Bullitt on the Big Screen in the Rain in a Mustang

Yes, it’s true I’m a car lover.  

Why else would I be writing to you via my JulesOnWheelz.net Blog!  

Being a car lover should not be confused with loving being in a car…for too long…nine hours to be exact.  This is the preface to my story today…yes it’s true.

Driving from Kentucky to Michigan is anything but scenic, but there are the skylines of Indianapolis and Detroit that rise from the rubble to proudly display their splendor.  

Soooooo, “Why” might be one of the words that pass across your lips…well…remember I’m a car lover.  The Woodward Dream Cruise called my name and I came.

Like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, advertise it and they will come.  Thousands upon thousands of cars and car lovers descend on the State of Michigan every year.  So here I am.

My reward tonight, at 8 pm sharp, was the luxury of sitting front row in a brand new 2019 Mustang GT convertible as my movie post for the showing of “Bullitt” starring Steve McQueen.  Ford’s clever event drew a small crowd due to rain showers but as the film started the sun was setting and putting on a show all her own.

rainy sunset on Woodward

As dusk settled, there he was…Steve McQueen.  Heart-throb, idol, racer, actor. His baby blues and that turtleneck a snippet of American culture to stand the test of time.       

Girls loved him, guys wanted to BE him. It really didn’t matter what Frank Bullitt’s profession was, he was cool already.  Add to that, JJZ 109 and a chase scene up and down the hills of San Francisco and you’ve got a hit!  

RDR 838 didn’t have a chance.  So many hub caps, so little time.

As I lounged in the lap of luxury, the sprinkles started.  To the rescue were Ford team members to bring up the top and windows to protect me and the supple leather beneath.  Ironically, Steve McQueen was fresh out of the shower as I looked through raindrops on the windshield…he and I both were a bit damp.  

309131D9-C9D5-4539-96F9-646716B86FA7

My cocoon was complete as darkness fell.  As Ford paid attention to detail by providing in-car stereo sound of the movie, I was drawn to details about the movie that might just pass by others…this should not surprise you if you’ve been a loyal follower…details are my game.  

Steve McQueen’s shoes are one such example.  Characterized as one with “delicate feet”, those wraparound style tobacco brown suede chukka-style ankle boots looked like he was ready for winter…not a sunny San Fran afternoon.  The turtleneck and tweed blazer completed the look, I guess Steve could handle the heat.

The second and less famous chase scene put those toes to the test. Running past airplanes on the Tarmac, through grass and yes, through the airport, made for an ending to remember.  

He was a tree-hugger before his time…those shoes were also featured in his other movies, “The Thomas Crown Affair” and “Papillion”.  Their sturdy English construction paid off in the end.  I guess that’s enough about shoes, I’m not Imelda Marcos.

Pony emblem screen

As I said above, Steve is the ultimate man, he could make burlap look good, and the Mustang isn’t bad either!

He schooled us all on parallel parking, BTW.

I’m looking forward to seeing that 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2 + 2 Fastback tomorrow.  

Would have loved to see Steve too, but we all know he’ll be there in spirit.

Maybe he will whisper “shotgun” on the way home…

Epitome of Elegance – A Day at the Concours

*WARNING* Elegant photos of automobiles displayed in a beautiful setting present in this post.  Prepare to spend some time gawking…

Elegance, it’s a lost art.  Men in suits, ladies in dresses and hats.  Seems we have reserved this elegance for Wall Street and the Kentucky Derby alone, but pulling out all the stops, I present to you the Epitome of Elegance…The Concours d’Elegance of America.

A few fancy dresses, hats and a sea of blue sport coats were definitely present, but it was the cars that brought the elegance to the Inn at St. John’s this past Sunday in Plymouth, Michigan.

Normally I would be in attendance at a venue like this for the golf, but to my pleasure I was beckon come for an award, an Automotive Heritage Journalism Award.  Honored and humbled, this event started my day with a bang.  Friends and family flanked the Brembo tent table to cheer on their favorite blogger.

2018 AHJA JulesOnWheelz

Jules and Steve Purdy

Veteran journalist and Chief Judge Gary Witzenberg did the honors.  Organizer Steve Purdy was on hand for an “atta boy” as well.  Check “award-winning blogger” off my bucket list.  Now, enough about me…let’s get to the cars!

They started to roll in at 6 am.  Fresh from the media table, I with my treasured award and media credential around my neck proudly, moseyed down the course towards delight.  Arranged over three long fairways, the green velvet underfoot gave a cool layer to the ankles as I watched the owners prepping for the day with fevered brows.

