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A little about me.

I’ve been writing the Cars and Adventures blog for a few years now. I’m a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast originally from Indiana, about an hour from Chicago. I wanted a way to combine my love of cars and travel. Occasionally I’ll go off-topic, but I tend to stick to cars and travel. I primarily write about car-related events and locations I visit. I recently choose to move my website to WordPress. I’m new to WordPress, so if you have any advice or suggestions for my site, please feel free to reach out to me. Also, if there are any topics you think I should cover, please let me know!

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Drone Photograpthy of the Midwest.

I’ve been into drone photography for several years now. I usually take pictures of the landscapes in the countryside near my home in Indiana. My subjects, out of convenience, tend to be rivers, farm fields, and small woods near me. Getting a drone was sort of a natural evolution for me. I have always liked airplanes and photography as well as RC cars. I grew up south of the middle of nowhere, so my interest in landscape photography was a forgone conclusion.
A creek that runs to the Illinois Border.

I use a GoPro Karma drone with a GoPro Hero Black 5 camera. I went with a GoPro camera because I had another GoPro camera, and was a fan of it. I also really liked the controller. Many drones require a cellphone to be placed on the controller to act as a screen. The GoPro Karma controller has a built-in touch screen. An interesting feature of the Karma is that it has an integrated flight sim to help teach the basics of drone flight. This is accessed entirely through the controller. The Karma also can follow pre-planned flight paths. Although the GoPro Karma has been discontinued, it still receives updates. It has almost 20 minutes of battery life and can reach almost 40 mph when it is in sport-mode. It takes video as well as pictures, and its pictures are noticeable due to the distinctive “fish-eye” look due to its lens.
Looking towards Illinois from an Indiana farm.
All the pictures here have been edited using Instagram. I got into using Instagram by chance. I had been uploading my drone pictures to it and figured I would try it out. Most of my edits involve cranking the saturation to the max; I also enjoy giving the sky extra color. I think it helps make the picture more interesting. I tend to use a lot of lines in my photos, stuff like rivers and country paths. I look forward to flying new drones and trying new photo editing software.

Wetlands near my neigborhood.
Just outside of my neighborhood.

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French Lick, Indiana or Bust: My Odyssey through the Heart of the American Heartland.

