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$700 Craigslist Car Actually a Multi-Million-Dollar Mystery

$700 Craigslist Car Actually a Multi-Million-Dollar Mystery

It happens every now and then – particularly in the arts world. A casual thrift store or garage sale shopper with a curious eye picks up a discarded painting that no one seems to know much about. Grandma liked it. A previous tenant, maybe an art student, left it behind. Whatever the provenance, it just doesn’t go with the current décor. So, a buyer goes home with a $2 purchase that turns out to be a missing Picasso or Pollock or Matisse or Munch that ultimately makes the lucky buyer a fortune. Now, in the kind of movie-worthy scenario that we here at E3 Spark Plugs dream of, a similar fortune just may happen to one lucky car owner. A few years ago, an arguably clueless Craigslist poster sought information about a car he had listed for a mere $700.  “SERIAL # X53L on documented 1953 pre-production Corvette Frame. We believe this to be a 1953 Pontiac prototype that was to assume the name Longoria? Info received todate indicates that ZAGATO designed and PINNAFARINA constr...

May 31, 2016


That Time Two Kids Dug Up a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS in Their Front Yard…

That Time Two Kids Dug Up a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS in Their Front Yard…

We’ve all heard about great barn finds. But did you ever hear the story of two Los Angeles boys who made an amazing yard find?  It happened in 1978, just three months after their family moved into a rental home. Perhaps pretending to search for buried treasure, the boys were digging in the yard when they heard the unmistakable clink of metal-to-metal. A bit unnerved at the thought of what they might find if they kept digging themselves, the boys quickly flagged down a passing sheriff’s cruiser. What happened next made the boys’s pretend search for buried treasure a real-life amazing discovery. With the help of a skip loader, a team of shovel-wielding workers and two sheriff’s detectives, uncovered something no one expected – a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS. More digging revealed that the car had been wrapped in plastic sheets and towels were stuffed into the car’s intakes, likely to keep dirt, worms and bugs from working their way into the mechanics. A little more investig...

May 31, 2016


First Porsche Found a Century After it Disappeared

First Porsche Found a Century After it Disappeared

This one just might be the barn find to end all barn finds and we here at E3 Spark Plugs are giddy about its rediscovery. Gone without a trace for 112 years, the first Porsche ever built recently was found in a warehouse in Austria, where it had remained untouched since 1902. Dubbed the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton, the car was designed and built by a then-23-year-old Ferdinand Porsche in 1898. This historic ride has “P1” engraved on the surface of all key components. It stands for “Porsche No. 1” and is proof positive that the car is legit – a smart move by young Ferdinand himself to assure he’d be credited for his work. The P1 originally was created for Jacob Lohner, a car making company owned by Ludwig Lohner. Upon meeting Porsche, he was convinced that the days of the horse and buggy were over and asked Porsche to create an electric drive train. On June 26th, 1898, the P1 officially rolled out onto the streets of Vienna and the next year, Porsche d...

May 21, 2016


Snapchat’s Speed Filer a Danger on the Roadways

Snapchat’s Speed Filer a Danger on the Roadways

We all know that fiddling with your mobile phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle is a boneheaded move. Texting, updating your social media and snapping selfies while driving has become a dangerous and deadly phenomenon. Now, a popular app has, inadvertently, we’re guessing, kicked up the risk factor. The culprit is Snapchat’s new speed filter, which records and posts how fast a phone is moving and awards virtual trophies for the highest speeds among friends and followers. So, if you’re in your car, headed down the highway at triple-digit speeds, all your friends know it. And the thrill of competition, however ridiculous, is just too tempting for some to resist, creating a devastating mix of speed and social media. Case in point: 18-year-old Christal McGee, who allegedly was using Snapchat’s speed filter while going 107-mph on an Atlanta highway when she slammed into a car driven by Wentworth Maynard. This happened on a stretch of roadway where the speed limit is 55 m...

