Tag Archives: cars

Driving in the snow – It’s not just for 4x4s and AWD

Driving in the snow, it’s that time of the year again. A time when large amounts of snow fall from the sky bring visions of impending doom and end of the world scenarios. These situations are so cataclysmic, only toilet paper, milk, and bread can save your life. Yes, its winter and life may call upon you to drive during its duration. Or, you can just sit it out at home, which is fine as well.

BMW i8 winter driving
BMW i8

If you do venture out, all is not lost. Mankind has found within itself the ability to evolve. Over time we have adapted to, and overcome, many dire events and situations. This shall be no different. So read along and perhaps you too can survive the winter driving months. Before you know it, it will be time to complain about how it’s too hot.

Ferrari 458 Spider pausing for a photo-op GTspirit
Ferrari 458 Spider pausing for a photo-op GTspirit

Firstly, let’s all try to realize that when it starts to snow, slowing down can be a very good thing. You don’t have to stop, mind you, or creep along at a speed that would make a Hoveround suddenly a competitive sports car. Just drive with some caution and anticipation of what driving inputs might be required of you. No point in standing on the go fast peddle, or the brakes, when road conditions are slick. As with most things in life, use moderation.

Maserati Ghibli Q4 getting along just fine driving in the snow - by Motoroids
Maserati Ghibli Q4 getting along just fine – by Motoroids

Gently make requests of the accelerator and gas to increase or decrease speed. You’ll get there and very likely without hitting another car, curb, trash can, small rodent, or even a building. When possible, and if it’s safe to do so, use the old rolling stop to avoid situations where it might be difficult to get underway again. This is very true of hills. Stopping on a hill makes it very difficult to get rolling again when the roads are snow covered. Oh yes, and for the love of all that is holy, allow some space between you and others. Don’t run up and sniff the tailpipe of the driver in front of you. It will likely end badly. Try to stay about 8 seconds behind the vehicle you are following. Doing so will allow you time to adjust as needed.

Vintage Porsche 911 Carrera RS - by flatsixes driving in the snow
Vintage Porsche 911 Carrera RS – by flatsixes

Getting the proper shoes for your vehicle can also make all the difference in the world! Quite a few all-season tires just don’t cut it. You need to be mindful of the average conditions where you live and buy accordingly. A good snow tire is always best. If you’re going to throw caution to the wind and just hope for the best, do the rest of us a favor and at least make sure you have SOME tread on your car. Nothing less than 6/32 of an inch should be on your vehicle. All too often people wait until that first real snowfall to make changes in their tires. At that point, it could be too late and you might make others suffers the consequences of your life choices.

Lamborghini in the elements - by supercar kids driving in the snow
Lamborghini in the elements – by supercar kids

Lastly, you’ll find that a number of winter driving schools are available all across the nation through many different organizations. They are offered at a variety of locations from tracks to open lots and can be very helpful for every level of experienced driver. Check them out and sign up.

At the end of the day, it’s not so much what you’re driving, but how you’re driving it and how you’ve prepared yourself for the situation. I’ve seen very high end sports cars navigate the winter roads just fine and that includes cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini. Several of my friends, in fact, use their Porsches year round because they can and they do it like champs!

Vintage Motoring

The accompanying video from Petrolicious focuses on vintage supercars of the 70’s and what it is like to drive them. It demonstrates the joys of owning and running such cars and what about them creates the attraction, and addiction, for many. It’s a video that can be applied to the entirety of vintage car ownership in general.

I have great admiration for cars in general – old and new – but my true love tends to reside in the past. I find vintage cars much more engaging and rewarding to drive and if you know me, you know I chat about this fact ad nauseam.

Today’s cars are far safer and well ahead in terms of technology and usability, but they tend to create a situation where some of the passion is lost rendering the automobile as just a way to get around. They lack a voice and a distinct personality. You have to reach pretty high up into the world of super cars and hyper cars to find anything that can stir the emotions, but even then, I don’t think they captivate or engage like a vintage car.

