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    Jay Leno
    Something I don’t understand, yet I see quite often, is supercars - some fairly new and some over a decade old - with almost no miles on them at all. Recent ones I've seen for sale are a 2005 Ford GT, white, with 105 miles. And a 2003 Ferrari Enzo, red, with 165 miles. Are these real car people? Why do they buy these automobiles? Is there any real pleasure in owning something that you never use? As much as I hate the investment aspect of it, I understand it. Still, do these cars bring the owners any actual joy or pleasure?

    To me the real fun of owning supercars is learning more about them every time I take them out, knowing I will never be good enough to drive them to their limit.

    I’m now in my fifth year of #McLaren-P1 ownership, and I love the car even more now than when I first got it. I’m rather proud of all the nicks and chips picked up in the last half-decade, and can tell anyone where I was and what I was doing when each one happened. Like the time I slid across the track, touched the wall and shaved a hundredth of an inch off the side of the front splitter.

    I took it back to my shop, got some 2000-grit sandpaper, rubbed it down and touched it up. From that moment on, I loved the car even more because it took away all the mystique. I repaired it as I would a Ford or a Chevy or any other vehicle I might own.

    It might be the ultimate hypercar, but its still a car. It was the same thing when it needed new tyres. Rather than go to the dealer, I ordered the tyres and we mounted them in my garage. I was astounded at how hard it was to get those massive tyres stretched on the rim. It took about a gallon of tyre lube to get them on and then took all night before they finally, under pressure, beaded themselves to the rim with a bang that sounded like a .44 Magnum.

    The technicians that work on these supercars are like surgeons. They are specialists. They travel from dealership to dealership around the globe and know every aspect of the engineering. And the one thing they will tell you, whether it s Porsche, #Ferrari , #Lamborghini or #McLaren , is that you have to drive them.

    I know a few guys with Porsche 918s who have had battery problems, because they don t drive them enough or they forget to put them on the battery charger. You can’t let lithium-ion batteries go dead. You’d think they would remember that, with batteries about $80,000 each.

    I remember once, as kids, we found an abandoned engine and we thought we’d take it apart so we could learn about it. It had been left outside for a number of years but the sump was still filled with oil. When we took it off, everything below the sump level still looked good. Everything above it was rusty and corroded. That’s what I think of every time I see any kind of vehicle sitting in a museum where the cars are just outside. The parts not lubricated are more likely to fail than the ones that are.

    Something I use on some aero engines I own is a pre-oiler. These were popular during the war years. I have a 1915 #Hispano-Suiza aero engine on a 1915 Hispano chassis which uses a rubber bladder under pressure to flood the engine with oil before you hit the starter. The Merlin-engined Rolls has an electric pump that you run for a minute until you see 60-70lb of pressure on the gauge. More damage is done in that millisecond of running cold than in hundreds of miles of driving. I often wonder why pre-oilers are no longer fitted. They would surely prolong engine life.

    That said, the old days when supercars were troublesome and finicky are pretty much over. Even Ferraris, considered pernickety for years, now come with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty and a seven-year service plan.

    My PI has never spent more time in the shop than what’s been needed to perform routine oil changes. With the exception of the initial price (oh my God!) and the insurance (oh wow, wow!) it’s not bad at all. If I had bought my P1 five years ago, parked it and put a cover over it for the same time period, I guess the hybrid battery would have to be replaced, every seal would be dried out and beginning to leak, and the oil sitting in the sump would be starting to break down. And whatever petrol that had been in the tank would have begun to separate. Modern blended fuels really only stay viable for a few months before the ethanol and the water go their separate ways and the fuel loses all hope of volatility.

    I don’t know what s worse, high mileage or no mileage. The answer is somewhere in the middle. Most modern cars are just broken in at 20,000 miles. Its a myth that a car is worn out at 60,000 or 70,000 miles. I’ve got a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 6.3 with 326,000 miles on it and, with the exception of the clock, everything works fine.
    Why don’t I fix the clock? Because I have a wristwatch.
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    This past 18 July I woke up at 3.15 in the morning to drive to Tustin, California, home to two of the largest free-standing wooden structures in the world. They stand 17 storeys tall, are 1000ft long and cover about seven acres of enclosed space. They were built after the attack on Pearl Harbor as hangars for blimps, or LTAs (‘Lighter Than Aircraft’) as the Navy called them. These airships were used to patrol the California coast, looking for enemy submarines. The hangars were built entirely out of wood because steel was in short supply during the war.

