Tag Archives: car shows

1935 Bugatti Type 57S Compétition Coupé Aerolithe

What a treat today has been!  Drove to the High Museum of Art Atlanta to see the Dream Cars collection exhibition, which will continue until September 7, 2014.  If you get a chance to make the drive, I highly recommend it.  A total of seventeen concept cars are on display each magnificent except for two turds.  Both German – one, a BMW and the second a Porsche.  Oh well, can’t have it all I suppose.

So I’ll start by listing what I thought was the most impressive in the collection:  a 1935 Type 57S Compétition Coupé Aerolithe.  The finish of this car is a shade of very light green metallic that exhibits properties akin to a chameleon:  one moment it looked light green, and the next it became almost silver.  And yes, this is the Bugatti with the exposed backbone assembled with hundreds of rivets.  Feast your eyes…


The front of the car displays an immense amount of exceptionally perfect chrome.  The grill has what appears to be thermostatically controlled vertical blade arrangement allowing the correct amount of cool air to keep the engine from overheating.  The headlights were particularly impressive:  everything was crystal-clear except for the bulbs: they were yellow.  The side vents on the hood were also flawless and the latches holding the sides were magnificent.

IMG_2312Moving right along, notice the doors.  What a door!  Check out how high the door sills are and the teardrop design of the side glass window.  The occupant’s shoulder would be even with the lower edge of the window – how awesome is that?  Finally as if it were not obvious enough, those are suicide doors held in place by two delicately made door hinges.  To make something look this simple and elegant takes an obscene amount of knowledge, craftsmanship and time.

IMG_2319Here is a closeup of the rear wheel cover.  The cover has five fasteners that when turned in the correct direction allow the cover to be removed.  Pay close attention to the lower right corner where the wheel cover meets the rear curve of the fender.  The amount of detail is immense.  The cover has a compound curve – it boggles the mind how this the master craftsman in charge hand-formed this from a sheet of metal using his hands, an English Wheel, perhaps a planishing hammer…  And it goes without saying, but look at all those rivets holding the fender to the rest of the body.

IMG_2320The tail of this Bugatti is once again an amazing work of art.  Here we see the exposed backbone with all those alternating rivets.  The spare wheel must be under that large round cover.  Notice how perfect the sweeping seam on the fender meets the backbone in the middle.  Finally, below the roll-pan are four very tastefully placed indicators.  They are just neatly tucked away as to not distract the eye from the flowing curve of the back of this work of art.  Amazing don’t you think?

IMG_2323Here you see the four lights I mentioned before, but wait…  Look at that simple but elegant chromed release handle for the boot cover.  It appears to be designed to be lifted and then pulled back where it would rest on a detent.  Then the entire back cover would open.

IMG_2325This picture shows the exposed backbone actually goes under the car for a certain distance.  I was unable to get a closer look but I think there are even more surprises under all the shiny bodywork. If you look close enough towards the left, you see that small tapered point on the wheel cover that shows just how high the level of detail exists on this coachwork.

IMG_2326Here are the back windows.  Unfortunately the light was not good enough to show the interior, but from this vantage point I could actually see all the instrumentation as well as the dash and steering wheel.

IMG_2322I realize this is not exactly the best of photos, but look at how the door extends into the roof area of the car.  I suppose this would have aided the occupant when entering/exiting the inside of the car.  Nothing seems left to chance here.  Exceptional, don’t you think?


IMG_2302I took the two pictures above, to highlight something particular about this car.  The entire body is a flow of curves.  The long swooping fenders, the compound curve of the rear wheel cover, the roof, the curves on the rear deck…  Except for one thing…  Look at the extreme sharp edge on the engine cover as it meets the firewall.  Then think when this was all formed:  the mid 1930’s.  This is not a car – this is art.

Finally, I’ll just close with a few more pictures of this exceptional rolling masterpiece.

IMG_2294IMG_2298IMG_2295Stay tuned…  I took many pictures of the rest of the cars in the collection.  I’ll try to write about them in the next few posts


Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner

Fifty some years ago, the Ford Motor Company decided to build the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner.  This beauty had a fully retractable hard top (eat your heart out BMW!) that folded itself in a very complicated way into the trunk.

