Frankenstein Volvo, A Hillbilly Hot Rod

Sometimes fun isn’t pretty, it’s vile and blemished, with a crooked smile.

This hooptie-looking Volvo belongs to my buddy, Matt. He calls it his Frankestien Volvo, and it’s a sort of “Hillbilly Hot Rod.” With approaching a build like that, it’s hard to go wrong.

You see, perception is largely based on our expectations. If you expect a car to be flawless, then any scratch, any imperfection can ruin it. But if you go in expecting a car to be ghetto as hell, then that leaves you open to be pleasantly surprised by any redeeming qualities.

Frankenstein V8 Volvo 1

Matt’s Volvo is clearly a car who’s hair has been let down for the duration.There’s no room for high and mighty expectations to come along for the ride because the back seat has been thrown out. The interior is largely bare, with lots of open metal and wiring. The front seats are the stock volvo pieces, which are comfortable, but a little loose on their mounts. Oh, and there weren’t any seat belts either…

Maybe I was stupid for taking this deathtrap of a car out for a spin… surely from a mother’s perspective I was. But the character of the car, built by Matt (who is a mechanic, among other things), is that of care-free living, and it sort of captivated me in that moment. If it were a Nissan 350Z without seatbelts, I would’ve declined the drive… but not this.   Continue reading Frankenstein Volvo, A Hillbilly Hot Rod

1987 Buick Grand National spotted in Royal Oak, MI

Buick Regal Grand National Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

On the Saturday evening of our road trip, Nick, Shane, and I were heading to dinner during a bunch of haphazard thunderstorms. While walking to Duggan’s (home of some very excellent French Dip and Cuban sandwiches), we hit one of these storms, but came across this sleek black Buick just sitting in the parking lot of the Italian restaurant next door. Continue reading 1987 Buick Grand National spotted in Royal Oak, MI

PT Cruiser Monster Truck at Hopewell Cruise Night

Chrysler PT Cruiser Monster Truck

Clearly this just needed to be posted. It’s a PT Cruiser gone PT Bruiser!

We caught this at the last Hopewell Cruise Night, down the road from most of the action. There were a few other such vehicles with it, but the PT Cruiser has a place close to my heart… it was my first car in Gran Turismo 3 as a kid, mostly because I knew what it was at the time.

This thing is a beast!

-Nick

Jason Cammisa, a Porsche Cayman GT4, and Pobst. It’s time to watch.

Jason Cammisa’s first video with MT is here, and he’s got a Porsche Cayman GT4, and lots of time on his hands. I’ll miss watching Carlos–but Jason’s really excellent, and his wheelman skills are prevalent. Watch this–the Cayman GT4 is an excellent car, and here it gets its due.

-Albert S. Davis

Alfa Romeo 4C Spotted on Woodward Ave in Michigan

Alfa Romeo 4C Woodward Ave 1

We went out to eat right on Woodward Ave at Duggan’s Irish Pub, and this brand new Alfa Romeo 4C pulled in. This is the first 4C I’ve seen out in the wild, but it was unsurprising in Birmingham, MI with an Alfa dealer right up the street.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is basically a miniature Italian exotic, with a mid-mounted turbocharged 1.7L four cylinder engine on tap. That may not sound impressive, but 237hp grants plenty of performance in a car that weighs just 2400lbs. It’s also quite fuel efficient for a high performance car, capable of an EPA-rated 34 MPG on the highway.

The 4C’s one big drawback is that it only comes with a dual-clutch paddle shift gearbox. For me, not having a manual takes a lot away from the experience of a lightweight sports car, and it could be a deal-breaker if I’m ever in the market. That said, I have hear the dual-clutch trans works pretty well, so it’s at least worth a test drive.

Although it isn’t perfect, we should all be very glad the Alfa Romeo 4C exists. It is the car that is bringing the Alfa name back to the US, soon to be followed by the new RWD Giulia sedan. The 4C is quite a pleasant sight in person, too, with a lot of design inspiration coming from the legendary Alfa Tipo 33 Stradale.

Enjoy the photos!

Continue reading Alfa Romeo 4C Spotted on Woodward Ave in Michigan

1960 Armstrong-Siddeley Star Sapphire Saloon at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

Armstrong-Siddeley Star Sapphire Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Armstrong-Siddeley is a brand that not a lot of people in America are familiar with.  I can put myself in that category as well. The Star Sapphire was one of the last products the company made, a full 55 years ago. The conservative, held-back styling is a penchant of British tastes after the end of the Second World War, and it has aged rather well. This is the newest of all Armstrong-Siddeleys, and that is only because this was also the final Star Sapphire ever produced. Continue reading 1960 Armstrong-Siddeley Star Sapphire Saloon at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

Lamborghini Diablo GT at the Concours of America

Lamborghini Diablo GT Concours of America 2

For Lamborghini buyers wanting a racing car experience on the road, the Diablo GT is the daddy of all Diablo models. Changed and upgraded in almost all ways pertaining to performance, the Diablo GT was basically a road-going version of Lamborghini’s Diablo GTR.

