Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cars ‘R’ Stars Returns To The Packard Proving Grounds Historic Wood Trimmed Cars Are Featured

Pre Registration of Vehicles Open Now

Cars ‘R’ Stars @ PPG (Packard Proving Grounds) returns for it’s second year to the historic setting of the legendary Packard Proving Grounds on Sunday June 12 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Packard Proving Grounds is located on Van Dyke, south of 23 Mile Road in Shelby Township.

The special feature of this year’s show will be “The Classic Beauty of Wood in Auto Styling” and some of the most outstanding examples of classic wood trimmed cars will be on view. Collector cars of every variety are invited to pre-register and join the celebration at the picturesque and historic proving grounds. A convenient new entrance established on 23 Mile Road is reserved exclusively for show cars. All pre-registered cars will be eligible for reserved club and class parking, and each pre-registered entry will receive a specially- designed custom commemorative plaque. The pre-registration fee is just $15.  The fee will be $20. on the day of the event.  Cars MUST be registered by1 1:00 am and inside the gates to be judged.

In addition, the awards for Cars ‘R’ Stars best-in-class winners will be uniquely crafted from sections of the manufacturing floor of the historic Packard Plant in Detroit and will be a distinctive keepsake.

The Cars ‘R’ Stars organizers are the Detroit Chapter of the Veteran Motor Car Club of America, Motor City Packards and the Packard Motor Car Foundation. In addition to the Car Show, the celebration will feature a Swap Meet and Car Corral.

Nationally known  classic car aficionado Don Sommer, founder of the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, returns to the show this year bringing his considerable network of contacts to keep the annual event energized.  Last year the show attracted over 250 renovated and restored classic autos of every variety and more than 300 are expected this year.

 “We are actively seeking out the participation of car clubs and individual car owners to pre-register and plan to bring their vehicles to the Cars ‘R’ Stars event,” said Sommer. “The historic significance of the Packard Proving Grounds makes it the ideal setting for a classic car meet and celebration. These idyllic grounds are a piece of Michigan history where the greatest American autos ran their paces . Everyone is encouraged  to bring their classic vehicle, and the organizers offer a special invitation to car clubs to pre-register and attend together, showing their cars as a group while attracting potential new club members”.

 Sommer emphasized that all cars from brass and classic models to fifties favorites and muscle cars are welcome.

Cars ‘R’ Stars @ PPG offers a variety of activities including:

·      The CAR SHOW featuring static Concours judging with class and
       club awards
·      A SWAP MEET with indoor and outdoor spaces for over 200
       vendors as well as a special arts and crafts area.
·      A CAR CORRAL with a great selection of cars for sale
·      Music by DJ Jammin’ Jerry

In addition, the public will have the opportunity to tour the beautiful 83 year old Albert Kahn designed Packard Gate Lodge, under restoration by the Packard Motor Car Foundation as both a Michigan and National Historic Site. The Lodge is a Tudor Revival style residence that served as the home for the proving grounds manager and his family. The Lodge features three fireplaces and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a multi colored slate roof. There is also a dormitory above the 6,500 sq. foot garage that served as temporary living space for engineers and other overnight visitors. The Lodge and famous entrance gates served as a backdrop for much of Packard’s advertising and symbol for the company. Tours of the Lodge will be offered for Cars ‘R’ Stars visitors.

Walk – in admission to Cars ‘R’ Stars @ PPG on June 12 is just $5 and children under 12 are free.

For information call: Tom Mitchell at 586-247-5921 or go to www.carsrstars.com.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Six-Day Event Boasts Variety of Classics, Motorcycles, Memorabilia

MARENGO, Ill. – More than 2,000 collector cars, motorcycles and thousands of neon signs and memorabilia will be featured at Dana Mecum’s flagship event – the 24th Original Spring Classic Auction, May 17-22, 2011, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Ind.

    As the world’s largest collector car auction, Mecum’s Original Spring Classic has grown into a six-day event featuring every genre of collector car.  Among the main attractions, Mecum will offer the Shelby Cobra CSX2096, an early 289 Roadster that’s coming out of long-term ownership and has been dubbed “The Shelby Demonstrator.”
Also crossing the block will be a significant collection of Ram Air IV GTOs from the Zeb Morris Estate, offered at no reserve, and the ultimate collection of Nickey Chevys ever offered to the public headlined by the 1967 Nickey/Bill Thomas 427 Super Camaro.

