Wheeler Dealers

The polar vortex is over and the Amelia Island Concours is coming!

02/23/2014

Here on the upper East Coast we are rather sick of that whole winter thing.  Polar Vortex and ice and snow and sleet and school closings are hopefully on the wain.  Its time to look forward to sunny skies and beautiful cars for the automotive enthusiasts among us.

So that brings us to the 2014 edition of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.  This concours is held on the luscious grounds of the Ritz Carlton.  300 of the world's finest automobiles, motorcycles and race cars will grace the greens of the impecable golf course, a virtual feast for the eyes.

Every year Bill Warner and his vast crew of volunteers and veterans have chosen some of the most incredible pieces of transportation.  You'll find everything from $50 million dollar Ferraris to incredible Duesenburgs and grand classics to cars that you never knew existed.

Some of the featured classes and cars from this year are: General Lyon's Duesenberg which is a 1930 Model J Speedster featuring a dissapearing  convetible top.  Ralph Marano is a highly regarded Packard collector and he is bringing all ten of his Packard concept cars from the 50's. You'll be able to see the re-debut of the Chrylser La Contesse Concept car.  The Stirling Moss 450S Le Mans Coupe will be one of the featured cars helping to celebrate  the Maserati centenary.  A set of BMW "Batmobiles" will be on the greens, representing the German's 180mph winged monsters from the 70's.  The BMW's represent one of the unique features of the Amelia Island Concours, that is Bill Warner's love of race cars.

So as a teaser, let's take a look at some previous entrants to the Amelia Island Concours.

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Here we see old meets new.  The "Grey Wolf" meets the Sunoco Javalin race car from the Trans Am series.

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2008 saw the greatest gathering of Thomas Flyers that anyone in the last 50 years could remember.  Above we see the actual Thomas Flyer that won in the famous 1908 New York to Paris race. 

The National Automobile Museum in Reno Nevada, loaned the world famous Thomas Flyer for the 100th anniversary of its epic 22,000 mile race.  George Schuster, the only member of the US team to drive the entire route, assisted Bill Harrah restore the car to its original trim as it entered Paris 26 days in front of the next competitor.

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The Lamborghini Muira Roadster in a rare appearance at the Amelia Island Concours last year.  Photo courtesy of Brett Lemoine.

This is the only Roadster created and built by the factory, making it very special indeed.  It was named the ZN75.

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Here is Malcolm Pray and his beloved 1939 Delahaye Type 135 M next to the predecessor to the Ferrari GTO.  Its the 1962 Ferrari 250 Experimental chassis 2643GT.

Unfortunately we lost Malcolm Pray in 2013.  He was a main stay at so many concours events.  He will be missed.  This years judges sheets (which I designed) are a tribute to his many contributions to the field.

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 You just never know what is going to come around the corner.  Here we see Wayne Carini from Velocity's Chasing Classic Cars driving one of the Moal Couchbuilders Torpedo.

A great place to hang out is right in front of the Ritz, especially during Saturday.  All sorts of cars are loading up and tooling around.  Then you walk in and see the RM Auction as well as some of the great seminars and take advantage of the exotic test drives.

Yes, the Amelia Island Concours should be on every car lovers bucket list.  Come for the weather and stay for the cars!

Racing at leMans - amazing machines they are

11/24/2013

Racing At leMans - Amazing Machines They Are

Ken Visser

karmakvisser@yahoo.com

kenneth_visser@discovery.com

I started to do some research on a blog about the Porsche 917, one of the most successful and dominant race cars in history.  As I was going thru my photos, I came upon quite a few examples of successful leMans racers and have decided to pursue that storyline.

leMans, one of the toughest races on the planet.  24 hours of straight up racing on a mix of public and racing circuit roads.  Participants have to balance fuel, brakes, mechanical durabilty, tires as well as fatigue.  In 2010 the winning Audi covered 3,360 miles on the Circuit de la Sarthe.  

We are talking 6 times longer than the Indy 500 and 18 times longer that a Formula One Grand Prix race. Heck, from New York to LA its 2,792 miles!  Can you imaging running at top speed on the Mulsanne Straight at 3 am, checking your mirrors for a prototype approaching at 200 plus MPH, flashing its lights?  And I thought the DC Beltway was stressful during a Friday night rush hour...

To make matters even more tense, the race takes place in June with soaring temperatures and the ever present threat of rain.  Race cars don’t use air conditioning so the interior temperatures can get excruciating,  This is why you see roadsters competing, like our 59 Aston Martin DBR1 from the Simeone Museum.  Let's take a look.

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1958 Aston Martin DBR1 chassis 3 as presented by the Simeone Museum at the 2013 Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance

This spectacularly shaped 58 Aston Martin DBR1 has been lovingly maintained by the esteemed Dr Fred Simeone, an avid and astute collector of amazing historic competitive automobiles.  His collection is housed in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum near the Philadelphia airport.  

Aston Martin won the World Championship and a win at leMans with a small team of 4 DBR1 race cars.  Caroll Shelby helped win at leMans in 59, turning out to be one of his last outings as a race car driver due to a heart condition.

