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A Honda Zoomer….. from 1921? The ČAS Sc.

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The Honda Zoomer, available since 2002 on the Japanese and American market, is recognised by several people I’ve met as an iconic piece of micro-scooter design. I happen to agree with them. Its stripped-down form and the way its vital structural members are laid bare for all to see makes for a refreshingly different take on the oft-cliche’d scooter convention. It’s an expression of High-Tech Architecture on two-wheels.

So, when working my way along the crowded line of motorcycles on permanent exhibition at the National Technical Museum in Prague, I was quite taken aback to see this machine for the first time. It appears to be everything the Honda Zoomer is, yet was built some eighty-one years earlier. It being two-wheel Tuesday, take a closer look after the jump.

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The Surprising State Ride of Czech President Václav Havel.

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Striving for social status in life can bring many rewards. My 33 years on the planet have seen me ascend to ownership of a 1997 Rover 825si (which I try not to mention too often in case I’m seen as arrogant or aloof). Jeff Glucker, my elder (and better) has a Bugatti EB110 and a fleet of GM EV-1s scattered around the world (and you thought they’d been destroyed….).

But what happens when you suddenly find yourself elected president of a former Communist-controlled land? Czechoslovakia at the end of the ’80s was a country rich with engineering talent, so creating a car fit for a President wouldn’t be a significant challenge. So, after his election after the Velvet Revolution of late 1989, what did Václav Havel drive?

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Ride Onboard The Revs Institute’s Ferrari 250LM With Gunnar Jeannette

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It doesn’t take much for me to get really really excited. You should have seen me when I walked into the paddock area of Laguna Seca and saw this Ferrari 250LM. Even though it was the third one I’d seen in my life, and the second one I’d seen that morning, my hearts still skipped a couple of beats. The 250LM is unequivocally my favorite car (followed closely by the Porsche 904 and the 250GTO), and that beautiful shape never fails to get my engine revved up (pun intended).

While ogling the car, a chap from the Revs Institute (the Collier Collection in Florida) started chatting about all of the data logging they were doing on the car that week while they were running it on track. Imagine that, running a 10 million dollar car on a track with other cars valued similarly. He also mentioned that they would be loading some video from the racing sessions to their YouTube channel. It took me about 3 seconds to subscribe to their channel, but it was a slow burn, as they just recently uploaded this video. It was worth the wait. 20 minutes of professional racer Gunnar Jeannette running the little red beast through its paces. Click the jump to get the video.

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Forgotten Racetrack: Lake Garnett in Garnett, Kansas

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Fifty miles south of Lawrence, Kansas, lies a small city called Garnett. Aside from being the birthplace of American writer Edgar Lee Masters, Garnett hardly stands out from other county seats in the state’s flat expanse. Visitors will find a dine-in Pizza Hut, a turn-of-the-century courthouse, a main street lined with signless brick buildings, and—just within the city’s northern border—the 300-acre North Lake Park around small Lake Garnett.

Though you’d likely never know it driving through the city, from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, the road that ringed Lake Garnett made up a challenging road course with a surprising amount of elevation change and a foreboding sense of danger. The site of the Lake Garnett Grand Prix would host one of American sports car racing’s major turning points and thousands of club racers would compete there during the event’s 15 years. Those races eventually disappeared more than 40 years ago, but the temporary circuit has enjoyed renewed interest and enthusiasm.

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Weekend At Beaulieu: You Name It, We Got It.

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“How much for the one, badly corroded and horrifically, brutally deformed Lotus Eclat alloy?”
“That’s £110, mate”
“Hmm, that’s a bit rich, considering the condition. I was thinking more like £60”
“You’re having a laugh, mate. I can’t let that go for less than a ton”
“Look I’ll take it now for £70”

….and so it goes on for the next ten minutes. This conversation was occurring literally everywhere you walked. It’s an inevitable phenomenon at this kind of an event; the prices marked on items is arbitrary at best and haggling is the norm. But before the skilful negotiation can break out, you have to have the kind of stuff laid out on your stall that everybody wants. And to be completely honest, walking past hundreds of identical stalls covered in rusty obsolete parts I had a hard time telling the trash from the treasure.

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Weekend at Beaulieu:- 4 Sale:- T’Bird? Word.

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£23,750. It all comes down to context, really. In my world, where my daily driver is worth probably a hundredth of that, that’s a whole hill of cash. In vehicular retail terms, though, twenty-four grand doesn’t yet see you out of KIA territory. You’re talking real low-end BMW and Mercedes fare for that kind of figure. For out-and-out look-at-me new-car credibility, £23,750 doesn’t earn you a whole bunch of bragging rights.

So why not spend your 24 kiloquid on this? Parked amid the “for sale” area at the World Famous International Autojumble at Beaulieu this year, to say that this ’63 Thunderbird stood out is an understatement akin to the 1986 mutterings of Chenobyl safety officers that “we might be in a spot of bother here.”

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Weekend at Beaulieu: The Museum Pt3 – The Record Breakers

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Part of me absolutely hates museums. Line after line of immaculately presented mechanical corpses sit there, mute, waiting without hope of ever seeing action like they did in the days before they were embalmed and roped off with velvet.

You need to visit Goodwood, Duxford, or dozens of the other gatherings around the world to see vintage aircraft and race cars being given a proper work-out. At Goodwood this year, on the same day that a Mercedes W196 Racer was being thrapped up the hillclimb, a Hawker Hunter and English Electric Canberra were dancing an intricate, noisy routine in the skies above. Of course, there are certain awesome artefacts from time that can never be demonstrated in public, though, which is a shame. There is unlikely, for instance, to ever be a Saturn V rocket display.

Which brings me to where I’m stood right now. Inches from machines which have been the fastest wheel-driven vehicles of their time. Absolute power, silenced.

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Weekend at Beaulieu:- The Museum. Part 1- Cars.

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I’ve just spent the past weekend in the company of a great many bearded men from all over Europe (and beyond) who had flocked to Southern England for a world-famous motoring event. It’s called the Beaulieu Autojumble, and you may have heard of it. It’s a mecca for those vintage car enthusiasts who have been searching in vain for Darracq doors or a Delahaye differential.

Let’s start by introducing the home of this annual pilgrimage; Great Britain’s foremost car museum. Welcome to Beaulieu.

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Get Your Kicks at LA’s Autry Museum

Robert Emslie September 9, 2014 Museum Tour

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You’ve heard of car shows, but how about a road show? One road that deserves its own display of history and memorabilia is venerable Route 66, also known as “America’s Main Street.” The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles has opened just such a show, bringing, as the LA Times describes it, “the lure and allure of the highway” to a new generation. The exhibition, which opened last Sunday and will run through January 4, 2015, is entitled “Route 66: The Road and the Romance,” and it covers a lot of road. … Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema: Vintage racing around Indianapolis Motor Speedway, drooling allowed

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I struggle with brevity. I love explaining things to the point that my writing probably struggles for it. But for once, I’m going to keep it short. After the jump, you’ll find nine minutes of Bvideo highlights stitched together from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) massive Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, mostly on the road course. In the video is everything from pre-war open-wheelers to ground-pounding Can-Am cars and all of it includes original audio.

Enjoy and be sure to select 1080p resolution.

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