Pirelli expands tire line for cars of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s

Pirelli is expanding its range of tires for classic and vintage vehicles. The Pirelli Collezione line is designed to add new and technologically advanced compounds into its classic tire sizes but with the classic look car owners want for their vehicles.

Pirelli notes in its news release that the tires are created to allow “peak performance on today’s street or track while still paying homage to the car’s original character and authenticity.”

Among those tires are a brand new size for the Cinturato CA67, created in tribute to the 60th anniversary of Pirelli’s equipping of the Lancia Flaminia back in 1957. The tire is a 175 R400 89H.

Pirelli said its Collezione range fits many cars produced during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, including Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz 300SLs, Lamborghini Miuras, Porsche 911s, but also Volkswagen Beetles.

“In particular,” the tire maker reported, “the range serves the air-cooled Porsche community, with five homologated Porsche sizes among the Pirelli Collezione with the Cinturato CN36 and P7 compounds. These tires were built in close collaboration with Porsche and were factory homologated to create the ‘perfect fit’ in terms of style and technical performance.”

Pirelli noted that its engineers consulted Porsche archives to “faithfully recreate the tire characteristics that complement each car’s original suspension set-up and dynamics, resulting in the ‘perfect fit’ tire for contemporary driving situations.”

Cinturato CA67 detail

However, new materials are used to enhance tire construction and detailing, including Pirelli’s high-performance, racing-derived nylon in the dual-ply caracass and high-tensile steel wire in the bead geometry.

“Combined with a dedicated undertread compound, Pirelli Collezione tires ultimately offer greater grip and water expulsion for a safer driving experience,” Pirelli said. “The tire tread compounds also conform to the latest environmental standards (unlike their original counterparts).

“From a design perspective, the tires retain the original sidewall lettering to maintain authenticity down to the smallest details.”

The upgraded Pirelli Collezione product range includes:

  • The Cinturato CA67 – ’50s – “The first textile belted radial tire developed by Pirelli, it contains all-new materials in the classic shape: four longitudinal grooves in the ‘a greca’ style with a cut shoulder and wide siping.” The tire fits the Aston Martin DB5, Ferrari 250 GT and Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Prices range from $273 to $397 per tire, depending on size.
  • The Cinturato CN72 – ’60s – “The CN72 tire tread pattern was developed for standard high-profile sizes, originally equipping the entire Ferrari range, Maserati 4000 and 5000, and other models,” as well as Aston Martin DB6, Lamborghini Miura P400 and original Maserati Ghibli. Price are $423 per tire.
  • The Cinturato CN36 – ’60s – “Created in 1968 specifically for the Fiat Dino, the CN36 was Pirelli’s first standard production steel radial tire. It was HR rated with notable sport features that marked Pirelli’s re-entry into rallies, including an ability to absorb impact and prevent aquaplaning.” It has been repurposed with new technology and is available for such cars the Porsche 911, Ferrari and Fiat Dinos and Mercedes 280 range. Prices are $253 to $409 per tire.
  • The Cinturato CN12 – ’70s – “This tire features a tread pattern created for low-profile sizes after the commercialization of 60- and 70-profile tire sizes.” Fitments include the Lamborghini Miura, Maserati Bora, Aston Martin DB4 and Jaguar E-type. Prices range from $412 to $464.
  • The Cinturato P7 – ’70s – “Launched in 1976, this tire was an important innovation for the racing world with its nylon, zero-degree belt and ultra-low profile geometry.” The new versions fit Porsche 911 G models, including the Carrera Coupe. Prices are $297 to $332 each.
  • The Cinturato P5 – ’70s – “Developed for Jaguar in the late ’70s to equip its luxury sedans, today it can equip those same cars, including the classic Jaguar XJ40 model.” Pricing is $445 per tire.
  • The  P7 CORSA Classic range offers both wet and dry versions for vintage rallying “by combining Pirelli’s latest tire structure and tread pattern with the traditional sidewall appearance. The P7 delivers maximum performance in greater safety.” Fitments include the Ferrari 308, Fiat 131 Abarth, Audi quattro GrB and others. Prices are $236 to $473 each.
The Pirelli stand at The Quail previewed the new tires

The Pirelli Collezione is available through the Pirelli P Zero World, the brand’s flagship showroom in Los Angeles, and (in the five Porsche-homologated N-sped CN36 and P7 sizes) through U.S. Porsche dealerships.

For more information, visit the Pirelli Collezione website.

She’s 79, but her cars make her feel like a teenager again

“You always want what you don’t have,” said Carolyn Sikes, who grew up without even a family car. But while there was no car in the family until she was 12 years old, on October 1, Sikes will display four of her collector vehicles at the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

And those are Sikes’ own cars, cars she picked and purchased even before her late husband, Marvin, died a year ago.

