Ferruccio Lamborghini – a Biography of the Man Who Wanted a Better Ferrari

When you see a Lamborghini for the first time, you are probably wondering if an alien owns it.  It looks otherworldly.  This blog post is going to delve into the story behind the man who created Lamborghini Automobili, Ferruccio Lamborghini.  I hope you find his life as interesting as I do.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born on April 28, 1916 to Antonio and Evelina Lamborghini in the beautiful region of Northern Italy.  Not much is known about his childhood, other than the fact that his parents were viticulturists.  What we do know is that Ferruccio Lamborghini was fascinated with farming machinery, rather than the farming lifestyle.  Following his passion for mechanics, Ferruccio went to the Fratelli Taddia technical institute in Bologna.  In 1940, Ferruccio was drafted into the Italian Royal Air Force for WWII.  He started off as a vehicle mechanic at the Italian garrison on the island of Rhodes.  He eventually became supervisor of the vehicle maintenance unit there.  When the island fell to the British in 1945, Ferruccio was taken prisoner.  He was unable to return home until 1946.  Upon his return, he married, but his wife died in 1947 while giving birth to their son, Antonio Lamborghini.

After that, Ferruccio opened a small garage near Bologna.  In his spare time, Ferruccio modified an old Fiat Topolino that he had purchased, one of the many that he would own over the years.  He took his extensive mechanical abilities to the tiny city car and turned it into a thundering, two-seat, open-top, 750-cc, roadster.  He entered the car in the 1948 Mille Miglia.  His participation in the tiny Topolino ended after 700 miles, when he ran the car into the side of a restaurant in the town of Fiano, in the province of Turin.  As a result of the crash, Lamborghini lost all enthusiasm for racing, a bitter sentiment that would last until the late 1960s.

In 1949, Ferruccio started Lamborghini Trattori, a small tractor company that would eventually become the European equivalent of John Deere.  His increasing wealth allowed him to buy more expensive, faster cars than the tiny Fiats that had provided with reliable, albeit slow, transportation for many years.  In the early 1950’s, he owned such cars as Lancia’s and Alfa Romeo’s, and at one point, he owned enough cars to drive a different one for every day of the week.  He added a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, a Jaguar E-Type coupe, and two Maserati 3500GT’s.  He once said of the latter, “Adolfo Orsi, then the owner of Maserati, was a man I had a lot of respect for: he had started life as a poor boy, like myself.  But I did not like his cars much.  They felt heavy and did not really go fast.”

In 1958, Lamborghini traveled to Modena to buy a Ferrari 250GT, an early Ferrari with a Pininfarina body.  He went on to own several more 250GT’s, including a Scaglietti-designed 250 SWB Berlinetta and a 250GT 2+2.  He thought that Enzo Ferrari’s cars were good, they were too noisy and rough to be proper road cars.  He categorized the 250GT’s as repurposed track cars with poorly done interiors.  Ouch.

He found that Ferrari’s had bad clutches, requiring frequent, expensive trips to Modena to replace them.  Ferrari technicians would squirrel the cars away for hours on end to perform the service, which immensely dissatisfied Lamborghini.  He had expressed his dissatisfaction about Ferrari’s after sales service multiple times before, which he perceived to be extremely substandard compared to other auto manufacturers.  He brought this to Enzo Ferrari’s attention, but was rudely dismissed by the pride-filled Ferrari.  He eventually successfully modified one of his personal 250GT’s to outperform stock 250GT’s, he decided that he was going to start an automobile manufacturing venture of his own, with an aim to create the perfect touring car that he felt nobody could build for him.  His belief was that a grand touring car should have attributes lacking in Ferrari’s, namely high performance without compromising tractability, ride quality, or interior appointments.  Being a clever businessman, Lamborghini knew that he could triple the profits if he used tractor parts from his tractor company.

The 1970’s OPEC Oil Crisis caused a large financial crisis for Lamborghini.  Lamborghini Trattori, which exported about half of it’s tractors, ran into trouble when the South African importer cancelled all of their orders.  The Bolivian military government cancelled a large shipment of tractors ready to ship from Genoa.  Since all of the Lamborghini Trattori employees were unionized, they could not be fired or laid off, which put immense financial strain on the company.  Lamborghini sold his entire share of the company (72%) to SAME, a rival tractor company, in 1972.

Not long after that, the entire Lamborghini franchise found itself in dire straights.  Development at Lamborghini Automobili slowed as costs were cut.  So, Ferruccio started negotiations with Georges-Henri Rossetti, a wealthy Swiss businessman and close friend.  Ferruccio sold Rossetti a 51% share in the company for US$600,000, which was enough to keep Lamborghini Automobili alive.  He continued to work at the factory even though he had no official controlling share in the company.  Rossetti rarely involved himself in Lamborghini Automobili’s affairs.

The 1973 OPEC Oil Crisis didn’t improve financial matters, either.  Consumers flocked in droves to smaller, more practical cars with better fuel economy.  By 1974, Ferruccio had become so disenchanted with the automobile manufacturing business that he severed all connections with the automobile manufacturer that bore his name.  He sold his remaining 49% share of the company to Rene Leimer, a friend of Rossetti.

After departing the automotive world, Lamborghini started an industrial valve and equipment manufacturer, as well as a heating and air conditioning company, Lamborghini Calor.

In 1974, Lamborghini exited the industrial world and retired to a 740-acre estate named La Fiorita on the shores of Lake Trasimeno, in Central Italy.  Returning to his farming roots, Lamborghini took delight in hunting and making his own wines.  He even designed a personal golf course.  At age 58, he fathered Patrizia Lamborghini.

At age 76, Lamborghini died on February 20, 1993 at Silvestrini Hospital after suffering a heart attack 15 days earlier.  He is buried at the Monumental Cemetery of the Certosa di Bologna monastery.

Bullfighting is an integral part of the Lamborghini identity.  In 1962, Lamborghini visited the Seville ranch of Don Eduardo Muira, a renowned breeder of fighting bulls.  He was so impressed with the raging bulls that he decided to adopt a raging bull as the emblem of Lamborghini Automobili.

After producing two cars with alphanumeric designations, Lamborghini once again turned to bullfighting for inspiration.  Don Eduardo was filled with pride when he learned that Lamborghini had named a car after his family and their legendary line of bulls.  The fourth Lamborghini Muira was unveiled to him at his ranch.

The Lamborghini Islero was named for the bull that killed the legendary bullfighter Manolete in 1947.

The Lamborghini Espada was named after the Spanish word for sword, and sometimes used to refer to the bullfighter himself.

The Lamborghini Jarama had a special double meaning – it was intended to refer to the historic bullfighting region of Spain, but Ferruccio was worried that there would be confusion with the also-historic Jarama motor racing track.

