ABOUT OUR COVER CARS
HANDBOOK 450: 1971 de Tomaso Pantera
"Got an overcrowded garage? You need a bigger garage, not fewer cars." Words to live by for any passionate car lover. Just ask Kerry H... she has 22 cars and counting... and a warehouse space to keep them all happy. Read More+

"Got an overcrowded garage? You need a bigger garage, not fewer cars." Words to live by for any passionate car lover. Just ask Kerry H... she has 22 cars and counting... and a warehouse space to keep them all happy.

One of her latest is the fine de Tomaso Pantera you see here. Adding some spice to her collection was not an easy endeavor. "I wanted to own something Italian and I was going to Cars & Coffee events looking for inspiration," says Kerry. "Eventually, there were two cars in particular that I was extremely fond of... the Ford GT and the Dino Ferrari.

Kerry has a lot friends in the Seattle car scene and she got some sage advice at a Cars & Coffee get together at Redmond Town Center. She introduced herself to a group of Ferrari owners. "We developed a really great dialogue through that day and they had me sit in their cars and they told me to get an earlier one, don't get a newer one because of the cost of the maintenance. And they were talking about the costs to run their cars and the maintenance for a single Ferrari is as much as the maintenance on all my other cars and I thought that was kind of prohibitive and that maybe I don't want to go down that road... so the Ford GT became kind of a unicorn for me."

A while later she was revisiting the Italian car search conversation with her friends Sean and Paul at another Cars & Coffee. "We were talking and this thumping noise was interrupting our conversation and as cars were leaving the show Sean and Paul looked down at this car and then they looked at me and they pointed at the car and it dawned on me what they were queuing me into. And they're like, this is the car. It's Italian and it's a Ford."

This made the Pantera perfect because Kerry had a 2017 Mustang GT350-R, a '67 fastback, and numerous other Blue Ovals in her stable so she had a great working knowledge of the car's 351 Cleveland and liked the dramatically lower upkeep the American-bred powerplant represented. "It was Italian where it needed to be and American where I wanted it to be."

"So I was looking for about a year, year and a half, waiting for one to jump out at me. I was so disinterested in red and yellow... and I never saw a blue one. So I was on Google one day scanning for a specific look, you know, if I was going to have my dream Pantera, what would it look like? I wanted a particular stance in a car that was already done and then it was, you know, do I want an early year, do I want a later year?"

"I found the car in the east coast and it was a lady that was selling it. We sparked up a conversation and she wanted it to go to me I guess because of the lady thing. The car had some issues. So it was repainted and I added an inch and a half to the flares and the fenders. I wanted something that was a little wider because she had so much meat under that rear end and I was worried about rubbing... and I wanted all the traction possible. So I thought if we roll the edges and widen it a little bit, we'd have more clearance. As far as the mechanicals go, there were some problems with the restoration that had been done. Luckily, Paul's a great mechanic and he went through and tuned it up in no time."

"So '71 was the first year of the Pantera. The first 75 had push button doors but mine is a pull door. Being a '71 means it got a high compression version of the 351 Cleveland rated at 330 horsepower. In '72 compression dropped from 11:1 to 8.6:1. Having a mid-engine car was part of what set me off on this journey. People ask me, 'how loud is it in the car?' It's no louder than driving around in an early Mustang or something. You still get that thump and low growl from the motor, but it's a different experience, kind of like being pushed at from behind rather than pulled forward. I like being really low to the ground and in a car with all this power it's a ton of fun. You're kind of in a capsule speeding down the road. Some interiors of this era are very dated but the Pantera cabin is interesting to look at. I've added some suede and leather, taking it away from the '70s vibe and giving it more of a, I don't know, punk rock, kind of feel."

It's not a Dino or a Ford GT but Kerry knows she's found the right car for her. "I like the hell of it. I like the look of it. With the black paint it's got this attitude about it... the blend of the European with the American really works for me. This car checks all the boxes."

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HANDBOOK 449: 1981 BMW 323i Alpina
"I wanted to have a 323i in the E21 body style because I love the look... most people do," says owner Stan S. "It is the forgotten 3 series, even though it was the first 3 series. In the U.S. it was a 320i with the overly large U.S. bumpers, and it was quickly forgotten. Read More+

"I wanted to have a 323i in the E21 body style because I love the look... most people do," says owner Stan S. "It is the forgotten 3 series, even though it was the first 3 series. In the U.S. it was a 320i with the overly large U.S. bumpers, and it was quickly forgotten. The European models with the chrome bumpers that hugged the body looked very correct with the car's lines. And the Euro's optional six-cylinder in the 323 was a big benefit... more power and torque. I believe from the factory it was 150 horsepower and you had options to generate a bit more."

Stan bought the car in the early 2000s from a gentleman that was daily driving the vehicle in Bloomfield, Colorado. It was in pretty rough shape thanks to harsh winters in the Centennial State. The Euro-spec 3s were already hard to find and this one came over with a U.S. serviceman. "I initiated a complete restoration. Body panels were cut out and metal grafted in where it needed to be and the car got a full Stratos Blue paint job. We pulled the engine and installed a modern Getrag five-speed gearbox from a late model E30, then built the motor with an M20 Eta block, which is a stroker engine but we added a D-series turbo diesel crank, and a 2.5-liter head. This upgraded the engine from mechanical to electronic fuel injection which added reliability, power, about 195 horses, and efficiency."

Inside, the interior was redone with European-spec headrests, Alpina cloth, an Alpina gauge cluster, all the way down to a rare limited edition number plaque. It's the attention to detail that impresses. Stan says the seats are wrapped with what was the last few yards of original Alpina material left in Germany. Gems like vintage stickers from Germany were discovered. Stan said they came in a roll and he had to flatten for six months before being brave enough to have them installed.

The BMW has been garaged since its restoration and Stan says he drives the Bavarian every week and that he picks, "only the best of the best days because I took my sweet time getting to this point... it took 10 years... I did all finish work... no paint, some engine stuff... but mostly the final details... so I want it to last." As a result of his Sherlock Holmes efforts, Stan reports he has a lot of connections in German for rare BMW parts... we can see why.

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HANDBOOK 448: 2011 Ferrari 599 GTB
The Ferrari 599 checks a lot of boxes. It packs a V12. It has that classic Ferrari coupe shape. And then there's its obvious Italian flair. The 599 GTB is named for its displacement, as the Pininfarina-designed coupe runs a 5,999cc (6.0-liter) Tipo F140 V12 engine rated at an impressive 612 horsepower. Read More+

The Ferrari 599 checks a lot of boxes. It packs a V12. It has that classic Ferrari coupe shape. And then there's its obvious Italian flair. The 599 GTB is named for its displacement, as the Pininfarina-designed coupe runs a 5,999cc (6.0-liter) Tipo F140 V12 engine rated at an impressive 612 horsepower. The 599 was produced from model years 2007 to 2012. Only 30 599 GTBs were made with a manual gearbox, of those 20 were sold in America and 10 remained in Europe.

Our cover car, a 2011 edition, is not only the last manual gearbox 599 made by Ferrari, it's the last Ferrari to be equipped with three pedals from the factory period. The automaker fitted the interior with a special commemorative plaque to confirm this fact and its rarity, giving an already noteworthy car a great backstory.

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HANDBOOK 447: 1974 Triumph TR6
The Triumph TR6 has the look, feel, and sound that make British roadsters so desirable. Our cover car is rolling evidence of the British invasion of sports car that reached its high point in the 1970s. Read More+

The Triumph TR6 has the look, feel, and sound that make British roadsters so desirable. Our cover car is rolling evidence of the British invasion of sports car that reached its high point in the 1970s.

When this Pimento Red example received a frame-off restoration about 17 years ago it received a pristine paint job and precise panel fitment, including the deletion of the ugly bumper over-riders. The engine is a 104-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline six fitted with a 268-degree Isky Z-19 performance cam and a Sebro stainless steel exhaust system for a little added go-power. The powerplant was rebuilt by R&R Performance Engines using fresh internals, hardened exhaust valve seats, and a refinished valve cover during the 2001 restoration.

Other upgrades include fitting a Volvo four-speed manual transmission with overdrive, adding a new clutch kit and clutch master cylinder, installing SPAX front shocks, and bolting on uprated rear lever-action shocks.

Though the speedo gave up the ghost at 27,000 miles, this drop top is believed to have around 45,000 original miles on the clock... and it looks the part. The Triumph TR6 was a "Made for America" proposition as 83,480 were exported and only 8,370 of the total production run of 91,850 units were sold in the UK.

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HANDBOOK 446: 1951 Ford GT51 Coupe
Like most custom builds, this car started out as a dream and a rendering. The concept was a heavily modified, vintage race car inspired 1951 Ford Coupe. This custom is the brainchild of Bruce Leven, a lifelong hot rodder and friend of the custom car community. Read More+

Like most custom builds, this car started out as a dream and a rendering. The concept was a heavily modified, vintage race car inspired 1951 Ford Coupe. This custom is the brainchild of Bruce Leven, a lifelong hot rodder and friend of the custom car community.

Bruce passed away in September 2017 but did get to see his dream come to life. Like the man, his last build was a true original. The 1951 Ford coupe, dubbed the GT51, has garnered accolades on the show circuit since day one.

A Solid Foundation

The challenge of building this dream machine was met by Wicked Fabrication. The Auburn, Washington-based shop utilized the best of both modern and vintage components. Starting with a complete car, all running gear, interior, and trim was stripped and the body was lifted from the frame. The new chassis was a set of Art Morrison frame rails and front suspension and a Speedway Engineering independent quick change rear end. The rear control arms were designed and built in-house using Thunderbird uprights. All suspension components were prepped and coated with dull nickel and accented by gold PPG paint. Wilwood disc brakes are tucked behind true magnesium knock off wheels, wrapped in Goodyear rubber.

Power Generation

Under the hood is a 1956 Lincoln 368 cubic-inch V8 adapted to a Borg Warner T5 transmission. A modified original Hilborn injection converted to modern EFI provides the fuel. We especially like the custom stainless water manifolds made to route around all of the components not usually attached to a Lincoln 368 and custom brackets were machined to hold the Powermaster alternator, Sanden a/c compressor, and Billet Specialties power steering pump. The custom fabricated stainless steel headers pay tribute to the original styling of the Ford Y-block manifolds and route back to a completely polished stainless exhaust system exiting out of the side of the car in true race car form.

Body Sculpting

Sculpting the body was a huge undertaking. Wicked Fabrication started off by laying out the proper section of the body, it ended up getting 2-1/2 inches taken out of the back and 5 inches honed out of the front. The extreme wedge section led to plenty of metal work in the doors, fenders and quarters, both inside and out to keep the body lines clean and true. Once the body was back in one piece the wheel wells were radiused, the bumpers were eliminated on both ends, and custom roll pans were built. The roof skin was cut off and pancaked to remove even more of the round look of the original car... after welding back in place a rear facing roof scoop was added for more racecar styling. Trim is minimal on the exterior of the car but a small stainless piece was frenched in to the quarter panel to highlight the shape at the rear near the taillights.

Working The Details

No doubt many hours of programming CNC machines and many pieces of billet aluminum were used to design and machine the grille pieces, which were welded together and chromed to make the front end stand out. Custom fog lights and mesh were then added to the front end to add a more racy flair. It was then decided to custom fabricate a complete new hood from aluminum. The hood was shaped in multiple pieces and welded together, then wrapped around a custom-built steel inner structure. Louvers were hammer formed into the rear of the hood to add some detail. Out back, the decklid was also shortened to fit after the body sectioning and the trunk inner structure were made to mimic the hood. Full floors were fabricated as well as the new transmission and driveshaft tunnel. The trunk floor was also fabbed to clear all of the rear end components. Once completed, the body went to Byers Custom where the old Ford received filler work inside and out and was then coated with PPG Gray Blue and accented with Blue Gray on the chassis, engine and interior garnish moldings.

