1970s Chevrolet Monte Carlo “Custom Cloud”

My fellow editors spotted this car in a random driveway while we were cruising around one night. Since I had my camera and took a picture, I get to write about it. The car was not immediately recognizable and the guys spent several minutes speculating about what it might be.

As it turns out, this odd-looking vehicle is actually a very rare luxury car called a Custom Cloud, which was built on a 1970s Chevrolet Monte Carlo chassis. In a lot of ways, this car is similar to the Stutz Blackhawk, only with a more down-to-earth price.

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Local Motors Rally Fighter

If you have been to our website before, you would probably agree that a Toyota Camry is a pretty boring car. It’s not a bad car, it is just not terribly exciting. The reason it is boring is because the Camry was designed to meet the need of drivers all over the world.

It has to be good at city driving for commuters.
It has to be good at highway driving for families and road trips.
It has to be good at being a taxi, commercial vehicle, or suburban grocery hauler.
It has to work in freezing cold Michigan winters and brutal Phoenix summers.
It has to be safe and pass crash test standards.
It has to meet vehicle emissions standards.
It has to be aesthetically pleasing.
And it still has to be affordable!

The Camry is a car that’s designed for every type of driving environment. But what if automakers built cars specific to the region where they were to be used? What if car manufacturers built a vehicle for the Pacific Northwest, a different vehicle for the Midwest, and another car for the Deep South?

Well, that is exactly the idea behind Local Motors.

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Fiberfab Avenger GT/Valkyrie Kit Car (what remains)

A few weeks back I took a trip to California, naturally I was on the lookout for anything interesting or uncommon.  At some point I ended up walking through a small field of grass that had within it a little square area surrounded by a fence.  Inside was what appeared to be a very sad looking GT40 type mid engined kit car.

From what I have gathered this is either a Fiberfab Avenger GT or Valkyrie.  Unless there are subtle differences that I haven’t found a mention of the only real difference is towards the rear of the car where it is either a bit longer or shorter depending on the engine/donor setup.  The Avenger was the shorter of the two, designed for a Corvair or VW setup.  The longer Valkyrie model was setup for a larger V8 engine. Continue reading

SEMA 2012: Factory Five Racing GTM Supercar

I love the GTM Supercar from Massachusetts-based Factory Five Racing. I’ve written about it before when a beautiful blue one showed up at a local cruise-in here in Phoenix. At this year’s SEMA show, I spied this very sharp red and black GTM Supercar at the Factory Five Racing booth.As it turns out, the car belongs to Bob Bailin of Pennsylvania, a Factory Five customer. According to what I could find online, this car features a 505 horsepower LS7 engine from a Corvette Z06 and a Porsche transaxle. The car also features Corvette suspension parts.

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Bauer Ltd. Unveils Miata-Based Racer “Catfish”

Have you ever thought about buying a Mazda Miata but were put off by the car’s lack of power or it’s ‘chick car’ image? Well, you’re in luck because the Catfish from Bauer Limited Production fixes both of those problems.

The Catfish is based on the 1990-2005 Miata platform, but you’d never guess thanks to the creative body work. The car rides on a tubular space frame chassis with an upgraded Mazda A-arm suspension and thankfully, looks nothing like a Miata.

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Classic Motor Carriages Gazelle Kit Car

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Although I feel my automotive proficiency is fairly well-rounded, there are a couple gaps in my knowledge. I understand that nobody is perfect, so I try not to beat myself up over the fact that I can’t make myself get into anything European or Japanese made before the mid-eighties, I’m not up to date on current supercars (hypercars? what are they calling them now?), and street rods all just look like the same ZZ Top album cover to me.

I also have a bad habit of  calling everything that that looks really old but not American either an Excalibur or a “Cruella de Vil Car”, depending on whether I am talking to a car guy or not. So when I saw this old lady barreling down the 17, with a death grip on the steering wheel and, I’m imagining, a cartoonish twinkle of determination in her eyes, taking a folding card table somewhere, wearing a rain poncho underneath her jacket, on a very hot, very dry day in Phoenix, I just assumed that I had just seen an Excalibur. A Cruella de Vil car.

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Rare 1940 Chrysler Newport Roadster Replica

The cool thing about going to Cars and Coffee is that you never know who or what is going to roll in at any moment. Recently, I spotted a car that I did not recognize at all. I thought at first that it might have been an old Jaguar, but as it turns out, it’s even more special than that!

The car in the photo is a one-off replica of a 1940 Chrysler Newport dual cowl phaeton, a very early concept car of which only six were ever built. The original features two rows of seating whereas this car was built as a roadster. Continue reading

Factory Five GTM Supercar: An American Original

Most car people know of Massachusetts-based Factory Five Racing as the pre-eminent maker of AC Cobra kit cars. However, Factory Five also offers a completely original kit of their own design called the GTM Supercar.

I was fortunate enough to come across a beautiful dark blue GTM at the Scottsdale Pavilions car show a few weeks ago.

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