Friday, April 30, 2010

Carspotting (35): Replica AC Cobra with 455 engine

I saw this replica being loaded onto a carrier today.  It's being shipped to Pennsylvania.  I know it says 427 on the engine.  The engine was bored out to 455 cubic inches.  I hung around to listen to the engine.  It was LOUD.

1990 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet review road test

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Honda dogs!

What's up with Japanese people and their dogs showing up at random places?  First, we've got Cooking with Dog.  Now, dogs next to classic Hondas.

Honda Civic RS

Honda Prelude

Honda S800M

Honda T360

Honda S600

Honda City Cabriolet

More pictures here.  Via Stipistop.

VW Phaeton with Bentley badge

I saw a strange thing yesterday.  I was walking through a parking lot and heard a loud growl behind me.  A car was passing me.  With my peripheral vision, I saw and recognized the front of a Phaeton.  The engine was louder than usual so I assumed it had a W12 engine.  (I don't think I've ever heard the sound of a W12 before.)

But as it passed me, I did a double take of the car's rear end.  It still said Phaeton on the back.  But instead of a VW logo dead center, there was a Bentley logo.  It looked almost exactly like this Photoshopped picture I found on the net.

Was this just a nod to the fact that Bentley Continental Flying Spurs and Phaetons were made at the same factory (until 2006)?  Or did this Phaeton actually have the twin turbocharged W12 of the Bentley?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Your favorite U2 songs videos

One (Achtung Baby 1992)

Lemon (Zooropa 1993)

New Year's Day (War 1983)

Mysterious Ways (Achtung Baby 1991)

Lancia Delta Integrale elephant logo

What's up with the leaping elephant logo on the HF (high fidelity) Delta Integrales?   Apparently, Lancia began using it in the early '50s when the company started racing.  They are good luck charms in "Eastern culture", so long as the trunk is stretched out front.  Source.

Picture source.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anchor Steam sold to Skyy Vodka people

If the new owners mess with the recipe or start selling Anchor Steam in blue bottles, I will lead the revolt.

Lotus promo, or how an Esprit is made, circa 1984

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Veggie cheese omelet MRE review

I bought an omelet MRE at the local military surplus store.  I wanted to test it out to see if I can stand eating this for two weeks straight after The Big One (earthquake) finally hits California.  It cost $7.

First, I don't think what I got is exactly what American soldiers eat.  I've seen military MREs sold on Ebay and they are not packaged like this.  The bag I got was thick and bulky.

I opened the bag and it came with all of this.  Going sort of clockwise from the top left, we have the MRE heater, a spoon, the hot beverage bag, matches (green), napkins (below matches), moist towelette, crackers, blackberry jam, spiced cider, shredded potatoes with bacon, two pieces of gum, Tabasco (with all of its content leaked/evaporated already), beverage base- raspberry, salt, egg omelet with vegetables and cheese, cinnamon scone, and toaster pastry.  That's a lot of packaging for just one meal.  Thank goodness I didn't eat this on Earth Day.

Here are the pastries.  The crackers and jam were fine.  The crackers were huge.  The toaster pastry is essentially a Pop Tart, and that tasted normal too.  The cinnamon scone was surprisingly decent.  It was a bit chalky and you had to ignore the indentation left by the desiccation packet.  I've certainly had worse pastries from Safeway.

Now on to the main course.  The MRE heater generated a lot of heat, but not much of it was transferred onto the two packets (omelet and potatoes).  I suspect it's because all other MREs only contain one packet of food to heat instead of two.  I had to re-heat my food in the microwave to make it a little more palatable.  I also added my own Tabasco and ketchup.  This is what the entree looked like, pre-sauced.

The omelet is the orange blob on the top of the picture.

Are you grossed out yet?  The omelet had the consistency of a snorkel mouthguard.  The only taste was a hint of processed American cheese.  I did not taste eggs or "veggies".  The potatoes were edible.  They tasted wet.

