After filling our stomach’s with some amazing grub we attended Santa Barbara’s Wheels and Waves classic car show. Well, it certainly lived up to its reputation as one of the better classic auto shows in the southern California area. With the town’s main street packed with lines of all types of classic cars and trucks the show had everything to offer for the enthusiast. The level of show cars was top-notch and the cars look so darn good in the California sun. Here’s a glimpse into the unreal rides we experienced and to what California dreaming is all about….
After driving around town for the first few days, we headed over to check out LA’s amazing and historic Petersen Automotive Museum. The pictures do not do it justice but the gist is, this is a must see for any car enthusiast. The Museum entails the typical historical details and stories about cars and the people who built them but the really interesting part is the guided tour of The Vault. The Vault consists of all the vehicles that are not on display as well as many of the vehicles on loan from benefactors. Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed in this section so we were not able to take any pics which just means you must come here yourself. Nonetheless, here is our coverage from the museum section which included a range of vintage and new vehicles.
Vintage Baja 1000 Bronco – rebuilt with modern technology
Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Toyota Baja truck
Chavez Ravine – Former ice cream truck is tribute to LA community bulldozed to make room for Dodger stadium
Earlier this month, Team RedlineNorth had the amazing opportunity to drive the 450 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the ultimate of scenic highways – California State Route 1 also known as Highway One and in certain sections called the Pacific Coast Highway. And of course, as car guys, no such road trip would be done in a simple sedan. Our adventure began at LAX where we picked up our “Bumblebee” yellow Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible from the good folks at Enterprise Exotics.
Camaro SS convertible
Our first stop was to cruise along the 21 miles of LA’s infamous Mulholland Drive with its incredible curves and vistas of the Hollywood sign and downtown LA.
Halfway up Mulholland Drive
Later on, we ventured out to LA’s west side hitting Santa Monica and Venice Beach to catch some of LA’s lively beach scene. Along with the weekend crowds and beautiful bodies we saw some interesting rides which you would expect to see out this way.
Santa Monica Lifeguard – Ford Escape Hybrid
Santa Monica Harbour Chevrolet Police Truck
Venice Beach Bronco
In the posh, Marina Del Ray this Rolls Royce sits among ordinary trucks and sedans. Welcome to car crazy California!
For all the Ultimate Frisbee and Miata/MX-5 fans out there, Mazda has produced a video for you. Shot as part of Mazda’s Fun in the Sun promotional campaign in the UK, the video features passengers in two Mazda Miata’s throwing a Frisbee back and forth to each other, while the drivers perform various maneuvers. The video was shot at Longcross racetrack in Surrey. Both the driving and Frisbee skills are impressive, however, we wonder how many takes it took to get these shots!
In electric vehicle news this week Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, tweeted that Tesla will likely be repaying its US Department of Energy loan on Wednesday, almost 9 years ahead of schedule. Tesla is also planning to raise more capital through a new stock offering of 2,703,027 common shares (Source: Business Insider).
Infiniti will be getting a new electric vehicle model based on the Nissan Leaf platform, but with a different interior and exterior. In addition, the new vehicle will feature inductive charging which does away with cables all together. No word yet on when such a model would launch (Source: Autocar.co.uk).
Plug-in America, an electric vehicle non-profit, estimates that as of this week over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the US in just over two years. While electric vehicles are still fraction of overall new vehicles sales in raw numbers, the Plug-In America press release highlights some interesting statistics:
Continuing our focus on Japanese cars this week, the following video entitled San Francisco Skyline takes a look at pair of Skylines owned by Ivan Jaramillo. He talks about the interest that the cars bring when he drives them on the streets in and around San Francisco, even from people who don’t know what they are. Jaramillo’s philosophy is to drive these cars as much as he can so he can enjoy them, as opposed to looking at them in a garage, which has a certain logic.
