Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Will the obsession of collecting classic cars ever die off?

The classic car market has fluctuated up and down over the past several years, but the passion and the desire to collect keep going strong. I have written articles about buying classic vehicles vs. investing in the stock market or even replacing your 401K with classic automobiles, but overall it still seems to me that buying vintage cars/trucks will make you a good bit of money over the long haul. However, maybe they need to be the right kind or certain years. What determines the best formula?

Every year I watch the various collector car auctions such as Barrett Jackson and Mecum and most vehicles increase in value each year. Again, there are periods where one particular type of vehicles seem to outdo the others that year, but over a 5 to 10 year period most of the folks who buy and sell each year tend to make money.

(Photo courtesy of RM Sotheby's Auctions)

It has been fun over the last 20 years to watch what is trending. Some years the American Muscle cars are bringing big money and after a few good years running, they seem to trail off and then the 60’s and 70’s American pickup trucks skyrocket in price. The next year, it’s the odd ball stuff like all-original VW buses or rare one-off concept cars. In some ways it is like the stock market, if we could predict which vehicles would be the next to take off in price, we could invest in those while the cost is low and pocket a nice profit!

(Photo courtesy of Barrett Jackson Auctions)

The market has changed quite a bit over the last 25 years, because I remember watching Barrett Jackson years ago and seeing all of the old European cars (Porsche, Ferrari, and Jaguars) bringing the serious money, then the muscle cars started gaining some serious ground…… days you will see a resto-mod 55 Chevy bring more money than an all original classic Porsche will.

So back to my original question, will the market ever tank at some point? Will collecting classic vehicles follow the trend that baseball cards did and die off? I mean seriously…..the market got flooded with too many brands and so many cards that it killed off the hobby almost completely. Let’s hope that does not happen to classic automobiles. I guess as long as boys continue to play with toys (Hot-wheels and die-cast cars) and big boys continue to want to play with big toys (Hot-Rods and old pickup trucks), the market will stay active and the passion will grow each year.

One thing is for sure……we love to tune in and watch the cars roll across the auction block and dream of being there with our hand in the air and the hammer falls and we score a sweet deal on a classic American muscle car!!

See Ya down the road…….Joseph

Friday, August 4, 2017

Who owns the first Ford Mustang ever sold?

If you are a Mustang fanatic then this may be a question that you have asked before and now the answer has been made known.  The answer will surprise you and even more so to know that the original owner still owns it today and the car is on the road again after 53 years.

In the spring of 1964 a 22 year old school teacher was looking to get her first taste of freedom and purchase a new set of wheels.  Gail Brown was living with her parents and teaching at a local elementary school in Chicago, Illinois and her only means of transportation was her mom’s 1957 Ford Fairlane 500, but at least it was a convertible.  She knew that her first car needed to be something special but had no idea what would unfold when she visited the Johnson Ford dealership in her hometown.  After looking at every car in the showroom she told the salesman that she just didn’t see anything that fit what she was searching for.  The salesman then told her “I’ve got something in the back that’s really new” and as he took her in a back storeroom he pulled the cover off of a shiny new 1965 Ford Mustang convertible that had not even been shown to the public yet.  Gail said “That’s me……..that’s what I want”!  The car was painted Skylight Blue and was equipped with the Rally Pac instrumentation to go with its 260 cu. in V8 engine. 

After trading in an old beater and getting her parents to pitch in a little to help her she purchased the car for a total of $3419.  Even if this was the end of the story, it would be a neat story, but the real kicker is that the purchase date of this car was on April 15th, two days before the car was unveiled at the New York World’s Fair.  Just by chance she became the owner of the first retail Ford Mustang known to be sold. (Talk about being at the right place at the right time)  Can you imagine the excitement this young girl was feeling as she experienced the joys of driving her own car and letting her hair blow in the wind? 

Gail recalls all the looks and waves that she got for the first few months as she began driving this all new American Sports car.  She says “I was the coolest teacher in school that year” and remembers how all the boys from the nearby middle school would stare as she drove by.  “I felt like a movie star everywhere I went”.

