Articles on this Page
(showing articles 561 to 580 of 687)
- 04/06/14--11:00: _Stirling Moss: ''Mr...
- 04/07/14--09:00: _Pinarello Asolo 1989
- 04/07/14--11:00: _Dirt Track action
- 04/08/14--09:00: _Bruno Spaggiari's I...
- 04/08/14--11:00: _Barry Sheene & Geor...
- 04/09/14--09:00: _Supermarine S.6B Ro...
- 04/09/14--11:00: _Bob Smith on a Maxt...
- 04/14/14--09:00: _Eddy Merckx Corsa E...
- 04/14/14--11:00: _Yellow Army
- 04/15/14--08:43: _The brothers chase ...
- 04/15/14--09:00: _Aston Martin DB2/4 ...
- 04/16/14--09:00: _Mitsubishi A6M2 Zer...
- 04/16/14--11:00: _The Croz
- 04/17/14--09:00: _Dean Jeffries' Moon...
- 04/17/14--11:00: _Anton Mang leading ...
- 04/18/14--09:00: _Honda CX500 Custom ...
- 04/18/14--11:00: _Romboni
- 04/19/14--09:00: _It takes a long tim...
- 04/19/14--11:00: _1974 Race of the Ye...
- 04/20/14--11:00: _Buick LeSabre 1951
(showing articles 561 to 580 of 687)
- 04/06/14--11:00: Stirling Moss: ''Mr Motor Racing''
- 04/07/14--09:00: Pinarello Asolo 1989
- 04/07/14--11:00: Dirt Track action
- 04/08/14--09:00: Bruno Spaggiari's Imola 200 works 1973 Ducati Formula 750 Racing
- 04/08/14--11:00: Barry Sheene & George Harrison 83
- 04/09/14--09:00: Supermarine S.6B Royal Air Force
- 04/09/14--11:00: Bob Smith on a Maxton Rotax 250 at Oulton
- 04/14/14--09:00: Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra
- 04/14/14--11:00: Yellow Army
- 04/15/14--08:43: The brothers chase at Ramsey
- 04/15/14--09:00: Aston Martin DB2/4 Bertone Spider 1953
- 04/16/14--09:00: Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero Fighter
- 04/16/14--11:00: The Croz
- 04/17/14--09:00: Dean Jeffries' Moon Buggy from Diamonds are Forever
- 04/18/14--09:00: Honda CX500 Custom by Kustom Research
- 04/18/14--11:00: Romboni
- 04/19/14--09:00: It takes a long time to become young
- 04/19/14--11:00: 1974 Race of the Year at Mallory Park
- 04/20/14--11:00: Buick LeSabre 1951
His early career was meteoric, with works drives for both Jaguar and HWM. 1955 was a seminal year; he was signed by Mercedes-Benz, the famed "Silver Arrows", to partner the legendary World Champion Juan Manuel Fangio. That year saw Stirling shadow the great Argentine in most Grands Prix, famously beating him to win the British Grand Prix at Aintree racing the Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto. In that same year, he also won the epic 1,000 mile Mille Miglia road race in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR at an astonishing average speed of 97.96mph on public roads, the Targa Florio road race, again in the 300 SLR, and the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod.
For four years he would finish runner-up in the Formula 1 Drivers World Championship, his sportsmanship at the Portuguese GP allowing Mike Hawthorn to win the 1958 Championship title by half a point at his expense.
After Mercedes-Benz retired from motor racing following the 1955 Le Mans tragedy, Stirling led the Maserati and Vanwall teams. He raced 107 different types of car, across all classes of motor sport, during his remarkable career.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he led the changeover to rear engined Formula 1 cars with the Cooper-Climax, achieving the first victory for such a car at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix, and was in a class of his own during this period. His victory in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix, racing a Lotus 18 against the more powerful Ferrari's, was his third Formula 1 victory around Principality and is still regarded as one of the best Formula 1 races ever.
Between 1954, his first year with what Stirling considered a proper Formula 1 car, the Maserati 250F, and 1962, he took part in 318 races of all types, finished in 225 of them, and bear in mind cars were not reliable in those days, and won 134.
He drove a Ferrari on 14 occasions, winning 12 of the races entered and taking 10 fastest laps. Of the remaining two races, he was disqualified at Sebring because the mechanics put in fuel when in fact the car had come in for brake linings, and in the 1961 Le Mans the radiator hose was cut by a fan blade when he was third overall and leading the GT Class.
