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by Tom Jensen July 24, 2020

Two different drivers, two different car numbers but both won big races in a fast Oldsmobile.

One of the most iconic cars in NASCAR history holds a coveted speed record, thanks to the efforts of two members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

And that race car began its competitive life as something else entirely.

The car in question is the Ranier Racing No. 28 Oldsmobile known as “The Gray Ghost,” which is on display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Hall of Honor until January 2021.

Built by crew chief Waddell Wilson and driven by Buddy Baker , both 2020 inductees, the Gray Ghost won the 1980 Daytona 500 at an average speed of 177.602 mph. To this day, Baker’s triumph remains that fastest Daytona 500 ever run.

the grey ghost car

Driver Buddy Baker (C) and crew chief Waddell Wilson (R) celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the 1980 Daytona 500. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

Baker, Wilson and the Gray Ghost enjoyed considerable success together, as the car also won the inaugural Busch Clash at Daytona International Speedway in 1979, the pole for the 1979 Daytona 500, and the 1980 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

the grey ghost car

A view of the Waddell Wilson-built Gray Ghost Oldsmobile that won the fastest Daytona 500 ever run. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images.

But what’s less well known is the No. 28 Gray Ghost began racing with then-Ranier driver Lennie Pond in 1978. At that time, the Gray Ghost wasn’t gray at all, it was white with blue and orange accents, and it carried the No. 54.

In August of 1978, Pond drove the No. 54 Ranier Racing Oldsmobile to victory in the Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. It was Pond’s only race victory in 234 premier series starts, as he became one of six drivers to score their only career win at Talladega.

the grey ghost car

Lennie Pond’s only premier series victory came at Talladega Superspeedway in 1978. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

Even though Pond won with the Oldsmobile in 1978, Wilson knew the car needed an extreme makeover for the following season, when Baker was hired to drive it and the number was changed from No. 54 to No. 28. “(Team owner) Harry Ranier had put me totally in charge of everything,” Wilson said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m going to fix that race car from all the things I’ve learned through racing.’”

Wilson took the car to a body man he used to work with at Holman-Moody Racing and told him the changes he wanted on the Gray Ghost. After a couple of attempts, the car was finally the way Wilson wanted it.

“It was very streamlined, but it was legal,” said Wilson. “I learned from John Holman, in the 10 years I worked for John he’d come to me and he’d say, ‘Waddell, if I catch you cheating, I’ll fire you.’ And I always knew he would. He taught me we could win races without cheating. “

As for the pilot of the Gray Ghost, Wilson had nothing but praise. “Buddy was a great guy to work with,” Wilson said. “He didn’t have a lot of patience; he wasn’t the best at finessing a race car, but as far as driving a race car, – you take him to Daytona or Talladega, where you could go flat-footed, you couldn’t ask for a better driver. He was as good as I ever worked with.”

Right up until the end of his life, Baker cherished the 1980 Daytona 500 victory and the Gray Ghost that Wilson had built.

the grey ghost car

Man and machine: Buddy Baker and the Gray Ghost Oldsmobile he won the 1980 Daytona 500 in. Photo courtesy of NASCAR Archives & Research Center via Getty Images

Longtime Charlotte Observer motorsports writer Tom Higgins, the 2015 winner of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence and one of Baker’s closest friends, said that in his final days in his home on Lake Norman outside of Charlotte, Baker kept a photo of the Gray Ghost near his bedside so he could look at it while he rested. Baker died in his home on Aug. 10, 2015, following a nine-month battle with cancer.

Plan your visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame and purchase tickets by visiting nascarhall.com/tickets .

Tom Jensen

Tom is the Curatorial Affairs Manager at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. For more than 25 years, he has been part of the NASCAR media industry.

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CONCORD, N.C. – This week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. revealed his throwback paint scheme for the Labor Day weekend race at Darlington Raceway.

Earnhardt and his partners at Nationwide channeled a racing legend for the scheme, 60s, 70s and 80s icon Buddy Baker and his No. 28 bullet of a race car.

“It was called the Gray Ghost and it had this mystique and this identity,” Earnhardt said. “Usually cars rarely become a thing and this car certainly drew a lot of attention because of its speed and dominance.”

Take a look at the fun facts below about both Baker’s and Earnhardt’s Gray Ghosts.

1) Baker drove the record-setting No. 28 Gray Ghost from 1979 to 1980. Bobby Allison was behind the wheel of the legendary car in 1981.

2) The Gray Ghost was known for its speed, especially at the superspeedways. Baker won the 1980 Daytona 500 in it and set a new average speed record at the track.

3) Because of the gray paint scheme, the car would blend in with the surface of the racetrack, so competitors had difficulty seeing Baker coming from behind. That is, until he blew by them for position.

the grey ghost car

4) NASCAR officials finally ordered Baker to put Day-Glo decals on the front of the car to make it more visible on the track.

5) Earnhardt said they didn’t take too much creative leeway with the design of the scheme. “We just took what we saw from history and tried to represent that the best we could on the car today,” he said.

6) Earnhardt loves the orange highlighting on the car because orange is his favorite color.

the grey ghost car

7) “There’s a little bit of an old-school influence in every inch of the car from not only just the color and the scheme but to the decals and logos themselves,” Earnhardt said. “They lend themselves to the history of the sport.”

8) The Nationwide logo on the hood of Earnhardt’s Gray Ghost is circa 1980.

9) Earnhardt’s typical No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS for 2016 also took design elements from the Gray Ghost, which the driver said is his favorite paint scheme of all time.

  • What's My Car Worth?
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2024 Rolls-Royce Ghost

Starting at .css-1ykuyyb{font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.2;margin-left:0.25rem;}@media(min-width: 40.625rem){.css-1ykuyyb{color:#000000;}} $354,750.

2024 rollsroyce ghost

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  • Lows Brake pedal lacks feel, roof pillars block the view, extraordinary price tag.
  • Verdict It may cost twice as much as its key rivals, but the Ghost's opulence is unmatched, and for some that'll mean it's money well spent.

Where This Vehicle Ranks

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Bentley Continental GT

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Rolls-Royce Ghost

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Mercedes-Maybach S-Class

What's new for 2024.

Rolls-Royce has been focusing on its first electric vehicle, the Spectre , so the Ghost carries over to 2024 without any significant changes to its design, features list, or powertrain. Rolls-Royce also built 25 special edition Ékleipsis models to celebrate October 14th's solar eclipse. The car featured a unique version of the Ghost's starlight headliner that was designed to pay homage to the celestial event and it also featured an artful dashboard trim surrounding a diamond timepiece.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The price of the 2024 Rolls-Royce Ghost starts at $354,750 and goes up to $416,250 depending on the trim and options.

The Ghost is the entry-level Rolls, but what an entry. The list of standard and optional equipment is mesmerizing and long, and Rolls-Royce offers a seemingly endless list of additional features and customizations. The only question is how much you're willing to spend. We'll leave the decision-making to you, but we'd recommend the extended wheelbase model to maximize rear-seat legroom.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Ghost is powered by a 563-hp 6.7-liter V-12 that is shared with the Cullinan SUV ; Black Badge models get a boost in power to 592 hp. An eight-speed automatic handles shifting duties, and all-wheel drive is standard. According to Rolls-Royce, the Ghost is capable of hitting 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, and we're looking forward to verifying that claim at our test track. Rolls-Royce also boasts that the Ghost offers sharp handling, pointing to its all-wheel-steering system and 50/50 weight distribution as evidence that driving satisfaction played a significant role in the car's development. The Ghost provides a peerless ride thanks to its standard adaptive suspension, which employs a road-scanning camera to help the vehicle anticipate and compensate for potholes. Of course.