Sikes’ father died when she was 18 months old. Her mother couldn’t afford a car so they walked or rode the bus. But Sikes loved cars, and remembers as a child being able to identify them by make and model as they drove past the tiny duplex where they lived.

“When I was in high school, I started dating someone who wound up becoming my husband,” she said. “He was from the ‘other side’ of Houston, if you get my drift. He had the most beautiful car, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria — brand new, red and white — and he also had a 1952 Jaguar XK120 sports car.

“His mother drove a brand new Lincoln. His father drove a brand new Cadillac. My stepfather had a Plymouth, a small little ugly Plymouth.

“My husband’s friends told him I only dated him for his cars — and that may have had a little bit to do with it,” she adds with a laugh.

“Years later,” she added, “I teased him the only reason he was still married to me was because of my cars.”

1954 Chevrolet Corvette

At the Atlanta concours on the golf course fairways of Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia, Sikes will show her 1954 and 1955 Chevrolet Corvettes, her 1955 Studebaker President Speedster and her supercharged 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2.

Often, she’s also invited to show her V12-powered 1972 Jaguar E-type 2+2, which has won a succession of survivor-class awards. Other cars in her collection include has a 1964 Avanti R1, a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, a 1960 Jaguar Mk2 and a 1961 Corvette. She also has a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 convertible.

While Sikes was eager to become a classic car owner, she had to wait a while even after marrying Marvin.

“When we got married, we had a very strict budget, and then children came, we had four. We couldn’t afford what we’d love to have, a classic car or two. But whenever it was time for me to get another car, I would always look at him and smile, remembering the XK120.

“You know,” she’d tell Marvin, “I’d love to have a Jaguar sports car, but we can’t get four children in a tw0-seat sports car,’ and I’d usually wind up with a used station wagon.”

But then came the day she saw the 2+2 version of the E-type. “I thought it would hold four (children),” she said, picturing herself behind the wheel. “one in the passenger seat and three in the back seat.”

At the time, the Sikes had moved to Arkansas, where Marvin worked for a truck leasing company. They lived on a small “ranch,” where they also had 90 head of cattle. They loved their life and small-town lifestyle there. But then came the day that Marvin called to say he’d been offered a big promotion, but they’d have to move to Atlanta.

Knowing how much Carolyn loved their Arkansas ranch, he called one day, from Birmingham, Alabama, to say he’d bought her a car, a ’72 Jaguar 2+2.

1955 Chevrolet Corvette

On the drive home, however, Marvin was tired, so he pulled over and got out of the car to stretch his legs. It wasn’t until he went to get back behind the wheel that he realized he’d left the car running — and locked the doors when he’d gotten out.

Of course, a policeman arrived about this time. He couldn’t get the door open either, but was willing to drive back to his station to get something to break a window. While he was gone, Marvin realized he had his own keys in his pocket and started trying each of them on the Jaguar’s door.

Finally, Carolyn recounts, Marvin was able to manipulate an old file-cabinet key just so and the Jaguar’s door opened and he continued his drive home.

Carolyn has stories to tell about each of her cars. Take, for example, the ’55 Corvette.

She wanted a ’55 with its small-block V8 engine, but couldn’t afford one at the time, so she bought the ’54 with its inline 6 instead. Hers was such an excellent example that she’d been invited to show it at the Pinehurst concours. She was getting ready for the pre-concours tour when she noticed a man staring at her car.

The man finally spoke, telling her hers was probably the best ’54 Corvette he’d seen. She thanked him, told him the car’s name was Marlyn (she names all her cars), and, as she was pulling away, she mentioned that she really wanted a ’55.

The man said he had one. She asked if he’d sell it, but she didn’t hear his response as she accelerated away to join the parade of cars leaving on the tour.

The next day, at the concours, she saw the man again. He was one of the judges going over her car “with a fine tooth comb.”

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

After the judges were finished, a group of women approached and asked about her car. One of them said she was the man’s wife, and she mentioned that he was getting more involved with Corvette racing cars and had been thinking about selling his ’55, a car which he’d loaned to a museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and before that had been displayed at the National Corvette Museum.

A phone call later, the Sikes were headed to Tennessee with their trailer to bring home what was now Carolyn’s ’55.

It turns out that Carolyn isn’t the only one with stories to tell about her cars. Recently, she mentioned that the fastest she’d ever driven her V12 Jaguar was 90 mph. Her 55-year-old son confessed that when he was 16, and his parents weren’t home, he’d taken the keys to that car, driven out to a new Atlanta-area highway that had been built but was not yet open to traffic, and saw 140 mph on the speedometer.

