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2017 Ford GT Preview at the Ford GT National Rally 10


Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Ford GT Rally

Dearborn, Michigan played host to a very special gathering, the 2015 Ford GT National Rally 10 on August 25-29. Presenting sponsor Classic Auto Insurance and many of the Ford faithful converged on Ford’s corporate world headquarters (WHQ) to celebrate an amazing ten years of taking the Ford GT around the country. It was also a chance to celebrate the past, present and future of this great American supercar as it makes its return to the road in 2016! 

 
 

Excited GT Enthusiasts “Rally” ‘round the New Ford GT

This year’s rally featured a car show, a social event at the Henry Ford Museum and special guests from the Ford teams that built the GT, who shared their insight into the car’s evolution. The gathering also gave GT enthusiasts an opportunity to reflect on why they love this car and what they thought of Ford’s decision to bring the GT back in 2016 on the 50th anniversary of the car’s big win in 1966 at the 24 hours of LeMans.
 

 

Inspired by a Legendary Race Car

The Ford GT started out as a concept car in 2004 as part of the company’s centennial year celebration. Influenced by the design of the legendary Ford GT 40 race car, the first generation GT soon became a favorite with its retro look and its impressive speed. The early GT is a must-have for collectors, even if they cost around $150,000.

 
 

Just like Being at LeMans

From 2004 to 2006, only 4,038 Ford GTs were produced, a rare sighting on the street. The GT has a 5.4L supercharged modular V8 engine and can go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. At a top speed of 205 mph, you could almost imagine racing at LeMans.

 
 
 

The GT 40 Didn’t Just Win – It Dominated

To have an American race car hold its own against the European racing titans Ferrari and Porsche was unheard of in the early 60s. In 1966, with Henry Ford II’s vision and Carroll Shelby’s know how, a Ford GT 40 dominated the 24 Hours of LeMans, taking first, second and third place. The GT 40 would go on to win the race again in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

 

(Photo courtesy of www.wikimedia.org)
 

A New GT Heads for LeMans in 2016

Just as it did 50 years ago, the Ford GT is heading to LeMans. Unveiled in Detroit early this year, Ford’s new supercar is the flagship of their efforts to stay at the forefront of technology. “That same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us today,” says Ford’s executive chairman Bill Ford.

 

(Photo courtesy of www.roadandtrack.com)
 

Poised to Make History … Again

The new Ford GT has a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, Brembo brake rotors and calipers and an “active” suspension that lowers the car itself at speed for stability and better aerodynamics. The GT has 600+ horsepower and a top speed of 200 mph. Some say it has the best power to weight ratio of any car – period. This isn’t just a marketing statement on Ford’s part. The designers and engineers were seeking the ultimate handling experience and clearly had Ferrari set squarely in their sights.

 
 
 

I Want My New GT!

The new 2017 GT has everyone talking! At this year’s National Rally, Ford announced that it will allow current GT owners to apply for an allocation of one of the limited edition cars. The line began forming immediately.

 
 
 

Celebrating Ford’s History

We were thrilled to be there in Dearborn to celebrate Ford’s history. As a former owner of one of these beauties, it is exciting to see a whole new generation of car enthusiasts get so passionate about how unique the 2017 model really is. It perfectly complements the GT cars from the 60’s as well as the 2005-2006.

 
 
 

Proud Sponsor of the Ford GT National Rally

Classic Auto Insurance has been a proud sponsor of the Ford GT National Rally since 2007.  Participating in gatherings like this one, getting to meet all of the great owners, and sharing in our love of collecting is one of the highlights of our job. It is our hope that classic car collectors will continue to join us at these events and will help keep our passion alive and well. Whether you own a Ford GT or a Model T, your car needs protection. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 1/6/2016 2:49:50 PM with 0 comments


World of Wheels – Oldest Dragster in Existence in Indiana [Video]

World of Wheels Introduces Indy Crowd to Oldest Dragster

The crowd at the annual World of Wheels in Indianapolis got a rare treat in February – an up-close-and-personal look at the oldest existing dragster in Indiana. American Modern Insurance Group’s Rick Drewry talks with Bill Brunson, grandson of the cars’ original builder and racer, about this rolling piece of drag racing history.

 

The Evolution of Drag Racing

The “Brunson Special” is the first vehicle built specifically for drag racing in Indiana. It is a perfect example of how drag racing evolved from the local grass roots racing meets to the multi-million dollar events we see today. Vehicles like this show how rough and tumble the sport of drag racing was in its early years.


