When I was in college I worked at a Cadillac dealership as a lot attendant. This was the early 90s, interesting to me American cars were few and far between. The Eldorado Touring Coupe of 1991 caught my attention with its body color trim and rectangular exhaust tips. These cars featured 180 horsepower 4.9 liter V8s that were a significant step up from the 150-ish horsepower engines put in prior year Eldorados.
This brown Triumph passed by me in the opposite direction while I was biking to work. It was burbling through a parking lot on its way to its parking spot. I was stunned to see such a clean looking GT6 and quickly turned around to give chase and shoot some pictures.
This truck lives in my neighborhood and doesn’t ever move. I think it is loaded with charm. I believe this to be a 1947 to 1949 truck, let’s call it a 1948.
Ayrton Senna died 19 years ago today. We are big fans of Senna here at StartingGrid and have featured articles about him before. Senna was an amazing talent dripping with focus and pure joy of competition. If he were still with us, what would he be doing now? My bet is he’d still be racing; not Formula 1, perhaps rally or Australian V8 Supercars.
This image shows all of Senna’s formula cars. It was created by Paul Laguette who has an amazing portfolio of racing and car themed work.
Check out his Coroflot site: Paul Laguette’s Coroflot page
Check out his website: Studio P Design
We are fortunate in my neighborhood to have an independent gas station that sells non-oxygenated fuel; this is gasoline that does not have ethanol mixed in. This is a good thing for owners of old cars which tend have issues with the oxygenated fuel sold at big chain gas stations drying out the rubber bits in their fuel systems. I take The Healey to this station for fuel and frequently encounter other old cars while refueling. Today’s Street Parked car was parked in the service area (yes, this is a gas station where actual mechanics work) waiting for its turn on the lift.
This week’s Ferrari Friday subject is a car I saw and photographed at the 2007 Northwest Historics. This is a 1949 166 MM Touring Barchetta and is one of the very first Ferraris built. Enzo Ferrari starting producing cars under his own name in 1947, following a long career with Alfa Romeo (I’ll feature a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa racer in coming weeks). The very first Ferraris were the two 125S cars and single 159S produced in 1947. These were followed by the run of 39 166S cars in 1948 and 1949 which produced the car featured here.
Jon Shirley owns this 166 MM and drove it at the 2007 Northwest Historics as well as in rally events. This car is no stranger to racing, having won the 1949 24 Hours of Spa with Luigi Chinetti behind the wheel.
The Ford Mustang II is an important piece of motoring history. No, really. Many people consider this car to embody the worst of the Malaise Era: too small, too slow, too poorly built. I believe we need to look at the Mustang II illuminated in the era it was born to understand why it exists, and why it is actually a cool car.
The photos for this article were all supplied by a reader from the Miata.net car talk community who calls himself Analogeezer. Analogeezer and the gang at Miata.net’s Car Talk forum have been a wealth of great stories and anecdotes about most of the Street Parked cars (and many other topics).
It’s Friday and my thoughts are of doing what this person is doing, grabbing a handful of opposite lock as I slide through a turn. I might have to do just that in the Healey, if the weather gods permit.
This car is probably very often mistaken for a v12 engined beast since it looks more than a bit like a 250 Testa Rossa. This car is powered by a 2.4 liter v6, the Dino v6. This engine was named after Enzo’s son Afredo (“Dino” comes from “Alfredino”, which is how a person name Alfredo’s parents or friends would call him, it means “little Alfredo”). In the mid 50s, Alfredo Ferrari lead the development of the v6 for use in Formula 2, and later Forumla 1. Sadly Alfredo died before he ever got to see his engine (actually designed by Ferrari engineer Vittorio Jano) race.
More information and pictures of this car, chassis 0784, can be found at Ultimate Car Page’s very thorough article about this car.
If anyone can identify the photographer who captured this excellent image, please let me know so I can give proper credit.
As I write this, I’m sitting in a truck on the road to San Diego to compete in the 2013 SCCA Pacific Southwest National Tour autocross event in San Diego. You may recall that in my last post, I mentioned some nervousness about jumping into the deep end of competition. To ease my nerves, and get familiar with Sean Green’s new Miata, I entered last weekend’s Western Washington Sports Car Council autocross.
