Friday, March 03, 2017

Texas quail rigs... there are many variations on the basics, and they wound up in a book that captures them for posterity, a niche market of single use vehicles in a sport that is fading away as the baby boomers give up hunting

Cars, indelibly linked as they are to the development of American geography, take on an entirely different identity as quail rigs, post-car vehicles fashioned alike from American classics, German military trucks, or icons of global luxury.

The scope of a vanishing tradition and culture of quail hunting in Texas reaches far beyond the art of photography. Lokey traveled throughout Texas’s quail country to photograph and study the trucks, each one of the 120 plus rigs is different, and reflects the personality of its owner and builder.

 His project was an opportunity to ensure a place in history for a tradition that has gone on for decades and is ever changing as the quail population and hunters grow less each year. The photographs are as much a tribute to the unique rigs and their owners as it is to an era of tradition.

The Texas Quail Rigs are as much a tradition to gentlemen hunters as the hunt itself. Today the generation of the gentlemen hunters and their rigs are slowly dying. With the lessening of the numbers of quail, the expense of leases and guides, and the aging of a generation of traditional gentlemen hunters, there is little doubt that it is a tradition that is slowly disappearing and needed to be documented for history.


For my post on Georgia mule drawn quail hunting wagons:

the Galesville limited

In the fall of 1949, they bought a 1938 Ford school bus in Little Chute, Wisconsin for $255.

It grew five feet longer in front with a homemade auxiliary coil spring suspension.

A 1938 Ford coupe was cut down the middle and a center section from another 2-door was spliced in to widen the over-engine cab to eight feet. Tgen they worked on the structural steel fabrication and the closets and other woodwork.

 A new Chevrolet cab-over truck front hood was rebuilt to the same proportions as the Northwestern 400 diesel train engine.

When the family had grown, the Galesville Limited needed to be expanded again. This time the bus was extended five feet to the rear. Then a new Buick complete with Dynaflo transmission for about $500. This was installed in back of a Ford truck rear axle modified to run backwards.

The extra five feet gave them room for a full double bed, a crib for the youngest, additional closets and a washer and dryer as well as air conditioning. Then they were ready to finish their honeymoon trip to Washington D.C. in 1952, 16 years and seven children later.

They tried to visit state capitols along the way, towing a Jeep behind, but Indiana had a 40-foot length limit, so they had to disconnect and drive it separately. The Limited was 33 feet and, with the hitch and Jeep, it totaled 45 feet.

Having dual engines and transmissions caused problems now and then, and that was the downfall of the Limited. In '56 it was parked on the family farm and the boys used it as a bunkhouse

Full story at

good old fashioned midwest lawn art, like grandma used to make

they had some extremely odd ideas of what a sports car for the ranch ought to look like. 6 rifle sheaths? Seriously? I present, El Kineño

that Daktari front fender shooters seat is ridiculous, and a Buick Eight with a fold down windshield?

By George, they actually made one!

The first car to bear the King Ranch name (now an Ford truck high dollar trim level package) was a heavily modified 1946 Ford that sat on a lifted suspension, and could extricate itself with a P.T.O.-driven winch. Spare wheels hung off the back, and the fenders featured game forks and a gun well. It looked pretty much like what it was, though: A home-built attempt at building an SUV.

So, why was a Buick named after one ranch in Texas? The owner was a 7 term congressman, with connections that included Harley Earl, the ranch is bigger than Rhode Island, and it's the biggest ranch in Texas. Yeah, that is mighty big. It's in 6 counties.

A ranch is a piece of land in Texas that is owner operated, and raises livestock for profit.

King Ranch was founded 9 years after statehood by a New York jeweler’s apprentice who stowed away on a ship to Alabama, later becoming a pilot, and ended up making a fortune in the steamship business on the Rio Grande. But he bought land with the area’s only source of fresh water and coaxed an entire Mexican town (whose population included vaqueros) to move to Texas and work for him.

So, the inheritor of the ranch reached the design staff at Buick under the direction of Harley Earl, and his next ranch car was designed in a joint effort between Buick and the GM Styling Section.

 A Styling Section representative arrived at the ranch in 1949, and Kleberg took him out in the Ford. “He and the GM man took off across the mesquite, hog wallows and dry washes at 60 mph” read a seven-page article in Popular Science. “The visitor got his teeth jolted.” To get over sand dunes, Kleberg aired down the Ford’s tires, and reinflated them with a carbon monoxide fire extinguisher.

They made a 1949 Buick Roadmaster into an SUV. They increased the cooling system to 32 quarts, replaced the rear sheetmetal with 20 gauge, made the hood, doors and trunklid of aluminum, and cut out a fuctional air scoop behind the hood ornament.

It is still on the ranch, but now housed in the museum

update Oct 2018... it was brought to the Amelia Island Concours

PS, I beat these guys to the story by months

Icelandic Formula Offroad 2016 (skip the first 3 minutes)

beware of those damn trees... they seem to jump in front of musclecars a lot

enthusiasm, unlimited budget, and lots of driving experience. Bring those and you should be fine at a race, right? We will find out, this weekend, when Jay Leno takes on the Mint 400

His co-driver will be Ryan Millen

Leno’s Mint 400 experience will be featured in an episode of the Emmy-winning “Jay Leno’s Garage” and is expected to expose the sport to a new audience. He adds his name to a long list of celebrity drivers who have competed in Las Vegas’ treacherous and iconic off-road race.

James Garner, Steve McQueen, Lee Majors, Larry Wilcox, Patrick Dempsey, Mort Sahl, Buddy Hackett, Shecky Greene, Ted Nugent … the list of celebrity drivers who have tried to conquer the dusty environs in a humbling test of man and machine is nearly as long as the difficult journey.

Gordon Cooper, the original Mercury astronaut? In 1963 aboard Mercury-Atlas 9, and he orbited Earth 22 times. He spent 34 hours, 19 minutes, 49 seconds in orbit, traveling 546,167 miles.

“Gordo” Cooper lasted about 150 miles at the Mint 400.