Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals 2011

Triumph TR4 and TR3

BCW MG TD Replica
Recently, I attended the show at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania. Held every May, this show features a vast array of meticulously maintained classic British, European and Japanese cars, exemplary examples of their more modern kin, as well as a beautiful collection of kit cars.  As far as sheer variety in makes, models and years, hands down, this show can’t be beat.

This has become something of an annual treat for me as I can think of few better ways to spend a weekend than by gazing at a gleaming sea of jaw-droppingly stunning automobiles, many of which I guarantee you won’t find at other shows. Plus, participation is open to anyone with an import or a kit car – all you have to do is register, make your car pretty and show up. It’s a great opportunity to display your cherished ride and meet other aficionados of your favorite marques.

I used to come down to show my Saab and hang out with the Saab contingent that makes it out every year. But even though I have a Subaru now, it’s just so much fun that I continue to make the trip to Carlisle (my WRX was parked over by the lone DeLorean, if you happened to be there). Volvo, BMW and Audi clubs also traditionally have a large showing so the weekend is packed with the cars you love, cars you haven’t seen before, your friends from the forums, barbeques – it’s a good time for everyone.  So, if you’re not too far out from Pennsylvania, I definitely recommend heading out there next May to check out the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals. To tide you over, provided for your viewing pleasure are some of my favorite cars of the weekend. Enjoy!


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Buick To Introduce Verano Sedan In Detroit

Posted in Buick, Cars, Compact Cars, Detroit Auto Show, Featured, General, Luxury Cars, NAIAS, New Cars by Kurt Ernst | January 6th, 2011 | 2 Responses |
2012 Buick Verano

The 2012 Buick Verano. Photo: © GM Corp.

Buick is set to show their third new model in two years at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. The Verano is Buick’s entry into the compact luxury segment (although I have a hard time writing “Buick” and “compact” in the same sentence), and will slot into their product line below the recently launched Regal sedan. John Schwegman, Buick’s VP of marketing, sums up their reason for launching a compact sedan as follows: “Verano expands our lineup, continues Buick’s momentum and gives us a great opportunity to attract a new generation of customers with a product that delivers on their expectations for design, performance and technology. It is a smart choice that delivers unexpected luxury in a compact sedan – and it will compete head-to-head with competitors from Audi and Lexus.”

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Toyota’s FT-86 Gets More Horsepower, Bigger Price Tag

Posted in Cars, Concept Cars, Corner Carvers, Featured, New Cars, Promoted, Sports Cars, Subaru, Toyota by Kurt Ernst | January 4th, 2011 | 13 Responses |
Toyota FT-86G Sports Concept

Toyota's FT-86 G Sports Concept

The FT-86, in case you’ve forgotten, was to be an affordable entry level sports car developed in a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru. The original concept was a front engine, rear drive coupe with a 200 horsepower boxer motor and a $20,000 price tag. Originally set to hit the market in 2011, the project has been hit by a seemingly endless string of delays, and the latest speculation on a launch date has it hitting dealer showrooms some time next year. tells us that the FT-86 will make an appearance at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show in December, but it isn’t clear whether or not a prototype or production car will be exhibited.

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Are Manual Transmissions Done, And Should We Care?

Posted in 24 Hours of LeMons, auto industry, Cadillac, Car Buying, Car Tech, Cars, driving, Featured, Ferrari, Promoted by Kurt Ernst | January 4th, 2011 | 17 Responses |
2010 Ferrari 458 Italia

A Ferrari 458 Italia; something is missing...

I was following an interesting comment thread on another board recently, and it played out like this: Commenter A, who claims to have extensive tuning experience and claims to drive a Jeep Cherokee SRT-8, made the bold statement that manual transmissions are obsolete. He further went on to say that enthusiasts should get over this and embrace the automatic, which is superior to the manual in every way. As you’d guess, a thorough beat-down of the original commenter ensued. From the language and grammar used, most commenters were posting from their mom’s basement, and had experience driving manual transmissions on Need For Speed and Grand Turismo only. That’s how things generally go on internet message boards, especially poorly moderated ones.