Of note, its V12 engine was enlarged to 6.0L from 5.7L, and power increased to 575hp from 530hp. The Diablo GT is rear-wheel-drive to save weight, and features a stripped-down interior. Power reaches the wheels via the same 5 speed manual transmission found in other Diablos, but buyers had the option to customize their gear ratios.

Lamborghini only built 80 Diablo GTs, making this a very sought-after car. The car was never actually sold here in America, so it made seeing this one at the Concours d’Elegance of America very special – this is the first Lamborghini Diablo GT I’ve ever laid eyes on.

What I really like about the Diablo GT is that it was a Lamborghini racing car for the road in the era when that still meant something serious. Today Lamborghini makes similar such models, SVs and Superleggerras, but they’re really more marketing gimmicks than actual racing cars that demand sacrifices from their driver. All it really means today is that there is carbon fiber on the door, instead of leather, and that some of the excessively artificial understeer has been dialed out of the handling. Oh, and if you want to row your own gears, you can forget it, paddle-shift is the only option.

I don’t want to knock the current Lambos too much here, though, because they are incredible machines. But incidentally, a Diablo GT was recently sold for $475,000, right around the same ~$500,000 that a new Aventador SV will set you back. So with that in mind, and a half-million dollar hole burning through your pocket, which extreme Lambo would you spend the money on?

I’d go for the Diablo GT over the Aventador SV without question. Maybe its because of the clutch pedal, or maybe its because only 80 Diablo GTs will ever exist to the Aventador SV’s 600 units. But really, I just find the Diablo GT to be more bad ass because it’s a purer driver’s car with less reliance on fancy technology.

Enjoy the photos of this most epic Diablo!

Continue reading Lamborghini Diablo GT at the Concours of America

The Price Game: Mets Extra Edition!

It’s late July. You’ve just gotten back from the latest business meeting, and the Mets traded for Cespedes today. You’ve got five hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, and a friend says, Odds are 100-1 on the Mets being in first place within a week of the trade. And because you won the bet, you’ve got $500,000 to spend on some cars. But, since you work full time, you’d better buy one car for each day of your work week. New cars and used are allowed–but used cars need to be within 200 miles of Central Jersey. Here’s the answers, both from me, and from Nick. Continue reading The Price Game: Mets Extra Edition!

1947 Bentley Mk6 Convertible by Franay at The Concours of America

1947 Bentley Mk6 Convertible by Franay 1

At first sight I could’ve sworn this was a Delahaye, with its swoopy art-deco-looking lines. But no, it was indeed a slightly post-war Bentley.

More specifically, it was a Bentley Mk6 Convertible. One of the first cars to be built in the post-war era, a few Bentley Mk6s were fitted with custom coachwork, picking up the same approach as luxury cars before the war. This Bentley was styled by renown French design firm, Franay, and was featured at the Paris Auto Show in 1947. This Bentley was also the first car to win a major Concours d’Elegance after the war, as well, and went on to win many awards in the years since.

Imagine being in Paris in 1947, still surrounded by the carnage of WWII recovery, and seeing a car like this… it must have inspired people with an immense amount of hope. The world had gotten as dark as it had ever been in the years prior, but now thing were moving on, out of the catastrophe, to create a wondrous new world.

This might be the most unique-looking Bentley I’ve come across. French styling on a British car, it somehow really works!

-Nick Walker

1947 Bentley Mk6 Convertible by Franay 3
1947 Bentley Mk6 Convertible by Franay 2

Jeep CJ-5 spotted in Surf City, NJ

Jeep CJ-5

It’s kind of difficult to find nice cars in Long Beach Island, where I was all week last week. But, my patience eventually paid off. I like old Jeeps–they’re often modified so finding an un-molested one like this was a bit of a treat. I was eating ice cream when I saw it, and hastily finished my patriotic-sprinkled Cookie Dough waffle cone in time to shoot some photos of this before heading down the island for dinner. This CJ5 looks quite spiffy with its solid-white-letter tires, pristine softop and soft-doors, and full wheel covers. If anyone can spot the year, hit the comments and tell us!

-Spotted by Albert S. Davis

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