Saturday, May 31, 2014

Alfa Romeo Back in North America

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C debuts at New York International Auto Show.
(PRNewsFoto/Chrysler Group LLC)
It’s been a long wait—since 1995 in fact. Dates for the return kept being given and passed with nothing happening. It seems this time they’re in earnest, though, as they debuted the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe at last month’s New York Auto Show. A limited edition 2015 4C (only 500 serialized coupes will be produced) is supposed to be available in June.

Sounds like it might have been worth the wait. According to the press release bumpf, the 4C is:

“…a mid-engine design inspired by the brand's legendary racing history, state-of-the-art carbon fiber monocoque and all-aluminum turbocharged engine influenced by Formula 1, and advanced technological solutions, all to deliver supercar-level performance and driving exhilaration.”

Why 4C? There’s a 1750 cc four-cylinder engine under the hood, putting out 237 horsepower. Okay, four-cylinder and supercar may not sound like they belong together, but the car and engine are both very light, and of course it’s turbo-charged. They’re claiming instantaneous torque delivery, 80% of which is available at 1,700 revs. Top speed is 160 mph and it will do 0-60 in the mid-4 second range.

To go with the power under the hood is a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle-shifters, and carbon fiber and fiberglass sport seats. There’s a twin-clutch transmission with four different modes, including All-weather, Natural, Dynamic, and Race, which, as you probably guessed, allows you to deactivate various safety features and take care of traction through the accelerator. The first three modes can also be used in “auto,” if you’re more in the mood for touring.

What’s special about the limited edition? Here’s a direct quote from the press release, to make sure I get all the details in:

  • Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione or Madreperla White exterior paint
  • Bi-xenon headlamps with LED illuminated daytime running lights
  • Carbon fiber rear spoiler and mirror caps
  • Aluminum rear diffuser
  • Race suspension tuning with front- and rear-sway bars and performance-tuned shock absorbers
  • Racing exhaust
  • Staggered 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) forged wheels painted in Dark Gray
  • Red lacquered brake calipers
  • Sport seats with black microfiber
  • Leather-wrapped instrument and door panels
  • Red or White interior accent stitching on the instrument panel, steering wheel, handbrake, floor mats and door handles
  • Serialized "Launch Edition" plaque

And here’s a little Alfa trivia for you, as found on Wikipedia.

  • Alfa Romeo began imports to the US in 1961
  • Alfa Romeo ceased imports to the US in 1995
  • The company was founded in 1910, and was named A.L.F.A. (Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili). I’d always assumed (incorrectly) that it was somebody’s name.
  • The Romeo part of the name comes from one of the company’s early directors, Nicola Romeo.
  • Alfa Romeo’s first racing car was built in 1913.
  • In 1925, Alfa Romeo took the inaugural Grand Prix world championship.
  • One of the early drivers for Alfa’s racing team was Enzo Ferrari.

[SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC, via,]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Upcoming Car Shows for Montreal Area

Had hoped to get this posted yesterday, but I found so many car shows, including several in the Quebec City area, I couldn’t get it finished on time. So, the June car shows page is now up. You can find it at the top of the page on the right, or just click here. Looks like a good month for MOPAR fans, with two different shows. And of course the Montreal Grand Prix is also in June.

Also, I’ve added another cruise night to the cruise night page—also top of the page to the right, or just click here. That’s the one in St-Bruno on Tuesday nights, which starts June 17.

As always, if you’re running a car show or cruise that’s not on my list, please tell me!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Smokin’ Hot Rods

I’d said there were a couple of hot rods out at last Monday’s cruise at Smoke Meat Pete’s. Here are a few pictures of them.

First up, this beautiful black beast. I love the flowing curves on it.

