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Petrolicious

Petrolicious

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Petrolicious creates quality, original videos and articles for classic car enthusiasts.
We celebrate the inventions, the personalities, and the aesthetics that ignite our collective lust for great machines. We are fans and fanatics, collectors and racers. We seek to inform, entertain, and inspire our community of aficionados and pique the interest of those who have been missing out.

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Drive Tastefully®

This 1969 Dodge Charger Is A Sublime Slice Of HEMI Power

2 years ago 228,727 views 3,637 likes 413 comments

Sponsored by Turtle Wax

This week we take a fully-flexed ride in Bromley Howser’s beloved 1969 Dodge Charger packing HEMI power and a four-speed through the Mojave Desert just outside of Colton, California.

Growing up in the golden era of American motoring, Bromley always cherished the muscle cars of his youth—like the numbers-matching piano black ’63 split-window Corvette Sting Ray in his garage, of which he says, “I had a little model, a little gas-powered RC [Sting Ray] car. I suppose when you get older, you want the real thing.” The Howser garage also houses a custom 1970 Chevelle packing a 454 under its hood, which he says is, “Good for taking the edge off.” We believe him.

But the highlighter-colored Charger featured in this film came into his ownership under less than ideal circumstances. One day, while out riding his motorcycle, Bromley was hit head-on by a fleeing motorist who left him wiped out in the middle of the street with a broken back.

The road to recovery was long and painful. Able to smile about the incident now, Bromley recounts, “I was laying in the hospital bed and my girlfriend asked me if I would give up the motorcycle, which I said, ‘Yeah, probably… if I could get a HEMI Charger.’” Sounds like a fair tradeoff, no?

He soon started looking for a project to build and found a listing for two classic Chargers in Denver up for grabs. One body was sitting dormant in a field with its engine parts spread rather unceremoniously across the seller’s garage floor. Hesitant, in fear of getting in over his head, Bromley looked through the parts thoroughly only to discover that “the car was every bit of what the fellow was representing. It was all 100 percent there.”

After rebuilding the entire car using casting books as reference, Bromley discovered not only was the car complete, but it remained entirely as it would have been in ‘69 with the exception of the fuel pump and alternator, making the car “as close to original as you can get.”

Now wearing his preferred 1970 Charger year color, Sublime Green, it might not be correct to his model year by the purists, but that doesn’t bother Bromley one bit. “It’s a different color than the car was originally—some people might say I shouldn’t have done that—but I built it to drive it and enjoy it and I love the color.” Amen to that. So, if you find yourself in San Bernardino county, keep an eye out for Bromley and his Sublime Green Mopar Machine: you can’t miss it.

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This 1969 Dodge Charger Is A Sublime Slice Of HEMI Power

Posted 2 years ago

8:09
2 years ago 228,727 views 3,637 likes 413 comments

Sponsored by Turtle Wax

This week we take a fully-flexed ride in Bromley Howser’s beloved 1969 Dodge Charger packing HEMI power and a four-speed through the Mojave Desert just outside of Colton, California.

Growing up in the golden era of American motoring, Bromley always cherished the muscle cars of his youth—like the numbers-matching piano black ’63 split-window Corvette Sting Ray in his garage, of which he says, “I had a little model, a little gas-powered RC [Sting Ray] car. I suppose when you get older, you want the real thing.” The Howser garage also houses a custom 1970 Chevelle packing a 454 under its hood, which he says is, “Good for taking the edge off.” We believe him.

But the highlighter-colored Charger featured in this film came into his ownership under less than ideal circumstances. One day, while out riding his motorcycle, Bromley was hit head-on by a fleeing motorist who left him wiped out in the middle of the street with a broken back.

The road to recovery was long and painful. Able to smile about the incident now, Bromley recounts, “I was laying in the hospital bed and my girlfriend asked me if I would give up the motorcycle, which I said, ‘Yeah, probably… if I could get a HEMI Charger.’” Sounds like a fair tradeoff, no?

