The Richard Petty Driving Experience’s American Muscle Car Challenge invites thrill seekers to get behind the wheel of iconic muscle cars to drive around the famed Las Vegas Motor Speedway at speeds up to 140 mph.
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A wide-ranging group of 145 cars from the Charlie Thomas collection will be sold at no reserve during Barrett-Jackson’s flagship auction, January 14-22 at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Elinore McMahan would have celebrated her wedding anniversary on Friday with her husband, David, a man she said could fix just about anything.
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The Dodge Charger arrived late in the 1966 model year although it was in the planning stages since the early ’60s with a prototype displayed throughout 1965 to test the public’s response to a new mid-sized personal luxury car. The Charger is on the Chrysler “B” platform with the Coronet, and they also shared the same chassis and front end sheet metal, but the Charger looked unlike anything else in the Dodge fleet. The new Charger sported an eye-catching fastback roofline, a departure from the ordinary for Dodge, but it did appear similar to the earlier released Rambler Marlin, on the outside.
It was luxuriously equipped with an entry level price of $3,100, substantially more than a Coronet and about $250 more than the Marlin with a similar fastback roofline. These two vehicles looked almost identical, and the press compared them with each other, with the late arrival surprise by Dodge being called a “nice looking Marlin.” The Rose Bowl Parade opened with a 1966 Charger, and Dodge introduced it as the new leader in the Dodge Rebellion that year. The 1966 and the ’67 were the only two years to have the triangular Fratzog emblem displayed on the grille as well as the trunk latch.
The ’66 Charger had hidden headlights, the first time a Chrysler product used this feature since the 1942 DeSoto. The lights rotate a full 180 degrees so whether open or closed, they looked like one continuous piece with the electric razor-style grille. The six-lamp, full-width taillight configuration began where the roofline ends and the name Charger had chromed lettering emblazoned across the lamps.
The sporty Charger was practical, and the upscale sedan has four bucket seats with a full-length center console. The buckets in the rear fold down and the console pad folded forward, offering the storage area of a station wagon. The driver had a simulated wood-grain steering wheel, 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer, a 6000 rpm tachometer, and a shift stick mounted in the console. The dash had a full complement of gauges for fuel, alternator, and temperature in all units, but air conditioning or a clock were only available as options. The four, round, chrome-edged dash pods for the Charger didn't have regular bulbs; they were electroluminescence ones.
The first Charger wasn’t marketed as a high-performance muscle car, but the base came with the 318-cubic-inch (5.2L) two-barrel, or you could option the 361-cubic-inch (5.9L) two-barrel, or the 383-cubic-inch (6.3L) with a four-barrel. The 426 (7.0L) street Hemi made its cameo appearance just a few months before the Dodge introduced the Charger, and the owner could order this engine in 1966.
There were 37,344 Chargers made in ’66, with only 468 of those powered by the 426 Hemi. The base transmission is the three-speed mounted on the column, but a four-speed standard transmission or the three-speed automatic options were in the console.
For 1967, the Charger signals are now in the fender and the easiest way to tell the two years appart on the outside. Inside, a regular-sized console replaced the full-length console, and if chosen, the center part doubled as a third front seat but the column shift was optional. Another new item for ’67 was a vinyl roof, and as for power, the 440 Magnum rounded out the options list. The sales dropped to 15,788 units in ’67 with only 27 of those equipped with the 426.
The 410 cu in (7.0 L) can produce 345 hp (257.266 kW) at 4600 rpm and would deliver a walloping 475 ft-lb (644.01 N-m) of torque to the wheels at 2600 RPM. This variation was initially only available for the short lived Edsel in the ’58 and ’59 model year, but the Mercury Parklane is powered by the 410 engine through 1967.
The standard equipment engine for the uptown Lincoln and Continental brands is the 430 cu in (7.4 L) from 1958 through ’65. This large engine could also be ordered optionally for the smaller but still plushy equipped Mercury from ’58 until the end of the 1960 model year. The 1959 and ’60 Thunderbird could also have the 430 engine, with the alternate moniker of the MEL engine “Bulldozer”, justly applied. The 430 has a stroke of 3.7” which it shares with the 410, but the 430 bore is larger at 4.30 inches (109.2 mm). Ford takes top spot again in 1958 with the Super Marauder option for the 430 which includes three two barrel carburetors to produce 400 hp (298. 27 kW) and is the first American made production engine to achieve such a high rating. The carburetors are three Holley 2300 models for the complete three year production run although the engines 10.51:1 compression ratio in ’58 is down to a lower 10.0:1 through the 1959 model year. The horse power ratings also decline from a high point of 400 hp (261 kW) in ’58 to a low of 315hp (235 kW) throughout 1960. A Lincoln Mark III could have been optioned with a Holley 4150 four barrel carb with a 590 flow rating.
