Saturday, June 25, 2016

everything was looking great for the kids, and then the insurance company said, oh hell no, no fun will happen here

Jerry MacLean began building the track in Glen Valley a few weeks ago for some boys who had asked him for a place to ride. He had the boys helping him, those that wanted a place to ride their dirt bikes, and he built it with plenty of tight turns so the kids couldn't build up much speed, and he set up a couple rules for additional safety. No riding shoulder to shoulder, just one at a time, and only after getting their parents consent in writing.

Parents signed consent forms, and the track had barely opened before MacLean hit a road block.

He was told this insurance company, PEI Mutual, couldn't offer him a policy for the route. He said they told him if he went with another company, his house insurance would have to be cancelled.

charging the corners hard, the guy who lifts first loses!

1961 tour de France publicity caravan at Strasbourg-Belfort

Friday, June 24, 2016

Best did an article on the worst rims of the past couple decades, some I have to agree with, others (the VW Daisy) are fine but limited to only being right for one car

Horrible, or maybe just so overused in the 90s, I hope I never see another one of thses

Seriously? I think I just vomitted a little bit

These and a thousand other pimptastic rims are atrocious

then there is the cheap lousy rip offs of the Ansen Sprint. God no, crush them all, now

but the white wagon wheel or American Racing and all the rip offs, can be justified on any 60's or 70s Jeep. Somehow,  it's just right on a Jeep, as long as the tires are huge.

and as long as it stays on a new VW beetle, the daisy is just fine.

and Mario remembered Jeremy Clarkson's rims

1/2 scale Peterbilt cab-over made by Pacific Intermountain Express

Steve noticed this little Mighty Mite in the video I posted today

This was the second incarnation of a Peterbilt-built vehicle that started off as a 1/2 scale 1947 Model 344 was actually built by PIE to honor Peterbilts' contribution to PIE, as the majority of PIE trucks at the time were Petes.

The 47 was built in the PIE shop in Salt Lake City and served as am ambassador for PIE and Peterebilt until the early 50's. In 1952, the 47 Conventional was put up for sale by PIE, fortunately there were no takers so PIE had Peterbilt make modifications to the 47 Conventional. Peterbilt lengthened the chassis keeping the original drive train, built a 1/2 scale Peterbilt 350 and added a drom unit to represent the current PIE configuration of truck and trailer. Latter, this same truck would go through another configuration with removal of the drom unit and lengthening of the cab by addition of a mock sleeper (this to give the driver of these small units more room).

The Mighty Mite is a half-scale model of the standard twin trailer linehaul truck used by Southeastern Freight Lines. It was custom built in 1965 to tour the US in the promotion of highway safety. The Mighty Mite is the second of two units built by Peterbilt. The first miniature truck was built in 1947 and is currently owned by Allen Koenig, President and CEO of Midwest Specialized Transportation.

The tractor and two trailers of the Mighty Mite are 32 feet, 6 inches long, 4 feet wide, and 6 feet 6.5 inches high. The unit is fitted with a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine with a top speed of 60 mph. Ninety-five percent of the Mighty Mite’s parts are exactly half scale and must be handmade, therefore costing twice as much as a standard SEFL rig. The two trailers combined have one-eighth the volume of a standard set of twins. Each of the two trailers can carry 5,000 lbs.

Navy Crash Truck USN 274996 as a 1954 Walter-Maxim

hot rod, half suede and chrome, Rolls Royce

some vehicles in the new Fast and Furious have had images released

The story will primarily take place in New York, with production set for the Big Apple, Atlanta and Russia. The crew has already shot in Cuba and Iceland.

have you heard of the new movie, Monster Trucks?

Steam powered machine shop from the 1900s, still in operation

Digital magazine I just learned of

WHOA! Stolen! The mod top Hemi Cuda of Steve Juliano, the only mod top Hemi Cuda, and worth 1.4 million bucks

Last featured in 2014 in Muscle Car Review, it was just this April when it was due to get loaded up and moved from the mansion in Pelham Manor (just North of the Bronx, between the golf courses and the country club) to the collection in Los Angeles, when the security company sent the alarm to Juliano.

Juliano owned Manhattan nightclubs and his father ran the Copacabana in Times Square. His collection of Mopar stuff is unmatched in the world. See the inside of his personal museum here:

Wheels of Progress, cool old 50's movie you probably saw in grade school on a reel to reel projector

the meager start of improved highways. Above, you can see that the Lincoln highway seems to go from Boston to San Francisco. That wasn't planned until 1913, and not accomplished until around 1916

20 years later

 and 20 after that.

In just 40 years roads were thoroughly accessed throughout the USA. This is before the Eisenhower Interstate System

the American Truck Historical Society’s 2016 National Convention and Truck Show was a month ago (I just found out too late)

Founded in 1971, the American Truck Historical Society aims to preserve the history of trucks, the trucking industry and its pioneers. The Kansas City-based nonprofit has over 20,000 members worldwide.

