WE Look At The Infinity M35 Hybrid, 100 Years Of The Indy 500 And We set The Way Back Machine to 1980

Last year Nissan Announced that it was entering the Luxury Hybrid field. Yesterday at the monthly Greater Atlanta Automobile Media Association lunch hosted by Infinity, we actually got to put our hands and butts into the new Infinity M35h. No drive yet as this was prototype that more than likely it is being used for testing and certification. So here is what we got, the M35h has a total of 360 horsepower, the luxury performance enthusiast can lower their carbon footprint with out giving up a thing. The bid deal is in how it goes about being a Hybrid. Infinity may spend more time in pure electric mode due to the way it has arranged the relationship of the 3.5 liter gas engine and the electric motor.  The 7 speed automatic transmission, is connected to the gas engine and the electric motor via unique 2 clutch 1 motor drivetrain. This arrangement eliminates the traditional connection between the engine and transmission the hydraulic torque converter. What all this amounts to is that the car works as an electric in low speed driving and the gas engine will only function as a generator to charge the batteries when needed. But if you need all 360 horses they are there instantly. Infinity states that the car will operate in full electric mode up to 60 mph. From my past experience with Hibrids and Electrics is the longer you can drive in electric mode the more fuel you can save.  We will save further opinions until we actually get behind the wheel. Thanks to Steve Parrett from Nissan for affording us this opportunity. For more information Click here

The Indy 500 Celebrates 100 Years.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was first built in 1909 as a gravel and tar track, I have visions of tire shredding gravel being firmly held by the gravel. The initial surface did not hold up well to the pounding and this lead to some fatal accidents that kept the early races from even going 200 miles. The 1909 race drew 15,000 paying spectators and a reported 40,000 non paying fans. This prompted promoter extraordinear Carl G. Fisher to spend $155,000 to pave the speedway with 3.2 million bricks. That is why today it is still known as the Brickyard in spite that the only bricks remaining today are a narrow strip at the start/finish line.  Picture below is the 1911 winning Marmon driven by Ray Harroun, Ray's car was equipped with his patented invention, the rear view mirror The purse for the 1909 race was $25,000 a mind blowing amount for the time, in perspective the purse for 2009 was over $14 million



"set the wayback machine to 1980 Mr Peabody"

Memories of The Harrah's Automobile Collection

Photos and Story By Steve Natale

Introduction By Miguel Caparros

Although I am just slightly his senior, Steve and I share a passion fro the automobile that separates us from most enthusiast. It is also the way we make our living. 2 months ago when Steve shared with me that he was going to National Automobile Museum in Reno I shared with him about my frist visit. If you mised that first story you can read it in the Digest archives . Here are some pictures taken when the then 16 year old steve was at the Harrah's Collection when it was at its peak before the collection was mostly sold off.

My recent visit to the National Automobile Museum in Reno Nevada brought back memories of my first trip to this collection.  The year was 1980, back then it was simply called the Harrah’s Automobile Collection.  Back then the collection was still intact, and numbered around 1,400 cars.  The cars were located just outside of Reno, in Sparks, Nevada.   Stored in several large buildings, one of which contained one of every year Ford ever produced.  Another building housed just Packards and Franklins.   I was just sixteen at the time, but I what I saw that day totally blew my mind.  A car nut since I was old enough to hold a Matchbox toy in my hand, even at that age, I knew this was a truly amazing collection.  I had just purchased my first car, a 1950 Pontiac Streamliner, and stubbornly drove it every day and did so for years, swearing off modern cars as “junk”.  I had by that time attended most of the Concours car shows in Northern California, including Pebble Beach.  Needless to say, when I first saw the Harrah’s Collection,  I thought I had died and gone to old car heaven.  Many of the cars were parked tightly side by side in long rows.  Rows of cars like the world will never see again.  A row of Duesenburgs, a row of Stutz, a row of Pierce Arrows, a row of Cadillacs, etc, etc.  Super-rare classic after classic parked fender to fender for what seemed forever.  I could barely contain my excitement.  Normally, I could spend an hour just looking at one of these cars, but to see hundreds of them all in one spot, was total sensory overload.  The collection also contained several airplanes, wooden boats, motorcycles, even a steam locomotive.  The Pony Express Exhibit offered an array of western artifacts, such as guns, antiques, glassware, and early gaming devises.  A full restoration facility was on site as well. Today there remain just over 200 cars from the original Harrah’s Collection.  All are beautifully displayed at the National Automobile Museum in Reno.  Although the collection is not as large, it can be enjoyed even more than before due to the first-class building and carefully thought out exhibit areas.  For me it was interesting to see some of the same cars I photographed over thirty years ago as a kid.  I took some more photos this last trip, and looking at them, I was struck by the fact that I am still drawn to the same exact cars now.  After all this time, my enthusiasm for these cars is still the same.

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