Some 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark lll came brand new with the Holly 4150 4 barrel carburetor, list1405 rated at 590 flow rate. The 430 engine has new pistons for 1963 and the new 10.1:1 compression rating kicks the horse power rating of the three two barrels back up to 345 (257 kW) in the same year.
The hot rodding life of the 430 MEL engine is not as long as the TE it is a colorful one. Bertram Yachts made a name for themselves when the twin MEL 430’s powering their ship brought them first place in the first Miami to Nassau race. Johnny Beauchamp took a photo second place in his “T”bird 430-just a hair behind Lee Petty in the 1959 Daytona 500 race. Holman Moody raced a number of Thunderbirds with the 430 under the hood and with at least one of these cars surviving until today. The supercharged Lincoln powered dragster with Rodney Singer piloting and pit crew headed by Karol Miller won the NHRA Nationals top Eliminator class in 1959. The car makes history as the first supercharged winner in NHRA history. There still may be an unknown number of these unique modified race cars still in modestly good condition. The intake manifolds, pistons and heads are major items but still undergo frequent designing changes mean there are few mass produced aftermarket speed equipment items for the 430. The specialized, Edelbrock did make a 6x2 ported manifold plus a water cooled marine manifold called the M4 and Weiand manufacture a 8x2 manifold for drag applications as well. There are/were also oversized pistons for early drag racers with blown 430’s, including the “Forged True” brand made by the now defunct Jahns Pistons. The Forged true piston is precisely 13:1 and .150 inches over standard size and were guaranteed to help make the engine purr-form at high revs. There is also a number of unsubstantiated reports of other unique and interesting ideas, add-ons and adjustments to make your 430 turn in quicker times that have been tried over the years.
In 1966 the 430 is retired and replaced by the MEL 462 cu in (7.6 L) engine which has a longer stroke and a larger bore than its predecessor. The new version has a Carter AFB four barrel carburetor with hydraulic lifters and will produce 340 hp (254 kW) while developing as much as 485 lb-ft (658 N-m) of torque. This engine is factory equipment for the Lincoln Continental and will be replaced by the Ford 385 engine family at the end of 1968.
The Sunbeam Tiger, from Rootes Motors Inc. and containing a high-performance V8 engine, was in production from 1964 until 1967. The original Sunbeam Tiger, which held the world land speed record in 1925, inspired the name. The Sunbeam Alpine was in production since 1953, but this under-powered car couldn’t compete in the world market.
Ferrari was approached and asked about refurbishing the engine on the Alpine without a positive outcome. Carroll Shelby’s name came up, and he was approached to help with the redesigning of the Alpine. This was shortly after his similar successful British AC Cobra project. He agreed and found that the Ford 260 V8 was light enough and could fit into the engine compartment with relative ease. Shelby got permission from Brian Rootes’ manufacturing manager for an expenditure of $10,000 over the estimated eight-week design period. The company owner, Lord Rootes, knew nothing about the scheme.
The Ford engine is less than four inches longer than the Sunbeam Alpine’s original four-cylinder and has double the power. With the V8 installed, the Tiger is about 20 percent heavier than the Alpine, so they made some suspension changes before installing the V8. The engine width was a problem, and a rack and pinion system replaced the original steering mechanism, partially to provide more room, although the frame also needed some modification. The end product, however, was the V8 shoehorned into the Alpine without any changes to the body sheet metal on the outside.
The prototype, nicknamed the “white car,” was to the point where it was doing road tests and trial runs in the Los Angeles area by the end of April 1963. The outcome was more successful than expected. The Tiger, equipped with a four-speed standard, had as much raw power as the XKE Jaguar with a far smaller price tag to the consumer. To Shelby’s dismay, he didn’t take part in the manufacturing process, which was done in the U.K. although he did receive am undisclosed royalty on each unit sold.
