Look What I Found!

Fight Back Against Bad Emojis With This Porsche Automoji Sticker Pack for IOS 10

We all use our phones, and we all receive errant, unwanted eggplant emojis.

It’s time to fight back against this petrolless future with this Porsche-themed iMessage sticker pack for iOS 10 users.

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Someone Needs to Bring Back This Roof-Mounted Fifth-Wheel Trailer for Hatchbacks

In 2016, if you towed a camping trailer with anything other than a heavy-duty pickup, Mike Rowe and Denis Leary would take you out back and shoot you repeatedly with Blue Oval masculine marketing tripe.

But in 1974, if you were the proud owner of a Volkswagen Beetle, you could head off into the wilds confident in knowing that you and your loved ones would be safe sleeping in this fifth-wheel-style camper attached to the Teutonic compact’s roof.

It’s ingenious, and it needs to make a comeback.

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The Mini Clubman's 2,860-Pound Hitch is Rated R

Mini, the British brand built atop the idea of British fashionability, has been incredibly style conscious ever since BMW brought it back from the depths of English oppression. Its iconic Cooper still wears a silhouette that harkens back to the original, but offers modern safety equipment and enough room for life-sized humans. You can order the Union Jack placed on virtually any body panel. And those center-mounted speedometers — as much as they put Flava Flav on notice — were a charming touch, if completely useless.

Yet, posh Britons are a fairly easy bunch to embarrass. For example, flatulence is met with mortified exclamations of “My word!” before said flatulator escapes to another room to make tea.

So, with that in mind, how the hell did the Clubman’s tow hitch make it past the censors?

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Nader's Museum Will Show You a Non-Crashed Corvair, Sell You a Flaming Pinto T-Shirt

The Chevrolet Corvair and Ford Pinto have long been derided as death traps — one for its tendency to crash into stuff backwards, and the other for roasting its occupants alive. They also share something else in common: you can see both at Ralph Nader’s museum (though, in the Pinto’s case, it will be in the form of a t-shirt).

Ralph Nader, who’s famously known as the guy who mercilessly destroyed the reputation of an innocent air-cooled Chevrolet or a hero who made big corporations think about their customers’ lives at least a little bit, is apparently a man with a sense of humor.

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Is This a Second-Generation Nissan NV200 Compact Passenger Van? [UPDATE: It's a Serena!]

It’s Spy Shot Weekend at TTAC. In addition to the Chinese metal driving around Ann Arbor we published yesterday, here are images of what could be a next-generation Nissan NV200 Compact Passenger van plying the highways of California by way of eagle-eyed TTAC reader Felix.

The current NV200 van is only available in cargo van or Taxi of Tomorrow guises. The latter landed the City of New York in a lengthy legal battle.

The van in the photos has all the hallmarks of being a Nissan prototype, including similar camo to that used on other Nissan models, explained spy photographer Brian Williams in an email.

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What Is This Hongqi H7 Doing in Michigan?

TTAC reader Morpheus (who has an awesome name by any standard) sent in this shot of a Chinese limo driving around Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Hongqi H7 isn’t built by some neo-capitalist Chinese outfit, either, as the brand has been in existence since 1958. It’s also properly presidential. Hongqi (which translates to Red Flag) has built limousines for The Party’s higher-up ranks in the past.

But why is it parading around Ann Arbor?

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Elio Motors Stock Soars in Over-The-Counter Trading

(Caveat: I know nothing at all about stocks, bonds or other financial instruments.)

After automotive startup Elio Motors raised approximately $17 million dollars in a Reg-A+ stock offering the company crowdsourced from small investors via StartEngine, it said its shares would be listed on the OTCQX exchange to provide those investors with liquidity.

It’s probably too early to call Elio another Tesla (whose own market capitalization probably exceeds its actual value), and I don’t know how many of those investors are going to sell their stock so soon. But, if they did, they would have more than doubled their money in less than two weeks as of Monday’s close.

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VIDEO: Colorado Makes Driving Safer With 105 Millimeter Howitzer

No, the State of Colorado isn’t blowing up grandmas for doing 10 mph under the limit in the left lane. But the state’s Department of Transportation is keeping people safe by clearing avalanches with World War II artillery.

