Six Generations of the Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer has been around for almost 30 years. In that time, the SUV segment has evolved in ways no one could’ve dreamed of. Through it all, the Explorer has remained one of the segment’s backbones, a pillar from which the SUV world has stood on for close to three decades. The Explorer’s life reads like a Hollywood script, too. It started off with a bang, establishing itself as one of the most popular SUVs on the market. That success lasted for more than a decade before the Explorer lost its way as other SUVs arrived. Sales eventually cratered, leaving Ford desperate to recapture the magic the Explorer had when it became the breakout hit of the early ’90s. The return to form eventually took place as the SUV segment in the U.S. exploded. With the Explorer now entrenched as one of the most popular SUVs in the market, Ford’s banking on the sixth-generation model to keep that momentum. Whether it does so or not remains to be seen, but the all-new Explorer appears fully equipped to take on that challenge.
1994 - 2002 Honda Passport
The Honda Passport was the Japanese company’s first entry into the SUV market in the United States. The Passport was born from a partnership between Honda and Isuzu as a badge-engineered version of the Rodeo. The Passport arrived in the U.S. for the 1994 model year, three years after the Isuzu Rodeo. The second-generation model was introduced for 1998 and production came to a halt in 2002.
Launched to compete against the Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee, and Nissan Pathfinder, the Passport was Honda’s desperate answer to the SUV craze that was taking off in the U.S. And even though it wasn’t impressively popular back in the day, it gave Honda a good start in the crossover field ahead of the CR-V’s American launch in 1997. The Passport is bound to return for the 2019 model year, so let’s have a closer look at its predecessors from the 1990s and early 2000s.
Budget Direct Renders the Evolution of 7 Timeless Models
There is no shortage of car models in the auto industry these days. Some models have gained followings while others have become flashes in the pan. Then there are the titans of the business, the models that have lasted the test of time and have been around, literally, for generations. In the course of their respective lifetimes, these models have evolved in more ways than one, none more evident than their designs. These seven models have been around for so long their designs have evolved considerably from when they first came out. Knowing their place in the business, these models are unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Collective gasps welcomed the BMW Turbo Concept on the stage at the 1972 edition of the Paris Motor Show. The car, stunning from every angle, was the embodiment of what future BMW products would offer: cutting-edge looks, state-of-the-art technology, and performance. This mesmerizing prototype designed by Paul Bracq was the inspiration for BMW’s one and only supercar: the M1. Thirty years later, BMW honored both the Turbo and the M1 by creating the appropriately-named M1 Hommage. Dressed in a similar coat of hypnotic red as the Turbo and with countless design cues that trace their roots in the Giugiaro-penned M1, the Hommage was a way for BMW to look back while also looking towards the future.
First displayed at the Concorso D’Eleganza Villa D’Este in 2008, the M1 Hommage was the German manufacturer’s way of refreshing the wedge-shaped M1 which was celebrating its 30th birthday. BMW brought the much-revered older siblings to complement the launch of this design experiment, but many were left bemused by the company’s announcement that there would be no new supercar to come from Munich.
This wasn’t, however, entirely true as BMW didn’t ignore its waves of fans who fell in love with their 2008 concept and went on to include certain unmistakable design cues in their 2009 Vision EfficentDynamics concept which led to the BMW i8. It’s not a supercar, it was never intended to be, but it’s similar enough to the M1 Hommage to make us happy, and it also channels the Turbo prototype through all of its hybrid technology that it incorporates.
Archaeologists Just Unearthed A Sobering Reminder Of The Timeless History Of Cars
Here’s something you don’t get to see or hear every day. A report from International Business Times points to a group of archaeologists who discovered stunning ancient items that hit close to home for us in the auto industry. No, they didn’t discover a medieval combustion engine. They also didn’t discover ancient texts pertaining to the study of flying cars. Let’s leave all of that to the sci-fi stuff. What they did discover, however, is something far more innocent and, at least in my case, emotionally disarming. They discovered a toy, or to be specific about it, a small toy chariot.