Stirling drove for Rob Walker from 1958 to 1962, taking part in 93 races, finishing 70 of them with 46 first places, and also drove a Maserati in 72 races, finishing in 50 with 25 first places and 31 lap records. Out of the 375 competitive races in which he finished during his professional racing career, he won an astonishing 212, which is more than one win in two! A near-fatal accident at Goodwood in 1962 ended it all.
Once the decision to retire from professional motoring racing was made, Stirling expanded his commercial interests with the same vigour that he employed when racing, chief amongst these being his property business, which he runs to this day with his family. He also designed his home in Mayfair which incorporated home comforts and gadgets which were ahead of their time in the 1960s, including an automated system for running a bath at a pre-set temperature, which could be triggered by pushing a button on one of many control panels located around the house. He continued to race in historic racing, his familiar White patey helmet and Blue light weight race suit being a regular feature at historic races across the globe.
Stirling is well known for his love of design and the latest gadget. In 2009 the Stirling Moss brand was created, see above, which has led to the brand being licensed. During qualifying for 2011 Le Mans Legends race Stirling made the decision to retire from competitive racing. He continues to demonstrate the cars he raced and take part in car rallies.
One of the original jet-setters, he remains in huge demand around the world to this day - a true British legend.
Pinarello Asolo build from Columbus Cromor tubing in Spumone or "Italian Ice" color scheme. Chromed rear stays and fork, rear brake cable is routed through top tube.
Equipment consists of an Campagnolo Chorus group with the nice Monoplaner brakes and non-indexed shifters, great Mavic 502 hubs and Mavic MA40 clincher rims without noticable wear at the brake flankes.
Currently installed is an 6-speed Maillard freewheel. Saddle is an NOS 1986 Turbo with corresponding bar tape.
Absolutely great condition of paint and chrome (one small chip at the inside of the lower front lug) - no dents, rust or other damages. All decals are original - the lower tube decals where a bid fragile (as known from Pinarello) but have been grounded to avoid further damage.
It was, without question, Paul Smart’s famous victory at Imola on Sunday 23rd April 1972 that really put Ducati’s new v-twin on the map. It was a particularly sweet occasion for hitherto un-fancied Ducati, as the Bologna factory defeated not only the race-proven Triumph Tridents of Percy Tait, John Cooper and Ray Pickrell, but also the works 750 MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini. Also ranged against Ducati that day were works entries from Honda, Norton and Moto Guzzi, plus semi-works machines from Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW and Laverda. There was a lot at stake: the 750cc sportsbike category was vitally important to all the major manufacturers, so Ducati’s win in this company was of immense commercial significance for the relatively small Italian firm. It also emphatically demonstrated the potential of the Fabio Taglioni-designed v-twin.
Prepared by the semi-official NCR race shop, Smart’s bike was based on the 750 Sport roadster introduced that same year. The racer’s cycle parts remained close to stock - even the centre stand lugs were retained! - merely being up-rated with triple Lockheed disc brakes while the engine gained desmodromic cylinder heads, high-compression pistons and stronger con-rods. In the race, Smart, whose first outing this was for Ducati, was involved in a three-way battle for the lead with his team-mate, Bruno Spaggiari and Agostini. When the latter’s MV broke, it became a straight fight between the two works Ducatis, with Smart taking victory after Spaggiari had run off the road trying to overtake. The Italian eventually finished second.
Keen to repeat their success the following year, Ducati went to work on a heavily revised Formula 750 racer over the winter of 1972. For the ’73 bikes, Fabio Taglioni came up with a short-stroke (86x64.5mm) version of the 90-degree v-twin engine that revved higher and was more powerful. Together with the 6mm wider bore, Taglioni specified a narrower valve angle (60 degrees rather than the original 80). The cycle parts were updated with a modified frame, centre-axle forks (the 1972 bikes had used the leading-axle type) and a new swinging arm that enabled the wheelbase to be varied. The result was an engine that produced around 100bhp in a package weighing 326lb (148kg), both these figures representing a significant improvement over those of the 1972 model.
Only three bikes of this specification were ever built. They were entered in the 1973 Imola 200 under the Scuderia Spaggiari banner and ridden by Englishman Mick Grant, the Swiss Bruno Kneubühler and Spaggiari himself. Although Ducati had done much to improve its Formula 750 racer, at that year’s Imola 200 it faced one of the most formidable man/machine combinations in the history of motorcycle racing: Jarno Saarinen and the Yamaha TZ350. Spaggiari finished runner up for the second year in a row. Perhaps sensing that the era of four-stroke domination of Formula 750 was coming to a close, Smart had chosen to ride a Suzuki two-stroke that year. For the rest of the decade Ducati would focus its attention on endurance racing and TT Formula 1.