This post is an experiment of sorts. I’m going to write about my racing exploits to allow me to publicly challenge myself to develop as a driver and hopefully regain or improve on my former level of performance.
This past weekend I changed the oil in the Healey. That’s not really a big deal with a normal car, but with the Healey it’s an excuse to start and run the engine until warm, which is always a bit of an event in colder weather.
UPDATE: This car is actually a 1964 Bel Air, thanks for setting me straight everyone. That’ll teach me to not carefully check my memory!
Matte finished cars normally don’t catch my eye. Even when I do notice them, they hardly ever look good to me. This big sinister Chevrolet is different, the matte paint job really works. The car looks both elegant and frighteningly evil.
The streets of Cuba are littered with Ladas. Car guys, when they think of Cuban cars, usually think of lovingly preserved American cars from the 1950s, just like the ones they see at summertime show and shine gatherings. That isn’t always the case. There are plenty of old American cars in Cuab, and most of them look like they have been in continuous service for over half a century with poor OEM parts support. This street in the mountain town of Santa Clara is typical of what you would see in Cuba. A 1952 Chevrolet with a homemade grill and what looks like hand made rear fender trim is parked behind a Lada 1200, which is parked behind another nondescript 1970s car. But wait, the Lada is festooned with racing and high performance (and Canadian!) themed stickers and graphics.
Last week I mentioned that the Healey had a carburetor issue related to a sticking float valve. This would explain the fuel economy that barely broke into double figures on the last tank, not to mention the smell of unburned gasoline that enveloped the car when idling. Just switching the Healey’s ignition on would cause a disturbing stream of gasoline to run out of the overflow on the forward carburetor. Clearly this issue needs to be resolved before I take the Healey out for early Spring hooning.
On the StartingGrid Facebook page we were discussing the various project cars we writers and reader (writers to be?) have, and the issues they are posing. The Healey is suffering from a stuck float in its forward carburetor. An easy fix, I just need to get out there and do it. Expect an update soon.
I just returned from a trip to Cuba where jaw dropping old cars are numerous at every stop light. This is the first of many Cuban Street Parked features we’ll be running; be sure to come back and see what Cuban treasure we have next (hint: old American cars with Scuderia Ferrari stickers). I didn’t need to venture far to find this 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible as it was parked in the dropoff/pickup loop of my hotel in Havana. This was the first old American car in Cuba I got a close look at and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
Drift King Bear – by John Kimball
Artist, racing driver, martial arts pal of Starting Grid, John Kimball has made another cool piece of automotive art. He created this picture for his nephew’s birthday. It’s the Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya, in teddy bear form, drifting a Miata.
Who else wants this as a T-shirt?
For more of John’s art, visit his Tumblr page.
The Mercury Bobcat is a rebadged and very slightly tarted up Ford Pinto. This car is a street parked holy grail! I haven’t seen a Bobcat in at least 15 years and nearly crashed when I rode my bike past this one on my morning commute. Savor the glory of this orange bastion of 1970s domestic small car compromise.
Brent from Autosport Labs is at Thunderhill for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill and he has two Race Captures installed on cars run by Krider Racing. He didn’t have enough time to connect the Race Captures to the cars to get engine data. However, by just throwing the Race Captures in the cars, speed and lap count is being recorded, as well as G data (X, Y, Z, and yaw) from the on-board sensors.
The Race Capture IndieGoGo campaign is going until early January 2013. Visit their IndieGoGo page for more information or to order a Race Capture for yourself.
Twitter posts from @RaceCapture indicate that they are at the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill. I know that the Aurosport Labs LeMons Merkur is not entered in this event. The tweets include pictures of a pair of Nissans that feature cars and a setup that look LeMons familiar as Krider Racing – a top flight group of folks (even if they have hella cheatastic fast cheaty LeMons entries, the faster than me cheaters).
Something is going on here. Beta testing the production product? I’ll make another post if something worthwhile happens. It could just be racers visiting buddies.
I apologize if my enthusiasm for this thing seems a little overblown. Race Capture looks like a product that will give real guy racers like me a chance to get useful performance data we can use to go faster.
