Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We can only guess what this Vespa has under its hood (or in its trunk), but it's probably something a little bigger than the 2-cylinder, 393cc that was originally installed at the factory in Fourchambault, France.
If you know any details about this "Hotrod Vespa," let us know.
Monday, April 28, 2008
With the growth of vintage racing, H-Mod has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Old cars are coming out of the woodwork and participating in events. (Such as the Reno event held in early 2007.) And information on the cars and the class is becoming more available on the internet. (Tam's Old Race Car Site has a series of pages on H-Mods, there is a Yahoo Group on H-Mods and Sports Racer Net has extensive listings of H-Mod chassis.)
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
From his garage in Upland, the proud father reconstructed the novelty car and painted it pink and green to match the wedding colors.
He also added a color-coordinated interior, a personalized back-seat cover with the couple's name, and a "Just Married" tire slip in the rear.
Because the car was so small, the front passenger seat was removed to fit Andrea's dress.
The gift was not a surprise to the young couple, though.
"We had to get her approval," said Andrea's stepmother, Kiki Hahs. "You know how women get about their wedding day."
The groom, Brian Underwood, was included in the project as well. He helped disassemble the wedding car while Greg Hahs put it back together and painted it. The project took about six months.
The "adorable" car was a hit at the March 22 wedding when it took the bride and groom about 20 feet from the ceremony to the reception, which were both at the Upland Hills Country Club, Kiki said.
"I was afraid it might overwhelm everything, but it was just a nice touch because the girls grew up with the cars," Kiki Hahs said.
When Andrea and Brian Underwood headed off to their honeymoon, the car went back to its original residence - the Hahs' garage.
Added to his collection of antique microcars, Greg has already stripped it of the feminine colors and replaced them with red and black.
It was only on loan to the couple, Kiki Hahs said.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
That's why we were surprised to see the $38,000 price tag on this 1959 Berkeley B-95 (listed on Race-cars.com). While a B-95 is harder to find than the more common SE 328 or SE 492 versions -- and this car appears to have received a full race prep -- $38K is the height of sticker shock in the Berkeley community. Perhaps that's why this "pocket rocket" has been listed for sale for the past couple of years.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
But these engines aren't cantilevered behind the rear wheels as in the original Beetle — with its consequent unpredictable handling. The new configuration, called rear-mid-engine, places the motor under the rear seat and over the rear axle. The result: spacious interiors, improved safety, and better road manners.
Because the power plant sits under the rear passenger, more of the car's volume can be used for people and stuff. The 11-foot-long Mitsubishi i boasts the longest wheelbase in its class — 8 feet, 4 inches — making for an especially roomy cabin. And there's the reason Formula One race cars — along with most Ferraris and Lamborghinis — mount their high-revving monsters in the middle. It puts all that weight between the axles and closer to the car's center of gravity, so there's less danger of spinning out of control if the tires lose their grip. Plus, in very small cars, a front-mounted engine can end up in your lap after a crash; it doesn't deform to absorb impact. Move it to the back, though, and the front crumple zone can be deeper and crush more gradually.
The rear-mid layout also reduces production costs: If the rear wheels do the driving, you eliminate the complexity and expense of transferring the engine's power to axles that are spinning and steering. It takes the philosophy of front-wheel drive and simplifies it to its essence.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I'm not sure if this is a commercial, or a newsreel. (The audio certainly sounds like the old newsreel footage we've all heard.)
This describes the advantages of the Messerschmitt, prior to its availability in the UK.
It's great to see footage of these cars when they were new.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Four interesting King Midgets have appeared on eBay this week -- in varying stages of finish. Two describe themselves as mechanically complete, but lacking the body, the third is listed as completely restored (to show car condition), and the fourth is a "factory woody version." (That's news to us.)
The set (as of April 15th)
Restored 1966 King Midget
1955 King Midget Project
1956 King Midget Project
Monday, April 14, 2008
By Kelly Lodewyks
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
I don't know what I like best about this commercial -- the images of the cars (S600 and S600 Coupe), or the expressions of the actors reacting to the cars.
They just don't make commercials like this anymore.
Check an earlier posting, describing Jay Leno's restoration of a Honda S600.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Push it out of the garage, dust it off, check the tires, and drive to work.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
It was reported that Jerry Seinfeld "flipped" one of his vintage cars this past Saturday evening (March 29th), while driving in the Hamptons (Long Island, NY). Since Seinfeld is well known as a "Porsche Guy," it seemed likely that his accident was in one of them. (Before we go any farther -- we should probably state that the actor/comedian wasn't injured in the accident.)