May 21, 2016


Forza Motorsport 6 Unveils New Pack of Hot Wheels Cars

Forza Motorsport 6 Unveils New Pack of Hot Wheels Cars

If you’re a gamer and an automotive buff, Forza Motorsport 6 just unveiled something you’ll love. Each month, maker Turn 10 Studios releases a new car pack for the game and this time, it’s a badass revisit to your childhood years. Two of the newest driveable rides in the racing game are based on actual Hot Wheels models. And we here at E3 Spark Plugs are duly impressed. First up is the 2011 Hot Wheels Bone Shaker sporting a giant skull in place of the grille, flames on the side and no roof and ow powered by a small-block Chevy V8. It’s the brainchild of Larry “Mr. Hot Wheels” Wood and proved so popular that it inspired a real-world version. The second is a 2005 ford Mustang with a wild, Japanese-styled paint scheme. Developed to celebrate the iconic pony car’s 50th anniversary, this car also has a real-world, life-size, functioning match. Also in the latest pack are the new Ford Focus RS, 2015 McLaren P1 GTR, 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS, BMW X6M, and Alain Prost's ...

May 21, 2016


Nissan Recalls 3.53 Million Rides Over Faulty Airbag Sensor

Nissan Recalls 3.53 Million Rides Over Faulty Airbag Sensor

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you no doubt know about the massive Takata airbag recall, prompted by a faulty chemical mix that causes affected airbags to rupture violently and unexpectedly even in minor crashes. But Takata airbags aren’t the only ones with issues, as evidenced by Nissan’s recent recall of 3.53 million vehicles around the world, including 3.2 million registered here in the US. The issue is a faulty sensor in passenger-side airbags that can malfunction in one of two equally troublesome ways. In roughly 622,000 Nissan Sentra models built between 2013 and 2016 airbags may deploy in crashes when they shouldn't, such as when a child is in the seat. In the rest of the recalled cars, the front seat passenger Occupant Classification System may incorrectly classify an adult passenger as a child or classify the seat as empty when it’s not. In these cases, the passenger frontal air bag may be turned off and not deploy at all, even in a severe collision. Mo...

May 21, 2016


California Car Chase Gets Groovy

California Car Chase Gets Groovy

Maybe she just wanted a Scooby Snack. Real-world villain Sharon Kay Turman recently violated her probation, prompting Redding, California police to begin a search. They soon spotted her cruising the streets in her 1994 Chrysler minivan sporting a paint job that just happens to be a copy of the iconic Mystery Machine from the Scooby Doo cartoons. In a scene that otherwise could only play out on TV, Turman sped away when police approached. With the cops in hot pursuit, she careened through town, running a red light and slamming into four other vehicles in an intersection. Redding’s finest were forced to break off their chase when Turman hit Highway 273, heading south at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. The California Highway Patrol followed her via helicopter for miles and police officer in nearby Anderson joined the chase. Eventually, Turman abandoned the Mystery Machine somewhere on California Highway 36 and fled on foot. It’s highly doubtful that she was chasing down...

May 21, 2016


Swiss Rider Urs “Grizzly” Pedraita On Track to Break Record for Around-the-World Motorcycle Ride

Swiss Rider Urs “Grizzly” Pedraita On Track to Break Record for Around-the-World Motorcycle Ride

On March 11, Swiss endurance rider Urs “Grizzly” Pedraita set out from the Daytona Beach International Speedway, flanked by hundreds of fellow riders revving up their Victory motorcycles after a single Daytona 200 road course lap. With an escort out of town, Grizzly hit the road for the first leg of a six-continent ride. He aims to set a new world record by completing his planned course in less than 100 days on the Victory Motorcycles Cross Country Tour. From Daytona Beach., he traveled 3,971 miles in six days and 14 hours to Panama City, Panama, then headed south for another 6,269 miles, nine days and 23 hours to reach Ushuaia, Argentina, at the tip of South America. From there, it was another 2,088 miles to Santiago, Chile, where he loaded his bike onto a plane and transferred to Australia, then spent spent six days and five hours riding 4,604 miles west across the continent from Sydney to Perth. From Perth, it was a flight to Cape Town, South Africa, where, at the time o...

