1988 Lamborghini LM002 – 3D Photos

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There aren’t that many vehicles as imposing at the Lamborghini LM002. A four by four with a 440 horsepower V12 Countach engine, it was intended to compete with the HumVee for military contracts but ended up being a toy of Middle Eastern potentates. My post on the history of the LM002 can see seen over at TTAC.

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Potential Collectible: 2002 Lincoln Blackwood – 3D Photos

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The 2002 Lincoln Blackwood was about as big a failure as one will find in the auto industry. Intended to sell 10,000 units a year, it ended up selling less than 3,500 in the one year it was on sale. The Cadillac Escalade EXT showed that one could sell a luxury pickup but instead of a functional bed, Ford gave the Blackwood a carpeted, brushed aluminum lined trunk with a hydraulically actuated tonneau cover that wasn’t practical for carrying much more than the fixings for a tailgate party at a football game. They also didn’t offer it with four wheel drive. Essentially they made a pickup that wasn’t a very practical pickup.

Ford killing it after only a single model year was like a network canceling a tv sitcom after the first episode. It also means that you’ll be seeing Lincoln Blackwoods at car shows for the foreseeable future. I’ve been saying that since the Blackwood was cancelled. Production was low, most of the original buyers were  affluent ($52,000 in 2002 dollars) and it was likely that they were second or third vehicles in those families. That means there will be nicely maintained, low mileage examples of an unusual and rare vehicle.

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Ab Jenkins’ Mormon Meteor at Speed in the Duesenberg Thunderrun – 3D Video


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

Getting to see irreplaceable, million dollar Duesenbergs drag race is a rare opportunity, which is why I drove way past BFE to get to the Goshen, Indiana airport, which hosted the Duesenberg Thunderrun, part of the annual Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Festival’s festivities. A special treat this year was a demonstration run by Ab Jenkins’ Mormon Meteor / Duesenberg Special speed record and endurance car.


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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

Because of an artifact in the conversion software, the 3D version of the third segment starts a bit later than the mono version. Below is the complete segment.

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Ab Jenkin’s Mormon Meteor – 3D Photos

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You can read my two-part series on Ab Jenkins and his Mormon Meteor Duesenberg that set numerous land speed and endurance records, over at The Truth About Cars. Part One is here, and Part Two will be here when it goes live.

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1952 Cummins Diesel Special – Indy Pole Winner -3D Photos

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Clessie Cummins was part of Ray Harroun’s pit crew in 1911 when Harroun’s Marmon Wasp won the first Indy 500 race. Cummins would go on to make the first practical and reliable diesel truck engines, but he never lost his love of racing at Indianapolis. He entered diesel powered cars in three races, setting a record in his first attempt by finishing the race without stopping, the diesel’s fuel economy was so good. His most impressive attempt, though, ended up being a DNF, because in 1952, with Freddie Agabashian at the wheel, the Cummins Diesel Special set both one lap and four lap records for the Speedway, starting the race on the pole.

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Larry LaBute’s Wheelchair Converted Restomods – 3D Photos & Video

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About 20 years ago, paraplegic Larry LaBute converted a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr so he could drive it without having to leave his wheelchair. Not only did he add hand controls, but he had to lower the floor and widen the driver’s area to accommodate his chair. A lift had to be installed to to pick up the wheelchair and rotate it into place.

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To make room for all of that meant taking out the tunnel for the drive shaft (and significant modifications to the Zephyy’s unibody), resulting in a need to also convert the car to front wheel drive. That was accomplished with a small block Chevy engine, running through an Old Toronado transmission ultimately driving the front end of a Chevy Blazer 4X4.

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One such car would be a major accomplishment. Recently LaBute finished his second wheelchair accessible classic, a 1950 Bentley Mk IV lightweight saloon. The Zephyr had suicide doors, creating a large opening. To make enough room for the lift to operate in the Bentley, which has conventionally hinged doors, LaBute had a frame constructed to which the two doors were permanently fixed. The assembly opens sideways, like a slideout expansion on an RV, creating a huge amount of space for the lift to work. When the doors are closed, however, they look completely stock, as does the rest of the car.