 If you’re not from Indiana, or the Midwest, or America, or even if you are from Indiana, you could be forgiven if you think that a motorcycle road trip set entirely in Indiana would be boring. In my early 20’s I undertook a series of increasingly long motorcycle road trips with my father cumulating with one that took us to the banks of the winding Ohio River. We were able to peer across the river to Kentucky.
I was still on my first street bike then. A 1984 Honda Sabre that I had gotten in high school. It was advanced for the era, with dual front disc brakes, a liquid-cooled V-4, a 5-speed with overdrive, and shaft drive. It even had a gear indicator. The engine size had been reduced from 750cc of the previous year to 700. I didn’t have saddlebags for it, but I was able to tie down an overnight bag to the passenger seat. My father has a 2006 Harley Davidson Soft Tail Deluxe; it looks like it rode out of the 1950s complete with white walls. He did the heavy lifting with the luggage.
We left out of our small hometown on the Southernmost tip of what is known as Northwest Indiana. A grouping of increasingly big towns and cities that lead to Chicago. Leaving out of Lowell, Indiana, we headed south on US 41, famously mentioned in the Allman Brothers song Ramblin’ Man. This part of US 41 is rural. A few small towns dot the road, but it’s mostly farm fields and bits of what used to be a mighty forest. By the evening, we arrived at the city of Terre Haute, where we spent the night, roughly 135 miles away. Leaving out early in the morning, our trip was much the same as it had been, rural farmland with light traffic. That is until we saw the plane. Crop dusters are an amazing sight to behold. Their necessary yet acrobatic flying conjures up images of old-time barnstormers. Flying low enough to make sure whatever the hell pesticide it is they are spraying gets on the crops and pulls up quick enough to dodge telephone wires. The plane we saw was a crop duster, and it was coming in hot. We both wear full-face helmets; my father, looking behind him, noticed I had my visor down. He did the same. Cutting from right to left across my field of vision, the pilot pulled up as he closed the mechanism that releases the pesticide. It wasn’t exact as both of us, and our bikes were hit. I can honestly say without exaggeration that I have been crop dusted, probably one of a handful of people in all of history who can say the same. When we came to the next stoplight, we discussed what had happened. We then headed to a carwash in Washington, Indiana, for our bikes and ourselves. We hosed off our jackets, helmets, and motorcycles. That left only one question, what was it that sprayed us? Calling poison control wouldn’t help as there are so many things it could be. We needed to go to the source. We needed to find a crop-duster. That’s where Mom came in. We called home and let her know what happened. We later learned that my mom had gotten ahold of a crop duster, he paused the conversation saying he had to make a turn… in his plane. Turns out what we had been sprayed by wasn’t anything to be alarmed by. It was a short ride that day, only about 70 miles, just as well, given our distraction. After checking in to our hotel and dropping off our luggage, we headed to one of my favorite restaurants: Pizza Hut!
Our third day brought about a radical change in terrain. Gone were the long highways and vast expanses of farmland. Enter the Hoosier National Forrest. We were met with winding roads and massive elevation changes that wound through the deep forest. No fields in sight, as if by magic when we left the woods, we were greeted by another radical change in scenery: French Link, Indiana. French Lick does not look like it belongs in Indiana, surrounded by hills and forests on all sides. It even has a casino. Its sort of a resort town. It’s probably been called the French Rivera or the Los Vegas of Indiana at some point. We stopped off at the Indiana Railway Museum, which is outdoors. They had a steam locomotive, some train cars, and a handcart. They even offer train rides. We then headed to the West Barden Springs Hotel. Like many things in French Lick, the West Barden Springs Hotel does not look like it belongs in Indiana. It looks like a colorful castle mixed with a circus tent. We rode down the long brick driveway that lead to it, then we went into the massive dome that made up a large part of the building. In the outer circle, there were a variety of shops, including, interestingly enough, a Harley Davidson gift shop with a classic Harley on display.
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The author with his 1984 Honda Sabre at the West Barden Springs Hotel.
After leaving French Lick, we headed south, back into the countryside to Santa Clause, Indiana, a town famous for its Santa Claus themed amusement park. We then headed to the small border town of Tell City that is set against the winding Ohio River that marks the southern border of Indiana with Kentucky. We rode through the small town to the floodwall on the outskirts of town, following a road that runs on the other side. From there, we were able to see to the banks and hills that represented the start of Kentucky. From there we rode east tracing the Ohio River, on what is known as the Ohio River Scenic Byway. It’s a two-lane road. Hills and woods to our left. Passing a lock in the river. Turning inland, we rode up a steep hill to a lookout nestled in a forest that overlooks locks of the Ohio River known as Eagle’s Bluff. From there, peering over the trees on the hill, you get an amazing view of the locks, as well as the distant, forest cloaked hills in Kentucky. We then rode north to Bloomington, home of Indiana University.
From there, we headed northwest, hitting a light, steady rain, we stopped to put on our rain gear.  We eventually rejoined the path we took down in back north up Route 41. On our way back we stopped in New Port, a small city, known for its annual antique car hill climb. We rode up the hill that leads out of town that makes up the course, a line in the road painted to indicate the finish. Just as we did coming down, we passed just West of West Lafayette. Best known for being the home of Purdue University. Overall, we put on over 800 miles on our bikes. Both bikes did great with no mechanical problems. I’m looking forward to going on more and longer trips with my dad.
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The Pontiac Pegasus: The Time Pontiac put a Ferrari V-12 in a Firebird.