Armed with a 105 mm howitzer — possibly an M101A1, though please feel free to correct us — the Colorado DOT clears avalanche prone areas by shooting shells up to 7 miles away into the mountain tops. Those shells have a secondary charge that explodes on impact to trigger a controlled avalanche.

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RUMOR: Buick Resurrecting Grand National in Detroit?

If you were looking for at least one wild-ass auto show rumor to see you through the weekend, look no further: Bloomberg (via AutoGuide) is reporting that Buick may show “a sporty coupe concept” this weekend prior to the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

The sports car, reported to be “about the size of the Chevrolet Camaro,” is expected to debut Sunday night. AutoGuide is now speculating that model will be called — drum roll, please — Grand National!

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TTAC News Round-up: Winterkorn Appears on BI Top 15 List, Oil Near 11-Year Low (Again), and Jeep Goes Online in India

Where do you end up if you’re the former CEO of a company guilty of cheating diesel emissions tests, the fallout of which wipes out billions of dollars of value from said company? Business Insider’s “The 15 biggest career crashes of 2015” list, of course.

That, and Nissan prices the new Sentra, oil is still on a well-lubricated downhill slide, Jeep is now online in India, and more … after the break!

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Jeep Czech Republic Uses Failed "Moose Test" Photo on Facebook

Oops! Have you tried maneuvers like this? #Jeep

One great thing about PR and marketing is that you can often turn a massive fail into a great win — like when a Slovak PR agency for Mercedes-Benz posted a picture of the new CLA Shooting Brake next to a pool.

A random commenter said he’d like them to take the Merc for a swim. Mercedes’ PR agency replied, “If your post gets more than 1,000 likes, you can choose whether we reverse or powerslide the car into the pool.”

Naturally, the post got nearly 2,000 likes within hours. Mercedes responded with a nicely done video of CLA Shooting Brake getting drowned by a Black Stig, promising they would hire their social media manager back if more than 1,000 people shared the video. In the end, Mercedes drew a great deal attention to their new rakish wagon and lost nothing.

Unfortunately for Jeep Czech Republic, sometimes a fail is just a fail — like a few days ago when the official Czech importer of Jeep posted the photo you see above of a Grand Cherokee getting up on two wheels.

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While You Were Gorging: A Compendium of Thanksgiving News You May Have Missed

While the rest of the world warms up to our Thanksgiving tradition of football and mountains of potatoes and gravy, we must admit that the world goes on without us some days.

Thankfully, the Internet never forgets. So here’s a roundup of the stories we missed in our Tryptophan-induced naps.

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Utah Mechanic Buys, Fixes Car for High School Custodian Walking to Work (Video)

I swear someone was cutting onions right next to me just now.

A Utah high school custodian, whose broken-down car left him commuting two hours each way to work, was surprised by a mechanic who purchased and fixed a car for him with money collected from crowd funding.

Sean Merrill, who owns Nobori Auto near Salt Lake City, along with his wife, picked up Robert Ford last month when he was walking home late one night. Ford told the couple about his hardship and his commute, and Merrill said he was compelled to help.

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Is This 2003 Cadillac Escalade Worth $119,780?

If you were to buy a 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV near North Caldwell, New Jersey, you’d expect to shell out nearly $10,000 for an exceptionally clean ride from a dealer, according to Edmunds. Yet, this particular example of GM’s brashly designed full-size SUV sold for nearly 12 times that amount: $119,780.

Why?

Well, this one was driven by a garbage man.

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Volkswagen Dealer Sends Sympathy Card to TDI Owners

Volkswagen dealers are scrambling to keep their customers happy amid the emissions scandal and one has decided to send a TDI eulogy to customers along with a sales pitch. According to a post on TDIClub, Beyer Volkswagen started sending out the slightly hilarious notice sometime this week.

The cover shows a SportWagen with a 2015 date of death for TDI Clean Diesel technology. Directly opposite the picture is an apology that would seem fitting if it came from from an abusive spouse telling their significant other they are kind of sorry but it’ll be different next time. Promise.