The show location changes each year, last year in Pennsylvania, this year in Oregon

They alternate between the East, West, and Central regions of the United States - this year in Salem, OR (West), next year in Des Moines, IA (Central) and in 2018 Louisville, KY (East). They won't be back out West again until 2019, when it will be held in Reno, NV.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow, by Steve Lehto. A book review

I can't remember the last time I wanted to read about a court case, and I probably can't express just how interesting this one is, but since the basics are already well known... you can probably understand how much more interesting this story is because you're already curious about the machinations of the govt and the mysterious force driving the govt agents to demonize and destroy Preston Tucker's car company. 

We already know the general facts, that they succeeded, and that he never made another attempt to make a car company. But, just like a magic act, you're shocked enough that something extraordinary happened, right in front of you, and you now want to know the secret of how.
I did. And honestly, once I read to the middle of the book where the case was thoroughly written up, it was past my ability to stop reading for the night and get some sleep. Yep, I was hooked. 

The author my not have your focused attention when he does chapters on Tucker's earlier life of selling cars, working with Harry Miller, and hanging around the Indy race track... but he knew how to fix my attention on the court drama. Wow, and how. 

214 pages, and a photo section of 24 more pages with pictures that are a necessity to the story. 
34 pages of notes on the sources of things and items called out in the book, like websites, books, posters, etc. And a bibliography. Well documented!

Some of the pages are available to read as a preview on Amazon

But, the amount of info in this book... is staggering. I've read documentaries before, and though they are all just stating the facts, I think this time it's more meaningful as it's putting the context of the struggle to create a company, and a car, and at the same time, battle for money, publicity, and against the mighty force that caused a nation wide scandal affecting every hopeful prospective buyer, dealer, and parts supplier that would be needed to launch a new car company, and give an incredibly innovative car the push to poke an eye in the big 3 car companies who had new nothing to offer the war weary Americans and vets who had to replace their 5, or more, year old cars. 

Page 29 of the book says that 10 million new cars were ready to be ordered by owners tired of the car they'd had since before the war, and that 1/3 rd of the cars on the road were hardly worth more than scrap metal, only on the road due to no new cars to replace them with. 

Now think about that a moment. Have you kept a car for more than 5 years? You know how they are starting to get run down after 4 or 5 years... right? But now consider that the cars that needed replacing were, at best, 1941 models. Most were older. If you hadn't bought a new car in the few years right before they stopped building cars in Detroit, you were most likely really fed up with a run down 6 or 7 year old car by the time the war was over and they were getting ready to make new cars again. 

But, here's the thing. Ford, GM, and Chrysler weren't really going to make a lot of effort to design new cars, they were going to jump in where the left off, and quickly get back to building what was already a known quantity. They had nothing to do as far as logistics and supply to get back to making and selling cars. They went back to making 1941 and 42 designs.

But not Preston Tucker! He was starting from scratch, and not following in the old ways. He didn't have books and file cabinets full of blue prints, warehouses full of parts, and an assembly line ready with dies to form sheet metal. He only had a lot of experienced people working for him, and to accomplish the same goal, make a car that would knock the socks off the buyers in America. Trunk up front, away from the filthy exhaust pipes that would get soot and grim on the slacks, or dresses, of the driver getting things like groceries out of the trunk. His safety window would pop out, and not shatter, so the passengers could climb out if flipped over, and without glass shards.

Rear wheel drive without a transmission, so there were fewer parts to break, and a smoother acceleration. Front and back seat that were interchangeable so they were cheaper from a production point of view, and from an owners point of view they could be switched when the front started to show wear from more use than the unused back seat. For without kids and carpool passengers, those back seats don't get used much, not like the drivers seat does. 

People were so excited to see the new Tucker car, they paid 48 cents admission, and after the 10 day event in New York, about $48,000 was raised to add to the funds to build more Tucker Torpedos.

The author, Steve Lehto, knows cars, and courts. He's written 9 other books already, several are award winning history books on topics as diverse as the Italian Hall disaster, the wrongful conviction of Timothy Masters, and the Chrysler Turbine Car.

 He has been practicing Lemon Law and Consumer Protection for 23 years. He has handled cases for thousands of consumers. He wrote the Lemon Law Bible and taught at the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law for ten years. He also frequently writes for "Opposite Lock" on Jalopnik (yeah, they didn't tell me I'd be helping the competition!) is his facebook page
and  for 89 podcasts about lemon law, and many other buyer beware topics, like cloned VINs. Seriously, I've never seen a better source for educational automotive related topics... it's what they should have taught us in drivers ed. 

His website has lots of info about car law, like: the Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to pay your attorney’s fees and court costs on your behalf. That means: If you have a good case you will never have to pay attorney’s fees to enforce your rights under the Lemon Law. 

to read a far more succinct review by the pros at Road and Track:

for a gallery of the 3 Tuckers at the 2014 Palos Verdes Concours  

Coyote vs Road Runner Superbird

and then there is the idiot in the Camaro doing donuts in the ocean, who will soon learn what rust is

let's hear it for the UPS man!

