Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars, Part 2

1947 Crosley CC Four Two-Door Wagon
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Right next to the Reliant Robin was this 1947 Crosley. I’ve never seen one before. According to the sign in its window, it was made by Crosley Mfg. Co. in Cincinnati. Apparently the company manufactured over 35,000 cars between 1939 and 1952, along with appliances like fridges and TVs. They were sold through dealerships, and also through Macy’s (yes, the department store). The sign also described the car as a four cylinder, three speed which got 25-30 mpg. And that the car is NOT for sale. I suspect they get asked a lot.

1947 Crosley CC Four Two-Door Wagon
Photo by Kate Tompkins
The Crosley company is still around, though obviously they no longer make cars. They actually have quite an interesting history, with a number of firsts (including the first portable television), which you can read about on their website. They do sell turntables and jukeboxes (alas, CD only), if you’re looking for an entertainment system for your garage.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars, Part 1

Bob's Antique & Classic Cars
Photo by Kate Tompkins
 We spent a few days in Lincoln, New Hampshire, earlier this fall. The town seems to exist solely for the sake of tourists who come to hike, ski, or admire the autumn leaves. They must also come to drive the winding roads through the White Mountains, because we saw lots of classics and sports cars. In fact, there was a Viper club meet up at the tourist information centre—we counted nine Vipers in the parking lot and met three or four more going back through town. Sorry, no photos, I didn’t have my camera on me at the time.

1974 Reliant Robin
Photo by Kate Tompkins
If classics are your thing, check out Bob’s Antique & Classic Cars. It’s just down the Kancamagus Highway (no, I don’t know how it’s pronounced) from Lincoln and definitely worth a visit. There are a few vehicles in the parking lot, like this bright green Reliant Robin, but the best part of the collection is inside, through a door at the back of the gift shop.

1974 Reliant Robin
Photo by Kate Tompkins

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gotham Golfcart

Photo courtesy and copyright Hammacher Schlemmer
Okay, I promise this is my last post on this year’s Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. But who could resist a golf cart that looks like the Tumbler from the Dark Knight series? I think it’s pretty cool, and I don’t even play golf. Though I think it would be even cooler if it was a lawnmower. You’d have people paying YOU to cut your grass.

Its electric motor will let you do up to 38 mph, and with six tires and a 4-link rear suspension, you can do it in comfort. Wearing a cape while driving it is not recommended.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Classic Corvette Billiards Table

Photo courtesy and copyright Hammacher Schlemmer
Another gem from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. Don’t worry, they didn’t actually make this regulation billiards table from a 1959 Corvette, but they did mold it from one. The bumpers are really chrome, tires have authentic details, and the car is in the original Roman Red and Snowcrest White livery. The table itself is felt-covered one-inch thick slate and comes with cues, balls, a mock VIN and title. Got any space in your garage?

At $25,000, it’s not cheap, but it will give you something to do on those days when the local cruise is rained out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gearhead Toy for Your Girl or Boy

Photo courtesy and copyright Hammacher Schlemmer
I like to browse the Hammacher Schlemmer online catalogue this time of year. They always have such fascinating gifts. The first to catch my eye this year was the Car Lover’s Engine Repair Set pictured above. What a great idea for a toy! Kids can tackle all kinds of maintenance and repairs, including changing the oil, checking the brakes, and replacing the spark plugs. Tools are included, and the battery-operated half-a-car even has a working horn and headlights.

Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who thought it was cool. The website says demand was so high they’re currently taking orders to be shipped in January.

You can check out the details/order one HERE.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Porsche Only Livestream Auction

Lot 18_Porsche 959, Orig. 8,294 km, Like New,
Model 1988_Starting price euro600,000
Got a press release recently from Auctionata, an online auction house. They’re not in my usual list of suspects, possibly because they’ve only been around since 2012 and tend to specialize in art, but the auction, set for December 12, does sound interesting. Up for grabs are 25 Porsches from 1965 to 1997, all said to be in “excellent condition.”

The sale will be broadcast live from the Prototyp car Museum in Hamburg, which, probably no coincidence, is currently running an exhibition on Porsches. Check out the museum webpage, they’ve got lots of great photos, and a car timeline.

The auction catalogue can be found HERE. There’s a link there if you wish to register to watch and/or participate in the auction. My personal favourite is the 1977 Porsche 935, orig.930 Turbo & Magirus Race Car Transporter, but with a starting price of 120,000 Euros, you can bet I won’t be bidding.

The list of vehicles sounds like a Porsche lover’s dream. They’re offering a 1989 Porsche 959, a 1970 911 ST, Group IV Special GT (one of only 10 built), an unrestored original condition 1975 911 Turbo 3.0, and one of the 30 year anniversary Porsche 911s (one of 911).

I see they do tend to run “car maker” only auctions. There’s one on December 8 for Mercedes-Benz, and they recently did a Ferrari only auction.