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'The Last Supper', Now With More Loctite and 10W30
Is ‘The Last Supper’ a little too 15th century for you and lacking the necessary backdrop to coexist with your neon Ford Service sign and collection of license plates? What if Jesus was a mechanic instead of a carpenter?You’re in luck.Freddy Fabris of Chicago has recreated some of the masterpieces of the Renaissance era and supplanted the original characters with those who wield torque wrenches and service manuals.
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'Back to the Future' is Best With Eastern European Cars (Video)

The Internet flooded with terrible references to “Back to the Future” on Wednesday ( guilty), but the only one that really matters has no corporate tie-in, no thin threads to questionable technologies — hell, it doesn’t even have Michael J. Fox.

The best one of the day may very well be a re-enactment of some parts of the movies with Eastern European crapboxes.

The Polish remake, dubbed “Wreck to the Future” is all you need to scratch the itch you didn’t know you had. Let’s dissect.

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Toyota Previews Sporty S-FR, Steampunk Dune Buggy Before Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota on Thursday released a preview of what to expect on its stand at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month and it’s all sorts of steampunk and futuristic weirdness, but more on that in a moment.

While the Scion FR-S isn’t flying off dealer lots here in North America, the Japanese seem to like their compact sports coupes. The S-FR, according to Toyota is ” a lightweight, sporty concept offering a fun, responsive driving experience” and slots below the Toyobaru twins and go head-to-head with the Honda S660 kei sports that America won’t get because of course we won’t.

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Just When You Think McLaren's F1 Season Couldn't Possibly Be Any Dumber (Video)

They go and make a video like this and totally redeem themselves! (Not really.)

But the video above sure is entertaining. After rumors that Jenson Button would leave the team this year, the less-than dynamic duo of Button and Fernando Alonso appears to be back in 2016 to compete in GP2 Formula 1. The video has a story, apparently:

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And Now a Fight Over a Downtown Denver Parking Spot (Video)

I like Denver. I grew up here. I moved back here a few years ago to be closer to the mountains I remember and the type of people I love loved to be around.

But Denver, like Austin and Portland, Oregon, has boomed in the past five years, thanks to a variety of factors including marijuana the popularity of John Denver. If you could say one thing about most people in Denver, it’s how painfully nice they could be. Like a lot of cities in the Midwest, doors are held open, apologies exchanged for everything and “pardon me” flows like the salmon of Capistrano.

Now: Here is a woman going all Tiananmen Square on a Land Rover LR2 over a parking spot near Larimer Square (via Denver Post). They aren’t exactly that hard to find, I have to say.

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Columnist: Consumer Reports 'Prostituted' Itself With Tesla Review

Wall Street Journal columnist Holman W. Jenkins (great name) slammed Consumer Reports for its glowing review and better-than-perfect score for the Tesla Model S P85D, in part, because the $127,000 car still qualifies for a government tax break.

“Prostitute is not too strong a word,” he wrote. “… (Consumer Reports) is shilling not only for the car but the government policies that subsidize it.”

Jenkins takes aim at the state and federal tax incentives still available for the vehicle — which are going away in many places — and at the magazine for hyping its review so heavily, and subsequently giving it away for free on its subscription-based website.

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Burning Man Van Creeps Out Kids Like No Van Can

A white panel van with the words “Free Candy” emblazoned on the side and smeared handprints creeped out enough people in Sacramento that KHTK just had to report on it (via Boing Boing).

The van appeared in neighborhoods around the area — even parked next to a school bus — when residents became concerned.

“It just felt like they were trying to track kids and it just gave me a creepy feeling,” said the mother of Lawrence Bellow, 12, who took a picture of the van.

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These Are the Great American Literary Road Trips That Must Be Done

Atlas Obscura has a fine, fine collection of the literary road trips that every allegiance-pledging, rights-billing, literate American should know by heart.

Of course, “On The Road” is in there (Go Denver!), but how well do you know “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” route? “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is required reading for any father — or son, but I never realized “Walk Across America” falls a little short of its intended goal.

Basically, what I’m saying is “Travels With Charley” just became my fall break road map.

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Lifted Rally Miata Proves It's Still The Answer To Everything

The ongoing automotive journalist meme that Mazda’s nearly perfect Miata is the answer to everything may not technically be true. But, this “Lifted Rally” Miata sure makes a good case in its favor.

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Pre-Production 2015 Honda Civic Type-R Spotted In Croatia

While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago.

