Tag: Kurt Ernst

You’re ignoring the most important part of your car: Five things to know about tires – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

You’re ignoring the most important part of your car: Five things to know about tires – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Tires are the Rodney Dangerfield of car parts: They can’t get any respect. On the daily driver, they’re likely to be ignored until one goes flat, and on the project car, they’re likely to be the last thing in line for an upgrade. Yet those in the know understand that tire technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past two or three decades, and for those seeking improved performance, tires may offer the biggest single bang for the buck out there.

Consider this: Tires control how much torque you can translate into forward motion, how much speed you can carry into a corner, and how quickly you can scrub off speed. Don’t believe us? Borrow the keys to a Challenger Hellcat or equivalent and see how difficult it is to get a good launch on street tires. Sure, 700-plus horsepower sounds impressive, but if the car (or driver) has a hard time getting that to the ground, it’s just a number.

Admittedly, other components play a part, too, but tires are far easier—and likely less expensive—to upgrade than engines, transmissions, suspensions, and brakes. They’re also wear items that need to be monitored closely throughout their lifespan, especially if your car sees the occasional track day. Or, if you live in parts of the country where rain, cold temperatures, snow, and ice are harsh realities for part of the year.Below are five things to consider when shopping for a new set of rubber, whether it’s for your daily driver or a weekend toy.

To many, the codes on a passenger car tire’s sidewall might as well be Egyptian hieroglyphics, but with a little bit of information, they’re not mystifying at all. Here, we’ll focus on passenger car radial tire size, which is typically a sequence of three numbers followed by a forward slash, two more numbers, a letter or two, then two more numbers, a space, two numbers and a letter (like 205/55R16 91W).

The first number in the example above, 205, is the section width as measured in millimeters across the tread from sidewall to sidewall: This tire is 205 mm, or 8.07 inches, wide. Next comes the number after the forward slash, or in this case 55. This is called the aspect ratio, and it is a measurement of the sidewall height, expressed as a percentage of the tread width. Doing a bit of math, 55 percent of 205 mm works out to be 112.75 mm, or 4.44 inches.

Now, we get into the letters (or letter) following the aspect ratio. Tires made after 1991 typically have one letter, “R,” denoting radial construction. The exception is “ZR,” which indicates a “Z” speed rating of “in excess of” 149 mph. The adjacent numbers indicate the diameter of the wheel (16 inches, in our example above).

Modern tires also include a load index and speed rating (or clarification). The 91 cited in our example means that the tire will safely carry a weight of 615 kilograms, or 1,356 pounds. It’s most relevant as a baseline; when replacing passenger car tires, it’s okay to go with ones carrying a higher load rating, but not ones rated below the manufacturer’s specified load rating. Finally, the “W” indicates the tire’s speed rating, in this case up to 168 mph. (This can also be displayed with a “ZR” next to the aspect ratio, clarifying the maximum speed of the tire instead of just a range.) Listing all service ratings and speed ratings would fill most of a page, but this information is readily available online.

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Hemmings Muscle Machines marks its 200th issue, so we look back at muscle cars then and now – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Counting backward from 200

In the fall of 2003, The Matrix franchise was pulling big numbers at the box office, Nelly and P. Diddy were blowing up the airwaves, gas was around $1.60 per gallon (and falling), and a new specialty car magazine hit newsstands and mailboxes. Hemmings Muscle Machines, our first title dedicated exclusively to “American performance cars, regardless whether they were powered by four, six, eight, ten, or even 12 cylinders,” debuted with the October 2003 issue, which featured a red ’65 Chevelle SS stacked up against a red ’64 Plymouth Fury on its cover.

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Five overlooked maintenance items you really shouldn’t ignore – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Five overlooked maintenance items you really shouldn’t ignore

Riding a motorcycle teaches one many lessons, the first and foremost of which is never overlook maintenance. In my three-plus decades spent in the saddle, a pre-ride inspection was as routine as donning a helmet, gloves and riding gear, and (I’d like to think) it saved me from more than one far-from-home surprise. I’m equally diligent with four-wheeled vehicles now, particularly when planning a road trip of any distance. Here are the five things that many classic car owners often ignore – but really shouldn’t.

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Five overlooked maintenance items you really shouldn’t ignore

Related How to Remove Broken Bolts and Repair Stripped Threads – Hot Rod Network Staff

Bill Mitchell’s wife didn’t drive an ordinary Corvette – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Happy wife, happy life.

Bill Mitchell’s wife didn’t drive an ordinary Corvette

Drop the term COPO, or Central Office Production Order, and most enthusiasts conjure up images of big-block-powered Camaros. The COPO program had more pedestrian roots, however, and was typically used by dealers to special order de-contented vehicles for fleet sales. Sometimes, it served other purposes, too, such as when GM head of design Bill Mitchell wanted to order a new 1967 Corvette convertible for his wife, Marian.

