Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hemi powered French car from the mid '50's

A French car, Facel Vega... was built starting in 1954 with De Soto Hemi's ( 276 cu in ) and the Chrysler 2 spd Powerflite trans which was quickly junked in favor of a 4 spd Pont-a-Mousson trans.

In 1956 they had 331 cu in hemi's, in '57 they got 354 hemi's

But these Hemi's were small potatos compared to what came along in the early 60's. The 383 dual quad wedge was making 390 bhp @ 5400 rpm and a monumental 485 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 3600.
Lotus Esprit in it's initial offering in 1976, was the world's most expensive 4 cylinder, at 7883 British pounds.
Honda NSX:

Taken so seriously by the Honda company, as it the most expensive ($89,000 MSRP) car Honda builds, it is built in a special factory in Tochigi by 200 selected employees that turn out only 25 cars a day... maximum.
Lamborghini Designer:

Incredible designer Marcello Gandini... left Bertone in 1979 to from his own design company.
Designed the Muira, the Countach, and the Diablo.

Wow. Thats a legacy only few in the auto history of design can come close to.
The father and son Giugairo's, Harvey Earl, Virgil Exner, Dick Teague.

The Countach, earliest example I know of that had those cool scissor doors, came about from Gandini's earlier Alfa Romeo based Bertone Carabo (scarab beetle) which appeared in the 1968 Paris Motor Show.

Trivia and definitions

A couple of meanings to things I just had taken for granted

Spider Veloce - sports fast

( Jeep ) CJ - Civilian Jeep

( Lamborghini ) Miura - The last name of a well known bull breeder; Don Edward Miura

Countach - Italian slang expressing praise or astonishment, vocalized by an assembly mechanic who was part of the team hurrying to complete the first for a exhibition of the new model

Lamborghini's are mostly named for bulls or bullfighting because the founder, Ferruccio, was a Taurus. Exceptions are the 350 and 400 GT lines, and the Countach.

The British Motor Company in 1968 was absorbed into British Leyland (BL), which had been nationalized in 1965 and renamed Leyland Cars. In 1977 it was again renamed BL Cars.
In 1986 BL Cars was renamed the Rover Group.

1942 the way American streets looked when there weren't any Japanese, Korean, German, Italian, British, or Swedish cars on American roads.

Instead, you would find Packards, Studebakers, Willys, Oaklands, Terraplanes, Nashs, Cords, Whites, Stars, and a dozen I can't think of right now.
No Hondas, Nissans, BMW's, Saabs, Audi, Kia, VW's, or Toyota's.
Look through For lots of great pictures from 1860 to 1960

A 1935 gas station with a crowd, but no cars, and another gas station that was a self promoter

1908 Vanderbilt Cup

1908 Vanderbilt Cup, via

Friday, July 06, 2007

A chill down your spine and a smile on your face! Roaring engines, definitely my thing, about 1/2 way into this short film...

Be careful, your volume my not be loud enough!

AMC: red, white, and blue

Terrific photo album of red, white, and blue cars from the most appropriate car maker to paint in the patriotic theme, the American Motors Company

San Diego's best kept secret car museum, The Jim Cooley collection

One person wide, it's the narrowest car you'll likely ever see.

DeDion one cylinder

The first two on the left are Cadillacs

And this is only the back room

1885 Benz

Part of the 1885, but the cream and black buggy is an 1895 Benz, and the fist mass produced car ever made

A good write up of the J A Cooley Museum in San Diego's North Park suburb

La Mesa cruise night

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A few cool pics I found somewhere I can't remember

Why isn't anyone in this photo looking at the Talbot Lago?

Inventive car wash advertising

I lost track of where I saw these, but I believe it was the Jalopy Journal... which you should look through for more cool pics

Lincoln Zephyr

Click on all pictures to enlarge them, email me at to comment

Photo album of a car museum you should look through

You'll have to trust me on this.... normally you get teaser pics to show you how great it will be to look through, not this time.