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Sainz Takes Early Lead in 2011 Dakar Rally

Posted in Cars, Dakar, General, Newsworthy, Off-Roading, Racing, Rally, Volkswagen by Leigh | January 4th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Carlos Sainz 2011 Dakar Rally Volkswagen Touareg

Carlos Sainz

3,100 miles of brutal off-road racing across mountains, dunes and through desert canyons just cannot be easy for anyone, even celebrated Spanish WRC champion Carlos Sainz. But despite the terrain and mechanical issues, Sainz, the 2010 Dakar Champion, scored a victory on Monday, taking the second stage of the 2011 Dakar Rally in his 310 hp Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 with a finishing time of 3:11:28. In second place for the car class was his VW teammate, Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah, who finished the stage in 3:12:31. The champion of numerous Dakar Rallies (both in the motorcycle and car classes), Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel, took third in his BMW X3 CC with a time of 3:13:02.  Overall, Sainz leads the car class, with Peterhansel in second and Al-Attiyah in third place.

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Recaro Bought By Johnson Controls, Enthusiasts Rejoice

Posted in auto industry, Car Accessories, Cars, Sports Cars by Kurt Ernst | January 3rd, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Recaro seats in the Cadillac CTS-V.

If you like Recaro seats in automobiles, I’ve got some good news for you: is reporting that the automotive and specialty seating division of Recaro, specifically Keiper Recaro Group, has been sold to uber-conglomerate Johnson Controls. Even if you’ve never heard of Johnson Controls, chances are good you’ve done business with them in one way or another. The company makes everything from automotive seating through automotive batteries and interior headliners. The company also provides facility management to such big-league players as IBM and U.S. government facilities at Cape Canaveral.

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The 10 Most Expensive Cars, According To Forbes

2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

The Bugatti Super Sport tops the list.

If you ever see me giving stock tips on Akatuki4, be afraid. I’m not a “play the stock market” kind of guy, and every spare dollar I’ve ever made has gone into cars, bikes, racing or travel (usually centered around cars, bikes or racing). With that in mind, you have a certain right to be skeptical when Forbes publishes a list of the most expensive cars. First, it’s only a snapshot in time, as new supercars are introduced every year. Next, there’s no clarification on where the prices are from, so I assume they’re a manufacturer’s list price, translated in to U.S. dollars. That’s hardly an accurate representation, as cars typically sell for higher prices in the EU than they do in the United States. Finally, any car’s price is based on supply and demand: since the entire run of Bugatti Veyron Super Sports has been spoken for, good luck finding one at the list price of $2.6 million.

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Tesla Says Model S Profitible At Low Volumes

Posted in auto industry, Cars, Chevrolet, Electric Cars, Newsworthy, Nissan, Tesla by Kurt Ernst | January 3rd, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Tesla's Model S Sedan. Photo: Mark Warren

It costs a lot of money to design and implement new propulsion systems. If you count the EV-1, General Motors has been working (intermittently) on electric car technology since 1990, which is a lot of R&D hours burned. When government subsidies for electric vehicles go away, Nissan will need to sell some 500,000 Leafs each year to recover the development cost and turn a profit. Much of the expense associated with both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf comes for their batteries: both Chevy and Nissan use custom built lithium-ion battery packs, which undergo an extensive amount of testing to ensure cell optimization prior to assembly.

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Volkswagen Ad Reminds You To Beware Of Little Old Ladies

Posted in Cars, Funny Videos, Used Cars, Volkswagen by Kurt Ernst | January 3rd, 2011 | 3 Responses |

Think you’re getting a “lightly used” car, just because you’re buying it from a little old lady? Never heard the Jan & Dean tune, “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena?” Just remember that all those kindly grandmother types may not be what they appear. Take the guy that signed off on my competition license way back when – Les Gaylord was in his seventies then, and looked like any other retiree. You’d mistake him for an easy marque on the track at your own peril, since the guy still had track records at a lot of the SCCA approved tracks in the Western U.S. Lesson learned? Old doesn’t necessarily translate into slow. A tip of the hat goes to for finding this one!

The Nicest Fox Bodied Saleen Mustang On The Planet

Posted in Cars, Collector Cars, eBay Motors, Ford, General, Mustang, Used Cars by Kurt Ernst | January 1st, 2011 | 1 Response |

1988 Saleen Mustang

If you have a thing for Fox bodied Mustangs and you’re a fan of Steve Saleen, head on over to or eBay for the rundown on what has to be the nicest early Saleen Mustang left in existence. It’s only racked up 7,100 miles, it’s never seen rain or snow, it’s only been through two owners and get this: it’s completely stock. No blower, no upgraded exhaust, no cold air intake; this car is just as it left the Saleen factory in March of 1988. It’s even got the original tires, although I’m not sure I’d want to drive very far (or particularly fast) on them.

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