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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cosmic Muffin: The Plane-Turned-Boat You’ve Always Wanted


01-Cosmic Muffin

When it came to planes, Howard Hughes was a visionary, though, not even he could have foreseen one of his planes being turned into a retro-styled boat in Florida, named the “Cosmic Muffin.”
The Boeing 807 Stratoliner was a groundbreaking aircraft. Based on the iconic B-17 bomber, it was the first commercial passenger aircraft to feature a pressurized cabin. Such a feat allowed it to fly higher than other airliners to avoid weather and turbulence.

02-Cosmic Muffin

In 1938, pressurized cabin was not only safer, but considered a luxury at the time, and caught the attention of wealthy eccentric and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes. He was also a womanizer, and turned his 807 into a flying penthouse. No, really, he named it the “Flying Penthouse.”

Hughes actually tried to use the 807 to break his own record for round-the-world flight, but the outbreak of WWII in Europe grounded his plans. The plane changed hands, and then in 1964 a hurricane damaged the 807, making it no longer flyable.

00-Cosmic Muffin

A new owner took the airliner to Ft Lauderdale, where he set about converting it into a boat. His work was completed in 1974, calling it the “Cosmic Muffin.” It was restored with the original VIP-lounge interior, and even the flight controls operate the boat.

The plane boat (can’t really call it a boat plane) has been featured everywhere from CNN to Ripley’s believe it or not. The “Cosmic Muffin” caught the attention of Jimmy Buffet, who wrote the song “Desdemona’s Building a Rocket Ship,” and wrote it into his book “Where is Joe Merchant?”

If you are in Ft. Lauderdale and are feeling nostalgic about the Golden Age of flight, or are just looking for a really wild boat, track down the “Cosmic Muffin” and see it for yourself!

Photo Credit: Aviation Humor


Flying Cars in Two Years? Stop Buying the Hype


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.  


Moller Skycar

“The future is here! Get to work like George Jetson!” It seems like every six months, a new company claims to have created a flying car that will finally make production. And every time, we’re left waiting for it to come. “Fool me once…” I think is how the saying starts.

From the Terrafugia to the AeroMobil, flying cars have been in a perpetual state of testing for years. That’s only natural, as the technology required to deliver a personal flying/driving vehicle that costs less than the GDP of Liechtenstein will take a long time to get right. Items like power storage, and lightweight materials are only now becoming available in a way that companies can even build prototypes, and even those proofs of concept have mixed track records.


Take the AeroMobil, for example. In March, we reported that it would be available by 2017, though we weren’t holding our breath. That skepticism was well earned, and proved right in May, when an AeroMobil prototype crashed in Slovakia. There were no serious injuries, thankfully, and testing will continue. But ready by 2017? Don’t count on it.
And that’s just the thing-you could swap in a number of company names for the headline, “(Company Name) Promises Flying Car in Just Two Years.” First it was the X-Hawk, then it was the Moller Skycar, followed by Terrafugia. And every time these companies promised a flying car, the press (including us) would hop on it like a mouse on a particularly smelly hunk of gouda. But why do we keep falling for it?

Terrafugia Transition

Despite all the reasons for people to be skeptical, it is one of the very definitions of having arrived in the future. The visions of highways through the sky have been beaten into us for years. From the Jetsons to Back to the Future II, personal flying vehicles were supposed to be the mark of progress. Just look at the magazine clipping below.
But the future we longed for is a little more subtle than that. Smartphones, medical advancements, and autonomous cars are the real-world examples of our progress. They’re definitely not as glamorous as the idea of a Lexus that hovers, though.


The fact is, none of these vehicles will be ready any time soon. A company MAY get the technology right, but there are the monolithic hurdles of price, infrastructure, and regulation. Even if a company gets the price down to the hundreds of thousands (Maserati-branded flying car anyone?), the FAA and NHTSA will make it very difficult to own and operate these vehicles. Hell, we have a hard enough time driving on roads without the occasional fender-bender. You want to trust the driving public with amounts to a small plane? We should be thankful that these flying cars won’t be available any time soon.

