Todd Lemire

Sun Dec 01 2013 22:47:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Bonhams sells Ecurie Ecosse collection for £8.8m in London December 1, 2013
Bonhams enjoyed a successful inaugural sale at its new London headquarters, with the headlining Ecurie Ecosse collection - comprising a liveried Commer transporter and seven important racing cars - selling for £8.8million...
Amid a packed auction room, an American buyer became the envy of all having spent not only £1.8m on the two-stoke Commer Transporter, but also a further £5.5m on a pair of accompanying Jaguars: a 1952 C-type (£2.9m) and a 1956 'Shortnose' D-type (£2.6m). The battle for the three-car carrier proved particularly intense, with a telephone bidding war lasting almost 20 minutes before Robert Brooks dropped the hammer at a record price for a historic commerical vehicle. Also decorated in the iconic blue-and-white livery and selling well was the collection's Jaguar XK120 Roadster.

Todd Lemire

Sun Dec 01 2013 22:49:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

A publicist for actor Paul Walker says the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series has died in a car crash north of Los Angeles. He was 40.

t said deputies found a car engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision. Two people found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.

Images showed the burned-out wreckage of a red Porsche by the side of the road.

"It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organisation Reach Out Worldwide," the statement on the actor's Facebook page said.

"He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.''

Universal Pictures also issued a statement, saying studio staff were "heartbroken" by Walker's death.

"Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the Fast & Furious films, and to countless fans.

"We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family."

Walker played undercover agent Brian O'Conner in the Fast & Furious movies.

The first film of the franchise was released in 2001 and the seventh is in development.

Walker was one of the leading protagonists, along with Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.

Diesel said in a post on Instagram: "Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace."

Todd Lemire

Sun Dec 01 2013 22:50:45 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Paul Walker death scene.

Todd Lemire

Sat Sep 21 2013 02:36:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Inasmuch as the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is all new, you’d be excused if you didn’t quite know how to pack for your first road trip in one. Tip: you might want to sneak something along the lines of a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo slip-on driving shoes into your travel bag alongside the trusty old Danner Crater Rim GTX hiking boots. Sure, being a Jeep, you can expect 4WD versions to perambulate bad roads and worse weather in stride, and should you purposefully exit the pavement (particularly in the lifted and off-road-tech-gifted Trailhawk—see our first drive) to tackle steep ascents, descents, and seriously scary two-tracks without reaching for the winch and tow straps, you’ll still be in business.

But the front-drive Cherokee is a whole new deal for 2014, even with the base 2.4-liter Tigershark Multiair2 four-cylinder. Built upon Fiat’s modular CUS Wide platform, it drives way smaller than the boxy, upright Liberty that it supplants in Jeep’s lineup. The 2014 Cherokee feels planted on-road, more carlike than trucklike, with crisp steering, well-damped body motions, little or no roll in corners, and pinpoint braking control. The structure is solid, with no creaks or groans, even over seriously uneven terrain. Think engaging, balanced sports wagon rather than lumbering, bobblehead sport-utility. It’s light on its feet like no Cherokee/Liberty before it, despite its 3600-plus pounds of mass.

So Many Speeds, So Little Shifting

While a featherweight compared to the old Liberty, the new Cherokee still hits the scales a few hundred pounds harder than top-selling competitors such as the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Toyota RAV4. So even though the Cherokee four-holer’s 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque are commensurate with the output and oomph of the CR-V, RAV4, and naturally aspirated Escape four-cylinders, power to weight suffers a bit. Jeep’s all-new ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission—standard equipment and a segment first—addresses the power-to-weight deficit versus the competition with a fusillade of ratio scenarios (9.81:1 ratio spread) to meet the requests of the driver’s right foot. Not only is the ZF ’box quick to find the best available ratio for any given road load, vehicle speed, or throttle position, it easily skips past ratios it doesn’t want.

Todd Lemire

Tue Sep 17 2013 15:52:58 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

One of the most charismatic of all the great pre-war Grand Prix racing cars - the ex-Tazio Nuvolari 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo C 8C-35 '50013' - Scuderia Ferrari Nr '65' sold for $9,321,875 at Bonhams Goodwood Revival Meeting September 14, creating a new world record for an Alfa Romeo sold at auction.

The previous record for this marque was $6,710,000 for a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8-cylinder Monza 2300 sold at Gooding's 2010 Pebble Beach sale.

Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale saw the iconic 330-horsepower supercharged Alfa Romeo Grand Prix car make history yet again at the scene of its best-remembered post-war exploits, Goodwood. Now '50013's pre-war record as a truly classic, race-winning Alfa Romeo, campaigned by that most revered of motor racing figures, Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari, has a new laurel — a world record price.