The list of desirable vehicles grows daily as Mecum continues to take new consignments, so visit  HYPERLINK "http://www.Mecum.com" www.Mecum.com for complete auction details or to consign your car today.
Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic Auction, which is open to the general public, will broadcast nationally on “Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More”

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Concours d'Elegance is moving to Plymouth

This year, the Concours d'Elegance of America, Sunday, July 31, 2011, will move from its longtime home at Meadow Brook Hall to the stately grounds of The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan. As always, the Concours will showcase nearly 200 of the most magnificent classic and vintage automobiles in the world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Royal Oak!

Perhaps some readers will remember my experience at the 2010 Woodward Dream Cruise.
I was given an unlawful ticket and fined by an incompetent magistrate — Ken Roy — who not only did not know the law but never the less created made-up offense plus a hefty fine for participating in a pre-Dream Cruise event.
The entire experience at the Royal Oak courthouse was like something out of “ Alice in Wonderland.”
But it seems that heavy handed police work was not confined to just the Woodward Dream Cruise.
The good folks who attended the Arts, Beat & Eats Festival in downtown Royal Oak this past summer also were treated to back-country hillybilly justice.
How’s that, you wonder?
Just ask one of the patrons who had the misfortune of parking within walking distance of the event.
The Royal Oak Police Department — in full costume many on motorbikes and sporting Jodfer paints and big boots, were on the hunt.
Any slight infraction of their perceived violation of newly issued parking laws would be dealt with by a hefty ticket and fine.
Go ahead, write the ticket and then put up the NO PARKING sign.  That’s the way to do it.
All the policing added up to a total of 1,900 tickets during the four-day event.
That’s a rich infusion of $71,565 to the corrupt court system’s treasure box.
At the 2010 Dream Cruise, the Royal Oak police chief said he had give orders to his little army to go easy on the cruisers for infractions such as displaying legal historic license plates.
Either the Chief, Chris Jahnke is a liar, or his numerous motorbike officers were thumbing their collective noses at him.  The Chief has since moved on.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
Someone pinch me. Even Oakland County Emperor L. Brooks Patterson is outraged at the amount of tickets issued at the Arts, Beat & Eats Festival. He suggests that the event be relocated to a friendlier locale.
I have an idea: Return it to Pontiac where it all started and was very successful for everyone involved.
I do not recall any bullying by the Pontiac cops. No, you can’t park in front of a fire hydrant, but small infractions that caused no problems were overlooked as far as I can recall.
Personally, I would not participate in any event that is within the boundaries of the People’s Republic of Royal Oak . 
I have witnessed the harassment by Royal Oak cops of peaceful families gathered on private property watching the cruisers on the summer evenings before the weekend official event. 
Example: Move 50 feet to the north and sit in back of the sidewalk in Berkley or even the snooty Birmingham and you are safe from a Royal Cop pointing a nightstick at your family, commanding “Time to go home.”  Hey! this is America, I'll sit here all night if I choose to.
If you have not seen this or experienced this sort of action, I suggest you were not there for the evenings leading up to the Dream Cruise.
As Sylvester Stallone said in “Judge Dredd”: “I can’t break the law; I am the law.”
This would be the appropriate motto over the Royal Oak courthouse.
Hope to see you in Pontiac for the 2011 Woodward Dream Cruise.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This year’s Oakland Press “Spirit of Rodding” awards

Again this year The Oakland Press has selected two Spirit of Rodding winners.
As in the last 15 years we look for the person first and the car second.
The “spirit” comes first but you do need a decent “rod” at the biggest and best indoor show of the year “Autorama at Cobo Hall”.

Our judges spent almost an entire day before selecting the two worthy winners. They will receive a classy leather jacket and trophy.  Also, bragging rights.

This year for the first time a lady has been selected. She is Yvonne Pipia of St Clair Shores.  Her classic style 32 Ford coupe and beautiful lime green paint caught the judge’s attention. Yvonne finished her hot rod in just minutes before the show. A small block Chevy with old-time three carbs gets her going in style.

Also selected was Paul Peters from New Hudson. His Model A on a 32 frame and 32 grille make his roadster  an instant old school classic with A 1963 “camel-back” 409 Chevy V-8 and 3-2’s . It appears Paul drives his Rod, and that is something the judges look for.

As a matter of interest both of our winners were on display in the basement area. 

