In the half century since the television series Route 66 went off the air, the road that the series took its title from has been officially decommissioned; many of the stars, guest stars, and even cameos from the series have gone on to successful film careers; and the American landscape – not to mention the Chevrolet Corvette – that featured so prominently in the series has drastically changed. Yet one production company believes it’s high time to bring the series back to the small screen.
As Deadline Hollywood reported last week, Los Angeles-based Slingshot Global Media, which formed earlier this year, has begun development of a Route 66 re-boot with executive producer Kirk Hallam. Slingshot and Hallam are currently looking for writers for the show, and according to Slingshot CEO David Ellender, the remake of the series will follow much of the original’s format, with two young adventurers in a cool car traversing the country.
“The premise is the same, but the United States is a different landscape than it was 50 years ago and we can’t wait to explore the multitude of diverse social issues confronting the nation today,” Ellender told Deadline Hollywood.
Originally developed by Herbert Leonard and Stirling Silliphant and aired over four seasons from 1960 through 1964, Route 66 followed two young men played by Martin Milner and George Maharis (the latter replaced in the second half of the show’s run by Glenn Corbett) as they drove throughout the country in a brand-new Corvette helping people they met along the way. Some fans of the show credit it for popularizing the Corvette, even though it was already on the market seven years when the show started.
(For trivia buffs, the production of the original show used Corvettes of varying colors, from Horizon Blue for the first season to Fawn Beige for the second and Saddle Tan for the last two; each season used a Corvette from that model year, thanks to Chevrolet’s product placement agreement with the show.)
Previous attempts to revive the show – including a 1993 television series that lasted four episodes and a late 2000s film to have been produced by Hallam that never materialized – didn’t meet with the same success as the original show.
No projected airing date for the Route 66 remake has been announced.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.
Very few clues to what lurks below surface. Left pic is how car was found in Pennsylvania.
If you haven’t seen Jonathan Ward’s latest patina’d super sled, come along and check out this build from ICON Motors. The sixth example in the “Derelict” series, this 1948 Buick Super Convertible was found high and dry in a garage in Pennsylvania. Ward narrates a YouTube video taking us from concept gestation all the way to burning rubber down by the LA River.
Last licensed in 1958, this teal green convertible from Flint’s finest comes with obligatory thin paint, surface rust and a salt free, East Coast survivor back story. It then gets treated to the standard “Derelict” formula retaining the garage find cosmetics with state of the art mechanicals and all the latest creature comforts.
Center speaker was re-purposed with peek-a-boo speaker door now hiding touchscreen.
ICON starts with a basically stock 660 HP GM LS9 bolted to a 4L85E automatic transmission and drops it in a one-off Art Morrison chassis. From there, they add tubular independent front suspension, triangulated four link rear, coil over JRI shocks, Strange 9” rear end, 20:1 rack and pinion power steering and stainless steel fuel and exhaust system. All this meets the pavement via powder coated, rusty red 18” billet wheels with custom spun stainless hub caps mounted on gigantic, ZR rated BF Goodrich G-Force gumballs. Freakin’ huge Wilwood disc brakes bring the whole thing to a stop. There’s even a removable roll bar for track days.
All current state of the art speed goodies present and accounted for. GM LS9, Art Morrison, Wilwood, Strange, BF Goodrich, Ididit et al. Almost a shame to cover it up.
The interior gets power windows, power seat and top, Ididit steering, modern wiring harness and gauges hidden to appear as stock. The original AM radio center dash speaker has been doctored to accept a touch screen with audio system, NAV, Bluetooth and reverse camera all cleverly cloaked behind custom trap door.
The front seat now incorporates a custom center console with cup holders and a USB port. The seats are upholstered in wine colored, non UV stable, Moore and Giles leather, chosen specifically so it will age quickly and catch up with patina’d exterior. Wilton wool carpet and Haartz canvas top add high end textures to existing weathered surfaces.
(Left) Coolest tag ever? (Center) Rear view camera cleverly tucked away. (Right) Custom engine cover with Fireball script and Buick Crest.
The body is remarkably rust free only needing small panel replacement in passenger floor and drivers side rear quarter and remains “as found” with a myriad of imperfections. To the trained eye, the only clue that the car has been radically altered is the speed rated tires and killer stance.
Ward talks extensively regarding the role of computer technology that went into this build. CNC, 3-D scanning, CAD/CAM all factored heavily in bringing the project together and claims certain aspects of project wouldn’t have been possible even just few years ago. The coolest example of said tech is combining a dull, OEM GM engine cover with “Fireball” script and Buick badge. Ward’s team created it by scanning cover and incorporating digitized graphics from GM’s archives to achieve period perfect look. Who’d a thunk it would take all that tech to retain old school cool?
Article courtesy of Rod Authority, written by Dave Cruickshank.
We always love it when we pull into a local car show and spot a rare Edsel. Named after Henry Ford’s son Edsel B. Ford, the Edsel was suppose to be Ford’s solution for the marked domination of GM and Chrysler. However, after three production years in ’58, ’59 and ’60. It was abruptly shutdown. So what happened? Why was this wildly awesome car kicked to the curb?
