Road Trip Made in the USA
Whether reading John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, singing the classic song, watching the ultimate corvette road trip movie or memorizing the animated film Cars with your kids, the iconic U.S. Route 66 is still one of the best road trips to experience true Americana. This 2,448-mile roadway that runs from Chicago to Santa Monica is often referred to as the “Main Street of America,” and the sweet spot for a classic car enthusiast is to cruise it yourself.
Don’t Scoot and Shoot – Soak it In
As the locals say, don’t “scoot and shoot” by riding the Will Rogers Highway (another one of its nicknames), taking a selfie and moving on. A full trip that hits all the touristy highlights takes around two weeks. If you want to stop and experience the small town ambience, then you need an entire month.
The “Mother Road” West
The “Mother Road,” as Steinbeck calls it, opens in 1926 as a way to connect Chicago to Los Angeles and becomes the main artery for westward migration during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. Starting in Springfield, Illinois, it crosses three time zones and eight states (Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) on its way west.
National Scenic Byway
Plan your trip without relying on GPS alone. Route 66 had all but vanished by the early 80’s due to the growth of interstate highways. Many portions of the highway are no longer around and road signs often go missing. Officially decommissioned in 1985, the few remaining sections have become a National Scenic Byway renamed the Historic Route 66. Guide books can help navigate you through the small towns and point out hidden treasures.
Shaping the Way America Travels
From the simple two-pump filling stations in front of old houses to the sleek, modern ones with service bays and tire dealers, Route 66 helps shape car travel in America. Early motorists sleep in their cars on the side of the road and after WWII, they drive up to a comfortable motor lodge or motel at the end of a trip. Truck stops also dot the landscape; one of the oldest in America, the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois (est. 1928) is still pumping gas and serving a delicious buffet.
10 Most Excellent Stops Along Route 66
- Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant (Chicago, IL) – Established in 1923 this eatery often gives out fresh donut holes and Milk Duds to its patrons.
- Chain of Rocks Bridge (Illinois-Missouri border) – Now a footbridge, it is part of the original Route 66 that spans the Mississippi River.
- Cars on Route (Galena, KS) – Formerly the Four Girls on Route service station, this landmark’s 1951 tow truck is the inspiration for the “Tow Mater” character in the film Cars.
- Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (Clinton, OK) – Everything you ever want to know about the road and then some.
- Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX) – This is classic car art at its finest. Ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs buried nose first in the Texas dirt.
- U Drop Inn (Shamrock, TX) – A piece of green-tiled art deco architecture that many classic car buffs will recognize.
- Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumcari, NM) – It’s landmark neon sign still lights up the night sky as it welcomes weary travelers.
- Hackberry General Store (Hackberry, AZ) – Gas, groceries and a trip down memory lane, all in one place.
- Wigwam Motel (Holbrook, AZ) – One of the last three concrete teepee motels left in America. Others are in California and Kentucky.
- Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, CA) – Though the route ends a few blocks away, this is the picture perfect spot to end your journey.
Birthplace of Route 66 Festival August 12-14
Check out the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival August 12-14 in Springfield, Missouri to help plan your road trip to see a slice of American history along this storied highway that is sadly vanishing.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Whether restoring a classic corvette or helping preserve a national treasure like Route 66, honoring our past is important to the collector car community. Classic Auto Insurance respects your commitment to staying true to your car’s history. There are no “one size fits all” policies here! Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will answer all your questions and find the right coverage for your classic. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
The Perfect Cruise Machine – A 1967 Chevy II Nova Custom
It’s summer time and that means cruising! There is nothing better than being behind the wheel of a one-of-a-kind hot rod; windows down, radio on and enjoying the day. Only we are short one hot rod! Our friends at Elite Autos in Jonesboro, AR say they’ll help us out with this 1967 Chevy II Nova Custom. Now, this is a head turner!
Don’t Take the Nova for Granted
The original Chevy II Nova SS may look like a sensible family car -and it is- but it’s become so much more for collectors. This unassuming 60’s sedan challenges the other muscle cars of the day with a 327 cubic inch Turbo-Fire V8 engine, putting its 350hp on par with the beefier, more stylish Pontiac GTO and Ford Mustang.