Friday, November 13, 2015

London Classic Car Show Returns

Seems this year’s inaugural show must have been a success, because the organizers have announced they’ll be doing it again on February 18 through 21. This year’s show will cover twice as much of London’s ExCel Centre, 34,000 square metres in total. That’s one big show, and it would certainly make the idea of London in February more bearable. Tickets are already on sale on the show’s website if you’re going to be in the area.

They’ll be running the Grand Avenue (a road through the middle of the exhibition which will have more than 60 classic cars driving through) again this year, and have added a new hall for prestige and performance classics. No specifics provided yet, but I’m sure I’ll be seeing more press releases and will pass on any interesting details.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spotted: 1944 Daimler Scout Car

1944 Daimler Scout Car at D-Day Museum
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
Another one of the vehicles I saw on my trip to Portsmouth, UK, earlier this year. This 1944 Daimler Scout Car, otherwise known as a Dingo, was in the D-Day Museum. According to the plaque beside it, it can go forward and reverse in all 5 gears—up to 55 mph!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Spotted: 1960s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud

1960s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Photo by Kate Tompkins

1960s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Beauty, isn't it? Spotted it in Portsmouth, UK, in early September.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

1971 Porsche 911 from Le Mans Movie Starring Steve McQueen up for Auction

Thanks to my husband for passing on the Christie’s link (see source below to check it for yourself) to me. Seems they’ll be offering up a 1971 Porsche 911 T coupe driven by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans at their November 4 sale in Paris. Along with several other Porsches, it had been purchased by McQueen’s production company from Swiss racing driver Jo Siffert for use in the film. It was later given to leading lady Elga Andersen. It’s had two owners since.

As the title suggests, the movie is about racing at Le Mans. It starred McQueen as an American race car driver, and was filmed entirely on location.

Oddly enough, I can’t find it on the Internet Movie Cars Database, but they have a 1970 Porsche 911 S which looks like the same car HERE. They also have pictures of a lot of other cars in the movie.

Christie’s estimates the car will sell for between €250,000-350,000. They describe it as “in exquisite condition, with original body paint and minimal repairs at the front and front sides.” And a mere 46,350 km on the odometer.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2nd Autorama Montreal Starts Tomorrow

Autorama is back for its second year. Once again it’s being held at the Olympic Stadium. It’s open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm, and on Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. General admission is $13 (13 and over), taxes included. Children (6 to 12) are $6 and must be accompanied by an adult. Children younger than that are free.

I thought last year’s event was terrific and am really happy to see them running it again. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check it out.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Spotted: Ford Jeep GPW circa 1941

Ford Jeep GPW circa 1941
D-Day Museum, Portsmouth, UK
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Just got back from a trip to Portsmouth, England. While it’s paradise for a naval buff (if you’re at all interested in naval history, it’s a must-see, especially the Historic Dockyards), there are some land-based military vehicles at the D-Day Museum, including the Jeep above. There’s also the Wight Military and Heritage Museum on the nearby Isle of Wight (just opened this summer) but I haven’t been, so can’t report on it. I understand it’s possible to drive a Centurion tank there!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Events for the Rest of September

Okay, all the September car events I know about are now up on the September page (see link on the right hand side).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Montreal Area Classic Car Shows and Events on the Labour Day Weekend

I’ll be updating the September page next week sometime, but below are the events coming up this weekend. Lots of great shows on offer.

September 5
Monkey Joe's Car Show, Cruizin into Fall (all makes and models)
4:30 pm to 8 pm
Westgate Shopping Centre, Ottawa
Contact: Larry Way at 613-446-4717 or

September 6
7th édition de l'Expo de Valleyfield du Club Corvette Valleyfield (all classics, even modified, not just Corvettes)
9 am on
Parc Sauvé, Valleyfield, Quebec
Contact Jean-Guy Lafontaine at 450-429-8508 or or Richard l'Espérance at 450-371-6171

September 6
Boston Pizza Car Show (all makes and models)
4:30 pm to 8 pm
Rockland, Ontario
Contact Larry Way at 613-446-4717 or

September 6
North Augusta Labour Day Weekend Car Show
9 am to 3 pm
$10 registration
North Augusta, Ontario
Contact Bill Tennant at 613-340-4073 or

September 6 (rain or shine)
Auto Expo 2015/Hawkesbury Nationals
9 am to 3 pm
$15 registration
Hawkesbury, Ontario
Contact Michel Dicaire at 613-632-8695

September 7 (cancelled in event of rain)
Déjeuner sur l'herbe VAQ au Parc d'Outremont (pre-1970 classics only)
10 am on
Parc d'Outremont, Montréal
Contact VAQ at 514-745-6278

September 7
Docksyde Final Cruise & Show
10 am to 4 pm
Morrisburg Waterfront, Morrisburg, Ontario
Contact: Brian Erratt at 613-543-2261 or

September 7
Kiwanis Club of Goulbourn’s Richmond Motor Classic
Richmond Plaza, Richmond, Ontario
Contact: John Egan at 613-298-2324 or

Thursday, August 27, 2015

BMW to Bring 13 Historic Vehicles to 4th Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix

BMW Group Classic Historic Motorsport has announced that it will be bring ten race cars and three motorcycles to this year’s ZandvoortHistoric Grand Prix (August 28 to 30). While it’s been 30 years since there’s been a modern F1 Grand Prix on Dutch soil, the Zandvoort Historic brings legends back to life. With more than 50,000 visitors last year, the program, which has races and demo runs on its 4.26 km track, obviously interests a lot of people.

