• 666 Ducati Diavel Diesel Models To Be Built

    The Ducati Diavel Diesel is a limited edition model being produced as a collaboration by the two Italian firms. A total of 666 motorcycles will be produced as a result, featuring what the press releases calls ‘a hyperkinteic dynamism of a post-apocalyptic, retro-futuristic world’. Sounds fancy.

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel

    To go with the release of the Ducati Diavel Diesel is a small collection of clothing to match from Diesel. On the way in April with the limited edition, will be a leather jacket, two T-shirts and a pair of Jogg Jeans. Which might be why the new bike was actually unveiled at Milan Men’s Fashion Week before heading to the Motor Bike Expo.

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel and Clothing

    Ducati Diavel Diesel Design:

    So it’s obvious that a motorcycle worked on by Ducati and an Italian clothing brand would need to look good. And the Diavel starts off with a hand-brushed stainless steel superstructure with visible welding and rivets. That approach is kept for the fuel tank cover, front cowl and passenger saddle cover.

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Tank Cover

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Tank Cover

    And the saddle itself looks rather lovely, made of real leather, and with a pyramid of three Ds to stand for Ducati, Diesel and Diavel. The mix of leather and visibile steel has that feel of vintage aeroplanes or ships. It’s definitely my favourite part of the bike.

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Saddle and Passenger Cowl

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Saddle and Passenger Cowl

    The black anodised lateral air intakes also ave visible welding, and have intake covers in red methacrylate (or bendy plastic as it’s also known). And some Diesel logos on the inside.

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Intake Cover

    2017 Ducati Diavel Diesel Intake Cover

    There’s a red theme with the LCD dashboard matching the Brembo front brake calipers and even the chain features five red links.

    But the exhaust goes for classic black Zircotec ceramic coating, with black silencers. Both the exhausts end cans and rear-view mirrors are machined from a solid block. You also get a black front mudguard with the DDD pyramid logo on it.

    To show it’s a limited edition, the Ducati Diavel Diesel comes with a numbered plate on the frame. And buyers will be happy to know they get a bike cover and rear stand included in the price – but will have to wait to pick up a matching Diesel T-shirt.

    Mechanically it’s a standard Ducati Diavel, with a 162hp Testastretta engine, with the Ducati Safety Pack (ABS and Traction Control). Which is the point where some people may have lost interest – but as a purely cosmetic limited edition, the Ducati Diavel Diesel has some nice touches to enjoy or possibly emulate.

    There’s no word on price, but we’re sure your local Ducati dealer can find out for you before the bike is released in April. And if you can’t stretch that far, you can always buy a T-shirt instead…

    Save

    Continue Reading…

  • IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes – Ridgemont Outfitters & Iron Resin

    The IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes are an interesting collaboration between two South California clothing companies. Ridgemont Outfitters has produced boots and shoes for a while, while Iron and Resin sell a range of clothing for motorcyclists, skaters, and surfers. So now they’ve teamed up to produce something that looks good and works well for bikers.

    IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes Ridgemont Outfitters and Iron Resin

    The IR X RM Motorcycle Shoes

    The result is the IR X RM Outback, which features genuine Horween full-grain leather sourced from their Chicago tannery. The main upper uses 2.5mm thick pieces in the construction, along with a super soft and durable oiled suede collar.

    In terms of practicality, the toe cap has been extended compared to normal Ridgemont boots to give protection from gear shift levers. And they’ve done the same on both boots to accomodate anyone with their shifter on the right side, for instance, vintage British bikes.

    On the bottom is a Vari-flex Bi Fit lasting board, which apparently has been stiffened from the heel to the middle of the foot in case you still have to deal with a kickstart. But the front is flexible enough for walking.

    There’s more protection with an internal nylon malleolus protector hidden in the suede collar to help look after your ankles, and a thermal plastic heel counter.

    IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoes Ridegmont Outfitters Iron Resin Diagram

    A photo of the IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes. With some words and lines on it

    So here’s where it gets even more interesting. The existing Ridgemont line are reasonably priced for both the UK and US. But the companies have decided to test the demand for the new IR X RM Outback motorcycle shoes by running a Kickstarter campaign.

