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1971 PONTIAC TRANS AM Bull-nose beaut



Long-term resto


The pick-up that never was...


BIRD R E D N U H T D R O F 5 5 19

Ben Klemenzson


Image: Jonathan Fleetwood

ESCAPISM As I sit here, looking out of my window, snow flurries are blowing around, the UK has gone full-tilt snow crazy and it seems unimaginable that the spring, much less the summer, is around the corner. Of course it isn’t, but it will be very soon and like many American car owners, my mind will turn to shows, road trips and fun things to do with my cars. As inspiration you could immerse yourself in our balmy sunshine-filled feature on page 22 on a rather lovely 1955 Ford Thunderbird belonging to father and son Paul and Matt Buck. Also in that vein, our Events pages are filling up nicely, so if, like me, you’re marooned in the wintry weather, pondering over these pages and planning which ones you fancy visiting once the summer is finally here, now’s your chance. Classic American has also finalised its Car of the Year competition for the coming 12 months and we’re pleased to welcome on board another sponsor for the series, advertiser Kingstown Shipping. It’s the only American concours competition of its kind and is now entering its third decade!

As mentioned previously, we’re seeking ‘everyman’ American classics and the story of Mark Witham and how he came to own the lovely 1965 Buick Riviera on page 41 is an inspirational one and one we hope will resonate with every reader – whatever your dream car is, don’t always assume it’s impossible or out of reach. I hope you enjoy the sixth instalment of our American & Modified supplement; I’ve been greatly heartened by the positive feedback and response we’ve had to it, both as an annual supplement and a regular section in the magazine.

Ben Klemenzson, editor



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APRIL 2018 REGULARS 06 12 14 16 18 20 82 90 94 98 104 108 110

News Letters Across the Pond Muscle Car Files Here to Obscurity Subscription Offer Events Reviews Scale Autos Discoveries Service Directory Drive Buy Private Classifieds

F E AT U R E S 22 31 38 41 46 51 57 60

1955 Ford Thunderbird 1959 Pontiac El Catalina 1973 Riviera GS Stage 1 1965 Buick Riviera Sport Coupe Travel: Germany 1971 Pontiac Trans Am 1969 Ford Galaxie Don Garlits Part II


Tech: Rust Project Beauty Pala

CLUB NEWS 79 102

Club News Club Profile

W W W. C L A S S I C - A M E R I C A N . C O M 1971 PONTIAC TRANS AM Bull-nose beaut

Meet the count


Shelby Cobra

Ford F100 pick-up

Murena 429 GT

Dodge Polara

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The pick-up that never was...





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No.3234 April 2018


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Classic American


This year’s Car of the Year heats have been announced and they take in events up and down the country from Easter through to October, with a total of seven heats, and the grand finals taking place at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham over the weekend of November 9-11.

1. Friday, March 30 Wheels Day, Aldershot, Hampshire

Last year’s stunning winner: 1967 Mustang GT, with owner Laura Meeks.

2. June 9-10 American Speedfest, Brands Hatch 3. June 16-17 Footman James Bristol Classic, Shepton Mallet, Somerset 4. June 30-July 1 Stars & Stripes, Tatton Park, Cheshire 5. July 8 Rally of the Giants, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 6. July 27-29 Mopar EuroNats, Santa Pod Raceway, Northamptonshire 7. October 6-7 Prescott American Autumn Classic, Gloucestershire Rally of the Giants heat winner 2017: 1950 Nash Airflyte Ambassador belonging to Sven Larsen.


WHAT IS CAR OF THE YEAR? Car of the Year is the only concours competition of its kind in the UK aimed specifically at American vehicles, which can be either original or restored, but must be stock (or as near as stock) as possible. Over the summer Classic American attends seven American car shows all over the UK, selling magazines, back issues and subscriptions. As well as all this, these shows are covered editorially to provide content for Classic American, but most importantly each show is a ‘heat’ of the Car of the Year competition and a winning car is picked at each show, with the winner receiving a cheque for £150 and a rather smart-looking unique hand-cast brass trophy. There’s no entry procedure, any American vehicle at any of the heat events is eligible. Each of these heat winners is invited to bring their car down to display on the Classic American stand at the Classic Motor Show held at Birmingham’s NEC over the weekend of November 9-11. Over the weekend the cars are judged, usually by three independent judges, and one overall champion is picked, winning a cheque for £500, a prestigious large hand-cast brass trophy and their car is featured on the front cover of February’s issue of the magazine.