1958 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible by GM

Ahh the smell of Meguiar’s and turf in the morning.  As the sunrise cut through the cloud of polish it was prime time for exhibitors to take one last look around the show…the calm before the storm.  The grown-up amusement park was soon to open.

From find to famous, some entries were fully restored.  Scrapbooks with pictures of every stage of resolution were proudly shown.  One that stood out was a car that was almost completely destroyed and saved by local Detroit businessman Jim George, seen in the background of this photo below.

Jules and 1958 Bentley SI Continental Drophead Coupe

More details to come in a future post, but know that this bullet ridden, gutted, rust heap made its way to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for its cotillion in 2017.

Divided into classes like Jazz Age, American Post War, and Modern Collectibles, each car is judged by an esteemed group of car experts in blue sport coats.  They stroll the fairway with clipboards crowning “best-in-class” which then move onto the “best-in-show” competition.  Ribbons appear on the windshield later in the day.

I’m able to spot Wayne Carini from the Velocity Channel’s show Chasing Classic Cars, whom I met on Saturday, scoping the merchandise.  I continue to be impressed with Wayne as he strolled leisurely amongst the bevy of beauties. Later he would gladly pose for a picture with my family as he is one to encourage the young who are interested in cars.  *See teenagers in photo below.  **Yes, teenage girls.

Mornings with Wayne

Now…find a comfy seat and settle in…

I don’t apologize for the number…narrowing was never my strong suit, the more the merrier.

1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible
1958 Edsel Pacer Convertible
1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable
1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable
1937 Bugatti T57S Coupe 2
1937 Bugatti T57S Coupe Owned by 2018 Distinguished Judge Keith Crane
1937 Bugatti T57S Coupe
more of the 1937 Bugatti T57S
1915 Stanley Mountain Wagon
1915 Stanley Mountain Wagon
1939 Bugatti T57 Cabriolet by Letourneur
1939 Bugatti T57 Cabriolet by Letourneur
Bugatti racer
Bugatti racer
Bugatti emblem hood ornament
Bugatti hood emblem
57 Lancia and 50 Aston Martin
Left – 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupe, Right – 1957 Lancia B24S Convertible
1957 Lancia B24S Convertible by Pinin Farina
1957 Lancia B24S Convertible by Pinin Farina
1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupe
1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupe
1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupe front
more 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupe
Minty Fresh
1947 Deleheye 135M Cabriolet by Henri Chaprone
Mercedes
Mercedes
Lovely Lady RR
Rolls Royce
1958 Ford Thunderbird Roadster
1958 Ford Thunderbird Roadster
1962 Sunbeam 11 by Thomas Harrington
1962 Sunbeam 11 by Thomas Harrington

Flip ups

King rat and The Judge

Whew! Ending with a King is appropriate.

The bridge from found to famous, barn find to blue ribbon is paved with mystery.  The story is the treasure.

Get out to a concours someday, you just may pick up something more than a sunburn.

Maybe even an elegant award.

Title photo:  1966 Bosley Interstate MKII 2-door Coupe by Carrozzeria Bosley

Cars, Coffee and Carini

The sun arose to greet the loyal enthusiasts early Saturday in Pure Michigan.  A day had come for car lovers all over the midwest to show their wares, drool over their hopes, and appreciate the one and only Concours d’Elegance of America.

Michigan sign

A bevy of volunteers shine every year and for the past 40 in Plymouth to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.  Park here, eat there, show there, you get my drift. Over three hundred beloved beauties would be showing up shortly to be judged on their merits and loved by their fans…but that would happen on Sunday.  

Hagerty sales

Today is Saturday.  No fanfare, no judging, some polishing (diapers included) and just plain showing off.  Buy your “Shift Happens” and “Three Pedals No Problem” t-shirts at the Hagerty booth. 

The venue, The Inn at St. John’s. Today is no wedding but for many of those present, they’re married to their cars.

The stage set, I start my cruise around the asphalt…wondering what treasures I’ll find…that’s the fun.

Cars, check. Coffee (sponsored by Biggby Coffee), check. Donuts, check.  Here are just a few of the well-loved autos on display…Hagerty played a big part as a major sponsor as well as Car and Driver and M1Concourse.

Jules in Hagerty

Hagerty’s Classic Car Ride and Drive was a chance to drive/ride in a classic.  15 minutes in one of these and I’m hooked. Hagerty is happy to help me insure it, it’s their specialty.

CCC classic

“The Judge” – can you find the diaper in the picture above? lol

CCC Mustang (1)

CCC Mustang

Bullitt fuel cover

2001 Bullitt Mustang CCC

CCC Mustang interior

Bullitt fuel cover 2

2017 Bullitt CCC

Green car guys were ecstatic…Mustangs galore…Bullitts anyone?

