Porsche Speedster.

Urban Hirsch T Roadster

Nick Chopit of Chopit Customs, in Stanton, CA, built this small bock Chevy-powered T roaster for Urban Hirsch of Beverly Hills. Proving not all AMBR contenders are trailer queens, this puppy had already racked up 765 miles at show time.

Urban Hirsch T Roadster Nose

There is only one AMBR every year, but you’d never characterize these works of rolling art as “losers.” Come out to Pomona next year and see for yourself what great variety these rods and customs represent.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility
Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.
All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

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AMBR Award Winner 2015

What a Surprise! Another Ford  Wins AMBR

A Pretty Good Bet

There are two reliable predictions you can make about hot rod shows. There will be a lot of Fords, and a lot of small-block Chevys. This year’s AMBR followed half the trend.

AMBRFrontQuarter01

Many of the most graceful AMBR winners have been based on the 1933-34 Ford. Larry Olsen of Sioux Falls, SD, carries on the trend with his flamed black ’33 built by previous AMBR-winning fabricator Bobby Alloway.

AMBRCockpit01

Simplicity reigns in the Roadster’s Cockpit. Contenders have to be virgins – never having been shown elsewhere – so odometers typically have a lot of zeros on them. Instruments are from a 1933 Nash, steering wheel from a ’62 Corvette, and the Vintage aftermarket Motorola radio plays through a ’57 Cadillac speaker.

AMBRLeftSide01

The winner is powered by a Mopar engine. They call it a 1955 Dodge Red Ram 241, although most sources say that engine (a Hemi) was enlarged to 270 CID after 1954. An odd quirk: Three Stromberg carburetors sit on top, but they are hiding a fuel injection system.

AMBRNose01

Daryl Wolfwinkel’s 34 Ford AMBR was displayed without the headlights mounted in 2011, lending a majestic sweep to the fenders. The flames on the fenders of this year’s car did not lend themselves to such an effect. We’re of two minds. We thought the 2011 car was magnificent, but we’re a sucker for flames.

AMBRRightSide01

Now that’s a Hot Rod Roadster! Aggressive stance, low windscreen, fat rear tires, a graceful sweep of fender – and those flames, fading from hot yellow to purple to cool blue! What’s not to like?

We’ll post the rest of the contenders (the 15 of 17 we photographed, that is) in the next blog.

As we are wont to say, stay tuned. 

Carma is a publication of
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Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author
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Grand National Roadster Show – More

Some Beauties We Missed the First Go

The French Are Back in Favor

Aquarius00

Crowd Pleaser. Aquarius, a tribute to the Delahey 165s of the early post-war years, with bodies by French coachbuilders like Figoni et Falaschi and Saoutchik, is certainly a roadster, but we’ll have to wait to see if it was contending for the AMBR.

Lowly Beginnings, Sweet Results

HenryJRod00

The genius of Hot Rodding is to take a car that no one wants and turn it into a head-turner. The Henry J was cheap, and that was about all that could be said in its favor when new, but it was also small. That translates into light. Add a  350 CID Chevy small block and that equals fast. This immaculately executed rod, by Melody and Larry Henderson, is what admirers call “sanitary.” It sounds like understatement, but it means thoughtful design, detailing and execution such that you could eat off any surface – from engine room to dash.

HenryJEngine00

HenryJCockpit00

Sweet and Low

WhiteFordRod00

Bill Shimer’s 1930 Ford Tudor Sedan’s engine sports the vertical valve covers that identify it as a Buick “nail-head” V8, a late ’40s overhead valve design popular for engine swaps.

Aquamarine Dream

Aquamarine29Roadster01
Another nail-head, this one in a gorgeous ’29 Ford Roadster owned by Alan Behrse of Victorville. Even the fuel lines are color matched!