Just a couple of years later Gail married her sweetheart, Tom Wise and they began their family in a suburb of Chicago.  The Mustang served the family well and in 1974 it would become Tom’s daily driver even though it was beginning to show some wear.  Northern winters were not very kind to this all original car, so after some minor mechanical issues and daily wear and tear, the rusty and tired car was pushed into the driveway after a stolen battery episode in 1979.  Four children later as life moved along the car did not and was eventually tucked into the garage where it would spend the next 27 years.

Even though there were times when Gail would hint at selling the car, Tom convinced her to keep it and had plans of his own of restoring Gail’s classic to its original state.  After retiring from the Navy he made their dreams come true by beginning to restore the 65 convertible in 2007.  It took approximately three years but the car has been fully restored to its original beauty and is now wowing the crowds again after 50+ years!

These days Gail is afraid to drive it much in fear of scuffing her old friend but Tom enjoys driving it to local shows and sharing this incredible story with other Mustang fans.

In case you are wondering, yes the Wise kids now have kids of their own and one of the granddaughters has already asked Tom “Grandpa, can I have this car when I turn 16” 

As this classic American sports celebrates over 50 years on the road, it becomes clear to those who own a Ford Mustang that it’s more than just a car…..its part of the family.

On April 17, 2014 the Ford Mustang turned 50 years old and thousands of folks gathered at the Charlotte Motor speedway in North Carolina to have a massive birthday party and car show. Gail had her car on display at this event for all the show participants to see and enjoy. (I was fortunate enough to get my picture with it)

Every year the World waits to see what the next chapter in this car will bring, but I’m sure it will continue to capture the American spirit, because the classic features of this car have always been the key to its success.  Melanie Baker (Ford marketing manager) says “From the first days it went on sale in 1964, Mustang has appealed to a broad range of customers, including both women and men of all ages, thanks to its blend of style, performance and affordability”.  “Those attributes remain a part of the Mustang formula to this day”.

Thanks Gail for sharing your incredible story!

See Ya down the road…..Joseph Scott

Friday, July 29, 2016

2017 Porsche 718 “Ride & Drive Event” by Porsche Huntsville

Porsche of Huntsville continues to take it to the next level. A couple of weeks ago the dealership invited local Porsche enthusiasts to be the first to see the 2017 Porsche 718, German engineering at its best. Porsche of Huntsville routinely have special “First Look” or “Unveiling” events to show off the latest vehicles, however, this time it was an event to let customers ride and even drive the newest offering from Porsche. The guest were also treated to food and drink at this outdoor event BBQ style, with burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork and all the fixings.

Not to miss this first time event, on hand to greet the guests was General Manager George Jones (Century Automotive Group). He welcomed everyone and encouraged them to get behind the wheels and take a ride to experience the cars first hand.
The TAC (Twickingham Auto Club) of Huntsville helped setup a mini auto-cross track for the participants and drivers to fully experience the power and speed of these new cars from Porsche. Seeing them in the showroom or reading about them on the internet will never beat seat time. Most all of the 60 plus guest took advantage of this special offer to drive the just released 718 from Porsche.
On everyone’s mind was the change in the engine bay, would the turbocharged 2.5 liter flat-four measure up to its predecessors 3.4 liter naturally aspirated flat-six? After seeing the smiles on the participant’s faces after each ride, I’d say the turbocharged replacement did measure up just fine. Then based on the reactions from enthusiasts who drove the Boxster S, it’s a safe bet that the little 2.5 did the trick. Turbo lag in the new 718 is overcome by the new (VTG) variable turbine geometry technology allowing the turbo to run up to 14.5 psi of boost! Several drivers commented on the “lively” feel of the Boxster and loved the quickness in the turns of the road course.
Randy Carter (Porsche Huntsville Service Manger) served as the driver for most of the event for those who only wanted a spirited ride, however, most everyone was also easy to persuade into driving the Boxster S on hand. 
Let’s look at the stats:

2017 718 Boxster S:

Engine – Turbocharged 2.5 liter (DOHC 16 Valve)
Horsepower - 350 HP
Torque – 309 lb. ft.
Transmission – 6-speed Manual or PDK (7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode)
Top Speed – 177 mph
Zero to 60 mph – 4.4 sec.
Price – MSRP from $56,000 on the base 718 Boxster ($68,400 on the 718 Boxster S)

I will be the first to say this event was a “Massive Success” for Porsche of Huntsville and guest who enjoyed the Ride & Drive activities and will want to do it again soon…….maybe in a newly purchased Porsche of their own.
Porsche of Huntsville always provides Award winning sales experience, optimal customer service and offer the best showroom experience in the Southeast. Drop by today and see one of the sales associates and let them show you why Porsche says do it “For the sport of it”. What’s next? You need to stay tuned for exciting news on the 718 Cayman!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Motocross Dreams become Reality!