He soon started looking for a project to build and found a listing for two classic Chargers in Denver up for grabs. One body was sitting dormant in a field with its engine parts spread rather unceremoniously across the seller’s garage floor. Hesitant, in fear of getting in over his head, Bromley looked through the parts thoroughly only to discover that “the car was every bit of what the fellow was representing. It was all 100 percent there.”

After rebuilding the entire car using casting books as reference, Bromley discovered not only was the car complete, but it remained entirely as it would have been in ‘69 with the exception of the fuel pump and alternator, making the car “as close to original as you can get.”

Now wearing his preferred 1970 Charger year color, Sublime Green, it might not be correct to his model year by the purists, but that doesn’t bother Bromley one bit. “It’s a different color than the car was originally—some people might say I shouldn’t have done that—but I built it to drive it and enjoy it and I love the color.” Amen to that. So, if you find yourself in San Bernardino county, keep an eye out for Bromley and his Sublime Green Mopar Machine: you can’t miss it.

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This Nissan Pao Isn’t A Sports car, Exotic, Or Pedigree Rich Racer, It’s Just Different.

Posted 2 years ago

7:08
2 years ago 126,592 views 2,782 likes 361 comments

This week we squeeze into an unusual Japanese car: a 1989 Nissan Pao. The smitten owner of this adorable compact city car, Godis Sanchez, tells us what it was about the pastel teal retro-mobile that lured him.

After first discovering the limited production Japanese domestic market hatchback, Godis says, “I told my dad, ‘You know, that looks like a little wagon that never decided to grow.’ It was perfect. It's just a weird car, and I like that—the weirdness of it. It has it's own character. It looks like it came out of a Pixar movie.”

Japanese cars have become more collectable than ever thanks to a growing fanbase and, in recent years, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 25-year grey market vehicle import exemption has enabled stateside enthusiasts to dabble in foreign market autos that were never sold new in North America.

While select cult-followed Japanese Nostalgic Cars, such as the Nissan R32 GT-R, are more mainstream, enthusiasts like Godis dared to differ from the common imports with surprisingly positive results. “I like the fact that people come and ask me about the car. I like that when you're passing by, they don't know what it is. They give you thumbs-up everywhere you go,” Godis says smiling, “To me, I didn't want a GT-R. I wanted something special, something different.”

With an estimated 50 horsepower, the excessively accessorized car is more about style than speed. “It demands for you to be sympathetic with every input you put into it and to be gentle with it. You're not going to be speeding in it; this is a city car. 0-60 is dependent upon what you had for dinner last night.”

But don’t let the Pao’s portion-control-proportions fool you. Once inside, it’s roomier than you’d expect thanks to its clever, minimalistic packaging. “Seeing such a tall guy coming out of such a small car, people wonder, ‘How'd you get in there? Do you fit?’ People don't realize there’s nothing in there other than the dash, panels, and a couple switches. All you have is space.”

The Nissan Pao isn’t a sports car, exotic, or pedigree-rich racer, “It's just different, and different is always good—especially a car that makes you smile. That's always a good thing.”

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1981 Two Door Range Rover – Sweets On Wheels

Posted 2 years ago

7:18
2 years ago 239,846 views 4,856 likes 296 comments

This week we take a ride in Englishman John Holland’s Sandglow colored 1981 Range Rover through the rural lush greenery just outside of Worcestershire.

John took a liking to the old British off-roaders after getting to know a local retired military officer. The service member regularly drove grand excursions in his Range Rovers, which left an impression of adventure on John.

Inspired by the colonel, John couldn’t turn down the chance to acquire the gentleman’s Range Rover when the opportunity arose. “Once I'd driven it and used it, even though it ate petrol, it just consumed petrol, it was so much fun to drive.”

