In a Rolling Stone article a few years ago, seminal guitar player Jeff Beck said he almost quit playing guitar to go to work building hot rods at Roy Brizio’s South San Francisco shop. There is almost a cult to the building of cars from Roy Brizio Street Rods. Roy’s been one of the most prolific builders of hot rods ever. In the 40 years he has been in the building business, he’s become the king of the 1932 Ford, but he’s built a lot more than just Deuces. His upbringing with father, Andy, a central figure in the Bay Area’s drag-racing culture, gave young Roy ample time and plenty of examples to educate him in the intricacies of building cars from scratch. With Fremont Drag Strip being where nostalgia drag racing came to be in the early 1980s, it was a perfect time to be Roy and to be building cars in close proximity to the action, which accelerated his prominence and building chops. Since then his output of hot rods has increased, no doubt aided from the … [Read more...] about Hot Rod Builder Roy Brizio Tells Us How to Build For 40 Years
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There are 648 scissor lifts – cherry pickers, access platforms, call ’em what you will – at the new Jaguar Land Rover factory in Nitra, Slovakia. Not ‘about 650’, not ‘more than 600’, or – God forbid – ‘647’, because that would, logistically, be one too few. No. There are 648. Precisely. This place is overwhelming. To me, anyway. Perhaps not you. Maybe you build car factories for a living. But to me, it’s bewildering. As I write, there are 4000 people working through the Slovakian summer, making a new factory on a site that was, this time last year, flat ground. It’s overwhelming because it’s a car plant. I’ve seen those before, and very impressive they are too, but, not to put too fine a point on it, once they’re up, they do the same thing every day. You put in some metal and plastic at one end and, although mechanical and electronic wizardry occurs along the way, you get an appropriate and … [Read more...] about Driving the Land Rover Discovery to JLR’s new Slovakian plant
In a vote of confidence for its slew of reforms in the areas of taxation, licensing, investor protection and bankruptcy resolution, among others, India has jumped 30 places to rank 100th in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking. This is the first time that India has broken into Top 100 nations list and the only large country this year to have achieved such a significant shift. In its annual report ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’, the World Bank has said that India's ranking reflects nearly half of the 37 reforms, adopted since 2003, implemented in the past four years. The ranking, however, does not take into account business environment after implementation of GST from July 1, which converted the country into one market with one tax and removed inter-state barriers for trade. India, which was ranked 130th among the 190 nations, is "one of the top 10 improvers in this years assessment, having implemented reforms in 8 out of 10 doing … [Read more...] about India catapults 30 ranks to 100th position in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report
NB The photos are high-res and will take some time to render What gives a car company its soul? Questions that obviously Carlos Ghosn thought long and hard about when he took over the helm at Nissan at the end of the last millennium.One of the first things that he did was to sanction the resurrection of a design icon, a key player in Nissan’s product line up – the Z car. Marketed as the Fairlady Z in Japan, but known as the Z elsewhere in the world, the car had evolved since its 1969 debut as the 240Z, through numerous incarnations each involving an increase in engine displacement. So the car that most of you will be familiar with is the 3.5-litre variant Nissan 350Z, developed with the sanction of the new CEO back in 2000 to bring the soul back to Nissan and create a buzz in the automotive market.The Z car had built a strong following in the US, bringing affordable sports cars to the masses in the 1970s and offering dependability, style and fun motoring at the … [Read more...] about Nissan 370Z to Spa on a fan’s pilgrimage
GM has bowed to political pressure, deciding that it won’t use taxpayer money to import compact vehicles from China. Instead, Aveo II (a.k.a. the Chevy Viva) will be built at one of three existing GM plants. (Hello, DOE retooling loans!) Up for the contract are Michigan’s Orion Township, Tennessee’s Spring Hill and Wisconsin’s Janesville assembly plants, and GM’s Troy Clarke is meeting with workers and unions from the three locales in order to determine the best site for Viva production. Oh, did I say workers and unions? I meant congressional delegations. Because, in the post Barney Frank-gate environment, “(GM’s choice is) going to be based on pure business decision,” according to Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI). Would Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) like to clarify? “We’ve been in the front line of pain and we very much believe that one of the factors that should be taken into account is the impact of other decisions,” Levin tells … [Read more...] about Ask the Best and Brightest: Which Congressional Delegation Will Build the New GM Compact?
