Drag Racing a Rental Escalade

This one speaks for itself. We rented a 2018 Escalade and put it through its paces. As you can see in the video, it cleaned up pretty well at the track, although it’s sort of an unfair advantage when you don’t mind letting your brand new vehicle scream down the track in 4 wheel low…

It’s also surprisingly good off road for having no ground clearance to speak of. Basically what we learned is that total carelessness can make up for quite a few vehicular shortcomings.

Far From Home: American Cars In Iceland

I recently spent 9 days in Iceland, aside from the immediately shocking 70 degree temperature difference and foreign language on the walls it didn’t feel as foreign as I expected.. at least from inside the airport. As the rental car shuttle bus (a Mercedes with hubcaps) brought us around to our drop off location I spotted a parking lot filled entirely with cars that I had never seen before. This is when it hit me and really sunk in that I was far from home and things would be different. Continue reading

Top 6 Most Patriotic Custom Cars

An automobile can be much more than a means of transportation – it can also be a canvas for creative expression. In today’s post, we take a look at six vehicles where the owners have chosen to customize their rides in a patriotic fashion, expressing their love for the United States of America.

6). – 1929 Chevrolet “Low Flyer”

This 1929 Chevrolet has been customized in the style of a World War II fighter aircraft. It features a 235 inline-6 Chevrolet motor with dual Stromberg carburetors connected to a two-speed Powerglide transmission from a 1966 Chevelle. The exhaust features hand-made headers exiting through 4 old Harley Davidson exhaust pipes with custom drilled sheathing to simulate machine gun barrels. The interior features upholstery made from a 1940s US Army tent, an ammo can glove box, a vintage brass fire extinguisher, and a hand grenade shift knob.

5). Jet Engine Powered Mitsubishi Eclipse

Here we have a third-generation 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse. This car has a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, an AM/FM radio with CD player, and oh yeah…a jet turbine engine in the rear hatch! This car was originally purchased on eBay for around $20,000 and brought to Arizona. It made the rounds at local car shows from approximately 2010-2013, and hasn’t been seen since. The turbine engine did work and produced an ear-piercing roar. It was also capable of shooting an impressive fireball, as pictured above. I seem to recall reading that the engine was sourced from a Blackhawk helicopter, but I cannot remember where I read that. The owner also had a MTT Y2K turbine powered motorcycle at one point. Anyway, the car is wrapped to look like a US Army fighter jet, which is why it comes in at #5 on our list of most patriotic custom cars.

4). “Fallen Heroes” Spartan II

The Spartan II is a low-production custom car that combines neoclassic styling with a Nissan powertrain. You can read my full post on the Spartan II here. After seeing that initial car, I saw another one – this time a red one! The entire rear of the car was airbrushed with a mural depicting various patriotic and religious scenes. Over the backdrop of the American flag we can see a plane that resembles a C-5 Galaxy or a C-17 Globemaster but with incorrect placement of the rear horizontal stabilizers, a tank, a submarine, a HUMVEE, and a Chinook helicopter. There are multiple eagles, including one shedding a tear.

The bottom of the mural shows a grieving woman mourning over a flag-covered coffin while being comforted by a US Marine, then a dozen flag-covered coffins in the cargo bay of a US military aircraft, a jet aircraft striking the side of Tower 2 of the World Trade Center, and finally a crucified Jesus hanging on the cross at sunset. Beneath everything are the words “In Memory of our Fallen Heroes” in gold script.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one – it blends military service with a national tragedy with patriotism with a religious element as well. It’s very over-the-top and clearly the owner has some very strong sentiment for America.

3). “Support Our Troops” Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette is perhaps the most quintessential, red-blooded American vehicle since the Model T. I spotted this very patriotic C6 Corvette convertible at a local air show. The car is white with a red interior and features a blue front air dam with white stars. On both sides, an exaggerated flag has been airbrushed starting from the fenders and extending the length of the doors.

The hood features a detailed American eagle clutching a banner in its talons that reads “Support Our Troops.” It’s not subtle, but it’s actually quite well done.

