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The 2021 Madison Regatta

The Madison Regatta, an annual boat race held on the Ohio River in the small river city of Madison, Indiana, had its 67th running in July 2021. It has been run almost every year since 1951, with boat racing in Madison going back decades before that.

The city of Madison has a unique connection with boat racing outside of hosting races; since 1961, the city has owned a race boat. Miss Madison, as the boats are known, has won the Regatta several times over the years. Madison currently has two race boats.

An H1 boat gets work on onshore.


The Event

The Regatta is a three-day boat race complete with a music festival. I had a chance to attend both this year. The Roostertail Music Festival is held at a park just outside of downtown Madison at an outdoor concert venue. For the Regatta, the road along the river becomes a spectator area complete with vendors and a concert stage.

People wear shirts that say, “You Gotta Regatta,” and a couple was even married there (it was broadcast over the PA System).

The Boats

The 2021 Madison Regatta featured two boat racing organizations: Grand Prix America and H1 Unlimited (which Miss Madison competes in). Grand Prix America boats run blown 468-cubic inch Big Block Chevys with around 1,600 horsepower. Most H1 Unlimited boats are powered by Viet Nam War-era turbine helicopter motors with around an astonishing 2,600 horsepower. That’s the kind of horsepower you’d expect to find at a dragstrip.

An H1 boat heads to the first turn.

Both classes of boats have enclosed cockpits. When the Grand Prix America boats are on the water, it sounds like a dragstrip. When the H1 Unlimited Boats are on the water, it sounds like an airport.

A GPA boat. Note the exhaust tips on the side.


The Course

Both H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix America boats race in a counter-clockwise oval course on the river. The Grand Prix America Boats run a shorter course, while the course for the H1 Unlimited Boats extends under a nearby bridge that connects Indiana to Kentucky. The course is marked by different color buoys that signify the boundaries of corners and straights.

Two H1 boats battle it out.

The Race

The event takes place over three days, with qualifying and several races. This year, the drivers and officials had to contend with higher-than-normal water levels. Heavy rain northeast of Madison (where the Ohio River flows from) caused the river to rise.

Before each race, the boats are lowered into the water by crane and placed at the wet pit (set up just for the event.) Then, they’re held to the dock by crew members until it is time to talk off.

When you’re on the water, a standing start isn’t easy. The H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix America boats utilize a unique “rolling” start.

Before the race gets underway, a timer counts down from 5 minutes. Then, the boats do laps around the course until the timer hits zero. After that, the person who crosses the start/finish line first starts the race. Watching the boats go into the first turn together was a rush.

With the “rolling” start, the competitor closest to the start/finish line with the most speed built up has the best start. Timing is everything. In one instance, a competitor misjudged the timer and got too close to the starting line only to have to slow down (and got overtaken.) This kind of start means the competitors can get spread out before the race begins.

Each heat consists of several laps and lasts for a few minutes. In between rounds, a safety boat made passes on the water, looking for logs and other stuff floating down the river that could get in the way of boats.

Between the other competitors, limited visibility from rooster tails, and the wake of other machines, racers have their hands full. Debris proved to be a real threat as one boat had its hull pieced by something floating down the river.

The Final Heat

In the H1 class’s 5-lap final heat, the field of 5 boats saw 3, including Miss HomeStreet “Miss Madison,” neck and neck at the start. At the end of the first turn Miss HomeStreet on the inside and in the lead. The second time into the first turn, only one boat was keeping up with her.

Jimmy Shane held his own, despite a persistent competitor behind him. Lap after lap, he held onto the lead. In the end, it was Jimmy Shane and Miss HomeStreet, a.k.a. Miss Madison, the hometown favorite.

The final H1 Heat

More information and Wrapping Up

The Madison Regatta was a motorsports event unlike any I’ve ever attended. For more information on the Regatta you can visit their official website. You can visit Grand Prix America’s office Facebook page. For more information on the H1 Hydro Series head over to their website.  Have you been to the Regatta or know of an event I should go to next? Let me know in the comments!