Detroit’s financial predicament today rests squarely on the shoulders of its executive leadership going back nearly four decades. The American auto industry failed mostly in its will to succeed in a changing business environment marked by the entrance of new competition, adoption of new technologies, and demands for greater fuel efficiency. Had Detroit taken those actions necessary to be leaders, rather than laggards, its overall situation of falling market share, reputation for poor quality (in comparison to certain foreign competitors like Toyota and Honda mostly), and weakening financials might have been avoided.The automotive industry undergoes significant changes as measured over any ten year period. Each decade since the beginning of the automotive era starting in 1900 has witnessed rapid and unpredictable volatility due to market forces, economics, new technology, and more recently, vehicle production economics and global competition. This has tested the ability of … [Read more...] about Editorial: Does Detroit Have The Will To Succeed?
Elio Motors is one of those automotive startups that raises all sorts of flags that makes some people think that it’s a scam, or at least on shaky financial ground. Almost every bit of news from Elio has been greeted with some skepticism, understandably (here, here, and here). They’re planning on selling a three wheel vehicle with a composite body that gets amazing gas mileage. Those facts alone remind people of the Dale scam, and the failed Aptera venture. Also, they’re taking deposits on a vehicle whose design has not been finalized, a year away from production, and that evokes memories of Preston Tucker, who had his own problems. Then there’s the financing plan that Elio says will allow people currently driving beaters, the working poor if you will, to get a new car with a warranty just for what they’re currently paying for gasoline. When you buy the $6,800 tandem two seater reverse trike, whatever balance there is after your trade-in and/or deposit is … [Read more...] about Elio Motors – It Just Might Be For Real, So to Check it Out, TTAC Rolls Consumer Reports Style and Puts Skin in the Game
Carroll Shelby wasn’t the first person who thought of putting a powerful American engine in a British sports car. Sydney Allard did it more than a decade before Shelby made his first Ford powered A.C.E. and called it a Cobra. As a matter of fact, Shelby raced an Allard J2 in the early 1950s. So did Zora Arkus Duntov, whose ARDUN heads were equipped on the flathead Ford V8s that Allard fitted to UK domestic market J2s. Allard’s American customers generally preferred to buy cars without engines so their could fit their choice of high compression OHV V8s that were proliferating in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The most popular engine was the 331 cubic inch Cadillac V8, introduced in 1949. Actually Allard wasn’t the only British manufacturer with the idea of using American muscle in his performance cars. Donald Healey also wanted to use Cadillac engines in his sports cars and traveled to Detroit to buy them. A chance encounter while shipboard with a large man … [Read more...] about Stereo Realists: Donald Healey, George Mason and How the 3D Craze Led to the Nash-Healey
our 24 Hours of LeMons coverage should be familiar with the harrowing, yearlong tale of the worst car in LeMons racing history (and, perhaps, in human history). Short version, this 1986 Plymouth Reliant-K station wagon crisscrossed the continent in 2013, racking up more than 26,000 road miles, 4678 race miles, and killing eight engines plus the sanity of dozens of racers during the course of the year. The slong tory? Well, that follows.The final, and most punitive, chapter of this saga was the Reliant’s drive from Denver to San Francisco in December, a nightmarish trudge across five states during freakishly cold weather. A 1978 Checker Marathon race car accompanied the K-car, and I decided to join the caravan with a station wagon so advanced— especially compared to Iacocca’s Plymouth— that it appeared to have come from a superior extraterrestrial civilization: the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model 4MATIC Wagon. (Read our full test here—Ed.) The contrast … [Read more...] about The Long, Sordid Tale of Our Road Trip Through Frozen Hell with the Best and Worst Station Wagons in the World
“You wanna roll up to this thing with Magnus tomorrow?”It’s amazing how many times I’m just minding my business, living my best life, and I run into my old friend Matt Farah. In this case, we happened to both be in Miami at the same time for work. My work, of course, being of the cubicle-dwelling, advertising-selling variety, and his being of the driving-an-Aventador S-around-Wynwood-slowly-in-front-of-cameras variety. Naturally, I insisted that we meet up at the most Miami place I could think up, Lagniappe, for some wine, jazz, and excellent company on a Tuesday night.Turns out that Matt’s good friend and occasional TTAC subject, Magnus Walker, was doing a book signing the following evening at Parkhaus1, a veritable institution in the Porsche community. I normally despise this sort of thing. I’m not a particularly social person to start with, and while I had never made the acquaintance of Mr. Walker and I assumed he was a pleasant and genial … [Read more...] about Rental Car Review: 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera or, I Rented a Porsche to Meet Magnus Walker and I Didn’t Even Get a Lousy T-shirt