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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Honda Passport

The Honda Passport was the Japanese company’s first entry into the SUV market in the United States. The Passport was born from a partnership between Honda and Isuzu as a badge-engineered version of the Rodeo. The Passport arrived in the U.S. for the 1994 model year, three years after the Isuzu Rodeo. The second-generation model was introduced for 1998 and production came to a halt in 2002.

Launched to compete against the Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee, and Nissan Pathfinder, the Passport was Honda’s desperate answer to the SUV craze that was taking off in the U.S. And even though it wasn’t impressively popular back in the day, it gave Honda a good start in the crossover field ahead of the CR-V’s American launch in 1997. The Passport is bound to return for the 2019 model year, so let’s have a closer look at its predecessors from the 1990s and early 2000s.

PostHeaderIcon Budget Direct Renders the Evolution of 7 Timeless Models

There is no shortage of car models in the auto industry these days. Some models have gained followings while others have become flashes in the pan. Then there are the titans of the business, the models that have lasted the test of time and have been around, literally, for generations. In the course of their respective lifetimes, these models have evolved in more ways than one, none more evident than their designs. These seven models have been around for so long their designs have evolved considerably from when they first came out. Knowing their place in the business, these models are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

PostHeaderIcon Cars Over the Century: The History of Seat Cover Styles

If you want to know about the history of seat covers, you just need to look at the evolution of cars themselves. As automobiles have advanced, their styles have changed considerably. Not only have the mechanics of the seat changed, but so did their shape and the style. Rather than bench seats that are little more than thin foam on top of wood, we now have sophisticated seats that are made to hug your body and offer multiple points of support.

Here’s a look at how seat covers have changed with the history of cars over the last century:

1920s and 1930s

Early cars were very basic. They had plain seats with square backs and square bottoms. There was no tapering, and there were no special mechanisms for adjusting the seats. That made them easier to cover, for sure.

The earliest car seat covers were basic pieces of fabric that had buckles on the sides. The cover folded over the seat and buckled at the bottom or the back. They didn’t offer full coverage, and they were very basic in their design. You wouldn’t have found a lot of colors, let alone any patterns or fabric choices. The first seat-cushion cover was patented in the United States in 1927 by Maurice Aaron. The first genuine seat cover was invented just five years later in 1932.

1940s to 1960s

After World War II, cars finally got bucket seats, which were a bit more comfortable and a lot more stylish. The seat covers that were made for bucket seats had a heavy, cloth-like fabric that was designed to protect the seat fabric from wear and tear. The covers basically wrapped around the seat bottom and back, and they buckled in the same way as previous covers. However, they did get more choices in terms of both color and pattern. Gingham and plaid car seat covers were especially popular.

In 1969, pockets were added to automobiles, and thus, to seat covers. The covers had pockets on the seat backs, giving rear passengers space to store things like books, flashlights, sunglasses, or maps.


Automotive design and technology saw some advancements in the 1970s, including the introduction of the reclining seat. The seats also had more contours for greater comfort and support. Car seat cover desigs evolved to strap snugly to the seat and remain wrinkle-free during reclining seat movements.

Towards the end of the decade, it was popular for luxury cars to have plush, tufted interiors or patent leather. Bright colors were preferred, no matter the fabric choice, and the same held true for car seat covers.


In the 1980s, seat covers finally got away from the buckles and straps that sometimes limited their ease of use or hampered their fit. The first car seat cover made with elastic was introduced in 1983, and it provided a tighter fit on a variety of seat styles. Perhaps coincidentally, seat covers also became much more popular during this decade.

As seat covers became more popular, it also became more common for people to show off their unique sense of style. There were so many colors and patterns available, but bright colors continued to be popular. Neon colors and animal prints were especially popular. However, a subset of people were also embracing cloth covers in neutral colors.


The popularity of car seat covers exploded during the 1990s. Either in response to this popularity or fueling it, a number of changes were made to car seat covers to improve their design and use. For example, covers included adjustments for seat back supports. They had attachable beach towels. There were even custom fasteners on some seat covers, which could be chosen to suit your lifestyle.

Adjustable fabrics were also introduced in the 1990s, but no matter the fabric used, car seat covers had a number of design choices. Particularly popular were beaded seat covers, which were more stylish than protective or comfortable. Corduroy was also a popular fabric choice during this decade.


Fabric choices for car seat covers advanced considerably in the 2000s. Car seat cover fabrics could be chosen for comfort or functionality, including the ability to protect seats from spills and stains. Both hydrophobic and waterproof fabrics were introduced for car seat covers in this decade.

Leather saw a resurgence of popularity for car seat covers during this time. Many enjoyed its sophisticated yet timeless look. Car interiors also saw the return of high-back seats with wings for a sportier style, so car seat covers that could fit these seats well returned also.


In the current decade, we are seeing the most advanced technology and design for car seat covers, which matches the changes we’re seeing in the automotive industry, as well. Some of the most recent developments for car seat covers include temperature-controlled fabrics and covers that have their own lumbar support, independent of what the car’s own seating offers.

Neutral colors are very popular for seat covers today, as many people want the covers for practical reasons and not style. In keeping with that trend, neoprene and waterproof fabrics are also popular. However, seats with dual tones or other racing-inspired themes are also popular, giving some people a bit of room for expression while still sticking to a practical orientation.

Whatever type of car seat cover you need, and whatever style you like, you can find it at Seat Covers Unlimited. We have seat covers for just about every type of seat, and we have hundreds of colors and patterns in all types of fabric choices. We’ve got popular choices like neoprene, sheepskin, tweed, and more. Browse our online gallery to find the perfect seat covers for your vehicle. You may even decide to order a few sets so you have some flexibility when you want to change your style.


The post Cars Over the Century: The History of Seat Cover Styles appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Archaeologists Just Unearthed A Sobering Reminder Of The Timeless History Of Cars

Here’s something you don’t get to see or hear every day. A report from International Business Times points to a group of archaeologists who discovered stunning ancient items that hit close to home for us in the auto industry. No, they didn’t discover a medieval combustion engine. They also didn’t discover ancient texts pertaining to the study of flying cars. Let’s leave all of that to the sci-fi stuff. What they did discover, however, is something far more innocent and, at least in my case, emotionally disarming. They discovered a toy, or to be specific about it, a small toy chariot.

According to the report, the startling discovery was made during a dig in the ancient city of Sogmatar, located in the south east of Turkey. It’s also believed to be the place where Moses went after fleeing from Egypt back when he was still up and about. As far as ancient cities are concerned, Sogmatar is historic in that regard. The report adds that archaeologists also found a small rattle alongside the toy chariot, adding weight to the hypothesis that this toy was buried with a child who died during those times. All that makes this discovery even more incredible considering that something like this could exist 5,000 years ago. The whole thought of children getting buried with their toys is creepy and sobering at the same time, but it was a common practice back then, especially for those who belonged in the upper crust of the elite. Egyptian pharaohs were often buried with items from their lives, so it wouldn’t be surprising if kids were afforded the same respect when they passed on.

I’m not one to wax sentimental on other things, but this discovery got to me. Just imagine a child from those days actually playing with this small chariot. Those children are long gone now, but something like this remains. It’s been said that there are certain items that act as windows to a world gone by. Well, consider this toy chariot as one of them. It may be old, brittle, and God-knows-what exactly, but the connection between the child who played with this chariot before his death and all of us who just saw it get unearthed after 5,000 years is quite literally timeless.


PostHeaderIcon Rolls Royce History and Photo Gallery

Rolls Royce dates back to 1906 with the foundation of the company known as Rolls Royce Limited. This English company originally specialized in the production of aircraft engines, with automobile manufacturing consisting of only a small portion of its total business.

One of the first policies of Rolls Royce Limited was to stick with one brand of automobiles so that its business remained diversified. In 1906, the first model to be manufactured was known as the 40/50 hp. This model remained the sole vehicle produced by Rolls Royce until 1922 when the Twenty model was developed. It was brutally clear that the automobile business segment would not remain sustainable unless a mixture of models was produced. In the early 1930s, Rolls Royce purchased the assets of one of its competitors known as Bentley with high hopes of unremitting growth and pavement pounding expansion.

Most of the company’s business was initially undertaken in England, but in 1921 it was decided that a plant would be opened in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was in the Springfield plant that one of the company’s more popular models, the Phantom I, was produced. It should be noted that until 1946, Rolls Royce only manufactured the chassis, or internal framework, for automobiles. In 1946, the business transitioned its operations to Crewe, a town near Cheshire, England. Some of the complete cars that were built by Rolls Royce include the Silver Dawn, the Phantom IV, the Silver Cloud, the Silver Spirit, and the Silver Shadow.

Interestingly, the Rolls Royce has not always been focused on producing road rolling vehicles as most of the Rolls Royce business actually centered on the open skies: aircraft engine production. Eventually, what was originally the Rolls Royce Limited business split into two separate groups: Rolls Royce Group plc and Rolls Royce Motors. The separation caused several technical complications, specifically dealing with the accounting treatment for each separate group. Further complicating the matter was the purchase of the Rolls Royce Motors division in the late 1970s by Vickers. This group would remain as the sole owners until 1998, when the motors division was sold again to Volkswagen. Terms of the transaction states that Rolls Royce Group plc would retain some of the intellectual property rights as part of the agreement. Eventually, a new manufacturing center would be opened in West Sussex, and this plant still remains in existence.

Today, some of the more popular Rolls Royce models include the Phantom and Ghost. These models continue to be the core of the business. In as recently as 2011, Rolls Royce set record sales figures, a clear indication that the business has enjoyed continual success. Today, the official name of the automotive division is “Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.”

Check out the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

The post Rolls Royce History and Photo Gallery appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Lincoln History and Photo Gallery

Abraham Lincoln reigns as a longtime hero to many Americans, but perhaps one of Lincoln’s most fervent fans would have to be Henry M. Leland who named his car company after this iconic historical figure. Leland was one of the founders of Cadillac, formerly named the Henry Ford Company.

After World War I, the Cadillac Company was sold to General Motors, and Leland left the company to pursue the formation of his own novel endeavor: the Lincoln Motor Company (fittingly named after Abraham Lincoln). In 1917, Leland founded the company in Detroit with the original intention of building Liberty craft engines for the First World War. Then in 1940,Lincoln received an admirable honor and was awarded credit for design excellence in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Shortly after the Lincoln Motor Company accepted the honor for excellent design, on April 30, 1940, it was purchased by Ford and became the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company. While this transition brought forth a period of financial tribulation and instability, there was light at the end of the darkness. The acquisition of the Lincoln Division enlivened Henry Ford’s company, and rapidly reached top selling status in America, rivaling other luxury car brands like Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, Packard, Marmon, Duesenberg and Cadillac.

In 1961, Ford introduced a new kind of Continental car. This marked a turning point for the company since the unique design and makeup of the Continental was and still is one of the most durable and time-enduring car blueprint on the market. Perhaps the most authentic and fresh elements of the Continental design is the center-opening doors, which gave Lincoln its signature style. The telltale spare tire mount, dubbed a “Continental Kit” by custom car repairmen is an undeniably idiosyncratic and attractive feature of these Lincoln car types.