Photo by Kate Tompkins

Photo by Kate Tompkis

And here’s the second, in dark purple. Check out the very subtle red pinstripe on the side.
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Photo by Kate Tompkins

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spotted: Plymouth Belvedere Wagon with a 426 Hemi

1964 Plymouth Belvedere wagon
Photo by Kate Tompkins
This station wagon got a lot of attention when it pulled into Smoke Meat Pete’s for the cruise on Monday. It’s a four door Plymouth Belvedere with a 426 Hemi under the hood. I think it’s a 1964, which, if the motor and badging are original, would make it quite a rare car—possibly unique. Nineteen sixty-four was the first year Chrysler used the Hemi name (the Hemi is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year).
1964 Plymouth Belvedere wagon
Photo by Kate Tompkins

According to Wikipedia, the 426 Hemi was developed for NASCAR, and Chrysler produced a racing version of the Belvedere in 1964. Hemis weren’t available to the general public until 1966. I doubt any of the NASCAR Belvederes were station wagons, however. Certainly there weren’t any in the pictures I could find.

One of the onlookers described it as a real sleeper. It would have been that, all right.
1964 Plymouth Belvedere wagon
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cruise and Blues at Smoke Meat Pete’s

Cruise Night at Smoke Meat Pete's
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Finally got a chance to check out the cruise night at SmokeMeat Pete’s in Ile-Perrot this past Monday. It’s worth the drive, especially if you live in the West Island. It’s a smallish cruise night with a neighbourhood feel and there were lots of people out admiring the classic cars. The night I was there, there were several 70s muscle cars, some very nice hot rods, and even a Volkswagen camper van. I’ll be posting more photos later this week once I’ve had a chance to go through them.

If you’re driving, you might want to park a little way down the street as the parking lot had not only the cars out for the cruise night but also customers of Smoke Meat Pete’s and the DQ immediately across the road. We enjoyed the smoked meat and smoked turkey sandwiches while we sat on the porch and watched the cars arrive. There were other choices on the menu that I’ll have to sample another time, such as chicken and ribs, and prices seemed reasonable.

While we left before the band started playing, the sound system was pumping out blues, which added to the atmosphere. It was a good outing for my first cruise of this year.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Double Celebration of Maserati Centennial

Maserati’s GranTurismo MC Centennial Edition coupes
and convertibles are inspired by Maserati’s historic
sports-luxury cars with authentic race-bred engineering.
Photo courtesy of Maserati.
Back in December I’d said Maserati was celebrating their centennial this year but didn’t seem to have any plans for a centennial edition car. Happily, I was wrong, and at the New York Auto Show they surprised everyone with not one but two centennial edition Maseratis.

Yep, two GranTurismo MCs, a coupe and a convertible. May have to put one of each in the virtual garage. Unlike many anniversary versions of cars, these come with lots of choices. There are three unique exterior colour schemes, or you can pick from the four existing GranTurismo MC choices. All seven exterior colours have an associated matching interior. You can see two of the three unique  “three-layer” paint choices in the accompanying photos—Magma Red and Inchiostro Blue. They’re said to represent the colours in the Maserati logo. The red, white, and blue of the logo show up in the interior details as well.

Black leather interior on seats, dashboard and wrapped steering wheel
are offset by red and white stitching on the full-length seat profiles
 - headrests offer Maserati’s embroidered Trident logo.
Photo courtesy of Maserati

Plenty of wheel choices, too, though they all carry the centenary logo, which comes in Smoke or Charcoal. But of course what you really want to know is what’s under the hood. No choices there. You get a (and I quote, to make sure the details are right), “454 HP, 4.7 liter V8, combined with a ZF 6-speed Automatic transmission, providing superb performance and a top speed of 185 mph. Dual cast Brembo brakes and sport-tuned MC suspension also come standard.” The centennial editions should be showing up in dealerships this July.
The GranTurismo MC Centennial Edition convertible has a 
special 3-layer paint finish of Inchiostro Blue,
representing a traditional color of Bologna,
the town where Maserati was founded in 1914.
Photo courtesy of Maserati.

[SOURCE Maserati]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mazda to Produce 25th Anniversary Edition MX-5 Miata

25th Anniversary Edition Mada MX-5 Miata
Photo courtesy Mazda North American Operations
Still catching up on all the press releases from the New York Auto Show. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thinks Mazda puts out cute cars, so I thought I’d pass this on.