I’ve never seen so much Highland Green in my life!

CCC Dodge SRT

CCC fire engine.JPEG

Every show brings a few unique looks…a shoe salesman from Arizona used this truck for his business before a local Detroiter got his hands on it.

My stroll through the maze begins to slow as the sun rises high in the sky.  The witching hour approaches. “The One That Got Away” seminar is being hosted by Hagerty.  Their featured panelist, none other than Wayne Carini himself from Velocity Channel’s Chasing Classic Cars, will be in attendance. 

Also present on the panel, Jeff Lane of Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, TN, and Dave Kinney writer at Automobile Magazine.

A chance to meet Wayne highlights my trip to automobile Mecca.  

Hagerty’s Brad Philips did a great job of moderating the gathering of over 300 in the Judea Room of The Inn.  Slides were shown of cars that each of the guests had owned.

Their happiness/regret was highlighted by showing what they paid for the car and then what it would be worth now if they had kept it.  Sounds simple right…boring…NO WAY! 

Responsible for valuations was Vice President of Valuation Services Brian Rabold from Hagerty. His comedic anecdotes meant to stir conversation from the panel, worked like a charm.  The all-too-familiar PowerPoint format came to life.

Stories, it’s always the stories, that win the day.  Hearing each account of purchase, circumstance, and thought process was fascinating.  Most of us have an epiphany of some sort as we recall our past choices. These accounts were laden with them.  First cars, mid-life crisis cars, sentimental cars, the list goes on. Some are still owned to this day and bring pleasure to families and friends.  Some tax the owner so, they are happy to see them leave the garage.

The oohs, the ahhhs.  All expressed sincerely, by both crowd and panel.

Wrapping up the almost one hour presentation was a Q & A session.  One guest wanted to know what to buy.  The comment was made by the panel, “are you a polisher or a driver”?  Chuckles radiated through the room like spectators doing the wave at a baseball game. 

Polisher? Buy a car that runs well.  The latter…get your on-board toolkit ready and snatch up one of those hard to fix, but really awesome to drive, barn finds.

Jules and Wayne Carini wide

After meeting Wayne in person, I can understand why he’s so successful.  Those piercing blue eyes, that moustache and every hair in place, but as personable as you could ask for.  He exudes kindness and never refuses a fan photo-op.

As you can see above…I took my opportunity.

I walk away from this Saturday in July realizing again that cars bring us together.

I’m glad to be part of this culture…It makes me happy.

So did Wayne.

 

The Bullitt Goes to Washington

The original 1968 Bullitt Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the police drama “Bullitt” makes its way to Washington next week.

Much like Jimmy Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, Sean Kiernan’s treasure has the potential to bring people who wouldn’t normally be “car people” to their knees on the National Mall next week with an idealistic view of history as seen through the eyes of car lovers everywhere.

April 17-23 marks the calendar for east coast dreamers to see their dream car under Plexiglas along with four other iconic cars that have made their appearance at this years 2018 edition of Cars at the Capital display in the month of April.

A 1985 Modena Spyder California from the movie “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” kicked off the celebration.  You might remember it as I do as Cameron’s Dad’s car that was “borrowed” for the day to deliver three precocious teens to the City of Chicago for a day of playing hooky.  It was made for the movie modeling it after the Ferrari.

The fifteen-millionth Ford, a 1927 Model T shows a bit of history itself on the Mall with its hand-stamped 15000000.  As one of the last off the line, Edsel and Henry Ford drove it off to signal the end of production and celebrate its success.

So far, none of the above mentioned history-makers have I had the privilege of riding in or any like them…but this next one…sign me up!  The 1984 Plymouth Voyager minivan in all it’s wood-paneled glory graces the stage too.  Dodge Caravan joined the family as well.  It’s original 12,000 miles dating from the release in 1983 make this one unique Plymouth and very familiar to visitors.

Giving a nod to our military, a 1918 Cadillac Type 57 may help some hearken back to the days before the Jeep became the standard military vehicle.  As the only remaining Type 57 it is sure to thrill car enthusiasts at the end of April on the Mall as the last entry into “Cars at the Capital” for 2018.

For me, the Bullitt is the draw if I make my way to DC next week.  Ford has released a “new” 50th Anniversary Bullitt for 2019 pictured above as seen at the Chicago Auto Show in February.

The Kiernan Bullitt is estimated to be worth over 4 million dollars in its un-restored original condition with movie modifications and all.

The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Limited-edition will be throwing back 480 horsepower when it is released later this summer.  The only wonder in this buy is whether to go with Highland Green or Shadow Black.  Its Shelby GT350 intake is a no-brainer and top speed of 163 mph cements the deal.