Jaguar XJR 15

Only 50 were made, each selling for $960,165.
Depreciation is a bitch though, the 4 that have been resold at auctions in the US haven't even been over $200,000.
While Jaguar never exported the XJR-15, at least three are known to have made their way to the US.
One was sold at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2001 for $176,000.
Another was sold at Pebble Beach in 2003 for US$154,000
(which was, incidentally, alongside a Jaguar XJ220 which sold for US$157,500).

The most recent was sold at the Bonhams & Butterfields Auction in Carmel, CA in August 2004. It is reported to have been sold to a private collector for around US$175,000.

Neglected Jaguar XJR 15 to undergo restoration

Stored at docks in London for several years. Not only has sea air got to it's metalwork, but a family of rats have been living in the engine bay

McLaren F1

On the records for a couple things, but I thing interesting for holding the record of fastest production car.... for the longest time of any car.

The F1 held the title for "Fastest Production Car Till Date" for a span of 12 years, since its initial production in 1993. The longest for any street legal or production car in the history of automobiles.

I also was interested in who owned some;
TAG Hauer
Eric Clapton
George Harrison
Rowan Atkinson
Jay Leno
Wyclef Jean
the CEO of Netscape
The owner of Dubble Bubble Gum
the CEO of Tommy Hilfiger
the CEO of the Oracle Corporation
Ralph Lauren. . . owns 3

Some stats on the Bugatti Veyron

According to Volkswagen, the final production Veyron engine produces between 1006 to 1026 hp, so the car will be advertised as producing "1001 horsepower" in both the US and European markets, despite the fact that the actual amount of horsepower produced is 986 - making it the second most powerful road production car - second only to the Koenigsegg CCXR, which it is claimed develops 1004bhp, although further testing in the Koenigsegg laboratories has proven it can hit 1064bhp.

(253.2 mph). The top speed was verified once again by James May on Top Gear, again at Volkswagen's private test track. When getting close to the top speed during the test he said that "the tires will only last for about fifteen minutes, but it's OK because the fuel runs out in twelve."

The Veyron is the quickest production car to reach 62 mph with an estimated time of 2.5 seconds, according to the manufacturer. It reaches 60 mph in approximately 2.46 seconds.

And according to the February 2007 issue of Road & Track Magazine, the Veyron accomplished the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds at a speed of 142.9 mph.

This makes the Veyron the quickest and fastest production car in history.

It also consumes more fuel than any other production car, using 5.82 mpg in city driving and 10 mpg in combined highway / city.

At full throttle, it 2.1 mpg, which would empty its 26.4 gallon fuel tank in just 12.5 minutes.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Interesting thoughts on automobiles

Like the carriage industry, however, the bicycle industry contributed people, components, capital, and ideas to automotive transportation. In addition, the bicycle created demand for the automobile.

All-in-all as much as two-thirds of the total automotive production in the late 1920's was displacing horse and rail transportation.

1895 was a historical year, the reason why we did not build road vehicles before was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of independent long-distance travel over the ordinary highway.

We thought the railroad was good enough.

The bicycle created a new demand which was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply. Then it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it had created.

A mechanically propelled vehicle was wanted instead of a foot-propelled one, and we know now that the automobile was the answer.

Auto sales were blazing while the car replaced the horse, bicycle, and train transportation; then became stagnant when the replacement was complete. Stagnation occurred at the point of one car per family. After WW2 auto sales re-established by an increased need for personal transportation, and the interstate system brought about as a great depression public works program to decrease unemployment while improving the infrastructure.

Another spike in car sales occurred when in 1973 the baby boomer generation reached car buying age.

By 1925, the average auto accumulated over 25,000 miles before it headed to the junk yard, by 1930 about 40,000.

Common rules of the road and associated symbols like the octagonal stop sign were also developed during the first growth phase.

The roads themselves were paved.

Installment financing became popular even though most banks opposed it at the time.

Independent auto dealers became the main distribution channel and service stations began popping up.

The primary objective of most affiliated innovations was to make the automobile easier to own and operate. As vehicles were produced which had the capabilities, and the low price, required to replace other means of transportation, people began to buy them for everyday use.