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2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport Debuts In Die-Cast Form Before Official Unveiling

When shopping for your child (inner or otherwise) in the toy aisle to add a new vehicle to their collection, you might just stumble upon the new Land Rover Discovery Sport in 1:43 scale only a few days before its official global debut.

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Versatile 2015 Mercedes Vito Van Puts Power To Front, Rear Or All

If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you.

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Nissan Debuts Self-Cleaning Note For European Market

For Europeans who enjoy self-cleaning ovens and cats, and would prefer not to wash and wax their Nissan Note, Nissan in Europe has unveiled a Note for them that is resistant to dirt and oil by way of its new coating.

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2015 Hyundai Sonata Caught Nude In Home Plant
Google's New Car Search Makes Shopping Easier

Whether you’re in the market for an F-150 or an F-Type, you may have at some point used Google to learn all you could about your next car purchase. The Mountain View, Calif. company decided to make your quest for knowledge easier by unveiling their New Car Search feature as seen above.

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A Plethora of Air-Cooled Porsches

1967 Porsche 911S. Full gallery here.

I’ve always respected but never quite been a fan of P.J. O’Rourke’s favorite AENSC, the Porsche 911, but our Editor in Chief pro tem is indeed a fan of that car, or at least of the classic air-cooled variety, if not the more recent versions (or, for the matter, the company that makes them). Hence, last summer when I saw that the Concours of America at St. John’s had, as two of its judged categories, Porsche 911 Early 1963-1978 and Porsche 911 Late 1979-2013, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Porsche icon, I knew that I’d be able to get lots of photos of 911s powered by boxers bereft of wasser for the EIC’s enjoyment and yours as well. The cars pictured here span almost the entire 1963-1997 run for the air-cooled 911. The oldest one pictured here is a 1964 Cabriolet prototype, one of two extant 901 prototypes (the car was renamed before it went on sale to avoid a conflict with Peugeot, who objected to the three digit name with zero in the middle). The youngest is a 993 Targa from 1997, the final year for the air-cooled 911.

In addition to the street-going 911 cars, I’ve also included photos of some other significant air-cooled Porsches, Peter Gregg’s 1977 Brumos Porsche 934.5, which won the Trans Am championship that year, sort of, and a 1964 Porsche 904, the midengine car Porsche built to go sports car racing in the mid-1960s, also known as the Carrera GTS, and a 906, which was developed from the 904.

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BMW's M235i Revealed Via Leak

BMW’s replacement for the 1-Series has been revealed in its M form courtesy of leaked photos posted to an online forum after a dealer presentation, according the lads at Autocar.

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Bricklin SV-1 and Delorean DMC-12: So Alike Yet So Different

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that people who like unusual gullwing cars are people who like unusual gullwing cars. There are a number of car enthusiasts who own both DeLorean DMC-12 and Bricklin SV-1 cars and there appears to be a sense of camaraderie as well between DeLorean and Bricklin enthusiasts. I first realized this when visiting the Lingenfelter Collection, which includes both of those cars in a collection that’s focused primarily on Corvettes, American muscle and Ferraris. Then, more recently, a couple of Bricklin owners decided to take in the Woodward Dream Cruise, sharing the same north Woodward vantage point where DeLorean owners gather each year.

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Look At What I Found!: 1951 Crosley Hotshot
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

Foodies start restaurants. Most new restaurants fail. Gearheads’ most common business dream/fantasy may be starting up a new car company. Those usually fail too. The appeal has attracted diverse entrepreneurs with near addictive quality, and with nearly the same ruinous results as a physical addiction. For every Walter Chrysler, there is at least one Henry J. Kaiser. For every Colin Chapman there has been a least a couple of Malcolm Bricklins. Bricklin’s own attempt to build a safety car was predated by that of Preston Tucker. Bricklin actually sold a lot more cars than Tucker ever did. That’s not even counting the frauds like “Liz Carmichael” and the Dale. Powell Crosley Jr. also caught the car building bug, and was both more successful and more influential than most of those dreamers.

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You Say You Prefer The Ford GT To Galpin's GTR1?

While I personally find the Ford GT based GTR1 that Galpin Auto Sports will be selling for a million dollars rather inoffensive, a number of the Best and Brightest expressed some distaste for styling of the 1,000+ horsepower, twin turbo 225 MPH (estimated) supercar. Even some of those that didn’t necessarily dislike the GTR1 said they still preferred the looks of the GT. I happen to agree. As a matter of fact, this is going to sound like heresy to some folks, but I think the Ford GT is even a better looking car than the original Ford GT40.