Hooked on the driving manner, John blames his Landy love affair on the veteran service member. “I owe a lot to that guy because he was the inspiration for owning a Range Rover—for wanting to drive a Range Rover.” Smitten with his handsome stable chariot, John reflects on the truck’s finish.

“I tell ya, it's a curious color,” John notes on the pale mustard hue. “It's definitely one thing, it's a color that seems to grow on people.” A tone derived from the Camel Trophy entrants, there’s a unique way the Sandglow paint works over the simple two-box designed classic—a perfect pairing on this motorcar.

The magic in the machine’s honest, utilitarian shape and character has kept John committed in driving Range Rovers, in spite of their temperamental tendencies. “There are some times that car can be an absolute pain in the neck, but you've got to just balance that out with the pleasure it gives in terms of driving it, owning it, and enjoying it. So, that's why I'm going to keep driving a Range Rover, an old Range Rover.”

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1957 Lambretta Scooter: A Family’s Legacy Is Lost And Then Found

Posted 1 year ago

6:17
1 year ago 105,635 views 2,317 likes 212 comments

"It is such a rare occurrence to stumble upon a family heirloom 20 years later." Read the story and and see our behind the scenes gallery of this little 1957 Lambretta here: https://petro.li/2vEukUz

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Camilo Pardo And His Ford GT Go Full Circle

Posted 2 years ago

7:56
2 years ago 252,659 views 5,577 likes 313 comments

This week we take a ride in artist Camilo Pardo’s 2005 Ford GT. If you’re unfamiliar with the man, you best strap in: Camilo Pardo was the lead designer on the Ford GT program.

Born in New York, Camilo and his family resettled in Detroit when he was 10 years of age. Already a fan of automobiles, the shift to Motor City only further enamored Camilo to the Domestic machines of the 1960s and 1970s. “I was on a mission to be an automotive designer,” says Camilo, and after graduating from the Center for Creative Studies in 1985, he was promptly hired by Ford for his evident talents.

By 2005, Camilo was leading the SVT Studio Ford GT production design team. In response to working on such a special project, Camlio says, “You dive into it. You put all of your emotion into it, your heart. You wake up faster, you get into your car quicker, you drive to work, you're a little earlier. It changes your life.”

But despite his ecstatic enthusiasm in playing such a vital role in Ford Motor Company heritage, Camilo admits the project had its hardships. “As we approached the auto show, they cancelled the production car. It was disappointing. My goal was to do a concept vehicle that really looked like a production car, could maybe some way talk everybody to put it back on for production.”

The rest is history. Camilo and his design team’s Ford GT concept proved to be such a hit, Ford announced the car would be produced at the unveiling. Since 2005, Camilo has owned five previous GT with this custom liveried silver, black, and orange example being his sixth and latest example.

From dreaming of classics as a youngster in Detroit, making his way through design school, and landing a key studio position at Ford, Camilo Pardo’s career hasn’t come without its challenges, but it’s been one hell of a ride. “I've spent a lot years designing cars and it doesn’t always come full circle. It is an automotive designers goal and dream.”

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1973 Chevrolet Camaro: An American Let Free In The French Countryside

Posted 1 year ago

7:59
1 year ago 93,344 views 2,127 likes 223 comments

This week take a lap through the French countryside in Gabriel Henaut’s 1973 Chevrolet Camaro.

Gabriel grew up under an influential father who also happened to be a mechanic. You know this story; with the seed planted early on in his life, cars were a point of passion for a young boy, and that hasn’t changed since. But like every tale told often, there’s a reason for that. When it results in cars like Gabriel’s Camaro emigrating to France, when the journey and the result are equally intriguing, these are the examples of whatever the Hero’s Journey is for the world of cars that are worth telling.

Growing up, his father taught him how to wrench and shared the tricks that come with experience, but more importantly, he encouraged Gabriel to adopt the do-it-yourself mindset. Getting a license and driving on his own began a longtime love affair with Mk1 Volkswagens, and Gabriel refreshed and restored several early Golfs, but after spending a good deal of time around, in, under, and on the iconic four-banger hot-hatches, he desired something different. Something unique thundering around in France. Maybe something American?