Seven Liters – and Overhead Cams

SOHCFordRoadster

This replica Deuce (chassis and body are aftermarket), shown by Harold Hannemann of West Covina, CA, is powered by a “Cammer,” the short-lived single overhead cam Ford “FE” 427 with hemispherical combustion chambers that was developed to counter Chrysler’s Hemi, only to be banned from NASCAR. Below you can see the shadow of the crossover to the underbody exhaust, making those “lakes pipes.”

SOHCFordRoadsterCammer

What? No Fuelie?

CorvetteWithWebers

Augie Delgado of Fullerton, CA, showed the only Corvette I ever saw with four dual side-draft Weber carburetors, a 1964 Coupe (see below).

CorvetteWebers

Restoration Revival

PiersonBrosCoupe2

A growing movement among hot rodders is the recognition of historic early cars. This one is a bit confusing. They call this ’36 Ford 3-window “The Pierson Coupe,” owned by Jim Bobowski. But there is another Pierson Coupe, owned by Petersen Museum co-founder Bruce Meyer. The latter is a more radical, record setting dry lakes racer, with most of the character of the donor car eradicated. This one is milder, but with a racing history of its own (see below).

PiersonBrosCoupeHotRodCover

The Grand International?

Deuce507

Born in Stockholme, Sweden, The 507 Coupé (Don’t forget the accent) was imported by Martin Lundquist. In correct hot rod tradition, it takes a Deuce, adds a Grille from an Adler, a Dash from a Lincoln Zephyr, and many custom-made pieces to realize a truly unique vision.

Hot Cat

BugundyE-Type00

Another ride you might not associate with hot rodding, but worthy of inclusion in any car show, the Jaguar XK-E remains a benchmark in automotive design. This 1962 “HotCat,” entered by Marty Habouan of Anaheim, CA,  has not been limited by the slavish attention to originality common in concours. It benefits from the substitution of a modern 5-speed transmission in place of the Moss original (with its non-synchro first gear), and three dual Weber Carburetors (below) instead of the three SUs that came with the car.

BugundyE-TypeWebers00

Stay Tuned

They have not yet posted the results of the judging, so we don’t even know which of the roadsters we saw are included in the rumored eighteen candidates. We’ll be back with stats and pix as soon as we have them.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility
Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.
All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

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It’s Not All Roadsters At the Grand National

The Other Cars at the Grand National

Okay, we all are very excited to see which of the slick open cars nominated for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) will take home the replica trophy and have it’s owner’s name inscribed on the nine foot tall perpetual trophy. But it’s Sunday Morning, and the awards have not been given yet, and won’t be for hours while they give out the other hundred or so trophies. Meanwhile, there are other cars at the Show.

There’s another Hot Rod Show

In Detroit they hold a show called the Autorama. It’s a lot like the Grand National they tell me. (My travel budget won’t stretch that far.) One difference is that their most prestigious award, the Ridler, is not limited to one class of car. Last year it went to a radical custom Buick.

RidlerRiviera000
Over in Motor City the big rod and custom show is Autorama. Their Big Award is the Ridler, more akin to a concours’ Best in Show than the AMBR. In 2014 it was awarded to J. F. Launier of Osoyoos, British Columbia for his customized 1963 Buick Riviera, displayed here along with this year’s AMBR contenders.

If They Did Award a Best in Show

VWVanCustom0002
I’m not sure what measures the Ridler judges use, but I’d certainly include originality, creativity, and faithfulness to the concept among mine. Ron Berry of Washington, Utah, certainly embodies all of that, with no small touch of humor for their entry in the Radical Van Class. Note the curve of the roof exactly matches that of the lifestyle-correct surfboard, and the wealth of correct styling cues, with just a touch of aggressiveness.

VWVanCustom0001

The Volkswagen Type 2 Microbus was the preferred transport for a generation of “Alternative Lifestyle” types. (See Arlo Guthrie’s Alices Restaurant Massacree.) I can imagine one of them seeing this version and observing in a fog of chemically-enhanced memory, “Yeah! That’s exactly how I remember it!”