After naming the Lamborghini Urraco after a bull breed, Lamborghini broke from tradition and named the Countach, not for a bull, but for a rather rude expression used by Piedmontese men to describe a beautiful woman.  I don’t know why either.  Legend has it that designer Nuccio Bertone uttered the word in surprise when he saw the Countach prototype.  The Lamborghini LM002 SUV and Lamborghini Silhouette were the other exceptions.

The 1982 Lamborghini Jalpa was named for a bull breed.

The Lamborghini Diablo was named for the Duke of Veragua’s bull that fought an epic battle against El Chicorro in 1869.  It also means “devil” in Spanish.

The Lamborghini Murcielago was named for the legendary bull whose life was spared by El Lagartijo for his ferocious performance in 1879.  It also means “bat” in Spanish.

The Lamborghini Reventon was named for the bull that killed the young Mexican bullfighter Felix Guzman in 1943.

The 2008 Lamborghini Estoque concept car was named for the estoc, the sword traditionally used by matadors.

The Lamborghini Aventador was named for a bull that was bred by the sons of Don Celestino Cuadri Vides.  The bull was killed in a particularly gruesome fight, and after the fight, the left ear was cut off of the bull and given to the matador for good luck.

The Lamborghini Gallardo was named for one of the five ancestral castes of the Spanish bullfighting breed.

The Lamborghini Huracan is named for a bull that fought in 1879.  Huracan also means “hurricane” in Spanish.

All of Lamborghini’s companies are still around in some form or another today.  Lamborghini Trattori is still a subsidiary of SAME.  His son, Tonino (Antonio) Lamborghini designs a line of clothing and accessories under the Tonino Lamborghini brand.  His daughter, Patrizia Lamborghini, runs the private winery on his estate.

A museum near the factory honoring Lamborghini, the Centro Studi e Richerche Ferruccio Lamborghini, opened in 2001.  The museum is located just 25 km (15.2 miles) from the factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese.  Tonino may even be there to greet you, as you have to write ahead to get in, as conferences often happen and the museum is closed to the public.

The Highly Anticipated 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Will Cost $75,000!

For me, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro will always hold a special place in my heart.  Maybe it was the 2006 Camaro Concept that I saw many moons ago.  Maybe it was the 1969 COPO Camaro I saw at the Sonoma Raceway Dragstrip at the summertime Wednesday Drags (I highly recommend going there – admission is $10 for spectators, and $25 gets you a place to drag race your vehicle from 4-10 PM!  Also, Top the Cop is cool [$25 for students allows high-school students to drag race cops in full uniform and squad cars!]).  Maybe it was Hot Rod Magazine’s 1967 Crusher Camaro.  Whatever it was, I feel a sense of longing and lust for the Camaro.  Every car has it’s own faults.  For the Camaro, it’s the fact that you’ve got about as much visibility as a military bunker.  The terrible gas mileage in performance-oriented models doesn’t help, either.  Whatever.  Chevrolet offers a Camaro for every enthusiast and every budget.  The base V6 Camaro is a pretty good deal.  It’s got a sweet 312-horsepower V6 that gets pretty good fuel economy ratings for something it’s size.  The Camaro SS takes it up another notch.  It makes 426 horsepower with the manual transmission (the only way to drive a Camaro!) from a slightly detuned Corvette LS3 engine.  For those who like the car to shift for itself, you’ll have to deal with a mere 400 horsepower!  The ZL1 takes the Camaro to a whole new level of performance.  It makes 580 horsepower from a detuned LS9 engine (from the beloved C6 Corvette ZR1), and it makes the same amount of horsepower with both a manual transmission or an automatic transmission.  This is a true bruiser.  The Z/28 makes 500 horsepower from the splendid 7.0-liter V8 previously found in the Corvette ZO6.  When Chevy announced that they were bringing back the storied Z/28 name, I felt that Chevy would finally do it right again.  Let me give you history on the Z/28 package/model in the Camaro.

The first-generation Camaro Z/28 debuted in 1967.  It came around because Chevrolet wanted to start dominating the SCCA Trans-Am series.  The Shelby GT350 Mustang team was simply leaving bits and pieces of Chevy’s pride at American road courses all over the country.  Chevy was infuriated.  Thus came along the Z/28.  The SCCA Trans-Am series required that all cars had an engine displacement of 305 cubic inches or less.  Chevy’s smallest Camaro V8 was the 327-cubic inch V8.  The next-smallest V8 that Chevy had was the 283-cubic inch V8.  By putting the 283 parts on the 327, Chevy created a 302-cubic inch V8.  It was officially rated at 290 horsepower, but dynomometer tests showed the car easily made 350 horsepower.  Racing versions made at least 450 horsepower.  The 1967-1969 Camaro Z/28 came with the 302-cubic inch engine, a Muncie M21 transmission, J56 heavy-duty front disc brakes, along with racing-spec rear drum brakes.  Positraction was highly recommended.

The second-generation Camaro Z/28 (1970-1974) had much more handsome styling, more power, and better everything.  There were some significant differences with the new Camaro Z/28.  First of all, the LT-1 350-cubic inch V8 was essentially a Corvette LT-1 with 10 less horsepower (360 vs. 370).  The reason that the stock Z/28 came with the LT-1 is because the SCCA Trans-Am series allowed for engines to be destroked.  Another big mechanical change was the availability of an automatic transmission in the Z/28.  Appearance and sales went off a cliff with the federally-mandated aluminum bumpers with rubber strips.  To avert everybody’s eyes from the ugly bumpers, Chevy made gigantic Z/28 decals and a big power bulge hood.  It worked.  Sales went back up.  Also, airline passengers could spot a Z/28 from 20,000 feet in the air.  Chevy was so disappointed with what happened with the Z/28 that they discontinued the Z/28 until 1977.

1977 was still the second-generation Camaro, and it marked the rebirth of a legendary car.  The 1977 Camaro Z/28 still had the big bumpers, but they were body-colored.  The 1977 Z/28 made a weak 185 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque from an emissions-choked 350 cubic-inch V8.  The emphasis was on handling, not outright acceleration like previous Z/28’s.  The hood scoops found on the 1979 Z/28 became fully functional in 1980.  Chevrolet added a cold-air intake to the Z/28.  Power jumped up from 175 horsepower to 190 horsepower.  California was the loser on this deal.  They had to deal with a 165-horsepower 305 cubic-inch V8.  Poor Californians.

