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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Classics

1971-89 Mercedes-Benz SL

On: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 9:29AM | By: Peter C Sessler

1971-89 Mercedes-Benz SL test 2

The updated SL made its debut is Europe in 1970, but it wasn’t available for sale in the U.S.A. until 1971. The new SL wasn’t based on the previous Pagoda 230/250/280 SL; instead, Mercedes-Benz used the chassis from the W114 sedan model along with six and V-8 engines from the W116 S-Class.

The result was a car that looked a lot bigger than the previous SL. However, it actually wasn’t much larger, at least in the beginning. The first American SL had a wheelbase that was 2.9 inches longer, its length was 3.8 inches more, its width at 1.5 inches and its height at 1.00 less. It was the styling that made it seem much larger. It’s paired round 5.25 inch headlights and fluted taillights made the car appear much wider and longer. And in 1974, when the longer bumpers were mandated, that added 13.6 inches to the car’s length. Different bumpers were again used in 1986 which were 2 inches shorter.

1990-2002 Mercedes-Benz SL

On: Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 12:15PM | By: Peter C Sessler

1990-2002 Mercedes-Benz SL  test 2

By the time Mercedes-Benz finally brought the successor to the 1972-1989 SLs, it must have surprised some people how complicated, heavy, and expensive the new car was. Mercedes-Benz took almost every electronic option that was available and made it standard on the 1990 500SL Class. At the same time, the new car was beautifully finished—it just oozed with luxury. It was a combination of strong performance and the latest in German engineering.

The new SLs were a more contemporary and handsome than the outgoing R107—yet it was an evolution of what started in the 1950s. Perhaps fewer people remembered what that reason was, yet they knew what the SL Class was—a powerful, luxurious two-seat roadster. In the scheme of things, the SL was still “sporty” car, but it was more than that. It was a car for the well-to-do. For example, the 500SL had an MSRP around $95,000.00 while the V-12 version went for $125,000.00!

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 2:05PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra test 2

For well over three decades, the battle for Ponycar supremacy has raged on between Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, and a host of other pavement pounding miscreants at race tracks, stoplights, and bar stools across the country. Each new edition of one car brought about new brags and taunts about how antiquated the other car was in contrast. 

Over and over it went, and throughout most of the 1990s, the LT1 and later LS1 Camaros and Firebirds wreaked havoc on the psyches of Mustang owners everywhere. Even though the more 'advanced' single and dual overhead cam modular motors of the Mustang GT and Cobra theoretically had a technological edge over the GM's antiquated pushrods, the Blue Oval just got out-muscled by the General's good 'ole fashioned torque and tuning. Mustang owners noticed, as did Mustang builders. 

In a pound-for-pound fight, there was no fight. A bone stock Camaro SS or Firebird WS6 would obliterate any Mustang Cobra (discounting the ultra-limited 2000 Cobra R model, but even then in a straight line it was still a driver's race). At the turn of the millennium, even though the Mustang was the decidedly more popular car (thanks in no small part to enormous V6 sales) it seemed that not all 300-horsepower cars were created equal, and the General's 325 Thoroughbreds were more than the 320 Clydesdales that Ford was offering up at the track. But then in 2002, everything changed and the Mustang struck back with a one-two punch that knocked the Camaro out for the next seven years.

Classic Car Cultist: Dymaxion

On: Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 5:12PM | By: Chris Salamone

Dymaxion Car test 2

The year is 1933. An egg-shaped oddity rolls out during the Chicago World’s Fair. It has eleven seats, three wheels—using the rear wheel for steering—and a canvas roof. After stunning the world with the vehicle’s bizarre looks, an accident occurs which remains shrouded in mystery to this day. The Dymaxion car rolls over, executing the driver and seriously injuring the other two passengers.

One can only imagine how a three-wheel, rear-steering, oval-shaped vehicle might roll over.


Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280SL Roadster 1963-71

On: Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 5:22PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Mercedes-Benz 230/250/280SL Roadster 1963-71 test 2

The original Mercedes-Benz 300SL debuted in 1954 to raves and race wins, but its gullwing doors and very high price made the car unreachable but for the very rich. Still, Mercedes-Benz felt that the car had market potential and so, by 1963, the latest version of the SL (Super Light) was introduced. The car was less expensive than the 300SL, and it resembled the 1954-1963 300SL with its large open grille with the Mercedes-Benz star, but its clear-cut lines were a departure from the 300SL. The 230SL (from 1963-67) had a more angular appearance with cleaner sides and hood; however, it was the optional hard top, which incorporated a center dip, that was the car’s most distinctive feature—the Pagoda roof.

