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Having Your Cake vs. Eating it. Driving the AE86 Corolla GT TwinCam

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I don’t have a bucket list. If I was ever to compile one I fear there would be such an inconquerably tall pile of ambitions to remain unfulfilled that my resultant spiral into depression would only accelerate my progress towards the grave. I do have a to-do list though, and driving this car has been on it for ages.

The AE86 Corolla has turned into something of an improbable hero. It is worshipped by legions of loyal supporters and I was never entirely sure they all know what they’re talking about. It was high time I tried to work it out for myself. So, thanks to Toyota UK, I did.

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A Tour of Omix-ADA’s Historic Jeep Collection

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In the modest town of Suwanee, Georgia, there lies a remarkable collection of rare, unique, and otherwise significant Jeeps of all types and decades under a single roof. 27 Jeeps – all in full working order – reside at Omix-ADA’s headquarters and have just recently become accessible to the public through complimentary guided tours.

They were kind enough to invite me to Suwanee to see this collection of theirs firsthand. I live within driving distance of this wondrous place, so I happily accepted.

Omix-ADA is a name that many Jeep enthusiasts will likely recognize as one of the world’s largest independent manufacturer and wholesaler companies that specialize in all things Jeep. To those who aren’t familiar… well, there you go. These guys live and breathe Jeep and this new collection of theirs really shows just how passionate they are about preserving them.

This collection is not the biggest or the shiniest around, but if anything that only adds to how awesome it is for enthusiasts like you and I. Click past the jump and I’ll show you what I mean. There’s a lot here so get comfortable and enjoy this virtual tour of some of the best from this collection (note: not everything will be shown).

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Suzuki SC100: Small Wonder- Driving The WhizzKid

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About twelve years ago I visited a Coventry scrapyard in search of bits for my rapidly self-composting Rover. Just outside the office of that Ryton-On-Dunsmore car breaker, there sat a pale metallic blue SC100. I wondered what parts the owner might himself be searching for. Next day, when I returned to collect the cast aluminium window frame covers I had found, there was a fresh addition atop the pile I had been rummaging through. That SC100 had become a new, doomed, crown, mounted high upon a column of rust. I’m pretty sure that was the last time I saw one.

Now here I am sitting at the wheel of a Whizzkid. What a strange day it’s been.

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1902 De Dion-Bouton Type K Motor-Hansom

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As a kid, my parents gave me Peter Robert’s A Picture History of the Automobile. I spent a thousand hours reading and pouring over the photos. One in particular has always stuck with me; a photo showing a veteran-era (pre-1905) open car with a sort of transverse walkway between the firewall and the front of the passenger cab, with the doors facing forward. I found it to be perhaps the most enduringly fascinating car in the whole book. I recently tracked down a copy of the book specifically to check it out again. The caption said it was a 1902 De Dion-Bouton Type K. Some additional digging online taught me that only a couple of Type Ks had this weird configuration. As was typical of the time, De Dion-Bouton did not build coachwork but left that to, well, coachbuilders. It’s called a motor-hansom, and I didn’t realize until very recently was that the car I saw in the photo was missing a removable hardtop, which was its more normal configuration. The odd body design was short-lived attempt to translate the “hansom cab” style of horse-drawn hire-carriage to motor power. Unfortunately, having the doors face the engine really didn’t make sense, and the idea quickly faded. But it certainly looked cool and unique to my 10-year-old brain. And frankly, it still does today.  Click through the jump to see a photo with the hardtop in place, as well as a YouTube video about the car (which will only make sense to you if you speak French).

A more detailed overview of the car is available at the Auto Concept Reviews web site.

Image credits: Zack’s Motor Photos‘ Flickr stream, YouTube.

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’80s Ad Weekend Edition – Peugeot 205 GTi

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What, more 205? Well, this one is in the same vein as the earlier Fuego clip: promotional material from the ’80s, combined with a modern retro electro soundtrack. The secret agent business with the 205 GTi has been turned to the megamax with absolutely pulsating sounds by Perturbator.

And like the YouTube description puts it: HELICOPTER ! ROCKETS ! TRAINS ! EXPLOSIONS !

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’80s Ad Weekend Edition – Renault Fuego

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This video is a collection of Renault Fuego advertising material, set to a retro electro soundtrack. It works pretty well, and Myrone’s Exclusive Coupé is a cool “hero car” sort of tune. It has also been combined with a BMW 850 promo with definitely satisfying results.

I’m not quite sure I need a Fuego in my life, but the clip makes for a strong case for it.

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’80s Ad Weekend Edition – Ford Sierra XR4 (Argentina)

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Despite being available as only pretty shoddy quality upload – it’s been on YouTube since 2006 – this Argentinian ad for the Ford Sierra XR4 is very likeable. Sure, it’s dated and revolves around the idea that the Charlton Heston lookalike behind the wheel uses a black Sierra to woo an impressionable catwoman, but somehow it all works pretty well together.

And the music is as ’80s action theme as it can be. That’s always a good thing.

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’80s Ad Weekend Edition – Peugeot 205

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What a better way to start a 1980s themed weekend edition than posting a video dated to 1990? Well, to some people 1990 was still ’80s, and I haven’t actually even stopped living in the 1980s either, so I do think it’s all good. In any case, it’s likely this awesome piece of advertising was shot in ’89, so it’s legit.

Now that I’ve preceded the Peugeot 205 ad with babble not actually describing the ad at all, we can move on to the clip itself. It’s very much reminiscent of the ending of A Man and a Woman, where the hero drives his Mustang quickly to catch up with the train. A 205 is a nice alternative for American muscle.

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Weekend Edition: V.I.S.I.T. – Sebring Edition

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Often when you attend a major race, such as the 12 Hours of Sebring, there is just as much to see off the track as there is on it. There were rare models cruising the grounds and parking areas of Sebring, devoted entirely to notable makes and models, such as Porsche, Corvette, Audi, and BMW. Each of them had their outstanding examples.

As a follow up to last week’s 12 Hours of Sebring post, I bring you a second piece, this time with the vehicles I saw in traffic as well as what was parked and on display. … Continue Reading

When in Doubt, Camp Out: A First-Timer’s View of the 12 Hours of Sebring

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The folks who were there just to cover the final race were probably there and gone within 24 hours, but we camped out early to check out the full experience and to place ourselves within the non-stop 24-hour party that is the 12 Hours of Sebring. For me, it would be a first; three days of wonderful exhaust sounds, shooting photos, eating salty camping food, and sweating, out in the Florida heat, to bring you the sights and experiences of the 12 Hours of Sebring from Sebring, Florida. … Continue Reading

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