Thursday, March 22, 2018

A four-door Barracuda? YES!

Scan of 1970 Plymouth sales poster from author's collection

The third-generation Plymouth Barracuda built from 1970 to 1974 used the Chrysler Corporation two-door E-body platform shared with the Dodge Challenger.

For years, the internet contained stories of a red with black vinyl top four-door hardtop 1970 Plymouth Barracuda styling exercise seen in the center of Chrysler’s Highland Park, Michigan in the fall of 1969.  Dave Walden and Steve Been of ECS Automotive Concepts near St. Louis, Missouri decided to replicate the legend.

The starting point of the project was a cut-up and stripped four-door roof and pillars from a 1972 four-door Dodge Coronet. After the roof was chopped an inch, every piece of the car was hand-built as the crew massaged and modified both original and reproduction parts, a process that took six years and an estimated 10,000 hours of labor.

This running and driving “what if” four-door Barracuda shown at the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show rides on a 118-inch wheelbase, weighs 3500 pounds, and is powered by a 275 horsepower Chrysler ‘LA’ 340 cubic inch V-8 fitted with a 4 -barrel carburetor 275 mated to a three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission with a Chrysler 8-3/4 inch rear-end.  
Photos by the author

Monday, March 19, 2018

Checking out a Pro-Lite short course 
race truck at SEMA 2017
On display at the Airaid booth at 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas was the #12 Toyota Tacoma Pro-Lite race truck driven by 17-year old Brock Heger in the Lucas Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) presented by Geico.

A LOORRS Pro-lite truck is a 2-wheel drive mid-size race truck with a fiberglass composite body over a 1-3/4 inch 4130 chromoly steel 122-inch wheelbase chassis. The nearly mid-mounted V-8 engine pumps out an estimated 300 horsepower, and coupled with the12-inch front wheel and 14-inch rear travel limits allows the truck to accelerate over the jumps during the short course races. Due to the high level of contact during a race, the six-piece truck bodies are considered sacrificial as a new complete body kit costs less than $2000.

Brock a 17-year old racer from El Centro California drove for Jeremy McGrath’s JM2 racing team during the 12-race 2017 LOORRS season and won six races with two second place and two third place finishes. Unfortunately Brock suffered mechanical failures and failed to finish in the other two races, and wound up finishing second in the 2017 LOORS Pro-Lite championship behind Jarrett Brooks. Competing in a second division, Heger and his Yamaha YXZ won the inaugural LOORRS Production 1000 CC UTV (Utility Vehicle) class championship and was voted the LOORRS 2017 Driver of the Year.
Yes, that's an Airaid intake filter

Heger’s major sponsor on the #12 Pro-Lite truck is ICON Vehicle Dynamics an off-road performance suspension manufacturer with associate sponsorship from Airaid the manufacturer of performance air intakes and filters.  

You can view the 2018 LOORRS schedule at
All photos by the author

Friday, March 9, 2018

A replica Porsche 917 at PRI 2017

The Gulf Racing Fuels booth at the 2017 PRI (Performance Racing Industry) show at Indianapolis featured a very nice replica of a Gulf Racing Porsche 917 produced by RCR (Race Car Replicas) of Fraser Michigan.

RCR produces a series of eleven race car replica kits which besides the 917 include modern versions of the Ford GT40 (in either Mark I or Mark II versions), Ferrari P4, Lola T70 (in either coupe or spyder versions), Jaguar D-type, Jaguar XJ-13, Porsche 962, Aston Martin DB3S, 1958 Ferrari 246 F1 car, and a F5000-series inspired car.  
RCR advertises that customers get “accurate vintage bodies with modern technology and engineering backed by racing pedigree, for the vintage look of the original, but modern underpinnings that make them a joy to build and drive.”

According to RCR, they have in-house Haas Automation CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining centers that run three shifts a day to manufacturer the CAD (Computer Aided Design)-designed billet aluminum chassis and suspension bits, and that the company has access to laser cutters, waterjet cutters, CNC tube bending equipment, as well as an in-house CNC lathe.

The RCR 917 has a gel-coated fiberglass body but unlike the small-tube frame design of the original RCR uses an aluminum gas tungsten arc-welded monocoque center with tube-frame design front and rear, which mimic the look of the original when the nose and tail are removed. The driveline choice is left to the owner, but RCR suggests a Chevrolet LS engine or a Porsche flat six engine. RCR claims that the RCR 917 is even “streetable,” with a DOT-legal windshield, headlights and taillights. The suggested price of the RCR 917 chassis and body kit is $43,995.

Gulf Racing Fuels representatives told the author that the company was at PRI 2017 looking to secure specified fuel sponsorships of race series in the United States, to expand its retail dealer network and close fuel supply deals with club tracks.

Photos by the author



Sunday, March 4, 2018

Chip Foose's "Magnatude" at SEMA 2017

The Eaton Corporation is a leading global manufacturer with an extensive portfolio of aftermarket automotive products, including differentials, superchargers, performance hoses and engine valves and lifters specifically engineered to maximize performance. At the 2017 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, Eaton displayed Maureen Magnuson’s “Magnatude” custom 1932 Muroc roadster.  


“Magnatude” features a hand-formed body built at Marcel's Custom Metal in Corona, California from a design by Chip Foose finished in champagne metallic over butterscotch pearl. The car rides on a one-of-a-kind 112-inch wheelbase chassis with four-wheel independent suspension from Kugel’s Components.

