Friday, September 12, 2014

crowd funding a train restoration

In 1903 the North Eastern Railway developed a train that challenged steam, and is the forerunner of modern trains.They are engineering to make it environmentally friendly in terms of economy, emissions and noise thanks to a new Cummins engine that has been adapted to run the old motors.

 Called the ‘autocar’ it was powered by a petrol engine supplying electricity to electric motors. In 1930 it was withdrawn from service and the body became a holiday home in Yorkshire. Rescued ten years ago, restoration is well underway thanks to the support of Heritage Lottery Fund and other grants.

Found on  and

Cyclemos Museum in Red Boiling Springs Tennessee

the Openometer

image from

Found in a 2009 Mini Cooper, a gauge that tells you how long the convertible is down vs up.

Why would you need this? You don't, but Mini likes doing funny stuff like that.

Somedays... you have to wonder how unsafe roads are, when you have to wake up people in the morning commute

an artist of yarn, Olek, yarnbombed a locomotive

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Get ready for a shocking cool story... 2 AMC Spirits raced the 1979 24 hours of Nürburgring with two Penske prepared Eagle Spirits in 1979

And they didn’t just race. They finished 1-2 in class, but there’s a lot more to the story. The drivers — which included IndyCar racer Lyn St. James and James Brolin — came to Nürburgring without ever having driven the track. So, they recruited a local to show them around the place. This local turned out to be a WWII veteran named Heinz who lost his right arm while serving as the captain in a Panzer tank.

Skip the first minute

Found on

Not that you care about Pacers... but this is pretty odd

The passenger side door was 4 inches longer than the drivers side.  Made getting in and out of the back seat a bit easier.. but why not make the divers side door the same length?

Found on

The record AMC broke, that you never heard of

The formation of the American Motors Corporation was the result of the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company, which at the time was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

The merger yielded a net worth of over $150 million, back when being a millionaire meant something.

collectors of cool cars sure did find unobtainium within this barn

1969 Huffy catalog

Found on

Man, the designers and marketing dept were nuts.

a one in a billion chance of surviving

Thanks Flavio!

The Nautilus Submarine Art Car

a collaboration between 5 Ton Crane, Christopher Bently, and Sean Orlando

Built from an airport tow tractor, a 2005 Eagle TT8 diesel AWD, it is 25 ft long, 100" wide, and 11,000 pounds

The Nautilus comes fully equipped with:
Harpoon gun water cannon (13 gallons per minute)
Hydraulic drive controls
GPS navigation
Pro-audio ipad/ ipod/ iphone interface controls
LED RGB programmable lighting system
Navigation room
Night vision periscope
Poop deck with custom shade canopy
Air conditioning

images from  and

bottom image from

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Johnson's Flying Service (if you've watched Planes 2, you might like to read this) invented the Smoke Jumpers in 1940

photo by Michael Gallacher of the Missoulian newspaper

The proud museum's newest addition, a retrofitted, single-engine World War II torpedo bomber, is one that pilots flew and mechanics got in the air and kept there for Johnson Flying Service in the 1960s and '70s.

 The  aircraft that was one of six Grumman TBM Avengers closed out of the Missoula-based flying service in 1974 and sold to Forest Protection Limited in New Brunswick, and spent most of the last four decades spraying Canadian forests for bugs and dropping retardant on forest fires. A-13 first came to Johnson's in 1964 as a replacement slurry bomber

in the movies Planes and Planes 2, Skipper is a Corsair... not an Avenger, but similar in that they were both warbirds... and I find it cool that they used Avengers as fire patrol airplanes

1917 - At the age of 24, Missoula resident Bob Johnson enlists in the army and is sent to Camp Lewis, Washington. Johnson is discharged less than a year later. Johnson goes into business for himself, opening an automotive service station

