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CRUISING BACK IN TIME: The 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubble Top

Written by Nicole Ellan James


During the 1950s and 1960s, the automotive world was captivated by a design concept known as the “bubble top.” In essence, a bubble-top car has a distinct roofline defined by its curved, one-piece windshield featuring slender, sweeping A-pillars, along with elegantly inclined C-pillars sporting rounded, bubble-like rear window glass. This unique styling gave the vehicle a sleek, bubble-inspired roof, setting it apart from the conventional flat-top or hardtop roof styles that were prevalent among cars of that era. This design was not only futuristic but also trendy during its time.

Numerous automakers experimented with the bubble-top design, but it’s most notably linked to Chevrolet’s endeavors in crafting attention-grabbing and distinctive cars of the early ’60s. At the inaugural 2023 New Orleans Auction, taking place from September 28-30 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, a 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubble Top will be offered with No Reserve from the MS CLASSIC CARS Collection. This vehicle stands as a prime example of the quintessential bubble-top aesthetic. In 1962, only 5,950 Bel Air Bubble Tops were manufactured. This specific model underwent a frame-on restoration with the objective of recapturing the essence of the 1960s.

The centerpiece of this Bel Air is a rebuilt 409ci V8 engine complete with dual Carter 4-barrel carburetors for optimal performance. The engine’s appearance pays homage to its time, featuring era-correct Offenhauser finned valve covers and dual air cleaners equipped with hoses that draw in air through the outer headlight buckets. The engine exhales through custom-made ceramic-coated headers and a dual-exhaust system, contributing to its potent and distinctive sound. Power is seamlessly transmitted through a rebuilt 4-speed manual transmission, adding to the engaging driving experience to this bubble top.

To enhance its visual presence, the front of the car has been raised slightly, giving it an imposing and aggressive stance. Complementing this are era-correct-style polished 5-spoke wheels that offer classic lines. The wheels are wrapped in Pro-Trac 70 Racing Profile 225-70-15 tires at the front, ensuring a balanced grip on the road, while the rear features Mickey Thompson Radial Dragster 8.20-15 tires, further accentuating the car’s performance-oriented character.

The bubble top’s exquisitely crafted body was refinished in a striking white hue, giving it a refined and tasteful appearance. Every exterior detail has been thoughtfully addressed through a comprehensive restoration or replacement process, including the stainless trim, front bumper, body molding, door handles and emblems.

Complementing the exterior is an equally captivating two-tone red interior. To give it a personalized touch, custom features have been introduced, including a Stewart-Warner gauge cluster for enhanced monitoring, a Hurst chrome shifter with a white shift knob and 409-embossed carpeted floor mats that pay homage to the car’s impressive powerplant. The interior preserves the era’s aesthetics while offering modern comfort and functionality.

Whether you’re a collector seeking an authentic piece of automotive history or an enthusiast longing for a ride that captures the spirit of the 1960s, this 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubble Top offers both style and performance. Register to bid today for the opportunity to own this piece of automotive heritage that’s bound to turn heads and evoke the nostalgia of a bygone era.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: CRUISING BACK IN TIME: The 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air Bubble Top
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Published Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2023 15:44:10 +0000

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2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP




2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. (Honda/)


The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is Honda’s single-minded pursuit of production-class racing gloryThe engine uses the same bore and stroke (81.0 x 48.5mm) as the RC213V MotoGP racebike, emphasizing the depth of HRC’s involvementDripping with ‘Blade nostalgia, the striking paint scheme was designed by Hiroaki Tsukui who was also responsible for the original 1992 design.


The US-spec model’s output is limited to 186 hp at the crank. Who wants to spend top dollar and not get all the goods?Uncompromising seating positionWhere’s a rider supposed to put the key fob when wearing one-piece leathers?


The pinnacle of Honda’s CB lineage, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is an HRC-developed, uncompromising race replica with significantly more performance than the CBR1000RR that American Honda continues to sell. For a production Honda motorcycle, it’s as rarefied as they come. The only problem? In the US, output is limited to 186 hp at the crank, and less when measured at the rear wheel.

The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP’s anniversary livery is about as good as it gets.
The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP’s anniversary livery is about as good as it gets. (Honda/)


The 1992 Honda CBR900RR is easily one of the most significant motorcycles of its day. As CW’s first prescient analysis said back in 1991: “It is a motorcycle that promises to change forever the way big-bore sportbikes are conceived and built.”

Its first comparison test—against the Yamaha FZR1000 and Suzuki GSX-R1100—confirmed the veracity of that statement. On the CW scales, the CBR weighed 76 pounds less than the FZR and 94 pounds less than the GSX-R. That first ‘Blade was the shot heard round the world, transforming the economy of two-wheeled performance in much the same way the Honda Interceptor and the original Suzuki GSX-R750 did the decade before.