Most 17 year old kids are preparing for the high school prom or making plans for ski trips at the river this summer. However, Noah Wright, a 17 year old junior at Athens Renaissance School, in Athens AL. has racing on his mind. Noah has only been racing Motocross for a little over a year and a half. Although he grew up with dirt bikes and four wheelers he had only competed in four races on a 65cc when he was about 9 years old. For years Noah begged his parents (Chad and Amy Wright) to let him do more races, but the time to take it up a notch just wasn't right. Then he began to strategize and came up with a plan go to the Loretta Lynn's Amateur Nationals. Basically he was saying he wanted a shot at the Pro Circuit. I’m sure after many discussions and even some prayer, his parents thought it was time, so on his 16 birthday Noah got a used Kawasaki 250 dirt bike. His dad told him that they would run a local series in Arena Cross and if he did well and could win the series he would buy Noah a new bike. Well he did……did I mention Noah was determined? Several bikes later, lots of faith, dedication, training, commitment and yes…….more RACING, Noah is well on the way to Loretta Lynn's!
(Noah being interview by me on ZTV-11 Jamie Cooper Show)
Over this past year Noah and his family have spent every weekend racing. Noah has been on tracks in AL, TN, NC, VA, FL, OH, IN, GA, MO, MS and IL. He has qualified in the Southeast, Mid Central and Northeast Regions and will attend one more area qualifier in a couple of weeks. He will attend his first Regional Race at Muddy Creek in Tennessee in May. Chad and Amy as well as his entire family and friends are so proud of Noah and his accomplishments. In this sport it's a family effort, it takes a lot of commitment from everyone and Noah's long term goal is to compete in the Pro Circuit and be successful.
(Noah in the pink racing pants....going for the lead)
Noah’s dedication and commitment should be an inspiration to others that have big dreams and goals, but find them unobtainable. Noah has had many road blocks along his journey, some of those being injuries, but one of the hardest is those who are negative, non-supportive or just bullies. Regardless of the opposition or negativity, Noah has tunnel vision….he has stayed focused and keeps a strong faith. The Wright family strongly believes that if God plants the desire He (God) will provide the path…..and give you the tools to accomplish your dream! Noah’s mom (Amy) says “When you arrive at your goal…..always give Him the glory!”
(It can be a dirty job.......but Noah has always like the mud!)
You can keep up with Noah and his journey by following him on Facebook and on Instagram @ noah_wright007

Click on link below to watch a recent interview with Noah on ZTV-11 (Jamie Cooper Show): 

Noah Wright Interview on ZTV-11 Jamie Cooper Show

Thursday, March 31, 2016

2017 Porsche 911 “Unveiling” at Porsche Huntsville

Porsche of Huntsville continues to generate a level of excitement that rivals a rock concert and once again they out did themselves. Last week the dealership invited local Porsche enthusiasts to be the first to see the 2017 911 Carrera, another awesome example of German engineering. The timeless design of the Porsche 911 has wowed the crowds for the last 54 years and continues to be the benchmark for all other sports cars to follow.  Porsche of Huntsville often have special “First Look” or “Unveiling” events to show off the latest vehicles and this was another crowd pleaser. The guest were treated to food and drink in this state-of-the-art facility as they anticipated the next big thing from Porsche of Huntsville.