 

How Early Dragsters Roll

Brunson’s grandfather, also named Bill, was a tool and die man for Chrysler who built this amazing race car by hand. Constructed from old water pipe, the dragster is a great example of how early racing enthusiasts used whatever they had on hand to build their cars. Back then you could build a dragster for a couple thousand dollars. Now it costs millions.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.cacklefest.com)
 

Brunson Famous as Local Dragster

Bill Brunson Sr. raced at many of the local drag strips like Bunker Hill and Stout Field. In 1957 he competed at the 3rd World Series of Drag Racing (WSODR) in Cordova, IL. The Brunson dragster is said to have reached up to 170 mph on the track before it was retired in 1966.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.cacklefest.com)
 

Labor of Love Restoration

Sitting untouched in storage for over 30 years, the dragster was all but forgotten. Pulling the car out of moth balls and restoring it was a labor of love for the younger Brunson. Rebuilding it taught him a great deal about his grandfather (who passed away when he was three years old) and the sport he loved.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.cacklefest.com)
 

Hope She Cranks

When Brunson pulled the dragster out of his grandparent’s dusty garage, he didn’t have much hope that it would crank. But it only took six or seven seconds of trying before the engine turned over. There wasn’t much restoration needed. Just a new transmission, battery and some freshly painted panels. Soon the Brunson Special was ready for its first Cacklefest in 2004.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.cacklefest.com)
 

What’s a Cacklefest?

Where do classic dragsters go when they can’t be dragsters anymore? Why, Cacklefest of course – THE gathering of classic dragsters that were once certified to run in the top fuel or top funny car classes 20 to 40 years ago. These cars may no longer be legal to run down a track but they can still put on a show. When Cacklefest participants are idling at the same time, the symphony of sound can be incredible. With the roar of the engines, the intense fumes from the fuel and the amazing look of these cars – this is an assault on the senses.
 


 

Makes an Old Dog Feel like a Young Pup

People who attend Cacklefests go to see the dragsters from their childhood, cars capable of hurtling down a quarter mile track at 175-200 mph. As regulations increased and corporations took over the sponsoring the race cars however, things changed.
 


 

More Restored Dragsters than Ever Before

The car shows and Cacklefests have helped give many of the old top fuel dragsters a second lease on life. Today there are more restored race cars than at any tme in the last 40 years. Collectors are lovingly restoring dragsters from the 60’s and 70’s just to show them off at these events.
 



(Photo courtesy of John Olcott)
 

World of Wheels-Indianapolis 2016

Considered by many to be the Super Bowl of car shows, the 57th Annual World of Wheels-Indianapolis takes place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds February 12-14, 2016. The next time you see an old dragster on display at the World of Wheels, stop and talk to the owner. They’ll likely have a story to tell. Like the “Brunson Special,” a story of one man’s need for speed and the grandson who shared in that passion. Together they leave a legacy for future generations.

 


(Photo courtesy of www.cacklefest.com)
 

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

At Classic Auto Insurance, providing great customer service and customizable insurance coverage is our passion. Let our friendly staff help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car collection.

Posted: 9/28/2015 7:24:17 PM with 0 comments


NASCAR Hall of Fame – Honoring the Past, Looking to the Future

Bank of America 500 – Charlotte Motor Speedway Oct 10, 2015

The upcoming Bank of America 500 NASCAR race will take place in Charlotte, NC on October 10. For all of the NASCAR faithful who intend to travel to Charlotte Motor Speedway, be sure to check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame while you are there. This interactive facility is a “don’t miss” day of excitement for any race fan.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.wiki.org)

NASCAR Valley Wins Hall of Fame

Referred to as NASCAR Valley, the Charlotte, NC area is home to more motorsport employees than any other city. A whopping 73% of all drivers, teams, NASCAR offices and support businesses are based in this area. Charlotte won the bid for the NASCAR Hall of Fame back in 2006, beating out Daytona Beach, FL (NASCAR’s headquarters) and Atlanta, GA. Opened in 2010, this $160 million facility is filled with interactive displays and one-of-a-kind memorabilia for race fans to enjoy.
 


 

NASCAR Icons Immortalized

The Hall of Fame was established to honor NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport. The inaugural class of inductees in 2010 includes Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty.
 


(Logo courtesy of www.wiki.org)
 

History Comes to Life

This is no dusty old museum. NASCAR’s 60+ years of history comes to life at the Hall of Fame. The first artifact unveiled is the Plymouth Belvedere that Richard Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967. It still bears scraps and dings from its time on the track. You can also see the Fabulous Hudson Hornet that was driven by Marshall Teaque. This car won 27 of 34 NASCAR Grand National races in 1952 with Teague behind the wheel. The Hudson Motor Car Company is the first manufacturer to get involved in stock car racing. Their cars dominated the racing scene in the early 1950’s.
 


 

Stroll Glory Road 2.0

One of the exhibits is called Glory Road 2.0. It is a 33-degree banked ramp that matches the one at Talladega Superspeedway and features 18 different cars. The display salutes 46 past and present tracks that these cars have raced on. Check out Richard Petty’s 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass or Dale Earnhardt’s 1990 Chevy Lumina. You can almost see these cars speeding down the straightaway at Daytona!
 


