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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Corvorado Chronicles: The Eccentric Fusion of Corvette and Eldorado

Unique ONES - The realm of automotive innovation often sparks from the fusion of iconic car designs. Among these amalgamations, the Dunham Coach Motor Car Company's creation, the Corvorado, stands out as a peculiar masterpiece. In the realm of unique cars, the Corvorado, a hybrid of the 1970s Chevy Corvette and Cadillac Eldorado, holds a distinctive position.
In the realm of unique cars, the Corvorado, a hybrid of the 1970s Cadillac Eldorado and Chevy Corvette, holds a distinctive position. (Picture from: Madle.org)
Dunham's workshop in New Jersey birthed seven of these peculiar creations, with one even gracing the silver screen in the James Bond film Live and Let Die. Les Dunham, the mastermind behind this automotive spectacle, aptly dubbed his creation the Corvorado, showcasing his ingenuity in blending two classic car models. The result is a visual marvel that captures attention and sparks intrigue.
The Corvorado crafted by Dunham Coach Motor Car Company, and adorned with a faux exhaust, spare tire, two-tone paint, and colossal "Super Fly" headlights. (Picture from: Madle.org)
Crafting the Corvorado involved melding parts from early 1970s Eldorados seamlessly onto a partially stripped C3 Corvette chassis. The A-pillars and T-tops, cleverly integrated, camouflage the Corvette's origins
Inside, the Corvorado offered a luxurious experience, though photographic evidence remains sparse. (Picture from: Madle.org)
Later iterations of the Corvorado employed fiberglass cut from molds derived from the initial steel cars, accentuating the audacity of this fusion. To elevate the extravagance, Dunham adorned the vehicle with a faux exhaust, spare tire, two-tone paint, and colossal "Super Fly" headlights.
As you can see, some Corvorados boasted custom "pedestrian slicer" wire wheels with centers extending beyond the tires, creating a spectacle of opulence. (Picture from: Madle.org)
In a nod to excess, some Corvorados boasted custom "pedestrian slicer" wire wheels with centers extending beyond the tires, creating a spectacle of opulence. These cars, aptly dubbed "pimp phones," paved the way for their features to influence mainstream Eldorados, Cadillacs, and Stutz Blackhawks, adding an air of eccentricity to the automotive scene, particularly in the streets of New York, where pimps took the wheel.
Propelled by a standard Corvette 350 ci V8 engine paired with an automatic transmission, the Corvorado preserved the integrity of its original drivetrain. (Picture from: Reddit)
Powering the Corvorado was a standard Corvette 350 ci V8 engine linked to an automatic transmission, maintaining the integrity of the original drivetrain. Robust springs and shocks provided necessary support for the heavy loads, from the chrome steel radiator shell to the oversized bumpers and flamboyant chrome features.
One of the seven Corvorados crafted by Les Dunham had played a role in the James Bond film 'Live and Let Die.' (Picture from: MotorBiscuit)
Inside, the Corvorado offered a luxurious experience, though photographic evidence remains sparse. Some even boasted waterfalls with storage tanks in the trunk, a testament to Dunham's commitment to extravagance. 
This neglected Corvorado discovered in Chicago is currently undergoing a gradual restoration, shedding light on the mysterious destiny of these unique vehicles. (Picture from: MotorBiscuit)
Regrettably, fuel shortages and changing automotive trends in the 1970s resulted in the abandonment of several Corvorados, even by their extravagant owners. A neglected Corvorado discovered in Chicago is currently undergoing a gradual restoration, shedding light on the mysterious destiny of these unique vehicles.
Yet, as time progressed, interest in these unique creations experienced a renaissance. A reproduction in California and the enduring curiosity surrounding Dunham's series production cars attest to the enduring legacy of the Corvorado, an automotive oddity that refuses to fade into obscurity. In the grand tapestry of automotive history, Dunham's creations, including the Corvorado, stand as vibrant testaments to the spirit of innovation that thrives on the unexpected and the extravagant. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DUNHAM COACH | MOTORBISCUIT | HEMMINGS | MADLE.ORG | REDDIT ]
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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Forgotten Wings: The Tale of Brazil's Silver Swan