After trekking a rough road to a top-selling car brand, the future looks bright for Ford’s Lincoln Division in light of the redesigning of the MKZ sedan by new chief designer, Max Wolfe. The latest MKZ model of Lincoln held the key to a future of optimal-sale bliss for the Ford Motor Company. However, after much hype, the MKZ model, originally designed by Solomon Song, was a flop. This lack of instant success was attributed to the old-fashioned, out-dated and obsolete style and design of a car that was supposed to turn things around for the Lincoln Division. However, the Lincoln name is not demarcated just yet. Leslie Butterfield is a luxury car specialist with Interbrand and the author of Enduring Passion: The Story of the Mercedes-Benz Brand. Her advice promises to be piercingly accurate as she vehemently recommends a revamping of the car design, while maintaining the credibility of the Lincoln name. Butterfield asserts that “it’s important that the design be a break with tradition. I don’t want to feel I’m buying Old Lincoln, I want to feel like I’m buying New Lincoln.”

Today,Lincoln remains an automobile brand of the Ford Motor Company sold primarily in North America. Along with the Continental, other historic models include the following: Lincoln Blackwood, Lincoln Capri, Lincoln Cosmopolitan, Lincoln Custom,Lincoln L-series, Lincoln Lido,Lincoln K-series and Lincoln Versailles. The most current models are the Lincoln-Zephyr, Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln LS and Lincoln Aviator.


The post Lincoln History and Photo Gallery appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Skoda RS – 40+ Years of History

To most people, the “RS” name is usually associated with Audi, representing the designation for their high performance sports cars. But true car enthusiasts know there is another “RS” brand, perhaps not as famous as the German car manufacturer’s “RennSport” brand, but just as fascinating. And we’re talking about Skoda.

14 years ago, the Czech carmaker introduced the Skoda Octavia RS, a sportier version of their popular sedan. The model was extremely well received, since it was an affordable alternative to hot hatches, also offering the interior space of a sedan. For the new Skoda, then a fresh member of the Volkswagen Group, this was an excellent marketing move, but few people know that the Skoda RS history goes way back, to the 1970’s, when Skoda was an auto brand operating behind the infamous Iron Curtain and not too popular outside Czechoslovakia.

The Skoda RS history starts in 1974, with two models dedicated to racing: the Skoda 180 RS and the Skoda 200 RS. These two cars are regarded by experts as the models that started the RS story, being a result of Skoda’s ambitions to race in different competitions and to make the brand known to people outside the former Czechoslovakia.

The Czechoslovakian sports coupes

In the spring of 1974, after only six months of development, Skoda presented three sports cars, one Skoda 180 RS and two Skoda 200 RS units. The three cars were about to form the Skoda Rally racing team that entered different competitions starting with June 1974, including rally, track racing and hill climb events.

The Skoda 200 RS was powered by a 2.0-liter engine with two Weber 45 DCOE carburetors, that produced 163 hp, was capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 7 seconds and reached a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h), performance figures which were incredible for a car built in the former Czechoslovakia. The first transmission used was from a Tatra, but it couldn’t handle the massive power output so the transmission from a Porsche was used in the end.

There was also a Skoda 180 RS version available, powered by a 1.8-liter engine that produced 151 hp and 132 lb-ft (179 Nm) of torque and what’s interesting is that the 1.8-liter and the 2.0-liter engine were interchangeable.

Skoda 130 RS, a legend is born

The Skoda 200 RS was an extraordinary racing car, but the car to really start the RS legend was the Skoda 130 RS. Using the experience gathered from the 200 RS project, the Czech carmaker developed a new car, unveiled only a year later, in 1975. Called the Skoda 130 RS, it was specially designed for rally racing and five incredible years followed for the sports car that was soon nicknamed “the Porsche of the East”.

One of the most successful rally cars in the 1970’s, the Skoda 130 RS was powered by a rear mounted 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine that featured a pair of Weber carburetors and produced 140 hp. Despite the body having been modified, the Skoda 130 RS remained a compact car that was 4 meters long, 1.72 meters wide and just 1.34 meters tall. Top speed was around 137 mph (220 km/h) and it was achieved thanks to an extreme weight dropping treatment. The fenders were made from fiberglass, the bonnet, roof and exterior door panels were made from aluminum, windows were made from Makrolon polycarbonate and upholstery was reduced to a minimum. The result…an incredible weight of just under 1,600 pounds (720 kg).

The racing career of the Skoda 130 RS has yet to be matched in the Czech Republic and made the carmaker famous throughout the entire Europe. Besides winning countless Czech competitions, the car’s most important international result is the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally, when the Skoda 130 RS won in its class, being driven by Czech driver Vaclav Blanha. In the general standings, the rally was won by the Lancia Stratos HF driven by Sandro Munari, followed by Jean-Claude Andruet’s Fiat 131 Abarth, with Skoda ranking 12th and 15th at the end of the rally.

The car was built between 1975 and 1980 and despite several reports claiming that the number of units varies between 200 and 500, there were only 38 units built, which makes it an extremely rare car. When production ended in 1980, the “RS” name was also retired and for 20 years there was no other Skoda RS.

The modern age

But that was about to change in the early 2000’s. Following the 1990 fall of communism in Czechoslovakia, the local government approved a partnership between Skoda and Volkswagen. By 1995 the German carmaker already had a 70% stake in Skoda. The Czech carmaker wasn’t building any spectacular cars, but all that changed when Volkswagen took control and the first model to come out of this partnership was the Skoda Fabia, which was not exactly a new model, since it was heavily based on the Skoda Favorit that was produced at that time.

The first real product of the reborn Skoda was the Octavia sedan, which was based on the Volkswagen Gold and made its official debut in 1996. But the magic happened four years later, when someone over at Volkswagen had the brilliant idea of reintroducing the RS brand, with the Octavia being considered the perfect candidate for that. The first Skoda Octavia RS was launched in 2000, immediately after a facelift for the model, and it was powered by a four-cylinder 1.8-liter turbo petrol engine that produced 180 hp and 173 lb-ft (235 Nm) of torque, available between 1,950 and 5,000 rpm. Performance figures were impressive for a car in that price range: 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds (8.0 seconds for the estate version that was introduced later) and top speed of 146 mph (235 km/h).

In 2003, the RS “treatment” was also applied to the smallest member of the Skoda lineup, the Fabia. The Skoda Fabia RS was powered by a 1.9-liter TDI diesel engine that produced 130 hp and 229 lb-ft (310 Nm) of torque. Available with a six-speed manual transmission, the car accelerated from 0 to 62 mph in 9.6 seconds and had a top speed of 127 mph (204 km/h). These were the official specs, but several journalists were able to go a lot faster, between 7.0 and 7.5 seconds from 0 to 62 mph.

The first generation Octavia RS was built until 2006, while the Fabia RS’ production ended a year later. The two cars quickly gathered a large group of fans and both next generations of Octavia and Fabia were given RS versions.

The second generation Octavia RS was introduced in 2008 and was available with two engine options: a diesel and a petrol unit. The 2.0-liter TFSI unit produces 197 hp and 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) of torque and was “responsible” for 0 to 62 mph acceleration in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 149 mph (240 km/h). The diesel version’s power output was lower (170 hp) with the car almost a second slower on the 0 to 62 sprint (8.5 seconds) and it was only able to go as fast as 140 mph (225 km/h). In 2008, the engine was upgraded from unit injector to common rail and when the second generation Octavia received a facelift in 2010, the RS was also refreshed, but performance specs were left unchanged.

As for the Fabia RS Mk2, it was introduced in 2010 and is powered by the 1.4-liter TSI from the Volkswagen Golf V GTI that produced 177 hp and 180 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque. The car is also available with Volkswagen’s popular DSG transmission as standard.

The current generation Skoda Octavia RS was launched last year and just like the previous one, is available with both petrol and diesel engines. The 2.0-liter TSI engine rated at 220 hp is shared with the Volkswagen Golf VII GTI, while the 184 hp diesel engine is the same as the 2.0-liter TDI unit from the Golf VII GTD. The petrol powered Octavia RS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds (8.1 seconds for the diesel) and reaches a top speed of 154 mph (248 km/h), 10 mph faster than the diesel.

The mystery behind the “RS” logo

There have always been different opinions among RS fans about the origins of the logo and about the reason why Skoda calls all the new models “RS” but the logo also features a “V”. One version is that Skoda added the “V” because they don’t have the rights to use the “RS” name in the United Kingdom, where it is registered by Ford. But that is not entirely accurate, because Ford actually sued Skoda, but the Czech carmaker won. Other versions claimed that the “V” stands for “Victory” or for “Vrchlabi”, the name of a production facility used by Skoda in its early days.

But all these rumors were put to rest when Skoda’s UK branch released an official reply to a customer’s letter asking this question and explained that the “V” is actually a styled version of the small symbol above the “S” in the carmaker’s name.

The post Skoda RS – 40+ Years of History appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon A Drove of Prancing Horses are Are Set To Invade the Big Apple

It’s not exactly a scene from The Planet of the Apes, though it might as well be now that it’s been confirmed that an animal invasion is about to take place in New York City from October 7 to October 8. No, monkeys aren’t coming to the Big Apple to take a bite of it. Prancing horses are coming, and they’re coming en masse for the party of a lifetime to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary.

The wall-to-wall celebration is taking place all over Manhattan, capping off a global celebration that has literally spanned more than a year. That’s how Ferrari rolls, people. Where others do celebrate anniversaries in one location, the Scuderia does it in over 50 countries, the last stop of which will be right smack in the US in an event called “Driven By Emotion: Ferrari Through The Decades.” As part of the festivities, Ferrari will set up a total of five different exhibits throughout the city, including “Through The Decades” at Rockefeller Plaza. Those who get the chance to go to this exhibit will get to see one Ferrari car per decade, in addition of course to seeing the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta in the flesh. Four more locations will host other Prancing Horses as according to Ferrari, 26 of the company’s most iconic models will be on display in any one of the five locations throughout New York City. Check out the teaser video of the event to get an idea of what to expect and head over past the jump to find out where else in Manhattan exhibits will be opened.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Prepare to map out your itinerary for these two days

Ferrari sure knows how to celebrate anniversaries, doesn’t it?

The “Driven By Emotion: Ferrari Through The Decades” celebration is a spectacle in it of itself, and if the “Through The Decades” exhibit isn’t enough to satisfy your quench for everything Maranello, there are three other exhibits to go to to get your fix. The second of these exhibits is called “Motorsport And Performance,” which will be held at Hublot’s flagship store on 743 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, just a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center. If you’re going here, prepare yourselves to see some of Ferrari’s most fabled racing cars, dating all the way back to its infancy in the 50’s all the way up to today’s modern Formula One cars.

The next stop is Ferrari’s own New York showroom, located on 410 Park Avenue. This venue will play host to the “Ferrari Today” exhibit, where you will get the chance to see the finest front-engined V-12 Ferraris ever made, including two of the most recent ones: the GTC4Lusso and the 812 Superfast. If you haven’t had your fill yet after visiting these three exhibits, the last exhibit, appropriately called “Iconic Ferrari,” is located at RM Sotheby’s New York office in the Upper East Side. This exhibit will host the best of the best Ferraris, a fitting description for the most legendary of legendary Ferraris. The last of Ferrari’s two-day event extravaganza is the 70th Anniversary Gala celebration, which takes place at the Rockefeller Plaza. It’s unclear if this event is open to the public, but for what it’s worth, it might be best to show up and see for yourselves anyway.

Like I said, Ferrari will be displaying a total of 26 cars throughout New York City with models ranging from the 166 MM, the 400 SuperAmerica, and all the way to modern exotics like the 488 GTB and the F12berlinetta. This is how Ferrari celebrates its anniversaries and for fans of the Prancing Horse, October 7 and October 8, 2017 will be two days that will likely live on as two of the best days to be a loyal tifosi.

