Category Archives: Classic Car

Ford at the Le Mans Race

Ford at the Le Mans Race 1964 Ford GT40The Le Mans race is the oldest continuous car race and has been going on since 1923, other than 1936 and the years between 1940 and 1948 due to World War II. Racing teams keep their car going for 24 hours as drivers drive prestigious and fast cars for two hours at a time. They rest for two hours and then get back to it again. Most recent changes have changed the teams from two drivers to three drivers. The race has been held in Le Mans, France and is always scheduled in the summer. 1954 JaguarOver the nearly 90 years of racing, the majority of winning automobiles have been made by European carmakers. In the first ten years of the race, the majority of winners were cars made by Bentley or Alfa Romeo. In the 1950s, the majority of winners were manufactured by Ferrari or Jaguar. The winners seemed to flip-flop between cars made in Italy and in the UK, until the late-1960s, when Ford GT40 models were back-to-back winners for four straight years. The Ford GT40 was the first American-made car to win the Le Mans. After the four Ford GT40 wins, the only other American-made entry was a McLaren F1 GTR in 1995. The first year that the Ford GT40 won, it did not just win, but a GT40 finished in first, second, and third place. The winning drivers in 1966 included Bruce McLaren a driver from New Zealand and Chris Amon. The following year, AJ Foyt and Dan Gurney took first, with McLaren’s team coming up in fourth. In 1968, only one Ford GT40 finished in the top 10 and it was raced by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucien Bianchi. In its final year of racing, the 1969 winning team included Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver. A second Ford GT40 finished in third place that year. Interestingly, two of the GT40 drivers, AJ Foyt and Jacky Ickx, were some of the most successful drivers in the history of the Le Mans races. Foyt won three times, which was exactly how many times he participated in the race. Ickx won six times.

959

959

Porsche 959

Photo Courtesy of Auto Week

A true supercar of the 1980s, the Porsche 959 was created by the German car company to comply with regulations for FIA homologation. The 959 was a part of what many fans deem the Golden Age of rally racing, Group B. To satisfy rules for racing the 959 in Group B, Porsche needed to make at least 200 street-legal units. The result was the fastest road-ready car in the world at the time. Porsche ended up making 337 of these cars between 1986 and 1989.

Porsche 959

Photo Courtesy of Car and Driver

Lincoln Mark II and Elizabeth Taylor

Lincoln Mark II and Elizabeth Taylor

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Lincoln

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Lincoln

In 2012 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Lincoln did not have any new cars to display, since the future of the brand was in flux. So, the carmaker brought out a classic from the Golden Years of Hollywood and the heyday of automobiles. In 1956-1957, the Continental Lincoln Mark II was the most glamorous automobile available. It was built by hand and cost nearly $10,000, which was the equivalent of a Rolls Royce and a Bentley at the time.

944

944

'84 Porsche 944Porsche built its 944 model from 1982 to 1991. Sharing a platform with the 924, this new model didn’t quite replace it, as the 924 continued to be produced until 1988. The 944, in its turn, gave way to the 968. Porsche originally intended to keep it around well into the 1990s, but the updates made to the 924 in the early ‘90s were major and involved so many new parts that it ended up being rolled into the new model.

Unfortunately Named Cars

Unfortunately Named Cars

As a car fan, I enjoy learning about the significance of the names that cars are given. Many names have interesting etymologies. From the Corvette being named after swiftly moving Navy ships to the Shelby Cobra being named after a dangerous snake, many car makers get the names just right. Then there are cars like the Plymouth Duster, Ford Probe, and the Chevy Nova. These cars have names that are easy to spell, easy to say, but they have no sense of coolness at all.

'70 Plymouth Duster

Why You Should Know Mr. K

Why You Should Know Mr. K

 Datsun 280zIf you are familiar with the “Z-cars” like the Datsun 260Z that defined the Japanese sports car evolution, then you are familiar with Mr. K, also known as Yutaka Katayama. This man is responsible for designing Japanese sports cars and delivering them to a hungry American audience. Without Mr. K, the world of automobiles would be very different.

Nissan and the Sad Little Cars

The Datsun 280Z is the Best of the Z-cars

The Datsun 280Z is the Best of the Z-cars

Datsun 280Z In the late 1960s, Datsun released the 240Z to the public. This moment changed the way that American drivers looked at Japanese imports. Prior to the 240Z, Japanese cars were small, economical, and boring. The 240Z brought sleek design, speed, and excitement. The 260Z was equally as good with a few updates, but the real winner was the Datsun 280Z.

Third Time is a Charm

928

928

'88 Porsche 928Porsche intended for the 928 to replace the 911 when they came out with it in 1978. Fans of the iconic 911 simply weren’t ready to let it go and the 928 became a new model, but not a replacement. The German maker of performance sports cars thought that a new car with more refinement and comfort was needed in place of the more finicky 911. The 928 was a two-door coupe sports car, but one that included the same kind of equipment as a luxury sedan, along with superior handling, more space, and plenty of power. It may not have taken the 911 out of the lineup, but the 928, which was produced through 1995, did become a top seller and a legend in its own right.

Why No French Cars in The US?

Why No French Cars in The US?

AMC EncoreThe United States welcomes foreign cars. On a daily drive, it is common to see cars made in Japan, Germany, Mexico, South Korea, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, and a few other companies. In the mid-20th century, it was common to see cars made in France, but those carmakers have not sold their wares in the US for several years. The French are known for their sophisticated taste and style, but in the mid-20th century, the cars that were delivered to the US were anything but stylish and sophisticated. These are a few of the stinkers that were once sold in the US, but were not popular choices:

Masters of Mileage: Car Longevity Standouts

Masters of Mileage: Car Longevity Standouts

Carmakers are in the business of making money by making cars. In order to sell cars, people need to have cars. Cars need to be replaced as the parts of the cars only work for so long. Car longevity has changed over the years. In the mid-century, cars were expected to last for about 100,000 miles. Now, they should last for at least 200,000 miles. Even though most cars will only last for so many miles, there are some people who work hard to be able to drive their cars for an impressive amount of miles.