In 1970 Pontiac created one of their most unusual concept cars of all time. A Ferrari V-12 powered Pontiac Firebird. It seemed to blur the line between a passion project and a concept car. However, under closer observation, the practical nature of it is revealed. GM was no stranger to usual concept cars; the name Firebird itself comes from a series of turbine-powered concept cars from the ’50s. But why would Pontiac, a company famous for its performance cars and engines, put a Ferrari V-12 in one of their cars? At 4.4 liters, the V-12 was much smaller than the average performance V-8 to come from GM. The amount of passion that went into the car was obvious. There was not only a custom Pegasus logo on the grill but a Porsche-esque coat of arms on the hood. An original design. The name Pegasus is derived from combing the Firebird (a mythical creature in its own right) and that of a horse. The Ferrari logo depicts what is known as “the Prancing Pony.” The result is the legendary mythical winged horse, the Pegasus.
The Pontiac Pegasus at the 2019 Trans Am Nationals.
This year I had the chance to see the Pontiac Pegasus in person; it was part of a group of show cars brought to the Trans Am Nationals in Fairborn, Ohio. It was in excellent condition. I even got to hear it run as it was moved for the night. Oddly enough, it gave off a low rumble that would not be out of place coming from a small block Chevy. It was great to get up close and see it with the hood opened and closed.
The Ferrari V-12. It is paired with a 5-speed Ferrari transmission.
By 1970 the second generation of Pontiac’s pony car, the Firebird, was released. It was lower and sleeker than its predecessor. The muscle car performance wars of the ’60s were winding down, curtailed by environmental legislation. A headline on an issue of Hot Rod magazine read: 71’ Cars, Will they Perform? Pony cars were still going strong. The popular road racing series, and Trans Am namesake the SCCA Trans-Am series was going strong, showcasing the handling of the pony cars. The Pegasus was a perfect showcase of that handling, with a lighter V-12 then the normal V-8 that came with the Trans Ams and Formulas.
The Pontiac Pegasus’ interior. Note the Ferrari gauges.

I was first introduced to the Pegasus by the great book “The Fabulous Firebird.” It gave an excellent description of how the Pegasus came to be, but one part always made me curious. It was said that Enzo Ferrari himself donated the motor. This connection was odd to me, as there wasn’t much of a relationship between Mr. Ferrari and the American auto industry, especially after Ford’s attempted purchase of Ferrari. While at the 2019 Trans Am Nations I had a chance to speak with a former Pontiac engineer, it turns out, Bill Mitchell, at that time GM’s design vice president, and the man behind the project was a big car collector and someone who had a lot of connections within the industry. The motor was sent courtesy of a U.S. Ferrari dealership.

The car itself has many interesting design elements. Including a racing-inspired gas cap on the trunk area of the car. (this design was also included on the 1974 Pontiac concept car the Banshee.) There were also fog lights, which could be a nod to the car’s European influence. Despite the European influence, a uniquely American design touch is featured on the car. Much like the Firebird Formulas and the 1969 Trans Am, the Pegasus features an air cleaner inside the hood itself, taking advantage of the cold air available. In perhaps a nod to racing rules dating from before the car was made, there was a full-sized spare tire prominently displayed in the back of the car under the rear glass.
To the Author, the Pegasus is a passion project with real-world bearings, from a time when GM was the largest manufacturer on the planet, and the future of cars and how they would perform was in doubt. Today we find ourselves in a similar situation; it will be interesting to see how much the performance enthusiast is considered as vehicles continue to evolve.
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My Trip to the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum.

              Elkhart, Indiana, located just west of the Indiana/Ohio border, has quite a few museums in it. One is the RV Hall of Fame, the other Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum. The RV Hall of Fame makes sense, Indiana has a strong connection to the automotive industry, and Elkhart is the RV Capital of the World (there was even a motorcycle made there, called the “Elk.”) The comic book industry did not have that connection to Elkhart. Elkhart is like many other Midwestern towns, quietly nestled off of a major expressway that weaves through the heartland, but with a little more industry. So why here?
The Sheild used by Captain America, in the film Captian America: The First Avenger.
Captain America’s shield, from Captain America: The First Avenger.

