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James Crabtree

James grew up in an Indiana community where the auto industry was at its heart. His first car was an Olds 442, and many of his classmates had their father's hand-me-down muscle cars. Met his wife in college. They have three children. Survived esophageal cancer. Is passionate about enjoying his second chance and his automotive interests further that goal.

The Stuff Between the Monterey Car Week Events

The logistics of Monterey Car Week can be excruciating. Truly the only way to do it with any style is if you can helicopter into to every hour’s event. If you can’t afford that, you at least can find interesting bips and bops while you are moving from place to place. Here are some photos of the people, places and things that were good for a quick snapshot, often times one-handed, and poorly framed.  

Porsche transports you back in time and space during Monterey Car Week

In the heart of Monterey, Porsche transformed the Barn at Molera into a yesteryear Zentrum. The wonderfully-cozy outdoor space has its own orchard, barn looking edifice, and of course its own resident Porsche 917. If you approach as I did, from the orchard entrance, it really does make you feel like you’re in a quaint little Italian village. As you stroll towards the barn, where musicians were warming up during my time there, the 917 peeks out from behind the trees. Also on hand was a 911 50th Targa, and a Carrera GT. Everything the consummate Porsche-file would desire for …

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Lexus leaves the SUVs home, brings LF-Z concept and wide range of cars to Pebble Beach

The big reveal for Lexus was the new LF-Z concept reveal. The LF-Z is another BEV put out to test the waters, reception by the public. It features the now-landmark grill, but with no interlaced openings, just the flat white front, but does feature an illuminated Lexus badge. Along with the concept, the already established LC 500 convertible, RC-F and IS F-sport were in attendance for display as well. One featured display was the RC-F race car. Tagline: Seek and Destroy, which is on the surface the antithesis to the usual Lexus persona. But a good looking race car, nonetheless. …

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2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Concept Lawn Overdose 300 photos

The concept lawn. What a concept. It’s the nucleus around which the entire Monterey Car Week orbits. It anchors the past, present and future of automobiles in the chosen few cars set on this practice putting green. All of these cars are or have touch-points that reach back for inspiration, and build upon beautiful and sometimes radical visions of the future. One such radical future-think was the Audi Skysphere. It was conceived to extend or contract a foot in length. Project Sandbox is the perfect example of all worlds colliding. Part 911/959, part rally car. The key to doing the …

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Aston Martin goes the perfect green for 2021 Pebble Beach Concours

To the naked eye, it’s arguably the most diverse color for a car maker’s palette. Green. Add to that today’s connotation, and the mere use of the term and color is tricky to negotiate. I for one am not a fan of most chosen greens, save for the 18th one that Aston Martin’s 2021 display booth faces. That being said, there is something to  behold in person, as your brain takes in this particular green that Aston has donned these fantastic cars with. They literally had to snap me out of mesmerizing stare, as they were preparing to host a …

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Mercedes brings its own vintage plaid to Pebble Beach and the next SL as well

Sorry, but the SL preview was strictly eyes-only. There were two notable, new features never found on any previous SLs, and both of which are aft of the front seats. More on that later. But if you could not make it to Monterey Car Week, and shame of you, make it a bucket list item, then here are my photos of the Mercedes pavilion this year. Champagne as always is free flowing at so many events, if that helps anyone motivate to get to the events.

AMG GT loses roof and windshield courtesy of Bussink Speed Legend

Add to the growing list of topless, and windshield-less performance cars that are being introduced. Bussink Speed Legend made its rounds on the streets during Monterey Car Week. AMG afforded them a place at their location that showcased their partnership as well. Fit and finish looks ready for orders. The unique top bar allows for a more standard placement for rear-view mirror as well as suspected roll-over protection.  

