Saturday, January 03, 2015

1995 Neon celebrity race car challenge... has Plymouth ever done anything else this high profile except Superbirds?

Race results 1995 Limerock May 29th 1995
 1st Car 12 Marty Reid
2nd Car 5 Sean Patrick Flanery
3rd Car 2 Perry King
4th Car 11 Tommy Johnson, JR.
5th Car 9 Darrell Alderman
6th Car 4 Scott Geoffrion
7th Car 6 Ken Papa
8th Car 10 Grant Show
9th Car 40 Jim Cline
10th Car 3 Greg Coy
11th Car 15 Jayne O Donnell
12th Car 16 Helene Udy
13th Car 7 Mike Allen

How fast celebrity fades, I recognize 5 names in the above... 2-6

ITT Automotive Grandprix Detroit June 11th 1995
1st Car 5 Sean Patrick Flanery
 2nd Car 7 Csaba Csere
3rd Car 10 Tony Swan
4th Car 14 Alfonso Ribeiro
5th Car 12 Perry King
6th Car 15 John Mcelroy
7th car 4 Carl Galeana -
 8th Car 8 Lorenzo Lamas
9th Car 6 Jack Arute
10th Car 9 Jean Lindamood
11th Car 2 Bob Eaton
12th Car 19 Travis Engen
13th Car 14 Matt Delorenzo
14th Car 20 Keith Crain
15th Car 17 Heinz Prechter
16th Car 18 Joseph Ricci
17th Car 11 Larry Henry
18th Car 1 Dennis Archer
19th Car 3 Trudi Daniels
20th Car 16 Helene Udy

I only recognize 6 of the above, 1 2 5 8 10 and  13 I just learned today is a author of a new book, 100 years of Dodge

Burke Lakefront Airport July 23rd 1995
1st Car 5 Sean Patrick Flanery
2nd Car 6 Mark-Paul Gosselaar
3rd Car 12 Perry King
4th Car 1 Alfonso Ribeiro
5th Car 15 Don Schroeder
6th Car 19 Grant Show
7th Car 4 Mike Nast
8th Car 13 John P. Furey
9th Car 8 Jeff Overton
10th Car 11 Ritch Hanna
11th Car 3 Emlyn Aubrey
12th Car 18 Jeff Kinzbach
13th Car 20 Charles Bartell
14th Car 10 Susan Daves
15th Car 17 Paula Balish
16th Car 7 Crystal Bernard
17th Car 16 Helena Udy

and just 3 of the above
the first guy was a Boondock saint, ( you know, the one that isn't Norman Reedus). Perry King was a tv show lead actor in the comedy detective show "Riptide" in the mid 80s, and Crystal Bernard was on the sitcom "Wings"

photos, names, and races info from

David commented with the following info:
I owned the number 7 celebrity challenge sedan from 1994. I bought it in 2006 and sold it in 2012 when I moved abroad.

The log book showed it was raced by Erik Smith (Detroit June 11, 1994) and Larry Miller (Des Moines July 4, 1994) at the two events Chrysler raced the car.

In 1994, Chrysler used the model year 1995 white sedans pictured above.
I posted scans from the log book here:

Factory lightweight 1966 D-Dart, LO23, 50 made, for drag racing and also used in SCCA, the only superstock in 1966 for Dodge

Dodge's normally aspired high performance 273 was rated at 235hp. The extra 40hp the D/Dart produced was basic hotrodding. Off the speedshop shelf bolt on's included Racer Brown valve springs, a Camcraft 284-degree .500" lift cam, Doug's Headers, and a Holley 4160 bolted to the stock intake. All were equipped with the A-833 4 Speed and a Hurst shifter, Weber clutch components, and an 8 3/4 Suregrip with 4.86 gears.

Images from

a subtle 1960's affect on muscle cars

Mopar called the purple color "Plum Crazy" and I'm pretty sure you know the other cool Mopar names,
Ford called their green "Anti Establish-mint"
and their red "Counter-Revolutuionary Red"

Kevin commented about the names of colors that they passed on: Nine colors that were rejected,
"Catch Me Copper",
"Unforseeable Fuicha",
"Statutory Grape",
 "Gang Green",
"Well Red",
"Cost Of Living Rose",
 "Fisher Body Rust",
 "Hi Ho Silver",
"Frank Lloyd White".

the vertical stacking parking carousel system is back! New York based Parkmatic is making and installing them

Vertical parking devices, like the steel stacking shelves that hold several cars, are common around the city, but a new vertical parking system that can turn two street-level parking spaces into a dozen has come to Brooklyn.

Three 43-foot-tall steel structures from Parkmatic, specialists in mechanical and automated parking systems for more than 20 years, were recently installed to simplify vertical parking by stacking cars on an automated Ferris wheel of sorts and has increased the capacity of the Brooklyn lot almost 30 percent.

