Saturday, August 11, 2012

SCCA vs Corvette

after 36 straight victories, the Corvette was banned. So was the Porsche 944 turbo in 1988

Racing at Del Mar, happened as recently as 1989

the Camel GT IMSA races happened there as recently as 1989, but the 88 and 89 season were for 2 hour races, and there doesn't seem to be any racing between the 1963 and the 1988 seasons. Seems to have started in 1959. Tams Old Race Car site has a lot of photos covering racing in San Diego when he was taking photos in 1961 and 1962

1956 Corvette SR2

designed for Bill Mitchell, and 3 were made. The first was test and eval, the 2nd was for Bill personally and to get some racing trophys, and he had Smokey Yunick prep and maintain it. So many parts were made from lighter weight stuff, that they shaved 700 pounds off the factory model

info and images from

1957 Corvette SS

it was built by buying a Mercedes 300sl, and recreating the chassis with a tube frrame, and mounting the Corvette racing gear to that. Magnesium body parts to get it lightweight, and they went racing at Sebring

2009 ZR1

most expensive production car GM ever made, $103,300. A base Corvette was $48,000

Car changes vs model longevity

Model Longevity... once, there was a time when the car was built year after year, decade after decade with minor changes but no new model... it is commonly known as the model T

The Ford Model T was made for 19 years, 1908 to 1927

The Model T was so popular, it wasn't even advertised between 1917 to 1923

In 1914 more Model Ts were made than all other car makes, combined.

Anyway, changes to the model meant not creating, designing, and engineering all new parts and methods to produce parts for a new design

The Corvette in 1976 had a lot of surveys to see what was going on with it's buyers, and some interesting things learned was that the average age of a Corvette buyer was 10 years younger than the average age of new car buyers in general

The Corvette buyers were 90% men, 57% were married vs general car buyers that are 80% married.

Most important to car makers is the repeat purchase rate... will a buyer sell the old Corvette, and buy a new one, but less than 20% did.. and that ties into the long model longevity. When the new year bring a new car that looks and performs the same, why sell your old one and buy a new one, with bigger car payments and higher insurance costs? Repeat purchase rate was low,  and GM decided to reduce the cycle years to give a reason to buy a new car.

So instead of the cycle between the 53, 62, 67 and 83 C1, C2, C3, and C4 generations, the C5 and C6 have been brought to a 6 or 7 year cycle

After all, it was GM that is lilkely to get the credit for encouraging new car purchases by changing design features with every model year, and incorporating planned obsolescence through shorter warranties " definition, planned obsolescence was "Instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.""

Stick shift vs automatic

by 1976, automatics outnumbered sticks by 4 to 1

Callaway twin turbo research Corvette

waaay, back in 1988 the Callaway Sledgehammer was driven from Connecticut to Ohio, hit the track and after a bit of tuning was clocked at 255rmph driven by John Lingenfelter.. who got out of the Callaway and got into his Corvette to go home, and said "You know, that goes 100 mph faster than mine?"

Watching the video will show you how they got all that into the engine bay, I was most impressed with their method of cutting out frame, patching it into the air system, and them reinstalling the piece of frame, with outputs to the turbos

Maybach designs of the 30's

1931 Mandator Tanker (british) looks like a train cab faired into a streamliner tanker on a 60's Mack

Like steampunk? I just learned of a new movie, "The Mechanical Grave"

Brass guns, top hats, and goggles... right on.

Why am I posting about non vehicular movies? It's goofy fun gearhead maker stuff. Or, as Maria May Jespy-Worthing put it:


We are explorers moved a hundred years
That hail from times of steam and shiny cogs
Some of us wear a thousand useless gears
Or goggles, some sort of industr’ial togs
I must admit we do enjoy ourselves
Our worlds of tea and airship piracy
We must have Wells and Verne upon our shelves
To guide us through the darkest æther seas
Although we’re from a time that never was
We feel at home there as we never have
And you may scoff and giggle at our cause—
We know how much discovery can move.
So do not mock the steampunks if you’re wise—
We’ve rayguns and brass cybertronic eyes.

It might be a total hacker, but I still want to see it.

