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The 60s was truly the greatest decade for automobile design, racing, and car enthusiasts. The decade opened with the Stingray Racer and Ferrari 156 Shark Nose and closed with the Lancia Stratos Zero and Porsche 917.

The decidedly open racing regulations of the era encouraged exploration and risk taking. Brilliant characters like Jim Hall, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, the Granatelli Brothers, Dan Gurney, and so many others had the gumption and wherewithal to build their wildest visions and then drive or trailer them to the track and win.

These luminaries (and others) evolved the black art of aerodynamics into an engineering science through trial and error. Some used aluminum engine blocks as stressed members on mid-engined composite chassis, and others strapped jet turbine engines alongside the cockpit. The great kustomizers like Bill Cushenbery, Dave Puhl, and Gene Winfield thoroughly challenged our imaginations. It was an exciting time to be a car nut.

Like most child car enthusiasts, I spent the school days drawing cars and my “free time” building plastic models. In November of 1965, my parents took us to the 50th Annual Detroit Auto Show—where my mind was blown open by the Mako Shark II and Toronado.

Also on display was the Chevrolet Monza Junior go-kart, which Bill Mitchel had built for his stepson. The kart was an identical scaled down copy of the beautiful Monza SS Show Car from 1963.

A watered down copy of Mitchel’s kart could be won in a raffle at the show, so my family and I filled out dozens of raffle tickets and I spent the years to come waiting for Chevrolet to call and make arrangements for delivery. At that age, I was unable to fabricate my own go kart—let alone a real car—but the dream of doing so was firmly embedded in my psyche.

Inspiration Strikes to Design the JM Special Can-Am

Throughout the years, I would draw up designs for various dream cars. While in college, the idea came to me to build a fiberglass body of my own design on the chassis of my ’69 MG Midget.

Some years later, I got serious and visited Caterham Cars in Surrey, England, with the hopes of putting my body on a Super Seven chassis. While working as an Architectural Model Builder in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, during the early 80’s, I locked down the plan to base my car on an ERA GT 40 chassis.

Things did not work out well with the ERA, but with so many GT40 kit car builders around, I went forward with this idea. I drew the car up on velum in 1:10 scale and built a jelutong speed form, followed by a fiberglass model in that scale.

The essence of my design credo arose from the realization that I would never be able to own any of my favorite automobiles, most of which were one off creations or destroyed for various reasons. So I decided to take individual elements from my favorites and build a collage of (as well as an homage to) them.

n Unexpected Career in Sculpting & Fabricating

The first major hurdle was to sculpt the body in full scale. I originally thought to do it in plaster a la Ed Big Daddy Roth. I even considered learning to beat aluminum—but thankfully, the use of Chavant modelling clay prevailed. I got some clay and a few tools from an instructor at ArtCenter and aimlessly played around, until one day at work, a friend of mine showed me an article about the California Camaro done by John Schinella and the GM Advanced Concept Center. ACC was just a few miles from my house!

I got an interview with John and Richard Dakins, the Chief Sculptor, who promptly offered me a job. As luck would have it, they were starting work on the Stingray III show car. My plan was to stick around for a couple of years to learn how show cars are sculpted and fabricated, then move on to another career. Well, 27 years later, I retired from GM Design as a clay/digital sculptor.

Clay sculpt of JM Special Can-Am with dog lying nearby

Clay sculpt of JM Special Can-Am with dog lying nearby

Starting the JM Special Can-Am

The sculpting of the body burned up several years of weekends, holidays and occasional evenings. Initial projects included building the rail, angle, and bridge system for measuring and balancing, followed by the armature and foam buck.

The clay was recycled from the Stingray III and the Impact show car models, compliments of ACC. I began by sculpting the windshield, then made a

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By: Jerry Shuck
Title: The JM Special Can-Am Build Process Explained
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Published Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2022 16:20:30 +0000


2024 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance Preview

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The 29th annual Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, powered by O’Gara Coach, will bring a full day of free family fun to Beverly Hills on Sunday, June 16. This year’s Father’s Day car show will feature 100 rare and iconic vehicles, great food and plenty of entertainment. The Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, which will take place between Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., is one of the area’s most beloved annual events. Here’s a glimpse at what you can expect to see on California’s most iconic street:

 Ted Seven aka Ted7

Show-stopping cars

This year’s event will host a special celebration of hypercars, supercars, race cars, classics and custom-built showstoppers. Provided by exclusive private collections, passionate car enthusiasts and even some of the world’s most recognized manufacturers, this has become one of the country’s preeminent luxury car shows.


Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance Chairman Bruce Meyer, Beverly Hills Mayor Lester Friedman, Rodeo Drive Committee President Kay Monica Rose and renowned car buff Jay Leno will present trophies to 12 award-winning entrants—from “Most Elegant” to “Best in Show”—on the main stage starting at noon.

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By: Rex McAfee
Title: 2024 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance Preview
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Published Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2024 17:10:18 +0000

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Speed Read: A garage-built Ducati 996 café racer and more

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The latest café racers, flat trackers, and electric scooters.
We kick things off with a feel-good story of a botched Ducati 996 custom job, rescued by a talented garage builder. Then we look at a dazzling Yamaha SR500 flat tracker from 20-year-old Moritz Bree, a dustbin-faired Honda Dax from K-Speed, and a BMW CE 04 scooter from Deus ex Machina.

Ducati 996 café racer by Jaron Hall
Ducati 996 by Jaron Hall Most people would balk at the idea of customizing a Ducati 996, but Utah-based garage builder Jaron Hall’s work on this 996 is nothing short of noble. That’s because when Jaron got his hands on the 996, it was in dire need of saving.

The Ducati’s previous owner had tried to turn it into a scrambler, so it came to Jaron with no fairings, a hacked subframe, and a smorgasbord of sketchy parts. Working after hours (he has a marketing day job), and taking on the entire build solo, Jaron turned the mongrel 996 into a high-class Italian café racer.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Speed Read: A garage-built Ducati 996 café racer and more
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Published Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2024 20:50:06 +0000

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Rolls-Royce ‘Models of the Marque’: the 1910s

Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 04

Of all the famous nameplates borne by Rolls-Royce motor cars since 1904, few are as celebrated, significant, evocative and enduring as the ‘Silver Ghost’. Formally launched in 1906 as the 40/50 H.P., it was the first model to be awarded the soubriquet of ‘the best car in the world’ that Rolls-Royce retains to this day, setting unmatchable standards for performance and reliability, proven in the era’s toughest road trials. It was also a stupendous commercial success, with almost 8,000 examples built in the UK and US over an 18-year period – an unimaginable product lifespan in the modern age. That so many Silver Ghosts still survive in full working order – and, indeed, regularly perform the same feats they achieved more than a century ago – is a lasting monument to Henry Royce’s engineering genius.

Early beginnings

By 1906, just three years after its foundation, Rolls-Royce was already something of a victim of its own success. Demand for its motor cars was such that its line-up had quickly expanded from the original twin-cylinder 10 H.P. to include three-cylinder 15 H.P., four-cylinder 20 H.P. and six-cylinder 30 H.P. models. Henry Royce had even produced the first ever V8 passenger motor car, known as the ‘Lega limit’ since the 3.5-litre engine was governed to keep it below the 20mph speed limit then in force in Britain – only three of these were ever made, and it remains the only Rolls-Royce model of which no examples survive. This proliferation of models reflected a trend across the luxury automotive sector, as competing manufacturers chased an ever more finely segmented client base.

However, for Rolls-Royce, it caused major manufacturing headaches, since many parts were not interchangeable between models. The problem was compounded by Henry Royce’s entirely laudable policy of continuous improvement; his constant adjustments and refinements went all the way down to the smallest components. This created variations between – and even within – production series, to the extent that often only a handful of individual motor cars would be entirely identical.

Simplify Production

As with almost any manufacturing process, more complexity and variability meant increased costs. This was anathema to the highly astute, commercially driven Managing Director, Claude Johnson. Having decided radical change was needed, he proposed the marque should focus all its energies on producing just one model. Charles Rolls enthusiastically agreed, but insisted it should be positioned at the top end of the market, where Rolls-Royce was already gaining a reputation as the very best motor car available. Though a ruthless perfectionist and tireless innovator, Royce was also a pragmatist. He saw the logic of his colleagues’ single-model approach and duly produced a completely new motor car, the 40/50 H.P.

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By: Rex McAfee
Title: Rolls-Royce ‘Models of the Marque’: the 1910s
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Published Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2024 23:23:29 +0000

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