history

history

Things looked a lot different a century ago. There was no pre-sliced bread, running water was prevalently lacking in rural communities, and every automaker was considered a fledgling start-up business. Fast forward to 2014, and it’s apparent that’s no longer the case. Now as we roll into July, Dodge celebrates its centenary of making some of the most memorable vehicles in American history.

Technically happening July 1, 2014, Dodge’s 100-year celebration falls in a time of corporate reorganization that puts Dodge and SRT together. Dodge, owned by Chrysler, is tasked with building “mainstream performance” cars while SRT, is to build Dodge’s “ultimate performance” lineup. The consolidation of the two should play well for the company. But back to the party.

The company is offering specialized merchandise including car decals, key fobs, pens, coffee mugs, and clothing. There’s even a “Dodge 100 Years” book that depicts the brand’s rich history. Perhaps the biggest way Dodge is celebrating its heritage of building legendary street machines comes in the form of horsepower; that’s 707 horsepower, to be exact.

Now the reason Dodge has been holding out of the 2015 Challenger Hellcat’s performance stats makes sense.

Click past the jump to read more about Dodge’s centenary.

The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany holds many of the automaker’s treasures. The likes of which we won’t see any where in the world. One of them is Louise Piëch’s 911 Turbo , which was given to her as a birthday present. And the above video puts this car in the spotlight.

Who is Louise Piëch, and why is her 911 Turbo in the Museum?

First of all, Louise Piëch is the daughter of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche. She is also the mother of current Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch, making her a pretty big deal inside Porsche’s world.

So why is her 911 Turbo so special? It’s because that specific 911 Turbo is considered the very first example of the model.

It was produced in 1973, one year before Porsche officially released the 911 Turbo. The 911 Turbo has since become the crown jewel of a lineup that has no shortage of awesomeness.

This video is the story of the first 911 Turbo, a car that ironically didn’t have a Turbo badge because Piëch apparently didn’t want to draw any attention to it. She also didn’t like anything obstructing her natural view of the environment; so at her behest, Porsche didn’t add tint on the car’s windows.

One thing she didn’t mind about the 911 Turbo was the power, as its 3.0-liter engine packed a healthy 260 horsepower. On top of that, the first 911 Turbo has quite the reputation for being rather challenging to handle, thanks to the slow spool and instant-on power once the turbocharger gets moving.

Yet another episode of Jay Leno’s Garage has hit the comedian’s YouTube channel and this one is all about the details. Jay and his Corvette -expert friend Mike McCluskey take a deep dive into the rare 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray that Mike painstakingly restored to factory specifications. Everything from the radiator hoses to the flat-top bolt holding the master cylinder’s lid on tight are talked about.

As it turns out, the 21,000 1963 Sting Rays made were nearly hand-built and each car can almost be considered a concept car . The 1963’s parts differed so greatly from the previous generation that the designers and engineers essentially designed it as they went. Then in 1964, the car’s assembly process was smoothed out, making them easier to build. The ‘63’s hubcaps, for example, are comprised of 17 separate pieces rather than the single stamping piece used from ’64 on.

Besides the 1963’s rarity, especially for its one-year-only split-window design, the car also helped mark the beginning of fuel injection in American cars. Until that time, only a select few European cars came equipped with such a fuel delivery device. Jay’s particular Sting Ray is powered by a 327-cubic-inch small-block making 360 horsepower. That’s an output rating well beyond what other performance cars of the era were making.

Though it’s 22 minutes long, the video holds your attention with facts and interesting tid-bits that only make the C2 Sting Ray that much more special to today’s car culture.

Technically, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is still the world’s fastest supercar . But if you really ask people in the industry what the real fastest car is, the answer will be the Hennessey Venom GT . Forget about those silly rules and technicalities that prohibit the Venom GT from being recognized for what it really is. This 1,244-horsepower demon is truly on a class of its own. But if you’re giving love to this hypercar, you need to give as much or more to the man behind the madness: John Hennessey.

After/Drive host Mike Spinelli spent some time with Hennessey to talk shop about a whole range of topics. As you can expect, the conversation eventually led to the Venom GT, his 7.0-liter V-8, twin-turbocharged beast.