IMG_3059

IMG_3060

IMG_3062

IMG_3061

Photos by Jules Stayton

Clean lines and hardly a patch adorns the body, save the faux fuel tank cover.  The 2019 Bullitt makes its own “new” statement.  Power, performance and history rolled together to make the next generation of  Mustang lovers proud to drive an icon, be it fifty years old or current day.

Thank you Steve McQueen for making history with that memorable green monster.

An even bigger thanks to Sean Kiernan and his dad for preserving a legendary automobile that means so much to so many.

Go to Washington next week with the same eyes as Mr. Smith did…open and willing to see the best…this time in the shape of a Mustang…and the cherry blossoms aren’t bad either.

 

The Bullitt will sell for $46,595.  Destination and delivery – $900.

 

 

Access by BMW Launches in Nashville

Today BMW launched its automobile subscription service Access by BMW.

Nashville, TN is the headquarters for the pilot program that will include two levels to choose from that allows unlimited switching of vehicles during any given 32-day membership cycle.

A $575 joining fee applies unless you are one of the lucky 50 to sign-up for the service first.  Insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance are included in the membership fee that will be fulfilled by local dealerships.

The Legend tier chimes in at $2000/month and includes the following:

Sedans:  530e xDrive iPerformance and 540i xDrive 35i

SAVs:  X5 xDrive 35i

Coupes/Convertibles:  440i Coupe, M2 Coupe, 440i Covertible

 

$3700/month moves you up to the BMW M tier including:

Sedans:  M5

SAVs:  X5M, X6M

Coupes/Convertibles:  M4 Convertible

P90299431-lowRes
Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA and Region Americas (Photo courtesy of BMW)

Ian Smith, CEO of BMW Group Financial Services USA and Region Americas stated,  “As customers continue to explore the growing mobility market, service-related offerings are becoming more in demand. With Access by BMW, our members will enjoy the freedom of personal mobility with access across a broad range of our highly emotional vehicles” .

In addition he commented,  “Subscription-based services are of emerging interest for our customers, and we’re excited to be offering a mobility service to meet their individual and evolving needs.”

Find out more at:  AccessbyBMW.com

 

 

BMW – The Brand Making Waves

We’ve all wished for it.  The eternal hope that we might someday sit in a fine specimen of automotive greatness feeling the rumble under us as we motor down an infinite highway of pleasure…

Hello, Hello!  This is reality…remember me!  Rarely do mere mortals commence on a path to this dream, but one can get pretty close…it’s called The Chicago Auto Show.

Hundreds of cars descend each February, near icy Lake Michigan, upon McCormick Place to the delight of those mere mortals to put a little spice in their winter by making some of those dreams come true…almost.

Having been an attendee for years, I know exactly how you feel.  Its cold.  It’s a pain getting there. Its…its…glorious once you head up those escalators and see the globe waiting for you.  You’re almost there!

IMG_3005

Photo by Jules Stayton

Check that winter coat, by golly, and get in there!  Never has such care been taken to display all that each manufacturer holds dear this model year.  Well, maybe, there is Detroit (a close second especially with that Bullitt move this year), L.A., New York, etc.  but being the true Midwesterner…Chicago all the way baby!

I was able to live a dream this year by attending as a member of the media.  Up close and personal just got real.  The drama, excitement and the sheer love of cars bubbles up like champagne during media days.  We all took a long drink for two days and I especially savored sipping the bubbly at BMW.

BMW i8 with Jules
Jules Stayton in BMW i8

See that smile on my face…dihedral, scissor, butterfly, batwing, gull-wing or falcon, sliding, suicide, canopy, swan, etc.  Doors, doors I love them all for they are the portal.  The BMW i8’s scissor doors are very functional and give a wider entry point for taller drivers like myself.  Sliding into the seat and swinging the legs around  into the cockpit is effortless.  I believe my BMW product specialist said I was “the most graceful so far today” which I wore like a badge of honor.  Closing and opening the doors was a breeze with the smooth mechanics and use of carbon fiber by BMW.

BMW i8 butterfly doors

BMW i8 interior

BMW i8 nose

Photos by Jules Stayton

The i8 combines electric and combustion engines through BMW’s  eDrive technology for 369 horsepower and a 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. This roadster in E-Copper is meant to play with the big boys, nicely.  Four driving modes COMFORT, SPORT, ECO PRO, and eDRIVE, add to the allure of the i8 as a car of the future made for the present.