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Why You Should Go To A Concours D'Elegance

This is at least my third, maybe the fourth, attempt at writing a post explaining why, if you’re a car enthusiast of any stripe, you owe it to yourself to attend a first rate concours. I first started writing it after seeing a real baby seal Jaguar D Type, the kind of car that you would normally only see in photos, videos or in museums, actually being driven after the end of the Concours of America at St John’s last year. Okay, so the D Type was being driven off the show field to a trailer in the parking lot but it was still being driven. Still, after those attempts, I just didn’t think I was doing the subject justice so I never submitted any of them for publication.

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Beep Beep! Nash Metropolitans That Are Not Waiting for the Crusher

One of the things that makes Murilee Martin’s Junkyard Find series so engaging is not just his fine writing and photography, it’s the elegiac nature of the subjects and their settings. As with any elegy it’s hard to come away without a sense of sadness, at what was and is no longer and at what could have been and never was. I was uploading some images for a post that I was writing and I noticed that Murilee was working on another Nash Metropolitan Junkyard Find. The “little Nash Rambler” is such a cheerful, happy looking car, one that never fails to bring a smile to faces of both their drivers and those who see those drivers motoring around in their Metropolitans, that they look particularly forlorn sitting waiting to get recycled into scrap steel. I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing some Metropolitans that are treasured, not trashed.

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What's Wrong With This Picture? Valiantly Different in Canada

If you’re an average Mopar enthusiast you may be wondering what the front of a Plymouth Valiant is doing on a 1963 Dodge Dart. Unlike urban legends about cars with front ends from one brand and rear ends from another of that automaker’s brands that was being built on the same assembly line, and unlike custom car mashups, this was factory built and sold by authorized dealers.

If you were born after the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show you can be excused for not knowing this, but Dodge Darts and Plymouth Valiants weren’t always badge engineered twins. In 1963 they were more like bigger and smaller brothers, with an odd Canadian cousin in the family.

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Ask the Best and Brightest: What Was the Last Crank Start Car? UPDATE: Contest Added – Win a New Car!

Since I’m the guy who generally won’t take photographs of ’69 Camaros and ’57 Chevys (well, unless they’re really special ’69 Camaros and ’57 Chevys ) and who will walk past 5 “Eleanor” Mustangs to look at one American Motors Hornet, it should come as no surprise that for the past couple of years I’ve made it a point to attend the annual Orphan Car Show held in Ypsilanti, Michigan’s Riverside Park. This year was the 16th iteration of the OCS, which is affiliated with Ypsi’s Automotive Heritage Museum. With a number of century old (and older) brass era cars at the event, it’s not surprising that some of them had to be started with hand cranks. What is surprising is that not all the crank starting cars dated to before World War One. Actually, a couple of them date to the Vietnam War era and later.

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Look At What I Found! The Most Significant Car at the 2012 NAIAS: Edsel Ford's 1934 Model 40 Special Speedster

After years of retrenching, financial crisis and bankruptcies, the world’s automakers are now introducing new concept and production vehicles. The 2012 NAIAS in Detroit was one of the more product-rich big auto shows of the past decade. Just about every exhibitor at the show was revealing all-new vehicles or concepts giving us a look at future production plans. Cadillac’s 3 Series fighter, the ATS, Lincoln’s all new and attractive MKZ, Ford’s Aston-Martin looking Fusion and Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo based Dodge Dart were all significant new introductions by the domestics. Toyota showed concepts that will probably end up as the next Camry and Prius (plus Lexus’ stunning LF-LC concept that will most likely not see production). Mercedes introduced the first all-new SL roadster in a decade. Hyundai showed the highly anticipated Veloster Turbo. I could go down the list of exhibitors with other examples but you get the idea: lots of significant new product. However, over at the far end of Cobo Hall, tucked away upstairs in a corner of the Lincoln exhibit, was probably the most significant car of the entire show. I suppose you could call it a concept car, but it represents a concept that is larger than just the design of one individual car. It’s one of the cars that can be said to have been part of the invention of automotive styling. I think that makes it the most significant car, new or old, at the 2012 NAIAS.

