August 16, 1988, was a historic, yet melancholy day in Pontiac, Michigan. The Pontiac Assembly Plant, active since its construction in 1927, would shut down forever after the very last Pontiac Fiero, a red V6-powered GT, rolled off the line.
After 32 years, this historic car of note, still in its pre-delivery plastic, will join 650 cars to hit the block at GAA Classic Car Auctions on November 5-7 in Greensboro, North Carolina. GAACC is following the CDC’s guidelines to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Only registered bidders and consignors will be permitted. No general admission tickets will be sold.
Pontiac originally built cars as a companion to GM’s Oakland division dating starting in 1926. But to enthusiasts, Pontiac was best known as the General’s performance division during the 1960s, with the Tempest, Le Mans, GTO and Firebird. Over the next three decades, Pontiac would endure a downward spiral ending in GM closing the brand in the beginning of 2010.
“Ask the man who owns one,” rang the famous advertising slogan for Packard, in testament to their value and reliability. Cherished by many collectors today, Packard reminds us of simpler times and automotive amenities for those who truly appreciated them.
The Pick of the Day is a 1931 Packard 833 phaeton advertised by a dealer in Macedonia, Ohio, on ClassicCars.com. The car appears to be a lovely tourer, and as the seller declares, “this is a car to drive, not to show.” I have always believed cars were meant to be driven, and this ancient example from Detroit’s golden age would be quite fun.
Nitrous Oxide (N2O), has been a performance enhancer to piston-driven engines going all the way back to World War II. The guy behind the widespread use of Nitrous Oxide in dragsters and street racers with NOS is Mike Thermos. While Mike isn’t a household name, in the car world, his contribution is revered.
Consider the scene in the very first The Fast and the Furious where we are introduced to Brian O’Connor, who working as an undercover cop out of a speed shop. The youngster needs an add-on edge in street racing. “I need NOS!
He tells us his story…
“Well, nitrous oxide was, was kind of an underground trick for some of the guys. They had learned that you can squirt a little bit in, and it picked the car up. In NASCAR, they used the stuff for many years.”
“It came from the Germans actually, during World War II, where they’d put it in the planes that would go high altitude, they needed oxygen. But then the jet came in and the jet took over and all the technology kind of just fell by the wayside for propeller type of plane. The Americans did it too. I read all that history on it. At the time, I had a tune-up shop and a funny car. I had been through the whole gamut and it was eating me out of house and home.”
The history of the muscle cars covertly produced from the Central Office Production Order
COPO was Chevrolet’s special-order system used by dealers to build high-performance models in the 1960s despite a corporate racing ban. The COPO program was originally designated for fleet vehicles such as taxicabs, but at the peak of the muscle car wars, it was used to build the ultimate high-performance Chevy muscle cars.
Author, Matt Avery, a Chevy muscle car expert, combed the archives and found the owners and people involved in the COPO program, providing the culture with a compelling story and outright resource for COPO cars. The COPO muscle car and racing programs produced an extraordinary period of automotive history, and Avery captures all these facets in a very entertaining book.
For John Narigi, the new general manager of the Laguna Seca Recreation Area that includes WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, we must offer our most heartfelt welcome to the business of motor racing, natch. But unfortunately, that is where our optimistic view of the change of guardianship of the track from the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) after 57 years of management will end.
Gale Halderman, the original designer of the Ford Mustang, died April 29 near Dayton, Ohio. Halderman, he was 87
His iconic Mustang design sold more than 8 million units, inspired 6 model generations of design and has been continuously built for more than 50 years.
Jimmy Dinsmore, author of Mustang by Design: Gale Halderman and the Creation of Ford’s Iconic Pony Car, and spokesman for the Halderman family said, “To have lived 87 years and to have designed something that is part of pop culture and automotive history, he had such an impact.”
The 2020 model Carroll Shelby Signature Series Ford Mustang will be introduced by Shelby American at the National Automobile Dealer Association Show in Las Vegas on February 14. It is the only sports car in the world available in new car dealer showrooms with a choice of convertible or fastback, automatic or manual transmission, and 825 street-legal horsepower. A total of 50 limited-edition sports cars will be available. Several are already spoken for.
The Shelby American team spent the past two years carefully engineering and refining the car to create a vehicle worthy of Carroll Shelby’s name. They worked closely with Ford Performance and other partners on the new vehicle.
Everyone said it would set the new record for Mustangs and possibly muscle cars alike. The Steve McQueen Bullitt Mustang GT certainly raised the bar for Mustangs. At the end of the bidding the hammer price of $3.4 Million not only broke records, but wowed the throngs of spectators that crowded the Osceola Heritage Park Hall in Kissimmee, Florida. There’s been a lot of speculation. Now we know.
The pricey 1968 Highland Green GT was walked in like a prizefighter. Known as the the “hero” car used in filming. It was used for closeups and driving scenes, while an identical Mustang was setup as a stunt car. That stunt car was essentially wrecked from an arduous schedule of “gags” on set.