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Biplane Ride Over the Ohio River Valley

Madison, Indiana, is a small town. Resting on the edge of the Ohio River, where Indiana meets Kentucky with just over 11,000 inhabitants, it fits in with many other small towns across the nation. Located in the Ohio River Valley, it is both every small town in America and like no other place. A paradox town. It has a sizable downtown area, with shops and restaurants all within walking distance. It stands between Louisville and Cincinnati. Madison is surrounded by rolling, forest-covered hills and farm fields.

Madison Municipal Airport

Just northwest of the city is the Madison Municipal Airport. Madison Municipal Airport has a single runway and a nice building to wait for your flight. It is home to several businesses, including flight schools, airplane restoration services, and aircraft repair services, among other businesses. At Madison Municipal Airport, Cliff Robinson runs Robinson Aerobatics, where he teaches aerobatics and gives rides in his 1941 Boeing Stearman biplane.

Cliff’s 1941 Boeing Stearman biplane.

When Boeing Made Biplanes

Cliff’s Boeing Stearman, a military training aircraft that was the steppingstone before pilots moved on to fighters, has been restored and modified. The engine puts out 500 horsepower, roughly double what it originally had. After stepping up the wing, I grabbed the handles on the top wing and lowered myself into the cockpit. Amazingly, all 6’2 of me fit perfectly into the front passenger cockpit. I had wondered about how much space the cockpit would have. People tended to be shorter in 1941, and this plane’s purpose was to train pilots, not fly them across the country in luxury. After getting strapped in and putting on a headset, we were almost ready to go. On the ground, the Boeing Stearman points upward due to its “taildragger” style landing gear layout, meaning that, unlike many contemporary aircraft, it has two wheels in the front and one in the back.

The Ohio River Valley from 2,100 Feet

After taxiing and a pre-flight check, we took flight. The Boeing Stearman did not need a lot of runway to take off, and it climbed effortlessly. Soon, we were 2,100 feet up, and farm fields and woods appeared as a colorful patchwork quilt on the ground. Despite the 500 horsepower, the noise from the front seat was not excessively loud. Cliff remarked that we could see for 50 miles. I could feel the grin on my face. We crossed the Ohio River that separates Indiana and Kentucky. I saw it extend into the horizon as it weaved its way out of sight. We passed by downtown Madison, nestled between the Ohio River and the hill that leads down to it. It appeared as rows and rows of neat brick buildings. After turning back into Indiana, it was my time to take the controls.

I had never flown a plane before, but if I was going to do it for the first time, it might as well be in an 80-year-old, 500 horsepower aerobatic biplane. I took the control stick in my right hand and did my best to keep the plane smooth as I looked towards the horizon and the Stearman made its way through the air. After heading straight for a while, Cliff told me over the radio to make a left. I let the wings drop to the left and looked into the turn. After bringing the plane back to level flight and continuing to fly a bit, it was time to hand the controls back to Cliff. We then made our way back to the airport. After landing and taxiing to a stop, I headed back through the building. The Boeing Stearman undoubtedly made an impression upon landing. A man sitting in the building with a smile on his face who seemed as excited as I was asked how it was. “It was great!”

For More Information

You can check out Cliff Robin’s website here: www.cliffrobinsonaerobatics.com. You can also visit Madison Municipal Airport’s website at www.madisonmunicipalairport.com. For more information on Madison, Indiana you can go to their website at visitmadison.org Know of a place I should go to for my next blog, or if you have ever flown or ridden in a Stearman let me know in the comments!

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The Hummer Returns (with an Electric Twist)

One of the biggest surprises of 2020 in the automotive world was the announcement of the fully electric GMC Hummer EV. The brand, whose original production ended in 2010, was famous for its massive size and off-road ability. Its discontinuation was a product of rising gas prices. It was one of several GM brands, alongside icons like Pontiac and Oldsmobile to be discontinued in that time, when GM was in significant financial trouble.

The Hummer H1

The Original Hummer

Few vehicles say “heavy-duty off-road performance” like the legendary military-derived Hummer H1. One of several iconic civilian vehicles with military origins, the Hummer H1 was first produced in 1992. The popularity of the H1 helped launch the Hummer brand, with the H2 and H3 models following. With each model, the Hummer got smaller and more economical, with the H2 and H3 ditching the flat, angular military design and exterior hinged doors with smoother lines, giving them a more “civilian look”. The last H2 and H3 rolled off the line in 2009 and 2010, respectively, leaving the brand dormant for a decade.

