Wednesday, October 27, 2010

casual concours

The Great Autos Concours, one of my very favorite shows in Southern California, is this Saturday here in Palm Springs. While there will be cars from every decade, the club is especially rich in fabulous fifties and swingin sixties.

Here is the official announcement:

Classic Car Show Returns to Palm Springs October 30th to Benefit Desert Charities

Great Autos of Yesteryear car club is proud to announce their annual benefit classic car show will once again be held in Palm Springs this year on Saturday October 30th.

Come out to the "Casual Concours" to be held at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort (South Course)on Saturday October 30th from 10am until 3pm. Over 150 classic, exotic and special interest automobiles from all decades will be on display on the golf course greens in this beautiful desert setting.

For over 25 years, this annual event has been held in different southern California locations and last year’s show here was so successful, we are thrilled to return to Palm Springs for a second year. General admission is only $10 and all the proceeds from this year's show will go directly to three very deserving desert charities - Desert Outreach Foundation, Golden Rainbow Center/SAGE and the Desert AIDS Project.

Great Autos is also pleased to announce that once again Windermere Real Estate has graciously agreed to be the presenting sponsor. With the support of Windermere and their presence throughout the Coachella Valley, they helped bring in an unprecedented number of spectators last year and with their help, we look forward to an even bigger turnout this year.

The Indian Canyons Golf Resort is located 2 miles south of Downtown Palm Springs at 1097 E. Murray Canyon Drive. So mark the date of Saturday October 30th and come out and enjoy a dazzling display of cars and support some very deserving causes. Food and beverages will be available at the show for purchase so come have lunch and make a day of it!

Great Autos of Yesteryear car club is in its 27th year and is one of the largest Gay & Lesbian car clubs in the world with over 1,100 members. The club’s members have approximately 3500 collector cars.

I'll be there showing a client's car which is pointy on both ends. Stop by and say hello.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

reynolds racers return

Been busy this month assisting an old friend with a very fun project. Rather than delve too deeply into explaining things, I'll just let the press release take over:

Before I do, I'd like to point out that for a dealership to remain in the same family for 95 years with the same franchise alignment and to celebrate their 50th anniversary in the same location is pretty darn rare, especially in Southern California where dealers come and go at a frantic pace. Oh, and to celebrate, they've invited back a couple of historic racing cars which they owned and raced back when they were new. So let me offer my congratulations to Don and the whole Reynolds family. Stop by if you're in LA on Thursday.


Reynolds Buick-GMC-Isuzu will be celebrating its 95th Anniversary with a very special Open House featuring music, prizes, In-N-Out burgers, and two very special guests- legendary Reynolds Buick race cars which will be returning for the event.

Come see the actual 1970 Reynolds Buick GS 455 Stage 2 race car that was feared by all who raced against it. This is the actual car and is restored to the exact specifications of when Pete Reynolds. Pop Kennedy and Jim Bell ran 10.89 at 126.85 MPH. The car is owned and restored by Guy Parquette of Wisconsin.

Also Jack Mancini of Rhode Island is bringing his 1965 Reynolds Buick GS tribute race car to our Open House. This beautiful car recently went through a complete ground up restoration and is an exact replica of the '65 GS that Reynolds Buick raced. These cars are a must see and will not be back in California any time soon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

2011 GMC Denali HD Duramax: Prada Workboots and Chanel Coveralls

I guess I've pretty much grown up with GM trucks. My dad brought home the first Chevy, a blue Camper Special with a 283 and a four speed, back in the 60's. I spent summers at my Grandfather's farm riding the lane in my uncle's 67 GMC pickup- the one he made a stake bed for and then dropped the Corvette engine into to make sure it had enough "pull". And speaking of pull, my own Silverado HD2500 Duramax has been the best hauler I've ever had. That truck has been as handy as my right arm, and it fits me like a favorite pair of boots.

So it didn't take me long to answer when the nice folks at GM asked if I'd like to try the new Duramax HD, to see how things have changed from my old truck. Ah, the things I do for my readers. It took a whole couple of seconds to get me to agree. As luck would have it, the Silverado I was scheduled was double booked, so they called to ask if I would like the Denali 2500HD instead.