The showroom was filled with a larger than normal crowd of local VIP’s, salespersons, service team members and local Porsche Club members who wanted to see the sophisticated elegance of this new 2017 911 Carrera 4S in red carpet fashion. Always the gracious hosts and on hand to greet every single guest was General Manager George Jones (Century Automotive Group) and Tracy Jones (President-Century Automotive Group). Even though they both have tremendous responsibilities keeping them busy running the business, it’s always great to see this dynamic duo mingling with clients, friends and family as they also share in the excitement of launching a new vehicle.
General Manager George Jones (Century Automotive Group)
It was hard not to succumb to the temptation to peak under the silk car cover at the new 911, but guest would have to wait till the big moment arrived. Guests enjoyed chatting about their fondest memories in their own 911 and swapped stories of their favorite Porsche vehicles. As George got everyone’s attention, he gave a quick overview of the 911’s storied history and then turned it over to Mark Fry (Porsche Sales) who was more than eager to give the specific details of the new 2017 911 Carrera 4S Coupe in a spectacular color (Graphite Blue Metallic). He reminded the crowd that even though the car looked somewhat similar to the previous 911 model, the trained eye could see many changes….some were even lurking under the skin of this curvaceous body! The all-wheel drive 911 Carrera 4S received the new twin turbocharged 3.0 liter F-6 engine with a whopping 420 HP and 368 lb-ft. of torque. What’s significant about this new engine is an increase of 20 horsepower and 43 lb-ft. of torque over the naturally aspired 3.8 liter F-6 it replaces. Smaller displacement, yet more power should have been expected from a group that continues to push the limits of the performance driving experience! Porsche also boast that the new twin-turbo engine is 12 percent more fuel efficient than the engine it replaces on the new European Driving Cycle.
2017 911 Carrera 4S Coupe (Graphite Blue Metallic)
Other significant changes for this refined 911 included revised headlights, taillights, door handles, rear deck lid and louvers. The new Sport Chrono package adds a steering wheel mounted switch that allows the driver to select between Normal/Sport/Sport Plus/and Individual driving modes. Each one of these selections also adjust the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) system, PDK transmission, and Sport Exhaust system to give the driver a choice of driving pleasure. The touch-screen PCM (Porsche Communication) connectivity and infotainment system is standard and takes your driving experience to the next level.

Let’s look at the stats of this new 911 Carrera 4S Coupe (as unveiled) and see what all the buzz is about:

Engine – Twin-Turbocharged 3.0 liter F-6

Horsepower - 420 HP

Torque – 368 lb. ft.

Transmission – Manual or PDK (7-speed dual-clutch automatic)

Top Speed – 188 mph

Zero to 60 mph – 3.9 sec. (3.6 sec with PDK and Sport-Chrono Package)

Price – MSRP from $89,400 on the base 911 Coupe ($110,300 on the 911 4S Coupe)*

                     *911 Carrera is offered in 14 different variants including the Coupe, Cabrio, Targa, R, and GT3

As if the crowd was not thrilled enough, Jon Cunha (Porsche Sales Manager) drove into the showroom a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabrio painted in the ever popular GT Silver and as he lowered the top the guest gathered around to soak in the rich luxurious interior and begin asking questions about all the high-tech gadgets.  To complete the trio of 911’s, another 2017 Carrera S Coupe in the GT Silver color was driven onto the service ramp for guest to enjoy.

It seems all great things must eventually come to an end, but it was safe to say the event was another “must see” for Porsche of Huntsville and guest who enjoyed the festivities could be seen taking one last peak at the new 911’s as they left the showroom.
(Photo courtesy of Porsche USA)

Porsche of Huntsville continues to provide Award winning sales experience, optimal customer service and offer the best showroom experience in the Southeast. Drop by today and see one of the sales associates and let them show you why a recent ad sums it up best “Every Porsche is designed to be Forever Amazing”.  

Video link below:

Friday, January 29, 2016

From Hot Wheels to the Real Deal

Okay guys let’s admit it, we miss playing with Hot Wheels??  You know, those little 1:64 scale die-cast cars that we played with when we were growing up.  How many of you guys began to dream about having one of your Hot Wheels in full size?  Well I was one of those guys who had a box full of these little cars and I remember setting them up as if we were having a car show or we were at the race track.  Just think about the hours we spent racing these things around our room, on mom’s dining room table, or in the driveway at your house.  Sometimes we would setup a whole town and play all day!  I had a favorite car that I can still remember today, so I looked it up and turns out it was a black/yellow Mustang made by “Matchbox”, who is another company that made these little die-cast cars. 

(Here is a photo of one of my favorites……I wish I still had this one)
After reading up on these toys, I became curious of the history of these die-cast toys, so I decide to share some of my research.

