HOT WIRE—After years of looking to the future with its green-themed license plate designs, California draws on its past to announce that its latest plate designs will emulate those of the 1950s, 60s and 70s—or as close as it can get to those designs (the new ones will have reflective surfaces for better night-time visibility). There’s one catch: The state won’t make them until it receives 7,500 pre-orders. The good news: You don’t have to have a car from the 50s, 60s or 70s to wear them. The DMV issued 28 frequently asked questions (and answers) about the new plates, and we present them here.
BOOK REVIEW—Frank Lockhart came along in the generation of racing drivers that dispelled the old theory held that bigger was better (900 cubic inch four-cylinder engines turning 1500 rpm!). Lockhart’s engineering ideas translated into successful technologies used by racers worldwide. He died young while attempting to establish a new land speed record in 1928. Just two years before, he won the Indianapolis 500. His early years as a mechanic, dirt track driver, and intuitive engineer are chronicled in Sarah Morgan-Wu and James O’Keefe’s Frank Lockhart – American Speed King.
AUTO REVIEW—Mazda touts its Skyactiv technology as the winning formula for fuel economy. With an EPA rating of 35 mpg for its CX-5 SUV, it’s hard to argue. And, by the way, if you’ve not driven a Mazda product lately, you might well be surprised by how solid and tight these cars are. The brand has a well-deserved rep for putting out cars that don’t get all creaky-crunchy, no matter how old they get. A lot of the people who looked closely at this one were quite surprised by another number: Out the door at just a click over $20K.
LA CAR REPORT—In the Los Angeles/Inland Empire area we’re very lucky to have two very cool opportunities to find out what it’s really like to don the gear and drive a real race car, on a real race track, real fast: Allen Berg Racing Schools at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, and the LA Racing Experience at the Irwindale Event Center in Irwindale.
BOOK REVIEW—Years ago, Joel E. Finn discovered a couple of boxes of original photos dating to the Milwaukee races – the most prestigious auto event in the country from 1904 through 1916. Finn has been waiting for the opportunity to research and compile the complete story of how the events came to be. Review Editor Harold Osmer says Joel E. Finn’s “The 1912 Milwaukee Races – Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize” is a fantastic book. “Anyone who thinks they know anything about early American auto racing will gobble this thing up.”