Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: NASCAR edition

NASCAR_On_FOX_Logo
The first thought that comes to mind when most Americans outside of the South think about NASCAR is not moon shining. Over the years the media has portrayed NASCAR as the Redneck’s sport of choice. Excuse me…they wouldn’t use the word sport. Even though I am not an avid NASCAR fan, NASCAR is a celebrated competition that is as American as apple pie. So grab your smoked turkey leg, crack your Bud Light and let’s drive down pit row to investigate this misunderstood ‘sport’.

Nascar_race_from_the_1950sEver since the invent of the automobile, we have tried to make them better and faster. Making them faster means that someone has to be the fastest. From the first automobie race held in the United States that was sponsored by a Chicago newspaper in 1895 to the 20s and 30s when the United States became the place to race. After Daytona Beach, FL 1963_Ford_Galaxie_NASCARbecame the go to place for fast-round track style racing while the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah had become synonymous as locations to break speed records. Years after Bill France Sr. moved to Florida to better himself during the Great Depression; he founded the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing after racers needed a legitimate promotion since a lot of charlatans were promoting racing events and skipping town before ever paying the racers their winnings. France sat down with other influential racers and promoters in late 1947 to iron out sanctions, standardize rules, create a schedule, and a ‘final championship’. This led to rules being scribbled down on a bar room napkin and the creation of the “NASCAR” league in early 1948.

NASCAR_43From 1948 on, NASCAR grew in popularity. With greats like Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr, to current champions like Chase Elliott, Dale Earnhart Jr, Jimmie Johnson and even the recently retired Jeff Gordon; racers have immense fan bases while merchandise sales (hats, shirts, jackets, replica cars) are a multi-million dollar asset to the NASCAR brand. So how can a sport that has been around since the invent of the automobile and having been organized since 1948 get such a bad rap? How does a sport with a yearly revenue of over $3 billion with an estimated 75 million fans world wide over 3.6 million individual attendants of races worldwide still get a bad rap?

People outside of the set demographic just don’t understand NASCAR. I myself am not a huge fan because I would rather watch drag racing (which is a completely different and misunderstood entity) or football for that matter; but NASCAR has not been targeted to all Americans. In the 1970s, the demographic was the blue collar Americans (specifically
Dale_Earnhardt_Jr_carSoutherners) who enjoyed the cold Budweiser and Winston cigarettes who proudly sponsored the events. Maybe the negative views came from the fact that stock car racing in the United States can trace its origins back to these Southern ‘shine runners’ who boasted about having the fastest car after prohibition. The possibilities are endless as to why you wouldn’t like NASCAR and maybe you’ll just end up being one of those cynical people that makes jokes about going fast and turning left; but, if you attend a race then you’ll be on your feet with a drink in one hand and a smoked turkey leg in the other…screaming for your favorite driver to wheel his numbered car to the finish line before all of the other numbered cars.

NASCAR-LasVegas-2008


NASCAR on Fox logo by and accredited to Thenascarguide – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47924513
1958 NASCAR race image by and accredited to Notch8864 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46437509
1963 Ford Galaxie NASCAR image by-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=131516By Eagle Shooter at flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/waynew/119439841/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=767012
Richard Petty’s 1973 Dodge Charger image by and accredited to dodge challenger1 – originally posted to Flickr as challenger run 527, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5847784
Dale Earnhardt Jr Car on racetrack image by and accredited to USCG photo by PA3 Kimberly Wilder – United States Coast Guard https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=682594
2013 NASCAR Toyota Camry image by and accredited to Alf van Beem – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55156882
(Featured Image) Las Vegas NASCAR image by https://pixabay.com/en/users/WikiImages-1897/https://pixabay.com/en/car-racing-nascar-race-track-67525/, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24974861

 

Logan: My new favorite movie (spoiler free review)

As the last minutes of Logan flickered on the movie screen ahead of me, tears strolled

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20th Century Fox

down my face. I didn’t try to wipe them away because I knew I was not alone in my complete emotional breakdown. From the grown, middle-aged man behind me sobbing uncontrollably to the woman in the row in front of me puffing on her inhaler after her crying had induced an asthma attack to my son sitting beside me with tears welling in his eyes or my 65 year old father who sat with a somber look of disbelief; it is needless to say, the movie touched everyone in that theater. Despite hearing the F-bomb 7,010 times; Logan had everything that I would need or want. It made me laugh, cry, and I was entertained to a point where I verbally expressed my amazement. (Yes I’m that guy.)