2024 rollsroyce ghost

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA estimates that the Ghost will return 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Once we get a chance, we'll put the Ghost through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test and update this story with the results. For more information about the Ghost's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website .

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Like the cabin of any Rolls-Royce, the new Ghost’s is opulent, with every surface, knob, switch, and lever crafted from quality materials. Think thick carpet, finely grained leather, real wood and metal accents, and even an available headliner with tiny integrated LEDs to simulate a starlit sky. An illuminated dashboard inlay glows when the driver turns on the Ghost, adding to the starry-night ambiance. Rear-seat passengers are treated to such luxuries as massaging seats, an entertainment system, and acres of legroom. It's nothing less than expected for a car in the same class as the Bentley Flying Spur and the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S-class.

2024 rollsroyce ghost

Infotainment and Connectivity

Along with providing a Wi-Fi hotspot, the Ghost features a large infotainment touchscreen with in-dash navigation. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces are included. A dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system allows passengers to adjust the radio, input destinations into the nav, and more. Rolls-Royce also supplies an 18-speaker Bespoke stereo system with 1300 watts of power and magnesium-ceramic speaker cones.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Rolls-Royce offers a host of driver-assistance features as standard on the Ghost, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. For more information about the Ghost's crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA ) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS ) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Like the rest of the Rolls-Royce lineup, the Ghost comes with a four-year warranty and maintenance package, which doesn't expire at a certain mileage limit.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or unlimited miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or unlimited miles
  • Complimentary maintenance is covered for four years or unlimited miles

Specifications

2022 Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge

VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4- or 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE Base: $442,700

ENGINE twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection Displacement: 412 in 3 , 6749 cm 3 Power: 591 hp @ 5250 rpm Torque: 664 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm

TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic

DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 129.7 in Length: 218.8 in Width: 77.9 in Height: 61.9 in Trunk Volume: 18 ft 3 Curb Weight ( C/D est): 5500 lb

PERFORMANCE ( C/D EST) 60 mph: 4.2 sec 100 mph: 10.3 sec Top Speed: 155 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY Combined/City/Highway: 14/12/19 mpg 

2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost

VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE $320,000

ENGINE twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection Displacement: 412 in 3 , 6749 cm 3 Power: 563 hp @ 5000 rpm Torque: 626 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

DIMENSIONS Wheelbase: 129.7 in Length: 218.3 in Height: 61.9 in Trunk volume: 18 ft 3 Curb weight ( C/D est): 5700 lb

PERFORMANCE ( C/D EST) 60 mph: 4.3 sec 100 mph: 10.4 sec 1/4 mile: 12.7 sec Top speed: 155 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY Combined/city/highway: 14/12/19 mpg

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May 4 in nascar: a ghost that could not be caught at talladega.

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It is among NASCAR’s most famous cars and added to its legacy on this day in 1980.

As Buddy Baker and Dale Earnhardt ran at the front at Talladega Superspeedway, they pitted together. Earnhardt’s team took two tires. Baker’s team took four tires. The difference left Baker nearly 20 seconds behind Earnhardt.

But Baker, the 1980 Daytona 500 winner, was driving the “Gray Ghost” at Talladega.

The car was nicknamed the “Gray Ghost’’ because its colors allowed it to blend in with the track, as the story goes. Driver complaints led NASCAR to have Baker’s team put reflective decals on the car so it was easier to see after that Daytona 500 win

“Silver and black. Chrome numbers. It doesn’t get any cooler than that,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in 2016 on his Dale Jr. Download.

Baker’s charge at Talladega 40 years ago also was memorable for catching and then passing Earnhardt for the lead with three laps to go. Baker withstood Eanhardt’s final charge at the line to win by 3 feet.

Baker told Motor Racing Network in Victory Lane: “We had to earn this one.”

Also on this date:

1957: Fireball Roberts won at Shelby, North Carolina, for his fifth win in his first 13 starts of the season. Roberts went on to score eight victories that season.

1969: Bobby Isaac started from the pole and led 283 of 300 laps to win at Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. No other car finished on the lead lap. The victory was one of a career-high 17 wins he had that season.

1997: Mark Martin won at Sonoma Raceway, holding off Jeff Gordon on the final lap. Martin snapped a 42-race winless streak.

2002: Tony Stewart came from the rear after an engine change to win at Richmond Raceway.

Pure expression

Ghost presents a world of boundless potential. Its purity liberates the imagination, inviting you to craft a motor car that is a complete original. There are no limits to what Ghost can become — all one has to do is imagine.

The front side profile of the duck egg blue Ghost

A PERFECT BLANK CANVAS, TRANSFORMED BY YOUR COLOURFUL ESSENCE.

Close view of the hood of a Rolls-Royce in orange

IMAGINATION IS LIMITLESS. PERSONALISATION, ENDLESS.

up close collage image of Tucana Purple bonnet in the background and a view of the front 3/4 Tucana Purple car on top

REFLECT YOUR WORLD THROUGH AMBITIOUS CREATIVITY.

close up of the front headlight turned on of the Orange Metallic Ghost

capture your character. create a personal work of art.

Experience infinite bespoke expression with ghost..

Each Ghost is as unique as its owner — yours and yours alone. Infuse its pure canvas with dynamism and express your personality in every detail.

Continue your journey

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Pure and pristine. The ultimate foundation for infinite self-expression.

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Choose from our exclusive collections or collaborate with our craftspeople and designers to create a Rolls-Royce wholly unique to you. This is Rolls-Royce Bespoke.

Discover Bespoke

Choose from our exclusive collections or collaborate with our craftspeople and designers to create a Rolls-Royce wholly unique to you. This is Rolls-Royce Bespoke.

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Unfortunately, we no longer offer a public tour programme. Should this change in the future, we will update our website. 

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All motorcars built before 2003 (both Rolls-Royce and Bentley) and their related history are dealt with by the Bentley organisation. The Bentley Heritage website  could be a useful source of information for you. If you have any questions about Rolls-Royce motor cars built after 2003 please get in touch with us on the details below and one of our client specialists will be happy to assist you. Email: [email protected] Telephone: 01243 525700                              

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. is a separate legal entity from Rolls-Royce PLC and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group. Based at Goodwood near Chichester in West Sussex, it commenced business on 1st January 2003 as its new global production facility. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars manufactures and sells the worlds pinnacle super-luxury automobiles, including the Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan models. 

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The Gray Ghost roars to life once more

Last year dale earnhardt jr. was supposed to race the gray ghost at darlington raceway. unfortunately, he suffered a concussion and missed darlington and the rest of the season..

Lee Spencer

Now Earnhardt Jr. will get a chance to drive the car featuring the special paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Paying tribute to NASCAR's Gentle Giant

“It’s my favorite paint scheme of all time in the sport,” Earnhardt said at the car’s unveiling in April. “It ran in ’79 and ’80 and ’81 as well with Bobby Allison. But Buddy Baker made this very famous — particularly at Daytona and Talladega. It was such a fast race car that they even had to put on day-glo decals on the front of it because the guys couldn’t see it coming. It was coming so fast.

“A lot of race cars seldom become icons in the sport —where they’re known by name — and this was one of them.”

Earnhardt’s admiration for the Baker goes well beyond his on track accomplishments. Although the driver known as the Gentle Giant lost his battle with lung cancer a year ago, Earnhardt was genuinely thrilled to memorialize the beloved racer through his Gray Ghost-inspired design.

“I’m very proud to tip the cap to Buddy and what he did for us, not only as a driver but in the broadcast booth," Earnhardt said. "Throughout his career in the sport, he was a huge asset."

