1969 Ford Mustang Notchback spotted in Somerset, NJ

1969 Ford Mustang Right Front

After a day at work in Somerset NJ, I went out with a few co-workers to relax and enjoy the beginning of the weekend at The Stage House just around the corner. While parking my car, I saw this orange Mustang backed into a prime parking spot right up front. As I was taking pictures, my manager, Martin, who purchased a Deep Impact Blue 2014 Mustang GT last year, met up with me and said “I parked and just had to go and look at this.” It’s pretty clear–the Mustang, especially those from the Sixties, are consistently crowd-pleasers. This one, with its flashy orange paint and black torque-thrust style wheels, looked fantastic. The interior looked rather original too and was pretty much unmolested save for a set of speakers and a new head unit. In all, this is a great example of a Mustang that someone can drive a bit more often with a good sound system and grippier tires for unexpected weather. Enjoy the photos. Read the rest of this entry »

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Slammed Audi Allroad at Waterfest 20

Slammed Audi Allroad at Waterfest 20

This demonic-looking Audi Allroad demanded my attention at Waterfest 20 last week. Just something about it’s aura, and the fact that it was stanced just right (none of that froggy-look in the back). The Allroad comes standard with those fender flares, just begging to be filled with some nice wheels, so it seems a prime candidate to be slammed. That said, I haven’t personally seen too many slammed Allroads around, as they are pretty pricy, so this was really cool.

Enjoy the photos!

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Reviewed (10/10)

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid Review

Everyone, meet Porsche’s Prius! The new Panamera S E-Hybrid, like the Prius, is a 4-door hatchback, and it uses an electric motor to help out its gas engine in a similar way. Furthermore, the Panamera S E-Hybrid has shown in real world tests that it can top 50 mpg, also just like the Prius! Yes, the similarities between the two cars go surprisingly far, much further than most might expect, but they couldn’t be more different in their fundamental purpose.

The Toyota Prius is an economy car for people who want to spend as little money as possible on a car. The Panamera, on the other hand, is a high-end luxury machine for people who are comfortable writing a six figure check for a single car. You can buy four Toyota Priuses for the starting price of this Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, and that’s before adding any expensive options. However, playing Devil’s advocate, the Panamera does have nearly the horsepower of all four of those Priuses combined. The Panamera may cost as much as four Priuses, but you could also argue that it’s also four times the car.

I remember being amazed when Al Gore’s son got caught going 100mph in his Prius, not because of his behavior, but because he actually got a Prius to top 100mph. If he buys one of these Porsches, then maybe next time he can be pushing 170mph.

Okay, it’s time to acknowledge the elephant in the room here: The Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid will not be competing for buyers with the Toyota Prius (sorry to disappoint). No, it will be going head-to-head against the almighty Tesla Model S, and Elon Musk’s trendy “King Innovator” brand image. It is a massive challenge, one that basically killed Fisker, but I think this Porsche is up to it, and I will explain why.

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1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille at the 2014 Greenwich Concours

1959 Cadillac Coupe DeVille Front

The year is 1959.  Your boss has just reviewed your assessment on setting up a new development of suburban homes near a major interstate highway in small-town America.  He’s very happy, closes his books, and gives you a 40% raise and promotes you to the head of your local developer office.  As you walk outside to your four-year-old Buick sedan, you realize it’s time for a change.  You’ve made it to the top of the heap in life, and you need a car to show your success.  Only a Cadillac will do, and you’re determined to make a statement.  So, you pick this one right off the showroom floor and show it to your wife and kids that night.  Everyone is overjoyed at your success and they all love the new Coupe DeVille you’ve just bought.

Back in 1959, Cadillac was a true success symbol for most Americans.  My great-grandfather had a few of them, and after my grandpa became a successful dentist in the 1970s, he bought one himself.  The 1959 models are considered by many to be the most grandiose of the postwar Caddies, with the tallest fins ever fitted to an American car, stunning chrome and a set of colors some could only dream of seeing in the late Fifties.  This particular 1959 model is a soft shade of pink with a  white top, known as Persian Sand.  This car is also equipped with an immaculate white interior and looked every single way of perfect.  The ’59 always has been and always will be a crowd-pleaser car, and this one’s no different.  Whether you fancy the chrome up front, the sky-high fins out back, or the hulking side profile, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy on the 1959 Cadillac, and there’s certainly enough space inside to carry every single one of them.  This car, as Jerry Seinfeld said on Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee not long ago about the ’58 Eldorado Seville, is “as thrilled with itself as you are.”  I couldn’t agree more.  Enjoy the photos. Read the rest of this entry »

1935 Duesenberg “Mormon Meteor” at the Elegance at Hershey

Duesenberg Mormon Meteor Special Speedster at Hershey

This is the “Mormon Meteor,” a one-off Duesenberg that set a world land speed record in 1935. Based on Duesenberg’s Model J chassis, it was commissioned by famed driver Ab Jenkins for the purpose of setting a land speed record. Much to the delight of his sponsors, who funded the build of the car, Jenkins set a speed record by averaging 135.47mph over a 24 hour period at the Bonneville Salt Flats in October of 1935. The record stood all the way until 1961, which is quite impressive considering the caliber of racing cars that came out between 1935 and then (Jaguar D-Type, Ferrari Testa Rossa, etc).

