Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mussolini's girlfriend's Alfa Romeo

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave an Alfa Romeo to his mistress Clara Petacci as a gift. The pair met at Lake Como and planned to seek asylum in Switzerland.

A motorcade they were in, which included a retreating German anti-aircraft unit, was stopped at a roadblock near the town of Dongo on April 27, 1945. The fascist leader and his mistress were both identified before being shot dead and their bodies hung upside down at a petrol station. Petacci’s Alfa Romeo was confiscated and eventually acquired by an American Army Air Corps officer, Major Charles Pettit.

Correspondence between the pair convinced Keno that he had ownership of the historic car.
The vehicle was given a new lease of life in 1970 when it was purchased by Ron Keno of Mohawk, New York for $300. The antiques dealer was eventually put in touch with Franz Spogler, a former Nazi whose job it had been to drive Petacci and Mussolini towards the end of the war.
In late 1978 the partially restored Alfa Romeo was sold by Keno to collector Donnie Morton, of Connecticut, who ultimately passed it to the Imperial Palace Auto Collection. Staff restored and displayed it as part of their holdings of rare automobiles for the next two decades, until it was sold to another long-term owner in 1999.
A no-expenses-spared restoration with Garage Bonfanti followed. The work, which went so far as to recreate replicas of the original dashboard switchgear, reportedly took two years and cost a staggering €500,000 (roughly $625,000 in 2004).
The 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C2500 achieved a high bid of €1.8 million ($2.1 million), but failed to meet its reserve price.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Worst Cars ever Produced

1958 Edsel Corsair. Many attribute it's horrid looks to it's abject failure, but the car was also ridiculously poorly made.

Prices for the Corsair in 1958 ranged from US$3,311 to $3,390.
Production Figures for 1958 Edsel Corsair
Body StyleUnits
2-Door Hardtop3,632
4-Door Hardtop6,355

AMC Gremlin (1970-1978)
Launched on April Fool's Day in 1970, the Gremlin marked the beginning of the end for American Motors. Although AMC built a number of terrible cars the Gremlin is generally agreed upon as the worst of them all.

It was a small, rust-prone car that guzzled fuel. It's handling was atrocious, its engine was crippled by emissions control equipment, and the flip-up back window was prone to breaking off in a driver's hands.

AMC Pacer 1975-1981
The Pacer is an enduring symbol of bad taste. The Pacer featured tall, wraparound windows that gave it the look of a rolling fishbowl. AMC spent millions promoting the car, but it was a sales flop.

Although it was a gas guzzler and a rust bucket, the Pacer's hideous looks were its main calling card.
The 1980s was not a great time for American auto manufacturers and the 1982 Cimarron is a prime example of this ineptitude. The Cimarron was nothing more than a dressed up Chevrolet Cavalier called a Cadillac.

It sold poorly.
1974 Mustang II. Mustang fans despise this car. It’s been giving Mustang a bad name since it was released in the mid-1970s. The Mustang II was a redesigned Pinto. It was poorly made, low on power, and could explode.

Bricklin SV1 ( 1974-1976)
New Brunswick premier Richard Hatfield should have passed on Malcolm Bricklin's SV1 project. Hatfield funded the project anyway. Only a handful of the fiberglass-bodied SV1's were ever built, and the project was plagued with problems that ranged from inadequate brakes to a leaking rear hatch.

The SV1 suffered from crippling design flaws and construction quality that resembled a Soviet-era Lada.
1971 Chevrolet Vega. The Vega's problems were many. The engine wouldn’t hold oil. The front end had a tendency to fall off, and most of the fenders rusted out after only a year in the winter (and in places that never got snow.)

The engine got so hot it routinely warped the heads and destroyed head gaskets.

Chevrolet Chevette 1975-1987
Rushed into production as a slap-dash response to an OPEC oil embargo that created a market for small cars, the sub-compact Chevette earned a reputation as a car that drove even worse than it looked.

The engine was rough, the suspension was crude, and the interior was lined with cheap plastic. Construction quality of the early Chevettes epitomized mid-1970's Detroit for shoddy workmanship. The Chevette superseded the Vega as Chevrolet's entry-level subcompact and sold 2.8 million units over twelve model years. The Chevette was the best-selling small car in the U.S. for model years 1979 and 1980.

2003 Saturn Ion.
One would think that by the 2000s folks would have figured out how to build cars. Engineers at Saturn apparently missed every class and the result was Ion. The interior was poorly designed, uncomfortable and filled with cheap plastic, which also applies to the exterior.
Driving the Ion was also an experience – and not a good one.
1987 Yugo GV. The Yugo GV (GV stood for good value) was a disaster in every sense of the word. The Yugo very often didn’t work at all. The electrical system was something out of Siberia and construction was shoddy, at very best.

The only good thing about a Yugo was that they were light – which made pushing them when they broke down easy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

2017 Acura NSX triumphs at Pikes Peak, wins class victory

The 2017 Acura NSX had an impressive North American racing debut Sunday, taking first place in the Time Attack 2 class at the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

It was the 100th anniversary of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which is America’s second-oldest racing event. The Acura NSX zoomed through the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak course in a time of 10:28.8, winning the Time Attack 2 class.
The 2017 Acura NSX runs on a three-motor sport hybrid super-handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Ferrari 458 MM Speciale

If you want to make your Speciale even more special you can have a chat with Ferrari Special Projects. They’ll help you build the Ferrari of your dreams (if emptying your wallet isn't an issue that is). That’s what one British owner has done to differentiate his hardcore 458 from all the boring others.

Called the 458 MM Speciale, it uses the same stripped-out chassis and 597bhp, 4.5-litre V8 (with a record 133bhp-per-litre) as the Speciale but has had some major visual changes.
More aggressive, sporting lines and glass areas to give a ‘visor’ effect like a helmet, the car is finished in Bianco Italia (that’s white to ordinary folks) with an Italian flag livery.
There’s no word on performance, but there's probably not much change from the standard Speciale’s 0-62mph run of 3.0secs, 124mph in 9.1secs and 199mph top end.

The Cioccolato leather upholstery with white stitching is elegantly accented, don't be ridiculous.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Vintage Porsches quickly rising in value

Recently in New York, a 1973 Porsche Carrera RS 2.7 Touring sold for just under $1 million.

Ferrari dominates the classic car market. Porsche dominates the next-up list. Blue chip cars in general have risen from an average value of $600,000 in 2007 to $2.6 million today. ("blue chip" autos are the most expensive, like Ferrari and Mercedes.) Vintage German-made cars jumped an average value of $150,000 in 2007 to $625,000.
Hagerty data that combines public auction sales and private sales shows that the 1974-1977 Porsche 911 has increased the most in average sale price of any classic car this year, with a jump of 154 per cent in value over 2014. That's more than anything from Aston Martin, Ferrari, or Lamborghini.

Auction houses offered 27 more Porsches this year at the Monterey auctions than they did last year, especially 930s and 911 SC models.
Porsches-especially the 911s made between 1970 and 1980 and the 356 Speedsters made in the 1960s-have growing appeal. They are far more reliable than other vintage cars from the era. Their mechanically simple Volkswagen-approved engines run smoothly and easily, and their well-built components are easily found.
Porsches from this era have a wide entry point for prospective buyers.
Highlights at RM Sotheby's New York December 10th, 2015 auction included singer Janis Joplins iconic Porsche 356 C 1600 SC Cabriolet. The car was expected to fetch $400,000. It made $1.7 million

It has been on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland since 1995.