You Don’t Know What I Got

Google “Little Deuce Coupe Images” and you’ll see a bunch of pictures of Clarence Catallo’s 1932 Ford 3-window coupe that was featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine in July, 1961. The car was not at the Show, and they don’t say which images are copyright-protected so I’ll leave it to you to look it up. It’s a bit radical for a Deuce, with canted quad headlights and a grille reminiscent of some Chrysler 300 models of the mid ’60s.

But it inspired a young Brian Wilson to feature it on the Beach Boys  album of the same name, so now that car is forever so labeled. Funny thing is, Catallo’s car did not fit the description in the song. Instead of the traditional “flathead mill,” it carries a monster supercharged Oldsmobile engine

LittleDeuceCoupe000

In all the 250 plus photos at the Grand National Roadster Show, not one showed a Ford flathead and lakes pipes. This is “The Borde’s Coupe,” a 3-window ’32 Ford powered by a Ford flathead V8. No doubt it has a competition clutch and four on the floor, but there are no lakes pipes to roar. No top speed was claimed, either.

In case you need a primer, flatheads had their valves in the block, opening upward into a space comprising, with whatever space was left above the piston at top dead center, the combustion chamber. Intake and exhaust took circuitous paths to and from the valves, with exhaust passing through the block between the cylinders.

This arrangement was not optimal for intake breathing and exhaust scavenging. Hot rodders would enlarge the intake and exhaust ports (the song’s “ported”), and remove some material between the valves and the cylinders (“relieved”) for the same purpose.

Displacement was enlarged to increase the volume of fuel mixture burned in each power stroke, by installing a crankshaft with longer throws (“stroked”) and widening the cylinders (“bored”)

In the end even with all the hotrodding you could do, a flathead was still at a huge disadvantage compared to the overhead valve V8s that appeared in GM products in the late ’40s. Still, tradition keeps die-hards building them. Thank goodness! Flatheads forever!

The Unexpected

Low riders, dry lakes racers, dragsters, radical customs, even surf wagons, are what you expect at a show like this. Every so often though, they can surprise you.

1929RollPhantomI000

If you had seen the Petersen exhibit “Town Cars; Arriving in Style” or visited their cars at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library recently, you may note everything forward of the cowl on this car is basically the same as the Petersen’s Fred Astaire Phantom I Rolls-Royce, only this is a 1929 “Ascot” entered by Erik Baltzar of Palm Desert, CA. I suppose in a loose sense you could say it’s a roadster, kinda. Otherwise I have no clue what it’s doing here in a hot rod show.

TC-Daimler001

If you came from the sports-car-slash-road-racing side of motoring, you may, like me, have been influenced by Don Sanford’s The Red Car, This could be the very 1948 MG TC at the heart of the book’s young protagonist’s story, except . . .

TC-DaimlerEngine001

You could be forgiven for thinking Brian and Bart Trinchero had violated this British Icon by stuffing a Mopar Hemi in it. That’s because the 2.5 liter Daimler V8 under that supercharger is a hemi – of sorts. It’s the engine you’d have found in a Daimler SP250.

The New Petersen is Coming

If you’ve seen the pictures of the new facade of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles (opening December 1, 2015) you may have been startled by the flamboyant look. Keep in mind though, that the founder of the Museum, Ronald Petersen, got started on his road to publishing greatness with a little magazine called Hot Rod.

FlamedMercPetersenInset000

Click on the image above and note the similarity between the flame job on Jimmy Ruiz’ 1949 Mercury and the exterior treatment on the new Petersen Automotive Museum. I think I’ll carry a copy of this picture around in my wallet so I can explain the inspiration to doubters.

Artistry, Color, and Patience, Patience, Patience

50ChevyMildHardtopDetailWithInset000

The Detail in the paint and metal work on Michael Herrera’s 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline Mild Hardtop low rider can only really be appreciated up close and personal, so click on the image to enlarge it.

ChevyLowRider00

Summer Madness, a 1963 Chevy Impala SS, one of several low riders entered by members of Lifestyle Auto Club of Los Angeles exhibits the intricate detail the best of these cars present. Even the trunk and hydraulics are lavished with the same paint layering and pinstriping as the rest of the car. She’s real fine, this 409.

