Monday, December 31, 2012

Sophomore Jinx

          In 2011, the first year for the Sycamore Township Summer Bash and Car Show was one of the surprise hits of the season. In its first year it attracted close to 200 great classic cars ranging from the standard Chevy and Ford models to more exotic fare such as a Ferrari Testarosa.
          While this past year's event featured nearly 60 great cars, it was still something of a letdown following the huge success of that first year. But the sophomore jinx didn't disappoint those who did show up. For the next week I'll show you the rest of the cars that made it to that event but which I hadn't posted already.

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Follow a Legend

          How do you follow a legend? Ask any athlete who has had to step in after a legend retires and they will say it is all but impossible. There is no way to live up to what or who you replace.
          In the mid 1960s Aston Martin was faced with the problem of replacing the legendary DB5. Not only was this a quality touring car with speed, performance and luxury, it was also the car driven by secret agent James Bond, first in the classic film Goldfinger.
          Aston Martin knew they needed to come up with something worthy of that iconic movie hero. They first turned to the renowned design house of Touring of Milan for ideas. The proposals were rejected and so the firm turned in house to find a replacement.
          In 1965 the car was shown at the London Motor Show and received mixed reviews. Performance wise the car was a work of art, with less wind resistance, more power and therefore, more speed, topping out at near 150 miles per hour. But the looks were already dated when it was introduced. The car looked a great deal like the model it was replacing. The areas that were different, such as the Kamm styled rear end, looked as though it had been borrowed from a recent Ferrari 250.
          Despite all of the negativity regarding its looks, the DB6 became the longest running model to date for Aston, rolling off the lines until 1971. Sales, though not brisk, were satisfactory as people were obviously choosing performance over looks. Though the DB6 wasn't ever chosen by James Bond, it was a suitable follow-up to the legendary DB5 until Aston Martin turned out the next Bond car, the DBS.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Car Without Peers

          At the turn of the century, the 20th century, Cleveland, OH was one of the major centers of automobile manufacturing. A new firm opened its doors in 1900 with a deal to make manufacture vehicles through a license with the French firm De Dion-Bouton. De-Dion-Bouton was in its 17th year and had initially been successful manufacturing steam powered automobiles and tricycles.
          This new U.S. firm, called Peerless, was to focus on more traditional gasoline driven vehicles. By 1902 they began designing and manufacturing their own, original cars. They quickly made a name for themselves and became one of the Three Ps of Motordom. Along with Pierce-Arrow and Packard, Peerless was considered one of the premium automobiles of its time.
          Like the other two of those premium manufacturers, the things that made Peerless a success also led to its ultimate downfall. The cars were so well built that people would be able to drive them for a decade or more. While the big Detroit firms were turning out cars that people wanted to "upgrade," Peerless machines would run at a near flawless rate, far outliving most other manufacturer's products.
          A lack of repeat customers wasn't the only reason Peerless closed its doors. The company also failed to keep up with changing trends in styling, making even their newer models look out of date. Throw in the Great Depression and people were not buying what they were selling. Peerless shuttered their doors in 1931.
          The 1913 Peerless Model 48 shown here is a Concours quality vehicle with an amazing past. It has been called the ultimate barn find. But it wasn't found in a barn. It was actually discovered in a mine in 1966 and had to be removed by helicopter. The La Jolla Mining Company was using its 587 cubic inch T Head six cylinder engine as a main power source for mines conveyor system. Name another car that has done that and perhaps you will have found this vehicle's peer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jaguar XK Series

          Most people in the USA have this belief that, sure, maybe something existed before it but that the history of Jaguar automobiles began with the famous E Type. For those people who haven't brushed up on their history they may be surprised to learn that Jaguar had a huge international success with a car built around their most famous engine, the XK-6,
          The dual overhead cam inline six was first introduced in 1948 and proved to be so successful that it was not only their mainstay engine through the 1970s but has remained the basis for most every Jaguar power plant.

          Having a great engine is one thing but Jaguar has always had a history of draping it's muscle in beautiful wrappings. Indeed, the first car to be powered by that beautiful motor, the XK-120 featured something many manufacturers had strived for but seldom achieved: beauty, performance and value. The first engine was really more of an experiment with a longer wheelbase that was originally intended for the marque's Mark VII saloon car. But when the public saw that they could own a high quality yet affordable car that was very easy on the eyes, the flocked to dealerships to drop their money.
          With growing sales, the folks at Jaguar continued to tweak their product, adding power to the engine, all the way up to a 3.8 liter with up to 265 horse power, improving handling, "cushing" up the comfort levels inside and making minor sculpting enhancements to the body. The cars continued to sell and sell well.
          Not only was this a nice touring car but many folks used them in rally events where they not only did well but won many major events despite the fact that they were a bit heavy to truly take on the machines coming out of Italy and France at the time.
         But with Jaguar's racing success in other events the company made a decision in the early 1960s to create a sports car to not only replace the aging XK Series but one that could better compete against those foreign powers to the south. Enter the E Type.
          During it's life the XK Series was the envy of many manufacturers throughout Europe. Though few were exported to the USA this is the car that set the stage for Jaguar's intense invasion during the 1960s.
          Shown here is one of the last XK Series cars, a 150 with the 3.8 liter engine. By the time this was rolled out the styling was rapidly getting showing its age. Today, though, looking at this beautiful car brings back visions of long spring rides through the English countryside.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

They've All Been Touched

          Here are the last of the pictures from the annual car show sponsored by the City of Blue Ash and the Untouchables Classic Car Club. I hope you have enjoyed them all as much I enjoyed seeing them at the show and shooting these pictures.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Still Untouched

          I have two more days of "untouched" pictures from the annual City of Blue Ash and Untouchables Classic Car Club show. I hope you enjoy them both.

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Untouchables

          As I've stated many times before, there is no rational reason why I post some car shots right after a show and others I hold back for during the off season. Most times it boils down to the order in which I took the pictures. Sometimes I group cars by specific categories but generally it's the random order with which I wander through the show. Sometimes, this leaves some of the coolest cars for last. Enjoy these nice rides from the City of Blue Ash and the Untouchables Classic Car Club annual show.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Back to Blue Ash

           Once again I'm heading back to a show from earlier this year post pictures of cars that didn't make it the first time around. These are from the show in Blue Ash that is sponsored by the Untouchables Classic Car Club. This is one of my favorite shows of the year for several reasons. First off, it is held in a beautiful park and the majority of the cars are parked on grass and under neath trees. Second of all, there is free food coming hot off the grill. Third, there is always some good classic rock and soul playing to enhance the mood. Forth is the fact that the Untouchables manage to pull in a lot of different kinds of car owners and so the variety of this show is always great. Hope you enjoy these shots.