Saturday, June 18, 2016

the Grey Ghost Pontiac Tempest began life as the daily driver of the wife of Pontiac's special projects engineering manager, then it became a track monster that consistently nipped the heels of the newest SCCA cars, and best drivers

a fan favorite in the 1971 Trans Am series was the "Grey Ghost", a '64 Pontiac Tempest, prepared by Pontiac Special Projects Engineering Manager Herb Adams and a group of his young proteges (Tom Nell/Jeff Young-Engines, Joe Brady/Harry Quackenboss-Chassis, Ted Lambiris-Body, Tom Goad-Logistics).

The boxy six-year-old Tempest had once been Adams' wife's daily driver, with over 80,000 miles (130,000 km) on the odometer when it was turned into an A Sedan racer. It proved to be surprisingly fast, at a time when even a one-year-old car was considered out of step with the competition.

Using his own money, Herb Adams set about converting Mrs. Adams grocery getter into a competitive race car. Using a 389 destroked to a Trans-Am regulation friendly 303 cubic inches (producing a whopping 475hp), Adams and his skeleton crew added larger tires on the front, a few degrees negative camber on the rear to make the big Tempest hook up a little better in the corners, and a fresh coat of dull silver paint. To drive their beast, Adams convinced the hard charging Bob Tullius.

It was entered in the opening round of the 1971 Trans-Am Championship. Unable to qualify, the car was allowed to start from the back of the pack. With Bob Tullius behind the wheel, it mowed through the field, and was running second behind eventual winner Mark Donohue's factory-supported Penske Racing AMC Javelin when the engine expired.

Herb Adams:
We had gained a lot of knowledge especially about chassis development from the 70 SCCA season. They (Pontiac) would not give us any parts but at least by then we knew what to get. The car was a joke to them (the other race teams) until we were running in second place right up until the end, then we blew a head gasket. We were chasing down Donahue at the time. We did some things that they laughed at. Like, we ran big tires on the front because the car was nose heavy. It turned out that in the rain the car was really, really competitive. Bob Tulius was the driver. He had a lot of experience driving in the wet. So every time it rained we did really well. It was also competitive in the dry. We usually ran in the top five.

Doesn't this mean it was the seminal beginning of the Optima Street Car type of car? I believe so

there is even a book about it:

Friday, June 17, 2016

the American Graffiti cars

the Daytonas from the tv show Hunter

hauling a tank... in a truck

the 2016 Indy 500, one for the record book

It sold out. Seriously, the Indy 500 has never sold out before, but since it sold out completely, they allowed the local black out on tv broadcasting to be lifted for the first time since 1950

The Andretti team took 1st and 2nd. However... the famous racing family hasn't won an Indy 500 since Mario Andretti's 1969 win. Between Mario, Michael, Jeff and Marco, the Andrettis have only one one Indy 500 in 59 tries.

By the way, trivia time, the 1st, 50th and 100th winner of the Indy 500 have all been rookies.

This was the first Penske free podium of the season

things that make you go Hmmmmmm

a Ford, a Porsche, a Mercedes, and a Lamborghini are racing each other.... the Ford wins, but they aren't cars.

They are tractors.

Jack Donohue’s 96 Mile Per Hour 1952 8N Fordson.

Full post on this tractor at

Porsche diesel tractor


Lamborghini Nitro

Marc commented that this Lambo Nitro tractor was in Car and Driver test drive article -

Firestone really went all out on Indy 500 advertising

Firestone has been on the winning Indy 500 car more than all other tire makers combined, 67 of the 100 races.

the right front tire of an Indy car, at 220 mph, is rotating faster than a turbo prop propeller

Russian empire Allis Chalmers B6 tractor truck

tractor racers Ab Jenkins and Barney Oldfield, publicity men for Firestone tires and Allis Chalmers

It was in 1932 that Harvey Firestone, owner of Firestone Tire, had three Allis-Chalmers tractors built, not for their pulling power, but for speed. They were the first tractors to be fitted with rubber tires.

Firestone hired celebrity race drivers, including Jenkins and Barney Oldfield, one of the most famous of the early auto racers, to engage in tractor races at county fairs and agricultural events.

Famed race car drivers like Frank Brisko, Barney Oldfield, and Ab Jenkins performed in front of an estimated 1 million people during 1933 alone.

There were promotional field demos, pairing a Model U on steel against one on rubber. And to literally drive the point home a fleet of U’s equipped with a high-speed fourth gear raced at tracks across the country.

One of the tractors was on loan to the Ardell Brown Classic Car Center in Salt Lake City in 2004.

Firestone believed the high-speed tractors would be a way he could show farmers that his rubber tires were a technical marvel, not a gimmick.

The agriculture market was skeptical of the new rubber tires. Tractors, at the time, ran on metal rims.

Firestone hired celebrity race drivers, including Jenkins and Barney Oldfield, one of the most famous of the early auto racers, to engage in tractor races at county fairs and agricultural events.

Jenkins eventually took one of the tractors to Bonneville Salt Flats to set a land-speed record. In 1935, he drove the tractor at 68 miles per hour through a one-mile course. He later was given a belt bucket inscribed, "The World's Fastest Farmer."

Eldon Kearl, who facilitated the loan of the tractor, said his research shows the tractor was purchased by a farmer, who found that it had no power but could go fast. It was later purchased by an Ohio man, Randall Sheffied, who planned to use the tractor to plow fields. He, too, found the tractor had no pulling power but went much faster than he wanted. Research told him the tractor was not meant to plow fields but to race.