 

Strap Yourself in for the Ride of a Lifetime

So how does a team get ready for a race? Go behind the scenes at the Race Week exhibit where you will see what a NASCAR team does to prepare for an event. If that still isn’t enough for you to get your motor revving, then strap into one of the race car simulators and try your hand at maneuvering the turns on a real NASCAR track.
 


 

NASCAR is Tops

NASCAR is second only to the NFL in terms of television ratings. It broadcasts races in over 150 countries. It holds the attendance record for 17 of the top 20 single day sporting events in the world. With Fortune 500 companies sponsoring more race teams than any other sport, it is no wonder that NASCAR can pump close to $4 billion a year into the region’s economy.
 


 

Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame

Stock car racing may have had its humble beginnings during the bootlegging era of Prohibition but NASCAR is definitely king today. Nowhere will you experience the full scope of its colorful history than at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. So if you find yourself headed south, come to Charlotte and see the Hall of Fame for yourself. It’s a race fan’s dream come true.
 


 

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Your classic car may never win a NASCAR race but we know it’s a winner in your eyes. Protect it! Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 9/24/2015 11:12:06 AM with 0 comments


1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad – Enduring Collector Favorite

Classic, Sporty Station Wagon

You may think the heyday of the American station wagon is long gone. Far from it! Granted, many have made their way to the scrap yard; however, a few of these family cars continue to fascinate classic enthusiasts. The Chevy Bel Air Nomad is one such model. Our friends at Elite Autos in Jonesboro, AR have a 1957 Nomad that demands a closer look.

Americana on Four Wheels

It may have been a while since you’ve seen a station wagon on the highways, although many car companies are reviving this classic car style (VW, for one). It doesn’t mean they are forgotten. The station wagon holds a special place in many of our hearts. Childhood memories of baby boomers –and their families- center on these four wheeled giants. They are a true piece of Americana with a devout following like the International Station Wagon Club.

 

 

The Corvette “Waldorf” Nomad Débuts

In 1954, the Chevy “Corvette” Nomad took the stage at the New York Waldorf Hotel as part of GM’s Motorama. Originally one of three Corvette-inspired concept cars, the “Waldorf” is a sleek and sporty two door wagon. It has all the classic appeal of a Chevy Corvette and was an instant hit with the public. Chevy rushed it into production, applying the name and the look to the existing Chevrolet Station Wagon. A total of five concept “Corvette” Nomads were produced for the New York show and only three still exist today.

 

(Photo courtesy of www.chevrolet.com)
 

Harley Earl’s “Dream Car”

The Corvette Nomad is one of legendary Chevy executive Harley Earl’s “dream cars”. He was an innovator in automotive design and developed the use of concept cars to gauge the public’s response. Earl pioneered automotive design techniques like the use of freeform sketching and hand sculpted clay models. We have Harley Earl to thank for the great looking rear tailfins on our classic cars.
 


 

The Bel Air Nomad is born

Though it was a hit at the Motorama event, the Nomad soon had more in common with the Bel Air Coupe than the Vette. Chevy felt they could sell more if it was associated with the popular Bel Air model, so they incorporated the Corvette Nomad design onto an existing body type.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.chevrolet.com)


“The Hot One” Proves to be All That

Advertised as “The Hot One”, the Bel Air Nomad possesses crisp, clean and thoroughly modern lines. With GM’s smallest two door body style, the Nomad comes with a V8 engine, a four barrel carburetor and a short stroke design that continued on in many Chevy models after Nomad production ceased.
 

 

Similar to Modern Hatchbacks

Produced from 1955-57, the Chevy Bel Air Nomad has chrome tailgate bars, a ribbed roof and slanted “B” pillars. Many of its characteristics are similar to modern day hatchbacks. Just as we do now, the front seat folds forward to crawl into the car. The bench back seat folds down to accommodate cargo. The two piece tailgate has a glass window that flips up and a tailgate that folds down. Many of these designs are still evident SUVs and cars today.
 


 

Bel Air Nomad Fully Loaded

At the time, the Bel Air Nomad was the most expensive car Chevy had to offer. Like its namesake, it comes fully loaded with a padded dashboard, interior carpet and chrome window molding. The Nomad was $300 more than the Bel Air convertible. Families may have found it too hard to justify the price tag compared with other station wagons on the market. GM ceased production in 1958 as demand tapered off.

 


 

Second Life for Corvette Nomad

Many collectors still regret that Chevy did not follow through with a more exact replica of the Corvette Nomad back in 1955. To answer this demand, the Superior Glass Works Company of Mulino, OR is making fiberglass replicas of the Corvette Nomad called the Superior 54 Sport Wagon, built on a C5 rolling chassis.
 