IMG_3159
BMW i3

Photo by Jules Stayton

The i-Series drives the electric revolution for the brand.  One hundred i3s were leased by LAPD in 2016,  beating out Tesla, to conserve emissions/carbon footprints. At half the cost of Tesla per unit, the three-year contract between BMW and LAPD allows for technology improvements and lays the groundwork for use as a possible patrol car sometime in the future.  The infrastructure needed to supply charging stations for the plug-ins is growing in California thanks to the LAPD investing in charging stations for the bevy of i3s.

BMW Laurel Motorsport M2 Edition art wrap
BMW M2

Photo by Jules Stayton

Lastly, as I roamed the BMW corner this Laurel Motorsport M2 art wrap edition caught my eye that was provided by Laurel BMW of Westmont, IL.  Ever popular, the M-Series’ newest member is a hit with those wanting high performance in a smaller package.

BMW conducted extensive tests of its mettle at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and winding roads 5000 feet higher at Mount Charleston.  Living in Las Vegas for 20 years, I know these areas well and working some magic as the elevation increases incrementally towards Mount Charleston is a challenge for many autos but the rewards are worth it!

IMG_1174
Mount Charleston, Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo by Jules Stayton

The Chicago Auto Show is definitely the place to go for winter dreamin’. It is the one show where most attendees are actually shopping for their next car.

I’ll put BMW on my “brands to consider” list from this year’s show, as a good Midwesterner would.

A little bit of February-in-Chicago dreamin’ is good for the soul.

Why should California get all the glory…

 

 

 

 

 

 

FCA’s Beautiful Child Continues to Excel – Alfa Romeo in All Its Glory

I grew up in a large family by today’s standards, my parents in even larger ones.  Often, genius runs in families.  We see this in the Olympic athletes that are second or third generation and as talented or more than their parents or grandparents.  Whether nature or nurture or both has shaped us, it shows up in what we become.

When Fiat and Chrysler merged in 2014 to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) the Italian and the American came together as one and the ensuing plethora of children resulting from the union ensued.  Abarath, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati and Ram Trucks blended like the Brady Bunch.

I was especially taken with two of the siblings at the Chicago Auto Show just a couple of weeks ago.  While cruising the Concept and Technology Garage, formulated for the media to get a head start on the show by getting up close and personal with both the cars and their product specialists, I was stunned by the Alfa Romeo Stelvio sitting before me in Alfa Rosso.  Starting at $41,995 and $37,995 respectively, the Stelvio, like the Giulia, have entered their classes by storm.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio frontAlfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio (1)

Photos by Jules Stayton

Four trims complete the Stelvio lineup:  base AWD, sport AWD, Ti AWD and Ti Sport AWD.  One might also choose the Lusso package on the Ti for those wanting luxurious touches and Lusso-exclusive light walnut accents in the cabin. The race-inspired Quadrifoglio bumps up the horsepower, handling and price ($79,995 plus a $1,595 destination fee) but still boasts the Q4 AWD system.  Whether it’s the Quadrifoglio’s 505 horsepower or the 280 horsepower yielded from the Stelvio it’s balanced 50/50 weight distribution manages the eight-speed transmission nicely with available steering column-mounted paddle shifters.  The Stelvio is the consummate Italian as it is produced at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy.

Berj Alexanian, my product specialist, was eager to have me set eyes on the Giulia Quadrifoglio as well after we took our walk around the Stelvio drooling all the way.  I remember first setting eyes on the Giulia in 2016 at the Chicago Auto Show. Jules needs a Giulia I thought…

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio full

Photo by Jules Stayton

I still think that today…Jules needs a Giulia Quadrifoglio! The “halo” would look great in my driveway.  I would have to settle for the show floor to visit with my future this day.

I guess Jules knows how to pick em’.

Praise overflows for the Giulia in the form of Motor Trend Car of the Year®, Car and Driver’s 10 best, and most recently the Best New Luxury Compact Car Award from Good Housekeeping Magazine in cooperation with Car and Driver.

The Giulia’s all-aluminum 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo with an eight speed automatic transmission is a class leader with 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft. of torque charting it’s zero-60 in 5.1 seconds at its top speed of 149 mph.  Should the Quadrifoglio’s motor sport DNA be in your future like mine, 505 horsepower screams 3.8 seconds in zero-60 mph.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio front R panelAlfa Romeo clover emblemAlfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Photos by Jules Stayton

The Chicago Auto Show was the perfect setting for FCA to showcase this branch of the bunch.  The Stelvio and the Giulia, each with its own praise and slot in the market that even Alice would approve.

Large or small, blended families don’t always find harmony as FCA has…hopefully it will last.

At least everyone played nice at CAS, making their parents proud…