Saturday, March 11, 2017

1984 GT 350 Mustang, the 20th Anniversary Special

Ford execs apparently didn’t have any big plans to make a big splash for the Mustang’s 20th birthday, but cranked out 350 1984 20th Anniversary G.T. 350s that carried a lot of options to make them unique — including the G.T 350 moniker made famous by Carroll Shelby in the late 1960s.

The trouble with the plan was that Shelby owned the rights to the G.T. 350 name. And no way he was going to waste that legacy on a turbo four with 145 hp

Ford didn't think they'd have to give way, and were wrong. They had screwed a lot of small people through the years (intermittent wipers for example) but hadn't tangled with a legend like Shelby before. Hell, they used him to teach Enzo a lesson, you'd think they would have realized he wasn't going to take any shit from them.

Carroll didn't use the GT 350 badge until 2011, when the car was finally competitive.

World's biggest car museum: La cité de l'automobile, in Mulhouse, France

520 cars from 98 brands, incuding the world's largest collection of Bugatti's (123) including three of the 7 Royales

the next 3 biggest museums are all in Germany, the Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes museums

Analysis, why are the German car makers going electric? They can't afford to pay the fines for luxo barges with bad mileage anymore

David Zenlea did a cool article scoping out the deal with mileage and electric cars.

Instead of making a jillion good mileage cars, Bentley, Audi and Porsche make few cars with mediocre at best mileage.  They simply can't offset the bad mileage sports cars with good mileage models they can't make due to their brand recognition concept. 

Bud Ekins, famous movie stuntman and legend in Hollywood customs, cars, and motorcycles for his movie work, and friendship with Steve McQueen and Von Dutch. However, impressive for his own motorcycle accomplishments. Lets take a look

Born in, and lived in, Hollywood, California, Ekins began riding off-road motorcycles daily in the hills above his Hollywood home just after WW2 ended. He was too young for the military until years after WW2 was over, because he was born in May 1930

He was a young hooligan, not going to school after 8th grade, and getting 2 years in reform school for joy riding in a stolen car.

He started entering local off-road races in 1949, and within a couple years, was the top motocross racer in Southern California, winning the AMA District 37 championship seven times. He used a shovel blade as a engine skid plate. Crafty.

Matchless motorcycle factory sponsored him in the 1952 European Motocross Championship and he finished the season in ranked 15th in the world.

In 1955 Ekins won the Catalina Grand Prix, and in 1959 became the third three-time winner of the prestigious Big Bear Hare and Hound desert race, which at the time was the largest off-road event in the country, while at half way, he was in the lead, broke a rim, had his team fix it, and still made up the lost time and won the race 30 minutes ahead of the guy in 2nd place. For his 1959/3rd time win

He hired Von Dutch in the early 60's, and that's something I already covered in my Von Dutch posts. He also hired Evel Knievel:
   ‘I never saw Evel Knievel jump, but he worked for me,’ Bud recalled. ‘He was dead broke. I had him changing tyres. He was an egotist and that was before he got really famous. He jumped anything – Norton, Triumphs. He was a whore. He was kinda stupid to do it with a Harley, but Harley paid him for it.’

In a couple years, he opened a Triumph dealership, and the young Hollywood stars were dropping by... Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Warren Beatty

Von Dutch painted the sign/lettering on the bldg

Ekins won four gold medals and a silver during his seven years of competing in the ISDT, the International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycle Olympics.

In 1964, he helped pioneer the Baja 1000 when he and his brother Dave did the TJ to La Paz in 39 hours on a motorcycle and was the overall winner of the the inaugural Baja 500 in 1969 in a Hurst Baja Boot

After the first Baja 1000, Both McQueen and Ekins recognized the potential and advanced design of the Baja Boots. Solar Plastics, Steve McQueen’s factory which produced accessories for dune buggies and motorcycles, eventually purchased both Boots from Vic Hickey.

He was the stunt coordinator for the tv show CHiPS, and did stunts in the Love Bug, Blues Brothers, and Animal House. He was a writer for Motorcycling Magazine.

Many of his collected bikes are at auction every year, just a glimpse at Bonhams shows 6 pages of his motorcycles and cars, who states that Ekins was one of the USA’s foremost collectors of veteran and vintage motorcycles - at one time his collection numbered over 150 motorcycles and was considered to be the most valuable in the country.

