Tag Archives: GM

Snake and Mongoo$e – Movie Review

Finally got the chance to see “Snake and Mongoo$e” movie this weekend.  If you love drag racing and appreciate the history and our past this will be a great movie to see.  Unfortunately it is only at limited locations for now, so you’ll have to check the website for any local theaters in your area showing this film.  The producers actually have keyed in on sites that host NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) races, figuring they would have a built-in audience at those locations.

SEMA Preview

I saw a clip of this film while at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) show last year in Las Vegas, Nevada and it already looked interesting then.  If you follow NHRA coverage, they have pushed it heavily since this year’s National’s.  John Force Racing even had his cars decaled with the movie for the National’s to help promote it.  Here are links to our previous coverage, and an interview with the writer and co-executive producer Alan Paradise.

Snake and Mongoo$e

I absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed the film.  It tells the beginning of Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen when drag racing was something done on the weekends and you had a day job Monday-Friday.  Prudhomme was a car painter/body man at his dad’s shop and McEwen worked for Douglas Aircraft.

Hot Wheels

The story tells how McEwen and Prudhomme ended up being sponsored by Hot Wheels.  This was the first non-automotive sponsorship in motor racing and led the way for corporate America sponsoring motor racing.  Hot Wheels sponsored them for $100,000.  That wouldn’t buy much in today’s competitive races!  Hot Wheels and Mattel always has had close relationships with Detroit and the car manufacturers.  In fact at the GM display at SEMA last year, a substantial part of the floor space was a mockup of the orange tracks used by the Hot Wheels.  And Chevy even offered a limited production Hot Wheels Camaro available to the public.

2 blue Camaros
Blue Camaros at SEMA 2012

Blue Hot Wheels

Hot Wheels
GM Display at SEMA Show

The film does a good job blending archival film in with the new stuff.  Had to laugh seeing a much younger Keith Jackson doing a spot for Wide World of Sports.  Remember when you had to wait weeks to see a short taped episode of your favorite sporting event (interspersed with cliff diving from Acapulco)?  A lot of the current action looks like it was shot at Famoso Raceway.

Authentic

Plenty of actual drag cars are in the background.  Plus even the houses in the scenes have that period authentic look that only Hollywood can achieve.  The race sequences are real archival footage to help add that authentic, realistic touch.

As with any historical film, you already know the ending.  But people still went to see “Lincoln” right?  The film starts with a spot from the 1978 Nationals and then sweeps back to the beginning of the Snake and Mongoo$e story.  I sense this was a labor of love for the filmmakers and hope it is a money maker for them.  The only drawback I can see is that if you aren’t into drag racing, the storyline might not be as compelling.  Hearing Prudhomme talk about crewing for Tommy Ivo and driving for Roland DeLong, might not be as relevant if you don’t know the backgrounds of these characters.  Don’t want to spoil the ending for those of you who might not know the story, but there are a few emotional spots towards the end and a few good life lessons to ponder.

When I see the Nike swoosh on NFL practice uniforms, listen to football broadcast from ATT Dallas Stadium and see ads on the NBA basketball court, it is amazing to realize this all might have stemmed from Hot Wheels first successfully sponsoring the Snake and Mongoo$e.

Cars and Haulers selling at Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, AZ January, 2014

The actual restored drag cars and the matching iconic haulers will be sold by Don Prudhomme by Barrett-Jackson at the Scottsdale, Arizona auction in January 2014.  They are scheduled to be present for the Las Vegas auction this weekend so you are apt to see a glimpse of them on the television coverage this weekend.

Some pictures/artwork courtesy of “Snake and Mongoo$e – the Movie”

 

 

 

 

Gas Monkey Garage COPO Camaro Sold at Barrett Jackson

Gas Monkey Garage

Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman team up in Dallas, Texas to form Gas Monkey Garage.  Their “Fast N’ Loud” TV show is a hit on the Discovery Channel, where Richard buys a relic; Aaron and his crew update the ride and then “flip” the car to a new buyer that keeps Richard in beer money.  The show gets great ratings, has a loyal following and has a familiar format.  Grab a car, make a ridiculously short deadline and stand back to watch the resulting havoc.

Barrett-Jackson Reno, Nevada

At the January 2012 Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona one of their creations, a 1931 Ford, was auctioned off for $12,870 by one of those buyers.  So I guess that seller flipped a flipped car?  And at a loss, since the buyer on TV bought it for $21,000.

Gas Monkey Garage decided on a different plan for the just concluded Barrett Jackson auction held at Reno, Nevada last month.  They took a brand new 2013 Chevrolet COPO Camaro added some decals and auctioned it off for $137,500 (We always list the selling price of an auctioned item with all related buyer’s commissions.)  Not bad for a car that isn’t street legal.

COPO Camaro

COPO stands for Central Office Production Order and was used by Chevrolet to offer limited runs of unique setups of their cars to selected special dealerships and those “in the know”.  The most legendary COPO was the 1969 Camaro made for Fred Gibbs, with 69 cars sporting an aluminum ZL1 monster motor.  In muscle car collections; this is the mother lode.  In 2012, Chevrolet resurrected the COPO Camaro but with a severely limited run of only  69 cars.  These COPO’s are not street legal, lacking most of the NHTSA safety requirements, and are strictly designed for the drag strip.  They are lean and mean.

SEMA

At the 2012 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association) show, the GM folks showed off their only COPO convertible, painted in Inferno Orange.  Of course having a drag car racer, without a hard top, might make it hard to pass a tech inspection but it looked great; once you cleared off the slobber marks!

front view of 2012 COPO Camaro
Only convertible COPO Camaro

 

2013 Gas Monkey COPO

Well Chevrolet said let’s do it again, and made a limited run of 69 COPO Camaro’s for 2013 and Richard Rawlings got his hands on one and added a few extra touches and decals before auctioning it off in Reno.  This COPO might be featured in an upcoming episode of their television show and I’m guessing Richard Rollins took advantage of the engine build option and went back to Michigan to be part of building “hands on” the LS7 427 cubic inch engine for the 41st Camaro.

The Camaro was fitted with a NHRA chorme-moly cage and a solid rear axle and looked mean and lean.

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Selected photos courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

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Woodward vs. Pebble Beach – Car Shows – Auctions

Classic Cruiser
Classic Cruiser

Decisions abound on this weekend.  In Michigan you can choose from two unique car events – Woodward Dream Cruise and the Back to the Bricks car show; while in California you have an abundance of car shows and auctions concluding with the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Woodward Dream Cruise

Woodward Dream Cruise resurrects a moving car cruise along 16 miles of Woodward Avenue.  a million folks line the highway as FOURTY thousand of American muscle cars go out for the a cruise through eight communities.  Surrounding towns have held impromptu shows in the days leading up to this Saturday.  Detroit manufacturers bring out concept cars, historical cars and lots of steel eye candy.  And if you are not up for exhaust fumes and a few tires chirping and burning  you can truck over to Flint, Michigan.

Back to the Bricks

Back to the Bricks takes over the streets of Downtown Flint and allows for a car show of classic American iron.  And inside the Bricks show is a sub set of cars, the Corvette Reunion.  With upwards of 700 Corvettes there alone, there is plenty for all to see.  Plus in the days leading up to Saturday there were a variety of car related shows and cruises.

Pebble Beach and Monterrey, California

On the left coast along Monterrey, California classic cars of all calibers are out in force, cruising and selling.  Five separate auction houses hold unique auctions this week.  The familiar names of Mecum and Russo Steele are joined by Bonhams , RM and Gooding to offer twelve days of classic car auctions.  This are too offers a variety of downtown car shows and cruises plus the Rolex Monterrey Motorsports Reunion of historical race cars and the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  The price for admission to the Pebble beach show?  A hefty $250 in advance, yes that is per person!  I think I’ll watch in on the web instead.

This is clearly a weekend I wish I could be in two (or more) places at once.

Barrett-Jackson’s Hot August Nights $14.2 M Sales

Barrett-Jackson had total sales of over $14 million during their first event at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center from August 8-10, 2013.  This, combined with 40,000 attendees, proves that Craig Jackson made a great choice being at Reno during Hot August Nights.

Gas Monkey Garage’s custom 2013 Chevrolet Camaro COPO 2 Door Coupe sold for $137,500 and probably will show up on a future episode of their show on the Discovery Channel.  You may recall one of their builds was sold at Barrett-Jackson in January, 2013 at Scottsdale, Arizona.

The top 5 sales at the auction were the scheduled last manufactured 2014 Shelby GT500 Convertible for $500,000.  This was a charity sale where Barrett-Jackson waives their fees and the charity, Brain Injury Association of America took in the proceeds.  Continuing the top five sales were a sweet 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible selling for $192,000, a 1950 Jaguar XK 120 2 Door Roadster went for $178,200, another Shelby, this one a 1968 Shelby GT500 E Continuation Fastback, hammered sold for  $165,000 and a classic 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible came in at $148,500.  Remember, all prices listed here include buyer’s commissions.

The winner of the Barrett-Jackson Cup award went to a 1969 Ford Torino owned by famed collector George Poteet and built by the talented Illinois wrench Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy.  I’ve been a huge fan of Troy’s builds ever since I saw his Sick Fish at SEMA in 2005.  Last year at SEMA there was a Bonneville Salt Flat 34 roadster on display at a vendor booth that was drop dead picture perfect.  Here is Hemming’s take on the winner.

This auction also marked the last coverage from SPEED as the Fox Network transitions to Fox Sports 1.  But Canadian viewers will still have the SPEED channel available under that name.

Barrett-Jackson also partnered with the upcoming movie, Snake & Mongoo$e (that we previously spotlighted) to showcase the legendary Cuda and Duster 1970 Funny Cars raced by famed NHRA racers Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen along with their color matching car carriers. The cars are now slated to journey to the Woodward cruise in Michigan and eventually will be sold at the January 2014 Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Next up will be Barrett-Jackson’s 6th Annual Las Vegas auction on September 26-28,2013.  It will be covered on three networks that weekend including Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and the National Geographic channels.

Some photos courtesy and copyrighted by Barrett-Jackson and Rad Rides by Troy ©

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Chevrolet Bowtie Logo Celebrates 100th Anniversary

View in gold of Chevrolet's Bow Tie emblem
Chevrolet Bow Tie from SEMA 2012 Show

Just in time for the Woodward Cruise outside Detroit, Michigan, the Chevrolet bowtie logo, recognized  globally as the Chevy emblem celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

In 1913, Chevrolet co-founder William C. Durant introduced the signature Chevy Bow Tie on the 1914 Chevrolet H-2 Royal Mail and the H-4 Baby Grand, centered at the front of both models.

The bowtie has adorned 215 million Chevrolet’s over the last century.

Current version of Chevrolet's bow Tie emblem
Chevy Bow Tie

While the bowtie has been present for 100 years, the details surrounding its origin are still uncertain and a bit of lore surrounds it. One popular story has Durant tearing a piece of wallpaper from  a Parisian hotel that held the now famous design.  Mr. Durant’s widow claimed he saw a similar logo in a  newspaper advertisement while in Hot Springs, Virginia.  In fact a ad for a coal company did sport a similar design as far back as 1911.

Regardless of the inspiration, it is one of the most recognized car manufacturer symbols and one that doesn’t even have a name inscribed or attached to it.  In this global economy, perhaps that’s best?

Chevrolet bow tie emblem
A timeline of the transformation of Chevrolet’s emblem – the Bow Tie

Some images © Chevrole

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.