The Last of It’s Breed.

Ford’s Mustang has just received it’s last major update.  I’ll give you a short (ish) list of all the major updates of this generation of the Mustang.

2003:  Two concept cars are shown at every major auto show across the country, with much hype.

2005:  The Fifth-generation Mustang is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show.  It has a 210-horsepower 4.0 liter V6 with 240 lb-ft of torque.  The other engine is a 4.6 liter, 300-horsepower, 320 lb-ft V8.  Either of these engines can be had in a convertible body style or a coupe body style.  The available transmissions are a Tremec five-speed manual, or a Ford-built five-speed automatic.

2006:  The Pony Package is available for the V6 Mustang only.  It includes:  an upgraded suspension derived from the GT, 17-inch wheels with wider, nicer tires (also from the GT), a rear deck spoiler, unique door striping and emblems, and a unique grille design with fog lamps.  The GT-based Shelby GT-H is tuned by Shelby North America to have 319 horsepower and almost 350 lb-ft of torque.  The GT-H is only available for rent through Hertz.  It is a nod to the 1966 “Rent-A-Racer” program, where one could rent a Shelby GT350H for the day.  500 are made in 2006.  Two years later, another run of 500 was tuned.

2007:  Ford Custom Accessories introduces a new model at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The V6 Appearance Package has a lot going for it (it is now considered a collector’s car).  The equipment that comes with it is:  a chrome billet-style upper grille, body-color side scoops, a black satin front lip spoiler, GT hood scoop (not functional), bright rolled exhaust tips, black satin hood stripe, unique decklid spoiler applique, GT black satin decklid applique, upgraded black floor mats, and 18-inch premium polished aluminum wheels.  Ford introduces a GT California Special that hearkens back to the 1968 Mustang GT California Special.  The package is now considered a collector’s item.  The package adds non-functional side scoops, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, and unique vinyl striping.

In 2008, Ford re-introduced the Bullitt model, after a seven-year hiatus.  It was available in Dark Highland Green or Midnight Black paint.  The Bullitt model was so reminiscent of the car used in the 1968 Steve McQueen movie, Bullitt, that the aging McQueen bought one.  Peter Egan of Car & Driver owned one until 2011.

The 2009 model year for the Mustang was certainly exciting.  The Mustang turned 45, so Ford came out with a special 45th Anniversary Edition.  It had the same functional equipment as the GT model but came with a lot more.  This model came with special badging of a Mustang colt.  It also had a hood scoop, rear spoiler, the Ambient Lighting Package and special 17 inch polished aluminum wheels.  Also, the Iacocca Silver 45th Edition was introduced.  45 custom units were built.  They have custom bodies built by Gaffaglio Family Metalcrafters of Southern California, but retain the stock running gear from the GT.  Lee Iacocca was given unit one of forty-five.  One unit was sold for $352,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction.

The 2010 GT receives an update to it’s engine, bringing 15 much-needed horsepower and more torque.  The transmissions remain unchanged, but the AdvanceTrac stability control system is now standard.  It has a new Sport Mode that allows for more spirited driving.  Nothing new for the V6, except for the AdvanceTrac updates.  Also, there is a new Track Pack gives the car a sportier edge.  It includes larger brake pads (front and rear), Pirelli summer tires, stabilizer bars and rear control towers from the GT500, a recalibrated AdvanceTrac stability control system, and an aggressive 3.73:1 rear axle ratio with carbon fiber plates in the differential.

2011:  Desperately in need of a major update, the Mustang is taken into the stable for new guts.  It receives two new engines:  a 305-horsepower, 280 lb-ft of torque Duratec V6 engine.  The GT finally gets a true 5.0 liter engine.  The 4951 cc engine pumps out a hearty 412 horsepower and an impressive 390 lb-ft of torque.  The transmissions are now a Getrag six-speed manual, and a new six-speed automatic.  Badging on the new models is not as much as before.  One of the ways to tell a GT from a V6 model is to check just ahead of the doors.  If a V8, it will have a “5.0” badge.  V6 models have none.

2012:  Not much has happened yet for the Mustang, but there are some highlights:  The historic Boss 302 is back in action!  Built for road racing, the “base” Boss 302 is bloody fast.  It seats four, has a six-speed manual transmission, has 444 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque (down 10 lb-ft on the GT), and has Pirelli P-Zero summer tires.  The Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition is truly THE car that Chevy and Mopar should be chasing.  It has the same amount of horsepower and torque as the “base” 302, but loses it’s rear seat.  IF you are wanting a fast car for SCCA racing, check out the Laguna Seca.  It is more expensive, but a lot more fun than a Mazda Miata…Initially, only 750 units were going to be built, but now it is in regular production.