Until 2004 in Japan, all domestic autos were required to have less than 280 HP. This legislation was set up by the Japan Automotive Manufactures Association as an environmental and safety measure. However, the reality was there were some ways around this restrictive policy. In fact, the main way was the Japanese aftermarket tuner scene since enthusiasts would often purchase a domestic model and then have it modified at a local speed shop right at purchase time if they wanted more horsepower. One of the models which was commonly used was Nissan’s Skyline model, now considered one of the best Japanese sport coupes ever built. It’s legacy and technology can be seen in today’s supercar the Nissan GT-R.
2002 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R
In addition, imported cars were not subject to the legislation so many enthusiasts purchased European or North American cars as an open loophole. The interesting thing that resulted from the legislation was Japan became a car focused culture where horsepower was truly appreciated.
Many of these imported foreign models were purchased by the tattooed class of Yakuza gangsters or Japanese mafia who could be seen driving around Japan’s cities in their Italian suits and imported cars like this one below.
Typical modified imported Yakuza style car
As Japan is considered the birthplace of the auto racing sport “drifting” it is a good time as any to profile a story we wrote last year on the history of drifting. Many of the famous drifting cars are now iconic Japanese models which are sought after by enthusiasts all over the world.
Today in North America, you can easily purchase an older right hand drive model from Japan as a result of all the drifting hype of the last 15 years.
The Honda NSX (sold as the Acura NSX in North America and Hong Kong) is a sports car produced between 1990 and 2005 by Japanese automaker Honda. The NSX is a legend as it possessed supercar characteristics and the latest racing technology all in a street car that could be purchased at your local Honda dealership. Much of the car’s strong chassis and cornering/handling capabilities were the results of the late Ayrton Senna’s direct input with NSX’s chief engineers. Honda was very close to Senna as they had powered all three of his world championship-winning Formula One race cars before his death in 1994.
After studying their main competitors such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, Honda engineers designed the NSX in search of the “perfect balance” between usable power and reliability and thus produced a powerful naturally aspirated VTEC engine suitable for the extreme demands of both road and track.
2nd Gen modified NSX
It was equipped with a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and powered by an all-aluminium V6 engine featuring Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system.
One of the first magazine articles to chronicle the NSX showed the lightweight 3.0L 270 HP NSX producing a best 0-60 mp/h time of 5.03 seconds and 13.47 seconds for the quarter mile. In addition, a Ferrari 348 to NSX comparison was done with a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds being recorded for the 1991 NSX.
Initially assembled at Honda’s purpose-built Takanezawa R&D Plant in Tochigi, Prefecture in Japan from 1989 to early 2004. The NSX was assembled by approximately 200 of Honda’s highest-skilled and most experienced personnel, a team of hand-picked staff with a minimum of ten years assembly experience employed from various other Honda facilities were assigned to run the NSX operation.
Amazingly, during this time the local police force had an NSX in their cruiser fleet. Wow, I bet everyone wanted to do overtime driving that around town.
NSX Police car
Although the last NSX rolled off the assembly line over eight years ago it remains a true classic and Honda engineers are still being praised for its design and innovation. If you appreciate Honda motorsports you need to get to know the NSX.
And to end with, we found this epic video that captures this untamed samurai warrior of a sports car in all its glory.
In our continuing effort to bring you interesting and cool car videos found found in cyberspace, today we focus in on a short film called Simple Soul. Simple Soul is part of the Depth of Speed series and this video focuses on the T1 version of the VW bus, or also known officially as the VW Type 2 (T1 version). The narrator talks about his love of the VW bus, including its simplicity in terms of the mechanics and design. The popularity of the VW bus has had its ups and downs over the years. In the narrator’s opinion its popularity is on its way up again as people are interested in reliving some of their youth, or have found memories of the VW bus that they want to regain. The particular VW bus profiled in this video has a beautiful paint job. It makes you want to go out on a long road trip this summer!
As promised we have more action from last month’s Shanghai Auto Show. What an incredible variety of Chinese made product along with the world’s finest and most exotic automobiles. Here’s another glimpse of what there was to see in Shanghai for the car enthusiast taken on our whirlwind tour.
The world’s most popular Italian “sisters”….
The Norse Goddess….
China’s own supercar concept…..
Germany’s proudest son….
The 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans winner – Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Detroit Electric – fully electric sportscar built in Detroit, Michigan