Big story concepts usually start with a simple “What if?” In this case, it went something like this: What if we drove the new Subaru BRZ on a 750-mile trek on some of the most amazing roads in the Land of the Rising Sun? And what the heck, we’ll throw in watching the BRZ contest a Super GT race and tour the plant where it’s built for good measure. Reams of data about the BRZ had already been downloaded into my cranium. Last summer, I participated in a prototype drive of Subaru‘s rear-drive coupe in the hills above L.A. Then late last year I drove the Scion FR-S — Toyota‘s Americanized version of the car it jointly developed with Subaru — at Japan’s Sodegaura Forest Raceway before it landed in the States. At the time, I was one of a handful of people in the world to have driven both iterations. The BRZ is a special car to me, as it’s the first one I’ve watched progress from drivable prototype to production car. But I … [Read more...] about Tracing Japan’s Best Roads in the Subaru BRZ
Best bodies in the world
Tracing the life of hot-rodding pioneer Ak Miller is sort of like watching a Speed Channel version of Forrest Gump. If something important happened in rodding history, Ak was there. Lakes racing? Yep, before World War II and as the SCTA’s first postwar president. Bonneville? He worked alongside Wally Parks and Bob Petersen to plan the first speed trials on the Salt in 1949. Drag racing? Ak was the NHRA’s first vice president when the association was formed in 1951. Street racing? Ak did his fair share in the day, often humbling flathead-powered iron with a sleeper Chevy roadster packing a Buick straight-eight. Road racing? HOT ROD made legendary his exploits in the Carrera Panamericana road races and on Pikes Peak. Factory performance? For 10 years, Ak worked for Ford as a performance consultant, touring the country with hot-car displays and doing the dirty-fingernail development work that stymied Dearborn engineers. The Gump analogy, though, falls short of giving you the … [Read more...] about Ak Miller History – The Best Hot Rodder in the World
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, held every March at a posh Ritz-Carlton resort just North of Jacksonville, Florida, presented 10 vintage Camaros this year, along with Bumblebee from the Transformers movies and a new Camaro Nürburgring test car, to celebrate the model’s 50th anniversary. Bill Warner, Amelia Island Founder and former Camaro Firehawk racer, said, “We could have filled the whole field with Camaros for this show. The Camaro was so versatile. They were a great high-performance platform, and they are still going strong.” If Ford’s Mustang hadn’t been a smash hit in 1964, there might never have been a Chevrolet Camaro. FoMoCo’s hot-selling ponycar beat the original 1967 Camaro into the market by a staggering 2 1/2 years. Acknowledging Ford had a better idea, Chevrolet reacted as quickly as GM could. After a crash development program, Chevy’s own long-nose, short-deck sporty coupes and convertibles hit the pavement … [Read more...] about 10 of the Best Camaros in the World Gather at 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance to Celebrate Camaro’s 50th Anniversary
This Grabber Blue 1970 Boss 429 is the one and only 1970 Boss 429 to date that has ever won an Authenticity Award in Mustang Club of America judging. That’s the major reason Rick Campbell wanted this car. He was after “the best of the best.” Campbell said, “I first saw the car about eight years ago. Billy Jay [Espich] was having a private show at a private airport.” (Readers might recall the feature we did on Espich’s 1969 Boss 302-powered prototype Shelby G.T. 350 fastback: mustang-360.com/featured-vehicles/mump-0803-1969-gt350-shelby-mustang. “Billy Jay told me, ‘Rick, wait until you see this Boss 429,’” Campbell added. Campbell helped the owner, Jim Cunningham, unload the pristine Boss 429 off its trailer and into his hangar. At the time he could see the Grabber Blue Boss was an unbelievable car, in his words, but he just wasn’t ready to buy such a highly restored Boss, even though he and his wife Peggy had been in … [Read more...] about The Best 1970 Boss 429 Mustang in the World
What is the best car in the world? About this time last year (15 September 2015) I wrote about it – or at least, the best car I’d ever driven – because ‘which car is the best?’ is a question people in this game get asked a lot. Not unreasonably. The thing is, people don’t usually want to know what the best car ever created actually is, and will start backing away from you gently if you get too involved in the details, because examination of ‘best’ is a geekfest of the highest order. How would you define, for example, what constitutes the best book ever written? The best meal ever cooked? The best house, beach, sportsperson, restaurant or politician? Books have been written about the subjects, yet questioners want an answer about cars distilled into a make and model. A notable one. Most of the time, people don’t want to know the details, the reckoning; they just want a headline hit. They’re searching for their … [Read more...] about Opinion: what is the best car in the world?