1920's 1923 - Missoula’s first landing strip is laid out in May. The field is located near the base of Mount Sentinel, roughly between what is now the University of Montana and South Avenue 1926 - Bob Johnson purchases a Swallow bi-plane for $2500 and continues his flying lessons with instructor Nick Mamer, believed to be the first pilot to ever fly over Glacier National Park. Bob Johnson decides to start Johnson Flying Service to teach others how to fly

 1927 - Bob Johnson, in an interview with a University of Montana journalism student, says he believes airplanes will eventually make regular stops in Missoula. Decades later, that same journalism student, who thought Johnson was crazy for making such an incredible statement, would eventually fly out of Missoula International Airport aboard a large passenger airliner; a group of men meet at the Palace Hotel to discuss Missoula's future in aviation. Missoula, it was felt, needed an airport to succeed. City businessman Harry O. Bell was elected president of the Missoula chapter of the National Aeronautic Association. Their first act was to secure an airmail route to Butte and Salt Lake City; Walter Beck secures a 60-day option on eighty acres of land just east of the Missoula County Fairgrounds. The County officially purchases the 80 acres of land, as well as an adjacent strip to construct an east-west runway. Total cost was $5000. A northwest-southeast runway was later built.

1934 - Northwest Airways inaugurates regular mail and passenger service to Missoula at the Garden City Airport

1938 - President Roosevelt authorizes W.P.A. funds for the construction of Missoula’s third airport. The Missoula County Airport Board purchases 1300 acres of land seven miles west of Missoula adjacent to Highway 10 West as the site for a new airport. Since the Forest Service needed access to an airport, and Missoula County needed heavy equipment to build the new airport, a deal was struck between the two parties. The airport board gave the Forest Service a perpetual easement at the airport site, while the Forest Service granted the use of their equipment for construction. The agreement eventually led to Missoula becoming a major center for aerial firefighting and research. The new airport would feature four runways each a mile or more in length, capable of accommodating any airplane in service at the time. Total estimated cost, including the land, for the new Missoula County Airport: $1.5-$2 million

1940 - July 12, Rufus Robinson and Earl Cooley become the first firefighters to parachute from a Johnson Flying Service airplane to extinguish a fire in the Pacific Northwest Region. On that day, the legendary Smokejumper program was born

1952 - Congress authorizes $700,000 to construct a new aerial fire depot west of Missoula near the new airport; Red Skies of Montana is released in theaters. The film portrays the dangerous lives of Smokejumpers who battle fires in the Pacific Northwest by parachuting into the flames below

1980 - Bob Johnson passes away. "When Bob Johnson was just getting started flying in 1923, aviation and airplanes were considered absolutely a thing for fools, daredevils and irresponsible playboys," said aviation historian Steve Smith of Missoula, whose book Fly the Biggest Piece Back chronicles the history of Johnson Flying Service. Johnson had accumulated over 17,000 hours during his flying career

Info from

A good thing to read is "What it means to be a Smoke Jumper" from the only survivor of the 1949 disaster.

One of the first aerial fire patrol pilots in the northwest was Nick Mamer, a legendary pilot, who had served with the U.S. Air Service during WW I, and later settled in Spokane, establishing the Mamer Flying Service. He taught Bob Johnson of the Johnson Flying Service of Missoula how to fly.

During the time that he flew aerial fire patrols he never experienced a forced landing.  During the period 1925-1935 Forest Inspector Howard R. Flint and Nick Mamer were inseparably connected with the pioneering of aerial activities in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region. Then while flying as a chief pilot for Northwest Airlines on a Lockheed Super Electra during a flight from Seattle to Minneapolis, parts of the tail section were torn from the aircraft about 15 miles northeast of Bozeman, Montana and the plane went into a dive.

Mamer, the copilot and eight passengers died instantly. Later, an investigation revealed that the tail structure had failed on the new design from what is known as "natural resonance, or period of vibration". So ended the life of one of the very first aerial fire patrol pilots in the northwest, a pilot who at one time was known as "Mr. Spokane Aviation".