Thirty years later, it’s difficult to conceive of a motorcycle so technically beyond the competition that it inspires such a sea change. Still, the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is a credit to Tadao Baba’s legacy.

At $28,900, the Triple R is as expensive as the European competition with performance to match. From the highest-spec electronic suspension to integrated aero and a screaming inline-four powerplant, the CBR is Honda’s purest performance weapon. Undoubtedly, the latest CBR was built to win. While the World SBK crown has thus far evaded capture, Honda won the 2022 and 2023 Suzuka 8 Hours.

The fly in the ointment, however, is that the US-spec Triple R comes stateside with output limited to 186 hp. In a highly competitive field, coming to the fray with one hand tied behind its back is very unfortunate.

Related: Fastest Bikes You Can Buy in 2023

While American Honda still sells the base-model CBR1000RR, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is recognized as its top-tier, track-focused offering. This is one of those bikes that makes the most sense when being pushed around a racetrack.
While American Honda still sells the base-model CBR1000RR, the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP is recognized as its top-tier, track-focused offering. This is one of those bikes that makes the most sense when being pushed around a racetrack. (Honda/)

Updates for 2023

The Fireblade SP is unchanged for 2023. For 2022, however, the engine was tweaked with revised intake ports, narrower than before to increase the air velocity into the combustion chambers and bump up torque, along with an increased compression ratio of 13.4:1, up from 13.2:1. A new airbox, modified to improve flow, feeds revised intake funnels, with the center pair shorter by 15mm, and all four getting new, slash-cut shapes.

On the other side of the engine, the exhaust was modified with a new center section and redesigned catalytic converter, both intended to improve gas flow. Elsewhere, the throttle was modified to make it easier on the wrist, no doubt further emphasizing the impression of improved response. More notably, the rear sprocket gained three teeth, rising to 43 in total, reducing the final drive gearing for better acceleration. That sprocket change, and the longer chain that comes with it,

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By: Cycle World Staff
Title: 2023 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP
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Published Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2023 20:46:06 +0000

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Klassischer Charme: The new BMW R nineT 100 Years



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BMW R nineT 100 Years edition
The iconic BMW boxer engine has been around a little longer than some folks realize: a hundred years, to be exact. It powered the very first BMW motorcycle, which broke cover in 1923.

That was the shaft-driven R 32, designed by Max Friz. It featured the familiar opposed cylinder engine layout, although the internals bear little resemblance to the modern-day powerplant.

BMW R nineT and R 18 100 Years edition

A 100th anniversary always calls for a celebration, so BMW Motorrad has created a pair of ‘100 Years’ special editions for its Heritage range: the R nineT Roadster and the R 18 Cruiser. And very appropriately, both models are limited to 1,923 units each.

We’re especially smitten with the charming BMW R nineT 100 Year shown here, which harks back to the monochrome aesthetic of classic BMW oldtimers.

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By: Chris Hunter
Title: Klassischer Charme: The new BMW R nineT 100 Years
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Published Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2023 17:01:31 +0000

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Prizefighter: A custom Ducati Monster 600 built for a Turkish actor



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Custom Ducati Monster 600 by Bunker Custom Cycles
The Ducati Monster is widely credited with saving the Italian marque in the 90s. Part of its success lies in its minimalist brawler aesthetic—and part of it lies in the fact that Ducati has always offered the Monster in myriad engine sizes at varying price points. If you couldn’t quite spring for an M900 back in 1994, the Ducati Monster 600 looked just as cool, cost less, and still made adequate power.

Decades on, the Monster is a very different beast and has even shed its trademark trellis frame. But the mid-90s Monster still has appeal—and it’s got tons of custom bike potential, as evidenced by this custom Ducati Monster 600 from Turkey’s Bunker Custom Cycles.

Custom Ducati Monster 600 by Bunker Custom Cycles

The 1998-model Monster 600 belongs to the Turkish actor Kadir Doğulu, who went through considerable effort to obtain it. The story goes that the bike was one of four imported to Turkey in the late 90s as show bikes for a major local 4×4 event. Kadir spotted it in the corner of a parking garage gathering dust and hassled the owner for ten years before he finally agreed to sell it.

By then, the Monster 600 was desperately in need of rescue. A decade of being parked had given the elements time to work, leaving the chassis, fuel tank, and a whole whack of alloy parts covered in rust. Kadir held onto the bike for a while, then called in the brothers at Bunker Custom Cycles, Mert and Can Uzer, to revive it.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Prizefighter: A custom Ducati Monster 600 built for a Turkish actor
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Published Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2023 18:57:09 +0000

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