The short-stroke Formula 750 racer offered here is the one ridden by Spaggiari at Imola in 1973 and the sole survivor of this very special trio of works prototypes. At the end of the 1973 season the machine was sold to Norstar, the Canadian Ducati importer, which passed it on to one of their favoured customers, Keith Harte. Bought from him by Team Obsolete’s Rob Iannucci, the Ducati was rebuilt by TO and raced by Yvon Duhamel with some success. The current vendor, an American private collector, bought the bike from Team Obsolete circa 2000. The Ducati was fairly complete, and on acquisition was treated to a ‘ground upwards’ restoration using as many original parts as possible. Components were sourced from across the world, including a pair of the correct cylinders, with help provided by Ian Gowanloch and Arthur Davis in Australia. NCR’s Rino Caracchi, who had built the bike back in ’73, assisted with the restoration, providing the connecting rods and crankpin. The result is as genuine a short-stroke 750 as you will find. The restoration was carried out over a two-year period by Advanced Motorsports (Ducati Dallas) and on completion the machine was ridden by Paul Smart at the ‘Vintage Motorcycle Days’ meeting at the Mid Ohio circuit in 2004.
Its successes at Imola in the early 1970s effectively established Ducati’s credentials as a builder of exceptional high-performance motorcycles. As such, the Formula 750 racers built specifically for this prestigious event are among the most important the company has ever produced, and the example offered here represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an ex-works Ducati of immense historical significance and undisputed provenance.
"The Supermarine S.6B is a British racing seaplane developed by R.J. Mitchell for the Supermarine company to take part in the Schneider Trophy competition of 1931. The S.6B marked the culmination of Mitchell's quest to "perfect the design of the racing seaplane" and represented the cutting edge of aerodynamic technology.
The last in the line developed by Supermarine, it followed the S.4, S.5 and the S.6. Mitchell and his team's experience in designing high speed Schneider Trophy floatplanes greatly contributing to the development of the later Supermarine Spitfire, an iconic fighter and Britain's most successful interceptor of World War II.
Despite Prime Minister James Ramsay MacDonald's pledge of government support for the next British race entrant immediately after the 1929 victory, official funding was withdrawn less than two months later following the Wall Street Crash, with the official reason given that the previous two contests had collected sufficient data on high speed flight, so further expenditure of public money was unwarranted. A committee formed by the Royal Aero Club, who were responsible for organising the 1931 race, which included representatives from the aircraft and aero engine industries, was formed to discuss the feasibility of a privately funded entry but concluded that not only would this be beyond their financial reach but that the lack of the highly skilled RAF pilots of the High-Speed Flight would pose a severe problem. This caused enormous public disappointment: having won two successive races a victory in a third race would secure the trophy outright.
As ever active in aviation affairs, Lord Rothermere's Daily Mail group of newspapers launched a public appeal for money and several thousand pounds were raised, and after Lady Houston publicly pledged £100,000 the Government changed its position and announced its support for an entry in January 1931, leaving less than nine months to prepare any race entrant. The RAF High Speed Flight was reformed, and Mitchell and Rolls-Royce set to work.
There were only seven months to prepare an entry, and as Mitchell did not have enough time to design a new aircraft, better performance had to be obtained by getting more power from the R-Type engine. Modifications to the airframe design were limited to minor improvements and some strengthening in order to cope with the increased weight of the aircraft. Additionally, the floats were extended forward by some three feet (0.9 m). Rolls-Royce had managed to increase the power of the engine by 400 hp (298 kW) to 2,300 hp (1,715 kW).
Although the British team faced no competitors, the RAF High Speed Flight brought six Supermarine Schneider racers to Calshot Spit on Southampton Water for training and practice. The aircraft were: S.5 N219, second at Venice in 1927, S.5N220, winner at Venice in 1927, two S.6s with new engines and redesignated as S.6As (N247 that won at Calshot in 1929 and S.6A N248, disqualified at Calshot in 1929), and the newy built S.6Bs, S1595 and S1596.