Inside Moves

The interior is aircraft inspired with plenty of rivets and exposed mechanics in plain view. The seats were hand made out of aluminum and riveted together, then partially upholstered. A custom shifter shaft and mounts were made to resemble old race car shifters. The polished fuel tank in the trunk houses a custom made bladder, which allowed the fuel tank to be riveted together. It is fed by a cast fuel fill cap from Crafty B that is recessed into the body.

Stitches Custom Upholstery continued the leatherwork into the door panels, headliner, quarters, and trunk. The floor was partially carpeted and partially body-worked and painted. The steering column is a classic straight column from Ididit color-matched to the interior and is fitted with a Nardi steering wheel. Heat and a/c provided by Vintage Air is tucked nicely inside the custom dash. Gauges are custom built by Classic Instruments made to resemble vintage aircraft gauges. The nostalgic looking wiring harness is from American Autowire and routed into a breaker panel mounted to the bottom of the dash. Overhead is a console with all of the switches and controls for the car.

When it came time for final assembly of the car every nut, bolt, and washer was prepped and polished in-house. Some standard stainless fasteners were used but most fasteners were supplied by ARP and Totally Stainless. The car was built low, as a racecar should be, and is helped out with a VRH system from Umbrella Auto Design in the front for getting the car into trailers or over large bumps.

In the end a Shoebox Ford has never been built to this extent or even in this style, it truly looks like a car you would see out at the race track but with the fit-and-finish of a show car. In the end an idea, quality craftsmen, and premium components made this dream come true.

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HANDBOOK 445: 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R
The R32 Skyline GT-R's racing lineage is undeniable. The Nissan absolutely dominated the Japan Touring Car Championship (JTCC), going 29 for 29 and winning the title four times from '90 to '93. Read More+

The R32 Skyline GT-R's racing lineage is undeniable. The Nissan absolutely dominated the Japan Touring Car Championship (JTCC), going 29 for 29 and winning the title four times from '90 to '93. In the later championship seasons the car was assessed weight penalties to no avail. It was eventually "banned" and given its own series with in the JTCC. The GT-R took its show on the road. It won Australia's Bathurst endurance race twice ('91 – '92) in spite of weight and boost penalties and took the Australia Touring Car Championship in '91 where the press dubbed the GT-R "Godzilla" and the name stuck.

Our cover car was imported by our own Evan Griffey. Any car that was manufactured 25 years ago or more can be legally imported into the United States. The big hurdle had been meeting EPA safety standards but the under the importation law the standards are dropped after 25 years. It is a low-mileage example that had 36,000 miles. It also included some pretty trick modifications "for free." The RB26DETT engine was fitted with a Nismo downpipe and a Tomei Expreme titanium exhaust. The Nissan's footwork had been enhanced by a set of HKS Hipermax GT IV coilovers while the interior features a highly desirable Nismo gauge cluster and a Nismo shift knob.

Evan reports driving a JDM car takes some getting used to. "Forget the driving, the sound of the RB26 took me by surprise... its mean and aggressive without being obtrusive. On the road shifting with your left hand takes some getting used to. The second-to-third shift is the hardest but letting the linkage do the works helps. I've looked out the driver's window a few times when wanting to check my review mirror because it’s on my left not the right like normal cars. Lining up the car on the freeway takes some getting used to but after a few miles you get dialed in. Then there's walking up to the wrong door... this is exacerbated when I try to drive from the right side of an American market car... I've learned to play that one off."

Evan has added a GReddy suction kit intake system, 775cc Fuel Injector Clinic injectors, an AEM fuel pump, Spec twin-plate clutch, 18-inch indigo blue Advan RZII wheels, Falken tires, and a Link ECU. Since Japan uses a higher octane fuel than we do in America, JDM performance cars can struggle with detonation when under full boost or when turbo pressure is cranked up. As this article is going together the Skyline is at AW Automotive in Auburn, Washington getting the turbos replaced/upgraded (which is why the injectors and fuel pump were installed). The RB26 runs a pair of Garrett T28 turbos and these units have ceramic turbine wheels. Great technology in '89 to speed up the spool up, time has made these wheels susceptible to snapping off when the boost is turned up from its stock 11 psi to 15 or 16 psi. Garrett GT2860R turbos were chosen because they feature 21st century aerodynamics, modern wheel materials, and they are direct bolt-ons with the matching two-bolt flange found on the RB26. The car will then be tuned at Drift Office, also in Auburn, and Evan says he plans to have the motor tuned to "whatever boost pressure is safe" but is hoping to see between 400 and 450 wheel horsepower.

While the engine was out it was discovered that the stock turbo outlets that link the turbos and join the rear turbo to the downpipe were crimes against humanity. The cast iron behemoths were heavy and restrictive. Evan scrambled and found a set of used stainless steel outlets on Up Garage's website. Up Garage is famous used performance parts seller in Japan. The new units will be key in the car's power generation efforts as they are 2 3/8 inches in diameter versus the 2-inch diameter stockers. The under hood area will also be updated with valve covers painted by J-Rod Customs and a powder coated intake manifold transformed by Powder Solutions. Evan is also adding a Cusco custom oil catch can and a GReddy oil filter relocation kit. So look for updated engine shots and some dyno charts in the near future.

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HANDBOOK 444: 1963 Lincoln Continental
When approaching a project build its good to have a slogan or mission statement to get you through the delays and other tough times. When it came to our 2017 SEMA Show car Nick Griot coined a winner... "Built for burnouts and disturbing the peace." Read More+

When approaching a project build its good to have a slogan or mission statement to get you through the delays and other tough times. When it came to our 2017 SEMA Show car Nick Griot coined a winner... "Built for burnouts and disturbing the peace."

These fourth-generation, slab-sided Continentals make classic custom cruisers. Produced between 1961 and 1969, the highlights of these cars include suicide rear doors, a tilt-away steering wheel, and a big V8. They are also credited for being the last four-door American convertible offered for public consumption. The '63 model, like our cover car, was the last year before a mid-cycle facelift for 1964 where the Lincoln got three inches of additional wheelbase, a redesigned roofline, and a slight front grille update. So the '63 is the nimble speedster of the bunch. Motivation was provide by a 430-inch V8 rated at 325 horsepower.

We ditched the '60s era V8 and swapped in a Ford Motorsports 427-cubic-inch V8 that generates well over 500 horses. But it’s the big Lincoln's stance that turns heads. J-Rod & Custom of Black Diamond, Washington executed the project. The J-Rod crew used Ride Tech air shocks and other custom suspension components to give the Lincoln the ability to cruise the open road or scrape frame at the push of a button. Being a black car, the body work had to be first class and J-Rod delivered, gapping the panels beyond factory spec, fabbing custom outer fender tubs and a false smooth firewall, and smoothing the slabs to perfection. The interior stays close to the original in design but Jamie McFarland updated the materials and build quality.

The old Lincoln was a hit at the SEMA Show and has been on call in our Auto Display on numerous occasions. We're looking forward to putting some miles on her and attending some car shows.

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HANDBOOK 443: 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
We often wonder what we have done to deserve poor treatment from foreign automakers. Japanese companies are famous for keeping the best high-performance cars strictly for their home market but the German's have done it as well. Read More+

We often wonder what we have done to deserve poor treatment from foreign automakers. Japanese companies are famous for keeping the best high-performance cars strictly for their home market but the German's have done it as well. A case in point, the 1991 Porsche 911 RS. The car was offered exclusively to European customers.

The RS model was designed to be competitive on track days, yet still be a good commuter. The battle plan?... cutting weight wherever they could. So Porsche deleted the rear seats, power windows, air conditioning, sound deadening, or power adjustable front seats. The factory glass was swapped for thinner and more lightweight glass, Porsche added an aluminum trunk lid and replaced the stock wheels with 18-inch magnesium alloys. As a result, the RS weighs 345 pounds less than a standard issue 964 911. Beyond the dietary plan, the RS was fitted with track-worthy underpinnings. Porsche lowered the suspension 40mm and added specially valved shocks to further increase the car's agility.

Thanks to complaints from the PCA and enthusiasts feeling left out, the Euro RS ultimately led to the RS America. Oddly, this Maritime blue 911 RS was recently imported from Japan, where it spent most of its life.

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HANDBOOK 442: 2003 Lamborghini Murcielago
Dave S. the owner of this 2003 Murcielago knows he's driving a dream machine and likes to share it with people he comes across. "I show them the fun hidden features of the Murcielago. Read More+

Dave S. the owner of this 2003 Murcielago knows he's driving a dream machine and likes to share it with people he comes across. "I show them the fun hidden features of the Murcielago. Like how the front end lifts up and down on its suspension for an additional height clearance (about 1 1/2") with the push of a button, so I'll cycle that for people. I sometimes describe the speed controlled rear spoiler wing for them and then have them look at the enormous width of the rear tires visually underneath from the back."

There are few mods made to the car and they are really pretty minor. The reflector lights on the side panels front and back are dark smoked over. The instrument cluster assembly has a blue alcantra on top instead of the original blue leather. The wheels are aftermarket as well. The engine bay air intake panels that mounted flush with the body panels, above and behind the doors, look like bats wings in the up position. Having those going up and down with a push of a button is always a treat for folks to watch.

Most people rarely see these cars for more than a fleeting moment on the road. "Often I see people with cell phones up to their car windows taking pictures or kids waving at me on the freeways," says Dave. "It's literally impossible to head out and stop somewhere without being approached from fans of the Lamborghini brand."

Count us among those fans, Dave.

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HANDBOOK 441: 1959 Jaguar XK 150S
On a Harley ride through Montana with brothers and buddies, a barn with a few old sports cars in a field caught Jeff M.'s attention. The rest of the pack sped on, but he made a U-turn to check it out. Read More+

On a Harley ride through Montana with brothers and buddies, a barn with a few old sports cars in a field caught Jeff M.'s attention. The rest of the pack sped on, but he made a U-turn to check it out. He met the barn-owner, a Brit, who said he knew of an XK 150S that was needy but complete. After returning home, Jeff M. bought the car sight unseen and had it shipped to Tacoma, WA.

"Unfortunately, it needed a complete restoration," says Jeff," but it was a rare, numbers matching, 150S Open Two Seater (OTS) or roadster. The heritage certificate later revealed: S type, Open Two Seater, British Racing Green, tan interior, sand-colored top, with a close ratio, overdrive transmission, and posi-traction. A hot car for 1959!

"The car was lovingly restored over four years by Jerry Oliver, of Olympia and the body and paint were handled by Larry Luiz of ASAP Body & Fabrication in Federal Way. When the Jag was nearly finished, I sourced the "S" script emblems that were to be applied to the doors... the only exterior identification for an S model. I told the painter that the "S" alone was worth $100,000, meaning the market price differential over a standard XK150 but he took me literally and later declared he couldn’t sleep knowing that two "S" emblems valued at $100,000 were in his possession!"

"The XK150 S OTS is an awesome car to drive," reports Jeff. "The sound of the triple SU carbs and throaty dual exhaust under acceleration is a visceral experience. Top down coastal cruising with close ratio shifting of the legendary DOHC 3.4 is a memory that lifts my spirits on cold, rainy days."

Living in the Seattle area means Jeff experiences a lot of lifted spirits. Happy motoring, sir.