This follows hot on the heels of the sale of the F1 Mercedes driven to victory by Juan Manual Fangio in 1954/55 which Bonhams sold at Goodwood Festival of Speed in July this year for $29.5m (the highest price for any car sold at auction). Combined with today's result, Bonhams 2013 Goodwood sales have achieved nearly $78.5m.

Today's result means Bonhams now hold world records for the following 11 marques at auction: Alfa Romeo ($9,321,875,) Aston Martin ($4,939,193), Bentley ($7,867,190), Jaguar ($4,957,000), Lagonda ($2,091,275), Lotus ($998,524), Maserati (6,069,605), Mercedes-Benz ($29,496,308), Rolls-Royce ($7,342,867) and Talbot-Lago ($4,847,000.)

James Knight, Bonhams International Managing Director Collectors Motor Cars, said after the sale: "Once again Bonhams has been privileged to offer a world-beating motorcar and help it to achieve a world-beating price. Selling something like this, one is aware that history is a guest at the auction, due to the car's past, its performance today, and what all automotive enthusiasts will say about the car in the future. It is more than a car for all of us who are passionate about cars."

The 1935 supercharged Alfa Romeo 8C-35 was campaigned as new by Alfa's proxy factory team, the celebrated Scuderia Ferrari – including the legendary Tazio Nuvolari, one of the greatest racing drivers of all time.

Nuvolari, then already 43 years old, was renowned for his utterly fearless and totally committed approach to racing. He is often credited with developing the power-drift driving style, and as star of the Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo team he led Italian racing's rearguard action against the state-backed German 'Silver Arrow' cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union.


Another world record was made at this sale for a standard road-going E-Type Jaguar with a 1961 E-Type 3.8 Series 1 flat floor roadster going for $354,035. It was owned by one family since 1963.

An ex-Works, Irish Tourist Trophy, Brooklands 'Double-Twelve, George Field, Dudley Froy 1931 Invicta 4.5-liter S-Type 'Low Chassis' Sports with coachwork by Cadogan sold for $1,496,995.

A 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV Coupe with coachwork by Carozzeria Bertone, a car delivered new to Rod Stewart, one of just seven right hand drive examples went for $1,444,243.

A 1961 Ferrari 250GT Series II Cabriolet with coachwork by Pininfarina, in need of restoration. It had been in the same family for 40 years, and was sold for $1,110,147.

*Exchange rate used: 1.57 USD = 1 GBP

Todd Lemire

Sun Jul 28 2013 14:42:22 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Todd Lemire

Sun Jul 28 2013 15:35:28 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The sad fate of the Vh1 Corvette Collection. These 36 Corvette, from 1953 to 1988, were given away in a national contest to one lucky winner. The collection ended up in the hands of artist Peter Max and despite many offers to care for, repair or even restore these classics, Mr. Max continues to refuse and allows the cars to continue to deteriorate. Simply sad.

Todd Lemire

Fri Jul 12 2013 13:09:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Philip Caldwell, father of the groundbreaking 1986 Taurus has died. He was 93.

In 1979 Caldwell became Ford Motor Co.’s first chief executive officer who wasn’t a member of the founder’s family.

Caldwell died Wednesday at his Connecticut home, according to his family, who confirmed the death through the automaker. His death followed complications from a stroke.

“Philip Caldwell had a remarkable impact at Ford Motor Co. over a span of more than 30 years,” Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford, said in a statement. “Serving as CEO and later as chairman of the board of directors, he helped guide the company through a difficult turnaround in the 1980s and drove the introductions of ground-breaking products around the globe.”

Caldwell succeeded Henry Ford II, grandson of founder Henry Ford. Caldwell became chairman of the board a year later.

He worked in many departments during his early days at Ford, including purchasing, engineering, product planning and manufacturing.

Caldwell was picked as vice president of Ford and general manager of truck operations for North America in 1968. In 1973 he was named head of Ford’s international operations, responsible for everything outside the U.S. and Canada.

Among his accomplishments were creation of the Fiesta small car in 1976, turning around Ford’s balance sheet after a stretch of billion-dollar losses in the early 1980s and helping mitigate the fallout from gas tank fires in the Ford Pinto.

Under his watch, Ford introduced the “Quality is Job 1” mantra that led to a series of television commercials showing factory workers instituting ways to improve quality.

Caldwell also envisioned three decades ago many of the electronics that are available in vehicles today, including voice recognition, satellite navigation and braking-assist.

Former Ford and GM executive Bob Lutz recounts Caldwell’s career in his book, “Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership.” When Ford executives told Caldwell his obsession with quality was expensive, Caldwell said: “We may go out of business. I hope we don’t but if we do, I want people to say, ‘What a shame? They were building the best cars and trucks in the world. ’”

Caldwell pushed European-influenced designs in Ford’s U.S. vehicles, especially the Ford Taurus.

