The Astronaut’s Choice: 1969 Chevrolet ‘Astrovette’ Stingray Corvettes

March 9, 2012

By the time the Apollo 12 crew landed and enjoyed a leisurely stroll on the moon in November 1969 (the sixth manned space flight under the Apollo program but only the second Apollo crew to land on the moon), Astronauts had garnered (and enjoyed) an almost Rock ‘n Roll-like fervor about them, undoubtedly helped along by their psychedelic space-travelling ways. So, what better way to augment this public appreciation (and have fun) in the vehicular sense than with matching, bespoke 1969 ‘AstroVette’ Stingray Corvettes.

Through a special GM lease program, Astronauts were given the privilege of driving any GM car, for a year, for only $1. The Apollo 12 crew of Alan Bean, Richard Gordon and Charles Conrad decided to take GM up on this rather kind offer by obtaining matching ‘vettes distinguished by their Gold and Black paint-scheme and distinctive red, white and blue logos on the front wings reading ‘LMP’ for Lunar Module Pilot.

To this day, sadly, only Alan Bean’s ‘Astrovette’ is accounted for and has undergone a full, extensive restoration… In a recent BBC Documentary from Top Gear’s James May titled ‘James May On The Moon’, Alan was reunited with his old Corvette Astrovette after some 40 years…

More pics…

-Blake J.
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Top Gear: Season 18 Trailer Marks 10 Years of Current Version

January 17, 2012

Hard to believe that 10 years have now passed under the belt of the current version of Top Gear. Just the other day I started re-watching some of the older ’80s episodes way before Jeremy Clarkson was even on the show – he came in around ’89 or ’90 if memory serves. I love how ‘homegrown’ and calmy articulate those older episodes were – all cardigans and leg-ups and classic British wit, not to mention the wonderfully intimate scenery footage of local Rallys being held in some remote Welsh town on some far-off mountainside…

Original TG host, William Woollard, giving you the inside story.

What with Clarkson’s reviews coming on stronger with each subsequent episode to inject a splash of excitement, yobbery, big hair and smarmy humour, TG eventually outgrew its humble beginnings aimed at the more discreet motoring aficianado. The ’90s version of TG laid the foundations for the current version becoming the worldwide phenomenon it has become – that fact still blows my mind…

1980's TG co-host Chris Goffey explaining things to you in his calmly collective manner.

What’s your favorite season of the latest incarnation…? I’d have to go with season 4 or 5, as that was from a time of greater innocence and a more youthful, throw-caution-to-the-wind energy was evident. It was also froma time before TG was being broadcasted to a weekly worldwide audience and therefore the boys seemed far more relaxed to inject harsh jabs at Americans, the French and themselves without worrying about/relying on scripts and low-brow planted-humour to ‘assist’ their growing audience, as is so prevalent now and has been for many years…

Then this guy shows up and all hell breaks loose...

Light moaning aside though, it’s always good fun to have a new season of TG in the wings to brighten up your Sundays. Here’s a preview for the upcoming Season 18 that begins on January 29th..!

-Blake J.
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Top Gear has something to say about the 2012 Nissan GT-R

July 18, 2011

Top Gear UK reviewed the 2012 Nissan GT-R on last night’s episode, and I think it’s fair to say that they liked it.  A car that both James & Jeremy want to own?  That’s got to be a first!

As you’ll see in the episode, Jeremy uses his face to measure the g-forces in the GT-R, and runs a little drag race against the fastest Jaguar, the XFR-S.

Jeremy Clarkson driving the 2012 Nissan GT-R

Jeremy Clarkson driving the 2012 Nissan GT-R

Video: Top Gear Season 17, Episode 4 (Note: the following video plays in 10-minute segments)

http://www.dpccars.com/car-videos-11/07-18-11page-Top-Gear-Season-17-Episode-4.htm


To give you an idea of just how good the 2012 GT-R is, here’s a list of the fastest 20 cars around the Top Gear test track.
p Time

1:15.1 – Ariel Atom 500 V8
1:16.2 – McLaren MP4-12C
1:16.8 – Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
1:17.1 – Gumpert Apollo S
1:17.3 – Ascari A10
1:17.6 – Koenigsegg CCX (with Top Gear Wing)
1:17.7 – Noble M600 (cold)
1:17.8 – Nissan GTR (MY2011)
1:17.8 – Pagani Zonda Roadster F
1:17.9 – Caterham Seven Superlight R500 (cold)
1:18.3 – Bugatti Veyron 16.4
1:18.4 – Pagani Zonda F
1:18.9 – Maserati MC12
1:19.0 – Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce
1:19.0 – Enzo Ferrari
1:19.1 – Ferrari 458 Italia
1:19.5 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
1:19.5 – Porsche 997 GT2
1:19.5 – Ariel Atom 2 300
1:19.7 – Nissan GT-R
1:19.7 – Ferrari 430 Scuderia

Now, let’s see how these cars compare on price…

$230,000 1:15.1 – Ariel Atom 500 V8
$229,000 1:16.2 – McLaren MP4-12C
$2,400,000 1:16.8 – Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
$500,000 1:17.1 – Gumpert Apollo S
$650,000 1:17.3 – Ascari A10
$650,000 1:17.6 – Koenigsegg CCX (with Top Gear Wing)
$330,000 1:17.7 – Noble M600 (cold)
$89,950 1:17.8 – Nissan GTR (MY2011)
$660,000 1:17.8 – Pagani Zonda Roadster F
$67,000 1:17.9 – Caterham Seven Superlight R500 (cold)
$1,200,000 1:18.3 – Bugatti Veyron 16.4
$660,000 1:18.4 – Pagani Zonda F
$770,000 1:18.9 – Maserati MC12
$455,000 1:19.0 – Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce
$670,000 1:19.0 – Enzo Ferrari
$225,000 1:19.1 – Ferrari 458 Italia
$205,000 1:19.5 – Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4
$191,700 1:19.5 – Porsche 997 GT2
$50,000 1:19.5 – Ariel Atom 2 300
$69,850 1:19.7 – Nissan GT-R
$300,000 1:19.7 – Ferrari 430 Scuderia


For the price, Nissan has come up with a car that is ahead of it’s time, and is a pure technical masterpiece.  The 2012 Nissan GT-R is definately a worthy successor to the GT-R badge.

Take a peak at this behind the scenes video where Captain Slow, James May, takes the 2012 Nissan GT-R out to test the launch control.

Video: Behind the Scenes with James May and the 2012 Nissan GT-R

http://transmission.blogs.topgear.com/2011/07/17/post-show-discussion-of-episode-four-and-behind-the-scenes-with-james-and-the-nissan-gt-r/

Mike300zxt


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