The News for August 5th, 2016

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of some of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. I just throw in a little opinion of mine because I can. This week:

  • BMW restores the 507 driven by Hans Stuck and Elvis, will present it at Pebble Beach

  • Nissan resurrects the BladeGlider concept with a new variant, may kinda think about building it

  • BMW will bring 150 “30 Jahre” M3s to the US

  • I make fun of click-bait titles and you’ll never guess how much power the new Camaro ZL1 will have

  • Pricing info is finalized for the Tacoma TRD Pro, QX30, and G80

  • What’s your automotive news?

BMW restores the most famous 507 of them all

The King of Rock’n’Roll had a wonderful taste in cars as much as he did for music. While Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army he chose the BMW 507 roadster to storm autobahns with. When he shipped back home, the car followed him home but he didn’t keep it for long. It was thought to be lost forever as it changed hands in the states, but it was found and acquired by BMW Group Classic a few years ago. Two years after an exacting restoration was kicked off, it’ll be shown in the public arena for the first time at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Elvis took delivery of his BMW 507, chassis number 70079, on December 20th, 1958 and has been restored to the exact condition as it was on that day. It was presented to the already famous soldier with Feather White paint, black and white interior, center-locking wheels, a 150 horsepower V8, and a Becker Mexico radio and that’s exactly how it’ll appear in Pebble Beach. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as complete when they got a hold of it. BMW says the condition of the roadster “really was a cause for concern” because it had lost its engine and gearbox, had some mysterious “replacement” axle, rust was eating away at the floorboards, the seats were in bad shape, and the instrument panel was gone. The body was all intact though and the rest was good enough to be saved. BMW had it shipped back to Munich where it was shown in its unrestored state in their museum. Even with a majority of its internals missing and it being red, it attracted a lot of attention.
That gave BMW enough time to get the history straight on this thing. His 507 was shrouded in mythology more so than any of the other 254 models produced between 1955 to 1959 because, among other reasons, nobody knew what happened to it. It was hard to track for a few reasons, but American journalist Jackie Jouret uncovered a few key details that turned her and BMW Group Classic in the right direction.
Story time! Elvis didn’t actually buy it new; it was a used car previously used by Hans Stuck at various motor shows and motorsport events. When it ended up on a dealer lot in Frankfurt, a 23-year-old Elvis bought it and used it on his commute to and from the base. His fans caught on to his new ride and would leave messages for him written in lipstick. The guys at the base must’ve loved that. To avoid embarrassment, Elvis had it painted red.
When Elvis got back to the states, he traded it in at a Chrysler dealer in New York who sold it for practically nothing to an Alabama man who decided a Chevrolet engine was a better idea. Stuffing that massive engine in there meant cutting up some of the original suspension and the original instrument cluster was lost in the process, but it did see victory at some point. It was then bought by Jack Castor of California who got it to runabout on the weekends before storing it for an intended restoration. When Jackie’s article about the #70079 507 was published in Bimmer magazine, Castor contacted the author and invited her to come out and verify his car’s identity. Working with BMW Group Classic, they confirmed its identity and both parties reached an agreement to have it shipped back for restoration in spring of 2014. Castor insisted it was restored to its original condition and BMW Group Classic couldn’t disagree.
Both in-house experts and outside resources were brought in to get the holy grail of 507s back to its original condition. Some 507 parts were hard to come by even for BMW Group Classic, so many had to be built from scratch. The 3.2-liter V8 was made entirely from spare parts, some of which were acquired by Castor. 50’s materials and manufacturing processes were used as often as possible to keep it authentic. Despite the challenges, the two year restoration was completed and it looks stellar. It looks exactly as it did in 1958 and it’s exactly how Castor wanted it. Sadly, Jack Castor passed away at the age of 77 in November 2014.
BMW will present the beautifully restored 507 that was Castor’s as much as it was Presley’s and Stuck’s while also honoring him and his grand vision for the car. If you’re rich enough to attend the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach, your chance to see it is on August 21st.
[Source: BMW]

Nissan BladeGlider Concept (part II)

