Commentary: Time to catch up before the holiday weekend

Commentary: Time to catch up before the holiday weekend

Now that we’re back from Monterey Car Week and gearing up for Labor Day weekend activities, let’s take a few minutes to get caught up:

Bugatti-designed P100 aircraft on display at Mullin museum | Larry Edsall photos

Bugatti-designed P100 aircraft on display at Mullin museum | Larry Edsall photos

Now that we’re back from Monterey Car Week and gearing up for Labor Day weekend activities, let’s take a few minutes to get caught up:

Tom Appel writes The Daily Drive for Consumer Reports Automotive and recently came up with a list of “10 Car Things Millennials Will Never Experience.” Here they are:

  1. Most Millennials have never driven a carbureted car.
  2. Most Millennials have never pumped the gas (Pedal), or flooded the engine.
  3. Most Millennials have never driven a car without air conditioning.
  4. Most Millennials have never cranked up their own car windows.
  5. Most Millennials have never driven a car with rear-wheel drive.
  6. Most Millennials have never driven a car with a manual transmission.
  7. Most Millennials have never made use of more than two dashboard gauges.
  8. Most Millennials have always pumped their own gas.
  9. Most Millennials have never paid less than $20 to top off the tank.
  10. Most Millennials have never played a cassette in a car.

I might add that, riding on radials, most Millennials might never have had to change a tire. Are there any other classic car features can you think of that Millennials have missed?

Does anyone else miss two-tone paint jobs?

Does anyone else miss two-tone paint jobs?

Ah, for the good old (and colorful) days: One thing I like about going to classic car shows is seeing factory-done two- and even three-tone paint. Apparently such multi-color hues are too complicated for today’s OEM paint shops with their robotic sprayers, or perhaps it would be too expensive to rewrite the software and mask off panels? But I’d sure like to see two-tone colors come back to the highways and byways.

Speaking of paint colors, and if rarity is a factor in a car’s future value at a collector car auction, you might be interested in the following statistics, provided by the National Corvette Museum:

Of the 40,689 2016 Chevrolet Corvettes produced at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly plant, 21 percent were Arctic White, followed by Black (17), Torch Red (15), Shark Gray (12), Laguna Blue (9), Long Beach Red (8), Corvette Racing Yellow (7), Blade Silver (6), Daytona Sunrise Orange (2), Night Race Blue (2) and the rarest of all: Admiral Blue (1 percent, or only 336 cars).

Of all of those Corvettes, 52.6 percent were Stingray coupes but only 6.7 percent were Z06 convertibles. Only 371 were equipped with the Twilight Blue Design Package. But only 9,249 had manual transmissions.

And I was stunned to learn that only 675 of those more than 40,000 2016 Corvette buyers checked option box R8C, which meant they took delivery of their vehicle at the museum instead of at their local Chevy dealership. Museum delivery includes a special Corvette assembly plant tour and a VIP tour of the museum, where your car is on display that day and where you get a special orientation and presentation of the keys, as well as a one-year museum membership, and more.

Ford GT40s on display at Pebble Beach

Ford GT40s on display at Pebble Beach

While on the subject of museums, I feel compelled to comment on the recent induction of new members into the Automotive Hall of Fame, specifically the addition of Roy Lunn and Ralph Nader.

Lunn isn’t nearly as well-known, even among car enthusiasts, but he was the chief engineer for the Ford GT40, also did the Jeep XJ (Cherokee and Wagoneer at American Motors) and was a pioneer in and has become a huge proponent for fuel efficiency (at Ford, he did an aerodynamic, high-mileage semi tractor-trailer project).

I feel fortunate to have corresponded with him several times when I was doing a book on the development of the Ford GT that was part of the company’s centennial celebration (and has become a huge hit in the collector car market).

I’ll never forget when he told me that the GT40 engineering team was furious and disheartened when Ford named its sporty-looking but Falcon-based pony car Mustang. After developing the race car that would beat Ferrari at Le Mans, the GT40 team was working on the road-going version of the car, a supercar for the street that they expected to go into production bearing the Mustang name in honor of the WWII fighter aircraft.

As far as Ralph Nader being inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, really, it is only fitting. You can lament the impact of federal rules on vehicle design and driver “assists,” but few people have had as much influence on the automobile as Nader, whose Unsafe at Any Speed launched the push for safer vehicles.

Bugatti cars and P100 airplane at the Mullin museum

Bugatti cars and P100 airplane at the Mullin museum

A final and sad note: You may recall that an airplane, the 100P, designed by Ettore Bugatti and Louis dMonge but hidden from Axis forces during WWII had finally been recreated from the original plans as the Le Reve Bleu (The Blue Dream) project and was unveiled at the Mullin Automotive Museum in 2014 during an exhibition on Bugattis.

After the exhibition the plane had flown for the first time, but early last month, soon after the start of what was to be its third and final flight before it went on permanent exhibit at another museum, the 100P crashed in Oklahoma, killing pilot Scotty Wilson.

Peter Mullin, who also is president of the American Bugatti Club, called Wilson’s death and the plane’s crash “a devastating loss.”

In a statement, Mullin noted that, “Scotty dedicated years of his life to this aircraft and when it first took to the air with him at the controls in 2015, Ettore Bugatti’s dream was finally realized.”siglarry

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