Read This: Project Ugly Horse alive and kicking at Road & Track

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Budget, Performance, Ford, Read This

project ugly horse ford mustang zach bowman road & track

The hallways of the Autoblog campus are much quieter now that Zach Bowman has taken his prose, along with his welders, wrenches and hammers, over to the digital pages of Road & Track, but that doesn’t mean our favorite project Mustang is gone forever. Project Ugly Horse is still coming along, and Zach has gifted us another update on his unfoxy Fox Body.

Last we saw of the Ugly Horse, Zach was strengthening up the ’89 Mustang’s chassis as he prepares to stuff the turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost engine of a Ford Focus ST under the hood. First things first, the old mill must go. Head on over to Road & Track to catch the latest chapter of Project Ugly Horse.

Project Ugly Horse alive and kicking at Road & Track originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 19:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Chrysler ‘at war’ with world’s largest Viper club?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Chrysler, Dodge, SRT, Read This

Viper Club of America is alleged to be operating illegally as a for-profit business.

The situation was bound to boil over at some point. Grumblings from former and current members of the Viper Club of America, and letters sent from Chrysler to VCA president Lee Stubberfield, allege that the non-profit club is being run illegally as a for-profit business, Jalopnik reports.

The trouble reportedly started in 2007, when VCA member and former club national president Chris Marshall is alleged to have taken a paid position at the club courtesy of the acting board members at the time. By 2010, with the demise of the Dodge Viper looming, the VCA reportedly made a deal with Chrysler to to acquire a stash of old parts and tooling for the Viper. The stash would then be sold by the newly formed Viper Parts of America, a company that was supposed to be run by Marshall, Jalopnik reports.

This sounds like shady business to us – at the very least a conflict of interest. And it’s said that the VCA will not hesitate to suspend – for a year or more – the memberships of those who oppose it.

Read the article and the accompanying letters from Chrysler to find out how the drama unfolds. But it isn’t over yet; we’ll be staying tuned to this one.

Chrysler ‘at war’ with world’s largest Viper club? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: The fascinating forgotten civil defense history of Mister Softee trucks

Filed under: Classics, Truck, Work, Ford, Specialty, Read This

Mister Softee truck

Hemmings came across an interesting article from the Throwin’ Wrenches blog about the intersection of ice cream, cars and civic duty in America’s late 1950s. In particular, it focuses on the Mister Softee trucks, which criss-crossed neighborhoods of the eastern US serving ice cream. Looking past the ultra-durable vehicles used – heavy-duty Ford-based chassis, for what it’s worth – the article delves into some deeper national-security territory.

See, Mister Softee truck owners were voluntary members of the Civil Defense, thanks to all the useful stuff (potable water, generators, freezers and fridges) that the machines carried with them for serving ice cream. Click over to Throwin’ Wrenches for the full run down of how Mister Softee would have stepped in to help fight if the Cold War ever turned a little hotter.

The fascinating forgotten civil defense history of Mister Softee trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Auto critic calls out Corvette, Mustang and Cherokee faithful

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, SUV, Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Design/Style, Read This

2014 Chevy Corvette

Most automotive purists fear change, but not without reason. Change, after all, did kill big-block V8s, along with most station wagons and manual transmissions. But change has also brought with it far more performance, safety and fuel economy – not to mention ridding the world of shag carpet interiors, bias-ply tires and those horrible motorized seatbelts of the early ’90s.

By this time next year, the Chevy Corvette, Jeep Cherokee and next-generation Ford Mustang will all be on sale and will all, in some way, have angered or offended purists. To those critics, Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press is preemptively telling them to stop complaining – at least until they’ve all been driven. From the Corvette’s square taillights and the Cherokee’s radical nose to whatever pony car purists will harp on the 2015 Mustang for, Phelan’s column points out the positives of automotive evolution and the negatives of staying the course for too long. That’s fair enough, but do you think Phelan is on point, or all wet? Head on over to the Detroit Free Press to read his words, then have your say in Comments.

Auto critic calls out Corvette, Mustang and Cherokee faithful originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: 72-year-old mailman has America’s longest route

Filed under: Truck, Etc., Government/Legal, Read This

Mailbox

Bloomberg has an interesting read from Oklahoma, following the story of Jim Ed Bull, a postal worker with the longest route in the country – a staggering 187.6 miles. For reference, that’s like driving from the far northern side of Detroit to the far eastern side of Cleveland every day just to deliver the mail. Bull does this five times per week.

And while the story might not be hugely focused on cars, aside from Bull’s Ford Ranger and his ability to drive entirely with the left side of his body while working mailboxes with his right hand, it’s quite an interesting story in and of itself.

Head over to Bloomberg for the full read on what keeps this Sooner going.

