Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I just learned Guy Martin brought his 164 mph van to the 2016 Silver State Open Road Challenge (an annual race in May)

see the entire episode at

Check Berry, 1956... You Can't Catch Me

I bought a brand new airmobile
It was custom made
It was a Flight DeVille
With an outboard motor
And some hideaway wings
Push in on the button and you can hear her sing
Now you can't catch me
No, baby, you can't catch me
Cause if you get too close
You know I'm gone like a cool breeze

New Jersey Turnpike in the wee wee hours
I was rolling slowly 'cause of drizzlin' showers
Up come a flattop he was movin' up with me
Then come sailin' goodbye
In a little old suped up mini
I put my foot in my tank and I begin to roll
Moanin' sirens, was the state patrol
So I get out my wings and then I blew my horn
Bye-bye New Jersey I become airborne

Now you can't catch me
No, baby you can't catch me
Cause if you get too close
You know…

Thanks to Bruce, Trevor, Brett, Timothy, Gordon, Karl, Eldon, Daniel, Dan, Paul and Bjorn for making my day!

You guys are great! I sure didn't realize how much you all like this pet project of mine!

the track day when Hickman and McQueen were checking out the cars before filming the chase scene for Bullitt

When he goes down, he goes down in flames! Is the old punchline, and Batten seems to have stuck to his car, safely piloting it back to the pits so no one got hurt by an uncontrolled race car on fire

Which do you prefer, the Martini Hippie, or the Safari?

They are both instantly recognizeable, and cause me to applaud the graphic design genius who created them

Compliments to Sweatpants Media for outstanding camera and movie work  for a look at the fantastic work they've done with the best in business, Red Bull, Monster, Toyota, Mercedes, Nitto, Maxxis etc etc - lots of videos, all fantastic.

Several of the videos I've posted already, like the 360 degree video with Shannon Campbell

BJ Baldwin's NEW video! In CUBA! Recoil 4 ...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

the Rickenbacker of 1924 demonstrating how good those brakes were!

in 1924, the Rickenbacker car dealer in Los Angeles, demonstrated the brakes on a new 1924 Rickenbacker C6 Touring sedan by driving the car down the 2nd street steps leading from Hope street to 3rd street at the west portal of the 3rd street tunnel

the only Muntz dealership I've ever heard of

Muntz only made about 400 Jets in 3 years, there actually may not have been another dealership

a 1920s Mercedes Benz dealership in LA

North Broadway and Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1922 showing a Willys Durant and Overland dealership

an example of what AAA was set up to do, find, and document, bad road designs and conditions, and improve the roads for drivers and traffic. Here a street car makes the road to narrow for cars to be on at the same time, on the inside curve

On 11th Street looking northwesterly across Hoover Street showing limited clearance for automobiles between curb and street car making turn, Los Angeles, 1928

on 11th Street showing clearance between curb at southwest corner and street car making turn at Hoover Street, Los Angeles.

So... that's what AAA used to do before they solved the road problems, and turned into a travel agency for club members who want help planning a vacation. 

A new cable line on Broadway 1889. The sign on the cable car reads Downey Ave.

Chevrolet COE tow trucks seem to have been prevalent at many dealerships

Porky Pig speeds through Hollywood in 1940, in color! (only 20 seconds of the driving though)

You Ought To Be In Pictures 1940 by dm_522a55249db63

While zipping along, he goes past:
1934 Buick Series 40
1936 Chevrolet Master
a couple 1935 Fords
1937 Ford
1937 Packard One-Twenty
1929 Packard
1939 Plymouth De Luxe
and a couple 1936 Studebaker Dictators

Pulled out of a Florida garage in 2008, supposedly restored soon after... said to be a 1968 L88, with the M22

M-22 special heavy duty transmission, J-50 power brakes, J-56 special heavy duty brakes, K-66 transistor ignition, F41 special heavy duty suspension, G81 heavy duty posi-trac rear end.

