Oct 31, 2023

Pod Rods: a literally racy new Infiniti; a baby Rolls

Pod Rods remembers a Florida car collector; looks at some new stufrf coming to Geneva; checks on how Rolls-Royce helped some pediatric patients; and check out more doings next week at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours.

Plus, a look at all the other car events happening soon:

— He loved his Ferrari, even if it had a Chevrolet V-8 in it. And Randall (Randy) A. Cook, who died Feb. 16 in Tallahassee after a brief battle with cancer, made sure the rest of the world knew about how many Ferraris ended up with American iron under their alloy bonnets. Mr. Cook showed off his treasured 1959 Ferrari-Chevrolet 250 GT Coupé with a transplanted 1969 small-block Corvette V-8 and T400 automatic transmission. Then he wrote about them in two books — "Bowtie Ferraris," about those with Chevrolet engines; and last year's "Blue Oval et al Ferraris," about those with Ford, Buick and other engines.

A lifelong motor sports racing enthusiast, Mr. Cook was often seen at East Coast vintage racing and car shows with his Ferrari PF on display. It wasn't just Ferraris with American engines that fired his imagination. At last October's Lake Mirror Classic in Lakeland, he brought his 1952 MG-TD Roadster, with a classic Ford Flathead 60 V-8 from a 1937 truck where its 1200-cc four with 50 horsepower should have been. He told the "Times-Union" that American racing legends Phil Hill and Richie Ginther used to race MG-TCs with flatheads.

"When the MG motors gave out, believe it or not, people put these flathead Fords in them. The engines were available, used in Midget racing," Cook said. "To put the motor in, you only had to take a small notch out of the frame. It was very easy to convert these. It's very interesting."

Mr. Cook is survived by his wife of almost 50 years, Laurie Cook, and his two daughters, three grandchildren and three sisters.

A celebration of life is planned for early April. In lieu of flowers, make a donation in his name to the Leon County Humane Society at

— The second-generation McLaren Super Series will be revealed next week at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. And when it is, drivers will notice it has a James Bond-like driver interface with a new way to display information display. Called the McLaren Driver Interface, its Folding Driver Display offers a comprehensive range of information on an upright TFT screen. But tap a button and the screen folds to become the Slim Display Mode, to show only essential information in a strip. The new car is revealed Tuesday.

— Also ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show, Alpine reveals today the first images of the new two-seater sports car it will premiere. Named A110, it hearkens back to the French company's iconic sports car of the same name from 1961 to 1977. Alpine says the new lightweight coupe reflects "the timeless principles of compact size, light weight and agility that made the success" of the original A110 "Berlinette." The new A110 features a full aluminium platform and upper body, with more specifications announced during Alpine's Tuesday press conference at Geneva.

— Infiniti will show off its new Infiniti Q60 coupe hybrid concept at Geneva, and says it's a collaboration between it and the Renaultsport Formula One team that produced a "radical reinterpretation" of a coupe using hybrid technology inspired by F1's dual-hybrid systems. Aimed right at BMWs, all Infiniti has teased us with is the nose and its glaring LED headlights.

— Come on, you know you have always wanted to do it. Well, Engineering Explained and Jason Fenske have done it - inflated balloons using car exhaust, specifically a Honda S2000's dual pipes. Making use of the spunky inline 2-liter 4 as an air pump, he lets it idle as the red balloons grow in size. The science here is that his Honda's engine will suck in all the air in a two-car garage in about 12 minutes with the pedal pinned, while the Bugatti Chiron's W-16 engine can do it in less than 2. Here's the video -

— Folks know that a Rolls-Royce is luxury, handcrafted for special customers. But now the craftspeople at Rolls have created a very special car specifically for St. Richard's Hospital's Pediatric Day Surgery Unit in the marque's home town of Chichester, West Sussex. It's the Rolls-Royce SRH, a pint-sized car that will let children awaiting surgery drive themselves through the hospital corridors, which are lined with ‘traffic signs’. The idea is to lower the child's pre-surgical stress. The SRH was specified with a two-tone paint-scheme of Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue and finished with a hand-applied St James Red coachline. Inside, a two-tone steering wheel, seats and self-righting wheel center emblems. It can achieve 10-mph via its electric motor and 24-volt gel battery. And yes, it gets an iconic Spirit of Ecstasy on its bonnet, done with a 3D printer.

