The Hawk

•November 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The Studebaker/Packard Hawk debuted in 1956.  There were five versions of this winged coupe by 1957, including the Pillared Flight, Power, Sky, Golden and Silver Hawk.  It is said that some of the styling cues were borrowed from the Maserati 3500GT, including the long sweeping hood, low stance and coupe curves.  Early models were offered with either a 185ci inline six or a 259ci V8. 

The Hawk was considered the flagship model for Studebaker, although the compact Lark was sold in far greater volumes.  The Hawk, like all Studebaker cars, offered attractive but unique looks.  It had high fins that were angled outward, long flowing lines, and the early Packard models featured a duck-bill like nose. 

In 1958, the Hawk was almost discontinued due to the low 8,000s sales figures.  Dealers still wanted the flagship Hawk as an upscale option to the economy Lark.  All Packard badging was dropped in 1959 with only the Studebaker name living on. 

Times were tough for Studebaker in early 1960 with a steel strike creating a shortage of steel for the company. That, along with slumping sales, postponed the Hawks second-to-last year of manufacturing.  It was possible, at the time, that Studebaker was going to discontinue the Hawk line. 

Thankfully, in February of 1960, Studebaker continued manufacturing.  Only one style of Hawk was offered, dropping all other versions, with the body remaining almost identical to the 1959 version.  Changes included a 210hp 289ci V8 that was standard with an optional 225hp engine. 

The final year for the original styled Hawk was 1961 with 3,929 built.  A “4 on the floor” was offered for the first time and every 1961 car had a special number and engraved dash plaque sporting the name of the buyer.  The transmission was the same Borg-Warner that was used in the Corvette at the time. 

Studebaker changed the Hawk line dramatically in 1962 with the introduction of the Gran Turismo Hawk, and Studebaker ceased production of all cars at their South Bend factory in December of 1963.  The company lived on through the also unique Avanti name for some years after. 

The Hawk has a growing following, yet still remains to be an affordable classic car.  Nothing else on the road looks like a Studebaker and the Hawk line is one of the best looking. We are glad to have a 1960 Hawk currently on our showroom floor.  It catches my eye every time I walk out onto the showroom. 

The Staver is a Stayer

•November 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When Todd Staver started West Coast Auto Enthusiasts in 2007, he knew that he had a passion for cars.  He soon learned that cars were in his blood.  Evelyn, a friend of Todd’s, sent an email that contained some information about an early 1900s car company by the name of Staver.  Todd researched more about this company and discovered that the Staver family began making horse drawn carriages back in the late 1800s, and then added motorized carriages to the lineup starting in 1907.

The first Staver to venture into the carriage and buggy business was Henry Clay Staver, born in 1844.  An entrepreneurial businessperson at-heart, Henry explored various business ventures throughout his years, and created the Staver Implement Co. in 1884.  The Abbot Buggy Company joined forces with Henry Staver in 1890, creating Staver & Abbott Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois.  Henry Staver became the President and Treasurer.  In 1893, the Staver & Abbott Co. featured the Spider Phaeton, French Buggy, Stanhope Phaeton and the Two Seat Phaeton plus a few others.  Unfortunately, in 1896, Staver and Abbott closed their doors due to debt, but the Staver story does not end there.  In 1899, Henry Staver revived the brand under the name Staver Carriage Company.

In 1902, Henry Staver became the President of the National Carriage Builders Association.  Then in 1905, Staver was featured as a vehicles exhibitor at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Fair in Portland, OR.  (Little did Henry Staver know that many members of the Staver family would reside there 50 years in the future.) Henry Staver made the first leap into motorized carriages by filing a patent for a belt-type friction drive arrangement to be placed in an electrically powered self-propelled vehicle.

The 1907 Staver Model C Stanhope Highwheeler was the company’s first full production automobile.  Other models followed including the Model D Buggyabout, which retailed for $1,000 and had a top speed of 30 mph. Unfortunately that same year, the great Henry Staver passed at the age of 63.  Harry B Staver, Henry’s son, had been in charge of the company for a few years as Henry’s health declined.

Over the following three years, Harry Staver increased the types of cars manufactured, and he also improved their speed. The models ER, H, I, J, K and L were more modern and higher performing.  The Model I, for example, had 30hp and retailed at $1,850.  Henry phased-out some of his father’s Highwheelers as well.