 

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Grant Brummett, Wikipedia Commons

I won’t post spoilers because my wife didn’t go with us to see it; and since she reads my blog…I will refrain from giving any spoilers. I merely wanted to take this time to say that over the past 17 years, Hugh Jackman has theatrically represented a character that I have loved since I first started reading comics in the 80s. Wolverine even gets his own special
blog
every now and then on this blog site but now that the latest solo Wolverine movie aka
Logan
has taken its spot at the top of my ‘favorite movie list’ (A slot formerly held by the 1993 Western Tombstone); was replaced Sunday afternoon when the credits started to roll after the completion of Logan.

As I said earlier, Logan was the perfect blend of action, CGI, emotion and comedy…this movie has it all. I urge everyone to go out and see Hugh Jackman’s final portrayal as our

logan-one-sheet

20th Century Fox

favorite Canadian mutant, Wolverine. Go experience the roller coaster of emotions that is Logan and bear witness to some truly amazing acting from both Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart. The storyline may not completely follow any of our previously loved X-Men comic book story-lines or necessarily be a direct link to any of the previous movies (despite slight nods throughout); the movie is beautifully well written.  The Western-esque film tells a truly personal story about a flawed hero who is suffering from the wages of the war that was his life who is taking care of the ailing Professor Xavier in a Mexican border town hideout. His attempts to stay low-key and away from the world are thwarted when a young mutant comes into his life and how he must venture out into that world once more to save an innocent life from a new villainous team.

You can come with me to see a movie that truly honors the on screen death of Wolverine if you’d like; because I’m sure that I’ll go back and see it at least two more times before it leaves the theater. I hope to add to the already clocked in estimate of over $88 million in its first weekend sales; which has caused Logan to become the 4th best R-rated domestic opening of all time. If you’re going out…go out in style. 🙂

logan black and white

James Mangold


Featured Image – Logan Twitter banner image owned by and accredited to twitter.com/WolverineMovie, pbs.twimg.com/media/C6RwBXVUYAI-zGV.jpg

Logan solo movie poster by and accredited to 20th Century Fox, s3.foxmovies.com/foxmovies/production/films/132/images/posters/519-film-page-large.jpg

Hugh Jackman Image by and accredited to Grant Brummett, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41853505

Logan holding hands movie poster by and accredited to 20th Century Fox, s3.foxmovies.com/foxmovies/production/films/132/images/posters/509-film-page-large.jpg

Logan black and white Press release image by and accredited to James Mangold, i.imgbox.com/kdYsBKB3.jpg

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: The H1 Hummer

m4-sherman-tankWhen you think about a truly bad ass vehicle, you think of an M4 Sherman tank. The only problem with a Sherman tank is that you can’t take your kids to Food Lion to get groceries in an M4 Sherman tank. Well you could….but its not really going to be a comfortable ride for any of you. For military applications, AM General created a a four-wheel drive, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle which took the place of the Vietnam era M151 Jeeps and other light truck. The HMMWV commonly known as the Humvee, saw a lot of use in the deserts of the Gulf War.