Which brings us back to the constant news coverage of something that doesn’t deliver. It’s like we completely forget the failures (and unfulfilled promises) of the past. The press should be a little more responsible in conveying the hurdles of bringing such a vehicle to market, rather than regurgitate a press release about how I’ll be getting around town like Blade Runner.

Ferrari Should Quit Teasing and Make a Production Run of the F12 TRS



Oh, you have a Ferrari 458? That’s cute. Too bad you’re just like hundreds of other rich people around the world. If you really wanted to stand out, you’d have one of these bad boys: the F12 TRS, a limited edition version of the F12berlinetta released about a year ago.

Originally, the car was a one-off exclusive for somebody who wanted a new car that had roots reaching back to the 1957 250 Testa Rossa, the legendary prancing horse that won Le Mans in 1958, 1960 and 1961 (A ’57 Testa Rossa reportedly sold for $39 mill last year. That’s how massive the love for that car is).

So the mad geniuses in Maranello cooked up the TRS. It has an open-top design, a new engine-revealing hood, a devilish new smirk with a custom splitter, new side skirts, and a wicked diffuser on the rear.


Three of these beauties exist in the world. The first was red, the second was black, and now we have this unique silver that looks like it could be some type of rare earth metal.

The engine nestled underneath the sumptuous body work is the same 6.3-liter V12 F12erlinetta. It’s packing 729 hp and 508 lb-ft. That type of power that’ll scoot you to 60 in 3.1 seconds.


Even if you had more than $4,000,000 on deck (the estimated original cost), ready to hand over to Ferrari, that’s not going to automatically get you a TRS. This is a special vehicle for even more special clients, and (if they ever built any more) you would need to be vetted by Ferrari as a worthy owner.

Photo credit: Francesco Meneghini / V12 Supercars Photography


Ford Might Put a Twin-Turbo V6 in the New Shelby GT500


Shelby GT500 V6

I know, Ford fans— a V6 GT500 sounds like blasphemy. But before you go around cussing out Ford and Shelby engineers, this news might not be all that bad for Ford’s high-end pony car. Especially when you remember another car in the Ford performance lineup with the same engine.
The report comes from Automobile Magazine, and states that Ford might actually use a twin-turbo V6 in its top-end Shelby GT500 Mustang as opposed to a Coyote V8; the very same V6 found in the new Ford GT mid-engined supercar. Doesn’t sound all that bad now, does it?

Shelby GT500 V62

As we’ve already seen in the new Shelby GT350, the Ford flat-plane crank V8 is a pretty potent machine— but don’t sleep on that EcoBoost V6. The engine found in the new Ford GT puts out over 600-horsepower, likely somewhere near 500 lb.-ft. torque, and was engineered for use on the track.
Other rumors suggest Ford will keep a manual gearbox in the GT500, as well as make it more powerful than the already potent GT350, which should be obvious. Right now there’s no official word from Ford, but you can expect to see a new GT500 hitting the streets sometime in 2018.


Rare 1935 Aston Martin Sells for $4.5 Million



If competing at one iconic venue earns a racecar substantial pedigree, racing competitively at four gives it legendary status. 
Such legendary accolades surround this rare British auto, a 1935 Aston Martin racecar, which competed at that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, RAC Tourist Trophy, as well as the 1936 Mille Miglia and French Grand Prix. Known as the Ulster LM19, it crossed the Bonhams auction block at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, selling for an eye-watering $4,581,921.

Though its story and performance are remarkable, its racing results unfortunately fell short.


Built as one of four ultimate specification Aston Martin racecars to challenge the 1935 Le Mans event, the LM19 Ulster made its debut at Circuit de la Sartre and ran competitively until a rainy accident sidelined the Aston. It was rebuilt with a new chassis and front axle and made its racing return to the RAC Tourist Trophy, only to endure oil pipe issues and limp its way home well behind the winning car.

