About Trevor Freeman

Trevor is a real gearhead who loves everything from classic American muscle cars to high-performance exotics. When he's not reading about cars or taking photos at a car show, he's probably out cruising around. He is currently working on restoring a 1980 Chevrolet Monza hatchback.

2023 Arizona Concours d’Elegance Celebrates the Art of Aerodynamics

The Arizona Concours d’Elegance is back, returning as the highlight of Arizona Car Week in January 2023. The much-admired show and competition of fine automobiles will be held on the grass at the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center, bordered by Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).

The Arizona Concours, scheduled for January 22, 2023, will again invite about 100 select rare and exotic automobiles to be considered for judging and exhibition, with the best among them awarded class prizes and the coveted Best-of-Show.

The theme for the 2023 Concours is “The Art of Aerodynamics.” Such famed classic brands as Bugatti, Duesenberg and Pierce-Arrow will be joined by vehicles ranging from early 20th Century horseless-carriages to the latest in exotic supercars.

Some of the cars participating in the show include include:

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Light Metal Body

Just 24 aluminum-bodied Gullwing coupes were produced for 1955, and they are the ultimate production versions of the iconic sports cars, and by far the most valuable.

1935 Jaguar SS-90 Prototype

The SS-90 set the stage for all Jaguar sports cars to come, as well as launching the marque’s legendary reign in motorsports – the prototype served as the factory’s first competition car.

For information about tickets, vehicle entries and sponsorships, please visit ArizonaConcours.com or scottsdaleperformingarts.org/event/arizona-concours-delegance.

About the Arizona Concours d’Elegance

A curated and judged exhibition of the world’s finest collector cars, the Arizona Concours d’Elegance is a celebration of automotive design held each January during Arizona Car Week. A point of pride for the region’s car community, the non-profit event supports the arts and local artists.

About Scottsdale Arts

Through its partnership with the city of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a nationally recognized, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually.

Future Collector Car Show Returns for 2023

If you still subscribe to the idea that “young people today don’t care about cars,” then you need to get yourself over to the Future Collector Car Show so you can see for yourself what is really going on.

Founded in 2016, the Future Collector Car Show (FCCS) was established as a way to showcase the next generation of collector cars, covering model years from approximately 1975 to 2005. Though traditional car collectors do not bat an eye at anything from the Malaise Era and newer, cars produced since 1975 are starting to gain recognition from a wider audience.

Vehicles such as the GM F-body and G-body platforms, Squarebody and OBS trucks, and Ford’s Fox body platform have had have a dedicated and loyal fan base for many years, but were largely overlooked by the collector car community. Now, they are starting to take notice.

To give one example, at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, there was an incredible collection of Mustangs from every year of production between 1982 and 1993. This drew a lot of interest from Fox body enthusiasts who were keen to snap up low mileage examples of these cars which had not been modified.

Within the collector car community is a growing group of enthusiasts of Japanese cars. This is a change from previous generations that focused exclusively on American cars. But, it is a welcome change for those who grew up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s and drove these cars.

The Datsun/Nissan Z cars, the 210, and the 200 and 240SX, the Toyota Supra and Celica, the Honda NSX, and models from Subaru and other manufacturers are now regulars at enthusiast car meets like Future Collector Car Show.

Another example is the rise in popularity of Radwood, which held its first event in 2017 and has since expanded to multiple events throughout the U.S. Radwood focuses on cars of the “Rad” era of the 1980s and 1990s.

Finally, the rise of enthusiast auction sites like BringATrailer and Cars & Bids is a sign that demand for late model collector cars has staying power, and is not just a flash in the pan.

This year, the FCCS show has a new home at Westworld of Scottsdale, alongside the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction.

Come out on Sunday, January 23, 2023 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm to check out a variety of vehicles from the 1980s, 90s, and today that represent the future interests of the collector car hobby.

There will be 10 categories for vehicles, which include:

  • Best of Show
  • Best Preserved
  • Best Restored
  • Best Period-Correct Modifications
  • Best Purpose-Built Performance
  • Visionary
  • Elegance of Heritage
  • Best Electro-Mod
  • Rookie of the Year
  • People’s Choice

The show will be held on the Polo Field at Westworld.

SEMA Show Announces Expanded Format for 2023

At the 2022 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, show organizers made one of the biggest announcements in the history of the show. Beginning in 2023, the SEMA Show will be expanded into a new format. Read the full press release below.