They say forbidden fruit is the sweetest, and a plump V8 from Detroit is about as foreign as it gets in northwestern French. “V8s were just fantasy,” Gabriel says with a small smirk, “You think it’s impossible, until one day you ask yourself, ‘Why not?’ ” So, after colluding with a friend to take a trip to the United States, the search for a machine to quench his thirst for torque was underway in full. In 2013 they flew to Los Angeles to start poking around for something rust-free, but couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Las Vegas while on the West Coast.

On the way out of the city, they get lost in the desert’s stretches of deserted roads for much longer than anyone would want to (which to be fair is not very long), and barely make it to a petrol station before running out of fuel. After topping off the tank again in Victorville, his friend noticed a Nova for sale parked just off the road. Not his ideal choice, Gabriel was about to walk away when a man walked over to ask him if he was looking to buy something. The man’s name was Roberto, and Roberto happened to have a pretty nicely stuffed garage.

“Follow me,” Roberto said, luring the traveling friends into the collection. “We entered a shed full of dismantled cars.” And though covered up, Gabriel quickly recognized a certain shape under its dusty cloak. Roberto removed the tarp to reveal a 1973 Chevrolet Camaro. “My interest was piqued,” Gabriel admits, “I got all excited; I loved that car.”

After fiddling with the ignition briefly, Roberto woke the split-bumper beast. Despite the accumulated dirt, a thorough inspection of the car proved it to be very clean and complete. A deal was struck, and Gabriel was the smitten new owner of some vintage American iron.

But the car still had to find its way back to France. “The nice thing about this story is that I indulged myself when I discovered the car, but also when I rediscovered it a few months later when the vehicle arrived home,” Gabriel explains, “I had forgotten a lot of things: the smell of it, the sound it makes, details that had been erased with time.”

By the time the car arrived home, and after the requisite time just sitting inside it again and reacquainting, Gabriel was shocked at how clean it really was, even on top of his initial surprise at its good condition. The process was well worth the risk, as he explains, “it gave me the chance to have unique experiences that I will never forget.”

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Modified Yet Period-Correct, This Mercedes-Benz 190SL Is Displaced In Time

Posted 2 years ago

7:59
2 years ago 191,958 views 4,182 likes 520 comments

This week we join Michael Potiker for a ride back in time in his tastefully modified Mercedes 190 SL as he wheels around Los Angeles in the low-cut period-correct roadster.

For most, the gorgeous Benz offers more than enough personality in stock form, and would be no difficult feat to become attached to, but to achieve an even deeper bond with his machine Michael hasn’t shied away from adding some custom touches. After acquiring the 190 SL following a serendipitous stroll down his father’s street where the pair came across the car for the first time, he went about researching the legacy of the model to discover what they were used for, trying to ascertain their place in the era from which they came.

Though often shadowed by its older brother the 300 SL, Mercedes also offered packages for 190 SL owners who were looking to go racing, and upon learning of this option Michael went about sourcing parts and finding builders to transform his car into a Southern California-style racer while also paying homage to the original Rennsport kit (which Mercedes would sell to customers separate from the car, with the owners adding the pieces themselves).

On the experience of driving the resulting slice-like Mercedes roadster, he explains that for him, “It’s not even about the roads and the scenery, it’s about rowing the gears and operating this absolutely ridiculous vehicle.” While it’s nice to enjoy our cars in ideal settings, we have to agree with Michael on what’s paramount in all of this, and that is the actual act of driving, regardless of where it’s happening.

There are certain cars, like this one is for Michael, that have that kind of pull on us that can turn any drive into an activity that reaffirms your original passion for the car. And when you use such a thing regularly? That’s even better, and in keeping with his idea that it’s important to use cars like this, because it’s “about experiencing something that’s drastically different from the everyday,” even if you’re still using it every day.