Take any country road and drive it in a modern car and then a vintage car. I would wager you will end the trip having a more eventful experience in the vintage car. You will have driven the road and have been focused on it and engaged in the drive. I feel this is true even if you take out the most modern sports car. I love the style and technology packed into the new examples, but dislike the disconnect from when you could feel what was going on and thus, become a better and more attentive driver each time you went out.

 

2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show

Looking up at PPG
Looking up at PPG

It’s been a very damp year here in Pittsburgh. Most car related events have required the inclusion of umbrellas, shammies, and other necessary wet weather gear. The ongoing joke has been that it has rained just twice this year, once for 76 days and then again for 68. This day, however, was a pleasant deviation from the norm. Though it did drizzle lightly early, the day got much better and was a brilliant one from late morning on for the 2015 PVGP Downtown Parade and Show.

Saab Sonett ready for show
Saab Sonett ready for show
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout
The Dodge Viper of Jim Stout

Most of the participants formed up in Station Square which is a charming little business area just across the river to the south of the city. It boasts some great shops, professional offices and restaurants as well as a new soccer arena. It’s a great setting to form up for the parade into town and offers some great views of the city while you wait.

Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck
Payload display in a vintage Ford Truck

With a police escort provided by Pittsburgh’s finest, the participants for the day’s parade and show left the staging area for their various locations throughout the city. Many would head to Steel Plaza at the base of the old US Steel building while the rest would scatter throughout town at Market Square, PPG Plaza and Point State Park. All locations provided beautiful settings and a party like atmosphere. It’s an all too short event, but well worth the trip even just to spectate.

BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
BMW Isetta packed and ready to go
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Beautiful vintage VW Bug
Fully in the mood for the day
Fully in the mood for the day

Try to join the fun next year if you have not been down. It’s great fun and you’ll be glad you did it. Enjoy the rest of the photos and follow this link for a full gallery of images from the day and remember, any print or merchandise purchases help to support the PVGP charities!

Roush Mustang
Roush Mustang
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
Steel Plaza display for PVGP
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
BMW i8 and others gathered in Market Square
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Alfa Romeo racecar at PPG
Ferrari 458
Ferrari 458
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG
Austin Healey 3000 at PPG

The Elegance at Hershey 2015

I’ve only been attending The Elegance at Hershey for the last three years now, but since it’s only in its fifth year, that’s not too bad. During that time, the show has grown in relevance quickly. It’s definitely one of those shows that you should not miss if you have a great appreciation for rare and significant automobiles. The exclusive cars on display are showcased beautifully on the grounds of The Hotel Hershey and are easily some of the finest in the world.

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham
1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster by Derham

The Elegance is the penultimate event of this three day celebration with the first two days centered on The Grand Ascent and a new event celebrating some rather curious automotive creations during Saturday’s Concorso Bizarro. Those two events are a great lead into the main attraction and provide quite a bit of entertainment on their own.

1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Superleggera Coupe by Touring
1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Mille Miglia Superleggera Coupe by Touring

Sunday’s show field for The Elegance welcomed attendees with a wide range of brilliant automotive offerings from the early 1900s through the 1960s. All manner of coachwork was on display featuring the height of luxury to the essence of speed. The garden party like setting made for a very relaxed atmosphere and suited the elegant lines of the cars quite well. It was a great event that offered a lot to take in visually.

1938 Bugatti T-57C Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
1938 Bugatti T-57C Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
1928 Rolls-Royce "Springfield" New Phantom
1928 Rolls-Royce “Springfield” New Phantom
Unrestored 1969 Lamborghini Miura 400S
Unrestored 1969 Lamborghini Miura 400S

Best of show went to Mark Hyman’s spectacular 1948 Daimler DE36 “Green Goddess.” There are simply not enough words to describe the beauty of this car. That said, there were probably a half dozen other strong contenders for the same honor. The field was, and typically is, that strong at The Elegance. Check out the accompanying photos for more evidence of how stunning the cars were and follow this link for the full event gallery. Enjoy and be sure to add this event to your calendar!