Fabulous Race Car
Early models of the II Nova SS are a long-time favorite of hot rodders and the resto-mod crowd. Lightweight and compact, this classic can be retooled into one awesome hot rod. In the 60’s, the Nova finds fame on the stock car tracks with drivers like Bill Thomas and Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins.
620 Horsepower – Blue Blur
Our Chevy II Nova Custom is truly unique. Painted vivid blue and rebuilt with a 427 cubic inch LS-2 620 hp engine (dyno tuned by Wegner Automotive), it’s not only ready and willing to take on challengers at the track, it’s also at home cruising Main Street. Featured in numerous hot rod enthusiast magazines during its build, this car would definitely make the bowtie folks smile in Detroit.
Keeping the Hot Rodding Spirit Alive
Hot rodding started when car enthusiasts begin taking lightweight cars and swapping engines to boost speed and power. This car is a prime example of the hot rodding spirit and it is itching for someone to take her to the race track.
Customizing is Not for the Faint of Heart
The builder of this car is like many in the hot rod nation who enjoys testing their mechanical skills while pushing the envelope every chance they can. Building a custom car is not for the faint of heart, it will test you mind, body and pocketbook. And yes, your patience will definitely be challenged.
Get Out There and Cruise This Summer!
It is a passion for cars that drives us all to build, customize and restore our classics. Getting a chance to show them off at a local cruise or car show is what it is all about. We have less than 160 days until Winter officially starts so get out there and enjoy some summer time cruising (in whatever car you choose). Happy motoring!
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Hot Rods, Customs and Muscle cars can be amazing works of automotive art. Protect them with a policy from Classic Auto Insurance. We appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into your classic. Let our friendly, knowledgeable staff answer all your questions and find out how we can personalize coverage for your special wheels. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and let us safeguard your dream classic or collector car today.
The World’s First Supercar – The Lamborghini Miura
Fifty years ago Lamborghini sets the world on fire when it introduces their sleek new performance car, the Miura at the Geneva Auto Show. The Miura is considered to be the world’s first supercar and the inspiration for many of the sports cars we love today.
Revolutionary Design Turns World Upside Down
Engineers Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani along with visionary designer Marcello Ghandini develop this revolutionary sports car for Automobili Lamborghini in 1966, just three years after the company is founded. From its innovative styling to its unique mid-engine power plant design, it truly turns the car world upside down.
Built Like a Racecar
The 1966 Miura is the fastest production car in the world, able to go from 0-60 in seven seconds and clock a top speed of 170 mph. Dallara and Stanzani do the unthinkable, they put a transverse 3.9 liter V12 engine behind the driver’s seat, a mid-engine configuration rarely used outside of racing.
Sleek, Predatory and Sexy as Hell
Twenty-four-year-old Bertone designer Marcello Ghandini gives the car its sleek, predatory look. From the round headlights (with signature “eyelashes”) to the vents on the B-pillars, this car is unlike any other. Many of the performance cars today borrow design elements from the Miura. Ghandini goes on to design another iconic Lamborghini in 1974, the Countach.
Even Sinatra Owned a Miura
The Miura is an immediate hit and orders pour in. Everyone from rock stars to industrialists want one of these unique cars. In the immortal words of the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, “You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody but you buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody”. Old Blue Eyes orders an orange Miura for his 54th birthday.
Italian Supercar Turns Film Star
Featured in the opening scenes of the 1969 film, The Italian Job, the Miura is seen blasting down the Alpine roads that cut through the Great St. Bernard Mountains. This year Lamborghini loaned two cars from its museum to recreate this memorable scene. To make the ride even more special are the car’s creators - Dallara, Stanzani and Ghandini.
Only 764 Miuras Produced
Despite the Miura’s popularity, only 764 units are produced between 1966-1973. Facing lean times in the 70’s, Ferruccio Lamborghini decides to sell his shares of the company and retire in 1974. When asked if he’d miss the action, the founder replies, “When I miss the sound and fury, I will take refuge in my garage and turn the key in the ignition of my Miura”.
Rivalry is Born
This great car gives a shot of adrenaline to the performance car industry. Lamborghini may have wanted to thumb his nose at Ferrari but a feud is started that continues today. Competition between these rivals is what makes the cars better and the Miura plays a big role in raising the bar for all car companies.