Well, turns out tonight I was watching the six o’clock local news and they ran a story on the retractable top Fairlane.  The story talked about how the International Ford Retractable Club had its 2013 National Convention here in Greenville, South Carolina.  As expected, the inept reporter from Channel 4’s staff conveniently talked about everything but where the cars were on display.  A little Googling solved the problem:  the cars were on display at the local Hilton.

Since today was the last day of the meet, I decided to jump in the S2K and head out to the Hilton’s parking lot.  Sure enough, a few of these timeless beauties were still on display.  Oh man!  What a treat.  I took a few photos which I have added to the following gallery.  If you are on my mailing list you might want to visit the site:  the photo gallery does not transfer to the email.  Take a look and make sure to click on the photos – they will open to their full size!

Some priceless gems, don’t you think?  The turquoise 1959 is very impressive, with the entire top mechanism in full display.  The trailer queens were equally amazing.  Several others were safely stowed in fully covered trailers.  Some parting notes:

  • I thought the “Air Conditioned by Ford Select Aire” emblem was pretty awesome.  Most intriguing, the emblem only appeared on the passenger’s side.
  • How about the “Continental” kit affixed to the rear of the car with the spare tire mount.  I bet it took some getting used to the fact that an extra 2 or 3 feet worth of chrome is behind the trunk.
  • The paint colors on these cars is just so awesome!  Just imagine what these beauties looked like back in the day with their bright paintwork and gleaming chrome.
  • Fender skirts…  Chrome…  Body colour dashes…  Fender Fins…  All centerfolds in their own right – classic automotive porn at its finest!

2013 Walter Mitty Paddock at Road Atlanta

This past Friday, I attended the 2013 Walter Mitty at Road Atlanta.  The weather was just perfect (although Saturday and Sunday is another story) and the cars were just amazing.  As usual, the first thing to do after arriving is to go through the paddock and see all the awesome cars.


The picture above shows a very hot Mini owned by John Finger.  John comes by the shop from time to time, and last summer he brought the mini to show it to us.  He offered to take me out for a short spin in it and I can say this car is seriously fast.  Matter of fact, it is scary fast.  :mrgreen:  All the power comes from a front mounted, twin-rotor Mazda rotary engine.  This is a seriously fast car and it is for sale.

I took a huge number of photos.  The following gallery (for those of you on the mailing list, it might not show up so you might want to fire up the browser and see them the old-fashioned way) shows some of the more significant machines in the paddock.  I wish I had more, but the camera operator (that would be me) was shooting in full RAW format and I had the wrong memory chip in.  I’ll have more pictures of the action, but I need to sift through them and pick the best.  I promise I’ll have another photo gallery soon.  In the meantime, enjoy…

If you have never been to the Mitty, you need to go.  Friday is the best day – the crowd is small and you can walk up to the cars in the paddock and take your time looking at them.  There is plenty of action on the track too, and there are some excellent vantage points throughout Road Atlanta.  It is very much worth the trip.


Carolina British Car Classics


The British Car Club Midlands Centre (Columbia, SC) hosts the Carolina British Car Classics show.  This year, the Carolina British Car Classics show was held at the Columbia Speedway in Cayce, SC.  I thought it would be nice to register for the show and see what might turn out.

There were two really nice TR8’s.  One in particular was a late production version with port fuel injection.  Several nice TR3’s too.

There was a very unusual Jaguar XJ6 coupé at the show.  Having owned an 84 XJ6 or many years gave me a good appreciation for these cars and I have always thought the coupé is special.  It is basically the four door car with much larger doors and the distinctive vinyl roof.  My XJ6 had an LT1 from an Impala SS in it; imagine one of these with an LSx! :mrgreen:


This car show had a gaggle of Sunbeam Alpine cars on display.  Here is a sample of the nicer ones: some with hard tops, some with Ford V6’s, some with the stock engine but all with nice paint jobs.

This pair is of interest.  No, these Sunbeams did not have removable hardtops; these were coupés:

And finally, the Austin Healey…  There were some very nice ones, particularly a 100M.  There were several 3000’s that were also very impressive.

