See Ya Sucka!

The Ford Mustang is one of those cars that has a cult following.  Just about every Mustang has its own unique history.  Just think about it.  Run the VIN.  However, there are some Mustang models that are so very rare that clones of them are made.  The Ford  Mustang Cobra Jet is one of those cars.  I’ll give you a pop quiz, and then give you some history on the Mustang Cobra Jet, okay?

What’s the most expensive Ford Mustang currently for sale today?  The 2014 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, at $54,650?  Uh-uh.  It’s the 2014 Mustang Cobra Jet, which isn’t street legal (it doesn’t have a VIN, so don’t try to tell the police officer that the previous owner shaved it off – that doesn’t get pity, it’s pithy though!).  The 2014 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet will run you $97,990.  And, that’s before the registration fees for the NHRA and other costs set you back another $10,000.

In 1968, Bob Tasca, a senior engineer on the Ford Mustang Mach 1, wanted a faster Mustang – one that could win against a purpose-built dragster.  Why?  Well, he was mad that he’d lost to some “hoon in a 442 W30.”  He was mad.  His Mustang Mach 1 wasn’t fast enough for him.  He went to his boss, told the story, and then asked his boss for $100,000 in development costs.  He left with a check for $100,000, and five junior engineers.  They immediately started work on a bone-stock Mach 1 Mustang.  They took the stock cam off, put on two high-rise cams, went out, raced around the parking lot, and started work on the transmission.  Thus, the story of the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet was born.

Anyways, they called up Muncie Transmissions, who promptly gave them five four-speed transmissions with overdrive.  They had to fork out $5,000 for those trannies, but it was money well-spent.  They put the transmission in, raced some kids in a Camaro, won, raced against the same “hoon in a 442 W30,” won – three times, went to a bar, and celebrated.  Good for them.

Then, it was a matter of tires.  The tires kept going up in smoke when they floored it – at any speed!  They went to a local tire shop, bought drag slicks, realized that the car would be much faster if it wasn’t street-legal, went back to headquarters, and went into Lee Iacocca’s office.  Lee loved it.  he told them to shave off the VIN, trailer it to a dragstrip, and do whatever it took.  That’s exactly what they did.

Within a year, the car was ready for production.  It was expensive, but faster than anything south of an Indycar (according to Tasca, “this thing will whip the a*$ of any dummy who races this thing.”).  The dealers started clamoring for the car.  It came, as well as buyers.  Since the car wasn’t street-legal, dealers would keep a car at a local dragstrip.  Good plan.

Today, the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet is stripped-down, just like its older cousin.  The bodyshell is stripped-down.  Inside, the rollcage, Recaro seats, and unique suspension hardware and the computer bank take up the interior.  Not bad.  The engine is powered by a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger, which is mounted atop the stock 5.0-liter V8 shared throughout much of the Ford line.

Even though the original car was offered with a stock 428 cubic-inch V8 that was naturally-aspirated, that didn’t stop Ford Racing from supercharging the car.  The 2014 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet has an all-new three-speed manual transmission, a parachute mount for those planning to drive over 150 mph, and two new colors.  One is matte-black, and the other is Gotta-Have-It Green (that’s the actual name!).  As one might expect, the Mustang Cobra Jet is rare, and will stay that way, with only 50 examples being produced (all have been spoken for).  Orders were on a first come, first serve basis, and buyers confirmed their orders with Ford Racing.

I’d take one, but money comes into play.  I don’t want financing, and it will take a long time to pay back Ford if my buyers only pledge $1.22 a day…

Epic Drives – Across the U.S.!

The title sounds awesome – because it is!  With summer vacations in mind, my thoughts turn to road trips.  If you were given time off from work and/or daily life, where would you go, and (most importantly), what would you drive?  Any  car, any place – what car would you choose?  Sounds simple, right?  It can be, if you’re driving in a car that you love.  The thing is, the car has to still be in production!  You can take one passenger, and gas is prepaid.  The one thing that’s not avoidable – speeding tickets!

Would you want to travel long distances on one tank of gas so you don’t need to fill up to often?  Or, is something with a sonorous engine like an American V8?  Or,  could it be something with oodles of luxury so you’re comfortable the entire trip?

If I had my choice, I would want to take something like the Bentley Continental GT V8, because it’s got a lot of comfort and speed.  Plus, it’s got one of the nicest sound systems in the world, so I can hook up the iPod and cruise along and listen to some music!  Imagine looking at the rolling hills of Scotland through the windows of that Bentley.  Or, I would take a Corvette and drive across Route 66. Or Argentina in a Huayra.  Or the Autobahn in an Mercedes Benz SLS AMG.  Or a McLaren P1 around the Nurburgring.  The possibilities are as plentiful as one’s imagination.

P.S. If you took an epic road trip across the U.S., feel free to tell me in the comments section, and what car you would do.  If you are planning a road trip, but don’t have a passenger, look no further!

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.

