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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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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A new Texas-themed version of the Jeep Gladiator is on the way.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Jeep has brought the Gladiator's off-road chops to the trails of the Lone Star State. The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail is another of the the traditional of special edition vehicles for Texans who occupy the nation's largest truck market. It's the first time Jeep has offered a unique-to-Texas truck.

The new model builds on the Gladiator Sport S trim adding 17-inch Mid-Gloss Back Aluminum wheels wrapped in 32-inch mud-terrain tires, four-wheel drive, standard side steps, and the Trailer Tow Group. The Gladiator Texas Trail has a unique hood and decals that feature the year 1836 in the graphic as a nod to the year of the Texas Declaration of Independence. It also wears a black hardtop, black leather seats embossed with the Texas Trail graphic and comes equipped with the Technology Group and Convenience Group packages.

2021 Jeep Gl The vehicle is ready to be fully accessorized to the buyer's wishes.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

2021 Jeep Gl

The Texas-themed model features the buyer's choice of Jeep's new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that's rated at 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or the tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 power plant, which achieves 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep has badged each of the models with Trail Rated status. To achieve this status, Jeep vehicles must pass extreme off-road capability challenges.

The Gladiator Texas Trail is available in 10 colors: black, white, Snazzberry, Granite Crystal, Sarge, Nacho, Hydro Blue, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, and Sting-Gray. Jeep recently introduced a Snazzberry-colored Wrangler.

Each Gladiator comes with the Jeep Wave customer service program, which includes three years of maintenance, 24/7 phone/online support, trip interruption/first-day loaner coverage, and VIP access to Jeep events.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Texas Trail has a starting MSRP of $40,435 (plus $1,495 destination) and is currently available at Texas dealers.

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