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Classic Cruising with Larry D'Argis

Winnipeg native victorious at SEMA

Highly modified 2003 Toyota Supra catches eyes and awards

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Anthony De Guzman's 2003 Toyota Supra has landed him a number of awards.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) held its new products showcase at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3. The largest automotive trade show in the world, the four-day event can best be described as "Disneyland for vehicle enthusiasts." Featuring not only new products and a peek into future offerings, but everything that’s also readily available from manufacturers and SEMA members is on display. There’s also many show vehicles in the various product booths and presenters can compete for top honours in their respective category.

This year there were 260 vehicles entered in the Best Builder Competition. Judged by a panel of industry experts the Top 21 are chosen, then broken down into three categories including Hot Rod, Truck/Off-Road and Sport Compact. Now in its third year, this competition features the best builders in the country who come to SEMA to win the coveted title of the Ultimate Builder.

For Anthony De Guzman of Winnipeg, his first trip to SEMA in 2014 was with Performance Auto and Sound Magazine. His highly modified 2003 Toyota Supra was displayed as the 2014 PASMAG Tuner Battleground Champion. At that show he was asked to consider entering his car in an upcoming SEMA Best Builder Competition.

"I came home and started adding upgrades and building the car to the next level," De Guzman says. Rebuilt from the ground up as a feature car, De Guzman relied on the help of his car crew Garage106. "It was really a team effort and, along with …

Charged up and ready to go

Third-generation Dodge Chargers from the early '70s were the last of a dying breed

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Photos by Larry D'Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Charger. What began in 1966 as Dodge’s offering of a fastback/personal performance car, based on the intermediate Coronet, it caught an immediate following with both youth and middle-age buyers. Today we take a look at the third-generation Charger built from 1971 to 1974. Redesigned and completely restyled in 1971, the car bore little, if any resemblance to the earlier models. The unique body transformed the Charger into a semi-fastback coupe with high sweeping rear fenders, giving the Charger an even more pronounced "Coke bottle" silhouette. Riding on a new 115-inch wheelbase, a full two inches shorter than 1970, models included Charger, Charger 500, Charger SE, Charger R/T and a new Charger Super Bee.

For 1972 the base Charger was joined by a new Rallye model. This meant the often confusing R/T, Super Bee and 500 model designations were discontinued. Continuing for 1973, the Charger Rallye still offered buyers optional big-block power with the 400 Magnum available with both TorqueFlite automatic or four-speed manual transmissions. The top performance option 440 Magnum could still be had, but only with the automatic gearbox. For 1974 the Charger remained popular with buyers, especially the top trim level SE model. Optional concealed headlamps, upright SE hood ornament and stainless-steel wheelwell trim resulted in 30,957 being produced.

For Lawrence Palmer of Winnipeg, he drove his new 1974 Charger SE off of the lot at Pembina Dodge in the summer of 1974. Finished in Aztec Gold Metallic, with a …

Vintage bug reliable and fun

Volkswagen Beetle a staple at any car show

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The Beetle stands above many other classic vehicles due to its reliability.

The Volkswagen Beetle was introduced in Germany in 1937. A design put forward by legendary car builder Ferdinand Porsche, it was to provide transportation for the masses. Translating into "people’s automobile", it was a simple, reliable and affordable vehicle initially for the German people, but it eventually made its way to Canada in 1952. While the ’50s was mostly about style and horsepower, there was also a segment of the market that looked towards economy and reliability and, in those respects, the imported Beetle shone above many others.

Constructed on a unitized floor-pan, the suspension and powertrain are contained in a sub-assembly that could be used in various body configurations. Along with the coupe, there was the introduction of a cabriolet in 1950. Manufactured in Wolfsburg, West Germany, the cabriolet models were constructed by Karmann and lent a dab of sportiness to the otherwise utilitarian coupe.

Between its inception and 1958, the Volkswagen had not changed much. The coupe’s rear window grew from an oval to a rectangle and the semaphore or trafficator turn indicators moved from the B-pillar to actual lamp housings atop of the front fenders. The wheelbase continued at 94.5-inches and the rear-mounted, flat four-cylinder, air-cooled powertrain produced 36 horsepower at 3,700 r.p.m. and 56 ft.-lbs. of torque at 2,000 r.p.m. The electrical remained a six-volt system. With a curb weight of 1,764 pounds, both performance and fuel economy were very good.

For Winnipeg’s Doug Ennis, his 1958 Volkswagen Cabriolet was first purchased from its Osborne dealership by his stepfather …

Modern spin on timeless elegance

Converted 1969 Silver Shadow still makes every drive an occasion

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Photos by Larry D'Argis / Winnipeg Free Press

Jerry Kozubal found a black 1969 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow saloon in Cobble Hill, B.C. that had been professionally built with a modern drive train in 1999.

When most people think of a Rolls-Royce, the image that comes to mind is the long, flowing fenders and upright fluted grille of a post-war Silver Wraith or Silver Cloud saloon — hand-assembled with a timeless elegance, featuring powerful engines, the finest leather upholstery and rich wood accents. Most often chauffer-driven, they represented wealth and success.

