Journal: 8 Films From The Petrolicious Back Catalogue
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8 Films From The Petrolicious Back Catalogue

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
January 21, 2016
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A pretty common occurrence around the Petrolicious office is debating which of our older videos is our personal favorite…and which films should have more views. Our video producer Aaron calls them “Deep Cuts”, and in honor of the awesome owners and machines from our early days, this week’s playlist is just that: the early stuff that deserves another look.

In 1962, crime in Rome was remarkably under control thanks to the valiant efforts of the local police. To reward the success of the force, the president of the Italian Republic himself asked Enzo Ferrari to assign two very special Ferraris to police duty. One of the Ferraris is almost immediately destroyed. One survives to this day. This is the tale of that car.

Revived in 1988, today’s Carrera Panamericana is still dangerous, fast, grueling, and addictive, as driver Conrad Stevenson can attest. Stevenson got his first taste of the race in a friend’s Studebaker in 2001. After a couple more years of participating in friends’ cars, Stevenson decided it was time to build a car of his own, in this case a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale.

Stevenson describes it as a “patchwork quilt” of his own metalwork, was never intended to be a concours queen. It is, as he points out, a purpose-built race car, built to go fast and hard, over speed bumps at eighty miles per hour and across 2,200 miles of Mexican countryside. Still, it is a beauty to behold.

Some people might consider Mr. Brian Bent’s lifestyle extreme, an anachronism perhaps. But we have a feeling that he’d be OK with that. This is a 1927 Oakland, and Bent built the clutch pack himself. He drives the hell out of this car, and even uses the hot rod as his surf wagon, driving it out to San Onofre to catch waves. Seeing it haul around in modern traffic is always wild to watch.

When you want to drive your vintage car, how far do you travel to get to it? Possibly into your garage or out to your driveway? For those vintage car enthusiasts in New York City, that is the stuff of dreams. Owning a car in NYC is rare, and owning a vintage car is even rarer, but those who do are committed to the lifestyle. For these three owners, getting to their cars is almost a ritual in itself…

Had the James Bond series been set in Italy, this would be his car. Instead, this Lancia Flaminia Super Sport Zagato belongs to Mr. Robert Giaimo. And you could be excused for wondering about the powerplant, pace, and reliability. To answer your questions: a 2.8L V6 with triple two-barrel Weber carbs, it can cruise comfortably at 100mph like any grand tourer worth anything, and fairly good now that it has a braided throttle cable. But if you’re asking those questions your missing the point.

“You can intellectualize about it. But it just hits you in the stomach—it has soul,” Giaimo says.

Rolling through the streets of Los Angeles in his 1941 Tatra T87, Mr. Paul Greenstein might as well be invisible. Other drivers speed past his Czech oddity without a second glance, seemingly oblivious to the car’s dorsal fin and triple headlights.

But as Paul swings the Tatra into a parking space in front of a favorite local bistro, it’s as if he has brought the black teardrop to a stop in the middle of a Hollywood spotlight that immediately attracts the attention of every passerby. Here come the second glances, the puzzled questions: “What the hell is that?”

Winston Dabbs is a product of his time. As a young man in 1970s Compton, California, he was swept up in the local enthusiasm for British sports cars, status symbols among young black men of the time. Dabbs’s own entry into the world of British cars was modest—a Bugeye Sprite which he bought from a friend for $75—but it sparked a passion that has stayed with him to the present day, a passion that led to a career in automotive restoration.

Now in what he calls “the highlight of his life,” Dabbs is always ready to hop in his Jaguar XK120 and make a break for the city limits.. After all, as Dabbs puts it, “there’s no sense in having a car that you look at and say how beautiful it is if you can’t get in it and go to San Francisco.”

More often than not, classic car owners deliberate whether to use their cars as daily drivers or keep them as garage queens. Why can’t one car be everything? Black Beauty, Jack Olsen’s Porsche 911 RSR, gets the royal treatment in The 12-Gauge Garage, but it also proudly wears rubber on the street and the track.

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