A case for strange cars

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Michael’s writing can also be found at vLane.com, an extensive automotive community site.

You can keep your Audi R8 V10, and your Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. Post photos of a wrecked Ferrari F430 and I won’t shed a tear, ditto for videos of a BMW M3 getting its undercarriage smoothed over. The only muscle car I’d buy from Barrett-Jackson is a Hemi Cuda Convertible … and afterward I’d place a brick on the accelerator pedal so it floors right into the closest immovable object.

I don’t hate horsepower, excess, or innovation: it’s just that the bar for innovation is so low that today’s hot cars are judged on numbers and marketing, not merit.

Aside: I bet very few Gallardo Superleggera owners know the term “Superleggera” — super light — was coined by Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring. The first car they penned? The Alfa Romeo 8C. The last? The Jensen Interceptor.

To find truly interesting production cars, you have to do a little digging — but nearly every manufacturer has a few.
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V like Vintage: An amazing collection of photos taken before 1970

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Regular readers know that I’m a sucker for great photography, even more so when it captures great moments in automotive history. While catching up on friend of The Garage, Philip Powell over at Classical Drives I was beyond excited to find his review of V like Vintage. This wonderful site is a social network for photography buffs much like Flickr but with a difference. The site is open to photos taken before 1970 and the focus seems to be on things that move us like planes, boats, cars and of course you can’t forget about the vintage Pin Up girls.

Rather than just showing the old pro images that we’ve all seen before, the work of amateurs is strongly encouraged, meaning that we get to see photos through the eyes of regular people. At this point, there is a strong presence of German history, from family portraits to the Nurburgring. There are shots taken from a German Mineboat and incredible sidecar racing images. Watch the new photos page and you’ll see the images from around the world are rapidly appearing.

V like Vintage might be destined to become one of the most historically significant social networks on the web.

The photo above of Graham Hill was taken at Zandvoort in 1970 and was taken by Werner Horn.

Pat Richard wins the 2008 Rocky Mountain Rally in new Subaru Impreza STI

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There are few teams that can put together a race car and have a winner straight out of the box, but it looks like Pat Richard and Rocket Rally Racing would seem to have done just that. In fact, Richard beat out some pretty impressive competition, with the likes of Andrew Comrie-Picard, Antoine L’Estage, and Warren Currie in the field. The first gravel event of the season is known for throwing all sorts of stuff at competitors and 2008 was no different, with heavy rain and equally heavy mud.

Top Ten results after the break, along with a surprise video
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Carnival of Wheels: Edition #59

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Here we are in bright, sunny Ontario following yet another giant dump of snow. There is no less than a foot and a half of the white stuff out on the deck! Given that I smoked my shoulder yesterday, there will be no shoveling for me, that’s what 4×4 and snow tires are for. Instead I’m here to take you for a hot lap around the auto blogs, on time for a change! Grab a coffee and get ready for a big one folks!

First up this week we have Niharika from EcoTrekker who has an incredible list of suggestions on how to Hypermile. In other words, some strategies on how to improve your gas mileage. To be honest, I stopped reading after the suggestion (with a disclaimer) that drafting will improve your fuel consumption. Yes, it will decrease the fuel you use when you are dead under the back of a semi.
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Carnival of Wheels: Edition #58

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Well folks, I guess the two week cycle for the CoW is going to be more of a guideline, as I just can’t find the time to sit down and do this much reading in one sitting. I’ve got a couple of free hours this afternoon, so grab me yourself a cold one and let’s strap in and take a hot lap around the auto blogs.

First up, as we’ve done so many times, we have Brian from RaceDriven, who has a bunch of suggestions for the bigwigs at NASCAR. Hellooooo….anybody listening? Mr. V has some good ideas!
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It’s All Down Hill From Here

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There are so many means of transportation… cars, boats, trains, planes, bikes, motorcycles and many more. I have been asked many times why I love racing and cars so much but the truth is it’s easier to explain which means of transportation I hate the most.

Every driver has his or her own unique style of control and there are many variations but when it comes to getting off a toboggan I respectfuly consider myself an expert even though I have only done it once. Since the normal reaction is to stick your foot in the snow trying to stop the ankles are the first thing to go. That is about the time your ankles get shoved up into your pelvis making the overall length of my legs about four inches long. [Read more...]

Carnival of Wheels: Edition #36

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It’s hard to believe that summer has flown by so fast and is coming to an end. Here in The Garage, it’s been a whirlwind of races, road tests and running kids around to baseball. It looks like September will be more of the same, as we are heading to the Poconos for the IMPA Test Days at Pocono Raceway later this week. As a result, the CoW is going to take a week off next week while we spend a couple of days enjoying the scenery. Don’t worry though, we’ll still be posting lots of photos. For now, let’s strap in and take a hot lap around the automotive blogosphere.

First up, the NASCAR world has been all abuzz with rumours of a big move between manufacturers. The story goes that one of the big Chevy teams might cross over to the Toyota camp. Many pundits suggest that team might be Joe Gibbs Racing. That’s got Brian Vermette at RaceDriven wondering what Chevrolet is failing at. Let’s face it, the combo of JGR and Chevy is a winning one. What flaw could be so bad that Gibbs would consider switching brands?
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Carnival of Wheels: Edition #27

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Welcome to the Canada Day edition of the Carnival of Wheels! It’s been a busy couple of weeks in The Garage. We are in the middle of three weeks of track action and we’ve picked up a new to us SUV, so our work here in The Garage has been pretty self centered. Don’t worry though, our selfish posting will continue, as there are still tons of photos yet to be edited from the VARAC festival and next weekend is a double header. First we’ll have 2 days in the pits at the Steelback Grand Prix for Champ Cars and then on Sunday, Miss Shelby has her first race of the season. Elsewhere online, autobloggers have been busy churning out all manner of hot content, so sit down, strap in and get ready for a smoking hot lap of the blogosphere while you watch the French Grand Prix.

First up we’ve got another visit from Hello Kitty Hell, with a truly frightening tuner mod. This poor guy’s wife has actually installed this happy feline exhaust tip on their car! Be afraid, be very, very afraid.
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Canadian Motorsports Expo

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This weekend is the first ever Canadian Motorsports Expo, hosted by Glenn Butt who most enthusiasts know from his involvement with Mosport. With a many Canadian racing stars coming by for autograph sessions, it looked like a promising day, so I took a couple of the kids out for a walk around.

For the first year of the show, I think Glenn and friends did a great job putting together a nice gathering in a really great venue. While the show is still small, there was a bit of something for everyone. There were open wheelers, stock cars, race bikes, showroom stock sedans and even an off road race truck and buggy. The line up of racing stars is incredible, with names like Ron Fellows, Scott Maxwell, Pete Shepherd, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Shane Jantzi and even Chris Economaki.
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New Cars Movie Gallery

One of our readers favourite posts from the archives are the photos we took of Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera when they visited the NASCAR Speed Park at Vaughan Mills Mall. We’ve taken these pics and added them to a nice new gallery, rather than the old Flickr page. Enjoy.

Edit: With the new version of WordPress, we can now offer the gallery right here!