In 1965, Rolls-Royce began to manufacture the Silver Shadow saloon. Smaller in size, but with all of the appointments one came to expect of a Rolls, it was aimed at a market where owners wanted to drive their own car, but still make the same statement of achievement. Breaking from tradition, monocoque, or unibody construction left the car without a full-perimeter frame. This meant the traditional custom-coach bodies were now a thing of the past, a move not every Rolls-Royce purist applauded.

Along with a new body, it brought improved performance, better handling, lighter weight through the use of aluminium panels and a more pleasant ride. Today, these models are still quite sought after, and slipping behind the wheel of a well-cared-for Silver Shadow can make every journey an occasion.

For Jerry Kozubal of Winnipeg, the timeless design of the Silver Shadow has a real hold on him. After retiring as secretary of the Taxi Cab Board, Kozubal took up soapstone carvings and contemplated starting a limo service using Silver Shadow sedans.

"The only drawback is that the cars are very expensive to maintain and, for serious limo use, many are converted to an American drivetrain," Kozubal says.

In …

Modern spin on timeless elegance

Converted 1969 Silver Shadow still makes every drive an occasion

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More than 50 years after their introduction, these models are still sought after, and slipping behind the wheel can make every journey an occasion.

When most people think of a Rolls-Royce, the image that comes to mind is the long, flowing fenders and upright fluted grille of a post-war Silver Wraith or Silver Cloud saloon — hand-assembled with a timeless elegance, featuring powerful engines, the finest leather upholstery and rich wood accents. Most often chauffer-driven, they represented wealth and success.

In 1965, Rolls-Royce began to manufacture the Silver Shadow saloon. Smaller in size, but with all of the appointments one came to expect of a Rolls, it was aimed at a market where owners wanted to drive their own car, but still make the same statement of achievement. Breaking from tradition, monocoque, or unibody construction left the car without a full-perimeter frame. This meant the traditional custom-coach bodies were now a thing of the past, a move not every Rolls-Royce purist applauded.

Along with a new body, it brought improved performance, better handling, lighter weight through the use of aluminium panels and a more pleasant ride. Today, these models are still quite sought after, and slipping behind the wheel of a well-cared-for Silver Shadow can make every journey an occasion.

For Jerry Kozubal of Winnipeg, the timeless design of the Silver Shadow has a real hold on him. After retiring as secretary of the Taxi Cab Board, Kozubal took up soapstone carvings and contemplated starting a limo service using Silver Shadow sedans.

"The only drawback is that the cars are very expensive to maintain and, for serious limo use, many are converted to an American drivetrain," Kozubal says.

In …

Rebirth of a classic beast

Restored 300 E a true representation of power and performance

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There were 550 hardtop 300 E models produced in 1959 and there are 104 known to exist today.

By the mid-1950s, luxury, style and performance were all on the menu when it came to the high-priced field. Buyers not only wanted the latest designs — with parlour-like comfort and panache — but they also wanted the horsepower to go along with it and leave the competition in the dust.

In 1955, Chrysler drew first blood with the new 300 series. Based on the luxurious New Yorker line, the 300 was the most powerful automobile of the year thanks to its modified 331 cubic-inch Hemi V-8, producing 300 horsepower.

Dual four-barrel carburetors, a racing camshaft and heavy-duty suspension brought out the beast, but Chrysler wrapped it all in a high-class, two-door hardtop coupe, with a leather interior and styling cues from the posh Imperial.

Followed in 1956 with the 340 horsepower Chrysler 300 B, the letter series was born. For 1957, a completely new 300 C car would emerge with styling that coupled the new Jet Age looks with even more performance. The early Hemi V-8 was now enlarged to 392 cubic-inches and developed a staggering 375 horsepower. Offered in both hardtop and convertible models, production figures were low, but bragging rights were high. This was the car for discerning enthusiasts.

Road test reports in the 1950s were steadfastly reported by Mechanic Illustrated magazine. Automotive journalist Tom McCahill was noted for his use of extreme metaphors and similes in his prose that almost brought the vehicles on the page to life. So much so, that many of the baby boomer generation, grew up …

Nine-year restoration well worth the effort

1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck retrieved from half-foot of mud

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LARRY D'ARGIS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The 1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck took nine years to restore.

Following the Second World War, getting North America moving was a priority and Ford hit the ground running with its new 1948 Ford F-1 and Canadian F-47 truck line. Completely new from the frame up the truck sported the new Million Dollar cab. So named for the lofty sum Ford invested in its development, it was all-steel and taller, wider and longer than previous models and featured a new one-piece windshield. It was also insulated from road noise and vibration by the use of rubber insulators at key vibration points along the chassis.

Styling was fresh and functional with recessed headlamps and a chrome horizontal five-bar grill. With a full half-ton capacity it was built for work, but it also offered a level of comfort never seen before in a truck.

