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Justice League Kia Sorento at Comic Con in San Diego

This past week Kia Motors America revealed at San Diego’s Comic Con the last of eight Justice League-themed vehicles – a  Kia Sorento. The Sorento’s design was created by legendary comic book artist and DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, who finalized the customization of the car before a live audience.  The colorful airbrush artwork and interior customization was done by West Coast Customs.   All eight Justice League inspired Kia vehicles were on display throughout Comic-Con at the Interactive Zone at Petco Park.  Each of the first seven custom cars featured one of the heroes – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg while the final car showed all of the Justice League characters.

Four of the Kia’s were originally displayed at the 2012 SEMA –Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association show in Las Vegas and can be seen here

This last Sorento is being auctioned off now on eBay to benefit DC Entertainment’s charity, the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign.

 

USPS Muscle Cars

1970-plymouth-hemi-cudaUS Postal Service has a slick set of stamps available for all you diehard muscle car fans.  This is the third set of stamps that feature a set of classic cars.  In 2005 they first had five “sporty cars” including the 53 Corvette, a 54 Kaiser Darin with its sliding door, a 52 Nash Healey convertible, a Studebaker Starliner from 1953 and a black 55 Ford T-Bird.

In 2008 they added again five ”fin and chrome” cars from the 50’s; 1 57 Chrysler 300C, a 57 Lincoln Premiere, a 57 Pontiac Safari (often mistaken for the Chevy Nomad), a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk and a 59 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.

Now they released a set of “Muscle” cars as “forever” stamps.  The five are a 1966 Pontiac GTO, the 1967 Shelby GT-500, an orange 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, the 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda sporting Lime Light colors and a red 1970 Chevelle SS convertible.

The kick off for the release of the stamps was held in Daytona Beach, Florida and included NASCAR’s Richard Petty and his son Kyle.  The art work was done for this series by Tom Fritz and looks great.  Tom’s portfolio shows that he nails the look of these cars.

The 66 GTO marked the first year it was offered by Pontiac as a standalone model.  Most of you gearheads probably already know that GTO stood for the Italian phrase, Gran Turismo Omologato. 

The 67 Shelby GT-500 drawn with the white LeMans strip was a sharp, if rare, look.

Rare also characterizes the winged Daytona Charger as only 503 were sold, to appease NASCAR rules.  These winged monsters dominated the left turn circuit until outlawed by the bosses at NASCAR.  There are now more clones of the winged cars in existence than ever made by Dodge.

At least the 70 ‘Cuda was slightly more available, but still less than 700 were sold and on the auction circuit; they are now million dollar cars.  The last one offered for sale at Barrett-Jackson went for $ 88,000  2013 Palm Beach Auction

The 70 Chevelle in regular SS trim had one of two available 454 big blocks.  One model also went for $88,000 recently at the Palm Beach Auction for Barrett-Jackson

What a speedy way to grace your envelopes when you send out a letter!  People do send out letters, right?

Illustrations courtesy of USPS © 2013

Hug a tree and buy a Corvette Stingray

 

I can hear it now, “But honey buying a new Corvette will save us money and help the environment!”

As if anybody needed any more inducements to buy the new 2014 Corvette, the first year for the seventh generation of the iconic American sports car, now you can add great gas mileage!

General Motors recently announced that the 2 seater Stingray, with a powerful 455 horsepower V8 LT1 engine mated with a manual transmission, will have an EPA sticker estimate for gas mileage of 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and 17 miles in the city.  And yet the car will still go 0-60 MPH in under 4 seconds.  All this with a LT1 engine that is delivering 6% more horsepower than the 2013 model.

Now surprisingly Corvettes have been saddled with the misconception that muscle cars are gas hogs.  Even today some current offerings from Detroit are not known as miserly fuel users.  But Corvettes for years have been able to provide their happy owners with some great gas mileage.

General Motors was able to obtain the highway estimate by two tricks; the standard test was in “tour” mode and improved upon by using the “eco” mode – Active Fuel Management.  Under ideal situations, with eco mode the engine turns off fuel to four of the cylinders without significant changes in performance.  I have that same system on a six banger Impala and when it switches off three cylinders, I wouldn’t notice it without the dashboard indicator.

The second trick is the manual transmission involves SEVEN gears.  This allows drivers to get a big right bicep while swapping gears and optimizing performance.

It’ll be interesting to see how the automatic fares under the EPA rules.  The automatic will also use Active Fuel management to conserve fuel.

So now you can have a car with both performance and economy!  Thanks GM

 

 

Happy 60th Birthday – Corvette

Unveiling of the 60th Anniversary Corvette at Barrett-Jackson Auction
Unveiling of the 60th Anniversary Corvette at Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ

America’s longest lasting sports car icon, the Corvette, first went into production in Flint, Michigan. on June 30, 1953. Since then, Corvette has become an American icon that continues to offer the arguably best in today’s technology and performance for the price.

Over 1.5 million cars have been produced over the past sixty years.

All 300 of the 1953 models were Polo White with a red interior and listed at $3,498.

Since 1956, the sport scar has only been powered by V8 engines. Corvette was available solely as a convertible for its first 10 years.

Since 1981 Bowling Green, KY has been the birthplace for all Corvettes offering both a factory tour and a Corvette museum on the premises.

Chevy’s Suburban is the only nameplate that has been in production longer in America.

 

Dean Jeffries – car customizer – rest in peace

Car customizer, engineer and stunt driver Dean Jeffries died in his sleep recently at the age of 80.

Die hards will recognize both his name and his cars.  Dean might not have had the greatest publicist,  but he was a renaissance man when it came to cars.

Of course his customs done for Hollywood are instantly recognizable.  The Monkeemobile, the Green Hornet and the Beach Boy’s cover car from their Little Deuce Coupe album were all his handiwork.

He started out as a painter- striper and worked with Von Dutch.  He added the script to James Dean’s Porsche Spyder – Little Bastard.  He moved over to George Barris’s shop and honed his metal working skills.  He painted the first Shelby Cobra for Carroll Shelby.

You can lean more at www.deanjeffries.com

 

Rest in Peace

2014 Corvette Stingray will be shod with Michelin’s

For the recent past, Corvettes came out of Detroit with Goodyear Run Flats.  The stiff sidewall helped carry the tire in the event of no air pressure but also contributed to a stiff ride.  many owners derisively referred to them as run craps.

Many owners actually used regular speed rated tires and risked a flat tire or carried a small portable compressor and a patch kit.  Some switched to Michelin’s version of the run flats – the ZP – Zero Pressure

For 2014 the Corvette Stingray (the C7 generation) will sport Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport ZP.  These tires will have the same size but should offer a smoother ride.  It’ll be interesting to see what the new owners say, and why Goodyear was dropped.