The Humvee first felt the cruel hand of war back in 1989 during the US invasion of Panama but the military seemed to try to pry the Humvee away from its personnel and light cargo humvee desert storm.jpgtransport purpose. The Humvee was never intended to be on the front lines and therefore costs 67 lives to be lost in 2006 alone due to IED blasts. The US military equipped the Humvee with a turret, replaced the doors, and added bulletproof windows to make them safer but the increased weight put such a straight on the chassis that by 2012 the now unreliable Humvee was not feasible for combat. Luckily for the general population, AM General began producing a civilian off-road vehicle based on the M998 Humvee in 1992. You know what I’m talking about. You know where I’m going with this. I’m talking about the Hummer. The big, bad gas-guzzling behemoth that crushes Prius’s and takes up their own lane…plus some. The original release of the Hummer can owe its popularity to two huge things:

Operation Desert Storm and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Photos of the Humvees from
Operation Desert Storm were pouring in and we were salivating at how bad ass they looked. “The Austrian Oak” himself was the recipient of the first civilian owned Hummer and he made us all want one. In fact Arnold owns a lot of Hummers and even used his ‘alternative fuel’ Hummer as a selling point for his California gubernatorial campaign.

The Hummer and its sister vehicle (the more soccer-mom friendly) H2 is poked fun at by being such an economically inefficient vehicle but that hasn’t stopped thousands of these vehicles to have been sold. From 1992 to 2006, there were 11,818 Hummer H1’s sold around the world. This limited run makes the vehicle even more desirable. So if you’re wanting to pretend to be a muscular bad ass super soldier driving around in your plow thru anything assault vehicle, a guy wanting to flaunt his over powered ego, or just a guy wanting an awesome ride…go ahead and try to hunt down your own Hummer. Just don’t be too shocked when you see the equally awesome price tag.

 

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips presents the Top 10 TV/Movie Cars

Since TV/movies are such an important part, its not foreign to believe that the vehicles that the movie stars drive would become just as iconic as the characters themselves. Sometimes the cars themselves more synonymous than the human characters themselves. Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips is combining its collective intelligence with Top Cat’s Tuesday Top Ten and Time Machine Time to bring you:

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips presents the Top 10 TV/Movie Cars

10. The 80s was full of terrible movies and even though Sylvester Stallone has written and starred in A LOT of memorable movies, Cobra isn’t really remembered for its cinematic wonder or the masterfully written script. I myself remember Cobra because of Detective Marion Cobretti (codenamed ‘Cobra’)’s souped up 1950 Mercury. From the modified grill and hood scoops to the rims and lowered stance, the car was truly one of a kind.

cobra car.jpg

Cobra – 1950 Mercury 

9. On the roof of a building in New York City, Dr. Ray Stantz says that “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft.” Even though this movie caused the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man to become an iconic figure from my childhood and iconic figure in the pantheon of pop culture images but the 1959 white Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style end-loader with ambulance conversion known as the Ecto-1 is one of those memorable things for me. The sound of the siren, the lights and the classic 1950s lines make the Ecto-1 a beautiful ride.

ghostbusters caddy.jpg

1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo style end-loader with ambulance conversion

8. After the success of the Fast and Furious movies, Vin Diesel was popping up everywhere. The movie XXX tried to be my generations version of a James Bond style spy film but the odds of an action sports star magically becoming the world’s greatest spy and saving the world from a nuclear attack was just a little far fetched for some of us. I loved the movie and 50% of that was due to the gorgeous modified 1967 Pontiac GTO. As I have stated before, my dad owned a 1967 Pontiac GTO and regrets the day that he sold that car. I regret the day that he sold that car even though it was before I was born. The stylings and power of this car are perfect and if you add that to the fact that XXX’s version of James Bond’s Q outfitted the car with more firepower than a Sherman tank.

gto xxx

1967 Pontiac GTO

7. B.A. Baracus always said that “I ain’t goin’ on no airplane,” and that must have been why the A-Team decided to drive around in a bad to the bone Modified 1983 black and metallic gray GMC Vandura van. The A-Team ruled the 80s TV scene and turned Mr. T into a household name. The crack commando unit sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit turned themselves into soldiers of fortune. It was Rambo with less killing. The show was great and the blacked out GMC van just added to the awesomeness of this A-Team.