              The connection is a lifelong comic book fan, Allen Stewart. A real estate agent by trade, his collection spans over 70 years and features everything from rare issue #1 comics to the Shelby Cobra Ironman landed on in the first Ironman movie, and the motorcycle from the first Ghost Rider movie. There is even an annual comic book convention there. One of the things that make this collection so impressive is that up until a few months ago, it was literally located in his backyard.

The Author with Adam West’s Personal Batman costume.

              I got the chance to visit The Hall of Heroes last year when it was still behind Mr. Stewart’s house. After a quick call to confirm its location (it was in a small row of homes that could almost be considered countryside.) I pulled into his driveway. Less then a minute later, I was greeted by him as he left his house. Once inside, I was greeted by comic books for sale, both new and old, and Captain America’s shield from the movie Captain America: The First Avenger. The first room was organized into the Silver and Golden Age of comics. It was hard to imagine how much more could be put on the shelves, as the walls were filled with countless items on display. There was even a small “Batcave” that housed, among other things Adam West’s personal Batman suit he used for appearances in the 70s and 80s, and the actual boots used in the classic 1960’s tv show. The second floor was stacked full of things, as well. On one of the shelves was a 1930’s wooden Superman action figure. Near that is the impressive, life-size Iron Man armor. There is even an old X-Men arcade game.
The Author with a lifesize replica of Iron Man’s armor.

              After going back downstairs, I headed to the only part of the building that wasn’t packed with rare comics and collectibles. In there is the Shelby Cobra from Iron Man and the Hell Cycle from the movie Ghost Rider. The Shelby Cobra actually came from Gas Monkey Garage, the famous custom car shop that is the focus of the reality tv show “Fast & Loud”, along with its owner Richard Rawlings. For a small donation, I was able to sit on both of them. In the case of the Shelby Cobra, I got to do several poses, including the iconic crash-landing pose. For my picture on the Hell Cycle, Mr. Stewart even plugged it in, causing the engine to glow; this was used to generate the effect in the movie. I bought a comic book describing the journey of the museum and got it autographed by Mr. Stewart. There are always new things being added to the Museum. Now that he is at a new location, there is much more space for everything. You can check out the website at https://hallofheroesmuseum.com/ or experience it in person at its new site: 1915 Cassopolis Street, Elkhart, IN 46514.I’m looking forward to seeing how much it has grown.

The Author with the Shelby Cobra used in the first Iron Man film.

The Author on the Hell Cycle from the movie Ghost Rider.

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Vintage Motocross at Wildcat Creek MX.

I attended my first vintage motocross race at Wildcat Creek MX this August. The race is part of a vintage series called Midwest Vintage Motocross. You can read more about them on their official website here. You can check out the track’s website by following this link. Wildcat Creek MX is just west of Lafayette, Indiana. It is a 2-day event featuring both modern and vintage dirt bikes. It appeared the majority of the vintage bikes were from the ’80s, although there were a few from the ’70s as well. We arrived during practice in the morning, right before the first race of the day was to begin.
A vintage Honda during one of the races.
Going through the pits we pasted rows of trucks and trailers, with classic bikes from all over the world, such has Husqvarnas, Maicos, Yahamas, Suzukis, Hondas, Kawasakis, a Penton and a CZ. The Wildcat Creek MX track is built on a small hill, and at the bottom of the hill is a tree line that the course briefly disappears behind. It utilizes the natural terrain. The jumps are exclusively made up of forgiving tabletop jumps, which is good for the shorter suspension travel of the vintage bikes. There are several light evaluation changes, as well. The infield is accessible via a tunnel under one of the larger tabletop jumps which makes the track very accessible to spectators. It’s a somewhat lengthy course. We hung out just after the first turn. This gave us a great view of the start of the race, and several other parts of the track as well. Wildcat Creek MX even has an indoor pace to eat.
The John Penton designed, KTM powered Penton.
It was interesting to see vintage bikes on the track, along with modern ones, as multiple classes were run at the same time. In some of the races, there was more than a 30-year difference in the ages of the bikes. It seemed that almost every race we watched had a mostly full starting line. It was refreshing to hear so many 2-strokes on the track. As the motos went on a light drizzle slowly turned into a total downpour. We left around that time. I’m looking to returning to watch some more vintage motocross racing. It was cool to see so many valuable classic bikes, on the track doing what they were made to do.
A bike from the Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna.
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DeLorean: How One of the World’s Most Unique Sports Cars Created One of the World’s Most Unique Car Companies.

