This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911.Â For perspective the Corvette is celebrating 60 years with their seventh generation of the American sports car.Â This is presently the fifth incarnation of the 911 and is treasured for both its sleek design and focused engineering.Â The first model was labeled a “901” but due to trademark issues had to change it to the now iconic 911.
Porsche 911’s Humble Beginnings
It is rare for a model to stay in constant use for half a century, but even the original first generation was known for setting the industry standards for superior engineering.Â Imagine that in 1963, the first 911 came with such advanced features as overhead cams, dry-sump oiling, seven-main-bearing bottom end, 5-speed transaxle, 4-wheel disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and advanced independent suspension. There are even cars being manufactured today that canâ€™t hold a candle to that design.
Porsche always had a high level of engineering design but ironically, the fir
st generation Porsche 911â€™s were blinding fast but treacherous to drive, but over time the handling was improved.Â The exterior lines of the 911 seem timeless and stately.
Porsche 911 Celebrations
Across the globe various venues are hosting events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary epoch.Â The Silverstone Classic in July had a great event.Â Originally hoping for 911
Porsche’s to roar along the circuit, they couldn’t stop the demand and ended up with over 1200 cars hitting the race track. Here’s the details on the event.
You just had to know the Frankfurt Auto show in Porsche’s backyard would do the 911 proud and the factory pulled no punches with a knockout event. Porsche had a driving party at their test track at Weissach,Germany.Â And their museum is having a special exhibition as well
Daily Driver Capable
Thanks to its own 50-year racing history, todayâ€™s Teutonic 911 is one of the highest-performance cars, but still is tame enough to be a daily driver.Â Few cars can claim to be favored by three generations of drivers.
If you are an avid drag race fan or into the historical vintage racing stuff, you’ll enjoy watching the upcoming movie, Snake and Mongoo$e. It will be coming to theaters in limited release after the NHRA’s US Nationals being held this Labor Day Weekend. In a clever marketing ploy, it is first being released in markets where the NHRA hosts drag racing. It even had some special preview showings during Hot August Nights and the Woodward Cruise, according to screenwriter and co-producer Alan Paradise. We had first covered this movie this month.
Drag Racing with Mattel’s Hot Wheel Sponsorship
Some of you may recall when Don “the Snake” Prudhome and Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen barnstormed the country with their drag racing grudge matches. Their profiles blossomed when Mattel’s Hot Wheels sponsored the racers, crafting a set of drag racing themed models. This is generally regarded as the first non-automotive related sponsorship of an automobile racing event. Guess you can trace the naming of stadiums, sponsorship of pro team press conferences and ads at courtside of basketball games, all to Mattel and this duo.
The movie offers a trip back to 1970 when these two raced their cars; Prudhome drove a yellow Plymouth ‘Cuda while McEwen piloted the red Dodge Duster. They used color matching car haulers that kept the cars exposed and visible as they crisscrossed the highways. Now these restored race cars are again barnstorming the country to promote the movie before they are scheduled to be sold in January, 2014 at the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Alan Paradise – Screen writer of Snake and Mongoo$e
We had the chance for an interview with the screenwriter Alan Paradise recently, who offered some behind the scenes insights to this movie. Turns out that Paradise is a prolific writer and has authored a variety of car themed books and worked on numerous car magazines over the years. You’ve probably read his words while working for Buckaroo Publications, Truckin’ and Sport Compact Car. As a filmmaker, he developed over 100 video profiles of NASCAR racers and tracks.
The inspiration for the movie
Paradise was first approached by Mattel in 2005 seeking his help in producing a documentary on the then 35th anniversary of the drag racing partnership. The documentary “Once Upon A Wheel” was the result and was used initially for Mattel functions and eventually Tom McEwen acquired the rights to the film and even still sells it today.
While collaborating on the documentary, McEwen suggested that Paradise could make the story of Snake and Mongoose into a book. That started Paradise off on a trek involving hundreds of hours of research and interviews with some of drag racing’s legends including John Force, Tommy Ivo and Roland DeLong.
The more Paradise worked on the project, the more he was convinced that the story needed to be told on the big screen as a movie; and encouraged by his wife, that was the route he pursued. He linked up with Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and he started working on a script. It took Paradise seven months to write his first draft and then another 3 months for a re-write, plus another 2 months on final tweaks and changes.
Paradise submitted his script to the Hollywood powers late on a Friday, thinking that he could relax over the weekend before hearing back from the producers at the earliest on Monday. Instead on Sunday, he was in deep discussions with the movie folks who had loved the script and read it right away.
As they sought out financial backing for the film, some distributors were concerned that the story would not have much attraction in the foreign markets. This seems ironic since drag racing is truly an international sport with strong interest across the globe. So the movie folks opted to go the independent route.
During the movie making process, the producers had access to some archival footage from NHRA and were even offered scenes from private collectors. Several vintage racers can also be seen in the movie including the Greer Black Prudhome dragster. The movie was able to use numerous scenes after colorizing and cleaning up these films. So when you see races, you know they are the real deal.
Drag racing scenes
And for the real deal during the race scenes, obviously the movie actors couldn’t be behind the wheel. Taking the place of Richard Blake who portrayed Tom McEwen was Trevor Larkin, the son of famed drag racer Tommy Larkin. And guess who drove for Don Prudhome’s character?Â Yep, Don Prudhome piloted the drag car himself instead of actor Jesse Williams.
The actual filming of this epic took seven weeks and then came months of post-production work. A short snippet was shown at the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas and it looked terrific. Can’t wait to finally see the full length feature. Once you see it, leave us a note.
Decisions abound on this weekend.Â 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.Â a million folks line the highway as FOURTY thousand of American muscle cars go out for the a cruise through eight communities.Â Surrounding towns have held impromptu shows in the days leading up to this Saturday.Â Detroit manufacturers bring out concept cars, historical cars and lots of steel eye candy.Â And if you are not up for exhaust fumes and a few tires chirping and burningÂ 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.Â And inside the Bricks show is a sub set of cars, the Corvette Reunion.Â With upwards of 700 Corvettes there alone, there is plenty for all to see.Â 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.Â Five separate auction houses hold unique auctions this week.Â The familiar names of Mecum and Russo Steele are joined by Bonhams , RM and Gooding to offer twelve days of classic car auctions.Â 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.Â The price for admission to the Pebble beach show?Â A hefty $250 in advance, yes that is per person!Â 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 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 $148,500. Remember, all prices listed here include buyer’s commissions.
The winner of the Barrett-Jackson Cup award went to a 1969 Ford Torino owned by famed collector George Poteet and built by the talented Illinois wrench Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy. I’ve been a huge fan of Troy’s builds ever since I saw his Sick Fish at SEMA in 2005. Last year at SEMA there was a Bonneville Salt Flat 34 roadster on display at a vendor booth that was drop dead picture perfect. Here is Hemming’s take on the winner.
This auction also marked the last coverage from SPEED as the Fox Network transitions to Fox Sports 1.Â But Canadian viewers will still have the SPEED channel available under that name.
Barrett-Jackson also partnered with the upcoming movie, Snake & Mongoo$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.
“Snake and Mongoo$e” a nostalgic drag racing film will open Friday, September 6th in just 25 cities, just after the close of the National Hot Rod Associationâ€™s (NHRA) U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.
The limited 25-city release coincides with where NHRA races yearly.Â before that date you might find the movie at special preview night in conjunction with some local charities.
â€œSnake & Mongoo$eâ€ tells the story of the groundbreaking accomplishments of drivers Don â€œthe Snake” Prudhomme and Tom â€œthe Mongooseâ€ McEwen in the world of drag racing as well as how the two different figures revolutionized entertainment sports marketing when they attracted Mattelâ€™s Hot Wheels Division to sponsor them.
The film stars Jesse Williams, from Greyâ€™s Anatomy, as â€œthe Snakeâ€ and Richard Blake as â€œthe Mongoose.â€
At last year’s SEMA show, NHRA spotlighted this movie and had Prudhomme and McEwen spin a few tales and show off their restored cars, a 1970 ‘Hemi and a Duster.
Tri-five Chevy parts dealer, Dunchuk, got in the act by having Tom McEwen’s 57 Chevy at their booth as well.
Prudhomme and McEwen raced each other for over 30 years.Â So they had plenty of stories to share with the audience.
The film also has some historic, archival footage included to give it a period vibe.Â Don Prudhomme continued as a car owner for many years after he stopped racing, and has been able to keep and restore many of his classic rods.Â many of these cars were used as background for the movie to help add a touch of authenticity.
This past week Kia Motors America revealed at San Diegoâ€™s Comic Con the last of eight Justice League-themed vehicles â€“ a Â 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.Â The colorful airbrush artwork and interior customization was done by West Coast Customs. Â Â All eight Justice League inspired Kia vehicles were on display throughout Comic-Con at the Interactive Zone at Petco Park.Â 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 Kiaâ€™s were originally displayed at the 2012 SEMA â€“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 Entertainmentâ€™s charity, the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign.
Our U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 176 (S. Res. 176) at the prodding of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) designating Friday July 12, 2013Â as â€œCollector Car Appreciation Day.â€Â This is the fourth annual event to help raise awareness of classic collector car owners and industries.
A list of events around the country can be found here.Â Besides car shows and cruise ins, many companies are promoting their employees to drive a classic to work.Â The folks at SEMA Action Network Â are maintaining the event list to commemorate the day and track the number of events..
Even some Canadian provinces joined individual states, cities inÂ passing similar proclamations and resolutions.Â Sounds like a good reason to go out and cruise on the 12th!
The Goodguys Rod and Custom folks kicked off their 30th anniversary in Scottsdale, Arizona this weekend.Â The first two days were hit with rain but Sunday March 10, 2013 turned out to be a postcard picture perfect day.Â While you can leave the event scratching your head at the cars that won an award; there is no denying that there are some awesome cars.Â Some of the cars are squirreled away here in the Phoenix region but many come from across the western states.Â Nice show, nice cars and nice weather.