I was honestly a bit dismissive at first. I used to hang out at the Roundup in Dallas back in the eighties, where guys would come in with their starched cowboy shirts and $600 python boots which had NEVER been near a ranch, and a 560SL waiting in the parking lot. A poser, I surmised. I was picturing the Roundup in my mind.

And I was dead wrong, as mistaken as a Red State Senator who thinks he can hide a sex scandal. The Denali HD 2500 is a real truck, all 6,562 pounds of it, and is capable of everything an HD2500 can do, including towing up to 15,600 pounds. It's just been shopping in nicer stores.

And a lot of shopping indeed. There's a whole outlet mall packed in there- a laundry list of luxury features, as one would expect on a truck with a $45,865.00 base price- inside there are 12 way power heated leather bucket seats with lumbar, dual zone automatic a/c, BOSE stereo, full instrumentation, power adjustable pedals, On Star, XM and a boatload more. Outside the Denali HD has its own unique chrome grille, 18" polished wheels, fog lamps, and a whole lot of chrome.

In addition, the test vehicle was equipped with the 397 HP 6.6 litre Turbo Diesel engine, Allison 6 Speed Automatic, Navigation, Moonroof, chrome side steps (a must!) heated and cooled seats, rear vision camera and upgraded 20" polished aluminum wheels. Throw in a destination charge and I'm rolling in a $61,189.00 pickup. Sixty-one grand. For a pickup. But it's a really NICE pickup. Really, really nice.

First thing I noticed is that the Turbo Diesel engine has REMOTE START. On a diesel. Glow plugs no more, "Wait to Start" light be damned, push a button 50 feet away and it chugs to life and idles as smooth as silk. No diesel chuggle on this monster, and only the slightest burble in the exhaust to give it away.

I pop open the door and climb up into the black leather cabin. Everything is contemporary, tasteful and tailored, and smells like a good leather bar. It's basically an Escalade interior, and there's nothing to complain about there. I pop it into reverse and the backup camera comes on- love this, especially when backing up to a trailer. The Driver's Information Center casually advises me that the front tires are at 60psi, the rears at 75. Yes, this beast is still a heavy honking truck underneath all the bling.

Out on the highway, the Denali HD rides like a stretch limo. There is no substitute for wheelbase. I watch the fuel economy on the trip out to the desert- 19.9 MPG when I pull into Palm Springs- in a 6.500 pound behemoth, and without a bed cover (which will add 1-2 mpg by improving airflow). ladies and gentlemen, I am impressed.

I spent a week crushing the Earth with the Denali HD. Mostly, I'm impressed with how something so large can be so well mannered. Yes, the front suspension gets a bit choppy on undulating road surfaces, but keep in mind this baby is bouncing 20" truck tires at 60 psi. The turbo diesel is a wonder- smooth throughout the range, very powerful, torque for days and unobtrusive to the point of being almost imperceptible. Throw in the remote start (so much fun I filmed it) and this powertrain is an out and out winner, which pretty much sums up my experience of the whole Denali HD. And while I probably wouldn't spring for the whole sixty-one grand worth of truck, there are an awful lot of eighty-three thousand dollar Range Rovers in Beverly Hills that can't begin to do what the Denali HD can. Yes, this baby has workboots. Prada workboots, that is.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Couture Cars: Designer Wheels and Special Editions of the 70's- Part III

by Jeff Stork

This is the third installment of the series.

Part I

Part II

Part III

The Mark V Designer's Series had been phenomenally successful, so Lincoln came to market for 1978 with variations on a theme. Cartier remained monochromatic, but changed the actual color to triple Light Champagne. Givenchy continued successfully in Midnight Jade and Chamois, with a sumptous velour interior standard and leather as a credit option. Bill Blass switched from Navy and Chamois to a subtle Dark Cordovan with a Light Champagne top, and Emilio Pucci went wild, offering a Silver Metallic car with two tone oyster and maroon leather interior Pucci silk sunvisors , a black cayman grain landau top, and wild special stripe. It was stunning. Several new options debuted this year, includting turbine vane wheels and a simulated convertible top option, which woudl catch the eye of one of the designers the following year. Luxury groups continued to thrive as well, but the most luxurious Lincoln in 1978 wasn't a Designer Series.