BMW won’t be posting pictures until after the event (if time permits, I’ll repost them), but it has provided information on some of the vehicles it’s bringing to its first time at the event:

Chevron BMW B21 from the 1972 Formula 2 championship
March 782, powered by a BMW engine, which won the 1978 F2 European Championship
BMW M1 from the 1979 Procar series
Winning BMW 635 CSi from the 1983 European Touring Car Championship
Brabham BMW BT52 that won the 1983 Formula 1 World Championship in 1983
BMW M3 2.5 DTM from the 1992 German Touring Car series
Winning BMW V12 LMR from the 1999 24-Hour Race of Le Mans
BMW M3 GT2 from the 2011 24-Hour Race of Le Mans GT Pro class

1954 BMW RS 54
1960s BMW R 50 Kaczor
BMW S 1000 RR that won the 2014 Isle of Man Senior Tourist Trophy


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Makes a Car a Classic?

Before I started attending car shows and cruise nights, I’d assumed a classic car was one that was older than I was. At least ten years older than I was. It was a bit of a shock when I found cars from my early 20s on display. So what exactly defines a classic? It depends on who you ask.

According to the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) , a “Full Classic” car is one that was built between 1919 to 1948 (older than me—yay!). Not only that, but the car must have been produced in limited numbers and been expensive at the time—think Packard and Cadillac. You can find a list of the cars that they call CCCA Classics on their website.  You won’t find any Chevy Bel Airs or Ford Fairlanes here. No Model A Fords, either. But you don’t have to own a CCCA Classic to join the club or attend their events.

Fortunately for the average car lover, most clubs and events aren’t nearly as exclusive with their definitions, or we’d all have a lot fewer automotive beauties to admire. Many seem to consider any car more than 25 years old to be a classic, with anything built before the Second World War falling into the vintage class. Rules can vary as to whether modifications are allowed or not. Hot rods aren’t considered classics but are welcome at many of the same shows.

While I can’t see my first car, a used 1978 Plymouth Horizon, making anyone’s list of classics any time soon, you never know. HERE’S an article (with photos) on the sportier 1979 tc3 version. Nah. Not feeling the nostalgia. But I say if someone loved it enough to keep it, or to track it down and restore it, then it’s a classic. What’s your classic?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Spotted: Classic Ford Truck

Classic Ford Truck
Photo by Kate Tompkins
Saw this beauty on the streets of Portsmouth on a recent trip to England. It was parked in more or less the same place two days running so I assume it’s someone’s daily driver. Sweet!

Friday, July 31, 2015

August Car Shows Page Is Up

I apologize that not all the links in it are "live." Having a real fight with my computer today over selecting and linking. Will try to go back and put them in later after a restart, but in the meantime, the list is there.

Don't forget the Granby Show starts today (details under July).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Model T Road Trip of the Century

July 17, 1915: The departure moment from the
Ford Farm. Clara B. Ford, Henry Ford, Horace J.
Caulkins Jr., Thomas C. Whitehead, Edsel B. Ford,
Robert T. Gray and Herbert V. Book.
(Photo courtesy Antique Automobile Club of America
Library/Historic Vehicle Association)
One hundred years ago, Edsel Ford and six of his friends thought it would be fun to drive a 1915 Model T Touring from the Ford farm near Dearborn, Michigan, to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition being held in San Francisco, some 3,500 miles.

This year, the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) is following in his tire tracks. Using one of the souvenir albums Ford put together as a memento of his trip, the HVA and the Antique Automobile Club of America Library (AACAL) have put together a similar itinerary.

HVA President Mark Gessler and HVA Historian 
Casey Maxon stand with 1915 Model T Ford Touring at
Henry Ford Estate.
(Photo courtesy and copyright Historic Vehicle Association)
"The purpose of the trip is to elevate national awareness to the importance of our automotive heritage and how it helped shape American culture," said HVA President, Mark Gessler. "Over the last century the road trip became an expression of American lifestyle and the Ford Model T helped make it possible for most Americans.  With this trip, we hope to celebrate how it all began with developing roadways, the Model T and youthful adventure."

July 19, 1915: Ford Model T Touring, Horace J.
Caulkins Jr. (left) and Thomas C. Whitehead (right).
Edsel's diary note: "became stuck in mud 18 miles east
of St. Louis. Tackle and block failed to move it."
 (Photo courtesy AACA Library/Historic Vehicle Association)
Like Ford and his friends, they left the Henry Ford Estate on July 17, driving a similar 1915 Ford Model T Touring. Also like Ford, they plan on doing 150 to 250 miles a day—not bad in a vehicle with a top speed of 35 mph. Unlike Ford, they’ll be hitting a few museums on the way before winding up in San Francisco on August 18. I’ve pasted their itinerary in below, in case you’re on their route. You can also follow along on

August 1, 1915: Thomas C. Whitehead empties the
Ford Model T. Edsel's diary note: "Took one hour to
go first four miles up long steep hill. Had to remove
all superfluous weight from car such as cushions,
tent, baggage and tools.”
(Photo courtesy AACA Library/Historic Vehicle Association)
If you  were wondering, no, all seven travellers weren’t in the Model T. There were two other cars on the trip, a 1915 Stutz 6-F Touring and a 1915 Cadillac V8.