Beyond the lowered doors and windscreen, the “cafe road racer” look is achieved through an interesting shade of green applied to the body and unadorned steel wheels, a subtle and appropriate livery, and some prominent Marchal driving lights mounted at the corners of the classic ovoid Mercedes grille. On the performance side of the changes, the 190 SL’s inline-four has been fitted with some hotter Webers, which leaves you with what is “effectively a pedal that’s an on-off switch,” and as Michael goes on to explain, “It changes the way you drive because you look for these opportunities to be flooring the car.” In order to keep the thing planted in this pursuit of full-throttle driving, the suspension components have been upgraded to stiffer and newer pieces to cope.

On the joys of using a car like this often, Michael remarks that it’s like being in “a cosplay time machine as a 1950s racing driver.” If a car can elicit those kinds of wondrous child’s-imagination-come-true feelings and turn that into a regular reality, that’s Driving Tastefully®.

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This 1972 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe Is A Stylish Member Of The Family

Posted 2 years ago

6:12
2 years ago 186,210 views 4,205 likes 409 comments

Tom McComas Senior is a simple man with only a few indulgences: family, friends, and BMWs. Several months ago we profiled him and his son around a very special R60 motorcycle that has been passed down from when he bought it new to his son Tom Jr., Hollywood Stuntman, who rides it around the streets of Los Angeles to this day.

That BMW R60 would be the machine that would start a life long love affair with the marque, leading to an exceptional circumstance around his son's birth, and a CS available to buy in Joliet Illinois. “I ran into the dealership and said to the man, “Don’t sell that coupe! My wife is in labor and I’ll be back in the morning to buy it.” As he was running out the sympathetic manager of the dealership said to his salesman, “If you don’t sell it to that man, you’re fired.”

He returned shortly, bought the car, gave everyone in the dealership cigars, drove back to the hospital and picked his wife and newborn up "starting them off in style".

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This Ferrari 308 GTB Traces The Streets Of Bangkok Daily

Posted 2 years ago

8:15
2 years ago 182,644 views 3,815 likes 381 comments

This week we take a ride from the bustling city streets of Bangkok to the winding rural roads just outside the capital in Chayanin Debhakam’s Ferrari 308 GTB.

In Thailand, just catching a glimpse of a Prancing Horse out of the stable is a rare occasion, but Chayanin’s choice to daily drive his Ferrari is what elevates his enthusiasm for the marque. Before you can see one in the wild though, the car needs to be brought in first, and sourcing a Ferrari in the BKK is an entirely different challenge for these buyers.

“The 308 GTB is the Ferrari that I grew up with and it was the first Ferrari I ever saw,” says Chayanin. When it came time to find a Ferrari of his own, he reached out to the president of the Ferrari Owners Club of Thailand, who was able to find the car that Chayanin now drives so often. “He finally found one and it was exactly what I was searching for.”

Once he had the Rosso-Corsa-on-crème GTB parked in his garage, Chayanin did some research and discovered the car was originally Fly Yellow over black leather—another victim to “resale red.” This is when his quest for perfection began, “I wanted to restore the car back to the original factory standard.”

Using some extra workspace at his office, Chayanin (with repair manual in hand) got to work. Singlehandedly tackling this project would have been tremendous, but Chayanin fortunately has a group of enthusiast friends who brought their individual talents to the table. Chayanin humbly admits, “Some of them have different skills than me. I don't know everything [and] cannot do everything myself, so having extra help and knowledge is great.”

In recent years, tracking down correct 308 parts has become quite the task, but Chayanin was unwavering in achieving his vision, stating that his ultimate goal was to have it drive and feel as it did when it left the factory. His obsession to return the car back to factory spec went as far as buying a new old stock (NOS) exhaust system to ensure the Italian eight-cylinder audio system was accurate. Finally refinished in flashy Fly Yellow with beautifully stitched black hide inside, Chayanin’s 308 GTB is back to the way Maranello intended it to be.

