Fireball drives the 2017 CHRYSLER PACIFICA MINIVAN! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 608

A day of cool cars with Fireball reveals some stats on the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica MiniVan and the 2017 Dodge Challenger R/T T/A.

The CHRYSLER PACIFICA nameplate was used by Chrysler for a variety of vehicles. It was first used on a luxury minivan concept vehicle in 1999. From 2004 to 2008, it was used on a mid-size crossover. Since the 2017 model year, it has been used on the Town & Country minivan’s replacement.

The DODGE CHALLENGER is the name of four different generations of American automobiles produced by Dodge in Detroit, Michigan. The Dodge Silver Challenger was produced from 1958 to 1959, as a version of the full-sized Dodge Coronet model. From MY 1970 to 1974, the second generation Dodge Challenger pony car was built using the Chrysler E platform, sharing major components with the Plymouth Barracuda. The third generation, from 1978 to 1983, was a badge engineered Mitsubishi Gala

What’s it like to drive a 1949 OLDSMOBILE ROCKET HOT ROD? Ask my buddy Chuck…

Over the last decade, I’ve had the pleasure of calling Chuck Schauwecker a friend. A man dedicated to putting smiles on the faces of thousands through his love for cars. 

Or maybe, his love for just one specifically: “RODriguez.”

The year was 2005 when Chuck bought this stunning 1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan Kustom directly from Builder Junichi Shimodaira in Nagoya, Japan – phenomenal Japanese builder with a truly unique vision for design and fabrication.

Yes, Japan. 

Retired from a McDonald Douglas Aircraft stint since January of 1995 – the day he turned 55 and after 32 years of service – Chuck celebrated by snagging this one-of-a-kind Hot Rod with a 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 303 Motor. 

It was around 2007 when I met Chuck and we formed an alliance for the love of this car. Over the next decade, his baby won just about every show across the Western Seaboard. First Place, Best of Show, from corner Car Shows to Concours Hoyty Toyty’s.

There just was no one out there that could beat him. So much so that he had to set aside a room in his house for all the trophies.

 “She’s a true work of art,” Chuck said. “The only one like it in the entire world.” 

And although Chuck uses it for Car Shows and Charity events solely, I’ve had the pleasure of having it at several Major Auto Shows and personally seen the faces of those that get the smile disease.

 “When I bring her to an event,” he said, “and watch all the different people look a her for the first time and see them smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small child or an elderly person, it just seems to make them happy and they come up to me, shake my hand and thank me for bringing her to the show.” 

Awesome. The entire point of having a cool car, wrapped up in one single run-on sentence.

RODriguez is simply the coolest built Hot Rod on the planet, and now it’s emblazoned in the Malibu Surfside News for all of you to enjoy. Or, just Google it and you’ll see that Chuck’s got himself a shiney-goldenbrass masterpiece. And as you look at the photos, you’ll see the smile millionaires all around it.

Recently, I had Chuck visit us at our Wheels and Waves Show and although there were many truly outstanding cars, RODriguez’s own attractive powers kicked in right off the bat. If Hot Rods ever reach a million bucks, this one will be the first.

And what does Chuck love about driving in Malibu? The ocean and beautiful homes, or course. Don’t we all? But for car people like he, I… and you… the tryptic to that statement is a cool car in the garage. 

Hot Rod, Muscle Car, Exotic, Rat Rod, Tuner or whatever. It completes me.

What’s it like to drive a 1957 LOTUS ELEVEN? Low, very low

When I first saw John’s apple green ‘57 Lotus Eleven at a car show, I was instantly transported back to the 60’s. Visions of what was on Channel 52 here in Los Angeles flooded my pea-brain in waves of delicious green apple pie. Make sense? No? Well, who cares; this car is awesome.

Met John in the parking lot of the Cross Creek shopping center where we scooted at 6 inches above the ground out towards Pepperdine. I thought we’d take a quick run, but soon forgot about shooting photos altogether and just had to figure out how to wipe the silly grin off my face. We were in the Mach 5, only much cooler. In fact, I’m pretty sure this car was racing against the Mach 5 in every episode with Speed Racer and was always around when Speed crashed somewhere. 