72-year-old mailman has America’s longest route originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: A look into how Ron Howard’s Rush got financed

Filed under: Etc., Safety, Celebrities, TV/Movies

Rush movie

Producing the upcoming 1970s Formula 1 movie Rush wasn’t like the old days, when a mid-budget film could be pitched with a good chance it would be financed by a major production company. No, even after famed director Ron Howard jumped on board the F1 biopic of legendary drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, he couldn’t use his clout at Universal Studios to persuade the company to finance it, Variety reports. Universal cited the film’s biopic elements and F1’s low profile in the US as reasons not to produce it, but the company did agree to handle US distribution.

So how did Rush get an injection of $50 million when the heavy hitters wouldn’t touch it? You’ll have to read Variety‘s article, which details British screenwriter Peter Morgan’s convoluted quest to fund the movie – a pioneering example of how mid-budget films increasingly could be funded as major production companies look the other way.

When you’re done reading, be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes featurette of Rush to hold you over until its September 27 release.

A look into how Ron Howard’s Rush got financed originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 14:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Ferrari vs. Ferrari: Cut convertibles unloved by collectors?

Filed under: Classics, Auctions, Ferrari

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider by Scaglietti

The New York Times’ Wheels blog has a really interesting story on a pair of Ferraris that are set to be auctioned off in Monterey during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. While the two cars are similar on the surface, their differing histories and Ferrari’s attitude towards one of them has led to a sort of experimental auction process.

On the one hand, we have one of ten 1967 275 GTB/4 NART Spiders, in the classic Rosso Corsa and appearing at RM Auctions and seen above. On the other, we have a Fly Yellow version that started life as a 1965 275 GTB Coupe, and was converted into a NART Spider. Called a “cut” car, this particular replica is one of about 100 GTB Coupes that were converted into convertibles to satiate the climbing demand for ultra-rare Spiders.

This will mark one of the first times that an original NART Spider will go toe to toe with a replica of itself at auction, and will answer a number of questions about just how important provenance is in the collector car world. Head on over to The Times blog for the full story.

Ferrari vs. Ferrari: Cut convertibles unloved by collectors? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Toyota donates engineers, not money, to country’s largest anti-hunger charity

Filed under: Etc., Toyota

The Food Bank of New York City

Key to production of any kind is efficiency – the ability to achieve maximum productivity with minimal effort or waste. Toyota has become a master of efficiency, with streamlined manufacturing operations around the world. In fact, the Japanese brand has become so well known for efficient operations that it now offers consulting services for organizations and companies outside the auto industry.

It also offers the same consulting for non-profits, free of charge. The New York Times took an in-depth look at the transformative impact that Toyota’s engineers had on the city’s charities, including The Food Bank, the country’s largest anti-hunger charity. The auto manufacturer helped revolutionize the way these organizations served the community, showing that there’s more to corporate philanthropy than just donating money.

Head on over to the Times‘ website and give the story a read.

Toyota donates engineers, not money, to country’s largest anti-hunger charity originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll]

Filed under: TV/Movies, Read This

Drive-in movie theaters turn 80 years old this summer, and, soon, they might die of old age. There are only 360 drive-in theaters left in the US – down from 4,000 at their peak in 1958 – and the 35-millimeter film projectors that they use to screen movies are quickly losing support from studios, which have switched to digital methods of capturing pictures.

Remember the four-foot poles with speakers built in? You’d pull your car up to it, park, and open your windows to listen to the movie. Well, there’s only one company left that makes parts for those speakers, and they don’t support surround sound. And the cost to upgrade the projectors to digital systems is prohibitively expensive. James Kopp, manager at the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, Virginia, says he was quoted nearly $140,000 to make the switch to digital, The Washington Post reports.

Pennsauken, New Jersey, was the first US city to build a drive-in, yet there are no more of them in the state. As gloomy as it looks, there are drive-ins trying to make the switch to digital projection systems, and there are ones that already have. But as drive-ins fall further from our minds, the question is, do people care?

Read The Washington Post article, and tell us what you think in the poll below.

View Poll

Lack of 35mm film, replacement parts putting hurt on America’s drive-ins [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 14:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Toyota recounts past Supra glories

Filed under: Classics, Coupe, Toyota

It could just be a slow start to the news week around the Toyota offices, but its UK blog has posted a brief history on its legendary Supra sports car. Read into however you’d like, but there has been plenty of speculation as to the return of the Supra nameplate in recent years (including last month from incoming Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada).

Built from April 1978 through July 2002, Toyota’s sports coupe made quite a name for itself as both the Celica Supra (shown above) and the Supra, and the blog post charts many of the changes and highlights through the years. Head on over to the Toyota UK blog to read more about this Supra’s history, and then be sure to check out the gallery of images from Toyota spanning all four generations.

Toyota recounts past Supra glories originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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