The improved aircraft was designated the Supermarine S.6B to differentiate the variant from the S.6A. The British plan for the Schneider contest was to have S1595 fly the course alone and if its speed was not high enough, or it encountered mechanical failure, then the more proven S.6A N248 would fly the course. If both S1595 and N248 failed in their attempts,N247 held in reserve would be used. The S.6B S1596 was then to attempt the World Air Speed Record. During practice,N247 was destroyed in a takeoff accident, resulting in the death of the pilot, Lieut. G. L. Brinton, R.N., precluding any other plans with only the two S.6Bs and the surviving S.6 prepared for the final Schneider run.
The winning Schneider flight was piloted by Flt. Lt. John N. Boothman in aircraft serial number S1595 at a speed of 340.08 mph (547.19 km/h), flying seven perfect laps of the triangular course over the Solent, between the Isle of Wight and the British mainland. Seventeen days later, Flt Lt. George Stainforth in S.6B serial S1596broke the world air speed record reaching 407.5 mph (655.67 km/h).
The S.6B is hailed as giving the impetus to the development of the Supermarine Spitfire and the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine."
Completely overhauled: New handlebar tape, new cables, new chain, new Selle Italia Turbo saddle, new Wolber Neo Pro tubulars.
Zero rust, no dents and nothing is bent. The chrome is brilliant. The paint has been professionaly refurbished with a new 3 coat painting.
All bearings greased. Chainrings and freewheel in excellent condition. Original Campagnolo brake pads (95%).
With the Claude Hill designed Atom chassis, Brown had a strong basis for a new range of models, but he rightfully felt the push-rod engines available to be inadequate. Instead of having a new engine designed, he shopped around some more and bought Lagonda. As part of the deal, Brown obtained the rights to produce the W.O. Bentley designed twin-cam six cylinder engine. Before this deal was done, Aston Martin had already produced a small series of two-litre sports cars based on the Atom design. These were called 2-Litre Sports at the time, but in retrospect are usually referred to as DB1. At the first Post-War 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1949, a six cylinder engined racer debuted that would prove to be the first of a long line of successful Aston Martin road and racing cars.
At the New York Auto Show in April of 1950 the production version of the six cylinder car was launched. Dubbed the DB2, it featured a 2.6 litre version of the Lagonda six cylinder engine and sported an attractive two-door coupe body penned by Frank Feeley. The new Aston Martin was an immediate hit and the small factory could hardly cope with the orders. On track there were plenty of successes as well with the Works DB2s scoring first and second in their class at Le Mans in 1950. The win in the Index of Performance was possibly an even better indication of the DB2's excellent design. The first fifty cars off the production line featured very prominent external grilles, which were fortunately removed. A more powerful Vantage model was offered from 1951.
From 1951 onwards, the Works used the specifically built DB3 for racing purposes and the DB2 served as a road car only. The first major revision to the successful two-seater was the addition of two rear seats in 1953, which resulted in the aptly named DB2/4. Like the DB2, the four-seater was available as a fixed and drop head. The hard top model was the first car to ever feature a 'hatch-back', used to access the rear luggage compartment. Privateers continued to race the DB2/4 and the success in Rallies inspired the Works to prepare three examples for the 1955 Rallye Monte Carlo. One example finished first in class and the other cars' results were sufficient to win the Team Prize. Several chassis were delivered to coachbuilders to have custom bodies fitted with the 'Wacky' Arnolt commissioned Bertone Spiders as the most famous.
There was a major revision for 1956 with the introduction of the three litre version of the six cylinder engine to form the DB2/4 Mk II. It came standard with a 140 bhp engine, but there was a more powerful 165 bhp version available, which featured larger valves and a high-lift camshaft. The hatch-back was retained, but a second fixed-head model was offered with a more conventional tapered roof. Aston Martin again made the chassis available to coach builders to have them fitted with custom bodies. The most striking of these was a Spyder debuted at the 1956 Earls Cours show in London and was the work of Touring. Three cars were constructed, but sadly the anticipated orders did not come through. This first contact between the two companies was no doubt instrumental for the partnership that would start in 1958 with the DB4 and would last well into the 1960s.
Two years later, the DB2 underwent the fourth and final evolution into the DB2/4 Mk III or simply DB Mk III. While the overall design was still similar to the previous three generations, the revised and arguably improved front facia made the Mk III a lot easier to distinguish. The mechanicals were also much revised with the base engine now producing 162 bhp and front disc brakes were available for the first time. Production ceased in 1958 when the DB2 was replaced by the DB4, which featured an all new platform chassis and Tadek Marek designed 3.7 litre straight six engine. Today the DB2s are often overlooked, but they were vital for the survival of Aston Martin in those difficult Post-War years.
