Thursday, December 29, 2016

Copper at the 2016 SEMA show

The use of copper plating was a recurrent theme among the show cars at the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, and today we share a trio of examples as photographed by the author.
This car dubbed “SteamPunk” on display in the Factory Five Racing booth was built by West Coast Auto Craft for owner Greg Clouse based on the Factory Five “33 Hot Rod” kit.
The car is powered by a Ford 510 cubic inch engine nestled in a 112-inch steel tube frame chassis.
The body with too many louvers to count was finished in Spies Heck “deep black” paint accented by the copper plated pieces finished by Ogden Chrome.
In the Wet Sounds booth we found this radical Cadillac Series 62 coupe known as “D Lac.” which was radically chopped and lowered via an air suspension system

The powerplant is this turbocharged Cummins 12-valve engine rated at 1000 horsepower.
It looked like the car wasn’t totally completed in time for its unveiling at SEMA 2016 as it was displayed minus windows and an unfinished interior- or was that the style?
Last but not least was the “Durty 30” an all-steel 1930 Ford Model A roadster fitted with Kompressor brand forged wheels and ostrich skin roof covering. The grille was credited to a 1941 Hudson Terraplane, a  confusing claim since Terraplanes were last built in 1938.   
 Owner Joe Cannon told us that the car is powered by supercharged LS engine rated at 700 horsepower and it uses “IndyCar style” pushrod suspension.  




Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Funny Cars at PRI 2016

The 2016 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis featured vendors and displays for all types of racing but today’s article focuses on National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Cars.


Ultrasonic LLC had a display that featured the Alcohol Funny Car driven by company owner Phil Esz’ 2008 Camaro-bodied NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Funny Car based out of Amelia Ohio powered by a Brad Anderson Enterprises (BAE) engine. Ultrasonic LLC sells equipment which mounts the transducers on the side of the tanks employs agitation to offer consistent cleaning action from top to bottom.


Hurco an Indianapolis-based company that offers state-of-the-art multi-axis CNC machine tools for milling turning and metal fabrication recently announced a five-year agreement with John Force Racing. To celebrate the agreement which will enhance the development and production capabilities of John Force Racing and Force American Made machining division,  the Hurco booth featured John Force’s Peak-sponsored NHRA Mello Yello 2016 Camaro SS Funny Car on display.  Hurco has a similar long-term agreement with Ed Carpenter Racing for the Verizon INDYCAR series.

All photos by the author

Monday, December 26, 2016

The wheels go round and round……..
While prowling the aisles of the massive Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis, the author found three interesting wheels to share with our readers.

Keizer Puller Series

The Keizer Wheels booth featured this massive 38-inch diameter wheel for use on pulling tractors. The 3-piece modular wheel is forged from 6061 t8 aluminum alloy with a solid billet 6061 aluminum wheel center.

Photo courtesy of the Extreme Pleasure Pulling Team

The heat treated Keizer pulling series wheel is used by the “Extreme Pleasure” International 1066 limited pro stock tractor team from Rock Valley Iowa, which is also a distributor for Keizer Wheels. Check out the Keizer Pulling Series at or

BBS Forged Magnesium wheel

The cost is approximately $20,000 for a set of four

The BBS America booth proudly displayed the BBS RE-1640 forged magnesium wheel which won the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) 2016 Best New Wheel & Related Product category award for the second year in a row, This 20 X 9.5 front wheel for the Porsche GT3 RS weighs just 15.9 pounds. BBS developed forged magnesium wheels for Formula One competition use by the Ferrari team in 1991.  

BBS Forged Aluminum Wheel

BBS America also displayed their R1-AL forged aluminum Firestone-shod wheel used by Alexander Rossi and the Andretti Herta Autosport team to win the 2016 Indianapolis 500-mile race.  This INDYCAR wheel is a 15-inch diameter forged aluminum one piece wheel with back milled spokes. BBS America was also partnered with Andretti Autosport when won the 2014 Indianapolis ‘500’ with driver Ryan Hunter-Reay.  

Check out BBS America Race wheels at
All photos by the author except as noted

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Triplett's Eye on Cars
from the author's collection
Thank you to all our readers for your continued support during 2016!  

