Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mr. Norm's Super Charger, and why it's a Barracuda

After the 1968 season the race car needed a rebuild due to the fire at the US 30 dragstrip, so another mini charger was built on a Logghe chassis with a Fiberglass Trends body that was 10 inches narrower than a stock body. Any look at a new flopper makes the observer keenly aware that the bodies are only slightly similar to the model they are based on, but narrower, and with a lower roofline and narrower roof.

Until the NHRA got it's nose out of joint at Indy, and rolled out the rule book that stated only minor departure from factory boy width specs were allowed, and the 10 inch narrower body was out of spec for a Charger... but not a Barracuda.

So back to Fiberglass Trends, and Ron Pelligrini wrote out a reciept for "One Barracuda body with custom alterations to make it look like a Charger"

I effing love that. The NHRA didn't. Mr Norm even had the grill painted like a Barracuda and had a fish painted on the fender, but it wasn't getting over the NHRA at Indy, and though it was pointed out that a Funny car isn't a car, it's a piece of fiberglass, and rules about cars don't apply, the NHRA banned it, and later that winter changed the rules.

on the topic of fiberglass floppers, the first wasn't the 1966 Comet Calientes, it was a 34 hot rod, the Big Al of Jim Lytle built in 1963. He also invented the first 4 disc racing clutch. The Arfons were using a 3 disc.

image from

A couple more car related Calvin comic strips

Eric Thorsen Custom Interior in the Pure Vision built Camaro of Ron Lallo

I saw this in person at the Grand National this year, but the lighting made decent photos impossible was the other car at the show next to this Camaro, and the upholstery is impecccable

Road repair vs taxes

the cost of repairing roads has increased with inflation, is paid for by taxes on gasoline, and though there are more cars on the road, they also get better gas mileage.

In California, 60 cents of each gallon's cost is taxes, it raises about 10 billion a year. A penny more per gallon would raise 160 million per year

Of the transportation Fund, 10% goes to CHP and DMV, 26% to local roads, bike lanes etc. 31% wasted on mass transit, 33% to freeways and highways

George Hill and 22 year old Bill Davis built a streamliner in their backyard, in 1952, got the local chamber of commerce to sponsor it to Bonneville

it ran 230mph in 1952... set a record at 199.00 in B STR (two way run) and was built of hot rod ingenuity and Model A suspension, with a '26 Dodge steering unit

full story and extensive gallery at

I can't think of a caption ridiculous enough for this situation

Citroens can do about anything, even fly around corners

has me wondering what the hell is a trailer this shape, and this size, for?

Very cool, the Scat Pack light up display sign on the inside of the race car hauler

I found the above in the Steve Juliano collection:
it is slightly different than this example below

full gallery of the above sign

hauler photo from

this, is a first

the Bike Angel of Burbank, Elaine Pease

Elaine Pease, a Building Division inspector for the city of Burbank, started a small project in 2008 to restore used bicycles and answer the Christmas wishes of children in the San Fernando Valley.

Since then, the program has expanded under the direction of Pease to 50 “Bike Angel” volunteers restoring and refurbishing 200 bikes in 2012.

Pease said what makes the year-round effort so rewarding is the reaction she sees from struggling families who receive a bicycle through the program.

“I’ve seen war whoops of delight, I’ve seen tears of joy, I’ve seen parents who break into tears and hug me, and it’s things like that that make working with this program all year round absolutely more than worthwhile,” said Pease.

Pease first came up with the idea after seeing gift requests from children that were hanging from the Salvation Army’s “Angel Giving Tree” in the lobby of the city Administrative Services Building.

While Pease had never refurbished a bicycle before, she said the program immediately drew volunteers from the Burbank Police Officers Association, who provided bikes, tools, and money to purchase helmets and locks.

The program also received help from Burbank Fire Fighters Association 778, including donations for seats, tires, and grips.

“We’ll take a bike and we’ll clean it, we’ll assess it, we’ll change out any parts it needs, tubes, tires, seats, grips, whatever,” Pease said. “We’ll go through it completely and then we’ll detail it so it looks like new.”

Donated bikes range from BMX bikes and cruisers to bicycles for young children to ride. You can donate bikes to the Bike Angels by bringing them to the Burbank Recycle Center at 500 S. Flower St, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. or call the Burbank Recycle Center at (818) 238-3900

"We hope that this inspires other cities, or other people in other cities, to start the same program because there are so many bikes that are stored in people's garages for umpteen years that never get recycled or used that could be out there making some kids really happy,"

owner customized shifters are frequently interesting and innovative

A rolling car gathers no moss...

Why isn't this sign in every shopping mall and grocery store parking lot?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Great license plates

left running in the parking lot... even has a handicapped plate, but no one is going to try stealing it, it's dog protected

what is the oldest continually used road/bridge in the world? This one was built by ancient Romans

Pont Julien is about 2100 years old and was used until 2005. The Roman empire was using paved roads to connect it's empire in 300bc

Porta Rosa is in Greece, and is in Velia, has gutters, and dates to between the 3rd and 4th century BC (about 2500 years old)

Wikipedia says the oldest known paved road is in Egypt, and stone paved streets are found in the city of Ur in the middle east dated to 4000 bc, so, they're about 6100 years old

The oldest known road according to Wikipedia is Plumstead, only slightly older than "Sweet Track" which carbon dated to 3807 BC. Not exactly roads, more log slat pathways across the bog during the iron age

An eight-mile stretch of flagstones was used to move basalt blocks from a quarry to the Nile for transportation to monuments at Giza and Saqqara.
American researchers discovered the 4,600-year-old highway that linked a basalt quarry in a desolate region of the Egyptian desert to waterways that carried basalt blocks to monument sites along the Nile. The eight-mile road is at least 500 years older than any previously discovered road and is the only paved road discovered in ancient Egypt

and this is how you show your apprecaition for moose knuckle in New Hampshire

Do you know why the Wright Bros. beat out all the competition in the race to taking the first flight? Action.

