Tag Archives: Porsche
Rob Sass of Hagerty.com wrote the following column about five of the silliest automotive features ever. (Courtesy of FoxNews.com)
Occasionally, automakers get it right in the new feature department. Seat heaters? Good. Back-up camera? Good. Intermittent wipers? Really good. Self-parking? BMW’s iDrive and Ford’s Microsoft Sync? Let’s just say the jury’s still out. The market, however, decided quickly on the list below, which contains automotive gimmicks that range from not-very-useful to patently absurd.
Record Player: Offered by Chrysler from 1956 to 1957, it was the auto industry’s first attempt at making pre-recorded music playable in a car. While engineered for the rather bumpy environment of a moving car, the player wasn’t immune to skipping and scratching the records, which weren’t the standard-size LPs or 45s but a smaller proprietary format that required owners to buy all of their music again. Those of a certain age who have owned Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” on 8-track, vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3 can sympathize.
Front-Mounted Horse Head: This turn-of-the-century accessory was meant to make early internal combustion cars less frightening to horses. More than just a freakishly large hood ornament, it literally consisted of a not-very-convincing, life-size fake horse head that could be mounted on the front of the car. It could also be used as an additional fuel tank, pre-dating the Pinto (the other exploding equine) by some 70 years.
Swamp Cooler: Numerous companies from the 1930s through the 1960s marketed these ungainly contraptions that looked like the offspring of a jet engine and a canister vacuum. The device attached to the window of the car and contained a few gallons of water, which used the ram air effect created while the car was moving to force humidified air inside. They were minimally effective in hot, dry areas. Practical and relatively inexpensive auto air conditioning put an end to their use. Occasionally, auto swamp coolers can still be seen as odd period accessories on classic cars.
Rear-Facing Seats: Car sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals about whether the body is in motion or not. Rear-facing seats were a common source of this type of cerebral confusion, yet they were standard as the “back, back” seats in so many of the classic station wagons that baby boomers grew up (and threw up) in.
Semi-Automatic Transmission: Both Porsche and Volkswagen used this obscure bit of technology to allay the fears of clutch-o-phobes. It was essentially a conventional manual transmission without a clutch pedal. The device was actuated when the driver put his or her hand on the shift lever. Unlike today’s shiftable automatics, there was no fully automatic mode. You had to move the lever through each gear. Porsche called it “Sportomatic,” and VW called it “Automatic Stickshift,” even going so far as to advertise it with a chrome badge on the back of the car. They’re heartily disliked by collectors who often replace them with conventional manual transmissions.
Nathan Hutchison manages Hutchison Electrics in the San Francisco area. He used to work as a repair technician for a "green car" dealer, but when that company went under, Nathan started his own electric vehicle and hybrid car service. He and his workers now convert old gasoline-powered vehicles into electric cars with motors powered by lithium batteries.
Many times, his client's vehicle also needs a body restoration, and his company handles that too. While the gas-to-electric conversion can take 6 to 8 weeks, it might take up to 4 months if the job includes an extensive restoration as well.
According to Hutchison, the easiest cars to convert to electric are VW and Porsche air-cooled vehicles such as the Beetle, Karman Ghia, Bus, Squareback, Fastback, Porsche 912, 911 from the 1950s to 1975+. But, Hutchison adds, "We can build you an electric car out of any car you want."
Read a complete interview with Mr. Hutchison at cleantechnica.com.
Every year the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson collector car auction gets larger. This year they've announced it'll be the largest yet with some of the most rare, valuable, and interesting vehicles for sale. The 2013 auction also has the largest number of Shelby vehicles for auction at one time. That includes the rarest Shelby Mustang of all-"The Green Hornet". We can't wait to see what some of these vehicles go for and we'll be participating in the fantasy bidding just like you! We decided to take a sneak peak at the auction list and pick out our 10 favorite vehicles (in no particular order) being offered up this year. Which one is your favorite?
1. Clark Gables 1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL GULLWING COUPE
Even these days Clark Gable is a name that most everyone has heard of, he is undoubtly one of the top American actors of all time. This rare 300SL Gullwing was purchased new by him in Hollywood for under a measly $8k. The car has lived a pampered life and was professionally restored in 1989. Other than a few modifications, some of which Clark himself had done, the car is as nice as it came off the showroom floor. Whoever buys this should definitely buy the Gone With The Wind soundtrack and cruise around doing their best movie star impression.
