Friday, November 30, 2012

Collector Chevelles at Auction in New Orleans

Since I can’t get to any classic car shows at this time of the year, the next best thing is trawling the online catalogs of the various collector car auction houses. Always lots of great photos and cool cars. Vicari Auction will be selling cars from the Brent Tauth Chevelle Collection at tomorrow’s New Orleans Classic Auto Festival.

1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 396
Courtesy Vicari Auction
What’s up for grabs? The feature car is a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS5 V8 automatic. This convertible still has its original engine, and comes in black with white racing stripes. Sweet. There’s also a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396, described as show ready. You can see it in the photo. I’d love to see it at a local show.

Another of the featured cars is a hardtop 1970 Chevelle Malibu survivor car. It’s only had two owners, and still has its original 300 HP V8 (naturally), as well as lots of toys and a special order factory SS dash. Not as in-your-face as the SS 396, but a very nice car indeed.
1970 Chevelle Malibu
Courtesy Vicari Auction

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ford Provides Virtual Driving School

Whether you’re a novice driver, have years of experience behind the wheel, or teach others to drive, there’s always something to learn. Ford wants to help people do just that, in a safe virtual environment. Check out their online driving skills academy.

Once you’ve registered, you have access to videos on driving, a teacher’s guide, and—probably of most interest to teens—a virtual driving game produced by Michigan State University to teach skills in a safe environment. According to manager Jim Graham of Ford Driving Skills for Life, “Research has found driving simulation can effectively introduce new drivers to potentially life-saving skills. Tens of thousands of new drivers have attended our driving clinics, but this new game will provide millions of new drivers the opportunity to test and develop their skills online and on their schedule.”

Obviously, real world practice is still required, but the driving skills academy is a great supplement. Kudos to Ford for introducing it.


I apologize for posting so infrequently these last few weeks—I’ve been having back problems, which has reduced my computer time. Now that I’m on the mend, you should be seeing more frequent posts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

At Last! A Bentley I Can Afford to Drive

Courtesy Bentley Motors

Bentley Motors recently announced a new collection of items in their online store for the holidays. While the collection includes everything from Le Mans luggage to a handcrafted backgammon set that can be customized to match your Bentley, it was the cars that caught my attention.

Specifically, a remote control 1:12 scale model Bentley Continental Supersport. Looks just like the real thing and would like great parked under the Christmas tree. There’s also a model kit for a 4.5 litre Bentley Blower, and a nice selection of model Bentleys both new and classic, including the Speed Six Blue Train Bentley. Or how about an 8 GB USB stick in the shape of the Continental GT? It even has flashing headlights.

Prices could best be described as “exclusive” but still a fraction of the cost of a real Bentley.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1931 Duesenberg Racing Engine

Back in June, I’d talked about a 1931 Leon Duray Indy 500 race car I’d seen at the Samsung Transportation Museum in South Korea. A few days ago, an anonymous reader commented that the engine for this car was for sale on eBay. Sure enough, there was a 1931 Duesenberg V16 racing engine that ended up selling for $77,000. If you check out the link, you can see lots of photos of it.

I doubt it’s the engine from the museum—everything there was beautifully restored. But then I’m not sure the museum’s car isn’t a replica. I also don’t know if Duray’s 1931 Indy car had a Duesenberg engine. It’s listed as a Stevens / Duray 2C on Racing-Reference, and apparently failed to finish due to overheating. Race-Database also lists the engine as a Duray, though I suspect that means he may have modified it, not built it. Still, the Duesenberg is a rare engine. Thanks to my anonymous commenter for drawing it to my attention.

It seems Leon Duray did have a connection with a 1931 Duesenberg, but it wasn’t a race car—it was a Model J. It’s not known if Duray actually owned the car, but he certainly drove it. You can find the whole story at Hemmings Classic Car.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hot Rod Heaven: New 1940 Ford Coupe

1940 Ford Coupe body shell
Courtesy Ford Motor Company

I’ve always been somewhat ambivalent about hot rods. On the one hand, I love the creativity involved. On the other hand, a classic car was destroyed to make it. Yes, there were lots of Fords and Chevys (around here they seem to make the bulk of the hot rods) built in the 1930s and 1940s, but sooner or later they’ll be gone. Plus the likelihood of finding a pristine body to build from—pretty much zero.

Now there’s another option. Dennis Carpenter FordRestoration Parts is offering reproduction body shells for the 1940 Ford Coupe. Built with modern steel and modern techniques, and officially licensed by Ford, these shells are ready to be made into hot rods, or your own reproduction 1940 Ford coupe. They’re already rust-proofed, so apart from whatever cutting down and stretching you want to do, there’s no drilling and filling required. The shells can be ordered with or without door and trunk panels. There’s also an option of a modified firewall to make room for a bigger powertrain.
1940 Ford Coupe body shell
Courtesy Ford Motor Company

They also make and carry parts for lots of other classic Fords. In fact, the company got started because Carpenter wanted dash knobs to restore his own car. Not being able to find any, he got permission from Ford to make reproductions using their blueprints. He’s produced many more parts since then. “When you see a beautifully restored 1940 Ford, it is like a piece of jewelry,” Carpenter said. “People just really love the lines of that car. It is timeless and appeals to all ages.”

Dennis Mondrach, licensing manager for Ford Restoration Parts, would agree. “Like its older 1932 Deuce Coupe and younger Mustang siblings, the 1940 Ford is a bodystyle and design that represents Ford at its best. The 1940 Ford Coupe has always been highly sought after and collectible. Unfortunately, good, solid restorable examples have become hard to find and expensive, so this faithful reproduction is bound to prove popular.”

If you can’t find the parts you need among Carpenter’s large inventory, you can also try Ford Restoration itself. While they don’t appear to sell parts, they do have a searchable database that will point you to the nearest licenced retailer of the part that you are looking for.