HVA Road Trip Century Schedule

July 16 - Dearborn, Michigan (preparation day at the historic departure point)
- Henry Ford Estate at Fair Lane
July 17 - Dearborn to Auburn, Indiana (departure)
- The Ford Product Development Truck and Car Show
July 18 - Auburn to Indianapolis
July 19 - Indianapolis to St. Louis
July 20 - St. Louis to Jefferson City, Missouri
July 21 - Jefferson City to Kansas City, Missouri
July 22 - Kansas City to McPherson, Kansas
July 23 - McPherson (rest and repair day at McPherson College)
July 24 - McPherson to Dodge City, Kansas
July 25 - Dodge City to La Junta, Colorado
July 26 - La Junta to Colorado Springs
July 27 - Colorado Springs (day trip to Pikes Peak summit)
July 28 - Colorado Springs to Trinidad, Colorado
July 29 - Trinidad to Las Vegas, New Mexico
July 30 - Las Vegas to Albuquerque
July 31 - Albuquerque (rest and repair with the Tin Lizzie Club)
August 1 - Albuquerque to Chambers, Arizona
August 2 - Chambers to Flagstaff
August 3 - Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park
August 4 - Grand Canyon to Kingman, Arizona
August 5 - Kingman to Ludlow, California
August 6 - Ludlow to Los Angeles
August 7 - Los Angeles (rest and repair day)
August 8 - Los Angeles to Pismo Beach, California
August 9 - Pismo Beach to Carmel-by-the-Sea
August 10 - Carmel-by-the-Sea (rest and repair day)
August 11 - Carmel-by-the-Sea welcome event at the Concours-on-Avenue
August 12 to 16 - HVA participation in Monterey Car Week
August 17 - Carmel-by-the-Sea to Palo Alto
August 18 - Palo Alto to San Francisco (arrival)
- Centennial of Panama-Pacific International Exposition


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Found Online: 1955 Mercedes Gullwing and Lego Mercedes Truck

Saw a couple of stories from eMercedesbenz that I wanted to link to. First is THIS one about one of the 1955 300 SL alloy gullwings coming up for auction. Loads of gorgeous photos. The estimate is it will sell for $5,500,000 to $6,500,000. Given it’s one of only 29 produced and has matching numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised.

While the eMercedesbenz article doesn’t actually provide any details of the auction, a quick search on Google turned it up. Looks like it’s being sold by RM Sotheby’s at their Monterey auction on August 13.

Next is THIS article about an upcoming Lego model of the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3245 tipper. Yup, not a sports car, but a construction vehicle. It will be out next month and apparently has pneumatic components and electronic controls. At 2793 parts, it might take your kids more than 10 minutes to put it together.

You can find it on the Lego site HERE. It’s actually the second in a series. Lego had early produced the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 400 (no longer available) pictured HERE.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don’t Forget Karz 4 Kidz This Saturday

The sixth anniversary edition of this fundraiser for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation is on this Saturday at the Kirkland Canadian Tire. They’ll be showcasing classic cars, as well as some of the latest and greatest. Food, music and games will also be available. Admission is $15.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Classic Mercedes 450 SLC Rally Car to Participate in Eifel Rally Festival

Here’s a link to an article talking about some of the classic Mercedes-Benz rally cars and their drivers. Seems one of them, and several of the drivers, will be participating in festivities surrounding the 5th ADAC Eifel Rally Festival held in Daun, Germany, along with another 100 plus rally cars covering five decades. They’ve been over some long and very rough roads during their careers.

Monday, July 6, 2015

In Which I Get to Drive a Ferrari

Me and the Ferrari F430
In the lead-up to last Christmas, my husband started dropping hints that I shouldn’t expect as exciting a present as the year before. Given that the previous year’s gift had been the chance to go on the Mercedes-Benz winter driving course I believed him. I shouldn’t have.

Christmas morning found a diecast Ferrari in my stocking, together with a certificate for five laps in a Ferrari F430 at the ICAR Experience in Mirabel. Of course, there was a bit of a wait, since they don’t take the exotics out on the track in the winter, but I eventually booked an appointment for June 24.

I’d figured since it was the middle of the week, even though it was a holiday here in Quebec, they wouldn’t be that busy. Ha! There’s a lot of stuff going on up there. They have a go-kart track and a carting track, in addition to at least one track for cars. We had trouble finding a parking spot. Despite that, the line-up to check in was short, and soon I was waiting to be called for the orientation class prior to track time.

