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.
In the late 1970s, Audi engineers started toying with the idea of pairing a turbocharged engine with the Volkswagen group’s four-wheel-drive platform. The result, in 1980, was the Ur-Quattro (Ur being German for “original”), a car that would ultimately change Group B rally racing and, in time, the way sports cars were prepared.
“It’s not like [the 037] was just a sports car designed for people who wanted to go fast,” says Phil. “This was designed for a purpose, and I love things that were designed specifically for a purpose, like a tool–except it's a fast tool that scares the crap out of you.”
There are certain cars that define a place and time. Cars that are so part of the culture that they helped to define it. The Mini is one of them. But why is that? Well, as Mr. Sumner Norman explains, it's because the Mini was ubiquitous–everyone bought one, be it moms shopping for groceries or international recording stars like the Beatles who recognized its universal appeal.
Other drivers speed past this 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. Here come the second glances, the puzzled questions. "What in the world is that?"