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HANDBOOK 440: 1959 Cadillac Series 63
Are you an automotive "finatic" who adores the finned space age design of the late '50s? Well the fin movement never got taller than the '59 Caddy and Larry Hanson's candy purple 63 Series Coupe DeVille is the proof in the pudding. Read More+

Are you an automotive "finatic" who adores the finned space age design of the late '50s? Well the fin movement never got taller than the '59 Caddy and Larry Hanson's candy purple 63 Series Coupe DeVille is the proof in the pudding. Larry acquired the car 17 years ago, rescuing it from a carport where it had lingered for 28 long years. The car was the worse for wear and a frame-off revival was undertaken. Larry reports most of the sheet metal the massive Caddy was replaced.

Motivation is provided by a fully dressed 454 inch big-block backed by a 4L60 automatic transmission. It rolls on an air-bagged suspension so Larry can dial in his ride height. After our photo shoot the Caddy attended the popular Hot August Nights car show in Reno, Nevada where it was a Top 10 selection. Congrats Larry and thanks for allowing us to feature your ride.

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HANDBOOK 439: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner
An eye-catcher for all the right reasons, the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is big, bold, and, believe it or not, high tech. The car's fame and fortune come from its power retractable Hide-Away-Hardtop. Read More+

An eye-catcher for all the right reasons, the 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is big, bold, and, believe it or not, high tech. The car's fame and fortune come from its power retractable Hide-Away-Hardtop. No less than seven electric motors, four lift jacks, and 10 solenoids scream like a freight train when actuating the top. All the motors and gizmos are shocked to life by an incredible 610 feet of wire.

Under the hood, Ford offered five variants of the Y-block V8, ranging from 272 cubic inches to 352 cubic inches and 190 horsepower to 300 horsepower. This particular example runs a 312-inch Thunderbird Y-block rated at 245 horsepower. Owner Joel H. reports the engine has its hands full motivating the 17-foot long, 4,000-pound goliath.

The Fairlane 500 Skyliner was built from 1957 to 1959 then the car was renamed the Galaxie 500 Skyliner during the '59 production run. While the technical prowess of the retractable hardtop garnered plenty of attention, the hoopla did not translate into crazy sales. Starting at 20,766 in 1957, sales dropped to 14,713 in '58, and 12,915 in '59. It is believed that the complexity of the top system and accompanying reliability concerns scared away some buyers, the cost of the option scared away some more, and the amount of trunk space the top uses was also deemed hurtful to the car's bottom line. Our bottom line is this is one well sorted classic that begs to be cruised on a warm summer night.

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HANDBOOK 438: 1972 Mercedes 280SE 4.5
So, to pick up this story from my holiday handbook column. My son Phillip and I were driving home from LA and my itchy trigger finger led to the eBay purchase of this 1972 280SE 4.5 from a gas station off the freeway in San Jose, California. Read More+

So, to pick up this story from my holiday handbook column. My son Phillip and I were driving home from LA and my itchy trigger finger led to the eBay purchase of this 1972 280SE 4.5 from a gas station off the freeway in San Jose, California. We’ve just laid eyes on the car and are about to get back on the road.

After walking around the Benz for a bit and tossing the skuzzy sheepskin seat covers in the trunk, we turned over the engine for the first time and the "Solid Gold Baby" settled into a nice lumpy idle. As I pulled away it was evident she was running on about six and a half cylinders, not the eight Mercedes intended. Hmmm... that would explain the lumpy idle as Mercedes rarely put a hot cam in their ’70s era engines.

Even so, I thought I had way more power than the 300CD my son was now driving, so I was more than happy. We were clicking off the miles, Sacramento, Redding, Medford, Eugene, Portland, and then home to Tacoma. After a few bottles of STP Fuel Injection Cleaner I picked up another cylinder close to Eugene, Oregon... problem solved! Over the passes, down on the flatlands, the Big Benz was running like a freight train... which is a true testament to how a 45-year-old Mercedes Benz really runs. I kept petting the dash saying, "We can make baby!!!" ... not quite like Eddie Murphy in "Trading Places," but close enough. Solid Gold Baby (sorry, I’ve named the Benz after Foxxy Cleopatra’s "Hey Goldmember" song... don’t blame me, it fits the car.) ran with hardly a hiccup, but after making it back to the Griot’s Motors "garage," it was evident how we lucky we were.

The brakes seemed to be okay on the road, but were hanging on by a thread in actuality. First clue? The brake fluid was black and hadn’t been changed in a decade or more. So we went through the entire braking system rebuilding the calipers and putting on new rotors and pads. We then turned our attention to the suspension and replaced all the ball joints, sway bar bushings, and shocks. Engine injectors came out and were sent to an injector cleaner company nearby, and man, did that make a difference in idle and power.

But to make the biggest difference we decided to try and make this car look brand new. We started by completely removing the interior so it was easier to clean! We scrubbed the seats and carpet with interior and carpet cleaner and made them look brand new again. The headliner was sprayed and cleaned back to a grey/white with our new citrus cleaner that also gave the interior a refreshing smell again. The gauges came out to clean the glass and we made them clear and new again. While we were in there we replaced all the bulbs and even got the clock to work again! The wood trim was sanded down and recoated with a clear coat that made the wood look fantastic. All the windows were cleaned inside and out, old blown-out speakers were replaced, and an original Becker Europa head unit was sourced to bring back that classic look to the dash. Halfway there and now getting into the car really puts a smile on my face.

With the interior looking almost new again, we turned our attention to the paint. As you know, we are now selling finishing papers for wet sanding a paint surface to perfection. Not really being happy with the paint when we got the car, I knew we could improve on it, I just didn’t know how close it would come back to looking brand new! Someone had obviously repainted the car years and years ago, but never polished out the clear coat, so we had a lot to work with and made the paint look brand new again! It was simple and here are the steps: Wet sand down to our finest grade, then polish to perfection with our BOSS lineup of products. I knew we sold great products, but the results were amazing! Jaw dropping actually. Finishing touches included removing the bumpers for a good cleaning and polishing and machine polished the taillights to their original color and clearness. The last thing we did was remove the tires so we could powder coat the wheels. New Michelins went on for maximum handling and safety.

I feel the car is fully sorted now and ready for its next adventure. Why did I push the Buy-It-Now button? I crave adventure, and after Solid Gold Baby got me home in one piece I found the thrill of driving an old car can’t be replicated with something new. The beauty is anyone can do this. Minor work made this ’70s icon a reliable runner and then we just polished the paint and thoroughly cleaned the interior using the same wonderful Griot’s Garage products you can buy every day. Don’t take your loved ones to a shop, you can save a TON of money and never stop smiling that you did all the work in your own garage. We did and it didn’t cost a lot to do... just a lot of sweat, a little bit of brains, and a lot of love invested in the joy of driving something most people would have written off.

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HANDBOOK 437: 1970 Datsun 2000 Roadster
Hank B.'s original owner, original paint 1970 Datsun Roadster is cool on four wheels. "I bought the car because I had an interest in British sports cars," says Hank. "I saw this car, stopped by the dealership to check it out and it was obvious this was the car to have. Read More+

Hank B.'s original owner, original paint 1970 Datsun Roadster is cool on four wheels. "I bought the car because I had an interest in British sports cars," says Hank. "I saw this car, stopped by the dealership to check it out and it was obvious this was the car to have. The test drive answered all the questions. The running gear in it was flawless, the car performed, and felt great."

As advertised, the car has been pretty maintenance free and easy to keep up. Model year 1970 was the last year for the Datsun Roadster and the first year of the 240Z. The Roadster was originally referred to as the Fairlady in Japan. When they entered the U.S. market Datsun went with a number system, the 1600 Roadster and 2000 Roadster.

Hank reports his car, a Sora Blue example with just over 89,000 miles on the clock, only suffered one winter in the harsh Illinois weather as Hank moved to California in 1971 and drove the Datsun all the way to the west coast. About eight years later he moved to Yelm, Washington, so the car has been following him around for some time now. It's no longer used as a daily driver and only sees the road for meets, shows, and occasional cruising. Hank attends three of four major meets a year and makes shorter trips to local shows like our Caffeine & Gasoline, where we first spotted the car.

Hank ordered the drop-top with some special parts from the Datsun competition catalog. These parts include a competition oil pan that's all aluminum, finned on the bottom, and outfitted with a windage tray inside to ensure the pick-up can do its job in high-g corners. The pan is run in conjunction with a competition-spec oil cooler and these mods up the oil capacity to eight quarts. The Datsun also has larger, competition sway bars under it, as well as other non-competition catalog upgrades. The ignition system, for example, has been converted from a points setup to an all-electronic distributor, the spark plug wires have been upgraded, and a higher voltage coil installed. Hank says he sourced these parts from East Coast Roadsters. The car's U20 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is fueled by side-draft SU carburetors re-engineered and rebuilt by Z-Therapy, Salem, Oregon.

"This car handles very well by any standard," says a prideful Hank. "Forget 1970, it compares well against today's cars. The suspension is stiff and designed to corner well. The engine has a high rpm range and it winds out at 7,000 rpm without complaint and it will pull first gear to 35 mph... don't need to say more than that. At speed, 60 or 65 mph, that engine is only pulling 2,500 rpm, she's just barely up on the power curve. It's a great all around car."

We would like to thank Hank for sharing his pride and joy with us.

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HANDBOOK 436: 1960 Lotus Elite GT Coupe
Our Lotus cover car is one of two Elites entered in Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in 1969. It is owned by our own Alan McWain who used it as a daily driver from 1968 to 1973 when he was attending college in San Francisco, California. Read More+

Our Lotus cover car is one of two Elites entered in Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in 1969. It is owned by our own Alan McWain who used it as a daily driver from 1968 to 1973 when he was attending college in San Francisco, California. Alan has held on to the car for a reason, saying, "The car is special to me because I used to draw cars like it in my notebooks when I was a kid." The Lotus features monocoque construction and is motivated by a Coventry Climax four-cylinder engine with 75 horsepower on tap. The engine is backed by a four-speed manual transmission. Alan reports the car was repainted in 1962 from its original Periwinkle Blue to the current maroon, but says no other mods have been made to the British old-timer. He says due to the type of paint and application process in 1960 England many Elites were repainted as a result of living in the California sun. We were surprised at how physically small the Elite is. It sits low, is short and narrow, and these dimensions have had an impact on Alan. "I always say when driving the Elite it feels like car and driver are one and the same... like wearing the car, not just sitting in it." May he enjoy the ride for many more years.

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HANDBOOK 434: 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC
The Ferrari 330 GTC is an icon among icons. Its Pininfarina-penned silhouette is reminiscent of the famous Ferraris of the 1960s, its engine is the legendary Colombo-designed V12, and its aura is pure Italian style. Read More+

The Ferrari 330 GTC is an icon among icons. Its Pininfarina-penned silhouette is reminiscent of the famous Ferraris of the 1960s, its engine is the legendary Colombo-designed V12, and its aura is pure Italian style. Topped by three weber 40 DFI carbs, the 4.0-liter engine produces 300 horsepower, a top speed of 150 mph, and a 0-60 time of just under 7 seconds. Our cover car debuted on Ferrari’s pedestal at the 1967 Turin Motor Show. It is the only 330 GTC ever built with Verde Medio green paint and a Rosso red leather interior.

