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Ford Thunderbird, the Original Personal Luxury Car

Cars July 3, 2017

Spanning over eleven generations and almost fifty years, the Ford Thunderbird is responsible for carrying thousands of people over hundreds of miles in both comfort and style. Often credited with the creation of the “personal luxury car” niche, the Thunderbird has undergone several changes throughout the years but retained its original purpose as the perfect road trip vehicle.

Almost four and a half million vehicles later, the Ford Thunderbird is still beloved by many Americans who want a less pretentious (and less expensive) convertible or hard top for Sunday afternoon drives, weekend car trips, and the occasional jaunt across country. It has also done well in racing, particularly for NASCAR drivers Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott and Davey Allison, and Alan Kulwicki. The Thunderbird even set a record – during a 1980’s qualifying session at the Talladega Speedway, the vehicle created a new record for the fastest lap in stock car history (over 200 mph), a record which still stands today.

Unfortunately for the Ford Thunderbird, nothing lives forever, no matter how classic and beloved. As time goes by and people live at faster and faster paces, the vehicle simply can’t keep up with the need for more seats, more space, and more economical choices. In 2005, the last Ford Thunderbird rolled off the line.

The good news is that with almost five million Thunderbirds made, there are vehicles available for those who still dream of seeing American in one of these beauties. And who knows? The Thunderbird has been put on hiatus before and been brought back to life. With all the interest in a return to the past for a glimpse into a simpler time, there may yet be another iteration of the Thunderbird for future car lovers. At the very least, it will continue to inspire designers for many years to come.

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Plymouth Prowler, unique design

Cars July 3, 2017

While the Plymouth Prowler may have been marked a failure in one sense (the choice to utilize a V6 instead of a V8 engine has been touted as the main culprit for the vehicle’s low sales numbers and production output), it’s one of the most interesting, unique vehicles from a design perspective, and might in fact deserve another look.

In an interview with Road & Track’s Bob Sorokanich (which is a recommended read that you can find here), Tom Gale, former Chrysler design head, talked about the importance of the Plymouth Prowler as a concept car and an experimental vehicle that was twenty years ahead of its time. The heavy use of aluminum was far rarer in those days, and the Prowler was a chance to incorporate more of the metal to create a lightweight transportation option – it was built using techniques that were mostly geared toward smaller, lighter vehicles such as the Lotus Elise. This helps explain the decision to use a V6 instead of a V8 engine. The concept was for a more responsible vehicle made to look irresponsible, not the other way around.

Twenty years later, of course, aluminum cars were standard procedure, but it was too late for the Prowler. Manufactured for only a few years (1997, 1999-2002) and split between two companies (it later became the Chrysler Prowler), there are under 12,000 of the two-door roadsters in existence. It did, however, usher in an era of retro-inspired vehicles, such as the PT Cruiser, the SSR and HHR, Ford’s 2002 Thunderbird and 2005 Mustang.

We haven’t seen the last of the Plymouth Prowler, though – one pristine specimen has been sealed in a time capsule in Tulsa, Oklahoma, until the year 2048, at which time it will be returned to Chrysler. Perhaps it will inspire another return to vintage inspiration for the next generation of vehicles.

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Slingshot by Polaris

Cars December 17, 2016

When you say Polaris what comes to mind is probably snowmobiles or ATV’s. This is a reverse trike free of any roof, doors and about anything else not required for vehicle operation. The Slingshot has a “wicked” look to it, lighter weight frame and more than adequate power. Licensing requirements vary in each State.

Some great features related to look; easy to get in to drive, instead of sitting on top such as the Can Am Spyder, you sit in the Slingshot and is side-by-side seating configuration. It has a traditional steering wheel, three pedals on the floor and center shift console for an open cockpit feel versus a motorcycle. Such styling makes for an easy process of acclimation.

The Slingshot comes with a tubular steel frame, minimal body panels and limited cockpit help to minimize the curb weight at 1,700 lbs. and thus will keep to the spirit of riding a motorcycle. A small windshield on the one SL model can help to deflect insects and other debris from catching your helmet, however at the same time very evident you are outside while in the Slingshot.

It Comes packing a 2.4-liter four cylinder sending all its power to the single rear wheel with a five-speed manual and a carbon fiber-reinforced belt drive. The trike’s engine generates 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, with the only filter on noise being your helmet. Should you desire to drive before making the commitment of $20k or greater, try a rental for a few hours. Nothing compares to a trip to Las Vegas where a few locations exist to rent the Slingshot with maybe a 4 hour minimum, giving you and a friend time to drive over the Boulder dam is great!

By Willys6

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’57 Chevy Tri-Five

Cars December 10, 2016

'57 Chevy Tri-Five

1957 Chevrolet Tri-Five

Willys6 reporting for Wheels List, on location at “Coffee & Cars,” Nor Cal Auto Museum.

'57 Chevy Tri-Five

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Shelby Cobra … Classic !

Cars December 10, 2016

Shelby Cobra ... Classic !

