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Renault shows you the electronic future – in 1984

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Picture this: it’s 1984. You have a Christmastime journey through foggy France to complete, and you’re in luck: the Renault 11 TXE Electronic sitting on the parking lot is awash with every technological gadget you can possibly wish for – in 1984. Voice commands, digital instruments, anti-collision radar, an early navigation system, it’s all there in your European Encore.

And in this promotional video, the driver aids are not only demonstrated by the attractive driver, but also faithfully reproduced in 30-year-old 3d animation.

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Man sneaks onto track at ’60s Sebring races; trespassing is hilarious

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Before the weight of manufacturer-backed teams, the 12 Hours of Sebring was basically one of a number of big-time club races held by the Sports Car Club of America. Thursday practice at the 1961 Sebring race brought out a practical joker, apparently conducting an encore of joining the actual race the year before. File this under “Gut-busting mid-century jokes that are Class 1 felonies today.”

[Source: SCCA Sports Car magazine, May 1961]

The Carchive: The 1976 US Fords For Europe

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Welcome to this week’s first freefall descent into the bottomless chasm of The Carchive.

This series has so far showcased brochures of various languages and from various locations. Today, though, we’re truly going pan-global. This is an English language brochure, printed in Germany, about the American cars that Ford exported to Europe.

Throw an 8-Track on and pour another Asti Spumante, it’s 1976 again!

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The Ford Galaxie I wanted vs. the Galaxy we got.

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One of my favourite topics to belly-ache about is how unremittingly grey the motoring scene was in Britain for most during the ’60s. You might catch the occasional flash of Rosso Ferrari or Racing Green E-Type every now and again, but the majority of road traffic was of the everyday, everyman variety. 60′s Britain could only dream of long, powerful cars on wide open roads, roof down, heading for the sunset.

Of course, it was inevitable that Ford’s celestially named car for Europe (Orion notwithstanding) would be not only spelled differently, but would satisfy only fantasies that involved practicality, a high driving position and re-configurable seating. The Galaxy we ended up with in ’95 was a box on wheels. The one you got in the ’60s wasn’t. Let’s, then, take a look at the far sexier ’63 Galaxie, an example of which I recently admired at one of our few non wash-out car shows.

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Just How Many Engines Does It Take To Become The World’s Fastest Norton?

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Hogslayer: The Unapproachable Legend is a documentary about a Norton drag bike designed and built by TC Christenson and John Gregory of Sunset Motors Racing Team, and raced by Christenson. Dubbed the Hogslayer it set a ton of track records, and of course had an appearance to match, featuring not one but two Norton twins. Together they commanded 1,620-ccs of displacement and offered more than 300 horsepower running on nitro fuel.

Those specs meant the Hogslayer was capable of mid-7s in the quarter, at over 180 mph, making it, and Christenson the fastest two-wheel duo on the ’70s scene. Christenson won the NHRA U.S. Nationals in 1972, the Top Fuel title in ’73, and set a bunch of records along the way. The documentary features interviews with Christenson and Gregory, as it details the inception, construction, and campaigning of the historic bike. The whole documentary is available to rent on YouTube, but for those on limited budgets the preview is pretty enthralling on its own. Check it out, and get slayed, right after the jump.

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Forgotten racetrack: Las Ochas Millas, Bottomless Lakes State Park

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Purpose-built race circuits became the norm in the United States following the spectator fatality at Watkins Glen in 1952, but in some parts of the country where a racetrack wasn’t financially or logistically feasible, races carried on well into the 1970s and even 1980s on temporary race courses. Few used actual roads—airfields were the safer alternative—but in the 1960s, well off the beaten path in the high desert of New Mexico, a few men and women now mostly lost to history raced an epic track along and on top of a stunning red mesa.

This was Bottomless Lakes State Park just a short distance from Roswell, itself far removed from the rest of civilization. The harsh and brutal high-speed race track, called Las Ochas Millas (spelled in a variety of grammatically incorrect Spanish ways depending on where you look), sent racers climbing and diving and scrambling around 7.7 miles of state park road. Races would be few, but its participants and sponsors (including the state of new Mexico) would cling to them enthusiastically.

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Our Cars – The Final Chapter in the Mazda 323F Story

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Way back when I joined the ranks of Hooniverse writers, I introduced myself and my cars. As well as the Sapporo, I had a red 1991 Mazda 323F which I had just recently crashed into a tire wall at Ahvenisto, a race track in central Finland. The damage to the Mazda necessitated the change of two doors and a fender, after which it was sort of okay-ish but no longer as good as I wanted it to be, as the panels were somewhat rough and ready instead of the clean ones with which it came from the factory.

The Mazda sat the following winter on my street, and after some time it ended up with my brother, who took it with himself to Helsinki, where he lives, works and studies. This past weekend, the 323F fell victim to an attempted theft, which left the steering column and its contents mangled and bashed, along with some vandalism damage on the outside. Little things, but they add up; the now undriveable car was hauled to a garage where the damage was appraised. Most everything in the steering column would need swapping, so the tab ran high and the insurance company ended up offering to total the car instead of getting it repaired.

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The Psychology Behind the Elder Yanukovych’s Car Collection

Jim Yu February 26, 2014 All Things Hoon, Museum Tour

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Disclaimer: I never took a psychology course, but I have watched two episodes of Dr. Phil and I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

No doubt many of your jaws dropped to the floor last weekend when you saw the elder Yanukovych’s Soviet-era car collection and the younger Yanukovych’s more contemporary car collection. What prompted the father and son to gather their cars? And what do these cars say about them?

Let’s start with the father. And as with all pop psychology, let’s look at his childhood. He grew up in extreme poverty. He was barefoot and was often picked on. His mom died when he was two. His dad, a locomotive driver, died when he was twelve.

Perhaps because he looked up to his father, Yanukovych got into the transportation field. He managed one large transport company after another, until he got into politics. Though he was Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2002 to 2004, it is suspected that he did not accumulate his vast wealth through graft and corruption until 2010, when he became president.

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These Pictures of Floating Classic Cars Turn the Past into the Future

Robert Emslie February 25, 2014 Nostalgia

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The Jetsons imagined a future from the perspective of the 1960s, and of course back then the expectation was that one day we’d all be driving flying cars. I mean, duh, right? But what if we turned the past and future inside out, and in fact some of our most beloved cars from days gone by were really gravity-defying floating rides? That’s just what French artist Renaud Marion has envisioned in his collection entitled Air Drive.

Like some GoodYear executive’s nightmare, Marion’s vision is a tireless world, filled with beautiful vehicles picked from the ’50s through the ’80s, and matched with stark modernistic urban architecture. It’s pretty brilliant, and now I really want a floating 300SL. 

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Vintage SCCA Racing Action At Road Atlanta

Bradley Brownell February 24, 2014 Vintage Racing

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A friend of mine, known on YouTube as oldSCCAguy, digs through his old VHS copies of races and loads them to the internet for posterity and for the pleasure of the motorsport enthusiast community. It is a thankless job, but these videos are absolutely gold. Not having grown up in a house that appreciated cars, I never had the privilege of watching any sports car racing until I was an adult, so these races from “the good ol’ days” are a blessing to me, and I hope you enjoy them too.

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