Americans and Europeans had similarly themed but opposite problems after World War II.
Americans had big, rumbling V8s in big, heavy cars that were decidedly un-sporty.
Europeans had small, lightweight sportscars without the power to back up the looks.
The solution was simple: combine them. The slinky Euro shapes were stuffed full with giant American engines in many guises — and the results spoke for themselves. The AC Cobra captured hearts of enthusiasts and race victories alike around the globe.
The Cobra was neither the first nor the last of these conglomerates that took V8s from Chrysler, Ford and General Motors and popped them into all sorts of coupes, grand tourers, sedans and convertibles.
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.
It was impossible to escape the word “Turbo” in the 1980s.
There were Turbo Aviators and Turbo Hoover vacuums. Turbo was a character on American Gladiators. There was even Turbo chewing gum, which came with a cool mini car poster wrapper. Turbo was a helluva drug in the 1980s, and Chrysler took note.
BMW offered one turbocharged gasoline model. Porsche offered three. But Chrysler? Over a 10 year span, the Pentastar turbocharged its entire car lineup, bringing us some 20 turbocharged models powered by no less than six different variations of the 2.2- and 2.5-liter inline-fours.
I’m not a “tuner” kinda guy. There, I said it. It’s a load off my mind. It’s not that I don’t like extra power, or a different suspension tune, I just prefer parts made by the company that made my car and I like the car to look “stock.”
A case in point was my 2006 Volvo V70R. I kept the factory exhaust tips but jammed in a racing cat, different muffler and I fiddled with the suspension. I didn’t lower the V70R — I raised it. [Say what?] My V70R is a tale for a different time, but I mention it because when I got an email invitation from Shelby, I almost deleted it. Fortunately, my cousin, a rabid collector of classic Shelbys
swore he’d saw my nuts off convinced me to fly to Vegas to check out Shelby’s latest wares.
Have you ever heard of the word anticipointment? It’s one of those Urban Dictionary words that seem to be all the rage with the kids nowadays. Basically, it means that you look forward to something with great anticipation, but the experience ends up being incredibly disappointing.
Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt after attending the GT350 Track Tour at Sebring International Raceway. Let me count all the ways that this event wasn’t awesome.
If you’d like to own one of the most gorgeous pieces of American motorsport without paying seven figures at the next Barrett-Jackson auction, you might be in luck.
Shelby American is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its FIA World Championship win in style by offering up recreations of arguably the prettiest vehicle to ever wear the badge. The Daytona Coupe — of which only six original race cars were built — is making a comeback in your choice of fiberglass or aluminum and powered by 289 c.i.d. engine with the Coupe’s serial number if you so choose.
The run of aluminum units marks the first time Shelby has offered the Daytona Coupe in the metal since the original cars were built in 1964 and 1965.
Changes are coming to FCA’s HEMI engine family, ranging from increased fuel economy, to higher horsepower.
I grew up thinking – nay, knowing – that Mopars were crap. What can I say? I’m a child of the Eighties. A kid that grew up in an import household. All of the Chrysler products I ever saw were causing headaches for their hapless owners. Most were unremarkable, unmistakable derivations of the venerable K-car platform, seemingly built in endless minor variations to minimize the time spent on engineering.
For whatever reason, I didn’t “get” the hype around Carroll Shelby, either. Whatever his racing/engineering genius, he seemed to be a publicity-hungry blowhard who would put his name on anything for a massive pile of cash. Again, this was a time before televised classic-car auctions, where anything with Shelby’s name requires a massive pile of cash.
Many optionally available subscription-based services, such as OnStar, offering automated crash reporting could lose their marketing edge in 2018.
In Los Angeles and Detroit, Ford took the covers off their two track-ready Mustangs – the GT350 and GT350R.
And Ford is only going to build 137 of them for 2015. Ehh?
Who would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; we’ve seen this ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, this ’86 Omni GLH, this ’85 Shelby Charger, and this ’84 Shelby Charger so far, and now I’ve spotted a very rough but still recognizable ’87 Shelby Charger in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Read More…)
TTAC commentator Raph writes:
Hey Sajeev I’ve got a a bit of a conundrum with 09 GT500. I recently purchased a blue-tooth OBDII dongle and the Torque Pro app for my phone which provides a variety of useful functions including monitoring various PIDs (On Board Diagnostic Parameter IDs). (Read More…)
The Pontiac Fiero is one of those cars that is forever showing up on lists. A simple on-line search finds that it’s one of the 100 worst cars ever built, one of the ten cars that should be avoided by tall people, one of the worst ever Indy 500 Pace Cars and, because of its poor sales, one of the 10 greatest automotive financial disasters of all time. Other lists, however, rate the little two-seater as one of the best sports cars of the 1980s, call it one of the ten unexpectedly best cars for tall people and even rank it as one of the best choices for future collectability. Oddly enough, the Pontiac Fiero also appeared on my own personal list of potential purchases a few months ago and, despite the fact that I ended up choosing one of its contemporaries, when I recently found a wonderful, low-mileage example at KC Classic Autos in near-by Kansas city, I knew I must see it. (Read More…)
An old car is a feast for the senses. The gentle curve of a fender or the sharply drawn body line pleases the eye while the clatter of valves and the whine of spinning belts combine to make mechanical music. The exhaust gasses, which smell just a tad too rich, blend with the odors of old motor oil, decaying rubber and that musty smell that wafts from the car’s interior to fill your olfactory, while the mixture of gasoline, oil and grease that makes your hands feel so slippery even finds its way onto your tongue when you bring the fingertip you burned on a hot manifold to your mouth. You see it, hear it, smell it, feel it and can even taste it, all five senses touched by one malodorous, malevolent little mechanical beast. Yes friends, if you hadn’t guessed by now, my ’83 Shelby Charger is here at last. (Read More…)
Your humble E-I-C has already driven the new C7 in anger around a road course (of sorts), and I’ve also driven the current-gen GT500. The C7 is just brilliant, but at least four out of the five times I consider the issue I think I’d rather have the Mustang. Now we have the two cars going head-to-head where it really matters: the streets, yo.