The sales of refrigerators rose sharply from 1925 to 1935, from practically none to 2 million, allowing groceries to be bought in bulk that would stay fresh longer, requiring a means of transportation for the loads of groceries... at a time when buying in bulk quantities became cheaper than an equal number of single unit sales. Buying groceries in large quantities spawned the supermarket, which killed the corner store, necessitating a vehicle to travel farther to get to the supermarket.

Increasing numbers of suburbs after the civil war were made possible by cable cars, via electricity... suburbs outstripped the availability of public transportation... which increased the demand for a car as a necessity and ended the concept of the car as a luxury.

Changing times in the auto industry

In the 1920s, the new production technologies and work simplification allowed automobile manufacturers to hire more and more women into light machine work and assembly jobs.

In addition, the new methods permitted more and more young workers to replace older veterans in the auto shops. The reason was simple—female workers cost much less than men, and young workers labored more vigorously at the new production lines.

The new technological system definitely favored the hiring of young workers in the auto factories. At Dodge, personnel managers “refuse[d] to hire men over 45.”

At the many General Motors plants in Flint, “Workers [were] scrapped at 40.”

With the onset of the Great Depression, too many men competed for too few jobs and automobile manufacturers took advantage of the glut in the labor market. The speed-up became unbearable for many workers, especially the older ones.

“Now,” the worker told the Automobile Labor Board, “the men that are operating these machines are most all young fellows.

They have to be, because I don’t know whether the old men could stand it, . . . and they all have reported that when they came in there to work that they had lost from 10 to 50 pounds.”

When a lay-off came during economic hard times, the automobile personnel offices only rehired the younger, more physically fit workers.

A abridged history of British car companies

Only 2 survived into the 21st century. Rover and MG

Why Schwinn stands out.

The company is founded in Chicago when there are 300 bicycle companies in the US (101 in Chicago, alone).

Schwinn starts its racing program.

By the end of the year, Schwinn bikes have more victories than any other bike company.

In 1896, the Schwinn line is composed of the bicycles ranging in price from $100 to $125 and in weight from 19 to 24 pounds! Six-day races become the rage. Board tracks spring up everywhere.

Manufacturing advances mean lower prices, making bicycles available to children for the first time. A new market is born.

Tough bikes are developed to stand the punishment that kids dish out.

1911 Schwinn buys Excelsior Motor Cycle Company.
1917 Schwinn buys Henderson Motor Cycle Company.

1925 while the Great Depression drives most bicycle companies out of business, Schwinn makes bold moves to increase capacity and develop new products.

1933 Schwinn creates a new department comprised of bicycle and motorcycle engineers to improve quality and appearance.

Schwinn becomes the standard of innovation for the industry. Arnold, Schwinn & Company introduces the bicycle balloon 26 x 2.125 tire in the spring of 1933 - two years later, it became the standard of the industry.

The Schwinn Aerocycle takes bicycles to the next dimension, styled to resemble airplanes, streamlined automobiles and motorcycles. This new aerodynamic style sets the trend for not only the '30's and '40's, but into the '50's.

1946 Built-in kickstands and new styled drop-outs developed during the war, now improve post-war bikes.

1963 Schwinn introduces the Sting-Ray. With high-rise handlebars, banana seat, Stick-Shift and racing Sliks, it becomes the "in" style machine.

1968 Schwinn Bicycle Company introduces the Sting-Ray Krates. These muscle-car era bikes were truly an American Phenomenon. The Sting-Ray is the machine that will farther the BMX bicycles of the 1980's.

How Cadillac was the only profitable auto maker through the great depression

In 1932, after Cadillac suffered from record low sales and charges of discrimination against black customers, Alfred Sloan created a committee to consider the discontinuation of the Cadillac line.

At a fateful board meeting, Cadillac president Nicholas Dreystadt heard that legendary boxer Joe Louis could not go into a dealership to buy a car, because he was black, and resorted to having a white friend make the purchase for him.