Back in 1989, the original MX-5 Miata was debuted at the Chicago Auto Show. Last month, a 25th anniversary edition was rolled out at the New York Auto Show. While they’ll be producing it globally, this will be a collector’s car as numbers are limited. Not sure how many will be made in all, but according to the press release, only 100 are slated for the US. According to Mazda USA’s Facebook page, only 100 are slated for North America—you can find pre-order details there. I’m betting not too many get across the border.

As of February 2011 900,000 of the sporty little roadsters had been built, so they’re obviously popular. They’re also within most people’s reach, though I suspect that won’t be the case with the limited edition.

If you did manage to get your hands on one, what makes it different from a standard MX-5? The exterior is clad in Soul Red Metallic, with black trim. Inside, as you’d expect are leather seats, in almond. Of course there’s badging inside, on the head rests and elsewhere. There’s also one exterior badge, on the driver’s side fender, which will carry the car’s serial number. While the engine will be the same as in regular MX-5s, the parts are all premium and hand-selected.

[SOURCE Mazda North American Operations]

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bentley Motors Sends Two of its Best to 2014 Mille Miglia

Bentley Blower
Photo courtesy Bentley Motors
One of the classic car events at the top of my “wouldn’t it be nice” list is the modern version of the Mille Miglia, an annual 1,700 kilometre race through Italy for cars that could have competed in the original endurance races held from 1927 to 1957 (with interruptions for both World Wars). So many fabulous classics to admire!

This year’s, which starts tomorrow,  will include two Bentley Blowers being sent by Bentley Motors. One is the 1930 Le Mans “team car,” formerly belonging to Bentley Boy Tim Birkin, the other a demonstrator Blower. Both have completed the Mille Miglia on several occasions and I’m sure they’re quite popular with the spectators. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to visit Bentley headquarters in Crewe, you might even get a ride in the demonstrator.

Bentley Blower
Photo courtesy Bentley Motors

For Bentley fans, the pre-race gathering of the Bentley Drivers Club might be even more fun than watching the race. They’re expecting cars and drivers from all over. “We plan to see Bentley’s Blowers and their drivers off in style. There will be Bentleys from all eras, some of them extremely rare, in Brescia to mark the start of Mille Miglia and it should be a real celebration of great cars”, comments Steve Miller, Club Secretary of the Bentley Drivers Club.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ultimate Pony Car?

Fifty years after debuting one of the world's most popular cars,
Ford is marking the milestone by revealing a Mustang
50 Year Limited Edition. (Photo: Business Wire)
Now this is the 50th anniversary swag all Ford fans would like to get their hands on—the 50 Year Limited Edition Mustang. Most of us will be out of luck, though, because they’re only making 1964 of them. And I’m betting Ford hangs on to at least one of them, and so they should.

They’re scheduled to hit the dealers this fall and will be based on the 2015 Mustang GT fastback with performance pack. They’ll come with pretty much everything, including lots of 50 year badging and other touches unique to the limited edition. Ford says the only choice customers will have to make is which exclusive colour to go for--Wimbledon White (the same colour as the very first Mustang sold back in 1964) or Kona Blue—and whether they want an automatic or manual transmission.

While the car is very modern, there are design touches to show its heritage. According to Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president of design, “Chrome trim was much more prevalent on cars in the 1960s than it is today, so we added some discreet highlights for the grille, side glass and tri-bar tail lamps.” The tail lamps are apparently based on an original 1962 design, a variant of which did go into production on the first Mustangs. Another nod to the past is the louvered rear quarter-windows, though the technology is totally different.

The interior will have the best of everything, too, from an aluminum trim panel, to leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and limited edition floor mats. Oh, and a badged leather portfolio for the owner’s guide.

“Mustang fans love to drive their cars, even the rarer examples of the breed, so we built this limited-edition from the best-performing 2015 Mustang available – the GT fastback with the performance pack,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer. “While some collectors will undoubtedly stash this car away in a museum, those who choose to hit the open road will get a world-class sports car that can run with the best.”

