Virtual Car Show

WHM x AutomotiveMap Virtual Car Show: May 2, 2020

Two new cars go up against all the past winners to see who is the Best of Show.

Photo courtesy of @themusclecarhouse/Instagram

As the world gets back to its regular routine, or what some are calling, "the new normal", one thing is abundantly clear. Our love for cars hasn't changed. This week will be the last Virtual Car Show as stay at home orders are being lifted and the weather is getting better.

This week, we pit two new entries up against the winners of all the Virtual Car Shows of the past for the title of "Best in Show". Scroll down to see them all then cast your vote at the bottom.

The winner will be announced on May 7 on AutomotiveMap's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.

See all the Virtual Car Shows here.

2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE

Photo courtesy of @themusclecarhouse/Instagram

Ben Wilson purchased this Camaro new just a few years ago and he hasn't modified it since then. Why? In his own words, "This is THE best American Muscle track car. My family would argue it is better than the [Ford Mustang] GT500, GT350R, and the Dodge Demon."

2018 McLaren 720S

Photo courtesy of Post Oak Motor Cars

In the words of Tim "The Toolman" Taylor, "More power!" This 2018 McLaren 720S has gotten the Hennessey Performance HPE900 Performance upgrade giving it 890 rwhp - up from the 710 bhp it comes with out of the factory.

Its already race-like prowess is further enhanced by the 720S Performance Package, MSO defined cargo fiber steering wheel, MSO defined carbon fiber steering wheel paddles, silver brake calipers, 5 twin-spoke lightweight forged wheels, HomeLink system, vehicle lift, secondary interior components in carbon fiber, power steering column, electric and heated memory seats, sports exhaust, and a 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system. It wears a Pearl White exterior and black interior.

The car is available for sale at Post Oak Motor Cars and has a price tag of $304,950.

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its April 18 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Photo courtesy of Richard Mundine

Owner Richard Mundine has always loved Mustangs. He had many Mustangs growing up but never a Shelby. When I found Ruby, he knew he had to have her.

Mundine loves to show off Ruby at car shows that benefit charities all across the Houston area. "Her name is Ruby and handles great. [I] enjoy meeting other car enthusiasts that have the same passion as I do. I'm so grateful I get to enjoy her with my family."

Since he bought the car he he's modified it a bit: Catless straight pipes, American racing headers, E85 custom tune, MGW short throw shifter, Tremec six-Speed manual transmission, custom paint job on strut brace and radiator cover, painted-on stripes.

1956 Ford F100

Photo courtesy of Christopher Koehn

Collector Christopher Koehn purchased this Ford F100 from Arizona in 2018. He, and it, now reside in Rosenberg, Texas. He says it has been a lifelong dream to own a F100 - he's loved it since he was in high school.

When he purchased it, he had been looking for one for several years. After laying eyes on this one, he knew that it had to be his.

Despite being modified, the model is still 100 percent Ford truck. It has a 351 Windsor engine with Edelbrock power package bored and stroked to a 414, Heidts Superide IFS Mustang II front end with four-link rear suspension, front and rear fully adjustable coil overs, Wilwood disc brakes, a four-speed TCI StreetFighter C4 transmission, fresh wood in the bed, air conditioning, power steering, and 20-inch Ridler wheels in Blue Flame Metallic.

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its March 28 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.

1968 Ford Mustang California Special

Photo courtesy of Jeff LeBeau

Owner Jeff LeBeau had a 1965 and 2011 coupe and wanted to add another 60s model Mustang to his garage. He purchased this one online in 2018 for $30,000. The car has been mostly restored and received a few modifications along the way including the front disc brakes and aluminum radiator. LeBeau's Mustang wears its original Candy Apple Red paint job and has its original 289 engine and C4 transmission.

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its April 25 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.

1941 Ford Pickup

Photo courtesy of Charlie Throop

Owner Charlie Throop from Fulshear, Texas, bought this 1941 Ford pickup online in 2017. Though he claims he paid too much for it, he had to have it because of its great looks and ease of ingress/egress. Plus, he says that it fits everything he needs.

Since he's owned it, Throop has added a Ford Boss 302 engine, a four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, bucket seats, air conditioning, and new wiring and carpet. He also had the battery relocated to the truck's bed.

Bumbera's Performance in Sealy, Texas fixed the truck's frame and Trendsetter's Upholstery & Trim in Katy sewed the seats.

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its March 21 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.

1966 Ford Mustang

Photo courtesy of Juan Garcia

Like many, it was Juan Garcia's childhood dream to own a 1966 Ford Mustang. His dad, a Chevy guy, got him into classic cars when Garcia was still a boy. The elder Garcia has owned a 1966 Chevrolet Impala and a 1972 Chevrolet Corvette.

In 2016, Juan paid $8,000 for the '66 Mustang, purchasing it from the Mustangs Only restoration shop. He told AutomotiveMap the story:

"Jim Hangley, former owner of Mustangs Only, acquired the 1966 Ford Mustang I now own, from a man in Culver City, California. Jim dedicated more than 30 years of his life restoring classic Mustangs. In May 2016, Jim died from pancreatic cancer. Tracy Fietz, his wife, sold me the 1966 Ford Mustang in August 2016 ... and she recited to me the work that needed to be done to the Mustang from a handwritten note Jim left in the glove compartment. Had it not been for Jim and Tracy's passion for Mustangs, I wouldn't have my 1966 Ford mustang today."

Since he has owned the car, he's given it new brakes; refurbished the transmission; added fresh exhaust manifolds, dual tail exhaust pipes, mufflers, and GT fog lights. There's also a new radiator, shocks, four-barrel carburetor, radial tires, wires and hoses, interior carpet, and new welded panels under the driver and passenger seats.