For Jordan Zaporzan, his 1948 Ford F-47 Panel truck was much more than just an old truck. At 12 years old in 2007, Zaporzan knew his passion wasn’t with something newer and saw the appeal in older vehicles and was determined to get a vehicle from that era. "I never saw another one like it, it was unique and all there."

The ’48 Ford he found five miles west of Dauphin, Man. had sat for over 20 years, but with its pontoon fenders and blocky styling it was just what Zaporzan wanted.

After yanking the truck out of a half-foot of mud and emptying the grain out of the back, it was loaded on a trailer and headed for a full restoration. As …

A cool and collectible car

A look back at the evolution of the Dodge Charger

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LARRY D'ARGIS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The 50th anniversary of the Dodge Charger is this year and so today we will take a look at the second generation Charger built from 1968 to 1970.

Totally redesigned for 1968, the car bore little similarity to the ’67 model.

Stylists adopted the popular "Coke-bottle" shape and the concealed headlamps were now recessed in a new grille.

Available only as a two-door fastback coupe, the Charger retained its 117-inch wheelbase — along with the other Chrysler "B" body intermediates — and allowed seating for five with a roomy, comfortable interior and ample trunk space.

The new road and track or R/T model played on the suggestion that youthful car enthusiasts not only used their cars to get to work each week, but they also used it at the track on weekends.

With the R/T option, buyers received the 375-horsepower, 440-cubic-inch magnum V-8 or they could opt for the 425-horsepower, 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8.

The R/T also came with better brakes and suspension packages than the base model.

For 1969, there was little change in the Charger’s appearance other than the addition of a new rear taillight treatment and a divided front grille.

The model lineup expansion consisted of 4 sub-series ranging from base Charger to the Charger 500 and upscale leather clad interiors of the Charger SE or special edition.

In the performance camp, the R/T reigned supreme and engine options remained the same, with the exception of a new "Six-Pack" or three Holley two-barrel induction system option for the 440 Magnum V-8, which increased horsepower from 375 to …

What's Olds is new again

Restored classic is a bona fide beauty

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This 1956 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop still has its original, two-tone paint colours of Citron Cream and Antique White.

Entrepreneur Ransom Eli Olds began producing automobiles in Lansing, Mich. in 1897. While some of his designs were questionable, he struck success in 1901 with a simple single-cylinder runabout, the curved dash Oldsmobile.

In 1908, Olds sold to William C. Durant and the Oldsmobile became part of the newly-formed General Motors Corporation. As a mid-price vehicle in the GM line-up, Oldsmobile was a leader in innovation and released many exciting features. 1940 saw the introduction of the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, Futuramic styling for late ’40s models and the high-compression, overhead valve, Rocket V-8 engines.

Throughout the 1950s, the Oldsmobile continued to improve in styling and performance and increased sales among General Motors buyers.

Don Scharf of Winnipeg grew up with the Oldsmobile. Throughout the ’50s and ’60s, his father and brother exclusively drove Oldsmobiles and Don owned a 1952 Oldsmobile 98 hardtop. Since then, Scharf has appreciated the Oldsmobile marque and, over the years, has acquired a few prime models for his collection. But one that stood high on his list of wants was a 1956 Oldsmobile 98 two-door hardtop.

The ’50s Oldsmobiles are great collector vehicles, but very difficult to restore. An incomplete car can lead the owner on a years-long hunt for the one-year, one-model trim and chrome for which these vehicles are famous. The other consideration is rust or badly bent body panels. There are no reproduction panels manufactured for these cars and finding original, new-old stock — or even just good used parts — is not an enviable task.

"I had …

Tangerine Dream stands out in a crowd

Larry D'Argis takes a closer look at a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that blends Beetle chassis with Italian style

The future site of Audi Winnipeg, which will be located in the Seasons of Tuxedo retail development across from IKEA, was the scene for a groundbreaking ceremony March 1. Formerly St. James Audi, the new location will no longer share space with its sister Volkswagen operation.

Audi Winnipeg president Mark Warsaba spoke of the excitement from management and staff about having a stand-alone Audi store. "This has been in the planning for three years," Warsaba said. "This ground-breaking marks the beginning of a new era for the Audi brand in Winnipeg."

Warsaba reported the Audi brand has been steadily gaining strength in the city, a process he said is expected to accelerate even more this year with a host of new Audi models coming in the next few months.

The location of the new store will give it high visibility and easy access from the main road. At just over 76,000 square feet, the new store will be double the size of the current Audi store. The showroom will be able to accommodate 12 new vehicles. There will also be a customized Audi Sport display area for performance vehicles.

On the main floor will be two modern customer lounges stocked with fresh pastries and refreshments, a children’s play area, a drive-in service area with 14 service bays, six detail bays, a dedicated new-car delivery centre, an external drive-through car wash system and an express service lane for oil and tire changes. The new store will also have a 28,000-square-foot basement with three dedicated detail …

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