Driver Sheldon Bonnell was making his daily trip between Idaho Falls and Jackson Hole, Wyoming on May 20 around 2 a.m. when he noticed what he thought was a brush fire about two and a half miles away. When he got closer, Bonnell realized that it was a structure fire.

Bonnell pulled over, then ran to the fence, yelling to try to wake the homeowners. The woman inside the home, Michelle Evans, was awakened by her dogs barking at Bonnell. She looked out the window and saw Bonnell trying to push her gate open. When she opened the window to ask what he was doing, he yelled back that her garage was on fire and she had to get out of her home.

wow, someone finally made a rooftop VW gooseneck trailer attachment, after all these years, it's the only one not in that 70s commercial I've ever seen

Rock bouncers vs rail buggies, run up a cliff, catch some air, have a good time

Pretty cool idea for a commercial Toyota. Is this more convincing than the next post, to decide which truck to buy? They are both mighty good commercials

wow... Nissan knows how to MARKET a truck

WHOA! Magnesium transfer case in a Jeep Liberty reacts violently when hit with the firehose (1:10 minute mark)... are firefighters warned about this?

new character in the upcoming Transformer movie looks to be a merch move to get kids to buy Transformers toys again, after the success of the Star Wars BB1 robot

Other things about the new Top Gear I just learned

The shouty guy, Chris Evans, only works 4 hours a day on Top Gear. He still works his primary job, as a morning radio DJ

Evans is getting paid a lot to host Top Gear, his three-year contract is reportedly for $4.27 million  – to work just 20 hours a week.

Once the final cast came together, things actually got worse instead of better. The original air date of May 8 was pushed back to May 22 to give them an extra two weeks. That wasn’t enough.

Plans for 16 episodes aired in two eight-episode seasons were shuffled. Instead, the first season will include only six episodes with no clear statement on how the second season will play out.

'Leave It to Beaver' actor who played Wally was just reunited with his 1st car, a '62 Corvair he bought when 16. The man he sold it to 50 years ago died and left instructions to return the car to the former actor.

The Corvair in question was Dow’s first car, purchased during the show’s original run. He drove the car for four years, until soon after the show ended. At that point, he sold the car to Alan Dadisman, who built props for Universal.

More than 50 years passed without a word about the car’s whereabouts, until the phone rang recently. “[H]e and his wife, Lauren, received a call recently from a stranger who identified himself as Marty Tryon,” reads a piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The caller…explained that a dear friend had recently passed away and had asked Marty to track down Dow, the Spyder’s former owner, and give him the Corvair. Dadisman thought the actor might like to have his first car back.”

Dow remembered that it was Alan Dadisman’s first car, too. “Who keeps a car for 51 years, then goes to the effort to try to find its former owner to give it back,” Dow asked.

“At first I thought this guy was kidding,” said Dow, who lives near Malibu. “Who keeps a car for 51 years, then goes to the effort to try to find its former owner to give it back? It was Al’s first car, too,” he added.

Not knowing in what kind of shape the Corvair would be, it hadn’t been moved for seven years , but had been restified in 1987 with blue lacquer paint, new wheels, an updated dash and and a beefed-up engine. “It was gorgeous,” said Dow.“I still can’t believe it.”

The Dows hired a tow truck driver to transport it to their home on a flatbed where Tony plans to be behind the wheel once again.

CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

after a 5 year restoration, this WW2 de Havilland Mosquito was in the air again, over New Zealand

Matching truck and trailer for a rat rod... they look great, and why does a rat rod need a dedicated trailer?

How used car salesmen earned that bad rep, one example: Great Buys Auto Sales in Lower Sackville, just up the 102 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, (that name alone is a red flag)

Somehow this kid outwitted his mom and convinced her to buy him this $26.5 thousand dollar Subaru WRX Sti.

So, proof enough that she's not too sharp... buying her kid a rocket like that? Not smart.

6 weeks after buying the car, it had a complete engine failure. Well, no shit. It wasn't being driven by a little ol lady to church and the drug store, not before it was sold used, and certainly not after this kid got the keys to it.

But that complete engine failure was what occurred that caused Sharon to get educated on the used car game.. and the scuzball that sold her the car, Darren Blumenthal.

See, the used car lot isn't in his name. Red flag #2! It's in his wife's.

He already has 4 court decisions against him, grand total of about $12,300. Red flag #3

He hasn't had a real job, he's just worked at used car lots. Red flag #4

Great Buys Auto Sales has an "F" rating at the Better Business Bureau of Atlantic Canada where there are five complaints against the business. Red flag #5!

Coincidence, another Subaru was sold at Great Buys Auto Sales, and one week after purchase the buyer was laid off from work, and because Darren had told the buy he'd buy it back for any reason, they took it back. And that is when, surprise- surprise, they found what a scuzball they were handing the car back to. He didn't pay off the loan, the car has disappeared say the cops, and the buyer is still stuck with the full cost of purchase to pay... but doesn't have the car.

How to show up for an interview at a radio station, in style. let 'em know you're coming!

there are still traditional sign painters out there