28th Feb2018

A Parnelli Jones Prepped Celica Can Be Yours!

by Michael Chandler

Parnelli Jones, racing legend and possibly the reason you destroyed a twelve pack of Olympia Beer that one time, did some amazing things during his career.  He damn near won the Indianapolis 500 in a turbine powered car, battled Dan Gurney in the 1970 Trans Am season to help get Ford the championship, and he started Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and won the Indy 500 as an owner in 1970 and 71.  VPJ also won some USAC titles, and prepped some cars for some stuff.  Stuff like this Celica GT that was used for the Celebrity/Professional race at he Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the 80’s.

 

This 1982 Celica, as well as some others, were sent from Toyota to VPJ for modifications so as to have professional drivers like Dan Gurney, David Hobbs, and Al Unser Sr. battle on the streets of Long Beach.  The Celicas also had celebrities doing whatever it is celebrities do in these sorts of races.  Celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, Ted Nugent, whoever the hell Robert Hays is, and the Renegade himself: Lorenzo Lamas!

Packing a 22R, probably, this beast is putting down an ad claimed 155 horsepower!  Not sure if that’s good or bad, but this thing did get strapped to a dyno to get that number.  It has a pair of Weber carbs on it, and that’s pretty choice for something like this if you ask me.  

The interior is all business, and very much so of the time.  If you want to pick this thing up and do anything beyond historic racing, you’re gonna have to do some cage work.  And probably a lot of other work too, but keep that steering wheel for sure.  

It looks to have a fire suppression system, and a fuel cell.  Two good things to have, but two things that may have to be addressed if modern racing is in your future.  

It’s still on those sweet A60 iron cross wheels, but they’ve been wrapped in Hoosier rubber.  It has a Richmond Gear 4.10 in the pumpkin, along with a Precision Gear limited slip.  It has Eibach spring and Tokico shocks in all four corners.  Might need some refreshing, but not a bad suspension setup.

After the old girl finished being used and abused at the celebrity race, it had a curious history.  See if you can spot my issues with this telling of its history

After 1985, the car spent the next two decades at the Willow Springs International Raceway as a driving school car. The car then langished in a shed until revived and refurbished in 2003 and started competitive racing again in 2004.

See my issue?  Either someone didn’t bother proof reading the ad before throwing it on Craigslist, or this car is a low key time machine.  But it is cool that it’s done some racing since being refurbished.  

If this thing tickles your fancy, and if you’re reading this then it probably does, check out the Craigslist ad.  If you feel so inclined, pick it up!  Just let us know that you did, and be prepared to have us bug you about driving it.

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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Mar2015

Utah Japanese Classic Car Spring Fling

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Spring is in the air and we, as gear heads, need to take to the streets and enjoy this.  On Sunday the Utah Japanese Classic Car group got together at Sugarhouse Park to ring in the season with what they called the Spring Fling Pot Luck.  If you’re in to classic J-tin then this group is for you, and if you were able to make it out to the park you got to see some treats.

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There were a pair of classic Celica GTs in attendance.  Both coupes were 5 speed models, and were rather bright.  You can see some American muscle influence in the noses of these vehicles, very reminiscent of early Camaros and Challengers; however, while the Americans were spry for being as massive as they were the Celicas were just spry.

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This beautiful, Datsun wagon made its way out.  More impressive than the wagon, and its cloth sunroof?  The fact that it made it out of the park.  That exit is gnarly!

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Who doesn’t need more RX7s in their life?  Everyone does, and there were examples of all three generations out, but this FB really caught my eye.  It’s not a concourse car, but it isn’t a wreck that that’s rotting away.  It’s a simple driver that’s hopefully spreading the good word of Reagan era rotaries to the masses.

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FC RX7s have been on the rise for a while, and for good reason.  Like all 80’s import FR coupes, they look amazing.  A few simple exterior modifications can transform a mundane runabout into a jaw dropper, and there were plenty of turbo models produced.  Nary a man alive can resist the Siren’s song that is a turbo 13B.

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This was, arguably, the most gorgeous car at the meet and is in the running for most gorgeous car to ever be produced.  The FD RX7 didn’t look like its contemporaries when it was new, and nothing has come along since to rival it.  This one is a bit different than the ones you see running around.  There isn’t a Mazda badge on the exterior, but it does have an “efini” badge on it.  This is because Mazda, like Toyota and Nissan, opened up a luxury division.  Their’s was called efini, but only operated from 1991-1997.  And unlike the Lexus and Infiniti brands, efini existed only in Japan.  That fact explains the most obvious feature of the car: it’s a right hand drive model.  You’re not going to be finding efini RX7s littering your supermarket parking lot, so seeing one in person is like finding a unicorn.

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Second generation MR2s were out in force.  These mid-engine runabouts have been turned into Ferrari F355 lookalikes by some idiots overly enthusiastic people, but thankfully the ones at the meet were clean examples that weren’t sporting prancing horse badges.

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IT”S A SUZUKI CARRY!  WE’VE HIT PEAK JDM!!!  This is as good a place as any to end this post.  There’s a gallery below, but I won’t blame you for spending your day basking in the glory that is the Suzuki Carry.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.