              The DeLorean car was the brainchild of former GM Executive John Z. DeLorean. He founded the DeLorean Motor Company or DMC to produce a truly unique sports car. Equipped with a mid-engine mounted Volvo V-6, an unpainted stainless steel body and gullwing doors, the two-seater DeLorean was one of a kind. The Volvo V-6 was an interesting choice given John DeLorean’s Detroit background. It shows the emphasis placed on handling by having a lighter weight engine. The design reflected the period it was created in, the late 70s, while still having a timeless element to it. Like many cars of the era, it had sharp angles and flat surfaces. Since the company only made one model, the DMC-12 in one color, the company name brings to mind an image of an exact model.

The DeLorean With Its Iconic Gullwing Doors Raised. Photograph by Kevin Abato

                                                             The Original Company
              The DeLorean went into production in 1981; however, by 1983 the company had gone out of business with slightly under 10,000 cars made. It was a difficult time for the auto industry, and the unique DeLorean didn’t take off. Cut to 1985; a science fiction-adventure-comedy called Back To The Future was released. The film series revolved around time travel. The DeLorean was a perfect fit for the 1985 time travel classic. In the film, a time machine is built out of the futuristic-looking DeLorean; although it is only used in a few key scenes, it made a lasting impression on filmgoers. The film was a hit and had two more sequels. The DeLorean had, just several years after going out of production cemented its reputation as one of movies most iconic film cars. Many fans have even built detailed replicas of the film car. Had the timing of the film and the company going out of business been different. The film’s popularity could have had a major impact on sales.

Picture by Sicnac.

                                                                 The Company Today.
              According to its website, the new DeLorean company is completely separate from the original. The U.S. based company sells, repairs, supplies parts, and accessories for DeLoreans. They created an electric DeLorean concept car. They even sell used DeLoreans. They have locations around the U.S. DeLorean and also sell high-performance kits. As per their website they had once sold newly assembled cars out of a combination of old and new parts. When Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky ended production, DeLorean had expressed interest in buying it, even going so far as to have concept art of what one might look like created. Recently DeLorean announced that they had planned to make new DeLoreans, with the only modification being modern engines. They even released a teaser trailer of sorts to promote it. It had a time-related theme, showing the impact that the Back To The Future trilogy had on the company. There are legal hurdles they must overcome, however. As a bona fide part of pop culture, the future looks bright for the sports car that defied convention.

DeLorean with red pain. Picture by Greg Gjerdingen

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The 2019 Trans Am Nationals.

               This August I went to the 35th Annual Trans Am Nationals in Fairborn, Ohio. Although I was only able to attend on Saturday and Sunday, I was able to see a lot of stuff and got to go to the Tipp City Cruise. The Cruise is considered a highlight of the event by many. This year there were 485 cars. According to one person who was attending the record was around 600 back in 2002. Although it was a little off from the all-time high, it is still impressive considering that in 2002 the Pontiac Trans Am was still in production.
The 1971 Pontiac Pegasus.
               This year was unique in that the GM Heritage Center had brought several Pontiac Firebird concept cars from Detroit. This was a rare opportunity to see these cars as the Center is not open to the public, although large groups can arrange a visit. They included the Banshee, a red on red concept car with a longer, sleeker hood then production models. The Pontiac Pegasus, a V-12 Ferrari-Powered 1971 Firebird. The K Type Trans Am station wagon concept car was also in attendance. There was also an unveiling of the nearly completely restored Silverbird racecar, as well as the actual 1989 Trans Am used to pace the Indianapolis 500. There was a huge 1989 Turbo Pace Car turn out as it was the 30th anniversary for them. Several high-ranking Pontiac engineers were in attendance as well who helped shape the Trans Am in its early days of production in the ’60s and ’70s.
The Pontiac Banshee concept car.