(Photos – Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A)
The Miura 50th Anniversary Rally Tours Italy
Miura owners were invited to participate in a rally organized by Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this amazing car. A parade of beautiful cars left the factory site in Sant’Agata Bolognese on June 8 and finished June 12 in Florence. For those in the U.S. wanting to join in the celebration, you will have a chance at the Monterey Car Week August 15-21.
Celebrate This Rolling Piece of Automotive History
Still considered one of the most beautiful high performance sports car ever created, the Miura is a hot commodity among collectors. The owners of these rolling pieces of automotive history understand the role this car plays in our view of the sports car. So celebrate this iconic car’s 50th anniversary this year by doing what any exotic car owner would do – rev that engine and leave the world in your rear view mirror. Happy Birthday, Miura!
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Knowing the value of an exotic sports car like a Lamborghini Miura is one thing, knowing how to protect it is another. At Classic Auto Insurance, there are no “one size fits all” policies! Let us help you find the right coverage for your sports car. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will answer all your questions so visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.
At three o’clock on Sunday 19 June 2016, the No. 68 Ford GT of Sébastien Bourdais (FRA), Joey Hand (US) and Dirk Müller (GER) crosses the finish line at Le Mans as the overall GT winner in LM GTE Pro category of the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. The No. 69 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe (AUS), Scott Dixon (NZ) and Richard Westbrook (GB) joins the winners on the podium after scoring third place. The Nos. 66 and 67 Ford GTs finish in fourth and ninth places, respectively. And Dave Bannister, owner of FordGTForum.com and erstwhile man on the road to Le Mans, is THERE.
Historic Ford GT Parade Lap
Dave not only has a front row seat for the race, he participates in Ford’s parade lap. OMG! This is where Dave says the entire experience goes to “next level insanity” for him on a personal level.
“We get on the track and the 1-2-3 cars from 1966 pull onto the circuit literally right next to me,” Dave says. “I am literally in my Ford GT, in France, on the track at Le Mans, driving down the Mulsanne, getting rocks flung at my car by the three priceless cars that swept the podium in 1966, followed by the new Ford GT, driven by the man responsible for bringing the car back and convincing everyone it had to race. Throw in the podium finishing privateer Robertson Racing GT, the only husband wife team ever to podium, with Andrea being the first woman to do so in nearly a century. Oh, and the Ford GT behind me? Edsel B. Ford II is driving it.”
“I get out after we pull off the track and tell Edsel I was seriously going to cry during the course of that lap. To see those three cars running down that circuit, the sound of their engines, the sight of all three and the new GT crisscrossing their paths, me being in the bridge between the generations … that's some serious once-in-a-lifetime stuff.”
“At some point during this sequence of events, it dawns on me that I should sell my Ford GT, close the Forum, cancel all future Ford GT events and retire from the world of cars. This has to be it. If this is not Peak Ford GT, whatever that is will literally kill me. I can't handle anything better than this.”
One for the Record Books
This 1-3-4 victory comes exactly 50 years after Ford’s 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans in 1966. “This is an historic moment for the Ford Motor Company,” says executive chairman Bill Ford, who welcomed a bevy of Ford GT owners in the company’s hospitality suite for the race. “We dared to dream that we could return to Le Mans, 50 years after the incredible 1966 win, and take on the toughest competition in the world. The pride we all felt when the Ford GT crossed the line at Le Mans is indescribable. The team that designed, built and raced the Ford GT has worked tirelessly to bring us to this result and I am proud of each and every one of them. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team demonstrated the spirit of Ford, that of innovation, determination and true teamwork. We cherish our history and heritage, but today we made history again and I couldn't be more proud.” With his 175th victory as a team owner, Chip Ganassi becomes the only owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ford vs. Ferrari Battle Rekindled
After what’s called a “titanic” battle with the No. 82 Ferrari during the race, the No. 68 Ford GT takes the lead for the final time in the 20th hour. Joey Hand is behind the wheel on the three occasions that the Ford passes the Ferrari, rekindling a 50-year-old rivalry between the two car manufacturers. “It’s a big deal to come back here 50 years after the Ford win in 1966,” Joey says. “I’ve won a lot of races and this is a big one. I’m honored to be part of this program. I’m a red, white and blue guy so to be part of the Ford family, where they treat you like their own, is a great place to be.”
