|1949 Buick Super Sedan|
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Today we're highlighting another vehicle seen in the parking lot at LSRU. It's a big slab of classic American luxury, and it's today's RCW. It's the 1949 Buick Super. In the late 1940's, the most prestigious American makes were arguably Cadillac and Lincoln. Buick, however, was not far behind, offering very attractive automobiles that incorporated solid performance with passenger comfort. The Buick Super was the most popular model available, and was essentially a Roadmaster with more bodystyles and less pricy accoutrements. Featuring Buick's straight-eight powerplant, the Super was an excellent car, and could be had as a sedan, a coupe, a convertible, or a station wagon. This particular example looks solid as far as bodywork goes, but the paint job is far from perfect. It appears to have originally been a darker shade of green, but that was long ago. However, the chromework is shiny and neat, and it appears to be a car that gets driven on a semi-regular basis. It's a very stylish machine, complete with the iconic Buick "VentiPort" portholes. This is a an all-around solid machine that can still feasibly serve as daily transportation, and I admire that. This car has so much design and character, something modern sedans seem to be lacking. Thankfully, the new Dodge Charger and Ford Fusion show that design might be making a comeback. I certainly hope so.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
This weekend, the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force hosted their second annual Fly-In/Drive-In Show. It features plenty of cool cars, as well as some very interesting classic aircraft. It's a neat show, and this year was just as great a turnout as last year. The proceeds go towards keeping the CAF's incredible aircraft in the air, and they spent the afternoon giving rides in their B-25 bomber. This show is quickly becoming a yearly highlight, as it just keeps getting better and better.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Many people consider the Mazda Miata to be one of the best gearhead cars of all time. I'm not quite so enthusiastic, but I must admit it has plenty of admirable qualities. Thus, it's about time we have a Miata for RCW, and here it is. This is a 1995 Mazda Miata M Edition. Now, the Miata is essentially an homage to the classic sports cars of the 1960's. Cars like the Lotus Elan, Triumph TR6, and Austin-Healey Sprite. The formula is pretty simple, following Colin Chapman's "Simplify, then add lightness" mantra very strictly. As a '95 model, this Miata features a 1.8-liter engine that produces 131 horsepower. This is a far cry from last week's V12 Vantage, but the Miata didn't need a boatload of horsepower because it only weighed 2,180 pounds. The end result was a very nimble, sporty little two-seater that offered a wonderful combination of basic practicality and driving bliss. These credentials were enough to win the hearts of driving enthusiasts everywhere, and as a result these cars are coveted by their owners. This particular car is the M Edition, a low production special edition. M Editions could be had in 1994, 1995, and 1996, and each year featured a different look. For 1995, the M Edition was offered in Merlot Mica with unique BBS rims. These unique machines got all of the options Mazda could install, and production was limited to 3,500 cars. This one is in stellar condition, and looks like it would be a blast to drive through the Hill Country on a nice day like today. Is it the best car in the world? No, I don't think so. But you should try to drive one at least once, just to make sure.
|1995 Mazda Miata M Edition|
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The current Aston Martin Vantage has been in production since 2005. Visually, there have been no major refreshes in that time period, but the engineers at Aston Martin keep finding ways to make the car better. Meet the 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, the latest and greatest of the Vantage series. There are two main versions of the Vantage to choose from: the 4.7-liter V8 model, or a 5.9-liter V12 version. Both cars can be had as a coupe or convertible and utilize a conventional FR layout. In hopes of adding some spice to the V8, a sportier version was created and called the V8 Vantage S. The changes focus around squeezing more performance from the engine and radically improving the handling. Minor aerodynamic tweaks also distinguish the Vantage S from the base model. Now, Aston Martin is offering an S version of the V12 Vantage. This is a very good thing. The V12 Vantage S, using the all-new AM28 6.0-liter V12, produces 565 horsepower, 457 pound-feet of torque, and will do 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. Those are some serious numbers, and they're topped off with one more: a top speed of 205 mph. This is 15 mph more than the standard V12, and Aston Martin claims this is their fastest production car ever. Quite a machine, then. Furthermore, it's still a wonderfully beautiful car, which is impressive when you think about how long it's been in production. This particular car really gets me. That shade of blue is out of this world, and the aggressive body modifications and black trim on the Vantage S seal the deal. It's an incredible automobile.
|2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S|
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I have a soft spot for German performance divisions. Audi's RS lineup, BMW's M Division, and especially Mercedes-Benz's AMG. I also like station wagons. Thus, today's RCW is the best of both worlds. Seen in the parking lot just outside the Roundup, this handsome machine is the 2014 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG S Wagon. That's a lot of nomenclature, so let's condense it to this: A very fast luxury wagon. Fast isn't a relative term, either. This car packs 577 horsepower, and 590 pound-feet of torque. This means you can do 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds. In a wagon, no less. A five-passenger vehicle with a huge trunk space for groceries or sporting equipment or perhaps extra gasoline. All that performance comes from a twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V8 with an aluminum block and heads, plus direct fuel injection. AMG really gave this one a once-over. The transmission is a seven-speed automatic, but there's an option to shift manually built in. Find yourself a particularly straight stretch of tarmac and you'll find the E63 AMG has a electronically-limited top speed of 174 mph. That's impressive when you consider this thing weighs close to 5,000 pounds. Naturally, a car like this has some setbacks. Fuel economy is pitiful at best, and the price is staggering. The base price is about $103,000, but options drive the price up higher still. Not for the common man, is it? Nevertheless, it's a devilishly attractive machine with an incredible performance profile. This particular car is a rather nice gunmetal blue that I find quite enticing. Not many people can buy a car like this, but everybody should admire it. It's simply wonderful.
|2014 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG S Wagon|
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Wow. What a turnout. This year's Roundup is one for the ages, with an immense variety and number of cars arriving from all over the country. There were rat rods, hot rods, cruisers, beaters, station wagons, pickups, dragsters and lowriders, plus much more. The music was great, especially the performance put on by the one and only Jimmie Vaughan. It was such a good show, and it seems to get bigger and better with every year. I took a couple hundred photos throughout the day, but here are a selection of some of the most interesting and noteworthy automobiles I saw.
Like I said, a great turnout. Can't wait until next year!
Like I said, a great turnout. Can't wait until next year!