The is a Gregory sports car, the only one of its kind. It was designed by Ben Gregory, an automotive and aviation pioneer who also designed the M422 Mighty Mite jeep for the U.S. Marines. Currently in the collection of the Lane Museum, America’s finest formal museum for unusual cars, when these photos were taken the little orange sports car with a Porsche engine driving the front wheels, it belonged to our friend Myron Vernis, who has what is probably America’s finest private collection of oddball vehicles.
Though Chrysler has used the nameplate since then, on front wheel drive K-car derivatives, the last traditional, V8 powered, rear wheel drive Imperial was sold from 1981 through 1983. Fewer than 13,000 were sold so you’re not likely to come across one very often. Coming across a pristine, original condition ’83 Imperial is rarer yet. I spotted this at the Sloan Museum Auto Fair last summer in Flint, Michigan. How do I know it’s an original survivor and not restored? Look at the rear valence. Those are the original dealer and rustproofing stickers.
At the 2014 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy, BMW’s MINI brand introduced the MINI Superleggera Vision concept. The nifty little speedster with its retroish rear fin, was a joint venture of MINI and the Touring Superleggera design and coachbuilding firm. There have been rumors that the car would go into production and MINI brought it out again for the 2015 NAIAS in Detroit. Apparently the reception from the public was positive because according to the UK’s Car, BMW brass has given the Superleggera the green light for production beginning sometime in 2018.
For a car that is such an iconic model for Toyota, the famed 2000GT, first made in 1967, the stunning coupe, perhaps the most collectible Japanese car ever, had a lot to do with Yamaha, Lotus and even Nissan. Not only was it manufactured by Yamaha for Toyota, it started out as a Yamaha concept, the A550X by Albrecht Goertz. Goertz, a protégé of Raymond Loewy worked for Yamaha in the early 1960s when they were doing contract work for Nissan. The A550X was to be an update to the Nissan Fairlady sports car, but when Yamaha pitched it to Nissan, they declined. Toyota had already been trying to jazz up their stodgy image with the tiny Sports 800 coupe, so Yamaha approached Japan’s largest automaker with Goertz’s design.
Over the past few decades Honda has supplied engines to world championship Formula One teams at Lotus, Williams and McLaren, but it came as a bit of a shock to the automotive world circa 1964 when Honda first went racing in Formula One. A half century ago Honda Motor Co. was not known as the maker of popular cars like the Accord, Civic and CR-V. It was known as the maker of 50cc motorbikes and “you meet the nicest people on a Honda“. However, Shoichiro Honda was a racer at heart and he convinced his partner and business advisor Takeo Fujisawa that F1 was a perfect way to get Honda respect as an automaker. Because of the engine rules in place at the time, Honda was uniquely positioned to compete for the world championship.
By then, Honda had already started making automobiles, the Kei class S500 and then the S600 roadster and coupe, along with a small commercial truck. The early Honda cars featured engines that while they were small in displacement they were about the most advanced engines used in automobiles during that era. Aluminum intensive, with double overhead cams and still hard to believe 9,500 rpm redlines. At the time, Formula One’s engine formula was limited to 1.5 liters of displacement. While a 1.5 liter four has normal sized pistons, when you get to eight cylinders, the pistons start getting pretty small. Well, imagine how tiny the pistons are in a 1.5 liter 12 cylinder engine. You don’t have to imagine, they’re about the same size as in the 500cc engine in the S500. The engine rules suited Honda’s engine expertise, small displacement high revving engines, to a T.
Consequently, Honda built the RA271, with a 1.5 liter V12 and managed to earn points in the 1964 season but it was at the season ending Mexican Grand Prix the following year that a Honda motor first powered a car to victory in car racing’s highest echelon. The race in Mexico was the last for the 1.5 liter formula and Richie Ginther made the most of it, finishing ahead of Dan Gurney’s Brabham-Climax. To get an idea of Honda, and Ginther’s, accomplishment, Ginther’s Honda beat drivers including Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, Bob Bondurant and Jack Brabham, driving cars made by Ferrari, Lotus, BRM, Brabham and Cooper.
To celebrate the golden anniversary of the RA272’s victory, Honda put it on display at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new Ford GT, introduced at the Detroit auto show this year was such a big hit that even though it had already been revealed at the 2015 NAIAS, a month later it was one of the stars of the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. We’ll be posting photos and video of both the blue GT that was at Detroit and the grey GT on the stand at Chicago as soon as I get through a couple of thousand image pairs I’ve shot over the past couple of months, but in the meantime, here’s an original Ford GT40 that FoMoCo put on display at the Detroit show, along with an ’05 Ford GT, to show the new GT’s quite illustrious heritage.
Based on the Autodelta Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 racing car, the Tipo 33 Stradale (which means street in Italian) has a body designed by Franco Scaglione that routinely makes “most beautiful cars” and “sexiest cars” lists, and some folks even consider it the most beautiful car ever made. There were only 18 made and just 10 are known to still exist, so, when Fiat Chrysler decided to use the Stradale to showcase their new Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder, which was getting it’s worldwide debut at the 2015 NAIAS in Detroit, it was a rare opportunity to capture one of the great automotive shapes in stereo.
Speaking of great shapes…
By the mid 1890s, Henry Ford, a self-taught man if there ever was one, had worked his way up to being the chief operating engineer for the Edison Illuminating Co. of Detroit. He was also part of a small coterie of engineers and tinkerers like Charles Brady King, David Buick and Oliver Berthel who were obsessed with the idea of building a working motor car. They would share their interest, concepts and sometimes parts. Though he worked professionally with electricity, Ford pursued the development of his own gasoline powered engine. Continue reading
For the first time in its history, the Henry Ford Museum’s Driving America exhibit will let museum visitors look under the hoods of about 40 historically significant automobiles, with associated displays and events on the history and development of automotive powerplants. The exhibition is called “Engines Exposed”, and museum transportation curator Matt Anderson was responsible for selecting which cars’ engines (and motors, in the case of a couple of hybrids) would be part of the event. He made some great choices, from the magnificent (Bugatti Royale) to the mundane (Volkswagen Beetle). Our gallery of stereo photos of the exhibition includes both the engines and the cars that they power, along with shots of the first flathead Ford V8 and Henry Ford’s experimental X8 engine, which are both on permanent display at the HFM.
You can read my review of the Fiat Abarth over at The Truth About Cars and when you’re finished with it, you can return here and enjoy the full gallery of 3D photos and video of the hot little red car. Thanks for visiting and all y’all come back now soon, ciao.
Start the YouTube 3D video player. Click on the settings icon in the menu bar to select 2D or your choice of stereo 3D formats