Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2014 Range Rover Sport Unveiling

Once again it was time to visit another launch party and unveiling of an all-new vehicle and this time around it was the 2014 Range Rover Sport at Century (Land Rover Huntsville).   Now I know what you are thinking, a launch party for a sport utility vehicle?   Trust me this is not your mothers grocery-getter……but it could be, even if she wanted to drive to Mount Kilimanjaro to finish her must-have list.
 The guests enjoyed food, drinks, and music as they looked over the features of this incredible all new SUV from Land Rover.  What sets this multi passenger vehicle apart from the others is the fact that it offers sports car performance and handling abilities as well as full all-terrain benefits.

Before you get too excited hearing all about the 150 mph runs or the ability to tread almost three feet of water, let me remind you that it is a thing of beauty.  This is one of the few SUV’s that will cause you to look twice when you see it.  It’s the most sophisticated off-road capable vehicle I’ve ever seen in my 40 something years.  The new Sport is not so boxy looking and offers a smoother/sleeker profile that is even 800 pounds lighter than last year’s model.

(One of the first things you notice if you are already familiar with these upscale SUV’s is that this new model is lower, longer, and wider than previous Sports)
Just because I know you can’t wait any longer let’s talk features; each one of the trim levels offers full-time 4-wheel drive with electronic traction control, and an 8-speed automatic transmission.  The base or SE trim offers a 3.0 liter 340-horsepower supercharged V6 engine and the standard Terrain Response system.  If your budget will allow for a few more goodies, then step up to the HSE trim and you are treated to perforated leather/heated seats, sliding panoramic sunroof, fog lamps, 20 inch wheels, and wood trim inside.  Now if you are ready to pull out all the stops and just get what you really want, then go for the V8 Supercharged trim and you’ll get a whopping 510-horsepower engine that will propel you from zero to sixty in 5.0 seconds flat! (No…..I’m not kidding). 

There is one other top of the line trim that Century had on hand at the unveiling, the Autobiography model, that is fully loaded with every feature you could ever want and more including a cooler in the center console, 825 watt Meridian Premium stereo system, 21 inch wheels and bright red Brembro brake calipers, and an additional performance enhancement package that takes the top speed to 155 mph.
I almost forgot to mention that if you are not afraid to sling a little mud and have a ton of fun, you might ask about Land Rovers off-road driving school.  No matter you skill level or experience, the folks at Land Rover will teach you the essential skills needed to maneuver your Range Rover over and around many off road obstacles as you learn from the pros.  Visit landroverusa.com/drivingschools today and find out more details about the Land Rover Experience Driving School.  Land Rover has over 65 years of all-terrain experience and they have pulled out all the newest technology to make sure you get unmatched performance on and off-road.  It does not matter if you live in the city or out in the country, reward yourself with this strikingly fashioned vehicle that Land Rover has created to be driven……anywhere!
The new 2014 Range Rover Sport went on sale in August and is already a hot ticket, so make plans to visit the showroom this week and decide if this all new Sport utility vehicle from Land Rover is going to be on your Christmas list!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Corvettes and American Heroes

I recently heard a father talking about his daughter having a school project where she had to name two American heroes’ and tell why they were a hero.  I began to reflect on what my answer would be and how I would tackle this project.  I’m not sure but I think my answer would have changed as I have gotten older and wiser.  If you Google American Heroes, here is a list of some of the top photos that come up; John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Neil Armstrong, and lots of photos of American soldiers…….I’d say those are spot on! 

A few years ago I remember reading an article about three American Astronauts and their love for speed.  The “Astrovette” story by John Nelson captured the story of Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr., Richard Gordon Jr., and Alan Bean. It was fitting that these men who lived their lives on the edge of speed as test pilots and military aviators would also share a passion for technology, performance, and fast cars.  Although the specific details are sketchy, General Motors (GM) and a local car dealership in Melbourne Florida made the decision to give Astronauts of the 1960’s an executive lease of a brand new Chevy Corvette for one year.  Many of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Space Program astronauts could be seen speeding up and down the streets of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX or the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida and the reserved parking spaces at JSC were commonly lined with various colors of Corvettes.  This opportunity was just a nice way of saying thanks to the men who risked their lives for our country and was a great promotion for GM, the Chevy Corvette, and the US Space Program. 
I’m sure it was quite a thrill for each of the guys to get to choose the color and type of Corvette they wanted, but there was one special group of three astronauts from the Apollo 12 crew who decided to order and drive matching cars.  Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr., Richard Gordon Jr., and Alan Bean drove matching Riverside Gold 1969 Corvette Stingrays and even had a couple of extra flares to set them apart.  Each of their cars wore specially painted black wings and red/white/blue logos on the front fender.  The special red, white, and blue emblems on the side of each car also had a unique label to set car apart.  Bean’s Corvette had “LMP” on his logo (Lunar Module Pilot), Conrad’s car had “CMD” (Commander), and Gordon’s car had “CMP” (Command Module Pilot).  They also had a photo shoot done with their beloved cars as a way to remember them and the December1969 issue of Life magazine even covered this story. 

Each of their 1969 coupes came equipped with a four speed manual transmission and 429 cubic inch /390 HP engine.
Due to complaints from the public, this lease program between the US astronauts and Chevrolet came to a close just a couple of years later.  The history and lore of these Corvettes and their whereabouts would continue to be chased for many years but I will let you do the research on, as Paul Harvey use to say; “The Rest of the Story

The US astronauts will always be my heroes because most of them had already served in our military before joining or being recruited by the US Space program.  They pushed the limits of speed and were also known to be a little bit of a rebel at times and I guess that’s what it took to have the guts and glory of flying into Space.  They gave every little boy and girl something to dream about and goals to strive for and that’s why they are still my heroes!