Friday, December 23, 2016

Audi Sport R8 LMS at PRI 2016
At the Audi Sport Customer Racing booth at the 2016 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis, the company displayed their mid-engine R8 LMS FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile)  GT3 specification racer the first race car developed by Audi Sport specifically for customer teams with more than 120 sold to date.
photo courtesy Audi Sport Customer Racing

A similar machine to the one on display fielded by Magnus Racing was the GTD (Grand Touring Daytona) Class winner at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona and won the 2016 Tequila PatrĂ³n North American Endurance Championship (TPNAEC) series. The 2016 TPNAEC series also included endurance racing events such as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, the Sahlen’s 6 Hours at Watkins Glen and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Magnus Racing’s 2016 TPNAEC driver lineup included John Potter, Rene Rast, Marco Seefried and Andy Lally.
photo by the author

The Audi R8 LMS has an extensive safety package begins with the Audi Space Frame (ASF) aluminum-CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) hybrid construction with a stressed steel roll-cage, PS3 safety seat, FIA-legal fuel tank, FIA safety nets on both sides of the seat and a rescue hatch in the roof. The R8 LMS uses bodywork built from CFRP and aluminum.
photo by the author

The $440,000 R8 LMS is powered by a 5.2-liter (317 cubic inch) all-aluminum 90-degree V-10 engine that produces 535 horsepower and 405 foot/pounds of torque. The sequential six speed transmission supplies power to the rear wheels as due to FIA gt3 regulations the R8 does not use Audi Quattro™ technology, but the car uses traction control and ABS braking.   

For more information check out:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Two “Odd Rods” from SEMA 2016

Hot rods are typically domestic cars such as a nineteen thirties Fords, but there has been a growth in unusual cars built as hot rod, known as "odd rods." The author found two remarkable examples of "odd rods" at the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show held in Las Vegas. 

The first is a 1952 Mercedes Benz 170S, a luxury performance car in its time with a four-cylinder engine that produced 52 horsepower. This custom version owned by Mark Gooden was built by Samson Design of Marshall Missouri. A Ridler “Great Eight” award winner at the 2016 Detroit Autorama, it was displayed in the Axalta paint booth and won one of the Top 5 Gold Award Cars award at the 2016 SEMA Show.


The second 'odd rod' which the author parked outside the south convention hall is a custom 1938 Alfa Romeo called the "Italian Stallion" built by Infinity Motorsports for owner Bart Bartoli of Modesto. Bartoli started with just a 4-door sedan body five years ago and found a chassis that would fit the body which was shortened into a coupe with suicide style doors.

The builders shoehorned a General Motors LS3 engine/4L60E transmission combination under the hood.  The car was painted by Gene Winfield and Showtime Upholstering trimmed out the interior.  This beauty placed 10th earlier this year in the “Hot August Nights Cup” competition in Reno Nevada.
All photos by the author

Friday, December 16, 2016

The lowrider that will burn your eyes

Based in Aveiro, Portugal, INDASA is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of high performance coated abrasive technology. From their US headquarters in Fairfield New Jersey the company specializes in the production of innovative sanding and polishing materials and equipment for the US automotive industry. Founded in 1979, INDASA has been doing business in the US since 1999.


To highlight their booth INDASA USA chose “The Boss” probably the brightest hued 1980 Chevrolet Monte Carlo lowrider ever built both inside and out. Visitors could not miss this car.

At the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show  INDASA USA introduced  their new multi-hole technology to the automotive market -  the Ultravent system Built on years of experience in the development of highly advance-coated abrasives the Ultravent system aims to establish new standards in the industry and boost productivity in body shops.

Ultravent is more than just a multi-hole system applied to INDASA Rhynogrip discs; it combines abrasive discs with an interface pad and innovative backing pad, which utilizes patented vent channels that maximize air flow. Check out the product details at
photos by the author

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A full size Tonka truck at SEMA 2016 

The original rendering courtesy of Dave's Garage

Many attendees of the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas remember playing with Tonka trucks. To commemorate their upcoming 70th anniversary in 2017, Tonka commissioned Dave’s Garage in Simi Valley California to build this custom 1947 Chevrolet stake bed truck to be used throughout the year as a marketing platform which will include a cross-country tour. 

Tonka trucks were originally the product of Mound Metalcraft in Mound, Minnesota which was originally formed to manufacture garden implements, however the three partners in Mound Metalcraft thought that toy trucks might make a good sideline.  The trio chose the Dakota Sioux word "Tonka", which means "great" as the name of their new toy line introduced in 1947.  

The custom 1947 truck which is reminiscent of the classic design Tonka stake truck rides on a TCI chassis and is powered by a Cummins Diesel engine, fitted with a wooden bed from Bed Wood & Parts and metal parts supplied by Fleming Metal Fabricators.