The man behind the car

Although Earnhardt was instrumental in designing the paint scheme for the No. 88 car this weekend, David Munari was one of the original fabricators on Baker’s Gray Ghost.

The St. Louis native started his racing career towing show cars for Roger Penske in 1975. Munari, then 19, wrecked one of the AMC Matadors after an appearance. He returned the “wadded-up car” to the Penske’s Reading, Pa., facility to a less than a warm welcome.

“I told them, ‘If you give me a body shop, I can fix it.’ I welded new quarters and the deck lid and repaired it. Then Roger tells Don Miller (former Penske South president) after seeing the car, ‘This kid is a little expensive on the road, but I could use him in the shop,’ and I went to work.”

Munari worked on Bobby Allison’s Mercurys for two years and for a partial season with Dave Marcis before Penske shut down the NASCAR operation in 1977 after 12 races. Munari then moved to the open-wheel side of Team Penske, building Mario Andretti's and Tom Sneva’s cars for the remainder of the season. Sneva won the Champ Car title by 935 points over Al Unser that year.

The birth of the Gray Ghost

But Munari's true passion was for stock cars. Lennie Pond called Munari to work on his cars at Ranier Racing, and the Gray Ghost was created. The car won its first race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was also the first career win for Pond and Munari.

In 1979, Ranier hired Baker, and Munari began fabricating his Oldsmobiles.

“We built the car and started doing things no one would think of back then — better aero stuff — nose, length, underneath the car,” Munari said. “Buddy would come and help me work on the car. When it came to Daytona, everything was about his car looking pretty and fast. He would actually come and hand-sand the bottom and paint it. He would sand the floor board himself. I loved the man to death. He was one of the drivers who passed over the years that hurt me more than anybody.”

The No. 28 Oldsmobile won the pole for the 1979 Daytona 500, the first NASCAR race to feature live flag-to-flag television coverage. Baker led 18 of 20 laps to win the inaugural Busch Clash.

“When we took the checkered flag, Darrell (Waltrip) was just coming off (Turn) 4,” Munari said.

Baker won his 125-mile qualifying race. Then he held the point for the first 15 laps of the 500 until the ignition failed on the No. 28 car after just 38 circuits.

Baker ran 26 Cup races that season and won three. His average qualifying effort was 4.8 with seven poles. However, his results were marred by 11 DNFs — including seven mechanicals. The 19 races Baker finished included 12 top fives and 15 top 10s.

Baker returned with Ranier and won the 1980 Daytona 500. Munari left to work at Hutcherson Pagan and built cars for A.J. Foyt before circling back with Miller to work on the ASA program for an up-and-coming fellow St. Louisan named Rusty Wallace.

Check out video of this year's Gray Ghost:

What's in a name

To this day, Munari’s favorite car is still the Gray Ghost he worked on with Baker. He remembers being forced to affix pink day-glo numbers to car “because the independents complained that the car came up on them so fast they didn’t have time to react.”

“The car was just a rocket ship,” Munari added. “But we worked hard on it. I have to give a lot of credit to Waddell Wilson’s motors. They were fabulous. And Buddy Baker was, in my opinion, the best to ever drive at Talladega or Daytona. And that says a lot over Dale Earnhardt Sr., Tony Stewart and Junior. Tony Stewart, Dale, Junior and Buddy, they all learned how to work the wind. They were the guys.

“But we did a lot with the Gray Ghost. With Buddy, it was magical.”

Editor’s note: This story originally ran last year on Motorsport.com prior to the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with Jeff Gordon subbing for the injured Earnhardt.

the grey ghost car

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The gray ghost rides again, next chapter >.

As Dino mentioned in his event intro post , the Speedhunters were out in force at Monterey Car Week this year. But while he and Louis embarked on a blistering tour of the Car Week festivities, I spent most of my time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca drooling over vintage race cars and soaking up the atmosphere at the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion.

I’ve got plenty of stories on the way from this year’s Reunion, but I want to start out with a look at one of my favorite cars of the event. It’s not a Ferrari or a Porsche, but a Pontiac – a 1964 Tempest to be exact.

If you are familiar with the history of the SCCA Trans-Am series, or the history of the muscle car itself, you may have heard of Herb Adams’ legendary Gray Ghost .

Herb was a well known engineer who worked for Pontiac during the glory days of the ’60s and ’70s, and is especially renowned for his work on the Firebird Trans Am. In 1970 he decided to turn his wife’s Tempest daily driver into an A-Sedan racer, and it found a lot of success. Things got even more serious in 1971 when they repainted the car silver and decided to campaign it against factory teams in the highly competitive SCCA Trans-Am series.

Running a Pontiac V8 that was de-stroked to 303 cubic inches to meet the series rules, the Tempest made its debut at Lime Rock with Bob Tullius behind the wheel. The team missed qualifying and started at the back of the field, but Tullius quickly made up ground, eventually winding up in second place behind Mark Donahue’s Penske Javelin. Late in the race the Pontiac blew a head gasket and was forced to retire, but the legend of the Gray Ghost was born.

Not only was this a much older and larger platform than the pony car competition, the Gray Ghost was built in a home garage and campaigned by a group of moonlighting Pontiac engineers in their spare time. It instantly became one of the more unique Trans-Am entries out there.

With its extra wide front tires, negative camber and softer springs, the Pontiac was especially competitive in the rain. Unfortunately, the experimental nature of the car led to several mechanical DNFs, but in the races it did complete, the Gray Ghost typically finished near the front of the pack, right there with the factory-backed teams.

After the ’71 season the car was sold, but it continued to be driven in A-Sedan competition and was last seen at a vintage race in 2000. In 2015 it was purchased by John Hildebrand and given a full restoration by Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma before making its debut at the Rolex Reunion.

Not only is the Gray Ghost a Pontiac legend and a true underdog, it was one of the most distinct race cars on track at Laguna Seca over the weekend.

It’s an important and welcome addition to the field of historic Trans-Am racers, and I’m very much looking forward to watching it race many more times to come.

Mike Garrett Instagram: japanifornia [email protected]

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45 comments

Thanks for spotlighting this beast, the Trans Am race started shortly after I arrived on Saturday and it immediately grabbed my eyes and ears.  Definitely one of the best sounding cars on that grid!    It was a riot to watch something this big snake through Turn 4 in a 4 wheel drift, just amazing.

oooohhhhh I can't wait to see all of your coverage Mike super jealous! That first rolling shot is awesome---long, low and wide at its finest. What a superb time in racing! TA alley at 'Seca should be enjoyed by all

Now this , is an American car that I appreciate .

Take note: this is how fender flares are done!

Yup, and this reminds me how bad the bolt-on flares look. You can't say these fenders don't look great.

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Oh my god how brutal does it look *.* love it!

cool car, cool history, i like the look of it although it has some strange proportions seems like it needs about 3 feet taken out the boot.

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Very nice. Anyone else think it looks kind of like an XXL Hakosuka?

tommyzoom99 the boot is kinda cool. Very mafia kill car.

Great article! Herb Adams is one of my personal heroes. His biography makes me think of modern tech moguls. An innovator with zero regard for rules or corporate hierarchy. He did amazing and outrageous things in the 60's and 70's but would have flourished in today's economy that rewards disruptors. A rogue engineer who loved to upend the status quo... constantly. (Is that him in picture GTO-09?) On the other end of the spectrum was Bob Tullius. A brilliant driver/owner/gentleman. Somehow he turned racing into a business (instead of a cash bonfire) AND did it without coming off as a giant egomaniac. One of the great American drivers. The world needs more of both of these types of guys!

I'd take this over a Ferrari or Porsche or any of their ilk any day.

