HomeNews and Events‘Ain’t No Saint,’ ‘Brute Force’ and ‘Black Coffee’ take honors

‘Ain’t No Saint,’ ‘Brute Force’ and ‘Black Coffee’ take honors


Take a 1969 Volvo P1800, stuff a supercharged big-block 454cid Chevy V8 under its hood and what do you have? If you’re 71-year-old British mechanic Lee Johnstone and his three daughters, you have the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour global champion, and in about a year you’ll have a 1:64-scale die-cast toy version of your car being sold around the world.

The Johnstones’ Volvo, known as “Aint No Saint” in honor of the P1800 featured in the 1960s television series The Saint, was chosen over the other finalists this past weekend in the Hot Wheels Tour finals staged at Jay Leno’s Garage.

According to Mattel, Johnstone acquired the car as a rusty rolling shell and turned it into a drag racing winner driven by himself and his daughters — Eleanor, Sarah and Victoria — with his wife, Sue, “on standby to help.”

“The Hot Wheels Legends Tour has truly become a global celebration of custom car creations,” Mattel vice president for design Ted Wu was quoted in the announcement. “With the addition of five new countries in the Tour, we have been able to reach and interact with millions of new fans and builders from around the world. 

“The Volvo Gasser is a wonderful expression of authenticity, creativity and most importantly, garage spirit.”

 We look forward to welcoming Lee Johnstone and his 1969 Volvo P1800 into the Hot Wheels family and presenting the world with our newest Hot Wheels Legends Tour die-cast toy.”

‘Brute Force’ Chevy wins SEMA builders battle

‘Brute Force’ 1955 Chevrolet | SEMA photo

A 1955 Chevrolet modified by Robert Matranga and Matranga Hot Rod Fabricators took top honors in the eighth annual Battle of the Builders competition at the recent SEMA Show.

The car is known as “Brute Force” because of its 540cid Merlin engine with Arias cylinder heads, Hogan intake and a pair of Garrett turbochargers. The 1,400-horsepower engine was detuned to 800 horsepower to make it drivable. 

Others taking honors at the Battle of the Builders were Eddie Pettus with his 1961 Austin Healey Sprite (sport compact), Bryan Thompson with his 1934 Ford pickup (truck/off-road) and Dayton Jacobson for his 2000 Chevrolet S10 (Young Gun). 

 ‘Black Coffee’ Triumph takes ‘King’ title

‘Black Coffee’ Triumphj | Progressive IMS Outdoors photos

Anthony Robinson won “King of Builders” honors as the Progressive IMS Outdoors’ 2021 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder custom bike show concluded its 11th season at Conyers, Georgia.

Robinson got the royal title for winning the Freestyle Class championship with a 1949 TriumphT-100 called “Black Coffee,” with custom designed and crafted wheels, tanks, seat, fenders, manifold, bars and more. The project was built on a 1938 Indian Jr. Scout girder with 18-inch rear Chevron tire and 21-inch Firestone up front. Paintwork by Mike Clary.

“The raw talent and pure passion these builders infused into their custom bikes is remarkable and we applaud everyone who participated,” UBCBS director Bob Kay is quoted in the news release.  

“What’s exciting about this year’s competition is that it’s not over. We are thrilled to host a bonus round in Southern California during the IMS tour’s final stop along the eight-city event series, offering special prizes and features.”

Winners and runners-up from that bonus round in SoCal, scheduled for November 19 in Costa Mesa, will qualify for the 2022 national championships, the news release added.

In addition to Robinson, winners at the 2021 national finals held near Atlanta included:

Custom Classic — Brian Buttera for a 1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead with handmade stainless frame, girder front, handlebars, rear struts and exhaust, as well as a brass rear fender, handmade fuel and oil tanks, and a handmade bead-rolled aluminum seat.

Custom Street — Jesse Spade for a 2000 Ducati 750ss with hand-shaped tail and fly screen and paint by J Daar.

This year, Rozelle beats Ramey

Jake Rozelle and his 2003 Corvette Z06 | Optima Batteries photo

A year ago, Jake Rozelle lost the championship of the Optima Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational by a single point to Chris Ramey, but Rozelle came back this year to take the title in his 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The 14th annual event was held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway right after the 2021 SEMA Show.

“I’ve been working at this for eight seasons and I came so close last year, so to come back and win this year is huge,” Rozelle is quoted in the post-event news release. “I work on this car more than anybody knows and to finally have it all come together means a lot.”

Ramey finished second to Rozelle this year in a 1987 Corvette. Third went to yet another Corvette, a 2008 owned by Mike Rovere.

Lamborghini Day in Japan

Lamborghini Countachs on display and parading in Japan | Lamborghini photos

Lamborghini Day was celebrated recently in Japan, where more than 70 vehicles, including 20 Countachs, paraded through Tokyo and where Triangular Square at the Sumitomo Building featured a showcase of 10 Countachs as part of a 50th anniversary event.

Pebble Beach donates $2 million+ to charities

Organizers of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has announced the 2021 event raised more than $2 million for local charities. 

2021 car show and concours calendar

The following are dates currently set (but subject to change) for a variety of concours d’elegance, car shows and driving tours scheduled during 2021:


19-21 – Goodguys Southwest Nationals, Scottsdale; 25-28 – Daytona Turkey Run, Florida; 28 – VW Santa Run, Beaulieu, UK

Have an event to add? Email details to [email protected].

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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