Maiden Detroit... clever name, with an interesting and notable story

See, they were racing boats before they were making airplanes, and with the customary way of calling ships and planes in the female vernacular, but having to come up with a new way of doing that since Gar Wood had already named his racing boat Miss Detroit, it was only possible to call the Stout Metal Aeroplane Co airplane with a Liberty Engine airplanes "Maiden" as it was a clever pun for the city it was manufactured in as well as a female term.

Photo and info from

A good story about the pioneers of airplanes involving the Maiden Detroit:
 It was a great day when we first took the plane out to Selfridge for its trial flights. The new field al Ford's was not ready yet. It was early spring and ice was still on the lake. Walter Lees was the test pilot. He took off against a light wind and headed out across the lake. Then, something happened. A couple of dips and down he came, landing on the ice which was fortunately thick enough to hold.
     It took us ten minutes to run out to where the ship stood on the ice and find what was the matter. Walter was furious.
     The windshield had blown in against his control wheel and he had to push the celluloid back in place with his foot before he could free the controls to land. Windshields, from then on, were made much stronger.
     A few days later he took off again---this time over land.
     Frost in the carburetor brought him down once more---in a swamp! All was safe, but the ship had to be taken apart to get it out on dry land again.

Ford later bought the Stout Metal Aeroplane company, and evolved the above into Tri Motor airplanes

Johnson's Ranch and trading post on the Rio Grande, from 1929 to 1940, also had a small landing strip

The Johnson Ranch airfield was the first permanent installation by the Air Corps in the lower Big Bend. It was distinct from other airfields in the area in that it was neither an auxiliary nor emergency field. It was established solely due to its strategic location, where combat troops and aircraft could be deployed in case of a border emergency. It was also unique in that the ranch house became the airfield headquarters, and Elmo Johnson—with neither rank or authority—provided a quaint civilian dominance over the field's operations.

The closure of the Johnson's Ranch airfield ended an era of military aviation. The era of the members of the “order of the white scarf”—those who built America’s aerial armada, trained the pilots, and led them to victory in World War II—was forever past. The jet age Air Force that followed bore scant resemblance to the Army Air Corps that established Johnson's Ranch.

photo and info from

the airplane is a DeHaviland, and was the first to land at the Johnson's

I've mentioned it before, but here's a photo of the best way to treat yourself, put a piece of foam between your car seat and the console

cool movie, and they drive a 1970 Challenger.

Active lane control, and cruise control, when used together... seem to do all the driving for this Infiniti owner

For the record, this isn't the stupidest thing I've posted that you should not try

Continuation Jaguars... to finally fill in the 6 serial numbers set aside in 1963 that cars were never made for

Six will be built, each assigned a chassis number from the 1963 run “Special GT E-Type” project. Eighteen were scheduled, only 12 were built.

Like the original, the throwback Jag gets an aluminum body shell, doors, trunk lid, hardtop and hood. It also houses a classic 3.8-liter aluminum-block inline-six making 340 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and a four-speed close-ratio transmission.

John Edwards, managing director, Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations. “To be able to complete the intended production run of 18, some 50 years after the last Lightweight was completed, was an opportunity we couldn't miss."

The Lightweights will be sold as competition vehicles suited for FIA homologation for historic races.

"Operating from a brand new workshop -- now open for the restoration and servicing of customer cars -- the building of six new, meticulously crafted Lightweight E-Type period competition cars by Jaguar Heritage is testament to the unique skills within the team,” said Derek Weale, director of Jaguar Heritage. “To know those same skills can also be utilized to the benefit of existing classic Jaguar owners means this is a very exciting time for Jaguar Heritage."

Jaguar says that even though there have been great advances in aluminum since the ’60s, it chose to use old methods to build the car so it would conform to the FIA requirements for historic racing. The outer surface of an original was scanned, and the information was transferred to the design department for tooling.