There are over 28 minutes of video time in this episode. That provides plenty of time to get to know the man who changed the way we look at supercars here in the U.S. But most importantly, we get to learn more about the things that put Hennessey in the position that he is in now.

As always, it’s a fascinating episode from the guys at After/Drive. Be sure to spend time watching it.

The early 1970s was a grand time for American muscle cars with plenty of iconic iron rolling off the Big Three’s assembly lines. But few cars have reached the level of rarity as the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. Production numbers of these legendary street machines were rather low compared to other muscle cars of the era. In the case of this particular ‘Cuda and its combination of options, the number is one.

Yes, out of the total 16,159 Barracudas sold in 1971, only 11 were fitted with the sportiest ‘Cuda option powered by the 426 Hemi and ordered as convertibles. Of those 11 cars, only three came with the four-speed manual transmission. Over 40 years later, one — yes o-n-e — B5-coded “Bright Blue” ‘Cuda is the only numbers-matching, 426 Hemi-powered, four-speed, convertible in existence. Talk about rare.

Updated 06/16/2014: This very cool Hemi Cuda Convertible was auctioned during this week-end’s auctions at Mecum for the amazing amount of $3,500,000.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda Convertible.

Source: Mecum

Arguably one of the most iconic automobiles ever built in the United States, the Ford Mustang is already 50 years old and carries with it a rich heritage. If Ford would had not developed the Mustang and crafted the pony car concept, famed vehicles such as Chevrolet Camaro , Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Cuda would have probably never existed. Sure, the `Cuda predated the Mustang, but the Mustang truly built the segment.

Of course, we can’t claim that the muscle car phenomenon wouldn’t have gained the same huge proportions without the ’Stang, but it’s hard to picture such an important era with Ford’s pony missing from picture.

The car’s background is pretty much an open, drama-filled history book. The Mustang had its highs and lows, starting with the great 1960s and early `70s and passing through the dark years of the second-generation model. Then there’s the four-cylinder era, the "new edge" generation and the rebirth that came with the current model. With the 2015 Mustang just around the corner, a new chapter is about to begin as scholars dip their pens into inkwells.

And while we’re all familiar with each generation and model of the of pony, there are numerous Mustangs that some of you might have never seen or heard of. Some of them were prototypes, others are just studies that have never seen the light of day, and some were real-life models. They’ve all contributed to the Mustang we know one way or another, but most of them are shadowed by the productions cars we’ve seen roaming the streets the past 50 years.

As you might have already guessed, we are here to introduce you to some of these concepts and studies, and to a couple of limited-edition models too, that came out of Detroit since Ford began pondering about the Mustang.

More details after the jump.

One of the most notable and memorable of the early Porsche cars is the Speedster . This car actually came into existence at the insistence of U.S. distributor Max Hoffman. He was able to convince Ferdinand Porsche that there was a market for a “stripper” car. A stripper is essentially a barebones Roadster that could be easily converted into a racing specification car without too much trouble. The low level of standard equipment also kept prices low, leaving you more budget for race gear and modifications.

This particular Black Speedster here carries a particularly special heritage. It was owned by none other than James Dean, twice. Dean bought the car to race in SCCA competition, but after a few years he sold it to a car collector named Bruce Meyers. Later in 1974 Dean bought the car back from Bruce. This particular model does not wear a Speedster badge as Dean had it removed from the car during his first ownership.

Porsche dropped the Speedster model from the 356 lineup in 1959 in favor of building the newer Convertible D cars. Only 3,122 of Speedsters were ever constructed.

When the cars first entered production there were powered by a 1.5-liter flat-four engine that produced 64 horsepower. Before the production ended, you could order a race-ready Carrera spec model with 128 horsepower. With the proper gearing in the transmission, a Speedster could reach speeds of over 125 mph, making it one of the fastest cars of the era.

Dean’s car here was a mid-range “Super” model that managed 88 horsepower from its 1.6-liter engine. The car is still in Dean’s family under the ownership of his son, Chad.