Ross Meeks and Footman James’ Julia Attwood with Car of the Year trophy.

FOOTMAN JAMES AND KINGSTOWN SHIPPING TO SPONSOR CAR OF THE YEAR Classic American is pleased to announce that Footman James insurance is continuing its long-term sponsorship arrangement of the Car of the Year competition. Additionally there is a new sponsor for this year’s Car of the Year competition in the shape of Classic American advertiser Kingstown Shipping, which has committed to supporting this

year’s event alongside Footman James. Kingstown has expressed an interest in being hands-on with its sponsorship, so expect to see the team on the Classic American stand at events over the summer, where they’ll be more than happy to discuss everything and anything you might want to know about shipping vehicles from the US, or from anywhere else for that matter!

Kingstown Shipping: James Hadley, Mark Cowley, Alan Shores, Jim Hastings, Stephen Shores. 7

Classic American


THE LONDON CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW ExCeL, London | February 15-18, 2018

Ian Webb’s 1955 F100.

Words and photography: Ben Klemenzson

The London Classic Motor Show has been going for a couple of years now, so it’s probably safe to assume that it’s now a permanent fixture on the classic motoring calendar. Held at ExCeL, which is located in East London, it’s served by the Docklands Light Railway, so is relatively easy to get to. One might assume that it’s competing with the Classic Motor Show held at the NEC in November, but in reality it’s an altogether different beast. Whereas the defining characteristic of the NEC show is the dominance of the club

1966 Shelby Mustang GT350.

stands, at the London show it’s the dealers which dominate, although there are club stands aplenty. Another USP is ‘The Avenue’ which is effectively a short track in the centre of the main hall that cars parade/race up and down doing demonstrations at various times during the day. It’s a clever and unique feature that enables people to see and hear the cars in motion, something that usually is missing at most static/indoor car shows – although with people standing three or four deep, it’s not something that

The £199k Corvette.

shorter people are likely to enjoy! When the cars were not moving, people were allowed in the hangar area where they’re parked up to look at them up close. There were some truly remarkable American cars, including a 1916 Packard Double Six Typhoon with a boat tail, a Chrysler show car and the self-same Murena that’s featured in this month’s magazine which had made the trip from the Isle of Man Motor Museum. Another feature of the show was auction house Coys having a sale over the weekend – lots included a red

1966 Corvette roadster with an estimate of £40-£60k and a 2006 Mustang 450 GT with an estimate of £15-£20k. Although there’s not a huge amount of American content, the Mustang Owners Club GB and the Classic Corvette Club UK had stands there and dotted about the show were the odd American cars – predominantly Mustangs and Corvettes. One dealer had a 1963 split-window Corvette with a very optimistic price of £199,000. Far more reasonably priced was the beautiful gold 1963 roadster on Ian Webb’s stand for £49,500.

Anglo-American Oil’s stand.

Gorgeous Chrysler show car.

Classic American advertiser Ian Webb.

Automobilia galore.

Footman James’s miniaturised Cobra.

GM dealer Ian Allan had this new ’Vette on the CCCUK stand.


Ian Webb’s 1963 Corvette roadster.

MOCGB stalwart Barry Craven with Shelby Mustang GT500KR.

There were quite a few Classic American advertisers at the show, including Footman James, Iconic Creations, Ian Webb and Anglo American Oil. In many ways, while this event isn’t something that would immediately spring to mind as being of interest to American car fans, there’s actually quite a lot there to take in, including a couple

of White Steam cars and even a 1917 Model T Ford. Plenty of the non-American cars would be of interest to any petrol head, from one-off custom-built Bentleys to plain-Jane Volkswagens. Next year’s event takes place from February 14-17. For more information see: www.