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HANDBOOK 433: 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS
This immaculate 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS has Quad-Carb Fever. It is the pride and joy of Tacoma's Peter B. The Prancing Horse is powered by a 2.9-liter Tipo V8 fitted with a four-pack of Weber carbs and rated at 240 PS (237 SAE horsepower). Read More+

This immaculate 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS has Quad-Carb Fever. It is the pride and joy of Tacoma's Peter B. The Prancing Horse is powered by a 2.9-liter Tipo V8 fitted with a four-pack of Weber carbs and rated at 240 PS (237 SAE horsepower). The 308 replaced the Dino 246GT and was produced from 1975 to 1985 and available as a targa top, GTS, or a two-seat coupe, GTB Berlinetta. Although not raced as much as other Ferraris, the 308 was campaigned by privateers on many of Europe's most famous road circuits and there were even a few Group B rally 308s floating around. The 308 line received Bosch fuel injection for 1980 but suffered a power drop to 205 PS due to emission system compromises. We'll take the carbs and the 35 horsepower, thank you very much.

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HANDBOOK 432: 1992 Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione 1 Martini 5 Special
This Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione 1 Martini 5 Special was built to celebrate five straight WRC championships? Lancia built a special limited edition car. Read More+

This Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione 1 Martini 5 Special was built to celebrate five straight WRC championships? Lancia built a special limited edition car. Our cover car is #69 of 400 and it has a scant 162 kilometers (100.6 miles) on the clock. Integrale is Lancia-speak for all-wheel drive, HF stands for High Fidelity, and Evoluzione means it's a rally homologation vehicle. Homologation is how automakers qualify for a particular racing series. The sanctioning bodies demand the cars being raced are street legal and require the automakers to build and sell versions of the cars they intended to race to the public.

The Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione 1 Martini 5 Special is a five-door hatchback powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four rated at 210 PS and 221 lbs-ft of torque. Power sent to all four wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential. Back in the day it needed just 6.3 seconds to blast to 62 mph, before topping out at 136 mph. Exclusive features beyond the already upscale Evoluzione model include white rally bred wheels, the Martini stripe, custom red-stitched Recaro seats in Alcantra, and a numbered plaque near the stick shift.

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HANDBOOK 431: 1928 Ford Model A
The Ford Model A proved Henry Ford was going to be more than a one-hit wonder. The car took the baton from the company's groundbreaking Model T and continued its success. Read More+

The Ford Model A proved Henry Ford was going to be more than a one-hit wonder. The car took the baton from the company's groundbreaking Model T and continued its success. The Model A debuted in late 1927 and by 1929 more than one million were on the road. While the Model T was produced for 18 years, the Model A ceased production in 1932 but amassed 4.3 million in sales. So servicemen returning from World War II years later had plenty of fodder to ignite the hot rodding movement.

Our cover car has been in the same family since 1951, and Larry W.'s 1928 Ford Model A represents how far you can customize humble basic transportation. The car had fallen into disrepair with surface rust and flat tires all around. The old Ford has been built to the hilt by Wicked Fabrication in Auburn, Washington. Like many of the hot rods of the era, the roadster is a collection of parts from different years. It rides on customized '32 frame rails, sports a 2 ½" door stretch, chopped windshield, and runs a '32-spec grille. The body work and application of the Cherry Red paint is immaculate. Power is provided by a beastly Mast Motorsports-built 392-inch Hemi that drives a 700R4 automatic transmission and Ford 9-inch rear end.

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HANDBOOK 430: 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Euro
The Dino was named in memory of Enzo's first son Alfredino, so its use on our Father's Day cover seemed like a slam dunk. Owner Ryan S. says the car started life in Nuovo Fly Giallo yellow before a red respray in 1979, which was prior to his ownership. Read More+

The Dino was named in memory of Enzo's first son Alfredino, so its use on our Father's Day cover seemed like a slam dunk. Owner Ryan S. says the car started life in Nuovo Fly Giallo yellow before a red respray in 1979, which was prior to his ownership. He relates the Prancing Horse has driven in rallies and 1,000-mile road trips, and has been up to 130 mph. "After about 115 mph it starts to get light in the front," says Ryan who was pushing the car's limits Bondurant’s Phoenix, AZ track when he made the observation.

"I bought it as I’ve always loved the styling and design, one of the most beautiful Ferraris in my opinion. I also wanted an event car that was eligible and fun to take on rallies and track days. While it doesn’t have much horsepower compared to today's cars, the chassis is lightweight at 2,380 pounds with great handling characteristics, making it fun in the curves."

"I’ve had it over 130 mph... though it has more speed to go, it isn’t as confidence inspiring at those speeds. It compares nicely to the 1970s 911s I frequently drive, though it is not as refined, it offers an experience that is exhilarating and exciting in a way German cars of that era rarely are."

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HANDBOOK 429: 2012 Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Produced in England between 2009 and 2012, only 1,200 V12 Vantages rolled into the sunlight and this Morning Frost White example is 1,039 in the run, and one of 169 U.S. spec models. Read More+

Produced in England between 2009 and 2012, only 1,200 V12 Vantages rolled into the sunlight and this Morning Frost White example is 1,039 in the run, and one of 169 U.S. spec models. Owner Tim M. relates it takes 200 hours to hand-build this car and 50 man-hours, six cow hides, and a million stitches to complete the interior. The breathtaking white pearlescent paint with silver and blue flecks takes another 50 hours to finish. The engine is hand-built, requiring 20 hours to assemble and 10 more to dyno and run-in. There is definitely a commitment to craftsmanship going on here.

"The sheer power, raucous exhaust note, minimally invasive traction control, and six-speed manual gearbox make this an angry old school, analog car that is just a blast to drive," says Tim. "Its beauty is not just skin deep. How can you not love a V12 in the car the size of a 911? I love Astons because they are rare, with extraordinary beauty, great performance, and exceptional workmanship."

This is no trailer queen. "I normally take the car to four or five shows and put about 6,000 miles a year on it," relates Tom. "It has been to Monterey Car Week twice and through eight western states on extended back-road trips. The car has been tracked at The Ridge Motorsports Park, Pacific Raceways, and Laguna Seca, and I have hit 170 mph in it. My goal is to get to 200!"

We appreciate Tom slowing his roll long enough for us to feature this British masterpiece on our cover and share it with you.

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HANDBOOK 428: Griot's Garage Detail Wagen
BMW never built an E30 M3 wagon, but they should have. To correct this grievous oversight we created the Griot's Garage World's Fastest Detail Wagen. Read More+

BMW never built an E30 M3 wagon, but they should have. To correct this grievous oversight we created the Griot's Garage World's Fastest Detail Wagen. It is based on a 1989 E30 Touring, which translates into station wagon in Euro-speak... although we are quite fond of the term "shooting brake" as well. Call it what you want this is a serious Bavarian bruiser.

We built the low-slung red wagon as our featured SEMA Show display vehicle. Our expectations were high. We wanted concours, coachbuilder level fabrication not a fender swap and sprinkling of emblems... the car had to look factory correct. J-Rod & Custom of Auburn, WA executed the car's transformation which included swapping on coupe doors that are 9 inches longer than the stockers and fabbing rear M3 fenders.

We like rompin' V8s so a 4.0-liter M60 V8 sourced from a 1995 540i was dropped into the engine bay. The swap represents a 112-horse bump in output and includes a 540i 6-speed manual, custom driveshaft, and 2.92 LSD rearend. Much of the mechanical work was done in-house at our Tacoma, WA headquarters. Our crew shaved and filled the firewall and inner fenders and took the time to fully wire tuck the harnesses for a super clean and tidy look. A custom stainless steel header-back exhaust system should easily push power from 282 to more than 300 when all is said and done.

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HANDBOOK 427: 1967 Chevy Nova
One of the more unfortunately named cars, the Chevy Nova started life in 1962 as an option package for the Chevy II. Sold in Mexico between 1972 and 1978 Nova means "doesn't go" in Spanish. Read More+

One of the more unfortunately named cars, the Chevy Nova started life in 1962 as an option package for the Chevy II. Sold in Mexico between 1972 and 1978 Nova means "doesn't go" in Spanish. The Nova's arch enemy was the similarly sized Ford Falcon. The first generation ran until 1965 and second-generation Novas were produced until 1967. The muscular version of the car ceased product in 1979 after four generations. The nameplate made a comeback in 1985 but it was a front-wheel-drive subcompact by this time.

The eye-catching 1967 Nova on our cover, built by the master craftsmen at J-Rod & Custom, belongs to Alan H. of Puyallup, WA. The goal of the build was to update the styling without disturbing the overall look of the car and losing the feel of a '67 Nova. Mission accomplished.

Every body line has been sharpened and straightened, all the gaps have been closed to 3/16", the bumpers have been narrowed 2" and tucked into the car, the glass is flush mounted, and the J-Rod crew made a custom front spoiler and lower splitter that continues under the car.

The Bow Tie rides on a custom Art Morrison chassis, an autocross-spec suspension, Rushforth Wildside wheels, and Michelin tires. Best of all, the Chevy's got a 660 horsepower Mast Motorsports LS7 providing the soundtrack. This is one soulful ride.

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HANDBOOK 426: 1956 Continental Mark II
This is not a Lincoln Continental. The Lincoln Continental name was derived from a prototype developed by Edsel Ford in 1939. Continental was a fleeting stand-alone division of Ford in the '50s. Read More+

This is not a Lincoln Continental. The Lincoln Continental name was derived from a prototype developed by Edsel Ford in 1939. Continental was a fleeting stand-alone division of Ford in the '50s. The 1956 Continental Mark II was a replacement for the first series that ceased production in 1952. The long two-door ultra-luxury coupe was built to topple Cadillac and Packard and engineered to a standard that would make the likes of Rolls Royce stand up and take notice. The car was big in girth and big in price, weighing 5,190 pounds and costing an extravagant $9,966. This Continental one of the first Ford halo cars, a car built to bolster the automaker's prestige, even at the cost of profitability. The Mark II is motivated by a 285-horsepower, 368-cubic-inch Y-block V8 that is a bit overmatched motivating the Continental's considerable heft with 0-60 times in the 16 second range… that's "flipping the pages of a calendar" slow.

Our cover car is owned Jan P. of Issaquah, WA who relates that Laurance See of See's Candies fame is the Continental's original owner.

While not a sales leader by any stretch, the Continental Mark II made quite an impression as celebrities of the day such as Frank Sinatra, Nelson Rockefeller, President Eisenhower, the Shah of Iran, and Cecil B DeMille were among the ranks of Mark II's owners. Warner Bros studio gave one to Elizabeth Taylor, reportedly painted to match her eyes. This was the baller car circa 1956. A total of 3,014 Continental Mark IIs were produced during the car's production run from 1956 to 1957 but by 1958 the car and the Continental Division were no more. The name would live on in the Lincoln division as would the car's semi usable spare tire bulge.

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HANDBOOK 425: 1954 Jaguar XK120
The XK120 didn't invent seductive swooping fenders but it could well have perfected them. From its first lap spinning on the pedestal at the 1948 London Motor Show the William Lyons-designed Jag was an icon. Read More+

The XK120 didn't invent seductive swooping fenders but it could well have perfected them. From its first lap spinning on the pedestal at the 1948 London Motor Show the William Lyons-designed Jag was an icon. In fact, it was the rousing reaction the car received in London that inspired Jaguar to move the roadster into production.

The XK120, was named after its revolutionary engine and its top speed. The double-overhead camshaft design of the 160-horsepower, 3.4-liter inline six engine was technologically advanced for the times and its 120 mph top speed made the XK120 the fastest production car at the time. This first XK's basic framework was later enlarged to 3.8 liters and 4.2 liters powering subsequent Leaping Cats all the way until the late 1980s.

Production of the XK120 lasted from 1948 to 1954, with our cover car being a last-year example. World War II put a hitch in Jaguar's step and the XK120 was the automaker's first full-tilt sports car since 1940.

