• WILD-EYED & REVVED-UP: RODS AND ROSES!

    It’s become a tradition: The High Noon Engine Rev at the Rods & Roses Car Show in Carpinteria, CA. The show celebrated its 20 Anniversary on July 1st – and the roar of the engines this year was a loud salute to local automotive legend, Andy Granetelli.

    There were over 150 wicked, wonderful and wild-eyed customs, classics and musclecars lining Linden Avenue, Carpinteria’s main thoroughfare that delivers you to the “World’s Safest Beach” on the Pacific. Proceeds from this always-enjoyable show support local non-profits such as Future Farmers of America and Carpinteria Education Foundation. Our Jim Palam captured the spunk and spirit of this July 4th weekend event.The only thing thorny about Leonard Login’s ’23 Ford “C” Cab Custom, above, is the complimentary Participant Rose catching a stare from wild eyes on the air scoop covers.

    If you had a Fury fixation in 1958 then you needed to drop $3,892 to grab the title to this full-option Plymouth Fury. This one features an optional 350/305 dual-quad engine and push-button automatic. Bill Craffey proudly owns this high-fin beauty, left.

    It’s official: Chicks dig Porsches! Bill Pitruzzelli’s ‘56 Porsche Carrera GT attracts a bevy of young show goers.

    If there’s a car show anywhere near Michael Hammer’s home base in Montecito, you can bet that he’ll be there with a big grin and some eye-poppin’ treats from his impressive car collection – like this super-slammed and sexy ’51 Chevy Lead Sled.

    One of the High-Noon noisemakers was this Chip Foose designed, Jordan Quintal built F-100 Custom from the Petersen Museum Collection. That’s a towering cast-iron 502-cube V8 sporting a blower with “F-this” badging!

    Purple People Pleaser!. Rob Hansen’s plum-perfect ‘70 Dodge Challenger R/T sits ready to pounce at the intersection of Sleek and Sexy.

    Seeing Double: The folks at Mathon Engineering in New Jersey like doubling-up on their project bets. ’23 Ford T-Bucket – another Petersen Museum car – has at its thumpin’ heart a double-Chevy 350-inch motor mash-up.

    Ron Lawrence is a retired LA County firefighter who apparently got tired of polishing things. So it’s no surprise that this car guy’s pride and joy is this perfectly weathered and unpolished ‘30 Model A Ford roadster.

    How to Drive to Work: This beautiful and original (one respray since new) ‘68 Shelby GT350 is a daily driver for a Santa Barbara technology executive. What, no Tesla?

    Heading out of the show I spotted this ‘Work in Progress’ Low Rider parked on a side street. POTUS might call this frugal custom a “Bad Hombre.” But come on, those frenched antennas are a sure sign of style and sophistication. Pass the Grey Poupon, s’il vous plait!

    Words & photos: Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

    For more information about Rods And Roses, please visit https://rodsandroses.wordpress.com/

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  • QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING: BEST OF THE BEST!

    Cool temperatures fail to lower motorcycle fever at the Quail and keep Jim Palam from delivering this photo report.

    Low temperatures, brisk winds and overcast skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of over 3,000 visitors to the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 6 at the beautiful Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, CA.

    Gordon McCall, motorsports director for the Quail Lodge, was once again the perfect ringleader for this 9th Annual gathering. It featured over 300 rare and historic bikes, as well as a generous sampling of custom and modified rides from some of the rising stars in the motorcycle enthusiast’s expanding universe. GEICO Motorcycles presented the event.

    Jim Palam, our man (and Triumph rider) on the West Coast was up and out early to capture the action. The show was so good that he forgot to eat his complimentary gourmet lunch – but he did take a big bite of The Gathering’s tasty essence – yours now to enjoy.

    Taking the Design and Style Award was Simon Waterfall’s super-clean and serious ‘75 Moto Guzzi 850T, Top, rebadged as Supernaturale. Designed and built by Hugo Eccler of Untitled Motorcycles of San Francisco (pictured) the bike features a custom aluminum tank, advanced electronics and fingertip controls. Its overall brushed satin finish will intentionally age gracefully, developing an individualized patina from the way the rider handles the bike.