a team van

Modified 1983 GMC Vandura van

6.“Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider.” Add part modern day cowboy  to part spy to an advanced artificially intelligent computer inside of a souped up muscle car = all bad ass. In the early 80s, Knight Rider was the bees knees. Heck, people still talk about Knight Rider and the Pontiac Trans Am KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) is a huge part of why this show is remembered as well as it is. Well KITT and the heart-throb (all-be-it less alcoholic) David Hasselhoff.

kitt knight rider car

1982 Pontiac Trans Am

5. “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” I still remember the anticipation of waiting for Back to the Future 2 to FINALLY come out in theaters. The three Back to the Future films were a huge success and have held a cult following ever since and you would be remiss to think that the Modified DeLorean DMC-12 magnified the movie’s long lasting popularity.

Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

Modified DeLorean DMC-12

4. In the 1980s, TV was huge. I admit that I spent too much time in front of a TV set but it was the bridge jumping, hood sliding antics of the Duke Boys on the Duke’s of Hazzard that fueled a lot of that seat time. Well…a lot of reason for watching was General Lee, the Duke Boy’s 1969 Dodge Charger. The high flying, 2 wheel side ways driving roll cage equipped race car was enough reason to watch the Duke’s of Hazzard but as an added bonus…I got to gaze my eyes upon the gorgeous cousin of the Duke Boys: Daisy Duke.

general lee

1969 Dodge Charger (the General Lee)

3. The Batmobile has had just as many changes as the caped crusader himself has. From the iconic Batmobile used in the 1960s Batman live action TV show to the low and sleek Tim Burton Batmobile used in the Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) movies to our current Batman in which we saw in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Suicide Squad (2016) but my personal favorite Batmobile is the ‘Tumbler’. Bruce Wayne utilizes a prototype bridging vehicle created for the military by Lucious Fox and Applied Sciences division at Wayne Enterprises. After being painted black (of course), the Tumbler not only had the strength and durability of a Sherman Tank but had the horsepower, maneuverability and sleek appearance of a Lamborghini.

tumbler 1

2. In 2000 I was a senior in High School and was just beginning to tinker with the horsepower and appearance of my 1993 Ford Mustang but after watching Nicholas Cage and the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 (named Eleanor) from the Gone in 60 Seconds, I knew that my car was completely inferior. The car was a modified and stylized version of the 1967 GT500 which was a modified Ford Mustang Fastback. That’s a lot of modifications and the appearance and power of the car proved it.

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1967 Ford Mustang GT500 Fastback

1. “Breaker breaker for the Bandit.” My parents went to the drive-in movie theater 3 times to see Smokey and the Bandit in 1977. The film was the second grossing film of 1977; only losing out to Star Wars. I can only guess that Jackie Gleason’s portrayal of Sheriff Burford T. Justice of Portague County, Texas along with the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am drove the movie into cult like status. Since my parents loved the movie so much, I was raised watching Smokey and the Bandit all the time which fueled not only my love for muscle cars but an unequivocal yearning to be as whitty as the Bandit. I think it worked. 🙂

bandit trans am

1977 Pontiac Trans Am

 

Honorable Mentions: 1955 Ford F100 from The Expendables, 1976 AMC Pacer from Waynes World, 1961 Ferrari GT250 from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1968 390 CID V8 Ford Mustang Fastback from Bullitt, 1958 Plymouth Fury from Christine 

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: the Harley Davidson Motorcycle

fat boyThere’s just something about riding a motorcycle. The sun at your back and the wind whipping past you, as you cut across the asphalt on your Harley-Davidson Fatboy. You can picture that in your mind, right? You can hear the thunderous exhaust roaring behind you. You can smell the fresh air. You can see the car coming, veering slowly veering into your lane!!!! Be careful there in your day dream because the United States Department of Transportation reports that there are 37 times more motorcycle fatalities than car fatalities per vehicle mile.

