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.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Big Block Shelby Cobra Sells Out, New GT350R Mustang Coming

Shelby GT350R
Photo courtesy Business Wire
Back in January, I’d blogged about the Shelby American 50th Anniversary 427 Cobra, and said the 50 cars being made would probably go fast even though some assembly was required. And sure enough, they went in under 48 hours. But don’t despair.

While the limited edition is gone, there is other news from Shelby and Ford. They recently announced a limited production GT350R Mustang will be coming to Canada and the US this year. If you’re looking for a track ready, street legal car, this could be it. Among other things, the new Mustang will have carbon fibre wheels, specially tuned suspension and a flat-plane crankshaft naturally aspirated V8.

In order to keep it light, what it doesn’t have is air conditioning, rear seats, stereo, backup camera, or carpet. They’ve also removed the exhaust resonators, but I suspect that’s more for engine note than the claimed weight loss. The new GT350R is said to be weigh 130 pounds less than the Shelby GT350 Track Pack model.