Dreystadt gave the GM Board of Directors a 10 minute speech in which he advocated advertising to black consumers so as to increase sales. The Board agreed to give Dreystadt 18 months to produce results.

By 1934, Cadillac had regained profitability. It is significant to note that after this decision, Cadillac was the only American automobile manufacturer to remain profitable during the Great Depression.

By 1940, Cadillac sales had risen 1000% compared to 1934, thus saving Cadillac from extinction.

Eddie Rickenbacker, what you didn't know about his contributions to the Automobile industry

His dad died when he was 12, so he quit school and got a job with the Frayer Miller Aircooled Car Company, road-testing cars.

He then made his way into automobile racing, for Fred Deusenberg, among others. He raced four times in the Indianapolis 500 and set a speed record of 134 MPH in a Blitzen Benz.

Raced in 4 Indy 500's, between 1912 and 1916.

Started a car company, and made the first car to have 4 wheel brakes.

Bought and operated the Indy speedway from 1927 to 1945.. .. improved the track by banking the turns.

What you probably know, is that he was the WW1 flying ace and CO of the 94th Aero Squadron.
It's famous in San Diego as there is a really good restaurant of this name on Aero Drive, it looks like a French farmhouse with World War I airplanes and sandbagged gun emplacements around it. On the inside it is filled with military aviation memorabilia.

A little Harley history, from

The revolutionary V-twin engine enabled riders to reach speeds of 60 miles per hour, which until that time had been believed impossible. 

Such capabilities served to set the company's motorcycles apart from the competition; by 1911 there were 150 other companies manufacturing the vehicles.

The onset of World War I was actually a boon for Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle, having done well in its utilization by police, was commissioned for use by the military. It proved especially useful on the U.S.-Mexico border, which was suffering incursions by the forces of Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.

 In all, 20,000 of the company's machines were employed by the U.S. infantry during the war. The battlegrounds of the war also served as proving grounds for the motorcycles. After resuming normal production, Harley-Davidson was able to begin incorporating improvements into its new machines. 

The 1920s saw the company taking the lead in innovative engineering with such features as the Teardrop gas tank and the front brake. In 1921, the winner of the first race in which motorists reached average speeds of more than 100 miles per hour was riding a Harley-Davidson machine.

Only Harley-Davidson and Indian would survive the grueling years of the Great Depression. 1903 saw the formation of the Federation of American Motorcyclists, which in 1908 put together its first organized event, a two–day endurance run around New York City and Long Island. The president of the Harley–Davidson Motor Company, Walter Davidson, mounted an early Harley to face off against and defeat 84 other riders representing 22 different makes of motorcycle. 

The Department of the Interior used Harleys to patrol Yellowstone Park

You can ride a Harley or the bus. No one's jaw drops for the bus.

If you love Motorbikes, you won't be able to stop reading this website

The great depression's effect on the mechanized transportation

Only Cadillac remained profitable through it

Prior to the Great Depression there were about 300 motorcycle companies, only 2 survived; Harley Davidson and Indian

A Willys plant in Toledo had started the year with 28,000 employees. By the end, only 4,000 were still working.

Ford's plant in Detroit lost a similar amount of workers, starting the year with 128,000 and ending it with 100,000

General Motors, which before the Depression employed 260,000, had downsized almost 100,000 of them by October of 1931.

In 1933 an estimated million people spent their lives riding the rails. Roughly a quarter of these transients were under 21.

All of Indiana's home-grown automobile companies would close due to the depression with the exception of Studebaker. One that closed was Stutz.

Monday, July 02, 2007

1993 Jaguar XJ220

Imagine 0-60 in 3.6 seconds,1/4 mile in 11.2 seconds & a top speed of 211 MPH! It is quiet yet one of the most powerful cars ever sold to the public having 542 HP out of the box.
I just (july 6) found that Octane Magazine online did a 10 page article on the 220, here's the link, and I recommend that magazine in both hard and softcopy

Just surfing the web and came across this photo album of the Monterey Historic races, and Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance

'53 C Type Jaguar

'58 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa

1966 Ferrari 365 California Spyder

Jaguar XJ13