The XK120 enjoyed an illustrious racing career, running throughout Britain, at LeMans, the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and even events in America.

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HANDBOOK 423: 1971 Porsche 964 VW Bus
This Bus definitely has the look. It's hunkered stance, 17-inch Iozzio Fuchs wheels, and two-tone white-over-red paint are eye catching but this is a "hearing is believing" proposition. Read More+

This Bus definitely has the look. It's hunkered stance, 17-inch Iozzio Fuchs wheels, and two-tone white-over-red paint are eye catching but this is a "hearing is believing" proposition. The V-Dub is motivated by a rev-happy 1992 Porsche C2 964 engine. The M64 3.6-liter flat six is rated at 247 horsepower which dwarfs the 50-horse rating of a standard Bus. Owner Tom L. is quick to confirm this ride handles like a Porsche but looks like a Type II Bus. "On our way home from Snoqualmie after dinner," says Tom, "I had a line of cars behind me on a long uphill grade and after the road widened the line of cars pulled over one lane and passed me, so I bounced two lanes wide and passed them all, they we going 80 or 90 mph and I was doing about 125 mph."

The bus was a 2 1/2-year project and served as a surprise birthday present for Tom's wife. Who drove one in her youth in Hawaii. This example is sweet and its steel sliding sunroof and twin sliding doors add to its rarity.

J&L Fabricating made the swap and relates the only things that are still VW are the shell, the steering wheel, and some interior bits. "The rest is Porsche and I mean everything engine, trans, electrics, dash, steering box, oil system, A/C we even added a rear A/C system, even the interior light is from the Porsche 964 donor," says Tom. "They cut the entire suspension off the car, subframes and all, and mated it to the bus. J&L did an absolutely amazing job surpassing my expectations at every turn. This wasn't a modification job, it was much more sophisticated... they actually manufactured a new car in many ways engineering wise they accomplished some amazing feats like a 1970 – '71 Porsche dash and fitted it with the 964 gauges."

This bus was a popular car among the Garage Rats here at Griot's and we thank Tom for letting us enjoy some quality time with it.

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HANDBOOK 422: 1972 Lotus Elan Sprint
Like all Lotus machines, light weight was the driving force of the Elan's design. When it debuted in 1962 the Elan was the first Lotus to feature fiberglass body on steel frame construction. Read More+

Like all Lotus machines, light weight was the driving force of the Elan's design. When it debuted in 1962 the Elan was the first Lotus to feature fiberglass body on steel frame construction. True to Colin Chapman's the lighter the better design philosophy the car tipped the scales at about 1,600 pounds. The Elan was a technological juggernaut of sorts as it was equipped with a double overhead cam 1.5 liter engine, had disc brakes at all four corners, an advanced four-wheel independent suspension, and precise steering. Originally known as the Elan 1600, the car was retitled the Elan S2 in 1964, the S3 in '65, and the S4 in '68. The Sprint variant was introduced in 1970 and discontinued in 1973. Owner Tom L. purchased this Elan Sprint from the original owners with 56,000 miles on the clock. He added suspension and wheels from the factory racing 26R version of the earlier S1 Elan. J&L Fabricating took the car apart, refreshed critical parts, and reassembled the Elan to retain its originality. We like how the gold bumper lines up with the gold Sprint accent graphic and balances the car's off-white lower and bright green upper sections.

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SEMA 2016: GRIOT'S GARAGE WORLD'S FASTEST DETAIL WAGEN
First off, BMW never built an E30 M3 wagon. Secondly, they should have. To correct this grievous oversight we created the Griot's Garage World's Fastest Detail Wagen. It is based on a 1989 E30 Touring, which translates into station wagon in Euro-speak... although we are quite fond of the term "shooting brake" as well. Read More+

First off, BMW never built an E30 M3 wagon. Secondly, they should have. To correct this grievous oversight we created the Griot's Garage World's Fastest Detail Wagen. It is based on a 1989 E30 Touring, which translates into station wagon in Euro-speak... although we are quite fond of the term "shooting brake" as well. Call it what you want this is a serious Bavarian bruiser.

We built the low-slung red wagon as our featured SEMA Show display vehicle. Our expectations were high. We wanted concours, coachbuilder level fabrication not a fender swap and sprinkling of emblems... the car had to look factory correct. J-Rod & Custom of Auburn, WA executed the car's transformation which included swapping on coupe doors that are 9 inches longer than the stockers and fabbing rear M3 fenders.

We like rompin' V8s so a 4.0-liter M60 V8 sourced from a 1995 540i was dropped into the engine bay. The swap represents a 112-horse bump in output and includes a 540i 6-speed manual, custom driveshaft, and 2.92 LSD rearend. Much of the mechanical work was done in-house at our Tacoma, WA headquarters. Our crew shaved and filled the firewall and inner fenders and took the time to fully wire tuck the harnesses for a super clean and tidy look. A custom stainless steel header-back exhaust system should easily push power from 282 to more than 300 when all is said and done.

Detail Wagen was also given the footwork to match an iconic M3 turn for turn. Custom coilovers from Ground Control, large anti-sway bars, and a Brembo big brake kit update the handling of our newest delivery rig. Rolling stock consists of custom offset HRE 501M alloy wheels and Falken Azenis rubber. The bold gold meshies measure 17x8 up front and 17x9 out back. They are wrapped with Ultra-High Performance Azenis RT619K tires (215/40-17 front, 235/40-17 rear).

The theme was taken all the way into the cabin as McFarland Auto Upholstery used genuine BMW M-Tech fabric to wrap all pertinent surfaces. Out back, the rear seat has been deleted and replaced with a custom product display rack that affords complete access to Griot’s Garage detailing products. The cargo area is also adorned with a 15-gallon water tank and hose accommodations so we can pull up and detail any car from head to toe.

Look for a series of articles that show what went into creating the World's Fastest Detail Wagen on our blog, inmygarage.com.

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HANDBOOK 421: 2016 McLaren 675LT
McLaren invites potential owners to, "experience the raw adrenaline of the McLaren 675LT, the lightest, most driver-focused, most exclusive series-production McLaren supercar ever built." Sounds like a plan. Read More+

McLaren invites potential owners to, "experience the raw adrenaline of the McLaren 675LT, the lightest, most driver-focused, most exclusive series-production McLaren supercar ever built." Sounds like a plan. The 675LT has the goods: carbon fiber body work and a muscular 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 675 horsepower. The owner of this car paid tribute to Ayrton Senna with an aptly inspired paint scheme. Senna joined Alain Prost at McLaren for the 1988 season and the Brazilian won his first championship in the #12 McLaren MP4/4 Honda wearing the Marlboro livery.

The 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ was the ultimate evolution of the Le Mans-winning F1 GTR. Now, two decades down the road McLaren says, "the limited-edition 675LT follows its uncompromising ethos to create a visceral driving experience of unique intensity. More power, less weight, more precision – nothing has escaped our attention in the quest for perfection on both road and track." The 675LT delivers the goods with a max speed of 205 mph and 0-62 mph performance of 2.9 seconds.

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HANDBOOK 420: 1967 Ford Fairlane GT
This 1967 Fairlane GT presents like an R-code 500 XL 427, a car that battled in NASCAR and the NHRA back in the day. Read More+

This 1967 Fairlane GT presents like an R-code 500 XL 427, a car that battled in NASCAR and the NHRA back in the day. Owner Mark S. swapped out the 390-inch V8 big-block for an even bigger block Ford FE 427 plant with cross-bolt mains, a trick Ford dual quad aluminum intake manifold, dual quad 427 fuel delivery set-up, 427 Ford dual-point distributor, and Ford Powertrain application headers. The R-code 427 was factory rated at 425 but with the mods Mark tabs output of his FE at 450 horses.

In model year 1967 the Fairlane was available as a two-door coupe, two-door convertible, four-door sedan, a station wagon, and the Fairlane served as the foundation for the Ranchero. The base engine was a 200 cubic-inch inline six and an optional 200-horse 289-inch V8 could be added for $106. In the GT range the 289 was the starting point and the optional fare consisted of two versions of the 390-inch V8, one with a two-barrel carb and 275 horsepower and one with a four-barrel carburetor and 320 ponies. Two big-block 427s were available, and the choice here was between a single four-barrel carburetor or dual-quad carbs. The single, W-code generated 410 horsepower and the dual set-up R-code put down 425 horsepower.

The Fairlane was redesigned for the 1966 model year so there were only a few updates for '67. The car's reverse lights were situated in the middle of the taillight assemblies and the front grille was a one-piece proposition. Our cover car was originally maroon in color before being painted its current Sky Blue and it has been mini tubbed by Art Morrison Enterprises to fit meaty 29x15.5x15 Mickey Thompson Sportsman tires. We love how the car sits and can only imagine how well it goes.

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HANDBOOK 419: 1982 DeLorean DMC-12
A product of Northern Ireland, the DeLorean DMC-12 was produced from 1981 to 1982, a blink of an eye in auto industry time. Records show 9,200 were made and estimates put current survivors at about 6,500. Read More+

A product of Northern Ireland, the DeLorean DMC-12 was produced from 1981 to 1982, a blink of an eye in auto industry time. Records show 9,200 were made and estimates put current survivors at about 6,500. The prototype appeared in 1976 and its innovative body, penned by Giorgetto Guigiaro with a stainless steel outer body and gull-wing doors, made it a standout. DeLorean's original plan called for 200 horsepower, the car's V6 produced 170, and this was further reduced for U.S. models which had emission gear that sacrificed another 40 horsepower. A 130 horse "sports car" is a bit of a yawner.

The DeLorean prototype of 1976 sported a Citroen engine and, oddly, a Mazda Wankel rotary was considered for a short time... think of the tuning possibilities... Ultimately the car received a PRV V6, PRV was a conglomeration effort between Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo. With its paltry 130 horsepower it is easy to see why none of the companies were lining up to take credit for their creation. The DMC-12 features a double Y-frame chassis akin to Lotus Esprit and since the prototype used untested manufacturing techniques. As the car moved to production it was redesigned and retooled by none other than Lotus' Colin Chapman.

In true time machine fashion you may be able to buy a new 2017 DeLorean. Stephen Wynne was an early service source for DMC-12s and eventually created DeLorean Motor Company in 1997. The Houston-based company has a sizeable parts inventory, exclusive distribution rights, as well as the tooling, engineering drawings, and company records from the original automaker. The recent Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act serves as the tipping point. The act enables companies to create replicas of vehicles that are 25 years old or older in limited numbers and not be held to the same standards as big-time car manufacturers. The cars still have to meet Clean Air Act criteria. There are rumors that a DeLorean rebirth is in the offing and much of the hearsay surrounds the engine. DeLorean Motor Company VP James Espey, told car enthusiast website Jalopnik that a GM crate engine or possibly a Toyota mill are the most likely candidates. The goal is a 300 to 400 horsepower V6 which would really transform the performance of the DMC-12. This is all speculation at this point but it is possible that enthusiasts will really be able to go back to the future. Time will tell.

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HANDBOOK 418: 1961 Triumph Italia 2000 GT Coupe
Introduced at the 1958 Turin Motor Show, the Triumph Italia 2000 GT Coupé combines the chassis and mechanical systems of a Triumph TR3 and the seductive lines of a hand-formed body designed by Giovanni Michelotti and brought to life by Carrozzeria Vignale. Read More+

Introduced at the 1958 Turin Motor Show, the Triumph Italia 2000 GT Coupé combines the chassis and mechanical systems of a Triumph TR3 and the seductive lines of a hand-formed body designed by Giovanni Michelotti and brought to life by Carrozzeria Vignale.