Hopefully StartingGrid.org will get a unit to evaluate and review (hint hint). More updates if they appear. Note that I’m curling in a bonspiel this weekend (yes, the funky game with rocks and brushes on ice), so I won’t be glued to twitter all weekend.
Live data from a race car running on the track is a highly valuable car tuning and driver training tool. Until now, getting this sort of data access and control has been out of reach for most racers. The creative folks at Autosport Labs have built a product called Race Capture that gives even LeMons racers like me the ability to have high level live telemetry running on our cars.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this magic box. Having the ability to have this device do things like flash warning lights on the dash when the oil temp gets too hot, or simply transmit temps, boost, rpm, and fuel level back to the pits will be incredibly helpful when running Pujo! at events. The fact that we can also set Race Capture up to record lap times, display track position using GPS, and even overlay data onto our in-car video is icing on the cake. That all of this costs less than a pair of tires is astounding.
Race Capture is being released through an Indiegogo campaign to crowdsource funding for production.
Make the jump for a video update with an interesting competition where folks can get one of the first Race Captures next week – before the Indiegogo campaign is closed.
This is a page listing all of the Street Parked articles I’ve posted. Can you believe there are so many old and interesting cars still in use? I started this series with some amazing finds: the hand built Diamond T and Alfa sprint car, but as the series continues I find myself liking the forgotten cars the most.
Have a cool old car you’d like to see featured on StartingGrid? Comment on this post and we can see about writing a feature.
I saw this charming little wagon while strolling through Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood. Today’s subject is a Fiat 500 Topolino Belvedere made some time between 1951 and 1955. This is the original, original Fiat 500. The car my brand new 500 Abarth was styled after was called the “Nuova 500″, or “New 500″. This car was the first mass market Fiat sold to every Italian, starting in 1936.
This is the last of the Mercedes Benz SL roadsters that could be considered a sports car. This series of SL, commonly known by the chassis code W113, was produced between 1963 and 1971. These cars are also known as the “Pagoda” SL due to the shape of the car’s removable hardtop.
As a child of the 70s and 80s growing up in California in these cars were everywhere. It seemed to me that every Jazzercise instructor drove one of these and looked great doing so.
In 1967 the fourth generation of Dodge Dart was released. It was bigger than the third generation, but was still “compact” and weighed under 3000 pounds. This car is a base model Dart 2 door sedan with the venerable 170 cubic inch (2.8 liter) slant six engine. It seems that by the late 60s the trend of trying to make smaller American cars was fading. This Dart is a fairly sizable car for being an entry model, it would dwarf a VW Beetle.
In 1993 Land Rover sold 525 Defender 110s in North America. Five hundred were sold in the United States and 25 were offered in Canada (a place where a vehicle like this could be very handy). Land Rover had been selling its Range Rover luxury SUVs in North America since 1987 and were looking to broaden their offerings to include more utilitarian vehicles.
StartingGrid friend, Pujo! co-driver, and mechanical wizard Doug Chase, of Chase Race shared this video from an event he was crewing at last weekend. I’ll let Doug describe the video, “Last weekend was the Mt. Hood rally and we were crewing for our good buddies at Roshambo Racing. Unfortunately our rally was ended just a little bit early. By a deer.” The video has clear audio that shows a little concern about conditions. Rally is awesome.
Video credit: Doug Heredos
This week’s Petrolicious video is about a favorite car and brand of mine, Lancia. The Fulvia in the video holds a parking spot in my heart. It is neither a muscular sports car nor a cushy luxury car, but it stir passion by doing everything well. When tuned properly, the Fulvia was a Rally terror – as most Lancias were. In street trim, they were comfortable performance touring cars tailor made for the narrow, winding roads of Italy. Don’t let the front drive, 1.4 liter narrow angle V4 deceive you, these cars are a blast to drive.
Perhaps some day I’ll get to have one. Until then, this video will have to suffice.
Thanks Petrolicious, you never disappoint.
Autocrossing LeMons Racing Photographer friend of StartingGrid Alan Dahl spotted this rare Malaise Era Pontiac of Canadian origin and sent in these shots. Yes, I said Canadian origin; this car was developed on the H-body platform as a small car for the Canadian market. The Astre shares its H-body underpinnings with such legendary crusher fodder as the Chevrolet Vega, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire.