Then it was on to the track itself and another short wait in line. I’d been expecting the car to be red, but I have no complaints about the shiny black one I got to drive. I’d been a bit worried because I’ve never driven a standard, but it was a semi-automatic, so there was no clutch or gears to deal with. With the instructor in the passenger seat directing me, I waited for someone in a Corvette to pass and then entered the track.

It took me a couple of laps to get my bearings, both with the track and with the car, but after that it was grand. While I’m sure I didn’t break any speed records, I wasn’t the slowest one on the track either. The car handled beautifully, with steering, gas and brakes all very responsive. The engine wasn’t as loud as I expected, but it certainly had power. Especially the last time around when I gunned it on the straight stretch.

I really enjoyed the experience (I'm still smiling), and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s ever wanted to drive an exotic, or just see what their own car can do on the track. Have to admit I couldn’t follow the pre-track lecture, which was delivered entirely in French (I do speak some French, but I’m not bilingual), so be warned if you’re not comfortable in French that the Mirabel location might be a problem. All the other staff members I encountered did speak some English, however.

Also, do spend the extra money and go for the five lap package. That gives you time to get comfortable with the car.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Eurokracy Show on This Saturday

Okay, not a classic car show, but it sounds like a lot of fun anyway. It’s being held on Saturday, June 27, at the ICAR Experience track in Mirabel. For details and to buy tickets, go HERE.

It’s billed as “Canada’s finest European automotive event.” Judging from the ticket information, there will be drag racing, burnouts, a low car contest, and an exhibition. There’s a long list of different groups that are cruising in for the event, from as far away as Winnipeg, so it should really be something.

Vendor and show car roll-in is at 6 am, the general public can enter at 10.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Another Local Car Show This Saturday

Just came across this one on the RebelRidez FaceBook page. I’ve added it to the June page (see link to the right), but am also posting what details I have here.

June 20
5th Annual Plaza Performance Auto Show
10 am to 4 pm
10001 Bruxelles Avenue, Montreal
Contact Plaza Performance at 514-326-0613

Monday, June 1, 2015

June Classic Car Events

You can find a list of classic car events for June in the column to the right. Looks like it should be a great month. It gets off to a good start this week with various Grand Prix related events and builds from there.

One show I hadn’t been aware of before is the Shelburne Museum Classic Car Festival in Shelburne, Vermont. While it’s open to all vehicles from 1990 and before, they’ve issued a special invitation to Cadillacs of any age or condition for a tribute display. Seems it was a native Vermonter, Henry Leland, who founded Cadillac back in 1902. What caught my attention, though, is that they’re planning on having a 1910 Sears Roebuck automobile arrive at the museum’s train station in a crate (as they came from Sears), which will then be assembled, started up and driven. I’d really like to see that.

Unfortunately, I can’t find anything to indicate that Cornwall’s MOPAR Madness is on this year. If anyone knows otherwise, please tell me! In the meantime, I have added a similar show being held in Vermont.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Now Here’s an Autonomous Car I Can Get Behind

Sam Schmidt driving the SAM 2.0 car during the final road course
engineering test drive in Morrison Colorado on March 13, 2015.
(Photo: Business Wire)
There’s been a lot of talk about autonomous cars over the past few years. Some people think they can’t bring them on soon enough, others aren’t so sure. While I’m all in favour of safety features and collision avoidance, I wonder if the self-driving car will soon mean the only place people will be allowed to drive will be on the racetrack. Or that only the well-heeled will be able to afford them. On the other hand, it could mean people who can’t now drive, can once more enjoy the independence of their own car. That’s what the Arrow Electronics Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) Project is about.

The SAM 2.0 car is a 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray modified to allow a quadriplegic to drive it. How cool is that? Former IndyCar Driver Sam Schmidt, paralyzed in a racing accident back in 2000, took it for a spin on the Long Beach Grand Prix track recently. Last year he demonstrated the car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, driving fast enough to qualify for the Indy 500.

“Racing has been a dream of mine since I was five years old,” said Schmidt. “I thought I would never be able to drive again after my accident, but this vehicle makes it possible for me to improve every time I am on the track. When I drive the SAM Car, I feel a sense of normalcy. The latest modifications in SAM Car 2.0 allowed me to make sharp right and left turns, as well as synchronize my acceleration and braking more precisely.”

How does it work? It uses infrared cameras connected to sensors on Schmidt’s hat, so he can steer by tilting his head. Brakes and accelerator are controlled by sucking or blowing into a tube with an attached pressure sensor. GPS keeps the car away from the edge of the track. There’s also a computer to keep track of everything. While it would obviously take some getting used to, it seems to work remarkably well.

You can find out more about the SAM Project HERE. I like the fact that they’ve chosen a sports car to modify—not everyone wants to drive a van!

[SOURCE: Businesswire]

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Time to Get Your Toys Out of the Garage

It’s finally spring. To celebrate, I’ve put up pages for this year’s cruise nights and for next month’s car shows—links are on the right. I’ll be updating the other months as they get closer.