The A6M2 was the first mass produced version of the famous Mitsubishi Zero (Zeke) fighter. It was the front line Imperial Japanese Navy fighter in service during 1941 and 1942, operating from IJN aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea and Midway. In the latter part of 1942 the improved A6M3 Zero began entering service with front line fighter squadrons and A6M2's were increasingly used as ground attack fighters. Late in the war, surviving A6M2's were expended as Kamikazes.
Based on Japanese experience fighting in China and Manchuko, often against highly maneuverable Soviet I-15 biplane and I-16 monoplane fighters, Japanese fighter pilots came to regard extreme maneuverability as a fighter's most important quality. When the IJN started looking for a modern successor to the A6M5 (Type 96), they demanded a fast, long range, heavily armed and yet highly maneuverable replacement. Mitsubishi met this difficult requirement with the extraordinary Zero, even though Japanese aero engines were less powerful than those available in the US, UK and Germany.
Aerodynamically "clean," the streamlined Zero boasted a closely-cowled radial engine with a large propeller spinner to reduce drag. (These features were also used by Kurt Tank for the FW 190.) It was a beautiful airplane, one of those designs that just look right. At its introduction, the A6M2 was the world's first long range, single seat fighter. The early A6M2 Model 11 had fixed wing tips, but the subsequent Model 21 had folding wingtips to increase the clearance on Japanese aircraft carrier elevators.
The A6M2 was heavily armed with two .303 (7.7mm) machine guns and two 20mm cannon (the former in the cowl and the latter in the wings). Along with the Bf 109E, the Zero was the most heavily armed fighter of its time and introduced the use of cannons in fighter planes.
It was also respectably fast for 1940, with a top speed of 331 MPH. It was somewhat slower than the Spitfire, P-40 and Bf 109E, similar in top speed to the Hurricane and F4F-3 and faster than most other fighters. The Zero was the fastest carrier borne fighter of its time. Perhaps more important, it had very good acceleration.
Due to its light weight, large wing area, low wing loading and big ailerons, the Zero was more agile than any contemporary foreign fighter. The initial climb rate was very good and the Zero could climb at a very steep angle, unmatched by contemporary fighters. The sustained climb rate was good, better than the US fighters in service at the beginning of the war, but inferior to that of the more powerful Messerschmitt Bf 109E. Opponents who survived quickly learned from bitter experience not to attempt to turn with a Zero. Other excellent features included a roomy cockpit, greenhouse canopy that afforded good all-around visibility and wide track landing gear. One peculiarity was that the gun selector and firing switches were on the throttle lever, rather than the joy stick.
However, in order to satisfy the IJN's demanding specification, some severe design compromises were necessary. An extremely light weight structure was the only way to provide the range, speed and agility required with the available power plant. The most prominent sacrifice to reduce weight was a complete absence of pilot protection. Unlike the Wildcat, the A6M2 airframe was very lightly constructed and no pilot armor or self-sealing fuel tanks were incorporated in the design. Early in the war, even the radios were removed from Zeros in the field to reduce weight! The Zero's performance was its pilot's only protection. This was fine with most Japanese fighter pilots in 1940/1941, when the Zero handily out performed the Allied fighters it met, and it suited their offensive spirit. However, when Allied fighter performance caught up with the Zero, pilot losses increased dramatically.
In order to keep the loaded weight down, only 120 rounds of 20mm cannon ammunition (60 rpg) was carried, so there was a premium on accurate gunnery. To partially compensate, a generous 1360 rounds of 7.7mm machine gun ammo (680 rpg) was provided, but it was very difficult (verging on impossible in the case of a Wildcat) to shoot down most Allied fighters with just two .303 caliber MG's!
Perhaps the A6M2's biggest performance weakness is that its controls become stiff and unresponsive at speeds above about 180 knots. This is a real consideration for a Zero bouncing an enemy aircraft from above. Pull back the throttle in a dive to control your rate of descent, or you may have a close encounter of the fatal kind with Mother Earth.