LM19 returned for Italy’s Mille Miglia in 1936 and ran strong in the hands of privateer racers but engine trouble kept the Ulster back once again. Perhaps the Aston Martin’s most impressive show of force came later that year at the French Grand Prix. Talented Dick Seaman drove the car so hard around the Montlhery road course in the running for the class lead that the brakes cooked and the car became uncontrollable.


The Aston Martin was then retired from racing and remained in the ownership of one private collector until 1969, living a life of mild use followed by a long period of unmolested storage. It sold that year for a scarcely believable £1,575 (about $3,000) and would remain with that family for 45 years.

During that tenure it was repaired and given a specially built exhaust, period correct cylinder block, and 18-inch wheels, as well as given a repaint from green to the jet black shade evocative of Dick Seaman’s impressive run in France. The 1.5-liter Aston Martin draws 85 horsepower through dual SU carburetors. When fully unleashed it produces top speeds of 110 mph… quite considerable for a sportscar from 1935.

Aston Martin priced the four Ulsters at £750 brand new, ready to race. Today, LM19 stands tall at a whopping $4.5 million.

Photo Credit: Bonhams


Watch This Insane Mustang Get Away From Ken Block at Goodwood


 Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.
Ken Block Goodwood

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a chance to see beautiful cars and watch professional drivers take some of them for a spin. Those drivers are often well-known names and this year the list included Ken Block. He showed up with his Hoonicorn, an absolutely bonkers custom Mustang, and took event founder Lord March for a ride that was more exciting than usual, even for Block.

According to CarScoops, Block was behind the wheel of his 845 horsepower, 1965 Ford Mustang Hoonicorn. That tells you right there that whatever was going to happen was going to be at least a little crazy. Then again, when does Block do anything that doesn’t smack a little of insanity?

Ken Block Hoonicorn Goodwood

He decided to take his monster of a car out for a ride with a smiling Lord March in the passenger seat. It starts off well enough, but then Block loses things on a corner and slides right off the track and into the grass. He manages to stop just shy of hitting the hay bales. Both he and March are wearing huge smiles the whole time.

Block headed back onto the pavement and let loose with some smokey donuts which seemed like an appropriate response to the situation. The pair then took off down the track to finish the course.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Minnesota Man is Building Amazing Porsches in his Barn


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

Everybody has something that makes them tick. For Minnesota native Christopher Runge, that something is vintage Porsches. 
Runge has been enamored with the Stuttgart sportscars from a young age, ever since one was tucked away for the winter inside his family’s barn. Over the years he has owned and tuned a number of Porsche’s finest examples
In 2011, he set out to achieve a lofty goal – to build his own, an aluminum-bodied car evocative of the post-war Porsche racers. By 2012, that’s just what he had done. He calls his recreations “Frankfurt Flyers” and has since built three more, on behalf of paying customers. Now he’s looking to build another, and if you like what you see, that next customer could be you.


While there’s hardly a shortage of replica Porsche 550 Spyders on the market, it’s Runge’s traditional tools and methods which make his various designs unique. He doesn’t use computers or design programs to mock up shapes. Rather, he employs a simple drafting board, paper, and pencil. Aluminum body panels are hand-beaten and formed in the traditional way across a wooden frame… just like Porsche did during its early days in the famous Gmünd sawmill.

Runge writes that every detail of the new car can be tailored to individual tastes, and if the last Frankfurt Flyer is anything to go by, it’s quite the homage to the original Porsche 550. Runge has enlisted renowned Porsche replica builder Chuck Beck to handle assembly of the tubular steel space frame and adjustable suspension, while VW engine guru Tom Bruch works magic on its engine – an 85 horsepower boxer built up from a ’58 36 horsepower Volkswagen mill.

