Saturday, September 02, 2017

Great news! The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is coming to San Diego!

San Diego is officially taking part in the world's largest charitable motorcycle event for owners of classic and vintage styled bikes on Sunday September 24th.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride brings together over 70,000 well dressed gentlefolk in 600+ cities on stunning motorcycles for men's health across 95 countries. The goal for 2017 is to raise awareness and $5m for prostate cancer and men’s mental health on behalf of charity partner the Movember Foundation.

All participating riders must be registered upon The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride website to unlock local 'ride details', and to be in the running for amazing prizes and rewards for your fundraising efforts.

Register now to create your fundraising profile at

true statement

And the 1st comment from anonymous is that to really get friends knocking down your door, get a truck. That's right, it happened to me too, when I was in my teens I had a couple of trucks, and a couple of classmates asked me to help them move, once from Virginia, one from Philly, and a couple local moves

Country roads, take me home

Almost heaven, West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenandoah River

Life is old there
Older than the trees
Younger than the mountains
Blowin' like the breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

All my memories gathered 'round her
Miner's lady, stranger to blue water

Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine
Teardrops in my eye


I hear her voice
In the mornin' hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away

And drivin' down the road I get a feelin'
That I should have been home
yesterday, yesterday

[Chorus:Repeat x2]
Take me home, now country roads
 Take me home, now country roads

This song was on the radio a lot when I was a kid in the early 1970s.

I didn't grow up in the south, but John Denver never wrote a song about living in the woods on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan.

And this post probably makes no sense to you unless you're from the country, grew up walking two ruts, and have been stuck in the city for a couple decades. Commiserate, or move along, as you wish.

Photos from

Friday, September 01, 2017

Buick made trucks 1910-1922, and a couple unique ones, prototypes, after that... like the postal delivery truck in 1928 for use at the factory

One of 2,500 built at Buick’s Hamilton Road plant in Flint when you had to outfit them yourself or take them to a coach builder.

This is the one vehicle that survived the 1966 fire that destroyed the collection of Albert Koates, who owned a well-known glass company, and obtained the truck in 1951 from a Battle Creek collector, who in turn got the truck from a Chicago man who was an early collector of historic vehicles and a one-time president of the Antique Automobile Society of America.

Buick stopped making the truck in 1912. However, when Alfred P. Sloan went on to create General Motor’s “ladder of success,” in the 1920s Buick was positioned just below Cadillac in prestige.

Albert Mroz, author of “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks,” wrote that Buick continued offering light trucks through 1918 and reintroduced a light truck chassis in 1922, but GM dropped it years later in favor of trucks with the Chevrolet and GMC badges.

In 1928:

the remaining one of four 1940 Buick Pickup trucks that were never “officially” built as concept or prototype vehicles, but were custom crafted by Buick Engineering in Flint, MI for use only as intra-factory service.

The magic triangle of tire technology

Wind Explorer. This wind-powered electric automobile ran 3,107 miles for 18 days in Australia. It has a battery-powered motor and a giant kite.

"Rich Corinthian Leather" was nothing special, just a marketing idea that took off when pronounced by Ricardo Montalban in a Cordoba commercial

There was nothing particularly special about Corinthian Leather. It was standard upholstery leather produced outside of Newark, New Jersey. And yet, through the power of marketing this humble product obtained an almost legendary status.

Corinthian Leather was introduced in the early seventies in Chrysler's larger Imperial line of cars. The practice of giving common upholstery fanciful names was certainly nothing new. For example, Pontiac had Morrokide in the mid-sixites. In 1974, Chrysler was set to introduce a smaller model of luxury car, called the Cordoba, in response to the oil crisis of the time. Corinthian Leather was included in the Cordoba and a marketing campaign was designed around a charismatic spokesperson named Ricardo Montalbaln.

The Cordoba sold well and Corinthian Leather was used in the Le Baron introduced several years later. Montalbán again reprised his role as knowledgable sophisticate, and would do so for another ten years.

For his part, Montalbaln's career was suddenly revived and he starred in the network television show Fantasy Island. His ongoing role as Mr,. Rourke, the proprietor of the island, played off of Montalbaln's trademark over acting and his ability to turn a since phrase into such a memorable part of the culture.

As a lasting testament to the power of this trope, Dos Equis, a Mexican beer, created the World's Most Interesting Man. This character owes much to Montalbaln's performance as the Chrysler spokesperson and serves as a living testament to the power of marketing's ability to take something terribly common and turn it into an object of desire.

if you're going to evacuate, a motor bike, built for offorading, is a better way to get past all the jammed up traffic on the roads

If you thought your commute, with morons all around who door ding, and fender bump, and drop stuff on the road that dings... well, be glad you're not this guy in Russia getting sideswiped by a damn tank

Not even slowing down

SALUTE of the day to the Cajun Navy that spent the week helping rescue efforts in Houston!