    / #2020-Chevrolet-Corvette / #2020-Chevrolet-Corvette-C8 / #2020 / #Chevrolet-Corvette-C8 / #Chevrolet-Corvette / #Chevrolet /

    I was invited to this historic site because the new mid-engined Corvette was to be unveiled here. The official unveiling was going to be happening 13 hours in the future, but I was given the honour of being the first person to get behind the wheel of this ground-breaking new car. It really is ground-breaking for a number of reasons. Number one is the price, starting below $60,000.

    Like most people, I have envisioned that Corvette would become a brand in itself, with a number of cars in its line-up. We have just assumed that General Motors would continue to make an entry-level, traditional Corvette with a front engine and that a mid-engined C8 would be its high-end supercar. After all, isn’t that what most manufacturers do?
    Most manufacturers are afraid of alienating their fan base, so they keep making a new version of the same thing over and over. Think Harley Davidson and Porsche, for example. The shock of the new is not something most traditional car enthusiasts crave. To paraphrase Mark Twain, I like progress; it’s change I don’t like. Anyway, we were wrong. It’s going to be mid-engined or nothing. I immediately assumed, given the price point, that it would have some sort of torque-converter automatic transmission, with the usual excuse of ‘we did it because it’s lighter in weight’. But no, the transmission is bespoke and it’s a dual-clutch, just like the big boys have. And if you pull both paddles simultaneously you can rev the engine and dump the clutch.

    One feature that I love, and as far as I know nobody else has in such sophisticated form, is a front-end lift which has a GPS connection, and you can programme up to, literally, 1000 different locations to lift the front end automatically as you approach. How cool is that?

    My favourite thing about this Corvette launch was that everybody I spoke to, including the CEO, Mary Barra, is an engineer. Hers was a degree in electrical engineering. Mark Reuss, the president of General Motors, has a degree in mechanical engineering and is also head of the performance division. He’s been driving and testing the C8 from the beginning, and not just on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. On the Nürburgring, too.

    Talking with executive chief engineer Tadge Juechter and chief Corvette engineer Ed Piatek is like hanging around with your car buddies in Cars ’n’ Coffee. The only difference is that these guys actually know what they’re talking about. There were no marketing guys or PR people listening in over their shoulders, ready to jump in and correct some ‘mis-statement’. Another cool feature they’re very excited about is the electronically adjustable braking. Chevy calls it ‘eBoost’ braking. The driver can adjust the brake feel depending on what mode the car is in. It also saves space and weight by combining the master cylinder, vacuum booster, vacuum pump and electronic brake module all into one unit.

    Something I find truly fascinating is that with a normally aspirated 495bhp engine, this C8 is quicker to 60mph than last year’s top-of-the-line, 775bhp, supercharged ZR1. How is that possible? Once again, by some very clever engineering. In the old days it would have been done with cubic inches and massive amounts of brute horsepower. This time it was done with science and engineering. Moving the driver six-and-a-half inches forward and putting the engine behind him/her helps, as well as all-new suspension. Gone are the transverse leaf springs of old (albeit made of high-tech composite in later years), replaced with coil springs. Combine that with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and some cutting-edge Michelin tyres, and you have an extremely sophisticated sports car to rival the best of Europe’s at a third of the price.

    The last time GM moved the engine behind the driver, it was called the Corvair and was considered the most European car America had ever produced. GM is taking a big risk by bucking tradition with this C8. Among the Corvette faithful it has really upset the apple cart. Oh, and the top comes off too. So, how do you like them apples? Is there still Corvette in their cores?

    ‘GM IS TAKING A RISK WITH THIS C8. AMONG THE CORVETTE FAITHFUL IT HAS REALLY UPSET THE APPLE CART’
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    Jay Leno
    Jay Leno created a new group Chevrolet Corvette C8

    Chevrolet Corvette C8 Open Group

    2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8

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    Jay Leno
    Jay Leno joined the group Triumph GT6
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    Jay Leno
    Jay Leno joined the group Austin Allegro
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    Jay Leno
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    Jay Leno
    Jay Leno joined the group Porsche AG
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    Some of my favourite collectable cars are those I like to call noble failures, cars that were ahead of their time and no-one realised. The #1935-Chrysler-Airflow / #1935 / #1934 / #Chrysler-Airflow / #Chrysler is a good example. Call it the shock of the new, because the 1934 model with its #Art-Deco streamlining and waterfall grille was so different from the previous model that people just couldn’t take it in, especially the long-wheelbase Imperial version. Luxury cars were supposed to have huge imposing radiators with prestigious-looking hood ornaments like the Rolls-Royce flying lady or the Packard cormorant. They learned their lesson. After that first year they switched back to a more traditional front end.