May 9, 2016


Florida, Texas & California Lead the Nation in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Florida, Texas & California Lead the Nation in Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

If you’re a motorcycle aficionado, you likely know that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s a nationwide initiative of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) designed to help make motorcycle riding safer for both bikers and those sharing America’s roadways with them. Statistics show that in 2014 motorcycle accidents resulted in 4,586 deaths and more than 92,000 injuries. And according to research by the NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, three states are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. Check out the 10 states with the highest numbers of motorcycle crash fatalities in 2012: Florida 456 Texas 428 California 415 Pennsylvania 200 North Carolina 190 New York 160 Ohio 146 Illinois 141 South Carolina 137 Indiana 136  Notice that figures for Florida, Texas and California are more than double the number in the next highest-ranked state, Pennsylvania. Top contributing factors in motorcycle fatalitie...

May 8, 2016


Takata Airbag Recall Surges – Again

Takata Airbag Recall Surges – Again

It’s already the largest safety recall in automotive history by a long shot, and it just got even bigger – Nearly double, in fact. Federal regulators have hit Japanese auto parts manufacturer with an order to recall another 40 million faulty airbags, boosting the total number of recalled units from 28.8 million rides made by 14 manufacturers to upward of 70 million and affecting virtually every major automaker. Estimates are that ultimately, nearly a quarter of all vehicles on America’s roadways will be subject to the recall. When it’s all said and done, the recall is designed to take every Takata ammonium nitrate-based propellant driver and passenger frontal air bag inflator without a chemical drying agent off the roadways. It’s that volatile chemical mix that causes affected airbags to explode violently and unexpectedly, even in minor fender-benders, sending metal shrapnel flying through a vehicle’s cabin. These shards of debris can cause deadly penetration wounds i...

May 8, 2016


E3 Spark Plugs Digs This 1960s Porsche Documentary

E3 Spark Plugs Digs This 1960s Porsche Documentary

We here at E3 Spark Plugs love all things classic when it comes to cars. So, got some serious auto-geek on when we spotted this vintage documentary about the making of an early Porsche 356 on YouTube. The 40-minute film is titled Made by Hand – an apt title as Porsche’s earliest rides were, in fact, made by hand.  It’s not clear just when the documentary was made, but the clothing and hair styles, and an appearance by the 356B, built between 1960 and 1963, suggests it likely was late 1950s or early 1960s. The film follows the production of the 356 from sheet metal to finished product, including panel assembly, painting, engine machining, gearbox assembly, final wheel alignment and road testing. Perhaps the most fascinating factor about film is the insane level of craftsmanship – something you just don’t see with today’s mass-produced machines. Pop yourself some microwave popcorn and enjoy Made by Hand. And be sure to post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebo...

May 1, 2016


Dale Earnhardt Would be 65 Today

Dale Earnhardt Would be 65 Today

April 29th marks what would have been late NASCAR icon Dale Earnhardt’s 65th birthday. The wildly successful driver was killed just two months shy of his 50th birthday in a last-lap crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. "It's crazy to think about what he would have been like at 65-years-old," son Dale Earnhardt, Jr. told reporters recently. "You kind of have an idea that he wouldn't have changed a whole lot had he lived a little bit longer. But at 65, and what would he have been like at 80? All those things would have been hard to imagine.” The senior Earnhardt’s aggressive driving style earned him the nickname, “The Intimidator” and helped land him nearly 100 NASCAR wins, plus induction into multiple halls of fame, including the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010. Earnhardt, Jr. has continued the family racing tradition with six Talladega victories of his own and is the current defending winner of the Geico 500. “It's great that people still talk about h...

