Sunday, February 27, 2011

An original Corvette photo from every year from 1953 - 2011, plus a little Corvette history

I got a little ribbing over the Citation story that I did last week (although I still contend it was a good story), but to show that I haven't completely lost touch with what car aficionados really want to read about, here's a little story about Corvettes.

What other car elicits such widespread admiration as the Corvette? And I'm talking about every single year, from the first production car in 1953, right up until the latest Corvettes that are rolling off the line in Bowling Green, Ken. To prove that point, I'm including a slideshow at the end of this article with pictures of every single year the Corvette was produced. I took every one of these pictures myself with my little Sony CyberShot.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rare, limited production COPO Chevrolet ... Citations?

COPO. For Chevrolet muscle car fans, those four letters add up to the Holy Grail. Images of '69 Camaros with 427-c.i. engines, and Yenko Chevrolet modified Chevelles and Novas immediately come to mind.

And yet, not everything labeled with that legendary moniker is a quarter-mile terror. COPO actually stands for "Central Office Production Order", and many fleet and ordinary vehicles were built through that system. They were generally ordered as a group, and they usually had some little thing that differed from the dealer order guide.

When you think of limited production COPO Chevrolets, the Citation might not immediately come to mind. But this is a story of a limited production, special order COPO Citation that you probably haven't heard anywhere else.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Picadillo. Pickin' car stuff at the Brass Armadillo

Even though we cover quite a few automotive events here, there are days that a car show, cruise, race, or swap meet just might not be scheduled. Great--then what are we supposed to do? Well, take a deep breath, we'll get through this together.

One way to spend a rainy day is to hit the local antique mall. Automotive memorabilia is pretty common within the rows of vendor spaces at most of these stores, and if you keep a sharp eye out, sometimes you can find some real treasures.

To illustrate that point, we went to one of the biggest antique malls in the Kansas City area, the Brass Armadillo in Grain Valley, Mo. The Iowa-based Brass Armadillo is actually an antique mall chain, with five locations throughout the country. The Kansas City store is a monster, with more than 42,000 square-feet and 500 dealers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Are you kidding me?! Trevor Bayne puts the legendary Wood Brothers Ford in victory lane at the 2011 Daytona 500. Wood Brothers history photos, race results, and victory lane video

If you were watching the 2011 Daytona 500, I think you have to admit, it was a pretty neat finish.

At 20-years-old, Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the biggest race in all of NASCAR. He became the first driver to win the 500 in his first attempt since Lee Petty took the very first one in 1959. And he was driving for one of the oldest, most respected teams in the sport, the Wood Brothers, complete with a throwback paint scheme.

First, a little about Bayne, since no one knows where he came from. He just turned 20 the day before he won the Daytona 500, so his resume isn't going to be too long. He won a bunch of go-cart championships as a younger kid. He went on to race in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, then the NASCAR Camping World East Series in a Dale Earnhardt, Inc., car. He was good enough that he was eventually picked up by Michael Waltrip racing to run their Nationwide Series car. Sponsorship ran out on that deal, and he ran a couple of Nationwide Series shows for Jack Roush's team. And finally, he was hired to share the #21 Ford with Bill Elliott for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pace car promos lead the way in 1/25th-scale racing collectables. Includes photos of rare and unusual models

Since the Daytona 500 is this weekend, and I'm feeling kind of racy, it seemed like a good time to take a look at some pace car promotional models. Plus, I Photoshopped all these picture montages, and they were sort of going to waste on the tiny format, popup-riddled Examiner page, so let's revisit them here.

If you're a scale model collector, pace car models may be a good place to direct your attention. Pace cars are interesting in-and-of themselves. They also fit in if you collect racecars or other racing memorabilia. And in the case of the examples shown here, they can be right at home in a promotional model collection.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm going to complain about the Kansas City Monster Jam event, then tell you how good it is

I've never really understood why Kansas City needed the Sprint Center. Well, maybe it just wasn't what I expected. My favorite indoor stadium event each year was usually the monster truck show, and Kemper Arena managed to handle it for a long time. I was hoping the Sprint Center would be much bigger, like the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, and they would be able to host large-scale Monster Jam events worthy of SPEED TV coverage. But the Sprint Center seems to be the same size as Kemper. And it's harder to park. And the Quick Trip store inside was out of food.