Mitchell had a particular fondness for the second-generation Corvettes, citing a Bahamas diving trip as his inspiration for the Larry Shinoda-designed Corvette Sting Ray. Around April 1967, four months before the third-generation Corvettes entered production, Mitchell reportedly placed an order for a Corvette roadster, using the COPO system with the assistance of Zora Arkus-Duntov.

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Related – A farewell to the front-engine Corvette on Route 66

An affordable classic: Chevrolet’s second-generation Corvair – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Chevrolet’s redesigned-for-1965 Corvair debuted to high praise from the automotive press, with Car and Driver’s David E. Davis, Jr. declaring it “the most beautiful car to appear in this country since before World War II.” American consumers agreed, buying 23-percent more ’65 Corvairs than they did the year before. Trouble, in the form of the Ford Mustang, was brewing, and Corvair sales began a slide in 1966 from which they’d never recover. Today, the second-generation Corvairs, model years 1965-’69, represent a relatively affordable point of entry into the classic car hobby. Is the time right to shop for one?

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Related – A shrine celebrating all things Corvair opens in Illinois

Bullitt Mustang to be Sold in January 2020 Despite Won’t Sell Pledge

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Bullitt Mustang to be Sold in January 2020 Despite Won’t Sell Pledge

Despite stating previously that the it would never be sold (Detroit Free Press Story) Sean Kiernan will be putting the famous Bullitt Mustang will be up for sale at Mecum Auctions in January 2020

The “Bullitt” Mustang, a 1968 fastback, as shown at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. Photo by Ronan Glon.

The Highland Green 1968 Mustang fastback that starred alongside Steve McQueen in Bullitt is, quite possibly, the most-recognized Ford Mustang on the planet, despite spending decades in the shadows. After returning to the spotlight in 2018, the car has made appearances at auto shows, museums, concours d’elegance events, and even on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The BullittMustang has been in the Kiernan family since 1974, but next January may well become the most expensive Mustang ever sold at auction when it crosses the stage during Mecum’s Kissimmee, Florida, sale.

Read Kurt Ernst’s story here at Hemmings

Related – Steve McQueen’s Granddaughter meets the Bullitt Mustang

Related – Ford introduces the 2019 Bullitt Mustang alongside the original

Related – Lost Bullitt Mustang Surfaces in Mexico City

The last of the first Corvettes heads to auction in Monterey – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Of all the ‘Vettes you’ve loved before

It was Harley Earl that sold GM on the need to produce an all-American sports car, and to test the waters, his Special Projects team created the EX-122 concept for display at the 1953 Motorama display in New York City. Less than six months later, the car – now named the Corvette – was in production, hand-built by a team of workers in Flint, Michigan. Just 300 examples were built that year, and this August, chassis E53F001300, the final 1953 Corvette built, heads to auction at Mecum’s Monterey sale.

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You may be cool, but are you ‘Studebaker Cool?’ – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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Brooks Stevens’s Sceptre concept, designed for Studebaker. Photo courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum.

From its start as a manufacturer of horse-drawn wagons to its demise as an independent automaker competing head-to-head with Detroit’s Big Three, Studebaker enjoyed over a century of success. Opening on May 18 at the AACA Museum Inc. in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Studebaker Cool: 114 Years of Innovation narrates the history of the imaginative brand with a display of over 40 vehicles, focusing primarily on the years between 1906 and the end of automobile production in 1966.

Among the vehicles scheduled for display is a battery-electric wagon from Studebaker’s early days as a powered vehicle manufacturer. Built to carry congressmen through the tunnels connecting the Capitol to government office buildings nearby, the 1908 Studebaker Electric “Carry All” was one of two such models built for this purpose.

Read Kurt’s article here

 

Twenty-five years ago, Oldsmobile pinned its hopes on the Aurora – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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As the 1990s dawned, Oldsmobile – then America’s oldest automotive brand – was in crisis. Sales were declining, its buyers were aging, and new luxury import brands threatened the division’s very existence. In response, Oldsmobile developed a halo car – the Aurora – meant to reverse its fortune and steer the brand into the 21st century. A quarter-century after the Aurora’s debut – and 15 years after Oldsmobile’s demise – here’s a look at the car that once carried the hopes of a division on its shoulders.

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Trio of Mopar display engines from the Steven Juliano Collection head to auction in Indy – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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This trio of Mopar display engines, owned by Steven Juliano, head to auction next month in Indianapolis. Photos courtesy Mecum Auctions.

Once upon a time, auto shows were important events for manufacturers, giving them a venue to reveal their latest models — and latest technology — to an eager buying public. Display engines were a part of this, giving the average person a passing understanding of the internal combustion dark arts, while teasing enthusiasts with the latest high-output options. On Friday, May 17, a trio of Mopar display engines from the Steven Juliano Collection will head to auction in Indianapolis, giving buyers an opportunity to own a unique piece of Chrysler high-performance history.

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