Tuesday, July 26, 2011 08:00
If you’re one of those people who like anything with an engine that goes fast, you’ve probably heard of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the Experimental Aircraft Association holds an annual gathering. And if you’re one of those people who likes cars––and you probably are, because you’re reading this––you’re not immune to the charms of American musclecars. Ford’s counting on a lot of people just like you attending the 2011 AirVenture Oshkosh and bidding on a special Blue Angels edition 2012 Ford Mustang GT.
This one-of-a-kind vehicle will be sold at the Gathering of Eagles charity auction July 28. All proceeds from the car donation and sale will benefit the EAA Young Eagles organization, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.6 million young people since 1992 while also teaching the value of hard work, personal responsibility, and enhanced math and science skills.
The Blue Angels Mustang pays tribute to 100 years of naval aviation, which will be celebrated all week at AirVenture 2011. Its exterior was inspired by the acclaimed naval aviation performance demonstration team and the F-18 Hornet aircraft it flies. It features a rear spoiler with vertical tailfins, yellow gloss accents, the Blue Angels script and crest, and unique chrome blue paint. Inside the cockpit are leather Recaro seats with the Blue Angels crest stitched into them, cluster graphics, performance gauges, navigation-screen images, instrument panel appliqués, rear seat-delete and cross-brace, Blue Angels script in the illuminated sill plates, and puddle lamps that project jet images when the doors open. More...
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 08:00
It’s hard to imagine a sand-encrusted off-roader or admirer of VW Beetles who hasn’t heard of Bruce Meyers, the Mac Daddy of all dune buggies. The Meyers Manx is arguably one of the most significant vehicles of the last century, not only for its record-breaking achievements in the 1967 Baja 1000, but also for capturing the imagination of countless dune-chasing off-roaders (and several hundred copycat manufacturers to boot). It’s far more than just a VW-based sandrail; it’s iconic, a cultural waypoint of the Sixties that captures the feel and look of a generation, a vehicular version of Beatles music and Peter Max art.
Now in his eighties, Meyers is hardly the type to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. His fertile imagination has spawned a neo/retro variant of the Manx. Instead of using a shortened VW pan, the Manxter has a full-length Beetle chassis, allowing for four seats instead of two. More significantly, the air-cooled Type 1 engine is gone (or rather, used only on the base 2+2 Manxter now). Instead, a modern, water-cooled, turbocharged Subaru WRX engine hangs off the back end.
Meyers is not content to simply rehash an old idea. The Manxter takes the Manx to a new level of performance, using modern mechanicals, such as the long-arm off-road suspension (on the DualSport, shown here) to the 250-hp Subbie boxster engine. The latter is typically mated to an upgraded VW Type 1 transaxle or a stock Type II with a Kennedy adaptor. More...
Thursday, June 30, 2011 08:00
When John Thomas Drics was a senior in high school, his parents gave him a gift that would stay with him far longer than he ever expected: a brand-new ’81 Pontiac Trans Am. Some three decades later, he still owns the car, but it’s in far different condition than original, after a two-year buildup project that not only restored it, but took its performance to extraordinary new heights. How did he happen to receive such an enduring ride?
“I really don’t why they gave it to me,” Drics admits. But there was an added and unexpected satisfaction after his folks handed him the keys. He had just broken up with a girl who didn’t believe he’d be getting a new car, and then she spotted him behind the wheel. Noting her surprised wave, he just kept on heading for the horizon. Some 100,000 miles and a dozen years later, he rolled it into a storage garage, and there it sat for a 15 more years, rode hard and put away wet. But never forgotten.
So when the owner of the storage garage took ill and asked Drics to pull it out, he showed it to his then six-year-old son. “Let’s do something with it!” came the enthusiastic reaction. And indeed Dad did.
Realizing it needed a thorough reconditioning, and having neither the time nor the skills to personally handle the job, he had an epiphany while on a business trip from his home in Carmel, Indiana to Los Angeles, California. While cruising down Wilshire Boulevard, he spotted a really sick Mach I, and realized that So Cal was the place for custom car fabrication. He surfed around for a shop, and finally settled on Hot Rods and Custom Stuff (HR&CS) in Escondido, CA. “The owner Randy Clark was the only one who itemized the estimates and costs,” Drics relates. “That’s the best thing you can do on a project like this.” Other shops were too general in their quotes, and Drics expected a certain amount of “project creep” (adding extra mods as time went on). More...
Thursday, June 23, 2011 08:00
It’s every car guy’s dream come true. Stumble across an abandoned collectible, gathering dust and just waiting for an attentive owner to restore the vehicle to its former glory. Of course, the price has to be right, and the car worth the time and expense of rejuvenation.
Well, here’s a tale that follows that popular fantasy—but with a twist. What if you left well enough alone, as a well-worn example of what it’s like to come across such a situation. After all, it’s only original once, so what if you could leave it as found?
That’s the case with Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks, who owns more Corvettes than you could shake a car duster at it. So he doesn’t have to restore every barn find he encounters. Here’s his story:
“On July 1, 2010 a gentleman stopped by our offices and asked if I would be interested in buying a 1957 Corvette,” he recalls. “…He said it was in a barn and had been ‘nailed in there’ for over 35 years.” More...
Friday, June 17, 2011 07:00
Street rodders are an innovative lot, to say the least. Ed Matula is a case in point, having built three ¾-scale ’32 Ford HiBoy rods. Not only are they downsized, but also have unusual powertrains: two with electric motors, and another, shown here, with a Honda motorcycle engine.
It all started as a chance encounter at the SEMA show several years ago, when he strolled by a magazine booth with a ’32 Ford on display. “That’s cute,” he thought to himself, then did a double take, realizing it was smaller than original. Turns out Chupps had cut down an original body to create a pint-sized Hi Boy.
After acquiring the body and frame package, Matula modified the chassis so it would accept electrified motivation. That setup with lead-acid batteries proved to be workable around town, good for a 50mph top speed and a range of 50 miles or so.
Looking for a more versatile powerplant, he spotted a Honda Goldwing for sale that was a basket case, and being parted out. Initially he thought the driveshaft configuration of the 80hp engine would make it a fairly simple install, but he discovered the offset required a dual-sprocket arrangement with a short chain to turn the differential shaft on the ’80 Datsun pickup rear end. (A Chevy Luv truck can be used as well, but the track is wider and doesn’t look quite right.) More...