The difference between Parkmatic’s carousel and standard space-maximizing devices is that it doesn’t require moving vehicles out of the way to get to other cars. In a typical two-, three- or four-high stacker, the bottom vehicles must be moved out of the way so the top shelves can be lowered to the ground.!rotary-carousel/c1c00

You probably remember seeing my posts about the innovative parking elevators int he 1920's and 30's though

A bit of Dodge history (I didn't know this stuff!)

1st, start at the beginning with "Old Betsy" one of the few cars to have a name. It was the 1st car Dodge made, even before production cars rolled off the line, as the press was given a pre-view to get the word out.

The Betsy was instrumental in a new kind of engine development by offering 35 hp. This was 20 hp more than the Ford Model T and it was therefore considered a ‘hot’ car.

 The Betsy was revolutionary in other ways as well, with an all-metal body, headlights, an electric starter and a speedometer. Before the end of the year, the brothers had received more than 70,000 orders, but could ‘only’ build some 45,000 cars in 1915.

Dodge was the 1st car maker to have a test track on-site

and for the few among us who are WW1 history nuts, get this... Sgt York, bought a Dodge as his first vehicle, and was taught to drive by the first Dodge dealership owner, John Cheek, son of the Maxwell House coffee founder. The dealership was in Nashville, and Cheek was already selling REO and Chevrolet at his "Cumberland Motors". He stopped selling Chevys.

the widows sold the Dodge company in 1925 for 146 million cash.

you can get a good book on the 100 years history of Dodge from Matt DeLorenzo, and preview it on Google

the Hellcat Challenger auctioned at Barrett-Jackson in Spet 2014 raised more money for charity than any other ever has at a Barrett Jackson auction. $1.65 million dollars as the Englestad Family Foundation of Las Vegas matched the auction price, the funds went to a charity called Opportunity Village

HOW???? The "fail" compilation video (8 minutes) of 2014, from Everything Earthmoving  it's worth your time to hit the link and watch... at exactly the 2 and 4 minute marks especially.

Here is another compilation they put together

their page for all their individual videos:

Emergency workers have to worry about the air bags... huh, that never occurred to me. Looks like they've got a good prevention device to keep the steering wheel airbag from pounding them

Doug Herbert, NHRA and IRHA multiple championship winner from 1991-2005, is pioneering a teen safe driving course

Consider... a racing driver champion, as your driving instructor. I don't know if Petty, Andretti, Moss, or Nuvalari ever gave driving instruction course to the public in any meaningful way, like, in a way you could lay out on a calendar of events, but Doug Herbert has a cause and a means to make a difference in the safe driving of teens. I think that is incredibly cool. It's even free. WOW

It's a free, defensive driving program. The school is designed for teenagers (aged 15-19) who already have a learner’s permit or driver’s license and have at least thirty hours of driving experience.

To educate teens and their parents through both classroom and hands-on instruction. A low 3:1 student to instructor ratio allows instructors to spend quality time with each teen.

The day begins with a brief review of some basic driving topics including; proper seating position, hand positioning, and basic vehicle dynamics. After finishing the classroom portion, the teens receive hands-on training in five courses including; accident avoidance/slalom, distraction, panic stop, wheel drop, and wet skid pad.

Accident Avoidance using a slalom course to teach elevated steering control; a Distraction Exercise to teach increased focus and concentration; a Wheel Drop-Off Recovery Exercise to teach the proper method of retaining control when the vehicle drops a wheel off a highway shoulder; a Panic Stop Exercise to give teenagers safer and more controlled responses when braking in an emergency; a Car Control and Recovery Exercise that teaches the skills necessary to maintain or regain control in wet or icy road conditions.

B.R.A.K.E.S. schools are held one weekend a month at Zmax Dragway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Schools are also held in other locations all over the U.S. including Southern California at the LA County Fairplex, Pomona and El Toro in Irvine. The BMW Driving Center in Spartanburg, SC., the Manheim Auto Auction Center in Manheim, PA. and Orlando, FL., Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN., and Bob Bondurant’s Performance Driving School in Phoenix AZ. B.R.A.K.E.S. has even hosted our school in Juneau, Alaska!

In North Carolina, at the Z Max Dragway, the following days

February 7-8, 2015
March 7-8, 2015
April 18-19, 2015
July 11-12, 2015
August 22-23, 2015
September 26-27, 2015
October 24-25, 2015
November 14-15, 2015
December 5-6, 2015

I learned about this in the Dec 8th issue of Autoweek

less lug nuts, less weight, makes it faster... right?

Aluminum... a bit of weight savings and performance gain

The Viper was made with an aluminum flywheel

The 2015 Charger gets an aluminum diff and axles, the diff is 10 pounds lighter than iron

Swiss Family Robinson rv

Red Bull Global Rally Cross... designed to hit it's demographic

Has 10 events.

