Pod Rods has some sad news about a friend who helped get the Amelia Island Concours going, and was its friend for 24 years - farewell George.
Over at Aston Martin, a new nod to the past, while Kia shows a concept that's "spicy." Plus, the full calendar of car events for now and the near future:
-- Jacksonville racer and Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance founding member George Drolsom died April 6 at age 89. Born in Chicago, he graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory School, then the University of Illinois, to become a gentleman farmer who grew corn and soybeans, according to his obituary at bit.ly/2Gm2sfm. But while attending college, he worked part-time at a Porsche dealership and began racing, becoming the first non-German in the United States employed by the Porsche factory. Mr. Drolsom co-drove a Porsche 904 to second in class at the first 24 hour race at Daytona, and won the Porsche Cup for under-2.5-liter cars in 1975. During his long tenure in USRRC and Can-Am events, he won the GTU class in the 1965 Bridgehampton race. While racing his Porsche 911 in the IMSA’s Camel GT series, Mr. Drolsom notched 93 race starts, and and drove in multiple Twelve Hours of Sebring events.
As Amelia Concours founder and chairman posted in a heartfelt memorial Friday, Mr. Drolsom's racing accomplishments, his razor wit, his exceptional mechanical skills and disarmingly casual manner made him a local celebrity in Jacksonville’s deep car culture and community. Warner called him a star, a life-long member of the SCCA and a member of the prestigious Road Racing Driver’s Club.
"George’s personality was one of quiet demeanor, serene disposition, and subtle wit. He was also known as 'Lonesome George,' echoing the George Gobel character whom he resembled. George and I raced against each other in the Firestone Firehawk Series and shared a Hertz Unlimited Mileage Lincoln Towncar with Innes Ireland and Dick Starita in the first Cannonball One-Lap-of-America," recalls Warner. "If you had to spend eight days and 9,600 miles in a car with someone, George would be the choice."
Mr. Drolsom is survived by his wife, Linda, and cousin, Carl Bovermann.
A Celebration of Life will be held May 4, then he will be laid to rest in Sandwich, Ill., at a later date.
-- Aston Martin has a new coupe to celebrate one of its most illustrious moments in motorsport history. The new DBS 59 will see only 24 special editions of its DBS Superleggera, the first of which has just been built at the company’s global manufacturing headquarters in Gaydon. A special commission through the company's Q Division, it was commissioned by Aston Martin Cambridge to honor Aston Martin’s historic 1-2 finish in the DBR1 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Each car represents one hour of this iconic victory in Aston Martin’s history, in which Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby took the chequered flag ahead of the sister car piloted by Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frére. It's done in Aston Martin Racing Green with a gloss finish carbon fiber on the roof panel and strakes add a striking juxtaposition against the lustrous green.
-- It's not an SUV or CUV - it's an all-electric Everything Car, or ECEV, says Kia. Or you could call its electric concept by its spicy name - The HabaNiro concept. It's a fully-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seater with an range of more than 300 miles, Kia said. It also has level-5 autonomous mode, butterfly wing doors and advanced tech.
“We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures,” said Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America. “We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything. Then, when we saw the finished product, we were blown away by the imagination of the HabaNiro’s creators and its laboratory of technology and we want it in our driveways. Today.”The concept gets 20-inch wheels, short overhangs and big haunches.
-- The rest of the world has the Anorak. Now Volkswagen is showing a concept compact pickup truck that comes out soon — in Brazil, and maybe elsewhere. Volkswagen of America plans to premiere the Tarok pickup concept at the ongoing New York International Auto Show, after the compact unibody pickup was first seen at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show at the end of 2018. It's expected to enter production for the South American market in the near future. There are no plans to produce the vehicle for the U.S. market, but the concept is being shown to gauge market reaction stateside. Based on VW's MQB platform, the Tarok concept is 193.5 inches long, but can carry loads up to 73.2 inches long thanks to an design that allows the pickup bed to extend into the cab. The Tarok Concept is powered by a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4Motion all-wheel drive.
-- Mercedes-Benz brings the Concept GLB at Auto Shanghai this week, showing what an SUV on the company's compact car platform might look like. The concept car has space for up to seven thanks to its long wheelbase, while some features signal that the Concept GLB feels "right at home on rough dirt roads, Mercedes says.