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SEMA Day 3

11/07/2013

Today was the day where our some of our experts came together for the first time to talk cars and answer audience questions. We were delighted at the warm welcome Velocity received with a line that stretched around the displays. Those who attended the panel were treated to a wealth of information about car and engine restoration and insights on the future of the industry. Don’t forget, we’ll be bringing you video of the panel as soon as we can so those of us who couldn’t attend will get to see the action. In the meantime we have some shots of the gang:

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Photos: Emily Kaiser

In other news, Toyota announced it was retiring an off-road icon, the FJ Cruiser. The 2014 FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Ultimate Edition in Heritage Blue will be the last FJ for the company. The design hearkens back to the 1960’s FJ40. For those of you interested, you better act fast; only 2,400 of this model will be made ensuring it will become a classic.

We have also been taking note of some of the products that are on display, meant to enhance a car and users’ experience. Emily tells us that many of the products are focused on high tech enhancements that help with navigation and collision avoidance. I’ve also noted products providing heads up displays, LED exterior lighting enhancements, and noise and temperature controlling products for the inside of vehicles. Of course on the other side of the coin there are dozens of products and displays centered on enhancing noise – the noise of your sound system. That’s a given of course, but some items are pretty creative like the product that enables your trailer hitch to project on the back window of your truck/vehicle. Movies or slide shows after a day of off-roading? It sounds like that could be in our future.

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Photo: Emily Kaiser

Back to the cars, there were so many on display we chose just a few for you today including the deviantART Lexus, a Hot Wheels Car and one tricked out for business Scion. We’ll be posting some massive galleries of cars looking at not only the bodies but under the hood, so stick with us!

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Photos: Emily Kaiser

 

Velocity is Going to SEMA: And We’re Bringing Friends

11/02/2013

VelocityLivePosterWe will be roving the massive showroom floor looking for what might be on car lovers’ holiday lists this year, tweeting out the latest news via @VelocityTV1 #SEMA and providing more in depth coverage here. We can’t wait to see what the manufacturers are rolling out this year…we’re thinking lots of technology but that’s just us.

Plus, we are bringing our friends to SEMA – the hottest automotive experts on TV. We'll have them in our booth and walking the show floor when they can. Here's the line up of our friends:

Chip Foose, Chris Jacobs, and Arianny Celeste from Overhaulin’

Mike Brewer and Edd China from Wheeler Dealers

Wayne Carini, from Chasing Classic Cars

Jessi Coombs from All Girls Garage

Ray Evernham, from AmeriCarna

Dan Short, from Fantomworks

Mike Seate, from Café Racer

Lou Santiago from Car Fix

 

 

Plus, we'll have some of our experts as special guests on a panel on Wednesday. We are partnering with our buddies over at Rev3’s to bring you video of the panel just as soon as our fast fingers can upload it here. Why would you want to see this panel? You'll get wisdom from:

Ray Evernham, Wayne Carini, Chip Foose, Chris Jacobs, Mike Brewer, Edd China, and Jessi Coombs,

 

These people are the real deal and will be telling us where they see the trends heading and talking about their love of cars. It’s absolutely amazing to have all these automotive experts with their wisdom in one room. We are just as excited as you are!

So, keep an eye out for all our posts, tweets, and video from Sunday, November 3 through Friday, November 8.

Are you one of our fans who happens to be attending? We’d love to see you at the panel on Wednesday, November 6th. Check the program for more information.

Muscle Car Memories

10/26/2013

Muscle Car Memories

By Ken Visser

I grew into automotive consciousness in the mid 70’s.  As a 12 yr old I would seek out interesting cars.  My first real photoshoot took two years to lock down since he was in a 66 427 cobra, I on a Schwinn.  And the die was cast,  I am a car nut.  I drew them, I photographed them, I chased them.

My friends and selected schoolmates had muscle cars in high school.  The lucky kids had Trans Ams and GTO’s and Camaros.  I had my Schwinn Super le Tour.  So the muscle car thing is embedded in my memory banks.  The sounds of an American V8 rumbling past the Wyomissing pool, nothing like it, never forget it.

I graduated high school in 1980 so it was the end of a decade of muscle car atrophy.  The oil embargo changed the way people felt about big horsepower.  The Mustang and the Corvette had been emasculated.  My tastes were focused on European stuff.  (For an interesting debate on the origin of the muscle car, check out this article by John Aible.)

I eventually came back to muscle cars by hanging out with my hot rod buddies at the Church of the Holy Donut in Burtonsville, MD.  That V8 sound rumbled back into my heart.  Here are some samples of good ol’ American Muscle. 

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A 1966 Shelby GT-350 photographed at the Eastern Concours of the United States.

By 1966, Caroll Shelby had accomplished more then most.  He had won the 1959 24 hours of leMans in an Aston Martin.  A heart condition took him from behind the wheel and towards the creation of the Cobra.  From there he was plucked to make the Mustang sexy for Ford.  The 65 Shelby was raw, fun and fast.  For 1966 the GT-350 lost the Mustang moniker and gained back some refinements like an optional back fold down back seat.

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Visit daily for posts about the shows and spirit of Velocity, an upscale male lifestyle network, featuring the best of the automotive, sports, adventure and travel genres.

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