The Hummer EV

The fully electric Hummer EV differs significantly from its predecessors, although it shares traits with the previous Hummers. This time, the Hummer EV will be sold under the GMC brand. The dimensions of the Hummer EV are comparable to the H1, coming in at 216.8 inches long, 81.1 inches high, and 86.7 inches wide (without mirrors) to the H1’s 187 inches long, 77-79 inches high and 87 inches wide. As a reference, a 2021 four door Jeep Wrangler is 188.4 inches long, 73.6 inches high, and 73.8 inches wide.

A Hummer EV with the hardtop roof removed.

The style for the EV is similar to the more modern, civilian style of the H2 and H3. One of the biggest surprises of the Hummer EV, aside from its electric power, is the multitude of radical features it has, many of which are geared to help it perform off-road. One of the most talked about features is undoubtedly the optional “crab walk.” Essentially, what it does is move the vehicle diagonally; all four wheels turn in a single direction, while the Hummer EV faces forward. It also has an under-body camera, giving the driver a unique view of the road or trail. Given the electric power of the Hummer, it has a decent-sized storage area under the hood.  On the inside, it features a wide-screen infotainment center, with a fully digital gauge cluster, as well as a pitch and roll gauge.

The tailgate features a built-in step.

 Like the new Ford Bronco, the Hummer EV has a first edition version, known as “Edition 1”, which has already filled up its reservations. It has a release date of Fall 2021. GM estimates that it will do zero to 60 in 3.0 seconds, putting it well into supercar territory. As a comparison, the Tesla Model X SUV does zero to 60 in 2.6 seconds. The three other models are slated to be released from highest to lowest spec-level, with the top-of-the-line Hummer slated to arrive in Fall 2022. The different models will come with either two or three electric motors.

The new Hummer looks to be a unique blend of brute strength and modern technology. By using the Hummer name, GM is likely targeting off-road enthusiasts who have not considered an electric vehicle.  The use of an iconic name for a new electric vehicle was also utilized by Ford with their Mustang SUV. With GM’s recent commitment to only selling electric vehicles by 2035, it will be interesting to see if other iconic models are revived as electric vehicles as Hummer was. You can check out the Hummer EV on GMC’s website here: https://www.gmc.com/electric-truck/hummer-ev.

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Happy (Belated) Birthday to Car Customizing Icon Gene Winfield!

The Strip Star, created by Gene Winfield. Picture by Larry Stevens.

Earlier this month, on June 16th, legendary custom car builder and hot rodder Gene Winfield turned 93. He has shown no sign of slowing down. His custom cars have appeared in countless movies and TV shows. The TV shows have ranged from the original Star Trek to the classic Batman TV series. He has designed vehicles for several sci-fi movies, which means he has not only helped shape the look of the custom car scene but also the look of science fiction. Also, he worked on the hood scopes for the prototype of the 1969 Pontiac Trans Am. His custom cars range from traditional hot rods to radical, futuristic creations. It is no wonder he has been asked to create so many vehicles for sci-fi films. He even designed the Galileo shuttle used in Star Trek. He has been featured at car shows all over the world, often chopping tops with his crew.

A custom 1935 Ford Truck made by Gene. Picture by Sicnag. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

He also holds multi-day car metalworking classes. My father had the chance to attend one, and he got a lot out of it. After decades of experience, Gene has a lot of knowledge. He even created a painting technique known as the “Winfield Fade.” This is where colors gradually transition, as opposed to a sudden change, and is showcased on many of his custom cars. With his seemly boundless energy, Gene continues to be a significant force in the custom car world. You can check out his website at www.winfieldscustomshop.com.

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The Gilmore Car Museum

Recently I had a chance to go to the Gilmore Car Museum, just northwest of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Like many towns and cities in Michigan, it has strong ties to the automotive industry, and interestingly enough was the birthplace for Gibson guitars. Located on a farm out in the hilly countryside, the museum has been around for over 50 years and features over a hundred years of automotive history. The museum also plays host to car shows throughout the year. Its made up of 100s of cars as well as rotating displays.