The potent four-cylinder features a modified 912 crankshaft, Wolfsburg West dual-port heads and dual carburetors. The Frankfurt Flyer has a Volkswagen four-speed gearbox putting power to Porsche 356 reproduction steel wheels. And Runge is keeping it all period-correct, there are no disc brakes here, just age-appropriate drums at all corners.
Runge says the bespoke build takes around 10 months between inception and delivery, and given the level of detail employed, that intensive schedule isn’t too hard to imagine.



New Budget Brand Coming From Volkswagen


2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen group has a lot of brands under its belt. From the high-priced, uber-luxury Bugatti to the more affordable (but still pricey at times) Volkswagen. Soon it will have a new budget brand to add to the mix. VW Group Chairman Martin Winterkorn confirmed the news during a recent interview with German newspaper, Bild.

This new brand, which doesn’t have a name yet, is set to launch in 2018, targeting budget-conscious families. The initial range of vehicles will include an SUV, a sedan, and a hatchback. All three will be produced in China, which is the target market for these new cars. This will mark the VW Group’s 13th brand.

Volkswagen Snowareg

According to Motoring, pricing will be from $11,500 to $15,900. The budget brand will figure heavily in the company’s expansion plans. Although initially set for sale only in China, if successful, it could roll out across Europe, India, and Latin America.

The idea of launching a budget car brand is nothing new for Volkswagen. It has long been planning the project, but couldn’t meet VW’s internal cost targets. It looks like they’ve finally made the numbers work and are moving forward with their low-cost brand.

2015 Volkswagen Jetta


Autonomous Cars Displaying Road Rage? Let’s Hope Not


Self-Driving Lexus Google

Last week, engineers broke new ground in the realm of self-driving cars. No, it was not a new advance in software or sensors. Rather, two autonomous cars narrowly avoided becoming the first two such vehicles to display the very human act of cutting one another off.
It happened on June 23 in Silicon Valley — one of the few places with enough autonomous cars on the road for such a near-miss to take place. According to Reuters, a self-driving Lexus RX 400h made by Google and an autonomous Audi Q5 developed by Delphi were attempting to both merge into the same lane (likely from opposite sides). The Q5 sensed the RX 400h coming into that space and aborted its lane-change.

But then Delphi changed its story. While the initial reports of the incident came to light on Thursday, the tech company then released a followup statement that appears to contradict the initial claim. Delphi says the vehicles, “Didn’t even come close to each other.”

Autonomous car from Delphi drives on Treasure Island in preparation for a cross-country trip from San Francisco to New York City in San Francisco

The official who made this statement was in the vehicle when the incident took place, and went on to say, “It was a typical lane change maneuver. No vehicle was cut off and the vehicles didn’t even come close to each other.” This official said that while the vehicle was set to move into the other lane, its sensors acknowledged the presence of the Google car, and terminated the lane change.

This incident could arguably be chalked up as a win for self-driving cars. How many times have you been on a three-lane highway, and made a lane change from the left to the middle lane, just as another car made a move from the right lane to that same spot? Sometimes you don’t catch the other car until the very last minute. If these reports are to be believed, the self-driving tech has proven that it can avoid such incidents, even without a driver behind the wheel.


Hybrid Follow-Up to the Bugatti Veyron Officially Confirmed


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.
Bugatti Gangloff Concept

Volkswagen Group head Martin Winterkorn has officially confirmed that there will be a Bugatti Veyron successor and that it will sport a hybrid powertrain. The news came through statements Winterkorn made in an interview with Bild, a German newspaper.
According to Autocar, Winterkorn told Bild, “Next to the petrol model there will be a hybrid version with added performance for the first time.” This new car is set to debut in 2016 with deliveries to customers starting sometime the following year.