2). The 9/11 Tribute Shelby Mustang

I spotted this very patriotic Shelby Mustang at a local car meet. The red car features American flag stripes running the length of the car. On the hood is an airbrushed Statue of Liberty flanked by quotes from American Patriots such as Nathan Hale. Moving to the rear of the car, the trunk lid features an elaborate airbrushed mural of the New York City skyline with two large towers that don’t look anything like World Trade Center Towers 1 and 2, but since one has a giant antenna, I’m assuming that’s what they are supposed to be. Finally, the rear bumper says “NEVER FORGET” in large block letters.

1). 2005 Chevrolet Silverado “HEROES Truck”

When is a Chevrolet Silverado worth $200,000? When it’s the HEROES Truck. This custom show truck tops our list of Most Patriotic Custom Vehicles, and it’s the clear leader of the pack. The truck took 5 years to build and more than 50,000 man hours of labor, including 1,200 hours of airbrush artwork by Mickey Harris from Cosby, TN. The murals pay tribute to our military, firefighters, police, nurses, politicians, astronauts, and any other U.S. citizen that has shown courage and self-sacrifice. The truck is a tribute to all of our past, present, and future American heroes.

Beyond the eye-popping artwork, the truck has also been upgraded with a 540cid GM V8 engine with a BDS supercharger, modified Turbo 400 transmission, and DynaTech axles. It rides on Weld Wheels and Super Swamper tires and features a tilt body which reveals the polished stainless chassis and adjustable four-link suspension. The truck sold for $209,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale collector car auction in January 2013.

Well, that wraps up our list of the Top 6 Most Patriotic Custom Cars. Thanks for reading, and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Not Sold Here: Audi S1 Hatchback

If you want to see people go nuts at a car show, simply bring an Audi R8 supercar and watch as the crowd flocks around it like moths to the proverbial flame. Don’t get me wrong – I like the R8 – but I’ve been to plenty of car shows and seen plenty of them. At the Concours in the Hills car show, I saw an Audi that I had never seen before.

The Audi S1 is a hot hatchback based on the Audi A1 platform. It’s not sold in the United States, but it is sold in Mexico. You can think of it like Audi’s answer to the Ford Focus ST, the Fiat 500 Abarth, or the Mini Cooper John Cooper Works (JCW) edition. Hot Hatchbacks have long been popular in Europe, and are only recently starting to make inroads in the US market, where trucks and SUVs reign supreme.

Under the S1’s hood is a turbocharged 2.0L engine making 228 horsepower. Audi says it will accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.8 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph – quite impressive for such a small car! It also has Audi’s permanent Quattro all-wheel drive system.

This car is incredibly rare to see in the US compared to the R8, but hardly anyone paid it any interest at the car show. Just goes to show what you might see when you keep your eyes open!

1986 Mustang SVO | Barrett-Jackson 2018

Time will always fondly remember the brash 5.0l H.O. Mustang GT. It’s fraternal twin: The refined SVO happens to be a more interesting vehicle.

Not just for its unique front fascia, or it’s pedals designed specifically for heel-toe shifts. Not even for its 3.73:1 axle ratio, it’s KONI suspension or it’s Lincoln Mark VII-sourced, five-lug four-wheel disc brakes.

The most important aspect of this vehicle is the turbocharged 200hp 2.3L overhead cam I-4. Coincidentally, the horsepower on the SVO never exceeded the GT year-for-year even though it was the faster of the two cars.

Due to its better weight balance, an overall lighter curb weight and a higher revving engine, this car was more of a match around a track with the BMW M3, the Porsche 944 and the Mazda RX-7 than it was deserving of slugging it out at the stoplights with a lowly tuned port Camaro.

Despite that, the SVO still wouldn’t struggle to show any f-body in 1986 it’s ass as it sped away to the tune of turbo whoosh over its glorified pinto engine howling.

Although most casual Mustang fans have forgotten this car along with some of the other odd things Ford was throwing at the fox body, that didn’t stop this beautiful SVO from reaching $33,000 at auction.

Breaking News: Ford and Tesla Merger, Mercury Revival

What? Were you expecting a witty satirical article?

I spent longer than I should have making this. It was originally going to be a tasteless grill swap but it turned into a combination of the the lowest tech car of its time and the most high tech car of its time that no doubt makes each car worse. Continue reading