The logo on the truck is the one used by Tonka from 1970 to 1973; the waves are meant to suggest Lake Minnetonka which is near Mound. Tonka moved manufacturing from Mound to El Paso, Texas in 1982. In 1991, Hasbro Incorporated bought Tonka Toys and in 1998, Hasbro moved the Tonka steel truck manufacturing out of the United States to China. Tonka today is a division of Funrise Toy Corporation which has expanded the product line to include diecast vehicles.

Color photos by the author except as noted

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

High-tech inspection at PRI 2016
Approved body components specified under the INDYCAR aero kit rules are off limits to alterations by the Verizon Series teams, but if you are at all like the author you have wondered “how do officials know what is legal or not?”
Online Resources Inc. demonstrated the system on the PRI show floor
using Ed Carpenter's Fuzzy's Vodka DW12 INDYCAR

At the 2016 Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in Indianapolis, Online Resources Incorporated demonstrated their Creaform Handyscan 700 scanner, Surfcam and Geomagic software which is used to create a 3D model as an inspection and quality-control service for INDYCAR.

“A laser line is reflecting over the car and cameras built into the scanning unit are capturing the position,” said Jay Schaumberg, president of Online Resources Inc.  "The Geomagic Capture compares the scanned results to the files provided by INDYCAR with different colors on the monitor used to represent tolerances accepted or outside the rules."

The laser scanning inspection complements areas measured and weighed during the technical and safety inspection process during INDYCAR race weekends.

Photos by the author

Monday, December 12, 2016

Early production cars at SEMA 2016

At the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, the booths of a pair of automotive manufacturers, Chevrolet and Toyota, proudly featured restored examples of their early production cars.

The first Camaro

The first Camaro with VIN (Vehicle identification Number) N100001 was on display in the Chevrolet Performance booth. The car finished in Granada Gold with a gold interior was the first of forty-nine “pilot cars” built in the Chevrolet Norwood Ohio assembly plant. The purpose of the “pilot car” process is to test the machinery and techniques used for the new design against the function of a mass production assembly line and provide employees ‘hands on’ training.

The first Camaro built on May 21 1966 was hardly a tire-smoking high-performance muscle car, as it is equipped with the 230-cubic inch inline six-cylinder engine painted bright orange also used in half-ton trucks and shared with Studebaker. The 140 horsepower engine is hooked to a three-speed manual transmission with the transmission selector mounted on the steering column. For optional equipment the first Camaro was equipped with deluxe seat belts, push-button AM radio, front fender mounted antenna, and white wall tires.  
The first Camaro was revealed to dealers during a Detroit convention in August 1966, then was later used in official factory photographs and appeared at sales conventions across the country before it was sold to a dealer in Yukon Oklahoma. The dealer displayed the first Camaro in his showroom for two and half years before it was sold at full sticker price of $2550. Through the years this historic Camaro passed through many hands and was converted into a drag race car before it was stored for nearly 20 years.

The two-year restoration project was completed in 2014 using NOS (new old stock) parts; since then the first Camaro has been shown at numerous shows across the country and is listed on the Historic Vehicle Association’s National Historical Vehicle register.  

Toyota Stout 1900

Toyota (then known as Toyoda) introduced its first truck the ‘G1’ in December 1935 then re-entered the truck market in 1947 with the Toyopet SB. In 1964, Toyota USA founded in 1957 introduced the Toyota Stout 1900 pickup to the United States market in 1964. The short-bed pickup features a two-door cab with seating for three people mounted on a ladder-style frame chassis with leaf springs and four-wheel drum brakes. The truck was powered by a 1.9 liter (116 cubic inch) overhead valve four-cylinder engine that produced 85 horsepower.

The engine’s power connected to a four-speed column shifted transmission allowed the two-wheel drive 2800-pound truck to boast a payload of one ton  During 1964, four Stout trucks, sticker priced at $1695,  were sold but before it was pulled from the US market at the end of 1967, Toyota sold a total of 4,219 Stout trucks. This restored example a 1966 model came typically resides in the Toyota USA Automobile Museum in Torrance California.    

Toyota Corolla

In October 1966, Toyota introduced the Corolla which in Latin means "small crown." This sub-compact car known to the manufacturer as the E10 model was built in the Takaoka Assembly Plant in Japan. Powered by a 1.1 liter (67 cubic inch) four-cylinder overhead valve engine that produced only 60 horsepower but with the Corolla’s 1588 pound curb weight the 151-inch long two-door coupe could reach 80 miles per hour provided the driver was brave enough.