    What do you do if you have a beautiful old Triumph race tank? If you’re Californian Bryan Thompson you build the quintessential ‘58 Triumph Tiger from ground up, around the tank. So good is this build that this Black Beauty has been racking up a bounty of awards – including First Place in the Quail’s Custom/Modified category. Well-done Bryan!

    Chris Carter has become almost as famous as the spectacular motorcycles in his amazing All Things Two Wheels collection. So thanks Chris for bringing your gorgeous ‘14 Jefferson Board Track Racer to The Gathering. It took 2nd Place in the American category.

    Considered one of the most innovative motorcycles ever created, only 10 hand-crafted Britten V1000 superbikes were ever built. This Britten, #10, resides in the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, just a few blocks from my home. It belongs to the museum’s owner Virgil Elings and he proudly displayed it at The Gathering. Virgil’s son Jeff rode it up onto the winner’s ramp to accept the Significance in Racing Award.

    I met Richard Mitchell as he was rolling this meticulously customized BSA A65 Thunderbolt up to the Entrant’s Window late Friday afternoon. When Richard is not designing for Tesla, his passion is motorcycles. His beautiful creation went on to win 2nd Place in the Custom/Modified category.

    Ole #38 didn’t look like much when from a distance when I spotted owner Gary Landeen trying to kick-start her for a bevy of patient judges. On what was surely his last kick she fired up – and like the menacing roar of a Coliseum lion she fired up the crowd as well! This bike is the legendary Ed “Iron Man” Kretz’s Pre-War Big Base Indian Scout FDB 381 that competed successfully on a national level from 1941 through 1967. What a thrill to see and hear #38 roar at The Gathering!

    Two For The Road! If you’re a Motorhead you find beauty in design, function and performance. So forgive me if my heart beats a little faster when I take in the sexy symmetry of John Stein’s ‘70 Twin Motor BSA drag bike – bared for all to see in the Competition On Road Class.

    The 750 Sport was essentially a racier version of Ducati’s first big V-Twin, the 750GT. Its Goldenrod Yellow and black paint scheme and lean, aggressive styling made this Italian beauty really stand out from the crowd. Robert Jordon owns this stunning and pristine example.

    Wake Me Up Before You Goggo! The Hans Glas GMBH Company of Germany produced the Goggo Motorscooter in the 1950s. They were dependable and offered better performance than their Italian counterparts. They were however a bit pricier and few ever made it to the States. Harley and Deb Welch brought this nifty ‘55 Goggo 150 to The Gathering.

    And now for something different: The ‘76 Hercules W2000. Powered by an air-cooled, single-rotor Sachs-designed Wankel engine, it was manufactured in Germany. Innovative for sure, but criticized for its high cost, insufficient ground clearance and low performance. And of course, now, in high-demand by collectors! Congratulations to Stephan Haddad for the bike’s 2nd Place win in the Other European category.

    Words & photos by Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

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  • ELECTRIC PACESETTER: JAGUAR UNLEASHES LATEST CAT!

    Jaguar gives us a sneak-peak into its future. And it’s electric, blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker.

    The undisputed star of this week’s Los Angeles auto show is an all-new, all-electric performance crossover from Jaguar, called I-Pace.

    While its official title is I-Pace Concept, this sleek, head-turning five-seater is essentially the same car that will hit the streets in a couple of years, priced – and we’re guessing here – from around $60,000.

    Despite the badge and its five seats, this new I-Pace shares zip, zero, nada with Jaguar’s recently launched F-Pace SUV. The entire car has been developed from a clean sheet of paper, using some very cool battery technology and featuring dramatic, so-called “cab-forward” styling.

    What Jaguar’s electrification gurus have done is develop in-house a battery pack featuring 36 liquid-cooled lithium-ion cells. These provide the juice to amp-up two 200-horsepower electric motors – one for each axle – making the I-Pace an all-wheel driver.

    With a total output of 400 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque – pretty much the same torque as Jag’s insanely-rapid F-Type SVR sports car – the I-Pace should be super-quick. How quick? Jaguar talks of 0-to-60 mph sprinting in just 4.0 seconds. That’s fast.

    How far will it go on a single charge? Jaguar talks about a range of around 220 miles, though plug it into a public 50kW DC charging outlet and you’ll get a 80 percent charge in 90 minutes and a full 100 percent charge in just over two hours.

