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I have an automotive idiosyncrasy. OK, I have several, but one is very obvious. The car I use as my "daily driver" has to be silver. Don't ask me how this started because I don't know. I can't even say that silver is my favorite color. Regardless, when it comes time to buy a new car, I go out of my way to make sure that the car I'm most often seen in is silver.
If you think that's weird, consider the case of a very famous automotive designer and collector from Wisconsin. Regardless of the original color of the cars he bought for his personal collection, they were all repainted to his strict criteria. If it was a convertible, the car had to be Packard Cream. If it was a closed car, it had to be Packard Blue. Ironically, he wasn't a huge collector of Packards.
My daughter needs a better beater for school so I did a random search for local used cars on the Ohio.com autos site. Much to my surprise, the first car to pop up was this 2011 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG for sale in Cleveland for nearly a quarter million dollars!
Now, this wouldn't be news if I was scanning the DuPont Registry or the Beverly Hills Thrifty Shopper but, in our economically ravaged part of the world, it sure is a surprise. A cruel yet somewhat heartening reminder that not all of us are in the same boat, err, car. Although I have to wonder if a person aspiring to a car like this would buy a used vehicle, even with just 292 miles like this one.
My father was the first to admit that he regarded cars as a necessary evil. My mother never even got a driver's license. Despite these facts, they had a string of cars cool enough to satisfy the taste of their son who was born with the recessive car crazy gene.
Of all the cars I remember riding in as a kid, the one I was most proud to be seen in was our 1959 Pontiac Bonneville four door hardtop. It had a white top over a bright red body and a sparkling, multi-hue copper/brass/gold interior. Best of all, it was powered by a 389 cubic inch V8 which was fed through three, two barrell carbs. In classic fashion, the intrigue of the Tripower was totally lost on my dad, who would only complain about the bad gas mileage and the need to use premium fuel.
Two very special automotive seminars will be held during the Glenmoor Gathering weekend, both on Friday, Sept. 16.
From 3 4 p.m., there'll be a special presentation on the history of the famed Chrysler Turbine car by Steve Lehto, author of Chrysler Turbine: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Car. The story of the Chrysler Turbine is one of the most interesting chapters in Detroit automotive history. Only 55 of the cars were produced, with bodies by Carrozzeria Ghia of Italy. Today, a handful remain. Mr. Lehto will also be signing copies of his book.
I know this blog is called "Car Chase" but, for the first time in my life, I have a serious interest in owning and riding a motorcycle. Don't ask me why, but I wandered into the Northern Ohio Ducati and Triumph dealership a few months ago and was dazzled by the motorcycles there. The dealership, surprisingly located in the Chapel Hill area, had just gone through a major expansion and renovation. Road bikes, sport bikes and race models filled the floor. The bright red Ducatis looked like they were going a hundred miles per hour just sitting there and the classic Triumph designs brought back great memories of my younger days.
I thought the desire for a motorcycle would just go away but it seems the craving just gets stronger. Having never owned or seriously ridden a motorcycle, I am asking the sage counsel of our readership. What has been your motorcycle experience? What questions should I be asking myself and the seller? What features should I be looking for?
I was picking up a part from a dealer the other day and, hanging on the wall, was an ad from a June, 1955 edition of the Beacon Journal for the predecessor Ford dealer. Though I'm not quite that old, it brought back great memories of how I used to excitedly look through the newspaper's auto section for all the great ads from the new car dealers and what seemed to be an endless number of classifieds from private sellers. Not only was it the source for finding my first transportation vehicles and my first new car (a '75 Pinto from Mickey Ruttan Ford in Wadsworth), the antique and classic car ads were an absolute gold mine of automotive treasures.
I still occasionally leaf through the paper's auto ads but they're just a shadow of what they used to be. I'll even go a couple weeks before opening my monthly edition of Hemmings Motor News, which is the primary print venue for the collector car hobby. The world has changed with broadcast media and the internet taking a much stronger presence in all aspects of our lives. Imagine trying to explain eBay Motors, craigslist or cars.com to someone just twenty years ago. My recent college graduate daughter, who is also a bit of a gearhead, is shopping for a new car and it seems the web is her primary source.
The house of Ghia was one of the great styling and coach building firms of Italy. Most Americans will only know the Ghia name from the design they did for Volkswagen in the mid-'50's to add a sporty model to their line of basic transportation. As pleasing as this design is, Ghia's was known primarily for high end concepts and very expensive and exclusive limited edition vehicles.
Several stellar examples of unique Ghia vehicles will be shown at this year's Glenmoor Gathering in September. The Petersen Museum in Los Angeles will be sending two one-off designs, including a spectacular 1953 Cadillac done for actress Rita Hayworth. Limited production Ghia models built in the '50's and '60's were favorites of the Hollywood crowd, especially the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra all owned models of the Dual Ghia, Ghia 6.4L and Ghia 450SS, all of which will be represented at the concours. A Ghia designed 1951 Ferrari 212 and one of only two privately held Chrysler Turbines (Jay Leno has one) will also be displayed.