These trans am car spotlights are always gold! *scrolling craigslist for a tempest*

milkplus Gonna pick up that book right now!

tenpennyjimmy It does have that boxy look to it, and the silver paint also brings the Hakosuka to mind.

I remember seeing this car compete at the Trans Am race at Road America in 1971.  Amazing car then and now.  Thanks for the great article.

It did really well at the Reunion too. I was surprised to it see it hanging out near the front with the Boss 302s and such. Reminds me a lot of the green Dodge Challenger regarding its story. Very cool!

What a beauty

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I love this car!

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@Therese Lombardi Nice shot!

JoeKendall Thanks! Wish I could have been around to see it back then too!

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This car is my favorite Race Car! A little known rumor of a fact is that the car was first painted chartreuse. When Mr. Tullius saw it for the first time - he refused to drive the car. Can you imagine an obnoxious color like that on a car that large?! That and Chartreuse Ghost just doesn't sound right! History was made. Thanks for the feature.

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Herb Adams had wanted to paint the car chartreuse, because he thought it would stand out, and he happened to have a gallon of the color.  He was overruled by the other team members.  The colors chosen were in memory of the 1963 lightweight Pontiac Catalinas built for NHRA Super Stock drag racing, nicknamed the "Swiss Cheese" Catalinas because of the lightening holes. Less then 20 were made, and they were silver with blue interior.

Herb Adams had wanted to paint the car chartreuse because he had a gallon of the color and he thought it would stand out, but the team overruled him. The original color combination chosen was in memory of the 1963 lightweight Pontiacs, less than 20 of which were built on the production assembly line for NHRA Super Stock drag racing.  They were known as the "Swiss Cheese" Catalinas because of the lightening holes, and all were silver with blue interior.  A lot of attention was given to matching the original silver when the car was restored.

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So wonderful that this amazing platform is still representing Pontiac at these events.I regret shipping my silver '64 Le Mans off to Midland, Mich. In1978.That car had a 1970 RAIV balanced and blueprinted by King Speed Shop,Lansing IL.Factory internals were all forged pieces.In 1973 the only header manufacturer for this engine combo was JR headers also in Mich.Only reason there was a template for them was that Delorean and his chief engineer had them make a set for their '64 GTO.Being only the second set produced they were outrageous- $385.Never got to track the thing,but it was so well balanced that I used to power slide,(drift nowadays),the sharp cloverleafs at 75 MPH feeling in complete control.So its not surprising to me that Gray Ghost is such an awesome machine.Love your work Herb.Thanks Speed hunters for this wonderful performance site.

Wow, I didn't know you could earn $4593.69 spamming on this site...I did just that and not only did I earn the money but I also got a free 1962 Pontiac Tempest formerly owned by Sandi Adams. And this white haired old gent came in the trunk...said he'd pissed off his wife in 1963 and he'd been hiding there ever since.

I loved working on this car while it was being campaigned in SCCA GT-1 at Summit Point, WV. The owner was a local Pontiac Dealer named Louie Spoerl from Cumberland, MD. The highlight of my time with the car was taking a victory lap after it won for the final time.

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They Nearly Stole The Show: How The Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest Nearly Humiliated Factory Teams In Trans-Am Circa 1971

Aug 19, 2014 Brian Lohnes Apex Racing News , BangShift APEX 12

They Nearly Stole The Show: How The Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest Nearly Humiliated Factory Teams In Trans-Am Circa 1971

There are people who defy convention by necessity. There are people who do it for fun, and then there are those that do it to prove a point, no matter how costly the potential victory may be. Drag racing folks seem to think that they have the market cornered on smart, rulebook-savvy racers. As you are about to learn, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are scads of stories about racers flying the one finger salute to convention, race officials, and even common sense. Those guys go in straight lines, circles, and through the twisties. Take this as a motorsports version of “Profiles in Courage” with a side order of “Animal House.”

The Defiant Ones is a four-part series of stories about four very different ways of “sticking it to the man.” Part Was Mario Rossi at Daytona, today is the Gray Ghost. Come back next Tuesday for another installment.

The Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest and the 1971 Trans-Am Season

If the 1970 season is recognized as the height of popularity and performance for the Trans-Am series, 1971 wasn’t too far off. The names of the competitors read like a list of who’s who in American racing history: Donohue, Revson, Follmer, Jones, Tullius.

The names of the cars were iconic too: Mustang, Camaro, Javelin, Tempest. Tempest? Like Pontiac Tempest, like ’64 Pontiac Tempest. In one of the great logic defying moves in any genre of motorsports, a group of Pontiac engineers built a six-year-old tank into a potential wrecking machine that scared the pants off of the major league factory backed teams.

Herb Adams, a brilliant suspension engineer for GM, teamed up with Tom Nell and Joe Brady, two other young smarty pants GM engineers, to build his wife’s Tempest into a legitimate Trans-Am contender. Using a destroked 389 to make 303 cubic inches, the boys fielded what was probably the largest car in the history of the series. It was wheeled by ace road racer Bob Tullius and opened the 1971 season with a bang.

The first race of the year took place at Lime Rock, Connecticut, and the weather was horrific. Soaking rains reduced the overweight and under-tired cars into elephants on skates. All but one.

Tullius and the Tempest started the race dead last on the grid, and then he was 15th, and then he was 10th, and then he was racing Mark Donhue for the lead. Tullius claims that Adams and the boys got a few degrees of negative camber into the rear tires, greatly enhancing the car’s ability in the rain. Although a head gasket would force them out and they would fail to finish that race, the hook was set, and the legend of the Gray Ghost was born.

The team would race the car six times that season, finishing in the top 5 three times. Think about it. This was a six-year-old car that was nearly twice the size of everything else on the track and the only people they were finishing behind were the factory sponsored teams of Ford and AMC. Mechanical bugs would haunt the team in the three races they failed to finish, but it really was a triumph of brains over bucks.

If they had been able to make the motors live, the team would have been a factor in deciding a championship. To the Trans-Am officials at the time, this car had to have been a nightmare. They had the biggest car companies in the world funneling money into the series only to be embarrassed by a couple of kids from Michigan and an exceptionally talented driver. It’s every wrench’s dream to build their own car, their own way, and show up the big boys. You need look no further than this car and the small, brilliant group of guys for inspiration.

the grey ghost car

Brian Lohnes

the grey ghost car

12 thoughts on “ They Nearly Stole The Show: How The Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest Nearly Humiliated Factory Teams In Trans-Am Circa 1971 ”

the grey ghost car

“Herb Adams, a brilliant suspension engineer for GM, teamed up with Tom Nell and Joe Brady, two other young smarty pants GM engineers . . . .”

Maybe it wasn’t an “official” factory team with an expense account for buying parts . . . but with that kind of free engineering talent, it certainly wasn’t a mob of self-taught mopes hacking together junk in an old Sinclair station . . . .

the grey ghost car

FYI, the car still exists in its as raced form and is, I think, based in the Michigan area.

the grey ghost car

I was there, the weather was just plain awful, cold and very wet! In spite of all this, it was the best race I have ever been to. Jerry and the Gray Ghost put on a “show” that had everyone talking and scratching their heads. How could this happen? That Team had learned to do so much, with so little, for so long, that they were capable of doing almost anything with nothing!

the grey ghost car

Dang, if only they had a good engine program!

the grey ghost car

Yeah, imagine this thing with one of the low-deck Ram Air V 303s

the grey ghost car

Probably wouldn’t have made 10 laps. The RAV 303 was plagued by problems and issues . . . like the Ford Tunnel Port 302. Best they went with a proven engine – the 389 destroked.

the grey ghost car

Love it – every time I see an article about it – how about a story on the “Bad Bascomb (spell?)Chevy II? this was a little before the Pontiac, and I believe Bill Thomas had his hand in that one

the grey ghost car

Was it Tullius or Titus?

the grey ghost car

“Tullius claims that Adams and the boys got a few degrees of negative camber into the rear tires”

How the hell can you get a “few degrees of negative camber into the rear tires” when said tires are mounted on wheels bolted to a solid rear axle?

the grey ghost car

I’d imagine with C-clip eliminators and Americas knack for allowable tolerances you could pull off a little negative camber by off-setting the axle tubes. Not saying it’s a great idea but it is within the realm of possibility.

