The 2012 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals was held in Rosemont, Illinois, on November 16 and 17. Being a longtime muscle car fan, I was very impressed with the incredible array of rare and historic gems that were at this show. I was blown away looking at the pristine examples of factory muscle, the rarest-of-the-rare dealer-built supercars, and historic road and drag racers. I’m especially fond of the newfound popularity of “day two” cars, which have emerged over the last few years. These cars are preserved or restored to specifications in which they would have been seen during stoplight brawls on Main Street or in all-out drag strip attire. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When the Cragar S/S (Super Sport) wheel hit the market around 1964, the automotive world was in a transitional period. The factory-built muscle cars made style and horsepower readily available to the general public, and the elaborate customs and home-built hot rods of the 1950s were slowly becoming a thing of the past. This new breed of showroom-bought supercars created significant demand for bolt-on accessories, and the aftermarket responded.
The Nissan Versa has a reputation for being an inexpensive, economical, and roomy little car, but I never would have imagined that it had a following among the dashing and debonair world of high fashion. But lo and behold, while dropping off a friend the other night, I spotted this rare, special-edition Nissan “Versace” near downtown Chicago. Meet the Nissan Versace.
I have always been a fan of quirky and unique things, so when Chrysler announced that it would be making the Fiat 500 available to the U.S. market in 2012, I was intrigued. Although I was not quite intrigued enough to want to buy one of the little cars myself, I took comfort in knowing that such a niche car would be around to break up the monotonous traffic landscape; i.e., the rounded-off box shapes of SUVs and the rather nondescript forms of modern sedans and compacts.
I remember two distinct things about driving the last Ford Transit Connect that came through CG Auto headquarters. It was tall and slow. I understand that a light-duty commercial vehicle isn’t required to have stellar performance, but the lack of pep from the 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter Duratec engine made me wonder how well it would do in real-world conditions when loaded down and on the job.
Over the last few years, I’ve found it interesting to see the emergence of non-glossy paint jobs on some new cars. Mostly appearing on exotic cars these days, matte- or satin-finish paint is something that is very dear to me. I’ve been enamored with the look since I first began to see it in the 1990s on vintage custom cars being built primarily on the West Coast.