There are a few cruise nights starting this Friday, including the big one up in Laval. Good news for those of us in the West Island is that Smoke Meat Pete will not only be continuing their Monday night car cruise this year, but they’ll be doing a bike afternoon on Sundays as well.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Thinking About Doing Targa Newfoundland? Check This Out First

The following article by a couple of competitors from last year’s Targa showed up on my Facebook page, so I thought I’d pass it on.

I love the picture of their car at the Timmy’s drive through.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Andrews Car Collection Up for Grabs

There’s an upcoming auction next weekend that looks interesting. RM Sotheby’s will be selling off the Paul & Chris Andrews car collection in Fort Worth, Texas on May 2. You can get an idea from the video (link HERE in case it won’t play for you) what a fantastic collection it is. Apparently it includes 78 vehicles, all going without reserve.

“The Andrews Collection is one of the most unique and comprehensive collections we've ever had the privilege of offering,” says Ian Kelleher, Specialist, RM Sotheby's. “A fantastic reflection of a father and son's shared passions, the sale has attracted tremendous early interest, which we expect will translate into spirited bidding come auction day.”

No, that’s not just hype. Among the collection are a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet by Pininfarina, the 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Town Car with body by Bohman & Schwartz, and a 1962 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra, all of which appear in the video.

The Andrews aren’t getting out of car collecting entirely, they just want to pare their collection down so they can enjoy driving the ones they have. Which makes me wonder. If these are the cars they’re getting rid of, what are they keeping?

From Dandelions to Tires: Continental Tire Announces New Rubber Source

Photo: © Monika 3 Steps Ahead/, Continental AG
In an appropriately Earth Day themed release, tire manufacturer Continental showed off tires sourced from dandelions at the SAE World Congress in Detroit earlier this week. They’ve been looking for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly raw material for rubber and found it in dandelion roots. Remembering back to my childhood and how the sticky sap used to get all over my hands when I picked a bouquet of the yellow flowers, it makes perfect sense.

According to Dr. Peter Zmolek, Continental Tire the Americas Director of Research and Development, “Continental's use of dandelion roots to make rubber brings us one step closer to reaching our goal of making tire production more sustainable and less dependent on traditional raw materials.” The project has been carried out at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology at the University of Munster, Germany. The resulting dandelion rubber has been dubbed “Taraxagum” after taraxacum, the botanical name for dandelion.

“The use of dandelion rubber can shorten transport routes to our production sites around the world and enable the growing global demand for rubber to be met without sacrificing more precious areas of rainforest,” said Zmolek. “Both these factors will have a positive, sustainable effect on the world's carbon footprint and on bio-diversity.”

Does that mean the dandelion crop in your front yard is now worth cultivating? Unfortunately, no. The dandelion used by Continental is a specific variety known as the Russian dandelion, which produces more rubber than the common weed.

For more information, check out

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Historic Vehicle Association Adds First Mercedes-Benz Type 300 SL Sold in America to its National Historic Vehicle Register

Okay, you might be wondering why a German car has been added to an American list, but there’s definitely an American connection. In fact, without US Mercedes-Benz distributor Max Hoffman, the 300 SL would never have seen production. We might not have an SL class today.

This particular 1954 300 SL, serial number 198 040 4500003, was the first one sold in America, to Hoffman’s customer and racer Briggs Cunningham. He took it to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Concours that year, where it took first in the sports car class. It wasn’t just pretty, though. It also had a career in racing and even hill climbing.

Watch the video for lots of great footage and a discussion of what makes the 300 SL so special—and no, it’s not just the gullwing doors. Among other things, it was the first car to have fuel injection. You can also find photos of the car HERE.

[SOURCE: Historic Vehicle Association]

Friday, April 3, 2015

Classic & Sports Car Magazine Introduces New London Show

London, England, that is, and it’s happening from October 30th to November 1st. Not coincidentally, that’s the same weekend as the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and Regent Street Motor Show, so if you ever wanted to do England and see classic cars, start planning now. Tickets go on sale June 1st.

According to the press release, they’ll be showing off 300 or so “of the world’s rarest and most valuable classic cars.” You can only see one in the promotional video on the magazine’s website, a Jaguar XJSS, but if that’s any sample of what’s in store, it should be fantastic. Unlike the promo video, which I found really dull. Do check out their YouTube channel though, where there are lots of interesting videos, including the one below.

[SOURCE Classic & Sports Car]

Friday, March 27, 2015

Will Your New 2015 Car Be a Collectible? Check the Hagerty Hot List

1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750SS
Photo by Kate Tompkins
It would be nice to think that that new car sitting in your driveway will still be desirable several years down the road. The experts at classic car insurer Hagerty know a thing or two about collectibles and have put together their annual Hagerty Hot List of 2015 cars under $100,000 that could be collectible in the next 25 years. I’m assuming anything with a MSRP OVER $100,00 is automatically collectible. Note that new versions that haven’t appeared on previous lists are more likely to be on this one.

So, here are the top 10 cars, with prices, in alphabetical order. Some room for argument, but no real surprises. It’s probably already too late to get the Mazda, as apparently only 100 were slated for the North American market.