A few build cambered solid axles. They weld the axle tubes on at an angle and use axles with a pineapple-splined end

the grey ghost car

MMM pineapple splines

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Car Guy Chronicles

’64 TEMPEST: THE GRAY GHOST RIDES AGAIN!

Fans at the annual Pre-Reunion , held a week prior to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion , were given a real treat with the return to active competition of the Gray Ghost. In 1971 a team of moonlighting Pontiac engineers, including Herb Adams, raced Sandy Adams ‘64 Pontiac Tempest in SCCA’s Trans-Am series.

Joining the effort at the Pre-Reunion were Herb Adams, right , and original Trans-Action team member Harry Quackenboss, left . Here they study some photos With Marty Amon of Peterson Motorsports (provided by CGC’s Mike Matune) as they work to set up the car. It’s like the intervening decades never occurred!

The car had last turned a wheel in anger more than fifteen years ago. Its return to the track is a result of a herculean effort by owner/driver John Hildebrand, Randy Peterson of Peterson Motorsports in Sonoma and LJ’s Speed & Machine Shop of Napa, CA.

Far from an amateur effort, the Tempest Trans-Action team, was a group of very talented engineers and fabricators. With veteran race driver Bob Tullius behind the wheel, they surprised everyone with a brilliant run in the rain in the inaugural event of the season at Lime Rock. Rumors inaccurately credited the effort to a backdoor GM racing program.

Power comes from a 303-inch Pontiac V8, right , built by LJ, making approximately 450 horsepower. Power goes back through a Muncie four speed to a Pontiac rear. But not just any Pontiac rear-end. This one is modified with flanges in the axle tubes that allow the rear axle to be de-cambered for handling and, makes changing gear ratios easier.

At Monterey, the Gray Ghost was equipped with a unique exhaust system that featuring long “lake pipes” that run from the header collectors, below , under the rear axle to the rear bumper. This system is a replica of one used in-period, designed to give the engine the longest possible collector pipe. The SCCA took umbrage, alleging competitors’ complaints, and the system returned to a more conventional side exit exhaust.

Words & Photos: M.M. “Mike” Matune Jr.

For more information about the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, please visit  http://www.mazdaraceway.com/rolex-monterey-motorsports-reunion    

Just A Car Guy

Cool things with wheels since 2006

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The grey ghost pontiac tempest began life as the daily driver of the wife of pontiac's special projects engineering manager, then it became a track monster that consistently nipped the heels of the newest scca cars, and best drivers.

the grey ghost car

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Blood, Sweat & Gears. The Story of the Gray Ghost and the Junkyard Firebird

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Blood, Sweat & Gears. The Story of the Gray Ghost and the Junkyard Firebird Paperback – October 14, 2014

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  • Print length 284 pages
  • Language English
  • Publisher David G. Barnes an Imprint of Telemachus Press
  • Publication date October 14, 2014
  • Dimensions 6 x 0.64 x 9 inches
  • ISBN-10 1941536468
  • ISBN-13 978-1941536469
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ David G. Barnes an Imprint of Telemachus Press (October 14, 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 284 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1941536468
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1941536469
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 15.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.64 x 9 inches
  • #4,167 in Sports History (Books)

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David g. barnes.

A Detroit area investment advisor and licensed attorney, David G. Barnes spent over two decades working in the American automobile industry with hundreds of automotive engineers, including Herb Adams, the father of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am and main character of Blood, Sweat & Gears, which is David's first book. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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Gelignite Jack Murray and his 1947 Ford taxi

Gelignite jack murray’s ’47 ford ‘grey ghost’ is australia’s most famous racing taxi, share this:.

the grey ghost car

THE Street Machine Turbo Taxi has been a hit on the internet this year, racking up some big numbers for the Carnage series and showing the public’s love of the underdog (or should that just be dog?) is alive and well.

But as cherished as our thrashed cab is, it runs a distant second in popularity to Australia’s most beloved taxi-turned-racer, which was driven by one of our great sporting characters, “Gelignite Jack” Murray.

Taxis have been used in virtually every motorsport discipline in Australia – drag racing, salt racing, circuit racing and speedway – but none have ever captured headlines like Jack Murray’s Grey Ghost did back in 1954, when it won the Redex Round-Australia Reliability Trial.

Jack Gelignite with gelignite in mouth

Born in Port Melbourne in 1907, John Eric Murray was a larger-than-life character with a showman’s flair and a champion’s will to win. At various times he had been an amateur wrestler, cyclist, waterskiier and Bondi lifesaver, as well as competing in motorsport events like hillclimbs and endurance trials.

In 1932 he moved to Sydney, where he briefly worked as a test driver for Chrysler before setting up a service station in Bondi with his brother, Ray. Largely a taxi service and fix-it shop, the Murrays ran their business on either side of World War II, during which Jack served with the 2nd AIF.

After the war, Jack started racing cars of all types, including the ‘McKellar Special’ and ‘Day Special’ Bugatti/Fords, a D-type Jag, a Cadillac-Allard J2, and various saloon cars. In the 1940s and 50s he was a Mount Panorama regular, a Grand Prix racer, and a star of the Hawkesbury Hillclimb, but it was in the Redex Reliability Trials of the 1950s where Jack would make his biggest splash.

Jack Gelignite On Top Of The Grey Ghost Jpg

Jack with eldest son John, aka Snowy, and Bill Murray atop the all-conquering Grey Ghost. John is now in possession of the Ghost, having bought it at auction in the 1980s.

He got the name “Gelignite Jack” because he’d carry along sticks of explosive to clear obstacles on outback roads, and also occasionally throw them out the car window to announce his departure from a country town.

The Redex fuel additive company started holding 1000-mile cross-country rally-style events around New South Wales called Reliability Trials, which eventually led to the first Round-Australia Trial in 1953.

Jack took to these 1000-mile tests with aplomb, placing second in a Ford Consul in 1952 and winning in a Ford Customline in 1953. The first Round-Australia Reliability Trial (of 6500 miles / 10,500km) in 1953 generated major media and public interest.

Unfortunately, Jack’s trip finished early when he rolled his brand new Chrysler Plymouth in Queensland, but he would be back the next year with a car better equipped to make the journey.

Jack Gelignite With Bill And Jack Grey Ghost Car Jpg

Jack Murray (right) with navigator Bill Murray (left) and the famed Grey Ghost, a Canadian-built 1947 Ford powered by a flathead V8. As you can see from the signwriting on the front fender, Jack and Bill were not related.

The chosen vehicle was a Canadian-built 1947 Ford Super Deluxe powered by a flathead V8. The six-year-old car had done 75,000 miles as a taxi when Jack got it for 700 quid.

As Jack explained in an interview with Neil Bennetts in 1976, the car’s advantages were its generous ride height and advanced Houdaille shocks.

“I was keen on a Ford,” said Jack. “It was a V8 and it had a lot of punch in it and it had the right springing, transverse springing; the front spring and the back spring transversed, and up very high. There’s a lot of clearance under a Ford, and they had a very strong chassis on ’em.

