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11 Sep 2014

Stanford opens its Revs automotive digital library

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Grand Prix de Spa Grand Touring Race from Revs

Are you a fan of vintage racing, or just old cars in general, and can’t find enough classic pictures online to feed your habit? Then we have found the perfect site for you. Stanford University has opened its Revs Digital Library online – a wonderfully curated and cited page of automobilia that already includes nearly 200,000 images spanning most of the history of the car.

The photos come from the Revs Institute for Automotive Research in Naples, FL, and Stanford is promising to digitize even more images to the website as it receives them, according to the university’s announcement. At the moment, there’s a definite focus on motorsports with a wide variety of races from the US and Europe. There are even old stock car pictures, which you rarely see many of. This is really a treasure trove of automotive history though with a lot of old press shots in the mix, as well.

Even better, the collection is fantastically curated. There are galleries on specific topics, like a collection of crashes, or you can mix and match searches by brand, venue, year and even some specific people, to find exactly what interests you. The images are all presented as thumbnails and are also in a zoomable format. Get ready to waste a few evenings checking out these classic photos.

Stanford opens its Revs automotive digital library originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Sep 2014

Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history

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Mazda MX-5 Miata history with Dean Case and Bob Hall

The original Mazda Miata broke onto the automotive scene in 1989 and was a huge success. However, the convertible’s genesis goes all the way back to the early ’80s. Bob Hall and Dean Case were among the inside men of the program on the US side, and they were on hand at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the recent MX-5 event there to tell some of their stories about the project’s beginning.

Hall was on the Miata project from very early on, and one of his most fascinating stories is how the convertible got its shape. The droptop wasn’t necessarily going to be a rear-wheel drive roadster. There were both front-wheel-drive coupe and mid-engine concepts being considered. In fact, the classic look of the NA generation was the least favorite of the three at the sketch stage.

Hall comes off as a jokester hiding a genius mind. He has a fountain of information in his head about what a Miata should be, but it all comes down to “less is more.” However, he admits that it’s easy to conceive that idea, but it’s much harder to actually execute it well.

If you’re interested in the inside stories of automotive history, this is a video to check out.

Continue reading Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history

Mazda Miata ‘fathers’ Hall and Case offer a tour through the roadster’s history originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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09 Sep 2014

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge vs. 2006 GTO, which Goat gets your vote?

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Pontiac GTO Generation Gap

The Pontiac GTO was perhaps the most iconic muscle car of the ’60s and early ’70s. With its beefy V8 and color palette screaming for attention, it summarized in a single vehicle everything that made the era so appealing to many young people. Pontiac tried to collect just a few drops of that aura again in the 2000s with a revived GTO, but with decidedly mixed results. The performance was still there with its big V8, but the looks never quite lived up to the powertrain. Now, Generation Gap wants to know which of these Goats is the one to own.

Things are skewed immediately because the 2006 GTO here is a real ringer. It comes from famous tuner Ken Lingenfelter’s collection, and it’s a one-off example partially fettled by GM Performance boasting a twin-turbocharged LS2 V8 with a claimed 750 horsepower and a wide-body kit. This Goat definitely isn’t what you’re going to find just browsing for one to buy in the newspaper. Still, dip the throttle just a little, and this GTO pulls like a freight train. It’s enough to turn the two hosts into giggling schoolboys behind the wheel.

The ’69 GTO Judge here is also out of Lingenfelter’s collection, but this one is all stock with a 400-cubic-inch (6.6-liter) V8 and a Ram Air hood for a claimed 366 hp. It might not have the unbelievable power of the turbo ’06, but it makes up for it with style to spare.

Which would you rather have sitting in your garage? Check out the video for the hosts’ driving impressions to get the full story.

Continue reading 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge vs. 2006 GTO, which Goat gets your vote?

1969 Pontiac GTO Judge vs. 2006 GTO, which Goat gets your vote? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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07 Sep 2014

Meet Germany’s ultra-aerodynamic car from 1939 [w/video]

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Schlörwagen

By most historical accounts, the period between the first and second world wars was not a great time. Economic collapse, an entire continent in shambles, prohibition and the rise of the Nazis are the prime lowlights of the 1920s and 1930s. But, there was one small ray of excitement in this otherwise depressing time – the automobile industry was in a renaissance.