Lord Rootes was a bit miffed when he found out about the project and insisted on testing the car himself so the “white car” Tiger prototype was shipped back to the U.K., and he liked it! Rootes was so impressed that he contacted Henry Ford II directly and placed an initial order for 3,000 engine/transmission combinations—the largest order that Ford Co. ever received from a manufacturer. Normally, from this point to production takes about three or four years, but Rootes Motor Inc. planned to unveil the Sunbeam Tiger at the 1964 New York Motor Show, only eight months away.
Jenson Manufacturing did previous work with the Rootes Motor Inc. and so took on the job. The Tiger was in full production by June 1964. Ford provided the engine, and Borg-Warner supplied the fully synchromesh four-speed manual transmission in the first few units until Ford could produce enough Mustang four-speeds to meet the demand. The bulk of the work was all completed by U.K.-based companies. Some of the production methods were a bit unorthodox, such as having to take a sledgehammer to the primed and painted fire wall to slide the engine into the compartment, but within three months Rootes managed to have 300 units a month leaving the assembly line, with most of them bound for the American market.
Caterham 7 or Caterham Seven, either moniker works, commenced operations in 1972 by purchasing the rights to build automobiles using the defunct Lotus Seven-designed frame. The company, based in the UK, has built bot kit cars as well as fully assembled units ever since; 2007 marked its fiftieth year in business and the fiftieth year of building the Caterham 7 sports car. The company is ready to protect its rights to exclusive use of the Lotus design although not long ago, it lost a court case in South Africa to a competitor called Birkin that was building the same design there.
© Toynutz | Dreamstime.com Lotus Caterham Super Seven
As stated, based on the Lotus Seven, the Caterham Seven is a two-seated lightweight sports car available to assemble in your garage or purchase ready to drive away from the manufacturer. The modern Caterham 7 bears no resemblance to the original Lotus Seven; in fact, there’s no part on the new Caterham version that’s the same. These new cars are all-new component designs blended with classical styling in the tradition of the original Lotus 7 as its founder, Colin Chapman, aspired to.
The man was a pilot in the Royal Air Force who, after studying structural engineering, went on to become a race driver and then one of the foremost engineers in motorsport history. His motto was to make it simple and keep it lightweight; his first Lotus Seven appeared in 1957 at the Earls Court Motor Show in London. This car was one of Chapman’s greatest achievements: a simply designed two-seated sports car, lightweight with superb handling and powered by a large engine.
The new owners have been refining and upgrading the original design ever since. The new owners’ first production was the Super, then the series 4, a reversion to a series 3 in 1974, and this remained the base for the next 18 years. After a short sojourn into a steel/ fiberglass body on the dead-end Caterham 4, the skin stayed with stressed aluminum panels. The frame has had some major revisions to accommodate a variety of engines and upgraded suspension features. The earliest models used a live rear axle sourced originally from Ford, and later from the mid-’80s, the live axle came from “Morris Ital de Dion” rear suspension with both geometries available until 2002 when the live axle was phased out entirely.
The Caterham now sports an adjustable double wishbone suspension incorporating a front anti-roll bar with a de dion rear axle located with an A-frame and Watt’s linkage. All the chassis remained based on the Series 3 design until 2000 when the Special Vehicle chassis (SV, or series V) came online offering an additional 110 mm (4.3 inches) of space to oblige a growing number of prospective clients who couldn’t fit into the driver’s seat, and this also adds 25 kg (55 pounds) to the curb weight. Now the Caterham is available with either frame to meet a very large proportion of any-sized customer needs for both available models, the Roadsport and the Superlight variations.
© Johnbraid | Dreamstime.com Lotus / Caterham 7 Cars
The 2004 model year saw the release of the Caterham CSR with the SV chassis a totally revised inboard front suspension incorporating push rods, while the rear discarded the de-dion axle in favor of a lighter and fully independent double-wishbone setup incorporating new coil/damper versions. The CV chassis received upgrades, and with the 2004 version, it had the torsional stiffness upgraded by 25 percent. Under the hood is a sourced Cosworth Duratec engine in either a basic 200 bhp (150 kW) version or the 260 bhp (194 kW) for more get up and go.