1930 Model A Ford Convertible Cabriolet

By Vern Parker

In the four years between 1928 and 1931 the Ford Motor Company produced about five-million Model A Fords. There were two-door and four-door sedans as well as coupes, roadsters, pickups and many other models.

One of the flashier models was a 1930 Convertible Cabriolet. When new it carried a base price of $645. For that price the buyer got a fabric top fitted with chrome plated Landau irons to enable the top to go down.

It was almost 30 years ago that Clem Clement decided that the 1930 Model A Ford Convertible Cabriolet that had recently been offered for sale in Maryland was the car for him. The 2,273-pound car was equipped with the requisite 200.5-cubic-inch, four-cylinder, 40-horsepower engine. However, this engine was not functioning.


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2013 Mazda CX-5 Sport Manual Strippo

Shortly after I got out of the recently reviewed Ford Escape SE EcoBoost, a compact crossover challenger, the all-new Mazda CX-5 Sport Manual , showed up. It was a shocker. Not the style, technology or performance: the price.

The Ford, with $3,400 in options, was pushing $30K. The bare bones, stick shift CX-5 Sport was just a nudge over $20K ($20,695 plus $795 delivery fee, to be exact). To recession era car buyers that spread will definitely get your attention.

What’s more, the Mazda’s 2.0-liter Skyactiv (which, best as I can figure, is Mazda’s catchy term for its whole approach to vehicle design and engineering) four-cylinder with a 6-speed manual transmission earns a best-in-class EPA mpg rating of 26 city/35 highway/29 combined on regular gas – also very appealing numbers to us cheapskates. I actually got 32.6 mpg over about 300 miles of varied roads. By way of comparison, the Escape numbers were 23/33/26, which is about what I got for the week.


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2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed: Autobahn Worthy 

by Brian Armstead

It was a scene I did not expect, but should have given the prodigious performance of the 2013 Bentley Continental GT Speed.  Not satisfied with the mere 198 mph top speed of the “base” Continental GT, Bentley’s team of engineers, led by the effervescent Brian Gush, massaged the potent twin-turbo W12 engine in the GT Speed to output 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Top speed after the upgrades is 205 mph.  We were encouraged by the Bentley media team to safely explore the upper limits of this beast, keeping in mind that our primary test route, the famous Autobahn network of highways across Germany, did have some sections where speed limits were enforced.

My driving partner and I were a bit late towards our departure from scenic Bavaria, Germany, as we had taken a bit too much time shooting video of the new GT Speed during our lunch stop.  So to make our international flight back home, we by passed the route chosen by Bentley and inputted into the car’s GPS.  Well, the GPS system was not happy that we decided to take a direct route, and kept trying to reroute us to hit specific waypoints along the route.  Once on the Autobahn, the annoyance of the system constantly telling me to turn around caused me to exceed the posted speed while we read physical maps trying to make sure we were headed in the right direction.  Little did I know, I had entered the infamous “enforcement zone.”


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1954 Pontiac

By Vern Parker

After Robert Montague came home from the Navy he went to visit his Aunt Caroline in Lexington, Kentucky.

While there she graciously reacquainted him with his cousins, uncles and other aunts. In order to meet the long lost relatives she drove her nephew about the area in her relatively new 1954 Chieftain Eight Pontiac station wagon on a 122-inch wheelbase that she had purchased as a new car from a Pontiac dealer in Lexington.

By the mid-1960s Montague had settled in southern Virginia. About that time his aunt had died and her son and daughter took possession of the car.


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1955 Corvette

By Vern Parker

It was 60 years ago when the first Corvette rolled out of the General Motors factory in Flint, Mich. It was the first of 300 fiberglass-bodied Corvettes built in 1953.

In order to expand production capabilities for the upcoming 1954 model year the entire Corvette operation was moved to St. Louis. The good news was that 3,640 Corvettes were built in 1954. The bad news was that only about 2,500 were sold. Not very many buyers, it seems, wanted a sports car with a six-cylinder engine, side curtains in lieu of roll-up glass windows and no outside door handles.

For the 1955 model year Chevrolet offered a 265-cubic-inch, 195-horsepower Turbo-Fire V-8 engine or a 235.5-cubic-inch, 155-horsepower Blue Flame six-cylinder engine. All but a handful of the 700 buyers that year chose the V-8 engine.

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