The Staver line was bolstered to 16 models.  He offered as much as 40hp in the beautiful Racing Roadster.  Staver even won an engine efficiency contest in 1910, outperforming some famous brands of the time.  The marketing team was also hard at work as they developed a slogan that said “The Staver is a Stayer” and even created a march song.

Staver’s addiction to speed was pronounced.  He entered a car in the 1909 free-for-all race at the new Indianapolis Speedway, with a Staver car dealer by the name of Victor Bendix at the wheel.  Gus Monckmeier began racing for Staver and winning.  Monckmeier placed top three in the Fox River trophy followed by a win in the Algonquin Hill Climb while driving a Staver.  Staver returned to Indiana for the Indianapolis 500 where he entered two cars.

From 1910 to 1913, life was good at the Staver Carriage Co. Staver was building on three chassis, four different body styles.  The large Greyhound 65 had a powerful 71hp inline 6 and could seat four people.  Stavers were becoming famous in the racing scene and even famed stunt driver Curran drove one on the board track at Chicago’s Riverview Park.

Staver had reached his pinnacle in the automobile business.  The following 12 months showed a steady decline in models offered.  Key innovators began to seek employment outside of the Staver business, which was devastating to the company.  One bright spot was the record-breaking performance of the Staver 65s at the Newport Indiana Hillclimb with Monckmeier again at the wheel.

The Staver Carriage Co. closed their doors in July of 1914.  For Harry, the car business was just one of his adventures; Harry transferred his interests and talents to finance.  Harry became President of the Chicago’s Citizen’s Trust and Savings Bank in 1922.  The Staver Carriage Co. continued as a properties company that Harry ran for another decade as well.

Harry passed away at the age of 56.  He lived an exciting life during the birth of American horseless carriages.  His is just one story among hundreds who attempted to become automobile greats.  His story is of course very special to our company and is one that we will continue to explore.

There are five known Staver cars that have survived to modern times.

The L6

•October 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment


The BMW L6 only graced the United States for a single year, 1987.  The L6 was a luxury version of the 635 CSi.  1987 was a banner year for the E24 “Shark” as BMW also introduced the M6 version of the 635 CSi.  Unlike the thoroughbred M6, the L6 was built for quiet highway cruising. 

The L stands for luxury, but one look at the interior and you would think it stands for leather.  Leather dash, headliner, door panels and of course, leather seats.  BMW adorned this $50,000 car with their finest leather and high quality stitching.  One standout luxury feature is the rear seat A/C with beverage cooler cabinet.  One look under the carpet and you will find soundproofing material to quite the outside world.  The only transmission available was an automatic bolted to the 3.5L inline six.  All this luxury did come at a price, and an extra 800 pounds of weight. 

In classic BMW style, the production of L6 was limited, to a single model year.  BMW did continue to make the 635 CSi and the M6 till 1989.  The L6 is a unique alternative to the 635 and cheaper than the highly collectible M6.  We are thrilled to have this rare car in our showroom. 


•September 20, 2012 • Leave a Comment


The Land Rover Discovery is a very capable off road vehicle straight from the factory, with hints of British charm.  Land Rover wanted to create an SUV with the high-end drivetrain of the Range Rover line that was also affordable to a wider range of customers.  While it was first manufactured in 1989 for the British market, it was not introduced to the United States until 1994 as the Series I.   The first Discos came with a 3.9L V8 which was the same engine as the Range Rover SE models.  All came with a locking center differential.  The 1996-1998 models came with an upgraded 4.0L engine that included many upgraded components.

In 1999 the United States received the Series II, with over 720 changes.  Notable differences included exterior and interior changes for more comfort.  The body was lengthened for greater cargo carrying capability.  The Series II’s off-road prowess was even further improved with an optional hydraulic suspension system, Hill Descent Control, self-leveling suspension, traction control and electronic brake distribution.

All Discos have off road capability that is rarely found in production vehicles.  In fact, the Discovery has attained the label of having “legendary” off road capabilities.  Many people spend thousands on aftermarket parts to attain the drivetrain and advanced suspension in their trucks/SUVs that the Disco already has stock from the factory.