Caldwell retired from the company in 1985, and from the board of directors in 1990.

Following his retirement, he became senior managing director of Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc.

Caldwell is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betsey; and three children, Lawrence, Lucy and Désirée.

Karl Henkel and David Shepardson
The Detroit News:

Todd Lemire

Sat Jun 29 2013 00:25:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Recent barn find Aston Martin DB5. Borrani knock offs would suggest Borrani wheels, definitely non-standard but anything was possible from Newport Pagnell

Todd Lemire

Sun Jun 23 2013 13:52:13 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

I couldn't resist grabbing the full story about this 1963 Corvette discovery from Chris DeLapp as posted on Facebook... Read on, it's fascinating...

If this story is too lengthy I apologize but a friend suggested it was worth telling to you folks.
Back in 1966 the first week my uncle Greg returned from Vietnam (infantry radio operator) he bought a 1963 split window numbers matching corvette. He wrecked it the first week he had it, had it repaired and wrecked it two more times over the next 3 years, having it fixed each time. In 1969 he tired of the corvette and sold it to a friend of his. The car lived in Mauston, WI for a few more years until the owner relocated and took the corvette with him. I was born in 1972 and growing up I remember my dad and my uncles talking about that car and regretting ever selling it. Hindsight is 20/20. I recall seeing pictures of the car as it was candy apple red. Sweet car. For the next 41 years all we had were stories and a few pictures.

Well over the past 10 years I have developed a passion for 1960's Allis Chalmers garden tractors. About 2 weeks ago I posted a wanted ad on Craig's list and got a call from an older guy who said he was retired and selling off his stuff so he can move out of state. I went down to his place in Stoughton, WI and we made a deal on a few parts. Starting talking and found out he was from Mauston, WI and new my dad, uncle Greg and uncle Jeff. He was good buddies with uncle Greg. Once that common thread was discovered and we figured who knew who he made the unforgettable comment; "I have your uncle Greg's corvette in the garage". Needless to say I was dumbfounded. I asked if I could see it and of course he said yes.

We talked about the stories I had heard and he confirmed them and he went on to explain that after he left Mauston, WI with the corvette he opened his own body shop and had recently retired and hand not had time to finish restoring the corvette.

When we walked into the garage the corvette body sat in primer on stands with the frame fully complete and ready for the body. It was awesome to see the corvette and could only wish my deceased uncle Greg could have seen the car. It sent shivers down my spine. I called my dad and uncle Jeff and they couldn't believe I had found the car all because of some old garden tractors.

My uncle Jeff is a car guy, restored Charger and a restored Challenger T/A, I can only hope he goes after the corvette.

Here is a picture of the car as it sat in the garage, sorry don't have any original photos. I know it isn't abandoned or neglected but to me sure makes a cool story.

Todd Lemire

Sun Jun 23 2013 17:07:35 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

For at least four decades, Steve McCain has had a one-track mind for Corvettes. He decided early on that Chevrolet’s fiberglass sports car was just his style, and he bought his first one—a 1965 model—while still in high school. While most of us would have been more than thrilled to impress our friends in the school parking lot with a (then) late-model Vette, McCain discovered his true automotive love.
“Back then, everyone who owned a Corvette automatically got a subscription to Corvette News,” McCain said. “In one of those issues, they did a search for the oldest 1953 Corvette in existence. I thought the car looked really neat and decided I wanted one.”
McCain lives in Summerfield, North Carolina, and the fifty five-year-old collector put the word out among his car friends in the nearby Greensboro area. He got a lead on a 1954 Corvette that was sitting behind a house, but the owner wouldn’t sell. “I was excited, but he wouldn’t sell; he was saving it for his son,” he said.
The 1953 and 1954 Corvettes were virtually identical cars. Both were powered by the Blue Flame six-cylinder engine and were equipped with a two-speed automatic transmission. And most were painted white. Both are rare; only three hundred 1953 models were manufactured and 3,640 1954 Corvettes were built. In 1955, despite the optional V-8, only seven hundred Corvettes were built, because they were hard to sell.
“When Ford introduced the Thunderbird in 1955, nobody wanted to buy a Corvette,” McCain said. “They were actually getting ready to discontinue the Corvette model.”
More than thirty years ago, McCain had unearthed another lead. “My friend Larry Melvin told me about a Corvette in Lexington, North Carolina.” He drove about an hour to see the car. It belonged to the brother of the owner of The Corvette Center, a specialty shop in Lexington. The ’55 was parked behind the owner’s parents’ home nearby.