Mattel introduced the Hot Wheels line of die-cast toys in 1968 with the release of 16 original vehicles (sometimes called the “Sweet 16” by collectors today).  They were advertised as small scale/free-rolling models that were designed to look like hot rods and custom muscle cars of the day.  All of the major car makers of the day had authorized Mattel to make replicas of their most popular cars; Ford, Chrysler, General Motors.  The list of car makers grew as the popularity of the toys blossomed.  What made these cars so cool was the special metallic paint jobs on them called “Spectraflame”, wow even that name sounds wicked!  When we were younger I bet some of you wished the same thing I did, that they made these die-cast cars in “Full” size.  The truth is there were a few full size vehicles made that were copies of the Hot-Wheels toys and one of those vehicles was the “Deora” and it was based upon a custom surf-truck designed by Harry Bentley Bradley for Dodge.  The Deora was also one of the original 16 made by Mattel and the full size version of this concept truck sold at the RM Auction in 2009 for $324,500 (as my Dad likes to say “those are BIG coins”).

(Pictured above are the “Hot-Wheels” and the 1965 “Real” version of the Deora vehicle)
I’m sure you are excited just thinking about all the little Hot Wheels you had when you were young and just maybe you can dig around in the attic or your shed and find your old collection………….oh wait, now you remember your mom sold all your cars and trucks at a yard sale just like my mom did!  Don’t tell anybody!

See you down the road……..Joseph

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder "Exclusive Event"

The Porsche of Huntsville showroom is elegant and sophisticated, and on Thursday, August 6th the excitement in the room was at an all-time high.  It is not every day you get to see a million dollar car up close and personal. The dealership had the exclusive opportunity to order a limited edition car for a local car collector, and what a pleasant surprise they received when offered the opportunity for Porsche of Huntsville to have a “First Look” or exclusive showcase of this vehicle after its arrival. 
The owner was more than willing to allow this extraordinary car to be the center of attention for the evening.  When you consider for a moment that only 918 of these Porsche Spyders will ever be built, it makes you wonder if any other owners in the United States allowed their local dealership to extend this special treat to local Porsche enthusiasts. The showroom was filled with local VIP’s, salespersons, service team members, as well as local Porsche club members who wanted to see this spectacle that Porsche had built. This modern marvel called the 918 Spyder sits on a prestigious shelf among other Supercars, but the Hybrid aspect makes it just a little bit more special.
As the guests arrived, General Manager George Jones (Century Automotive Group) graciously welcomed everyone to the special event.  Tracy Jones (President-Century Automotive Group) was also on hand to share in this once in a lifetime experience. You could sense the excitement they both shared as they were about to showcase a rarely-seen marvel from Porsche with clients, friends and family.
The 918 was draped in a silk car cover and surrounded by caution barricades as if to warn the onlookers that they should approach with extreme care.  Like a red carpet event in Hollywood, there was no question about who was the star of the night. The buzz in the room continued to build until George finally gave a short speech and then turned the event over to Mark Fry (Porsche Sales) who began to chronicle the car in great detail as the cover was removed.  
It was difficult for the crowd to remain silent as the dazzling work of art Porsche had built was revealed, and they began to lean into the barricades to get a closer look and photograph the 200 mph supercar.

At every turn the room filled with more questions about the car, so let’s look at the stats of this very special ride:

Engine/Horsepower – Complex, but here it goes: Both electric motors combine for a whopping 285 HP, and when working in conjunction with the 608 HP 4.6 liter V8 produces a staggering 887 HP!
Torque – Estimated 830 lb. ft. to all four wheels
Transmission – 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Top Speed – 214 mph
Zero to 60 mph – 2.2 sec.
Quarter Mile – 9.8 sec.
Braking - 70-0 mph 142 feet
Curb Weight – 3724 lbs.
Price – MSRP starts at $847,975 (Price as equipped $1.12M)