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Look At What I Found!: 1991 Plymouth Sundance America, Driven Only On Sundays

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Look At What I Found! was inspired by Murilee Martin’s original Down On The Street series over at Jalopnik. For today’s installment I’ll be performing a trifecta of plagiarizing M&M’s work because we’ll be talking about not just a car I found when out and about, but about an exact model that Murilee covered in a Junkyard Find, with a side dish of Nice Price or Crack Pipe, another car blog staple that sprang, Athena-like, from the fertile mind of our own ‘Ms. Martin’. The main difference between Murilee’s find and mine is the car’s condition. Murilee’s was ready for the crusher, but this one belongs in a museum, showing only 18,000 original miles on the odometer. With a little detailing it could win a prize at a car show, maybe even a concours. That’s not much of an exaggeration. Other than the barest hint of surface rust inside one of the rear wheel wells and the door hinges, the body is flawless. No dents or dings or any sign of damage. The interior looks just about brand new. The carpet by the driver’s seat shows minor wear but the pedals are not worn at all. The kick panels on the doors look like they’ve never been kicked. Other interior panels look similarly pristine. The back seat appears to never have been occupied, certainly not by any enfant terrible scribe pitching woo at an autojourno’s wife.

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Look At What I Found!: Not For Sale
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

Every year, the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum sponsors the Orphan Car Show, dedicated to vehicles, brands, and companies that are not with us anymore. Lots of oddball cars and classes means lots of graphic content for Cars In Depth and maybe an article or two at TTAC. It looks like there are more than 800 images on the memory cards so it’s going to be a bit before I get them all processed and winnowed for a proper report on the show for the Best & Brightest. Still, as I’ve said before, you never know when you’re going to find an interesting car or something else automotive worthy of note. Driving to the Orphan show I decided not to take the Interstates and instead took winding two lane roads out to the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area. I wasn’t sure about an intersection and ended up going a couple of miles in the wrong direction. On the way back I noticed a home with a bunch of old Fords in front of the garage. There were a couple of 1970s vintage LTDs, two Fox body Mustangs, and a Pinto. One of the Mustangs has current license plates and looks like it’s a daily driver. The rest of the cars appeared, from a distance of about 100 feet, to be solid restoration candidates, but they had the look of “when I get the time” projects. What really caught my eye, though, was the yard sign standing by one of the big Ford sedans: “Cars NOT For Sale – Don’t Ask!”. It’s enticing to wonder what’s out of sight in the garage, but it’s still a nice collection of Fords.

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Look At What I Found!: Bill Thomas Continuation Cheetah Coupe
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

About a year ago TTAC ran a two part piece of mine on Carroll Shelby’s Cobra and Bill Thomas’ Cheetah, which some say could have been Chevy’s parry to Ford’s Cobra. The formula was pretty much the same, put a big block engine in a lightweight tube frame car, covered in a minimal but viscerally sexy body. The Cheetah is derivative. I see elements of E Type Jaguar, Devin, Cobra Daytona Coupe, and maybe some Corvette, but it works very well for me and is a very distinctive shape. Thomas, though, didn’t originally intend the Cheetah as a racer, but rather as a boulevard cruiser, so the frame and suspension weren’t really up to competitive racing. While the Cheetah won eleven SCCA races, it never developed a racing pedigree like the LeMans winning Ferrari vanquishing Cobras. Then GM stopped selling Thomas engines and he decided to walk away from the project.

A few replicar companies today offer Cheetahs in various stages of construction. The car has a bit of a following because of plastic models and slot cars back in the 1960s. Unlike the other firms building Cheetahs, Robert Auxier established a relationship with the late Bill Thomas and was licensed by Thomas to build up to 100 “continuation” Cheetahs, made by BTM in Arizona using the original molds and fixtures. For safety reasons, the original’s spindly frame was replaced with one made of larger tubing that is 33% stiffer, brakes were upgraded to modern units and the suspension was made fully adjustable. Auxier made a run of 31 cars before the severe recession put a damper on all kinds of car sales, not just hand fabricated high end replicars. It’s not clear if he’ll make any more but don’t worry, recently two of those 31 cars have come up for sale on eBay, a coupe and a convertible, according to Autoblog. Sorry if you had your heart set on a Cheetah roadster, the convertible has been withdrawn from sale but the coupe is still available. I know, I saw it in person this afternoon.