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Nov. 4, 2022) – SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) announces a five-year vision to expand the SEMA Show into an “all-city” experience. Officially called SEMA Week, the expansion’s goal is to create the most passionate and exciting automotive event in the world. SEMA Week will kick off in 2023 with new concepts, activities, and events introduced over the five-year roll-out period.

SEMA Week will be headlined by the SEMA Show, which will remain a trade-only event Monday through Friday. On Friday, the final day of the SEMA Show, a limited number of enthusiasts will be able to attend the SEMA Show through the Friday Experience program, which launched at the 2021 SEMA Show. Beginning on Friday evening of SEMA Week, SEMA will take over the Las Vegas Festival Grounds through Saturday Night with an all-new SEMA Fest.

“We have been watching the connection between enthusiasts and our industry grow for more than a decade and, as the industry’s trade association, I have a responsibility to help facilitate that connection in new and meaningful ways,” said James Lawrence, SEMA Chairman of the Board. “By creating SEMA Week and SEMA Fest, we will be able to maintain the integrity of the trade show that makes it a must-attend event for automotive professionals while introducing a new platform for enthusiasts and the industry to engage with one another.”

For 2023, SEMA Fest will take place at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds and be open to everyone, bringing together automotive enthusiasts with the aftermarket industry in a high-octane and immersive festival-like celebration of car culture. SEMA Fest will feature top music and entertainment, car show and cruise, VIP experiences, craft food, automotive celebrities, and motorsports. It will run alongside the popular SEMA Ignited Cruise and SEMA Show after-party, which draws thousands of enthusiasts on Friday night.

SEMA Week is also scheduled to include a SEMA Auction, featuring some of the best builds from SEMA and many more amazing vehicles to headline the festivities. SEMA will continue to expand and refine SEMA Week over the next five years, rolling out new events and activities throughout the city of Las Vegas. The evolution of SEMA Week preserves the trade aspects of the industry and business components of the SEMA Show, while enabling enthusiasts from all over to join in the festivities and enjoy car culture-focused events throughout the SEMA Week experience.

Additional details for the 2023 SEMA Show, SEMA Week, and SEMA Fest will be announced in the coming months.

About SEMA

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $50.9 billion specialty-automotive industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. Association resources include market research, legislative advocacy, training and product development support, as well as leading trade shows such as the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, visit www.sema.org, www.semashow.com or www.performanceracing.com.

Lexus LS400 Common Problems

The 1990-2000 Lexus LS400 is widely regarded as a dependable and reliable vehicle that is well designed and built. However, there is no such thing as a perfect, trouble-free vehicle. While it is better than average, the LS 400 has a few common problems that potential buyers should be aware of.

Starter Motor

On most small block V8 engines from Ford or Chevrolet, the starter motor is easily accessed from the bottom of the vehicle. The 1UZFE 4.0L V8 engine in the Lexus LS400 has the starter located in a very inconvenient place – underneath the intake manifold. The starter is prone to failure between 100,000 and 200,000 miles. During the removal of the intake manifold, it is also likely that the heater control valve will crack and will also need to be replaced.

LS400 Starter Motor Location under the Intake Manifold

Engine Mounts

The Lexus LS400 uses special fluid-filled engine mounts that reduce vibrations in the car. Over time, they may collapse and fail, resulting in increased vibration. They are surprisingly expensive to replace on the LS 400 compared to the simple rubber mounts used on other vehicles.

These fluid-filled engine mounts have collapsed, and one of them has completely sheared off.

Timing Belt

The timing belt sets the timing for the entire engine, keeping the camshafts and the crankshaft synchronized. This is not thin like a fan belt – a timing belt is a heavy duty belt with rubber teeth that loops around a number of pulleys and tensioners. The 1UZ 4.0L V8 engine uses a timing belt because Lexus engineers determined that it would be quieter than using a traditional timing chain.

Timing chains generally last for the life of the engine, whereas the timing belt should be replaced every 90,000 miles or 7 years. In addition, there are two timing belt idler bearings that must also be replaced with the belt. While the car is apart, it is strongly recommended to change the water pump too. This is absolutely a dealership level repair and should not be attempted by the home mechanic.

The 1990-1997 1UZ-FE engines are non-interference engines, however the 1998-2000 engines with the VVT-i intake manifold ARE interference engines. A broken timing belt on these engines would be catastrophic.