               It was amazing seeing cars in person that I had only seen pictures of in books or magazines. The Pegasus was beautiful with its deep red paint. The body differed significantly from a production Firebird. The interior had been modified as well. The Banshee was also radically modified from a stock Firebird. Not only was the front of the car sleeker, but the doors had also been modified enough that that traditional full side windows had to be substituted with a much smaller one, like the kind seen on a DeLorean. There was also extensive pinstriping done as well, which makes sense as the car is from the mid-’70s. The other concept car was the Trans Am Type K. I had seen it years ago when the show was located at a nearby airport back in 2006. The Trans Am Type K is unique in that it is a station wagon prototype. It features redesigned rear seats, giving backseat occupants more room. It also has a lower rearview mirror to counter the changed rear visibility. A station wagon may seem like an odd choice for a Trans Am concept car, however, in the late ’70s, the Trans Am was a big enough seller that GM could afford to try something different. The sleek Silverbird was cool in a book and awe-inspiring in person. It was the brainchild of Pontiac engineer turned racecar driver and designer Herb Adams. It’s custom body mounted on a race car tube frame made it stand out from production models. It was very cool to see them all side-by-side.

The Pontiac Trans Am Type K concept car.
               
                The Tipp City Cruise was always fun. It was nice seeing the hundreds of Firebirds and Trans Ams converge and park around the beautiful downtown area. There is a separate award ceremony for the Tipp City Cruise, as well as a DJ. On Sunday, I was able to check out more cars and go to the Mini Nationals, located in a room at the hotel. The Mini Nationals is always fun to see. It is an entire room filled with die-cast and plastic model kit Firebirds and Trans Ams representing many different scales, both unboxed and still in the original box. There were also some dioramas set up as well. Several people had brought large collections of cars to it.
A 1969 Pontiac Trans Am. The first year for the Trans Am.
               On Sunday a charity auction was held. Some of the items auctioned off for the charity event were a slot car set autographed by several of the Pontiac engineers in attendance. It was a great show that took a lot of effort to pull off, but the staff did an amazing job making sure everything ran smoothly. It was great catching up with old friends and meeting new people. I’m looking forward to seeing what new things are there next year.
A large collection at the Mini Nationals.
One of the many 1989 Turbo Trans Ams at the show.
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An Introduction to the Barrett-Jackson Auction

              For years the name Barrett-Jackson has been synonymous with high-end collector car auctions. Established in 1971, the Barrett-Jackson Auction is one of America’s best-known collector car auctions, attracting bidders from all over the world. The Jackson part of Barrett-Jackson is baseball great Reggie Jackson, himself a classic car lover. Often associated with rare classic muscle cars that go for upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the multi-day event has a diverse array of cars from many different manufacturers, spanning decades and even a few brand new ones, although the majority tends to be classic American cars. Several charities are represented at the auctions as well, with the money raised from cars going to them. They range from custom hot rods, ultra-original classics, resto-mods, and a few late model European cars as well. Part of the excitement of the auction is wondering what will be driven across the stage next. Bidding takes place in person, online, or over the phone. There is often a lot of excitement and energy that goes along with the bidding. Although there have been many ultra high-cost cars there is a wide range in regards to price, lower prices tend to be around the $20,000 mark. There are multiple Barrett-Jackson auctions throughout the year in the U.S. They even have their own year-round classic car showroom with cars for sale. Their website also mentions there is an automotive memorabilia auction as well. You can view their official website here: https://azure.barrett-jackson.com.
A Ford GT at the Barrett Jackson Auction. Picture by Rbdesimone
                     The Classic Car Auction Goes Mainstream.
               Barrett-Jackson receives live multi-day television coverage that spans a large part of the day. It also features numerous celebrities from the car world and beyond. With expert commentators, it almost feels like a sports event. In April of 2018, the auction was held in Palm Springs, Florida. Under and above car cameras help capture the action. Viewers could learn about cars by simply watching the coverage as the commentators delved into detail about them. There have been several records set at Barrett-Jackson as well. For awhile the record for the most expensive U.S. vehicle ever sold was set at the auction. The GM Futurliner, a unique RV/Bus looking vehicle that was used on promotional tours for GM. April of 2018, at the auction’s Florida location actor Burt Reynolds, auctioned off 3 of his personal Trans Ams and appeared on stage. One of which was an ultra-low mile Indianapolis 500 Pace Car complete with lights on the roof.
A GM FuturLiner. Picture by Binelli2011
Collector Car Auction and Beyond
               Barrett Jackson is a big event, with a lot going on not even counting the auction. They have their own line of merchandise. The multi-day event extends far beyond the indoor auction house. There is a lot to see and do not even counting the auction itself. As their website shows they have a diverse array of vendors as well. You can learn more about them here: https://azure.barrett-jackson.com/Exhibitor/Home As more and more cars become collectible, it seems the Barett Jackson Auction will be as popular as ever
Site of a Barrett-Jackson auction in Florida. Picture by Brett Levin Photography.
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Guide to the NHRA’s Pro Classes.

