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Four-Links – Pendine Sands, Lions Drag Strip, scrapped Hummers, GM Heritage

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Automotive American this week covered the Vintage Hot Rod Association’s Pendine Sands races, one of the U.K.’s largest celebrations of hot rods and American car culture.

Tech inspection began on Friday, and this was where you could see the sheer variety of vehicles that were taking part in the event. From speedsters, to stock cars, to family saloons the full range arrived for inspection. As you would expect the dominant make was Ford and in particular Model A and T based vehicles, which was to be expected at a Hot Rod event.

As you can see one of the downsides of beach racing is the clean-up, but I’m pretty sure that was the least of the competitors’ worries in comparison to the sheer joy of blasting down the course in search of that elusive record time, or just out for the fun of it all.

* Speaking of hot rods and American car culture, the Lions Drag Strip Museum opened this week and ran this ode to nitromethane-fueled drag racing of yore.

It’s like the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, both crews take the job of staging very serious. As blue flames crackle staccato from 16 zoomies, and blower drives sing the back ground music the cars gain heat. Crack, Crack, the jockeys, hidden in their cages behind four giant slicks, clear the throats of their steeds. A crew member from each team holds his palm to the cylinder head, and gives a thumbs up.

The cars, inching slowly forward on their own now. They seem to be following the guidance of the two men waving their arms, then only their hands. Then the guides seem to bless the cars with their thumbs up and they retreat into the crowd behind the flames. Except for the noise and flames, it’s as if time has stopped. No one is breathing, hands are pressed against the sides of most heads or fingers in ears. Every single eye is on the starting lights suspended by a single cable high across the strip and high above the two behemoths snarling below. The noise is deafening, but you can still hear the sound of your own heart beating in your cupped ears.

* There’s a lot of legislation going on at the state level these days to make sure Hummers and other retired military vehicles can be registered for the road, and this POGO article on the controversy behind the disposal of those military vehicles provides some context for the situation. Thanks to Dave Demorrow for the link.

In 2014, the Departments of State and Commerce—both of which have a say in managing exports of sensitive material—overhauled the system (of releasing surplus military vehicles), with the intent of reserving the State Department’s (United States Munitions) list for “only those items that provide at least a significant military or intelligence applicability.” The military’s unarmed and unarmored vehicles were transferred to Commerce’s Commerce Control List, which governs items that might have dual military and commercial uses.

In response to the 2014 regulatory change, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which manages the military’s surplus equipment, sought and received an official determination from the Departments of State and Commerce that the two most basic Humvee models, the M998 and the M1038, were governed by Commerce’s list and not State’s. With that official determination, the DLA began selling and donating those Humvee models in 2015. In the years since, however, the agency has not sought the same interagency determination for any other Humvee models.

The impact of the DLA’s position has real consequences. A 2015 study commissioned by the DLA, and obtained by the Project On Government Oversight through the Freedom of Information Act, states that “there is no downside to authorizing the sale of any non-armored [Humvee]” provided it has been properly demilitarized. The study figured that the agency is leaving almost $156 million on the table over the six years from 2015 to 2021 by not demilitarizing and selling five Humvee variants that are “very similar” to the ones already being sold, “just with a higher payload capacity.”

* Dean’s Garage has included plenty of stories about the development and design of GM’s show cars, so it’s only appropriate it included a photo tour of the GM Heritage Center, where some of those cars reside today.

* It’s several years old now, but this highlight video of the 11th Holtz Hillclimb in Luxembourg has a little bit of seemingly everything: a Mustang drifting up the course, Formula cars, even a few combines. More combine hillclimbing action, please… (via)