Forgotten ONES - In the dynamic tapestry of Brazilian automotive history, hidden gems and unique creations surface, spotlighting the skill of Samba's artisans. As we venture into the less-explored stories of Brazil's automotive scene, a captivating narrative of craftsmanship unfolds, transcending borders and echoing the innovative spirit—enter the Cisne Prateado (Portuguese for Silver Swan). It's crucial to note that this isn't the work of today's trendy Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.
The Cisne Prateado (Portuguese for Silver Swan) was a remarkable piece of automotive artistry took shape at Auto Mecânica Atenas in São Paulo, nestled between 1956 and 57. (Picture from: LexicarBrazil and refurbished by Visual Paradigm Online)
Nestled between 1956 and 57, a remarkable piece of automotive artistry took shape at Auto Mecânica Atenas in São Paulo. The masterminds behind this creation were none other than Constantin Theodore Kessar, a Greek immigrant, and Miguel Borrel, a Spaniard. Both brought their wealth of experience from the global automobile industry – Kessar from GM and Ford in the USA, and Borrel from the renowned Spanish Pegaso, a manufacturer of cutting-edge sports cars in the 1950s.
The Cisne Prateado's stunning designs were crafted by Constantin Theodore Kessar and Miguel Borrel. (Picture from: LexicarBrazil and refurbished by Visual Paradigm Online)
Built on a North American Ford chassis, the car boasted an engine meticulously tuned to unleash a formidable 145 horsepower. The fuel pump, radiator, and filters underwent resizing to accommodate the additional 40 horsepower, with the transmission sourced from a Lincoln.
However, the true masterpiece was the meticulously handcrafted steel body of the Brazilian Silver Swan by Borrel. (Picture from: LexicarBrazil and refurbished by Visual Paradigm Online)
The pièce de résistance, however, was the steel body of this Brazilian Silver Swan meticulously handcrafted by Borrel. This canvas became the embodiment of the team's ingenuity, featuring a blend of practical and avant-garde elements. Among the standout features were the whimsical "stability wings" – fish tails conceived to enhance safety, the opulent "gold-plated" grille details, and an external paint job that boasted an astonishing 54 shades of maroon.
Standout features included whimsical 'stability wings' – fish tails for safety, opulent 'gold-plated' grille details, and an exterior with 54 shades of maroon. (Picture from: LexicarBrazil and refurbished by Visual Paradigm Online)
The team's inventive flair extended to the car's functionality, with upward-sliding door windows seamlessly disappearing into the roof. Additionally, two travel suitcases adorned with the same material as the upholstery found a unique home behind the seats, as the car embraced a minimalist design with only two seats and no traditional trunk.
The Cisne Prateado built on a North American Ford chassis, the car boasted an engine meticulously tuned to unleash a formidable 145 horsepower. (Picture from: LexicarBrazil and refurbished by Visual Paradigm Online)
Imbued with the fervor surrounding the nascent Brazilian automobile industry, Auto Mecânica Atenas harbored ambitious plans to metamorphose into a manufacturer specializing in bespoke bodies. However, the realization of these aspirations hinged on securing the necessary financial backing – a goal that, unfortunately, remains shrouded in uncertainty, with no reports confirming the success of their endeavors.

The Cisne Prateado featured in black-and-white photos within a 1950s German magazine article. (Picture from: Classic And Recreation Sportscar)
As we navigate the annals of Brazilian automotive history, this unsung tale of creativity and ambition serves as a testament to the diverse and dynamic spirit that permeates the country's automotive landscape. It underscores the significance of acknowledging these hidden gems, ensuring that the legacy of remarkable craftsmanship endures, even in the shadows cast by more prominent players on the global stage. Brazil's automotive tapestry, rich and multifaceted, continues to unravel, revealing stories that captivate and celebrate the artistry born from the fusion of passion and innovation. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LEXICAR BRAZIL | CLASSIC AND RECREATION SPORTSCAR | ALLCARINDEX | ERWINHORST.NL | GARAGEMBRASIL ]
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Monday, February 26, 2024