Congratulations to our winners of this years Spirit of Rodding award winners.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hitting the breaks

A decade ago, Chrysler foolishly let me drive a new Viper around the Sports Car Club of America track in Atlanta.
     I could go as fast as I dared.
     But there were two conditions: I had to wear a helmet and a Viper engineer would be in the passenger seat.
     The helmet I understood; but why would an engineer — who may have a family to support — offer his life
 to ride with me?
      The answer was clear after a few laps.
      I started to feel like a real Indy driver and sure enough, I came out of a turn and spun the Viper
around several times.
     The tires were smoking as I was trying to correct the direction with little success.
     The engineer grabbed the hand brake and probably save us both from going into the wall.
     After the smoke and dirt settled, he said: “We have NO objection to using the brakes.”
      So here is the point (as I veer from my Viper story):  Good for you, Toyota!
      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that your cars are safe
and there was no real problem despite all the unintended acceleration reports.
       If your vehicle is running away without you holding down the gas pedal, why not hold the brakes down?

      The brakes on vehicles are far more powerful than the engine. In the end, the car will stop.
      Yes, even a Toyota, or Audi, and the few who tried to swindle Chrysler on the same fake runaway fable.
      If you don’t think the brakes are working fast enough, why not turn the damn key off?
Or, try putting the beast into neutral?
     Heck, do all three!
     Calling 911 while your family is racing toward a tree is beyond stupid. 
     I would buy a Toyota vehicle even before and especially after the official government retraction
Regarding safety lapses, this began in August 2009.
     Now after hundreds of million of dollars in lost sales, we can put aside this unintended acceleration scam.
     But will the government return the $48.8 million it fined Toyota?
     Do not count on it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Auto review: Mazda2 a good starter vehicle

I don’t much like subcompact vehicles, but I could live with the new Mazda2 hatchback.

Mazda, with its alliance with Ford, has made the Mazda 2, like its sibling Ford Fiesta, something better than we have been accustomed to in these little buggies. If you are on a budget and would like to get even (at least a little bit) with OPEC, the Mazda2 is ready to help. With at least 33 to 35 miles per gallon with the five-speed stick shift, what’s not to like? 

The test Mazda2 had the optional $800 four-speed automatic transmission driving the 185/55 x 15-inch front tires.

I was able to better the stated mpg by as much as 2 mpg, and it’s well known I don’t try very hard to save gas.

There is only one body style, and it’s the do-everything model four-door hatchback. A 98-inch wheelbase puts the wheels at the very corners of the shapely sort of SUV styling. Normally, a short wheelbase means a jumpy ride as one wheel barely clears a bump before the rear wheels join in. Not so much as you would expect to notice it on the Mazda2. I have no idea how they diminished that annoying short wheelbase malady, but even on dirt roads, the jarring, lumpy ride was not there enough to notice.

Open up the little hatchback and there is enough room for several suit cases, and some leftover, too.

The rear seats are for transportation of two normal-sized adults. Three, if you’re on Weight Watchers. Don’t expect too much leg room or comfort back there. It’s better up front, and perhaps the first thing you may notice are the sporty black cloth bucket seats. They also have a snappy red piping and a weave pattern to the seating area. For a cheap car, the seats were better than some others that are double the price.

The dashboard is simple, and in the center area is the sound system with a CD player. The controls are easy to learn, and there are also controls on the steering wheel that I found easier to use and prevented me from taking my attention off driving to change the station, etc. For the driver there are two large gauges; one a tachometer, and a speedometer with an LED area for fuel, and a couple of other types of information. The LEDs are very difficult to see as are they on the radio face.

Here is a surprise: The driver’s side window is an “express” up and down. I could have baked a sheet of hot-cross-buns with the heater on low. You will not be cold on the worst winter day. The standard air-conditioning also worked fine, too.

Sure the small engine can buzz a lot when you have your foot into the gas, but as soon as you are at cruising speed you will forget its just a little bigger than a Harley motorcycle. I found myself going 80 mph and not thinking about it until getting a shock when I checked the speedometer. The electric power steering was very responsive, and again better than some of the same steering systems on much more expensive cars.

The longer I drove the Mazda the more I liked it, and it seemed like a perfect starter vehicle for a new driver. The very low entry price is about $13,980 — the test Mazda2 was about $14,780.  Makes one think once again: Why buy a hybrid for many thousands more? It would take years before you broke even against the Mazda2. I’d consider buying this car if I lived in Chicago.
My Photo
Location: Oakland County, Michigan

Ed Noble has been a car enthusiast his entire life. From the 1950s' on Woodward Avenue to writing automotive reviews for The Oakland Press Wheels page, car cruising is a summertime event he looks forward to each year. Ed will write new vehicle reviews for The Oakland Press and also provide some cruise news and other related information.

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