Found on
For more steampunk links:

Brass Goggles
Steampunk Workshop
Steampunk Magazine
Trial by Steam (Blog)
Steampunk Empire
Silver Leaf Costuming
Dieselpunk (Blog)
Art of Steampunk (Blog)
Marquis of Vaudeville - Steampunk Empire
Steampunk Boats & Frock Coats (Blog)
Airship Ambassador

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Zep Diner in Downtown Los Angeles, CA - 1931

found on

If this type of roadside diner with flair still existed, I'd go and try the food. 

facebook humor photos are pretty good

the only motorized vehicles in the 1933-34 Chicago "Century of Progress" exhibition were Greyhound tour busses

GMC T26 trucks, and the bodies were made by the Yellow Truck and Coach company

Learned about these from

hand made air freshener

"Apparently its illegal in the US to make an air freshener for your rear view mirror in the shape of a handicapped placard"

James P Connolly 

Pete Correale on car repair

"You know you're not going to be able to fix your own car when you can't even find the bar that hold your hood up."

- Pete Correale on car repair

The technical process that made Corvettes lighter, stronger, and better side impact crash testing.. 1992

Hydro forming, it uses 7000 psi water to bend steel, and when you don't heat steel, you don't lose strength. So by using cold water, they were able to use thinner side rails to increase interior room, and make getting in and out of the Vette easier.

"official vehicle of America(tiny little 3 over the last a)"

in 1992, Chevrolet sponsored the America's Cup yacht America3 and so were able to designate the Corvette the "official vehicle of America3 "

So it's a small little thing that might be overlooked when you read the big headline "Official vehicle of America". Nice advertising gimmick. 

1987 Callaway Corvette, 20 thousand dollars plus buying a Vette from Chevy

Chev's marketing planning director, Don Runkle, gave the Chevy turbo development results to Callaway, who made a 345 hp car that went 177mph. Chevrolet made the Callaway Corvette a RPO (regular production option) code, B2K.

The Callaway Turbo Corvette was available to 20 Chevy dealerships to service and sell, and while they hoped to sell 50, they got orders and sold 188

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

car museums and collections are getting auctioned off as they go out of business

Vehicles from at least a dozen major private and museum collections have come on the market in the past few years. Cars from the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, and the Pate Museum of Transportation in Cresson, Tex., have turned up in sales run by the Canadian company RM Auctions. In March much of the contents of the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History, in the hamlet of Rosanky, was auctioned.

 On Thursday, Artcurial held a sale of cars from Prince Albert II’s collection, with 1930s roadsters and 1940s Dodge Army trucks, in Monaco. On Saturday in Plymouth, Mich., RM Auctions will hold a sale of 15 cars that the gun-manufacturing magnate William Ruger Jr. kept in a New Hampshire mill, including Rolls-Royce Phantoms from the 1920s and ’30s.

 An online auction through Witherell’s closes on Tuesday, with about 60 horse-drawn buggies and wagons that the California winemaker John Traina, who died last year, parked alongside a driveway. On Aug. 16 Bonhams in Carmel, Calif., will offer 30 motorcycles that hung from the ceiling of the San Francisco restaurant Eddie Rickenbacker’s. In Pebble Beach, Calif., Gooding has an Aug. 18 and 19 sale with a dozen cars from the Pettit family’s Museum of Motoring Memories in Natural Bridge, Va.

excerpted from a New York Times article  I learned of on the newsletter from the Vintage Racing League

GI Joe movie motorcycle, Firefly's

Somewhere at Comic Con was Batman's motorcycle from the Tumbler

I don't know where it was...

but found the blog that finds and photographs really well, all the movie and tv show props at Comic Con

the new rover on mars, has tires that spell out "JPL" in morse code as they roll along.

photos from but info from David L... thanks!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

This looks good, and funny, and wow... that Lincoln looks cool with a hood scoop!

Just watched it, here's my review:

great to see that a Rom Com can have realistic relationship analysis and a couple great car chases

It would get a 5 of 5 stars if they had found a way to surpass the inevitable car chase on dirt being wrecked by the dust of the camera truck. 