As the story unfolded, it was determined that he was driving a 1967 Fiat BTM. The brakes failed and the car flipped when he swerved to avoid oncoming traffic.
It makes sense...until you start trying to figure out what a Fiat BTM is. It turns out there is no such vehicle. (Don't bother looking it up -- multitudes of car guys have beaten you to it -- burning up countless Google search hours.) Then it was speculated that the car was a Fiat Dino, maybe a modified Bertone model from Torino -- BTM. Sounds logical, but it still isn't the truth.
It seems that the Times got it wrong, AP reported it incorrectly, and...surprise...even the Post got it wrong.
So, who got it right? Newsday and Automobile both reported that Seinfeld had his mishap in a 1967 Fiat 500. Imagine that -- a billionaire, with a fleet of Porsches, drives around in a Fiat 500.
And when interviewed about the accident, Seinfeld's response was:
“Because I know there are kids out there, I want to make sure they all know that driving without braking is not something I recommend, unless you have professional clown training or a comedy background, as I do,” he told The Associated Press. “It is not something I plan to make a habit of.”
Maybe we can get to like Jerry after all.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
The unique qualities of our microcars is often leveraged by companies in their commercials. This commercial uses a Goggomobil to promote the Yellow pages in Australia.
Award Winning Advertisement for Australia's Yellow Pages® directory, which aired between 1992-1999 featuring Tommy Dysart making a series of telephone calls using his Yellow Pages® directory to find a repairer for his Goggomobil vehicle.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
SAFETY CONCERN: During the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened. A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection.
The Associated Press reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's crash tests of the Smart Fortwo revealed safety issues.
"During the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration side test on the Smart two-door, the driver door unlatched and opened. The government said that could increase the likelihood of a driver or passenger being ejected from the 8-foot, 8-inch vehicle.
NHTSA, however, still gave the car its top score of five stars in side testing because of the ability of the car to protect the driver and passenger from injuries in a crash.
Rae Tyson, a NHTSA spokesman, said the rating is based on the level of protection that the vehicle provides to occupants, but it wanted to note a potential safety implication.
"Given the amount of attention on smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in general and this vehicle specifically, we wanted to try to get the vehicle tested and the results out there as quickly as possible," Tyson said.
Ken Kettenbeil, a Smart spokesman, said the vehicle was designed to receive a four-star crash rating from U.S. regulators and the results were consistent with their expectations and similar tests in Europe. He called the safety concern in the side crash an "anomaly."
In other NHTSA tests, the Fortwo received four out of five stars in the front-end crash on the driver's side. On the passenger side, it received three out of five stars, meaning the passenger would face a 21 percent to 35 percent chance of serious injury.
In rollovers, the Fortwo received 3 out of 5 stars and had a 21 percent risk of rollover."
HMSA Historic Races at Reno-Fernley Raceway.
It's great to see these little cars in action -- and to hear the snarling, 750cc and under engines, in last year's H-Mod meeting.
Featured race group, H Modified sports racers rolling off the grid to enter the track for the Saturday qualifying race. Video taken by Tom Clayton of the Sports Racer Network, http://sports.racer.net .
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
The Nano is scheduled to hit the market in the second half of 2008. It is considered by some to be the least expensive production car in the world: the price is about $2,500. Tata's advertising tagline is 'More Dreams Per Car'.
Tata's purchase of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co. (reported to be a $2.3 billion deal) is the most recent of a string of acquisitions by the Indian company. (Tata recently acquired Britain's Tetley Tea and Boston's Ritz Carlton Hotel, and its steel division bought Britain-based Corus Group last year for $13 billion. )
Tata will have to sell an awful lot of Nano's to pay off the debt it has taken on.
The millionth Mazda car to be produced was the Carol 600, launched in November 1962. Based on the prototype Mazda 700, the Carol 600, came with a 586 cc all-aluminum water-cooled inline-four cylinder four-stroke engine.
The Carol had enough cabin space to accommodate four adults comfortably, and differed in a variety of other ways from the conventional minicar. Of particular note was the styling of the rear roof; the roofline contained a steep drop-off known as the "cliff cut."
The audio is in Japanese, but the features that made the Carol 360 and Carol 600 successes are apparent.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Other than some invalid carriages, the Peel P50 holds the position as the smallest "roadable" microcar. It has a 49cc engine and tops out at about 35 miles per hour. But it is reported to get up to 100 miles per gallon.
If you can get over the lack of a reverse gear (actually, we kind of like the handle that facilitates turning the little car around), it is a great little car.
You may want to get permission before you drive yours in the office.