For many, pouring so much time and money into such a serious project would make driving the car an overly cautious event only to be indulged on occasion and only under ideal circumstances. But, as you can see in the film, Chayanin has no problem revving-out his favorite Ferrari, getting tail happy in the empty forest-lined roads—after all, it is his everyday 308.

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1952 Ferrari 340 America Vignale Spider

Posted 2 years ago

6:16
2 years ago 159,620 views 2,693 likes 245 comments

Editor's Note: We are proud to partner with Bonhams on this film in excited anticipation of their upcoming January Scottsdale Auction. We encourage you to learn more about this auction online at http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23945/

“I searched for a car to compete in the Mille Miglia. It was quite a long process to find the right car…so I searched, but there was one problem, how to convince my wife?” says Michael Stehle. “I convinced her to come with me…I showed her the car…‘Wait, wait, let’s start the engine’— ‘OK, you can start the engine’,” she said back. Once this ex-Works 1952 Ferrari 340 Spider by Vignale had cleared its throat, the verdict was in: “OK, you can buy this car,” his wife said.

In the early 1950s, this was Ferrari’s supercar. This very car drove the Mille Miglia in 1952, with Enzo Ferrari appointing his top driver Piero Taruffi to race it—leading for much of the race before being felled by transmission troubles. Still, it would race in a number of other period events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Targa Florio, always placing well against other top machines.

“This car, you can like it or you can love it; but in my opinion, it’s a pure racing design, it’s reduced to a minimum,” Stehle says. “In comparison to Pininfarina, this coachbuilder tried to make the car more beautiful, maybe, but Vignale was just functional—I fell in love with the shape, it’s the minimum of design.”
His first time driving the car was at the Mille Miglia, and that at first, it wasn’t easy to drive— 280 horsepower and a very lightweight body made him cautious until he grew more familiar with the car and, eventually, began to overtake his fellow drivers. But when the car was stopped during his first Mille Miglia, it was the Italian people’s unmatched respect for Ferrari that was perhaps most surprising.

“They kiss the body, they want to see inside, because they appreciate the car so much,” Stehle says. “In 1952, this was the most important car for Ferrari at that time, they didn’t make too many cars; they didn’t have too much money. So they invested time, money, and all the effort in this car.”

“For me, it’s an honor to drive this car because it’s part of this fantastic history of Ferrari.”

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1956 Aston Martin DBR1: A British Racing Rarity

Posted 1 year ago

6:50
1 year ago 177,456 views 3,629 likes 242 comments

This week, in partnership with RM Sotheby’s, we go for a lively ride in one of Britain’s (if not the world’s) most beautiful automobiles: an Aston Martin DBR1.

One of just five hand-built DBR1s produced, this example is particularly significant due to it being the very first one made, in addition to it being the same model, though not the exact car, that earned Aston Martin an overall Le Mans victory and a worthy motorsport legacy. Obviously, a car of such importance requires expert narration, and we were lucky enough to get the perfect man for the job: Stephen Archer.

Mr. Archer, a veteran Aston Marin racer since the late ‘70s, is the official Aston Martin Works Historian. Aston Martin Works is the historic home of the brand, and has a history of its own that is almost six decades in the making, so it goes without saying Stephen knows a thing or two about the cars.

Stephen retells DBR1/1’s most memorable moment, a tale that places near the top of the all time greatest racing stories. “Come '55, John Wyer and David Brown decided to produce a racing car that'd finally take the fight properly to the opposition,” Stephen tells, “[And] right from the outset, the DBR1 was to prove itself an incredibly competent racing car. And yet it was designed by a tiny team led by one man, Ted Cutting, who designed the chassis, the engine, and the beautiful, beautiful body that epitomizes racing Aston Martins.”