Great casting, Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars fame) and Dax Shepard (astronaut in Zathura) and Tom Arnold and Bradley Cooper (A Team and Hangover) were well cast. Tom played a role less witty and clever than that from True lies, but he is so enjoyable to see in a comedy where he isn't the lead. Dax wrote and starred in this, and nailed it. Well written relationship advice and romantic moments, and great car chases. Beau Bridges was a surprise, and his role was short but a new take on a dad role, tough but understanding. 

Instead of the normal movie scenes that you can predict the endings, the punchlines, and the story ending, this was a fresh breeze through the movie plex. Thank you Dax and cast!

the Olympics mini Mini... 1.09 billion dollars of sponsorship gets some things past the "No Advertisement" rule

this is just the most obvious advertising/publicity gimmic that I've heard of... BMW mini's getting all the free press in the world (I'm guilty too aren't I) because they were brilliant enough to get these small 10 HP electric remote controlled Mini's to be on camera in every discus, javelin, and hammer toss event (So I heard, I don't watch the Olympics)

The International Olympic Committee has had a rule for a long time about no advertising or publicity by sponsors. Yeah, I bet they have a rule against performance enhancing drugs too... but since these R/C cars are on the field, I doubt that the IOC can pass a test that they followed that rule about advertising

"IAAF validates several different transporters. Yes, it happens to be the official partner of the London Games but there is no commercial delivery," he told a news conference.

(wow, this guy tells lies easily, he is relying on the "No visible Logo" technicality, like the shape, look, design, front, side, and back of the mini isn't instantly recognizeable and therrefore giving BMW Mini publicity, in violation of the rule)

 "There is no link between the sponsorship and the coverage of the physical fact that these are mini Minis on the field of play," Lumme said.

 The IOC's rule on advertising states that no form of advertising or other publicity shall be allowed in and above the stadia, venues and other competition areas which are considered as part of the Olympic sites."

"The Mini is an incredibly known globally, British icon. Again Rule 50 compliant. No logos," he said.

 The London Games have received some $1.09 billion from sponsors wishing to be associated with the 2012 Olympics.

Information from

MINI’s owner BMW is, of course, a major sponsor of the 2012 Olympic Games and the cars are as much of a marketing tool as anything else, but a rather clever one in classic British fashion. The company is showcasing many of its zero emissions cars in conjunction with the event

In the past, motorized boxes have been used to tote javelins, discuses, shots and hammers from the field back to their throwers, cutting down on time (and volunteer exhaustion). BMW was among the handful of brands that managed to get an exclusive marketing deal in the Olympic Park, and in the heart of one of the most significant sites of the London Games as well. The opportunity gave birth to the Olympic “Mini Minis.”

The Mini MINI R/C cars will be used at both the Olympic and Paralympic games, and they join a fleet of 160 full-size  BMW series E Active models and 40 MIni E hatchbacks as part of BMW's own all-electric Olympic team.

(Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images) found on 

Monday, August 06, 2012

2nd most brilliant article I've read in months, another from Dep - O Magazine... "When, what and how much was your first car? Why that car? How much did it cost to insure?" by Gerald Hughes

Excepted from

"Our fondly remembered first cars were notable for a couple of things – even at the time, they were old, decrepit and most importantly, cheap.

Ten year old cars then were not like ten year old cars now. I would quite happily jump behind the wheel of a 1996 Mondeo tomorrow and drive the length and breadth of the country. In the mid Eighties, you wouldn’t jump into any decade old motor for fear of falling through the rust compromised floor, and any trip was only to be tackled when fully equipped with a tool kit, gallon cans of oil and water, and plenty of second-hand spares chucked in the boot. And on the back seat.

Back in the days of dodgy mullets, snow wash denim and George Michael being straight, we both found ourselves driving cars that are now regarded as proper ‘classics’, but then, they were old bangers that no-one wanted. Both of us had a budget of about £300, and we both ended up getting the cars (I paid about £120 for my 1973 FIAT 850D at auction, his auntie gave him a MkI Escort Estate of similar vintage) and insuring them for the money we’d saved. Sounds incredibly cheap, but we were both broke and canny. But to put it in context, my brother had paid £300 the year before for a very tidy, MoT’d MkI Escort two-door. Read it and weep.