The Other Extreme

1926ModelTWInset

Fords were being raced long before the V8 years. Dawn and Dustin Smith’s Mint-T from Spokane, WA, looks authentic, stripped for the track, although I doubt Henry Ford ever approved a chrome-plated carburetor.

I am on dealine to get this out before the awards are presented, so I will be free to publish the results. I trust I got a picture of many of the award-winners, and I hope you’ll join me here to read about them.

Carma is a publication of
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a service of
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Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

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Auto Show Trends – Luxury

How the Other 0.01% Drives

Actually, those others are quite often driven. A busy CEO often uses travel time to get work done. That’s why many luxury auto makers are equipping their top lines with all the accoutrements of a mobile office. This year the acknowledged “Standard of the World,” Rolls Royce, declined to participate in the Auto Show, but there were plenty of pretenders to incite envy.

Mercedes-Maybach S600

Even on Press Days it’s sometimes difficult to get a clear shot of the popular cars. Here a couple of researchers benchmark the new Mercedes-Maybach S600 for its competitors. Unable to sell the Maybach name on its own merits, Mercedes has now applied the label to a model line at the top of their range. A $140,000 car must step out quickly and acquit itself well on the Autobahn, so its twin turbo V12 develops 523 horsepower and 612 pound feet of torque.

Mercedes-Maybach S600 Rear Seating

Maybach-monogrammed throw pillows, reclining hot-stone massaging seats, thigh bolsters, inlaid woods, integrated multimedia screens, swiveling writing surfaces, barefoot-friendly fur-like carpet – what’s left out? For the busy 0.01-percenter on the go the Maybach S600 has everything except a conscience.

Performance Perception.

In 1963 you could get luxury in a Cadillac, Imperial or Lincoln, with a huge thirsty pushrod V8 to allow you to keep their ponderous weight up with traffic. However, getting one of these behemoths to deviate from a straight line was a tense proposition, best accomplished at a sedate pace. Moreover, Ford, Chrysler and GM had ceased equipping their luxury cars with manual transmissions long ago, so driver involvement was nil.

On the other side of the Atlantic, European tax policy pretty much saddled luxury cars with mouse motors, underpowered by American standards. Jaguar was almost there (Their motto was “Grace, Space, Pace”), but in 1963 along came Maserati with the first car from either side of the Atlantic to combine luxury with true road performance.

In 1963 the company, long known for its successful racing cars and elegant sports and touring roadsters and coupes (A 1964 Mistral Coupe was the last post-war car to win Best in Show honors at Pebble Beach until this last August.), brought out the first in a line of sporting sedans, with elegant styling by Frua and the straightforward name “Quatroporte” for their four doors, and stuffed them full of de-tuned racing V8.

1963 Maserati Quatroporte

The sixth and perhaps oldest surviving first-generation Maserati Quatroporte, on loan from the Riverside International Maserati Museum, displayed at the entrance to the Los Angeles International Auto Show. In 1963 260 horsepower in a luxury sedan was no big deal, but quad cams, four Weber carburetors, a four-speed manual gearbox, and the ability to change direction without drama were downright exotic. Remember when you could actually see out of cars?

2015 Maserati Quatroporte

Carrying on the tradition of athletic sedans as Maserati celebrates their centennial, the latest Quatroporte boasts 406 horsepower from its twin turbo V6. At about $115,000, it’s a bargain compared to what you’d have to bid for the earlier car if you found one at auction.

While Mercedes’ Maybachs may be excellent cars in which to be driven,  Bentleys, with multiple Le Mans wins when you could drive your car to a race and win (their welded wire mesh grilles are a conscious reminder), carry an aura of sporting credentials even in their most luxurious models. After all, while Rolls Royce has an Owners’ Club, the Bentley counterpart is a “Drivers’ Club.”