“But I could feel the front end start to lift and knew that if something happens to this car, Mom will kill me,” Carolyn recounted his story.

“I was very calm on the outside,” she remembers, “and I said, Marty, had you wrecked the car and not been killed, I would have killed you!”

Another confession: One of her daughters admitted driving the Jaguar to school one day soon after she turned 16, while another daughter was granted permission to use the car for a high school homecoming parade, although Carolyn probably hadn’t planned on all six cheerleaders being packed into her precious car — several of them riding beneath the open rear hatch.

During her years of collector car ownership, Carolyn Sikes has noticed many things. For example, women car owners get more sentimentally attached to their cars then do men, she said. She also said she’s observed that the sexes are attracted to cars of certain colors — men to red, women to yellow.

Regardless of their color choices, “The wonderful thing about any of the car events — concours or not — is that you meet wonderful people that love cars or they wouldn’t be there,” she said. “You already have a lot in common.”

1963-64 Studebaker Avanti

“I try to tell young families that, yes, money is tight, but if they go to a wrecking yard and find an old car and on weekends you and your children work on that car, it’s the best bonding process you can have, and it instills in them a love of cars, too.”

She also advises anyone who is invited to show a car at a concours to consider themselves a winner just for that invitation.

“Do not expect to win an award,” she said. “When your children are grown, sometimes your cars become like your children. You’re very proud of them. You consider them the best of the best. But you’re on that field with perhaps 10 of the best of the best. To get an invitation, you’ve already won, but it’s a hard lesson to learn.”

Another lesson: “When you get ready to buy a car, you need to do your research,” said a woman who can share extensive historical and technical details about the cars she owns, such as why her ’64 Avanti has ’63 headlamps.

For someone who didn’t have a family car until she was 12, Carolyn Sikes has come a long way around from her stepfather’s “ugly” Plymouth.

At age 79, she said, when she sees her reflection in a rear view mirror or car window, she realizes, “I’m just an old lady in an old car.” However, “If I’m in one of my cars and I’m driving and I don’t look at the rearview mirror or see my reflection in the window, I am 16 years old again and driving a brand new car again.”

Hot rod that beat the horse in a race headed to auction

It’s the tale — or since there’s a horse involved, should it be that tail? — of the teenager’s hot rod that became famous for winning a race against a horse.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster that’s heading to RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction not only is a car that achieved a top speed of 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

Pete Henderson helped verify this was his car | Karissa Hosek photo

The horse’s owner had won a series of bets that his animal could beat the fastest cars over a quarter-mile distance. The race against Henderson, who was just 18 years old, and his car was held at La Habra, in California’s Orange County, and drew a large crowd that included the likes of hot-rodding pioneers Vic Edelbrock Sr., Ed Winfield and others; the race photo was taken by Ernie McAfee.

Years later, noted hot-rodders said that the race between the car and the horse was where drag racing’s quarter-mile distance was established.

After its race against the horse, the car also was used in circle-track racing and appeared in several movies. It went through a series of owners but was purchased in 1977 by Chuck Longley, who wondered about its history and ran advertisements seeking more information. Among those responding was Henderson himself.

According to RM Sotheby’s, Henderson had bought the car as a teenager from Don Casselman. It came with a built, bored and stroked 296cid Mercury flathead V8 engine equipped with all sorts of early hot-rod parts, but still rode on its original wire wheels and used the mechanical brakes Ford had installed. Among its features was the dash panel from a 1934 Auburn.

It was the Auburn dash panel that helped Henderson realize the car had been his decades earlier.

The car retained its original frame, body and windshield. Longley and his son, Mike, located other period-correct pieces and began restoration to Henderson’s original setup in 1995.

After that restoration, the car won best-in-class honors at Amelia Island and also was honored at the Grand National Roadster show. Whitworth bought the car and planned to showcase it in a museum he planned to build. The car was invited to Pebble Beach but suffered damage during transport and was sent to rod and custom hall of famer Tim Strange’s shop in Tennessee for restoration.

It’s pre-sale estimated value is $160,000 to $180,000, according to RM Sotheby’s.

Chicago museum’s V-16 Cadillac headlines RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale

One of only six 1936 Cadillac V-16 convertible sedans, a group of elegant Packards and one of America’s most famous hot rods have joined the docket for RM Sotheby’s 11th annual collector car auction staged in conjunction with the AACA’s Eastern Regional Fall Meet at Hershey, Pennsylvania. The auction, which will include 140 vehicles, is scheduled for October 5-6.