The 1982 Chevrolet Camaro was the 3rd-generation Camaro.  The Z/28 still had an emphasis on handling, which was a good thing.  The 305 cranked out all of 145 horsepower. The 165-horsepower 350 cubic-inch V8 wasn’t going to win any drag races, either.  When the Camaro Z/28 was chosen as the 1982 Indianapolis 500 Official Pace Car.  Chevrolet was so happy that they built 6,360 Camaro Z/28 Commemorative Editions.  All 6,360 Commemorative Edition Z/28s were blue and silver with Indy 500 graphics.  1983 helped out the Z/28.  A five-speed manual became standard equipment for the first time.  Chevrolet somehow managed to squeak out 190 horsepower from the 305 cubic-inch V8.  Booyah.  The Z/28 got exciting with the introduction of the 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 IROC-Z.  Fuel injection kicked carburetors out from the Camaro for good.  Chevrolet’s engineers tuned the port fuel injection system in the Z/28 get 215 horsepower from the 305 cubic-inch V8.  The 1987 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and Z/28 IROC-Z got the 350 cubic-inch V8 again (Chevy dropped the engine from the Camaro Z/28 lineup in 1984).  It was rated at 220 horsepower, and was only available in IROC-Z Z/28’s.  From 1988-1990, there was no Camaro Z/28.  In 1991, Chevrolet dropped the IROC-Z, as Dodge took over the IROC series.  So, the Z/28 came back.  1992 marked the end of the 3rd generation Camaro.  It was also the 25th anniversary of the Camaro.  Chevy gave the Camaro new (in my eyes, better) looks with the Heritage Appearance Package.

2014 marked the return of the storied Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.  Powered by a 500-horsepower, 7.0-liter V8 (the same engine found in the Chevrolet Corvette ZO6), the Z/28 isn’t all about handling like its ancestors.  It has a Tremec six-speed manual, a limited-slip differential with helical gears, carbon-ceramic brakes, Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, forged 19-inch alloy wheels, Recaro seats, and a 300-pound weight advantage over the portly 4,120 pound Camaro ZL1.  In addition to all of that, it is one of the first production cars in the world to have race-proven, spool valve adjustable suspension dampers, which allow engineers or mechanics to adjust the suspension to use four-way damping control.   Stiffer spring rates and higher bushing rates allow for higher cornering speeds.  Much of the development testing for the 2014 Camaro Z/28 was done at the Nürburgring, where the 2014 Camaro Z/28 posted an astonishing 7:37.47 in the rain!  Even though it has 500 horsepower going to the ground through rear-wheel-drive, it still beat cars that were built to go around the Nürburgring, like the Type 991 Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Audi R8 V10 Plus.  While $75,000 is expensive, you get a lot of car for the money.  Plus, those in Audi R8s will scoff at you…until they eat your burnt hydrocarbons!

Sales will start near the end of January, 2014.  The first deliveries to customers will begin in April.  The very first 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, with the VIN #0001, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Arizona Auction taking place on January 18, 2014.  I can’t wait to see the new Camaro Z/28!  How about you?

Enjoy the video of the 2014 Camaro Z/28 giving a 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca a run for its money…and customers!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv8I-gqc6sc

Also enjoy the pictures of every generation of Camaro Z/28!  I have also attached pictures of vintage Camaro’s that dominated tracks during their time!

James Bond’s Next Rides!

Since Zagato, an Italian design firm that has been design partners with Aston Martin for over 50 years, it seems fitting that Zagato coachbuilt a couple of centennial-edition Aston Martins.

Sources from inside Aston Martin and Zagato have confirmed that two examples of an Aston Martin centennial special will be built.  One is based off of a 2013 Aston Martin DB9 Volante Convertible (no, Starbucks didn’t come up with the name!) and will be delivered to Peter Read; an Aston Martin enthusiast and collector in the U.S.  The other is based off of a 2013 Aston Martin DBS Coupe, destined for an unnamed entrepreneur in Japan.

The designs of the cars were inspired by the 2002 DB7 Zagato, a car so popular that all 99 examples were spoken for before it even debuted at the 2002 Paris Auto Show!  The same team that developed the 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Zagato helped Andrea and Marella Zagato, Peter Read, and Aston Martin develop the car.

When you look at the renderings of the cars, it takes a trained eye to find the Aston Martin underpinnings, but it’s almost impossible to miss the signature elements of Zagato and Aston Martin.  The double-bubble roof, squared-off tail, and clean, sharp lines tell you that you’re looking at an Aston seconds before the winged badge comes howling into view.

When you look at the front of the cars, one cannot help but notice the design cues from the 1980’s Aston Martin V8 Zagato.

Peter Read, the owner of the 2013 Aston Martin DB9 Volante Convertible summed up the design team’s vision best.  “The DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial perfectly merges Aston Martin and Zagato’s DNA by combining the elegance of design, typical of Zagato, with the soul, power and prestige of Aston Martin, all developed over the last 100 years.”

As with all Zagato specials, no mechanical changes were made.  This means that both cars will come with Aston Martin’s wonderful 5.9-liter, 510 horsepower V12.

I want both of these cars to be mine.  My readers might have to start an auction of their cars to afford my rides…Unfortunately, all Zagato Aston Martins are highly collectible, rare vehicles that stay in collections for many years.  Then, they sell at auctions for prices close to $1 Million.

The Top 25 Japanese Sports Cars That Enthusiasts Crave!

For those of you who have owned a Japanese sports car, you know that they have the perfect balance of performance, practicality, and speed.  My dad drove a 1970 Datsun 240Z, one of the most sought-after Japanese cars – ever!  It was fast, barrels of fun, reliable, and easy to drive (if one didn’t mind the light, loose rear end).  It was fast in the curves, but it could win in a straight line, as well.  He could get 1/4 mile times in the 11.5 second range.  He would pass Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, Lamborghini’s, and just about every other super car of the early 1980’s.  But, he would be smoked by the time he reached 1/2 of a mile.  He was topped out by then.  He didn’t mind.

One of our family friends owns a 1967? Datsun Fairlady Roadster.  It’s a sight to see!  It looks like a Triumph, but it’s way better!  It seats the same amount of people, yet it weighs almost 300 pounds less.  It’s also infinitely more reliable, and faster.

I have compiled a list of the top 25 Japanese sports cars that enthusiasts give the thumbs-up to.  Enjoy my list.