In his collection which went to auction in 2010 with Bonhams, were some odd things like this sign made by Von Dutch for Ekins' Hollywood vehicle rental business,  and things pinstriped by Von Dutch

a 1905 REO Roadster,

a 1908 REO Tourer and

a 1908 Delaunay-Belleville H4 Double Phaeton.

 a band saw and tabletop lathe

 a motorcycle sidecar “Mona”
 a 1970 Triumph Bonneville T140
and he had sold the Triumph to the production studio that the Fonz rode

Since the surfboard has been up for sale at 100k for years, I wonder what the truck would go for?

Cool album cover, I wonder why they included the GP? Answer from Wikipedia

The cover shows the band posing next to a Corvette Sting Ray owned by Dennis Wilson and Pontiac Grand Prix owned by brother Carl.

Steve found out even more, that the car behind them was their dad's T Bird

Thanks Steve!

Finally, the restoration in complete, and a 2nd PT boat is once again roaring over the waves.

The boat operated in the Mediterranean along the coasts of southern France and Northern Italy during World War II, conducting more than 77 offensive patrols and operations. PT-305 fought in 11 separate actions and sank three German ships during its 14-month deployment.

After WWII, PT-305 acted as a civilian tour boat in New York Harbor and a fishing charter, while falling into disrepair. The New Orleans museum purchased the boat in 2007 and since then, a volunteer team of 202 people worked 105,000 hours at its restoration pavilion to get PT-305 back up and running.

Thanks Steve!

PT 658 is also operational in Portland

Friday, March 10, 2017

Bill Murray, or Dan Ackroyd and John Candy? Who would you rather have a beer with?

Some people get lucky... then there's the people that inherit a collection, add to it, and suddenly find themselves in business finding and selling old bikes

He has warehouses full of them, and is always adding more by having agents all over the USA snap up cheap bikes, send them his way, and he sells them by the cargo container load to European resale businesses

and he doesn't need a dealer's licence as the law in Iowa only requires that for things newer than 25 years old.

McQueen's Motorcycles, by Matt Stone, book review

1st impression: instead of a complete look at his bikes and bike collection, it's a mixed bag of what he rode in movies and at a couple races. Instead of what I wanted from the book, I got a thorough look at the 1964 ISDT International Six Days Trial.

Hell, why not just thoroughly cover the already exhaustively covered Great Escape bike and scenes? Oh, yeah, they beat that horse to death too.

Maybe it's my mistaken idea that McQueens Machines was going to be focused on the bikes he owned in such great amount that the 1984 Las Vegas Estate Sale Auction catalog had over 523 items for sale, and over 46 pages. How many were motorbikes, I don't know. It did include cars and trucks. But that was after Steve gave away a dozen or two when he realized cancer was going to kill him, and he gave some to his son, some to Bud Ekins, at least one to Von Dutch. You might assume he gave some others to riding friends who went out with him at the Mint 400, Lake Elsinore race, and the weekend rides in the desert near his Palm Springs place. (4 bedroom place, 4 car garage, just sold for 3.5M)

And I sure didn't think that commercial endeavors of his son, and Metisse, and Triumph, to sell Steve McQueen licensed bikes would take up several pages. (instead of more of his hundreds of motorcycles) I was wrong.

So, lets take a look at the numbers

about 150 pages, including Forward and Introduction.
7 chapters, and one was a damn fine example of what a team mate of his during the ISDT had to say.
Chapter 2 is the Great Escape. Do you really need to real that? Nope. You're as much of an expert as anyone on the topic I bet.... it's been discussed so damn much in the past 30 years I really wish we could move on and talk about the other bikes he owned
By chapter 4 you've only seen 7 different bikes he rode
in Chapter 4 alone you see 11 different bikes.
But half of chapter 5 is about Mert Lawlill. Exactly. Lucky SOB was there for breakfast with Steve and Natalie Wood, damn. Well, the chapter was about Any Given Sunday... and if you've seen the movie, there isn't much to say to fill a chapter of a book. Not with stuff you already don't know. Steve pulled some strings to get permission to ride on the beach of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton, and that didn't take him much effort.... for anyone else it would have been impossible.
Chapter 6 finally gets to the reason I bet most people expected this book to be the 1st last and only book they'll ever want on the topic of Steve's many motorbikes. There are 12 more bikes in Chapter 6. Plus scans of 3 pages of the 1984 Estate Auction catalog
Chapter 7 has 14 more bikes.
So... how many bikes does this book feature? about 4 dozen.
How many have I decently to extensively photographed and featured here? One dozen.