    The car I’m writing about today is not so much a noble failure as a forgotten one. I have been after one for years, but I could never find quite the right example until recently. By the mid- ’60s the pony-car craze was in full swing. Ford had the Mustang, Chevy the Camaro, Pontiac the Firebird, Chrysler the Barracuda.

    Common to all was a V8. Sure, you could get a six-cylinder if you wanted, but that was a base model which was primarily a grocery- getter. Except for the Pontiac.

    John DeLorean was the engineer behind the Pontiac GTO. He enjoyed thinking outside the box.

    Of all the button-down engineers at GM he was probably the most European in his thinking and his lifestyle. He was the guy who put the big honking 389ci V8 into the smaller-bodied Tempests and Firebirds, but he was also enamoured with the Jaguar E-type. Why not develop an American version of the classic European straight-six?

    The engine grew from the standard Chevrolet six- cylinder but had its own cast-iron block and head castings. Only the valve cover and camshaft carrier for what was America’s first mass-produced overhead- camshaft engine were aluminium. It also featured a reinforced glassfibre belt to drive the camshaft, which was considered quite advanced back in the day. With a one- barrel carburettor and a mild cam this 3.8-litre engine put out I65bhp, and was mated to a three-speed manual gearbox as the base powertrain package for the Firebird.

    DeLorean then added high-compression pistons, a hotter cam, dual valve springs, a split dual-exhaust manifold and the new-for-’66 Rochester Quadrajet four- barrel carburettor. This took power to 207bhp, increased to 215 for 1968. Some guys convert their engines to Weber carburettors, which look a lot sexier but don’t seem to give any more performance than the Quadrajet.

    So, instead of a heavy V8 pony car with its 60/40 weight distribution, would Americans go for a European- style pony car with lower horsepower but better handling? The answer: not so much. Pontiac built 108,000 Firebirds for the 1968 model year, of which just 4662 were six- cylinder Sprints. And only 1025 of these had the high-performance engine package.

    The car I have finally found is a 1968 Firebird Sprint with this engine, the very desirable four-speed gearbox, the Safe-T-Track 355 rear end and the hood-mounted tachometer. This combination cost as much if not more than the V8 when new and in America, where bigger is always better and performance was measured in quarter-miles, why would you do that?

    Americans didn’t much cotton- on to six-cylinder engines, and still don’t. When the latest Ford GT was introduced with a six-cylinder, howls of protest were all over the internet. It took the 2016 Le Mans win to overcome all the scepticism.
    But as a teenager I was intrigued by this hopped-up six because it was so different from everything else coming out of Detroit. Overhead camshafts, especially back in the ’60s, were things that came from Europe and were to be seen on the autobahn, the Stelvio Pass or Silverstone. Not Woodward Avenue.

    Over the years I came close to finding the right Sprint. I looked at one but it was an automatic, another had the three-speed. Finally, a friend called to say he’d found the perfect one, a convertible in Caribbean blue with a blue interior, a white top and all the right options. It was a three-owner car, never restored but well maintained. For its first 25 years it had been a daily driver. It had just over 100,0 miles but ran nicely.

    After driving it for a while I have decided to give it a full restoration. The great thing with cars such as Firebirds, Camaros and Mustangs is that every single part is available, many of them new old stock.

    The best part will be when it’s finished and I take it to a Cars and Coffee, park in the Pontiac section next to a couple of Trans Ams or 455 HO big-blocks, open the hood and hear guys go ‘What is that? A six? Cool!’
    That’s my dream, anyway.
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    This 550-horsepower #1968-Porsche-912 is getting all of its power from an unexpected source: the electric motor from a #Tesla-Model-S-P85D . It was made by two Southern California shops, #Zelectric-Motors and #EV-West , which convert old Volkswagens and Porsches into modernized electric cars. It’s a new way to rescue aging vintage cars — though not everyone is happy with the idea.

    / #Porsche-912 / #1968 / #2019 / #Porsche / #Porsche-912-Eelectric / #Zelectric-Motors / #Porsche-912-Zelectric-Motors / #Porsche-911
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