AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
A (Honda) Car Geek’s Dream Come True
Every once in a while this job affords us the opportunity to do something truly exceptional. Something that doesn’t just speak to the inner car geek nestled within our soul, but more like scream at it through a mega phone. Visiting the Honda America museum is one of those days.
Is this car still legendary, or just past its prime?
The 1990s was a great time for Japanese sports cars. Pretty much every manufacturer was building a world class performance machine including Mazda, with the third generation RX-7. But that was twenty years ago and what may have been great then, might not be any good today. So, we have gotten our hands on a pristine, low mileage 1993 Mazda RX-7 to see if it was all hype, or the real deal.
The 1990s is a decade known for things like flannel shirts, grunge music, Barney the purple dinosaur and Napster. But for those who live and breathe high octane fuel, the ‘90s was also a great time for performance vehicles. With the world economy in fine shape, manufacturers everywhere were producing some impressive machinery. This is the decade that gave birth to the Dodge Viper, McLaren F1 and Lamborghini Diablo.
There are custom cars… and then there are custom classic cars. This 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air is by far one of the nicest resto-projects we’ve ever set our eyes on, blending classic Chevy styling with modern Chevy power. With an LS6 small-block Chevy engine under the hood that’s been stroked to 383-ci, this ’55 Bel Air packs 520-hp and 531 lb-ft of torque.
The vehicle’s original body has been restored using a two-tone GM paint scheme with Arctic White and Light Tarnished Silver chosen to show off the classic’s straight lines and tight panel gaps. The powerplant underneath the hood was built by Superior Automotive Engineering with an extremely high 11.54:1 compression ratio. Bolt-ons include Dominator Street Rods dual snorkel intake pipes, Ron Davis aluminum radiator, and a Street and Performance air filter. Inside the engine, Comp Cams’ Extreme RPM High Lift camshaft provides plenty of extra horsepower while the Eagle forged steel crank turns Eagle connecting rods and push forged JE pistons. The port and polished heads have been completely rebuilt with Serdi valves, Comp Cams roller rockers, Comp Cams beehive springs and Comp Cams titanium retainers.
For chassis and suspension modifications, this Bel Air sports a Classic Performance Products front suspension which includes custom reinforced control arms, two-inch drop spindles, one-inch sway bar, Bilstein gas-charged shocks and a custom reinforced Borgeson 605 steering box. Classic Performance Products also supplied the four-wheel disc brakes that sit behind Schott’s two-piece forged billet Velocity wheels wrapped with Nitto rubber.
Lastly, Elegance Interiors reupholstered four Lexus seats with high quality, two-tone leather. Asking price? $109,900 – not too shabby considering it only has 3,523-miles on the odometer.
GALLERY: LS6-Powered 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Check out a video highlighting this custom 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air below.
Now the Santa Monica Police are seeking the public’s help in finding this rare car. The vehicle in question is a 1970 model, and while it was originally a light silver, it now has a custom brown paint job. It’s license plate is 3RBZ737.
The car was stolen off Berkley Street at 3:46 p.m. Police is asking if anyone has any security camera’s in the area that could have captured the crime. Travolta had left the car for just 10 minutes before he returned to find it missing. It is not known if the thief followed the car, or just happened upon it.
If you know anything about this vehicle, you can call Det. Steve Smetzer at (310) 458-8936 or Sgt. Henry Ramirez at (310) 458-8453. Investigators can also be reached through the 24-hour line (310) 458-8495 and those wishing to remain anonymous can call WeTip at (800) 782-7463 or visit their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org.
A $1000 reward is being offered to whoever provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction on this case. The car itself is valued at over $35,000.
[Source: LA Times]
Now a British tuning shop by the name of Frontline wants to bring you the old with a some new technology, so you can enjoy your classic on the road, rather than it steaming on the hard shoulder.
Frontline will be dumping the miserable, old four-cylinder of the original MGB, and replacing it with a much more modern and reliable, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine from the Mazda MX-5.
Thanks to new con-rods, crankshafts and pistons, this motor will be able to produce 240 hp. Since the car is expected to weight just under 2000 lbs. it should be plenty quick.
It should handle better than the original also, since the old suspension bits are axed and replaced with new telescopic dampers and coilovers. Just to ensure this classic still has that classic feel, the car retains its live-axle set-up, and just like the original, it won’t have any power steering either.
All sounds very good then, until you get to the price. Frontline will be asking around $80,000 for each example, and you won’t be able to enjoy it until next year anyway. But since each car will use a new British Motor Heritage MGB shell, it’s like getting a new car, rather than a refurbished old one.
None have been completed so far, hence we had to use a file photo. Hopefully we get to see what this company can really do before forking out the cash.