Robert Greene explains in Mastery that the Wright Bros. had a tight budget and were forced to make small, cheap tweaks to each model.

They would fly a plane, crash it, tweak it, and fly it again quickly. The corporations had budgets that allowed them to go back to the drawing board (i.e. abstraction) with each failure.

They spent a ton of money and time on each redesign. The Wright Bros. had a hundred test flights in the time it took these big corporations to complete a handful.

 Every test flight taught lessons – the one who failed fastest gathered the most information. 


this is what is called, a truck stop!

Mazda Miata is now celebrating 25 years of production

the 25th anniversary special will have 100 models made, and the engines are going to be specially built by hand for every bit of extra oomph they can add to it.

this is how you demonstrate an off road vehicles capabilities

one of the best jobs in the world, a car company "Product Excellence" position... just having fun and trying to improve the cars

"A position opened up at Mazda for something called “Product Excellence,” a sort of Ministry of Fun. It was perfect. So for the last 10-plus years, Coleman and a small squadron of Mazda Product Excellence compadres have worked to keep Mazdas fun."

Full story at Autoweek, May 26th 2014 issue, or  of the lifelong aspiration of a kid who at age 10 announced he wanted to work at Mazda R&D

Thursday, May 29, 2014

brilliant cop I came across this morning... he's not chasing violators, he's just letting them come to him

The cop just waited in the middle on the jammed up on ramp, and every stupid person with a cell phone to their ear, or their seat belt off were pointed off to the side, and then gave tickets. Zero effort, maximum effect. Why in the hell aren't more cops this smart? If you want to stop cell phones users, and seat belt scoffers.... hell, even cracked windshields, bald tires, and whatever the rest of the simple visual moving violations there are to see 

Packard's Torsion Level suspension... motorized torsion bar leveling

Even more impressive was 1955 engineering. Leading the list of features was Torsion-Level suspension, an interlinked torsion-bar arrangement Nance acquired from a clever inventor, Bill Allison.

 Operating on all four wheels, Torsion-Level was so impressive that Chrysler, which had planned to introduce torsion front suspension, put it off a year lest Packard claim its version was twice as good! A complicated electrical system allowed the suspension to correct for load and weight, and the interlinking of all four wheels provided truly extraordinary ride and handling, especially over very rough surfaces.

Handling the power was Packard's latest improvement on Ultramatic transmission, designed by engineer Forest McFarland and a young associate named John Z. DeLorean.

Basically, the entire car "floats" on four points, the front & rear opposite twist lever arms of two long (106" in Juniors, 111" in Seniors) torsion bars, one on each side. The major advantage of this arrangement is that any reaction at the wheel, such as hitting a bump or pothole, is transmitted to the opposite wheel (front or rear) and NOT the frame, greatly reducing twisting stress on the frame. Another positive effect to wheel reaction is that the opposite (front or rear) wheel reacts in the opposite direction, tending to keep the car dynamically level, in other words, very little pitch is experienced, if the shocks are in good condition.

Two additional short (46" in Juniors, 51" in Seniors) torsion bars connect the rear suspension with a levelizer mechanism. This electro-mechanical system, after a 7-10 second delay, applies more or less twist to the short torsion bars which lift or lower the rear. This keeps the car statically level, compensating for loaded weight such as additional passengers and/or luggage in the trunk.

They used starter motors

Richard Petty and his 1971 Dodge hauler

it's not surprising to see a Doc Hudson imitator at a car show.. and this one was well done at the LaJolla Concours

funny... reminder, don't piss off truckers

cool rig! Called "Danger" by the creators at AA Stainless in Miami-Opa Locka Fla

I say thanks to Mark for sending me the link to the 2nd and 3rd photos, and the info as to who made it

Inspired by the "High Line" garden park in New York, a landscape gardener wants to adapt an abandoned track in Philadelphia

Westbound on the Eastbound shoulder of I 40 in Arkansas, near the Lonoke exit

Found on

good t shirt idea

I just came across a hilarious Facebook page with mechanic humor, I'm shocked I haven't seen more like this

in the above, someone used a ground wire brass split bolt to connect the positive to another cable... and that brass fitting is going to short that battery straight to ground in 3, 2, 1...

Enjoy the mechanic humor at Mechanic Nation Facebook page send them a like, let them know ya love it

It's a mad mad mad mad world, a German "artiste" bought 50 cars made in 1950, put them around his property to watch them decay

Michael Fröhlich is a former fashion designer, racer, philosopher and artist as well as a unique classic car dealer and expert restorer.

Yet he drives around Düsseldorf in a charred Rolls Royce that was all but incinerated when his dealership burnt down in 2005. He has written several reference books and traveled the world searching for rare automobiles and tracking down lost collections.

But in his backyard, he concieved a Auto Skulpturen Park, a museum/ sculpture park of sorts in the Neander Valley near Mettmann, Germany. Surrounded by a security fence in the wooded hillside next to Fröhlich’s house, fifty classic cars were parked here when the car enthusiast turned 50 in the year 2000. They were all made the same year he was born

Full gallery at, and these photos from

Learned about this from the May 26th 2014 issue of Autoweek magazine

Bigger gallery at
also a good article at