The owner of our cover car relates that Italia #227 was purchased and imported from Switzerland in 2000, where it was first licensed in 1961. The car underwent a 12-year restoration, testing the patience and persistence of Robin Purington at British European in Seattle. This Italia is substantially original, with limited modifications to improve roadability, namely an electronic ignition, five-speed transmission conversion with short-shift, and an auxiliary fan.

In addition to the challenges of refurbishing the coach-built body, the owner says many interior and exterior components (lights, trim, badges, seats, dash, etc.) differ from car to car, and are either very rare, or unique to the Italia. Identifying and sourcing missing bits was a major challenge throughout the restoration. The owner says they were aided repeatedly by a network of Italia owners in the US and Europe.

Around 330 Italias were produced between 1958 and 1962. It is believed that 122 still exist and many cars originally imported to America have since been bought by collectors in Europe and have made the pilgrimage back to The Continent.

While cars like the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ and the upcoming Toyota Supra/BMW Z5 are newsworthy collaborations today, the concept has been practiced for decades. In this iteration, the owners get reliability and easy access to stock parts from Triumph and luscious Italian styling from Vignale. Talk about a win-win.

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HANDBOOK 417: 1957 Ford Custom 3000
The Ford Custom was a blip on the automotive radar as it was only produced from 1957 to 1959. There were four flavors to choose from; the base Custom, the Custom 300, the Fairlane, and the line-topping Fairlane 500. Read More+

The Ford Custom was a blip on the automotive radar as it was only produced from 1957 to 1959. There were four flavors to choose from; the base Custom, the Custom 300, the Fairlane, and the line-topping Fairlane 500. This platform would give birth to the Ranchero in '57 and the Galaxie in '59 and both nameplates would live well into the '70s.

In an era dominated by Tri-Five Chevys, coming across a Ford Custom of this caliber is a real treat. The build quality of Gary M.'s trick 1957 Ford Custom 300 jumps off every surface. It starts with flawless PPG Polo Green paint by Byers Custom & Restoration.

Looking past the paint, Wicked Fabrication built the car on an Art Morrison pro touring chassis fitted with coilovers and Wilwood brakes. With the chassis set up and ready to roll, the crew coaxed a supercharged 2008 Shelby GT500 V8 between the frame rails.

Where most stock Custom 300s were powered by Y-Block V8s ranging from 190 to 245 horsepower, this mean machine flexes 500 horsepower from a supercharged 5.4-liter V8. Pressure comes by way of a roots-style blower that runs through an efficient air-to-water intercooler set-up.

Looking to the cabin, Gary calls the extravagant interior created by Stitches Custom Auto Upholstery one of the car's strongest points. He says the Ford was built with the best by the best and he hopes to compete at the Grand National Roadster Show. With the highly focused attention-to-detail found on this Blue Oval Gary should fare well.

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HANDBOOK 416: 1963 Corvette Sting Ray
The 1963 Corvette represented a milestone for the marque. It was a fresh redesign year and signaled the introduction of the Sting Ray name, and the now iconic split rear window treatment. Read More+

The 1963 Corvette represented a milestone for the marque. It was a fresh redesign year and signaled the introduction of the Sting Ray name, and the now iconic split rear window treatment. Model year 1963 was the first year of the C2 generation that lasted to 1967.

The C2 was the first American car with hidden headlights since the 1942 DeSoto, a trait that would continue in the Vette until 2005 and the C5. Another innovative element was the design of the doors, which extended into the roof of the car. The split-window treatment had a one-year run because of complaints about poor rearward visibility... sometimes that's how rarity is created.

Standard power was provided by a 327-cubic-inch V8 rated at 250 horsepower. Up-model 300- and 340-horse 327s were also offered. With GM's Ramjet Fuel Injection, the 327 was coaxed to pump out 360 horsepower. The injection upgrade cost $430, which smells like a deal to us, since today "fuelies" are at the top of the Vette collector car food chain.

Our cover model is a Sebring Silver, factory four-speed model powered by a 340-horse version of GM's 327-inch small-block V8. This car has 57,000 original miles on the clock, has received the NCRS Top Flight Award four times, and was a winner of a prestigious Bloomington Gold Certificate in 2014.

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HANDBOOK 415: 1986 Ferrari 328 GTB
Produced between 1985 and 1989, the Ferrari 328 was available as a Gran Turismo Berlinetta (GTB), a solid-top coupe, and as a Gran Turismo Spider (GTS), and open-air targa top variant. Read More+

Produced between 1985 and 1989, the Ferrari 328 was available as a Gran Turismo Berlinetta (GTB), a solid-top coupe, and as a Gran Turismo Spider (GTS), and open-air targa top variant. The 328 series was preceded by the 308, which many will recognize as the Ferrari made famous on the Magnum PI television show. Ferrari produced 6,068 328s during its production run with 4,724 being GTS models and only 1,344 being GTBs like this one.

Our cover car is an '86 model with a five-speed manual transmission, Rosso Corsa Red paint, and an immaculate tan interior.

A mid-mounted 3.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 provides the soundtrack. The engine features four valves per cylinder, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, and 270 horsepower under the right foot. The 328 has a reputation as one of the more reliable Ferraris as most maintenance can be performed without dropping the engine from the chassis. It is also a great entry-level Ferrari for budding collectors. The 328 gave way to the 348, which represented further refinement of the automaker's mid-ship V8 platform.

We'd like to thank the owner for lending us his Prancing Horse so we could photograph it for our Handbook and share it with you.

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HANDBOOK 414: 1970 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
How would you spend $5,519.10 in 1970? The owner of this Vette wisely invested exactly that amount into a 390-horse, 500 lbs-ft of torque 454-inch Turbo-Jet big-block convertible. Read More+

How would you spend $5,519.10 in 1970? The owner of this Vette wisely invested exactly that amount into a 390-horse, 500 lbs-ft of torque 454-inch Turbo-Jet big-block convertible. This LS5 version of the Rat motor used a 10.25:1 compression ratio, performance camshaft, and a Rochester 750 cfm four barrel carburetor to make its power. The top-of-the-line big-block was the LS7, which used higher 11.25:1 compression and a Holley 800 cfm four barrel carb to generate its 465 ponies, but while advertised in marketing brochures GM subsequently banned high-performance cars and none were sold as the Vette, like many iconic American musclecars, began to succumb to gas shortages and car insurance overages. The 454 big-blocks replaced the 427 as the top-dog engines and the LT1 small-block made its debut in the Corvette in the 1970 editions.

This paint code 974 Monza Red C3 example also sports a Muncie four-speed manual transmission, posi-traction rear end, and a special final drive gear ratio... they don't get much more desirable than this.

Model year 1970 was an odd one because a labor dispute extended the '69 production run and shortened manufacturing of the '70s. As a result, only 17,316 Vettes rolled off GM production lines for 1970, versus 38,762 in '69. Only 6,648 of the '70s were drop tops. Some of the 1970 updates included replacing replaced the four side gills with egg-crate vents on the side, slightly flaring the fenders to keep pebbles from being kicked up and scratching the paint, and Tuxedo Black was dropped from the 1970 palette.

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HANDBOOK 413: 1988 BMW M3
In 1985 the E30 M3 was born when BMW tapped its M Power division to drop a hot four cylinder in the 3-series. The result was transcendental as it put the lightweight chassis/high-revving engine equation to the test. Read More+

In 1985 the E30 M3 was born when BMW tapped its M Power division to drop a hot four cylinder in the 3-series. The result was transcendental as it put the lightweight chassis/high-revving engine equation to the test. The E30 M3 has a dozen body panel or exterior trim differences compared to a conventional 3-series, the most notable being its bulging fender flares. It also had upgraded brakes and more serious suspension. A 2.3-liter S14B23 engine rated at 195 horsepower provides the thrills in U.S. spec models. This '88 model has 42,000 on the odometer but looking at the cleanliness of the engine you'd swear it was 4,200. In 1988, the M3 received an updated version of the S14, the S14B23 EzVO2 which featured a more aggressive cam, a bump in compression, reworked port design in the cylinder head, larger diameter exhaust tubes, and a bump to 212 horsepower.

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HANDBOOK 412: 1974 LANCIA STRATOS HF
The Lancia Stratos HF was the first car purposely built for competition in the World Rally Championship, and its bold, radical design looked like nothing else on the road, ever. Read More+

The Lancia Stratos HF was the first car purposely built for competition in the World Rally Championship, and its bold, radical design looked like nothing else on the road, ever. Further adding to the avant-garde car’s allure was the fact that it was probably the only Ferrari-powered car to be regularly seen covered in mud and sliding around the world’s toughest rally stages. Powered by a 192 bhp, 2,418 cc Ferrari Dino V6 backed by a five-speed manual the Stratos is a terror. The Italian also features four-wheel independent suspension with front coil springs and rear MacPherson struts, and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. This example is one of about 400 made. It has all its original running gear and 62k on the clock.

The Startos has quite the backstory. It all started in 1970, Italian design house Bertone arrived at the Turin Motor Show with a radical concept, the Stratos Zero. It was described as "a spaceship for the road" and struck a chord with the automotive press and the public as well as Lancia Director of Public Relations Sandro Fiorio. Fiorio turned to his son, Cesare, Lancia’s rally team chief, and the two pondered about how a production version of the Stratos could be introduced in order to reverse the fortunes of Lancia's struggling motorsports division. After getting 500 246 Dino from Ferrari and developing the combination, the Stratos went to battle in full force in 1973. The car won the Firestone Rally in April, finished second in the illustrious Targa Florio, and then won its first big-time race, the Tour de France Auto. In 1974 the Stratos was produced as a road going version for homologation into the FIA Group 4 division and this car is one of those FIA qualifiers.

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HANDBOOK 411: 1966 Chevelle Convertible
The 1966 model year was a big one for the Chevelle as it got a punch up in the styling department and some added juice under the hood. In fact, the Chevelle was completely restyled in '66. Read More+

The 1966 model year was a big one for the Chevelle as it got a punch up in the styling department and some added juice under the hood. In fact, the Chevelle was completely restyled in '66. It featured smoother contours compared to the boxier previous iteration and a broad new grille and bumper treatment. The SS 396 Super Sport graduated from a box on the option sheet to a full-fledged, stand-alone model. Going SS 396 didn't totally answer the engine question as GM offered three versions of its 396-cubic-inch TurboJet big-block V8 in the car. The standard engine was rated at 325 horsepower and there were 360- and 375-horse versions also available.

This particular Chevelle, a highly coveted convertible, sports a displacement boosting engine swap. The stock 396 V8 and automatic transmission were replaced with a big block 502 crate motor and 4-speed manual transmission. The stock bench front seat was also replaced with twin bucket seats along with a new center console.

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HANDBOOK 410: 1913 Daimler Type-20 Touring Car
This 1913 Daimler Type-20 Touring Car epitomized the grandeur of the automobile's early years. These cars were top echelon machines aimed at wealthy owners and their quality always shows through. Read More+

This 1913 Daimler Type-20 Touring Car epitomized the grandeur of the automobile's early years. These cars were top echelon machines aimed at wealthy owners and their quality always shows through. The engine is a 20-horse 3,309cc four cylinder sleeve valve engine known as the Daimler-Knight. This design features machined sleeves that are positioned between the piston and the cylinder wall in the cylinder. The sleeve rotates and ports in the side of the sleeve come into alignment with the cylinder's inlet and exhaust ports at the appropriate stages in the engine's combustion cycle. Designed by American Charles Knight, these engines were produced in limited numbers from around 1906 to 1940.