wolverine motorcyle
Wolverine himself has been riding motorcycles since the two-wheeled (or sometimes 1908 harleythree-wheeled) beasts motored their way onto the automotive scene in the late 1800s. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, motorcycles went from a bicycle with a pedal crank motor to a steam-powered big wheel cycle to something reminiscent of what we know today. By the time the 20th century rolled around, William Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson along with Arthur’s brother harley-davidson racerWalter started working on their ‘motor-cycles’ and set out on a journey that no one would ever imagine. The company would be one of two cycle manufactures to make it harley davidson liberatorthrough the Depression, had riders winning thousands of races, supplied motorcycles to the Army in World War II and until 1969, when Harley-Davidson was purchased by AMF, Harley-Davidson continued to grow in popularity.  The new purchase caused more expensive bikes made with less quality but that all changed in 1981 when the company was purchased by a group of investors (one of whom was the grandson of William Davidson).

84 shovelhead.jpgAfter this purchase, Harley-Davidson started appealing to the ‘retro’ crowd and adopted the look and feel of their earlier bikes. Thusly models like the Softail and the Fat Boy were created and once again were the heavyweights in their field. When most people think ‘motorcycle’, they envision a Harley-Davidson. They might not be able to tell you the difference between a 1941 Flathead 1200 cc engine and a 1984 1200 cc Shovelhead; but they can recognize the throaty growl of  Harley coming down the road.

Wolverine-bikeHOG’s are everywhere. By the way, when you hear someone call a Harley-Davidson a ‘hog’, the reason is because there were a group of farm boy racers who became known as the ‘hog boys’ because they were ‘hogging’ all of the race wins. The group even began to bring a hog to the race to ride on the Harley during the victory lap. Because of the this nickname, Harley-Davidson turned the ‘hog’ nickname into the acronym “HOG” which stands for Harley Owners Group. This nickname was so important to Harley-Davidson that they changed their stock exchange ticker symbol from HDI to HOG. The simple fact of the matter is that Harley-Davidson is part of our American lexicon. It is part of American pop culture. When you think motorcycle, you envision a Harley Davidson.

 

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: The Hot Rod

Wolverine is a modified, amped up mutant so why would he not be able to be compared to hot rod clubsthe modified classic American cars with modified engines and bodies. The term “hot rod” became a commonplace term by the 1940s. Most of the camshafts were replaced with new ‘hotter’ versions for increased performance and came to be known as a ‘hot rod’.  The first cars to be modified were the early 20s and 30s Model Ts and Model As which were modified by returning soldiers or the bootleggers that were modifying their cars to flee from revenue agents during prohibition. These cars were modified to reduce weight and modifiers would remove tops, hoods, bumpers, windshields, and fenders.

american graffiti.jpgAfter WWII, many military airports were left abandoned and allowed hot rodders the opportunity to utilize these tracks of asphalt to race. Hot rodding became more popular and with the rise of street rodding, caused the scene to change. Movies, like American Graffiti kept the Hot Rod culture alive, while the Rockabilly culture is keeping the old school alive today. Now-a-days, there is a movement to bring back the tradition of the old school hot rod and car clubs and builders are popping up all around the world. TV shows, magazines and car shows are continuing to keep the Hot Rod relevant in popular culture.

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Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: The Jeep

wolverine jeep 111Throughout the years, Wolverine had access to drive everything from covered wagons to new Corvettes. So this week, we showcase a vehicle that the former soldier must have used thousands of times. Today’s vehicle of discussion is the Jeep.

As the son and nephew of Jeep owners, I was turned on early to the beauty and simplicity of the Jeep. The original Jeep was utilized for military means (and the Jeep my dad purchased and still owns is a 1952 Willys Military Jeep). It is believed that the name is derived from the generalized term “Goverment” or “General Purpose”‘s initials “GP” were combined together to form the sound ‘Jeep’. This was done similarly to how the willys jeep.jpegHumvee name was derived from the letters HMMWV (aka the High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle).  The Jeep’s popularity grew leaps and bounds by World War 2 and almost 3/4 of a million Jeeps were produced for the war effort.