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its April 11 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Photo courtesy of West Houston Muscle

Owner Bill Mehling of Richmond, Texas purchased the car used online for $27,000. He tells the story:

"I was ready for a hobby car and always thought the '69 Mach1 was the best looking car ever! It looked great in pictures, but the car was in Minnesota. I had a pro car inspector check it out for me. He supplied a report and dozens of additional pictures. Turned out that the entire undercarriage was new and as clean as the motor! He gave it a thumbs up and the deal was done."

Mehling has modified the car a bit since it arrived in Texas. It has had its interior refreshed with new seat covers, seat foam, door panels, and interior trim pieces. He had air conditioning re-installed (the car was originally equipped with it but had its parts removed).

Note: This model was voted Best in Show for its April 4 appearance. See all the cars it competed against here.


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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The car rides on new alloy wheels.

Photo courtesy of MINI

MINI has given the Cooper Countryman a facelift for the 2021 model year refining the subcompact crossover's space, functionality, and ride comfort. The model will be available later this year.

In the US, the MINI Cooper Countryman remains one of the brand's most popular models, accounting for close to 40 percent of all MINIs sold in 2019.

The car gets a new grille with a chrome frame and standard LED headlights and fog lights up front, newly designed front and rear bumper coverings, now entirely in body finish, lend a more refined appearance. The radiator grill of the MINI Cooper S Countryman has a bold hexagonal grid pattern with a red "S" and a single chrome strut.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman MINI has given the model a fresh front and rear look.Photo courtesy of MINI

In the back are LED rear lights in a Union Jack design and a fresh bumper design. MINI will offer the model with an available Piano Black exterior trim joining the new White Silver metallic and Sage Green metallic paint jobs. The model will ride on standard 17-inch light alloy wheels. Buyers can opt for 17-inch light alloy wheels in Channel Spoke Black design or 19-inch light alloy Turnstile Spoke two-tone wheels.

The Countryman will continue to be offered in a variety of models from the plug-in hybrid MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 to the high performance MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4. The base Cooper Countryman will still come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine under the hood that generates 134 horsepower.

The next tier up, the Cooper S Countryman gets the same engine, tuned to put out 189 horsepower. The John Cooper Works model, with its standard all-wheel drive, has a 301-horsepower version of the power plant. All-wheel drive is available on the other two vehicles.

AN electrified version of the powertrain is available in the Cooper SE Countryman. It pairs a 1.5-liter engine with a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an electric motor. The plug-in hybrid model has 17 miles of all-electric range.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman The interior of the model has been given a facelift, just like the exterior of the car.Photo courtesy of MINI

The cabin of the car features a new cockpit display with an available 5-inch color screen. MINI is offering the 2021 Countryman with a new list of leather trim and interior surfaces. MINI is offering a new option for the Yours Interior Style package - Shaded Silver.

MINI offers the vehicle with new Chesterfield Indigo Blue and Chesterfield Matt Brown leather in addition to the 2020 model year roster of upholstery colors and finishes.

The MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 models now come as standard with Piano Black interior surfaces for the cockpit and door bezels. These are combined with accent strips in the variant British Oak dark.

At the center is an 8.8-inch touch screen. Signature and Iconic trim levels have navigation. MINI has refined the look of the audio control panel, buttons for hazard lights, and driver assistance systems. Amazon Alexa integration is available.

2021 MINI Cooper Countryman There's an 8.8-inch touch screen in the middle of the car.Photo courtesy of MINI

For the new model, there is a longer list of available MINI accessories from the manufacturer. The selection ranges from a roof box, molded luggage compartment mats and all-weather floor mats, to individual MINI LED door projectors from the MINI Yours Customized program, and of course, John Cooper Works performance products designed for extreme driving fun.

The 2021 MINI Countryman is expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms later this summer. Pricing will be available closer to the model's on-sale date.

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Travis Pastrana will return to Ken Block's popular "Gymkhana" stunt series.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Gymkhana GRiD is back. Ken Block's popular video series will be making a return in 2020 with Travis Pastrana behind the wheel of a specially configured Subaru.

The news comes just two days after Pastrana, a full-time member of the 2020 Subaru rally team, and Block (and Subaru) agreed that they would be willing try to make it happen. Here's how it went down.

Pastrana and Block have been staying at home with their families during the COVID-19 crisis but they haven't been idle. The longtime friends and former teammates have been competing to produce at-home stunt videos for their fans. Block's "Gymkhana GRiD: Stay at Home Edition" called out the Pastrana family, challenging Pastrana to film a better version at his home in Maryland. Pastrana's rebuttal featured big dirt jumps, driving on two wheels and donuts around his personal WRX STI. Both drivers encouraged their fans to vote on who made the better video.

Then, on Tuesday's "Hoonigan Tangents Live" show, the talk turned from friendly jabs between the two into Block offering Pastrana the chance to film his own Gymkhana installment in 2020 with Subaru and the Hoonigan Media team. Pastrana and Subaru immediately agreed to the challenge, marking the first time in 11 years that Subaru will be a part of the series.

"What Ken has done with 'Gymkhana' over the years has really been amazing," said Pastrana. "But I think he made a big mistake giving me a shot at doing one of my own! I've got some ideas that I think can blow Ken's videos out of the water, and Subaru is on board to provide a car to do it. One thing's for sure, it's going to be unlike any 'Gymkhana' you've ever seen before."

This won't be Pastrana's first trip around the "Ghymkana" block. The five-time U.S. rally champion, freestyle motocross pioneer, action sports icon and stunt expert has made cameo appearances in the fifth and tenth installments of the series.

More details of the location and release timing of the special video will be announced at a later date.

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