Ferrari’s 70th-anniversary celebrations at a glance

Remember when I said that Ferrari’s 70th anniversary has been going for over a year now? That’s all true, and over the past 12 months, we’ve seen just how far the Italian automaker went to showcase its history and lineage for all the world to witness. It kicked off the celebration by launching 70 new liveries for all of its five current models. Do the math and that’s 350 Ferraris getting 350 liveries, some of which were debuted at various points throughout the year in different locations all over the world. The most recent one to be showcased was the 488 Spider Heartthrob, which was unveiled in all its glory at the 2017 Fraknfurt Motor Show last month. It wore a livery honoring the 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider PF, a legendary race car that was one of only 14 open-top models designed and built by Pininfarina and was owned by Dominican racer and famous playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, hence the nickname “Heartthrob.”

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Heartthrob - image 731314

Note: photo of the Ferrari 488 Spider “Heatthrob”

In addition to the overdose in legendary liveries, Ferrari also hosted various events all over the world, including the Legend E Passione sales event that took place at Ferrari headquarters. Together with RM Sotheby’s, Ferrari auctioned off some of its most valued vehicles, not the least of which included the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta #210, the last model of its kind and the one that holds the disctinction of being the only LaFerrari Aperta that isn’t included in the model’s 209-unit production run. Quite fittingly, the LaFerrari Aperta #210 sold for almost $10 million, more than three times the amount of the other LaFerrari Apertas.

2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta - image 729406

note: photo of the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta #210


Ferrari 488 Spider “Heatthrob”

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider Heartthrob - image 731313

Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 Spider “Heatthrob.”

Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta #210

2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta - image 729407

Read our full review on the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta #210.

2018 Ferrari Portofino - image 731425

Read more Ferrari news.

PostHeaderIcon The Story of the Mustang on Top of the World

Back in 1965, the Ford Mustang was one of the coolest cars in America, probably the car of the moment. Everyone talked about Ford’s new sports car and the Dearborn based carmaker was on its way to sell 400,000 units in the first production year, a lot more than the initial estimates of 100,000 units (they sold those cars in the first three months). It was the car every teenager in the United States dreamed about and, as expected, its success didn’t go unnoticed.

That’s why the management of the tallest building in the country at the time, the iconic Empire State Building, would contact Ford about creating an incredible event that would get the media’s attention and that would have everyone talking about it. Finished in 1931, the Empire State Building was not only the tallest building in the United States, but also in the world, the 102 story building standing at 1,454 feet (443 meters) high.

Leury’s idea

Over 50 years ago, it wasn’t that easy to create an event that would go viral, like we see these days. Remember those were times when the Internet didn’t even exist and computers were rare and only scientists had access to. Actually, the expression of “going viral” didn’t even exist and the most popular media outlets were newspapers, magazines, radio and television, the latter being still in its infancy compared to the media phenomenon it is today.

That’s where Robert Leury came in. The vice-president and general manager of the Empire State Building quickly realized that he can draw some of the huge attention the Ford Mustang was getting to the building he was managing. Leury would go on and invite William Benton, a manager of the carmaker’s sales division, to talk about setting up a special event. What followed quickly became an example for advertising events and would be referenced for years to come in the marketing industry.

The idea Leury pitched to Benton was to put together two American symbols, the Ford Mustang and the Empire State Building, by placing a car on top of the building. It was an idea Benton immediately liked and he would immediately return to Dearborn and put together a team of eight Ford engineers whose purpose was to find a way to put a Ford Mustang on the building’s observation deck on the 86th floor. The project was ambitious and required several technical innovative technical solutions.

The first solution they thought of was lifting the car using a helicopter, but they soon discovered it was almost impossible, given the building’s height and architecture. They realized it was too dangerous so they went on and looked for another way, starting with a trip to New York. Here, with tape measures in their hands, they started carefully examining the building. Access doors, elevators, hallways, ceilings, everything. When they were done, nothing was left unmeasured. After making a few calculations on a napkin, the Ford engineers finally found the solution: a brand new Mustang was about to be cut to pieces, lifted using the visitor elevators and then reassembled on top of the building. The only major issue was making sure to cut the car in a way that it wouldn’t hurt its final looks after reassembly.

The Ford Mustang more like a Lego

The team returned to Dearborn and started working on the details. In order to fit the 15 feet car into the elevators, the engineers decided to cut the Mustang in four pieces: windshield, the front part (including the engine bay), the central part and the trunk. To make it even easier, they removed the front seats, the central console and the two doors in the first phase and then the engine, the transmission and the drive shaft. After these elements were removed, they started cutting the car.

The cuts for the main parts of the body were made along the doors, while the windshield was cut together with the frame. To make it easier to put them back together on the Empire State Building, they fitted the parts with several additional support elements. The team also built a special rolling dolly for guiding the pieces into the elevator and for reducing the time required for the entire process. Also, before shipping the parts to the Big Apple, the engineers performed three tests by transporting the parts and fitting them in containers similar in size to the Empire State Building elevators. All they had to do now was choose the date.

A night to remember

The event was scheduled for October 20, 1965 and the eight Ford engineers, dressed in white overalls, started doing their thing at 10:30 pm, after the building’s working and visiting hours were over. They unloaded the car from the truck and started cutting it to pieces in front of a few curious bystanders.

And like all great stories, something always gets messed up and doesn’t work according to plan. Despite all the planning, an error apparently slipped by and one of the parts proved to be a quarter of an inch (6.5 mm) wider than the elevators’ door. But after a few attempts and a little juggling, the piece finally fitted in and was lifted to the 86th floor. One by one, all the parts were brought up to the observation deck and the team started assembling them, despite a 37 mph (60 km/h) wind blowing and making their task more difficult. But everything was finished by 4:30 am and they even had time for a coffee before the news helicopters started arriving.

By 11 am, the car was photographed by every reporter in town and it was once again dismembered and moved inside the building, on the same floor. It was a surprise for the 14,000 people that visited the Empire State Building that day and to many more to come, because the Mustang was displayed there for several months.

Today, not many remember about the advertising stunt pulled by Ford and the Empire State Building’s management, but at the time, it was these events that contributed to the Mustang achieving the legend status it has today. It also had a great impact on sales, because only a year later, Ford sold an amazing number of 607,568 Mustangs. By March 1966, the Mustang was removed from the Empire State Building, and at that time, Ford was already celebrating the millionth unit sold.

Modern remake

In 2014, the Ford Mustang celebrated its 50th anniversary and what better way to mark this moment than to recreate one of the best advertising events in history. So Ford decided to lift a full sized Mustang on top of the Empire State Building once again, 49 years after the team of eight engineers did it for the first time.

You’d think that 50 years later, technology evolved enough to make the task easier, but Ford decided to do it the same way they did half a century ago and instead of using a helicopter to lift the car, they cut it to pieces and used the building’s elevators. However, they did take advantage of modern technology and even though the car was cut into several pieces, the vehicle that was used looked more like a car from the Transformers movies. Unlike the previous Mustang, the new one was cut into five pieces, because the car is also bigger than the first generation and the team was made of only six Ford engineers, not eight. Another difference is that this time they were able to use scale models of both the car and elevators to make sure they won’t repeat the mistakes made in the 1960s.

More thorough planning was required because what was more difficult than the first time was that right now, Ford and its partner DST Industries, had less time for the whole thing. They had to cut, lift and assemble the car between 2 am and 8 am, the only time when the building was closed to the public. But after countless training sessions, everyone was ready and everything worked as planned, so by 8 am, the Empire State Building observation deck was opened to visitors who were able to admire the modern Ford Mustang standing in the same place where the first one made history.

The post The Story of the Mustang on Top of the World appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Formula One Champions that Weren’t Favorites Before the Last Race of the Season


During Formula One’s 64 year history, the World Championship’s fate has been decided in the last race on 26 occasions. And while most of the times the winner was the driver who was favorite before the race (the one who was leading the Championship), on 10 occasions things went a little different and the title was won by the driver who started the last race of the season with the second and even the third chance.

Amazing success stories were offered by drivers like Kimi Raikkonen, Giuseppe Farina or Alain Prost which reminded us once again why we are so thrilled to be fans of such a wonderful sport. The last time this almost happened was two years ago, when Fernando Alonso was extremely close to winning the 2012 Championship in the last race even though he was second before the start, but eventually lost it by just three points.

So let’s take a look at some of the most exciting Championship “finals” in history:

Giuseppe Farina – 1950 (Alfa Romeo)

1950 was Formula One’s debut season and it offered a thrilling end to the season. Before the last race, the Italian Grand Prix held at Monza, Juan Manuel Fangio was leading the Championship with 22 points, securing his lead with a victory at the penultimate race, the French Grand Prix. In 2nd place came Luigi Fagioli, with 24 points and Farina was 3rd, with 22 points. Out of the three, Fagioli had the most constant run, with four 2nd places, Fangio had previously finished only three races (but won them all), while Farina won two races, came in 4th in Belgium and 7th in France and was forced to retire in Monaco.

Giuseppe Farina

After qualifying, Fangio took pole position, Farina 3rd place, behind Alberto Ascari, with Fagioli only managing a 5th place. However, Fangio’s Alfa Romeo failed him once again and he was forced to retire twice, first due to a gearbox problem and then due to engine problems (back then, rules allowed drivers to change cars and the Argentinian took PieroTaruffi’s car after his gearbox failure). But that didn’t matter, because Farino managed to do an almost perfect race. He took the lead early on and except for a few laps when he was overtaken by Ascari, led the entire race, winning the World Championship with a three point lead over Fangio.

It was an exciting finish to Formula One’s first ever season and it was also the race that set an interesting record. Surprisingly, it was not set by one of the drivers fighting for the Championship, but by PhillipeEtancelin. The 53 year old French driver finished 5th and scored one point which made him the oldest driver to ever score Championship points in a Formula One race.

John Surtees – 1964 (Ferrari)

The 1964 Formula One season was under British domination, with three legendary drivers fighting for the Championship: Jim Clark, John Surtees and Graham Hill. Before the last race of the season, Hill was leading the Championship standings by 5 points, following a win in the United States, with John Surtees coming in 2nd and Jim Clark 3rd, 9 points behind. Hill had a great start of the season, with a win in Monaco and three 2nd places in France, Britain and Germany and he would’ve probably secured his Championship title if it weren’t for two abandons, in Austria and Italy. But after the American victory, everyone was betting on him in the final race of the season, the Mexican Grand Prix. Surtees on the other hand, didn’t have the most reliable car that year, his Ferrari failing to finish in four races (that’s almost half of the entire season). However, he did great in the races he did manage to finish, winning two races, two 2nd places and a 3rd. And even though he was five points behind, the battle wasn’t over. As for the third driver involved in the battle for the Championship, Jim Clark, odds weren’t quite in his favor, as he needed to win the race and Hill and Surtees to perform terribly.

John Surtees

So everyone was anticipating an exciting last race, but what happened exceeded all expectations. After qualifying, Clark took the pole position and kept his lead after the race started. He was followed by Dan Gurney, with Hill fighting with Lorenzo Bandini for the 3rd place. Surtees was fifth and was completely out of the Championship battle. However, a contact between Bandini and Hill forced the Brit to spin and lose a few places. And if that wasn’t difficult enough for him, his exhaust was seriously damaged, causing the car to lose power for the remaining of the race. This was good news for Clark who was now World Champion.