“This year’s sale has all of the outstanding, interesting and desired classic cars one would anticipate seeing at our Hershey auction,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, is quoted in the company’s news release. “A mainstay of our calendar and as much an auction destination for many enthusiasts as Pebble Beach or Monterey, we look forward to an always eventful and entertaining week at Hershey.

“Wet or dry, rain or shine, it’s where the die-hard enthusiasts come to play.”

Highlighting the offerings for the auction is the 1936 Cadillac with V-16 engine No. 51102222. The car was donated to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago in 1949. At the time the museum had one of the nation’s best automotive collections. The museum displayed the Cadillac until 2008, when it was acquired by the consignor, who put it through a concours-quality restoration that earned a class award at Pebble Beach.

RM Sotheby’s expects the car to sell for between $700,000 and $850,000 at the Hershey auction.

Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo
Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo

The docket also includes what the auction house considers to be three outstanding Packards, led by a 1933 Twelve Convertible Victoria, which is one of only four surviving Tenth Series vehicles and worth an estimated $475,000 to $600,000.

Also being offered is a 1934 Twelve 2/4-Passenger Coupe, one of only eight known to still exist. The car retains its original body, engine and chassis, the auction company noted, and comes with provenance that includes chauffeuring Jayne Mansfield in the 1961 Indianapolis 500 parade. The car has a pre-sale estimated value of $325,000 to $375,000.

The third Packard is a 1935 Twelve Sport Phaeton that is one of only four such cars produced for 1935. The car’s pre-sale estimate is $475,000 to $575,000.

Also on the docket are a famed hot rod from the collection of the late Ralph Whitworth and a car being sold to benefit the AACA Library & Research Center.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster is the car that not only achieved 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

The car being sold to benefit the library and research center is a 1981 Fiat 850 Spider that has been donated by Joseph and Margie Cassini, Wayne Carini and Ralph Marano. To further entice bidders, RM Sotheby’s announced that the winning bidder will find “an undisclosed amount of cash in the car’s trunk.”

Ah, but will the car’s next owner keep that cash or donate it as well to the library?

The 10 best cars Larry has driven, revisited

When ClassicCars.com was a fledgling collector car marketplace, I was asked to submit a news roundup/blog/commentary a couple of times each month. The idea was to provide something for people to read when they weren’t searching the classified ads for the car of their dreams. The idea proved popular enough that twice a month became more frequent, to the point that we now have a variety of reporters and editors who offer perhaps the best full-service, 24/7/365 news available about the collector car hobby.

One of those earlier pieces was written in response to a question I used to hear frequently, “What are the 10 best cars you’ve ever driven?”

Sounds like a simple enough question, except that after a dozen years at AutoWeek magazine and nearly two decades as a freelance auto writer, I’ve probably driven around 4,000 different vehicles over a distance of maybe two million miles, or more, and on four continents.

So I counted down a list of 10 cars that came quickly to mind (and, yes, there was a story that went along with each of the cars). Here’s that list, but with a postscript:

10. Nissan Skyline GT-R
 Nissan was introducing an updated version of what was then its largest sport utility vehicle and it knew none of the invited journalists was very excited by the prospect. To sweeten the attraction, it offered up one of its Skylines, then a world-class road rocket not sold in the U.S., for some laps around the company’s Arizona proving grounds. Yee-haa!

9. Ford Telstar TX Turbo
 I went to Australia for the opening of the Thunderdome, a NASCAR-style oval track, and Ford of Australia offered the use of a brand new Telstar TX Turbo, sort of a cross between a Mustang and a hot-rod Mazda. The car was, indeed, a hot rod, and so rare at the time that twice people tried to break into the car overnight and steal it out of the motel’s secure parking area.

8. Mercedes-Benz 500E prototype 
This was the prototype for the original 500E. Mercedes had contracted Porsche to soup it up and the car was amazing: Powerful, with awesome brakes, a suspension that hunkered down the faster you went, and a manual gearbox so you could extract all the power that big V8 could produce.

7. Shelby GT500
 This was the then-brand new, 2007 model, a Shelby Mustang with 500 ponies under its striped hood. Needless to say, this pony car packed a kick.

6. Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera 
I’d been writing about cars for nearly 20 years but had never driven a Lambo until this one. It was worth the wait.

5. Porsche Carrera GT
 I didn’t approach this 10-cylinder, 600-horsepower, state-of-the-art, carbon-fiber supercars 205-mph top speed potential, but I felt how wonderfully it accelerated, turned and stopped, and how much it felt like, well, like a real Porsche. At the time, it was the culmination of decades of engineering that understood the benefits of putting the engine behind the driver.