Bugatti Gangloff Concept 3

Bugatti has been working on the Veyron successor for awhile, aiming to update the powerful turbocharged 8-liter W16 so that it will produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 1479 horsepower. This new Bugatti is already in the midst of conceptual engineering tests, with insiders reporting five different prototypes with various powertrains. Which will finally make it into the new Bugatti is still uncertain.
Carbon fiber construction is a given as weight will receive special attention with the addition of a hybrid system. Bugatti engineers are also focusing on active aerodynamics that will provide varying amounts of downforce based on the chosen drive mode.

Assembly facilities in Molsheim, France are already being upgraded in anticipation of this new model in an effort to speed assembly times and not leave customers waiting once orders open.

Bugatti Gangloff Concept 2


Sunday, June 28, 2015

McLaren is Preparing to Build a New Hypercar



If you were hoping to buy one of the rarified McLaren P1 hypercars – bad news. All 375 sold out long ago, and you’d need one of those in order to nab its even rarer P1 GTR brethren. Pity. However there is good news, McLaren is giving the hypercar market another shot. 
In an interview with the UK’s Auto Express, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed that the company was targeting a new hypercar to add to the marque’s ‘Ultimate Series’ and fill the performance segment between the tip-top P1 hypercar and the current McLaren 650S supercar.

As it stands, the Ultimate Series consists of the $1.15 million P1, the $3.1 million P1 GTR, and the now-confirmed next generation hypercar, which Flewitt said will have a different focus than the P1 and the magazine expects it to retail in the region of £400,000 ($630,000 at current rates). Despite an expected drop in horsepower, the new hypercar will likely sell in larger numbers than the hallowed P1.

The revelations didn’t end there either. Flewitt also confirmed the firm’s 10 year strategy will see at least half of the McLaren model range become hybrid. “I have said in 10 years I expect half our cars to be hybrids, but I actually think it will be faster,” noted Flewitt. “Will we put that on all vehicles? If I could get the cost and weight right I absolutely would.”

Part of that strategy will also see McLaren debut two new Sports Series body styles over the next two years, keeping additions on a yearly basis, with overall production forecast to hit 4,000 units per year by 2017. And McLaren certainly has the moment to do so. The automaker sold 1,649 vehicles in 2014, and earned an operating profit of £20.8 million ($32.8 million).


Make No Mistake, This is One Rare Hurst Dodge Challenger



There are quite a few big names in the muscle car history books. ‘Hurst’ is certainly one of them. The brand’s slick shifters were industry royalty in the ‘60s muscle car era, and though the brand endured a period of dormancy, a new subsidiary – Hurst Performance Vehicles – made a dramatic return in the late 2000s with a new series of mods. The favorite canvas with which to show them off? The Dodge Challenger.
Performance tuned and attired variants of the Hurst Dodge Challenger were produced from 2008 until 2011, and this rare bird – currently listed on eBay – is one of that group. But what makes it even more special is what lies under the hood – an SRT8 6.1-liter Hemi engine and a Hurst-Vortech supercharger. Add it all up and it’s a car that can really go.


But surprisingly you didn’t have to dish out big bucks for Hurst performance bits, though you certainly could. Hurst supplied five stages of upgrade kits for the Dodge Challenger offering custom wheels, Eibach suspension, paint, exhaust and engine tunes at the base level and culminating with the Vortech centrifugal supercharger at the top end. This 2010 Challenger sports the later Competition/Plus package, which streamlined the naming system a bit, and came sporting the popular essentials.

As such, you’ll find the Eibach adjustable suspension, Magnaflow exhaust, 20-inch Hurst wheels, matte black stripes. custom seats, and shifter top. For extra punch, this Dodge Challenger – car #28 from 2010 – totes the sought after supercharger, which brought power up to a heady 572 horsepower and 528 lb-ft of torque. Lots of speed is a side effect.


Sadly, Hurst Performance Vehicles hit a dead end in 2011 after factory programming restrictions stymied Hurst’s engine tuning and supercharging capabilities for the Challenger. That summer, Hurst closed its California workshop.