“The one we had was built in Canada and exported here. They didn’t bring a lot of them. Why we picked that, they had [special] shock absorbers. Called a Houdaille, it’s a hydraulic shock and it’s a circular arrangement. They are French-designed, beautiful shocks. “There’s no shock absorber that would last you ’round Australia; they hadn’t made any good enough yet. That’s why we picked this particular Ford with the Houdaille French-designed shocks on, the Canadian Ford. The body was better than the ones they make here – but the shocks were the main thing.”

Jack Gelignite Rolled 1952 Chrysler Plymouth Jpg

Jack learned some valuable lessons after rolling his 1952 Chrysler Plymouth during the inaugural Round-Australia Trial in 1953 and subsequently sought a new vehicle with greater clearance and tougher shocks.

Jack put his personalised JM456 number plates on the taxi and painted it in grey primer, hence the nickname The Grey Ghost. The motor, as advertised on the doors, was reco’d by Kirby, Doutty and Wicks – who, evidently, were not a law firm.

His navigator for the 1954 Redex Round-Australia Trial was the unrelated Bill Murray, winner of the 1947 Australian Grand Prix. The 18-day, 9600-mile (15,400km) race began at the Sydney Showground on 3 July, passing through Brisbane and Far North Queensland, across through Darwin to Broome and down to Perth, then back over through Adelaide and Melbourne and finishing back in Sydney. Huge crowds came to cheer the 246 cars off at the start.

Ever the showman, Gelignite Jack wore a gorilla mask for the occasion. He then led the race almost all the way around and somehow managed to get back without losing a single penalty point – a feat that was never repeated. When Jack and Bill drove the Ghost into Moore Park as the winners on 20 July they were greeted by a 20,000-strong crowd – in today’s currency that’s equivalent to roughly a million YouTube views! They celebrated by eating a cake that had been baked by a fan.

1954 Redex Map Jpg

The 1954 Redex Trial was 9600 miles (15,400km) heading anti-clockwise around the outskirts and taking in every mainland state and territory.

Australian Motor Sports Spotlight reported: ‘Jack and Bill Murray did a miraculous job bringing their Ford all the way round with not a single point lost […] particularly as Jack, as usual, treated the thing in a delightfully light-hearted way, and managed to take a bit of time for clowning here and there.’

Jack Murray passed away in 1983, but wild tales of him and his Grey Ghost will continue to be told for years to come. He had continued to race cars and later got into hunting wild game and racing powerboats, winning the inaugural 1964 BP Ocean Classic from Sydney to Newcastle and back. Though he would never again reach those headline-grabbing heights of 1954, that didn’t seem to faze him when interviewed by Neil Bennetts in 1976.

“I like motoring,” Jack said. “I like to win, but I don’t care if I lose. What do they say: ‘Modest in victory, gracious in defeat.’ That’s it. I like the sport, I always liked sport, competing with somebody whether it is physical or with cars. When I say I like to win, if I’m competing with somebody there’s a lot of fun it. I think I do it more for the fun of it.”

For more on Jack and the taxi, check out the book ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray: An Aussie Larrikin Legend by his son, Phil Murray.

New Holland Publishers RRP$29.99 available from all good bookstores or online newhollandpublishers.com

Gelignite Jack Murray Jpg

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Moscow’s urban legends: Ghosts, mutant rats under the Metro

Construction of Fonvizinskaya metro station on the Lyublinsko-Dmitriyevskaya Line in Moscow

Construction of Fonvizinskaya metro station on the Lyublinsko-Dmitriyevskaya Line in Moscow

Among the world's most famous urban legends is about alligators allegedly living in New York City's sewer system. The Russians do not lag behind the Americans in terms of the popular imagination. Some see giant rats in the metro, while others talk about ghosts and the "mutagenic radiation" of the Ostankino television tower.

The mysteries of the metro

When it comes to rumours about the Moscow subway , truth is closely intertwined with fiction. Even officials do not deny that there are classified military and government lines under the capital – the so-called "Metro-2.”

That there are classified military and government lines under the capital – the so-called "Metro-2” – is not denied even by some officials. Photo: Construction of Fonvizinskaya metro station on the Lyublinsko-Dmitriyevskaya Line in Moscow. Source: Vitaliy Belousov/RIA Novosti

Enthusiasts have, however, been unsuccessfully trying to find more accurate information for years. Is there one line there or an entire system? Or is there an underground city for 15,000 people? Typical for an urban legend, there are a thousand versions of this story. They are united by an aura of secrecy and danger.

"It was really scary to hear the sound of tarpaulin boots near the alleged entrance to Metro-2," said Konstantin, one of Moscow’s community of “diggers,” or enthusiasts who explore subterranean bunkers, wells, tunnels and other facilities. "Is it still guarded by the KGB men, or something?"

Another Moscow resident claims her digger friend was allegedly shot at by special services while searching for Metro-2. The difficult-to-verify stories by the diggers about their adventures at the closed facility add to people's curiosity.

"My grandmother told me about Metro-2 in my childhood, and then about mutant rats," recalls Moscow resident Valeria. In the 1990s, tabloids publicized stories about giant rats living in the tunnels.

So could Splinter from " Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles " find company in the Moscow catacombs? "It's all science: Radiation from rocks must cause mutations in rats," says Pavel, also from Moscow. "But they live in technical rooms, so you can't see them."

Skeptics say that the crying comes from late-working employees of the Tunisian embassy: the commissar's house is now occupied by a diplomatic mission. Source: Lori/Legion-Media

On the surface

Not only are the underground bunkers of the Soviet elite shrouded in legend, but also fairly earthly structures, such as the home of Lavrenty Beria, the USSR People's Commissar for State Security and Stalin's right-hand man.

During interrogation in 1953, Beria confessed to abducting and raping dozens of women, but the authenticity of these papers is still being debated (Beria was removed by Khrushchev in a power struggle, and the documents could have been falsified after the execution of this dangerous rival).

But the image of the sadistic Beria was firmly imprinted on the popular mind, and his house in Moscow is surrounded by dark rumours. Allegedly, an invisible car rolls on Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa at midnight, with its old motor rumbling. Footsteps are heard, and Beria's ghost comes to his house for violent pleasures: curious pedestrians will soon even hear a woman crying from behind the walls.

Skeptics will say that the crying comes from late-working employees of the Tunisian embassy (the commissar's house is now occupied by a diplomatic mission), but this version is much more boring, even though probably the truth.

Napoleonic soldiers and a 500-year-old witch

It is not only the city centre where legends abound.

Many people believe that hundreds of soldiers from Napoleon’s army were buried in the hills of Peredelkino, a holiday village in the outskirts of Moscow, in 1812. Paranormal enthusiasts imbue the mounds with mystical qualities, believing that electronics go haywire and travellers disappear there.

The 500-year-old witch is believed to have predicted the high-profile murder of well-known TV journalist Vlad Listyev and a fire at Ostankino in 2000. Photo: A lightning over the Ostankino TV tower in Moscow. Source: Denis Murin/RIA Novosti

In reality, however, it is likely that there are no mass graves there.

"After the difficult war with Napoleon, peasants saw its echoes everywhere, so this is an old myth," researchers of the Museum of Moscow told RIR. "In the 19th century, archaeologists excavated Slavic mounds from the 10 th and 11 th centuries. But the inhabitants of the surrounding villages still considered them to be the graves of French soldiers."

The Ostankino neighbourhood, where Europe's highest TV tower is located, is also mythologized. It is allegedly haunted by the ghost of an old woman, who was murdered in the 16 th century. Now she walks around and predicts disasters.

The 500-year-old witch is believed to have predicted the high-profile murder of well-known TV journalist Vlad Listyev and a fire at Ostankino in 2000. Sometimes these stories are complemented by vivid details – for example, the furniture in Listyev's office was allegedly gnawed after his death by animals, mutated by the tower's radiation.