The launch control system on the 918 takes the guesswork and stress out of the equation when testing this high-tech Porsche. The tiny amount of wheels spin at launch is partially achieved by its massive 325/30ZR/21 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rear tires (a mere $729 per tire). In a recent Car and Driver article the author referred to the power-train behavior as an “On-Demand Explosion” and for good reason. It’s been said that the driver can mash the gas pedal to the floor at any time and the power plant will ignite like a stick of dynamite
The engineering feats used on this vehicle are too numerous to mention, but the extensive use of carbon fiber in the 918 helps in two areas: the overall weight reduction of the car and the rigid construction.  
Air ducts, scoops, and spoilers helps channel the airflow where Porsche wants it to both help cool the rear mounted engine and aid in down force of the car…after all, with the mind-numbing speeds this car is capable of, every bit of aerodynamic advantage needs to be utilized.  Last but certainly not least is the gorgeous paint that the owner specifically chose to make the car unique. The color, Liquid Metal Chrome Blue, was adorned with custom painted graphics that are one of a kind and added to the allure of this beautiful beast. The owner bumped up and added the “Weissach” Package which includes upgrades too many to list, but came loaded with weight reducing options to help achieve the quickest possible times intended by Porsche as they designed this vehicle. This special package was named from the German town where Porsche’s R&D factory is located.
As the special night came to a close, it was safe to say the experience was electrifying and the guest were still buzzing as they left the showroom. I’m sure they had already tagged themselves in a selfie or two as they captured the once in a lifetime thrill. My only question is what Porsche of Huntsville will do to top this great event…guess we will have to drop by soon to find out!

Porsche of Huntsville is always ready to provide optimal customer service, however setting up a test drive of this vehicle may prove to be difficult because this one is sold and the proud owner is probably out enjoying this wickedly fast ride as we speak. One thing we know for certain is when he does take it out for a spin, it will most definitely turn some heads!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What’s the big deal about “Old Trucks”?

Okay, I’ve never been much of a truck guy, but I have owned a couple in my lifetime and they are very useful to haul stuff during a move, pulling a trailer or boat and even prove to be handy during home projects. It seems anytime you are without a truck is the very time when the need will arise for you to need to transport some large items or haul something for a buddy. Besides the practical aspect of a truck, the fact remains that they are just cool to own and everybody needs one.

I just recently purchased a 1976 Ford F100 short wheel base truck with the purpose of using it for those home projects and whenever I needed to carry any large items, but a strange thing has happened. I now find myself enjoying driving it because of the looks and comments I get from folks as I’m out driving it. It’s Crazy! I mean, I keep telling myself, “It’s just and old truck”, but never the less this old rusty truck just has an effect on folks like I’ve never witnessed before.

So I’m asking what’s the big deal about trucks….Why are they so popular? Let’s examine the possible reasons;

Seeing an old truck sometimes reminds you of the days gone by when you rode with your dad or grandfather to the store to get some candy and a soda pop. Maybe they cause you to reflect on early morning drives to school when you were a kid. For some folks it may be the first experience they had at driving…..rolling down an old dirt road on the farm as they listened to their dad tell barking instructions on how to navigate the old truck between the ditches. Some guys may remember an old farm truck being the first vehicle they owned and the ups and downs of keeping it running. You may also reflect on the days when you and your family would throw the fishing rods and a tackle box in the back and drive to the lake for a long day of fishing. (Don’t forget your bucket you carried in the back to bring the fish home in)

Joe Diffie had a song back in the early 90’s called “Pickup Man” and it tops most lists of favorite songs about trucks. It kind of sums up the story of a man and his pickup truck. He describes the well-known fact that women love men who drive pickup trucks. The lyric says “You can set my truck on fire and roll it down a hill, and I still wouldn’t trade it for a Coupe De Ville, I got an eight-foot bed that never has to be made, you know, if it weren’t for trucks we wouldn’t have tailgates, I met all my wives in traffic jams, there’s just something women like about a pickup man

I can’t tell you how many times in just the last few weeks that I’ve been driving my old truck around and people stop me to ask what year it is and then proceed to tell me a found memory they have about an old truck. It’s got me wondering why I waited so long to buy another one and thinking about my own memories of the fun times I shared with my dad as we drove around on Saturday’s.

So the next time you see an old truck rolling down the road and you happen to glace at the driver, I’ll bet he or she has a big smile on their face. You can also imagine the memory they are replaying in their mind as they enjoy driving the old rusty, somewhat weathered truck to anywhere USA.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lightning in a bottle…..Ford harnessed rare power in a truck!