But with a little more than one lap to go, Clark was hit by unbelievable bad luck when his engine blew and forced him to retire, thus losing the Championship. And while Hill’s position was awful, he was still Champion, with Surtees only 3rd, behind Gurney and Bandini (the latter was his teammate at Ferrari). Realizing the situation, the Italian team signaled Bandini to let Surtees pass, which he did, making the Brit World Champion at the end of an incredible race, with just one point in front of Hill.Ferrari also won the Constructors’ Championship over BRM, even if the British team was leading the standings before the last race. An interesting fact is that by winning the Championship that year, John Surtees become the only person in history to be World Champion on both two and four wheels, having won the 500cc motorcycle Championship four times (1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960).

James Hunt – 1976 (McLaren)

The 1976 Formula One season is regarded by many as one of the most thrilling seasons in the sport’s history, thanks to the incredible rivalry between James Hunt and NikiLauda. The season was also the inspiration for the exciting movie “Rush” that was launched last year, starring Chris Hemsworth. The first part of the season was dominated by NikiLauda, who was reigning World Champion. The Austrianwon five of the first nine races and finished 2nd in two other races, leading the Championship with almost twice as many points as the next driver, Hunt.

James Hunt

But then camethe terrible race atNurburgring in Germany, where the Austrian was involved in a serious crash, being pulled out of his burning Ferrari by three other drivers. Lauda was left with serious burns and was unable to enter the following two races, in Austria and Netherlands. However, despite doctors advising him not to, he came back only six weeks later, at the Italian Grand Prix. Enduring severe pain, Lauda wasn’t able to drive at full capacity and only managed a 4th place in Italy, 8th in Canada and a 3rd place in the United States. But he was still leading the Championship, with only three points in front of Hunt, before the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix. Everyone was thrilled about this, as it was one of the most disputed Championships in years.

During the race weekend, the weather was extremely wet, especially on race day. There were actually talks to postpone the race, but the organizers decided to go ahead, making many drivers unhappy with this decision, including Lauda. The Austrian, who confessed of being absolutely petrified when driving, following his crash in Germany, decided to play this one safe and retired after the second lap, when he was 3rd. Hunt led most of the race, but was overtaken by a few drivers once the track started to dry. But with only three laps before the finish he overtook Alan Jones and Clay Regazzoni and became World Champion, with only one point in front of Lauda. It was an incredible season and while everyone appreciates Hunt, there are many voices saying that he wouldn’t have dreamed of winning the Championship if it wasn’t for Lauda’s crash. And to further fuel these controversies, the Austrian won the Championship the following year, proving he was one of Formula One’s greatest.

Nelson Piquet – 1981 (Brabham)

Another season when the World Champion was decided by just one point was the 1981 season. Before the last race of the season, the United States Grand Prix, Carlos Reutemann (Williams) was leading the Championship, with 49 points, followed by Nelson Piquet with 48 points. Jacques Laffite was 3rd and also had a shot of winning the Championship, but he needed extremely favorable circumstances.

The two main contenders, Reutemann and Piquet, were both coming after a couple of mediocre results (Piquet finished 6th in Italy and 5th in Canada, while Reutemannwas 3rd and 10th). During qualifying, Reutemann got the pole position, followed by Alan Jones who was the reigning World Champion and the Argentinian’s team mate. Even though Jones said he would not do anything in particular to help Reutemann, everyone saw the Argentinian as a favorite to win the race, especially with Piquet only qualifying 4th. But the race started awful for Reutemann, which was overtaken by Jones, Gilles Villeneuve, Alain Prost and Bruno Giacomelli in the first lap. Piquet wasn’t going to well either, finishing the first lap in the 8th position.

Jones dominated the race and led from start to finish, but everyone’s attention was turned to the duel between Reutemann and Piquet. The Argentinian was having a lot of trouble with his car (there was a gearbox problem that left him without the fourth gear) and he was overtaken by Piquet soon. After the race, the Brazilian said he saw Reutemann having serious difficulties in driving his car and tried to stop him by braking very early during a corner, hoping that Piquet will run into him. But he didn’t and after that the Brazilian drove impeccably, even though he was physically exhausted from the high temperatures (he had some problems with the heat during qualifying too). Actually, after he managed to pass Laffite and John Watson and was in 5th position, he was so visibly exhausted that everyone was concerned whether he would be able to finish the race. But he held onto that 5th place and won the two points he needed to become World Champion, because Reutemann was overtaken by Laffite and Watson and only finished 8th (the first six positions received points). It was Piquet’s first Championship and was followed by two more, in 1983 and 1987.

Nelson Piquet – 1983 (Brabham)

The Brazilian is the only driver that is twice on this list. Two years after winning his first Championship against Reutemann, Piquet won his second title after a tight battle with the legendary Alain Prost. This time, the last race took place in South Africa and before the race Prost was leading the Championship standings with 57 points, followed by Piquet with 55 points. In theory, Rene Arnoux also had a shot of winning the Championship (he had 49 points), but he had to win the race while Prost had to finish 6th or lower and Piquet 4th or lower.

Piquet qualified 2nd, Prost 5th and it seemed like it would be an extremely interesting race. The Brazilian had a great start and took the lead in the first lap, overtaking Patrick Tambay. In the ninth lap, Arnoux was forced to retire by a problem with his engine and he was out of the Championship battle, while his abandon allowed Prost to climb one position. The French driver soon got into the 3rd position but Patrese, which was Piquet’s team mate at Brabham, did a great job holding the Frenchman behind him and preventing him from challenging Piquet. Unfortunately for Prost, things ended badly for him when turbo failure on lap 35 forced him to retire. Without the pressure, Piquet, who was leading the race, paced himself and even though he was overtaken by Patrese, de Cesaris and Lauda, finished in a comfortable 3rd place after the Austrian retired with electrical problems.

Prost had all the reasons to be extremely angry for losing the title, since he dominated a large part of the season. But the last four races were a total mess for him, retiring from three of them: Netherlands (where he collided with Piquet and both had to retire), Italy (turbo failure) and South Africa (turbo failure once again). The only time he managed to finish being the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

Alain Prost – 1986 (McLaren)

The second time Prost was involved in a Championship deciding last race things went better for him. This last race of the season took place in Australia and three drivers were fighting for the World Championship. The favorite was, by far, Nigel Mansell, who was leading the standings with 70 points, followed by Prost with 64 points and Mansell’s team mate, Nelson Piquet, with 63 points. Like we said, the difference was quite big and all Mansell had to do was finish third or higher or for the other two not to win. Another advantage the Brit had was that Williams cars (Mansell and Piquet) proved to be far superior to the McLaren driven by Prost and only the Frenchmen’s consistency allowed him to be a title challenger until the last round. A proof of the difference between the cars was that Williams had already won the Constructors’ Championship, having a 48 point lead over McLaren before the last race.

Alain Prost

Things seemed to be even clearer when Mansell won the pole position during qualifying, followed by Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Prost in 4th. Everyone was extremely delighted with this last race and around 150,000 spectators attended the race on the Adelaide circuit. And they sure did have what to see, because the race was extremely dramatic. Mansell was overtaken by Senna on the second corner, then by Piquet and KekeRosberg. By the end of the first lap, Piquet was first, but lost the lead to Rosberg only six laps later. The Brazilian also had an incident on lap 23 and spun, losing a few places. Several laps later, Prost had a problem with a punctured tire and was forced to do an unscheduled pit stop, dropping to 4th. On lap 44, Piquet passed Mansell and the two were followed by Prost. This meant that all three title contenders were in 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions. Rosberg, who had managed to build a significant gap between him and the rest, was forced to retire on lap 63 due to a tire failure. The Finn, who was Prost’s team mate, later told the press that he wouldn’t have won the race anyway, since he promised the team and Prost that he would do anything possible to help the Frenchmen win the Championship.

So now Piquet was leader, Mansell 2nd and Prost 3rd. But almost immediately after Rosberg retired, Prost overtook Mansell for 2nd place, without the Brit putting up any fight (3rd place was enough for him to become Champion). But with less than 20 laps to go, bad luck struck Mansell on lap 64, when his rear left tire exploded at around 180 mph, forcing him to retire. Williams feared that Piquet might have the same fate and called him in for a tire change, giving the lead to Prost, who took advantage of this opportunity and never gave it up until the finish, despite Piquet closing the gap by 10 seconds in the last two laps. Another amazing fact was that Prost drove so to the limit that his car ran out of fuel a few tens of meters after the finish line, putting an epic end to an epic race.

It was Prost’s payback for what happened in 1983 and by winning the Championship he became the first driver to win back-to-back Championships after more than 30 years (the previous one was Jack Brabham in 1959 and 1960).

Jacques Villeneuve – 1997 (Williams)

Before the last race of the 1997 Formula One season that took place in Spain, at Jerez, Michael Schumacher was leading the Championship with 78 points, just one point ahead of Jacques Villeneuve, who was only in his second year of driving in Formula One. The race was coming after a controversial result in the penultimate round, in Japan, when Villeneuve finished 5th but was disqualified for ignoring yellow flags on two consecutive laps during practice.

Jacques Villeneuve

But that controversy was nothing compared to what would happen during the last race. Actually, the entire weekend was amazing. First there was qualifying, when, for the first time in Formula One history, three drivers set the exact same fastest lap time (1:21:072): Villeneuve, Schumacher and Heinz-HaraldFrentzen. According to regulations, the final order was dictated by the order in which the drivers set the times, which meant Villeneuve won the pole position, Schumacher was 2nd and Frentzen3rd. What’s interesting is that the pole position almost went to Damon Hill, who had the fastest intermediate times but had to slow down on the last part of his lap due to an incident involving Minardi’s Ukyo Katayama.

And, as everyone was anticipating, the race was fascinating. Schumacher took the lead by the first corner and continued to lead the race for the first 40 laps. Villeneuve was also overtaken by Frentzen at the start, but Williams ordered the German to let Villeneuve pass, which he did on lap 8. Nothing changed after Schumacher made his first pit stop on lap 22 and the Canadian a lap later. The order didn’t change also when they made their second pit stops on laps 43 (Schumacher) and 44 (Villeneuve), but the gap between the two was reduced and by lap 48 it was less than a second. It was during this lap when Villeneuve made a move to overtake Schumacher, he took the interior, but the cars collided, with Schumacher being forced out of the track and onto the gravel, where he got stuck and retired.

Villeneuve’s Williams, even though it was still in the race, suffered damage and the Canadian was slower than the others. He was soon caught up by both McLarens (Hakkinen and Coulthard), but he didn’t put up a fight, since all he needed was three points (that was 4th place) and managed to finish the race and become World Champion. Hakkinen finished 1st, winning his first ever Formula One race. The collision between Schumacher and Villeneuve sparked a lot of controversy as everyone saw that Schumacher deliberately tried to take out the Canadian (he admitted to the mistake a few days later, during a press conference). Following an investigation by FIA, Schumacher was disqualified from the Championship, losing his second place but keeping his wins and pole position records.

Mika Hakkinen – 1999 (McLaren)

In 1999, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher continued their rivalry from the 1998 season, when the Finn became World Champion. After half of the season, Hakkinen was leading by 8 points but then came Schumacher’s horrific crash at Silverstone, when the German broke his leg and was unable to race in the next six races. But that didn’t mean Hakkinen had an easy time winning the Championship, because he had to fight until the last round.