1948 Daimler DE36 Green Goddess Drophead Coupe by Hooper
1948 Daimler DE36 Green Goddess Drophead Coupe by Hooper
1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 "Goldfinger" Coupe
1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 “Goldfinger” Coupe
1933 Ford-Auburn "Louis Special" Roadster presented by Wayne Carini
1933 Ford-Auburn “Louis Special” Roadster presented by Wayne Carini
1923 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Sports Touring by Chalmer & Hoyer
1923 Bentley 3-Liter Speed Sports Touring by Chalmer & Hoyer

Counting Down The Days

It’s never too early to start counting down to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It’s one of those events that you look forward to attending shortly after the last one ended. If you could experience sensory overload from too much automotive exposure – which is impossible by the way – this would be the event to subject you to it. You have everything from black-tie and casual parties to rallyes, shows and full on racing. It literally has everything. With that in mind, it only makes sense to take a look back at last year’s Kick-Off Rallye as that is the event that gets the giant wheels of this machine rolling.

Righthand drive Mini
Righthand drive Mini
Inside the 1961 Chevy Impala
Inside the 1961 Chevy Impala

The Kick-Off Rallye is a great way to start things off. It’s casual fun that offers participants a way to socialize and admire each other’s cars as well engage in some spirited competitive driving. Everything on wheels is acceptable for this event. The past rallyes have hosted the quick and nimble like the MG Midget and Porsche 914 as well as giants like the 1936 Packard and a very impressive 1973 Dodge Monaco. I think there was even a delivery van one year. The streets fill with everything and it makes for great fun and much conversation from participants and spectators alike.

Stunning MGA
Stunning MGA

Driving the course is always a mystery. The clues are clever and keep you on your toes as you try to stay on track while answering questions along the way. If that gets to be burdensome, you can always skip right to the end, get comfortable with a beverage and watch everyone as they roll in. Since the cars are all numbered, it’s a bit fun to see what order they arrive. I guarantee it’s never in order. Not even close. I try to shoot this throughout the event and use the numbers as a gauge to determine how far along things are. That is always a mistake. The route invariably gets people turned around at some point and that includes me, but honestly, that’s part of the fun. Oh and as a side note, should you see me along the route and decide to follow believing I know where I’m going, big mistake. I generally don’t know where I’m going and never get advance notice as to the route. Plus, I often double back as I bounce around trying to photograph everyone.

The large and incharge Dodge Monaco
The large and in charge Dodge Monaco

So do join in if you are able as you won’t regret it. Check out the rest of the photos in this posting and follow this link for more. All shots are available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will be going to the charities that benefit from the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Also, keep checking in as I will be featuring other events as we get closer to this year’s start and will be posting throughout the Grand Prix once it is underway. Enjoy and hope to see you on the road!

The Jag
The Jag
The perfect livery for this Mini
The perfect livery for this Mini
Triumph TR4
Triumph TR4
Austin Healey 3000
Austin Healey 3000
Porsche 550 Spyder
Porsche 550 Spyder

Porsche Kid

The Cars and Coffee season has finally kicked of here in Pittsburgh so this is as good a time as any to start looking at the cars as well as the people behind the cars. I’ll start things of by looking at the ride of choice for the more than artful organizer; Cliff L. Cliff played an instrumental role in helping to guide the Pittsburgh Cars ‘N Coffee group to where it is today and his worthiness to captain this group is displayed in his choice of cars. Occupying his garage you will find a riotous Ariel Atom as well as this more than capable, Porsche 996 Turbo featured here.

Porsche 996 body 911 Turbo
Porsche 996 body 911 Turbo

Now I should say that I love all cars. Each has a special place in motoring history for any number of reasons, but it could be argued that I have a bit of a leaning toward Porsche 911s. No shock here that I rather love this one. It has all the proper accoutrements from a 6 speed manual gearbox and HRE wheels to a right at home GT2 wing and an AWE strait pipe exhaust system that will announce your arrival long before, and I mean long before, anyone lays eyes on you. From inside the car, this exhaust system will also gently massage your brain as it resonates quite pleasingly in the cabin. And, if you were so obtuse as to bring one with you, stir your coffee.