A Tucker Torpedo. The First one I’ve seen in person.

The first room was an exhibit dedicated to women’s impact on cars. I was greeted by a Tucker 48, a highly advanced and incredibly rare helicopter engine-powered car from the late ’40s. The next section of the museum was a Ford vs. Ferrari themed one has the movie had just come out. Naturally, there was a Ford GT and a Ferrari. The Ferrari interestingly enough had belonged to Nicolas Cage at one point. Making my way through the museum I was amazed by the variety of cars on display. 

A Ferrari once owned by actor Nicolas Cage.

 There was a large hall dedicated to muscle cars, with some very rare ones on display. These included a Shelby Mustang and a Mr. Norm Mopar. I had also come across a Honda motorcycle customized by GM to accompany its Pontiac Banshee show car as well as a real Shelby Cobra and a Corvette concept car. There was an entire section dedicated to Lincolns and a whole building devoted to Cadillacs. It was cool to see all the early cars on display, from the 20’s and older, but one of the most surprising things I came across was a Lincoln concept car that was only a few years old. I did not expect to see that at a museum not dedicated to any one particular brand.

An Oldsmobile 442 in the muscle car exhibit.

If you are a fan of cars, I would recommend the Gilmore Car Museum. It has something for everyone. They are always rotating exhibits. In 2021 they are adding a new muscle car exhibit. You can view their official website here. Check it out to see their upcoming events. Know of a car museum or car event I should go to next? Please send me a message and let me know! Don’t forget to subscribe to get an email when a new article comes out.

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A little about me.

I’ve been writing the Cars and Adventures blog for a few years now. I’m a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast originally from Indiana, about an hour from Chicago. I wanted a way to combine my love of cars and travel. Occasionally I’ll go off-topic, but I tend to stick to cars and travel. I primarily write about car-related events and locations I visit. I recently choose to move my website to WordPress. I’m new to WordPress, so if you have any advice or suggestions for my site, please feel free to reach out to me. Also, if there are any topics you think I should cover, please let me know!

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Drone Photograpthy of the Midwest.

I’ve been into drone photography for several years now. I usually take pictures of the landscapes in the countryside near my home in Indiana. My subjects, out of convenience, tend to be rivers, farm fields, and small woods near me. Getting a drone was sort of a natural evolution for me. I have always liked airplanes and photography as well as RC cars. I grew up south of the middle of nowhere, so my interest in landscape photography was a forgone conclusion.
A creek that runs to the Illinois Border.

I use a GoPro Karma drone with a GoPro Hero Black 5 camera. I went with a GoPro camera because I had another GoPro camera, and was a fan of it. I also really liked the controller. Many drones require a cellphone to be placed on the controller to act as a screen. The GoPro Karma controller has a built-in touch screen. An interesting feature of the Karma is that it has an integrated flight sim to help teach the basics of drone flight. This is accessed entirely through the controller. The Karma also can follow pre-planned flight paths. Although the GoPro Karma has been discontinued, it still receives updates. It has almost 20 minutes of battery life and can reach almost 40 mph when it is in sport-mode. It takes video as well as pictures, and its pictures are noticeable due to the distinctive “fish-eye” look due to its lens.
Looking towards Illinois from an Indiana farm.
All the pictures here have been edited using Instagram. I got into using Instagram by chance. I had been uploading my drone pictures to it and figured I would try it out. Most of my edits involve cranking the saturation to the max; I also enjoy giving the sky extra color. I think it helps make the picture more interesting. I tend to use a lot of lines in my photos, stuff like rivers and country paths. I look forward to flying new drones and trying new photo editing software.

Wetlands near my neigborhood.
Just outside of my neighborhood.

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French Lick, Indiana or Bust: My Odyssey through the Heart of the American Heartland.