Then there are less bloody rumours: for example, one about a bulldozer embedded by builders in the TV centre's building by mistake. Yana Sidorova, the author of a study about the legends of Ostankino, says the TV centre's staff do not really believe in these sorts of stories, but are quite happy to spread them.

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Online Sleuths Uncover Grey Interior Option For Tesla Cybertruck

The Tesla Cybertruck Foundation Series model comes at a $20,000 premium over the standard variants

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by Brad Anderson

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Tesla appears to be readying a second interior trim option for the Cybertruck for those who order a Foundation Series model.

An image from the Cybertruck’s ordering page quickly shared with the Cybertruck Owners Forum shows the Foundation Series version with what Tesla calls its ‘Tactical Grey’ décor. Up until this point, the only Cybertrucks we’ve seen have had cabins clad in dark grey leather with a white dashboard and white accents that continue along the doors.

However, the image of the Tactical Grey configuration shows that this piece of white trim has been replaced with much more subtle grey materials on the dash and door panels. A small ‘Foundation Series’ badge can also be seen on the dash.

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Tesla hasn’t provided all that many details about the Foundation Series version of the Cybertruck, but we know that each example of the electric truck delivered thus far has been a Foundation Series model. The car manufacturer says it will offer approximately 20,000 of these Foundation Series models to those who have already placed a reservation for the Cybertruck. Each Foundation Series model will come at a $20,000 premium over an equivalent regular variant.

The most recent post on the Cybertruck Owners Forum doesn’t provide us with any indication of when the grey interior option will be made available.

Tesla has not revealed exactly how many Cybertrucks have been delivered to customers thus far but it is thought to have only been a handful and full-scale production won’t commence until 2025. According to a recent report, one of the reasons why production won’t ramp up for quite some time relates to the truck’s 4680 battery cells and the difficulty in mastering a dry-coating technique for the cathodes.

 Online Sleuths Uncover Grey Interior Option For Tesla Cybertruck

Ghost trade: How Russia imports Mercedes Benz cars despite sanctions

Moscow is following chinese and north korean tactics so it can continue to bring in european goods and machinery.

Large container ship is approching the port full loaded with containers and cargo - aerial - top down view. Shanghai, Shanghai, China

Until the winter of 2022, Moscow looked like a capitalist paradise. The new business district, Moscow City, had been filled with skyscrapers and was home to Europe’s largest shopping mall. Aviapark, located in the north of the Russian capital, boasted over 500 stores filled with Western brands and a world-record-breaking ornamental aquarium. Then, in February 2022, the start of the full-scale Ukrainian war triggered the exodus of over 1,000 foreign brands and that free-market illusion disappeared.

Eleven rounds of sanctions and 595 days of war later, buying an Adidas tracksuit or the new Mercedes-Benz in Russia is not so simple, but it can still be done. Trade flows throughout the war show that key consumer products and technology have continued to enter the country through various mechanisms that take advantage of the so-called gray market and countries that have economic ties to Moscow.

The gray market

A case in point: Parallel Majorka Import, an importer in the Russian capital, continues to bid on the latest models of European luxury cars, even though major European automakers have slowed their operations in Russia. “We bought a Mercedes-Benz W223 S400d from South Korea for use in Russia,” said a recent announcement on its Telegram channel, which has over 54,000 subscribers.

The German carmaker halted exports to Russia in March 2022 and pulled out completely last October, although cars were still coming in: between January and July of this year, 75,626 imported vehicles were registered in Russia, according to Russian Transport Ministry data.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Armenia, former members of the Soviet Union, have recorded historic increases in exports to Russia. Although these countries broke trade records, experts consulted by this newspaper suggest that China, the United Arab Emirates and other countries with ties to the Kremlin have continued to facilitate supplies .

These gray imports, acquired through a mechanism that the European Union and the international community consider to be non-compliance with their sanctions, not only include consumer goods, but also facilitate Russia’s import of key machinery, such as semiconductors and parts useful for the war industry.

Benjamin Hilgenstock, chief economist at the KSE Institute, notes that customs data throughout the war indicate that the Russian economy is recovering, despite the ruble’s decline. “ Sanctions did not trigger a financial collapse in Russia , and that was not the goal. In my opinion, there is no reason to assume that there will be a recession in Russia. On the contrary, the economy will grow by 1% or 2% this year.”

Tactics for dodging the West’s sanctions

Agathe Demarais, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), believes that the Kremlin has taken its cues from North Korea, Iran, and China to shield itself from Western sanctions. “[Russia] has used North Korea as a model for disguising ships and manipulating automatic ship tracking systems. They are experts in importing coal and oil under the table, a technique Russia uses today.”

The KSE Institute figures that Russia has circumvented oil sanctions through a “dark fleet” of an estimated 156 tankers that travel without protection and indemnity insurance, a requirement in most Western seaports.

“We believe Russia has been able to find alternative sea routes, for example, through Chinese ports that do not require this insurance,” Hilgenstock added.

Demarais believes that Russia and Iran have diversified their trade routes in the face of international sanctions. Since 2000, Tehran and Moscow have been working on the International North-South Transport Corridor, an alternative trade route.

The test launch of the new digital ruble, modeled on the digital yuan, could render Western sanctions completely ineffective if Moscow succeeds in linking it to the international market, the expert says. China leads the way in alternative payment methods, boasting tens of millions of users of the Central Bank of China-controlled currency, which has enormous tracking capabilities.

Imports through third-party countries

To replace semiconductors — which are useful for everything from smartphones to warfare and intelligence technology — from the United States, Russia has begun importing them from Turkey and China. According to Global Trade Tracker estimates, exports of such products from Ankara have jumped by about 200% since 2021 and continue to grow.

In recent years, Kazakhstan, which shares the longest land border with Russia, has seen the most significant increase in trade flows, according to data cross-referenced with Bloomberg, Bruegel and several countries’ customs records. Russia imported 390% more goods from this Central Asian country between April 2022 and April of this year.

Most of the goods registered in databases were vehicles and other commercial products. In turn, German vehicles crossing Kazakh borders increased by 257% between 2022 and 2023. In the past year, Russian business has also moved closer to Astana, as two leaders in Russian e-commerce, Ozon and Wildberries, moved their warehouses to Kazakhstan.

In sum, European product imports bound for Kazakhstan rose by 290% between January 2022 and 2023, according to Bloomberg figures. Armenia also saw an exponential increase in imports from the Eurozone, with a jump of over 91% during the same period.

Because products pass through a third country, it is difficult for multinationals to track where their own goods end up, even if they no longer have competitors in the market. Valeria Enrich, a partner at Baker McKenzie Barcelona, advises these companies to “find out who is buying their products,” and put measures in place before exporting with an unknown entity.

EU attempts to rein in ghost trade flows

European Union and U.S. agencies have identified ghost trade flows in several of the countries mentioned. In its most recent sanctions package last July, Brussels warned that, in exceptional cases, third-country firms facilitating this gray market may also be sanctioned. A European Commission official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that these measures are exceptional for now and that “changes in attitude will come slowly.”

“[The fact] that the war in Ukraine has caused a massive boom in trade flows is not discussed,” Timothy Ash, of the Chatham House think tank, told this newspaper. “These countries have benefited massively from the war and should now return some of that windfall.”

Ash suggests that the latest sanctions signal a push for those third countries to self-regulate, but he adds that it is a delicate balancing act. “The CIS countries will have to decide which relationship is more important. I don’t think any of them want to get on the bad side of the Western sanctions regime, particularly the banks.”