The 1963-1971 SL clearly established the marque as the sports car from Mercedes-Benz. True, like all Mercedes-Benz offerings, it was an expensive car, to be sure, but that didn’t hurt sales. In fact, the car started the reputation that it was built for the well-to-do.

What A Concept! RM To Offer Five American Prototypes In Monterey

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 3:22PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Shelby GR-1  test 2

Lots of show cars have been built between 1932 and 2005, but only a fraction of them were constructed by American car companies themselves as showcases of their design and engineering prowess.

It’s no wonder that they are highly sought-after today—especially considering the fact that most were destroyed once they outlived their “usefulness”—and have price tags that reflect their rarity.

Speaking of rarity, to have five of them come up for sale at once—especially in one place—is nearly unheard of, but that’s what RM Auctions is offering August 19th and 20th at its Monterey sale, held at the Portolo Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center.

Now let us go back... to the future!

Russo & Steele Bringing Mint-Condition Mega-Muscle To Monterey

On: Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 2:29PM | By: Andrew W Davis

1970 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda test 2

For those of you raised on televised vs. in-person auctions, it might surprise you to discover that restomods, clones, phantoms and the rest of the not-actually-what-God-intended cars that fill-out an auction’s roster are just that: filler.

Sure, there’s a market for them, but there’s also a market for crystal meth and serial-number-free firearms. What do they all have in common? When it comes time to explain why you have any of them in your garage, the stress caused by all the necessary story-telling you’ll have to do will make you wish you’d never gotten involved with them, period.

That’s the difference between a Hemi ‘Cuda and a Barracuda with a Hemi; the latter requires equivocation while the former requires no explanation. Which one do YOU want?

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 9:52AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Haunted Highways: Saleen S7 test 2

There are fast cars out there—sure a WRX is quick or even a BMW 335is, perhaps. Then there are really fast cars—a Corvette Grand Sport or Shelby GT 500 both fit that bill. But even beyond those cars lie another realm of speed that is reserved for the truly remarkable examples of machinery made to move.

Steve Saleen had always been a man who took fast cars and turned them into really fast cars. A simple Mustang became an S281 or an even more potent S351, and Saleen quickly became legendary in the tuner community. But, there were always questions as to whether or not Steve Saleen could build a car of his own. So Saleen attempted to put those questions to rest and put all of his amassed tuning know-how into building a supercar from the ground up, catapulting his namesake into the highest echelon of road-going automobiles on the planet.

Motown Muscle And More Return To Woodward Ave. For Annual Dream Cruise

On: Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:11PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

Most every town that has young people with cars and roads for them to operate on will have a semi-official stretch of street upon which “ordinary driving” magically becomes “cruising.” Part one-upmanship, part mating ritual; it’s a crucible in which men test each other’s mettle—and metal—in fire-belching, tire-shredding quarter-mile door-to-door gladiatorial combat as a way to shame their rivals and impress the fairer sex in the hopes of future hand-holding—or worse.

And no strip on this earth is more famous—or notorious—than Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, a 16-mile stretch of blacktop upon which engineers from The Big Three waged war against each other or anyone else foolish enough to line up beside them to go for it when the light turned green.

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 8:43AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly) test 2

Some things never change. Throughout history, whenever a new Corvette hits the market, it always creates a splash. And when the C5 Corvette burst onto the performance car scene in 1997, it was no different. The fifth generation Corvette was an instant hit. It brought about a renaissance to the Crossed Flags emblem that made the Corvette a world power in the performance car market once again.

Discovery To Launch All-Auto Channel

On: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 4:09PM | By: Tim Healey

Discovery To Launch All-Auto Channel  test 2

If Speed TV isn't enough for you, and Top Gear only wets your whistle, well, Discovery has a new automotive channel on the way.

The channel, which will be aimed at well-heeled male audiences, will be called Velocity and it will launch with a combination of old and new programming.