• OPEN ROADS, PART 1: COLORADO TO CALIFORNIA ON US ROUTE 50!

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1

    The Loneliest Road isn’t quite as lonely as it once was, but it should still be on the bucket list of every automobile enthusiast, blogs racer, TV personality, Stephen Cox.

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1I drove more than 1,200 miles this summer on America’s “Loneliest Road,” US Route 50 West, as part of  https://www.rallynorthamerica.com/ The event itself was remarkable, featuring incredible scenery, a family-like atmosphere with friendly people and a week of immersion in the automotive lifestyle. The rally started in Pueblo, Colorado and traveled west through Grand Junction to Salina, Utah, then continued across the Great Basin desert on Route 50 to Reno, Nevada.

    Now hear this. When one thinks of North American deserts, they are generally regarded as inferior and/or somewhat less threatening than legendary whoppers like the African Sahara. Having now crossed Death Valley, the American Mojave, Sonora and Great Basin deserts as well as spending a full month in the Sahara a few years back, I can say from personal experience that the desert you will cross on US Route 50 West is on par with any in the world.

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1It is just as dry and hot. Just as beautiful and deadly. And, in many places almost as remote. If your radiator lets go along the 120-mile stretch between Mt. Callaghan and Fallon Station in Nevada, you’re going to have a rough day. It’s like a scene from an apocalypse movie without the popcorn!

    On the bright side, Route 50 is a speed demon’s paradise. There’s not much traffic, which makes issuing citations a less profitable enterprise. And “confiscating” the cars of independent-minded motorists is challenging when the nearest tow truck is 100 miles away. I honestly don’t remember what the speed limit was because in over 1,000 miles of driving I never saw anyone abiding by it. The scenery is some of the most striking in all of North America. The route winds up into desert mountains, then back down into the dry valley below. You drive a hundred miles through the most desolate country imaginable and then repeat the process. You pass no one. The desert valleys are pancake flat and you can see 20-30 miles distant. Not a soul in sight. It’s just you and the rhythmic purr of your engine. At any speed you care to drive.

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1The towns are small and few. But occasionally you run across a real gem, like the Hot Spot drive-in restaurant in Salina, Utah or The Cup coffee shop in downtown Ely, Nevada. There are also many historic sites along this route, but two really stood out.

    The ruins of the Cold Springs Pony Express Station, below, were stunning. It was like going back in time. I’d tell you how to get there, but it’s not near anything. In twenty years of travel across fourteen countries, this is one of the most remote historic sites I’ve ever seen. Perhaps that’s why the stone ruins are still in near perfect condition after more than 150 years. Start in Reno, drive 90 miles west on Route 50 and look for a historic marker. It’s worth the trip. Bring drinking water, a hat and hiking shoes. You’ll walk nearly two miles into the desert to see this site, but you’ll be glad you did.

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1The second must-see site is the Museum of the Mountain West in Montrose, Colorado. Tens of thousands of old west artifacts are housed in historic buildings that were saved from the ravages of time and moved to Montrose where they now form a miniature western town from the late-1800s. The founder and his wife will greet you in the parking lot. Their passion for all things old west is contagious. The museum is only a few minutes detour from Route 50 and very rewarding.

    OPEN ROADS, PART 1Save up your pennies and prepare your favorite sports car. The thousand-mile trek across US Route 50 West is a bucket list experience for any motoring enthusiast.

    Stephen Cox: Driver, FIA EGT Championship & Super Cup Stock Car Series, CEO, Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Co-host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN.

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  • GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

    Our man on the Left Coast spends some time in front of the camera in his garage while Cindy Meitle profiles him for Garage Style magazine.

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!I first met Jim Palam more than a half-century ago when he was a kid on the pit crew of the legendary “Astoria Chas” Snyder’s ‘67 Corvette powered by an L88 engine, below. The car was KO-MOTION, it was built at Motion Performance, Baldwin, NY, raced by Chas, and I was Editor of Hi-Performance CARS magazine. CARS was one of the Corvette’s sponsors. Chas became a friend.

    Everything changed in 1968 when 19-year-old Charlie Snyder lost his life in Vietnam, while serving with the First Cavalry. KO-MOTION went on to win the AHRA A/Corvette World Record at 129 mph in 11.04 seconds. The record was set in Chas’ name by his old team, supported by Motion Performance and still sponsored by CARS.

    In 2008 Jim and I met at 303 Gallery in New York City for the opening on my daughter Collier Schorr’s show, THERE I WAS, about Charlie’s short life and his iconic KO-MOTION. It was also the subject of a book – THERE I WAS – written by Collier. It was great seeing Jim again, surrounded by my daughter’s artwork and memorabilia from Charlie’s family and from Glen Spielberg, owner of the legendary KO-MOTION.