Chrysler's Futuristic Leap: Unveiling the Halcyon Concept

New EV - As Chrysler celebrates its upcoming 100th anniversary, the automotive giant is breaking away from its minivan reputation and making a bold leap into the future. Known primarily for producing the Pacifica minivan, Chrysler is unveiling the Halcyon Concept, a sophisticated and stunning roadster with electric power and full autonomous capabilities. This marks a significant departure from their traditional offerings and is a testament to the company's commitment to embracing advanced technology and innovation.
The Halcyon is a sleek roadster with a lot of interesting things to say about Chrysler’s future. (Picture from: TheVerge)
Christine Feuell
, CEO of the Chrysler brand, emphasizes the brand's progressive vision in introducing advanced technology and experiences tailored for real-life applications. The Halcyon Concept serves as a showcase of Chrysler's future direction, especially considering the company's ambitious plan to exclusively sell electric vehicles by the end of 2028.
The Halcyon serves as a demonstration of Chrysler's commitment to incorporating cutting-edge technology. (Picture from: TheVerge)
While the Halcyon is not a production-ready vehicle, lacking specific specifications like battery capacity and mileage, it serves as a demonstration of Chrysler's commitment to incorporating cutting-edge technology. The concept integrates various technologies developed by Chrysler's parent company, Stellantis, including the STLA Brain operating system, STLA AutoDrive driver assistance, and STLA SmartCockpit infotainment system.
The Halcyon boasts a sleek design with a mere four inches of ground clearance and innovative French door-style openings. (Picture from: TheVerge)
Built on Stellantis' STLA Large platform, the Halcyon Concept boasts a sleek design with a mere four inches of ground clearance and innovative French door-style openings. The use of recycled materials, such as crushed and recycled music CDs for the company's wing logo, highlights Chrysler's dedication to sustainability, with 95 percent of the interior crafted from "sustainable" materials.
The Halcyon integrates various technologies developed by Chrysler's parent company, Stellantis, including the STLA Brain operating system, STLA AutoDrive driver assistance, and STLA SmartCockpit infotainment system. (Picture from: TheVerge)
Artificial intelligence plays a pivotal role in the Halcyon Concept, contributing to features like voice assistants, predictive navigation, and online software updates. The vehicle's ability to recognize user preferences and make preemptive adjustments to the HVAC system enhances the overall driving experience.
The Halcyon Concept contributes to features such as voice assistants, predictive navigation, and online software updates. (Picture from: TheVerge)
Chrysler envisions a future where autonomous vehicles play a significant role, and the Halcyon Concept aligns with this vision. Equipped with autonomous features and futuristic elements like a brightness-adjustable glass canopy and Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer Technology, the concept hints at a potential future where wireless charging on the move becomes a reality.
The use of recycled materials, such as crushed and recycled music CDs for the company's wing logo, highlights Chrysler's dedication to sustainability, with 95 percent of the interior crafted from "sustainable" materials. (Picture from: TheVerge)
While experts debate the feasibility of a completely driverless future, Chrysler is positioning itself to be ready for evolving trends. The company acknowledges that achieving full autonomy, especially at Levels 3 and 4, requires significant development work. Nevertheless, the Halcyon Concept exemplifies Chrysler's commitment to staying ahead of the curve.
The Halcyon equipped with autonomous features and futuristic elements like a brightness-adjustable glass canopy and Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer Technology. (Picture from: TheVerge)
Looking beyond the concept, Chrysler plans to reveal its first electric vehicle in 2025, with the Airflow SUV prototype already showcased. Despite discontinuing the Chrysler 300 sedan, the company remains focused on profitability and increasing its brand value. With approximately 133,000 minivans sold last year, Chrysler aims to leverage its revenue for developing a series of electric vehicles and maintaining a prominent position in the evolving automotive landscape.
In conclusion, Chrysler's Halcyon Concept serves as a beacon of the company's future direction, emphasizing innovation, sustainability, and a commitment to staying at the forefront of automotive technology. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, Chrysler positions itself as a key player, ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CHRYSLER | THEVERGE | CARANDDRIVER | CNBC | ELECTREK.CO ]
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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Griffon Chronicles: Japan's Obscure Sports Car Revolution