Bentley Flying Spur W12

The Bentley Continental Flying Spur has been around since 2005. It was updated in 2013 with structural, cosmetic, and performance upgrades. The current models include the W12 (two narrow-angle V6s on a common crankcase) version shown, with the Volkswagen corporate six liter twin turbo engine that now develops 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. It needs all that to motivate its two-and-three-quarter tons of mass.

The Pretenders

With a few exceptions (Are you “Smart?”) there are few incompetent cars today. We’ll attempt a review of the mainstream cars some time, but really, you know the players. Where is the true luxury line drawn these days, though?

Were not referring to “Entry Level Luxury,” that domain of 3-series BMWs, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4s, Lexus IS and Infiniti whatevers. No, we mean big luxurious boats with soft leather, roomy rear seats and real wood on the dash, and engines that allow you to play a little when the mood hits you.

Cadillac has done well here recently. Last year we highlighted their 556 horsepower Corvette-powered CTS-V, but that’s an outlier. Their flagship sedan (Where are you when we need you, Sedan DeVille?) is “in development” and will have a boring alphanumeric name.

You all know about S-class Mercedes (other than the Maybach above), 7-series BMWs and Audi 8s, but those are all creeping into one percenter territory. What about the twenty percenters?

Equus

The Hyundai Equus came first, and I don’t have a picture of the Kia K900. It’s a shame, because the K900 is easily the prettier car. The Equus’ belt line rises too high above the fender haunch – what I call “old man pants” – like its belt has been pulled up over a paunch instead of riding on its waist.

The Korean twins, Hyundai and Kia, seem to have the lead in this category. They are offering the Equus and K900, respectively. The K900 can be had with reclining rear seats and quilted leather for about  $20,000 less (about 22%) than a Mercedes S-Class with no options, if you don’t mind forgoing the European driving dynamics, 37 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque.

Chevy Impala

Or just get a Chevrolet Impala. It’s handsome. It’s huge inside. Its interior is beautifully designed and assembled. It has all the luxury you need, scored among the top cars tested by Consumer Reports, is available with nearly every available option at way less than half the sticker price of a stripped Mercedes S-Class, and it’s built in Hamtramck, Michigan by Americans.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility
Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.
All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

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Auto Show Trends – Fun Stuff

The Cars that Draw us to the Show

Sporty!

Audi TT

The first car I found for one of the clients I squired around the show was an Audi TT. The iconic shape has hardly changed, but they have actually gotten lighter (a trend) and added horsepower (another trend). There is also more room in that tiny back seat than the one I squeezed into for the test drive back in the day.

Mercedes-AMG GT S

The literature does not state whether the four-liter direct-injected dry-sump V8 (inset) hidden under all that shrouding in the Mercedes-AMG GT S’ engine bay includes the specification du jure – a flat-plane crankshaft. It has a turbocharger in the valley between the cylinder banks, and the signature of the technician who assembled it from a bare block. Claimed output: 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, the latter available at a mere 1,750 rpm. Many who saw it remarked that in this view it looks like a Porsche

Mercedes-AMG GT S Profile

Note the distance from the front wheel arch to the door cut. Unlike say, the recent Maserati coupes, with their short noses and compact wheelbases, Mercedes attempts to counter the Porsche 911’s advantage of rear weight bias by adopting classic front-mid engine practice, placing the mass of the engine entirely behind the front wheel centerlines. Weight distribution was stated at 47%/53% front/rear. The result is a pleasing long hood, short deck proportion like early front-engine race cars.

Porsche 911 GTS

The car we all suspect was the target of the Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S is the Porsche 911. You can be forgiven if you have trouble keeping up with all the variations thereof. This is the GT-S, just introduced the week before at Press Days. It slots between the Carerra S and the GT3. Not as quick as the Mercedes-AMG above in a straight line, but in real world driving, hard to beat. 