  1. 1969 Toyota 2000GT:  The Toyota 2000GT was Toyota’s answer to the Porsche 911 and Jaguar E-Type.  It was the unspoken answer.  James Bond drove one in You Only Live Twice.  To this day, that chase scene is one of the best in movie history.  The Toyota 2000GT looked like a Jaguar E-Type Coupe that sat two.  However, it’s high price and exclusivity prevented it from becoming the Japanese Jaguar E-Type.
  2. 1970 Datsun 240Z:  The Datsun 240Z was designed to be an affordable, faster, better-looking competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911.  The Datsun 240Z was powered by a 2.4-liter inline 6-cylinder engine making somewhere close to 200 horsepower.  It weighed about 2500 pounds, so it went everywhere in a hurry.  It could keep up with Ferrari 250 GTO’s on the track all day long, and shame a Camaro Z/28 in a drag race.  This car was a rocket.  Today, 240Z’s sell for about $25,000 for a good example.  But, don’t buy one at an auction – Barrett-Jackson sold one in Monterrey for $155,000 in 2012.
  3. 1985 Toyota MR2:  The Toyota MR2 was one of the smallest sports cars of the 1980s.  It was also like looking at a race car.  It had a mid-mounted 1.6-liter 4-banger that pumped out 125 horsepower.  It revved to 9000 RPM, and had a cam for every 3000 RPM.  It had a top speed of 154 mph, and it was stable in almost every condition.  It tipped the scales at 1900 pounds.
  4. 1999 Toyota Supra:  The Toyota Supra was the last true Toyota-built sports car.  It was also a massive change in technology and direction for Japanese sports cars.  It was powered by a 3.0-liter inline six cylinder engine that was boosted by twin turbos that ramped power up to a raspy 220 horsepower.  It was fast, and it looked like it came out of rally-car racing.  It had a massive rear wing, a raspy engine note that turned into a bellowing howl at redline, and meaty tires that wouldn’t look out of place on a Dodge Viper.  This puppy wants to play.
  5. 1986 Toyota Celica AE86:  The 1980s were the peak of lightweight sports cars.  The Toyota Celica AE86 was no exception.  It was based off of the AE86-generation Corolla economy car (that generation was the only generation of Corolla that was fun to drive!).  It was light, insane, relatively powerful, good-looking, and fun to drive.  My dad wanted one (he ended up buying a Honda Accord).  So did most teens and young adults.  That’s how good the Celica AE86 was.  It left a lasting impression on everybody who drove it.
  6. 1996 Nissan Silvia S15:  The Nissan Silvia S15 was the last generation of the wildly popular Nissan Silvia.  It boasted a powerful 250-horsepower six-cylinder engine that was helped out by a massive turbocharger.  At full throttle, it sounded like a F/14 Tomcat fighter jet.  Tuners adored it.  Paul Walker, star of the Fast & Furious series movies, owns a 580-horsepower S15 Silvia.
  7. 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata:  The 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata turned the world around.  Safety standards in the U.S. were so strict that it was almost impossible to build a light roadster.  Mazda had the RX-7 (but it was powered by a rotary engine), but it was too heavy and large.  Mazda built the Miata out of forged aluminum, which brought the car’s weight down to 2000 pounds.  Other automakers were building cars that weighed 3500 pounds, because they thought it was more expensive to build cars out of forged aluminum.  Mazda proved them all wrong.  The 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata is still one of the most amazing cars in the world to drive.
  8. 1993 Mazda RX-7 CSL:  The Mazda RX-7 is one of the few cars to be powered by a rotary engine.  The RX-7 CSL was a lightweight version of the popular RX-7.  It was faster, and all models were built for Japan (right hand drive).  Except for one.  The only Mazda RX-7 CSL to have left-hand drive is at Mazda USA’s headquarters in California.
  9. 2007 Toyota MR-S:  The Toyota MR-S is viewed to be the last sports car that Toyota built.  Yes, Lexus and Scion build sports cars, but Toyota doesn’t anymore.  Anyways, the Toyota MR-S paid homage to the MR2 of the 1990s, with a mid-mounted engine and front-wheel drive.  While it may look like a chick magnet, it is one fast chick magnet.
  10. 2000 Acura Integra GS-R:  The Acura Integra was one of the best-selling Acura’s ever.  It had a high-revving I4 engine, a five-speed manual transmission, it was practical, and it was fast.  All of that was put together into a tidy, sleek package.  The final iteration of the Integra introduced the world to something called VTEC.  While VTEC is standard on all four-cylinder Honda’s and Acuras, altered valve timing and valve lift was F1 stuff in 2000.
  11. 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 3:  The Mazda 3 was already a popular economy car, but Mazda knew that they could get far more out of the car.  They turned to their in-house tuner, Mazdaspeed.  Mazdaspeed turbocharged the engine, put big, aluminum rims, sticky tires, a big rear wing, and torque steer.  Torque steer is what Mazdaspeed is associated with nowadays.
  12. 2000 Mazda RX-8:  The Mazda RX-8 may have ended production in 2011, but that doesn’t stop it from being on this list.  It had suicide doors (now only seen in pickup trucks), a rotary engine, and good looks.  It also happened to be heavy and under powered.  Nothing stopped people from loving, however.
  13. 1998 Nissan 240SX:  The Nissan 240SX was popular here in the States.  Not only did it have stunning looks, but it had performance to match it.  Unfortunately, the only engine we got here was a 2.4-liter four-banger from the Frontier pickup truck.
  14. 1986 Nissan Pulsar GTI-R:  This car could not be built again.  It was a subcompact hatchback that could barely squeeze two adults into the tiny cabin.  The GTI-R took performance to a whole different level.  It was built to satisfy World Rally Championship homogilation rules.  Only 5,000 baby Godzilla’s were built, but they were fast.  Fast as a bat out of hell.  It had a turbocharged engine, AWD, and lots of bodykit add-ons.
  15. 2009 Nissan GT-R:  The Nissan GT-R has been around for over 40 years in some form or another.  Godzilla was Motor Trend’s 2009 Car of the Year.  It packed a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6.  Nissan has come out with various iterations of this generation of the GT-R.  The most recent is the 2013 Nissan GT-R Track Pack (the fastest stock Nissan to date).
  16. 1988 Honda CRX Si:  The Honda CRX was one of the fastest econoboxes of the 1980s.  It was light, extremely fun to drive, and stylish.  Plus, it was based off of the wildly popular Civic.  The CRX Si was the final CRX.  In the U.S., it came with a less powerful I4 than Japan’s.  That ushered in the era of Honda shade-tree mechanics.
  17. 2003 Nissan 350Z:  The Nissan 350Z brought back affordable, quick, sportiness to the world.  It was about the same size of the 300SX, but it didn’t have two turbochargers.  It had a powerful naturally-aspirated V6 that garnered praise from automotive journalists around the world.  The engine was so sweet that Nissan still uses it for many of their V6 cars.
  18. 2000 Acura Integra Type-R:  Yes, I know that there are two Acura Integra’s on this list.  They deserve to be.  Especially this one.  The Integra Type-R was the last Integra made.  It got the Type-R treatment (lower weight, more power, more looks, more chassis-stiffening).  It was also the most stolen Acura to date.
  19. 2000 Honda S2000:  Most people celebrate their 50th birthday with lots of friends and family.  Honda built a very special car.  The Honda S2000 was a track-oriented beast of a car.  It had a 237-horsepower engine, rear-wheel-drive, and perfect balance.  A manual transmission helped a lot, as well.
  20. 2009 Subaru Impreza WRX STi:  Subaru took the hum-drum Impreza, turned it into a rally-rocket with a turbocharged engine, a manual transmission, and lots of bodywork.  Then, Subaru’s rally team got their hands on it.  They built the raucous Impreza WRX STi.  STi stands for Specially Tuned Impreza.  It is fast, practical, and barrels of fun.  It’s the equivalent of a bouncy ball coming out of a gumball dispenser.  Unfortunately, it’s ending production.  Buy one while you can.
  21. 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO MR/GSR:  This is possibly the most radical Mitsubishi ever.  It has a 291-horsepower turbocharged I4.  It also has a dual-clutch transmission pulled from rally cars.  AWD is standard.
  22. Datsun 510:  The Datsun 510 closely resembles a BMW 2002 Tii.  Why?  Why not?  Japanese automakers used to build their cars in a similar fashion to their European competitors.  It came with fully independent suspension, a Positraction rear end, a five speed manual, and a high-revving four-banger.  It was a hoot to drive.
  23. Acura NSX:  The first widely produced Japanese exotic car sent Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Chevy scrambling for the drawing board.  It changed the definition of super car.  In my eyes, it’s the most influential Honda ever.  If that wasn’t a big enough slap to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Chevy, F1 driver Ayrton Senna assisted in the development of the car.
  24. Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ:  The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ may only have 200 horsepower, but they are so perfect at what they do that it’s not even funny.  They are rear-wheel-drive beasts on winding roads and tracks.  Just don’t drag race anything other than a Smart Car.  You’ll lose.  Badly.
  25. 1993 Honda Prelude:  The Honda Prelude was one step behind the Acura NSX in terms of looks, performance, and just about everything.  It had front-wheel-drive, VTEC (shhh!), seating for four, and stunning good looks.  It revved to 10,000 RPM in some versions, and power was always there.  It is still a collector’s item for Japanese car fans. I can only wonder why…