            The NHRA or National Hot Rod Association is America’s largest drag racing sanctioning body. It was founded in 1951. Today it has several types of professional classes for cars and motorcycles. Some of which can trace their origin to the very early days of professional drag racing. Those classes have evolved and changed significantly over the years improving performance greatly.
Top Fuel Dragsters
The fastest class is the top fuel dragster. Also known as “rails” due to their long and narrow shape are capable of incredible speeds and acceleration. They have evolved over their 50 some year history, but one thing remains the same, going fast. They are characterized by their long narrow body and large back tires and skinny, almost bicycle like front wheels. The driver sits in front of the supercharged nitro-powered Hemi-V8. In place of a traditional steering wheel, there is an airplane yoke looking control. They have a single-speed system engagement. Depending on driver preference there may be a canopy covering the driver. It is common for dragsters to achieve speeds of over 320 mph.

A Top Fuel Dragster. Picture by clickphoto.

                                                              Top Fuel Funny Cars

Top fuel funny cars, easily recognizable by their lift-up bodies, share the same engine and drive system as the dragsters, although they bear more of a resemblance to a road-going car than a dragster. Their body is designed to maximize aerodynamics. The driver sits in the middle. Like dragsters, they have massive back tires to deal with the large amount of power they have.

A top fuel funny car. Picture by NaBUru38

Pro Stock
Pro Stock cars, also known as “door slammers” look more like a road-going car then funny cars. As their nickname suggests they have opening doors. They also have 5-speed manual transmissions and steering wheel that look like something similar to what is found in a road-going car. Unlike funny cars, the driver sits on the left side of the car. Until a few years ago they had large hoods scoops. They no longer have them giving them more of a production car appearance.

                                            

A pro stock car. Note the hood scoop. Picture by GSenkow.

                                              Pro Stock Motorcycle and Top Fuel Harley

One of the two main motorcycle classes in the NHRA is the pro stock motorcycles. They are powered either by a straight four or a v-twin engine. The manufacturers represented are Suzuki, Harley, and EBR. They sport a massive back tire which is the size of a car tire. Unlike the car classes, there is quite a bit of variation in the looks of the bikes. The Harleys, for example, do not have any bodywork covering their engine, much like their road-going bikes. It is common for a Pro Stock Motorcycle to reach speeds of over 195 mph. One of the most noticeable features of the bikes is their long wheelie bars.
Top Fuel Harley
A fairly new class is Top Fuel Harley. These bikes are unique in the fact that they have a parachute to help them slow down, much like other drag cars do to help deal with the higher speeds. This one-make class is modeled after Harley Davidson “baggers”, with large front fairings and they are powered by V-Twin engines using nitro.