An even more special edition came along that year in the form of the Diamond Jubilee Edition Mark V. Fully loaded with every conceivable option, it, along with a companion Thunderbird, celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company, the Diamond Jubilee was Diamond Blue or Jubilee Gold and featured color matched tops, wheels, grilles and even bumper strips. The deck lid was padded to match the top, the dash top was hand stitched leather, the bucket seats and door panels were unique, and even a tool kit and umbrella were fitted. The opera windows featured imitation diamond chips, HFII had been willing to pay for real ones but the crime rate in Detroit deterred him- the notion of smash and grab was very real. Stunning, over the top luxury to mark the 75th Anniversary in a year which was not all good news for Ford- they actually recalled more cars than they sold. But they looked great in their designer editions.

General Motors introduced their special edition Seville Elegante in Black and Platinum Silver, with upgraded interior and genuine wire wheels, and the Custom Biarritz Classic in Arizona Tan and Demitasse Brown to commemorate the final days of the full sized Eldorado. Some excitement came to the de Ville series as well with the limited edition Phaeton, a factory simulated convertible top on a Coupe or Sedan de Ville in three color combinations. GM also pushed out a few LXXV, a special black and silver Buick Riviera coupe (with silver leather) that wished Buick a happy 75th birthday. And while GM resisted affixing a designer label to one of its offerings directly, the marketplace rushed in where GM feared to tread. The Cadillac Seville by Gucci, a symphony of overstatement with Gucci fabric-trimmed landau top, seats and headliner, and copious garish Gucci badging, was offered by a Florida company for $22,900, inclusive of a trunk full of Gucci luggage and Aldo’s blessing, if not the General’s.

If like the Village People, the designer party was about to end in 1979, one wouldn’t know it from the offerings. The Designer Continentals were completely revamped again.

Most dramatic was the Bill Blass Edition in white with two-toned navy sides, a white leather interior piped in Navy, and a white simulated convertible top. Expressive gold striping and no fewer than eighteen BB logos completed the look. It was so far over the top, it was already half way down the other side. The Cartier continued in its monochromatic Light Champagne, the Givenchy went ultra chic with a special color, in Cristal Blue-violet with dark blue forward roof section, and Emilio Pucci outdid himself- a medium Turquoise exterior color, dark blue full vinyl roof, and white leather interior accented with blue. Of course, the Pucci sunvisors again completed the look.

In addition, the Collector’s Series Mark V and Town Car were offered, in Navy or White with sumptuous special blue Kasmin cloth interiors. They were the successors to the Diamond Jubilee of 1978, offered to commemorate the final editions of the big Lincolns before the scheduled downsizing of 1980.

Cadillac kept up its special editions with d’Elegance trim on the deVille and Brougham, Elegante two-toned Sevilles (with genuine wire wheels, bucket seats and special slick top styling) and totally restlyed Eldorado whose Biarritz Edition of featured a stainless steel and landau roof combination, which the buyer could pair with an optional sunroof or astroroof. A very special models appeared as well, the Coupe de Ville d’Marchand was a factory built special edition in Black and Slate Firemist, and featured black leather inserts and red piping in a slate interior. It was a spring offering. The mid year 1978 Phaeton edition de Villes were continued as well. The aftermarket offerings were plentiful - the Gucci Seville was alive and well. The San Remo Seville, a highly customized four place Seville convertible with beautiful craftsmanship (and a super exclusive Ultima option with freestanding headlamps) debuted, and even a Pierre Cardin Eldorado featuring elongated front fenders and custom front and rear styling (along with a sumptuous interior) was announced, although actual introduction was delayed until 1980. They were sold in very small numbers, mostly to celebrity clients like Jack Webb of Dragnet fame.

Although the designer offerings would continue in 1980, their days were numbered. The newly downsized Continental Mark VI sold at approximately one-third the rate of its predecessor. The Biarritz and the Seville Elegante, newly styled as an expressive “bustleback” hardtop sedan took off like wildfire. The highline car would prosper in the Dynasty years, but for the designer cars, their days were as fleeting as the Jimmy Carter Presidency.