    If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it’s actually not bike-related. It’s what’s known as a ‘crowdfunding’ site, where interested backers can invest in a future product in advance, and usually get something extra for their support. Each project has a limited time to reach a set goal, and if it succeeds, they get your money, make the products and ship them to you. If they don’t reach the goal, then you don’t pay.

    There is a slight caveat to that, as you’re investing in a project rather than pre-ordering a product, and some risks are involved. But basically, you can invest and get a pair of shoes in your choice of Black or Brown Horween leather for $165, which is 45% off the planned normal retail price of $295. And $200 gets you a pair of shoes, a T-shirt and a leather key chain. The estimated delivery is June 2017.

    If you interested, the Iron and Resin by Ridgemont Outback Riding Shoes Campaign aims to hit $60,000, and ends on Saturday, February 18th, 2017. Each of the discount packages is limited to the first 100 or 200 backers. The IR X RM Outback Motorcycle Shoe will be produced in US mens sizes 5-12 with half size increments, and also a size 13, in a medium width. T-Shirts are in sizes XS-XXL.

    Save

    Continue Reading…

  • SVRA HEACOCK CLASSIC: THE GOLD STANDARD!

    Mike Matune goes trackside at VIR to bring us highlights of the Gold Cup historic races.

    The SVRA wrapped up part of its season at the Heacock Class “Gold Cup historic races at VIRginia International Raceway. Optimum weather and VIR’s lush surroundings welcomed a bevy of seasoned racers. Spectators were treated to the sights and sounds of some great big-bore historic racecars. Olthoff Racing (www.olthoffracing.com) of NC showed up with three Superformance GT40s, top, including those of Harry McPherson (#2) and Jeff McKee.

    Curt Vogt brought his ‘70 Mustang, above. While it is a genuine Boss 302, it has no race history and is prepared to the current vintage rulebook as opposed to period standards. The engine puts out close to 600 horsepower and Vogt used every one of them as he manhandled the beast around VIR, frequently testing the limits of the track’s “friction circle”.

    Michael Lange’s Ford GT was built by Matech in Switzerland for GT3 competition in Europe. It served as an interesting contrast to the 1960s era technology of the Superformance cars. The car has approximately 500 horsepower from a Ford DOHC V8 backed by a Hewland sequential gearbox. Extensive use of carbon fiber keeps overall weight to about 2,300 pounds, allowing “adequate” performance. A surprising feature of the car is air conditioning!

    Tommy Riggins originally built this Falcon for the updated Trans-Am series. It never turned a wheel there and ended up competing in SCCA GT1. It features a fiberglass silhouette body favoring the 1963 Falcon (if you squint) on a modern tubular frame with tubular A-arms up front and a Ford nine-inch rear end suspended with a three-link system. Power comes from a 358-inch Rousch-Yates Ford V-8. Doug Richmond bought the car and freshened it for the vintage racing wars. VIR was its second outing under his ownership.

    It is hard to fault the lines on the Lola T70, Eric Broadley’s early attempt at a Group 7 racecar. Tom Shelton’s example was originally sold by the late Carl Haas, Lola’s U.S. importer to a privateer. It was campaigned in the USRRC and Can-Am with very modest success. As an early Mark I model, it had a narrow body updated to its present wide-body to accommodate hefty racing rubber during its extensive restoration.

    Dave Robert’s ‘56 Corvette could was converted into a racecar by Chicago area Motor Sport Research in the early 1960s. It would live a life over time involving multiple owners and drivers, each attaining some level of success. When technology eventually caught up with it, it became a vintage racer and continued its winning ways. Roberts has recently returned the car to its original configuration to best celebrate its historic significance.

    Ken Mennella is a long time vintage competitor in his “tribute” ‘63 Corvette Grand Sport roadster. Equipped with a 600 horsepower, 400-inch Chevy small-block and TexRacing Super T-10 transmission, the car has been wining in SVRA Groups 5 & 10 for more than ten years. His car is a faithful reproduction of what was envisioned as an American car to beat Shelby’s Cobra and the fastest European racing cars. Its promise was short lived when GM enforced its anti-racing position.