Maserati Alfieri Profile

Strange wheels with what look like supplementary composite bicycle spokes adorn the muscular Maserati Alfieri Concept. Better proportioned than their Maserati 2+2 coupes, it’s a more fitting example of a proper descendant of the Ghiblis of the late sixties and early seventies than their sedans of that name.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Hidden behind the Maserati exhibit, the first real offering of a returning-to-the-US Alfa Romeo, the 4C, represents a candidate to replace the Lotus Elise. At only about 2,300 pounds, its 137 horsepower Toyota-sourced turbo four has no trouble motivating its sexy carbon fiber and sheet moulding compound shape. No power steering blunts the road feel of this corner carver, although purists may protest the dual-clutch automatic transmission. No manual is available.

New Mazda MX-5 Miata

On the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the first Mazda MX-5 Miata, the ground-up redesign relieves the anxiety of lovers of light sports cars, by actually losing about 200 pounds. The best-selling two seater in history, it will share some architecture with a similar car to be built by Fiat/Chrysler as an Alfa Romeo.

Corvette Z06 Convertible

We featured Dodge’s Challenger Hellcat, with its 707 horsepower supercharged V8, in our Auto Show Pony Car edition. Chevrolet showed the convertible version of its “Regular Production Option Z06″ Corvette, whose supercharged V8 only (!) produces 650 horses. But the Hellcat weighs 4,439 pounds, while the Corvette burdens its engine with just 3,558. Both claim 650  pound-feet of torque. Which do you think is quicker?

BMWi8 and Vision Dynamics Concept

In 2009 BMW showed a concept car at the LA Auto show called the Vision Dynamics (inset). It promised 356 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. THat was with a diesel-electric hybrid power train. Today you can buy the i8 with 357 horsepower, and while its torque falls a bit short of the concept, at 420 pound-feet, it’s still impressive, with an EPA estimate of 76 mpge. As Automobile magazine says in naming it an All-Star, “The Future, Here Now.” BMW even claims that with their more cost-effective carbon fiber technology, it does not lose money on them.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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More on the Mustang GT350

Mustang GT350 Info Trickles Out

2016 GT350 Badge

What with squiring two clients accounting (at various times) for an Audi TT, a BMW M3 Convertible, a Camaro Z28 Convertible, a Porsche Cayman and a Volvo C30 through the Los Angeles International Auto Show; writing that first Pony Car blog; traveling north for Thanksgiving with the granddaughter; and two days staffing the Petersen Automotive Museum’s desk at the Show, I had not gotten around to writing about the other cars at the Show. Not to worry. It’s coming.

2016 Ford Mustang GT350 Front View

What Do We Know Now?

When the Auto Show opened, very little was made public about the performance version of Ford’s 5th generation Mustang. Thanks to the tenacity of the social media and a few leaks, we can add just a few morsels.

This is third-hand information, being a report of a report in the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2014/1202/2016-Ford-Mustang-Shelby-GT350-gets-a-very-reasonable-sticker-price) of a report in Horsepower Kings (http://horsepowerkings.com/ford-will-price-2016-gt350-52995-gt350r-model-way/) but here it is.

If you read our first report, you’ll know that the car’s price had yet to be revealed when the car appeared on the stand. We speculated that it would be around $55,000, undercutting the Camaro Z28 by about $18,000. Now it appears the gap is even bigger. “Sources at the LA Auto Show” set the base MSRP at $52,995.

Few order a car like this without all the go-fast goodies, so you can expect as-purchased prices to climb quickly. Already there’s word that a “tech package” will bump the sticker up by $2,995. That is not the one hot-shoes will be waiting for though. Like the “Laguna Seca” edition of the Boss 302, there is little doubt that a “track package” will be the hot option.

But Wait – Their’s More

Those Ford loyalists who are smarting over the headlines bogarted by the track-ready Camaro Z28, will be waiting with bated breath for January’s American International Auto Show in Detroit, where Ford is expected to debut the Mustang GT350R, with rumored carbon-ceramic brakes and other racing essentials tweaked on the legendary Nordschleife at Germany’s Nürburgring. Too bad our travel budget doesn’t cover a trip to the Motor City.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

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