According to the report, the startling discovery was made during a dig in the ancient city of Sogmatar, located in the south east of Turkey. It’s also believed to be the place where Moses went after fleeing from Egypt back when he was still up and about. As far as ancient cities are concerned, Sogmatar is historic in that regard. The report adds that archaeologists also found a small rattle alongside the toy chariot, adding weight to the hypothesis that this toy was buried with a child who died during those times. All that makes this discovery even more incredible considering that something like this could exist 5,000 years ago. The whole thought of children getting buried with their toys is creepy and sobering at the same time, but it was a common practice back then, especially for those who belonged in the upper crust of the elite. Egyptian pharaohs were often buried with items from their lives, so it wouldn’t be surprising if kids were afforded the same respect when they passed on.
I’m not one to wax sentimental on other things, but this discovery got to me. Just imagine a child from those days actually playing with this small chariot. Those children are long gone now, but something like this remains. It’s been said that there are certain items that act as windows to a world gone by. Well, consider this toy chariot as one of them. It may be old, brittle, and God-knows-what exactly, but the connection between the child who played with this chariot before his death and all of us who just saw it get unearthed after 5,000 years is quite literally timeless.
A Drove of Prancing Horses are Are Set To Invade the Big Apple
It’s not exactly a scene from The Planet of the Apes, though it might as well be now that it’s been confirmed that an animal invasion is about to take place in New York City from October 7 to October 8. No, monkeys aren’t coming to the Big Apple to take a bite of it. Prancing horses are coming, and they’re coming en masse for the party of a lifetime to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary.
The wall-to-wall celebration is taking place all over Manhattan, capping off a global celebration that has literally spanned more than a year. That’s how Ferrari rolls, people. Where others do celebrate anniversaries in one location, the Scuderia does it in over 50 countries, the last stop of which will be right smack in the US in an event called “Driven By Emotion: Ferrari Through The Decades.” As part of the festivities, Ferrari will set up a total of five different exhibits throughout the city, including “Through The Decades” at Rockefeller Plaza. Those who get the chance to go to this exhibit will get to see one Ferrari car per decade, in addition of course to seeing the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta in the flesh. Four more locations will host other Prancing Horses as according to Ferrari, 26 of the company’s most iconic models will be on display in any one of the five locations throughout New York City. Check out the teaser video of the event to get an idea of what to expect and head over past the jump to find out where else in Manhattan exhibits will be opened.
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The “Autobiography of a Jeep” Is 10 Minutes Of Glory
In light of the impending debut of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and Wrangler-based pickup truck – not to mention my recent time spent with the 2017 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock – the Jeep brand has consumed much of my recent time and writings. In the course of perusing Jeep history and year-specific factoids, I ran across this lovely documentary. As the name suggests, the film is narrated in first-person, allowing the Willy MB to tell its own story.
It might be a bit cheeky by today’s standards, but the 1943 documentary details how the original Willy MB came to be. As most know, it was the outbreak of World War II that spurred the U.S. Department of War to find a suitable troop transport that could serve a variety of roles. Some roles were quite dare-devilish, too, like floating in water by being wrapped in a canvas tarp and crossing deep valleys via a wire cable. Adaptations of the MB included a more dedicated amphibious model with a boat-like hull surrounding he body. The MB began mass production only eight months after the War Department’s open request for prototypes. To keep up with production requirements, Ford joined in with its near-exact replica of the Willys MB, the Ford GPW. Combined, a new Jeep rolled off the assembly line every two minutes at the height of the war. Of course, the video has plenty more tid-bits of information and shows tons of Jeeps in action.
Six Decades of Racing History Headed to Laguna Seca
Every year, Laguna Seca plays host to some of the most legendary performance machines to ever take a racing line, recounting the glories of the past for the enjoyment of enthusiasts both young and old. It’s called the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and it takes place during the annual orgy of metal and money known as Monterey Car Week. This year is lining up to be just as epic as always, with a long list of iconic race cars slated to appear for our mutual veneration.