— Speaking of pint-sized British cars, a hand-built 59-inch-long child's pedal car that replicates a classic 1920's Bentley 4.5-liter Vanden Plas Tourer will be auctioned at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the RM Sotheby's auction that will be held at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Sale proceeds will benefit Spina Bifida of Jacksonville. Offered by Ron and Nancy Rosner and built by Pedal Power of Great Britain, the mini-Bentley is done in classic British Racing Green on a steel chassis with mock dashboard, a rope-wrapped steering wheel, and upholstered seating for one. The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation works with proceeds from the 22-year-old concours and has donated more than $3 million to charities like Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and others. For more auction information, go to

— Orlando's Revology Cars will unveil its latest reproduction classic Mustang and Shelby models at the Amelia Island Concours during the Cars and Coffee at the Concours. The reproduction 1966 Mustang K-GT convertible and a 1966 Shelby GT350 will be shown at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, March 11, on the fairway next to the Golf Club of Amelia Island and the Ritz-Carlton. Revology uses a Ford-approved Dynacorn Classic Bodies Mustang unibody and adds a modern engine, LED lights and other modern equipment. This is its third car reveal at Amelia. For information, go to

— Elvis may have left the building, but one of his most exotic cars is still with us. And that 1957 BMW 507 roadster will be featured in the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance BMW 500 class on Sunday March 12, at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Elvis got that sleek 2-seat roadster on December 28, 1958 while stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany. Word has it that its white paint was kissed by many ardent fans, with amorous messages in lipstick. Presley ultimately had his BMW, designed by Albrecht Goertz, painted lipstick red. As we told you in an August Pod Rods, the car was in bad condition when found a dozen years later, original body parts and other components intact, but its engine, gearbox and original rear axle gone. The BMW Group Classic restored it, also learning racing driver Hans Stuck Sr. won a number of hillclimbs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in the car. FYI - when Elvis came back to the U.S., he traded in the red roadster at a Chrysler dealer in New York.

— Along with hundreds of classic cars, a brand new Cadillac will be shown all weekend at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance — the Action Express Racing No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R that won the recent Rolex 24 at Daytona and is heading to the upcoming Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Designed in the production Cadillac studios, some of the race car's details give the DPi-V.R a contemporary appearance like its vertical exterior lighting and body shape. The race cars also uses line work, and the CTS-V-inspired wheel design featuring the same black-and machined finish and V-Performance series emblems. The Cadillac and a sister car made a one-two finish at the 24-hour race on Jan. 29.

— A few weeks ago, we told you about Jacksonville car collector John Campion driving his Lancia Beta Montecarlo at the Daytona Heritage high-speed display just before the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The race car competed in 1981 at the 24 hour race, but dropped a valve on hour 14 and didn't finish. It later went on to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and won its class in 1981. Now, as the car is prepared for display at the Amelia Island Cocnours, Campion has revealed the recent Daytona run was documented by Petrolicious. Here's the link to see it:

— Historic Sportscar Racing, which holds vintage racing events all over the country as well as at Daytona International Speedway, will have a display tent at the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. HSR officials willl have information on events like the 40th Anniversary Classic Motorsports Magazine Mitty, the Classic 24 Hour at Daytona and Classic 12 Hour at Sebring. For information, go to

— Lamborghini has a new track-ready version of its Huracán, called the Performante. No one knows what it looks like yet, but Lamborghini just revealed the car's Nürburgring lap time and says it's a production-car record. The video on its YouTube channel of the lap infull is only from the cockpit. But it shows a read-out of 6:52:01. That is five seconds faster than the last record holder, which was a Porsche 918 Spyder.

