Friday, July 29, 2011

A Day at Crower / The Crower Car Show

Took the cover off the '67 and let her rip, heading down a concrete ribbon south, way south. Close to the border turned east to the Crower Car Show. Dragsters, close to a dozen, Bonneville Salt Flat Cars, Hot Rods, Low Riders, music and food, it was the third of these gatherings of extremes. Bad rides everywhere, but the bonus for the day was hearing Nitro burning beasts bark to life.

Have you ever heard real American horsepower up close?  There's nothing quite like it. The deafening concussions pounding into your chest, reverberating every bone in your body. Each cylinder explosion crisply piercing the air...then the crack of the throttle and no other sound in the world can be heard, time stands still, every eye on it, every heart was poundin'. As it stops, you take a breath...just awesome!

Image © AFTR

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Like a Girl...

Don't tell me, it's not just like a girl to be messin' with her hair rather than be worried about the car. And the you really think they're trying to solve the problem with the little British four banger...or do you suppose they have other things on their minds? Ah yes, the trials of life with our cars seems to start very early for us.
Image via, HAMB
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Friday, July 22, 2011


We, my camera and I, decided to head to our local club autocross. As I clicked away, club guys kept asking me, when was I gonna' come drive again...not today, the two of us are onlookers me holding cell phone camera in hand.
They were all there for the drivers meeting, even my buddy the cone. Image © AFTR.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Speaking of Cobras / Allen Grant's Ride

With a previous post about Cobras, blog follower John Bessey sent in an image of Allen Grant on the back side of an old Laguna Seca race program. This peaked my curiosity and I did some diggin'.

Allen started at Carroll Shelby's as a mechanic's helper and welder but quickly graduated to the office where he finagled a deal to drive a Cobra from Coventry Motor Cars of Walnut Creek as a "privateer." The paint scheme was designed by his then-roommate, George Lucas of later "Star Wars" fame. His first race was at Santa Barbara where he faced off against the A/Prod. Corvettes, winning both races on Saturday and Sunday. With another win at Candlestick Park near San Fran and a second place at Riverside along with a couple wins at Laguna Seca, Shelby was convinced and put Allen on as a Team driver, after he served some time in the National Guard.

Coventry Motors was the top dealer of CSX 2000 Series Cobra cars from 1962 though 1965, selling 25 examples.

Back cover from 1963 Pacific Grand Prix program at Laguna Seca. Image via, John Bessey.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shelby Cobra / Carroll Shelby Right Place...Right Time

A full moon was lookin' at me through the window last night while hanging out in the garage sipping a cool one. I took note of one of my favorite posters pinned to the wall. If there was a Genie in a bottle, I would be cruising in one of these.

The story of Texan Carroll Shelby is not new, he was at the right time...right place. He entered the world of manufacturing and selling after his doctor told him he only had a month to live. This happened after he had climbed to the top of Sports Car racing from the days of a chicken rancher after a stint behind the wheel of a MG TC, winning his first two races in 1952 and moving on to other cars. This all stopped in 1960 when his doctors told him his competitive driving days were over.

About the same time, Lee Iacocca became V. P. at Ford and wanted to have an impact on the juvenile performance market. He put in motion the development of a small V-8 for those performance oriented consumers, and in 1962 Ford was finishing that lightweight 221 cubic inch engine. Shelby, who knew some people at Ford, got his hands on an engine and stuffed it into a small British car called an AC ACE. The engine grew from 221 to 260, then a 289, and finally a fire breathing 427 with a different block. The resulting car was named Cobra, and first introduced in 1962 at the New York Auto Show. It was to be sold to the public in limited numbers and raced by privateers and a Shelby Team.

However, it was not a cake walk. The first car was built by a bunch of  'Hot Rodders' at Dean Moon's shop in Santa Fe Springs to attract financing, and painted a different color each time it was shown to the public to make it look as though there were several cars. Orders started coming in and then manufacturing moved to a shop in Venice, California. They quickly out grew that shop by 1965 when they started to add the Ford Mustang into the mix calling it a GT 350. The next move was to two hangers on Imperial Highway next to L.A.X.

With Shelby still smiling on what he envisioned, the Cobra was the right car at the right time and the rest is history.
Carroll Shelby with his new 289 cars, one for the road other for the track.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Speed Shops / Makin my list and checkin it twice...

Before computers and ordering on line, all one had to do was head down to the local 'Speed Shop' to pick up what was needed for a Saturday project. Many an hour was spent just walking around checking out and dreaming about all the cool stuff you could put on your ride. "Hot Rod" Henry's was so typical of that kind of place, 'Lowering Blocks'...$2.99 or 'Moon Hub Caps'...$11.95. Life was so simple.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monterey Car Week ... 2011

For all of you heading to heaven, here's a guide for the Monterey Car Week, 2011. Don't miss it!

August...13-14, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion. This is the second year this event has been open to the public with many of the same cars that run the following weekend. Prices are also reduced in comparison. Very low key without the hoards of spectators. Info.

August...16, Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours on the Avenue. 11:00-5:00 This is such a cool event with the main street of Carmel closed for the Concours. All types of cars are shown with special classes for Ferrari and Porsche. Get there early and have a 'cup of joe' and pastry as parking can become a problem. Don't forget to take in the "Concours in the Windows" of the local shops. All this...and it's free to spectate! Info.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Click of a Camera / Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend

Shuffling along between the rows of cool rides at Viva Las Vegas, the click of a Canon EOS 400D could be heard. I swiveled around with curiosity, a young lad was clicking away totally obvious to my riveted eyes. He turned away from one car and moved to the next as if on a mission, lining up the perfect shot. As always, pimping for photos to use on the blog, I approached him with a card and said, hey if you're interested send me some images. He introduced himself as Nik Thyssen. Here's his story, read on...

"I live in Melbourne Australia, and I've been into hot rods for as long as I can remember. I'm a junior member of 'The Aces of Suede Car Club' and my dad and I are building my first hot rod, a 1930 Model A coupe. My dad is also into hot rods and Kustoms so I've grown up cruising in his '50 Mercury. I started taking photos when my family and I took a trip to Viva 2010 and met Roy Varga, a famous pin-up model photographer who spent some time with me teaching me about shooting. Since then I have been taking photos of all the cars I like at shows that we go to, in Australia and the USA. I like to shoot traditional style rods and chopped customs, and especially with pin-ups."

So now, here's the kicker, Nik is only 12 years very cool is that! Check out his bitchin' images! Rock!

Viva Las Vegas, Orleans Hotel. Image © Nik Thyssen.