2013 (model year):  All models have unique “blacked-out” taillights that blend in better to the car when not in use.  The GT models also get functional heat extractors and fog lamps in the grille.  Plus, GT models get an extra eight horsepower, bringing the total to 420 horsepower.  Torque remains the same.  The new GT Premium model is the last major update for the fifth-generation of the Mustang.  One can easily call it the “Boss for a Smaller Budget.”  Why?  HID (high-intensity-discharge) headlights, a new front look with those cool new heat extractors, Ford’s cool new Track Apps (tracking track times, fuel economy, stuff like that), scalloped taillights, and those eight more rearing-to-go horses.  Since this pony is truly the last of it’s breed, enjoy the powerful engine, cheaper price than the Boss 302 and GT500 while you can.  One can expect to see resale values of the 2013 GT Premium shoot up in the next few years.  You can see my idea of a perfect GT Premium with the attached link.  Please send in your idea of a perfect GT Premium – I’d like to see it!…8R3Z-63132A08-AC.~YZKAA.59G.44X.GT.COU.PRE.51S.55R.%5D

Oh, and the GT Premium comes in the convertible bodystyle!  Double VROOM!

What’s in Your Backyard?

Yesterday, when I was in school, there was something that I REALLY wish that I had seen!  A dump truck dumping a load of manure got stuck in my neighbor’s backyard.  They called another truck, but it wasn’t strong enough.  They ended up calling in a wrecker of Biblical proportions!  It took them over two hours to get just ONE truck out of the oh-so-muddy yard!  Oops!  Enjoy the photos below!  As one can well imagine, my unfortunate neighbor was wigging out!  DSCN0077







The Most Infamous Stock Car Ever!

What’s the most famous stock car?  Good question that I can’t answer.  NASCAR aficionados will argue until the cows come home.  But, ask them what the most infamous stock car ever to pound the pavement is, and you will immediately know that it is the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Grand National modified by Smokey Yunick.  There’s no denying that it is awesome.  Even Smokey Yunick said so.  The black and gold beauty shown below never raced.  Why?  Read below.  1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Grand National Race Car Front Three Quarter In Motion

Smokey Yunick himself once said of the car that it was “The little car that could…but didn’t.”  The car itself was so inventive that it failed to pass the technology inspection at Daytona in the summer of 1966.  Long after cars that won at the Daytona 500 have been forgotten, the 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Grand National lives on in myth and lore.  “Experts” say it was never a Chevelle, but a 7/8 model.  Some say that it was powered by a destroked, nitros-oxide powered big-block.  Then, there’s the story of the missing gas tank, a role model for racing cheaters.

According to the story enshrined by any NASCAR lover, Yunick hid oversized gas lines in the rails.  The technical inspectors didn’t find the gas lines, but they ordered Smokey Yunick to take out the fuel cell and fix ten other irregularities.  Yunick snapped, “Make it 11,” and knocked down one of the inspectors.  He tore out of the tech inspection arena in a haze of tire smoke, leaving the fuel cell on the ground.

Of course, the creator of the car was the cause of much of the confusion.  In his uproarious autobiography, he describes every detail of the car, but had also written two magazine articles about the car.  No two accounts of the car were the same.  Mark Mountanos, the car’s current owner, bought the car in 2000 when demand was high for old stock cars.  In fact, the Chevelle raced on many dirt tracks until the mid-1980s, when Yunick bought the car and restored it himself from spare parts collected in 1967.  As longtime NASCAR historian John Craft notes: “Smokey put everything he’d learned about NASCAR into that car.”

The secret of Smokey Yunick?  His somewhat-magical ability to coax almost 150 horsepower out of an engine. That, and his ability to bend the rules in creative ways.  It wasn’t cheating in his eyes.  He viewed it in this simple way:  If the rulebook doesn’t say anything against it, then it can be used to your advantage.  His success started with stepped-down Hudson Hornets, and he was the man who brought the Chevy small-block to NASCAR.  His history with the Chevrolet Chevelle started in 1965, when his good friend, Bunkie Knudsen, the head of Chevrolet asked him to prep their then-new muscle car for the upcoming Daytona 500.  The driver, Mario Andretti commented on the car.  “Every detail of the car was perfect,” recalls Andretti, who wrecked the car early in the race.  But it was just diabolical to drive.  I’ve never been so happy to crash in my life.”  The car was designed for superspeedways, so it feels out of place on road courses.  How fast the car can go is a question none can answer.  Smokey’s previous Chevelle won first place at Daytona in 1965 at 180 mph, so this car should go around 210 mph.  Why?  The bigger engine helps, the oversized gas lines, and the tuned four-speed Muncie “rock crusher” transmission.  210 mph is about today’s race pace, and that’s quite impressive for a car that was created in the 1960’s.  Some may say that the Richard Petty Plymouth Superbirds were the most infamous, but they weren’t nearly so diabolical.  And the debates go on.