May 1, 2016


Missing Ferrari Recovered After Nearly 30 Years

Missing Ferrari Recovered After Nearly 30 Years

Not much sucks quite so bad as having your car stolen – especially once it becomes a well-kept classic. Just ask the guy whose 1981 308 GTSi was jacked from an Orange County, California consignment lot in July 1987. But sometimes, fate delivers an epic checkmate. Earlier this month, US Customs and Border Protection officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport complex intercepted that stolen ride, still looking just as great as it did back then, sans the additional 45,000 miles (not a lot, considering it’s been MIA for nearly three decades). Currently valued at upward of $50,000, the car was headed to Poland when Customs agents ran a check of the VIN and found that the same car was listed as having left the US for Norway via Germany in 2005  "This VIN discrepancy is what 'raised a red flag' and prompted further scrutiny," CBP LA/LB Seaport Port Director Carlos Martel said in a statement. Turns out the thieves had lifted the '81 VIN, and changed it to an '82 VIN. The true...

May 1, 2016


E3 Spark Plugs Mourns the Passing of Musical Icon

E3 Spark Plugs Mourns the Passing of Musical Icon

Today, the music world took a heartbreaking hit with news of the passing of Prince, one of the most innovative entertainers of our time. According to media reports, his body was found in his Paisley Park recording studio complex in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Authorities have yet to determine a cause of death. For automotive buffs, Prince’s Little Red Corvette was a favorite. As the story goes, Prince got the idea for the song when he dozed off in fellow musician Lisa Coleman's pink Edsel after an exhausting all-night recording session. The lyrics came to him in bits and pieces over a series of catnaps and the song ultimately was released as a single from his album, 1999 in 1983. It proved Prince’s biggest hit at the time and was the first to reach the top 10 in the US, topping out at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The accompanying video made history as one of the first two videos by a black artist played in heavy rotation on MTV, following only Michael Jackson’s ...

April 21, 2016


Last Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider to Hit Auction Block

Last Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider to Hit Auction Block

The Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider is considered one of the most gorgeous convertibles ever to roll off the factory line. It’s also one of the rarest, as just 10 were ever completed. Now, the last to leave the factory is the next on the auction block. The only one sold in Europe, this stunning ride – chassis #11057 – went to a Spanish Foreign Legion colonel in Madrid and spent 14 years cruising the streets of Spain. Sometime in the 1980s, it changed hands, going to a Swiss collector, then to the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Somewhere along the way, the factory Grigio Scuro exterior color changed to its current deep red and it sports a beige leather re-trim. But the 300-horsepower Colombo V12 is the original from the Maranello factory. Named for the North American Racing Team, the NART Spider also boasts a bit of a Steve McQueen cool factor, having played a starring role in The Thomas Crown Affair, the 1968 film starring McQueen as a debonair, adventurous bank executive ...

April 21, 2016


Goodyear Unveils New Bio-Inspired Spherical Tire Design

Goodyear Unveils New Bio-Inspired Spherical Tire Design

Admit it – You suck at parallel parking. Ain’t no shame. Most of us do. But if the treadheads at Goodyear have their say, parallel parking and a few other annoyingly tight automotive maneuvers might be a thing of the past. The Akron, Ohio-based company founded way back in 1998 recently unveiled its new Eagle-360 spherical tire concept at the Geneva International Motor Show. Inspired by nature and perhaps a little magic, these potentially game-changing tires would allow vehicles to move in any direction from any position. Any movie buff knows that spherical tires aren’t a totally new idea. Automotive designers have been trying at least since the theatrical release of Will Smith’s I, Robot in 2004 to perfect the idea. But the one engineering challenge that kept the idea squarely in the realm of CGI special effects was how best to attach the wheels to a vehicle. Goodyear’s solution? Don’t attach them at all. Instead, the Eagle-360 wheels are kept in place not with steel...