Power Steering Pump

The LS400 has variable power steering, but with time and age the seals and hoses of the pump may develop leaks. In this case, any leakage is likely to take out the alternator as it is located directly beneath the power steering pump. You can do this yourself, but it is pretty involved. Watch my video below to see how I replaced my own power steering pump.

Tips for Potential LS400 Buyers

If you are in the market for a Lexus LS400, you should ask the seller for records of when the timing belt was last changed. If the engine mounts have collapsed due to age, you may notice some vibration when idling or when shifting from Park into Reverse or Drive. A starter motor that is on its way out may take longer than normal to crank, or may not show any symptoms at all until the day it fails.

These items should not scare you away from buying an LS 400, but they are definitely worth knowing about before you buy!

2021 Iso Rivolta GTZ by Zagato – The Italian Corvette Z06

One of the defining characteristics of a collector is that they love exclusivity. Whether it is baseball cards, stamps, coins, vinyl records or some other object, collectors love the thrill of finding and acquiring the rarest and scarcest items for their collections.

The thrill of owning a rare object also applies to automotive collectors. Supercar manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, and others know what their customers want. Each of these brands has produced special or limited edition runs of vehicles aimed at collectors. Sometimes a run may be 1,000 vehicles, other times it may be as few as 100 units or even 20 units in some cases.

The 2021 Iso Rivolta GT Zagato is a collectible car of almost unimaginable rarity. Only 19 of these cars will be produced for the whole world. This example is the first and only one to be imported and registered in the U.S. Suffice to say, I will probably never see another one of these cars around.

Iso’s History

The history of ISO goes back to 1938 when Italian engineer Renzo Rivolta began manufacturing refrigeration equipment. Following the end of World War II, the company pivoted to motorcycle production.

In the 1950s, Iso produced its first automobile, the Isetta microcar. Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, ISO produced a number of different sports and grand touring cars. They were notable for combining Italian designed body styling with powerful, American-made V8 engines from Ford and Chevrolet. This is a combination that I personally love. See my previous posts on the Iso Rivolta Lele, a custom Iso Rivolta IR300, and the Iso Rivolta S4 Fidia.

In the 1960s, Rivolta worked with former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini to develop the Iso Grifo A3/C, a racing car that used a Corvette engine. Bizzarrini and Rivolta’s relationship ended after a dispute, and he formed his own company, Bizzarrini SpA. Only 25 Iso Grifo A3/C cars were built before Bizzarrini took over production and renamed the car the 5300 GT.

A combination of factors including the oil crisis, rising costs, and a drop in sales led to Iso filing for bankruptcy, ending automobile production in December 1974.

Iso’s Revival

Things were pretty quiet until 2017, when a revival of the brand was initiated by Italian coachbuilder and design firm Zagato. The car was first introduced in the 2017 edition of Gran Turismo, and later became a full-fledged prototype in 2021.

The new model, named the GTZ, is inspired by the A3/C of the 1960s. True to its heritage, the GTZ uses the 660-hp LT4 supercharged V8 engine from the Chevrolet Corvette C7 Z06.

With just 19 units scheduled for production by Zagato, each car will be incredibly special and rare. This brilliant red example is currently the only one in the United States.

The Italian Corvette Z06

A 2021 article by Howard Walker for the Robb Report magazine gives a detailed backstory of this particular car, which I will summarize briefly.

The car was purchased by Mike Odierna from Arizona, and the process was anything but easy. To comply with vehicle regulations, Mike had to buy a brand new Corvette Z06 coupe in the U.S., register it and ship it to Italy as a used car.

The chassis spent two years at Zagato’s facility in Milan, where more than 2,500 hours went into converting the car into the GTZ. The body panels were replaced with a lightweight carbon fiber body that mounts to the Z06 chassis. But this isn’t just a Corvette in an expensive Italian suit! Everything from the windows, lights, wheels, and door handles are all custom made, with no body panels carried over from the Corvette.

The interior is also bespoke to each car. Zagato stripped everything down to the seat frames, then wraps everything in hand-stitched Italian leather. The exterior is painted with three coats of Le Mans Red metallic paint. The 10-spoke alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and conceal a set of carbon-ceramic brakes.

Odierna’s car was displayed at The Quail Motorsports Gathering in Monterey in August 2021, where it won an award for its class. The Robb Report feature followed in November 2021.