2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Dawn Patrol 140+ Car Gallery

2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Dawn Patrol is the pre-dawn arrival of the show field cars. Only the die-hard PBC fan will get up at 3 am, and make the trek from far-flung lodging, and negotiate the labyrinth of barricaded Monterey back roads. But, hopefully the result of the best photos here of Dawn Patrol are to everyone’s liking. My highest thanks to photographer Sherman Chu who provided me the best Dawn Patrol guidance a few years ago.     Featured image : © Kimball Studios

Polestar 2 – Touring America near you

  Polestar’s new car, simply the Polestar 2, kicked off their American “2 on Tour” and I was their first customer. Having just had three flight change notifications since 1 am, and arriving from Indianapolis, I was a very unlikely first customer, and almost did not make it to San Jose, where the Tour kicked off. Having just landed, and grabbing a very meek Chevy Spark rental, I drove 3 minutes to the Westfield Valley Fair mall, which served as the starting point of my 3 day Monterey Car ‘Week’. But first, many of you might be asking what or …

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Multitude of Monzas at Pebble Beach

Why would Ferrari bring so many Monza’s to Pebble Beach? Might they be performing a “Concours Delivery” to their clientele? Dozens of Monzas were covered and numbered, but some were showing some ankle, and a bit more. How cool would it be to say that your new Ferrari Monza was shown, and delivered to you, at Pebble Beach? Very. Here are a few shots, from outside the cordoned zone for onlookers and gawkers.

Pebble Beach Concept Lawn Sneak Peeks from Saturday Night Preparations

The veil just doesn’t get lifted magically at any event, including the always prestigious and hotly anticipated annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance main attraction; the concept law. For tomorrow’s dawn patrol throngs, workers must toil many hours to get everything into place. Some early reveals are always possible. Tonight is nothing different. An evening stroll in the jam packed, bustling 17-mile drive, down the stairs and we see a couple of cars that not everyone might have seen before, or at least not on these shores. Acura brought the swansong NS-X Type S, and it’s very well put together, looking …

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2021 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auctions

Gooding & Company had a strong Friday showing at the 2021 Pebble Beach Auction. Throngs of interested attendees loaded the company’s prestigious event at this year’s return of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and what has broadly become a peninsula-wide Monterey Car Week. Half of the show is the very long lines of traffic to get to the event, with buyers and sellers driving a fantastic rolling supercar and classic vintage show quite literally. The auction is headlined by more than a few stunners, including a 250 mile 1995 McLaren F1 that could fetch $15,000,000, and a 1959 Ferrari 250 …

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514 Day Auto Show Drought Ends With July 2021 Chicago Auto Show

  From the last major auto show to this now first major auto show, Chicago book-ended the pandemic. It was nice to get back to the Windy City for a good day out with cars, and plenty of construction workers making it all come together. Jeep had the best product introduction of their new Compass and Wrangler offerings. Ford brought the F-150 Lightning, Bronco (non-sport), and segment busting, super-versatile Maverick compact pickup truck. Kia introduced their new logo, along with the EV6. Nissan showed the better in-person Proto-Z, looking ready to roll into dealer showrooms with a blend of old …

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North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year revealed. Motor Bella event announced

News Flash: The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year were announced this morning. Car: 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Utility: 2020 Kia Telluride Truck: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Look at the world we live in, when a Jeep Wrangler variant can sell for more than a base Chevrolet Corvette and both win a Car of the Year award. https://naias.com/ Also announced was the new motoring event called Motor Bella. This event will showcase British and Italian cars. It is billed as a European Supercar street festival. And will take place Friday, June 5 – Monday, June 8. https://naias.com/news/festival-of-italian-and-british-supercars-brings-international-flair-to-2020-naias     …

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Sony shocks with Vision-S Concept Preview.

Watch out Tesla! Apple beaten to the punch! Sony previews their entry into the future of the automobile. Doing what only a true electronics giant can, Sony touches every aspect of the modern automobile with its legacy of moving electrons to provide customers with style and substance. In the age where many automobile analysts espouse that people don’t want to drive their cars, they want to drive their iPhones, it appears that Sony has embraced that and lined every nook and cranny with portable device feature goodness. DriveMan or “Drive your Walk-Man”, perhaps? Sony Vision-S Official Page Quick Specs (More …

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2020 Hyundai Venue SE – Entry Level Quick-Take

