Monday, December 11, 2017

A Corvair Low Rider  
This radical 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza low rider, shown in the House of Kolor booth at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) booth, perked a level of interest because the author drove a red 1967 Chevrolet Monza in high school. Needless to say, this Corvair is way cooler than that long-lost ride.  
Click to enlarge

If this finished low rider Corvair is not unique enough, consider that it was originally assembled in the General Motors Suisse assembly plant in Bienne Switzerland, one of the four Corvair assembly plants still in operation in 1966, along with the Willow Run Michigan, Oshawa Ontario Canada, and Van Nuys California.
The second generation restyled Corvair was released in 1965 known as the "Z-Body" with elements of the 1963 Larry Shinoda Sting Ray design. The second generation Corvair was longer and lower and used a three-link rear suspension and coil springs instead of the original swing arm suspension which had attracted the ire of consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Upon its release, Car and Driver  editor David E. Davis wrote that "the new Corvair is — in our opinion — the most important new car of the entire crop of '65 models, and the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II."
This Corvair was customized in 2012 by Romain Roulleau’s “New Ride” shop in Norges la Ville, France, with the door handles removed and doors mounted suicide style and the hydraulic system installed before the car was painted Djoce Custom Paint using House of Kolor products, an American company founded in 1956 and a division of Valspar since 1977.   
click to enlarge

The 161-cubic inch 140-horsepower air-cooled "boxer" six-cylinder chromed and detailed engine was built by Julien Pitault in Dijon France.

All photos by the author

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Aria XFE revealed 

On Thursday November 30 during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show the Aria Group revealed their latest creation the FXE, an American built hybrid hypercar that will challenge the best exotic car built in Europe.

The Aria Group is a leader in providing a full range of design, engineering and manufacturing solutions to meet any request from the transportation, aerospace and entertainment industries. Aria has nearly 20 years of expertise combining the latest advances in rapid manufacturing technology with innovative design and creative engineering to produce advanced and complex projects.  Aria has built one-off manufacturer concept cars and movie vehicles which include the Ford GR-1 and the Kia GT4 Stinger concept cars. 

The basis of the Aria Group’s new dream car is its patent-pending Integrated Composite Structure chassis concept. The pending nature of the intellectual property restricts how much can be revealed but the Aria Group says that it’s a less labor-intensive production method for a carbon-fiber tub with all the powertrain and suspension mounting attachment hardware integrated into the tub.

A supercharged small-block V-8 from an as-yet-unnamed American manufacturer (possibly the Corvette ZR-1 powerplant?) producing 720 horsepower will be bolted in the rear of the tub.  Aria is still negotiating for the supplier of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission but Xtrac which exclusively supplies transmissions for the INDYCAR series seems likely to get the contract.

The FXE will also have pair of axial-flux induction electric motors that add another 540 horsepower to drive the front wheels, which makes the car’s total output 1,150 horsepower.  The energy for the front motors will be stored in a 10-killowatt per hour lithium-ion battery pack. The Aria Group promises eye-popping performance from the FXE – Zero to 60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.1 seconds with a top speed of 220 mph.  

Keep up with the forthcoming details of the Aria FXE on these pages, or check out their website for more details.

Photos and construction details provided by The Aria Group

Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 SEMA "Battle of the Builders" winner

Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy was the winner of the coveted 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) “Battle of the Builders” competition held during SEMA Ignited, the official SEMA Show after-party held after the 2017 SEMA Show.

Trepanier’s 1929 Ford Model-A Tudor sedan shown at the B&M booth in the SEMA 2017 Central Hall edged out Alan Johnson’s 1932 Ford Tudor and Troy Ladd’s 1936 Packard roadster for the title. The three builders will be featured along with many other SEMA Show builders in a new episode of the TV special "SEMA: Battle of the Builders," which will premiere on the Velocity Channel on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. 

The 1929 Model A Tudor is powered by a GM first generation fuel-injected aluminum small block engine with custom valve covers and air cleaner connected to a Legend Gear and Transmission LGT-700 5-speed transmission with a Hurst Competition Plus ™ shifter and a modified Halibrand rear end. The exhaust is all stainless steel, fed through stainless steel Flowmaster ™ Super HP2 mufflers.   

The car built for Mark and Dennis Marianai features front and rear torsion bar suspension with an entirely hand fabricated body including the hood air cleaner and grille shell that was covered with a custom mixed bronze paint from Glasurit a division of BASF.  The car rides on CNC machined custom artillery  style wheels built in the Rad Rides shop. 
 For more details check out these sites:

All photos by the Author

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Something different from SEMA 
the Ford OjO Commuter Scooter


While touring the Ford exhibit at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, the author saw the new Ford-branded OjO (O-Joe) commuter electric scooter.  

