Quick Stats: Tommy Chong, actor, comedian, and musicianDaily Driver: 2007 Toyota PriusOther cars: see belowFavorite road trip: Los Angeles to Vancouver, B.C.Car he learned to drive in: 1941 Buick RoadmasterFirst car bought: 1928 Plymouth roadster Besides his well-known comedy act and cult movies about, um, certain recreational activities, Tommy Chong has other interests, including restoring classic cars. His recent labor of love was a 1959 Jaguar Mark IX that sat in a driveway for 30 years. “It’s the top of the line. It sat for a long time and I just had it refinished and redone,” he says proudly. “I kept the original paint. Everything is original.” The iconic hippie stoner comedian recently spoke at length to Motor Trend about Cheech and Chong, his cars, and his surprising view on the nine months he spent in prison for distributing marijuana paraphernalia. The 1959 Jag has the original engine, drivetrain, headliner, carpeting, wood, and tray tables. It … [Read more...] about Celebrity Drive: Tommy Chong, Actor, Comedian, and Musician
Best musician of the year
HISTORIC HOT RODS AND RACE CARS OF SO-CAL SPEED SHOPOpens Saturday, September 19, 2009 through Sunday, November 8, 2009Bruce Meyer GalleryStarted in 1946 by Hot Rod Pioneer Alex Xydias, and re-established later via a licensing agreement with Prolific Hot Rod Builder Pete Chapouris, SO-CAL Speed Shop has produced many exciting, stylish, and trend-setting hot rods and race cars in its 63-year history. Come see a display of their work, which will include the first public showing of a customized 1958 Ford Thunderbird for legendary musician, Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top, and visit the newly opened SO-CAL retail section in our Museum Store. TRIBUTE TO TRANS AM RACING EXHIBITOpens Thursday, November 12, 2009 through Sunday, December 13, 2009Bruce Meyer GalleryFrom its beginning in 1966 through the summer of 1972, the Trans Am series offered the best racing of the era. More drivers from Indy, Sports Car and Can Am participated in Trans Am than any other single series. The factories used the … [Read more...] about The Petersen Automotive Museum in September/October 2009
At the very least, Two-Lane Blacktop is considered a “cult classic” and at most, the “greatest road movie ever made.” Most car nuts probably place it closer to the latter than the former on their all-time favorites list. On the surface, it’s about a cross-country race between a “homegrown” ’55 Chevy and a ’70 GTO for pink slips, with the ’55 picking up street races along the way to earn cash. Underneath, it’s about “the passion for perfection” in winning a race, and four lonely people seemingly ever in search of companionship on the road. What began with a $100,000 script from Will Corry and a deal from CBS Cinema Center became a completely rewritten screenplay by Rudy Wurlitzer, at the behest of Director Monte Hellman, and a quest to get the movie green-lighted after CBS dropped the project in the 11th hour. Many studios later, Universal bit on the contention that the movie be completed for the paltry sum of … [Read more...] about Behind The Camera: Two-Lane Blacktop
Check out the rest of The Golden Anniversary of the Pontiac GTO series! Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4 Looking back 50 years since the introduction of the Pontiac GTO, it is hard to think of another vehicle that had more long-lasting influence than the original muscle car. Sure, Ford’s Mustang made a pretty big splash in its own right and sold more units, but it wasn’t initially marketed as a performance car. In terms of shaping the minds of car-buyers back then, the GTO had more influence than anything on the road. The truth is, even the Mustang was following Pontiac’s lead, forced to offer a big-block version for ’67 after continually getting its doors blown off by the GTO and the other big-inch intermediates that soon followed. Indeed, Pontiac not only introduced the GTO, they actually introduced an entirely new market segment to the American car-buying public. We call them muscle cars today. Even after a half-century, the GTO holds such respect among car … [Read more...] about The Golden Anniversary of the Pontiac GTO – Part 1
>> Click here for Gavin Green's LA show analysis>> Click here for CAR's live blog filed from the show floor>> Click on our A-Z links for news on each car:• Bentley Azure T • Ford Mustang• Honda FC Sport• Infiniti G37 Convertible• Lamborghini Gallardo 560-4 Spyder• Lexus RX450h hybrid• Mazda 3• Nissan 370Z• Nissan Cube• Porsche Boxster and Cayman• Spyker C8 Laviolette LM85>> Ben Pulman's live blog is below, taking you inside the goings-on at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Top tip: start at the bottom and work your way up, in blog format! All times quoted are local LA time on Wednesday 19 November 2008. 4.49pm: The press conference schedule shudders to a haltIt's my first LA show and I'm surprised how early the press conference trail finishes. I'm done for the day and reckon I've heard enough clichés from German suits and hollow claims of enviro concern, seen enough tacky … [Read more...] about Los Angeles Auto Show 2008: A-Z of every new car