Would you pay even 10% of the asking price, of a 15 year stored 1985 Countach that's been left for dead?  says it was in a midwest garage for 15 years and the price was $225 is only asking half that, and got it out of the garage.

it has 6 triple choke Webers on top of a 4 valve per cyl. 5L, 12 cylinder which is claimed to only have 1700 miles... and NO  mention of how many problems it has that need fixed for it to run, much less be legal in the USA.

Me? I figure it was smuggled out of Europe in the 80s, bought with drug money by some NJ schmuck in a purple velvet track suit, and never ever made legal for use in the USA. just a guess.

Hammond was bored between Top Gear and The Grand Tour, so he made some videos... just for fun

Oh yes... I had forgot to put this link up.... (shhhhhh! don't tell no one)

Now, before you click it, remember, you didn't get it from me.

Also, safety warning... this site has a nasty effing trick of opening another tab on you, and that one will be a nasty little effing pest to close.

SO BE WARNED... never click on ANYTHING without being INSTANTLY ready to close a tab or window that opens INSTANTLY.

If that damn thing opens, and it will try every time you try to use the search function, or the volume adjust, or the slide bar, it will be a vicious bastard that won't close without a fight.

BE DAMN CAREFUL, and don't click a damn thing except the X to close a window or (if you get stuck in the loop) to tell the pop up window DON"T OPEN ANY MORE WINDOWS

Remember... it's a tricky bastard, but! It does have the full 1st season of The Grand Tour.... free.  

I never knew Hispano Suiza made buses, but there is a bus rental company in Spain that has restored one to join it's fleet of cool old buses for wedding rentals

When you really don't mind how much work your truck does... because it's got a Cummins Diesel

Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice - Laid back

That's just mean.... who dared that guy to ride next to the wall getting torn down?

And then... a new trick was invented, and I lost my mind. Monster trucks will now being doing FRONT flips!

the Jaguar XJ 220 specialty shop

.... it was a major strain on the finances of Jaguar at a very difficult time, and Ford ultimately made the decision that they want to stop the program. Once the program was stopped, that literally was the end of the interest from Jaguar’s point of view. They had a 10 year responsibility to supply parts and service backup in Northern Europe to fix the cars, so they came to me for help, at which point they formally asked if they could send customers to us.

TG: So you became an officially certified XJ220 service center?

It was made very clear that we could not be “official and certified” because of their contractual obligations to the main dealerships who’d never seen a car. They’d spent all this money investing in the car, so it was all very tricky and political. It never was a bad car, there never was a problem with the car. It was circumstances to do with the financial markets, and you know there’s the fact that more than 100 of the depositors found themselves in difficult situations where they couldn’t buy the car that drove them to lose faith in their own program.

TG: You described earlier their 10 year obligation to the car, what happened on the last day of the 10th year?

Well Jaguar basically said to Justin and I, if you service these cars and keep the good name of the car and look after the car and assist us with the parts situation, we’ll take care of you. The chain of parts suppliers was very depleted during that time so we actually came in and began manufacturing parts for the XJ220 during that 10 year period. So we did this for Jaguar for 10 years, at which point they called up and offered us the entire business. And literally to the day exactly, in 2007 I had a call from one of the directors to say look, this business is yours and you know, our obligation to the dealers has finished, come and see us and you can buy the business. They couldn’t wait to get rid of it quickly enough.

TG: As I saw in the workshop, you guys have the original wooden buck. What’s the story there?

A lot of the tooling and equipment came with our deal with Jaguar and some of the other very interesting things too; we have a cutaway Jaguar engine, and the buck is actually a CAD model, so that was the full sized CAD model that Jaguar made, gave to the body manufacturers, and said “You make it like that and you don’t make any changes,” and we just decided that you know, as well as rescuing the parts business, we’d try to rescue the heritage of the car as well, so we saved the pre-production cars and we saved the MIRA crash test car and we saved the buck

" one of his people started out on his own and took the car. He turned out to be a criminal and more or less hijacked the body for three years" Holy crap... the things you learn by accident about a car you saw at a car show

The car was found via eBay, an unlikely vehicle for me to buy a car because normally you don’t get to inspect what you’ve bought unless you have enough money to fly there, but this was a local car. It had escaped two auctions and I called the owner, who happened to be a car dealer in a nearby town. We struck up a deal for $1,500 for the body. It was an intact car, fairly straight, but it had the Marauder package on it. It was a two barrel, 390, non-air conditioned car, very plebeian, nothing much, but the body still spelled NASCAR to me when I looked at it. Because of the way it was trimmed, had you elected to restore it, it would been a very expensive restoration.