The lightweight airframe and thin gauge duralumin skin was quite susceptible to damage and the latter limited the maximum diving speed. The unprotected gas tanks made the A6M2 easy to set on fire. Unlike most WWII fighters, the Zero is fairly easy to shoot down with .30-.32 caliber machine guns, such as carried by the Mk. I versions of the Hurricane and Spitfire. A well placed burst from the .50 caliber guns of a Wildcat could quickly flame a Zero.
One of the strangest vehicles to come out of the movie series is the Moonbuggy from "Diamonds Are Forever", and the lunar contraption has an even stranger history.
When Sean Connery wrapped up his official run of films in 1971 with "Diamonds Are Forever", 007 found himself in Willard Whyte's Techtronic labs in the Nevada desert - and what better escape vehicle than an experimental moon buggy?
Chased by huge-tired trikes, the Moonbuggy seemed well suited to the Nevada terrain, although it did suffer one of the best known bloopers in Bond-lore. During the filming of the chase, the buggy would often lose its wheels due to its delicate suspension setup, and in one of the shots in the movie they can be clearly seen rolling towards the camera. The buggy was based on a concept sketch by production designer Ken Adam, and was designed and built by Dean Jeffries' automotive workshop in California.
Thirty-three years since the buggy made its big screen debut, the restored vehicle has finally found a permanent home - and ironically it's returning to where it once resided.
The Las Vegas location of Planet Hollywood has purchased the Moonbuggy at Christie's recent auction for £23,000 (approximately $44,000 USD). The vehicle had been residing there for many years as part of a lease
deal with the British-based James Bond International Fan Club.
The Club removed the vehicle a few years ago and placed it for auction in England on several occasions in the past. The best known event was at Planet Hollywood London on Tuesday 31st July 31 2001 where auctioneers Fleetwood Owen had it under the hammer with a "conservative" estimate that it would be sold for at least £150,000 (approximately $210,000 USD in 2001), but nobody came up with a bid to beat the high reserve price.
The Moonbuggy had failed to sell at previous auctions and recently was offered unsuccessfully on Ebay. The Club's estimated value of the Moonbuggy had doubtlessly given potential buyers sticker-shock with reserves sometimes reportedly falling near the £90,000 mark.
The sale to Christie's on December 14th 2004 week represents a coup for the restaurant chain, as they were able to acquire the vehicle for a relatively low price and will be returning it to their Las Vegas location.
The James Bond International Fan Club had discovered the remains of the rotting and rusting Moonbuggy many years ago in a farmers field in Kent in the early 1990s and undertook a substantial restoration of the vehicle in 1993. The refurbished vehicle was unveiled at a Fan Club convention at Pinewood Studios on December 12th 1993 before embarking on its journey to Las Vegas.
The humble Honda CX500 is a motorcycle that everyone loves to hate, often referred to as the ‘Plastic Maggot’ the transverse V-Twin is widely considered one of the least attractive motorcycles ever produced by Honda. The benefit of this unpopularity is that the custom bike builders who choose the CX500 as their muse tend to be a little unusual, and their product of their work tends to have an eye-catching and unique feel to it.
The meticulously rebuilt Honda CX500 custom you see here is the work of Thomas Parrish, the owner/operator of Kustom Research. Thomas is an engineer by day and a custom bike builder by night, the CX500 began as a basket-case Craigslist buy that was destined to be his girlfriends daily rider. She was deeply unimpressed when the bike arrived in parts looking significantly worse for wear but Thomas remained undeterred and set to work on the bike in the evenings.
He took time with each element and actually designed and fabricated a wide array of parts – including the clip-ons, foot controls, headlight mount, seat and cowling, overflow tank – the rear subframe was completely removed and a new one was made to improve the look of the tail section.
When it came to the engine, Thomas opted to paint it the same colour as the other primary elements on the bike with a view to blending it in better – he felt that the bike originally looked as though someone chopped a slice off a small block Chevy and dropped it into a motorcycle frame.
The look of the completed bike is impressive, a significant amount of attention as been paid to details and this shines through. Thomas’ girlfriend reportedly loves the completed bike and the both of them ride on weekends when weather and work allows.
Clearly showing aircraft influence in styling and engineering, the Buick LeSabre was constructed of aluminum and lightweight cast magnesium. Billed as a rolling engineering laboratory, the LeSabre had 12-volt electrics (most cars then were 6-volts), a torque converter automatic transmission with an oil cooler, fuel injection, a strong, chrome-molydenum frame, built-in hydraulic jacks, a rain-activated folding top, a jet-like air intake and prominent tail fins. Ik is believed the LeSabre cost between $500,000 - $1,000,000, the equivalent of ten times that today. The LeSabre served as an icon for GM's cars for the remainder of the decade.