 If you’re not from Indiana, or the Midwest, or America, or even if you are from Indiana, you could be forgiven if you think that a motorcycle road trip set entirely in Indiana would be boring. In my early 20’s I undertook a series of increasingly long motorcycle road trips with my father cumulating with one that took us to the banks of the winding Ohio River. We were able to peer across the river to Kentucky.
I was still on my first street bike then. A 1984 Honda Sabre that I had gotten in high school. It was advanced for the era, with dual front disc brakes, a liquid-cooled V-4, a 5-speed with overdrive, and shaft drive. It even had a gear indicator. The engine size had been reduced from 750cc of the previous year to 700. I didn’t have saddlebags for it, but I was able to tie down an overnight bag to the passenger seat. My father has a 2006 Harley Davidson Soft Tail Deluxe; it looks like it rode out of the 1950s complete with white walls. He did the heavy lifting with the luggage.
We left out of our small hometown on the Southernmost tip of what is known as Northwest Indiana. A grouping of increasingly big towns and cities that lead to Chicago. Leaving out of Lowell, Indiana, we headed south on US 41, famously mentioned in the Allman Brothers song Ramblin’ Man. This part of US 41 is rural. A few small towns dot the road, but it’s mostly farm fields and bits of what used to be a mighty forest. By the evening, we arrived at the city of Terre Haute, where we spent the night, roughly 135 miles away. Leaving out early in the morning, our trip was much the same as it had been, rural farmland with light traffic. That is until we saw the plane. Crop dusters are an amazing sight to behold. Their necessary yet acrobatic flying conjures up images of old-time barnstormers. Flying low enough to make sure whatever the hell pesticide it is they are spraying gets on the crops and pulls up quick enough to dodge telephone wires. The plane we saw was a crop duster, and it was coming in hot. We both wear full-face helmets; my father, looking behind him, noticed I had my visor down. He did the same. Cutting from right to left across my field of vision, the pilot pulled up as he closed the mechanism that releases the pesticide. It wasn’t exact as both of us, and our bikes were hit. I can honestly say without exaggeration that I have been crop dusted, probably one of a handful of people in all of history who can say the same. When we came to the next stoplight, we discussed what had happened. We then headed to a carwash in Washington, Indiana, for our bikes and ourselves. We hosed off our jackets, helmets, and motorcycles. That left only one question, what was it that sprayed us? Calling poison control wouldn’t help as there are so many things it could be. We needed to go to the source. We needed to find a crop-duster. That’s where Mom came in. We called home and let her know what happened. We later learned that my mom had gotten ahold of a crop duster, he paused the conversation saying he had to make a turn… in his plane. Turns out what we had been sprayed by wasn’t anything to be alarmed by. It was a short ride that day, only about 70 miles, just as well, given our distraction. After checking in to our hotel and dropping off our luggage, we headed to one of my favorite restaurants: Pizza Hut!
Our third day brought about a radical change in terrain. Gone were the long highways and vast expanses of farmland. Enter the Hoosier National Forrest. We were met with winding roads and massive elevation changes that wound through the deep forest. No fields in sight, as if by magic when we left the woods, we were greeted by another radical change in scenery: French Link, Indiana. French Lick does not look like it belongs in Indiana, surrounded by hills and forests on all sides. It even has a casino. Its sort of a resort town. It’s probably been called the French Rivera or the Los Vegas of Indiana at some point. We stopped off at the Indiana Railway Museum, which is outdoors. They had a steam locomotive, some train cars, and a handcart. They even offer train rides. We then headed to the West Barden Springs Hotel. Like many things in French Lick, the West Barden Springs Hotel does not look like it belongs in Indiana. It looks like a colorful castle mixed with a circus tent. We rode down the long brick driveway that lead to it, then we went into the massive dome that made up a large part of the building. In the outer circle, there were a variety of shops, including, interestingly enough, a Harley Davidson gift shop with a classic Harley on display.
https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/37879_445845044282_1405841_n.jpg?_nc_cat=107&_nc_ohc=iLnugZZg9iUAQkWEOnJu4MuQkBrrfx68PvbDUkozfEGaSt6mpLUVq90Og&_nc_ht=scontent-atl3-1.xx&oh=023470e975482f27b85f79613804752f&oe=5EA9B18E
The author with his 1984 Honda Sabre at the West Barden Springs Hotel.
After leaving French Lick, we headed south, back into the countryside to Santa Clause, Indiana, a town famous for its Santa Claus themed amusement park. We then headed to the small border town of Tell City that is set against the winding Ohio River that marks the southern border of Indiana with Kentucky. We rode through the small town to the floodwall on the outskirts of town, following a road that runs on the other side. From there, we were able to see to the banks and hills that represented the start of Kentucky. From there we rode east tracing the Ohio River, on what is known as the Ohio River Scenic Byway. It’s a two-lane road. Hills and woods to our left. Passing a lock in the river. Turning inland, we rode up a steep hill to a lookout nestled in a forest that overlooks locks of the Ohio River known as Eagle’s Bluff. From there, peering over the trees on the hill, you get an amazing view of the locks, as well as the distant, forest cloaked hills in Kentucky. We then rode north to Bloomington, home of Indiana University.
From there, we headed northwest, hitting a light, steady rain, we stopped to put on our rain gear.  We eventually rejoined the path we took down in back north up Route 41. On our way back we stopped in New Port, a small city, known for its annual antique car hill climb. We rode up the hill that leads out of town that makes up the course, a line in the road painted to indicate the finish. Just as we did coming down, we passed just West of West Lafayette. Best known for being the home of Purdue University. Overall, we put on over 800 miles on our bikes. Both bikes did great with no mechanical problems. I’m looking forward to going on more and longer trips with my dad.
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The Pontiac Pegasus: The Time Pontiac put a Ferrari V-12 in a Firebird.