Mika Hakkinen

Taking advantage of Schumacher’s injury, Ferrari’s second driver, Eddie Irvine, had a great series of results, including three wins, while Hakkinen retired on three occasions, Britain, Germany and Italy. So before the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, Eddie Irvine was leading the Championship standings with 70 points, four more than Hakkinen, who was second. This meant that in order to become Champion, Hakkinen had to win the race, otherwise hope for a poor result from Irvine.

But the Irish had an awful weekend. First there was qualifying, when he only managed to rank 5th, while Hakkinen started in 2nd, behind Schumacher who was at his second race after the comeback. In the race, Hakkinen had a great start, taking the lead from Schumacher from the beginning and then comfortably leading the entire race. Irvine finished 3rd, one and a half minute behind Hakkinen and Schumacher, losing his only chance of ever winning a World Championship.

Kimi Raikkonen – 2007 (Ferrari)

The 2007 season was probably one of the most exciting ones in recent years and the last race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, offered a thrilling fight. Before the race, three drivers were battling for the Championship title. Favorite was Lewis Hamilton, who was in his debut year in Formula One and was leading the standings with 107 points, followed by reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso with 103 points and the outsider KimiRaikkonen with 100 points. However, judging by recent form, the Finn had the best run in the second half of the season, winning two races and finishing on the podium each time. It was the first time three drivers had a real chance to the title since the 1986 season we spoke about earlier, when Prost became World Champion, so everything indicated a hot weekend at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo.

Kimi Raikkonen

Things got even hotter after qualifying, when Hamilton got the 2nd place, Raikkonen3rd and Alonso 4th, with Raikkonen’s team mate, Felipe Massa, in the pole position. Things were becoming really, really interesting. The two Ferraris had a great race start and Raikkonen quickly overtook Hamilton. On the next corner, the Brit was also overtaken by Alonso. While defending his position, Alonso braked hard on the next corner, forcing Hamilton to lock his brakes and slid off track. Hamilton rejoined the race in the 8th position and had a lot of work to do to get back in the game. In six laps he had already gained two positions, after passing JarnoTrulli and Nick Heidfeld but then bad luck struck. He had a gearbox malfunction that got him stuck in neutral for about 30 seconds and by the time the issued was fixed, he was already in the 18th position.

In front, Massa was leading, followed by Raikkonen and Alonso. However, while the Brazilian and the Spaniard were making their pit stops, Raikkonen had a great run for about three laps which made him the race leader after his pit stop. Nothing changed until the end of the race and even though Hamilton managed to get into the 7th position, it wasn’t enough and the new World Champion was KimiRaikkonen with 110 points (followed by Hamilton and Alonso, both with 109 points).

Sebastian Vettel – 2010 (Red Bull)

Before the last race of the 2010 Formula One season, in Abu Dhabi, the Championship was led by Fernando Alonso, with 246 points, 8 more than Mark Webber and 15 ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Lewis Hamilton also had a mathematical chance, since he was 24 points behind Alonso, but the shots of him winning the title were only theoretical.

Sebastian Vettel

After qualifying, Vettel took the pole position, followed by Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Webber, so everything pointed out to an extremely interesting race. If Vettel won the race, Alonso needed the 4th place to win the Championship. However, Ferrari made a huge strategy mistake: they were confused by Webber’s early pit stop due to fast tire wear and decided to call in Alonso to change his tires. This made Alonso get back in the race in the 8th position, stuck behind VitalyPetrov with just 18 laps gone. The Spaniard kept trying to overtake Petrov, but the Russian resisted until the end. Vettel won the race and with Alonso only finishing 7th and Webber 8th, the German won the Championship with a 4 point lead over Alonso and 10 over Webber. This also put an end to speculation before the race that Red Bull might use team orders to influence the result, because the poor performance by Webber didn’t make that necessary.

By winning the Championship, Vettel became the youngest Formula One Champion ever, breaking Hamilton’s record by 168 days, and also starting an impressive dominance that would lead to four consecutive Championships, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The post Formula One Champions that Weren’t Favorites Before the Last Race of the Season appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Lotus History and Photo Gallery

Fast. Furious. Lotus. After taking one glance at a Lotus automobile racing down the road, it is unequivocally clear that there is something special about this type of vehicle.  Whether it is a Lotus Elise S1, a Lotus GT1 Road Car or anything in between, Lotus Cars have a reputation for being sleek, sporty, and above all, fast. The history of the Lotus vehicle began with a man by the name of Colin Chapman.

Originally, University College, London graduate and thriving engineer, Colin Chapman created the company under the name Lotus Engineering Ltd. in 1952. The Lotus Car Company was based at a former World War II airfield in Norfolk a British producer of sports cars and racing cars alike. Moreover, Lotus Cars also owns the famous engineering consulting firm titled Lotus Engineering, and is based in all of the following locations: the United Kingdom, the United States,Malaysia and China. Presently, the company is owned by Proton.

In 1948, the type one trials special was the first Lotus car built and it possessed quite definitive features. Based on a 1930 Austin 7 saloon, Chapman made sure that the car could withstand great distress, making the strength of the vehicle a vital element for all Lotus cars to come. The strength of the car was accomplished by guaranteeing that every single panel in the body of the vehicle was stressed so that it would be able to withstand strain and pressure without weighing down the automobile gratuitously.  Ultimately, this approach of ensuring a strong car body accompanied by a lightweight feel became a philosophy that has transcended throughout the Lotus tradition. Eventually, the Lotus Group of Companies was formed in 1959. This grouping of companies was comprised of Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited, which focused correspondingly on the production of road vehicles and competitive car production.

The company has seen most of its success with the addition of the Lotus Formula One car. While Stirling Moss achieved success in the marque’s very first Grand Prix in 1960 by driving a Lotus 18, true acclamation came in the year 1963. With his foot on the pedal of a Lotus 25, Jim Clark landed Lotus a title for its first F1 World Constructors Championship. Unfortunately, Clark met a tragic fate in the very brand of car that won him a Championship title, as he crashed a Formula Two Lotus 48 while racing.

In 1992, Team Lotus launched Classic Team Lotus and continues to uphold and sustain Lotus F1 FIA in Historic Formula One Championship by keeping the business all in the family under the supervision of Colin Chapman’s son, Clive.

Lotus model cars include the Lotus Elise, Lotus Exige, Lotus Exige S, Lotus Evora, Lotus 2-Eleven and Lotus T125 Exos, most of which you can still buy in the condition of used cars.

It’s been only a few weeks since I started looking for some of these pearls; during a vacation trip I was searching for used cars in London and found a lot of these Lotus gems.

Grab one while you can!


The post Lotus History and Photo Gallery appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Lotus History and Photo Gallery

Fast. Furious. Lotus. After taking one glance at a Lotus automobile racing down the road, it is unequivocally clear that there is something special about this type of vehicle.  Whether it is a Lotus Elise S1, a Lotus GT1 Road Car or anything in between, Lotus Cars have a reputation for being sleek, sporty, and above all, fast. The history of the Lotus vehicle began with a man by the name of Colin Chapman.

Originally, University College, London graduate and thriving engineer, Colin Chapman created the company under the name Lotus Engineering Ltd. in 1952. The Lotus Car Company was based at a former World War II airfield in Norfolk a British producer of sports cars and racing cars alike. Moreover, Lotus Cars also owns the famous engineering consulting firm titled Lotus Engineering, and is based in all of the following locations: the United Kingdom, the United States,Malaysia and China. Presently, the company is owned by Proton.

In 1948, the type one trials special was the first Lotus car built and it possessed quite definitive features. Based on a 1930 Austin 7 saloon, Chapman made sure that the car could withstand great distress, making the strength of the vehicle a vital element for all Lotus cars to come. The strength of the car was accomplished by guaranteeing that every single panel in the body of the vehicle was stressed so that it would be able to withstand strain and pressure without weighing down the automobile gratuitously.  Ultimately, this approach of ensuring a strong car body accompanied by a lightweight feel became a philosophy that has transcended throughout the Lotus tradition. Eventually, the Lotus Group of Companies was formed in 1959. This grouping of companies was comprised of Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited, which focused correspondingly on the production of road vehicles and competitive car production.

The company has seen most of its success with the addition of the Lotus Formula One car. While Stirling Moss achieved success in the marque’s very first Grand Prix in 1960 by driving a Lotus 18, true acclamation came in the year 1963. With his foot on the pedal of a Lotus 25, Jim Clark landed Lotus a title for its first F1 World Constructors Championship. Unfortunately, Clark met a tragic fate in the very brand of car that won him a Championship title, as he crashed a Formula Two Lotus 48 while racing.

In 1992, Team Lotus launched Classic Team Lotus and continues to uphold and sustain Lotus F1 FIA in Historic Formula One Championship by keeping the business all in the family under the supervision of Colin Chapman’s son, Clive.

Lotus model cars include the Lotus Elise, Lotus Exige, Lotus Exige S, Lotus Evora, Lotus 2-Eleven and Lotus T125 Exos, most of which you can still buy in the condition of used cars.

It’s been only a few weeks since I started looking for some of these pearls; during a vacation trip I was searching for used cars in London and found a lot of these Lotus gems.

Grab one while you can!


The post Lotus History and Photo Gallery appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon Most Exciting Wet Races in Formula One History

Grand Prix

Rain has always been one of the factors that made a Formula One race even more exciting, especially because the difference between the cars’ performances is significantly reduced and on a track filled with water, all drivers have the chance to prove what they’re really made of.

In the last few years there have been a number of interesting wet races which provided a little drama but also showed FIA’s recent trend to neutralize races as soon as rain starts, by deploying the Safety Car or even waving red flags and pausing races until weather conditions improve. Of course, even though the races are not as entertaining as they used to be under these conditions, they are a lot safer for drivers. And proof is that we have 20 years without a single fatality in Formula One, the last one being the tragic death of legendary Ayrton Senna at Imola.

Despite these aspects, there are plenty of voices asking FIA to loosen up the safety measures and bring the sport closer to its origin, because there are countless examples of races that took place under incredibly difficult conditions and continued without the Safety Car’s intervention. And keep in mind that those were times when Formula One was an extremely dangerous sport, when cars’ and tracks’ safety was not the main concern.

So let’s take a look at some of the most difficult and best known wet races of the last century:

1961 German Grand Prix, Nurburging (won by Stirling Moss)

It’s well known that during a wet race, the inspiration to choose the proper tires is usually extremely important and decides who wins and who doesn’t. And at the 1961 German Grand Prix held on the famous Nurburgring track, inspiration “gods” chose Stirling Moss. The Brit qualified 3rd, behind Phil Hill and Jack Brabham and had a good start in the race, but so did Jack Brabham who immediately took the lead. However, Brabham crashed during the first lap, due to a problem with the throttle, and Moss took the lead, not giving up until the finish line. He finished 21 seconds ahead of Wolfgang von Trips and 22 seconds ahead of Phil Hill. The rain made the race quite difficult, with only 17 drivers finishing out of the total of 26 that started it.

Stirling Moss 1961 Grand Prix

Besides his driving, what really made the difference in this race was the way Moss dealt with the weather and the tires. During the race, the track dried enough for most of the drivers to make a pit stop and change their tires. But Moss stood on the track and stuck with his rain tires, anticipating that rain will start again. And he was right, because the rain came back and he wasn’t forced to make another pit stop, especially with his tires not getting too damaged after running on the dry track.

1963 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps (Jim Clark)

The second race of the 1963 Formula One season was scheduled in Belgium and took place under extreme conditions. Besides the fact that it rained for most of the weekend, the track was also hit by a storm in the middle of the race.