The OjO is built on an aluminum frame and is powered by the "HyperGear" 500-watt gear hub (planetary gear reduction) motor which is supplied power from an onboard 48 volt lithium ion battery with its built in retractable cord for 110 volt charging.

Note the Ford logo on the front of the scooter
photo by the author

Boasting speeds of up to 20 miles per hour with a maximum range of 25 miles, OjO states that the scooter is legal for use in bike lanes without a license or helmet, but the author urges readers to check their state and local vehicle codes before purchasing one for $1999.99 (plus shipping).  

The Ford OjO scooter rides on all-weather tubeless tires with each wheel suspended on heavy duty shock absorbers and it is fitted with front and rear disc brakes. The rider can sit or remove the seat and stand on the treaded non-slip deck.  The fenders and the front and rear fairings are built of ABS plastic.  

photo supplied by Ojo

The OjO is equipped with a wireless key and motion alarm to protect it when not in use, and while underway the rider is fed information by the digital dashboard which also allows the choice of three speeds as well as control of the dual speaker Bluetooth ™ sound system and the front and rear LED lighting system. As you can see in the photograph, the OjO scooter also has a USB port.

The Ford OjO Commuter Scooter will be available beginning in January 2018, just in time for racers to buy one for use as a pit bike during the 2018 racing season.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Hellcat powered 1967 Dodge Dart

The Magnuson booth at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas featured this sinister-looking  black and red  1967 Dodge Dart convertible equipped with  a Mopar "Hellcrate" 6.2 liter (370 cubic inch) Hemi engine (as used in the Dodge Hellcat Challenger and Charger) topped with a Magnuson ‘Vengeance’ TVS2650 supercharger.
 The Dart convertible which first debuted at the SEMA 2015 show equipped with a 512 cubic inch Hemi engine was built by Dominator Street Rods in Tracy California which also performed this latest engine swap.

The Hellcat engine as purchased from Mopar Performance boasts 707 horsepower;  Magnuson claims that the TVS2650 as a direct replacement for the factory supercharger which uses Eaton sixth generation twin vortex series rotors results in higher efficiency and requires 26 fewer horsepower to drive the unit.  
graphic courtesy of Magnuson
For further information check out these websites -

Sunday, November 5, 2017


At the AAPEX 2017 show in Las Vegas, Americana Series Car Care Products unveiled their new line of Americana Pro™  HOT WHEELS™ car care products.   The new consumer automotive appearance line features professional-grade, made in U.S.A. car cleaning and finishing products that promise to “Clean. Enhance. Protect.”  The initial launch is focused on exterior detailing formulas for general auto washing, polishing and protecting our car’s finish, as well as wheel and tire cleaners and tire protectant.

HOT WHEELS™ Americana Series™ Car Care Products are professional grade from Americana Pro Detailing Products, LLC. A company with over 75 Years of auto appearance experience.  The proprietary product blends and formulas are designed for the auto enthusiast, auto collector, and easy and safe for the everyday driver.

The entire product line is also packaged in gallons, drums & totes for car washes, pro detailer’s, auto/truck dealerships & auctions. HOT WHEELS™ products clean, enhance, and protect vehicles surfaces while adding brilliance to its finishes on a molecular level and are VOC compliant, biodegradable and easy to use, providing truly professional results.

“If you’re like me, your love affair with cars began as a kid with Hot Wheels. I think car care is a natural next step,” said Americana Pro Detailing Products Founder and Executive Director Daniel Pikarsky. “We’ve developed proven formulas that have received approval from the most demanding auto enthusiasts, while being easy to use. In field tests, Hot Wheels Car Care Products have received rave reviews from both car enthusiasts and professional racing teams worldwide.”

HOT WHEELS and associated trademarks and logos are owned by, and used under license from, Mattel. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.
Product details and graphics provided by Phil Sasso at the PRNewsBureau

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

It’s SEMA week !

On November 2 & 3, the writer of this blog will travel to Las Vegas for the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. SEMA 2017 draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to the massive Las Vegas Convention Center.  
The SEMA 2017 show covers thousands of square feet with exhibits halls that focus on twelve categories that include tires, wheels, powersports, off-road trucks, restoration, auto restyling, car care products collision repair and tools and equipment. More than 50,000 people attend the week-long show which features 1500 vehicles and 2400 exhibitors.  

As in years past, this blog will report on racing and performance, hot rods and the automobile manufacturer’s exhibits.  Look for feature stories from the SEMA 2017 show in the coming weeks.