Coverage from the 11th Annual Peggy Sue All-American Cruise!

Every year, the Peggy Sue All-American Cruise and its related events take over sunny Santa Rosa, CA.  Restored cars, hot rods, low riders, raised Jeeps, and antique American cars are all part of the mix.  We have entered our 1950 GMC 100, “Betsy” twice.  It’s always been a lot of fun for me to see all of the classic cars in the parade or the massive parking lot where they are displayed!  This year, one of my good friends joined me in watching the classic American cars cruise around downtown Santa Rosa.  Revving engines?  Check.  Drunk people yelling at drivers to “Step it up, dude!”?  Check.  Squealing tires?  Check?  The smell of burnt brakes?  Check.  Annoyed and overworked event staff?  Right on.  I know that you are getting bored reading my words about what was going on.  I’ll cut to the chase:  It was a LOT of fun, and you should join me next year.  Enjoy the pictures.


I don’t know what this Chevy Nova had under the hood, but it sounded NASTY!  Many of the cars at the parade were either restored to Concours-levels or were built for the drag strip.  This one was built to rule the streets.   DSCN1921

This 1959 Chevrolet Corvette is a rare “Fuelie.”  Instead of a carburetor, it has a primitive version of fuel injection.  This particular example was restored to a “Level 1.”  Level 1 means that it is virtually perfect.  That it is.


This 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne is a powerful, efficient, and stylish family sedan from the muscle car era.  It has a 327 cubic-inch V8 engine and a two-speed automatic Powerglide transmission.  It’s lovely.


I find it nice that the interior of the same Biscayne matches the exterior of the car.  Even the steering wheel has chrome on it!


Same car.  This is the model designation.  The car is a barn find from somewhere around Redwood City, according to the owner.  He restored it himself, and he did a very good job of it!


For those of you old enough, you should remember the aero-wars days, when big engines and aerodynamics were all the rage.  The 1971 Plymouth Roadrunners and Superbirds were the car of choice for many famous NASCAR drivers.  Richard Petty left Ford in 1969 to go to Plymouth.   He did so much better in a Plymouth Superbird that Ford built the Torino Talladega as a response.  This particular Roadrunner has the 440 Six Pack (a 440 cubic-inch V8 with THREE two-barrel carburetors!), which was just one step below the mighty 426 Hemi engine.  It is painted in the iconic Lime Green that is popular with automotive restorers.


This Corvette is one of the nicest Corvettes that I’ve seen in a LONG time!  It is painted Aqua Blue and Snow White, with a matching interior.  It has the 283 cubic-inch V8 and a four-speed manual.  It is a 1956 Corvette.  The only shame?  That it’s far too nice to tour Route 66 in.


Sorry about the fingertip on the top of the camera view.  The sun was shining and I REALLY wanted to tell you about this truck!  It’s a 1965 Chevy K10 with the optional 327 cubic-inch engine and a three-speed manual.  It is built to tackle any trail, and take anything that you want with it.  It may not be stock, but it looks like it will outrun just about any Jeep from the same era off-road.


Remember the Chevy Vega?  If you don’t, it’s okay.  The Vega was powered by a 305 cubic-inch V8.  It was relatively powerful and fast, but it was a minor disaster for Chevy.  This Vega is a 1974 model.  It wasn’t the nicest car there, but it was one of the newer cars there.


The best part about this 1969 Chevrolet C30 is that it is used a lot.  I don’t know how much, but I have seen it at Sonoma Raceway’s Wednesday Night Drags as a tow vehicle.  It’s the perfect tow vehicle.  It’s got a 350 cubic-inch engine that’s all-original.  So is most of the truck.

DSCN1930This rare 1971 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is one speedy car.  It’s all stock, and plenty fast that way.  It’s got the 350 cubic-inch V8 engine found in many GM vehicles from 1969-1999.  The top speed is 130 mph.  This car means business.  The lucky driver had to keep the car in first gear.  he also kept touching the brakes because the car wants to leap forward.  Lucky him.


I’m going to apologize in advance for the direction of the photo.  This 1951 Dodge cab-over semi has been so heavily customized that the only thing original about it is the cab.  That’s it.  The rest of it is custom-built.  The truck is a heavy-duty car-hauler with three axles.  The engine is a brand-new 6.7-liter Cummins Diesel engine that has two turbos instead of one.  Wow!


While motorcycles aren’t as common in the parade as cars, there were still a good three or four.  This 1946 Indian Roadmaster has the iconic “shovelhead” engine that many motorcycle enthusiasts favor.  This Indian Roadmaster is banana yellow with the “caramel cream” seat.  I like old motorcycles like this.  Maybe some readers will buy me one…


The Indian logo is still in the original chrome, almost 65 years later.  The gas tank can hold 10 gallons.  It says that on the chrome gas cap.


