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11 Apr 2014

Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #375 LIVE!

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We’re set to record Autoblog Podcast #375 this evening. Check out the topics below, or drop us your questions and comments via our Q&A module. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Autoblog Podcast in iTunes if you haven’t already done so. To take it all in live, tune in to our UStream (audio only) channel at 10:00 PM Eastern tonight.

Discussion Topics for Autoblog Podcast Episode #375

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Submit your questions for Autoblog Podcast #375 LIVE! originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Stirling Moss-crashed 1956 Maserati 450S to be auctioned in Monaco

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1956 Maserati 450S Prototype by Fantuzzi

RM Auctions has some very special and expensive Italian sportscars of the 50s and 60s consigned for its auction in Monaco on May 10, but the one that currently carries the highest estimated value at between 4 and 5.5 million euros ($5.5 – $7.5 million) is a 1956 Maserati 450S with some very interesting provenance.

The Maserati started its life as a six-cylinder 350S that Stirling Moss drove in the 1956 Mille Miglia race. Unfortunately, the brakes failed, and it crashed into a tree and nearly into a ravine. Moss and his co-driver weren’t injured, but the car was kaputt.

Maserati repaired it and used the chassis as a test mule for its new 5.7-liter V8 racecar called the 450S. It featured an extended wheelbase to fit the larger engine and a new body with a single seat. The racer hit the track again at the hands of Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1957 Buenos Aires 1000 KM but retired with transmission issues. Later that season, it crashed again at the 1957 Mille Miglia at the hands of driver Jean Behra. After that, the car sat around the workshop until it was sold without an engine in 1965.

After kicking around several owners, the 450S received a restoration in the 80s with a correct V8 engine being installed, and it made its grand reemergence in the 1987 Mille Miglia. According to RM, it has mostly sat on display in a climate-controlled environment since then.

The 450S is a rarity, with Maserati only building 11 of them, counting the prototype. While the test car proved temperamental on the track, the other cars won at Sebring and the Swedish Grand Prix in 1957. Scroll down to read the full history of the car, and be sure to check out the gallery for some great photos.

Continue reading Stirling Moss-crashed 1956 Maserati 450S to be auctioned in Monaco

Stirling Moss-crashed 1956 Maserati 450S to be auctioned in Monaco originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 06 Apr 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Jay Leno goes old school with 1966 Lotus Elan 26R

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Screencap from 'Jay Leno's Garage' featuring a Lotus 26R

On the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage the guest’s are both from inside the garage: the man they call Professor Jim Hall, Leno’s master fabricator, and the 1966 Lotus 26R that he spent 18 months building. The Elan 26R was the racing version of the Elan that Lotus founder Colin Chapman began building after watching privateer teams prep their roadgoing Elans for competition duty all over Europe. Built by the factory from 1964-1966, drivers like Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart won silverware in the roadster called “the giant killer.”

Hall, a veteran Lotus wrench, started with the 1966 Elan street car and turned it into a 26R that’s arguably better than the factory original. Except for the engine block and head, original 26R body and Elan chassis, just about everything is custom built, highly modified or special order, from the fabricated oil pan, brake lines, safety wiring and oval exhaust tubing to the six-speed sequential transmission.

The episode is an unusually-long 21 minutes because, as an in-house build, Leno can go through the process of putting the whole roadster together. When he takes it for a drive and keeps going on about how it sings, you can hear it, too. It’s worth the time to check out Mr. Hall’s Opus in the video below.

Continue reading Jay Leno goes old school with 1966 Lotus Elan 26R

Jay Leno goes old school with 1966 Lotus Elan 26R originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 31 Mar 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Reflecting on the Ford GT on its 10-year anniversary

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Ford GT

Ten years ago, during the bright-eyed enthusiasm of the early 2000s and before the collective automotive industry did its best Titanic impression, we had the Ford GT. An everyman’s supercar like there’d never been (remember, this was before 638-horsepower Corvettes were a thing), the GT arrived with a supercharged, 5.4-liter V8 that produced 550 horsepower and graced this retro-styled rocket with an easy, sub-four-second sprint to 60 miles per hour.

Equal to the GT’s performance were its looks. Inspired by the GT40 racers that dominated Le Mans and bested Ferrari in the 1960s, the sleek, low, almost-reptilian look of the GT was the absolute pinnacle of the retro styling that so defined the early 2000s.

Crank and Piston put together a video celebrating the ten-year-old GT, arguing that Ford is a bit too busy with the next-gen Mustang, which turns 50 next week, to do it themselves. In the short clip, there is gratuitous engine noise and supercharger whine, not to mention scenes of the white-on-red GT prowling the deserts and streets of Dubai. It’s a bit short, but very nicely shot. Scroll down, have a look and be sure to turn up those speakers before getting started.

Continue reading Reflecting on the Ford GT on its 10-year anniversary

Reflecting on the Ford GT on its 10-year anniversary originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

National Corvette Museum says last sinkhole car extracted [w/videos]

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National Corvette Museum car recovery

The 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Mallett Hammer Z06 has been plucked out of the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum, but it definitely couldn’t drive away like the 2009 ZR1 did when it came out. With the Mallet finally recovered, all eight ‘Vettes that went into the hole are finally out after eight weeks of work. As you probably know, a 40-foot wide and 60-foot deep hole appeared in the museum’s Skydome in early February, enveloping some of the rarest cars on display. General Motors plans to restore them, but they will go on display as-is at the museum for the next few months.

