Thursday, April 29, 2010

1970 Camaro RS/SS396 4-Speed

My first Camaro was a 1972 Z28 RS. LT1 engine, M22 4-speed, 3.73 Posi. GREAT car, one of the best Chevrolet ever made to that time. If not for a twist of fate, I would have bought a neighbor's primo SS396 Rally Sport Coupe, so you can imagine how much I really, really like this loaded Cortez Silver RS/SS.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This Month In Sports Car Market

Few cars shock the senses quite like a well-executed Pro Street machine, and this gleaming Black Ferrari 250 GTE may be the most shocking Pro Street car we have ever seen. This is the world’s only Pro Street version of the Prancing Horse. Professionally built and based on a real Ferrari 250 GTE Berlinetta coupe, it is filled with all the ingredients that separate NHRA’s top street class from the rest, from the free-breathing hood scoop feeding a pro-built 565 CI Chevrolet big block, to the huge street slicks tucked up inside the tubbed rear, to the show-quality, fully-caged Red interior. $150,000 was invested in the car, which is both street legal and NHRA certified to 8.50-second elapsed times.

In recent years the term “Survivor” has entered the collector car lexicon as a way of describing a well-preserved, original, unrestored vehicle. “Survivor” is not, however, just a generic term that caught on organically; it is in fact a trademark registered by Bloomington Gold founder David Burroughs, and in 1989, this Marlboro Maroon 1967 427 convertible became Burroughs' prototype for establishing standards for the Bloomington Gold Survivor Award.

For years, Burroughs had encouraged the owners of excellent original Corvettes to forego their restoration and preserve their originality, even searching out and buying this unrestored 1967 Corvette convertible to demonstrate his commitment to that ideal. In 1989, Burroughs registered the word “Survivor” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and created the Bloomington Gold Survivor Award for the specific purpose of rewarding the preservation of original unrestored Corvettes that are of a quality to serve as educational benchmarks for other restorers. Since then, over 1,000 original Corvettes have been preserved for that very purpose, and Bloomington Gold has expanded the Survivor certification to include other marques.

Original and unrestored, the "Survivor Platform Car" is finished in its factory-applied Marlboro Maroon paint with a Black interior. Under the Stinger hood sits the classic Tri Power 427 with a Muncie 4-speed. The 435 hp V-8 features a high lift, long duration camshaft and large port cast iron heads, on top of which is the famous triple 2-barrel Holley carb setup on an aluminum intake manifold. Optional equipment includes side-mounted exhaust, finned aluminum bolt-on wheels and the car’s trademark hard top.

Adding to the car’s standing is the fact that in 2003 it also won the NCRS Chevrolet Bowtie Award, making it one of a very few to have reached the highest unrestored Corvette status. In 2006, it was selected for the Bloomington Gold Special Collection.

As Miles Collier once observed, a car can only be original once; together David Burroughs and his famous "old 435" demonstrated the importance of that sentiment to future generations of Corvette owners and enthusiasts.

Happy Birthday, Mustang

The First Mustang Produced - photographed by DougW of at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI. This is Mustang Serial #1, produced in 1964, titled as a 1964 1/2 Mustang due to the fact that the first Mustangs did not come out until the middle of the year.

As Lee Iacocca's assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the Mustang project — supervising the overall development of the Mustang in a record 18 months - while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The Mustang prototype was a two-seat, mid-mounted engine roadster. This vehicle employed a Taurus (Ford Germany) V4 engine and was very similar in appearance to the much later Pontiac Fiero. It was claimed that the decision to abandon the 2 seat design was in part due to the low sales experienced with the 2 seat 1955 T-Bird. To broaden market appeal it was later remodeled as a four-seat car styled under the direction of Project Design Chief Joe Oros and his team of L. David Ash, Gale Halderman, and John Foster - in Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division design studios, which produced the winning design in an intramural design contest instigated by Iacocca.

Having set the design standards for the Mustang, Oros said:
I told the team that I wanted the car to appeal to women, but I wanted men to desire it, too. I wanted a Ferrari-like front end, the motif centered on the front – something heavy-looking like a Maserati, but, please, not a trident – and I wanted air intakes on the side to cool the rear brakes. I said it should be as sporty as possible and look like it was related to European design.
I then called a meeting with all the Ford studio designers. We talked about the sporty car for most of that afternoon, setting parameters for what it should look like -- and what it should not look like -- by making lists on a large pad, a technique I adapted from the management seminar. We taped the lists up all around the studio to keep ourselves on track. We also had photographs of all the previous sporty cars that had been done in the Corporate Advanced studio as a guide to themes or ideas that were tired or not acceptable to management.

Within a week we had hammered out a new design. We cut templates and fitted them to the clay model that had been started. We cut right into it, adding or deleting clay to accommodate our new theme, so it wasn't like starting all over. But we knew Lincoln-Mercury would have two models. And Advanced would have five, some they had previously shown and modified, plus a couple extras. But we would only have one model because Ford studio had a production schedule for a good many facelifts and other projects. We couldn't afford the manpower, but we made up for lost time by working around the clock so our model would be ready for the management review.