Also available in a two-door wagon and a four-door sedan all on the same 90-inch wheelbase the Corolla attained fuel economy of over 30 miles per gallon. Now in its eleventh generation, over 40 million Corollas have been sold worldwide and is Toyota’s best-selling nameplate in the United States. Since 2011 Toyota has assembled Corollas in their factory in Blue Springs Mississippi. The example on display at the SEMA show which sold for $2217 in 1966 is part of the Toyota USA Automobile Museum collection in Torrance California.      

All photos by the author

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

1937 Terraplane

During the author’s recent visit to the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River Oregon, this fine museum displayed a remarkable rarely-seen automobile, a 1937 Terraplane 3-passenger coupe.

The Hudson Motor Car Company, luxury car brand founded in 1909 introduced the lower cost Essex nameplate in 1919, but by 1932, Essex sales had plunged and Hudson executives led by Chairman Roy D. Chapin decided that a new name was needed.
The cars were named ‘Terraplane’ to capture Americans fascination with aviation. For 1933 the sales slogan was “on the sea that's aquaplaning, in the air that's aeroplaning, but on the land, in the traffic, on the hills, that’s Terraplaning.”

Orville Wright posed with his 1932 Essex-Terraplane

The new Essex-Terraplane line was introduced on July 21, 1932, at a special event staged in Detroit before 2,000 dealer representatives from 40 of the 48 states.  Amelia Earhart the famous aviatrix , who just months before had completed the first solo flight by a woman across the Atlantic Ocean christened the first Essex-Terraplane off the production line which went to aviation pioneer Orville Wright, with the second car given to Amelia herself.  

In her remarks (which can viewed on YouTube), Miss Earhart stated that the Terraplane car was of particular interest to aviators because of its high power-to-weight ratio and the steady manner in which it handled at high speeds. At the conclusion of the ceremony, each dealer representative drove off in a new Essex-Terraplane demonstrator. 
At the 1932 National Air Races in Cleveland Ohio a new Essex-Terraplane was the prize for Amelia Earhart trophy race for woman pilots won by 28-year old Florence Klingensmith who would perish a year later in the crash of the Gee Bee Model Y Senior Sportster during the 1933 Phillips Trophy race.

For 1933 Essex-Terraplane offered an optional eight-cylinder engine but the eight cylinder option was dropped after one year. For the 1934 model year, the Essex name was dropped with the cars were sold simply as Terraplanes. The 1937 Terraplane on display at the WAAAM is one of 83,426 sold that year either as a ‘Deluxe’ or ‘Super’ models. Both models were equipped with the same L-head 6-cylinder 212-cubic inch engine, but the ‘Super’ version was equipped with a second Carter carburetor.

Terraplane engines used just three crankshaft bearings, but Hudson claimed that they “had a larger bearing area than any other car in their price range” and used “Duo-flo” oiling for increased engine life. Sales literature explained that the “Duo-flo” Automatic Lubrication System “gives a positive flow of oil to every working part of the engine from the moment of starting throughout the period of operation and conditions the oil so that all oil supplied by the oscillating plunger pump is cooled and freed of solid matter and diluents.”

The 1937 Terraplane completely redesigned after 1936 featured a welded all-steel body that rode on a 117-inch wheelbase 1-3/4 inch by 7-1/4 inch steel frame equipped with 16 x 4- inch steel wheels with hydraulic brakes and Monroe shock absorbers on each wheel.  Terraplane sales literature claimed that the “herringbone louvers in addition to ventilating the power plant harmonizes with the body design” and that the “headlamps are decorations by day and safety beacons by night” and that the “broad ‘V’ windshield has tasteful lines symbolic of the trend-leading style.”
The WAAAM 1937 Terraplane 3-passenger coupe. One can easily see the distinctive stainless steel grille, red rocket-styled hood ornament, fully crowned fenders and rounded bumpers. For optional equipment this Terraplane which retailed for $755 is shown fitted with chrome wheel rings ($8.50 for the set), white sidewall tires, outside mirrors ($1.95 each), and twin amber fog lights ($14.00 each). 

Hudson used the slogan of “Three Steps Ahead” to sell the 1937 Terraplane; the three steps were performance, driving & riding, and style & comfort. Another sales feature of the Terraplane was its width and to that end, dealers passed out 55-inch rulers emblazoned with the phrase”lay this ruler across the seat of a 37 Hudson or Terraplane and close both doors - then try it with any other car."