Nissan BladeGlider brings cutting edge Intelligent Mobility to l
A few years ago, Nissan and DeltaWing Technologies partnered up to bring a crazy DeltaWing racecar to life. The car was plagued with bad luck but Nissan continued with a few more iterations and street car concepts that ultimately got them in legal trouble with Don Panoz who heads DeltaWing. Clearly their lawsuits were settled (you can read more about it from Stef Schrader on jellopicnic) because Nissan has revealed a new version of their BladeGlider concept, a zero-emissions, ideally road-legal DeltaWing for the street.
The first BladeGlider concept was revealed in 2013 at the Tokyo Auto Show and part 2, if you will, is being shown in Rio ahead of the Olympics… for better or worse. Like the first concept, this one represents a futuristic vision of sustainable mobility with a fun side to it. Not that many people have gotten the chance to drive a DeltaWing-styled car to confirm, but Nissan is claiming a unique driving experience that isn’t at all hampered by the odd setup or its focus on sustainability. As they say, it’s the EV for car lovers.
Nissan BladeGlider brings cutting edge Intelligent Mobility to l
The interior has a similar 3-seat setup where the driver sits farther forward than the two passengers who egress through rear-hinged dihedral doors. The driver is presented with a neat glass instrument panel which includes images from the rear-view camears mounted just behind the front wheels. Sunburn can be enjoyed through a full panoramic roof.
Two 130kW  electric motors, one for each rear wheel, produce enough power and torque to propel this thing to a theoretical sub-five-second 0-62 mph time and a top speed of about 120 mph. Nissan promises the staggered track-width promotes aerodynamic efficiency and doesn’t negatively impact stability. That crafty engineering works for the race car, so it could work for a street car too.
Will Nissan ever build this? I’d be kind of surprised if they did. The only concepts of theirs that ever get produced anymore are the ones that generate the least amount of buzz around the interwebs.
[Source: Nissan]


HyperFocal: 0
BMW announced that the 30th anniversary celebrations of the M3 are coming stateside. 150 examples of the 2017 BMW “30 Jahre [year]” Limited Edition M3 will be available to US customers this month. This 30 Jahre special was announced a few months ago and it’s essentially special paint and badging on top of a loaded Competition Package M3. 500 units are being built worldwide and 150 of those are in US spec for the low price of $83,250. That money gets you a manual-equipped M3 (the seven-speed DCT is a $2,900 option) with nearly every option thrown at it. The Competition Package adds those awesome wheels, 444 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque, Adaptive M Suspension, a retuned suspension which many claim to be far superior over that of the standard car, and some other special touches. The main new addition to this special model is the return of a legendary paint color that was originally applied to the Sport Evo E30 M3, Macao Blue Metallic. The gorgeous paint is matched with a full leather interior featuring a bi-color black and blue design with color-matching seams. It’s a fairly tame special edition even by BMW standards, but somehow it just feels right.
[Source: BMW]
2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
[Source: Camaro6 via Autoweek]
Three big new cars just got their pricing info confirmed by their respective manufacturers. Rather than go into each one in boring detail (but mostly because I’m lazy), here’s a quick run down.

  • The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and off-road enthusiast special with loads of TRD off-road hardware, will start at $40,760 when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed auto is a $2,000 option. It reaches dealerships later this month.
  • Infiniti’s 2017 QX30, an all-new premium active crossover for the people who don’t need a land yacht to haul their things, will start at $29,950 when equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo four with front-wheel drive. Various premium trim levels add a couple thousand along the way and all-wheel drive commands an $1,800 premium over comparable FWD models. It goes on sale soon but buyers that want to be first in line can register at to receive a gift for placing a deposit. Gifts range from a GoPro Hero4 Silver to Bose headphones and a night at a premium hotel to a “curated culinary experience”.
  • Genesis, Hyundai’s new spin off luxury brand, announced pricing on their first new car. The Genesis G80 will start at $41,400 and will feature plenty of standard and optional equipment to go head-to-head with the finest cars in the mix-luxury sedan market. I spent a little time in some well-equipped models at the Chicago Auto Show and it all felt very nice for a car that starts in the low 40s. It’ll hit US dealers this month. On a similar note, the other Genesis – Hyundai Genesis Coupe – is being “killed off” at the end of this year. Chances are very good that it’ll be reborn as a future Genesis model.

[Sources: Toyota, Infiniti, Genesis]

What’s your automotive news?

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.
[Image © 2016 Hooniverse/Greg Kachadurian]

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  1. Kamil K Avatar

    I can’t believe the ZL1 will have less than 707-horsepower.
    I can’t believe Toyota wants (and will get) $40k for a Tacoma.

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Especially one with that crappy engine.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Will it come with that nifty frame that gets lighter over time as the rust holes get bigger?

    2. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      I just can’t wrap my head around a $40,000 Tacoma. It’s supposed to be a compact pickup. I know it’s a midsize now but that just shows how far out of it’s old niche it has gone.

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    So who will end up with the 507? Will it return to the BMW museum, or was it intended to go back to Castor? Here’s the article I remembered from two years ago, in the Hemmings Daily blog:
    After four decades of storage, Elvis’s BMW 507 to undergo restoration

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      It goes back to Elvis, but he has to claim it in person.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        I wonder if they will fully recreate history with ladies writing on it with lipstick at Pebble? Could be a nice charity fundraiser and would get huge media coverage. And if it somehow actually damages the paint they already have the solution!