    THERE I WASKO-MOTION & crew at New York National in 1967. Jim Palam is wearing the Navy Blue shirt.

    GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!For the last few years Jim, owner and Creative Director, Jim Palam & Partners in Solvang, CA, has been a valued contributor to CarGuyChronicles. He’s also responsible for the blog’s home page design. Congrats, my friend!

    For more information about Jim Palam & Partners, please visit https://www.jimpalam.com/

    Check out Garage Style magazine, https://www.garagestylemagazine.com/

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  • ’18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!

    Read this carefully – here’s a modern muscle car with a 5-liter V-8 pumping out 460 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, you can shift for yourself, blogs Dan Scanlan.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!'18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!Yes, a 6-speed manual transmission. In an all-black ’18 Mustang GT with the Performance Package that gives it an extra 25 ponies. Oh yeah, there’s active exhaust that tunes the sound from mild to deep-throated, echoed-off-the-walls wild, that’s great to hear from its red leather Recaro bucket seats.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had American iron, or any sports car worth its salt, with a manual gearbox. But our Mustang tester, with 5,400 miles, had a revised engine – new dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure port fuel injection, revised cylinder head, additional knock sensors, and new crankshaft and connecting rod bearings. The 6-speed manual has a twin-disc clutch and dual-mass flywheel. And there’s a strut bar spanning the engine from shock tower to shock tower.

    So, set the drivetrain to “Normal,” and the Mustang GT launched cleanly with a hint of wheelspin to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds – quick. The twin-disc clutch pedal had great bite where it should, the stumpy lever precise and fairly short throw in action. The alloy-clad brake and gas pedals are so nicely aligned I could blip the throttle with the right side of my foot while braking.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!To compare, the 3,712-pound. Mustang convertible I tested recently with 2.3 liter EcoBoost four (310 horsepower with 320 pound-feet of torque) took 6.6 seconds to 60 with its 6-speed automatic. A ‘16 GT I tested with a 435-horsepower 5-liter V-8 hit 60-mph in 4.1 seconds with launch control. FYI – Mustang also offers a 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower.

    Back in black, I set drivetrain to “Race,” which allowed wheelspin at launch, and our fastback hit 60 mph in 4 seconds, and 100 mph in 11.3 seconds, rear rubber hissing in the 1-2 shift. The GT has launch control, so I set an rpm limit, then dumped the clutch and let traction control handle wheelspin. The adjustable exhaust, set to “Sport,” bellowed off walls nearby – it’s addictive as the car just hooked and launched clean after time. The GT also has Line Lock, which locks front brakes so you can spin the rears. Use both and we got a very satisfying launch with some short but sweet black stripes behind us, the Mustang staying straight and true as we roared to the horizon. We averaged 17-mpg on premium.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!Going straight is fine, but how’s it handle? The GT has 4-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars, plus optional MagneRide and some very sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S summer tires aided by a Torsen limited-slip differential. Active damping can be fine-tuned for “Normal” or “Sport,” while sensors adjust the ride and handling. Set to Normal, the ride was firm but fairly forgiving over bumps. Set to Sport, – my favorite – ride motions were quickly but nicely handled, bumps quick to fade after a firm but buffered rebound.

    The result was a 3,700-pound fastback that’s light on its feet but well planted. It loved curves with little body roll and plenty of driver involvement, letting me push harder as the limited-slip differential helped keep the tail in line. Switch to Sport and we could get the tail to work under throttle on curves, allowing a pinch of throttle oversteer before the safety stuff kicked in. I’d snap around a corner and apply some throttle and the GT would break its tail for a second, then counter-steer and throttle play would catch it – no stability control needed with the sticky Michelins. Really pushed on the skidpad, some understeer showed, but a touch of throttle would let the rears work.

    Brembo six-piston calipers visible inside those gloss black alloy wheel’s spokes offered quick bite and a progressive pedal as the fastback stopped short and straight with minimal nose dive. Plus, those with the manual and hills will like a two-second hill-holder system when going from brake, to gas and clutch.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!As the first and longest-living (54 years) Ponycar, our sixth-generation model lives on its 2014 platform with some simple, but leaner, meaner looks on top of the traditional long nose/short tail design. The 2018 grille’s upper edge sticks out further and lower, black mesh deep inside with twin side lines to break up the menacing maw. The longer hood gets a subtle center spine and two fake vents. The bumper is slimmer, with a more aggressive lower GT air dam with side wings, fog lights moved to corner slits. The flanks remain untouched, flared fenders neatly framing new-for-2018 P255/40 front/P275/40 rear 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport rubber on gloss black wheels. There’s prominent “5.0” badges on front fenders, a wide flared lower sill between.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!The fastback flows to a new center-mounted rear wing, loved by Mustang fans. Under that, what a Mustang-loving friend called “boomerang” taillights, the 2018 freshening curving their triple-bars. Quad pipes for the GT are in an aero panel with flared wings at outer edges.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!Inside, the classic dashboard of past Mustangs remains, black faux leather with red stitching atop dual cowls, plus more on doors and center console that looked great and softened many hard plastic pieces. The bolstered red leather Recaro bucket seats were supportive without need for power adjustments, the perfect driving position easy to set.