The Petrolicious gang is back with another great video! This one beautifully captures the essence of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ. Zagato designs odd looking little cars and this one is typically striking in look. Beneath the funky sheetmetal is Alfa’s excellent all aluminum twin cam four in “Veloce” spec with twin Weber side draft carbs. The sound these cars make is intoxicating. This one is 1.3 liters and offers plenty of involvement in running through canyons. If there ever was a car that epitomized the adage that “it is more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow”, this is it. With modest power, you get to rip through 3 or 4 gears where a more powerful car would only give you two. Tons of fun.
Credit and thanks to Petrolicious!
The guys at BRAKIM Racing have their very own private testing facility. This automotive playland appears to have a ton of potential for
hooning the daylights out of testing their rally cars and their cool Fiat 124 Targa Newfoundland car. We’ll have more on that Fiat as they get it built.
You may have heard of Wyatt Knox from his rally exploits, I’m sure you remember him from his accomplishment of being the first person to railslide a rally car. That video is beyond the jump.
The Petrolicious and Depth of Speed team have released another video. This one is about the “it” car of my youth, the Lamborghini Countach. The car in the video appears to be a 1985, based on the “Quattrovalvole” badging, engine cover hump, and the lack of the straked rocker extensions of the later cars. Countaches of this era had a 5.2 liter fuel injected V12 and were quite fast. The big wing and flared fenders give the car a bulky and muscular look, quite different from the sleek shape the car had at its introduction in 1974.
Thanks for another great video guys, looking forward to more!
Pictured above is a collection of keys. The pair of keys on the left are to the Healey. They are nice and small, small enough to merit a little leather folding key holder so they aren’t lost in your pocket. The foursome of keys on the right include keys to the daily driven Saab and Miata, also a pocketable collection. The big plastic thing in the middle is the key to our newest addition, a Fiat 500 Abarth. Notice the bit of wire sitting between the Abarth key and the rest of the daily use keys? That’s the keyring that failed to keep the daily use collection corralled together. Adding the key to one vehicle made my key collection no longer pocketable. I was able to put them into my pocket with reasonable facility this morning. I drove the Healey today, it being a nice Friday and all nice Fridays being “drive your cool car to work day”. On arrival at my office, single-handed (I was holding a coffee) key removal was impossible with out destructive measures. This is asinine.
There is no reason the Abarth key needs to be as big as it is. Am I supposed to feel better about the car because it has a pants entangling folding key? I should be able to keep a reasonable collection of frequently used keys and have them stowable in the pockey of my jeans. This does not strike me as an unreasonable desire. Were I a hipster or otherwise prone to wearing overly tight pants, I would be prepared with the requisite male purse. But being a run of the mill middle aged jeans wearing nerd, I am not prepared for this level of clothing and belonging management.
I think the only solution for me is to drive old cars.
I encountered this cool old Chevrolet while on a visit to an auto parts store to pick up parts for our LeMons car. This is a 1941 Special Deluxe coupe. I’ve heard some folks refer to these as “Business Coupes”. I’m not sure what differentiates a business coupe from a non-business coupe so I’ll just leave the business coupe business to others and just admire a cool old car.
GM’s Art and Color group (run by the famous Harley Earl) designed this car and I think they did a great job. I particularly like the front fender detail, they give the car a wide stance while also giving the hood a powerful height.
The small styling is excellent on this car, the chrome strip and hood vents are particularly cool with an art deco vibe.
The interior of this humble Chevrolet is nice, not up to the standards of a Buick but plenty nice enough for a working man’s car.
The 1941 Chevrolets were powered by a straight six producing 90 horsepower. These cars weighed less than 3,500 lbs, so that 90 horsepower engine probably provided adequate performance. I’ll have to learn more about cars from the 40s, what was the Miata of the day back then?
For more Street Parked goodness click here
This gorgeous Cadillac is smaller when viewed in person than one would think a 1960s luxury car would be, especially one equipped with a 7 liter v8.