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Look At What I Found!: My Continental Summer
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

Jack Baruth called the 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special Talisman that he delivered to Sajeev’s brother “majestic”. While Jack and Sajeev have been playing with a big Caddy, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of Dearborn’s favorite luxury brand and it’s given me a lot of opportunity to think about Lincoln’s past and future. Today, Cadillac, buoyed by the success of the CTS and its variants, along with profitable sales of the SRX (and Escalade too) seems strong compared to Lincoln. As has been the case since Henry Leland’s day Lincoln has almost always been Detroit’s weaker sister when it’s come to luxury cars. Almost always…

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Look What I Found In Japan!

On Tuesday, I will go to the Fuji racetrack in the hills halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya. I will test drive a Toyota that is not available in Japan, nor is it in the U.S. It is however available and quite a success in India. Can you guess which one it is?

When I pointed at the map, my wife mentioned that her father, bless his heart, has some real estate in Yugawara, and that she has the keys. Yugawara, famous for its hot springs and not much else, sits right smack in the middle of the area which has an 87 percent chance of getting hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of about 8 within the next 30 years.

I was reminded of that this morning. Instead of being woken up with kisses and a cup of coffee, the house kicked me in the butt. Earthquake.

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Look At What I Found!: 1956 Continental Mark II Convertible by Hess & Eisenhardt
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth. TTAC thanks Mr. Barry Wolk for graciously making his car available for this photo shoot.

You can divide collectors into two main groups, generalists and specialists. In my taxonomy Barney Pollard and the Sultan of Brunei would be generalists and Joe Bortz would be a specialist. Some people collect Chevys. Others collect just “tri-five” mid 1950s Chevrolets. Of course for every specialty there’s a subspecialty, so some people collect only ’57 two-door Chevy pillarless hardtops with fuel injection and factory two tone paint.

Barry Wolk is a specialist. He collects Continentals. There’s his big black 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car along with his 1956 Chris Craft Continental wood boat. He’s even got a Porsche Continental. In the mid 1950s, importer Max Hoffman convinced the headquarters in Stuttgart that Americans bought cars with names, not numbers, and the 356A with the 1500cc engine was briefly marketed in the US in 1955 and 1956 as the Continental. Ford, having established prior use for that model name in the late 1930s, complained and Porsche changed the badging from “Continental” to “European” before reverting to alphanumerics. One reason why Ford was concerned is that in 1955 they were about to relaunch the Continental brand with the Continental Mark II. Barry has one of those Continentals too, but as you might expect from a specialist collector, Wolk has a very unique Mark II, a Mark II convertible. Even more unique than that, it’s one of only two Mark IIs made into convertibles by Ford Motor Company.

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Look What I Found: The Topless Topless Golf

While walking down memory lane to the dark days of diesel, I came across this gem in the archives of the Volkswagen History Department: The prototype of the first Golf Convertible. It was developed and produced by Karmann in Osnabrück. The company went bankrupt. Volkswagen bought Karmann, and inherited this find.

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Look At What I Found!: Avanti II
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

You find unusual cars down on the street, stored off of the street, parked by by the curbside, ready for the crusher at a junkyard, or sometimes even abandoned in Brooklyn or Qatar. I first noticed this Avanti II while I was taking my mom to physical therapy. She broke her wrist and until she had recovered enough hand strength to take the shifter out of park I was given the task of driving Miss Peshie (Mom’s Yiddish name). My intention was to drop her off at the clinic and then attend the funeral for my cousin’s mechutan. When I passed the Avanti I was little disappointed. I’ve tried to get in the habit of taking my cameras with me most places that I go so I can seize the opportunity when I find a car worthy of note. I had my camera bag with me but there was no way I could shoot the Avanti while we were both driving in traffic. When I got to the cemetery, though, I noticed that the Avanti driver was also paying his respects.

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Corvette Clip Out On The Urban Prairie
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

As a Detroiter I hate ruin porn. I particularly hate it when lazy journalists, bloggers, editors and video crews shoot photos or video, or worse, use stock footage and pics, of the Michigan Central Station and the old Packard plant. So I’m a little reluctant to share these photos that I shot just south of State Fair, east of Woodward. Ultimately, the photos were just too good, so emblematic of Detroit’s decay, that I had to share them. Also, it’s an opportunity to share some hope about the city.