I elected to strip the car and put it on a rotisserie and then the body went in one direction. It actually went back to the man’s shop who had built the Indy car all those years before. His son took over his business and we had been friends and they started the body work. Then at some point he decided that he was selling his business and one of his people started out on his own and took the car. He turned out to be a criminal and more or less hijacked the body for three years. Six months of which I didn’t know where the car was.

I saw this car at the Art Center College or Pasadena annual Car Classic last fall:

Petrolicious was so impressed by the car at the Car Classic that they did a full article and photo shoot
and that is when I found out about it being stolen and snagged that headline for this post

I don't recall anyone taking a better photo of a Shelby valve cover. Well done Andrew Golseth!

Australia stopped making Utes. Geez man, that's messed up. It's like when you heard they were going to stop making the VW beetle.

Sales of Commodore and Falcon utes hit record lows in 2015, as both models approach the end of the line. 

Ford’s factory in Broadmeadows falls silent forever October 2016, and Holden’s assembly line in Elizabeth near Adelaide shuts in late 2017.

Both Ford and Holden have no plans to replace their Australian-made utes with models based on passenger cars such as the Falcon and Commodore. Instead, Ford and Holden have embraced the massive shift in buyer tastes towards four-door 4WD pick-ups.

The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are now the top sellers in the ute class.

The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are made in Thailand along with the Holden Colorado, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max.

Further, Australia V8 fans will have to get used to four-cylinder and V6 power for their future performance sedans, the Asia-Pacific boss of General Motors Stefan Jacoby has confirmed what has long been feared.

The Holden V8 will die once manufacturing comes to an end at Holden’s factory in Elizabeth in South Australia at the end of 2017.

The last ever Ford Falcon ute rolled off the Broadmeadows production line near the end of shift about 3pm on Friday — following in the tyre tracks of the original Falcon ute built in the same facility 55 years ago, in February 1961.

Ford is said to have invented the ute — and then introduced it to the rest of the world in 1934
after receiving a letter from a Victorian farmer’s wife in 1933 requesting a vehicle civilized enough to drive to church on Sundays and practical enough to take pigs to market on Mondays.

Holden and Toyota will be shutting down their car assembly lines in late 2017.

Rather than building cars in Australia, a team of more than 1100 designers and engineers will develop global vehicles for Ford.

And suddenly, Australia will be stuck with the American problem of Detroit... having car manufacturing head offices, and planning staff, but outsourcing all the production to cheaper foreign labor... just like Detroit.... and even more similarities arise when you compare NAFTA with the Australia Thailand free trade agreement. More on that below

The next generation of vehicles such as the Ford Ranger will be designed and engineered in Australia, but made in Thailand where manufacturing labour costs are one-fifth the rate in Australia.

Sales of locally-made cars and utes have been in free fall since Australia signed a free-trade agreement with Thailand.

In 2004, one year before the trade deal with Thailand — the biggest producer of pick-ups in the Asia-Pacific region — Ford and Holden sold more than 40,000 Australian-made utes between them.

In 2015, just 2600 Ford Falcon utes and 4900 Holden Commodore utes were sold. The decline has continued into 2016.

In 2006, just one year after the Free Trade Agreement with Thailand, the Toyota HiLux overtook sales of Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes.

Imports of cars and utes from Thailand have almost tripled since the Free Trade Agreement was signed (from 84,000 in 2005, to 250,000 in 2015).

In return, Australia has exported just 100 Ford Territory SUVs to Thailand, in 2012.

Well, darn it, I didn't know that a tip jar would be a thing... why didn't I ask for

email addresses of lonely women racetrack owners who need a friendly test driver to get their muscle cars sorted out and ready for vintage racing?

barn find Hemi Superbees or 100 year old Indian motorcycles?