So the new BMW 3-series (specifically, the 320d Sport) is the Autocar road testers’ idea of a five-star car. Five stars is a very big deal around here. It’s the highest accolade our we-drive-everything testers can bestow on a car, and they are extremely careful not to spray it about. The last five-star verdict went to the Ferrari 458 Italia in 2010. Which suggests a comparison featuring the new BMW 320d Sport and three similarly priced rivals might be a bit of an anti-climax. How can a car with a near-perfect score fail to administer a brisk coup de grâce to anything else at the price? Well, easily, we believe. It’s a matter of priorities and emphases. The 320d may be the best and most economical diesel sports saloon going, but who’s to say the £30,000 buyer might not turn up a faster, roomier, better-equipped proposition that’s more appealing on the eye and better value for money? No reason at all, we reckon. So as a means of showing just how … [Read more...] about The best car in the (real) world
► Tour the world's greatest Bugatti collection ► Peter Mullin allows us into his rarefied world ► Forget monetary value, it's so much more Has there ever been a family quite like the Bugattis? Carlo, born in Milan in 1856, was a 19th century Leonardo Da Vinci, a multi-discipline virtuoso whose boundless imagination and creative fervour found form through hands of extraordinary skill. He designed and made fine furniture, he drew, he painted and he never stopped pushing himself.At 50 he became a silversmith against the advice of his peers, who pointed out that proficiency requires 30 years of practice. A year later Carlo was turning out award-winning pieces. Son Rembrandt’s sculptures captured the natural world’s wild beauty in incredible bronzes – lifeless cast metal given grace by his preternatural talent. And then there was Ettore, who understandably felt out-gunned at art school and strove instead, together with his son … [Read more...] about Step inside the world’s greatest Bugatti collection
I stumbled upon this car at the Packard Proving Grounds‘ fall open house.Of late I’ve been enamored of classic dual cowl phaetons. Forget Lamborghinis, if you want to make a statement, a dual cowl phaeton from the late 1920s or early 1930s is the definition of arriving in style. While getting some photos of a burgundy red Packard phaeton, I noticed that the classic behind the Packard was a Duesenberg, or rather it had a Duesenberg hood ornament. It turns out that it’s a one-off replica of a Duesenberg built for a man who owns a real Duesey.There are forgeries and then there are fakes. Owners of fine art paintings, oriental rugs and collectible precious jewelry will sometimes have replicas created for display purposes while the originals sit safely in a vault built to the satisfaction of insurance underwriters. Part of me asks what’s the point of owning something if you can’t enjoy it, but then do you really want your friends to be walking on a 17th century … [Read more...] about Faux Past: Duesenberg Murphy Roadster Replica by AAT – The World’s Most Elegant Econoline Van
Our friends over at Jalopnik ran a post on cars so important to you that you’d make a pilgrimage to see them. I really can’t quibble with the ten *cars that made their final cut, mostly because I’ve seen and photographed three of them myself, a Chrysler Turbine Car, the Gulf Oil liveried Ford GT40 that twice won at LeMans, and a Bugatti Royale. Now fortunately for me, my pilgrimage to see those cars didn’t involve crossing an ocean or getting on an airplane. It was more like getting on the Southfield freeway and driving 20 minutes to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearbon, Michigan. The museum is surely pilgrimage-worthy as it owns one of the eight extant Chrysler Turbines, one of the six Bugatti Royales that were made, and for a while the 1968-69 LeMans winner was in the museum’s Racing In America exhibit while the 1967 LeMans winning Ford Mk IV was being repaired. We recently looked at the Mk IV and not long ago featured the Gulf colored … [Read more...] about Bugatti Royale: The Most Magnificent Car In The World?
Yep, that’s my driveway. Based on my non-scientific observations and complete lack of research, I’m going to say I’m the only person in the world to have both a Ford Fiesta ST and a Ford Focus RS. Well, okay. I’m a person in the world who has a Fiesta ST and a Focus RS, which makes me uniquely qualified to compare the two.“Hold up,” you might be saying. “Who compares a car that stickers for just over $23,000 with a car that runs $43,000 plus additional dealer markup?” (And yes, I know that you can get FiSTs for under $20,000 now. We’ll get to that.)Well, it’s not as crazy of a comparo as you might think.In some ways, the comparison is unfair — to the Focus.The Fiesta ST might land in the highest fun-per-dollar quotient of any car ever made. It’s the E30 M3 and the MK II GTI wrapped into one. It’s impossible to overstate just how great it is to drive. In fact, up until I bought the … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: Ford Fiesta ST vs. Ford Focus RS in the World Series of Love