4. Ford GT
 I’d driven the supercar prototype along famed Highway One south of Pebble Beach, California, over the weekend, but on the Monday after the Monterrey Historic Races a few years ago, Ford offered an opportunity to do a couple of laps around the Laguna Seca race track. Dan Gurney was among those present that day, so rather than embarrass myself on the track, I asked Gurney if he’d drive and let me ride along while he talked about the car and about driving the original GT40 to victory at Le Mans. Gurney spent most of the first lap using the car to nudge spotter cones off the track. Why, I asked. So I can drive this thing on the ensuing laps, he said. And he did!

3. Ferrari Testarossa
 As I pulled into my driveway, so did a state police car. The trooper got out. He got into the passenger seat. In his uniform. Gun and all. He looked at me and said that we were going to take the car out and go through the gearbox to see what it could we. Obedient and law-abiding citizen that I am, we did.

2.Aston Martin DB7 Vantage 
In 1999, Aston Martin celebrated the 40th anniversary of its victory at Le Mans and offered the use of this car while I was covering the race. I even got to do some laps around the full road course as part of pre-race activities that included an Aston Martin club “parade.” We were instructed to follow the pace car for our three laps, but after the first lap the pace car driver waved us around we were free to set our own pace, even down the Mulsanne Straight.

At 175 mph, you drive very carefully
At 175 mph, you drive very carefully
We survived!

1. Porsche 911 Turbo

Date: June 27, 2000
Location: Nevada’s Black Rock Desert
Driver: Larry Edsall
Driving coach: Many-time Le Mans and Daytona 24-hour race winner Hurley Haywood.
Coach’s instructions: Be gentle. Be smooth. Keep your foot down.
Result: a U.S. Auto Club-certified top speed of 175.781 miles per hour, the fastest I’ve ever driven.

And that was my list, published a few years ago.

Reading back through it, I wonder why I didn’t include getting to drive a Mercedes-Benz 190 Evo for many laps around Hockenheim, or getting to drive BMW 1600 and other pre-3 Series cars in Spain. And since the original story was published, I’ve been back to Australia, where I drove a Holden Ute SS, the Corvette-powered, car-based pickup — think hot-rodded Aussie El Camino — along that country’s Great Ocean Road; and I also got to spend a long weekend in a friend’s Ford Model A, a car my grandchildren still consider their favorite automotive adventure.

Oh, and a Porsche 356 Speedster and a split-window Corvette and I learned to start and drive a Ford Model T. Recently I was in the new Acura NSX and the new Camaro SS and I absolutely fell in love with the new Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch edition, diesel-powered pickup truck and…

Pick of the Day: 1988 Pontiac Mera

If you think the Pick of the Day looks a lot like a Ferrari 308, so did the court system, because this 1988 Pontiac Mera is one of the products of a production effort that ended in a court-supervised settlement between Ferrari and Corporate Concepts Limited.

Nonetheless, nearly 250 of these fiberglass-rebodied Pontiac Fieros were produced and sold through Pontiac dealers in the late 1980s.

This one is being sold through an advertisement on ClassicCars.com by a private owner in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.

“Number 68 of 247 made by GM from 1987-1988 to imitate a 308 Ferrari until Ferrari found out and sued them,” the seller notes in the ad.

The car has a V6, 5-speed gearbox, T tops, air conditioning, power windows and its original tan interior, the seller adds, although the steering wheel has been replaced. The asking price is $13,000 for a car that shows 38,000 miles on its odometer.

Although not a Ferrari, this car has prancing horse emblems inside and out and wears a 308 GTS badging on its rear flank.

According to the pontiacmera.com website established by Wisconsin resident Rodney Dickman, the Meras weren’t produced by GM, but for the 1987 and 1988 model years by Corporate Concepts of Capac, Michigan, though they were sold by Pontiac dealers with a GM warranty.


Dickman’s website includes correspondence with Corporate Concepts president, copies of the sales brochures, advertisements (showing the MSRP of $24,950), magazine articles about the car, pictures and the Mera Registry that Dickman has assembled.

In one of those magazine articles, Corporate Concepts president Bob Bracey tells AutoWeek that the car is “not meant to be a replica or lookalike. We’re about as close to a Ferrari as a Mazda (RX-7) is to a Porsche (944). There’s not one line that’s identical to any other car. It’s an original styling concept influenced by modern sports car design trends.”

Apparently, neither Ferrari nor the court system agreed.

Car and Driver reported that the Mera’s styling was “vaguely familiar,” but added that “looks aside, its execution is excellent” and noted that Corporate Concepts had a decade of experience in fiberglass panels for snowmobiles, motorhomes, even earthmovers and that it’s work on the Mera was very well done.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Mecum Auctions muscling into Louisville

Big-block muscle dominates as Mecum Auctions rolls in to Louisville, Kentucky, for the second year with an expected 700 collector vehicles crossing the block at the Kentucky Exposition Center from September 21-23.