The folks at TIME recently brought up the famous flop and explained it in depth. To start, research and planning took 10 years and cost Ford $250 million. Their spending meant that it was going to have to explode and outsell all other cars in 1957 just to be profitable. Sort of doomed from the beginning. But, with 18 models to choose from and what some deemed “the right personality” this looked like a win for Ford and the family purchasing the Edsel. Sadly, before the first year was up, the sales had dropped by about a third.
So what led to the demise? The TIME report details what was just a combination of bad timing, bad luck, and poor market research for Ford,
“After the decision was made in 1955, Ford ran more studies to make sure the new car had precisely the right “personality.” Research showed that Mercury buyers were generally young and hot-rod-inclined, while Pontiac, Dodge and Buick appealed to middle-aged people. Edsel was to strike a happy medium. As one researcher said, it would be “the smart car for the younger executive or professional family on its way up.” To get this image across, Ford even went to the trouble of putting out a 60-page memo on the procedural steps in the selection of an advertising agency, turned down 19 applicants before choosing Manhattan’s Foote, Cone & Belding. Total cost of research, design, tooling, expansion of production facilities: $250 million.
A Taste of Lemon. The flaw in all the research was that by 1957, when Edsel appeared, the bloom was gone from the medium-priced field, and a new boom was starting in the compact field, an area the Edsel research had overlooked completely.”
Its a story that played out with numerous brands in the early automotive days. A changing and aging demographic ultimately led to the shutdown of a wildly unique and cool car. Ultimately, it’s a battle that automakers still have to wage even this day. They have to stay on top of what cars the consumer finds appealing. 250 million sounds like a lot (especially for the 1950’s), but it pales in comparison when a new car is launched today.
But still being able to see these today always brings a smile to our face. They are still sought after by collectors and aficionados alike, and when you catch one in the wild, it’s easy to see why.
Article courtesy of Rod Authority, written by John Gibson.
Rod Authority first caught wind of Brent Rothweiler’s stellar kustom at the 2014 Temecula Rod Run. Amongst droves of beautifully restored muscle-era and pre-60s cars and trucks, Brent’s ’54 Buick Special had a flavor that was undeniable, unforgettable, and masterfully built.
Upon closer inspection we found the badge of renowned builder, Oz Welch of Oz Kustoms adorning the fender panel of Brent’s ’54–this was the one car that had us stopping and staring during the Temecula Rod Run, and we certainly weren’t alone amongst the droves of event attendees flocking and inspecting every detail. From custom Lincoln taillights and a convertible conversion to the pearl white interior and smoothed body–this vehicle embodies the spirit and potential that lies within every kustom project.
It wasn’t until a few months later that we got into contact with Brent. To our joy and distinct pleasure, he was more than willing to get together, talk shop, and let us shoot and film his ’54. With a kustom as finely crafted as his, we knew that we needed to do our part–after some brainstorming the Rod Authority team came up with the perfect setting to compliment the aesthetics of the ’54.
Much like the rest of the Los Angeles County region, Long Beach, California has a deep-rooted history with kustom kulture and hot rodding. Brent’s ’54 quickly conjures images of the romanticized imaginings of California beaches and the laid back lifestyle often attributed to Southern California. If there was ever a list of vehicles that serve as a beacon of “California-cool”–Brent’s ride nails it ten times out of ten.
Brent, also a member of Sled Kings car club, felt more than obliged to pull his car onto the sandy shores of Long Beach. What we ended up with was one of the most compelling photo sets and video features to date. It’s not everyday that you get to pull a car as pristine as Brent’s onto the sand. Without a doubt, this kustom is a rolling avatar spreading surreal notions associated with Pacific pleasures.
Be sure to check out the exclusive video feature below for some moving and detail shots of Brent Rothweiler’s kustom ’54 Buick Special. Below is a Q&A session that we had with Brent. In the interview, he sheds some light on his longtime love affair with vehicles, backstory on the Sled Kings car club, and also offers some advice to the new generation of car enthusiasts getting into the culture.
Q&A With Sled King, Brent Rothweiler
Rod Authority: What do you do for a living?
Brent Rothweiler: “I’m a project manager for a construction firm.”
RA: If we were to ask those close to you, “What’s Brent like at a glance?” What do you think they would say?
Rothweiler: “I’m the type of guy who doesn’t sit still very well. I’m always moving or doing something. I’m either working, in the gym, or in my garage tinkering with some type of project.”
RA: What would you say is your first car-related memory?
Rothweiler: “I have several memories of cars from when I was a kid. Especially the times I shared watching or helping my father with his. My first own experience was when I got my 1972 Chevy pickup at the swap meet when I was 15. It had a built 327 ci motor and I couldn’t wait to get it home to wrench on it.”
RA: What is the most important car-related lesson you’ve learned?
Rothweiler: “I’ve learned that cars take time and patience. One may think you can install something in just minutes–hours later you realize your still thinking of a way to finish it.”
RA: What motivates you to build?