Roughly 60 years of racing history will be on display, from a ‘50s-era Ferrari to a modern McLaren GT winner. “The yearlong celebration of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 60th anniversary is brought to life in the Racing Through the Decades feature display that we are thrilled to share at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion,” says Senior VP of Event Operations at Laguna Seca Gill Campbell. “The visual element illustrates the history and importance of the race track and the privilege we have had in hosting some of the greatest cars and drivers in all of motorsports.” In addition to the opportunity to get up close and personal with cars in the pits, fans will witness hundreds of other historically significant racers dice it up on track, providing the appropriate soundtrack for such an event. In the meantime, continue reading to check out some of the featured cars on the docket.
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Ford Builds First Truck 100 Years Ago Today
Ford is celebrating 100 years of making pickups today. It was July 27, 1917 that Ford introduced the Model TT pickup. It was based on the hugely popular Model T, but came with a stronger frame built to carry 2,000 pounds in its cargo bed. A meager 209 examples were built that year. Now, a century later, Ford’s F-Series pickups continue the legacy build by Henry Ford with trucks ranging from the half-ton F-150 to the commercial medium-duty F-750 Super Duty. Nearly a million examples sold in 2017, each costing a bit more than the Model TT’s price of $600.
Henry Ford designed the Model TT to accommodate aftermarket beds, allowing the truck to cater to an endless number of industries. Yet, the Model TT used the Model T’s cab and engine, helping cut costs while streamlining Ford’s genius of an assembly line production. Remember, it was Mr. Ford who started producing vehicles on an assembly line with the Model T just nine years prior. Amazingly, this concept hasn’t changed. Ford trucks continue to share parts, like the cab section between the F-150 and the updated-for-2017 Super Duty. Between 1917 and 2017, Ford has built dozens of generations and variations of its pickups, including more unique examples like the car-based Ranchero and the compact Ranger. A more comprehensive list is down below.
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The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom
Sir Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, is quoted as saying, “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it doesn’t exist, design it.” Those are some pretty heavy words, but it’s the right credo for an automaker like Rolls-Royce. With a history of producing some of the most elegant, opulent, and downright desirable luxury vehicles on the planet, perfection isn’t just a goal – it’s an expectation. Such is the case with the Phantom, Rolls-Royce’s highly recognizable flagship model. These are cars that are destined for the stables of royalty, acting as a rolling signature of power, wealth, and prestige.
Lead by the trademark Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood, the Phantom comes equipped with top-shelf extravagance and lavishness, offering high levels of personalization to those select buyers with pockets deep enough to really enjoy it. Currently offered in a variety of different flavors, including the standard Phantom, an Extended Wheelbase model, a Coupe, and a Drophead Coupe, Rolls has announced a new eighth generation slated for release later this week. However, the history of the nameplate is rapidly approaching a full century at this point, so how’d we get here? To find out, we delved into the Phantom’s history, taking a look at the seven generations that have come and gone since the model’s introduction in 1925.
Continue reading for The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
A Look Back at the Mercedes Utility Vehicles that Preceded the X-Class Truck
Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the X-Class, its first mass-produced pickup truck, and while it may seem weird for a premium company to build a car like this, the German brand is actually a big producer of utility vehicles. And it all started more than 100 years ago!
Long before his company developed into a luxury car manufacturer in the 1930s, Karl Benz actually built buses. He unveiled the world’s first motorized bus back in 1895 and actually competed against Gottlieb Daimler, soon to become his partner, in this field, with both exporting vehicles to England and Wales. Daimler and Benz merged into one company in 1926 and the success story of Mercedes-Benz began.
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1911 Reo Model H Power Wagon
Back in 1911, heavy hauling was mostly done with horsepower – as in the power of horse with a cart in tow. Pickup trucks like we know them today hadn’t officially got their start, but there were a handful of horseless carriages up for carrying more than just passengers. This one is particular is the Model H Power Wagon from the Reo Motor Car Company.
Reo got off the ground in 1905 after its founder, Ransom E. Olds, sold his remaining shared in a company he founded in 1897, the Olds Motor Works, which would later become Oldsmobile. With new money in his pocket, Olds formed his new company that took his initials. Business turned extremely profitable rather quickly as Reo did $4.5 million in sales in 1907 – roughly $110 million in 2016 money. Reo built several models of passenger cars, including the Model H Power Wagon.
The Power Wagon came built on a heavy duty frame with a three-quarter ton capacity. Its cab-forward design gave it a long cargo bed and good maneuverability around tight city streets. A removable canvas top kept the driver and single passenger a little dryer than without it, though the open sides of the cab left little in the way of protection from the elements.
This particular example recently went under the gavel at the 2016 Mecum Monterey car auction. Though it sold, the selling price is undisclosed. Mecum, however, estimated the value between $25,000 and $35,000.
And on a pop culture note, Reo also built a truck line starting in 1915 called the Speed Wagon. Yep, the Reo Speed Wagon; and that’s exactly where the iconic rock band got its name. What’s more, in Reo’s later years, it merged with Diamond T Trucks, creating Diamond-Reo Trucks Inc. Though spelled differently, that’s where the country music band Diamond Rio got its name. The company finally closed its doors in 1975 after filing for bankruptcy. Interesting stuff.
Let’s get a closer look at this grandfather to the modern pickup.
Continue reading to learn more about the Reo Model H Power Wagon.
Kid Turns His Ratty Jeep CJ3A into Willys MB: Video
The Jeep brand got its start at the outbreak of WWII when the U.S. Government sought a small, go-anywhere utility vehicle that could effectively replace the horse for mass use by troops. Well, Willys Overland answered the call and the MB began rolling off assembly lines in 1941. And while more than 630,000 examples were built, relatively few original MBs survive today.
But thanks to one teenager, there’s one more MB floating around – or at lease a look-alike. He decided to restore his dilapidated post-war-built CJ3A into a replica wartime Willys. This 38-minute video shows highlights of the transformation process, including a healthy amount of off-road thrashing, both before and after the restoration. One thing is for sure – this kid understands the Willys were designed to handle abuse.
I’ll admit, the video is a bit on the dull side. But if you fancy yourself a Jeep guy, you’ll love watching the real-time and time-lapse sequences. You’ll also love seeing the Jeep disassembled into its various pieces, all while being reminded of just how simple these machines were designed to be.
And while this CJ turned MB might be a replica and hardly underwent a Concours-style restoration, the end result is no less impressive. From the white lettering across the hood and the hand tools strapped to the side to the canvas top and Jerry cans, this Jeep looks and performs like the real deal.
1962 Shelby 260 Cobra "CSX 2000"
If you ask any car enthusiast the name of the person who has been the most influential to the automotive world, nine times out of ten you’ll get the answer “Carroll Shelby.” And, rightfully so – Carroll Shelby had an amazing automotive legacy. And, that legacy all started out with the car you see here: a 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX 2000. While all early Cobras are special in their own right, this one is excessively special because it was the first Cobra built. Ever. It came to be at the hands of Carroll Shelby and a few other people in a small garage in California.
There’s a lot more to this specific Cobra, though. See, this Cobra was built by Carroll Shelby and was owned solely by him. Furthermore, there is a funny story behind it. When the car was complete, it was shown at a number of different venues used by the motoring press and used for testing and development. The funny part is that Shelby had the world convinced that Cobra production was running at full force when in fact the CSX 2000 was the only Cobra at the time. To pull this off, the car was repainted prior to most appearances to give the illusion that there was more than just one for the first seven months of its existence.
With that said, this specific Cobra is ready to go home with a new owner and is being auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s in Monterey in August of 2016. It is being offered by the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust and, as such, should come with proof of authenticity. The car isn’t exactly in the best condition it has ever been in – there is definitely wear here and there. But, that is a part of the car’s history. So, let’s take a good look at it before it goes under the hammer in a couple of months.
Update 08-21-2016: This gorgeous car just broke the record for an American car sold at Auction. Check out the Prices section below for all the details.
Keep reading for our full review of this very special Cobra
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
July 15 is an important date in Jeep history. In fact, it was on this date in 1941 that the U.S. government awarded Willys-Overland Motor Company the contract to build the Willy MB. Now, 75 years later, Jeep is celebrating by building a one-off Wrangler configured to look like its grandfather. This modern take on the original will roll off the same assembly line as the MB (minus the modernization and robots, of course), making the occasion even more sentimental.
“We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand’s legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today’s iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.”
Manley is certainly right about the Jeep (and more specifically, the Wrangler) being the benchmark for off-road capability. Think about it – what over vehicle has remained so true to its original roots for more than 70 years? Not many. If fact, there are very little modifications needed to make this 2016 Wrangler look like a 1941 Willys MB. Let’s dive into the details below.
Update 07/18/2016: Jeep released a short video showing the Wrangler Salute Concept rolling off the assembly line. There are also interviews with Jeep executives and assembly line workers on the deep meaning this one-off Jeep carries.
Continue reading for the full review.
Usually, when you think about Lotus founder Colin Chapman, the first thing that comes to mind is innovation. It’s easy to see why as that was the business Chapman was in, the brilliant designer always looking for ways to improve his cars’ performance – usually at the cost of reliability and even safety. This philosophy was carried over when Chapman decided he should start building road cars. The first one, named the Elite (Type 14), was a small but competent two-seater which was, sadly, pulled down by certain choices made in the design department, which meant that the overall quality of the car was not quite deserving of the its own name.
It’s obvious that when you employ a number of innovations into a new product, for example the glass-reinforced-plastic monocoque, it’s bound to take off the ground somewhat harder. The trouble is that some of the Elite’s flaws carried on all the way towards the end of production which ceased in 1963. At that time, little over 1,000 had been produced, but Lotus saw the potential of dropping the GRP monocoque design and returning to a more traditional body-on-chassis construction for the Elite’s follow-up, the Elan. That marked the end of the original Elite’s lifespan but the name would be later revived, although its use for a 2+2 grand tourer always struck as somewhat peculiar.
Away from the road, the Elites featured prominently in circuit racing, both at club and professional level. This comes as no surprise considering that Lotus was heavily involved in racing and used certain Formula 2 components in the building process of the Elite. The car was so good in fact that it won its class at Le Mans no fewer than six times, adding to countless other victories all across the world.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elite.
It was early in 1940 when the U.S. government approached Chrysler with its need to build military equipment on a massive scale to help the war effort in Europe. Nazi Germany was growing more powerful and president Franklin D. Roosevelt challenged America to help its allies. He said in a poignant speech over radio broadcast that the U.S. should become the “arsenal of democracy.”
At first, Chrysler concentrated on tanks, namely the M3 Grant. The government helped build an assembly plant in Warren, Michigan just outside Detroit. The large facility soon began building a newer model of tank, the M4 Sherman, by 1942. Then other machinery including trucks, deck guns for ships, and airplane parts followed.
It’s important to remember that most of Chrysler’s build-up happened before the U.S. ever entered the war, prompted by Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Before that point, much of the U.S. wanted to remain neutral in the war, only agreeing to help its allies with supplies.
However, once fully engaged in war on two fronts, the U.S. pulled itself out of the Great Depression by mass production on a scale not seen before or since. Chrysler alone built 25 percent of America’s tanks for the war effort, pumping out more than 25,000 units by the war’s end in 1945.
This short documentary of Chrysler’s war efforts is a wonderful bit of history that’s definitely worth your time.
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Cars can get expensive; most folks know that. There’s maintenance, spare parts, and of course, the purchase price wrapped into the ball of car ownership. But then there’s a league above – the elite upper echelon of car ownership that transcends all besides collectability. At this level, such blue chip iron is acquired for its rarity, beauty, and historical value rather than its role as transportation.
The data nerds over at Priceonomics decided to assemble a list of the top 50 most expensive vehicles ever sold at auction. Why at auction? Well, it’s nearly impossible to track private sales, and a large percentage of high-dollar cars tend to trade hands under the gavel at places like RM Auctions and Barrett-Jackson.