One is at the X-Games
One is at SEMA
One is at the Top Gear Festival Barbados

Races on tracks, or parking lots.

Celeb drivers Tanner Foust, Ken Block, Travis Pastrana are as recognizable and famous as Petty, Pearson, and Junior Johnson

Cars are Chev Sonic, Hyundai Veloster, VW Beetle, Ford Fiesta, Subaru WRX

Major corporate tie ins are young people soft drinks: Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster

“Our sport is directed at the millennial—16 to 34 is our core demographic,” says owner Colin Dyne,  “The way that we set up our racing format … is very focused on a short attention-span audience." The energy drink crowd.

It's possibly, a direct correlation to the beginnings of Nascar.

The cars are relevant looking to what is sold in dealerships, basically musclecars for the under 30 yr olds, under $30,000. Sponsored by their drinks of choice, for todays youth, and in relation to all the things competing for their attention, it's nearly as brief as a 500 mile race was to the people in the 1960s with 1 or 2 channels of tv.

Micheal Andretti: “One of the problems auto racing has today is the demographics are getting older and older,” he says. “GRC focuses more on the millennials, and those are our future fans there. They’re the ones everybody is after.

GRC requires far less investment than an IndyCar or NASCAR program. Teams field competitive entries for a couple or few million dollars per season, approximately only a fifth an IndyCar effort’s price and a staggering tenth or less what a top Cup Series team spends.

and they even have a minor leagues ... Red Bull GRC Lites  of kids so young they don't have drivers licenses yet. They don't need them for racing on tracks, of course. 

The Arch of Ely, in Palo Alto

photo is by found in the Nov 10th issue of Autoweek

Steve came through with a whole LOT of info about this.. he just astounds me I tell ya!

This is the entrance to the Ely Building located at 390 Lytton Avenue in Palo Alto, California (corner of Lytton and Waverley Streets - Google street view below).  The original occupant of the building was a law firm, but the present occupants, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, Atorneys at Law, moved in long after it was built.

The arch-sculpture by Emeryville artist Scott Donahue celebrates the history of the automobile - appropriate since a gas station once stood here and at the time construction began it was being used as a parking lot.  Titled "The Arch of Ely" after property owner and longtime Palo Alto businessman Leonard Ely, who was a pilot in WWII.  He started an auto dealership in Palo Alto in 1954, selling Chryslers, Plymouths and Chevrolets. The businesses expanded and thrived for three decades. (

In 1997 developer Jim Baer wanted a variance to build a project that was 80% oversize for the current zoning.  To get it he had to agree to a number of add-ons for the public benefit, including 10-foot wide pedestrian walkway dedication, $75,000 for traffic study for Downtown North, a new bus stop bench on Lytton Avenue, repair existing tree wells and new street trees both on and off-site.  

To get a variance for 50 parking spaces in the underground garage (down from the required 74) Baer had to pay an in-lieu fee of $428,325 or $17,846.875 per missing space.  He had to give Palo Alto another $106,995 to gain an easement through City Parking Lot F behind the new building to give easy access to the underground garage.  More importantly for art/car lovers, a form of "Public art, as approved by the Public Art Commission and the Architectural Review Board, will be integrated into the project" at a cost of around $125,000.

The City of Palo Alto's Public Art Commission oversees an "Art in Public Places" project with a collection of more than 100 permanent works and over 200 portable works of art in a wide range of 2-D and 3-D media, which are placed throughout the city.  "The Arch of Ely," dedicated in 1999, became one of these projects.

According to his website, starting in 1983 artist Scott Donahue has "designed, fabricated and installed 22 permanent public art pieces in California and Colorado and completed 39 temporary public art works in New York, New Jersey, California, and Italy.  He uses a variety of techniques and works with a wide range of materials including concrete, bronze, fiberglass and ceramic.  Each of his pieces is unique and specific to the site where they are located." 

Hence the homage to the gas station/parking lot with a history of the automobile. 

A time-lapse video exists of the construction of the Ely Building (, and elements of the arch begin appearing at the 3:26 minute mark.

longest sponsorship... I believe I was incorrect previously when saying it was John Force and Castrol

Strange Engineering has been the business partner with Chris Karamesines since they started 50 years ago. He's still racing, they're still making it happen. 

San Francisco Autocenter... the paradigm breaker

Until Martin Swig let loose his passion for cars, and business sense trained in Stanford (his dad wouldn't allow him to go to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena) and grew his Alfa and Fiat dealership.. and was the first to conceive of a multi-manufacturer dealership sales center - not stopping until he had 22 different car manufactures represented. From Rolls Royce to Suzuki.

And that was the beginning of how car dealerships operate the way we know them since the 70's.