Coming off the annual Dallas auction that resulted in $22.2 million in sales and a 70 percent sell-through rate, Mecum will offer a wide variety of muscle cars, classics, street rods, custom and sports cars during the three-day sale. Last year’s inaugural Louisville auction resulted in $13.4 million in sales, not including auction fees.

The 1969 Dodge Super Bee is powered by a 440 Six-Pack V8

The 2017 Kentucky auction will feature a triumvirate of top-drawer muscle cars from the Big Three:

A sunfire-yellow 1967 Chevrolet Corvette coupe (Lot S124) with original L68 Tri-Power 427/400-horspower V8 and M21 Muncie 4-speed manual transmission, is a two-time NCRS Top Flight winner with full documentation including its original tank sticker.

A 1969 Dodge Super Bee coupe (Lot S96) powered by a date-code-correct 440 six-pack V8, totally restored in Blue Metallic with just 48,135 miles on its odometer.

The 1969 Shelby GT500 Fastback is fully documented

A 1969 Shelby GT500 fastback (Lot S119) in Acapulco Blue, powered by the 428cid Ram Air Cobra Jet V8 and documented with two build sheets, a copy of the Shelby window sticker and a Marti Report.

For information about the Louisville auction, visit the Mecum website.

Having owned two, our Andy is excited about TVR’s return to the road

Never has a sports car company gone through what TVR has and somehow still continued to exist.

This is a company that since its launch in post-war England in 1947 has had five different owners, a factory fire, a weak distribution network and every other conceivable issue a car company could possibly experience. Despite this, it has consistently developed and delivered exciting cars with great performance for their eras, often with groundbreaking styling.

Meanwhile, there also has been a loyal audience of enthusiasts who simply love the company and its cars. I am among that group, and I am so pleased that TVR has returned, especially with the launch a car as amazing looking as the new Griffith.

The new car is just what TVR needs and is the most advanced car from the company in any of its incarnations over the years. To me, this new Griffith is exactly what a company known for its radical designs and amazing performance is all about.

The new Griffith was launched at recent Goodwood Revival starts by utilizing Gordon Murray Design’s iStream chassis architecture with a carbo- composite structure and body panels and weighing in at only 2755 pounds.

The new Griffith is powered by a Cosworth-enhanced 5.0-liter V8 engine rated at 400 horsepower and linked to 6-speed manual gearbox that gives the car the capability of a 0-60 time in 4 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph. For TVR fans, this is just what the doctor ordered.

According to TVR chairman Les Edgar, formerly known for bringing Aston Martin back to racing, “Today’s unveiling is the culmination of nearly three years of tireless work by the team, and we’re all proud to be able to show the new TVR Griffith to the world.

“This is unmistakably a TVR, a British muscle car that’s as awesome and brutal as it is charismatic and refined. Importantly, the new TVR offers levels of technical sophistication, comfort, reliability and practicality never seen by the brand before.”

At the unveiling | Rolex photo by Nick Duncan
At the unveiling | Rolex photo by Nick Duncan

The car presented at Goodwood is the Launch Edition-spec Griffith which includes a full leather interior, custom alloy wheels, special Launch Edition paint options and a bespoke infotainment system. Starting from £90,000 ($122,000), production of the new TVR Griffith Launch Edition begins in late 2018.

According to industry scuttlebutt, there are many deposits already in for what looks and sounds to be a great comeback car for the storied company.

I personally love the TVR brand and hope that when launched I am invited to test drive one of these fantastic cars. Yes, I am a bit biased, having owned a 280i and a 2500M model.

It is great to see than even with the trend of many cars moving to hybrid-drivetrain technology, TVR has remembered it’s roots and given us a rip-snorting V8 powered supercar.

For more information and to get your deposit down, go to the TVR website.

Feature photo courtesy TVR


Ferrari’s rolling birthday party heads to Design Museum in London

A major exhibit at the Petersen. Another at its own museum. A grand gathering at Goodwood. A huge display of red cars at Pebble Beach.

Ferrari and its faithful really know how to celebrate a milestone birthday. In this case, the 70th anniversary of the first time Enzo shared his last name with one of the cars he’d created.

Next up for Ferrari 70 is “Ferrari: Under the Skin,” a major exhibition that runs November 15 through April 15, 2018, at the Design Museum in London.

“Ferrari’s story has been one of the great adventures of the industrial age,” Andrew Nahum, the exhibit curator, said in a museum news release. “It also represents an absorbing case study in design and development.