How Fifteen Cars Can Tell the Tale of the American Dream

“An innovative car (the Prius), its insufferable drivers (the pious), and the advent of a new era” proclaims chapter 13 in the book, Engines of Change.  Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Paul Ingrassia, has a HUGE stash of knowledge about Detroit’s ups and downs, Japan’s ups and downs, and the automobile’s upa and downs.  Engines of Change comprehensively covers fifteen cars.  It starts at the revolutionizing Ford Model T, and works its way up to the Toyota Prius.

The front cover pretty much says it all.  “A narrative like no other:  a cultural history that explores how cars have both propelled and reflected the American Experience-from the Model T to the Prius.”

“From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66, from the lore of Jack Kerouac to the sex appeal of the Hot Rod, America’s history is a vehicular history-an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Ingrassia.  Ingrassia offers a wondrous epic in fifteen automobiles, including the Corvette, the Beetle, and the Chevy Corvair, as well as the personalities and tales behind them:  Robert McNamara’s unlikely role in Lee Iacocca’s Mustang, John Z. DeLorian’s Pontiac GTO, Henry Ford’s Model T, as well as Honda’s Accord, the BMW 3 Series, and the Jeep, among others.  Through these cars and these characters, Ingrassia shows how the car has expressed the particularly American tension between the lure of freedom and the obligations of utility.  He also takes us through the rise of American manufaturing, the suburbanization of the country, the birth of the hippie and the yuppie, the emancipation of women, and many more fateful episodes and eras, including the car’s unintended consequences:  trial lawyers, energy crises, and urban sprawl.  Narrative history of the highest caliber, Engines of Change is an entirely edifying new way to look at the American story.”

I recommend reading it.  It may be a bit expensive ($30.00), but it’s money very well spent.  Once you’ve read the first chapter, you’ll be hooked in to the book.  You probably won’t stop until you’ve finished the book.  Paul Ingrassia has a sense of humor, just itching for you to start laughing aloud about various people’s (and cars) mistakes.

I would like to thank my faithful reader, Uncle Howie for giving me the book.  Thanks, Uncle Howie!  It’s an awesome book!

Is BMW Crazy?

BMW is usually conservative when coming out with limited-edition cars.  They don’t do it frequently, but when they do, they are usually collector’s items.  The BMW K2 Concept Powder Ride is the result of BMW and K2 (which is known as “America’s Ski Company”). It is based off of the new BMW X1 SUV, and the upcoming Powder Ride Edition X1.  BMW says that the K2 Concept Powder Ride is the blend of sumptuous interior materials, and an exclusive roof structure.  BMW’s Valencia Orange paint is complemented by a large graphic that is a close-up of limited-edition K2 skis.

Also, the exterior gets an extra eight millimeters of suspension travel over the standard X1, and 19-inch five-spoke wheels covered in Ferric Grey and then polished half to death. A Harman Kardon sound system takes shelter in the two luggage spots on the driver’s side.  These nice speakers are two-way, and BMW says they create a “powerful sound stage for apres ski fun with a difference at the end of the valley run.”  Plus, the gigantic roof box can be illuminated in orange or blue.  Oh, and three VERY powerful LED spotlights are integrated into the roof structure.

BMW is going unusual and offering a CONCEPT vehicle for sale to the public for the span of the winter.  A toned-down version of the K2 Concept Powder Ride called the BMW X1 Powder Ride Edition is on sale for $44,390, including destination and handling.

I’ve attached a picture for you to possibly drool at.  You can find out technical specs at

This car makes me want to drive a BMW, and go skiing.  Who wants to drive up to the slopes together?

 BMW announces X1 Powder Ride Edition and K2 Powder Ride concept

BMW X1 Edition Powder Ride

The Missing Part of the American Dream – a Dog in Every Car!

Here’s the truth about me.  Are you ready?  Okay.  I am a dog lover – the wet nose, floppy ears, wagging tail, fur flying everywhere type.  You can’t have a pup without fur flying everywhere.  And of course, the cuddles that ensue.  I believe that every car should have a dog in every seat.  Window down, muzzle out, ears flapping and drool flying.  Or a pooch in the back of a pick up truck.  Particularly, a Chevy S10.  Sadly, ever so sadly, just nine days ago, we had to say farewell to my fuzzy best friend – my companion for 9 1/2 fun, story-filled years.  Leo, my canine companion, Leo the Lovely is gone. Leo was an amazing dog.  Part comic, part teacher, and 100% cuddler.  Plus, he was a fine lookin’ dog.