I searched intently for the Oil Slick or Ejector Seat buttons. I wanted to scrape the paint to see if it was made of gold. I wanted to find a hidden panel with a GPS drone inside. But no luck. 

All I found was that this car was full race spec, 5.5 inches wider and 4 inches longer than the original Eleven and less than 40 inches high. It weighed 1800 pounds with a near 50/50 weight ratio. Dyno tested at 120-horsepower at the rear wheels and 180 feet per pound of torque. And the only one ever built in this configuration. It’s got too many mods to list, so let’s just say “Woo Hoo” instead.

John found this little beast in Portland Oregon in 2011.

“Many years back, I came across a picture of a Lotus Eleven and immediately fell in love with the aerodynamic shape,” John said. “After doing some research, I learned how rare and expensive these cars were. They are almost exclusively raced, owing at least partially to their very light but fragile frames. Several years later I came across a Westfield — a British company which makes a replica using an MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite as a donor car — but ended up not buying it as the price was too high.” 

Jump forward a few more years and an disassembled kit showed up on Ebay. 

“I was outbid. It seemed like it wasn’t meant to be. I subsequently owned several classic cars including a 1972 Austin Mini, a 1962 MGA coupe, a 1950 Cadillac, and a 1931 Ford Model A coupe. I still periodically looked for a Westfield Eleven but they were rarely for sale.” 

Then it happened.

“One day in 2011, a Lotus Eleven tribute popped up on Ebay in Portland, Oregon that was not a Westfield kit. This unique car was listed less than 24 hours earlier, and I immediately emailed the seller who quickly replied back.

He wasn’t sure of the history of the car but had put in an incredible amount of time and money to make it a very fast, high-performance car.  It still needed finishing and quite a bit of work but the price was right.”

Here’s where it gets good. 

“During the purchase of the car, I flew up to Oregon to inspect it in person. The seller offered to pick me up at the airport, I assumed in his ‘daily driver.’ But as I exited out of the terminal, there was the brightest green car I’d ever seen, along with a man leaning casually on the hood and dressed in full period racing gear. The car was also surrounded by a boatload of camera-clicking gawkers.

We hopped into the car, only to feel the passenger seat wobbling beneath me; it was perched precariously on a wood block. He started up the engine, which was so loud the kids surrounding us jumped and squealed.

He proceeded to tear down the highway and then up mountainous roads, all the while tipping his head back wildly and laughing wholeheartedly as I reached for anything to hold on to — no seatbelts and the seat was now shifting back and forth with each curve. When ‘Tony Stewart’ finally parked the car at his house, I was sold.” 

The rest is history.

What does John love about driving his Lotus in Malibu? The scenic coastline, beautiful weather and of course the great driving roads. And there couldn’t possibly be a better car to experience them in.

Part of the joy of writing these pieces is getting to experience someone else’s joy. Sure I’d rather be driving, but the next best thing in a car like this as a passenger is watching the bugs hit my teeth and glasses. Deee…lish! And since John didn’t seem to have a name for this little rocket, I’m officially dubbing it “The Green Meany.”

SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!

TONY DOW 1962 CHEVY CORVAIR! – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 607

A day filled with activities as Fireball drops his son at LAX, then heads to the home of Actor TONY DOW (#LeaveItToBeaver) for lunch, then comes upon an accident on PCH in Malibu.

From WIKI… Tony Lee Dow (born April 13, 1945) is an American film producer, director, sculptor, and television actor.

Dow is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) and the brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers).

Dow is best known for his role in the television sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which ran in primetime from 1957 to 1963. Dow played Wally Cleaver, the elder son of June (played by Barbara Billingsley) and Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) and the brother of Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver (played by Jerry Mathers).