“The car was in pretty sad shape,” McCain said. “My friend Bill Hampton went with me to check its credentials. “I was told that on 1955 Corvettes, the serial number was on the steering column, but it wasn’t,” McCain said. “The owner didn’t know either, and just walked away.
“We finally found the VIN tag on the driver’s side doorjamb. Imagine our surprise when we saw the numbers.”

The VIN read VE55S001001, which translates thusly:
V: V-8 Engine.
E: Corvette Series.
55: Model year.
S: St. Louis plant, where the car was produced.
001: All 1953–1955 Corvettes had the 001 designation.
001: The first car off the production line.
“I had always heard that Smokey Yunick got the first five Corvettes off the assembly line, but I guess not,” he said.
McCain paid $500 for the car in 1970 and feels he got a pretty good deal.
Two years later, McCain heard of another early Corvette that was available, another 1955, for $1,000. “It was in a junkyard in Wilkesboro [North Carolina], and was also in pretty sad shape,” he said. “It had a big headrest that was molded into the rear trunk, holes in the frame, and holes where a small windscreen had been mounted. But it was a thousand dollars, and I just thought it was a botched up car, and I didn’t want another ’55, so I didn’t buy it.”
To this day, McCain regrets this decision because eventually he found out the Corvette was built by Zora Arkus-Duntov, and he had used it extensively at GM’s Arizona test track. McCain was hardly left empty-handed, though; he still had car number 001. The restoration of the first 1955 Corvette took four years. In 1976, he sold it for $10,000 to a collector who also had the first 1956 and the first 1957 Corvettes ever built.
Does he regret selling number 001? Sure, but McCain has owned many Vettes in his life, including one 1953, four 1954s, and the one 1955.
“If I still owned this car today, I think it would be more historically significant than the last 1967 big block, which got so much attention going into the [2007] Barrett-Jackson auction—and that was bid to more than six hundred thousand dollars,” he said. “But these older cars just aren’t as popular, so I’d say it would probably be worth two hundred thousand dollars.”
An interesting side note, and a lesson on keeping in touch with people who own a car you’d like to acquire: Remember that first 1955 Corvette that McCain discovered behind a house in Lexington, but the guy was saving it for his son? Well in 1989, McCain received a call from the son who was looking to purchase his first home and wanted to sell the Corvette. He sold the car to McCain for $8,000. McCain used it as a parts car for a customized 1953 Vette he was restoring as a full custom (canted headlights, etc.).

That’s not the end of the story yet. After the custom was completed, McCain turned his parts car into a hot rod. He widened the body and installed a late-model LT-1 drivetrain with a 700H automatic transmission. Then he painted it dark blue with scallops.
The moral? Corvettes are never scrapped—they are recycled!


Todd Lemire

Thu Mar 21 2013 00:11:24 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

SAR to cease production of the 1933/34 three-window coupe bodies...
I have some very disappointing news to reveal. The 33/34 3 Window Coupe project will be postponed indefinitely as the present economy will not support the program any longer. This is a shame as I feel that we brought out the highest quality reproduction steel body in the market, but timing with the decline in the economy has doomed its success. The front and rear fender project will be cancelled as well.
I tried my best to keep the project alive but rising production costs and declining sales were just too big of an obstacle to overcome. I apologize to all of you who have been on our waiting list and I sincerely appreciate your patience. I am as disappointed with this news as you may be. We will still manufacture other 33/34 parts such as deck lids, patch panels, etc. You can watch our website store for the availability of these parts.

Todd Lemire

Sat Jan 19 2013 01:35:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The festive season has spurred sales of automobiles in the Indian market. Sales grew by near 15% in October 2012 over October 2011, said Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) reported that the cumulative production data for April-October 2012 indicates production growth of only 4.12% over same period last year. The industry produced 1,829,490 vehicles in October 2012 as against 1,596,500 in October 2011, which grew by around 15 percent. Although the overall growth in domestic sales during April-October 2012 was 5.26% over the same period last year, buoyant consumers pushed sales during the period, SIAM reported.

Passenger vehicles segment grew near 11% during April-October 2012 over same period last year. Passenger cars grew near 3% and utility vehicles grew over 60% during April-October 2012 as compared to same period last year. However, in October 2012 passenger car sales grew over 23% over October 2011. Total passenger vehicles sales grew over 33% in October 2012 over same month last year.

The overall commercial vehicles segment registered growth of 4.26% in April-October 2012 as compared to the same period last year. While Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicles (M&HCVs) registered negative growth at (-13.99) percent, Light Commercial Vehicles grew at 18.19 percent, SIAM said. During April-October 2012 automobile exports fell near 5% compared to the same period last year.

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