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Friday
May222015

Quixx All Metal Polish

Every so often companies contact us in order to bring attention to products they’d like us to test. Oftentimes, they are (very) sketchily related to what we do here, and we politely turn these requests down. Other times, they are car care related, and the pitches often arrive in the middle of winter. These have to wait for warmer, drier days, as well as for our fading memories to remember where we put the product while we were waiting for the weather to break.

Quixx Car Care’s pitch came just after the first of the year, just as Michigan was riding a roller coaster between above- and below-normal temperatures. However, unlike last year, the temps soon rebounded and the seasons returned to something approaching normal. This allowed me the opportunity to try one product in particular on a set of nasty old alloy wheels.

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Friday
May222015

If More Offices Were Like This...

Porsche Cars North America recently opened its $100 million Porsche Experience Center (PEC) and headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Located on 27 acres at the Northeast corner of Atlanta International Airport, the complex contains a driver development track, classic car gallery, restoration center, human performance center, driving simulator lab, 13,000 ft.2 of conference and event space, and a gourmet restaurant.

The driver development track spans 1.6 miles and runs through the complex’s courtyard. There are six instructor-led driving modules and a number of different courses available. These include the handling circuit, an off-road course, a dynamics area, a low-friction handling circuit, a low-friction circle and more.

Porsche North American expects the PEC to receive 30,000 guests annually. Visitors and corporate groups can use the facility to improve their driving skills, hold meetings in the fully equipped business center, admire classic Porsche vehicles, or dine in Restaurant 356 without ever leaving the facility.

“Our vision for our new home was to create a bold, energizing environment here in Atlanta to demonstrate the unique capabilities of our sports cars,” said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “The experience center coupled with our headquarters is truly the first of its kind in the automotive industry where we welcome employees, partners, customers and enthusiasts alike.” — CAS

Friday
May222015

Inside Uniroyal’s Giant Tire

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Most Detroiters, and many visitors to the area, have been past the giant Uniroyal tire on I-94 when going to, or coming from, Metropolitan Airport. Originally created for the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair, the 80-ft. high, 12-ton tire originally had capsule-shaped gondolas rotating around its circumference at the center of its “tread”. Each gondola carried four people, and a 100-horsepower motor propelled the cars on an approximately 10-minute long ride. Designed by the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon — also responsible for designing the Empire State Building — the giant tire drew its share of attention.

More than two million people rode the tire, including Jackie Kennedy and her children, the Shah of Iran, and others. The cost was 25 cents, though I’m pretty sure the Kennedys and the Shah of Iran took their rides for free. It was great publicity for the U.S. Rubber Company, which also made rubber-soled shoes, and consolidated a number of styles under the brand name of “Keds”.

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Friday
May082015

Fabulous Failures for Goodwood

By Christopher A. Sawyer

The Life 190 didn't have much of one in Formula 1. Down 120-200 hp on the competition, it used a chassis brought in from a canceled project, and never made it out of pre-qualifying -- or ran more than eight laps at a time.The theme for the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed is “Flat-Out and Fearless – Racing on the Edge” and encompasses a new Hillclimb category for those who like to mix their motorsports with dirt. But rather than just celebrate motorsport success, Goodwood is extending its coverage to include teams that — despite inadequate budgets and limited resources — tilted at windmills in their attempt to race with racing’s powerhouses.

Dubbed “Fearless but Flat-Broke”, this addition concentrates on F1 teams and designs that started out with fanfare before fading away. It is an idea ripe with possibilities in this and other series, and shows that for every success there is at least one, and often more than one, grand failure.

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Friday
Apr242015

One Family Barn Find

Silverstone Auctions’ May Sale will feature a 1973 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 Manual Roadster that has been garaged for 25 years. The car has been owned by one family, purchased by the current owners’ grandfather, and was first registered on August 15, 1973. It spent much of its early life garaged at the family home in Warwickshire, U.K.

Ownership passed to the first owner’s son in April 1993, but the car sat unused in the same garage until given a full service in October 2006. Thankfully, it had been stored properly, with oil in the cylinders, the car elevated, etc. It passed to the current owner when his father died in September 2014. The Jaguar has just 7,700 miles on its odometer. The dust covered car has been carefully recommissioned by Tolman Motorsport, and has an expected sale price of £75,000 to
£90,000 ($112,100-$134,500).

According to Silverstone Auctions, the Jaguar’s interior and soft top are completely original, it has the original spare tire and tool kit, and comes with the last tax disc, which has a date of October 31, 1990. The May Sale auction takes place May 22-23, 2015. — CAS