2006 Mustang 450 GT.

1916 Packard Double Six Typhoon. 9


Classic American


Silverstone Auctions had some excellent results to their recent Race retro sale. However, undoubtedly taking centre stage was the 1969 Dodge Charger ‘Bullitt’ spec (sic) previously owned by Hollywood film star Bruce Willis and pop legend Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, which sold for £94,500, almost double its lower estimate. Will those Charger prices ever peak? Not judging by that result! Bullitt Charger was actually a ’68.

MIDLAND AMERICAN AUTO CLUB UB NEWS The Midland American Auto Club now has 210 members with 23 new members being added last year. It’s a very healthy club with a good active membership which is in part down to the relaxed attitude the club takes towards itself, its members and the American car, truck and bike scene in general. “It’s a hobby, let’s not forget that” says chairman Joe Keenen, who founded the club with the current secretary Kieran Mullen 17 years ago in 2001. Every year the Midland American Auto Club hold the All-American Car, Truck and Bike show at its own showgrounds in Kilbeggan, County Westmeath. “It’s slap bang in the middle of Ireland,” said Nick Stratta, “so it’s ‘American Car Central’ in Ireland. We get cars and trucks coming from all over – up from Cork, across from Galway, down from Northern Ireland and

Big rigs make it to Kilbeggan too.

of course out from Dublin for the show.” They get about 350 American cars, trucks and bikes rolling in from 10.30am onwards and staying until gone 5pm, as well as about 20 big rigs, including Kenworths, Peterbilts and Western Stars. At the close of the show, they often fire up the engines and let the Jake Brakes fly and sound their deep bass truck horns, which is a fantastic end to the day. It’s one of the biggest collection of American cars, trucks and bikes in Ireland all year, so it’s a great day out. They especially enjoy welcoming overseas visitors from Scotland, Wales and England. It’s a good week – or long weekend – visiting Kilbeggan and sampling the famous Irish hospitality, unspoilt scenery and country roads and villages. Not to mention the famous Guinness and local food. “This year we’re doing something special for tthe All-American Car, Truck and Bike Show which will be held on Sunday, April 22 from 11am w onwards,” said Joe Keenan. “We’re going to have o a show and tell presentation of key American ccars and truck through the ages each hour. “We’ll be featuring Ford Mustangs old and new, Dodge Chargers and Challengers, Pontiac n Trans Ams and Corvettes, Ford F-Series pickT ups old and new and the big luxury cars of u tthe Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. They will be ffeatured in a big area which is new for this year aand the owners will be interviewed. The first presentation is at 11.45 so make sure to come p early and not miss it.” e

Fun for all the family at Kilbeggan


There will be a competition for the kids to identify key milestone American cars and trucks and each competition entry from a child will get a small prize. There will also be sideshows like dodgems to keep the kids entertained and an autojumble inside one of the many storage sheds the club has built over the years. And not forgetting the now famous big rig tug of war where they pull a small family car to pieces between two huge trucks. And the now legendary burn-out demonstration, with muscle cars and trucks frying the rear tyres for the enjoyment of the public. Sounds like the perfect spring break road trip! For further information please contact Joe Keenan, club chairman, on +353 87 238 8400, Nick Stratta, the club’s public relations officer on +353 85 828 9922 or check out their website or find them on Facebook.

ALDERS HAVE GOT YOU COVERED Alders Automotive have recently become a UK dealer for PML Inc who are based in California and pride themselves on their products being made in the US. This company manufactures a range of high-quality cast aluminium valve covers, differential covers and transmission sump pans. Their valve covers are manufactured with the traditional ‘speed equipment’ look and are available for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, including LS1- LS7s, and Jeep. Their transmission pans are made to a high standard, with cast fins to aid cooling and additional oil capacity, so


not only does this product look good, it’s also functional in lowering drive-line temperatures and preventing those annoying fluid leaks due to its ridged cast design. Their transmission and diff covers are available for most American applications. Alders are currently supplying their products to order and currently have parts shipments every two weeks. For a full range of their products, check out their website www. and to order you can contact Alders on 01323 848448 or see their website

PML valve covers.

