Saturday, December 26, 2015

Santa Claus continues his annual ride through the Appalachians, his 73rd ride was Nov 2015

In the below picture, the two cars behind the little steamer are special cab-less locomotives to be run with 1930's streamliner trains, that were painted to look like "baggage cars" for the train, with them being controlled by the 1880's locomotive.

The tradition began in 1942, when a group of Kingsport businessmen decided to do something special for its neighbors and patrons to the north in the Virginia coalfields. The Kingsport Merchants’ Bureau, predecessor to today’s chamber, solicited donations of candy from area stores. One of the volunteers dressed as Santa and joined fellow merchants as they tossed hard candy from the rear vestibule of Clinchfield’s regular southbound passenger local No. 38 on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Scheduled passenger service ended in 1954, but the “Clinch” obligingly kept the Santa train running, by tacking office car 100 behind its only FP7, No. 200.

A new Clinchfield general manager, arrived in 1968, and ordered the shop to restore an 1882-built 4-6-0 No. 1, which was rusting behind the coach shed.

The resurrected Ten-Wheeler pulled that year’s Santa Claus Special and thrust this unique operation onto a higher level of public exposure. Mechanical problems forced the No. 1's, second retirement in 1979, but the Clinch kept running the Santa train.

Charles Kuralt, the late television journalist, covered the train in 1982, the last year it would be a true Clinchfield operation before successors absorbed the railroad. National coverage on CBS did more to bring attention to the Santa train than anything in its past. Those were the early days of CSX, and executives realized they had a winner for attracting positive press. A front-page story in The New York Times also generated money and donations from all over the country, a pattern that continues to this day. It was no longer necessary for the merchants of Kingsport to rely exclusively on local donations, as assistance from companies, celebrities, and generous individuals came pouring in.

CSX approached the Kingsport Chamber in the mid-’90s and suggested making additional stops. Chamber leaders understood, and in 2001 the Santa train added five stops so all the candy, stuffed animals, wrapping paper, homemade mittens, and nearly anything else you can imagine toward the outstretched hands and upturned faces while the train was standing still. Since then, the number of stops has increased to 15.

Everybody works on the Santa train, taking turns on the “chain gang” tossing goodies from the observation platform, or for the media, getting the story. After dispensing gifts and candy to thousands of children and their parents along the 110-mile route, the train arrives at Kingsport in time for Santa to ride a city fire truck in the annual Christmas parade.

For certain, it’s an expensive operation for CSX, but local personnel pull it off each year without a hitch, so costs and disruption to normal operations are manageable, with corridor managers minimizing traffic on the day the Santa train operates.

Full story and more photos at thanks to David!

67 Stang stolen in '86, bought from a storage unit auction in 91, but never known to be stolen property until a recent application for registration... and now finally returned to the woman who bought it in high school

Lynda Alsip bought the Ford Mustang when she was 17 years old for $800, after a summer of “bagging groceries and shlepping carts,” with a little help from her dad, and it car was stolen from outside her apartment complex in Salinas in 1986,

 Alsip went out of town with some friends and the following Monday was the last time she saw her classic car.

In September 2014 a man form Salinas tried to register the car he bought in 1991 as a project, 23 years ago. The DMV officials tried to locate any records on this old car. Officer Christopher Menchen eventually traced it back to Alsip’s mother because she was the registered owner in 1986.

B-29's and motorbike cops... this is one unique photo.

CHP had a scout... huh!

Probably the most Australian vehicle ever

A 1928 4.5-litre Bentley (one of 8) taken apart and kept in boxes for 58 years all over a three-storey house, because after buying it as a young man while a student, he had no place to store it, and never was able to afford to reassemble it. 39,000 miles only

Former English teacher Mr Wallace bought the car for £280 in 1962 but could not afford to run it because he was a student at the time. And with nowhere to store it, he took apart the components and kept them at his townhouse where they remained for 58 years. He even kept a log of every part with photographs - and some were stored in jars of oil in the hope that one day it would be restored.

But Mr Wallace's wish only came true after his death when his daughter Bea Wallace-Hartstone called in a specialist Bentley dealership. A team of 12 specialists from the Medcalf Collection then spent ten months putting the pieces together to make it fully driveable again.

As William and the team from the Medcalf Collection continued to explore the house, they found headlights under the bed, while the dashboard and radiator were hidden in the spare room, on the bare entrance hall floorboards was a Bentley cylinder block. I saw a clutch on the stairs, then the conrods – there were literally bits everywhere and throughout the three-storey house.”

Stuart’s daughter then informed William that her father had a garage. On the roof was the bodywork, stored in broad daylight for all to see. In the undergrowth that surrounded said garage lurked a tarpaulin – a tarpaulin that covered a large metal chest containing more missing pieces of the puzzle.

beautiful matched set, one of the best I've seen

the early efforts to get women interested in buying cars, pivoting seats, and pink La Comtesse Chrysler

found on

Preceding the 1956 Dodge LeFemme was the La Comtesse concept car of 1954.

La Comtesse was part of a pair of "His and Her" show cars - the Le Comte and the La Comtesse. It had an exotic, plastic top with two-tone paint, dusty rose leather with seat back inserts of platinum brocatelle fabric, continental tire mount, and chrome wire wheels.

After the 1955 show season, La Comtesse disappeared. In 2008 it was located after years of storage in Southern California. The show car has been purchased by the Chrysler Historical Foundation and will eventually appear in the museum.

Swift... are they ever going to let a week go by without crashing something?

the last and coolest Merry Christmas for 2015

found on

"M"allory Ignitions,
 "H"ooker Headers,