I like the way that Indian made the front wheel cover so stylish.  I was talking to the owner for a minute, and I found out that he drove it all the way down to Santa Rosa from Healdsburg.  That’s not a lot of fun on an old motorcycle, yet Indian motorcycles are built to cruise.  I’m guessing that it was probably a comfortable ride down to Santa Rosa.

DSCN1937This 1932 Ford Roadster is a sick hot rod.  The lady standing by the car is the owner.  The car has a Ford 351 Windsor V8 engine.  It has a Jaguar rear end, and a five-speed manual.  This car means business.  I don’t know what I like more:  The mechanical parts of the car, or the exterior?  That’s a decision that YOU will let me know in the comments section…


This Ford Bronco looks like it came out of some post-apocalyptic movie.  It’s got aggressive tires, a six-inch lift kit, and a 302 cubic inch V8.  I don’t know the exact year, but it looks like it’s from around 1967-8.  This is one nice Bronco.

DSCN1940This is one of the coolest, most amazing Jeep CJs that I’ve ever seen.  And that’s saying a lot.  This CJ is stock, and is a 1947 model.  Between the drivers seat and the passengers seat, there is a metal rifle/shotgun holder for two high-powered guns.  Not that it would be used for that!

DSCN1942How often do you see a stock 1932 Ford roadster?  Not at all often!  This is a stock 1932 Ford roadster that could sell for upwards of $150,000 in its current condition.  It even has the rumble seat and the original interior!  It’s beautiful!

That’s all, folks!

If you would like to check out the Peggy Sue’s Cruise website, it is http://www.peggysuescruise.com/home/

A Wonderful Day at the Track!

I’m pretty sure that I’ll be getting some comments from you wonderful readers telling me that I am one lucky guy.  I know that I am, thank you very much!  You’re probably wondering why I’m so lucky.  Allow me to explain.

In the beginning of March, my uncle set me up with one of his friends who was going to be lapping his 1970 Datsun 240Z at Sonoma Raceway.  Emails were exchanged, and then we got to the track early.  We saw the Z (pictures will be near the bottom of this post!), and went into that garage.  The team mechanics were going through the checklist.  I’ll be monkey’s uncle if I tell you that car didn’t sound amazing!  It sounded wonderful!  At idle, it had a burble that popped, hummed, whistled, and belched at the same time.  Since it has such a high idle speed (2000 RPM, average), it’s kind of loud.  At full throttle, it sounds like a Lamborghini Aventador, a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, a motorcycle, and a Corvette ZR1.  Life couldn’t be much better.

The owner and driver of the Z, David Martin, showed up, and we said hello.  After a few minutes of talking, we went down to pit row and watched as David’s instructor, Ken, told him to do 10 warm up laps.  We sat on the concrete barrier wall, and watched classic race cars go flying around the track.  One team had a large trailer with about five classic Porsche 911’s and a couple of new ones.  Next to us was a portable shade tent that was keeping a Can-Am Ferrari and a 375 America from 1956 from the harsh effects of the sun.  The 375 was beautiful, and extremely fast.  The Can-Am Ferrari was scarily fast.

In one of the garage stalls near us was a team with a 2005 Ford GT super car.  They had a guy sitting there with a laptop computer analyzing everything about the car.  When I say everything, I MEAN everything!  The Can-Am Ferrari (don’t ask what it was – I don’t know!) was faster than the Ford GT, which knocked out 1 minute, 30 second laps.

At lunch, we talked with David’s instructor, Ken.  Ken used to race everything from F1 to stock cars.  His story is sad, but I can tell you something good about him:  He’s one of the best drivers I’ve ever seen!  After lunch, we had to wait for a bit because a car blew its engine on the final turn, and all the oil spilled out.  We waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, cars were allowed back on the track.  David waited until other cars had gone through where the oil slick was.  Then, he headed out, but he went much slower those laps.

At about 2:00 PM, it was time for us to go.  Sadly, track day was over.   We said our goodbyes, and headed home.  I think that you will enjoy the history of David’s Z.  I’ll also share with you some pictures of him and his Z.

Here’s the history:

In 1974, Brad Fisselle made the decision to step up from the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Professional Division to IMSA (International Motor Sports Association).  he formed a full team and company, which was named Transcendental Racing.  Transcendental Racing built, developed, tested, and raced their new creation.  Their creation?  A 1970 Datsun 240Z prototype for the IMSA Camel GT Series.  In 1975, Brad had his first three professional victories and was awarded IMSA’s Most Improved Driver award, becoming the only man to win these coveted awards in both IMSA and the SCCA.  He then went on to win eight out of the eleven races that his team entered in for the IMSA GTU series.  During this time, Brad Fisselle beat the Datsun factory team many times.

This Datsun 240Z is the 1976 IMSA GT/U Championship car.  The chassis of this car was the first 240Z imported to the United States in 1970.  My dad had one of the original 240Z’s as his father did all the legal work for Datsun!  Mac Tilton designed the suspension and built some of the specialized parts. The chassis, roll cage and body were all constructed by Dave Kent with assistance from Yoshi Suzuka. Yoshi was also responsible for the design of the aerodynamics on the car. John Knepp of Electramotive built the engine.  Many of these businesses are long dead.  In it’s day, this Datsun 240Z was the fastest and most technologically advanced car in IMSA and SCCA.

Sometime in the early 1990’s it was decided that a full restoration was needed.  The car was starting to fall apart, and didn’t look as good.  The team’s original captain, Joe Cavaglieri was hired for this task.  The car was stripped down to the chassis, and rebuilt from the tires up to 1976 IMSA GTU specifications.  Using development parts from the NISSAN GTP program, modern electronics, and new piston and cam designs the engine produces 400hp.  Considering that this comes from a 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder, that’s quite impressive.  No turbochargers or superchargers have ever been near this car.

In the day the team was the one of the very best in IMSA, the preparation of the car was always at the highest level, more like that of a top Indy Car team than a GTU team. The restoration was done with that same mindset. The car is absolutely perfect both cosmetically and in performance. The fit and finish, attention to detail and superb craftsmanship exhibited in this restoration is spectacular.  Right now, the car is capable of winning a podium position at any classic car race, or winning a Best-in-Show at Pebble Beach.  Since the completion of the restoration, the car has competed in the Mitty at Road Atlanta and the Monterey Historic Automobile Races plus two club events and one test day.

Here is a list of the championships that the car has competed in:

IMSA GT/U (Grand Touring Under 2.5L) 1975 Season Mid Ohio 2nd GTU (Pole Position) Laguna Seca 2nd GTU Mosport 1st GTU Mid America 1st GTU Talladega 1st GTU

1976 Season (IMSA GT/U Champion): Road Atlanta 1st, GTU 15 OA, Laguna Seca 2nd, GTU 10, OA Ontario 4th, GTU 12, OA Lime Rock, 1st GTU, OA Mid Ohio 1st, GTU 5, OA Daytona 250 1st, GTU 9, OA Sears Point 2nd, GTU 9, OA Talladega 1st, GTU 5, OA Pocono 1st, GTU 5, OA Road Atlanta 500 1st, GTU 8, OA with John Morton Daytona Final 1st GTU.