Posted on by Shanto  

It all started in 1956 when wealthy American businessman Tony Parravano hired the Italian manufacturer, Maserati to develop a new V-8 for use in the chassis of the Kurtis Indy. Maserati saw the opportunity to revive the project codenamed Tipo 54 and develop its own engine for use its sport-specific chassis. The original car carrying a V-6 engine with chassis number 3501 became the test bed for the car ordered by the American.

The 450S made its first appearance at the Swedish Grand Prix’s practice session in August 1956, stunning everyone with its tremendous acceleration and top speed. The car clocked the third best timing in the practice, but the underdeveloped car could not handle the vibrations resonating from the wrong firing order of the engine’s spark plugs. Afterwards, the 450S received a new chassis at Mondena factory.

The development continued and in 1957, the new production 450S was rolled out to have its maiden race at the 1000 km of Buenos Aires where it led the Ferrari twin-cam sports car by 10 seconds. The car suffered from a failed transmission and retired from the race. However, the car went on to claim its first ever podium finish in the 1957 Swedish GP. Sadly, FIA changed the rules next year, making 450S ineligible for the Grand Prix.

The car was quickly prepared for the 1956 Mille Miglia 1,000-mile race. Legendary driver Stirling Moss, along with Denis Jenkinson as navigator, experienced a brake failure and the car came to rest against a tree. Driver and co-driver walked away without a scratch, but the car had to return to the factory for repairs and further development.

Fantuazzi then came into picture when he designed a new body with a contoured design. The car also got a longer wheelbase to accommodate the new V-8 engine. The updated vehicle was tested in the Swedish Grand Prix in August 1956 where the car’s builders continued to tweak is new chassis and make improvements.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1956 Maserati 450S Prototype by Fantuzzi.

Source: RM Aucions

Of all the Lamborghinis ever built, a case can be made that the Diablo holds a unique place in the heart of the company and its fans.

Not only did it carry a name that lived up to its diabolical nature, but it also holds the distinction of being the only Lamborghini that was designed under the watch of Chrysler . We’re not going to dive into all those details now, but it’s certainly interesting to remember a day when the Raging Bull was owned by the Pentastar.

It was at that time when the Diablo was created as the successor to arguably one of the most popular Lamborghini models ever, the Countach . Talk about having huge shoes to fill.

Fast forward to this year and the Diablo is now treated with reverence and respect, especially by true car enthusiasts who appreciate everything the Diablo stands for.

Recently, Jay Leno got his hands on a Lamborghini Diablo owned by a buddy of his, Franco Barbuscia. He’s the owner of Franco’s European Sports Cars in Los Angeles and, as Leno claims, is one of a few men in this world who probably knows more about Lamborghinis than the car itself.

The two, together with Barbuscia’s son Damiano, spend 15 minutes talking shop about the Diablo, dissecting it from every conceivable detail and reveling on its place in history among Lamborghini models.

It’s an interesting to hear these guys share their combined knowledge about the cars and the iconic Italian company that built them. And besides, Leno gets to drive a Diablo. What’s not to like?

Bragging rights are a funny thing when it comes to setting records in the auto industry. Everyone shoots for it and once they achieve it, they try to break their own records in an attempt to become better than...themselves. So excuse Subaru for trying to show that it’s better than what it was in 2011 when it set the four-wheeled lap record on the world-famous Isle of Man TT course. That’s because the Japanese automaker is shooting to break the 19 minutes and 56.7 second lap time it set three years ago with British rally champion Mark Higgins.

Later this month, Subaru will once again go to the Isle of Man, only this time it’s bringing the 2015 WRX STI performance saloon to the record attempt. Common sense suggests that since the old record was set by the WRX STI’s predecessor , the 2015 model should have little problem blowing that lap time record away, right?

Well, it’s still easier said than done, especially when you take into consideration how tricky it is to run through a lap without damaging the car. On that end, Subaru did its part by giving the WRX STI some sturdier safety equipment, including adjusting the springs and dampers, as well as fitting the car with a roll-cage, race harness and fire suppression system.

Preparation’s the easy part, but actually achieving what you set out for is the tough part. Hopefully, Higgins and Subaru get to toast to another year of having the fastest time around the Isle of Man TT course.

Pictured Above is Subaru’s 2011 record-setting run at the Isle of Man.

Click past the jump to read more about the Subaru WRX STi.


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