Category archives: Features

First rotary-powered Mazda Cosmo zooms past 50th anniversary

The Mazda Cosmo Sport blends design elements both familiar and unique
The Mazda Cosmo Sport blends design elements both familiar and unique | Mazda photos

The name Felix Wankel doesn’t ring too many bells these days, but he’s the German engineer who invented the rotary engine, which later helped rescue Japanese automaker Mazda and, in 1991, became the only non-piston engine to power a car to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In the 1960s, the Wankel engine became an attention-grabbing gambit by a struggling Mazda, which bought the technology from German automaker NSU. While NSU had modest success in production, Mazda engineers improved on the concept, creating a unique twin-rotor design to go into an unconventional sports car that served as a halo for the brand, as well as introducing a new image for Mazda. Continue reading

Rewind: Volkswagen Bug

(Editor’s note: Vintage television commercials can be as classic as the cars they promoted back in the day. This is one in an ongoing series of such vintage car commercials we’ve found on YouTube.)

Airing sometime in the ‘60s or perhaps even into the ‘70s, Volkswagen’s debut a commercial for the Bug proclaiming that car was so airtight you couldn’t close the door, but rather had to push it shut.

Continue reading

Driven: Superformance Cobra from new Arizona dealership

The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos
The road-ready Superformance MKIII stands on 18-inch wheels and performance tires | Bob Golfen photos

The little red roadster started with a thunderous blast, a full-throated roar from its fat side pipes that seemed to thicken the air. The big V8 settled into a lumpy high-performance idle that burbled like the bass section of a symphony orchestra.

Hunkered down on the pavement in a Tempe, Arizona, industrial park, the Superformance MKIII was like a brawny beast about to launch into battle. The MKIII is full of sound and fury, and it’s like buying a brand-new Shelby 427 Cobra, with all the glorious style and outrageous power that entails. Continue reading

Father’s Day suggestion: Automotive art

Dietz-1
To the Victor, painting by Jim Dietz | Courtesy Automotive Fine Arts Society

You’ve likely heard the recommendation to “buy art from a living artist because the dead ones don’t need the money.”

The Automotive Fine Arts Society likely agrees with that philosophy, and suggests you consider the work of its member artists when you do your shopping for Father’s Day 2017. Continue reading

An automotive treasure chest at Tampa Bay

1929 Tracta A roadster, one of two, finished first in class at Le Mans | Jim McCraw photos,
1929 Tracta A roadster, one of two, finished first in class at Le Mans | Jim McCraw photos,

Back in 2005, Alain Cerf opened the doors of the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum to celebrate the engineering, design and innovation that went into some of the pioneering cars of the Twenties and Thirties from Europe and America.

Since that grand opening, the museum has grown, evolved, and acquired more and more exotic European machinery, almost six dozen cars in all, many with badges that most enthusiasts have never heard of. That’s what makes it so completely wonderful. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1972 Ford Bronco

1972 Ford Bronco
1972 Ford Bronco

As enthusiasts anticipate the debut of the new Ford Bronco, interest in early models continues to build. From the factory, the Bronco is a pretty fun machine, but when you swap in a 5.0-liter Coyote, it’s taken to an entirely new level of fun and is one of the driving forces behind what made this the Pick of the Day.

Continue reading

Rewind: 1960 Ford Falcon

(Editor’s note: Vintage television commercials can be as classic as the cars they promoted back in the day. This is one in an ongoing series of such vintage car commercials we’ve found on YouTube.)

‘Is this a commercial?” Linus, a character from the Peanuts comic strip, asks in a two-minute animated TV commercial voiced by Paul Frees, also featuring Charlie Brown and Lucy, who learn about Americas best-selling compact car, the 1960 Ford Falcon.

Continue reading

Driven: 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty King Ranch diesel

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty diesel with King Ranch trim package | Larry Edsall photos
2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty diesel with King Ranch trim package | Larry Edsall photos

I’m in love. Head-over-heels in love. With a truck.

But this isn’t just any truck. It’s a 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab, trimmed out with the King Ranch package and empowered by a whopping and turbocharged 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel-fueled V8.

Oh, and it’s a 4×4, so not only can it pull an RV or boat or horse trailer or, for that matter, a small village (or anything else weighing up to 15,000 pounds), it can go pretty much anywhere you can fit a vehicle that’s nearly 21 feet in length, almost 9 feet wide with its big and lighted power-folding mirrors extended, and is almost as tall as an NBA center. Continue reading