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  • Tesla Model S – Driven

    It’s fair to say our first drive of the Tesla Model S is not entirely going to plan. Fellow scribe Phil Huff is peering through the rear window with a slightly quizzical expression. “You’ve broken it,” he jokes.

    Tesla Model S85

    Tesla Model S85

    It later transpires this assessment might not be so far from the truth. Right now, however, we’re locked outside what could well be the future of motoring, stranded at our photo location just above the Milbrook Hill Route (famously the road on which 007 totalled his Aston Martin in Casino Royale). There are worse places to be marooned, admittedly, and it provides a good opportunity to reflect on what we have gleaned about the car so far.

    The Model S has been around for a couple of years now, but recent months have seen a growing number taking to our roads. It’s a discretely handsome sports saloon with a generous luggage capacity and enough room to seat five adults. There’s even the option of two additional rear-facing seats in the boot, should you need them. Outwardly, there are almost no clues to the fact that this is an all-electric vehicle, but as such it’s exempt from road tax and the Congestion Charge. Perhaps more importantly, it also falls into the lowest bracket for company car tax.

    Things are a little more radical on the inside. The massive 17-inch touch screen display is not only the largest, but also the cleverest that we’ve encountered, controlling everything from the sat nav to the sunroof. It’s like sitting inside Google.

    Tesla Model S85 Interior

    Tesla Model S85 Interior

    The dashboard itself is a strikingly simple design, clad – in the case of our test car – in Alcantara and carbon fibre. The quality of the materials is first rate and they lend the cabin a bespoke feel that distinguishes the Tesla from its more mainstream competitors.

    But enough of the pleasantries, what’s it like to drive? Really rather good, in short. You can feel the mass when pressing on – it weighs a not-inconsiderably 2.1 tons – but the combination of prodigious thrust and near-total silence from the electric powertrain is quite surreal.

    Right now the internet is awash with videos of this car’s twin-engined evil twin, the P85D, demolishing supercars from a standing start. Our test car is ‘only’ the single-engined rear-wheel drive S85 model, but even this comparatively mild example of the breed feels good for its claimed 5.4 second nought-to-sixty time.

    Where the Model S really scores, though, is response. With 440 Nm of torque available instantly, right from a standing start, overtaking urge is never more than a twitch of the toe away. There’s no shortage of grip either, with decent chassis balance and chunky, if somewhat lifeless, steering.

    A small confession here: in the brief time we had with the car, I didn’t think to check which of the two braking modes had been selected. As sampled, lifting off the accelerator resulted in something not unlike conventional engine braking, while the middle pedal had a pleasingly natural feel. It certainly wasn’t the alien experience you might expect from a regenerative braking system.

    Tesla Model S85

    All of this, of course, means little if you can’t get in to drive it. Having soaked up the Bedfordshire sunshine for 20 minutes a support car is dispatched to recover us and the stricken Tesla. The central locking issue is eventually traced to a slightly unlikely culprit, in the form of the dictaphone I’d brought along to record my notes. Apparently this had interfered with the keyless entry fob lying next to it in the centre cupholder. We’ll let you decide whether that constitutes a teething issue or (as one of Tesla’s European representatives insisted) user error.

    But the fact is, the fundamentals of this car are superb. The Model S is reassuringly conventional when you want it to be and yet a genuine game-changer in other respects. It’s more than capable of competing with its internal combustion powered competitors in terms of comfort and performance, with anecdotal evidence suggesting there’s enough real-world range to get you from, say, London to Birmingham.

    Throw in ultra-low running costs, plus more pioneering technology than you can shake a stick at, and it also starts to look like good value, starting at £59,380 on the road. This not a car reserved for hair shirt environmentalists, nor is it a low-volume concept like Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrid XL1. The electric car, it seems, is very much a reality.

    2015 Model S 85

    Performance & Economy 2015 Tesla Model S 85
    Engine 85 kWh Battery
    Transmission Automatic gearbox, rear electric-powered motor, all-wheel drive
    Power (PS / bhp) 366 / 362
    Torque (Nm / lb.ft) 440 / 324
    0 – 60 mph (seconds) 5.4
    Top Speed (mph) 140
    CO2 Emissions (g/km) 0
    VED Band A
    Combined Economy (mpg) n/a (310 mile range)
    Price (OTR) £54,000

     

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