2. 1929 ISOTTA FRASCHINI TIPO 8A SS CASTAGNA ROADSTER
This car is one of the most rare and sought after antique cars in the world. These cars were the most expensive Italian cars built and only owned by extremely high profile and wealthy people. This car is 1 of 2 known and is definitely in the nicest shape. Most recently the car was in the Harrah's collection (yes like the casino/hotels) and this is the first time it has been available to the public in close to thirty years. The new owner of this probably will never drive it, but I suggest that he learns Italian and imports a driver from Italy to complete the full effect.
3. 1986 PORSCHE 959 PROTOTYPE
Normally auto manufacturers don't want their prototype vehicles to get into the hands of the public and often they're destroyed. In this case, a small number of preproduction prototypes for the Porsche 959 got out to the public. Most of these cars were destroyed after the release of the 959 or during testing. This car was an ABS and chassis test mule and faired pretty well over the years. It's one of the more highly-photographed prototype 959's on many high speed road course tests throughout the world. The car still wears its original, never-released lightweight wheels and tires. We think the new owner should get some period correct race wheels and sticky tires and take it to a few track days to let the old girl stretch her legs like she was built for!
4. 1968 SHELBY EXP 500 "THE GREEN HORNET PROTOTYPE"
This car is the rarest of Shelby Mustangs known and it was a prototype twice. After Ford decided they didn't want to follow through with the GT/SC program, they sent this factory prototype to Shelby to use as the prototype for the EXP 500 Mustang. Again it only stayed a prototype and Carroll Shelby and crew's EXP 500 Mustang plans died with this car. For many years this car was thought to be destroyed like most prototypes, but was eventually found and restored. This is THE only Green Hornet Shelby Mustang in existence. We think the new owner should pamper this car and bring it out for special events.. as long as it doesn't stay hidden away and forgotten like it was for decades before!
5 FATTY ARBUCKLE'S 1919 PIERCE-ARROW 66 A-4 TOURER
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was one the biggest comedians and actors of his time and the highest paid. He had the money to do and buy whatever he wanted. In 1919 he had this Pierce Arrow built. This car is one of those antique coach built cars that REALLY looks the money it demands. This car has been owned by many high profile owners and had a 100-point restoration during it's 90+ years. I think the new owner should be careful where and what he's driving on with those white tires!
6. THE ORIGINAL #1 BATMOBILE BY GEORGE BARRIS
Batman and the Batmobile have been a staple in the modern entertainment world. Every new version of Batman produces a new Batmobile. This legacy was started with George Barris when he built the first fully functional Batmobile for the 60's Batman TV series. This car started life as a Lincoln Futura concept car that George bought for $1 directly from Ford Motor Company. He later hand built the car for the Batman series. This car defines an era and is surely going to make Batman fans go wild. George Barris himself has never let the car go and it's up for auction for the first time EVER. I'd say this car will either complete the ultimate Batman collection or start a downward spiral of owning rare Batman collector items. Either way I'd be sure to buy a vintage Batman costume and sit in the car while watching old episodes of the show and yelling "Bam!", "Pow!", "Zap!".
7. 1968 CHEVROLET CORVETTE L-88 OWENS/CORNING RACE CAR
Corvettes from this era aren't exactly the most desirable, but this one is very important to Corvette racing history. This car was almost unbeatable winning podium positions in the '69 12 Hours of Sebring and the '69 and '70 wins in the 24 Hours of Daytona. This car has been restored back to its look from its days of 24 hours of Daytona and will make any Corvette fan have wet palms. I think the new owner should at least take it out once in a while for a track day, maybe the new owner of the Porsche 959 Prototype will want to rent laguna-seca for the day?
8. RING BROTHERS "PRODUCER" CUSTOM 1965 MUSTANG COUPE
The Ring Brothers need no introduction to the custom car fans. They've been building some of the most insane masterpieces of classic muscle cars we've seen and we always enjoy checking out what they're debuting at SEMA each year. This '65 Mustang coupe was nicknamed "Producer" and was debuted at SEMA 2012. This car is as mean looking as it gets, mostly because of the four inches it's been widened and those big aggressive wheels. This car swept up at the Goodguys last year and it proves again why the Ring Brothers are one of the top car builders. The new owner definitely needs to take this out to some shows and at least a couple grudge race days to cream some of the Chevy and Mopar guys! Oh and maybe a show and shine or two..