One of the first things you notice when you climb into a Disco is how high you sit.  The seat height in the front and rear seats provides a superior view while tackling hills.  You will also notice the many buttons and levers dedicated to the 4WD system.  The leather is high quality and the head room is cavernous.  There are many creature comforts available including Power/heated seats, climate control, wood trim and many moon roofs.  Land Rover Discos have a special place in our hearts here at West Coast Auto Enthusiasts.  They are definitely an enthusiast’s SUV.

Guayaki Yerba Mate

•August 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Money does grow on trees!  Innovation, creativity, and a whole lot of passion for “doing the right thing” has proven to be fruitful for California-based tea company Guayaki.  Guayaki states that their yerba mate (yer-bah mah-tay) has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one special beverage.  Most importantly, it is sustainable and profitable for the people of the rainforest.  Hence, money grows on trees!

Five friends, or “seeds,” as they call themselves, came together in 1996 with shared passion for activism and yerba mate.  Ambitiously, they hopped in their cars and set out to share the greatness of yerba mate with whoever would sample and listen.  In addition to being a healthy alternative to coffee, drinking this tasty tea protects and restores the South American rainforests and empowers its people.

Sounds like a win-win so far, but Guayaki continues to rattle off impressive stats about their commitment to the environment and community.  Every part of their business (from seed growing, to packaging, to supplier relationships, just to name a few!) is committed to sustainability.  Guayaki is the only mate company in the world that is both certified organic and certified Fair Trade.  They can even prove that drinking Guayaki Yerba Mate will reduce your carbon footprint!

A few other fun facts about Guayaki:

  • Their loose-leaf mate packaging includes new bags that are made entirely of biodegradable and compostable materials, and will compost in a home-compost or landfill in 180 days.
  • Guayaki is fueled by solar power.
  • Virtually all waste at Guayaki is recycled or salvaged.  This includes reusing mate as energizing compost for gardens around the main office, after the mate has been brewed for bottles.
  • Their marketing cargo vehicles run on bio-diesel.

It is easy to see why West Coast Auto Enthusiasts believes in Guayaki.  They create a delicious and healthy beverage while protecting and sustaining their products’ environments of origin.  And their entire process from start to finish, and beyond, is fully committed to their three pillars of social, environmental, and economic sustainability.  If you haven’t tried their yerba mate yet, feel free to stop in, as we always have a full selection of teas on hand.  Check out their website to support a great and commendable company, and enjoy their delicious tea!

All information found on

Xenon Headlights

•August 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Lighting technology

German automakers were first to introduce xenon headlights to the United States. The first examples began to appear during the mid-1990’s with the BMW E38 7-series and the Audi A4. The common name of xenon lights comes from the xenon gas that fills the bulb. Xenon headlights are also known as high intensity discharge lighting, or HID.

Xenon lighting is more efficient than halogen lighting, producing more light output and less heat, because of how they work. Unlike a standard incandescent bulb, which has a tungsten steel filament that glows white hot from electricity flow, xenon bulb’s light comes from an arc of electricity. An arc is ignited with high voltage from an external electric igniter, then thereafter the arc is maintained by electricity from a ballast. The ballast converts the cars low voltage DC power into 50-80 volts of AC power that only uses 35 watts in a standard factory automotive lighting setup. The xenon gas inside the bulb allows the arc to ignite quickly and creates a low warm-up time. The xenon gas also produces a whiter-blue tint to the light output.

Most xenon headlights use projector lenses to shape the light output toward the road and out of the eyes of oncoming drivers. In the last five years, German auto manufactures also took advantage of the projectors light controlling capability by adding side to side movement to point the light in the direction of a turn. German xenon headlights are required to have auto-leveling beam control to further reduce the glare of the intense lighting.

Xenon headlights are now available from most of the world’s car manufacturers. Consumers will find them standard on higher-end German cars and optional on most cars. People who have had xenon headlights know that when driving on a dark, windy road, nothing beats the powerful lighting. They also have a much longer lifespan and use less electricity.

Next week, West Coast Auto Enthusiasts will switch gears as we feature a story about a local Yerba Mate Tea company and the positive things they are doing.