Leo kept us well entertained.  Be it tearing down walls,  opening kitchen windows (from the sink) and jumping onto rocks, or sneaking in to the car (he was ALWAYS ready for a drive and adventure).  Leo went on hundreds of drives, and countless road trips with us.  Here are just a few of the Leo and the car stories.

One fine day, my sister had dropped a basket of fresh eggs all over our front steps.  While we were scratching our heads trying to figure out what to do, Leo squirmed his way through us and started eating the eggs.  We figured, “What the heck, he’s happy…”.  He was.  Until we were in the car with my friend and sister.  My sister and Leo were in the third-row seat when Leo went “ZEEEEEAAAAAAAARGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!” and threw up all over my sister.  It smelled pretty bad, and looked it, too!  Then, we were heading home when we heard the whining.  We stopped the car and diarrhea of Biblical proportions came out.  Need I say more?

Another great story of ours is the train station.   The very sound of it sounds forbidding…Anyways, we had gone down to the City of the Angels for an 80th birthday party.  We had taken my dad’s truck (for reasons still unknown to me!), and the dogs were in the camper shell.  We left on a train bound for Burbank.  Leo wanted to join us.  Leo jumped out of the camper shell via the 8″ X 6″ window.  Leo then supposedly ran around the parking lot before coming back to the truck.  He sat there whining and looking at poor old Bongo in the camper shell.  Eventually, a family saw Leo and Bongo.  They put two and two together, picked up Leo and heaved him into the window.  All would have gone well, except Leo got stuck in the window.  Half of him was inside, half was outside!  The family called my dad, as they had seen his tag before.  Then, they called him again to tell him that Leo was stuck!  Then, they called again to say that Leo had popped in through the window and was safe.  However, my dad didn’t get the message until we got back in the truck.  Then, he was wondering why he had six voice mails.  We didn’t believe them (for obvious reasons!!!)!  But, it’s a great story.

Then, the time that my mom had just come back from the hospital, and Bongo and Leo escaped.  I was in the car with my cousin Robin when we saw Bongo and Leo.  We stopped, Bongo came down, squeezed through a fence hole not much bigger than an iPad! We opened the door, Bongo jumped in, and we started going home.  Bongo started sucking a Pepsi that was in the cup holder (the only time that I’ve heard of a dog sucking a soda at that!).  Leo was still on the hillside when my dad came to get him.  At this point, Leo had been skunked AND taken a bath in a vineyard pond.  Leo jumped into the cab of my dad’s truck and started looking happy.   My dad didn’t buy it.  My dad had just gotten his truck up fitted with a work body (a week before!), and opened the camper shell and shoved Leo in there!  My dad took Leo home, hosed him off, and then took tomato paste and mariana sauce and slathered poor Leo in it.  All of Leo’s white spots were pink – for a while!  Then, Leo spent the whole night whining.  My parents couldn’t figure it out, so Leo went to the vet first thing in the morning.  His tail was sprained.  The poor dog went around with a cast on his tail for about three weeks.  Then, all was relatively well.

Yet another story of Leo was the time that he tore my dad’s truck up trying to get to my mom.  We were at my aunt and uncle’s for Thanksgiving and Leo had a panic attack.  He scratched the glass on my dad’s truck’s windows, shredded a panel (my dad never got a replacement panel!), and bit the trim along the doors.  My dad was pissed.  To say the least.  I was the one who saved Leo from an almost-certain death that year.  I told my parents that Leo had a big heart, but he couldn’t control himself.  My desperate ploy worked, and Leo stayed.  We are glad that he did.

Then, there are the countless car trips that we took Leo down with us and he hogged the whole rear seat!  We just can’t forget the time that we were in my dad’s truck and my sister cracked gum in Leo’s face.  Leo got so scared that he crawled over the center console to sit in my mom’s lap.  Leo was no small dog, weighing in about 70 pounds.  And this was in the Central Valley.  He wouldn’t budge until we got home.  I think that somebody was happy!

Yet another story of Leo involves eight loaves of Pita bread.  We had gotten a bag of Pita bread in L.A. and were driving up when Leo ate ALL of the Pita bread!  We saw the loaves sticking out for days!  Anyways, Leo was in the third row seat and passing gas that could be a credible alternative to tear gas.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much!  We then spent the rest of our drive back up the Interstate 5 with the windows down!

I’m sure that Leo is pigging out on Pita bread in the backseat of a car with the windows open (for obvious reasons) with Bongo in the countryside.  Then, after the drive, it’s off to some imaginary racetrack where he gets as many laps as he wants.