Fast forward to the future. The modern equivalents of our first cars are in a different league – they handle and brake better, rust tends to be cosmetic, and even the most basic will be loaded with driver comforts, security devices and safety aids. Alright, plastic bumpers tend not to wear the years too well and they will no doubt go a lot faster. But Gaffer tape and a little restraint are wonderful things. It’s also interesting to note, that because of the way society has changed and our expectations have altered, the cars now are almost as cheap – pick up the local rag or spend ten minutes on eBay, and I reckon £500 will get you a very usable car.

So we get to the heart of my dilemma. I’m 17. I have £1000. I buy my £500 car (Ka, 106, Cinquecento, Nova/Corsa, Micra…). What are my chances of getting it insured with the remainder of my budget…? Ridiculous? OK, double the budget and try again. We’re not even getting close. And my question – why and when did the world change so much that first time or younger drivers have to find these frankly ridiculous sums to insure their cars?"

I want to put emphasis on the fact that the insurance for these better quality and safer cars is quadruple the cost for dodgy old rust buckets with no airbags, no power steering, no power anti lock brakes, no crumple zones, no safety bumpers... why is that? Just my thought, not part of the article I found.

Read the rest, and check out the comments too

the Lyon Museum extended it's Packard Exhibit til the end of this month

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Batman had a Corvette designed by GM's Chuck Jordan

the 1967 Corvette.. behind the scenes

Duntov was so furious that the 67 Vette was on an unimproved chassis, he fired off a memo to the top GM brass. They canned his ass from engineering. Then they disbanded engineering, made Duntov do PR. Other engineers were sent to passenger car work.

 Design was the favorite department, they made the Corvette look good, sell well, and GM was all about the profit, not about the racing. Makes sense from a corporate perspective, less liability in sports cars than race cars.

But the 67 was so bad, Car and Driver editor told the readers, it was unfit for a road test. The aerodynamics were so far off, it floated, and it's quality was horrible.

It looked great, but remember that at the time the unions were causing production problems, and GM couldn't handle that.

Pete Estes quickly got things back in order, restoring Engineering and named Duntov chief engineer. 12 months later, the 68 Vette was named "Best all around car in the world" by Car and Driver. That is astonishing improvement

info from Corvette Sixty Years page 98

Duntov Turbo Corvettes, Chevy didn't make them

Chevy never could get Turbos to work well before Duntov retired, and after he did, he worked with some company to market the Duntov 1980 Convertible Turbo Corvette. It wasn't smog legal in California

those damn Chevy engine reference codes I've never learned

L36 390 hp 427
L37 375 hp 396 (1965 Z16 Chevelle)
L68 400 hp 427
L71 435 hp 427
L72 425 hp 427
L78 425 hp 396
L79 350 hp 327
L88 480 to 560 hp 427 only 60 pounds heavier than the L79 (327) but with 130 more hp, it cost $950 more
L89 aluminum heads on the L88 only 16 sets made
the 36 gallon fuel tanks for the coupe were only made in 2 corvettes

L84 mechanical fuel injected 327  360 hp
LT1 370 hp 350 with solid lifters and a carb until 1972, then 255 hp

ZL1 was a special L88, in 1967 20 were made, in1968 80 were made, in 1969 116 were made. 69 went to Gibb Chevy for Camaros, and Duntov got 2 put into customers cars, 1 for his developement mule, and 3 in engineering cars

ZR1 stands for Zora Racer 1.0 (1970-71) this was a drivetrain package with the LT1 engine, M22 trans

ZR2 Zora Racer 2.0 (1972)

LS5 365 hp 454 (1970-71)
LS6 425 hp 454 (1970-71)

8 of the ZR1 LT1 packages were made
12 of the ZR2 LS6 packages were made
Both were heater and radio delete for racing

If anyone knows a source for more of these codes and what they meant in simple terms, please email me a llink at 

hearse cars of the 1920's from Spain, a cultural thing that seems to have disappeared