Dow was born in Hollywood, California, to John Stevens Dow, Jr. (1908–1987), a designer and general contractor, and Muriel Virginia Dow (née Montrose) (May 27, 1906 – April 30, 2001), a stunt woman in early Westerns and Clara Bow’s movie double in Hollywood. In his youth, Dow was a Junior Olympics diving champion. He won the role of Wally Cleaver in a casting call with almost no previous acting experience.

Dow acted in the series until it ended in 1963. After that, he appeared in the television series My Three Sons, Dr. Kildare, Mr. Novak (five episodes in three different roles), The Greatest Show on Earth, and Never Too Young. From 1965 to 1968, he served in the National Guard, interrupting his acting career. On his return to acting, he was a guest star in the television series Adam-12, Love American Style, Knight Rider, Square Pegs, The Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys, and Emergency!.

During the 1970s, Dow continued acting while working in the construction industry and studying journalism and filmmaking.

In 1987, he was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award for his role as Wally Cleaver.

Dow’s most recent screen appearance was in the 2003 film Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.

He has been married to his wife, Lauren, since 1980. They have one child and two grandchildren.

AUTOMOTIVE INSPIRATION from Pixar… Appreciation comes from Experience

Being an automotive vlogger and filmmaker as I am, I get to do some pretty neat stuff and my “ride” can take me many unique places. 

Although they are all cool, many stand out as being an experience that specifically is designed for me to appreciate life and those that dedicate themselves to adding some sort of joy into the world.

So when the people at Disney invited me to come up to Pixar near Berkeley to shoot a vlog (as an inside Pixar experience), my heart-motor jumped a beat. A few moments later and I was on a plane from LAX to SF with the anticipation of learning how Pixar works and getting an exclusive view of the upcoming “Cars 3” movie. They knew I was a car guy and had some serious surprises in store.

As we know here in Malibu, gratitude goes a long way in life. But appreciation is an aspect of gratitude when it comes to others doing things for you. So over the next 24 hours, I got a chance to do some things that very few people on the planet get to do, starting with a surprise visit from John Lasseter to explain his passion for cars and how that passion has permeated Pixar’s Cars franchise.

Growing up in Whittier in 1957, John Lasseter became an instant classic. The ‘57 Chevy sparked his interest in cars and peppered his life throughout the years. So when he put the team together for the Cars films at Pixar, his only stipulation seemed to be that those people shared that love of cars. They included head of the Cars brand, Jay Ward and Automotive Production Designer Jay Shuster.

Having had extensive conversation with these guys over the time there shifted my perspective about the films and my anticipation for the upcoming third installment. I did manage to see 40 exclusive minutes of the film with one scene nearly flooring me, being seriously muddy and fun.

But the day was also filled with the Pixar Studio Campus’ theaters, swimming pool, amazing cafes and a crazy cart race in the parking lot that I inadvertently managed to win. It was clear that these people not only appreciated their jobs, but each other for their creative prowess.

Each moment was filled with a new joy as we got exclusive presentations on the history of NASCAR, inside the Cars sculpting studio, animation evolution and car design process. Having done so many cars for film projects myself and being a Disney Imagineering veteran, I felt like I was home.

I so appreciate the Pixar Team, PR experts at Disney and the scores of people I met for giving me the gift of entering behind the scenes of an evolving world as the Cars franchise has become. It’s a world of inanimate objects that, if you’ll let them, might exhibit more life than most of the people you know. 

By the time this article comes out, there will have been several episodes of my show posted for you guys to see most of what I saw while there. Of course, the two NDAs prohibited me from showing more, but you’ll just have to take my word for the fact that “Cars 3” will blow your mind … again.

Big thanks to Pixar, especially the three mentioned above for allowing me to see that vision. My experience there has enhanced my love of all things cars — as if that were even possible. Certainly, my octane rating just went way up.

Watch! TRANSFORMERS THE LAST KNIGHT Final Trailer… uh, huh

FROM THE DESCRIPTION… The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock).

There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.

Transformers is coming to theatres June 21, 2017! Directed by Michael Bay Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Isabella Moner, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro