Even if you’re not a fan of classic cars and pre-war racers, I dare you to watch the video below and not come away wanting to drive Jay Leno’s Bugatti Type 51. I’m in agreement that the car’s supercharged, 2.3-liter straight eight engine is one of the best sounding mills ever created, and the direct mechanical connection between car and driver is strangely appealing. Value of the car aside, you’re not going to be texting behind the wheel of a Bugatti Type 51, since keeping the car running will demand your full-time attention. Read More…
Back in the late 1950′s the United States was seeing a upturn in the economy. The post war period had seen strong economic growth and because of this housing, electronics and yes, even the automobile manufacturers were all back producing at capacity. Back then there was a renewed source of optimism amongst manufacturers and nowhere was that greater seen then in the auto industry. Chrysler was always pushing the limits of engineering, but in 1963 they took things a little bit further then everyone else by developing a turbine driven car that was slated to be sold as a mass production automobile. Initially Chrysler built a fleet of these machines and put them in the hands of select individuals as a marketing strategy / test fleet. They had the owners write logs, monitor performance and gauge the cars overall reliability.
Some of you may laugh, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Pontiac Trans Am is an icon of American pop culture. From its humble beginnings as a Trans Am series race car, to its starring role in Smokey and the Bandit, the Pontiac Trans Am is the stuff that childhood dreams are made of. Over the years the Trans Am went through a bunch of different changes. In the late 1960′s it was released as Pontiac’s answer to the then new, Chevrolet Camaro. Then in the early 1970′s it evolved into a full blown stump pulling muscle car, with models like the 455-SD Trans Am and Formula 400. By the time the 1980′s came around though, the Trans Am was slow and running on borrowed time. Designers tried everything to keep the public interested, but alas, in 1981 the beloved second generation Trans Am took its final bow and called it quits.
Ever notice how over the years racing has changed. It used to be that cars were pretty evenly matched and that a race was decided more by the drivers skill than by what lay under the hood. Today’s cars are so advanced and have so many drivers aids that one wonders when the cars will simply eject the drivers and run themselves. Back in the day however there was a race over in the UK called the BBC Rally Sprint. Think of it as the Race of Champions, but instead of having it in a stadium, it was held on a real racetrack with the worst cars imaginable. The BBC Rally Sprint race took four Grand Prix drivers and pitted them against four Rally drivers in 1600cc, 110 hp Rovers in a 10 lap sprint race around Donington Park Circuit. This particular race took place in 1983 and included such race legends as Nigel Mansell, Danny Sullivan, Stig Blomqvist and Jim McRae. This video is about 10 minutes long, but trust me when I tell you that it’s some of the best racing you’re ever likely to see.
They made more than eight million in 28 countries and during its 31-year production run it remained essentially unchanged. It’s the Renault R4, a funky little cockroach of a car that’s loved the world over, from the steamy jungles of Colombia to the arid plains of Africa. And this year it turns 50. Bon anniversaire, R4.
Automobiles are safer now than in any other time in history. Built in roll cages, crash boxes and crumple zones as well as airbags and all manner of safety restraint systems are in place to keep occupants safe from harm. In the early days speed ruled the roost and driver safety was more of an afterthought than anything else. Racers would run flat-out at speeds upwards of 100 mph in some of the most archaic machines ever made, all in the quest for victory. There were no seat belts, fire retardant suits or helmets for drivers to wear and because of this being a race car driver was one of the most lethal sporting events one could partake in. The above video shows us just how the pioneers of motor sports won, lost and sometimes even died. Be warned, some of the images are graphic, but once you see them I think you’ll be amazed at how far we’ve come in terms of the technological advancements that have been made to the automobile over the last 100 years.
Watch this video, and then ponder the following question: would you be willing to drive this Hemi-powered Ford five window coupe from Dallas, Texas, to Tacoma, Washington, and back again? Before you answer, understand that this rod is the real deal, and has no air conditioning, cruise control, sound deadening or stereo. It would be just you, a big-ass thirsty motor, the occasional mechanical breakdown and lots of earplugs. Are you in or are you out?
Never in a million years did I think that Russia had rednecks, apparently though, I was wrong. What you are seeing here are a bunch of old 3.5 ton, solid front axle ZIL work and military trucks that have been manufactured in Russia for over 75 years. Now retired, these trucks have gotten a second life and are now in contention for the “ZIL-2000″ Trophy. These guys are hammering so hard that they’re actually getting all four wheels off the ground and in some cases blasting the tires off the friggin’ things. What I find amazing is that these guys are really racing balls out, bumping and grinding fenders in what looks to be a no-holds-barred race for the checkered flag. These guys are not only awesome but look as though they’re having one helluva lot of fun.
When I was a kid the only thing I ever wanted to do was play with cars. I had loads of Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels and would do anything and everything in order to grow my collection. I raced them inside and outside, played with them in the dirt, ran them through water and even put a few in my Dad’s old vice to crush them up when it was demolition derby day. For me cars were a way of life and no matter how crappy my day was, these little buggers always seemed to bail me out of a bad mood. Now at 38 years old many things in my life have changed. For one thing I’m about 200 lbs heavier than the kid who used to run his toy cars around his grandmothers kitchen, I also have a bit less hair and more responsibility. The cars however haven’t changed and because of this I can still feel like I’m six years old again any time I wish.
Enter now the 24 Hours of LeMons, the race for the six year old that lurks inside of every full grown man. Racers come from all over the region in cars that are literally held together with zip ties and duct tape. This past weekend I had the opportunity to compete in my 2nd LeMons event up at Stafford Motor Speedway with some of the best individuals that one could have the privilege of knowing.
We here at RideLust love Jay Leno’s Garage, and wish we had him for a neighbor. Really, how cool would that be to pop over and borrow whatever tool you’d ever need, or ask to take his latest toy for a quick spin through the neighborhood? Jay’s latest video has him explaining and driving his 1916 Autocar coal delivery truck, not something you see on the roads every day.