The Mazda Rotary Engine Pickup, or “REPu”, was one of the more interesting vehicles Mazda made in the 1970s. Before the surge in fuel prices caused by the OPEC shenanigans of 1973, Mazda was offering the fun but inefficient rotary engine in just about every car it sold. The REPu was the most utilitarian rotary powered option.
You all by now may have heard about the atrocious start to this past weekend’s F1 race held at Spa. Here is Fernando Alonso’s replay of the event, as his entire life flashes before his eyes.
Image credit: Hooniverse via Dan Sabol. Excellent work Dan!
Is there a better name for a muscle car than “Marauder”? No. Especially when that name is paired with “X100″ fender badges. X100 indicates that this Marauder is equipped with the 429 cubic inch 365 horsepower big block engine instead of the pedestrian and frankly too small 390 cubic inch engine.
Depth of Speed has released another excellent video! This one is about a Zombie VW rabbit and the enthusiast who built it. The owner did most of the work himself using cast offs and gifts from the VW community. Check out the racing seats he upholstered using leather jackets. This is his first project, he learned by doing. I think he did a great job.
Vimeo video is after the break.
Yesterday brought a lovely evening to Seattle. This necessitated taking a ride in the Healey. What better excuse for a Healey ride than a pizza run? There are few things in this world better than rumbling around in a sportscar on a warm summer evening. A full belly and a full moon inspired the shot above. I wish I had a real camera with me and not my iPhone; however the best camera is the one in your hand.
Want to read all the posts on The Healey? Click here
Chris Duplessis is the non-Ken Block American driver running Rally Finland. This video shows Chris driving a shakedown run of a stage with his co-driver Alex Kihurani reading pace notes. The Duplessis DirtFish Rally School team is the first all American team to run Rally Finland in nearly 40 years. They’ve funded this effort in an interesting way by having both a marquee sponsor – Dirtfish Rally School – and by crowd funding over $22,000 with an indiegogo campaign. Good luck Chris and Alex, we’re pulling for you. Also thanks for the awesome video, it’s great to hear clear pacenotes in English for a WRC event.
Via Chris Duplessis’ Facebook page
Ken Block is taking seriously his efforts to be competitive in the World Rally Championship. Here’s his video diary on getting ready for Rally Finland. The legendary Ari Vatanen makes an appearance.
Good luck Ken!
This is the very first Tesla Model S delivered in the Northwest. I happened upon this car as I was walking home tonight and the Tesla Service Center guys were nice enough to let me in to drool with them all over this car. I’ve written about the Tesla Service guys before, they’re motoring enthusiasts of the highest order.
This Chevelle epitomizes the street parked survivor that catches my eye. This car was bought as a standard car with the smallest v8, the 307, and has faithfully fulfilled daily driver duty for over forty years. That it has survived and continues to see regular use is remarkable.
Here’s the schedule:
Friday, 20 July 2012
7am: Gates open
8:30am-5pm: Testing with a 1-hour break for lunch. Details above.
Noon-5pm: Mandatory Friday tech inspection. Every car and at least one driver per team must be present for Friday tech. No Saturday tech will be offered.
Saturday, 21 July 2012
7am: Gates open
9:30am: Mandatory drivers’ meeting
10:30am-8pm: Race session I
8:30pm-?: Optional LeMons Drag Racing (ie, blow up your diff on the 1/4-mile for the promise of one measly Get Out of The Penalty Box Card).
Sunday, 22 July 2012
9:15am: Mandatory drivers’ meeting
10am-3pm: Race session II
3pm: Checkered flag
6pm: Gates close
Feel free to come by and say Hi! I’ll be the guy in the gorilla suit.
Go here for more details.
The Healey was mostly dormant for a few decades before we exhumed it. It had its original 48 spoke wire wheels with ancient retread tires. This was not a setup we wanted to drive any distance. New wheels and tires were easily ordered through the nice folks at Hendrix Wire Wheel and Moss Motors.
We’ve been working late nights at Chase Race getting Pujo! ready to race. In order to comply with the strictly enforced budget cap in the LeMons series, we are often forced to find creative ways to do things. The latest Pujo! Penny Pinching Project® involves the relocation of our electrical kill switch and the installation of a push button starter.