Editor-in-Chief's Note: Dollie Cole, the widow of GM legend Ed Cole, passed away on August 24 in Lockhart, Texas, at the age of 84. Often described as spirited and outspoken - which was anathema for auto executive wives back in the day - Dollie was a genuine piece of work and a legend in her own right. I'm sure those of you out there who are interested will read plenty about Dollie over the next couple of days (Hannah Lutz sums-up Dollie nicely in Automotive News here). Dollie was fiercely protective of Ed, and never hesitated to engage the press if she felt he (and GM) were getting a bad rap. She was a car freak, too, and Ed had her most famous personal driver - a 1965 Nassau Blue Corvette Convertible with White interior, removable hardtop and side pipes - custom-built with a big-block 396 cu. in. V8, a good six months before the big blocks were available for production. She called it her "Blue Bird" and she used to tear around Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham in it, her trademarked blonde tresses clearly visible. I know, because she sent it over to our house a few times for my brother Tony to "borrow" for the weekend. One of those times included a memorable drive back in 1965 to the University of Notre Dame in a caravan consisting of the "Blue Bird," a red 289 Cobra and a GT350 Shelby Mustang. Yes, it was a different time and a different era and the memories remain vivid to this day. I will quibble with one thing about the stories sure to emerge about Dollie in the next week or so, because they all make it sound as if she was the first of the auto executive wives in this town who spoke her mind and was feisty. Not true. Dollie was all of that and more, but she wasn't the original in that department by any means. In fact she couldn't hold a candle to my mother Josephine, who was the true pioneer when it came to being an auto executive wife who was feisty and never hesitated to speak her mind. You could often find my mother bending the ear of a GM chairman or president about various subjects - "Why wasn't GM building more small agile cars" was one of her favorites, among many - much to the delight of the other wives, who would mutter under their breath, "Give 'em Hell, Jo!" and then give their own husbands an earful when they got home. A different time and a different era indeed. - PMD
Ford has enlisted five top fashion designers from around the world to collaborate with Ford on the Mustang Unleashed collection – a limited-edition line of graphic shirts inspired by the Mustang. Designers include Anna Sui (above and below); Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay-Hahn of Rogan; Paula Cademartori (below); Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari of CO|TE; and Pamela Love. The limited-edition 15-shirt collection will be available exclusively through Gilt.com www.gilt.com/unleashed, with pre-orders beginning Aug. 26. Each Mustang Unleashed limited-edition shirt will retail for $39.
(Photos Courtesy of Goodguys Rod & Custom Association)
Two beautifully-executed Chevrolets were honored with the PPG Dream Car awards at the Goodguys 17th PPG Nationals held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, July 11-13. A 1969 Chevy Camaro owned by Angelo Vespi of St. Augustine, Florida, and a 1951 Chevy woody wagon owned by Terry Henley of Birmingham, Alabama, were the winners. Angelo Vespi’s winning Chevy Camaro RS was a five-year project. Vespi had dreamed of owning a ’69 Camaro since he was 12 years old. Once he acquired the car, he turned his dream into a dream car with the help of Detroit Speed, Inc., of Mooresville, North Carolina. The car, designed for autocross competition, is equipped with a 427-cubic inch fuel-injected, supercharged V-8 engine, 5-speed transmission, and Detroit Speed-built rack-and-pinion steering and QUADRALink™ rear suspension. Detroit Speed also gave the car its gleaming white finish with red and black accents by Michael Neighbors and Ted Dobkowski using PPG paint. The ’51 Chevy woody wagon owned by Terry Henley also took about five years to complete. Henley is the Chevy’s third owner. The car had been sitting idle for years. He bought it sight unseen, had it shipped from California and turned it over to Big Oak Garage, a well-known hot rod shop, in Hokes Bluff, Alabama, for work. The crew at Big Oak gave the wagon a thorough restoration and customization from the ground up using original and new parts, including the shop’s proprietary components. The car sports a 350-cubic inch V-8, stainless steel manifolds, custom engine cover, modified frame and more. Big Oak is also responsible for the car’s rich finish. Painters Tommy Brock and Gavin Graham applied several PPG Deltron paint products for the finish. The PPG Dream Car awards are given to the two vehicles (cars or trucks) that best display the outstanding use of color, design, gloss and execution in a paint job. The award is among the most desirable and respected prizes in the custom car world and reflects a builder’s dedication to finish excellence. This year the three-day event drew over 100,000 auto enthusiasts and more than 6,200 custom cars and trucks making for stiff competition for the prestigious honor.