1965 GT 350s that need a new home?

You guys are great! I sure didn't realize how much you all like this pet project of mine!

Thanks to Bruce, Trevor, Brett, Timothy, Gordon, Karl, Eldon, Daniel, Dan, Paul and Bjorn for making my day!

(and if anyone needs some help with Pebble Beach Concours, or knows a rich widow that has a beer brewery in Ireland that is looking for a friendly taste tester who can help her with her dad's race cars? Just saying, I'm available!) 

Monday, March 27, 2017

AAA headquarters at Eighth and Olive Streets, August 6th, 1911

so... what's the three wheeler? Mario mis-identified it... it's not an American Tri-Car, Steve nailed it, it's a Motorette, made by the C.W. Kelsey Mfg. Co. in Hartford, Connecticut 1910-12.

Thanks Mario and Steve!

In early 1911 a Motorette driven by Ward C. Sharwood, with Otto Krause as passenger, began a 4,416 mile journey from Hartford, Connecticut to San Francisco - the smallest engine driven vehicle to attempt the transcontinental trip. By late July they had made it as far as Ludlow, California, where they were arrested and held for two days for driving on the railroad right-of-way.

They reached San Francisco on August 14th, after taking 5 months - in which they had 41 days of actual running time.

They arrived in LA on August 5th, and this above images were taken August 6th 

Reliability run -- Palomares Hotel, Pomona, April 27, 1904

1958 Cherokee Station, Hollywood

1939 train comparison

Ever wonder who created and built the Easy Rider chopper Capt America? We know who made it famous, and who restored them, and who made millions from them.... but who created it? Ben Hardy

Peter Fonda, the producer of Easy Rider, hired Cliff Vaughs to coordinate the motorcycles for the film, and Cliff tapped Ben Hardy for the actual construction of the machines. Peter and Cliff both worked on the design of the bike. A drawing here, a sketch there, and then a final agreement to make it like this.

The whole story has been told on the Vintagent blog, and I can't add anything but increased awareness of all the research that's already done there on the story of the Capt America chopper

Ain't it sorta odd that the most instantly recognizable vehicles were made by guys that aren't known for making more things? The Deuce Coupe the Beach Boys used on the cover of their album, and the Easy Rider chopper Peter Fonda rode.

Well, I insist that the right guys get the credit and respect they deserve. That's what they earned. I think business people and Hollywood types often try and grab undeserved credit, what ever they can do to get ahead... but I believe car guys are focused on the quality of something, and they want to know who to credit for that quality.

If it's speed parts, they want to know how made it. If it's a fast car, car guys want people to know who made it. If it's a beautiful car design, or a sweet paint job, we give the artist or designer the credit and respect. Simply because it's the right thing to do, and there's respect to be given, so we do that.

So, that's why it's important to me to post who did what, who made a thing, and who should get credit and fame for what they've done. Hell, that's pretty much what I do all the time.... tell you who painted, sculpted, built, or collected... or who won a race.

So today, it's Ben Hardy's day of appreciation.

video from Jesse James’ ‘History of the Chopper’ TV series

you can even get more in depth on the Capt America chopper in the book:

He didn’t get the recognition he deserved for those bikes, partly because the whole crew was fired when Columbia Pictures took over production, and Ben and Cliff’s payout/signoff included a clause keeping them off the film’s credits.

Publications like Ed Roth’s ‘Choppers Magazine’ explored Cliff’s role in ‘Easy Rider’ from 1968 onwards, but both Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper at various times claimed credit for building those bikes, and Dan Haggerty took credit too.

2017 Car calendar

April 9th
LaJolla Concours

April 8 -9th
Mopar Spring Fling
Woodley Park
Van Nuys

May 28th
2nd Annual Shelby Car Show

June 3rd
Steve McQueen car and bike show at
Boys Republic,
Chino Hills

June 11th
Bikers and Bombers
Lyon Air Museum
9 to 4

June 11th
San Marino Motor Classic
9am to 4pm
$25 per ticket

Sept 16th
Wave Crest

October 9th
British Car Club Council Car Show

Rodeo Dr Concours
Wave Crest
British Car Show Day
Art Center College of Design