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IMAGES

  1. Buddy Baker’s Gray Ghost Has Colorful History

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  2. Rolls Royce Gray Ghost 1906

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  3. Mercedes Benz Gray Ghost

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  4. Just A Car Guy: the Grey Ghost Pontiac Tempest began life as the daily

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  5. Buddy Baker’s Gray Ghost Has Colorful History

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  6. PHOTOS: The LeMay Museum

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COMMENTS

  1. The legend of the 'Gray Ghost' US muscle car

    August 19th 2021 From the mist of a sodden Lime Rock circuit emerged the gray ghost: once a Pontiac Tempest daily driver but, since 1971, part of American muscle car folklore John Hildebrand at the wheel of the Gray Ghost in June Sonoma Raceway Author Preston Lerner

  2. Buddy Baker's Gray Ghost Has Colorful History

    The car in question is the Ranier Racing No. 28 Oldsmobile known as "The Gray Ghost," which is on display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Hall of Honor until January 2021. Built by crew chief Waddell Wilson and driven by Buddy Baker, both 2020 inductees, the Gray Ghost won the 1980 Daytona 500 at an average speed of 177.602 mph. To this day ...

  3. Fun Fact Friday: Nine things to know about Earnhardt's Gray Ghost

    Bobby Allison was behind the wheel of the legendary car in 1981. 2) The Gray Ghost was known for its speed, especially at the superspeedways. Baker won the 1980 Daytona 500 in it and set a new average speed record at the track.

  4. 2024 Rolls-Royce Ghost Review, Pricing, and Specs

    Rolls-Royce Select a year 2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 Highs Floats over road imperfections, seemingly endless power reserves, simultaneously conspicuous and tasteful. Lows Brake pedal lacks feel, roof...

  5. May 4 in NASCAR: A ghost that could not be caught at Talladega

    The car was nicknamed the "Gray Ghost'' because its colors allowed it to blend in with the track, as the story goes. Driver complaints led NASCAR to have Baker's team put reflective decals on the car so it was easier to see after that Daytona 500 win "Silver and black. Chrome numbers.

  6. Ghost

    Ghost presents a world of boundless potential. Its purity liberates the imagination, inviting you to craft a motor car that is a complete original. There are no limits to what Ghost can become — all one has to do is imagine. make an enquiry. A PERFECT BLANK CANVAS, TRANSFORMED BY YOUR COLOURFUL ESSENCE. ...

  7. The Gray Ghost roars to life once more

    The birth of the Gray Ghost. But Munari's true passion was for stock cars. Lennie Pond called Munari to work on his cars at Ranier Racing, and the Gray Ghost was created. The car won its first race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was also the first career win for Pond and Munari. In 1979, Ranier hired Baker, and Munari began fabricating his ...

  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Martinsville paint scheme is Gray Ghost

    The car was named the "Gray Ghost," a reflection of its color scheme, which blended in with the racing surface of the track and its apparent ability to appear out of nowhere, speeding past ...

  9. Car No. 28 in NASCAR through the years

    Buddy Baker put the Gray Ghost No. 28 in Victory Lane in the 1980 Daytona 500, setting a record for average speed that still stands as the fastest Great American Race ever held. Baker won six ...

  10. The Gray Ghost roars to life once more

    Sneva won the Champ Car title by 935 points over Al Unser that year. The birth of the Gray Ghost But Munari's true passion was for stock cars. Lennie Pond called Munari to work on his cars at...

  11. The Gray Ghost Rides Again

    It's not a Ferrari or a Porsche, but a Pontiac - a 1964 Tempest to be exact. If you are familiar with the history of the SCCA Trans-Am series, or the history of the muscle car itself, you may have heard of Herb Adams' legendary Gray Ghost.

  12. BangShift.com Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest

    The Gray Ghost 1964 Pontiac Tempest and the 1971 Trans-Am Season. If the 1970 season is recognized as the height of popularity and performance for the Trans-Am series, 1971 wasn't too far off. ... and the legend of the Gray Ghost was born. The team would race the car six times that season, finishing in the top 5 three times. ...

  13. '64 TEMPEST: THE GRAY GHOST RIDES AGAIN!

    Car Guy Chronicles' Mike Matune is trackside for the return of the Gray Ghost at The Monterey Pre-Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Fans at the annual Pre-Reunion, held a week prior to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, were given a real treat with the return to active competition of the Gray Ghost. In 1971 […]

  14. A Brief History of the Bricklin SV-1

    This first running prototype is interesting as it shows the nature of the original design concept. Dubbed the "Gray Ghost" because it was painted silver-gray this car mated the Chrysler engine to a four speed manual gearbox and also used a Datsun 510 rear differential and fully independent trailing arm rear suspension.

  15. Just A Car Guy: the Grey Ghost Pontiac Tempest began life as the daily

    the Grey Ghost Pontiac Tempest began life as the daily driver of the wife of Pontiac's special projects engineering manager, then it became a track monster that consistently nipped the heels of the newest SCCA cars, and best drivers ... It proved to be surprisingly fast, at a time when even a one-year-old car was considered out of step with the ...

  16. Blood, Sweat & Gears. The Story of the Gray Ghost and the Junkyard

    Without factory support and on a shoestring budget, they seriously competed in the 1971 televised Trans-Am road racing circuit against professional, well-financed, factory-backed racing teams and won the hearts of fans and the press, who dubbed their car the "Gray Ghost."

  17. Black Ghost: The mysterious 1970 Challenger that dominated Detroit

    Qualls served as a paratrooper in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and received a Purple Heart after being injured by a grenade in the mid-1960s. Godfrey Qualls as a member of the 82nd Airborne. HVA/Courtesy Qualls Family Archive "It was an addiction. I loved my job," Qualls said in an interview filmed before he passed away in 2015.

  18. Gelignite Jack Murray and his 1947 Ford taxi

    Jack with eldest son John, aka Snowy, and Bill Murray atop the all-conquering Grey Ghost. John is now in possession of the Ghost, having bought it at auction in the 1980s. He got the name "Gelignite Jack" because he'd carry along sticks of explosive to clear obstacles on outback roads, and also occasionally throw them out the car window ...

  19. The Grey Ghost

    #1 The Grey Ghost 03-02-2022, 03:55 PM Here's one that I forgot to include in the photo array response to 1/87 scale Trans Am cars. It's the little known/recognized 1964 Pontiac Tempest that only appeared in a handful of Trans Am races back in the day, nicknamed the "Grey Ghost".

  20. Moscow's urban legends: Ghosts, mutant rats under the Metro

    Allegedly, an invisible car rolls on Malaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa at midnight, with its old motor rumbling. Footsteps are heard, and Beria's ghost comes to his house for violent pleasures: curious ...

  21. Online Sleuths Uncover Grey Interior Option For Tesla Cybertruck

    by Brad Anderson. Tesla appears to be readying a second interior trim option for the Cybertruck for those who order a Foundation Series model. An image from the Cybertruck's ordering page ...

  22. Ghost trade: How Russia imports Mercedes Benz cars despite sanctions

    EU attempts to rein in ghost trade flows. European Union and U.S. agencies have identified ghost trade flows in several of the countries mentioned. In its most recent sanctions package last July, Brussels warned that, in exceptional cases, third-country firms facilitating this gray market may also be sanctioned.

  23. [4K] A walk by CAR along "Rostovskaya embankment", to ...

    [4K] A walk by CAR 🚗 along "Rostovskaya embankment", to the business center MOSCOW CITY Russia 🇷🇺Friends, please like. Write a 5 word comment and subscrib...

  24. Custom Car Paint royalty-free images

    6,960 custom car paint stock photos, 3D objects, vectors, and illustrations are available royalty-free. See custom car paint stock video clips. MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 23, 2021: Car. Automobile on street of Moscow city, Russia. Unusual tuning car.