“Come 1959, the team of Aston Martins went on, of course, to win Le Mans—in fact, they took first and second. But why is this car, DBR1/1, so important if it wasn’t the winning car? Well, just three weeks before Le Mans was the 1,000 Kilometers of the Nürburgring and the factory wasn't going to enter a car there—the target was to win Le Mans—but Stirling Moss
said, ‘Look we've won this race twice, we can win this race again. Just let me take the car there,’ and John Wyer agreed.”

With a five minute and five second lead earned by the 17th lap, it appeared Moss was right: a third victory was not only possible, but apparently a stroll in the park for the legendary wheelman—but another tale of that man winning a race that wouldn’t make for a truly great story, would it? All was smooth sailing until Sterling pitted for a pilot changeover, handing over the helm to his co-driver Jack Fairman, who unfortunately ended up putting the car in a ditch.

Incredibly, Jack—being quite a brawny man apparently—was able to single-handedly push DBR1/1 out of said ditch and continue on, but the accident was not without seemingly grave consequence. The mishap severely cost the team position, knocking their comfortable spot with a five minute lead all the way back to fourth place. They were down, but far from out.

“Driving like a man who had an appointment with a checkered flag,” Moss miraculously secured first again. “It was Stirling Moss's finest ever drive. He jumped in, and won by a huge margin, which was undoubtedly DBR1/1's finest hour, but it also set them up to compete in the world championship,” Stephen explains.

The Aston Martin team went on to win the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, achieving north of 175mph down the Mulsanne Straight in the DBR1s, lap after lap for 24 hours. The car was pure speed sorcery in the late ’50s, and it hasn’t lost a bit of magic since.

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This C2 Corvette Stingray Is A Sacred Monster

Posted 2 years ago

7:40
2 years ago 118,731 views 2,706 likes 279 comments

The Fourth of July may not be celebrated outside of the US, but an appreciation of American muscle knows no bounds; join us this week as we take a rumbly ride in Mathieu Houtreille’s crisp Ermine White 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray through the back roads surrounding Luxembourg, Belgium.

Like many of us, Mathieu grew up under a gearhead’s roof. His father, Jean-Luc Houtreille, ensured he raised his son properly. “Ever since I learned to walk, my dad took me to all the car affairs,” Mathieu tells, “I would see the mechanics work under warm hoods, and the smell that emerged would captivate me.” A natural-born car-obsessed boy, where his father leaned towards the Italian marques, Mathieu differed, oddly falling for old American steel and iron.

Mat says, “For me, the monsters that gave me goose bumps were the ones with massive V8s and a thunderous sound coming out of their tailpipes. That's what I loved.” Forever longing for Detroit muscle, a trip with his wife stateside sealed his fate with Corvettes. Referring to this excursion, Mat clarifies, “It is a country with a lot of wide-open spaces. It is magical, and you can't understand unless you've been there, and taken those roads, because you can't describe it [otherwise].”

Learning of the ‘50s and ‘60s American car culture’s love of machine as well as its street racing scene, Mat realized this era was a special time that no longer exists, admitting that oftentimes, “If you tell people you hand-wash your car and you love your car, they will think you're dumb.” The sad truth is, most people view that mentality as outdated, but not Mathieu of course.

Call it born in the wrong country in the wrong generation if you want, but we prefer to regard Mathieu’s passion a dying romance we’re happy to see still has a heart with a strong pulse. After wheeling a C3 for a while, his appreciation for the earlier C2 Stingray turned into an obsession. “I had to acquire one of those sacred monsters,” Mathieu says, determined, “my love for the C2 grew. With its perfect aesthetics, it is the epitome of the mid-‘60s.”

After seeing a flawlessly restored C2 in the flesh at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas, Mat’s desire for his own Stingray only continued moving from want to need, and he was lucky enough to find an ad a few months later for an Ermine White 1965 model—his preferred color. With a friend accompanying him to see the car, they arrived to the seller’s town. “It smelled of dreams,” Mat says smiling, “It smelled so good.” The seller turned out to be an avid car collector with a multi-story garage full of classic goodies. “The door opened, and I saw cars everywhere.”