I don't think I am going to put MREs in my earthquake emergency kit.

Canepa Motorsports Museum review and pictures (Part 2)

(Part 1 is here.)

On the second floor is the museum proper.  The great thing about the Canepa Motorsports Museum (and showroom) is that there are no velvet ropes to separate you from the cars.  The experience is intimate and private.  It also helps that for the entire time you are there, there may only be one other visitor present.

The centerpiece is this Porsche 917 in Gulf Oil livery.  I have never said this about any inanimate object, but I wanted to lick this thing.

Note the unique two wiper design.

Next we have a 1985 Formula One Tyrrell 012.  It is in immaculate condition as it has undergone a 3,000 man-hour restoration at Canepa's on-site facilities.

When I think early 90s race cars, this red, white, and blue Nissan GTP ZX Turbo always comes to mind.  Asking price-- $750,000.

This 1983 Lancia LC-2 Group C competition car in Martini livery has a 246 mile per hour top speed.

I'll end this piece with this Porsche 956 engine.  If you ever have to be drive to/through Santa Cruz or Monterey, I strongly recommend visiting this collection.

Canepa Motorsports Museum review and pictures (Part 1)

As I fell asleep last night, I counted in my head the number of car museums I have visited.  I have been to nine.  Some have magnificent collections of rare and extremely polished cars costing many millions of dollars.  Others have dusty and neglected displays that were just plain sad.  Canepa Motorsports Museum in Scotts Valley, just a few miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 17, is, in my opinion, one of the best museums I have visited.

It is wonderful because of the cars.  They may not be the most expensive or have the most history or provenance.  Rather, they are all cars with the perfect balance of beauty, function, and animal magnetism.  Every guy, whether a car nut or not, has coveted at least half of the cars in the collection.

Presentation also makes this museum world-class.  The cars are flawless.  There is not a speck of dust on any of them, and yet they don't look overdone.  The lighting is also perfect.  At the Imperial Palace collection in Las Vegas, cheap fluorescent bulbs (!) are used.  At the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, everything is pitch black, with the exception of sharply focused 2000 watt light bulbs flooding the cars.

The other minor touch that added to the experience was the floor.  Yes, the floor.  I have no idea what the material is.  It may be just painted concrete.  Visually, it felt like a warm, soothing, hard wood floor.  It softened the loud and powerful machines which sat on top of it.  It made the overall experience complete.

Enough chit-chat.  On with the show!

The museum is on an anonymous street in the middle of nowhere.  You would never guess what was inside this modern yet non-descript building.

When we pulled up on a Saturday morning, we thought it was closed.  There were only two cars in the parking lot.  Fortunately, it wasn't.  I would suggest calling first to make sure it is open though.

I thought the first floor was the museum.  It wasn't.  It's just the showroom!  I came to see the Porsche 959s, which Canepa is famous for.  And that's exactly what I ran to first.

This is one of two Porsche 959s for sale.  It's a 1988 U.S.-legal model selling for $475,000.

Though the place is definitely Porsche-centered, there was a black Ferrari Testarossa.  This is a shot of the window with the standard Schedoni luggage in the background.

Trademark Testarossa mirror.

There is no discrimination here.  American muscle cars make a strong presence, along with a sprinkling of Datsun/Nissans.  This is a 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger R/T, which is about as long as the garden hose in my patio.

This is my favorite American race car of all time, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.  It's got a 426 cubic inch (7,000 cc) engine and the iconic rear spoiler.

This 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT placed second in its class in the 1970 Nurburgring 1000km.  

This is the other 959.  It's an S model.  Only 29 were produced.  They have roll cages and special suspensions, seats, and seat belts.

This is the end of my tour of the showroom on the first floor.  I have only described a fraction of the cars.  There are also a 289 Cobra, a 300SL roadster, an AMX Javelin, Mustangs, a Pantera, a Fairlady Z,....

(Part 2 is here.)