John Wargo from The Custom Shop in Flanagan, IL takes a few moments to show us around their latest build: a resto-modded, pro-touring 1967 Pontiac Lemans nicknamed “GTLS3.” This car is loaded with custom touches, from the LS3 engine swap to the unique paint and interior. This car was displayed at the Optima Batteries booth at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
The Chevrolet Nova was one of the most popular American muscle cars of the 1960s. Produced for 17 years, the Nova came in nearly every body style and had a huge list of engine choices. One thing is for sure: no Novas ever came with all-wheel drive from the factory. We caught up with Parke Bishop of Bishop Built Rides and he talked us through his 1968 Nova custom car with AWD drivetrain.
Congratulations to Bishop Built Rides on winning a Gran Turismo Award at SEMA 2017!
Generation: High Output was on scene for the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas! One of the cars that caught our attention was this amazing Rambler American Wagon owned by Suzy Bauter. She was kind enough to tell us about the car, which she built for autocross racing. From the LS engine swap to the massive fender flares, this is both a show car and a race car! Watch the video segment to learn more. Congratulations to Suzy on winning Best Hot Rod in the Gran Turismo Awards!
If you were to ask a room full of automotive enthusiasts which car company is the most famous in the world, you can bet that Ferrari would be at or near the top of the list. No other manufacturer has produced quite the same number of iconic sports and racing cars as Ferrari. The company is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year, with events planned all over the world.
From Edinbrugh and Belfast to China and Singapore, Ferrari’s 70th Anniversary is truly a global celebration of motoring. I was fortunate enough to attend the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours in Monterey, Californa, where Ferrari had assembled an amazing collection of 70 automobiles in honor of their big anniversary. Here is a selection of photos I took at the Monterey event that I wanted to share with you.
There are no shortage of beautiful American-made cars, but I believe that when Americans and Italians combine their talents to build a car, the results are truly magic. There are numerous examples from history such as the Hudson Italia, an American car that wore a body designed by Carrozzeria Touring. Another example is the DeTomaso Mangusta and the Pantera, designed by Ghia and powered by Ford V8 engines. Though they were not hugely successful, the Stutz Blackhawk and the Chrysler TC by Maserati also paired American powertrains with Italian-designed bodies.
At the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, I discovered another car that followed the “American powertrain + Italian design” formula. Designated as a 1969 Farago CF428 coupe, this car was a one-off prototype created by Paul Farago and Sergio Coggiola, formerly of Ghia. Coggiola and Farago were two designers who formed Carrozzeria Coggiola in 1969.
Their first project was from none other than John DeLorean, who was at the time head of the highly successful Pontiac division over at General Motors. DeLorean wanted a concept car that would grab attention for Pontiac, something exciting that could be used to promote the brand. A 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 428 cubic inch V8 was appropriated for the project.
Though it maintains its Pontiac drivetrain and chassis, the resulting coupe is a low-slung, wedge-shaped car that looks like a more refined, sophisticated Pontiac that just spent a semester studying abroad. The extreme angle of the windshield and seamless integration of the roof into the rear deck reminds me of the Ford Mustang Mach I with the Sportsroof body style. Though the sheet metal has been changed dramatically from a Grand Prix, the car retains its Pontiac door handles, tail lights, and interior.
The car was displayed at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance by its owner Frank Campanale of Michigan, who is a relative of Farago. The car captured the 3rd Place win in its category of “American Dream Cars of the 1960s,” a well-deserved honor.
After this project, Paul Farago went on to work with Virgil Exener from Chrysler on the Stutz Blackhawk, which also used a Pontiac drivetrain. He also worked on the Maserati Ghibli, which bears a stunning resemblance with its long hood and short deck.
This car never made it into production, but I find it fascinating to see what a 1970s collaboration between Pontiac and Italian designers would have looked like.
For one amazing week in August, California’s central coast swells with excitement as thousands of automotive enthusiasts migrate towards Monterey from all corners of the globe. Monterey Car Week, as it has come to be known, is a collection of events that celebrate car culture. From a vintage road rally to vintage racing at Laguna Seca, to the latest in high-tech hypercars and the glamour of preservation, there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.
In August 2017, Generation High Output was in Monterey to attend three big car show events. The first one, Exotics on Cannery Row, was focused on modern supercars and featured the largest gathering of Koenigsegg vehicles in North America. The following day, we visited the Concours d’Lemons in Seaside, which is a delightful, tongue-in-cheek event that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Finally, we attended the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which featured an incredible 70th Anniversary celebration of Ferrari automobiles.
We made these videos to bring the experience of Monterey Car Week to you. We hope you enjoy them!