“Ferrari uses the subtle and often unseen techniques of automobile design but with the utmost care and precision, and the exhibition provides an insight into the history and practice of the whole private world of automotive design.”

According to the museum, its exhibition will be a “behind-the-scenes look at the design, the people and the engineering that created one of the most iconic car brands of all time.”

Many of the artifacts and vehicles in the London showcase will be coming from the exhibit that has been running at the Ferrari museum in Italy.

“The exhibition will provide unique insights into the world of Ferrari, drawing on rarely seen material,” according to the Design Museum’s news release. “This ambitious display will bring together early design models, drawings, letters and memorabilia as well as some of the most famous Ferraris to be seen on roads and racing circuits around the world. Together, these artifacts and original documents provide an unprecedented study of automotive design.

“Key exhibits include rare personal memorabilia and archival material relating to Enzo Ferrari’s life, early cars, wind tunnel models and hand-sculpted models in both clay and wood.

“Dedicated displays will explore the design development, engineering and manufacturing of Ferrari together with the company’s phenomenal attention to detail in every element of the cars’ design. The exhibition will also present Ferrari’s racing heritage, the ongoing quest for innovation as well as the glamour of their well-known clientele.”

The London museum is itself a piece of art. Originally established in a former banana ripening warehouse, the facility’s space tripled in 2016 with its move to a restored and expanded modernist structure on Kensington High Street topped by a roof that reminds people of a manta ray.

For more information, visit the museum website.

Special exhibits perhaps closer to home

The Cars from Transformers exhibit at America On Wheels in Allentown, Pennsylvania, includes more than Bumblebee and Megatron, though the yellow Chevrolet Camaro and big semi tractor are worth a visit on their own. But joining them are Rollbar, a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS Rally from the Age of Extinction movie and Sideswipe, the 50th anniversary Corvette Stingray concept from Revenge of the Fallen and a car that provided strong hints at the design of the latest generation of America’s sports cars. The exhibit runs through December 31.

Gyro-X is a hit at Pebble Beach | Lane museum photo by Bruce Sweetman
Gyro-X is a hit at Pebble Beach | Lane museum photo by Bruce Sweetman

Fresh from its crowd-drawing, balancing-on-two-wheels drive to the awards stand at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the 1967 Gyro-X is on display at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.

“The Gyro-X was an important car in the history of automotive design and to win the Dean Batchelor Trophy (at Pebble Beach) is a validation of that importance and the work we have put into restoring it,” said car and museum owner Jeff Lane.

The Batchelor award is given at Pebble Beach for a car exemplifying the “rebellious spirit” of the hot rod heritage.

Special events this weekend

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine will host a special two-wheeler cars and coffee cruise-in Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon featuring motorcycles, dirt bikes, scooters and more.

Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachussets, stages its annual “Cocktails for Cars,” concours-style gathering of “high-end” classics and exotics. Proceeds from the event support the maintenance and care of the museum’s automobile collection. On Thursday, September 21, the museum will host its Demo Day with a curator presentation of four “hidden gems” from the museum’s collection, including a 1905 Pierce Great Arrow.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, has canceled its car show scheduled for Saturday and the Revs Institute’s Collier Collection museum in Naples, Florida, remains without power and still has evacuated staffers trying to return to their homes so the museum will be remain closed until power and staffing return.

The Automobile Driving Museum in Los Angeles stages its second “JDM at the ADM” car show Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The show features Japanese Domestic Market vehicles.

The California Automobile Museum joins with the Sacramento, California, branch of Universal Technical Institute for the inaugural Campus Car Show on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The Blackhawk Museum will host the annual Danville d’Elegance gala dinner Saturday on the eve of the annual concours d’elegance in Danville, California. Special guest for the event will be Grammy-winning musician Linda Ronstadt.

Mark your calendars

The National Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, offers its inaugural Kartplex Racing League program this fall. Participants will compete in three weight classes — up to 149 pounds, 150-200 and 201 or heavier — with points accumulated over four dates — September 23, October 7, October 21 and November 4.

The annual Night at the Museum, a gala and fundraiser for the Children’s Education & Transportation Fund, which since 1991 has providing for Bay Area classrooms to visit the Blackhawk Museum is scheduled for October 15.

Variety of rallies and tours open to vintage vehicles and enthusiasts

The Britain-based Endurance Rally Association has set a calendar for the next four years that includes six new events and will offer events on six continents. The group plans 16 endurance rallies through 2021, it announced.

“The ERA continues to go from strength to strength, and the next four years will see us doing what we do best – organizing global events that offer great driving, fantastic company, and brilliant adventure,” rally director Fred Gallagher said in the organization’s news release.