The 700-horsepower and 575-pound-feet-of-torque Mallett Hammer was one of the two cars that were hidden under rocks and dirt when the sinkhole swallowed the cars. It was found upside down and was destroyed beyond recognition by some of the heavy boulders that landed on it. “I expected bad, but it’s 100 times worse. It looks like a piece of tin foil … and it had a roll cage in it! It makes all the other cars look like they’re brand new,” said Mallett-donator Kevin Helmintoller in the official museum statement.

All eight Corvettes will go on display at the museum next week in an exhibit called Great 8 and remain there until NCM’s 20th anniversary celebration on August 27-30. The museum’s next step is to meet with the construction team, geo-technical firm and insurance company to decide how to repair the Skydome. Scroll down to watch videos of the cars being extricated.

Continue reading National Corvette Museum says last sinkhole car extracted [w/videos]

National Corvette Museum says last sinkhole car extracted [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Petrolicious samples the finned and fantastic Tatra T87

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1941 Tatra T87

There are a lot of weird things in Los Angeles. There are weird people, weird buildings, and there are some especially weird cars. The automotive melting pot that is the City of Angels has any number of hidden treasures, and Paul Greenstein just happens to own one of the strangest – the Tatra T87.

For those not in the know, Tatra was a Czech brand that, today, builds semis. In the past, though, it built a number of innovative cars, not least of which was the T87. Only about 3,000 of the finned sedans were built between 1936 and 1950 (a war got in the way), making them one of the rarer offerings of the 1930s and 1940s.

They are delightfully, wonderfully weird. Sitting underneath that big dorsal fin is an air-cooled, 3.0-liter V8 with a spritely 85 horsepower. Despite the engine’s modest output, the T87 can claim a top speed of almost 100 miles per hour, thanks to its sleek shape. This Tatra was one of the first vehicles use a wind tunnel in its design, giving it a drag coefficient of 0.36 (an impressive figure for its time).

Believe it or not, this isn’t actually Greenstein and his Tatra’s first time on the digital pages of Autoblog. Proving that it’s one of the finest examples of a rare breed in the US, Greenstein’s black sedan was named the The New York Times 2010 Collectible Car of the Year. Now, it’s gotten just a smidge more famous, thanks to the video gurus at Petrolicious. Scroll down, and let us know what you think.

Continue reading Petrolicious samples the finned and fantastic Tatra T87

Petrolicious samples the finned and fantastic Tatra T87 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Chevy-powered Icon Land Rover Defender 90 goes its own way [w/video]

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Icon Defender 90

As far as resto-mods go, few turn the trick quite as well as the folks at Icon. We’ve seen the California outfit do its thing with everything from a Chevy Thriftmaster pickup and Ford Bronco to an electric bicycle and even an Ural Solo motorbike. For its latest project, Icon has worked over another one of the most legendary off-road vehicles of all time: the Land Rover Defender.

Built on commission for a discerning customer as part of Icon’s Reformer line, the Icon D90 is based on a 1995 Land Rover Defender 90. But as with everything Icon does, this Land Rover has been extensively reworked.

For starters, the standard diesel engine has been replaced with a General Motors 6.2-liter LS3 small-block V8, modified to perfection by Icon’s own mechanics. The aluminum block packs powdered-metal connecting rods, aluminum pistons, investment-cast rocker arms and custom cooling, intake and exhaust systems. It’s all mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with a purpose-built CNC-machined Atlas II transfer case.

That more powerful engine has been mounted inside a media-blasted and powder-coated frame and, as Icon is wont to do, the rest of the vehicle has been fitted with some exquisitely overbuilt fixtures. We could go on and on, but we’ll let company founder Jonathan Ward give you all the juicy details of the build in the video and spec sheet below while you check out the extensive high-resolution image gallery above. Suffice it to say that the finished product is every bit as stunning as you’d expect from Icon, and we’re sure the customer – who has owned several Defenders before – was left suitably satisfied with the results.

Continue reading Chevy-powered Icon Land Rover Defender 90 goes its own way [w/video]

Chevy-powered Icon Land Rover Defender 90 goes its own way [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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11 Apr 2014

Watch VW's touching tribute to the Type 2 Kombi

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Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi Best Wishes

Volkswagen Kombi VideoFrom the time a vehicle first enters a family, stories will be told about it. People talk about their road trips, or a special bumper sticker or some random memory that their vehicle was involved in. As the years go on, the memories and stories that people have with their cars grows, and eventually, it turns into a cult following. Spend enough time traipsing around the world’s roads, and the stories and memories turn a vehicle into an icon.

That’s what’s happened with the legendary Volkswagen Type 2. Known as the Kombi, Transporter, Bus, MicroBus and Camper Van, after 63 years on sale it’s the second most iconic VW to ever travel the roads, surpassed only by the legendary air-cooled Beetle.

Yes, 63 years. The Type 2 has, remarkably, been built in one form or another since 1949. It won’t see a sixty-fourth year, though, as VW pulled the plug in 2013. To celebrate the legendary van’s long life, VW’s Brazilian outfit, which built the very last Kombis, has put together this heartfelt tribute video.

You’ll want to scroll down and watch this. As for us, we’re going to go figure out why it’s so damn dusty in here.

Continue reading Watch VW’s touching tribute to the Type 2 Kombi

Watch VW’s touching tribute to the Type 2 Kombi originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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