Exotics on Cannery Row 2017
Concours d’Lemons 2017
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 2017
Vintage Cars Leaving Pebble Beach Show Field 2017
In the era before SUVs and Crossovers, minivans were the hottest thing on the market. Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and his friend Hal Sperlich had imagined a vehicle that would hold seven passengers, have removable seats for extra cargo space, and get better gas mileage than a full-size van. Their dream became a reality in 1983, and the new Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Horizon minivans sold like hotcakes with sales topping 200,000 units in the first year alone. For the next 25 years, no one sold more minivans in America than Chrysler.
But somewhere along the way, minivans became uncool. The SUV boom of the 2000s and the Crossover Craze yielded vehicles that offered much of the same functionality without the “soccer mom” stigma of a sliding door.
At a recent car show in Scottsdale, I saw a first-generation Dodge Caravan that really caught my eye. For starters, this was a car show that featured primarily European exotic and high-end supercars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis. A 1988 Caravan with peeling paint definitely didn’t fit in with this crowd.
But as you might have guessed, this is no ordinary Caravan. This one has seen the original 2.5L 4-cylinder engine swapped out with a much more modern 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder from a 2004 Dodge SRT-4. Whereas the original engine made 100 horsepower, the new one puts out 230 horsepower in stock trim – but this one’s not stock.
With an AGP Zeta dual ball-bearing turbocharger, an air-to-water intercooler, upgraded fuel injectors, a MegaSquirt fuel management system, and a 3.5″ exhaust with Magnaflow muffler, this beast is putting down 305 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque at the wheels! Wow!
A spec sheet on the vehicle says it has run 12.6 in the quarter mile @ 111 mph on E85, 25 lbs of boost, and slicks. With a fast reaction time, that puts it on par with a base model C6 Corvette – for a lot less dough. It’s also been converted to 4-wheel disc brakes, with the front brakes and suspension from a 1995 Grand Caravan and the rear disc brakes from a 1993 Dodge Daytona R/T.
Part of why I love this van is because it pulls off the “sleeper” look quite well. The peeling paint and OEM-style wheels do not give any indication that this vehicle is actually quite fast, and the “Turbo” and “SRT” badges may be dismissed as purely ironic – until the turbo spools up and it blows your doors off.
The other reason why I love this van is that a long time ago, our family had a blue 1994 Caravan which I remember fondly. This was the era before dual sliding doors, power liftgates, and fold-flat seating. These old vans are super primitive by today’s standards, but the boxy design reminds me of my childhood.
I didn’t get to talk to the owner, but if you are reading this Mr. Caravan Owner, congrats on the awesome build.
Cars and the engines that power them come in a wide variety of styles and configurations. The more I read and learn about cars, the more I believe that there is something magic about inline-6 engines.
Many of the automotive greats have used the straight six engine, from the Jaguar E-Type to the Hudson Hornet to numerous BMW, Mercedes, and Jeep models. In general, inline sixes are known for being well-balanced with a smooth, even delivery of power. Though not high revving, they are reliable “workhorse” engines that can have a surprisingly long service life.
Toyota had been producing inline 6 engines as early as 1955, but they really hit a home run with the introduction of the 2JZ family of engines, which were produced from 1991 to 1998 in the US (and through 2002 in Japan).
This was the engine that powered the Lexus SC300, the first and second-gen GS 300, and an even more powerful variant went into the A80 Toyota Supra. Today, the 2JZ engine has a cult-like following. It is renowned among import car fans for its heavy-duty internals and its huge potential for tuning. This is probably what motivated Arizona resident John Garza to swap a 2JZ-GE engine into his 1977 Toyota Celica coupe.
I had seen this car in early 2017 at the Future Classics car show in Scottsdale, and crossed paths with it again at Cars and Coffee. The car has been featured in the October 2016 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine, and gets a LOT of attention at local car meets and events.
This 1977 is a close match to Mr. Garza’s first car, another ’77 Celica that he drove in high school. The Toyota Celica was recognized as Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year in 1976.
Under the hood, John has swapped in a 2JZ-GE mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox from a 2004 Lexus IS300. It’s an incredibly clean swap, and truly looks as if the engine came that way from the factory. However, getting it all to work was anything but easy.
A page of build photos shows how John had to make some serious modifications to the crossmember and to the oil pan in order for everything to fit. The car borrows parts from the Toyota family, including the rear axle from a 1981 Supra and the steering box from a Corolla. Heavy modifications were also done to the car’s suspension in order to accommodate larger wheels and brakes.
Rounding out the build is a wood and brown leather custom interior with all of the ambiance and warmth of a 1970s smoking lounge. It looks wonderfully comfortable, and is a welcome change from the typical Sparco seats and MOMO steering wheels that adorn most import builds.
The combination of a classic car with modern performance and reliability is truly a win-win situation. We wish John many happy miles with his awesome car and hope to see it at more shows and events in the future!