April 21, 2016


The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus Rides Into His Own AMC Series

The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus Rides Into His Own AMC Series

If you happen to be both a motorcycle enthusiast and a zombie flick fan, we’ve got some seriously great news for you. Turns out actor Norman Reedus, most famous for his role as badass-with-crossbow Daryl Dixon, has a love for bikes not only on the show, but off-set as well. And come June, he’s taking us all for a spin on his new AMC show, Ride with Norman Reedus. Slated for six installments, the show will follow Reedus, along with a different riding companion each episode, on an enviable road trip to various designations. On the way, they’ll explore motorcycle culture while getting to know one another – sometimes with a few odd twists. "It’s really interesting to me to take someone and go on a ride with them and find out what that person is about, just because of the situations that we put ourselves in,” Reedus recently told reporters. “Some are fun. Some are weird. Some are a little creepy, and it’s just been so much fun for me. It’s such an interesting conce...

April 18, 2016


Big Papa – New Hemingway Film Features Cuba’s Classic Cars

Big Papa – New Hemingway Film Features Cuba’s Classic Cars

Well, its not exactly a car flick. But we here at E3 Spark Plugs are looking forward to it nonetheless. Slated for theatrical release later this month, Papa: Hemingway in Cuba is the true story of the relationship between Miami journalist Denne Bart Petitclerc (played by Giovanni Ribisi) and iconic writer Earnest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks). Petitclerc credited Hemingway, lovingly known as “Papa” to his family, friends and fans worldwide, with helping him to find his own literary voice and the film is based on Petitclerc’s autobiographical scrip. The story takes place in 1959, just when the Cuban Revolution was coming to a boil and Fidel Castro’s rebels were staging violent confrontations against soldiers loyal to the government of Fulgencio Batista. It’s the first Hollywood film shot on location in Havana since ’59 and features shots inside Hemingway’s estate, Finca Vigia. But here at E3 Spark Plugs, we’re most looking forward to the cinematic parade of classic A...

April 18, 2016


Popular Mechanics Announces its 2016 Automotive Excellence Award Winners

Popular Mechanics Announces its 2016 Automotive Excellence Award Winners

Media outlets love to dole out their picks for the top this and that and the other. Automotive publications are no different. The latest among them – and one of the most anticipated – is the annual list of favorites chosen by the editorial staff at Popular Mechanics, the iconic magazine that debuted in 1902. “This is the year of the fast and the fascinating, the futuristic and the anachronistic, the outrageous predictions that came true,” the magazine said of its 2016 roster of winners. Judges visited factories, interviewed engineers and took a mind-numbing number of test drives to make its choices. Here’s how the competition played out: Car of the Year: Chevrolet Camaro Best Truck: Dodge Ram Best Sports Car: Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Best SUV: Volvo XC90 Best Sedan: Honda Accord Best Diesel: Range Rover Td6 Best Electric: Tesla Model S The Two Best Reasons To Go Electric: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt and the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y Most Anticipated: Ford GT  ...

April 18, 2016


Two New Celebrity Names Added to the Fast & Furious Roster

Two New Celebrity Names Added to the Fast & Furious Roster

Fast 8, the next installment in the billion-dollar Fast & Furious film franchise, won’t his theaters for another year, but it’s already making headlines with the recent announcements of two new cast members. Joining Dominic Toretto and the rest of the speed-loving crew are two new characters played by South African beauty Charlize Theron and Scott Eastwood, the young actor who is the spittin’ image of is father, cinematic icon Clint Eastwood. No news yet on the precise role she’ll play, though it’s highly speculated that it’s villainous vixen of some sort. No argument here. But some are taking exception with rumors that the younger Eastwood may step into the late Paul Walker’s character as Brian O’Connor. After all, Furious 7 ended with O’Connor retiring from the street racing and car heist game to focus on being a dad. Since the character lives on, it’s feasible that he could be brought back into the story line. Well, rest easy, film fans. Turns out Eastwood...

April 18, 2016


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