As this is a photo feature, I’ll stop writing. Take a good look, though, as the cars we drive often become our face. When you see this car roll in, you know Cliff has arrived. Enjoy the gallery and check back again as a new car will be featured after each PGHCNC event. For images from the event, just follow this gallery link.

Porsche 996 body 911 Turbo
Porsche 996 body 911 Turbo
Porsche 911 Turbo headlight detail
Porsche 911 Turbo headlight detail
Porsche 911 Turbo HRE wheels
Porsche 911 Turbo HRE wheels
Porsche 911 Turbo interior
Porsche 911 Turbo interior
Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 style wing
Porsche 911 Turbo GT2 style wing
Porsche 911 Turbo door sill
Porsche 911 Turbo door sill

Pittsburgh Cars & Coffee Winter Party

If you are a bit of a nut for cars, you’ve no doubt heard about Cars & Coffee. If you are into cars and have not, shame shame shame. It has grown from its original roots in California to a national movement that brings auto enthusiasts together to spend time with like minded people. It’s very good for the soul.

Here in Pittsburgh, our own group has seen steady growth and has found a wonderful home in a local coffee shop called Generosta Coffee. It’s a brilliant little place that serves to provide excellent service and product while benefiting local charities. A very good mix in the end and they have been very receptive of the local C&C club.

The club also has tremendous support from local car dealers and that was borne out when it came time to hold this years Winter Party. A great host was found in Auto Palace Porsche LLC. They have hosted events before and did another sterling job with the winter event. The showroom provides ample space to enjoy hanging out with friends as well as oogling the latest and greatest from our friends in Stuttgart. But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the accompanying photos for proof.

Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche 911 Turbo
Porsche 907K once owned by Jerry Seinfeld
Porsche 907K once owned by Jerry Seinfeld
Porsche 907K
Porsche 907K
Classic Porsche Speedster
Classic Porsche Speedster
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Porsche 911 Turbo S
Pittsburgh Cars & Coffee Winter Party
Pittsburgh Cars & Coffee Winter Party
Hanging out in the museum
Hanging out in the museum

Oh, there were a few other cars featured as well…

Spyker C8 Laviolette
Spyker C8 Laviolette
Ferrari 275 GTB 4
Ferrari 275 GTB 4

And very likely my favorite site

BMW i8
BMW i8

It was a wonderful evening and an event well worth placing on your calendar. Better yet, join! You can stop out at any of the general meets at Generosta and find out more about the club.

For more images of the winter party, please follow this gallery link. Enjoy!

2015 Pittsburgh World of Wheels

Okay. The title is a bit misleading as you might think you will find info on the entire World of Wheels show. Truth be told, I am very biased when it comes to this event. I go mostly to see the Rat Rods. I don’t get to see those cars as often as the other ones on display so I spend nearly all my time around them.

That said, you will find a few images of other cars in attendance. But only very few. So if you like Rat Rods and pinstriping, then press on! I have posted a few images here and you can find the rest through this main gallery link. It was a great show with a lot of cars on display from some enormously talented builders and owners. It’s a show that’s well worth your time if you love muscle cars, movie cars, dragsters, customs, and all types of rods.

Enjoy!

Five window coupe sporting a 331 Hemi
Five window coupe sporting a 331 Hemi
Rat Rod pickup truck
Rat Rod pickup truck
1930 Ford Model A
1930 Ford Model A
Rat Rod dually
Rat Rod dually
Ford Model A Roadster
Ford Model A Roadster

Some of the finer details of the display included clever little mascots and some fantastic pinstriping art created by artists on location during the event. An auction featuring their work took place during the event and benefited the Autism Society of Pittsburgh. At the end, just over $23,000.00 was raised. Not too shabby!

Artist at work
Artist at work
Auction art
Auction art
Hot Rod auction art
Hot Rod auction art
Pinstriping art
Pinstriping art

No proper Rat Rod or Hot Rod is complete without a welcoming mascot to greet folks passing by.

Skeleton Rat Rod mascot
Skeleton Rat Rod mascot
Devil gear shift
Devil gear shift
Skull door lock detail
Skull door lock detail

Find more here.