The pickup truck is the idea vehicle to haul almost anything; lumber, mulch, furniture, tools, even those weekend recreational items……but in the early 1990’s Ford decided it was time to haul the mail. In 1993 Ford turned the truck market on its head and offered the Ford Lightning F-150 and it was an instant hit with the muscle car guys because finally a truck was offered that matched the performance of their hot-rod in the garage.

Colors on the first generation Lightning’s were limited to Black or Red and then White was added for the 1994 and 95 models. These early trucks were offered as a standard cab, short bed (fleetside) only; however they had that short bed/wide stance that remains popular with truck lovers today.

The SVT (Specialty Vehicle Team) engineers and marketing executives at Ford motor Company birthed this high-performance truck and they must have done it right because they are still legendary today among collectors. They only made 11,563 of those first gen trucks but many are still being driven.

Ford launched an all-new F-150 Truck in 1997, so after a few years away they reintroduced another Lightning (2nd generation) in 1999 based on this new body style. This time the performance was enhanced just a bit. The 5.4 liter V8 engine was juiced up with an (Roots-Type) Eaton Supercharger producing 360 horsepower and 440 lb.ft. of torque. It also was capable of a zero to 60 mph time of 6.2 sec. These 2nd gen trucks were made from 1999 to 2004, but in 2001 some upgrades were made that kind of solidified the truck as a serious contender. An additional 20 horsepower was achieved by a modified air intake manifold putting the truck at a respectable 380HP and 450 lb. ft. of torque. Other goodies on the 2001 included an aluminum driveshaft, 3.73:1 gears, and suspension upgrades allowing the truck to bolt from zero to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. A total of 28,124 of the 2nd gen F-150 Lightning trucks were made from 1999 – 2004.

Another special designation of the 2nd generation SVT Lightning came when it was it recognized as the World’s fastest production truck and in 2003 Guinness certified the F150 Lightning after it ran 147 mph off the showroom floor. These trucks still remain quite popular at the local strip due to the quick ¼ mile times they can lay down. From 1999-2000 the trucks were regularly running low 14’s with trap speeds near 100 mph.

Wheels and tires were also improved on the truck. It was now riding on unique 18 inch Goodyear Eagle F1-GS low profile tires and special 18 x 9.5 inch (Cobra-like) wheels, making the Lightening a true performer on the street. But don’t worry about style because the 2nd generation also included anti-lock brakes, keyless remote entry, tilt steering wheel, leather seats, white face gauges, air conditioning, and power door locks and windows. A wide variety of colorful exterior paints also set Lightning owners apart in a crowd; Bright Red, Silver Metallic, True and Sonic Blue were just a few.

Ford hit a homerun with this truck, so it begs the question why it had to end. They did tease us with a concept truck based on the all-new 2004 F-150 shown at the NAIAS in 2003 (Detroit, MI). It had T-56 manual transmission borrowed from the SVT Cobra Mustang and a whopping 500HP supercharged V8 engine, independent rear suspension, and massive 22 inch wheels with six-piston Brembo calipers to set off the package. However, it never was produced but the future would hold another surprise to the truck world in the form of an F-150 Raptor in 2009, but that’s another story.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Where have all the car shows gone?

The torrential rains in the Southeast have finally stopped and it’s time to get those cars shinned up and hit the show circuit. But I’m asking a question that seems odd…..where have all the shows gone? It appears the car show lists and online calendars don’t have as many events listed this year. During this time of the spring and early summer every weekend is full of multiple shows and cruise-in’s….most weekends you have so many to choose from its hard to decide which one to attend and the ones to skip. I feel like the hobby is stronger than ever, so I’m sure what may be the underlying factor for the fewer shows this year.
A popular trend these days is the basic “show & shine” that includes just a group of guys assembling in a parking lot or downtown area and showing theirs cars off and simply enjoying the company of other car guys. These events have no fees, no judging, no prizes or trophies…just all for fun. At least at these type events there is no sore losers or hard feelings over who won a trophy and who didn't!