Suppressing his excitement as to not get his hopes up too high for the Corvette in question, Mat smirks, “It was time for a test drive.” Too intimidated to drive the car initially, Mat turned down the seller’s offer and insisted on riding shotgun. A drive post-rainfall through forested roads at 110 miles per hour was all the conviction Mathieu really needed, but the step-off of the accelerator which summoned vicious backdraft pops and bangs was the final verdict: this was going to be the one.

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1985 BMW 316: E30 Ownership 30 Years Later

Posted 1 year ago

6:02
1 year ago 124,831 views 2,265 likes 337 comments

This week, join us for a late night cruise sitting shotgun in Sébastien Defaux’s 1985 BMW 316 across the cobblestones and lamplit streets of Lille, France.

Like many young boys pushing toys around on the floor, Sébastien’s initial love for wheels came in the form of a firetruck infatuation. Obsessed with the vibrant red mobile extinguishers, it’s no surprise that Sébastien dreamt of growing up to become a firefighter himself one day.

That profession plan stuck for a while, but it all changed when he came across a model of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. “Bye, bye, firefighters, hello, backfires,” Sébastien quips as he remembers the moment of transition, admitting that the form of the scaled-down Benz was enough to sway him away from the path of battling blazes and onto the track of sporting automobiles that would eventual lead him to the Ultimate Driving Machine.

With a cousin already steeped in BMWs, not to mention an uncle who’d raced a 2002Tii around the Nürburgring, Sébastien became interested in the motorcars from Munich soon after that pivotal moment with the toy Gullwing, noting, “[My cousin] has owned a lot [of BMWs]. He’s an auto body mechanic, so he fixes a great deal of them.” Sébastien then finished school with his diploma in auto body repair after learning the trade under his cousin’s guidance. “This allowed me to get a closer feel for this brand's bodywork,” explains Sébastien, adding, “That's when the double grille managed to get me.”

The BMW bug had bitten, and it left a permanent impression on Sébastien. While he adores many of the marque’s masterpieces, it was a happenstance run-in with an E30 M3 parked on the street that really influenced him when the time came to buy his first car. “I instantly fell in love with that model,” Sébastien tells us, “I was there facing her, and I thought, 'This is the one I need.'"

While an E30 might seem like a perfectly suitable first car, many of us forget the chassis is 35 years old at this point. A lot has changed in terms of automobile safety, efficiency, and reliability, but Sébastien was set: only an E30 would do. Despite his parent’s initial skepticism and appeal to practicality, Sébastien remained determined, “I really wanted an old car to drive to school, 30 years late.”

Most older entry-level Bimmers have been driven into the ground by now, but there are lovingly cared for examples still out there, which is exactly what Sébastien was searching for, and exactly what he wound up with. While not the highly coveted Motorsport division homologation sports coupe that is the M3 that sparked his search, Sébastien did find a pristine silver 316 sedan listed in the classifieds, and it comes with its own unique charms.

The retired mechanic who owned the car had taken exceptional care of the fun-to-drive, well-rounded example of the roundel. Nervous it was too good to be true, or worse, that he’d been beaten to the deal, Sébastien “didn't want to miss out on it,” and so with his mother, father, and grandfather in tow, the family set off to see the car. “I entered the garage, turned my head, and there she was, glistening, the yellow front beams shining under the neon lights.” Only a single instant separated Sébastien’s first glimpse of the car from his deep longing for it.

After an extended test drive, everything checked out as advertised and a deal was made. “I knew she was the one,” Sébastien confidently declares, “I finally had my first car at the age of 19, and it wasn’t a random car. It was the car I had dreamed about. But, mostly, it was my first BMW.

Drive Tastefully®

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