Manufacturers both large and small were experimenting with designs and technologies that remain influential to this day. But for every Fiat Topolino, Bugatti Type 57 and Duesenberg SJ, there was an innovative or interesting offering that’s been lost to the pages of history. One such car is the German Schlörwagen, an ultra-aerodynamic seven-seater based on a Mercedes-Benz 170H.

At seven feet wide and with a coefficient of drag of just 0.15 (for reference, that’s far more slippery than modern aerodynamic champs like the Toyota Prius or Tesla Model S), the Schlörwagen’s story is fascinating. The key to this sleekness is in the obsessive attention to streamlining the body. Aside from the teardrop shape, the windows are flush with the body, and as shown when a scale model is put in a wind tunnel, air is able to pass over the car with little disruption.

Wired has a great feature on the Schlörwagen, from its birth through to World War II and on to its disappearance, following its acquisition by the British Military Administration. Head over and take a look, or, scroll down for video of the sleek seven-seater’s scale model in the wind tunnel.

Continue reading Meet Germany’s ultra-aerodynamic car from 1939 [w/video]

Meet Germany’s ultra-aerodynamic car from 1939 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Sep 2014 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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05 Sep 2014

Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars

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Roadkill Subaru

There’s an evergreen debate among auto enthusiasts about whether they would prefer to have the latest and greatest car of today or a certified classic from yesteryear. What if you had to further define that, though, and the choice was between a brand new 2015 Subaru Legacy or a turbocharged Datsun 240Z with a hatch that wouldn’t close? Roadkill aimed to find out that and more in one of its best videos to date.

According to the hosts, Subaru came to them, handed over some money and challenged Roadkill‘s project cars against its latest Legacy. The result is every bit as good (or better) than any automotive-themed show you could find on television.

Things start simple with a figure-eight race in a rodeo arena with the Subaru taking on Roadkill‘s 1968 Ford Ranchero, originally built for ice racing. From there the Legacy races a 1968 Dodge Charger with no windows around and off-road rally stage. Finally, the Subie goes head-to-head against the Rotsun, the aforementioned turbocharged 240Z, through an abandoned neighborhood. Plus, there’s a bonus drag race challenging them all.

Everyone involved in this seems to be having more fun at work than many people have all year, and that positive feeling is incredibly infectious. From the hosts all the way to the instructor at the rally school, everyone is smiling and laughing practically the whole time. Enjoy, this is a good one.

Continue reading Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars

Subaru Legacy pitted against Roadkill project cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Sep 2014

CMC to produce limited run of Callum’s Jaguar Mark 2 [w/video]

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Jaguar Mark 2 by Ian Callum

We were a more than a little jealous when designer Ian Callum revealed his Jaguar Mark 2 restomod that he commissioned from Classic Motor Cars. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones that dug it – the reaction was so great that CMC got Callum’s permission to create a limited run of them for customers. Although, with prices quoted between £350,000 and £375,000 ($572,000 – $613,000), we doubt Ian needs to worry about seeing a copy of his creation pass him too soon.

“Within hours we had received calls from people all over the globe asking if they could buy one,” said Peter Neumark, Chairman of CMC in the latest announcement. The reaction came as a surprise to Callum, who said he designed the car entirely to his own specifications and actually wasn’t sure if people would like it.

Among Callum’s many changes are new bumpers, wider front fenders with functional louvers and less chrome trim. Under the hood is a 4.3-liter six-cylinder fitted with two SU carbs putting out around 260 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It should be a much better driver too, with a completely re-engineered independent rear suspension, adjustable dampers at all four corners, improved brakes and a new rack and pinion steering system designed by CMC with electric assist.

New buyers are welcome to choose their own colors, but Callum’s mix of a pewter exterior and crimson interior seems to fit this updated, vintage sedan perfectly. Scroll down to read the latest release and watch the earlier video. You can also download CMC’s beautiful brochure as a PDF, here.

Continue reading CMC to produce limited run of Callum’s Jaguar Mark 2 [w/video]

CMC to produce limited run of Callum’s Jaguar Mark 2 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Sep 2014

Watch this to fall even harder in love with the Lancia Stratos

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Lancia Stratos

The Lancia Stratos might be one of the few cars of the ’70s that looks as jaw-droppingly perfect today as the moment it went on sale. For a model that’s around 40 years old, the Lancia still looks both mean and modern. Even better, this Italian rally legend can back up its razor-sharp styling too, thanks to its Ferrari V6 mounted behind driver.