Last Sunday, Malcolm Pray, now 82, opened up his collection for a fund-raiser to benefit the Transportation Association of Greenwich. This group provides transportation for elderly and disabled people. Tickets were $275 a couple, and $15,000 was raised within those two hours for the charity. Pray’s cars are staples of the annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. His collection is housed in two garages, in Banksville, N.Y, one for sports cars, and the other for American classics.
Some of the most prized cars within the collection included: a 1957 BMW 507 roadster, a 1957 Porsche Speedster, a 1935 Amilcar Pegase roadster, a 1934 Auburn Boattail Speedster, and a 1938 Cord Sportsman featuring an odd electric vacuum shifter transmission.
[Source: The New York Times]
Peter Mullin, who has collected more than 30 Bugattis at his Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard California, is receiving an appropriate body to be fitted to one of the last remaining 1939 Bugatti Type 64′s.
The Bugatti Type 64 was originally designed by Jean Bugatti, the son of Ettore Bugatti, who founded the car company. “We believe this chassis to be the very last to be designed by a Bugatti family member,” said Andrew Reilly, the museum’s chief curator. According to Mr. Mullin, the lightweight frame is built of duralumin, an aluminum alloy that typically contains magnesium, manganese and copper. “It’s very strong and a leading technology for its day,”. “Nobody built a body for the car in part because the rolling chassis is so beautiful, but also because nobody knew what to put on it.” A distinctive and streamlined coupe, true to the period with butterfly doors, which were part of Jean Bugatti’s original design, are to be used for the body of the Type 64.
[Source: The New York Times Automobiles]
This red 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, known as the “Newman Bug”, isn’t your typical old Beetle, and it’s price tag of $250,000 should reflect that. The drop top Bug, owned by Paul Newman, is fitted with chrome bumpers and a black cloth top in good condition but the beauty of this car is in the rear engine compartment. A mid- mounted 351- cubic inch Ford Windsor engine has been shoe-horned into the little car to make it a deadly hot rod.
Paul Newman bought the convertible in 1963 after he fell in love with racing while filming Winning. He approached renowned Indy-car builder Jerry Eisert to modify the Beetle. Coupled with the 300-hp engine, is a five-speed ZF transmission as well as a high performance suspension components to keep the “Peoples Car” straight under load. The rear gets a custom A-arm setup for racing.
As the story goes, after Eisert finished modifying the car, Newman would speed up and down Mulholland Drive racing anyone who dared to line up with him at the stop light.
The bug has been restored twice. Newman donated the car to Sam Contino at the Chaffey College auto shop in Alta Loma, California. There, the car underwent its first restoration followed by upgrades such as a paint job and four Keystone chrome rims. The car was tweaked to be raced but was mostly used as a show car. After Contino retired, the car was given to him as a gift and was immediately garaged where it slept until 2009. Contino and his son restored the car in April 2009, hoping to show Newman the refinished bug, but the actor passed away before the restoration was completed.
Looking to spend over $150,000 on a true collectible? This 1980 BMW M1 was spotted on eBay sporting quite the price tag, but with good reason. Not only is it just one of 456 M1s ever produced, the original owner of this vehicle has kept it completely pristine and it only sports 2,745 miles on the odometer. The vehicle is completely stock and unrestored, its original Henna Red still shining brilliantly.
The vehicle has been garaged the majority of its life in a German private residence and was only recently imported over to America after the 25-year requirement passed. The M1 sports a 3.5L straight-six powerplant, boasting 277-hp and a five-speed manual transmission. Looking for a true collectible? Hope you’ve been saving your pennies since birth!
GALLERY: Mint Condition BMW M1
It sounds too good to be true…but it isn’t. As part of a new PR campaign for BMW faithful in the Munich area, you can book a tour of the historical city in one of the company’s museum cars.
Sure, they’re chauffeur-driven. But you’ve got the choice of various 1930s BMWs, including 326 and 335 convertibles — as well as a 1950s-era 502 “Baroque Angel.”
You’ll get your money’s worth, too: the route is three hours long (!), starts at the BMW Museum, continues to a tour of BMW Welt, then the 3-Series factory, then a tour of the company’s historic vehicle collection.
After a short break, the chauffeur drives you around town…then to BMW’s flagship showroom for a champagne reception.
They’re even so generous to include a certificate of participation, a gift box, a BMW museum ticket and guide. It’s only €90 (~$120 U.S./CAD) per person. Compare that with a Ring Taxi ride, at €195 ($264 U.S./CAD) per lap. Ouch.
Dates are available to book throughout this year. Call +49 (0)1802-118822 for more details.