Jim Clark

Despite these rough conditions, Jim Clark offered one of the most impressive performances on a wet track Formula One has ever seen. He qualified only 8th, but he managed to overtake all the drivers in front of him, including Graham Hill, which had started in pole position and was leading the race (Hill retired on lap 17 due to a gearbox failure). To get an idea of how great Clark’s driving was it’s worth mentioning that he lapped every other driver, except for Bruce McLaren, who finished 2nd. And while McLaren managed not to get himself lapped, he finished the race almost 5 minutes (4 minutes and 54 seconds) behind Clark.

It was the first win of the season for the Brit and the first one in an impressive series of seven wins in 9 races, which brought him the World Championship after a season he dominated, scoring almost twice as many points as the second and third ranked drivers, Graham Hill and Richie Ginther.

1968 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring (Jackie Stewart)

The 1968 Formula One season started bad after it lost one of its greatest drivers ever, Jim Clark. The Brit, who had won the first race of the season in South Africa, died during a crash in a Formula Two event on April 7th. But the German Grand Prix offered an impressive race, which is widely regarded as one of the most difficult races ever held in Formula One. Conditions were extreme, with fog and heavy rain seriously affecting the track. There were even talks about canceling the race, but it was decided that the race should take place, so everyone was curious how drivers will deal with the 14 laps of the famous Nordschleife.After a qualifying session “soaked” in water, Jackie Ickx took the pole position, followed by Chris Amon, JochenRindt and Graham Hill.

1968 German Grand Prix

Jackie Stewart started in the 6th position but had an amazing first lap, overtaking all the other five drivers in front of him and finishing the lap with a 9 second lead over Graham Hill. By the end of the second lap, Stewart already had a 34 second lead and he finished the race with a final lead of more than 4 minutes. Most Formula One fans agree this was Jackie Stewart’s best race in his entire career, especially since he was driving with a broken wrist following a Formula Two crash earlier that year (he actually missed two Formula One races because of that injury). Unfortunately for Stewart, the two missed races took their toll and he lost the World Championship title to Graham Hill, who won his second title at the end of that season.

Speaking about this race, Jackie Stewart said: “The spray was absolutely unbelievable – I couldn’t see anything at all! I couldn’t see my braking distance marks; I couldn’t see the car in front; it was just a great wall of spray. I tried to get out of the spray and go up the inside, and by doing this I managed to see a little more clearly [..]I cannot remember having been more frightened in a racing car. The spray from Graham and Chris was just absolutely impossible to see through; on any other circuit these conditions are hellish, but on the Nurburgring you just cannot imagine how bad they are. The track is narrow, the undulations so pronounced, the bends so numerous, that you can hardly remember where you are on the circuit even on a clear day, but in fog and ceaseless spray you just have no idea at all.”

1972 Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco (Jean-Pierre Beltoise)

Today, FIA would probably exclude the idea of a wet race in Monaco, but in 1972 the possibility of postponing a race because of the weather was unthinkable.

1972 Monaco Grand Prix

Denny Hulme and Emerson Fittipaldi had an identical run in the first three races of the season, each winning one race (Fittipaldi in Spain, Hulme in South Africa), finishing 2nd in one and retiring in another (Fittipaldi in Argentina with suspension failure and Hulme in Spain with a gearbox problem). Jacky Ickx was 3d with 10 points followed by Jackie Stewart with 9 points and Clay Regazzoni with 7 points. During qualifying, Fittipaldi set the fastest time and took the pole position, followed by Jacky Ickx, Clay Regazzoni and Jean-Pierre Beltoise. The Frenchman’s 4th position was quite surprising since he had failed to finish any race that season (he didn’t enter the first race of the season in Argentina and was forced to retire in South Africa and Spain by gearbox and engine problems).

In the race, everyone’s attention was turned to the favorites, but Beltoise had a great start, overtook all three drivers in front of him and took the lead, which he kept all the way to the finish line. More than that, he finished almost 40 seconds ahead of second place, which was taken by Jacky Ickx. The Frenchman was never one of the sport’s superstars and this win was his greatest career achievement. Actually, it was the only race in which he scored points that season, at the end of which Emerson Fittipaldi won the World Championship for the first time, but everyone will remember Beltoise for the amazing way he drove on a “soaked” Monaco circuit. This was also the last race that was held on the circuit’s original configuration, because starting with the 1973 season, the swimming pool was installed and the tunnel was lengthened. Also, it was the last race won by the British Racing Motors team (BRM), which started facing financial difficulties and was shut down five years later, in 1977.

1983 Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco (KekeRosberg)

Eleven years after Beltoise’s amazing race, the Monaco Grand Prix was once again facing heavy rain. This time, it was the fifth race of the season and the Championship was led by Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet with 15 points each, followed by Patrick Tambay with 14 points and John Watson with 11 points. After qualifying, Prost secured the pole position, Tambay in 4th position and Nelson Piquet was only 6th.

1983 Monaco Grand Pri

Today, each race that starts on a wet track begins with the Safety Car deployed and all drivers are required to start on wet tires. But back then these rules didn’t exist and the drivers had the freedom to choose whatever tires they wanted. That weekend, all of them went for wet tires except Jacques Laffite and KekeRosberg (Williams), who was the reigning World Champion and had qualified in 5th position (even though it was not a great position, it was the highest placed non-turbo car). The two drivers chose slicks because even though the track was wet, there was no rain. Of course, it was a risky decision but it proved to be an extremely inspired one for the Finn, who had a great start, advancing into 2nd position by the first corner and overtaking Prost for the lead in the first lap.

Rosberg led the entire race and finished with an 18 second lead over Nelson Piquet and 31 seconds in front of Prost. This win put Rosberg in 4th position in the overall standings, but the rest of the season was disappointing for the Finnish driver and, except for the Monaco win, his best result was a second place at the Detroit Grand Prix, so he finished the season 5th. The Championship was won by Nelson Piquet after a fierce battle with Alain Prost that lasted until the last race of the season. However, besides making an almost perfect wet race, Rosberg will also go down in Formula One history for another thing. Thirty years after his win, his son NicoRosberg won the 2013 Monaco Grand Prix, making them the first father and son to win the Monaco race.

1985 Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril (Ayrton Senna)

1985 was Ayrton Senna’ second season in Formula One and his first one with Lotus-Renault. In the first race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix, Senna qualified 4th but was forced to retire after an electrical problem on lap 48. At the second race of the season, the young Brazilian driver started showing everyone what he was made of and in qualifying he took the pole position, his first one in Formula One. He was followed by Alain Prost, who had lost the World Championship to NikiLauda by just half a point the previous season and was eager to get his revenge.

Formula One World Championship

The wet conditions made the race incredibly difficult, but Senna, even though he was still a novice in Formula One, kept his calm and did a perfect race, finishing first, more than a minute in front of Michele Alboreto, who came in 2nd, and lapping every other driver, including future World Champion Nigel Mansell. And just to get an idea of how difficult the race was, only 9 drivers finished it, out of the total of 26 that started it. While it came as quite a surprise at the time, Senna will later become famous for his proficiency in wet conditions.

Despite Senna’s win, the rest of the season was dominated by Alain Prost, whose only title contender was Michele Alboreto, but the Frenchmen comfortably won the Championship by 20 points, after the Italian failed to finish the last five races of the season, all caused by Ferrari’s unreliability.

1993 European Grand Prix, Donington Park (Ayrton Senna)

The first race of the season took place in South Africa and was a very interesting race, with only 5 drivers (out of the total 26 finishing the race). It was won by Alain Prost, followed by Ayrton Senna. The two had won three World Championships each and everything pointed out to an extremely exciting season. The following race took place in Brazil, where Senna won and Prost retired, so everyone eagerly waited for the next race, the European Grand Prix held at Donington Park in the United Kingdom.

1993 European Grand Prix

The qualifying session was dominated by the two Williams cars, with Prost taking the pole position, followed by Damon Hill. Michael Schumacher was 3rd and Senna only 4th. But what happened next was pure magic from the Brazilian, who showed everyone once again why he is considered one of Formula One’s legends. Rain was pouring over the track and at the start Schumacher had a problem and blocked Senna, both being overtaken by Karl Wendlinger. However, Senna began one of the greatest laps of his career. He first passed Schumacher in the third corner then Wendlinger followed. A few corners later, Senna overtook Hill and, on the penultimate corner, also passed Alain Prost, finishing the first lap as race leader.

The race was extremely tense, with conditions alternating between dry and wet, so everyone had to make several pit stops to change tires. After the second stop, Senna was delayed by 20 seconds and lost the lead to Prost. But rain started again and Williams decided to call in both drivers, while Senna stayed on the track. It was an inspired decision, because the rain stopped and the track started to dry again, forcing Prost to make another pit stop. The Brazilian won the race, lapping everyone except Damon Hill, who was 2nd, followed by Alain Prost in 3rd place. The Frenchman actually set a record for most pit stops made in a single race (seven), a record that still stands today. Unfortunately for Senna, despite winning the five races that season, he lost the title to Alain Prost, who was more constant.

1996 Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya (Michael Schumacher)

Schumacher had just won his second consecutive World Championship with Benetton when he joined Ferrari, in what will probably be one of the most important moves in Formula One history. However, despite the German’s immense talent, the beginning of the season was dominated by Williams and, after six races, Damon Hill was leading the championship with 43 points, having won four out the first five races, followed by Jacques Villeneuve with 22 points. Schumacher was only 3rd, with 16 points, failing to finish in three races, including the previous one in Monaco, when it rained before the race and where the German crashed in the first lap, despite starting the race from pole position.

Michael Schumacher Story

The two Williams seemed to continue their domination when Hill took the pole position and Villeneuve 2nd place, with Schumacher in the 3rd position. However, Hill didn’t really matter in the race, spinning twice in the first laps, before hitting a pit wall and retiring on lap 12. One lap later, Schumacher, who had a poor start, took the lead from Villeneuve and dominated the rest of the race, with several laps when he was three seconds faster than any other driver. The race was full of incidents and only six drivers finished it, out of the 20 that started. Alesi came in 2nd place, 45 seconds behind Schumacher and the 3rd place went to Villeneuve.

Despite this great win, the 1996 season was a poor one for Schumacher, finishing 3rd overall, 38 points behind Damon Hill, who became World Champion. But everyone will remember the race in Barcelona and even though people knew how good the German was on a wet track, after this race he got the “Rainmaster” nickname.

1998 Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps (Damon Hill)

While the other races we listed above were impressive by the manner of which the winners drove, the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix is special from another point of view, being a decisive round in the battle for the World Championship title. With three quarters of the season gone, Mika Hakkinen led the drivers’ standings with 77 points, followed by Michael Schumacher with 70 points. The German was coming after an excellent race in Hungary, which he won, closing the gap to Hakkinen, who only finished 6th.

1998 Belgian Grand Prix

At the thirteenth race of the season, held at Spa-Francorchampsin Belgium, Hakkinen took the pole position, followed by team mate David Coulthard, and Damon Hill, with Schumacher qualifying only 4th. On race day, the weather was extremely rainy and this pleased Schumacher, who was known as a driver that wasvery skilled on a wet track.

At the start, David Coulthard caused a massive incident and the race was restarted, without four drivers who had damaged their cars.This time, Damon Hill had a better start and passed Hakkinen, who was also trying to resist Schumacher. But in the first corner, the Finn lost control of the car and was hit by Johnny Herbert, with both of them being forced to retire. The Safety Car was deployed to allow Hakkinen’s car to be removed from the track and eight laps later Schumacher overtook Hill and started to build up an impressive lead. At this moment, things were going perfect for the German, with Hakkinen out and him comfortably leading the race, it meant that he was now three points in front of the Finn in the drivers’ standings.