Interestingly the Terraplane was one of the earliest cars to use warning lights on the dashboard.  In addition to the speedometer, “mileage meter,” gasoline gauge, and water temperature gauge the 1937 Terraplane used “Tele-flash” warning lights to monitor engine oil pressure and operation of the generator.  Hudson claimed the “Tele-flash” lights provided more conspicuous warnings which rendered ‘old fashioned’ gauges obsolete.

The restored WAAM car was shown finished in a modern version of “Mandalay Ivory” one of ten colors available. Hudson claimed that the “new high solid, low-viscosity lacquer-developed by Hudson's paint laboratory working in conjunction with Rinshed-Mason paint manufacturers” was deeper and longer lasting. 
Terraplane spokeswoman Amelia Earhart went missing in July 1937 during her ill-fated circumnavigation (around-the world) flight. Just like Amelia herself, the whereabouts of her 1932 Essex-Terraplane is shrouded in mystery. The confusion begins as there are photographs of Earhart posed next to two different Essex-Terraplanes, one a 6-cylinder Model K sedan and the other an 8-cylinder Model KT convertible.  

According to author Douglas Westfall, her widower George P. Putnam kept Amelia’s Essex-Terraplane Model K sedan and the car was sold after his death in 1950. Amelia’s car appeared to have been lost until Hudson collector Bill Albright located one of the first 2000 1932 Essex-Terraplanes cars built for the dealer drive-away which he claimed was the Earhart car. The restored car today belongs to collector Jim Somers.

For the 1938 model year the Hudson Motor Company began to phase out the Terraplane name. Sales vice-president W.R. Tracy issued a bulletin in October 1937 that stated “all of our 1938 model cars will be classified as Hudsons and will be registered in state registration reports as Hudsons.  The 'Terraplane' name from this time forward will represent one of the 'Hudson' series of cars.”

That same year Hudson introduced their Model ‘112’ powered by a 175-cubic inch 6-cylinder engine which rode on a 112-inch wheelbase which was equipped similarly to the Hudson Terraplane. At the end of the 1938 model year the Terraplane nameplate ceased to exist.   

Much of the background information for this article was gathered from manuals and brochures available at


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A 1966 Cyclone track car at SEMA 2016

The Derale Performance booth at the 2016 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas featured a 1966 Mercury Cyclone track car built by Derale employees in the style of a mid-nineteen sixties NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Racing) stock car, complete with graphics.
1966 Mercury factory photo

The Cyclone was an intermediate car produced by the Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division similar to the Ford Fairlane, with the GT powered by a four-barrel carbureted 390-cubic inch engine. Mercury sold 13,812 1966 Cyclone GT coupes which nearly matched Fairlane GT coupe sales.   
This photo of the actual 1966 Cyclone stock car appears courtesy of Barrett-Jackson  

Hoosier driver Darel Dieringer drove a 1966 Cyclone GT built by Bud Moore on the NASCAR circuit in 14 races. Ford officially boycotted NASCAR in 1966 due to NASCAR rules which allowed the use of the Chrysler Hemi, so Moore and crew chief Mario Rossi built a 405-cubic inch big-block ‘FE‘ powered Cyclone for 1966.  

Dieringer and the Cyclone won two races during the 1966 season; ’the “Western North Carolina 500’ a 500-lap race on the ½-mile Asheville-Weaverville Speedway in Buncombe County North Carolina. The track long since closed was historic as the location of a 1961 riot by fans after the NASCAR race was called at halfway due to heat.
Dieringer’s second 1966 win in the red and black #16 Cyclone came in the prestigious Labor Day ‘Southern 500’ at Darlington Speedway as he out-dueled the Plymouths of Richard Petty and Paul Goldsmith to claim the win.  
The Derale Cyclone is powered by a 351 Ford ‘Windsor’ engine that has been bored and stroked to 427 cubic inches and fitted with Holley Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI). As you can see Derale products are used extensively under the hood including the fan, PWM controller, fan shroud, fluid reservoirs and custom valve covers.
The Derale car's interior is nicely finished, albeit a bit more plush than a true nineteen sixties NASCAR stock car. The bottom photo of the actual 1966 Cyclone stock car appears courtesy of Barrett-Jackson  
The trunk features dual remote Derale fans and coolers for the transmission and differential fluids   

All photos by the author except as noted