► As the GT40 nears the end of its life, CAR goes for a farewell drive► Writer Nick Brittan isn't convinced it's the ultimate road car ► He'd rather spend his six grand on six Cortina 1600Es... After five years, with less than 100 examples in existence, the most expensive Ford of all time is dead. Nick Brittan tells what it was like to driveFor one brief, beautiful moment I thought I’d found it. A car that would break the speed limit in first gear. But the thought, like the car, was almost too good to be true. As usual I’d made a cock-up of my sums. I never was much good at that bit with the tyre radius versus the revs per minute multiplied by the axle ratio over the number of valves per cylinder times the number you first thought of. What it boiled down to was that by the time we’d used up all the revs in first gear we were doing 61mph. And I want you to know that at this speed we still had four more gears left.Second gear pulled us up to … [Read more...] about The short, sad saga of the GT40: CAR+ archive, July 1968
A major component of feeling comfortable on a motorcycle is confidence in traction—or lack thereof. With a delicate throttle hand and an understanding of how a clutch works, even the bone-n00biest spud can get on a Hayabusa and motor off down the street without crashing the thing. But the bigger the bike, the more dire the consequences of physics. Moto Guzzi’s V7 is, by today’s standards, seen as an entry-level bike, but it’s worth noting that its heron-head, 744-cc pushrod twin makes the kind of horsepower that would’ve won the Isle of Man TT in the 1950s.Dirt flat-track racing is an exercise in traction management, one so powerful that in an era when engine tech outstripped chasssis and tire development, American flat trackers practically owned Grand Prix motorcycling. Kenny Roberts was the first through the breach, followed by Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey. Today, both Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi both espouse the benefits of … [Read more...] about Year of the Goose, Part 4: Dirty Shenanigans at American Supercamp
Remember TTAC’s Future Writers Week? You chose the writers. The writers wrote. The stories are in (well, most of them …). Here is the first one. Do you like it? Tell us. The stories will be published in the sequence in which they arrived in TTAC’s mailbox. I thought I was hard-core. People who complain about the Lotus Elise’s lack of creature comforts or suspension compliance are wimps I thought. Many of us would agree that pure driving pleasure outweighs most other considerations. The Elise is the ultimate test of this idea. Buy or by the hour? Let’s do the test.I had lusted after the Elise ever since seeing one in Europe in the late 1990‘s. Everything I had read about it perfectly meshed with my ideas about sports cars. After owning a ’91 Miata for almost ten years, owning the Elise was the next logical step. When I first sat in one in 2005 upon its release in the U.S., I knew I would own a used one someday. The styling was … [Read more...] about Exotic Cars: Buy, Or By The Hour? Today: Lotus Elise.
A reader, commenting on my post about the Batmobile – arguably the most famous television car there is – mentioned the Monkeemobile, another ’60s pop culture automotive favorite. As it happens, I was already planning some posts on television cars, including one of the authentic Monkeemobiles.Both of those vehicles have connections to the auto industry, one sort of incidental and the other the very opposite of coincidence.The Batmobile was based on the 1950s Lincoln Futura concept car George Barris had purchased for $1.00, years after Ford and the Hollywood studios that used it were done with what was then a rather dated car of the future.The Monkeemobile, on the other hand, was created from a production car with the direct involvement of a car company and one of the industry’s most legendary PR guys.It doesn’t surprise me that producer Bert Schneider asked Dean Jeffries to build a custom car for a television show he was … [Read more...] about Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkeemobile
About twenty years ago, I made a decision that had the potential to severely limit my earning potential, increased my chances of becoming an alcoholic, and statistically ensured that I would die much, much younger than most people.That’s right, I decided to major in Jazz Saxophone Performance. Yes, you can do that. No, I wouldn’t recommend it. Luckily, a combination of factors led to my ceasing to pursue music as a career a long time ago, but not before I spent nearly four years working behind the counter of a musical instrument store in the Brass and Woodwind department as a part-time college job. We sold three levels of most instruments – Student, Intermediate, and Professional. Guess who we sold the most “Professional” instruments to? Professionals? Uh, no. A professional-level saxophone retails for more than $4,000 in most cases. For your average professional musician, that’s like, a year’s worth of ramen noodles and Crown … [Read more...] about Bark’s Bites: Why Does The Public Accept Car Reviews From People Who Can’t Drive?