Around lap 25, Schumacher was behind Coulthard, with the Scot having to move over to allow the German to pass. To make sure there would be no problems, Ferrari’s Jean Todt went to the McLaren pitwall and talked to the British team. But Coulthard didn’t allow Schumacher to pass right away, irritating the German Champion. When he eventually did, he slowed down but didn’t change the lane. Schumacher, who was behind heavy spray and had basically zero visibility, didn’t see Coulthard slowing down, so he violently hit the Scot’s McLaren, tearing off his Ferrari’s right front wheel. The two cars were seriously damaged and both drivers were forced to enter the pits (the Ferrari lost a wheel and was unable to continue, while Coulthard got back into the race after the McLaren’s rear wing was replaced). Schumacher immediately rushed to the McLaren garage to blame Coulthard for the collision and even accusing the Scot of trying to kill him. The two solved their conflict a couple of weeks later and, years later, Coulthard admitted that it was his fault, since it was extremely imprudent of him to slow down when he knew Schumacher was right behind him, in heavy spray.

Unfortunately for Schumacher, he missed a huge opportunity to take the Championship lead from Hakkinen. He was also extremely unlucky in the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix, when he took the pole position but had to start from the last position because his car stalled right before the start. Despite that, he managed to make his way up to the 3rd place when one of his tires blew up and forced him to retire once again, ending all hopes of winning his third Championship and making Hakkinen World Champion for the second time.

2000 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (Rubens Barrichello)

The 2000 Formula One season was marked by the same rivalry between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Both had won two World Championships each, with the Finn being the reigning Champion and Schumacher hoping for his first title with Ferrari. The German driver did become World Champion (after the penultimate race of the season) and started the amazing five consecutive titles series, but one race in the season was extremely interesting, the German Grand Prix held at the Hockenheim track.

2000 German Grand Prix

Before the race, Schumacher was leading the Championship with 56 points, followed by David Coulthard with 50 points, Mika Hakkinen with 48 and Rubens Barrichello with 36. And while everyone was waiting for the German Grand Prix to see what will happen next in the battle between Hakkinen and Schumacher, the big surprise came from Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian had finished on the podium six times in the first 10 races, but was not exactly a favorite, especially after having some problems during qualifying and being forced to start the race in the 18th position.

Pole position was won by Coulthard, followed by Schumacher and Fisichella. However, the German and the Italian crashed before the first corner, both retiring, so it was time for Barrichello to shine. By lap 17, he was already 3rd and then, profiting from a mistake at McLaren pits, he took the lead. On lap 34, heavy rain started to fall, but the Brazilian continued his impeccable race, which was even more difficult as the Hockenheim track is known to be very long and while some parts of it were wet, others were dry. Hakkinen, who was 7 seconds behind Barrichello, was gaining time on the wet parts, as he had switched to wet tires, while the Brazilian was faster on the dry parts, as he didn’t pit for new tires and was running on slicks. Barrichello managed to protect his lead and won the race, 7.5 seconds ahead of Hakkinen, with the 3rd place going to David Coulthard. It was the Brazilian’s first win and he was extremely emotional, while everyone cheered for him. Formula One fans probably remember the famous image of Hakkinen and Coulthard raising him on their shoulders on the podium or the standing ovation he got before the press conference.

Like we said, we only listed races that happened before 2000, but it would be unfair not to mention some recent wet races that were also really exciting, such as Jensen Button’s first victory in Formula One, that happened on a wet track in Hungary 2006, Fernando Alonso great win in Nurburgring 2007 on heavy rain (when Markus Winkelkoch became race leader at his Formula One debut race) or Jensen Button’s win in Montreal in 2011, when he started 7th and made six pit stops.

The post Most Exciting Wet Races in Formula One History appeared first on Motorward.

PostHeaderIcon The “Autobiography of a Jeep” Is 10 Minutes Of Glory

In light of the impending debut of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and Wrangler-based pickup truck – not to mention my recent time spent with the 2017 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock – the Jeep brand has consumed much of my recent time and writings. In the course of perusing Jeep history and year-specific factoids, I ran across this lovely documentary. As the name suggests, the film is narrated in first-person, allowing the Willy MB to tell its own story.

It might be a bit cheeky by today’s standards, but the 1943 documentary details how the original Willy MB came to be. As most know, it was the outbreak of World War II that spurred the U.S. Department of War to find a suitable troop transport that could serve a variety of roles. Some roles were quite dare-devilish, too, like floating in water by being wrapped in a canvas tarp and crossing deep valleys via a wire cable. Adaptations of the MB included a more dedicated amphibious model with a boat-like hull surrounding he body. The MB began mass production only eight months after the War Department’s open request for prototypes. To keep up with production requirements, Ford joined in with its near-exact replica of the Willys MB, the Ford GPW. Combined, a new Jeep rolled off the assembly line every two minutes at the height of the war. Of course, the video has plenty more tid-bits of information and shows tons of Jeeps in action.

PostHeaderIcon Six Decades of Racing History Headed to Laguna Seca

Every year, Laguna Seca plays host to some of the most legendary performance machines to ever take a racing line, recounting the glories of the past for the enjoyment of enthusiasts both young and old. It’s called the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and it takes place during the annual orgy of metal and money known as Monterey Car Week. This year is lining up to be just as epic as always, with a long list of iconic race cars slated to appear for our mutual veneration.

Roughly 60 years of racing history will be on display, from a ‘50s-era Ferrari to a modern McLaren GT winner. “The yearlong celebration of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 60th anniversary is brought to life in the Racing Through the Decades feature display that we are thrilled to share at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion,” says Senior VP of Event Operations at Laguna Seca Gill Campbell. “The visual element illustrates the history and importance of the race track and the privilege we have had in hosting some of the greatest cars and drivers in all of motorsports.” In addition to the opportunity to get up close and personal with cars in the pits, fans will witness hundreds of other historically significant racers dice it up on track, providing the appropriate soundtrack for such an event. In the meantime, continue reading to check out some of the featured cars on the docket.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Six Decades of Racing History Headed to Laguna Seca

Every year, Laguna Seca plays host to some of the most legendary performance machines to ever take a racing line, recounting the glories of the past for the enjoyment of enthusiasts both young and old. It’s called the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and it takes place during the annual orgy of metal and money known as Monterey Car Week. This year is lining up to be just as epic as always, with a long list of iconic race cars slated to appear for our mutual veneration.

Roughly 60 years of racing history will be on display, from a ‘50s-era Ferrari to a modern McLaren GT winner. “The yearlong celebration of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s 60th anniversary is brought to life in the Racing Through the Decades feature display that we are thrilled to share at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion,” says Senior VP of Event Operations at Laguna Seca Gill Campbell. “The visual element illustrates the history and importance of the race track and the privilege we have had in hosting some of the greatest cars and drivers in all of motorsports.” In addition to the opportunity to get up close and personal with cars in the pits, fans will witness hundreds of other historically significant racers dice it up on track, providing the appropriate soundtrack for such an event. In the meantime, continue reading to check out some of the featured cars on the docket.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Builds First Truck 100 Years Ago Today

Ford is celebrating 100 years of making pickups today. It was July 27, 1917 that Ford introduced the Model TT pickup. It was based on the hugely popular Model T, but came with a stronger frame built to carry 2,000 pounds in its cargo bed. A meager 209 examples were built that year. Now, a century later, Ford’s F-Series pickups continue the legacy build by Henry Ford with trucks ranging from the half-ton F-150 to the commercial medium-duty F-750 Super Duty. Nearly a million examples sold in 2017, each costing a bit more than the Model TT’s price of $600.

Henry Ford designed the Model TT to accommodate aftermarket beds, allowing the truck to cater to an endless number of industries. Yet, the Model TT used the Model T’s cab and engine, helping cut costs while streamlining Ford’s genius of an assembly line production. Remember, it was Mr. Ford who started producing vehicles on an assembly line with the Model T just nine years prior. Amazingly, this concept hasn’t changed. Ford trucks continue to share parts, like the cab section between the F-150 and the updated-for-2017 Super Duty. Between 1917 and 2017, Ford has built dozens of generations and variations of its pickups, including more unique examples like the car-based Ranchero and the compact Ranger. A more comprehensive list is down below.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom

Sir Henry Royce, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, is quoted as saying, “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it doesn’t exist, design it.” Those are some pretty heavy words, but it’s the right credo for an automaker like Rolls-Royce. With a history of producing some of the most elegant, opulent, and downright desirable luxury vehicles on the planet, perfection isn’t just a goal – it’s an expectation. Such is the case with the Phantom, Rolls-Royce’s highly recognizable flagship model. These are cars that are destined for the stables of royalty, acting as a rolling signature of power, wealth, and prestige.

Lead by the trademark Spirit of Ecstasy on the hood, the Phantom comes equipped with top-shelf extravagance and lavishness, offering high levels of personalization to those select buyers with pockets deep enough to really enjoy it. Currently offered in a variety of different flavors, including the standard Phantom, an Extended Wheelbase model, a Coupe, and a Drophead Coupe, Rolls has announced a new eighth generation slated for release later this week. However, the history of the nameplate is rapidly approaching a full century at this point, so how’d we get here? To find out, we delved into the Phantom’s history, taking a look at the seven generations that have come and gone since the model’s introduction in 1925.

Continue reading for The Gilded History of the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

PostHeaderIcon A Look Back at the Mercedes Utility Vehicles that Preceded the X-Class Truck

Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the X-Class, its first mass-produced pickup truck, and while it may seem weird for a premium company to build a car like this, the German brand is actually a big producer of utility vehicles. And it all started more than 100 years ago!

Long before his company developed into a luxury car manufacturer in the 1930s, Karl Benz actually built buses. He unveiled the world’s first motorized bus back in 1895 and actually competed against Gottlieb Daimler, soon to become his partner, in this field, with both exporting vehicles to England and Wales. Daimler and Benz merged into one company in 1926 and the success story of Mercedes-Benz began.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 10 Longest Point Scoring Streaks in Formula One


2013 British Grand Prix marked the fall of a 10 year old record previously held by Michael Schumacher, the driver who achieved most consecutive races finished in the points. The legendary German driver had 25 and the one who broke his record is not, as you were probably expecting, Sebastian Vettel, the other German that seems to follow in the footsteps of Schumi, but Kimi Raikkonen. The performance is a little ironic coming from the Finn, who is one of the least boring drivers in Formula One and is known to not care at all about statistics and similar stuff.

As you will see, most performances on this list were achieved in the past decade, being dominated by Schumacher, Alonso and Vettel, with only one driver from the ‘80s. Many of you will probably argue that the list is irrelevant, but while it’s true that there are more races in the calendar than ever, cars’ reliability has significantly improved in the modern age of Formula One and the number of places awarded with points has increased from 6 to 10, that doesn’t make this list irrelevant at all, on the contrary, it shows some of the most constant performances in Formula One history.

10. Sebastian Vettel – 14 finishes (2012 Singapore Grand Prix – 2013 Canada Grand Prix)

The last spot on this list is taken by Sebastian Vettel, which started this point scoring streak with a win at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012. Three more wins followed in Japan, South Korea and India before almost ending the streak in Abu Dhabi, when he was forced to start from the pit lane, being penalized after not having enough fuel in his car to provide a sample. However, the German did an impressive race and finished 3rd, a performance which later proved to be decisive in securing him his third world championship (he won the title with just three points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso). Vettel finished in the points in the remaining two races of the 2012 season and he also had a very good start of the 2013 season, with seven point scoring finishes.