Designed by Harley J. Earl's studio with styling cues from jet fighter planes and used by him for years as an everyday driver, the LeSabre offered a preview of the aircraft styling that followed in the 1950s. The 1951 LeSabre contained such technological features as a dual gasoline and alcohol fuel system and a moisture sensor which would raise the convertible top if it began raining when the owner was away from the car.
A clay vision of the LeSabre appeared in print in the fall of 1950 and the real thing was first shown to the public in July of 1951. It was not a Buick, although Buick picked up the LeSabre name for 1959. This example was the project of Harley Earl, head of GM styling. In essence, it was a replacement of the Buick Y-Job he used as his personal car and calling card for most of the 1940s. The LeSabre went on to be used for Earl's new ride. It rides on a basic chassis with an aluminum super-charged dual fuel V-8 engine with rubber-based front suspension and a body that used cast magnesium body panels in many places. It is also equipped with hydraulic jacks on each wheel as just one of many innovations found on this vehicle.
Earl used aviation as an inspiration for many facets of his work and the LeSabre was a showcase. The name came from the Air Force Sabre jet fighters, the front jet-like intake held two headlights, the rear fins hinted at P-38 inspired Cadillac fins, and rear nozzle also was jet inspired. The instruments said aircraft in style and in the inclusion of an altimeter. Fuel tanks for gasoline and methanol were in the rear fenders and limited trunk space.
With over half a century worth of memories, the earlier models of the LeSabre inspire a sense of nostalgia back to a time when life was supposed to be simplified. The image of technology in the early stages, design, dynamic lines, unique and individual accessories, and the advance exterior engineering is apparent in the LeSabre models of old. Maintaining the same qualities that carried it through the rough times, superb engine, tremendous engineering and unwavering reliability, the LeSabre continues to impress car enthusiasts today.
Buick has kept an age old reputation for producing ‘the best of the best', and the LeSabre has proved capable of weathering the storms of the times, and acclimating itself to the ever-changing demands of its clientele. With parts available in a various and wide array, the option to upgrade the Buick LeSabre is simplified and all encompassing.
A concept vehicle created originally by General Motors Styling and Buick Engineering, the LeSabre was finally revealed in 1951. Eight years later, the LeSabre nameplate was finally put on a production vehicle. Perhaps not as exhiliarating as the 1951 dream car, the styling on the 1959 vehicle with its large tail fins was both dynamic and a sign of the times. A mainstay at Buick for four decades, the total sales of the LeSabre model exceeded six million. The LeSabre has been the number one-selling full-size vehicle in the U.S. and has won both numerous quality and 'best buy' awards for the past six years.
Totally redesigned for the 2000 model year, the LeSabre sported a fresh view and design as well as various innovative safety features, comfort and convenience.
Consistently ranked as Buick's best selling full-size car, the LeSabre was Buick's entry level vehicle. Replacing the full-size Buick Special model in 1959, LeSabre has also carried the title of America's Best-Selling Full-size Car until its discontinuation at the end of the 2005 model year. The vehicle was replaced by the 2006 Buick Lucerne. The LeSabre nameplate has outlasted the Electra, Electra 225 and the Invicta. The LeSabre also carried the lowest base price in the Buick lineup. A full-size car the was produced by the Buick division of General Motors, the Buick LeSabre replaced the full-size Buick Special model in 1959.
Originally showcased on a Motorama show car in 1951, the LeSabre nameplate was featured in a various line of body styles. Though during 1965 through 1975, the station wagon variant was dropped from Buick's full-size line, the LeSabre has been offered in a full line of body styles. The pillared coupe eventually became the only model available, both sedan and wagon body styles, in 1977 the LeSabre along with other GM full-size models were downsized. Beginning in 1964, all LeSabre models except the Estate Wagon shared their drivetrains with the mid size Buick models.
Available in two trim levels, the LeSabre Custom and the base model from the start in 1965, the Estate Wagon model was dropped. Dropped in 1970, the LeSabre 400 package included a '400' 3-speed automatic transmission along with a 4 barrel carburation on its small V8 engine. The 3-speed THM 350 transmission became standard on all models. Replacing the base Wildcat model from the year before, the new LeSabre Custom 455 now shared its model number with the Wildcat.