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Look At What I Found!: Packards Return to the Packard Proving Grounds Test Track – W/ Video
Start the video, then pause. Click on the “3D” icon on the YouTube menu bar to select your choice of 3D formats or 2D. Video and original photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

We’ve all seen too many pictures and videos of the magnificent ruin that was once the Packard plant on Detroit’s east side. It turns out that there’s a Packard site in the Detroit area that’s not a ruin, the Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Twp. about 15 miles north of Eight Mile Road. Like the Packard plant on East Grand Blvd, Albert Kahn designed all the original Packard buildings on the proving grounds site, including a tudorish looking lodge where the facility’s manager and his family lived. It may be the only place where Kahn designed both residential and industrial buildings. It was built in 1927 at a cost of over a million dollars. Packard used the facility to develop and test their cars, aviation engines (there was a small airfield inside the big oval track – Charles Lindbergh visited the site), and also for publicity and marketing. The proving grounds even had a role in the Arsenal of Democracy. Chrysler used the facility during WWII to test Sherman tanks, erecting a building used to service the tanks that were tested inside the paved oval.

Additional video after the jump.

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Look At What I Found!: 1903 Columbus Electric – Charging Forward Into the Past

1903 Columbus Electric Model 1000 on display at the 2011 SAE World Congress. From the collection of Peter Fawcett.

Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

The theme of this year’s SAE World Congress was “Charging Forward Together”. In case you haven’t noticed the electrification of the automobile industry, to make the phrase even more obvious the logo includes an electric plug. Keeping with that theme the automotive engineers’ professional association put a couple of early electric cars on display, a 1915 Detroit Electric and a 1903 Columbus Electric.

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Look At What I Found!: 1948 Packard Eight – Ask The Man Who Owns One
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

You never know what you’re going to see. I’ve been trying to get in the habit of taking the camera bag for my 3D rigs with me when I go out and about so that I don’t miss capturing the neat old vehicles that I happen across. Just last week there was an impossible-not-to-notice canary yellow 1972 Lincoln Continental that shoulda woulda coulda been posted here but the cameras were at home. So when I walked out of Durst Lumber after picking up a tripod nut for my video rig and saw a very clean, very black Buick Grand National, I was glad that I had the cameras in hand. That’s when I realized that as unique as the Grand National was in its malaise era day and as cool as it is today, there was something far more worthy of note just a few parking spaces away.

This originally equipped 1948 Packard Eight survivor is on only its third owner and has just 40,000 miles on the clock. Other than the tires, fluids, filters, belts and hoses, everything is original – nothing’s been rebuilt. All it takes is a walk around the stately exterior and a peak into the elegantly appointed interior and it’s easy to understand that while Cadillac may have been the standard of the world, Packard was America’s ultimate aspirational car. Packards were what truly wealthy people drove.

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Look At What I Found!: 1928 Oldsmobile – Now That's Patina!
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

Whether they’re found at curbside in the Pacific northwest, or on the island that rust forgot off the coast of California, most of the cool-old-cars-found-by-car-bloggers tend to be from relatively recent decades like the 1960s or 1970s. So when I saw this 1928 Oldsmobile Six sitting in front of the insurance agency in Ferndale, Michigan that it was advertising, I knew that I had to stop and take some photos – particularly after I noticed that it is registered with non-historical, handicapped license plates, indicating that it’s currently in running condition.

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Look What I Found! Was the Porsche 928 Ahead of Its Time?
Photos courtesy of Cars In Depth

There’s a reason why car enthusiast sites have features like Murilee Martin’s Down On The Street and Paul Niedermeyer’s Curbside Classic. People enjoy photos and commentary on cool old cars, particularly those that are still being driven. Site publishers, on the other hand, like drawing traffic and those features do draw in new readers often searching for information about a particular make, model and year. Hence after Murilee departed from Jalopnik, they started a series called Found Off The Street.

So when I saw a Porsche 928 in what appeared to be pretty decent shape sitting at a repair shop in Royal Oak, I asked our esteemed ed Ed if I could take a whack at it. The trick, of course, is to be the same but different.

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