Rothweiler: “A finished product is what motivates me the most–to stand back and look at the outcome of the hard work and sweat you put into projects is priceless. At times, when you’re wrenching it can become tedious. Once you see it complete and enjoy it you’re right back out there looking for that next project.”
RA: Do you have any other automotive passions or interests aside from kustoms?
Rothweiler: “Yes, I’m also into car racing. My pops, uncle, friends, and I have a few cars–Corvettes and Mustangs with roll cages and performance modifications done to them–that we race at the local road course tracks. Some of the spots that we frequent are Fontana Speedway, Willow Springs, and Button Willow. It’s like most sports, you have to have focus and have to practice in order to get good at it as well as maintain consistent lap times–mentally, it drains you turn after turn for 15-20 laps.”
Article courtesy of Rod Authority, written by Andrew Almazan.
More radical concept and dream cars would come along with exotic drivetrains, impossible bubbletops, technology out of sci-fi comic books, and outer-space styling, but few showed a more precise vision of the immediate future than the 1953 Buick Wildcat dream car. While that future has long since passed, the Wildcat remains around today and will go on display at next year’s Buick Nationals.
Perhaps because it was designed and built under the supervision of Buick chief engineer Ned Nickles and not under the supervision of an advanced styling studio, the two-seater Wildcat – which Buick introduced at the inaugural 1953 Motorama show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City alongside the Chevrolet Corvette, Pontiac Parisienne, Oldsmobile Starfire X-P Rocket, and Cadillac Le Mans – showcased a little more restraint in its styling. Its wraparound windshield had already seen limited production on the Cadillac Eldorado and Oldsmobile Fiesta; its proto-tailfins hardly rose any higher than those introduced by Cadillac four years prior; its 188hp 322-cu.in. V-8 was new for 1953, but no more powerful than that in the production Buick Skylark; and its general styling would go on to appear on 1954 Buicks.
The big advancement on the Wildcat – the one that Buick made so much ado about in its press materials and Motorama brochures – was its fiberglass body, but even that was shared with the Corvette and Starfire X-P. Buick noted that the use of fiberglass shortened the amount of time it took for a car design to progress from sketch to production and “afford(ed) an opportunity to ‘pre-test’ the motorists’ reaction to various styling features.” Indeed, as David W. Temple wrote in his book GM’s Motorama, styling studios were just beginning to make use of fiberglass at about that time, and Chevrolet executives had intended to put the Corvette into production with a steel body until the demand created by showing it at the Motorama led them to scratch that next step and go ahead with a fiberglass body.
And perhaps because the concept seemed so grounded, not only did Buick appear to build two Wildcats, executives in Lansing also considered putting the Wildcat into production. The first Wildcat – which debuted at the Waldorf-Astoria painted black, but then appeared a month later in Miami and thereafter painted white – used covered rear wheels and a convertible top that disappeared under a hinged lid behind the seats; but photos of a second white-painted Wildcat show it with a hardtop and Skylark-style rear wheel openings. Then, as Temple noted, Motor Trend reported that – after the Corvette, which had already been slated for production before the Motorama – the Wildcat would be the next 1953 Motorama car to reach production, though bodied in steel. One can only presume that, when it came to halo cars, the Skylark sufficed for Buick customers and executives.
Buick would follow up the Wildcat with the Wildcat II and Wildcat III show cars (leading many to refer to the original as the Wildcat I) and, according to collector Joe Bortz, put the 1953 Wildcat out to pasture by either selling or giving it to one of the designers who worked on it. That designer then sold it to a collector in Detroit, “who never did anything with it,” Bortz said. “It was very rough. The windshield was off the car and twisted like a pretzel, and it was all apart.”
Still, almost everything unique to the car – including the heavily chromed, porcelainized, and smoothed V-8 engine, its original interior, and much of its trim- remained with it, so Bortz bought it in about 1985 or 1986 and commissioned a full restoration, which wrapped up later in the 1980s.
As for the second Wildcat, Bortz noted that one theory holds that Buick only made one Wildcat and that the open-wheel hardtop version preceded the closed-wheel convertible version. However, he said that during the restoration he never saw any evidence that the skirted area over the rear wheels wasn’t original to his car. In addition, while he only had one of the two Roto-Static stationary hubcaps unique to the Wildcats when the restoration on his began (he had a second replicated), several years later another enthusiast approached him with a matching pair of Roto-Static hubcaps, reportedly found in the 1960s in a Detroit-area junkyard.
Since restoring the Wildcat I, Bortz has showed it at a number of events, including the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the 2010 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and the 2013 Geneva Concours d’Elegance. Next year, he plans to show it once more at the 2015 Buick Club of America National Meet, which will take place June 10-14 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Springfield, Missouri. For more information on the BCA National Meet, visit BuickClub.org.
In addition, Bortz said that he will display his two Motorama La Salles and the Brooks Stevens-designed Valkyrie at the Cadillac and LaSalle Club’s Grand National, which is scheduled to take place June 24-27 in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For more information on the CLC Grand National, visit CadillacLaSalleClub.org.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.