The idea behind Knight's creations was not power or efficiency but noise reduction. In 1906 poppet valve engines were annoyingly loud. The camshafts of the day were crude and there wasn't much experimentation with profiles going on. In many instances the cams and valvetrain components were located on the outside of the engine.

Knight wanted to license an engine maker in each industrialized country to produce a Knight-style valve system for its own home market. Some of the early takers were Daimler Motor Co. of Coventry, England, Levassor in France, Mercedes in Germany, Minerva Company in Belgium, Panhard, and Willys-Overland in America. Willys was the most prolific. The company had developed both a four- and six-cylinder sleeve-valve engines.

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HANDBOOK 409: 2013 & 2014 McLaren MP4-12C Spiders
The MP4-12C is the first production car engineered and produced solely by McLaren since the F1. The Creamsicle-colored duo are the roadster versions introduced in 2012. Read More+

The MP4-12C is the first production car engineered and produced solely by McLaren since the F1. The Creamsicle-colored duo are the roadster versions introduced in 2012. They have all the sexy supercar attributes one would expect; carbon fiber composite Monocell chassis, mid-mounted 625-horsepower twin-turbo V8, Formula 1-derived dual clutch gearbox and a brake force vectoring system that was so effective it was banned from Formula 1. This setup increases braking power to the inside rear tire to better initiate cornering. The McLaren posts the number to back up its seductive silhouette; 204 mph top speed, 3.1-second 0-62 mph sprint.

The McLaren was design as a convertible from the very beginning, so the car required no strengthening to lose its top. However, the car does gain 88 pounds due to the folding hard top mechanism, which needs 17 seconds to hide this behind the passenger cell, an operation that can be performed at speeds of up to 19 mph. In addition to that, the carmaker introduced a power rear windscreen, which can be sent to bed or erected at the touch of a button. The carmaker also gifted the car with a glass engine cover and developed new wheels for the Spider.

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HANDBOOK 408: EMORY MOTORSPORTS OUTLAW 356
Want a Porsche 356 taken to the next level? An Emory Outlaw is a modified 356 that began life as a factory steel-bodied car in Germany. Read More+

Want a Porsche 356 taken to the next level? An Emory Outlaw is a modified 356 that began life as a factory steel-bodied car in Germany. These cars start with a bare-metal, rotisserie restoration with the goal of improved handling, styling and drivability, frequently far beyond the performance specifications of even Porsche’s competition cars from the era. The term '356 Outlaw' was a name given to The Emory's in the early 80’s because of their race and rally inspired look. These cars start with a bare-metal, rotisserie restoration with the goal of improved handling, styling, and drivability. Body changes can include smoothing bumpers, adding louvers, and other period accents. Billet alloy wheels in a few styles and many finishes combined with performance tires round out the appearance package. Emory Motorsports also addresses performance. Owners can choose from a variety of engines, 911 rear suspension, modern disc brakes, or 911 4- or 5-speed transmissions. The fully reborn Emory 356 Outlaw is a lightweight, nimble machine that is a joy to drive.

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HANDBOOK 407: 1975 NIKI LAUDA FERRARI 312T
Don't worry we Photo-shopped the festive number and name change on the famous Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T. This rolling slice of motorsports history is safe and sound. Read More+

Don't worry we Photo-shopped the festive number and name change on the famous Niki Lauda Ferrari 312T. This rolling slice of motorsports history is safe and sound.

The previous Ferrari 312, the 312B, had the power from the hearty V12 but couldn't manage to make the most of it. The key to the 312T's success is its transvers-mounted gearbox that moved weight between the axles and greatly enhanced handling. For the 1975 F1 campaign Ferrari built five chassis for competition; numbers 018, 021, 022, 023 and 024, which were easily spotted on-track by their towering air intake scoops. Our cover car, chassis #022, was instrumental in Lauda's charge to the '75 championship. After winning the non-championship scoring International Trophy race at Silverstone, Lauda raced #022 five times, nabbing a win, a runner-up, and a podium third as well as a points-scoring sixth and one DNF.

Fast Facts: 1975 Ferrari 312T, Chassis 022

  • Designed by Mauro Forghieri for the 1975 season
  • Chassis 022 was piloted by both Clay Regazzoni and Niki Lauda in 1975
  • DNF- South African GP, Kyalami (Regazzoni)
  • 1st- International Trophy, Silverstone (Lauda)
  • DNF- Spanish GP, Montjuich Park (Lauda)
  • 5th- Belgian GP, Zolder (Regazzoni)
  • 2nd- Dutch GP, Zandvoort (Lauda)
  • 1st- French GP, Paul Ricard (Lauda)
  • 3rd- German GP, Nürburgring (Lauda)
  • 6th- Austrian GP, Österreichring (Lauda)
  • In all, Ferrari 312T cars went on to win 27 races, four Constructors’ Championships, and three Drivers’ Championships over their history

Fast Facts: Niki Lauda

  • Three-time Formula 1 Champion
  • Was among the early so-called “ride buyers,” meaning he actually took out personal loans to pay teams for the opportunity to drive
  • Break came in 1974 when a former teammate spoke favorably of Niki Lauda to Enzo Ferrari. Ferrari hired Lauda, paying him enough to clear his debts
  • Ferrari’s faith in Lauda was rewarded with a second place finish in his first race, and a win (Ferrari’s first in two seasons) just three races later
  • Lauda’s 1975 season started slowly (nothing better than fifth place in the first four races), but he gained momentum in the new Ferrari 312T car, winning four of the next five races
  • Also won the Drivers’ Championship in 1975
  • In the 1976 Formula 1 Season (backdrop for the movie, "Rush"), Lauda had a near-fatal crash at the German Grand Prix, suffering severe burns and later lapsing into a coma. He returned only six weeks (two races) later, setting up a legendary battle with McLaren driver James Hunt for the Drivers’ Championship
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HANDBOOK 406: 1965 DODGE CORONET 500
The car you see here, a 1965 Dodge Coronet coupe, is more than meets the eye. It started out as a 361 cubic inch V8 car that was bought to help replace the owner's first Coronet that he ordered new in 1964 with a stout 426 Wedge engine and four-speed stick. Read More+

The car you see here, a 1965 Dodge Coronet coupe, is more than meets the eye. It started out as a 361 cubic inch V8 car that was bought to help replace the owner's first Coronet that he ordered new in 1964 with a stout 426 Wedge engine and four-speed stick. The Wedge is the direct predecessor to the all-conquering Hemi engine. The original '64 Coronet got wrecked in 1988 and the owner dutifully dismantled it piece by piece using a Sawzall and a torch. He saved the 60k-mile Wedge drivetrain and spent 12 years re-motoring and restoring the '65 Dodge under a Costco canopy in the backyard. The famed Wedge was available in '62, '63, and '64 B-Body Mopars. Known as the Stage III, the V8 was available in two compression ratios in '64. An 11.0:1 produced 415 horsepower and a 12.5:1 ratio pumped out 425, although this is viewed as a conservative rating. By saving the Wedge powertrain the owner was able to reach back in time and relive his Hemi memories.

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HANDBOOK 405: 2008 PORSCHE 911 GT2
With 530 horsepower awaiting the hammer drop, the 2008 GT2 was the fastest and most powerful road-going 911 that Stuttgart had ever sold to the motoring public when it hit the streets. Read More+

With 530 horsepower awaiting the hammer drop, the 2008 GT2 was the fastest and most powerful road-going 911 that Stuttgart had ever sold to the motoring public when it hit the streets. The car sports a 3.6-liter 911 Turbo engine but in the GT2 the powerplant gets bigger turbos and a revised intake manifold for a 50-horsepower bump over mortal 911s. In fact, its 530 horsepower, 3.6-liter displacement translates into an impressive 147 horsepower per liter specific output. The GT2 weighs 320 pounds less than a Turbo and its 3.7-second 0-60 and 204 mph top speed were top of the 911 line in 2008. It was the first manual transmission Porsche with launch control and the GT2 was so quick off the line the tach needle reportedly could not keep pace and a shift light was dropped in the gauge cluster to ensure timely gear changes. The GT2's racing pedigree can also be seen it its carbon ceramic drake discs, adjustable suspension, and easy to change rear gear ratios. The Porsche 911 GT2 is a true wolf in sheep's clothing, race car for the street proposition.

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HANDBOOK 403: 1948 CHEVY FLEETLINE
The body lines of this era of Fleetline is familiar because of its long model run. It was produced from 1941 to 1952 due to WWII when automakers were too busy supporting the war effort to revamp the design their passenger cars. Read More+

The body lines of this era of Fleetline is familiar because of its long model run. It was produced from 1941 to 1952 due to WWII when automakers were too busy supporting the war effort to revamp the design their passenger cars. The car was powered by a 216 cid I6 rated at 90 horsepower and offered in two configurations, an Aerosedan two door version and a Sportmaster four-door.

Jim B., the owner of this outstanding example, knows about commitment. He’s owned this fabulous Chevy Fleetline for 43 years. He bought the car when he was 16 years old in 1972. It was a gasser. And that’s how he drove it to high school. In 1983 he deemed the gasser’s handling too "darty" and installed a standard front end. As his family grew the Fleetline was stored in the garage on jackstands where it slumbered from 1985 to 2008. In 2008 the car was resurrected with Wicked Fabrication handling the mechanicals and Jon Beyer spraying the paint.

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HANDBOOK 402: 1968 Iso Grifo
The body lines of this era of Fleetline is familiar because of its long model run. It was produced from 1941 to 1952 due to WWII when automakers were too busy supporting the war effort to revamp the design their passenger cars. Read More+

Early Iso Grifo sports cars were powered by Chevrolet small-block V8 engines from the Corvette backed by Muncie four-speed gearboxes. Output was rated between 300 and 350 horsepower and the Grifo was capable of 165 mph. The chassis was designed by the Ferrari 250 GTO engineer Giotto Bizzarrini and the body was penned by celebrated designer Guirgetto Guigairo who was working at Bertone at the time. The Grifo debuted in 1965.

During the production run Renzo Rivolta passed away and his son Piero was now running the company. Piero wanted something a little special so he decided to upgrade the look of the Grifo by adding an elongated nose with hidden headlights. But he still wanted something next level for his best customers. The Grifo Targa was just the answer. The overall height was a mere 48 inches; the front had aggressive quad-headlights, and the fenders were filled with lightweight alloy wheels backed by disc brakes all around. It was a very sophisticated and lightweight car that had a base price twice the amount of a Corvette.

Iso only built four long-nosed Targas and our cover car, a 1968 model chassis #337, is one of those rare long-nose Targa gems.

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HANDBOOK 399: 1960 Fiat Jolly
Based on the Fiat 500, 600, and Multipla platforms the Jolly is a specialty vehicle converted by Ghia. Jollys were built from 1958 to 1966 during a renaissance for the rich and pampered as yacht tenders to run in-port errands, runabouts on the estate, or just tooling about the beachfront. Read More+

Based on the Fiat 500, 600, and Multipla platforms the Jolly is a specialty vehicle converted by Ghia. Jollys were built from 1958 to 1966 during a renaissance for the rich and pampered as yacht tenders to run in-port errands, runabouts on the estate, or just tooling about the beachfront. Jollys based on the Fiat 500 were air cooled while the "big block" 600 featured a water cooled four cylinder engine. Top speed was quoted as 59 mph but no reference to how level the test track was could be found.

Fiat Jollys were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. The design firm Ghia handled the transformation that took an everyday city car and made it an exclusive status symbol. The rich and famous responded. A notable owner of the money side of the equation was Aristotle Onassis while actor Yul Brynner represented the celeb owners.