9. 1971 PLYMOUTH HEMI 'CUDA CONVERTIBLE
Mopar and muscle fans lust after this vehicle, it's really a unicorn and rarely ever does one show up for sale. This Plymouth Barracuda convertible is one of eleven built and it's in phenomenal condition. This car is a lot more rare when you start comparing it to the other Hemi 'Cuda convertibles. It was one of two cars built for Canadian export and the ONLY one that left the factory with the "Plum Crazy" color. If you're a muscle car collector bidding on this you'd probably have a tough time picking between this and the Green Hornet! The new owner needs to take it out with the top down on some cool summer night drives with their loved one in the passenger seat!
10. CR1S 1962 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CUSTOM ROADSTER
If Chevrolet had their heads in the same place classic custom cars guys did, they'd build something like this. This '62 Corvette has been converted into a custom roadster that looks incredible, but has race car performance. This car truly pushes the custom car world and won the 2009 SEMA/GM Best Hot Rod award. This car has so many details and one off modifications it's hard to take them all in. The new owner should definitely find the buyers of the Ring Brothers Mustangs and challenge them to a track day, that'd be interesting to say the least!
Whatever you're into, there will be something crossing the auction blocks for you. Tune into the SPEED channel today (Wednesday January 16) through Sunday (January 20) for live coverage and get in on some fantasy bidding!
Some of the best craftsmanship often times comes from the shops and builders that aren't bragging at every cruise-in, swap meet, car show, and local bar. They are too busy cranking out quality pieces of automotive art and let their work speak for itself. This is exactly the way things seem at Pollock Auto Restoration, they are situated in an old part of town in Pottstown, PA (just miles from Eastwood headquarters) in a building that could easily be missed if you were just passing by. There aren't signs miles away, rows of cars out on the street, or any other things you see at other shops that attract customers. The cliental and cars that come into Pollock Auto are there because they know the shop reputation and its long history of building and restoring extremely rare and unique vehicles.
The business and the building itself have a long history in the antique and classic car world and although the exterior hasn't changed much over the years, the inside of the building has. This location was originally a coal yard until the early 1900's. The building was constructed in the early 1920's as a silk mill until Levitz Furniture took over. Mr. Bill Pollock took over the second level of the building in the early 1950's and it became the home for his "showcase" of rare cars, a museum of sorts. Mr. Pollock had a ramp and industrial winch system built into the building (you can see it in the picture above) that allowed him to pull his cars to the second floor and easily rearrange cars in the building. To this day they still use the original winch and ramp system he had built!
Ralph DeStefano started working for the Showcase in 1981 and Mr. DeStefano began operating "Pollock Auto Restoration" in 1995. Ralph and crew were master metal workers and quickly the business gained a reputation for their high quality of work. Fast forward about 13 years and the shop was taken over by Michel Engard who has been running his other shop "Ragtops & Roadsters" successfully since 1990. Michel and crew have managed to keep a lot of the vintage tools that came with the building and you can still almost imagine how things looked inside many years ago. The shop is extremely clean, every corner you turn and door you open, you'll see another line of extremely rare cars waiting their turn.
We were lucky enough to get to learn about how they functioned smoothly in such a huge space. We even got to see some of their vintage, industrial-sized metal working tools in action like the PullMax and English Wheel. Amongst these tools we spotted an old Eastwood Shrinker Stretcher that they use regularly to this day! They also were happy to show off some of the retired tools that were left behind in the building. Sadly the bits from the foundry the previous owner built have since been donated to surrounding auto museums, but it was still neat to see some of the one-off antiquated tools around the building.
We were delighted to get a tour around the shop and see how they truly were a "one-stop" restoration business. Nothing needed to be shipped off to other shops, they could do it all from mechanical to body/paint and even interior. Each department had a seasoned expert in that field that focused on that part of the build. This approach really lets everyone perfect their part of the process on each car and make sure it leaves as good or better than it would have from new! Check out the picture gallery below for a virtual tour of the facility and make sure you visit their site and like them on Facebook!
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