Photos from info from

Charger Hellcat and Challenger Hellcat

If the Charger Hellcat goes on sale as promised in the 1st 1/4 of 2015, it will be the most powerful sedan for sale on the market. Stomping BMW (540hp) Mercedes E63 AMG (550hp)

Zero to 60 = 3.7 seconds.

Source, Autoweek Sept 1st issue 2014

Of all the powerful cars available for purchase in the USA, the Hellcat Challenger is #2, just a bit more than #3 Lamborghini Aventador and just a bit less than #1 Ferrari F12

Coolest thing you'll see this week, and want all month

Ballsy, stupid, or fun?

Making some money on the return trip... why not?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Ferrari stuck it's PR foot in it's mouth, all over the internet... when they gave some celeb a cease a desist about the vinyl wrap on his 458... and Nissan jumped on the opportunity to exploit the free publicity machine, and punk Ferrari at the same time

Nissan has taken an opportunity to punk Ferrari by wrapping a GT-R for Ddeadmau5, who recently created one of the most iconic Ferrari 458s in the world by wrapping it in Nyan Cat colours and then was hit with a cease and desist letter from Ferrari lawyers, after his 'Purrari' 458 -- wrapped in a Nyan Cat theme -- was run in the Gumball 3000... at least, somewhat. He was banned from driving in France, literally escorted into a police van and driven to the border.

Allegedly, Ferrari wasn’t too happy with the house artist’s rainbow-pooping image choices, and sent the musician a cease and desist letter. Ferrari’s official claim was that the ‘Purrari’s’ bespoke nameplates weren’t appropriate trademarks. 

 "Yeah it was mostly about the custom floor matts and the custom purrari badges," he noted in a Twitter post. “I wonder if the jackass lawyer at @FerrariUSA who sent us a “cease and desist” letter over the purrari is un-butthurt now that I unwrapped. Whatever. It's just a normal ass 458 now. All good."

 Seeing an opportunity in the controversy, Nissan posted a picture of a GT-R featuring a similar wrap inspired by the Nyan Cat meme. "Hey @deadmau5, heard what happened to your car," the company quipped. "Good news? We found a replacement, ready right meow." From

It's not what you can do, or have made, not always.... sometimes it's taking an available opportunity to one up the pretentious over priced competition who has made an ass of themselves

image from


update Sept 11th, the Ferrari got sold and he bought a McClaren 650

Can you believe a Ferrari never won Best Of Show at Pebble Beach before? True

Until 2014, a post war car hadn't even won best of show in the past 55 years.

This is the 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe of Jon Shirley, who won best of show in 2008, and he was once president of Microsoft, and remained on the board of directors until 2008. This Ferrari was designed by Sergio Scaglietti for Roberto Rossellini who comissioned it for his wife, Ingrid Bergman. It’s one of only five roadgoing versions of this racer, and was the first passenger Ferrari to be bodied by Scgalietti.

Info and image found in Sept 1st 2014 issue of Auto Week magazine, photo by Kimball Studios, courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours, and

Monday, September 08, 2014

Dream Garage sweepstakes for $100 thou

you don't have to subscribe to enter.

$100,000 WINDFALL FUND SWEEPSTAKES: Beginning February 1, 2014 at 12:01 AM (ET) through January 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM (ET), go to and complete and submit the entry form pursuant to the on-screen instructions. Winner Selection: Winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received on or about March 1, 2016

 Limit one (1) entry per person and per e-mail address per day per unique brand presentation for the $100,000 WINDFALL FUND (referred to as the “Promotion”) regardless of method of entry.

Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia ages 13 years or older at the time of entry. 

those are the parts I think matter... the entire rules legal mumbo jumbo are at$100k_Windfall-Fund-Sweeps_OfficialRules_CDB.htm

Hellcat 6.2 liter engine vs 6.4 liter hemi

The 6.4 has 10.9 to 1 compression, (390 cu in)
the Hellcat has 9.5:1 compression and 11.6 psi supercharging (376 cu in)

a 426 cu in is 6.9 liters and I believe a 440 is 7.2

the new Line Lock, is an app in the 2015 Mustang GT

Car and Driver magazine did an article on "Model-Year Advances" and reports that the Track Apps menu has a Line Lock.