In summary the show was fun.  Having bowtie6 on the open road, doing 75-80 mph is just a delight.  In fifth gear, at 80 mph the revs were just a tad under 3,000 – no worries!  Yes, we had the usual “thumb’s up” from several motorists as well as the “I got you on my cell phone camera” as one goes down the road.  On the way home, a group of 8 leather-clad Harley riders passed me and several gave me the prized “nod” of approval.

The show was pretty cool.  It was a nice gathering of folks, some with really nice cars while others had, some questionable work done.  There were your usual wiring harness nightmares as well as “taking the cheap and easy way out” solutions to problems.  Then there was a poor Sunbeam whose owner hadn’t figured out the secret of using washers between a nut, a bracket and a bolt head.  In that case, the poor bracket holding the alternator tight ended up with gauge marks all over it.  I suppose the owner of the car can’t figure out why the belt tension won’t stay constant…

In closing, I find it very interesting to take my folding chair and park myself a car or two away from mine so I can do some “people watching”.  It is amazing to see how many experts show up, out of the woodwork.  Equally fun is to take one’s “owner badge” off, take a leisurely walk and pretend to go full-retard when it comes to classic cars.  You just never know what kind of answers and/or inaccuracies you will hear from certain owners.  Some will be very informative (i.e.: the owner of the AH 100M knew his stuff), some others will be pricks (oh yes, ran into one of these at the Amelia Island Concours) and then you will have those who just make shit up right there on the spot and act like they have a copy of Google and Wikipeadia in their heads (they are my favorite, especially when you trip them up!).

But it’s all good – that is part of the fun when going to car shows!


1955 Hudson Italia Prototype

The current issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine (May 2013) has a very interesting article about the restoration of a 1955 Hudson Italia.  I’ll spare all the details about the history of the Italia (click here for that), but basically this car consisted of a Hudson Jet clad with very special superleggera bodywork built by Carozzeria Touring in Milan.  What makes this car so rare the fact that the entire production run consisted of only 26 units.  There was also a 4-door prototype built, but wait…  There is more…

The article in the magazine made mention that there was one prototype built.  Indeed – some time ago, I took these pictures of it at the owner’s garage.  It took me a little time to find the pictures and since this is such a special car, I decided to post them today.

Hudson Italia Prototype

Right off the bat, you can see a couple of things that differentiate this from the “production” model.  The prototype’s grill has a different pattern from the production version.  In addition – as you can see here – the prototype is missing the “HUDSON” lettering across the nose of the car.

Want proof this is the prototype?  A closer look at the center of the grille and you see this special emblem:

Hudson Italia Prototype Grille Badge

Here is another view of the grill this time with the “HUDSON” emblem on the bumper.  This emblem did make it to the production version.

Hudson Italia Prototype Grille Badge

Stepping back a little, the following picture shows just how intricate the front bumper is.  The article in the magazine talked about how painstaking it was to restore the bumpers on the featured car.  Given this is the prototype and it is nearly 60 years old, the chrome is remarkably well-preserved…

Hudson Italia Prototype Front Bumper

Moving back towards the back of the car, this is what the back and interior look like:

Hudson Italia Prototype Door

Hudson Italia Prototype Interior

The red and cream leather interior as well as the carpet don’t look as good as the chrome – they show some wear, but given this is the original prototype it would be really bad (in my opinion) to “restore”.  I suppose to each his own, but this car is just to valuable.

Another difference from the production model is the rear tail light design.  This is what the prototype looks like:

Hudson Italia Prototype Tail Lights

The three “tubes” house the rear tail lights.  In the production model, these three tubes are equal in length – here as you can see, the middle tube is shorter.

I remember when I saw the Italia up close, if you looked hard enough you could see that this car had been “hand-made”.  For example, on the nose of the car are two “nostrils” above the headlights and they were not exactly 100% identical.  I also thought the interior was really special indeed – it looked so “modern”!  Finally, I did not get a chance to take a picture of it but the steering wheel center button read “Alfa Romeo” – I guess that was a extra spare steering wheel at Carozzeria Touring that just happen to make it to the prototype Italia.

Hudson Italia Superleggera Hood Emblem

This car has also been at Amelia Island Concurs D’Elegance back in 2010.  I remember the owner had told me about that, and sure enough…  Amazing thing, Google!  I found the following photos (from supercars.net) and the last one shows that Alfa Romeo steering wheel.