The 2018-2021 calendar begins with The Road to Saigon, which the ERA terms a “follow up” to the Road to Mandalay event staged in February, 2017.

The 10th Flying Scotsman is scheduled for April, 2018, with the third Trans-America Challenge takes owners of vintage vehicles across the United States in May.

Two events are scheduled for September 2018 — the fourth Alpine Trial and the new Himalayan Challenge, an event ERA says is for “experienced rally crews.”

Endurance Rally Association sets calendar for the next four years
Endurance Rally Association sets calendar for the next four years

The Flying Scotsman event opens the ERA’s 2019 calendar that includes the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, “the world’s toughest event for vintage and classic cars,” scheduled for June, 1919. The new Adriatic Adventure is scheduled for September, 1919 “exploring the mountains of the inland Balkans and the brilliance of the Adriatic coastline.”

Another new event, the 24-day Rally New Zealand, is planned for February 2020. Then comes another Flying Scotsman before the Sahara Challenge, a 12-day event from Malaga to Marrakech in late spring.

A new South American event from Lima to Cape Horn will be called ‘The Rally to the End of the World’ and ends the 2020 schedule.

The 2021 calendar starts with the inaugural 21-day Pearl of India in February. Another Flying Scotsman follows, and then the second Baltic Classic is scheduled for that June.

Another new event launches in October 2021 — the ABC Rally in Australia. The route travels from Adelaide to Canberra and Surfers Paradise, then on to Brisbane and Cairns.

“With so many of the winners of the Peking to Paris coming from Australia, it seemed only fitting to take the extensive experience of the ERA into their own backyard,” said Gallagher.

The ERA still has two more events on its 2017 calendar — the Blue Train Challenge, starting September 18 in France, and the Classic Safari in Africa, starting October 9.

For details, visit the association’s website.

Rally Nippon visits historic Japanese cultural sites

Rally Nippon, a vintage-vehicle tour of Japan, celebrates its 10th anniversary in October with a four-day drive that organizers promise will meander from Kyoto to Tokyo while taking in historic and cultural sites.

Eighty vehicles already have filled the registration list for an event sponsored by Peninsula hotels, which also sponsors The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering during Monterey Car Week. The Peninsula Tokyo hotel is the final stop on the 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) tour.

Rally Nippon is a four-day tour of history and culture — and cars

“In addition to enjoying stunning landscapes and the camaraderie stemming from a shared passion for the ultimate in automotive design and engineering, participants will enjoy distinctive regional cuisines and sip local sakes, fine wines and spirits,” the organizers promise. “Stays in fine hotels and traditional inns add extra allure to this magical Japanese journey.”

By the way, the Peninsula hotels are more than an event sponsor. The Peninsula Hong Kong not only has a fleet of 14 extended-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms, but among them is a 1934 Phantom II Sedanca de Ville town car. It also supports The Quail Rally, a three-day charity drive that concludes at the Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley.

AACA Museum group to visit Italy

From November 3-12, AACA Museum Tours plans a car-oriented trip to Italy that includes visits to private collections, including Nicola Bulgari’s and Corrado Lopresto’s, as well as the Ducati Museum, the Panini/Maserati Museum, a visit to the Lamborghini factory and museum, the Ferrari Museum, the National Car Museum in Turin, where the group also will tour a FIAT factory. In addition to travel by coach, there will be a drive in antique cars along the Via Cassia from Sarteano to Pienza. For information, visit the tour website.

Vintage riders head to Hungary in 2018

The international federation for vintage vehicles, FIVA, plans a “world motorcycle run” in 2018 in Hungary, home of the Pannonia, Csepel, Meray and other historic brands. The dates are June 21-24 for an event that begins and ends near Budapest.

The tour will include museums and private collections, with daily rides of 75-100 miles. A highlight will be a cruise along the 5-kilometer Gyoin Beton road, where several motorcycle speed records were set in 1934.

For information and registration details, visit the FIVA website.

Closer to home

Spots on the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s annual Hall of Fame road tour are sold out, though there is a waiting list. The tour runs September 22-28 and travels from North Carolina to the Lone Star Nationals in Fort Worth, Texas, with stops at the Country Music Hall of Fame, New Orleans, San Antonio and at various automotive shops and car museums along the way.

'Drive Toward a Cure' heads to Atlanta Concours d'Elegance
‘Drive Toward a Cure’ heads to Atlanta Concours d’Elegance

The inaugural Drive Toward a Cure’s “Great Southern Adventure” runs September 27-30, starting in Asheville, North Carolina, challenging the Tail of the Dragon and ending at the Atlanta Concours at Chateau Elan. The event raises money to fight Parkinson’s Disease. For details, visit the event website.