(Photo courtesy of www.hemmings.com)
 

’57 Chevy Nomad Still the One

There are still collectors out there today that would love to get their hands on an original 1957 Chevy Bel Air Nomad. The stylish body and trendy interior is still popular with car enthusiasts. Car clubs like the Chevy Nomad Club have cropped up all over the world in honor of these sporty wagons. They know a good thing when they see one.

 


 

Don’t Diss the Wagon!

Many envision the Griswold family car from the movie Vacation when they think of these rolling land barges. However you remember the great American station wagon, you have to admit happy times were had in them. From traveling cross country or just to school, they are ingrained in our culture. Before you even think about disrespecting the station wagon remember - your family SUV owes a lot to this maligned vehicle. Now, stop hitting your brother and turn around in your seat!

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

A Chevy Bel Air Nomad is a great addition to any classic collection. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 9/17/2015 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments


Awesome Hood Ornaments [INFOGRAPHIC]

Motor Mascots ~ Radiator Caps ~ Bonnet Toppers

By whatever name you give them, hood ornaments started out as a mechanical necessity for early car owners. Today they are iconic symbols of the luxury vehicles they adorn. Join us as we look back at the evolution of these small statuettes and their lasting influence on the automotive world.
 

Share with your friends and see how many awesome hood ornaments you can recognize.

 
 

Air of Mystique with a Past

The first known hood ornament belonged to King Tut of Egypt around 1332 BC. It was a golden orb depicting the sun god, Ra and it proudly adorned his favorite chariot. The first automotive bonnet topper also had a spiritual connection. Britain’s Lord Montagu placed a bronze medallion of Saint Christopher atop his car hood and the trend was born.

A Less Heavenly Purpose

While early owners might have sought a higher power’s blessing on their vehicle, the original purpose for the ornaments was as a temperature gauge for the radiator. The first automobiles had their radiators mounted on the outside of the car and were known to overheat easily. In 1912 the Boyce MotoMeter Co. patented their radiator cap with a thermometer. It was mounted on the car hood to make it easy for the driver to see. Technological advancements soon negated the need for hood mounted thermometers but owners had other ideas.

Era of Automotive Adornment

In the early days cars were the property of the very wealthy. The upper class soon wanted a way to announce their wealth and social standing to the world. Automobiles became rolling advertisements for their owners. A unique bonnet topper designed specifically for your car was as good as a calling card.

“The Whisper” Causes a Stir

Many of the uber rich sought out famous artists to create their one of a kind hood ornaments. British sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes created a stir when he designed a figurine of a woman for Lord Montagu’s car. (He decided to replace Saint Christopher). Titled “The Whisper” it depicted a woman holding her finger to her lips as if she had a secret. Rumor has it that the model for the ornament was none other than Lord Montagu’s mistress.

Rolls Royce’s “The Spirit of Ecstasy” Takes Flight

Roll Royce became so annoyed with their clients personalizing their cars that they had Sykes create their own ornament in 1911. Sykes based it on the figurine he designed for Lord Montagu and the legendary Rolls Royce mascot, “The Spirit of Ecstasy”, was born. It has been standard on all of their cars since the 1920’s.

A Small Company with Famous Clients

From 1920 until the mid-1950’s everyone wanted in on the personalized car mascot market. Today only one company remains. Louis Lejeune Ltd, a small English bronze foundry, continues to create custom car mascots and their clientele is pretty impressive. They created a silver Labrador with a pheasant in its mouth for Queen Elizabeth II’s Range Rover and a leaping frog ornament for the late Princess Diana’s car.

Lalique Car Mascot Collection Sells for $805,000

Many car collectors sought out artists and jewelers to create their unique mascot designs. Rene Lalique, famous Parisian glass designer, created hood ornaments out of crystal to adorn the front of many luxury cars. In 2012, Sotheby’s sold a 30-piece Lalique car mascot collection owned by antique car collector Ele Chesney for $805,000. It featured the “Victoire - Spirit of the Wind” and the “Cinq Chevaux - Five Horses.”

End of an Era

The era of hood ornaments came to an end in 1966 when political activist Ralph Nader deemed them too dangerous for the U.S. market. A fear that pedestrians would be impaled on the winged figures caused auto makers to begin to phase them out. Today only a handful of luxury car manufacturers still have car mascots. Today’s versions are spring loaded and flip back upon impact.

Need a Little Topper Too?

Though their heyday has come and gone, hood ornaments can still be appreciated for what they are – works of art. At your next car show be sure to check out all the unique car mascots on display. You may decide your car needs a little bonnet topper of its own.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Classic car enthusiasts know their cars are a work of art, which is why they want to protect them.  Let the friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right insurance policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 9/11/2015 5:56:20 PM with 0 comments


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