A classic Shelby Cobra

Willys6 reporting for Wheels List, on location at “Coffee & Cars,” Nor Cal Auto Museum.

WheelsList,Net

Shelby Cobra ... Classic ! sheby-cobra-2

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Most Expensive Cars of the Year – The most expensive one was over $20M

Cars December 1, 2016

Most Expensive Cars of the Year

According to Sotheby’s, commenting on sales of expensive cars in the previous year, “2016 was yet another remarkable year for RM Sotheby’s. Hundreds of cars were sold over nine auctions, from the Duemila Ruote in Milan to Sam & Emily Mann: A Collection by Design in Monterey, numerous records were broken, and millions of dollars were raised for charity. RM Sotheby’s underlined its clear market leadership with more than $373 million in auction sales and an annual sell-through of 91% – in 2016 alone, 1,285 vehicles were sold. Click ahead to see some of the year’s best-selling cars and be sure to check RM Sotheby’s website as our Arizona and Paris auctions approach in 2017.”

The most expensive? According to the company:

“The highest final sale price of the year goes to the 1956 Le Mans-winning 1955 Jaguar D-Type, which sold for $21,780,000 at RM Sotheby’s: Monterey in August.”

1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider – $19,800,000

Shelby Cobra CSX 2000 – $13,750,000

Pre-war Mercedes-Benzes 540 K Special Roadster – $9,900,000

Ferrari 340 America Barchetta – $8,226,400

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1979 Chevrolet CA Z28

Cars November 9, 2016

1979 Chevrolet CA Z/28

Location: Lutz, Florida, 33559
Stock #: 1030-TPA
VIN #: 1Q87L9N604978
Mileage: 34238
Transmission: Auto
Exterior: Dark Brown
Interior: Tan
Price: $20,995

Seller’s Description:

An amazing true survivor with all the best features you could want – including the original V8 and A/C. So it’s amazing that this 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is available right now for such an affordable price. Dark brown is a great color to celebrate the 1970s. Not only is this the correct color for this coupe, but it also shows all signs of being factory original! Yes, this Camaro is a great way to enter the new survivor culture that prioritizes preservation over restoration. So while the paint is not perfect, the level of gloss and shine will have you amazed that something could be cared for this nicely for nearly four decades. But more than just it’s history, you want this because it has all the great elements that made these Z/28s so desirable.

The long hood scoop, wraparound chin spoiler, slotted fender vents, and full-width spoiler are nicely framed by the multi-tone gold stripe package. This is presented so well because good care has been taken to make sure the sheetmetal retains its angular design that keeps these later third-gen Camaros so distinctive. Finish it off with proper Z/28 turbine wheels that match the body accents, and this is a well-coordinated total factory package.

You can see our gallery for this one below. All the images on our website expand when you click them, so you can get a better look.

For more from Hemmings, find them indexed in our vehicles, trucking and RVing directory. You can search for the company’s name and look for suppliers and dealers in an area near you by looking at our regional headers. And to see more Cars, click here.

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Fiat Spider 124: A Roadster That Wont Break the Bank

Cars October 22, 2016

Are you wanting a fun reliable car with an impressive pedigree for under 30k? A vehicle by Fiat that recently returned to our shores, fun top down cruiser or even daily commuter. All of this is available in the 2017 Fiat Spider 124 that borrows from the Mazda Miata parts bin.

In it’s prior life in the U.S. market it was the classic two-seater roadster from 1966-1978, by the same name. However it did live on beyond that with a name change to Spider 2000. The vehicle is assembled in Japan, by Mazda, however does have the classic Italian design by Pininfarina. It is five inches longer and roughly 100 pounds heavier than the Mazda counterpart. The power plant is a 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder, manufactured in Italy and shipped complete to Japan for installation.

This engine produces 160 horsepower at 5500 rpm and choose the Abarth version for four more horses.

A six-speed stick is standard, which functions as great as found in the Miata. For those not wanting to shift a six-speed automatic transmission can be had for $1350 option. Fiat states a zero-to- 60-mph time of 6.8 seconds.

The Fiat features an acoustic windshield, greater padding in top, and sound deadening material under the carpet and along the firewall with the intention of lowering noise levels once the top is raised.

This in part represents the weight gain over the Mazda and yes is louder than riding in a family sedan, if you had to compare. If you want louder exhaust notes, you may opt for the Record Monza Dual Mode Performance exhaust; dealer installed.

This little Fiat is available in three trim levels; Classica, Lusso and Abarth. Fabric seats come in the Classica, with leather or faux-seats available for Lusso and Abarth. Passenger side leg room can be described as tight, if you are a six footer or greater.

This may not be the ideal “grocery getter” for some with families for the obvious, but seems to very much tick a lot of the must haves on many peoples list. It is priced very competitively, has some very nice packages or options and so far owner reviews indicate they simply love it!

By Willys6

fiat-spider-124-1 fiat-spider-124-2 fiat-spider-124-3

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