•July 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Turbochargers, they are amazing little devices that assist in generating large increases to engine performance. Here at West Coast Auto Enthusiasts, we happen to admire German cars and Turbochargers. Lucky for us, German car manufactures also have a thing for turbochargers. Audi, BMW, Mercedes, MINI, Porsche and Volkswagen all have a long history of manufacturing turbocharged engines.
How does a turbocharger work? Well, it is a fairly simple concept but modern turbochargers themselves can be complex. Turbochargers work by capturing the energy of the hot gasses that are exhausted from the combustion process. The hot gasses spin a turbine, usually in the range of up to 80,000-150,000 RPM, that in turn spins a compressor through a direct shaft connection. The shaft is supported by oil and/or ball bearings. The compressor compresses the fresh air and sends it through tubing into an intercooler, to reduce the air temperature, then into the intake cycle of the engine.
In recent years, advances in turbocharging designs have created systems that have low or very low levels of turbo-lag. Twin scroll turbines combined with divided exhaust manifolds generate boost at low RPM’s. Smaller turbos in a twin turbo setup also create boost at low RPM’s but they also supply the engine with large amounts of boost at mid-high RPM’s.
Currently we have two twin turbocharged BMW 335i’s, many newer turbocharged MINI’s, a Volvo S60 2.5T, a Nissan 300ZX twin turbo, a Porsche 911 turbo, and a turbocharged 1982 BMW 745i. Feel free to stop in to see one of our many turbocharged cars.

The Beaches Cruise-in at Portland International Raceway

•March 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Want to do something really fun this summer? We do. It’s only March, yet the count-down to the 2012 Beaches Cruise-in at Portland International Raceway has already begun at West Coast Auto Enthusiasts. If you love cars like we love cars, this is a great local event for enthusiasts you don’t want to miss.

It started out at the Beaches Restaurant in Vancouver, WA back in 1995 and was limited to hot rods older than 1973. A second show was started that included Corvettes, bikes, Vipers, Ferrari’s and exotics. The parking lot quickly became too small to hold all the cars and people and was moved to Pearson Airpark. They were only allowed one night, so the shows combined. The show continued to grow in popularity and had to move to Portland International Raceway in 2000.

Today it’s one of the biggest weekly Cruise-in’s on the West Coast with 600 to 1000 cars and several hundred motorcycles that show up each week on Wednesday. The endless rows of cool cars are exciting as it is, but there’s also drag racing, live bands, DJ’s and great food to top it off. General admission is only $8 and, if you bring a car, its only $5. We always feel great about taking the whole dealership out to the Beaches Cruise-in as all proceeds go to charities that help kids.  We’ll definitely be talking about it more closer to summer.

Check out our website at:

MINI: A Brief History

•March 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Queen Elizabeth II, John Lennon (and the rest of the Beatles), Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Enzo Ferrari, Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren… What did they all have in common?

They all owned Mini’s.

In 1956, like today, there was a pressing need for a fuel-efficient car. A political crisis in the Gulf of Suez caused fuel shortages in a number of countries across Europe. Petrol rationing began in the UK and sales of large cars began to slump.  It was then the head of British Motor Corporation, Lord Nuffield, vowed to rid the streets of large cars all together and create a proper miniature car. He charged his Chief Designer Sir Alec Issigonis to create an “orderly saloon” (saloon is ‘British’ for sedan) that could compete with the current small cars on the market, like the Volkswagen Beatle.

By August 1959 the first Mini’s hit the market. After a slow start the Classic Mini became a must have auto. Over the decades the Classic Mini became the most popular British car ever made, with more than 5.3 million sold. However, only around 10,000 Classic Mini’s were sold in the U.S. through a brief time period between 1960 and 1967. U.S. sales were ceased in 1967 due to changing safety regulations by the U.S. Government.

The last Classic Mini’s were manufactured in the year 2000 before being acquired by BMW. The New MINI (now written in capital letters) was born. Redesigned to be much faster, larger and heavier than its predecessor, the new MINI was classified as a compact car, rather than a city car. On April 3rd 2007, the one millionth MINI rolled out of the Oxford Plant after six years of production, just one month longer than it took the Classic Mini to reach the same total in March 1965.

West Coast Auto Enthusiasts carries a number of MINI Cooper models. We love MINI and so does our customers. Check out our website at for the latest MINI Cooper inventory. Thank you for your support.

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