I’ll stop keeping the pictures from you, and share them with you.

This is David at the 2012 Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the infamous Corkscrew S-Bend.
This is David at the 2012 Rolex Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca at the infamous Corkscrew S-Bend.
This is the same race, but on a different lap.  This is also at the Corkscrew.
This is the same race, but on a different lap. This is also at the Corkscrew.

I’d like to give many, many thanks to David Martin of Red Car Winery and the Martin Group for letting me hang around and watch him.  I’d also like to say thanks to his awesome mechanics and instructor, who were kind enough to talk to me about racing throughout the day!  Thanks to my amazing uncle who originally set me up with David!  Thanks to David, his team, and my uncle, for letting me come with my dad so we could have an awesome day watching an awesome person drive an awesome car!   Clearly, I had a great day.  Told you I was lucky.

Questioning Cars? Don’t Question the Lamborghini Pregunta!

Many consider IT to be one of the last cars built by Lamborghini before Volkswagen bought them in 1999.  It’s now up for sale.  I’ll save you the suspense, and tell you what it is.  Car nuts like me will know what it is by the end of the first sentence.  For those of you who don’t know, the Lamborghini Pregunta was the last Lamborghini built before the Volkswagen Group took over the iconic car company in 1999.  I know, you guessed it.  Perhaps it had something to do with my transparent post title…  If you want a Pregunta, be sure to cough up 1.6 million Euros (about $2.1 million USD).

The French Exotic car dealer, Autodrome, is selling the car.  Autodrome claims that they bought the car directly from the coachbuilder who built the car in late 1998.

“Pregunta,” Spanish for “Question,” was born during an extremely turbulent time for Lamborghini.  In 1994, Chrysler had owned Lamborghini for about 9 years.  Chrysler decided that they wanted to sell the iconic company.  They did.  Megatech Group bo0ught Lamborghini.  For a year.  It was then sold to Tommy Suharto, the son of the former Indonesian president.  By 1998, Suharto was going through a large financial crisis.  Lamborghini was up for sale.  Again.  Audi stepped in and saved the day.  However, the Pregunta was born before the official handover took place.

The Pregunta was based off of the legendary Diablo, but it used rear-wheel-drive instead of all-wheel-drive.  This meant that the Pregunta was a handful to drive.  I guess that it would be, with 530 horsepower being directed to the rear wheels.  All of that gave the Pregunta a supposed top speed of 207 mph.  Inspiration for the still-controversial design came from Formula 1 and the booming aerospace industry.  It had then-new technologies like carbon-fiber construction, optical fiber lighting, and rearward-facing cameras instead of mirrors.

If you pine for a Lamborghini from the days when Lamborghini wasn’t part of the massive Volkswagen Group, the Pregunta might just be the ticket to finishing off your collection – that is, if money isn’t an issue.  It won’t be when my readers start pledging a bit more than $1.22…I think we all know who I’m talking about, right?

110 Years, 11 Special Cars, 11 Special Highlights

In honor of its 110th anniversary, Buick is celebrating as much as it possibly can.  In light of this momentous anniversary, Buick recently released 11 photos of 11 influential cars that helped transform Buick, or gave a lasting a impact on the brand.  Along with the photos, Buick selected 11 highlights from its 110 years of making cars.  I will share the highlights and the cars for you.


  • Through the end of 2012, Buick has sold 43 million cars.  That’s the equivalent of every vehicle sold in the U.S. in the past three years alone!
  • The 1938 Buick Y-Job is regarded as the world’s first concept car.  It’s waterfall grille can still be found on modern Buicks, and its futuristic technologies were not seen until the 1970s.  These technologies were power windows, high-performance cylinder heads, and an aluminum engine block.  The car was built in honor of Harley Earl, the legendary GM designer.  Harley Earl drove the car himself for more than 15 years.
  • The 1963 Buick Riviera is regarded as one of history’s most beautiful cars.  It will be turning 50 this year.  The powerful sports coupe is said to have been inspired by a Rolls-Royce that GM head of design, Bill Mitchell, saw through a fog in London.  It was powerful, fast, and astonishingly pretty.
  • Buick is also steeped in motorsports history.  Buick has proved its mettle on racetracks since times as early as 1908.  Buicks have served as pace cars for the Indianapolis 500 six times.  They also have won two NASCAR Manufacturer Championships – in 1981 and 1982.
  • After almost 30 years of engineering, a Buick hit 100 miles per hour!  They appropriately named it the Buick Century.
  • The fastest stock Buick is the 2012 Buick Regal GS compact luxury midsize sedan.  It hit 162 mph at the 2012 Nevada Open Road Challenge.  This achievement was set by Road & Track
  • The quickest Buick to 60 mph was also one of the rarest.  Car & Driver recorded a speedy 4.6 seconds for the 1987 Buick GNX.  547 of these dark sleepers were built.
  • Powertrain innovation is part of Buick.  Today, their 2.0 liter, direct-injected, 4-cylinder engine produces a ridiculous 259 horsepower (estimated).  Displacement, however, was king in the 1970s.  The largest Buick engine that ever went into a Buick was a 455 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V8.  It was introduced in 1970.
  • The Buick Electra 225 nameplate was introduced in 1959.  The “225” stood for the length of the car – it was 225 inches long!  But, the 1975 Buick Electra was the longest Buick ever built.  It was 233.7 inches from bumper to bumper.
  • The first Buick, the 1904 Model B, was also the shortest.  It rode on an 83-inch wheelbase.  The 2013 Buick Encore isn’t that small.  It is the shortest Buick since the 1912 Buick Model 34 (90.7 inches).  It rides on a 100.6-inch wheelbase.
  • Throughout its history, Buick has made many cars with seats for two, four, and six.  However, only two vehicles have been made that can seat eight:  The 1991-1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate and the 2008-present Buick Enclave.

That’s a history lesson in itself.  Some of these cars are truly beautiful.  Go onto Google Images, and look for the 1938 Buick Y-Job.  It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cars ever built.  It also happens to be technologically advanced.

Buick has offered some amazing cars over the years.  Happy anniversary Buick!

History Buffs, Classic Cars, Say Hello!