Spring is in the air and there are lots of car events, including what I call Amelia Speed Week:

Car events:

n Green Cove Dragway IHRA SSS Points Races — 11 a.m. Saturday at the track at 1010 Worthington Ave., off Florida 16 in Green Cove Springs. Gates open for spectators at 9 a.m.; admission $12 per person. Competitor entry fee is $25 to $50, depending on class. Slip and Slide/Drift and Mud event is 10 a.m. Sunday, $25 for drivers and $15 per spectator. For information on all events, go to

Drag strip officials announced that its lease on the property is up as of Sunday, March 12, and a Grand Finale has been set for noon Saturday, March 11. The track will then shut down after more than three years of operation.

n 2017 Florida Azalea Festival's 18th annual AACA car show — 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Palatka Riverfront Park on U.S. 17 and the St. Johns River in Palatka. Free to spectators and $25 per show vehicle day-of-show.

n Kruisin’ 4 the Kids Car, Truck and Bike show — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Dinsmore Baptist Church, 10500 Old Kings Road in Jacksonville. Free for spectators and $20 per show vehicle.

n 22nd Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance - March 10-12 in and around the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Events include the free Cars and Coffee at the Concours presented by Heacock Classic Car Insurance from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, with more than 400 classic and exotic cars from local car clubs displayed on the 1st, 10th and 18th fairways of the Golf Club of Amelia Island. Show field is full, no more registrations accepted. Then the major event of the weekend, the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance classic and race car display is 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, March 12, on the Golf Club of Amelia Island's 10th and 18th fairways. Admission $120 for adults and $50 for children and active duty military. Honoree Al Unser Sr. enters the show field in a race car at 9:45 a.m. More events and concours ticket information at

n Fifth annual Festivals of Speed - Hollywood Wheels’ Auto RetroPorsche Sports Car Auction at 10 a.m. Friday. At 8 p.m. Friday, it is the ChillLounge Luxury Lifestyle Cocktail Party at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, $180 per person, advance ticket purchase only. The fifth annual Festivals of Speed car show is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort at 39 Beach Lagoon Road. Admission is $20 per person. Then at 4 p.m. Saturday, the Amelia Island Select Auction at the Omni. Information -

n Pink Flamingo Chili Cookoff and Car Show — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Flamingo Lake RV Resort, 3640 Newcomb Road, Jacksonville. Free for spectators and display vehicles.

n Rodeheaver Boys Ranch Classic Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show — 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the ranch, located at 380 Boys Ranch Road in Palatka. Free for spectators and $25 for show vehicles day of show.

n Pistons for Paws Car Show — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Beck Chrysler, 256 U.S. 17 in Palatka. Sponsored by Jacksonville Area Mopars, it is free for spectators and $20 for show vehicles; proceeds to benefit S.A.F.E. Pet Rescue.

n The Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix — March 16 to 19 on a 2.1-mile circuit at the Fernandina Beach Airport, with qualifying and racing beginning at about 8 a.m. all three days. Tickets range from $15 to $45, depending on the number of days at the event. Information:


n Informal cruise-in — 7 to 9 a.m. every Saturday at Krispy Kreme, 11117 San Jose Blvd. in Mandarin.

n Sunshine State Chevelles — 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Jacksonville Automotive and Motorcycle Museum at the Regency Square Mall, 9501 Arlington Expressway.

n First Coast Car Council — 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the At Home home decor store, located at 1919 Wells Road in Orange Park.

n Clay County Cruzers — 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Big Dawgs Family Sports Restaurant,1330 Blanding Orange Park.

n Jax Beaches Cars and Coffee — Classic Car Cruise every third Tuesday at the Sea Walk Pavilion and Latham Plaza between 1st and 2nd Street. Information:

Send information on automotive and motorcycle events to [email protected] or Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union, 1 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville FL 32202.

Pod Rods remembers a Florida car collector; looks at some new stufrf coming to Geneva; checks on how Rolls-Royce helped some pediatric patients; and check out more doings next week at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours. Plus, a look at all the other car events happening soon: Spring is in the air and there are lots of car events, including what I call Amelia Speed Week: Send information on automotive and motorcycle events to [email protected] or Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union, 1 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville FL 32202.