Though this supercharged #28 car from 2010 is certainly not the last of the breed, it is a remarkable footnote in Hurst brand history. Interestingly, this Hurst Dodge Challenger SRT8 complements its low 4,458 miles with the signed names of the Hurst chairman, CEO, designer and sales manager underneath the trunk lid. Not something you see every day.

Old General Motors Plant to Become Multi-Million Dollar Car Condos



In 2008, the doors slammed shut at the General Motors assembly plant on the corner of Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard in Pontiac, Michigan – never to open for business again. But seven years later, one intrepid group is bringing car culture back to that site in a big, big way. 
It’s called the M1 Concourse, a project spearheaded by CEO Brad Oleshansky, which will turn the disused 87 acre blank slate into private car condominiums for storing, enjoying, working on, and even racing cars. Yes, racing. The multi-million dollar project includes plans to develop a 1.5 mile racing circuit throughout the grounds, equipped with a third-mile straightaway.

The project’s official groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 24th, and The Detroit News reports the track will be constructed by the close of 2015 with the first of the 264 car condos in operation by Spring 2016.


The condominiums don’t come cheap however. The M1 Concourse offers three size and pricing options for their car-loving customers, which includes a 600 sq-ft condo for two to four vehicles ($100,000), a 1,200 sq-ft space that accommodates five to eight autos ($250,000), as well as a massive 2,400 sq-ft area ($500,000).
The car apartments offer climate controlled loft space and a customizable layout so owners can work and play with their cars in comfort, though these aren’t intended to be dedicated living spaces.

 Further amenities will be added to the facility including office, shopping, and restaurant space. According to the company, the first 80 M1 Concourse garages have already been accounted for.
Once complete, M1 Concourse will join a number of other car condominiums, like Minneapolis’ AutoMotorPlex and the GarageTown USA locations, giving collectors even more incentive to spend time with their sports and classic cars.


The 2016 Chevy Cruze Debuted This Week


2016 Chevy Cruze Front

The redesigned 2016 Chevy Cruze made its debut on Wednesday with an updated look, reduced weight, and increased room for passengers. This next generation of the sedan will be offered not just in the US, but in more than 40 other global markets after it goes on sale in North America early next year.
The Cruze adds .6 inches to its wheelbase for a total of 106.3 inches and 2.7 inches to its overall length which brings it to 183.7 inches. This means more room for passengers. Rear legroom is now 36.1 inches and there’s an additional 2 inches of knee room over the previous version of the Cruze. Despite its larger size, curb weight is down 250 pounds.

2016 Chevy Cruze Rear

There is MacPherson strut suspension up front and a torsion beam axle in back on the L, LS, and LT models. A new Premier edition of the Cruze gets an enhanced Z-link design.
 Every model receives rack-mounted electric power steering, StabiliTrak electronic stability control, traction control, rollover mitigation, and anti-lock brakes.
Power will come from a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that produces 153 horsepower with 177 lb-ft of torque with a choice of a standard 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.

 The Cruze has a 0-60 time of 8 seconds with estimated highway fuel economy of 40 MPG. It will also feature an all-new MyLink Infotainment system with a 7″ color screen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Vintage Surf Van is What Summer is All About



If every season has a car, you’d be hard pressed to find a better representative for summer than this. It’s fun, it’s vintage, it’s quite British – it’s a 1970 Morris Minor Traveller with a surfboard on top. Any more ‘summer’ and it would reek of bug repellant and SPF 30. 
The Minor can trace its roots all the way back to 1948, when the first Minors began to roll out of Morris’ Oxford, England production facility.

 These Traveller ‘woodie’ van variants came later with the Series II updates of 1952, which included the larger A-series engine. If it looks perfect for that sun soaked trip to the shore this summer – you’re in luck. This vintage Morris is currently up for grabs online.