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition ($69,685)

BMW M4 Convertible ($73,450)

Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 ($75,000)

Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ($78,995)

Dodge Challenger Hellcat ($58,295)

Ford Mustang GT Performance Package ($37,125)

Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition ($33,000)

MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop ($24,950) – New for 2015, the 2 door hardtop John Cooper Works MINI is the most powerful MINI ever produced. The performance specs are impressive, but what will have collectors drooling in the future is the attention paid to the MINI's design concept.

Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition ($38,190)

Volkswagen Golf R ($36,595)

So would you buy/have you bought any of these? Or do you have your own candidate for the hot list? I’ll be moving several of these into the virtual garage for sure.

[SOURCE Hagerty]

Friday, March 20, 2015

BMW Celebrates Sebring Anniversary This Weekend

Tomorrow is the 63rd annual 12 Hours of Sebring. The endurance race, held in Sebring, Florida, is the second race of the season for the United SportsCar Championship. Of course, 63 isn’t a special number, but for BMW, this represents 40 years since its first Sebring victory, back in 1975, with a 3.0 CSL. It’s also apparently 40 years since BMW of North America was founded.

To celebrate, BMW Team RLL and BMW Motorsport have decked their current team cars (2015 BMW Z4 GTLM) in tribute livery. Car 25 is sporting the winning colours from 1975. Check it out in this head-to-head photo.

1975 BMW 3.0 CSL and 2015 BMW Z4 GTLM
Photo copyright and courtesy BMW Group
I’m sure they’re also hoping for a repeat of the 1975 victory. They’ve already picked up a second and a fourth at the Daytona season opener. According to Team Principal Bobby Rahal, “We have won twice [at Sebring] with the BMW M3s in the past five years and we had a reasonable race there last year. Certainly we hope for better this year, it being the 40th anniversary of the first win with the BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975. I was at that race and in those days you dreamt about driving one of those cars. It was a great win and is obviously a proud moment for BMW Motorsport and BMW. We anticipate there will be a lot of cheering and a lot of people hoping to see another great result.”

[SOURCE:  BMW Group]

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Navigation and Radio Update for Classic Porsches

Porsche Classic navigation radio
Photo courtesy Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Wouldn’t you love to have a navigation system and mp3 player for your classic Porsche 911? How about Bluetooth capability? Okay, like me, most of you probably don’t own a classic Porsche, but if I did, I’d definitely be interested.

Porsche Classic recently announced that it had produced exactly that, a navigation radio that fits in the DIN-1 slot of the 911 series. It’s designed to look like it belongs, while allowing you to use today’s technology. At the moment it’s only available in Europe (at a cost of 1,184 Euros), but they are currently at work on the North American version.

According to their press release, “The purpose-built unit combines the style of yesteryear with the benefits of modern technology. It fits perfectly into the DIN-1 slot that has been used in the sports cars for decades and is operated by means of two knobs, six discreetly integrated buttons and a touch-sensitive 3.5-inch display…It bears Porsche lettering and is suitable for the sports car generations between the first 911 from the 1960s and the last of the 911 series with air cooling from the mid-1990s (993 series), including the earlier front-engine and mid-engine models…”

“Radio reception…has been optimized for the built-in aerial supplied ex-works… Drivers have a choice of arrows and two-dimensional or three-dimensional maps to display the route. The maps are stored on a microSD card with eight gigabytes of memory and are updated regularly.”

I’d like to see more of this kind of thing from car manufacturers. You can find out more about Porsche Classic parts and accessories on their website. Among other things, they sell specially formulated motor oil, and Porsche hubcaps and crests. Hmm, a Porsche hubcap might look cool in my real garage. The classic Porsche itself (I like the looks of the 914) will only be found in my virtual garage.

[SOURCE Porsche Cars North America, Inc.]

Monday, March 16, 2015

Higgins and Drew Claim 100 Acre Wood Rally Victory

Defending Rally America Champion David Higgins powered
through treacherous conditions to win Rally in the 100
 Acre Wood. Photo courtesy Subaru of America, Inc.
Deep in the Ozark Mountains is the 100 Acre Wood. And while you won’t find Pooh and Tigger there, you would have found rally cars and drivers on the 27th and 28th of February. They were there for the second round of the 2015 Rally America Championship. According to the press release, it’s normally a high speed rally over gravel roads. Winter took a hand this year, however, and added snow and ice to the challenge, climaxing with a snow storm late in the rally.

Sounds like business as usual around here, except that we also have to contend with potholes and other drivers. And not so much the high speed part.

Some of the rally stages actually had to be cancelled, as the emergency vehicles couldn’t reach their designated stations. Despite that, David Higgins and Craig Drew drove their 2015 Subaru WRX STI to its second win of the season. Yeah, they’re two for two. Not that this was an easy win.

According to Higgins, “These were some of the toughest conditions I've ever driven on. There was a mix of everything. At a snow rally you at least know you are dealing with ice or snow, but here we also had gravel, frozen gravel, icy gravel and everything in between to go with the snow. Our 2015 Subaru WRX STI was perfect again and Craig did a fantastic job on the notes. This was a huge challenge.”