Each Mustang also has a warranty voided by racing. So... I bet they can just look at the recorded data in the car's computer and see what blew up the motor. 

Car and Driver magazine puts out great infographics every month

Ford’s F-series was, as usual, the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. in 2013. If Alan Mulally had received his compensation package in F-150s, it would have required a couple of haulers a week to drop off all 885 at his doorstep. Here are our CEOs’ pay expressed in number of their bestselling vehicles.

Most entry-level hourly employees at automobile-manufacturing facilities in the United States make about $16 per hour, not including benefits. Assuming those workers have a basic year of fifty 40-hour weeks, Mulally made as much as 725 factory workers.

The median household income in the U.S. is $43,585, according to the latest data from Gallup. In 2013, TRW’s CEO John Plant made that much in about 21 hours. Over the course of the year, he made 409 times the median American household income.

VW cars named for winds

the Golf, Passat, Scirocco, Bora, Vento, and Eos

from comments in the Car and Driver Sept issue

the Switch Pitch Super Turbine 300 and 400

The vanes in the torque converter are adjustable with the flip of a 12volt switch.

These have a special fluid pump, input shaft and torque converter. When the trans is in "normal", low stall mode, the pump and vanes work like a typical, stock converter with a 1800rpm stall. When 12 volts is applied to the pumps servo, some of the fluid is redirected through a hole in the center of the trans input shaft, into the converter. The vanes in the torque converter are mounted on pivots with a cam type level attached to each vane. The fluid acts with another servo in the converter to change the pitch of the vanes, increasing the stall speed to 2200rpm. You basically have a converter with a street stall or a race stall,with the flip of a switch!

A variable-pitch stator transmission called Switch-Pitch by Buick and Variable Vane by Olds. 1964-1967. The stator blades moved from high to low position by an electrical solenoid and a stator valve, controlled by a switch on the throttle linkage. At light to medium throttle, the stator blades were at 32°, providing a torque multiplication of 1.8:1 and a converter stall speed of approximately 1800 rpm. At ⅔ to full throttle, the blades switched to the 51° high position, giving torque multiplication of 2.45:1 and a stall speed of approximately 2300 rpm. The blades were also set to the high position at idle to limit creep when stopped in Drive. The variable-pitch stator was eliminated after 1967.

the 400 was made from 1965 -67.

1969 Camaro option code W84: Additional Fuel

because the far export destinations of the Camaros might not have good fuel, they could be sent with a full tank.

For a full list of the Camaro Option Codes:

I learned about it in an article in Muscle Car Review Sept 2014 featuring Anthony Serpa's 1969 Camaro... which is only online at

You'll never see a safer landing from a top fuel bike...

1931 engine location prototype and unusual bracing from front wings to rear aileron

who needs a ramp for moving your race car when you have a logging truck?

Yeah, this is in Michigan

Photos found on

believe it or not, someone sent me this photo in order to sell their speedometer

What do you make of that? It's a gauge, but why send a photo that can't be understood as it's so out of focus?

Red Bull Global Rally Cross coming to LA Friday Sept 19th

The Red Bull Global Rallycross series comes to Los Angeles for a special double event that will have huge championship implications. After a big win by Rhys Millen at Daytona International Speedway in late August and only four events remaining, the title is up for grabs.

A J Foyt signature riding lawnmower by Bolens

In 1987, ten years after A.J. Foyt won his 4th Indy 500, and 20 years after winning his 3rd race, Bolens unveiled a Limited edition Signature Series Lawn Tractor.

 Randy’s Lawn Mower Repair in Greenfield Indiana, in 2010 tried selling one that had never been used, mint condition.

Who knew people held onto riding lawnmowers for 23 years to try to make a profit on them?

Photo and info due to the incredible lawn mower knowledge of Jay! Photo from