Most Jollys are low-mileage propositions which makes the 7,393 miles on our coral-colored Fiat 600-based 1960 example right around average. The Jolly was sold in America from 1958 to 1961 in very limited numbers. The conversion included cut-down sides and windshield, a striped and fringed surrey top, and chromed body-pipework. Once frowned upon the value of these runabouts has climbed steadily.

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HANDBOOK 398: 1955 Chevy Suburban
Subtle can be awesome. Want proof? Look no further than Jon Byers' seductive 1955 Chevy Suburban. Some of the most eye-catching rides don't have flames, loud graphics, or bulging fenders. Read More+

Subtle can be awesome. Want proof? Look no further than Jon Byers' seductive 1955 Chevy Suburban. Some of the most eye-catching rides don't have flames, loud graphics, or bulging fenders. Jon, chief proprietor of Byers Custom & Restoration in Auburn, Washington, used simple mods that have a "greater than the sum of its parts" effect on the vehicle's overall look. Don't be fooled into thinking that the subtlety of the mods mean they require any less skill to pull off. The work on this old-time family hauler is top notch.

The Chevy sports a mildly chopped top, but any chop is a titanic undertaking. This one features a three-inch trim on the pillars and a two-inch roof reduction. Jon said he took this tack to attain the proper proportion the roof, the window openings, and the side of the truck. The hood was also 1.5-inch pie cut to bring it down and further dial-in the truck's proportional balance. Jon also modified the headlight eyebrows and elected to swap the taillights with larger, more elaborate units from a Chevy Cameo pickup. These visual tweaks, the hunkered stance, and big, heavily tucked wheels with cavernous lips all conspire to make the Bow Tie a standout.

The 'Burban's foundation is an Art Morrison Enterprises Profiler Air Spring Plus perimeter frame welded together by Wicked Fabrication of Auburn. The frame, which is set up for an air suspension, was kicked to accommodate a Ford 9-inch and fitted with Firestone airbags. The bags operate between 50 and 90 psi and when deflated provide around four inches of drop. Wicked capped the frame rails, turning the encapsulated space into an air tank. The system also uses a pair of five-gallon tanks.

Inside, a reshaped and reimagined dash houses modern gauges and sports a custom wood grain effect paint job complete with dovetail joints in the appropriate places. An ididit steering column and LeCarra Classics tiller keep the big truck on the road. The ceiling is adorned with a simulated surfboard that houses 3,000 watts worth of Phoenix Gold amps.

Pop the hood open and you're greeted by a 468-inch Chevy V8 set off by a shaved firewall and custom inner fenders. The big-block's visual impact is maximized by flamed valve covers and a huge air cleaner that nestles nicely in the firewall cutout. A Quadrajet carb feeds the beast and Jon pegs power output at 450 horses.

The Chevy spent quite some time in an orange guide coat, appearing at a few shows in this guise. The big truck was eventually finished off with a healthy dose of Salsa Red. There is an Eric Brockmeyer illustration of the 'Burban floating around. In it the truck is presented with flames down its side. Kudos to Jon for staying with a solid color... the flames would have overcooked the truck's aura.

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HANDBOOK 397: 1960 Edsel Ranger
Daring to be different isn’t much of a challenge for Bud W. The fringe does not scare him… he's quite at home in this mindset and his tricked out 1960 Edsel is rolling proof. Read More+

Daring to be different isn’t much of a challenge for Bud W. The fringe does not scare him… he's quite at home in this mindset and his tricked out 1960 Edsel is rolling proof.

Edsels, by their nature, fly well under the radar. The 1960 Edsel is rare. According to Hemmings Motor News and Hagerty Price Guide only 2,846 examples rolled off the assembly line. But Bud's car is impressive because of the depth and quality of the work that's gone into it, not how few were made. One would quickly peg the Edsel as a super rare one-of-76 convertible… one would be wrong. Bud's Edsel started life as one of 777 two-door sedans and had, according to NADAguides.com, a base price of $2,643 in 1960. Bud decided to go big and make the sedan a one-off roadster… and boy was he in for a ride.

Mike Walter of Rainier Rod & Custom in Graham, Washington, handled the transformation. It was much more than a measure twice, cut once endeavor. The conversion necessitated a 15-degree layback of the windshield, shortening of the package tray, reworking the windows using the originals and cut-down frames from a Starliner, making a tonneau for the rear, and fitting a Thunderbird interior. A lot of fine detail work also went into the fender skirts, which were extended and flush mounted. The taillight surrounds are one-offs machined from billet aluminum then fitted with the original lenses.

The Edsel's frame and chassis were fortified with gussets, beefier convertible-spec body mounts, and buttressing to regain the stability lost when the top was removed. The car's hunkered stance comes complements of a RideTech bolt-on four-link air suspension featuring ShockWave shocks. Along with the suspension mods Walter raised the center tunnel to ensure driveshaft clearance when the Edsel scrapes pavement.

The engine bay was shaved street rodder style and fitted with custom-fabbed inner fenders, radiator plate, and firewall. A fully wire tucked Ford 429 is nestled neatly in the pristine engine room. The '70 vintage V8 was prepared by 410 Machine Services out of Buckley, Washington. A set of off-the-shelf Tri-Y headers from Ford Power Train Applications lead to custom 2.5-inch pipes and Flowmaster mufflers. Walter really earned his pay for the week by fabricating a custom intake that features a pair of cone-style filters. It's a sweet set-up.

When prowling the streets Bud enjoys the Edsel's decidedly minimalistic feel. The interior is a calm, Zen-like two-tone featuring the car's body color and a neutral tan. The dash is clean and features All American gauges from Classic Instruments finished in nickel, a stock-issue steering wheel, and we really like how the RideTech controls are housed in the original dash speaker. The speaker grille is spring loaded and pops up when pressed, revealing the inflation buttons and pressure dials. Another standout feature is the custom metal console that houses the C6 automatic's shift linkages and the RideTech air lines.

The big cruiser was painted an intoxicating blend of a Toyota Pistachio from the 2006 palette and a custom mix from Walter, who handled the spraying duties. Tacoma's Junior Nelson was tasked with the pinstriping.

This car was a big hit during its time at Griot's Garage. As we arranged its cover photo shoot the Edsel developed a receiving line of admirers. The more they looked at it, the more its smoothness and detail were appreciated. Speaking of appreciation, we'd like to thank Bud for sharing his pride and joy with us.

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HANDBOOK 396: 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat
The Hellcat has set the performance world on fire. The car is 707 horsepower worth of insanity that Dodge had the audacity to deliver it with a full bumper-to-bumper warranty. Read More+

The Hellcat has set the performance world on fire. The car is 707 horsepower worth of insanity that Dodge had the audacity to deliver it with a full bumper-to-bumper warranty. The Hellcat is so stout it comes with two sets of keys so you can keep your underwear clean. There’s a black "low-key" that limits the Hemi to 500 horses and a red fob that unleashes the full potential of the blown V8. Chrysler wants you to know that its new supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi is up to the 707-horsepower challenge. "The breakthrough SRT engine features a forged-steel crankshaft with induction-hardened bearing surfaces. The result," says Chrysler, "is a crank so well-engineered it can withstand firing pressures of 1,595 psi… the equivalent of five family sedans standing on each piston, every two revolutions. And its unique, specially tuned crank damper has been tested to 13,000 rpm." Good to know next time we need to park five family sedans in a pinch.

Let’s talk more tech… "lHigh-strength, forged-alloy pistons, developed using advanced telemetry measurement, are coupled to powder-forged connecting rods with high load-capacity bushings and diamond-like carbon-coated piston pins," says the Chrysler PR/media machine.

At 2,380cc/rev the twin-screw blower has more displacement than a Honda Civic. The boost system features integral charge coolers and an integrated electronic bypass valve to regulate boost pressure to a maximum of 11.6 psi.

We love it when old racer tricks are embraced by automakers. Namely, how Dodge has dedicated the Challenger's inner headlamps to become air intakes that feed the supercharger. They call them Air Catcher inlet ports. The blower further benefits from a 92 mm throttle body, the largest ever used in a Chrysler Group vehicle.

The fuel system has a tall order keeping the big, blown V8 properly quenched. It features an in-tank pump that accommodates variable pressures, half-inch fuel lines, and eight injectors each capable of delivering a flow rate of 600cc/min. The system flows enough to drain the fuel tank in approximately 13 minutes at full power.

What about handling? The suspension is fortified to handle the power and the Hellcat features Brembo brakes all around with the big front stoppers relying on 15.4-inch, two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers. The Dodge rides on 20x9.5 SRT-exclusive Slingshot split seven-spoke, forged-aluminum wheels. On Hellcats the rollers can be ordered with a standard Matte Black finish or the optional "Brass Monkey" dark bronze finish. Our cover car rolls matte wheels, is painted Sublime Metallic, one of the cool throwback colors on the Hellcat palette, and sports a six-speed manual transmission.

We’d like to thank the owner for letting us spend some quality time with the car while shooting it for the cover... next time please leave us the red keys.

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HANDBOOK 395: 1966 MORGAN
The owner bought this seductive 1966 Morgan on Christmas Day 2001 and used it for daily transportation for the next 10 years. He took an upgrade instead of replace philosophy as parts were needed and the result is a really fast car. Read More+

The owner bought this seductive 1966 Morgan on Christmas Day 2001 and used it for daily transportation for the next 10 years. He took an upgrade instead of replace philosophy as parts were needed and the result is a really fast car.

"It began with replacing the generator/regulator with an alternator and went from there. Then the transmission, originally a Ford four-speed, was replaced with a Ford Type 9 five-speed with a close ratio Quaife gearset blueprinted installed in a Quaife aluminum case. The rear axle was replaced with an MGB axle with a 4.875 gear set and Quaife limited slip differential to mate with the transmission 2.39 first gear. The slightly wider MG axle necessitated lacing the upgraded wire wheels on the rear inward half an inch. The rear axle has a panhard rod and torque reaction rods added."

"Then the engine was upgraded from a Ford Kent 1500cc Cortina GT (73 hp) to a Ford Kent-based 2100cc Cosworth BDG. A much more serious engine. This has an aluminum block, four valves per cylinder, is dry sumped, and is set up as a de-tuned Formula Atlantic engine with two 48mm Weber DCO/SP carburetors. The front brakes were upgraded and Alfin aluminum drums replaced the iron drums on the rear brakes. The suspension is stock with Koni shocks all around and steering bearings have been added to the front suspension. The chassis has been modified with an additional cross member located at the engine mounts and cross frame loops have been added to the scuttle (behind the dash) to add to the chassis rigidity and to the rear section for mounting the rear shocks. The stock 10 gallon fuel tank has been replaced with a custom 15 gallon aluminum tank. The original stock car is listed with a top speed of 95 mph and I've seen 125. As geared it will hit 60 mph at 9,500 rpm in first gear."

We're tempted to refute the owner so he'll take us for a fact-checking blast around the block... but we'll forgo that and simply thank him for the opportunity to feature this wild ride in our handbook.

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HANDBOOK 394: 2013 CORVETTE GRAND SPORT
The Corvette is the tip of GM’s technological spear. It the brand’s top dog of performance and the ‘Vette has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys over the years. Read More+

The Corvette is the tip of GM’s technological spear. It the brand’s top dog of performance and the ‘Vette has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys over the years. The fuelie cars of the ‘60s being a peak and any version from the early ‘80s representing a valley. But today the mighty Bow Tie is on the upswing. The new C7 is all the rage and it has the success of the C6 to thank for setting the stage.

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