According to the listing, this car has been a longtime resident of Florida’s northern beach community, which explains the surfboard and the ‘Beach Patrol’ lettering. Though unoriginal to this right-hand drive UK-market car, those beach themed cosmetic touches don’t detract from the Minor’s achingly beautiful patina and lightly weathered look. Out back lies the Minor’s stunning ash frame, which houses an impressively capacious rear boot.
Pop open the hood and you’ll find that this Traveller, one of the later Traveller 1000 vans (introduced in 1956), sports the largest of the Minor engines – a 1,098cc A-series four-cylinder. Though the Minor was never what you’d call a fast car, this larger 48 horsepower engine was noted to be quite the performer in comparison to the early, side-valve 918cc engine of the first generation.


If you can’t shake the lingering thought, “Hmm, this looks vaguely like a Mini.” You’re not far off. Renowned auto designer Alec Issigonis crafted the Minor and later went on to perfect his small car engineering ideas with the famous Mini in 1959.
After 45 years on the road, this vintage 1970 Traveller is said to have only 35,000 original miles to its name. Quite the beach bum.


This Barn Find Bugatti Just Sold for a World Record Price


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.
bugatti brescia barn find image

For the last 40 years, this rare 1925 Bugatti Brescia has sat untouched, under a tarp, housed within a small French barn. Today, it’s the most expensive example of its kind in the world. 
The stunning barn find Bugatti Brescia crossed the auction block earlier this week at Artcurial Motorcars’ Automobiles sur les Champs sale in Paris, estimated to sell between $170,000 and $280,000.

 After competitive bidding, the rarified Bugatti sold for $951,216, setting a world record for Brescia models in the process. Then again, it’s no ordinary car.

bugatti brescia barn find sold image

This Bugatti, Brescia chassis 2628, was originally purchased by French Bugatti enthusiast Bernard Terrillon, and wears bodywork hand crafted by coachbuilder Maron Pot et Cie from Levallois-Perret. Only 12 are known to still exist, with this example having been in the same family since 1953, and at one point accompanied by three other Bugattis.
The Brescia models trace their genealogy back to the very first car Ettore Bugatti constructed in his Molscheim factory, the Type 13. Sporting advanced and powerful multi-valve engines, Bugatti took the cars racing at the 1921 Grand Prix of Italy at Brescia, and the Type 13s took the top four places.

Reflective of that impressive performance, the Brescia name caught on. Over the better part of a decade, around 2,000 16- and 8-valve Brescias were produced.


The Bugatti wasn’t the only car to notch world record auction prices either. Five other record earners included a 1970 Porsche 911 S/T 2.3-liter rallye coupe ($1,032,726), 1966 Alpine A210 Le Mans race car ($543,552), 1976 Maserati Khamsin ($312,588), 1978 Ferrari 308 GTB ($230,964), and 1972 Fiat Dino 2400 Spider ($214,662).

All totaled, the entire auction shifted a dazzling $12.7 million worth of collector cars. That’s a bit light on the legendary $25 million sold from Artcurial’s Baillon barn find bonanza collection, but sizable nonetheless.


Dodge Challenger Roars into Summer With New Drag Pak



In 2008, Mopar reintroduced an out-of-the-box competitive drag racing package for the Dodge Challenger – the V8 Drag Pak. In 2010, it followed that race-ready setup with a brawling V10 package. And now, Mopar is bringing the thunder back to drag strips for summer 2015. Enter the 2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Paks. 

The famous performance parts wing has designed two separate factory-prepped drag racing packages for the Challenger, sporting two unique engine options – a supercharged 354ci Hemi V8 and the return of the legendary 426ci free-breathing Hemi. Both equipment packages were developed with sportsman drag racers in mind, and come loaded with race enhancements aimed at putting Dodge at the top of the leader boards.


The 354ci V8 sports a cast iron block, forged steel crankshaft, and Mopar camshaft to handle the torque-heavy supercharger, while the naturally aspirated 426 race Hemi goes with an aluminum block, steel cylinder liners, and aluminum heads. Mopar has yet to release power figures for either engine, though both will back up to race-developed automatics.
On the outside, the Challengers tout heady Mopar graphics – blue treatments and stripes for the supercharged V8, black for the 426 engine. Inside you’ll find a roll cage built to NHRA specifications, along with Mopar race gauges, lightweight racing seats, five-point harnesses and safety nets.