“We concentrated really hard on the recce (pre-race Reconnaissance) to note the slippery spots,” said Drew. “I've never seen anything like this before, it was so slippery in places. We built a good lead on Friday and were able to take it easy on the final day that was the plan. I'm really looking forward to a dry gravel rally now!”

[SOURCE: Subaru of America, Inc. via prnewswire]

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sommet des Legendes Will Be Back This Summer

1957 BMW 507 Roadster
Photo by Kate Tompkins
I’ll be including this in the calendar of events once car season resumes, but just thought you vintage racing fans might like to know that the Historic Motor Sports Association will once again be running the Sommet des Legendes at Le Circuit Mont Tremblant. Dates are July 10 through 12. BMW will be the featured marque.

If you’re interested in entering, the entry form can be found HERE (scroll down a few pages to find the Mont Tremblant race). Photos of the 2013 race can be found HERE.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spotted: BMW i8

BMW i8
Photo by Thomas Tompkins
My husband saw this BMW i8 on display in the Frankfurt airport and grabbed a picture for me.

In case you don’t already know, the i8 is BMW’s hybrid sports car, using both electricity and gas. Though with a range of only 24 km (according to Wikipedia) in the US models, it doesn’t sound like it spends much time in EV mode. They do claim 2.1 litres/100 km though, so it certainly sounds fuel efficient. And I love the way it looks.

You can see it in action in the following video.

I'd give it garage space.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Best of British Racing at RM Auctions 2015 Amelia Island Sale

A couple of promotional videos for RM Auctions 2015 Amelia Island sale coming up on March 14 ended up in my YouTube suggestions. So I had a look and figured I couldn’t be the only one interested.

First up is an extended look at a 1988 racing Jaguar XJR-9 (link here in case the video won't run). It was apparently one of only two built to IMSA specs, and is discussed by Martin Brundle, the driver of the other one (which no longer exists). For more details on the car, check out its page at RM Auctions. Quite a piece of art.

Continuing with our British theme, here’s some vintage footage of a 1955 Austin-Healey 100S at Sebring, appropriately enough in British racing green (also here if the video disappears). It’s the one sporting number 44. The video doesn’t show much racing but it’s shot at pit row. Interesting look at how much things have changed—they seem to be pouring fuel in with a funnel, and everything takes forever. RM Auctions provides more details on the car here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Montreal Motorcycle Show Returns

Okay, it’s still winter out there, but there’s something to look forward to next weekend, even if it involves two wheels rather than four. The Montreal Motorcycle Show is back. It will be running from noon on Friday, February 27 to 5 pm Sunday, March 1 at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal. Adult admission (15 and up) is $15, tax included, students and seniors $11, kids 6-14 $9, and under 6 free when accompanied by an adult. There’s also a $38 family pass (two adults, two kids), and women get in for half price after 5 on Friday, for She Rides Night.

There will be several manufacturers showing off their latest models, including Aprilia, BMW Motorrad, Can-Am BRP, Ducati, Deeley Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian Motorcycle, KTM, Kawasaki, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Piaggio, Polaris, Suzuki, Triumph Motorcycles, Victory, Yamaha and Vespa. You’ll also be able to find equipment, accessories, and clothing on display. Clubs and federations will be on hand as well. And there’s the Yamaha Academy, where kids 6-12 can learn to ride the new Yamaha TT-R. Moto trials (riding through an obstacle course on a purpose built bike) will also be demonstrated.

Friday, February 13, 2015

GM’s 1940 Futurliner No 10 Makes History: First Truck on the Historic Vehicle Association National Historic Vehicle Register

1940 GM Futurliner No. 10
Photo courtesy Historic Vehicle Association
Here’s an Australian video talking about the restoration of Futurliner No 10 (link HERE in case video won’t run). The actual commentary starts about a minute in, and include lots of great shots both inside and outside the vehicle, both parked and on the road. Check out the wheels, I love the atom symbol on them. The whole thing makes me think of a 1930s locomotive.

So what’s a Futurliner? For those of us not old enough to remember (me), or not American (also me), the GM Futurliners were a group of trucks and support vehicles that toured the United States both before and after World War II, bringing free science and educational exhibits to the people in GM’s “Parade of Progress.” One of GM’s executives had been inspired by the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, and wanted to take some of that to those who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see it.

Not only were the trucks serving an important purpose, they were interesting in their own right. According to Mark Gessler, President of the Historic Vehicle Association, “The Historic Vehicle Association was founded to ensure that our automotive heritage is more broadly appreciated and carefully preserved for future generations. As the first truck in the National Historic Vehicle Register, Futurliner No. 10 represents not only a unique engineering design, but also a look into our nation's past and the cultural significance of the Parade of Progress." The video below, “This Truck Matters,” talks about why the trucks were built and some of what made them trucks unique. Here’s the LINK in case it’s no longer working. It also talks a bit about the vehicle’s later history and its restoration.

No. 10 currently calls the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States home—that’s in Auburn, Indiana, if you’re thinking about checking it out. It was given to the museum by collector Joe Bortz in 1992, and restored, over an eight year period, by a team of volunteers headed by Don and Carol Mayton.