Chickens and eggs, salt and pepper, cars and guys (and gals), these things all go together!  Want to know what brings geeks and car buffs together?  Car websites!  I guess it’s good that I’m the best of both worlds…I’m excited right now because two of the world’s most successful Japanese automakers recently added websites that can help history-loving car buffs truly enjoy their classic cars!  Don’t know who I am talking about?  Think Nissan and Toyota.  These websites are addictive, educational, and fun.  Both websites detail the entire lineup of both automakers.  From Day One.  What is fun on the Toyota website is the “Select a Body style” button, where you can click pickup trucks, and it will show you every single Toyota pickup truck since Toyota started 75 years ago!  On both websites, clicking on a car will bring up a photo gallery, as well as a full list of specs, and the origins of the car’s name.  Those unfamiliar with Toyota’s names outside the American market will be pleasantly surprised.  For example, would you rather have a Lexus RX, or a Toyota Harrier?  I know what I’d choose? If that’s not enough for Toyota fans, you can organize the list into what cars have what engine choices.  You can choose from the bulletproof 22R four-cylinder to the tuner-favorite 2JZ inline-six.  Nissan’s website isn’t as full of cool tricks as Toyota’s, it does have full lists of the evolution of each Nissan model.  Each car has it’s own photo gallery, specs sheet, and a short blurb about the car.

You can get lost in the depths of Toyota’s website from the link below:


You can get lost in the depths of Nissan’s website from the link below:


The Most Important Postwar Cars (In My Opinion)

I’m always interested in old iron.  It’s nice to think about how good the old days were!  These cars are the ones that have changed the automotive market significantly in various ways.  Many of them have also changed the economy of many countries.

  1. Original Mini Cooper:  James Bond, 24 Hours of Le Mans podium finishes, rally wins, etc.  I’ll bet you that you can’t think of another British car that has sold more than 5 million units before it got redesigned in 2000.  Yep, it sold 5 million cars worldwide from 1959-2000.  The original design was sketched on a bar napkin in 1957 by Alec Issigonis.
  2. Porsche 911:  No sports car has stuck it’s tongue out at Sir Isaac Newton for 49 years other than the Porsche 911.  Some may argue that the Corvette holds that title, but the Corvette was already 11 years old when the 911 came out.  Some people may tell you that the 1998-present 911 isn’t a 911.  Why?  Because it’s not air-cooled.  Just because Porsche switched to water-cooling in 1998 doesn’t mean that the 911 isn’t a 911.  You could park a 2013 model next to a 1964 model and a kindergartener could tell you that they are both a Porsche 911.  Warning:  If you like the 911, good for you.  Get one. Soon.  Once you get a passion for the 911, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it.  Just ask any 911 owner.
  3. 1989 Lexus LS400:  This Japanese luxury car made such a large impact on the luxury car market when it debuted in 1989 that it sent all the other luxury car brands scrambling for the drawing boards.  It even kicked Maserati out of North America for 15 years!  Alfa Romeo hasn’t sold an Alfa Romeo since 1991.  That’s how good the 1989 Lexus LS400 was.  Owners got a car that looked like a combination of all the European competitors (it looked classy, to say the least), and performance that rivaled a Ford Mustang’s.  When you go to a dealership with excellent service, thank the 1989 Lexus LS400.  The LS400 had a seamless v8 powertrain that would give power to redline, and the list of amenities still rivals that of many luxury brands.  Plus, it’s relatively cheap price ($35,000) brought middle-class buyers to the showrooms like never before.  To this day, no car has matched the 1989 Lexus LS400 in terms of the hit it made on the automotive world.
  4. Ford Mustang:  Few sports cars have made such a large impact on the sports car market as the Ford Mustang.  While the original stock Mustangs may have not been serious rivals to its European competitors, the Shelby-tuned Mustangs could whip a Jaguar E-Type just about anywhere.  As the Mustang has progressed, the Mustang has appealed to a larger audience with each generation. It’s one of those cars that gets better with each generation.  Kind of like my family…
  5. Honda Civic:  When Honda first started making the tiny Civic in 1962, it was about the same size as a SMART ForTwo.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it wasn’t much bigger.  However, it was reliable, cheap, economical, cute, and fun to drive.  It was the perfect car for many crowded American cities like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.  My uncle had one (banana yellow, four-speed manual), and he LOVED it!  To this day, no compact car has been so successful other than the Mini Cooper in North America.  Today, the seventh-generation Civic is frugal, good-looking, okay to drive, and economical.  Honda obviously likes to stick with their formulas.
  6. Volkswagen Beetle:  The cute little VW was the brainchild of the founder of Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche.  Adolf Hitler commissioned a car in 1935 that would be affordable to all Germans.  Thus, the VW bug was born.  Hitler himself had one in his personal collection, but it was stolen by fleeing Nazis (or so the story goes).  The car stuck with the same formula until 2003, when the Beetle became the New Beetle.  In 2012, the Volkswagen Beetle was reborn.  Not the chintzy New Beetle, a bigger, better Beetle.
  7. Chevrolet Corvette:  Before the Ford Mustang was even a dream in Lee Iacocca’s mind, the Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled at the 1953 GM Motorama.  Sit back for a second and imagine that the Corvette was never here.  Zora Arkus-Duntov would be an illegal attempt to win Scrabble, the closest thing to the Corvette would be the Jaguar XK150 or the Mercedes-Benz 190SL.  But, the Corvette prevails, and may be more American than pie.  Just maybe.
  8. Chrysler Town & Country:  While rumors float around about the Chrysler Town & Country not being around for the next generation, there may be no need to doubt.  The Chrysler Town & Country has been an icon in the name of the automobile since 1982.  Lee Iacocca had yet another dream, and the minivan was born.  It was a good thing that it came into being.  Why?  Because growing families had a couple of gas-guzzling choices:  A full-size sedan, or a Chevy Suburban.  Now that the iconic Chrysler Town & Country is here, it is here.  To stay.  It remains a best-seller in the minivan market (worldwide), and it’s a legend.  We own one.  I dare you to think of somebody you know who owns one.
  9. Volkswagen GTi:  Volkswagen, listen up, and listen carefully – when two of your iconic cars sell more than 50 million units worldwide, they both deserve to be on this list.  The Volkswagen GTi was the world’s first real pocket rocket.  Some may argue that the Mini Cooper holds that title, which it might, but the GTi has sold more units than the Mini.  29,000 more, to be exact.  The GTi is considered to be one of the most successful cars that started in the 1980s and is still here to tell the tale.
  10. Toyota Camry:  One of the first Japanese family sedans to rival the large American family sedans was the Toyota Camry.  People say that Toyota’s last forever.  Nothing does, except for energy.  But, Toyota’s are some of the most popular cars in the world, so it should make sense that they last a long time.  The Toyota Camry is just one of those cars that keeps improving with each generation.  Except for this current generation – the current generation failed IIHS testing (I dare you a subscription to Motor Trend to go onto YouTube and look up “IIHS Toyota Camry”)!  Ironic for a car that’s supposed to be very safe.

What are your top ten postwar cars?  Sound off in the comment section.