The Next Chapter

It’s hard to imagine ever parting ways with such a special car, especially one that you waited two years for. However, Mr. Odierna indicated that he would be relocating to his wife’s home country of Japan, which she has long yearned to return to. “I thought about shipping it to Japan, but it just doesn’t make sense. I know I wouldn’t drive it there. So I felt it best to let it go” he told the Robb Report.

In January 2022, the GTZ headed to the auction block at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction in Florida. Showing just 169 miles on the odometer, the car is in pristine condition. Bidding at Mecum reached $700,000 for the GTZ but did not meet the reserve price, and the car did not sell.

The following month, I was fortunate to see the car on display at the Concours in the Hills car show in Fountain Hills, Arizona on February 12, 2022.

The GTZ is an incredibly rare and special car, and one that would certainly be the centerpiece of any collection. I am grateful and lucky to have seen this car in person, being that it is the only one in the U.S.

Asira Design Mustang Features Full Carbon Fiber Body

For more than 50 years, the Ford Mustang has met the needs of drivers seeking a sporty car with stylish looks and a powerful engine.

Ford’s lineup for the Mustang in 2022 includes the following models: the 310 hp EcoBoost base model, the 450 hp GT model, the 470 hp Mach One, and the 760 hp Shelby GT500.

Customers wanting something more unique can look to specialty vehicle manufacturers including Roush, Saleen, Steeda, and Shelby American. Each of these companies offers upgraded versions of the Mustang that cater to high-performance enthusiasts.

Now, Arizona-based Asira Design is also throwing its hat into the ring of specialty manufacturers. Asira has taken the Mustang platform and elevated it to supercar levels of performance.

Full Carbon Fiber Widebody Package

All aspects of the car from engine to suspension and brakes to the body can be upgraded as part of Asira’s process. The most significant option is the full carbon fiber widebody package. This is a completely unique option that is only available from Asira Design and is not offered by other specialty manufacturers.

This package replaces the exterior body panels of the car with new panels that are restyled to improve airflow and aerodynamic performance. The car features an enlarged front grill and exit vents, dramatic door sills, and curved wheel arches. Asira says that this package shaves over 200 lbs (90.7 kg) of weight compared to the stock aluminum body panels.

The full carbon fiber body package costs $35,000 USD. For an additional $15,000, an Upgraded Carbon Fiber option is available. This option has a symmetrical 4X4 twill pattern in the material and a center line V-weave matched throughout the interior and exterior. A full interior package is also available, for those who love the look of Exposed Carbon Fiber.

 

Power Upgrades

When it comes to performance, Asira Design offers the installation of a Whipple supercharger kit, which boosts power output to 825 hp. This puts it in the range of the other cars like the Saleen 302 Black Label, Roush Stage 3 Mustang, the Steeda Q850 StreetFighter, and the Shelby Super Snake.

Pricing

The Performance Upgrades total $34,100 plus $4,400 for installation. The Interior upgrades are $13,800 plus $2,100 for installation. Finally, the Carbon Fiber upgrades are $53,500 plus $8,000 for installation.

Apples to Oranges

Everything that Asira Design offers from Body Panels to Interior Upgrades to Performance and Suspension upgrades can be selected individually or a la carte. This is different from how Roush, Saleen, Steeda, and Shelby price their upgrades. That makes it difficult to do a straight comparison from one to another.

If you were to check every option box from Asira, the full car comes in at $155,900 MSRP – which includes $40,000 for the base model Mustang GT.

This is about $15,630 more than the 2022 Shelby Super Snake, which runs about $140,270. It is well ahead of Shelby’s GT500KR edition at $127,895 and the GT500SE Signature Edition at $109,415.

The highest-optioned Roush Mustang is the 2020 Jack Roush Edition, which comes in at $90,995 (assuming $40k for the Mustang GT plus $50,995).

Following that, highest optioned model from Steeda comes in at $77,995 (assuming $40k for the Mustang GT plus $37,995).

Trailing the pack is the 2022 Saleen 302 Black Label, which will run you $73,000 for an 800 hp Mustang.

My Thoughts

I was checking out my local Saturday Cars and Coffee event when I saw this car approaching. I could tell straight away that it wasn’t a standard Mustang and that it was special. As it pulled up near me, the red-tinted carbon looked absolutely amazing in the morning sunlight. Definitely not a vinyl wrap!

