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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Custom Made Slot Car Tracks

Slot Mods founder David Beattie stands in front of one of his 
handcrafted slot-car raceways. (PRNewsFoto/Slot Mods USA)
Every year Neiman Marcus puts out a Christmas catalogue full of stuff most of us could never afford. Doesn’t stop me from looking, though. There’s usually at least one car in there, or a pair of his and hers automobiles, but this year offers something different, a handcrafted slot car track by Slot Mods USA. Okay, it’ll cost you $300,000 and a six-month wait but check out the video of their version of the Watkins Glen track, at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Washington.



Actually, the catalogue price starts at a more affordable $75,000 (plus shipping and installation) for a 12 by 20 or 30 foot version of a legendary track, built to 1:32 scale, complete with guardrails, signs, grandstands, and even integrated cameras. The $300,000 Ultimate Slot Car Raceway not only includes the purchaser’s choice of track, but an inaugural race night party co-hosted by a racing legend.

It’s also possible to order a track directly from Slot Mods USA. And, coincidentally enough, there’s one being auctioned off later this week at Auctions America.

Hmm. Think I need a bigger basement.

[SOURCE: PRNews]


Friday, November 14, 2014

Wanna Drive a Stock Car?

Photo by Kate Tompkins
While most of the vehicles I saw at this year’s Montreal Autorama were very shiny indeed, there were a couple that weren’t. They looked like they’d been well driven, and they probably had, since they were at the booth of Ecole de Stock-Car Cabana. If you’ve ever wanted to drive a stock car, they offer courses at their driving school at the Sanair track just north of Saint-Pie (that’s on the south shore, this side of Granby).

Since the founder of the school, Jean-Paul Cabana, is a two-time Canadian NASCAR champion with over 500 victories to his credit, he should know a thing or two about racing. And the cars the school uses have actually seen competition in NASCAR and CASCAR. There are several options, from one that lets you sit in the passenger seat while a professional driver takes you around the track a few times, all the way to their ultimate course which finishes with 100 laps of the track at speed. They also offer a corporate program—all you have to do is convince your boss it’s a great team-building experience. And there are gift cards and certificates if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your significant other.

I haven’t been to check it out in person yet, but it sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s a link to the English version of their website, but there’s more information on prices and courses on the French page.





Friday, November 7, 2014

Spotted: US Navy Jeep


US Navy Jeep
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Check this out—we saw it parked at a local strip mall a few weeks back while we were picking up Korean take-out. I don’t know if it’s the real deal or not, but it looks a lot like the 1944 Willys MB on this site:

Haven’t seen it around before, but I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open.



US Navy Jeep
Photo by Thomas Tompkins

Monday, November 3, 2014

Build Your Own Classic Mini with LEGO

Creator Expert LEGO Mini
Photo Courtesy BMW Group
Yep, there’s now a LEGO set that allows you to make a classic Mini Cooper. At $119.99 Canadian, you may not be running out to buy one for your kids this Christmas, however. It’s really more of a collector’s item and it’s only available through the online LEGO store.

Based on the version of the Mini built between August 1997 to July 1998 (the 40th anniversary Mini), the Creator Expert LEGO set contains 1,077 pieces, which combine to make a car 25 centimetres long, 14 centimetres wide and 11 centimetres high. It comes in British Racing Green (of course), and has the appropriate body striping, checked seats, and even 40th anniversary emblems.

Creator Expert LEGO Mini
Photo Courtesy BMW Group
As you can see in the second photo, the doors, hood and tailgate all open and the roof comes off. Under the hood is a detailed, transversely mounted 4-cylinder engine. The steering wheel (on the right hand side as befits a British car) is movable, as are the gear shift, handbrake, backrests and headrests. It comes complete with a picnic basket and a spare wheel. Suggested age is 16 and up.


Also available is a 1962 Volkswagen Camper Van ($129.99) and a DeLorean time machine (not nearly as detailed) for $44.99.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Felino – Quebec’s Latest Race Car?

Felino cB7
Photo courtesy Felino Cars
Quebec must be a province of car enthusiasts because they keep coming up with new and interesting Quebec-made vehicles. There’s the Allard J2X MKII (a remake of a classic British roadster), the HTT Pléthore LC750 supercar, and the Campagna V13R roadster trike.

Felino cB7
Photo courtesy Felino Cars
We might soon be able to add one more to that list, the Felino cB7. A prototype was revealed at the Montreal auto show last January, and word was that they would be doing final testing earlier this year with a view to a limited pre-production run late this year. It’s meant to be a track car, though they may eventually make a street legal version. Current specifications call for a 6.2 litre V8 putting out 525 hp at 6300 rpm, with a curb weight of only 1,135 kilograms. Yes, there’s carbon fibre involved.

Check out the photos. And here’s a video, presumably taken about a year ago, showing the car tooling around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.



But like so many dream cars, things seem to be running behind schedule. The press pack I got off the website was the one issued for the auto show and there seems to be no more current information. The specifications page says it will be updated in summer 2014. I checked the French version as well and it says the same thing. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. On the other hand, if you want to get in on the ground floor of a chance at a limited production car, they’re taking pre-orders now.



Related Posts:

Interview with Roger Allard of Allard Motor Works: Part One

Interview with Roger Allard: Part Two



Friday, October 24, 2014

Taking the Ferry across the St. Lawrence

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
When we were planning our road trip to Kegaska at the end of Highway 138, we thought we’d take a boat back from there. Turned out the price for us and the car to spend three days on the boat would have cost more than a Caribbean cruise, so we decided not to. As a compromise, we figured we’d take the ferry from Baie-Comeau on the north shore to Matane on the south shore, a crossing of about two-and-a-half hours. If you’re thinking of doing something similar, here are some things to think about.

It’s possible to make a reservation ahead of time through the Société des traversiers website. We did this and it was probably a good idea as, though we were travelling on a weekday in September, there were still lots of vehicles lined up to get on.

Boarding the ferry
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If you have mobility issues, or are worried about damage to your vehicle (not that we had any), you may want to avoid the ferry. They really pack you in there tightly. If you’re a passenger, be prepared to have to leave the vehicle before it’s parked and go upstairs. You will not be allowed to return to your vehicle until just prior to landing. I wasn’t expecting this and didn’t grab my jacket, which I could have used as it was very windy that day. My husband tried to text me once he was parked so we could find each other, but despite the fact we have the same network provider, I never got the message until the next day.

You will have to re-enter your vehicle shortly before arrival. They had us wedged between a big RV on one side and a pickup on the other. The only way in to the car was through the back doors. No, I’m not kidding. My husband then had to climb into the front seat. Not fun.


Heading out
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Having said that, we did enjoy the ferry ride. The boat is huge. It’s possible to go up on the top deck in the open air. There’s also a lower deck with lots of seats, a snack bar and gift shop, and even a couple of rooms with televisions, if you’re not interested in the view. You don’t realize just how wide the St. Lawrence is until you’re out in the middle of it and can’t see either shore.

This should be the last post about our road trip. If you're interested in reading them in order, here are the links:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spotted: International Harvester K Series Truck


International Harvester K series
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Saw this on our way home from our road trip, at the jardins de métis near Matane, Quebec. Judging by its size, I’m guessing it’s a K-1 or perhaps a K-2. And while it looks to be in beautiful condition, it also looks like it’s been driven recently. That I like to see.



International Harvester K series
Photo by Kate Tompkins


If you’re looking for IH information, check out this site by the Wisconsin Historical Society. Lots of documents and photographs.