In 1970 Pontiac created one of their most unusual concept cars of all time. A Ferrari V-12 powered Pontiac Firebird. It seemed to blur the line between a passion project and a concept car. However, under closer observation, the practical nature of it is revealed. GM was no stranger to usual concept cars; the name Firebird itself comes from a series of turbine-powered concept cars from the ’50s. But why would Pontiac, a company famous for its performance cars and engines, put a Ferrari V-12 in one of their cars? At 4.4 liters, the V-12 was much smaller than the average performance V-8 to come from GM. The amount of passion that went into the car was obvious. There was not only a custom Pegasus logo on the grill but a Porsche-esque coat of arms on the hood. An original design. The name Pegasus is derived from combing the Firebird (a mythical creature in its own right) and that of a horse. The Ferrari logo depicts what is known as “the Prancing Pony.” The result is the legendary mythical winged horse, the Pegasus.
The Pontiac Pegasus at the 2019 Trans Am Nationals.
This year I had the chance to see the Pontiac Pegasus in person; it was part of a group of show cars brought to the Trans Am Nationals in Fairborn, Ohio. It was in excellent condition. I even got to hear it run as it was moved for the night. Oddly enough, it gave off a low rumble that would not be out of place coming from a small block Chevy. It was great to get up close and see it with the hood opened and closed.
The Ferrari V-12. It is paired with a 5-speed Ferrari transmission.
By 1970 the second generation of Pontiac’s pony car, the Firebird, was released. It was lower and sleeker than its predecessor. The muscle car performance wars of the ’60s were winding down, curtailed by environmental legislation. A headline on an issue of Hot Rod magazine read: 71’ Cars, Will they Perform? Pony cars were still going strong. The popular road racing series, and Trans Am namesake the SCCA Trans-Am series was going strong, showcasing the handling of the pony cars. The Pegasus was a perfect showcase of that handling, with a lighter V-12 then the normal V-8 that came with the Trans Ams and Formulas.
The Pontiac Pegasus’ interior. Note the Ferrari gauges.

I was first introduced to the Pegasus by the great book “The Fabulous Firebird.” It gave an excellent description of how the Pegasus came to be, but one part always made me curious. It was said that Enzo Ferrari himself donated the motor. This connection was odd to me, as there wasn’t much of a relationship between Mr. Ferrari and the American auto industry, especially after Ford’s attempted purchase of Ferrari. While at the 2019 Trans Am Nations I had a chance to speak with a former Pontiac engineer, it turns out, Bill Mitchell, at that time GM’s design vice president, and the man behind the project was a big car collector and someone who had a lot of connections within the industry. The motor was sent courtesy of a U.S. Ferrari dealership.