The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 will have a suggested retail price of $78,995, while the convertible model will start at $83,995. A $2,995 Carbon Fiber Ground Effects package including a functional carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber rocker panels and a larger rear spoiler is available. A Z07 Performance Package with Brembo carbon ceramic-matrix brake rotors, Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup tires and adjustable front and rear aerodynamic components and the Carbon Fiber Ground Effects Package is available for $7,995. Z06 models will be offered in 1LZ, 2LZ and 3LZ trims.
Editor-in-Chief's's Note: This week our "Quick Take" has us in a 2014 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon. Having driven an Opel 1900 sport wagon for my daily driver way back when and in a galaxy far, far away, I found this BMW wagon configuration to be useful, tastefully rendered and vaguely familiar. Some out there don't like the fact that BMW abandoned their smaller inline six-cylinder engines in favor of their new-generation 4-cylinder turbo engines in the lesser 3 Series models, but I love the way this car - and this engine - feels. The throttle tip-in is perfect - much better than the comparable Audi turbo 4-cylinder engines - and the entire package just feels responsive and right. As I've said before, the German automakers are so hell-bent on exploiting every product niche - both real and imagined - that their tendency is to throw whatever they can get their hands on up against the wall to see what sticks. It seems to be a particularly distressing affliction in fact. But through the course of doing so they still somehow manage to create machines worth driving and owning. For BMW, this 328i Sports Wagon is one of them. It feels like a BMW should feel, and when considering what's going on these days, that is no mean feat. If you like going off-trend - meaning away from the SUV/crossover frenzy - this BMW might just be what the doctor ordered. - PMD
2014 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon: $49,825 ($41,450 Base Price; Melbourne Red Metallic, $550; Black/Red Dakota Leather, $1,450; 2.0-liter, Direct-injected, 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder BMW Twin Power Turbo engine with 241HP and 258 lbs-ft of torque, Valvetronic and Double-VANOS steplessly variable valve timing; Driving Dynamic Control with ECO PRO, COMFORT and SPORT settings; 8-speed sport automatic transmission; xDrive all-wheel-drive system; Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assist, Brake Drying, Brake Stand-by and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC); High-performance, lightweight, 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC); Halogen high and low beam headlights; 8-way power front seats with driver seat memory; Split fold-down through-load rear seats; 3-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel; Bluetooth wireless technology; iDrive system with 6.5" full color flat-screen display, controller and 8 programmable memory buttons; AM/FM/CD/MP3 player audio system with HD radio; Automatic climate control; 2-way power glass panoramic moon roof; Rain-sensing windshield wipers; Sport Line - Sport leather steering wheel, 18" Sport alloy wheels with all-season performance tires, Door mirror caps in black; Sport seats, High-gloss black trim, Highlight trim finishers in Coral; Anthracite headliner - $2,600; Cold Weather Package - Heated steering wheel, Heated front seats, Heated rear seats, Retractable headlight washers - $950, Dynamic Handling Package - Adaptive M suspension, Variable sport steering - $1,000; Lighting Package - Xenon headlights - $900; Destination charge, $925)
Adherence to Brand Image: File this car under the "Good" BMW category. It feels like a BMW and it drives like a BMW. Thank goodness. - PMD