Rare ONES - In the realm of automotive allure, the internet serves as a tempting den for enthusiasts. Subscribed to various feeds, we strive to break free from the notion that modern cars are mere commodities. Occasionally, we stumble upon a vehicle that is unfamiliar but captivates our attention.
The 1970 Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon specimen being identified as No. 1. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
The significance of a car's name extends beyond mere identification; it serves multiple purposes, from commercial branding to conveying the essence of the vehicle. Interestingly, a name intended for a singular car may find itself mirrored elsewhere, creating automotive doppelgangers.
The Griffon, initially named Flying Pegasus for serial production, was crafted by Carrozzeria Watanabe from 1970 to 1984, built upon the foundation of the Honda S600. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
Consider the Griffon, a name borrowed from a legendary mythological creature with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. As discussed earlier, this name graces a sports car from Brazil, designed by Dawilson Lucato and Mario Belatto Jr.
The 1970 Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon powered by S600's 606 cc 4 cylinder engine, generating 57 bhp at a thrilling 8,500 rpm. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
Surprisingly, the Griffon's existence is not confined to Brazil alone. In Japan, a recent discovery introduces us to the Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon. The 60s witnessed a motorsport frenzy in Japan, prompting the emergence of a domestic industry catering to the demand for speed.
One of the Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffons took on a role in the 1974 Japanese TV series 'Dengeki!! Strada 5.' (Picture from: IMCDB.org)
Masao Watanabe, a wizard in setting up Formula 3 cars, transitioned to crafting his own road/race cars from 1970 to 1984. Subsequently, the company evolved into an alloy wheel/rim manufacturer, maintaining its vitality. The inaugural road car, initially named Flying Pegasus and later rebranded as Griffon for serial production, was based on the Honda S600. However, the term "serial" is loosely applied, as fewer than 10 units were ever produced.
The 1970 Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon showcased improved aerodynamics, enabling it to reach speeds exceeding 160 kph—modest by contemporary supercar standards, yet its exoticism and aesthetics remain timeless. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
Powered by the S600's 606 cc 4 cylinder engine, generating 57 bhp at a thrilling 8,500 rpm, the Griffon showcased improved aerodynamics, enabling it to reach speeds exceeding 160 kph—modest by contemporary supercar standards, yet its exoticism and aesthetics remain timeless.
While preserving the Honda S600's mechanical core and incorporating fiberglass bodywork, the 1970 Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon justified its premium price with special glass and custom rims. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
Watanabe sought to market a modified version of the Flying Pegasus through the Griffon, maintaining the mechanical foundation of the Honda S600 while offering fiberglass bodywork as a kit. Its elevated price tag, attributed to specific glazing and specially manufactured rims, resulted in only 4 or 5 units sold, depending on sources. 
The distinctive Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon was constructed on the foundation of a Nissan Fairlady SR311, showcasing a powerful 2-liter engine. (Picture from: Automobiles Japonaises)
Presently, two survivors are known to exist, with the red specimen being identified as No. 1. Approximately 5 units were produced, and one of them took on a role in the Japanese TV series Dengeki!! Strada 5 led to the creation of model replicas.
Another intriguing Griffon variant, though information is scarce, appears to be based on a Nissan Fairlady SR311, featuring a 2-liter engine. Photos of this car, abandoned in a parking lot, hint at its mysterious history, adding to the allure of the Griffon lineage.
In the vast automotive landscape, where each vehicle carries a unique narrative, the Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon stands as a testament to the pursuit of speed, craftsmanship, and the enduring fascination with automotive aesthetics. As we navigate through the digital realm of automotive eye candy, these discoveries remind us that true gems are often hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be unearthed. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | WATCHPROSITE | AUTOMOBILE-JAPONAISES | CCDISCUSSION | IMCDB.ORG | ALLCARINDEX | HEMMINGS ]
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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Safety, Style, and Hydrogen: The Allure of Giugiaro VAD.HO