    Externally Robert Gee’s ‘69 Corvette has all the pieces associated with the L88 endurance racing package – fender flares, fixed headlights under clear plastic covers and a vented and bubbled hood. It’s small-block powered and prepared to B/Production vintage standards with original brakes and stamped steel a-arms.

    Bob Lima’s big-block powered Corvette was formerly raced by Dick Kantrud. Like Gee’s car, it features styling cues from the famed Corvette endurance racers of the late-1960s,-early 1970s. Power comes from a big block Chevy with Edelbrock aluminum heads and a plethora of racing hardware. The raised headlights with clear covers reduced weight and complexity by eliminating the retracting mechanism. They also allowed improved airflow.

    Corvette racecars come in all forms from nearly showroom stock to purpose-built racers like Jeff Bernatovich’s entry. Originally built by Irv Hoerr, it combines a tube frame and look-alike fiberglass body panels, sharing precious little with its production counterparts. Some racers like this approach because instead of removing extraneous street components and beefing up cars that were never intended to withstand racetrack punishment, they are starting with a clean slate and incorporating only that what they need for speed and safety.

     

    Continue Reading…

  • ‘17 FIAT 124 SPIDER: CLASSICAL GAS!

    It’s what happens when you take a Mazda Miata and add a little Italian brio, blogs Road Test Editor, Howard Walker.

    Ready for a little Italian conversation class? Start by repeating after me: Bella piccolo macchina. Now say it with feeling, and maybe with an Italian-style shrug of the shoulders and upturned palms. The literal translation is ‘beautiful little machine’. And it’s also exactly how you’d describe Fiat’s new magnifico 124 Spider two-seater. Bella indeed.

    You might have heard about this new 124. It was developed hand-in-hand with Mazda – yep, I scratched my head too when I first read that piece of news. Fiat borrowed the underbody structure of Mazda’s much-loved Miata MX-5 and wrapped it with its own bodyshell – every panel is unique to the 124 – and squeezed in its own piccolo engine. Just don’t call it a Fiata!

    Makes sense. These days, small, affordable, old-school sports cars – even with $25-grand starting stickers – sell about as well as electric typewriters and Filofax planners. So it was tough for Fiat to justify going it alone to build a new 124. Split the costs with Mazda, send the two cars down the same production line in Japan, and it becomes a lot more financially sound.

    As much as I love the little MX-5, I have more amore for this little Fiat. It has oodles of styling cues from Fiat’s classic 1970s 124 Spider – the twin power bulges on the hood, the distinctive front grille, rear fenders that look like Joan Collins’ shoulder-pads in Dynasty. It’s also around five inches longer than the Mazda, which somehow makes it feel less dainty, more substantial.

    And while it would have been so much easier for Fiat to stick with the MX-5’s trusty 2-0-liter SkyActive four-banger, full credit to them for wanting to use their own 1.4-liter Multiair turbo from the plucky Fiat 500 Abarth. Not that there’s much difference in power; 160-horsepower for the Fiat, 155 for the Mazda, though the 124 gets a 36 pound-foot hike in torque which kinda counters the Fiat’s extra 100 pounds in weight.

    Thankfully they stuck with the MX-5’s brilliant folding canvas top. To me, it’s still the benchmark for a manual roof. Flip a lever, flop the top back to stow on the rear deck, 10 seconds max. And you do it with one hand. While in the car.

    So what’s it like to drive? Bellissimo. The whole point of a two-seater like this is for it to be fun, and to put a big smile on your face. And the little Fiat delivers. The fizzy turbo engine provides a ton of thrust to get you off the line fast, to zip you past slower traffic, and to punch you out of a tight bend.

    Interestingly our tester came with a six-speed automatic rather than the knife-through-butter-precise six-speed stick. My initial reaction was ‘no way’. But for our arrow-straight, traffic-congested Florida roads, it makes perfect sense. The shifts are smooth, it’s eager to kickdown and there’s manual shifting if you feel the need.

    Fiat offers three 124 Spiders to choose from. The base Classica kicks off at $24,995. Then there’s the leather-trimmed Lusso I’ve been driving with the bigger 17-inch alloys and silver windshield surround. For performance fans, there’s the feistier 124 Abarth with tighter suspension that starts at $28,195.