Jeep has been owned by many companies, starting with Willys. Willys also produced the first CJ (Civilian Jeep) Jeep in 1945 and continued to produce Jeeps until 1950. Willys was sold to Kaiser then to Renault then to Chrysler where it has remained even though Chrysler has changed company names and co-owners multiple times since then (Currently known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

modified Jeep .jpgJeep has produced many models and variations of the original but I’m a purest when it comes to Jeeps. I love what you think of when you think “Jeep” and so does a lot of America. Jeeps are becoming more and more popular with sales numbers almost doubling. And most people aren’t happy with their Jeep looking like every other Jeep on the road either. Jeep is the number one most modified vehicle on the road. From rock climbing and jeep rock climberlift kits to upgrading rims and tires, we will keep our Jeep’s personalized because that is what makes a Jeep special.

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: 1960s Oldsmobile 442

So, I’m a child born in the 80s but I grew up in the 90s. Now we all grew up watching Saved by the Bell in the 90s. Well like many prepubescent boys in the 90s, I had a huge crush on Kelly Kapowski (played by the Tiffani-Amber Thiessen). If you watched the show, her on again off again boyfriend was the star of the show Zack Morris. Well she broke up with him one time for a tall, dark and handsome romancer named Jeff. Jeff was played by Patrick Muldoon, who was also well known for his role as Austin on Days of ourLives (give me a break, I spent every summer with my grandparents black cat run .jpegand my grandma watched the soaps). Well to make a long story short, in 1999 Patrick Muldoon starred in one of those 90s TV movies called Black Cat Run (where he plays a gas-station attendant who tries to get his girlfriend back from the escaped convicts that abducted her. The movie was pretty terrible but the redeeming factor of the movie was the car. All of these memories came flooding back the second that I found out that Wolverine had chosen the classic Oldsmobile 442 as his Wednesday Whip.
442 from black cat run.jpgThe Oldsmobile 4-4-2 or more commonly known as the 442 (pronounce Four-Four-Two) was introduced in 1964 as an upgraded option for the Cutlass. In 1966 it became a stand alone muscle car model from 1968 through 1971 and  to compete with the Pontiac GTO (even though both companies were owned by GM). It fought to gain popularity and boy did it ever gain a cult following.

The Oldsmobile 442 stands as one of the muscle cars of the 60s that so many of us yearn to own. After living in a house that owned and loved muscle cars, it was inevitable that I would want a 442 especially after seeing the guy that broke up Kelly and Zack from Saved by the Bell drive one in a movie.

442 hhhhh.jpg

 

Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips: 1967 Lincoln Continental

 

wolverine .jpgWolverine is blessed, or cursed, with a powerful regenerative ability causing him to age at a slower rate than the rest of us mere humans. Because of this, Wolverine has lived through all of the ages of automotive development. So to say that he’s an expert could be a stretch but he knows what he likes. On Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips he will showcase some of the greatest and most beautiful vehicles to ever roll down the street.  Today on Wolverine’s Wednesday Whips, he is showcasing the 1967 4-Door Lincoln Continental.

The 1961 Lincoln Continental was roughly based on a 1961 Thunderbird prototype that Ford rejected because it appeared to be a little ‘too classy’ for the 1960s Thunderbird crowd. After an internal power struggle in the Ford family, it was paramount that Lincoln have success with their next vehicle so the 4-door ‘suicide’ rear-hinged rear doors were teamed with a stream line body and a powerful engine. The 1967 4-door has made a resurgence in the hot rod, low rider and muscle car scenes due to its gorgeous lines, suicide doors along with the 300+ HP V-8 engine.

This powerful, yet stylish car has remained popular throughout the years despite death rearing its ugly head every now and then (John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a convertible Lincoln Continental in 1963) just like Wolverine.

lincoln continental

suicide doors