Visit FordGTForum.com for More
“What an amazing adventure, followed by such a great result. You should become the ‘Rick Steves of Automobile Enthusiasts Exotic Travel.’” -w.a.nelson
In addition, Dave chronicles his historic six-day road trip to Le Mans and his entire Ford GT Le Mans experience with lots more pictures here on the Ford GT Forum. There you can see how Dave catches up with Ford Exec VP Raj Nair, still in his racing suit, gives him a big hug and congratulates him. "We did this for you guys," Raj tells him. Amazing.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
As an active member of the Ford GT Forum, Classic Auto is thrilled about Ford’s shiny new win at Le Mans. We’d be happy to insure your Ford GT or any other classic or collector car. Our friendly experts will answer all your questions and find a customized policy for your specific needs. Visit our website today at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car. Photos courtesy of the Ford GT Forum.
2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27
Three amazing Corvettes, one immaculate garage. Artomobilia’s Jon Pitz speaks to Les about his award winning cars and his participation in this year’s 2016 Carmel Artomobilia August 26-27, 2016 in the Arts & Design District of downtown Carmel, Indiana.
Fallen for a ’67 Corvette
For Les, his love for the Corvette begins before he even has his license. Watching the new models roll off the truck at the local Chevy dealer, he falls hard for the 1967 Corvette and vows to own one someday. Today his collection boasts several Vettes including a ’67.
A Triple Crown 1960 Corvette
The pride and joy of his garage has to be the lovingly restored 1960 Corvette. This sateen silver and red beauty is in original factory condition with “every nut and bolt the way it was when it rolled off the line”. This triple crown car, having won the NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold and the Chicago Vette Fest Silver Spinner awards, is the centerpiece in Les’s collection.
Route 66 Helps Put the Corvette on the Map
The 1960 model brakes model year sales records for the Chevy Corvette with 10,261 units sold. What might have helped is the premiere of the hit TV show Route 66, featuring two young guys (in their brand new Chevy Corvettes) who take to the American highways in search of adventure, forever solidifying the link between the open road and this cool sports car.
Gutted ’59 Corvette Finds New Life as Resto-Mod
Les rarely gets to drive his restored 1960 Corvette, which is why he has a 1959 Corvette resto-mod sitting in the wings. It is a stock body with a new Corvette underneath – modern chassis, suspension, brakes and an LS3 500hp engine. “I wouldn’t take a restorable car and make it into a resto-mod but this car was a mess when we got it. Virtually none of the components were there”. With all the modern bells and whistles, this Vette can fly!
The Popularity of Resto-Mods
The ’59 is a prime example of why the resto-mod movement is so popular. Keeping a car in its original factory condition is the goal of every restorer but a resto-mod car is meant to be driven. With improved safety and performance built in, a resto-mod gives you a classic look with modern components and provides a gutted vehicle a new lease on life.
1967 Corvette is a Childhood Dream Come True
The third car in Les’s garage is a 1967 Corvette resto-mod. Like his other builds, this car isn’t a candidate for restoration so he decides to have some fun with it. He adds a 525 LS3 motor and an interior which mimics a Mercedes-Benz. “The ’67 is an iconic car for me. I wanted one since I was a kid.”
Sharing a Corvette Passion at Artomobilia 2016
For over 60 years the Corvette has been America’s sports car and it shows no sign of giving up that title. For true fans like Les, restoring and resurrecting these great cars is a labor of love. Be sure to come out and see his gorgeous ’67 Corvette resto-mod at this year’s Artomobilia. It might just ignite a passion in you.
Art Lovers and Car Enthusiasts Celebrate
Artomobilia is a two-day celebration of automotive art and design and the unending passion we have for our classic and collector cars. The weekend festivities kick off Friday night with Fuelicious: A Celebration of Wheels + Wishes, an exclusive event on the grounds of the Lucas Estate, featuring 50 distinct collector cars, all in support of the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. Saturday the streets of Carmel’s Arts and Design District come alive with music, food, shopping and some spectacular cars on display. We hope to see you there!
Proud Sponsor of Carmel Artomobilia
Classic Auto Insurance is proud to support the 2016 Carmel Artomobilia and classic car collectors everywhere. Let us help you customize the perfect insurance policy for your one of a kind car. Our friendly, expert staff will answer all your questions and help you find the right coverage for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car collection.