Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pittsburgh's Most Valuable Bloger

We have made it through the nomination period and have now moved on to the voting stage. The contest picks blogs from six categories ranging from Dining/Entertainment, Sports, Lifestyle, Local Affairs, Health/Fitness & Everything Else. We are competing in the Everything Else category and are the only automotive oriented blog eligible for voting. So here's a run down of what Autobahn Automotive News is all about and why I would like your votes (you can vote once per day).

Autobahn Automotive News is based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I have been a life long car nut having a great passion for both cars and the auto industry as a whole. I have worked in the auto industry for 15 years holding a variety of positions at several well known dealerships in the Pittsburgh area. During the auto industry downturn, I became a freelance auto industry analyst and have continued to aid local dealers in regards to trends in the industry, marketing solutions and Internet marketing efforts. Autobahn Automotive News was born from some of these efforts and wanting to share some of my stories about cars, auto industry news, photos, event coverage, road tests and anything else I really fell like writing about that's related to cars.  Along with working in the auto industry, my passion goes deeper to the cars themselves. I have been privileged to drive some of the finest cars in the world. From Yugos to Aston Martins. I get excited looking at radiator mascots on pre war cars to the latest in designs from manufacturers all over the world, and everything in between.

While I have a great passion for everything automotive, my affinity is towards Volkswagen cars and their subsequent brands of Audi and Porsche. However, I also share a fondness for Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors and what made them the giants of the industry. I also have the honor of serving as a member of the car show committee for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix association and as having held several positions on the board of the Three Rivers Volkswagen Club. So with Autobahn Automotive News, we don't really follow any rhyme or reason as to what we post about, but one thing's for sure. It will be automotive related in some form or another. Having contacts within just about every auto manufacturer, along with media access grants me access to industry news before many hear about. So look for exciting new posts to come!

Voting for the CBS Pittsburgh's Most Valuable Blogger contest runs through September 9th, 2011. You are allowed to vote once per day so please vote for this site as many times as you can. There is a badge to the left that will take you to the voting page. Thank you for your continued patronage.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's in a name? Ex Steve McQueen Porsche 911 sells for $1.25 Million.

There's hardly a person out there who doesn't know who Steve McQueen is. It is also no secret that he had a great passion for anything powered by gasoline. He owned and raced numerous cars and motorcycles, and even on occasion few a few airplanes before his untimely death in 1980. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in anything and everything Steve McQueen. However, on the rare occasion, you can find something that he actually owned. Take the case of this Slate Grey 1970 Porsche 911 S. This car was purchased new from Porsche by McQueen for use while filming his movie LeMans. Not only was it owned by McQueen, but it also appeared in the opening sequence of LeMans as Michael Delaney's personal car. After filming wrapped, the Porsche was sent back to Porsche for some upgrades (the car was already heavily optioned including a leather interior and A/C) before being shipped to LA. In late 1971 McQueen put the Porsche for sale, the theory is due to his also owning a 1969 911 S that was nearly identical, but having an upgraded stereo installed (that car is still in the McQueen family today).

Since that time, the 1970 has passed through several collectors hands, all knowing the cars unique place in history. It also remains largely original, having only received a fresh coat of paint and a new interior along with the usual maintenance items. Also surprising is that the car has covered well over 100,000 miles. So it's been driven, just the way Steve would have had it. The current owner elected to offer the car for sale and commissioned the car to RM Auction's Monterey sale (fitting) and with an opening bid of $200,000, the Porsche quickly rose to $1 million dollars and ending just short of the high auction estimate of $1.35 million.

This is another car, that I personally would love to have in my collection, even if it didn't have the Steve McQueen pedigree. There is something about the early 911s that just look so right, even today. And when topped with the subdued slate grey paint color, it makes for one classy ride. Congratulations to the new owner, and hopefully the 911 will be see out on the road and at car events rather than locked away in a garage.

Photos: RM Auctions.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thinking of Monterey

Well, it's Monterey Week. considered by many as the pinnacle of the collector car hobby. Events like the Quail, Concourso Italiano, Pebble Beach Councours d'Elegance and the Rolex Historics to name a few. Cars that are restored to better than new condition that rarely make it out of the garage, gather to strut their stuff for the world to see. Every year I am treated to parts of what I would call my PowerBall wish list if I were to ever hit the lottery and strike it rich. Many folks would lavish them self with new cars, where as I would build a nice new garage and fill it to the brim with automotive history. One such vehicle is the Ferrari 265 GT/B Daytona and the Shelby 289 Cobra. These classics are some of the most beautiful cars to ever be designed and this year in Monterey, RM Auctions has examples of each that I would love to call my own.

1971 Ferrari 365 Daytona coupe

1964 Shelby 289 Cobra

Picture source: RM Auctions

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ken Block's Gymkhana Four!

Ken Block's Gymkhana videos are hugely popular. They show precision driving at its best. Ken Block has produced 4 of these videos showing his driving skills, and the latest release shows Ken taking on the world of Hollywood with his new Ford Fiesta rally car. Watch and enjoy! But remember always drive responsibly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mini of Gotham City comes to Pittsburgh

Everyone in Pittsburgh is having fun with the fact that the city is now Gotham City, home of Batman. Mini of Pittsburgh, the city's ONLY Mini dealer is showing off their new showroom as Mini of Gotham City. This is the kind of spirited fun that not many car dealers take the time to have any more.