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!'18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!The GT had a button to access acceleration timer, brake performance, Line Lock, lap timer and active exhaust. With a new, customizable 12-inch LCD digital instrument display, you can display an 8,000-rpm tach and 160-mph speedometer in multiple layouts, or a full strip tach with digital rpm and speed for Dragstrip mode, red stripes at 7,000-rpm so you see how close you are to redline. In some modes, LED strips race toward each other at the display’s top to show when to upshift.

    New and appreciated by neighbors are redesigned exhaust valves that can be set for quiet, normal, sport or track sound. Dashboard center gets oil pressure and vacuum gauges between air vents. The 12-speaker Shaker audio system with big sub-woofer in the trunk vibrates the rear-view mirror with good sound. That said, plastic controls for stereo and dual-zone climate control look and feel a bit cheap. The rear seats are barely usable, but flip to enlarge a usable trunk that loses space to that subwoofer.

    The base Mustang fastback with 2.3-liter EcoBoost four with 310-horsepower starts at $25,680 and goes all the way to the 526-horsepower Shelby GT350 at $57,000. Our GT’s base price was $39,095. The $3,995 GT Performance Package had Michelin rubber, black alloy wheels, 3.73 Torsen rear axle and rear wing; $2,200 premium trim added navigation and stitched interior trim; $1,595 was for the Recaro bucket seats; $1,495 for adaptive cruise control; $1,695 for MagneRide suspension, plus $895 Shaker speaker system, $895 active exhaust and $395 security system – in total, $52,260, closing in on GT350.

    Make mine black. And don’t forget, a Performance Package 2 is coming that adds more to this fun!

    Words & Photos: Dan Scanlan

    '18 MUSTANG GT TEST: PREMIUM W/PERFORMANCE!For more information about the latest Mustangs, please visit  https://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/2018/models/

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  • Ice cool I-Pace leads Jaguar’s electric charge

    Jaguar’s first all-electric performance car has been undergoing testing in Arctic conditions at -40°C. The I-Pace SUV and its all-wheel drive system tamed sub-zero conditions at Jaguar Land Rover’s cold weather test facility in Arjeplog, Sweden. Due to receive its global premiere on March 6 at the Geneva Motor Show, Jaguar claims the I-Pace will …

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  • JAGUAR XKE: HOT CATS AT AMELIA ISLAND!

    JAGUAR XKE: HOT CATS AT AMELIA ISLAND!

    Sixty years ago a legend was born in secrecy. The first Jaguar XKE prototype, a roadster, was assigned an official chassis number: 850001. In March, an incredible field of XKEs will be showcased at one of America’s premier Concours.

    JAGUAR XKE: HOT CATS AT AMELIA ISLAND!On March 11, 2018 the 23rd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will celebrate and honor the British icon that changed the world of sports cars forever: JAGUAR XKE: HOT CATS AT AMELIA ISLAND! A full class of Jaguar XKEs will take to “The Amelia’s” field nearly six decades after the XKE’s glamorous public debut by Jaguar founder and Chairman Sir William Lyons at the Hotel du Parc des Eaux-Vives on Lake Geneva. The XKE is a pure blood descendant of Jaguar’s three-time Le Mans winner, the legendary D-Type. The potent D-Type’s design DNA flows through the svelte contours of the XKE courtesy of Malcolm Sayer, the aerodynamicist who also drew the sublime shapes of the Le Mans-winning C and D-Types. Even today, the E-Type’s silhouette, born in the 180 mph cauldron of Le Mans during the Fifties, looks fresh and modern.

    “The XKE isn’t simply one of the greatest car designs of the 20th century, it’s one of the greatest designs of all time,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “The XKE is so beautiful and perfectly proportioned that Jaguar’s American ad agency simply put pictures of a red coupe and roadster on a white background in their magazine ads with the tag line ‘This is the new Jaguar XK-E!’. The shape sold the car. No gimmicks, no slogans, just that perfect XKE shape.”

    For more information about the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance scheduled for March 9-11, 2018, please visit https://www.ameliaconcours.org/

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