War, a New Era, and Depression, 1914-1940 By Paul W. Glad

In 1934, Firestone converted outdated steel tractor wheels to new Firestone pneumatic tires


because ... tire smoke!

K&N had a clever way to get the point across in this add

Sorry for the windshield reflection, but check out the combined C cove stripe and the hockey stripe... looks good on this Charger

I believe this license plate indicates it's a 2016... if you can figure it out differently, let me know

interesting grin on this street sweeper truck

Bent beak... maybe the result of lousy old brakes

Thursday, June 16, 2016

the camera car for Steve McQueen's movie Le Mans also won races at Spa and Monza

• Debut win at Spa 1967 with Jacky Ickx and Dr. Dick Thompson
• Extraordinary racing history; ex-David Hobbs, Brian Redman, Mike Hailwood, and Paul Hawkins
• The first win for the famed Gulf/Wyer Partnership
• Only Gulf team car to win both as a Mirage (’67 Spa) and a GT40 (’68 Monza)
• First of three lightweight production GT40s; one of two surviving

Mario Andretti, a quick bio

He was born in Italy and didn’t emigrate to the States — from a post-World War II refugee camp — until he was fifteen. A scrawny kid with no money, patron, or mechanical skills, he clawed his way up from small-town bullrings with dogged persistence, irrational bravery, and incomprehensible talent. How good was he? He was series champion in his second Indy-car season, qualified on the pole in his first F1 grand prix, and was still winning races when he was fifty-three.

letter to editor

Not impressed by Impala;

Robert Cumberford says, in his By Design review of the new Chevrolet Impala (October), that the car is "not original in any way." Note item number 10: "Bright side-trim pieces are ....protected by depth of the side indentation." In my half century of looking at cars, I've always seen the door trim as protecting the body of the car. Using the body to protect the trim seems original to me. Kinda dumb too.

Joe Baxter Fort Mill South Carolina

Ezra Dyer humorous writing

Chinese cars: All they need is better safety and handling and power and reliability and styling and ride quality and braking and comfort, and then they’ll be right there where Kia was in 1951. When it made bicycles.

love and hate for the Suzuki Kizashi from Automobile magazine

Suzuki is unlikely to develop a replacement for the Kizashi given how the current model was considered a flop in most markets. Suzuki’s Australian managing director Masaaki Kato is quoted in the report as saying that the Suzuki Kizashi was a “headache” and an “unlucky car,” especially considering the huge investment which was made to develop the car.

We nearly laughed out loud a year and a half ago when Suzuki reps spoke of the Kizashi as an Automobile of the Year contender. It turns out Suzuki had the last laugh. The Kizashi, although it did not earn an award at our annual All-Stars test, was easily the biggest surprise of the group for its impressive refinement and stunningly good driving dynamics.

The Suzuki Kizashi is a sleeper, not in performance, but in how much fun it offers.

Suzuki Kizashi: This car’s biggest problem is name recognition. Which is why Suzuki should appropriate one of its more famous badges for this worthy sedan. Kizashi, I rechristen thee “Suzuki Hayabusa Car.” Suzuki, I just gave you a license to print money.

the first cover car from Rod and Custom has been found... it was tucked away for decades in a barn, now it's been restored to glory, and repainted - by Gene Winfield

Black transfer tubes circulate water from heads to block, to save the weight of a radiator for quarter-mile racing.

Gene Winfield fabricated these very tubes in the 1940s. After Winfield painted the car in 2015, he said he had the original tubes hanging on the wall of his shop. Two weeks after the car was painted, "a big box showed up from Gene," Arnette said, "and there were those tubes, from 1953. Gene had kept them all these years and sent them to me."

Lew Thompson signed and gave Eric Arnette this Binks paint gun, which he used to paint his '32 in 1952. Incredibly, Thompson had not used the paint gun since that spray job, and dried green paint remained in the gun.

comparison - Fiat 500 and Mini, the first 20 months of sales

The Fiat sold 30% more cars than Mini did. 

the silver bullets

the Silver Arrows were the most spectacular, most sophisticated, and most visionary cars in motorsports history. The astonishing Auto Union Type A that debuted in 1934 featured an exotic V-16 engine mounted behind the driver, pioneering the template that is used to this day.

They were powered by the experimental and chemically exotic witch’s brew of methanol, nitromethane, and acetone  (In the interest of health, the nitrobenzene and sulfuric ether used in the 1930s are no longer permitted.)

By 1937, the sleek yet brutal Mercedes-Benz W125 was using a supercharged straight-eight engine that produced a mind-boggling 646 hp — or more than any Formula 1 car until the early 1980s.

The cars were driven to victories from New York to North Africa by the incomparable Bernd Rosemeyer, the indomitable Rudi Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, Hans Stuck, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Dick Seaman.

and the 2013 Goodwood Revival was the first time the Mercedes-Benzes and Auto Unions had faced off on a racetrack since 1939. To call the Revival the world’s best vintage race car event is to damn it with faint praise. For sheer entertainment value, the three-day extravaganza is arguably the most impressive motorsports spectacle on the planet.

2013 Silverado 2500.. expensive options

"...A moment of sticker shock in front of a Silverado 2500HD.

 I don’t scrutinize the truck’s equipment list, but I assume that with $29,130 worth of options, this pickup must have carbon-ceramic brakes and an ostrich-leather headliner."

Ezra Dyer  Automobile Magazine Feb 2013

Coincidentally, same issue and 26 pages later, the price of Bentley ceramic brakes are stated as $13,600.  16.5" on the front, 14" on the back. 

steering wheels, they used to be simple and good looking, of course that means they didn't have airbags and would injure the driver who didn't have a shoulder belt