Classic American

Mail A very sad sight.

Always carry a fire extinguisher! Dear Classic American, In early February, just before midnight, my beautiful, beautiful 1964 Ford Thunderbird caught fire. It was destroyed and caused fire damage to the car next to it which was also written off. An electrical fault apparently. I will now make it into a rat rod... Remember to carry a fire extinguisher, at all times. I now will. This car was perfect before this happened. A video has been published of this car burning: see on Vimeo at I want to say a big thank you to the local fire brigade (and indeed police) who came and put the fire out, they couldn’t have been more professional and courteous. Yours sincerely Tim Bristow Ryde, Kent Wise words indeed – the number of car fires that we’ve heard of that could have been far less serious if only the owners had a fire extinguisher with them is astonishing!

Email us at: or write to: Classic American Magazine, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6LZ



AIRBAG RECALL Dear Classic American, In 2011 I purchased a new Ford Mustang from a dealership in Florida. I now have the car in Europe in Gibraltar. I recently received a recall notice in respect of the air bag which according to the email is an urgent safety recall. I took my car to my local Ford dealer who stated they had nothing on their computer in respect of a recall and advised me to find exactly what the fault was. On making further inquiries I ascertained that the air bag inflator needs replacing. I contacted the dealer in Florida who told me that they had no parts to change the item and to contact Ford Corporate. I subsequently contacted Ford Corporate who at first stated that they would not have any replacement parts till spring. Eventually they gave me a contact number for Ford Spain who they said could arrange to order the part required and to fit it. According to the information I have, this recall concerns in excess of one million cars! In the end I was able to take my car to a Ford dealer in southern Spain and the fault was

2011 Mustang.

rectified in a matter of days fortunately. I am now selling the car and did not want to sell it without this matter being resolved. I hope that Ford are able to rectify the fault, as the recall does say it is urgent. James Golt via email It’s certainly true that recall notices issued for US-built vehicles in the US market often don’t reach Europe. However, through forums or manufacturers directly it is possible to keep abreast of them and we’d urge readers to do so.

TOUCH OF GLAMOUR? Dear Classic American, In the shadow of the President’s Club scandal, I am wondering if I was the only person to raise an eyebrow at the unfortunate timing of the inclusion of SEMA show ‘walk-on girls’ pictures in the Blue Pages section of CA’s February 2018 issue? Whether one agreed with it or not, cars and pretty girls were always part of the automobile scene, both professional and private. But after Weinstein, #metoo and even PDC


Anna and Andy with Steve Darnell.


Darts dropping walk-on girls, the times, as the song says, look like they will be definitely changing! Jeremy F Davies Via email Christopher Tilley took lots of pictures of the promo girls at SEMA (no sign of them being dropped... yet!) I thought they were a nice way to brighten up the pages and the readers’ days too. We would have included some promo ‘boys’ in the interests of gender balance,

but funnily enough there don’t seem to be any of those! Point taken – I hope you have noticed we don’t do shoots or layouts with models – it’s just not our thing!

Rat rod model.

Dear Classic American n, Just wanna say how much I enjoyed the Steve Darnell writeup. My wife and I were lucky enough to o meet and have a chat with him and Justin at the Buster Lang hot rod show last year. It all started after watching Sin City Motors – at the time I had a bullnose Trans Am. It was already matt black, but I added paint-on rust (obtained from www. – it really transformed the car and made it look like something from Mad Max. Anyway my wife Anna suggested that I should build a rat rod model (I’m a Tig welder) so I did and it looked pretty cool. I then contacted Buster Lang and asked if they could present it to Steve. In the end I presented it to him thanks to James

Andy's Trans Am.

Keenan off B Buster t LLang. St Steve lloved d it and it now sits in his office back home. Steve and Justin are really nice guys just like you see on the telly! Andy Grady Norwich Norfolk What a great story and nice gesture on your behalf. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the feature in this month’s American and Modified Section on Danny ‘The Count’ Koker from the TV show Counting Cars!

Classic American April 2018  
Classic American April 2018  

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