    Why would anyone buy a 124 Spider? It’s a fun, affordable ‘toy’ that’s a blast to drive, especially top-down on a blue-sky Florida winter day. And if you remember with affection the old 124 Spider, this car will rekindle those nostalgic memories.

     

    Continue Reading…

  • Options for Buying a Used Car

    With new car sales reaching record levels, the used car market is currently awash with vehicles including some real gems but buying a used car is, as it always has been, fraught with danger and great care is needed to avoid the pitfalls. The world it seems is full of used cars and so, after deciding on the make and model, it is time to get down to the serious business of car buying. Some of the car buying options are as follows:

    Buying from a Dealer

    This is the traditional way of car buying that has been around for as long as cars themselves. The main advantages of this method of car purchase are that a reputable dealer will have been able to thoroughly check the condition of the car and remedied any defects. It will also have been subjected to a check regarding any outstanding finance or previous insurance history. Some warranty is almost always available and trade sales are also subject to some legal protection. An added convenience is that a dealer will usually accept a trade-in vehicle and will also probably be able to help arrange with finance if required. The main problem with this type of sale is that the car will invariably be offered at “full book price” which is dictated by the motor trade publications. Most car dealers are completely trustworthy but it is still important to buy only from an established dealer with a good reputation.

    For buyers in the Greater London area there are some new and interesting options in the ‘dealer’ category.  The well known hire company ‘Hertz’ is now selling their used cars in London from several locations and the proposition of buying from such a well known entity comes with obvious trust and quality benefits.

    Buying from a Private Advertisement

    Private car ads can be found all over the place from cards in shop windows to local papers and sites such as Autotrader. The main advantage of buying in this way is that, by cutting out the middle-man, both the buyer and seller can end up getting a better deal but, from the buyer’s point of view, any initial savings can easily be overshadowed by huge costs only coming to light later. Private sales are not covered by the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act and the seller has no responsibility for any future faults or defects. Buyers are also strongly advised to pay for an HPI check in the same way that dealers do. Failure to do so could result in the purchase of a car that had previously suffered accident damage or, in the case of outstanding finance, the car could even be repossessed.

    Buying from the Internet

    Here we are entering dangerous territory. Internet sales sites such as eBay have revolutionised the way that we buy and sell and many second-hand items are identical so a bargain is easy to spot. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about cars. Anyone buying a used car needs to thoroughly inspect it in person, drive it and carry out all of the aforementioned checks regarding its legitimacy. Only then is it possible to determine what a fair price would be. All too often, bids are placed in an eBay auction based on the seller’s description and a few, often not very good, photos. The results of such folly are fairly predictable with many disappointments and uncompleted sales. Some people have managed to find some exceptional bargains in this way but it must be said that this is due more to good luck than good judgement.

    Buying from Car Auctions

    Auctions can be fun and prices can be completely unpredictable. Car auctions have previously been regarded as being strictly for the motor trade often used to dispose of vehicles regarded as being unsuitable for normal retail sale. Some vehicles may have faults and require some repair work attracting buyers capable of carrying out such work. Prices are generally well below the normal forecourt prices meaning that there is often the potential to make a profit on subsequent re-sales. The smart auction buyer will carry out plenty of research about the lots offered in the sale and some auction houses have sales of “end of lease” vehicles including some from the “Motability” scheme. Some such vehicles can be found in “as new” condition with very low mileages and are well worth considering. However, even when buying a very good car at auction, there is very little comeback if things go wrong later. Even when an auction lot is described as coming with a warranty this bears little resemblance to to that offered by a car dealer and will normally only be valid for a period of one hour after the completion of the auction. This gives the purchaser the chance to quickly drive and thoroughly inspect the car before the sale becomes absolute.

    So used car buying is not for the faint hearted. Those with little experience or mechanical aptitude are best sticking with a reputable dealership. The more mechanically minded may prefer to seek out a bargain but whatever buying option is chosen it is always wise to remember the buying mantra Caveat Emptor … Let the buyer beware!

    Continue Reading…

dd