There are a lot of special Mustangs out there to meet every possible price point. For those with the means, the Asira Design Mustang definitely stands out from the herd.

Contact

www.asiradesign.com
info@asiracars.com
1-866-ASIRAGT

Allard J2X MkIII: The British Roadster Reimagined

Following the end of World War II, the Allard Motor Company of London began producing high performance cars. The company made several models of cars from coupes to cabriolets to an 8-passenger estate, but they found their greatest success with light weight cars optimized for racing.

These two-seat roadsters ran in competitions throughout Europe and North America in the early 1950s. Though the company had some successful models, they were cash-strapped and were bankrupt by 1958, having produced approximately 1,900 vehicles in total.

In 1999, Roger Allard revived the Allard brand under the name Allard Motor Works. The company’s signature product is the J2X MkIII, a high-performance sports car with beautiful vintage styling. The car is a faithful replica of the original Allard J2X, but with modern (and more reliable) powertrain options.

The cars are hand-crafted in Southern California to the owner’s specifications. Due to this unique and exclusive build process, production is limited to no more than 100 vehicles per year. There are several crate engine options available from both General Motors and MOPAR, depending on the buyer’s preference.

I caught up with this sharp red Allard J2X MkIII roadster at Highline Autos Cars and Coffee in Arizona on August 6, 2022.

The two-seater car features a long hood, short rear deck, and no roof or top whatsoever. The large, flared wheel arches stick out from the car’s slender body.

The car has no heater, radio, or glove box – just a couple of gauges mounted to a beautiful engine-turned dashboard. It is finished in red with a black leather interior. This one is equipped with an automatic transmission, though I was not able to determine which engine it has.

The price of a J2X MkIII depends on options, with a base model build costing around $150,000 to $180,000. Again, keep in mind that these cars are hand-built to order, not mass-produced.

For my money, I would rather have a Superformance MkIII roadster as I prefer the look of those cars over the Allard. But the Allard certainly has its place, especially for those fans of British roadsters who have the means to enjoy it.

Vaydor Supercar: Premium Body Kit for the G35

There are a lot of folks out there who would love to own a supercar, but don’t have that kind of money.

For those seeking a car with exotic looks on a budget, the Vaydor Supercar may be the answer you are looking for. The Vaydor is a front-engine sports car that utilizes a 2003-07 Infiniti G35 coupe as a donor car.

The Vaydor made its debut in 2013 at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Designed by Matt McEntegart, the car is offered as a coupe or as a hardtop convertible. Matt later sold the Vaydor name to an investment group in 2018 who continues to manufacture and market the cars today. The fiberglass bodies are manufactured by Custom Crafted Cars in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Vaydor bodykit is available for DIY builds starting at $16,000 for the exterior body components, doors, and roll cage. The kit can be purchased as a coupe or as a convertible. Interior kits are also available for $5,500 as of the time of this writing.

The company provides support to builders and includes instructions on dismantling the donor car, welding in the roll cage, and fitting the body panels. However, the paint and bodywork, wheels and tires, and any upgrades to suspension or braking are all at the builder’s expense.

If building your own car is not a challenge that excites you, you’ll be glad to hear that you can also custom order a Vaydor to your exact specifications. Complete turn-key cars are offered by Custom Crafted Cars, with build times taking approximately 6 months. The turn-key cars include a 650 horsepower LT4 supercharged V8 engine and have manual or automatic transmission options.

I saw this Vaydor supercar at my local Highline Autos Cars and Coffee event in Phoenix on August 6, 2022. Looking sharp in lime green with black accents, the car drew a lot of attention from onlookers.

This car has its own headlamps and taillamps, which are not sourced from another vehicle as with some other cars sold as kits. This gives the car a very unique look and causes even seasoned automotive enthusiasts to pause for a closer look. The owner will be forever answering the question at every gas pump, stop light, and car show: “What is it?”

Custom touches include a Sparco steering wheel, racing seats with Tanaka harnesses, carbon fiber canards on the front bumper, forged wheels with Lionhart tires.

The front, rear, and fender emblems on the car have been replaced with the coat of arms of Ukraine, featuring the “Tryzub” or trident symbol which represents freedom.

No idea if this car is using the stock Nissan VQ 3.5L V6 engine or if it has been swapped with something else. If you know more information about this car, please post a comment and let us know!