Sebastian Vettel

The streak ended at the British Grand Prix in 2013 (where Raikkonen actually broke Schumacher’s record) after the German was forced to retire due to gearbox failure, when he was leading the race, with just 10 laps to go. During this time, his worst performance was a 6th place he got at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and two 4th places in China and Spain in 2013. What’s interesting is that following the abandon in Britain, out of the 11 remaining races in the 2013 season, Vettel won 10 of them (Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, United States and Brazil), plus a 3rd place in Hungary. That is absolutely incredible and makes you wonder how this list would’ve looked like if it wasn’t for the German’s gearbox problem at Silverstone.

9. Mark Webber – 14 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Belgian Grand Prix)

2010 was the only Formula One season when the Australian actually had a shot at the Championship and fought until the last race. Even though the last two races of the season were catastrophic (including a disappointing 8th place in the last race in Abu Dhabi, which basically cost him the title), Weber started a point scoring streak that included the first 12 races of the 2011 season. However, even though he had three poles and eight podiums, Webber never managed to win any of these races and the only reason we put him before Vettel, even though they have the same number of races finished in the points is because the Australian’s performance happened first.

Mark Webber

During these 14 races, the only time he was almost out of the points was in China, in 2011, when he had to start from the 18th position after having some electrical problems and being eliminated during qualifying. However, he did an amazing race and secured a 3rd place at the end, overtaking Button in the last lap of the race. As a fun fact, it was the same race Button accidentally stopped at Red Bull’s pits (his former team) instead of McLaren’s. Webber’s streak ended at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix when a contact with Massa’s Ferrari seriously damaged the Australian’s front wing and caused him to crash a few corners later, retiring from the race.

8. Carlos Reutemann – 15 finishes (1980 Belgian Grand Prix – 1981 Belgian Grand Prix)

Like we said earlier in the article, this is the only performance on this list that was achieved before the 2000s. In a time when cars weren’t as reliable as they are today, the Argentinian’s performance is even more impressive. After driving for Brabham, Ferrari and Lotus, Reutemann joined Williams in 1980 and in that year’s Belgian Grand Prix his podium finish marked the start of a streak that will go on for 15 races, during which he never started any race on a position lower than 5th place. Out of these 15 races, Reutemann won three, the 1980 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Reutemann, a gearbox failure forced him to retire from the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix. That was just the beginning of the end for the Argentinian, who had finished the first five races of the 1981 season on the podium (leading the Championship), but after the Monaco problem, had a horrible second part of the season, including losing the title by just one point during the last race of the season.

Carlos Reutemann

And if you think that’s all Reutemann did interesting in motorsport, you’re wrong, because he also competed in the World Rally Championship. He actually became the second Formula One driver in history to win a podium in WRC and in the last 30 years he was the only one to score points in both Formula One and WRC. That was until 2010 when, surprising or not, the one to end this was also KimiRaikkonen, who finished 8th in the Jordan Rally.

7. Fernando Alonso – 17 finishes (2006 Chinese Grand Prix – 2007 Belgium Grand Prix)

On his way to his second World Championship, the Spaniard started an impressive 17 race streak by winning the last three races of the 2006 season, in China, Japan and Brazil. He also had a great run in most of the 2007 season, despite frequent conflicts with team mate Lewis Hamilton. 2007 will be the only season when Alonso raced for McLaren, which ended up being a terrible season for the team. Hamilton and Alonso had the same number of points at the end of the season, but lost the Championship to Raikkonenin the last race, by just one point. Also, McLaren was later disqualified from that year’s season of Formula One after the Ferrari espionage scandal.

Fernando Alonso

But none of these take away any of Alonso’s merits, who won 5 races during this point finishing streak (4 of which in the 2007 season) and 8 podiums, winning the 2006 Championship and finishing 3rd in the 2007 season. During this time, his worst performance was the 2007 French Grand Prix, which he finished 7th after starting the race from the 10th position.The streak ended at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, the fifteenth race of the season. Due to heavy rainfall, the Spanish driver crashed on lap41, making it the first time a McLaren car didn’t finish a race in the 2007 season.

6. Fernando Alonso – 18 finishes (2005 Turkish Grand Prix – 2006 German Grand Prix)

Before his experience with McLaren, Alonso became famous driving for Renault, with which he won his two Championship titles, in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. And his achievements were mainly possible thanks to an impressive series of finishes in the points that started with a 2nd place at the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix. The streak would’ve probably been longer, because, before the race in Turkey, Alonso had won two races and a 2nd place before finishing 11th in the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix (he was involved in a collision with Ralf Schumacher). The Spaniard finished on the podium in all the remaining races of the season and won his first World Championship, ending Michael Schumacher record setting series of five consecutive titles.

The 2006 season that followed was almost perfect for Alonso, who won seven races and came 2nd in seven other races, winning his second title after a fierce rivalry with Schumacher. Unfortunately, it looks like Hungary is not Alonso’s favorite race of the season, because his point finishing streak ended at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. He got a two-second penalty during qualifying which made him start the race in the 15th position and even though after several amazing laps he reached the 3rd place, during lap 51, following a pit stop for changing tires, one of the wheel nuts detached and made him crash and bringing his impressive streak to an end.

5. Michael Schumacher – 18 finishes (2003 San Marino Grand Prix – 2005 Spanish Grand Prix)

Just like Vettel and Webber, Alonso and Schumacher have the same number of races finished in the points, but we put the German driver in front because his performance was achieved earlier. It’s also Schumacher’s first entry on this list and it happened during the three seasons that brought the German his last World Championships. It all started at the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix when Schumacher won the race (it was the last race for the Ferrari F2002 car) and continued with two more consecutive wins with the brand new Ferrari F2003-GA, in Spain and Austria. Even though the German won two more races, the series was almost put to an end on two occasions, in Hungary and Japan, where Schumacher finished 8th, the last position that was awarded points at that time.

Michael Schumacher

The streak also continued in 2004, when Schumacher had an incredible start of the season, winning the first five races, but during the sixth race of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher was forced to retire when his car was seriously damaged after a controversial crash with Juan Pablo Montoya, while the safety car was on. Many Formula One fans were wondering what might have happened if it wasn’t for that mistake in Monaco, because Schumacher had an almost perfect season and won the following seven races after the crash. At the end of the season which he absolutely dominated, the German won his seventh and final World Champion title.

4. Sebastian Vettel – 19 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Indian Grand Prix)

To be honest, it’s quite surprising to see the German driver with only two entries on this list (this one is his best), considering the way he dominated the last four Formula One season. Anyway, the performance we’re talking about now was achieved during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when Vettel won his first two titles and it started with a win at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix. Another win followed, in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi and then what was next was an almost perfect 2011 season, with eleven races won and a single finish outside the podium. Absolutely incredible!

However, the worst result was the one that actually ended his point finishing series. It happened at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when only bad luck made Vettel retire. After the first lap, an unexplained problem with the left rear tire forced him to spin off and abandon the race. And with Webber coming 4th, it was the first time during the 2011 season when there was a podium without at least one Red Bull driver. The next race (the last one of the season), Vettel came in 2nd and finished an amazing season, winning the World Championship with 122 points ahead of Jensen Button.

3. Fernando Alonso – 23 finishes (2011 European Grand Prix – 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix)

And if you thought Alonso’s previously listed performances were amazing, wait until you hear about this one. He’s actually the only driver to have three entries on this list and this one, his best, started with the 2011 race in Valencia where, in front of his home crowd, Alonso came in 2nd, after Vettel. Even though he was quite constant during the rest of the season (one win, six podiums and worst performance a 5th place), Alonso only finished the season 4th overall, behind Vettel, Button and only one point behind Webber.

The series continued in the 2012 season, but the Spaniard was not as constant, winning three races, two 2nd places, but also finishing 5th two times, 7th in Bahrain and almost out of the points in China, where he came in 9th. But after a total of 23 races finished in the points, Alonso was forced to retire at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, following a massive crash caused by RomainGrosjean and Lewis Hamilton on the first corner. The collision left the two, plus Alonso and Serio Perez with their cars seriously damaged and unable to continue the race. This was one of the most important moments of the 2012 season, because Alonso was leading the Drivers’ Championship with 40 points in front of Webber and 42 in front of Vettel, but after the Belgian race, where Vettel came in 2nd, the battle for the championship was revived. In the end, even though Alonso’s finished every remaining race on the podium (except for Japan, where he retired after another crash in the first corner, this time with Raikkonen), he lost the title by just three points, especially because of Vettel’s impressive run that included 4 wins and two podiums.

2. Michael Schumacher – 24 wins (2001 Hungarian Grand Prix – 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix)

Like we said in the first part of this article, this is Schumacher’s record that stood for a decade before being broken by Raikkonen last year. The performance was achieved by Schumacher during his domination in the early 2000s, one of the most impressive dominations in Formula One’s history, and it all started with the 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix which the German driver won. With two more wins until the end of the season, in Belgium and Japan, Schumacher became World Champion for the fourth time. The 2002 season will probably go down in history as Schumacher’s finest, with eleven wins, five 2nd places and the “worst” result being a 3rd place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He had no rival that season and finished 1st with almost twice as many points as the 2nd place, his team mate Rubens Barrichello.

Unfortunately, the 2003 season didn’t start too well for the German and, after finishing 4th in Australia and 6th in Malaysia, he retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix, thus ending the incredible series of finishes in the points. It was an extremely tough race in Brazil, the stormy weather causing serious troubles to most drivers (out of the 20 drivers that started the race, only 8 finished it) and Schumacher himself spun-off on lap 21. It was the German’s first crash in two years and we can’t help and image how this list might have looked like if it wasn’t for this race, because the following race marked the start of Schumacher’s other point finishing streak, the one we talked about earlier. The record would’ve probably been incredible and almost impossible to break for decades to come.

1. Kimi Raikkonen – 26 finishes (2012 Bahrain Grand Prix – 2013 German Grand Prix)

Ever since he made his debut, the Finn has always been a very “colorful” presence in Formula One. He drove his first race in 2001 for Red Bull SauberPetronas, switched to McLaren a year later and finished the season 2nd on two occasions, in 2003 and 2005 and was World Champion in 2007 with Ferrari. In 2010 he left both Ferrari and Formula One (the Italian team replacing him with Fernando Alonso) and continued competing in rally racing where he had already debuted in 2009. Racing for Citroen, Raikkonen scored his first points in April 2010, making him the second Formula One driver to also score points in the World Rally Championship after 30 years (the first one was none other than the previously mentioned Carlos Reutemann).

Kimi Raikkonen

In 2012, Raikkonen signed with Lotus and that marked his return to Formula One. Even though he started the season quite shaky (7th in Australia, 5th in Malaysia and 14th in China), starting with the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and ending with the 2013 German Grand Prix, Raikkonen finished every race in the points. It’s true, his series of results is not as impressive as Schumacher’s or Alonso’s or Vettel’s, but nonetheless, you can’t argue with statistics. His best results are two wins at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2013 Australian Grand Prix and eleven podiums. He was also very close to not finishing in the points on two occasions, in Brazil in 2012 and Monaco in 2013 (finished 10th) and he came 9th in two races (Monaco in 2012 and Canada in 2013). The Finn’s record breaking streak ended at the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, when he was forced to retire by brake failure.

The post 10 Longest Point Scoring Streaks in Formula One appeared first on Motorward.

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