The Natchez Trace Parkway at Highway 96 West

NTP Bridge aerial

Just southwest of Nashville, Tennessee, lies the Northern Terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway.  And about 8.7 miles down the Trace, where it crosses Highway 96 West, sits this amazing structure.  This intersection also happens to be the first exit after you enter the 444-mile-long Parkway.

Here we are looking East toward Franklin, Tennessee; Google Maps shows a nice picture of it.  And as one indication of the magnificent scenery here, the view from the bridge won me a Car and Driver10 Best Straightaways Contest Winner” sweatshirt and some ink in the January, 2000 issue. Continue reading

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2013-2014 Honda CBR600RR HRC

600RR frontWe just have a few weeks of nice riding weather left this year, so l thought l’d reflect on what l think is a motorcycle masterpiece.

To quote Honda, “And for 2013 the best just got a whole lot better.  We’ve given the CBR600RR some major updates, including new 12-spoke wheels, revised ECU settings, and a fine-tuned ram-air system to increase torque.  Best of all, the CBR600RR gets a new “Big Piston” fork and retuned rear shock. Continue reading

Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959) a review:

Not long ago, Turner Classic Movies released a batch of movies involving formula race cars, ranging from the ‘20s to the ‘40s. Recently, they’ve released a batch of hot rod-themed films. Let’s take a look.

4_ghost-of-dragstrip-hollow-half-sheet-1959View full collection here. Visit WordPress user The Poster Archive for more vintage poster goodness.

The Zenith hot rod club is doing its best to be a legitimate club that goes against the typical architype of “teens and hot rods” image that soils the sport. Reporter Tom Hendry (Russ Bender) is writing a story and he’s impressed by what he sees and hears. The problem is that they need a new place for the club as making money to pay rent by singing rock ‘n’ roll didn’t yield fruitful results. Aside from that, hot rod girl Lois Cavendish (Jody Fair) got into when she raced against rival Nita (Nancy Anderson). Lois got away unbeknownst that after Nita hit a wall, got arrested, with Lois herself later apprehended and the newspaper making a story out of the incident. Continue reading

The Cars of Wheeler Dealers (Series 1-13):

Wikipedia Title card

I really like Wheeler Dealers, a family-friendly TV show of U.K. origins that showcased modern (and not so modern) classics being bought, fixed up and sold, hopefully, for a profit. It’s a breath of fresh air when compared to cookie-cutter car shows on History Channel and even within Discovery Channel, as well as automotive entertainment shows involving at least three men acting like kids (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the formula has been copied around the world). Each build is cleverly condensed into one hour (or two half-hour episodes as it was sometimes edited), meaning it doesn’t drag on for numerous episodes and the build isn’t forgotten when a new project rolls in. You actually learn things, and it’s delivered (both in narrative and visually) in such a way that it’s easy for beginners to understand, prompting one to tackle some of the things portrayed. Granted, one doesn’t expect to change an entire chassis of a TVR Cerbera unless properly prepared for such a task, but cleaning an intercooler with acetone (regardless if it comes out of a Noble M12GTO supercar or not) seems pretty doable. Also, while the show progressed into far flashier builds, it always went back to its roots.

Usually I write about series that have wrapped up, but given that Edd -who has been an integral part of the show since the beginning and is hugely responsible for its popularity- has left the show, I believe this is a good moment to look back at some of his (and Mike’s) handiwork. I won’t cover every car (not even their IMCDb.com has the full list), and I’ve overlooked some choice candidates for some that are less memorable due to their relative significance in the show, so if you have a favorite that you want to mention, hit the comments section. Continue reading

Hot Rod Gang (1958), a review:

Not long ago, Turner Classic Movies released a batch of movies involving formula race cars, ranging from the ‘20s to the ‘40s. Recently, they’ve released a batch of hot rod-themed films. Let’s take a look.

tcm.com Hot Rod Gang posterThe above is a movie lobby card, which contains a scene still from the movie. For more of ‘em, visit tcm.com. BTW, the girl on the left sang only once and became largely irrelevant for the rest of the film. And that custom hot rod on the lower left did appear… as a background vehicle.

John Abernathy III (John Ashley) loves hot rods and rock ‘n’ roll. But driving recklessly almost ruined everything: having given a scare to a man who turned out to be the family’s attorney Dryden Philpott (Lester Dorr), John’s shot at his eccentric grandfather’s inheritance would’ve gone up in smoke since he wasn’t conducting himself as a fine, sensible, smart young man, as per the will. But given that Lois Cavendish (Jody Fair), Philpott’s associate’s daughter that was accompanying them didn’t rat him out, all was good… Continue reading