He sold the business in 1990's and started car race organizing, and started the California Mille Miglia. It's been a big success ever since. Martin went on to found several others, like one called the Double 500, 500 kilometers in cars bought for less than $500.

It's likely that the reason Berkeley is known for being the primary American stomping grounds for Alfas is the dealership Martin Swig started with. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

I've never heard of a Chevy Spartan before, it's a beast!

some nice collectibles are still hitting the market, like this one owner 13,350 mile Shelby Charger

There could not be more than a handful of 80's Shelby Chargers in this new condition left, and I hope the new owner has a lot of fun with it, as it's value is never going to go up

Sold on Ebay from a popular vintage car dealership, it went for only $14,800  via 

Isetta collection of a half dozen complete 300s, and lots of extra stuff

photos from the listing at  via
1 BMW 600 (1958) (White)
 6 Complete BMW Isetta 300 (Green, Red, Red, Yellow, White, Pea Green)
 3 Isetta 300 bodyshells (White, Black/White, Marion) 
2 Isetta 300 Chassis with wheels and rear axle
 2 Isetta 300 Chassis with wheels, rear axle and motors installed
 10 Boxes with various spare parts
 2 BMW 300 Motors  plus 1 Isetta 300 door and some windows

belly tanker went for £3,450.00 on Ebay in England

barnfinds in, on, and in front of this place in Bulgaria

Another car bought by a moron. Stored for 24 years and they didn't enjoy it, drive it, and won't profit from it. But the rubber has deteriorated, and no doubt the fuel and brake systems need an overhaul

Dry lakes racer 1954 Corvette dug out of some unknown barn collection of dirt and junk, and put up on Ebay, and we've got photos to speculate on, as to what it's worth. $7600 didn't hit the reserve

Nothing is known about it, just guesses about the many cuts and holes, no doubt accurate. Found on  via

Jaguar Land Rover introduces the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen

Carl Kiekhaefer's Chrysler for the 1956 Nascar Road America race

Carl Kiekhaefer having some Chrysler and Dodge race cars at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI, during 1956 with plans for 1957? Finishing restoration, I own his '57 Chrysler 300C "Road America competition model" as he names it in correspondence. Multiple special order features to the car include 390HP motor, built on convertible X-braced frame, etc. Attached shows it the day it arrived at Mercury Outboards Plant 6, "the race car plant" in Oshkosh, driven from Detroit by a CK employee

Mercury archives photo showing the black Rd Am comp car in early development with his own header design. The front frame cross member was boxed at the factory.

Kiekhaefer did a fair amount of testing of his NASCAR road race cars at Rd. America judging by numerous photos. Going into '57 and always fighting with Bill France, he may have originally intended to "stay at home" from the ovals and just do the Elkhart Lake road race scheduled for June.

 He bought an early 300C for testing, then two more special orders including this one. The factory 390HP pkg included manual trans but the two RA Comp models were Torqueflites.

"Imperial suspension" was part of the package incorporating larger hubs, bearings, 5 on 5.5 Imperial wheels, special camshaft, high output exhaust manifolds, blocked heat chamber dual quad intake on the 392 cube Hemi.

The Road America race was cancelled with the cancellation of the NASCAR Road Racing series.

Found on

you might recall my recent posts about Mercury Outboard Nascar race cars, those were sorta special for the very professional and clean pit crew.

Oh to have a belly tank! Look upon this garage with wonder, friends... they have a belly tank, a land speed racer, and a plan to get to the salt

Salt Slush Racing... in Sweden 

How cool!

And before you think that Sweden has little to offer gearheads, ponder this: 

Berwaldhallen, where the Radio Symphony Orchestra plays? Just had an engine exhibit, miniatures. They were LISTENING to engines! In a symphony hall! SOLD OUT!

This is Per Gillbrand who is the rock star of engine builders... and he built these miniature engines. 

And fired them up, and the audience got to hear what an original Benz sounded like, and a Bugatti W16. and a Rolls Royce Merlin V12


Hell yes they ran it!

Per Gillbrand began working with Volvo in the late 50's, and Saab in 1964 and perfected turbo charging in the 70's at Saab. Increased the engine output horsepower 23% and torque by 45% increase. Simple. You just have to be a genius... and work for a company committed to succeeding at its engineering.

what does a Merlin sound like out side a orchestra hall? Skip the first 5 and a half minutes: 

Dr Per Gillbrand, his miniature motors at the Berwaldhallen in Sweden (Radio Symphony Orchestra Hall)

watch parts motorcycles

PT Cruiser special editions

the Rt 66,
the PCH,
and the Street Cruiser Sunset Boulevard edition.

Interesting road name theme

Lancia may have pioneered this naming trend, Lancia had a tradition of naming its models after Roman roads, and the Flaminia was named for a country road from Rome to Rimini