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Buick Cascada Convertible to Start @ $35K – 3D Photos

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Buick announced this week that the new Cascada convertible, another rebadged Opel, will cost $34,915, including destination fees, when it hits dealer showrooms in the U.S. early next year. The Premium edition of the Cascada, which starts at $37,915, gives you front and rear park assist and other safety gizmos.

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The New Face of Buick – Buick Avenir Concept – 3D Photos

2017-Buick-LaCrosse-001-610x405Buick has teased the 2017 LaCrosse’s grille, pictured above. If it looks familiar, that’s because it was lifted from the Buick Avenir concept shown at the Detroit auto show early this year, pictured below. The Avenir is a four door so theoretically the rest of the car besides the grille could become the basis of the next LaCrosse sedan. GM could make worse decisions than that, since the Avenir was a big hit and widely praised. GM, though, lately has had a habit of introducing attractive concepts that are just that, concepts, like Cadillac’s Ciel and Elmiraj. I guess we’ll see sometime next year how much the Avenir, which means “future” in French, represents the look going forward of Buick’s production sedan with a French nameplate.

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A Minstrel of the Dawn: Rolls-Royce Introduces New Ragtop

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Editor’s note: Rolls-Royce has introduced a convertible version of the Wraith coupe called the Dawn. No pricing has been announced but since Rolls-Royce has explained that a fabric roof is a signifier of luxury, one can expect to pay more for the Dawn than the Wraith’s $308,000. To justify that extra tariff, R-R is careful to tell prospective buyers of their entry level softtop that 80% of the body is new, distinguishing it from the hardtop. No mention was made of how much is shared with the BMW 7 Series, whose platform underlies the Wraith, Dawn, and Ghost sedan.

I was fooling around with some wordplay concerning the new Roller’s name and my first try was “Rolls-Royce has unhooded its new Dawn convertible.” For those who don’t know, what we colonials in America call a car’s roof, our Brit cousins call a “hood”, hence a convertible is also known as a “drophood”. Oh my, I just had to explain a pun. Bad form.

The next iteration was “Morning has broken over Rolls-Royce’s new Dawn convertible,” followed by “Royce-Royce’s new Dawn convertible has finally seen its first first light.”

Somewhat amused by myself, I sent them off to Jack Baruth and said “your turn,” and this is what the sensei tossed off in just a few minutes. I was just going for some puns. Jack came up with a car review and social commentary all in three stanzas. The choice of Gordon Lightfoot’s upbeat (but below that dark) Minstrel of the Dawn, was perfect.

With apologies to Gordon Lightfoot:

The minstrel of the Dawn is here
To bring the one percenters cheer
It’s very different from a Wraith
If you’ll believe and have some faith

Listen to the canvas top
Above your head it slithers and it drops
Listen to the springs
They jangle and dangle like the register rings

The minstrel of the Dawn is gone
I hope you’ll follow ‘fore too long
A douche-mobile for newly rich
A Russian and a Russian bitch

Sing you a song
The minstrel, of the Dawn

I think I know how Miguel Cabrera’s teammates feel when he’s at bat. Of course, Cabrera only succeeds 35% of the time. Jack does way better than that, but he did miss an opportunity. In his defense, he was working off Lightfood’s lyrics from memory. GL sings:

A minstrel of the dawn is near
Just like a step ‘n fetchit here
He’s like an old time troubador
Just wanting life and nothing more
Look into his shining eyes
And if you see a ghost don’t be surprised

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Dean Jones, R.I.P.

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Actor Dean Jones passed away this week at the age of 84. He was best known to car and movie enthusiasts alike as Jim Douglas, the racer who drove Herbie, the VW Beetle, in The Love Bug, and subsequent sequels on the big and little screen.

To celebrate the life and career of Mr. Jones, we’re featuring some replica Herbies we spotted at the Vintage Volkswagen Show in Ypsilanti. You can also watch a complete version of The Love Bug in the embedded video.

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