      2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
        dead_elvis, inc.

        I’ll be there.

        1. Lokki Avatar

          Bring a trailer hitch.

        1. onrails Avatar

          All hail Bruce Campbell!

          1. Maymar Avatar

            Hail to the king, baby

    2. nanoop Avatar

      Being “acquired by BMW Group Classic” it will probably be on display wherever BMW Group Marketing (or the equivalent entity) deems fit.This may be the Munich museum, or any venue adequate enough in both class and target group reach.
      I have currently no illusions about contemporary car manufacturers investing in old cars.

  3. Manic_King Avatar

    Still waiting for my Alfa 159 wagon to arrive from faraway Germany. Also have become aware that new spare parts are not that expensive on ebay. Engine belt, tensioners + MagnetiMarelli waterpump 150.- eur, all 4 brake disks + pads for Brembo brakes also 150.- etc. Only bigger PITA is that semi-exotic Aisin gearbox, I hope fingers crossed new oil cures all the bad behavior, if not then it’s the solenoids….ouch.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      I forgot where you are located; from your Crapshoot posts I’d have guessed Germany, though.

      1. Manic_King Avatar

        Tallinn, EST. Well, there’s not that big choice on local small ad sites, Mobile and autoscout24 are much better sources.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Very similar here, there are/were even companies that did the actual purchase in Germany and the paperwork for you.

  4. kogashiwa Avatar

    My hail damaged IS300 finally, a month later, went in to the body shop for an estimate, which will be relayed back to the insurance company later next week, who will then decide whether to write it off or fix it. But when I got to the shop yesterday, they’d used these yellow wax markers to circle all the damage, and wow it looked like she’d put on a polka dot dress.
    “Yeah, I think they missed a lot on the first inspection, and also don’t think they accounted for how deep some of these were”
    “So … I should start making the rounds of the dealers?”
    “Yeah …”
    But at the glacial pace this is all progressing I’m not likely to even know anything for another two or three weeks, let alone get anywhere with proceeding from there.
    I might just also replace it with the same thing except with a manual transmission this time, or an Altezza if I can find one. Thinking today, I *really* like this car. Everything now is so huge. A Fusion probably is 50% bigger by volume.

  5. nanoop Avatar

    The Tacoma’s ‘TRD’ designation is nice, my closest airport. The northern lights are authentic, they are like that once or twice a winter here. I wonder where that Nordic theme comes from, being a Japanese car targeted at North America.
    In other news, I’ll be driving a 500mls roundtrip this month, just for fun, Mrs. nanoop told me to grab some dude and enjoy the replaced front seals of the P-mobile for a weekend. Obey.

    1. Manic_King Avatar

      There’s direct flights to TRD from where I am, until Feb, could be interesting way to go skiing in Are or nearby places.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        There used to be a rental Murcielago(?) in Åre, orange. What a said place for a car that needs space and audience.

        1. Manic_King Avatar

          Prices? No idea why this pic is sideways. In Barca short route would have been approx 10 min. and longer 20 min drive, IIRC.

          1. nanoop Avatar

            I don’t know, but on that side of the Baltic it’s probably safe to expect factor two…

  6. jeepjeff Avatar

    I put some Seafoam in Little Bike’s tank last week to knock some grunge out of the carb and get it running well again. And….
    It worked!
    Which means I don’t have to pull and clean a carb this weekend. Which makes me a winner. I’m going to run another tank with Seafoam in it, but the Tdub is running great, and I don’t really expect to notice much difference after one more tank with extra detergent. So lesson for me: Don’t let your carbs sit. Run ’em or drain ’em. Preferably the former. Also, I am deeply indebted to Kiwi Steve of Kiwi Steve’s Hotrod Shop ( ). He ran Los Huevos Rancheros through a Friday night carburetor debug session at Arse-Freeze 2015 and gave us a master class on carb debugging. If it weren’t for that, I would not have had a good model for what was going on with Little Bike. (So, for that matter, also in debt to Tim for having me on the team and giving me that opportunity. Thanks, man.)

  7. ptschett Avatar

    A new innovation from the local dirt track: stackable modifieds!
    (*tow truck for unstacking sold separately. Do not attempt at home. No racing drivers [tame or otherwise] were harmed, though some race cars were.)

  8. WinstonSmith84 Avatar

    I knew Hans Stuck won a bunch of class victories in the 1958 European Hill Climb Championship in a BMW 507, but I didn’t know that the car was sold to Elvis Presley afterwards. It always struck me as a remarkable car to score victories with, being more of a German Thunderbird than a legitimate 300SL rival.

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