At any rate, the small size of the Sprint Center will forever hamper the quality of participants Kansas City's Monster Jam event will attract, and it will always hold back the amount of action the drivers can present.

That being said, I still go every year. The constant complaining doesn't stop us from spending ridiculous amounts of money on tickets and concessions. These events cause long-term hearing damage and carbon monoxide poisoning, so you can bet I'll be there.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Kansas City World of Wheels car show from Bartle Hall. Stories, coverage, and one epic photo slideshow

Finally--a big room full of old cars to look at! It has been a long winter, and if the 2011 World of Wheels hadn't come along when it did, I'm pretty sure I would have gnawed my arm off from boredom.

Once again, Kansas City's Bartle Hall was filled with shiny things (and not-so shiny things, which we'll get to in a moment). Beneath the neon tube lights, there was one of the most diverse collections of cars and trucks in the shows history.

The term "diverse" is sort of a curse and a blessing. When I anticipate the World of Wheels, I get jazzed about all the vintage hot rods and customs, and have learned to appreciate the sophisticated modern works of art that sparkle amid mirrored displays. And to that end, there are lots of things to hold my attention.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

See famous movie mobiles at Universal Studios Hollywood

In case you couldn’t tell, I kind of like cars. I’m also a TV and movie junkie. So TV and movie cars have always been of particular interest.

While a blizzard hammered Kansas City during the week of February 1, I was in Los Angeles taking in some sun. And my favorite stop was Universal Studios. Sure, the fake floods, King Kong attacks, and earthquakes were cool, and the Jurassic Park water ride was OK, but the things that held my attention the most were the authentic movie and TV cars that were on display around the theme park.

If you haven’t been to Universal Studios Hollywood, let me give you an idea what it’s like. First of all, it isn’t Disneyland. Nothing is quite as polished, the kids they have running the concession stands don’t dazzle you with their friendly personalities. Rides and walls are unpolished, unpainted, and generally skuzzy looking.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NASCAR, car shows, and monsters, oh my! Kansas City car events for the weekend of February 11, 12, 13, 2011

It has been awhile since there has been enough significant car stuff to bother doing one of these “Upcoming Events” calendars, but there are a few really big ones this weekend that are worth mentioning.

If you’re in Kansas City, you have the option of attending one of the biggest hot rod and classic car shows of the entire season at Bartle Hall, and/or you can hit the always-fun Monster Jam event in the Sprint Center.

And of course, if you’re into stock car racing, NASCAR Speedweeks kicks off with the Budweiser Shootout, and the ARCA cars and stars roll out with their first race of the season, all on Saturday.

So without further adieu, check out the full weekend schedule below.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

CARMMERCIALS! The best 2011 Super Bowl car commercials

They say lots of people watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials.  And then there's the car nuts, who just watch for the car commercials.  Well, this is for you.

Here are some of the funniest, most creative car ads that will air on the 2011 Super Bowl.  Heck, you don't even have to watch the game to see these if you don't want--they're right here!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

2012 Ford Focus test drive review. New focus for the Focus

"This is not your pizza delivery guy's car."

That was one of the first things Ford Marketing Manager K.C. Dallia said during his presentation of the all-new 2012 Ford Focus during the Guidebook Publisher's ride and drive event in sunny Los Angeles earlier this week.

And it's hard to argue with that statement. Gone are the days of Ford's tinny econo-box. This new entry into the highly competitive C-car segment is richer, smarter, and more technologically advanced than many cars costing twice as much. The 2012 Ford Focus is actually a car that many people would want to own; not just a car they have to own based on price.