Things I learned from this book:
Bud Ekins' brother Dave was the 1st to ride a motorcycle on the TJ to La Paz run, on a Honda
Bud Ekins also spent time in a boys home, just like Steve did.
Before Steve was a full time actor, he was among other things, a motorcycle mechanic (according to actor Martin Landau) and worked on James Dean's motorbike
Bell Helmets was a sponsor of the American team tot he ISDT in '64, and Von Dutch striped them
to this day, there has still been  no USA team to win the ISDT gold.
Steve did advertising for Honda, but only in Japan (1971)

Steve did an article for Popular Mechanics, and tested/reviewed 5 motorcycles

They were a Honda, a BSA, Norton, Greeves, Triumph, and Montessa

Steve had a 1917 Harley Davidson, and when it was bought by the Wheels Through Time museum, they later found a Signet Wagon that was eventually decided to be put together with Steve's former bike... and the brackets missing from the Signet were found on Steve's bike. Whoa.

In the catalog from the 1984 Estate auction, the XK SS Jag was sold, as was the Winton Flyer, and among other vehicles I haven't seen turn up as "Previously Owned By" a 1931 Lincoln Club Sedan and a 1946 Willys Jeep  the last Ebayed catalog went for about 100 bucks. I just wish someone would have scanned the damn thing and made it available online to look through

and this Husqvarna was found on Ebay, and snapped right up, but it too belonged to Steve McQueen
How or why the seller wasn't capitalizing on Steve's prior ownership is not mentioned anywhere

you can get a sample read of it, the Forward and introduction at

or the Google Books preview

Steve McQueen, helping out a supermodel for a Harpers Bazaar photo shoot in Feb 1965

What car is Steve McQueen driving in this photo? That Jag from the test drive of the 1966 sports cars

How's that? Recall that article? was just a glimpse, 42ndBlackWatch1881.Wordpress covered the whole thing

as long as I'm asking questions, have you seen the comedy "Soldier in The Rain" - 1963?

Jackie Gleason and Steve

HA and the TB album cover images

Funny to everyone that isn't a Ford fanatic

Curtis Aerocar trailer I haven't seen before

And the puller, is that a truck, van, or car? It's a big ol car for sure, but with a roofline as high as a trailer, I'm going to guess it's an ancestor of the Suburban. (Not the Plymouth Suburban, the Chevy one)

beware the idiot Porsche drivers

this July 7 -16th marks the 35th year the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, a car event week with a fundraiser benefiting the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School, so far, 4.75M has been donated

The ONLY vintage race on city streets ANYWHERE in the United States. (tell me again, where is that land of free, of liberty, of thee I sing? Too many effing lawyers wrecked it for anyone who likes to have fun)

I posted about this a couple years ago

Thanks Jim!

Kooky looking gasser '66 GTX, gotta love it

Wanting to make something goofy, Jeff bought a 273 Satellite, and sent it out to get a few crazy upgrades, a 572 dual quad hemi, the straight axle and steering geometry challenge, and the paint job to set it all off.

750 hp to the slicks, though an 8.75 with 3.91s to the period correct Ansen Sprints

full article on this purple beauty at

it might be me, but this is an instant reminder of the 2013 Plymouth gasser bubbletop in green that Hot Rod featured, and was an indelible mark left on the minds of many HRM readers

even used a kid and wagon in that photo shoot. Coincidence?  and 

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” is moving to Netflix this fall

Suddenly replacing an engine on 777 in early Feb, on Baffin Island. That's gonna take some logistics to fix, of course, as there are no spare engines nearer that the other side of the Atlantic

Since this incredibly large and incredibly powerful cargo is much wider than an average fuselage, few planes can actually transport a GE90, and finding a cargo transport Antonov takes a little while.

Making things even more difficult, the 777 was too large for the hanger available, and they had no tools for replacing the worlds largest jet engine. Plus, it was only 40 degrees F below zero. Oh, and night lasts 19 hours long.

So, a few tiny problems to over come, all because one really big engine has a failure

Thanks Maurice!

Read the whole story at

looks like a fan of tractors right there.... maybe the red ones more than green ones