The car itself has many interesting design elements. Including a racing-inspired gas cap on the trunk area of the car. (this design was also included on the 1974 Pontiac concept car the Banshee.) There were also fog lights, which could be a nod to the car’s European influence. Despite the European influence, a uniquely American design touch is featured on the car. Much like the Firebird Formulas and the 1969 Trans Am, the Pegasus features an air cleaner inside the hood itself, taking advantage of the cold air available. In perhaps a nod to racing rules dating from before the car was made, there was a full-sized spare tire prominently displayed in the back of the car under the rear glass.
To the Author, the Pegasus is a passion project with real-world bearings, from a time when GM was the largest manufacturer on the planet, and the future of cars and how they would perform was in doubt. Today we find ourselves in a similar situation; it will be interesting to see how much the performance enthusiast is considered as vehicles continue to evolve.
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My Trip to the Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum.

              Elkhart, Indiana, located just west of the Indiana/Ohio border, has quite a few museums in it. One is the RV Hall of Fame, the other Hall of Heroes Superhero Museum. The RV Hall of Fame makes sense, Indiana has a strong connection to the automotive industry, and Elkhart is the RV Capital of the World (there was even a motorcycle made there, called the “Elk.”) The comic book industry did not have that connection to Elkhart. Elkhart is like many other Midwestern towns, quietly nestled off of a major expressway that weaves through the heartland, but with a little more industry. So why here?
The Sheild used by Captain America, in the film Captian America: The First Avenger.
Captain America’s shield, from Captain America: The First Avenger.

              The connection is a lifelong comic book fan, Allen Stewart. A real estate agent by trade, his collection spans over 70 years and features everything from rare issue #1 comics to the Shelby Cobra Ironman landed on in the first Ironman movie, and the motorcycle from the first Ghost Rider movie. There is even an annual comic book convention there. One of the things that make this collection so impressive is that up until a few months ago, it was literally located in his backyard.

The Author with Adam West’s Personal Batman costume.

              I got the chance to visit The Hall of Heroes last year when it was still behind Mr. Stewart’s house. After a quick call to confirm its location (it was in a small row of homes that could almost be considered countryside.) I pulled into his driveway. Less then a minute later, I was greeted by him as he left his house. Once inside, I was greeted by comic books for sale, both new and old, and Captain America’s shield from the movie Captain America: The First Avenger. The first room was organized into the Silver and Golden Age of comics. It was hard to imagine how much more could be put on the shelves, as the walls were filled with countless items on display. There was even a small “Batcave” that housed, among other things Adam West’s personal Batman suit he used for appearances in the 70s and 80s, and the actual boots used in the classic 1960’s tv show. The second floor was stacked full of things, as well. On one of the shelves was a 1930’s wooden Superman action figure. Near that is the impressive, life-size Iron Man armor. There is even an old X-Men arcade game.
The Author with a lifesize replica of Iron Man’s armor.

              After going back downstairs, I headed to the only part of the building that wasn’t packed with rare comics and collectibles. In there is the Shelby Cobra from Iron Man and the Hell Cycle from the movie Ghost Rider. The Shelby Cobra actually came from Gas Monkey Garage, the famous custom car shop that is the focus of the reality tv show “Fast & Loud”, along with its owner Richard Rawlings. For a small donation, I was able to sit on both of them. In the case of the Shelby Cobra, I got to do several poses, including the iconic crash-landing pose. For my picture on the Hell Cycle, Mr. Stewart even plugged it in, causing the engine to glow; this was used to generate the effect in the movie. I bought a comic book describing the journey of the museum and got it autographed by Mr. Stewart. There are always new things being added to the Museum. Now that he is at a new location, there is much more space for everything. You can check out the website at https://hallofheroesmuseum.com/ or experience it in person at its new site: 1915 Cassopolis Street, Elkhart, IN 46514.I’m looking forward to seeing how much it has grown.

The Author with the Shelby Cobra used in the first Iron Man film.

The Author on the Hell Cycle from the movie Ghost Rider.