"We asked ourselves whether there is still space between the GLA and GLC in our successful SUV range. The Concept GLB is the answer to this question. With it we are demonstrating the creative ideas we have for this segment, too," said Daimler AG board member Britta Seeger. "The Concept GLB is a durable and practical SUV with nonetheless compact dimensions."
The Concept GLB has a third row with two single seats can be recessed flush into the load compartment floor to increase load capacity. Power comes from a four-cylinder gas engine combined with 8G-DCT dual clutch transmission, with 224 horsepower.
-- Audi has a premiere at Auto Shanghai 2019: the all-electric AI:ME, which it says offers "compact dimensions, a spacious, futuristic interior, and the ability to drive autonomously at level 4." That means it can drive itself while the occupants "do what they like with their time on board," Audi said. The AI:ME is 14-foot-long, and just over 6-foot-wide, and takes up no more road space than a present-day compact car, Audi said. The drive unit is on the rear axle and mobilizes 125 kW of power. It has individual seats at the front, but space for up to four people in front and on the rear bench if necessary. And it also has magnets to hold metal cups or plates so "occupants can enjoy a relaxed meal while riding in the automated Audi AI:ME," the company said.
Friday's storm has passed and cool sunny weather beckons this weekend. So here's our list of car events:
Nease Automotive Club Auto Show: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Nease High School, located at 10550 Ray Road, east of U.S. 1 and just south of County Road 210 in Ponte Vedra Beach. Admission is $5, proceeds to benefit the new Nease Automotive Club.
Avonlea's Fourth Annual Antique and Classic Car Show: 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Avonlea Antiques and Interiors, 8101 Philips Highway. Free to spectators and $25 for show vehicles in advance. Information and preregistration information at facebook.com/events/407312576505501/?active_tab=about.
Fifth annual K9s For Warriors Cheers Park Avenue Show: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at Cheers, 1138 Park Ave. in Orange Park. The show is free for spectators, and $20 advance and $30 day-of-show for entrants. Proceeds benefit K9s For Warriors, a non-profit organization that pairs a military veteran with a trained service dog. For more information, go to support.k9sforwarriors.org/site/TR?team_id=1821&fr_id=1080&pg=team.
Boots on the Ground Poker Run/Concert/Car Show: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Flamingo RV Resort at 3640 Newcomb Road. Callahan Cruisers of North Florida hosts the event, proceeds to benefit K9s For Warriors, Florida Fallen Heroes Memorial Fundand Trees for American Troops. Free for spectators and $20 for show entrants.
Ninth annual Southside Business Men's Club Car Show: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Obi's Garage 54 at 6500 Bowden Road, off Salisbury Road. Free for spectators and $20 for show entrants.
Florida International Rally and Motorsport Park Track Attacks: Most Saturdays at the on-road and off-road racing and testing facility located at 7266 Airport Road in Starke. The track days allow car owners to test their setup and improve driving skills. The cost is $214 per driver in advance, or $250 the day of the event. Guests and crew pay $10 each to enter. Online registration ends at 11 p.m. the day prior to each event. For more information on all events, and new holiday discounts at The FIRM, go to gorally.com.
New Saturday morning cruise-in: 6:30 to 9 a.m. each first and third Saturday at Nicole's On The River in the Blanding Square Plaza at 1101 Blanding Blvd. For information, call Ed Pierce at (904) 318-4924.
Mandarin still has two Saturday cruise-ins: 7 to 9 a.m. at Village Bread Cafe at the Crown Point Plaza, located at 10111 San Jose Blvd. The other is from 6 to 9 a.m. in the parking lot outside Panera Bread, located at 11111 San Jose Blvd.
Sunshine State Chevelles Third Saturday Cruise: 3 p.m. Saturday at the PDQ restaurant, located at 194 Florida 13 in Saint Johns.
Amelia Cruizers: 3 to 5 p.m. this and every third Saturday at Cold Stone Ice Creamery at 808 Sadler Road.
Clay County Cruisers cruise-in: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Tom & Betty’s, 2134 Park Ave. in Orange Park.
Send information on automotive and motorcycle events to [email protected] or Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union, 1 Independent Drive, Suite 200, Jacksonville FL 32202.