The LeSabre convetible model was dropped in 1973. The following year the LeSabre Luxus, a much more luxurious model, replaced the Centurion model. Available with a new ‘performance package', the Luxus included a 455 cubic inch engine, suspension upgrades and other various equipment. After a year off the market, the convertibe coupe model returned to the LeSabre lineup, and the Stage 1 performance package became available on the LeSabre in 1974.
One of the largest vehicles to be powered by a V6 engine, the 1976 Buick was the first American full size car with a standard V6 engine. The LeSabre Sport Coupe came with a turbocharged V6 with a 4 barrel carburator in standard equipment from 1978 to 1980. The LeSabre Limited replaced the LeSabre Custom model in 1979. Bucket seats with a center console also became available on the Sport Coupe model. In 1980, the ‘portholes' which had showcased on all LeSabre models since 1960 were removed.
Introduced on the new front wheel drive H platform, the 1986 Buick LeSabre departed from rear wheel drive on the GM B platform. With only minor updates through the years, the LeSabre station wagon, later called the Estate wagon, remained based on the B platform before being discontinued in 1990. A Gran National model was released in 1986, eventually followed by the LeSabre T/Type in 1987 through 1989.
Used throughout the 1980's as a performance package by Buick was the T-type designation. From 87 to 89, the LeSabre T-type was a representation of the highest performing H-body. A notch above other LeSabres, the T-Type's direct competition was the outstanding Regal. Originally, the T-Type was seemed to need a Turbo, the engine output was limited due to transmission durability complications. Instead Buick chose to improve the acceleration by utilizing a performance axle that was geared lower than most LeSabres. Grand National inspired black out trim, and the addition of aluminum wheels and both front and rear spoilers improved the vehicle styling. The installation of a consile with shift lever and front bucket seats updated and improved the interior. To accent the T-type bades, a Pontiac-style red-orange dash cluster was used, as well as other interior changes. By installing a large 1.25-inch sway bar in the front, and a .75-inch bar in the rear, the handling was greatly improved. Agile, while still incredibly comfortable, the T-type was an amazing vehicle that was beautiful without being flashy.
Redesigned with a fresh image in 1992, the Buick LeSabre now joined the ranks of the new Regal, Century and Park Avenue Sedans. Available only as a four-door sedan, the LeSabre continued this style until being discontinued in 2005. Featuring GM's plastic body technologies, the high-stree plastic now replaced the front fenders, and the headlight were streamlined with a separated amber turn signal strip that wrapped around the lower front fascia. The front was smoothed with simplified chrome molding and absent bumperettes while the rear fascia featured a wider trunk mouth and lower liftover height to ease loading baggege.
Producing 170 hp in 1992, the LeSabre has had the same engine, the 3800 V6 and is capable of 18 mpg in the city, and 28 mpg on the highway. The LeSabre accelerated to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds and had a top speed of 107 mph.
Offered in two trim levels, the base Custom trim and the premium Limited which featured allow wheels, fold down access panels to access the trunk from the rear seat, and the hood ornament. The Limited also had an 18 gallon fuel tank, power radio antenna, anti-lock brakes, and many high tech instrumentation features.
The LeSabre standard 3800 series V6 OHV powerplant received an extra 35 hp in 1995, due to an intake manifold and re-engineered throttle body. Rated at 19 mph in the city, and 29 mph on the highway, the engine on the 3800 series even received better fuel economy.
Introduced in 1999 as the Buick LeSabre 2000 on the G-body, the automobiles eventually reverted to the Buick LeSabre nameplate following the end of the 2000 model year. On an updated revision of the G platform that was also shared with the 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora and the Pontiac Bonneville, the LeSabre was manufactured in Hamtramck, Michigan at GM's Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly factory. Various changes were made that included a grille that did not open with the hood, smaller overall dimensions, a slightly larger interior area, and due to a new chassis; overall stiffer structure.
The previous Custom and Limited trim levels from 2000 were carried into 2003 models. To commemorate Buick's Centennial, a new Celebration Edition package was featured on all of the standard equipment of the Limited. Buyers were able to choose from a blacked-out grille, pearlescent White Diamond or Crimson Pearl tricoat paint schemes, 16' chrome wheels, and special badging. Available features that were either optional or standard on the LeSabre included OnStar, EyeCue heads-up display, Stabilitrak, all-weather traction control, side airbags, automatic load-leveling, heated seats, tire-pressure monitoring system, dual-zone climate control, and RainSense automatic windshield wipers.