Underneath, the Challengers come fitted with a new cradle and suspension up front with a four-link setup in the rear, equipped with a Strange Engineering axle, nine-inch third member, anti-roll bar, and axle mountings that have been strengthened for harder and faster launches. Power meets the ground via Hoosier drag radial tires mounted to lightweight racing wheels. And no, these won’t be road legal.

The cost for out-of-the-box performance? Mopar will open orders for the packages at Dodge dealerships on July 23. $99,426 buys you the 426 Hemi, while $109,354 takes home the 354ci supercharged setup.


Aston Martin Just Built Its Fastest DB9 Ever



Even though Aston Martin will start to phase out its older architecture — cars like the Vantage and the DB9 — that hasn’t stopped the British supercar marquee in taking the wraps off its newest DB9 GT. Or as it’s more affectionately known: the most powerful DB9 ever built.
Officially unveiled to the public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the DB9 GT is an upgraded, updated Aston Martin grand tourer. Aston Martin bills this new luxury supercar as “the most compelling production ‘DB’ to date.” And we’re inclined to somewhat agree with them. (Though we still prefer a vintage DB4 to anything else.)


Besides getting a slight horsepower increase to 547 and a bump to 458 lb-ft of torque, the new DB9 GT features an updated exterior and interior. Outside the car, you get a revised set of headlights and taillights, new black pained splitter and diffuser, and optional black brake calipers. To help the car show off just that little bit more, Aston Martin also engraved the aluminum gas cap with the “GT” moniker.
With that, the interior also receives a slight “refreshening” with a new Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, and two new console finishes dubbed Ice Mocha, and a Copper Cuprum, which definitely sounds like a yuppy coffee order. This new DB9 GT seems like the last and final hurrah of the DB9. With its replacement coming very soon, this is its death knell, and we’re definitely sad to see the strikingly beautiful car go. The new DB9 GT can be ordered right now for the modest sum of $199,950.


Friday, June 26, 2015

This Brawny Bug is One of the Cutest, Rarest Jeeps Around



When we say “Jeep”… well, we don’t mean an actual Jeep. This teensy ute is what’s called a Crofton Brawny Bug. It was born of the early 1960s and it offered farmers, families and whomever a tough little vehicle that worked like a tractor, but at a fraction of the cost.
If teeny, spunky vintage off-roaders tug at your heartstrings, you’re in luck. This Brawny Bug is up for grabs online, and it’s claimed to be one of only 43 ever built. A shame it would be to rob this one of its spectacular view, though.


In essence, the Brawny Bug is the coolest, most off-road capable evolution of a breed which began with the Crosley car company, notable builders of the Crosley Convertible and the plucky little Farm-O-Road utility vehicle. Tragically, the Farm-O-Road arrived two years before Crosley ended production, but thanks to the saving graces of San Diego’s Crofton Marine Engine Company, it would continue to live on as the Crofton Bug.
These slightly stretched versions went into production in 1958, and came optional with snow plows, vinyl tops, Powr-Lok rear differentials, and dual wheels in the back. The Brawny Bug took it one step further and added off-road or floating tires, skid plates, and dual three-speed transmissions which permitted extra low gearing… all for around $1,800 in its day. The minute four-cylinder Crosley engine under the hood developed 35 horsepower with later versions mustering 45 horsepower and top speeds in the 50 mph range.


Approximately 200 Crofton Bugs (including Brawny Bugs) were built in total, and this one would appear to be nearing the end of a restoration. Rather amazingly, the seller claims it has 71,000 miles on the clock, which is almost a badge of honor for such a tiny workhorse.

Photo Credit: Crosley Automobile Club