If This Car Goes Into Production, I’ve Got Dibs!

Chevy is feeling a mite bit jealous of Subaru and Scion’s joint success of the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S, so at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Chevy came out with two concept cars:  The Code 130R and the Tru 140S.  Chevy threw the Code 130R and the Tru 140S into mock battle on Facebook and Twitter to see which car would win.  I am going to focus on the Code 130R, as it has a stronger chance of going into production.

The Code 130R is based on a shortened Cadillac ATS platform.  For some people, the car may remind you of an everyday man’s (or woman’s) BMW 1 Series coupe.  To me, it looks like a cross between a 1967 Chevy Camaro/BMW 1 Series.  It is just a bit bigger than the FR-S/BRZ, and has less horsepower.  But, it has a similar mission:  To introduce those new to the automobile to the joys of driving.  The concept has a 1.4 liter turbo four putting out a somewhat measly 150 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque.  However, the concept does have GM’s eAssist, which would give the tiny 1.4 about 15 more horsepower.  The gigantic 20-inch tires are going to need a bit more than 163 horsepower to break into a drift.  Car & Driver has heard that if the car makes it to production (very likely), it will likely have these three engines:  a direct-injected 2.0 liter four cylinder as the base engine, the 1.4 liter in the Eco model, and for those who enjoy high-powered drifts, the potent 2.0 liter turbo from the Cadillac ATS (270 horsepower).  That power will get to the wheels via a standard six-speed automatic or an optional six-speed manual.

Here’s a picture for you to drool over.

  • chevrolet-code-130r-concept-side-3

An IOU and a Little Teaser…

No post yesterday as I had a technical glitch.  Can you believe it? Me, Mr. Technology, trouble with a computer? Anyway,  I have the COOLEST video to upload, and it involves a certain Chevy S10.  That’s all I’ll say… You’ll just have to wait and see.  How’s that for a teaser?

I think it’s time for me to give you some photos of a 1957-ish Chevy Apache.  I’ve seen it driving around, earning it’s keep as a weekend hauler for it’s owner.  It’s a really cool old truck!  Not as cool as My Baby, but close (ish).

 

 I don’t know who the owner is, but it’s still a really nice old hauler!

 

 

The New Hyundai Elantra Coupe is for Sale!

Hyundai’s sporty, popular Elantra has been lagging behind the new Honda Civic.  Why?  Because the Civic has a sporty coupe version.  So, Hyundai decided to give the Civic and the VW Golf a run for their money.

To compete against the Civic, the all-new Hyundai Elantra Coupe has the same engine and transmission that the Elantra sedan has.  This means that the slightly lighter Elantra Coupe is a bit faster (data is unavailable at press time), but it is about 1/2 an inch longer. The sporty-looking Elantra Coupe SE trim level is the trim to get.  Why?  Sporty-looking seventeen-inch wheels with five spokes accentuate the graceful, sporty, flowing lines of the Elantra Coupe.  It also has chrome-lined foglamps, and optional side mirror turn signal repeaters.  The dual chrome exhaust tips that give a turbocharged sound to the Elantra Coupe stick out of a blacked-out rear diffuser.  But, the untrained eye might mistake it for a Civic coupe.  Why?  The Elantra Coupe does look a bit like a skinnier, taller Honda Civic coupe.

The driver’s car is the Elantra GT hatchback.  It is a replacement for the ancient Elantra Touring hatchback/station wagon.  It also happens to be based on the European-market- only Hyundai i30 hatchback.  It has a two-inch shorter wheelbase than the Elantra coupe and sedan, and is nine inches shorter than the Elantra sedan, 0.2 inches wider, and is 1.4 inches taller.  It comes with a cooled glovebox and also has a 12-volt electrical outlet in the back.  To keep driving enjoyment up on the Elantra GT, Hyundai has added a three-stage Driver Selectable Steering Mode and includes a chassis that is tuned for “added feel, responsiveness, and control.”

The Elantra Coupe went on sale in late May, and the Elantra GT will be for sale by late August.  I can’t wait to buy the Elantra GT!

Sources:  http://www.motortrend.com/features/auto_news/2012/1204_hyundai_latest_sales_coupe/ and hyundaiusa.com

The CHP’s New Donut Holder!

As Ford’s ancient Crown Victoria is no longer available for order, the California Highway Patrol had to test out a whole new crop of cars.  The Big Three tested out the:  Chevrolet Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit/Interceptor, and Ford Police Interceptor Sedan (Taurus-based).  They also tested out the Ford Police Interceptor Utility (Explorer-based) and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV.  There is one potentially troubling sign for the Big Three sedans:  payload.  The beefy Ford Police Interceptor Sedan can hold a pretty hefty 1200 pounds, but the CHP needs a payload of at least 1700 pounds.  That’s pretty heavy.  The legendary Crown Vic could hold closer to 2000, but it’s not being produced anymore.  It came down to the Ford Police Interceptor Utility and the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV.  The Dodge Durango Special Service arrived a bit too late in the game, and wasn’t considered anyways because it didn’t have a “Pursuit” rating.  Too bad.