After setting the speed record, Jenkins made the necessary adjustments to the car for street use and drove it another 20,000 miles around his home area in Utah. This is a very significant automobile, and a real testament to the quality of Duesenberg’s engineering, because it was based on a production car, the Model J. Now obviously it wasn’t just a standard Model J with a body kit, no, it’s 420ci (6.9L) supercharged straight-8 engine was heavily tweaked to produce a massive 400hp, a huge amount of power for the day. Most road cars on sale today can’t even reach 135mph, let alone average that for a whole day, so the Duesenberg Mormon Meteor is really an engineering marvel. As pre-war automotive technology goes, this car might just be the pinnacle.

The Elegance at Hershey was my second encounter with the Mormon Meteor. It took best in show at Pebble Beach in 2007, which, incidentally, was my inaugural  visit to the events of Monterey Car Week. Naturally, if it can win Pebble Beach, then it can win other concours events, and it did just that by taking best in show this year at The Elegance at Hershey. All Duesenbergs are special cars, certainly the pinnacle of their era, but the Mormon Meteor may well be the the king of them all. It is a mighty impressive, and very beautiful machine, with the craftsmanship and quality to withstand the ages.

I just hope my photos do it justice, enjoy!

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Class: Of Course! Custom 1985 Pontiac Parisienne at the 2014 River Edge Car Show

1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham Front

Michael Levy is the sort of guy who thinks differently from the rest of us car guys.  When we zig, he zags.  When we tell him that a mid-Eighties Pontiac isn’t a car we want in a collection, he begs to differ, then goes the extra mile.  This is a 1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham, a car from the mid-Eighties automotive toss-up that was General Motors’ full-size cars.  1985 was the final year for Pontiac to sell a big sedan on this platform (from here on out, it was just wagons, and only through 1990).  The Parisienne was pretty much identical in almost every way to the Chevy Caprice of the era, except that it was a Pontiac product.   Michael, however, has other ideas.  He took this Parisienne and made it his own, by making a number of changes.  The badges have been Frenched in (made flush to the bodywork), and the paint, despite being the right colors of the car from the factory, were redone in a matte finish, not metallic like the original.  The interior is still pretty much stock, but the Grey Poupon in the center console indicates that we’re not talking about a normal set of tastes.  Under the skin, he’s added sequential turn signals (a la the current Mustangs), a train horn, and even a shovel and tarp in the trunk–for those of you who owe him money.   It’s currently running a 305, but he did mention plans to put a 350 in it soon.  He’s painted the wire wheel covers to hide the center of the spokes, making a “floating” effect appear between the trim rings and the center caps.  However, the best modification to this Parisienne has to be the suicide doors–this was the one modification that was making everyone do a double-take, including me.  It’s done so well, it looks like the factory should have done it in the first place.  This is no Rolls-Royce, and it’s not a pimpmobile.  It’s a “class-mobile”, and I absolutely love the uniqueness of this car.  I enjoyed seeing this car in River Edge last week, and I’m sure you will all enjoy it as well.  Enjoy the photos.  Great car, Michael!

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Waterfest 20 Highlights

Waterfest 20 Beetle with Bentley Wheels

The thunder of revving engines mixes with pounding dubstep to create an unexpected aural harmony, while exhaust fumes mingle with the pungent aroma of burning cannabis inside your nostrils… this is Waterfest, and it is wonderful!

We’ve gone to Waterfest pretty regularly over the past few years because it is one of the Mecca events for european car enthusiasts. It’s all about Volkswagen Group and their products, but they own many different companies, so you never know what you will see there. Obviously, it is predominantly a slammed car show, and stanceheads from all over flock to Englishtown, NJ so they can judge the “lowness” of everyone’s cars.

While I do like to poke fun at the stance car culture, I must say that I love going to these events because they are always very interesting. Sure many people have the same types of cars, but very few are alike. The stance culture is creative for sure, and it’s always awesome to to see how people deck out their rides. It’s mostly younger people too, members of the individualistic “millennial” generation.

This young demographic is coveted by many automotive marketers, especially GM, but Volkswagen seems to have it down to a tee. VW supports the event, and utilizes it to further build brand loyalty. They are fortunate enough to be at the center of a major automotive trend, and they have whole-heartedly embraced it.

Customization, both in terms of looks and performance, is at the center of this car culture, and Waterfest is as much a marketing bonanza as it is a car show or drag racing competition. Overall, it is one of the most complete events out there, and that is what sets it apart. Heck, Volkswagen even had an autocross course set up this year, and they were letting everyone run the new 2015 GTI through its paces… it was a blast.

So with that, enjoy the photo gallery of all of these fun and interesting cars!

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