Even the most seasoned gear head cultured in classic cars might be taken aback by the appreciation in value cars posses as opposed to other common collectibles. Over a 10-year period, the value application of key automobiles have surpassed watches, jewellery, wine, art, coins, and stamps. Surprisingly enough, stamps have the next highest growth in value, topping some 250 percent in appreciation. Cars, on the other hand, outshined stamps by a whopping 200 percent, resulting in an increase in value greater than 450 percent over values in 2005.
Those key cars go on to outperform the S&P 500, NASDAQ, and even gold.
So what cars are raking in all this cash? In short: Ferrari. Eight of the top 10 most expensive cars are of the Prancing Horse variety. Ferrari goes on to dominate 60 percent of the top 50 list. Mercedes is the next highest with a 14 percent share.
What makes Ferraris gain such incredible value? Keep reading to find out.
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The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo hit the Japanese market back in 1993, but didn’t make it to the U.S. until 2003. In its lifetime, it saw various updates to the drivetrain, chassis, and suspension across a total of 10 generations. Now we prepare to say goodbye to the EVO, but before we do, we’ve been blessed with the EVO X Final Edition.
Since 2011, the rumor mill has been saying that the EVO would eventually be discontinued, and it has finally been confirmed by Mitsubishi. Going forward, the EVO performance brand won’t be used on any saloon models.
Mitsubishi has yet to confirm what will come next from the EVO performance division, but it has said that it is interested in using electric and plug-in hybrid technologies for its future high-performance cars. Some sources have said that the EVO badge may first appear on a performance version of the Mitsubishi ASX that could debut next year, but only time will tell. Join us in remembering the Lancer EVO by reading a brief summary of its history after the jump.
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Believe it or not, there are some flowers out there that take decades to bloom. Horticulturists keen on seeing such a rare event must be extraordinarily patient, carefully tending to these delicate plants in preparation for the day when they finally open up and reveal their full potential. Luckily Porschephiles have only had to wait three or four years for the Rennsport Reunion.
Originally taking place at Lime Rock in 2001, the Rennsport Reunion eventually found its way to the easily recognizable blacktop of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This world-famous venue is the perfect place for such an event – its 11 turns and 2.24 miles are steeped in history, providing just the right backdrop for a rare collection of race and street cars to get out and stretch their collective legs.
This two-minute video explores what drives enthusiasts to this event. For some, it’s a chance to put these competition-ready vehicles back into their element, wringing out every tenth and doing what they do best. Some come for the opportunity to get close to cars they’ve only dreamed about; the fantasy made real in metal. For others, it’s a chance to recall forgotten memories and catch up with old friends over the familiar burble of an engine note from years ago.
No matter the reason, the Rennsport Reunion is a special event filled with special cars, and this video is an attempt at capturing some of that magic.
The Race of Gentlemen might not be a racing event you’ve heard about given its young age, but it certainly doesn’t lack history. Taking place on the sands of Wildwood, New Jersey, folks come from across the country to compete in a drag race in custom-built racecars and motorcycles that date back to the first half of the 20th century.
Established in 2012 by the Oilers Car Club – a group steeped in just as much history – the race features cars no newer than 1935 and motorcycles no newer than 1948. Even the parts allowed on competing cars are capped at 1953, giving the growing event a very eclectic and period-correct feel. Think of it like a modern day version of a Bonneville Salt Flat race.
Despite the modern times, no woman has ever competed in a TROG race – until now. Set to race in this October is gearhead Jessi Combs. Her records speak volumes about her mindset and passion in the automotive world. She’s the fastest woman recorded on four wheels, accomplished TV show host, and graduate of WyoTech’s collision and Refinishing Core Program. Jessi will lead an all-women’s team sponsored by Craftsman at this year’s TROG. Their vehicle of choice is a Ford Model T that takes inspiration from the famed Ford 999 racer.
Best of all, Craftsman giving away two tickets for TROG, including travel and accommodations, for this year’s event taking place October 2-4, 2015. The winner and his friend will get a ride in the Craftsman racer, along with time in the pits with Jessi and the Craftsman Crew, including dinner and a professional photo for posterity. In order to win, you’ve got to join the Craftsman Club (here) where members can enter daily to win (here).