Source: Facebook

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe wins big at Mid-Ohio

There's no denying the raw power of the Cadillac V series cars. So much so that Cadillac has been racing prepared CTS sedans for the last few years. With the launch of the CTS-V coupe, brought a perfect match for racing. Cadillac Racing's last victory came in 2007 and has since been plagued with issues that have kept them from reaching the podium. That changed last weekend when Johnny O'Connell brought the new CTS-V coupe in for the car's first victory at Mid-Ohio.

We had the opportunity to view this car up close at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix last month and were very impressed with the efforts Cadillac Racing has gone to, to prepare the CTS-V for SCCA World Challenge series racing. Congrats to Cadillac Racing!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A few more hot rods

From the Sacred Pistons Car Club show in June.

Driven: 2011 Audi A7

We're still processing through all of our notes from a long day of Audi driving, but look for reviews of the 2011 Audi A6, A7 and A8 in the next few days. What we can tell you is all three cars are incredible machines and will certainly further put Audi on the map.

Oh the things you'll see!

A special treat at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix this year, may just have been one of the cars that could probably have been confused as a replica. There is no denying that one of the coolest Porsches ever made was the 911 RSR IROC used in the 1974 season of the International Race of Champions. The 911 RSR was used for only the 1974 season before IROC switched to Chevrolet Camaros. Only 15 RSRs were built by Porsche and then prepared by IROC. The later was so that the cars would be prepared identical with the exception of color to keep an even playing field. The 1974 911 RSR above is owned by former racer and Porsche dealer Bob Nikel. He purchased the car shortly after the 1974 season ended and added it to his private collection of cars.

The car was originally born in Aubergine before being repainted in Peru Red. As impressive as the car is to look at, even more impressive is the list of drivers that drove this very car in 1974. Peter Revson finished 2nd to  Mark Donahue in this car. A.J. Foyt drove it Race 1 at Riverside and finished in 6th place. Richard Petty drove it Race 2 at Riverside, finishing 10th, and Emerson Fidapaldi dove it Race 3, finishing in 3rd place after starting 10th. What also makes the car unique, is that with the exception of the color change, the car is largely original. Only a few minor modifications have been made to the car since 1974. And even more astounding is that the car is driven regularly.

The 29th Annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

Despite record heat in the upper 90 degree range most of the week. The 29th Annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix had another record year. This year, Porsche had the honor of Marque of the Year, and thanks to efforts from the Allegheny Region of the Porsche Club of America, had nearly 500 Porsches of all vintages come to Schenley Park. The ARPCA also celebrated a milestone in 2011. Celebrating 50 years as a club. Part of their efforts were having a Porsche from every year of their 50 years as a club from 1961, through to a new 2011 model. Also sharing honors this year were The Cars of Carol Shelby as Spotlight Feature. That display brought several unique vehicles including several genuine 289 and 427 Cobras, Vipers, Mustangs and even a GT40 continuation car built by Holman & Moody.

The racing action was awesome as usual. With 2011 being the first year of sanctioning by the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Association, several cars that would have otherwise been unable to compete under VSCCA guidelines were now allowed to race. The Schenley Park course is unique in all of it's 2.33 mile length as it is made up entirely of public roads that would otherwise be open to the public 360 days a year. The course features 22 turns and no less than 17 elevation changes and represents what racing used to be in the days before Road America and the air port tracks. This is how racing used to be. And unlike events like the Monterey Historics, it's on the street. Where else can you see vintage MGs, Porsches, Aston Martins, Datsuns, Minis, and more do battle like this?

Each year, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix brings over 2000 cars of all vintages to the car show side which is held on the scenic Schenley Park Golf Course. Cars representing every corner of the globe and just about every make are on display. There are even a few new cars on display as many Pittsburgh area car dealer particpate as sponsors, including a few manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Audi, Suzuki, Mini and Ford. And what originally started as a two day event has grown in to a 10 day festival celebrating the automobile filled with two race weekends, a host of car shows, parades, parties, rallies, and track days. And what makes the event truly spectacular is that it is entirely run by volunteers, and ALL proceeds from the events, benefit charity. Since 1983, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has raised over $2.5 million dollars for the Allegheny Valley School and the Autism Society of Pittsbugh. The PVGP is a highly recommended event if you are in the Pittsburgh Area come mid July. The event can't be beat, and it's free to the public for spectators. And best of all, it supports a great cause.

Batmobile spotted in Pittsburgh!

That's right folks! Filming of The Dark Night Rises has begun in our native Pittsburgh, and that of course means that Bruce Wayne has brought with him the Batmobile, a.k.a. The Tumbler. And not only is the famous black Tumbler in town. Several desert camo versions have been spotted in a few areas around the city. We're working on getting to a couple of film locations to try and snap a couple more pics of the action. Here's a taste of what we've been able to find so far.