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is a delightful, affordable, entry-level crossover. This review is for the most basic SE model which is priced $17,250 with basic floor and cargo mats, and wheel locks adding $305, and a $1,095 delivery, for a total of $18,650 before trades, discounts and negotiations. As of this writing, there is a $500 offer; and you might qualify for others. All in for under $20,000 is almost hard to accomplish today, especially in the popular crossover segment. The 2020 Venue drives better than the price would imply. The base transmission is a 6-speed manual, and that is …

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Tracking the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Automotive executives and brand managers are always keenly aware of slicing the product offering in a variety of ways the results of which can not only be confusing but lead to actual sales losses amongst the offerings. One only has to look at the current numerous and future-slightly-LESS-numerous cars from the likes of BMW and Mercedes. Business school might call this classic cannibalization. But this week I experienced a new use of the term, maybe call it predatory cannibalization. Nothing faulty with the positioning of cars by planners at all. No, this new type of cannibalization is surely more along …

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2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody

Dodge Charger Product Manager, Ashton Munoz, details the upcoming 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat Widebody to the media on July 31, 2019: I want to quickly talk about the overall Charger first, before we start getting into the Widebody, we’ve seen some great success with this car in the past few years. The past five years in retail, we’ve sold more chargers than any other standard full size car. In the past seven years, we’ve sold about 80,000 chargers per year. There’s a lot of chargers on the road. There’s a few things that we think that make this car pretty …

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2018 Pebble Beach Concours Dawn Patrol

Photos and video from the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Dawn Patrol. Early morning, pre-dawn, the entrants gather and begin their procession to the Concours field. The setting is the best in the automotive year, with Carmel Bay in the background.  

Pure McLaren

Track experiences for driver betterment In our daily lives, all of us relate to cars in some way. For most, they represent the most basic of needs in today’s busy life. Commuting to work, running errands, as well as journeys with family and friends. They are times overlooked in what we ask them to do for us. For most people, they can only get noticed when they break.  It’s that familiarity, though, that basic understanding of what a car is at its core that enables all of us drivers to build upon and break out of ignoring the common car. …

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BRITAIN’S GREATEST TEST DRIVER, NORMAN DEWIS OBE, PASSES AWAY

Jaguar Land Rover Newsroom Legendary former Jaguar test driver and works racer, Norman Dewis OBE, has passed away aged 98 Dewis was Britain’s greatest ever test driver, having developed 25 of the most significant Jaguars ever over his 33-year career Jaguar’s most famous models, including the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning D-type as well as the iconic E-type, were honed with Dewis’ expertise Dewis also set a land speed record for Jaguar and competed with a D-type at Le Mans and Goodwood during the 1950s Even at 98, Dewis remained a global ambassador of Jaguar and an asset to the brand …

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Scalpel or Hammer?

2019 Acura NSX vs 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye If you’re like me, you might be anticipating a major life phase change. And as a car person, likely the next thing on your mind will be how this might positively affect your future stable. My current phase is one of “peak college”, let’s call it. Come autumn, three of my offspring will be chasing higher education. The title of this post does not represent which of my kids are shooting to become a doctor and which are aiming for trade school. But, instead, which car might anyone in anticipating that …

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Resurgence of the American Car

Manufacturers redouble efforts in face of SUV domination Will 2019 go down as the final hurrah, or when the tide turned for the American Car? A rising tide has lifted most all boats in the SUV/CUV ocean. The manufacturers enjoy the ease with which they can print money, for the most part. Traditional car companies, once dosed with a recipe rich in higher hip points, and one of the multitude of more than two wheel drive systems, see their bottom lines shored up. In the unsure future bets for some form of electrification of drivetrains, the next safest option is …

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison AEV 2.8L Diesel – First Drive Review

Aptly named save for one trait Upon reflection of my encounter with Chevy’s new ZR2 Bison AEV trim package for their mid-sized truck offering, the Colorado, the Bison moniker was appropriate. I found myself with a bit of a shiver on a particularly cold morning, with what felt like freezing fog. For being in the heart of a land that had lived in harmony with the name Chevy decided on for this variant, Bison, I hadn’t heeded the lessons learned from the past centuries of the local peoples. As my breath puffed visibly as I grew closer to this truck, …

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