Barely visible beneath the engine cover is the intercooled 570-horsepower General Motors LS1 engine fitted with a Magnuson 1900 TVS supercharger that uses Eaton rotor assemblies connected to a Tremec six-speed manual transmission. Foose Designs assembled the car and provided the custom “knuckle” rims- the rear wheels are 20 inches in diameter and 10 inches wide.

In 2010 "Magnatude" was a finalist for the title of “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” at the Grand National Roadster Show and later won three awards from the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association - “Street Rod of the Year,” “America’s Most Beautiful Street Rod” and the Goodguys Street Rod d’Elegance title.

Photos by the author

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Kia Stinger at SEMA 2017

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) traditionally bring their newest modified passenger cars to SEMA, (the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade-only show) and the 2017 show was no exception as Kia Motors showed off two modified versions of their new 2018 Kia Stinger GT, a car which wasn’t even available to the public until later in November 2017. 

author photos
This orange beauty built by Struass Haus Enterprises an OEM ADP (accessory development partner) is equipped with a black finished rear spoiler, hood vents,  rear diffuser and front and rear winglets. The car rides on a lowered Eibach suspension with 20-inch TSW wheels wrapped in Falken rubber. All the body components shown are available at

photos courtesy of WCC and Kia

West Coast Customs, a shop featured on an eponymous reality program shown on the Velocity cable network, produced this “wide body” Kia Stinger with custom metal work that flared the fenders and which was highlighted by carbon fiber custom front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser. The suspension is lowered and it rides on 21-inch Keen custom wheels.

 Photo by the author 
The production version of the rear-wheel Kia Stinger GT is powered by a 3.3 liter (201 cubic inch) twin turbocharged V-6 engine which develops 365 horsepower with a base price of $38,350. An all-wheel drive option is available for $2,200.   


Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 Lincoln Navigator overview


The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 by Henry M. Leland who had earlier created the Cadillac nameplate as his part of the reorganization of the Henry Ford Company, which was Ford’s second company. Leland sold Cadillac to the General Motors Company in 1909 but remained there as an executive until he had a dispute with W.C. Durant and left in 1917.  

Leland named his new company after the 16th President Abraham Lincoln, whom Leland claimed he voted for in the 1860 presidential election, although Leland was only 17.  Lincoln assembled Liberty V-12 aircraft engines during World War 1 as well as a luxury automobile, the V-8 powered Model L. After falling on tough times in the post war period in 1922 Lincoln entered receivership and its assets were bought by the Ford Motor Company and the Model L became the basis of Ford’s luxury line.

The first Lincoln logo - a greyhound dog - appeared as a radiator mascot in 1927 to symbolize speed, stamina, and grace. The 1956 and 1957 Continental Mark II are believed to be the first cars branded with the “Lincoln Star” to reflect the brand’s opulence and radiance. The Lincoln Star’s shape has been incorporated in Lincoln styling ever since Lincoln and Continental were combined after the 1957 model year.   

The 2018 Lincoln Navigator was the centerpiece of the Lincoln display at the 2018 Silicon Valley Auto Show, in a separate area delineated by screens that incorporated the Lincoln star design.


The 17-1/2 foot long Navigator is powered by a 3.5 liter (214 cubic inch) V-6 twin-turbocharged engine that develops 450 horsepower and 500 foot/pounds of torque on 93 octane fuel connected to a 10-speed automatic gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system with an electronically locking rear differential. According to the manufacturer that power will propel the nearly three-ton Navigator from a dead stop to 60 miles per hour in 6.0 seconds.

note the multiple incorporation of the Lincoln Star
in the 2018 Lincoln Navigator's grille

The manufacturer’s suggested base price for the 2-wheel drive Premiere edition is $72,055, while the Select edition is $4,000 more.  The next step up at $81,400 is the Reserve edition which includes 22-inch wheels and a Panoramic Vista Roof® and finally there is the top of the line Black Label® (which brings together premium level service and a unique collection of interior themes and membership privileges) for $93,705 before options and destination charges.   

Check out the 2018 Lincoln Navigator online at

all photos by the author

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Coming soon- the Dinner with Champions!

On Sunday night March 18 2018 at the "Dinner with Champions" famed auto racing broadcaster Gary Gerould will interview a pair of auto racing legends. The dinner and program a fund raiser for Northern California Auto Racing, Inc. (NCAR) to build an auto racing museum, will be held at the Dante Club on 2330 Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sacramento, California.

Gerould will interview local racer Rico Abreu, who won the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals back to back in 2015 and 2016, as well as legendary racer and author Jack Hewitt the first and only driver to win all four divisions of racing at the USAC 4-Crown Nationals in 1998.

The World of Outlaws (WoO) sprint car series will be racing in Stockton at the Stockton dirt track on March 16th & 17th and NCAR has received notice that many WoO drivers plan to attend. Jimmy Boyd of Dixon, California the winner of the very first WoO race held at the Devils Bowl in Mesquite, Texas will also be on hand at the “Dinner with Champions” to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of that historic race.

Tickets for the “Dinner with Champions” are only $60.00 each and may be obtained by mailing a check payable to NCAR to 9456 Greenback Lane, Orangevale, California 95662 or by calling Roy Wilhite at 1-916-709-8400.
Information and graphics provided by NCAR Inc.