Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

A 1968 Firebird Sprint Gets the Jay Leno Treatment

Posted December 02, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic cars firebird pontiac

The man needs no introduction, and he is synonymous with the collector car hobby. With a car and motorcycle collection that covers over 140,000 square feet located at his Burbank, California, garage, Jay Leno is the "car guy’s car guy." We recently had the opportunity to talk with Jay and photograph the 1968 Firebird Sprint he and his Big Dog Garage crew just completed.

First, we asked Jay about the size of his collection. "It’s hard to put an accurate number on it since I’m always on the hunt or in the middle of purchasing another one," Jay says. "I think I’ve got about 199 cars and 168 motorcycles currently." If you carefully look over Jay’s collection, you’ll find it spans the entire automotive era, from early steam and electric cars to gasoline powered to hybrid, exotic, and modern-day muscle. He even has a collection of steam engines and fire apparatus. While most of us in the hobby tend to collect cars from a certain era or manufacture, Jay’s collection is all over the board with no clear pattern. "I enjoy collecting one-of-kind cars and in particular those cars that were revolutionary for their time," Jay admits. "That’s why I decided to add this OHC Firebird to my collection."

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1 comments; last comment on 12/04/2021
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England, Japan, Sweden: How Overseas Gearheads Do American Car Culture

Posted December 01, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic cars

The mass exportation of American culture around the globe has taken, along with it, American car culture to places where one would least expect to find it. Chevrolet is a household name in Russia just as Buick has become one in China. The Ford Falcon became the basis of entire automotive markets in South America and Australia. American full-size pickups are everywhere in The Netherlands.

That extends to the old car hobby. Istanbul has (or, at least, a decade ago had) a thriving classic American car scene. There's Cuba, of course. And as we can see from today's video selections, the love for old American iron doesn't stop there. It seems that in all corners of the world there's a handful of gearheads who have created their own subcultures around the American automobile. More than that, though, they make it their own. They borrow certain elements, discard others, and modify the rest to fit into their cultures. They restore, modify and preserve with a zeal equal to American gearheads and often capture the essence of the cars far better than many American restorers and modifiers. In many ways, their enthusiasm serves as a reminder for why we all fell in love with the car in the first place.

So let's start with England, specifically the British subculture that celebrates Fifties-style hot rods, if only because this week Goodwood released a video going behind the scenes at the big 70-car hot rod field at this year's Revival. It's a rather unique sight when those hot rods take to the same track on which Jaguars and Maseratis regularly battle.

See videos about American car culture in Japan and Sweden.

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Stock and Modified: The Yin and Yang of Muscle Cars

Posted November 30, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: muscle cars

Someone was asking me recently about the engine in the ’69 Camaro I’ve owned since I was a teenager. My Camaro was born with a 350, but not the 350-hp version it has now — the original was a two-barrel, and that block was lost to the scrapper back in the ’80s, thanks to the previous owner.

When the person inquiring heard that the original engine was gone, he expressed that it was a shame, and seemed to feel that the car’s worth was diminished by its absence. I’ll admit that I’ve long wished I’d gotten that block with the car, but really, that’s just my sentimentality. I don’t truly think a numbers-matching 350 two-barrel would move the needle much on the car’s value, and I have no plans to sell it anyway, so what does it matter?

My Camaro didn’t roll off the assembly line wearing Z/28 or SS badges. It was just a V-8 Sport Coupe, but through the years it’s picked up bits and pieces from its first-gen brethren to make it more interesting. It’s essentially a hot rod, a car modified for increased performance and the outward attitude to go with it. If I still had that original block, would I feel compelled to also return the two-barrel? What about the stock single exhaust system? Might that mean I ought to put the 14-inch steel wheels and full wheel covers back and get a set of whitewalls, too? No thanks.

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Which under-$5,000 car from the 1970s would you choose for your dream garage?

Posted November 29, 2021 7:56 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: chevrolet collector cars

It's time once again to window shop for your dream garage, and once again our selections will put those basic mechanical skills to good use and keep a decent piece of our automotive past on the road and in daily service. Check out the latest edition of This or That, where we're presenting four Driveable Dreams (a feature title borrowed from Hemmings Classic Car) produced during the 1970s, each with an asking price under $5,000 and currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We suspect a few of our dedicated commentators will consider turning one or two of these steeds into sleepers along the way, or perhaps follow the path of our Road to Improvement program. Opportunity is knocking!

Would you select the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu, a four-door sedan, all original with a 307 engine with a 3-speed on the column. It runs and drives but brakes need fixing and it has 76,128 original miles.

Or perhaps a 1978 Dodge Aspen, a great candidate for restoration featuring a 318 V-8, factory 4-speed, power steering, A/C, new tires and new brake master cylinder.

Maybe a car of more cavernous proportions? This 1978 Mercury Cougar is described as a nice all original car, rare color combo with very nice paint and vinyl top, 46,000-plus miles, clean leather interior.

Finally, consider the 1979 AMC Pacer Wagon, initially billed as "the first wide small car." This one is equipped with a 304 V-8 and while there are some rust issues in the rear quarters, the interior appears to be original and in good condition.

Which would you pick?

5 comments; last comment on 12/01/2021
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Carspotting: Stockton-on-Tees, England, 1970s

Posted November 25, 2021 5:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: carspotting England

Date: circa 1970s

Location: Stockton-on-Tees, England

Source: via Wood's Library/Flickr

What do you see here?

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