Early morning “cars & coffee” type events are still gaining in popularity because of the same issue as the bigger shows, no trophies, no registration or fees, just guys getting together and enjoying a cup of coffee and a doughnut as they look at lots of classic and modern muscle cars and trucks.
New car show enthusiasts are born every year and there is always room for new fans. I recently heard a young lady saying that until she attended her first show this year she had never even cared anything about car shows. In fact she said she had often wondered what the big deal was and had never dreamed of going to one, but after she attended her first one, was blown away at the beautiful cars, but was pleasantly surprised by something completely unexpected. She kept talking about the music, the family friendly atmosphere, the vendors, and all the extra-curricular activity that goes with car shows these days. It was refreshing to hear someone excited and talking about the things that got her motivated to go to the next show instead of negative talk about all the stuff that’s not important.

I also attended a local monthly cruise-in where I met a young lady who was there showing off her highly modified Honda Civic that she did 90% of all the customization on it. After talking to her for almost 30 minutes, she introduces me to her husband’s and he’s showing off his matching car. They said it’s a great way for them to hang out and share in the hobby that is their passion!

The shows list may be smaller this year, but I've got my 10-12 shows picked out to attend this year and I plan to have just as much fun as I always do and maybe I’ll meet some new folks and check out their sweet rides!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2015 Porsche Cayenne Launch Event

The weather has already turned colder but it’s warm inside the new Porsche of Huntsville dealership showroom and the cars are not the only attraction!  The new showroom is elegant and sophisticated just like the new Porsche's in the new 5043 sq. ft. area that houses both the newest vehicles and the sales staff. 
The night began with a ribbon cutting and special award presentation from the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce to the dealership and members from the staff at Century Porsche.  
General Manager of Century Automotive Group George Jones graciously welcomed guest as they arrived for the special events of the evening.  Tracy Jones (President-Century Automotive Group) accepted the special award from the Huntsville Chamber on behalf of the dealership and paid homage to John Shields II (her father) and founder of the dealership. 
Also on hand throughout the evening was a couple of Porsche VIP’s, Domenic Calkins (Porsche Regional Manager) and Jason Locke (Porsche After-Sales Regional Manager). Both were eager to mingle with local Porsche enthusiasts and talk about the excitement of a new vehicle launch.
As the festivities began, it was a very special occasion that brought out the crowd and they would not be disappointed in the newest high performance SUV from Porsche. The all-wheel drive 2015 Cayenne was under cover to be revealed as the evening progressed.  Upon entering the new showroom you were greeted by LED lights glowing from under the crisp white car cover draped over the Cayenne (no peeking).  The guests began to explore the freshly finished showroom and take in all the new surroundings as they visited with the sales and service team members. 
The front desk was ready to serve you a drink of your choice and food was pleasantly arranged on the bistro tables throughout the room. There where as many questions about the new digs in the showroom as there were about the new Sport Utility to be unveiled. The music was a nice touch as you strolled around talking with other Porsche enthusiasts about the brand that stirs up pure excitement from every vehicle they build.

Speaking of pure excitement, let’s talk about the special guest of the night, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne. The Porsche website calls this new SUV “Muscular, athletic, powerful, and challenging”….how will you describe it? 
As the countdown reached zero and the cover was pulled, the beautiful white Cayenne was ready to show off her features to all who would gather around. The guests were encouraged to sit in the newest offering from Porsche and check out all of the amenities. The sleek and sexy changes on this 2015 model were very subtle but gladly welcomed. 
One very exciting change was the steering wheel that bore a striking resemblance to the 918 Spyder Hybrid Supercar!

For those of you who may be interested in the specifics, I’ll hit the high points of the Cayenne S:

  • Engine – V6 Turbo (3.6 liter)
  • Horsepower – 420 HP
  • Torque – 406 lb. ft.
  • Transmission – 8-speed Tiptronic S
  • Top Speed – 161 mph
  • Zero to 60 mph – 5.2 sec.
  • Price – MSRP starting at $74,100

The 2015 Cayenne can be purchased in many iterations such as the Cayenne S, Diesel, Turbo, the all-new SE Hybrid, GTS, and Turbo S. Much of the excitement is from the news that the Cayenne S will come equipped with a 420 horsepower turbocharged 3.6 liter V6 engine, gaining horsepower and fuel mileage over the V8 from last year’s model.
As the special event came to a close I heard nothing but great comments about the Porsche Cayenne that was unveiled.  Now all you have to do is ask yourself what color of the new Cayenne you will decide to purchase. Schedule your test drive today and the sales staff at Porsche of Huntsville will be happy to answer all your questions and show off all the features of their newest SUV.