Under the hood? The performance pack includes a 5.0-liter V8 that puts out over 420 hp, six-piston Brembo front brakes and, of course, 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli tires.

I’ll be keeping my eyes open but I expect my chances of seeing one aren’t very good.


Monday, May 5, 2014

May 2014 Montreal Area Classic Car Shows and Events

If you know of an event that should be on this list, please let me know! I’ll be happy to add it.

May 10 rain or shine
La Traversée de Montréal
As far as I can make out, this is a drive being organized by the VAQ and not something spectators can attend. Cost is $50 and covers one car with two people plus their lunch
8:30 am
Alexandra Quay, Old Port, Montreal
Contact Daniel Fines at 514-489-7405 or or Jean-Marie Mercier at 450-245-7151

May 11
VolksFest Swap
11 am to 4 pm
Holly Lane, Ottawa
Contact Shawn Rutters at 613-868-7891 or

May 16-18
4th Annual Two Nations 1000 Islands Extravaganza
Clayton, New York
Contact Cathie MacNeil at 601-310-9805

May 17-18
33rd Festival Annual du Club VAD
Classic, modified, sports, compact, work and special interest vehicles and flea market
9 am to 4 pm
Centre sportif Daveluyville, Quebec
Contact P. Goupil at 819-363-2236 or

May 18 (rain date May 19)
6th Exposition de Voitures Classiques de St-Lambert
Non-modified 1984 and earlier vehicles
11 am to 4 pm
Corner of Victoria and Elm, St. Lambert, Quebec
Contact 450-671-4906 or

May 18
3rd Annual Wicked Garage Open House/Show & Shine Charity BBQ
10 am to 3 pm
1344 Barfield Road, Greely (Ottawa), Ontario
Contact 613-788-3701

May 24
Monkey Joe's Car Show
All makes and models
4:30 pm to 8 pm
Westgate Shopping Centre, 1309 Carling Avenue, Ottawa
Contact Larry Way at 613-446-4717 or

May 24-25
27th Exposition du Club Voitures Anciennes de la Mauricie
Cars 20 years old or more, hot rods, tractors, and tuners
8:30 am to 5 pm
Parc Laviolette, Trois-Rivières
Contact Justin Brousseau at 819-374-9638

May 25
Rideau Lakes ACCCC Flea Market, Craft Sale & Car Show
Lombardy Fairgrounds on Hwy 15 - 4 miles S.W. of Smiths Falls
Contact Henry or Lorie Schur at 613-283-2833 or 613-284-1168 or

May 25
Memories of the Mills Classic Car and Motorcycle Show
11:30 am to 3:30 pm
Lower Beverley Lake Park, Delta, Ontario
Contact Ernie Olivo at 613-928-2841 or Andrew Gransden at 613-348-3423 or

May 25
Denny’s Charity Show ‘n’ Shine
4 pm to dusk
South Keys, Ottawa
Contact Jeff Billard at 613-806-1670 or

Friday, May 2, 2014

Montreal Area Car Shows for This Weekend and a New Cruise Night

Seems I’ve been asleep at the wheel and car show season has already begun. I’ve put up a page with all of the recurring cruises I know of in the area—you should be able to see a listing for pages in the right hand column near the top. I’ll be compiling a list of May’s shows and events over the weekend, but thought I’d better list these two as they’re supposed to be on this weekend. Given the weather forecast, I’d call before going.

Osgoode Tire’s 9th Annual Show ‘n’ Shine and BBQ
Saturday, May 3, 8 am to 2 pm
2605 Stagecoach Road at Snake Island Road, Osgoode, Ontario
Contact 613-821-2953 or

Ottawa Classic & Custom Car Show
Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4
Ernst & Young Centre (CE Centre), 4899 Uplands Drive near the Airport
Contact Dave Brown at 613-860-8687 or

I also wanted to mention a new cruise night for the Montreal area. Smoke Meat Pete’s, in Ile-Perrot, will be running cruises Monday nights starting May 5—that’s next week. Details are on the cruise night page, or you can check out their website. It would be really great to see this one take off as there’s nothing else out this way without crossing the border.