Honestly, there might only be one problem with the Stratos. They are so rare that just getting to see one of them is special, and getting to witness them being driven in anger is especially infrequent – until now that is. This video showcases a Stratos in its natural habitat on sinewy European roads packed with hairpins. Through the route with a wall of rock on one side and a cliff on the other, the Lancia’s raspy V6 sings a fantastically sweet song right into the driver’s (and viewer’s) ear.

Enjoy this video of a Stratos taking a driving from multiple angles and fall in love with this ’70s rally heartthrob all over again.

Continue reading Watch this to fall even harder in love with the Lancia Stratos

Watch this to fall even harder in love with the Lancia Stratos originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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04 Sep 2014

Series III Land Rover gets adventurous with Petrolicious

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Series III Land Rover Petrolicious

Petrolicious has established quite a reputation as a producer of gorgeous videos that focus on rare, exclusive performance machines. That reputation isn’t enough to preclude the video junkies to ignore the awesomness that is an old Land Rover on sand dunes, though.

This week, Petrolicious interviewed Pawel Litwinski, a freelance photographer and owner of a clean (ish) Series III Land Rover that sees regular action along the sandy stretches of California’s coast. The fascination with going off road has been long in the making, as Litwinski idolized the trucks and four-by-fours that took to the beaches near his childhood home in Coney Island, NY.

What’s most interesting about this particular Series III is that it’s far from a garage queen. Litwinski regular trots it out on the dunes of Pismo Beach, and as we can see in the video, he has no fear of working the truck hard. It even serves as a sort of photo assistant, in a pinch. And most remarkable of all, Litwinski claims the old Landy “never breaks down.”

Take a look at the video as Petrolicious goes off road.

Continue reading Series III Land Rover gets adventurous with Petrolicious

Series III Land Rover gets adventurous with Petrolicious originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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01 Sep 2014

73-year-old racer dies after crashing his MG at Lime Rock

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Lime Rock Park Historics

Vintage racing provides fans with the opportunity to watch some of the greatest cars from yesteryear still competing on track against some of their contemporaries. Unfortunately, like any form of motorsports, racing in classics can never be completely safe, a reality sadly illustrated during this weekend’s Lime Rock Park Historic Festival on Saturday, August 30.

Lee Duran, a 73-year-old racer from Lyme, CT, was in a single-vehicle accident in his 1934 MG PA Special on the final corner of the track. According to The Hartford Courant, his car spun, crashed and Duran was fatally injured. Track officials believe that this was the event’s first fatality since it began 32 years ago. State police are also still investigating.

The crash came on the third day of the Lime Rock festival celebrating vintage cars and racing. According to the track schedule, the event was split among nine groups of various categories with over 30 races scheduled for the weekend.

Our condolences go out to Duran’s friends and family.

73-year-old racer dies after crashing his MG at Lime Rock originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Aug 2014

Volvo PV444 turns 70

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Volvo PV444

Volvo has made all manner of vehicles over the course of its long history, including coupes, convertibles, hatchbacks, sedans, wagons and SUVs. But the vehicle that started it all was the PV444.

Or rather, we should say, the PV444 is what re-started it all. Because while it wasn’t Volvo’s first model, it was the first one it produced after the war. Monday, September 1, will mark 70 years since the PV444 first debuted at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm pictured above, where the company received 148,437 visitors.

That presentation there took place shortly before the end of World War II when the vehicle wasn’t even finished yet. A team of 40 engineers and designers were still fine-tuning the final version, but were eager to show the public what it would start building after the last bullet was fired and peace would return to Europe.

The exhibition garnered 2,300 pre-orders (though we doubt that’s what they were called seven decades ago and in Swedish). It would take Volvo another few years to begin delivery, but once it did, people got Gothenburg’s first small car, built on a monocoque chassis with an overhead-valve engine – all pioneering features at the time. That OHV engine displaced 1.4 liters and offered just 40 horsepower, and all those initial examples were painted black with green interiors.

The first examples delivered to the United States arrived in Los Angeles on August 15, 1955, and established Volvo’s presence in the North American market. Though Volvo had only made 2,000 cars at that point, it ambitiously set the production goal of 8,000 units for the PV444… and ended up building 200,000 of them by the time production ended in 1958. That total is 440,000 if you include the updated PV544 that followed until 1965. In short, it was a pivotal model for Volvo, and one worthy of celebrating.

Continue reading Volvo PV444 turns 70

Volvo PV444 turns 70 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 31 Aug 2014 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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