A CHP rep said that officers are split 60% in favor of sedans, and 40% are in favor of the SUVs.  But, the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is pretty fun to drive, and may help change the balance.  The CHP picked the Ford Police Interceptor Utility due to a lower bid than Chevrolet.  The CHP may buy a few of the sedans for executive purposes or display vehicles, but you’d better get comfortable knowing what Ford Explorer headlights look like.

This is a big win for Ford.  It’s quite obvious that the Ford Police Interceptor Utility is based on the Explorer, but Ford says that it is purpose-built.  Ford has done many upgrades:  heavy-duty brake, electrical, and cooling systems have been added to cope with all the needs of police work.  Since police officers need to have a laptop, radio, and other electrical gear, Ford has added a special column shifter so there can be room for that stuff.  There are even special seats for police officers that have cutouts for their utility belts (many officers complain about massive back pain in the Crown Victoria).  Since the Explorer (in all variants) comes in front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, the CHP has asked Ford to build the vehicles in all-wheel-drive form.  The 3.7 liter V6 from the Mustang has been added for a variety of reasons:  not only is it more powerful than the standard engine, it gets better fuel economy, it sounds better, and it should have been in the Explorer in the first place.  The 3.7 liter engine has 304 horsepower and 24 more lb-ft of torque.  That’s enough to keep the big-boned Explorer at it’s top speed of 135 mph for a long time.

Californians have almost six months to get familiar with Explorer headlights, as they will begin staring into your car by January 2013.  But, remember what Crown Victoria headlights look like because the CHP had ordered 329 before production ended.  It’s also not a bad idea to find out what the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS P motorcycle looks like, as there are now 400 of them throughout the state, helping to phase out the ancient BMW R1200 RTP.

I’ve attached the link for those curious enough to find out what Ford has to say about their big win.  http://www.ford.com/fordpoliceinterceptor/#

A Slight Correction

“Uh, this 4.3 liter engine isn’t stock for 1982.  This engine was stock from 1988 on, though.”  Those were the somewhat dismaying words that I  heard from the local O’Reilly auto parts guy.  Yesterday, as I was calling various car parts stores to see if they had an A/C belt for a 1982 Chevrolet S10 with the 4.3 liter V6, everybody said that it wasn’t a stock engine (’82 engines were a 1.9 liter four cylinder and a 2.8 liter V6).  After trying to convince the Pepboys people that the 4.3 liter WAS a stock engine for almost five minutes, I hung up with an exasperated “Thank You.”  I then sent a text to my dad.  When I got back that evening, we checked the VIN of My Baby, and we found out that My Baby was actually manufactured in July of 1989!  Oops!  So, she DOES have a stock engine (sorry O’Reilly, you were right!).

My Baby is a stock 1989 Chevrolet S10 with the high-performance 4.3 liter engine pumping out 180 horsepower and about 220 lb-ft of torque.  She has air conditioning, a four-speed automatic transmission, a short bed, rear-wheel-drive, a cloth interior, and the optional sliding rear window.  Stay tuned as I go about repairing ‘My Baby’!  If you haven’t read my first post about My Baby, enjoy. https://unmuffled.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/391/

Fiat is Getting Serious In the U.S. with the 2012 Abarth 695 Maserati Edition

Announcement: Fiat has produced a car with a Maserati edition.  This post may make you want run to the closest Fiat dealer and buy an awesome 2012 Abarth 695 Maserati Edition.  However, it is only related to Maserati by having special 17 inch Neptune design wheels from Maserati.  They do look splendid on the already crazy Fiat 500 Abarth.  The car is painted in a lovely Pontevecchio Bordeaux, with a plush tan leather interior.  Also, there is a special Jaeger instrument cluster (usually reserved for cars well over six figures), special matte-finish carbon fiber trim.  Plus, brushed aluminum pedals add an elegantly sporty touch to the interior.

Where it matters (to me), the already-powerful turbocharged 1.4 liter engine has been tuned to produce 180 horsepower and sends the power to the ground via an Abarth Competizione 5-speed manual with an extremely rare automatic clutch and steering wheel-mounted shifters.  To keep the car flatter in corners, upgraded Koni shocks have been added.  Bigger binders have been added:  The standard Brembo brakes have gotten bigger.  Another cool fact to know is a variable backpressure dual-mode exhaust gives the car a distinct note above 3000 rpm.

If you want one of these cars, you’d better cross your fingers if you live in the U.S. – 499 out of 695 units will be built and sold in Europe.  Most of the U.S. cars have already been spoken for.  Oh, and the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition is a convertible.  Even better for that occasional stoplight race…VROOOOOOM!

I couldn’t disappoint you by not showing you a picture for you to drool over, so enjoy!   Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Maserati Edition UK pricing announced