Weird ONES - In the realm of modern car concepts, the Giugiaro VAD.HO stands out, resembling something fresh out of a Hot Wheels collection or a futuristic remote control car one might gift to children during the festive season. A distinctive feature of the VAD.HO is its utilization of the same V12 engine found in the BMW Hydrogen 7, coupled with BMW's 7-speed SMG transmission. The intriguing question arises: a hydrogen-powered V12?
The Italdesign Giugiaro VAD.HO Concept crafted by Italdesign, and unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. (Picture from VAD.HO in Facebook)
Contrary to initial impressions, the VAD.HO incorporates a BMW Hydrogen fuel cell that powers a hybrid-electric drivetrain, a characteristic shared by most hydrogen cars. The V12, on the other hand, is likely to be conventionally powered. Unveiled at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show and crafted by Italdesign, the Giugiaro VAD.HO exudes a futuristic aeronautic spirit seldom witnessed in the realm of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
The Italdesign Giugiaro VAD.HO Concept exudes a futuristic aeronautic spirit seldom witnessed in the realm of hydrogen-powered vehicles. (Picture from VAD.HO in Facebook)
This tandem two-seater vehicle presents an unusual seating arrangement, with both the driver and rear passenger positioned on the left side. However, this design flexibility allows for the hydrogen ICE powertrain, located on the right side, to be adapted based on the driving country. The tandem configuration accommodates the challenges posed by the powertrain's significant scale and the required gas tank for the hydrogen propulsion system, typically available only in a cylindrical shape.
The Italdesign Giugiaro VAD.HO Concept presents an unusual tandem two-seater with both the driver and rear passenger positioned on the left side. (Picture from VAD.HO in Facebook)
The closed cockpit design of the Giugiaro VAD.HO boasts futuristic, ergonomically crafted seats, featuring two joysticks on the driver's armrests and drive-by-wire technology that seamlessly integrates with the gaming enthusiast's sensibilities. The joysticks, strategically positioned on the armrests, assist the driver during curves and other demanding driving conditions.
The Giugiaro VAD.HO's closed cockpit design features futuristic, ergonomically crafted seats, equipped with two joysticks on the driver's armrests, seamlessly integrating drive-by-wire technology tailored to gaming enthusiasts. (Picture from Supercars.net)
For the rear passenger, joystick envy is a non-issue, as they also possess a joystick to control two monitors embedded in the back of the driver's seat. This setup enables both driver and passenger to access essential data, including views from cameras mounted on the sides and rear of the vehicle. The data serves various purposes, from parking assistance to nighttime infrared driving, and even interactive communication with roadside infrastructure such as stoplights, when such features become available.
Italdesign Giugiaro VAD.HO Concept incorporates a BMW Hydrogen fuel cell that powers a hybrid-electric drivetrain, a characteristic shared by most hydrogen cars. (Picture from VAD.HO in Facebook)
Safety is a paramount consideration in the Giugiaro VAD.HO's design, featuring four-point seat belts, a roll bar to which the glass cockpit dome attaches, and front and umbrella airbags. The vehicle proudly showcases a new "G" logo then, serving as the company's fresh marketing signature. 
In essence, the Giugiaro VAD.HO is not merely a hydrogen-powered concept car; it represents a harmonious blend of futuristic design, innovative technology, and a commitment to safety. As we peer into the future of automotive innovation, the Giugiaro VAD.HO stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of smart and sustainable mobility. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | ITALDESIGN.IT | VADHO IN FACEBOOK | SUPRECARS.NET | HYDROGENCARSNOW | CARREVSDAILY ]
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Friday, February 23, 2024

Rare Gem on Wheels: The Uncommon Allure of Bugatti Cyan

Rare ONES - Entering the challenging era of the 1990s, Bugatti Automobiles, the renowned French car manufacturer, found itself in dire straits. At the time, under the ownership of Romano Artioli, the company had recently released the Bugatti EB110, a sportscar based on Marcello Gandini's design, in hopes of reviving its fortunes.
The Rinspeed Bugatti Cyan built based on the recently unveiled Bugatti EB 100 GT, and made its debut at the 1994 Geneva Motor Show. (Picture from: Pinterest)