Volunteers from Louisiana, known as the “Cajun Navy,” make their way to the flooded areas of Texas, bringing with them supplies and boats.

NOW we're talking... a lathe on a Jeep.... in some war. That's about a testosterone filled as it can get without Goldberg machining something

Australian, 4th Armored, who did a lot of this type of innovation, so sayeth the commentors. Thanks!

Redneck Army Rescues The National Guard

This causes me to wonder, where are the monster trucks? They'd be pretty well off during floods, as long as the water is below the engine (what, about 8 feet off the ground?)

ever see something so stupid you remember memes about seeing stupid things?

The dashboard of Big Bertha, Black Walnut burl

Looks like an good alternative look for a vintage American LaFrance fire engine... the Darley fire truck Co. built only two of these for Kiddieland outside of Chicago, IL

Update: Mayans MC tv show, spin off from Sons Of Anarchy

In July, Kurt Sutter hired a new director for reshoots  and some roles were recast... this isn't anything unusual, they did it with the pilot of Sons Of Anarchy. Just smoothing out the look and feel to get it better and more likely to be a hit show with big viewer numbers... and hey, there is a lot of competition in tv shows now, since Netflix started making damn good tv shows

Sutter doesn’t seem to be bothered, however. “This was the process for SOA. Shows Fox/FX’s commitment to series. Allows me and Elgin to improve cast, script, and direction!”

In August, FX tv channel added Mayans MC to a viewing for execs to get a schedule roughed in
"It’s a good sign,” FX CEO John Landgraf said. “I’m really excited where we are in the process on Mayans. “I’m very confident about the future of the spinoff.”

Landgraf also said that he is excited about the show having an almost all-Latino cast. He expects to make a pickup in about three months.

Norberto Barba was recently tapped to direct and executive produce the reshot Mayans pilot.

It was the same situation we had on Sons, we had major recast and we reshot 95% of the pilot and that’s gonna happen again. What it does for me is it allows me to watch it and then go what didn’t work, what did work, and really do a big rewrite.

 “So, now they’re just literally waiting for the script. We had the team all together. I’m not gonna direct it because if it gets picked up, we’ll slam right into production. So, my other [executive producer] Noberto [Barba] is gonna do the reshoots, so hopefully that’ll all happen in August/September and we’ll go into production the first of the year.” said Sutter.

The original Sons of Anarchy pilot was reshot and recast (Scott Glenn originally played the Clay Morrow role before he was replaced by Ron Perlman)

Previous post

"Extraordinary road between Skardu (Pakistan territory) and Kargil (Indian territory) in 1965 winding around precipitous edges to Indus, below. Most of this section, made by Pakistan military engineers by hand, stone after stone

French American Ambulance Corps in WW1

Veith tires on the Porsche... never heard of them

It seems that the people in the Veith family have been a part of tires manufacturing and research and development for a really long time (see the next post from the 1890s patent for a air valve for tires)

and in 1983, A G Veith was in R and D at BF Goodrich

and wrote chapter one of the book on tires "Frictional Interaction of Tire and Pavement edited by W. E. Meyer"

Veith Tires Automobil Revue, Numero Catalouge 1967. Switzerland


Thursday, August 31, 2017

the Alfa Romeo Tipo 158

the Alfa Tipo B that made its first appearance in 1932. Between then and 1934, it won every grand prix in which it was entered, driven by the likes of Rudolf Caracciola and the great Tazio Nuvolari, who many rate as the greatest driver of all time. In 1933, Alfa Romeo was nationalized and officially withdrew from the sport, although Ferrari continued to field the cars on a semi-works basis.

Even against the might of the emerging German marques such as Mercedes and Auto Union, Nuvolari managed some mighty feats with the Tipo B, none better than his win in the 1935 German Grand Prix.

Alfa took full control of its racing programme again in 1938, but the war intervened. Put off by the German dominance of grand prix racing in the late 1930s, Gioacchino Columbo designed an Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 for the smaller voiturette class in 1939.

Legend has it that three Alfettas spent the war hidden in a cheese factory in northern Italy while the Germans occupied Italy, but were subsequently brought out in 1946 and under the new, pragmatic postwar regulations it automatically became a grand prix car and dominated the scene for the remainder of the 1940s. Alfa Romeo enjoyed a string of 26 unbroken wins.

By 1951, some 13 years after it was designed, the supercharged car, now in 159 guise, took Juan Manuel Fangio to his first world title in the final race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, in a shoot-out against the Ferraris of Alberto Ascari, Froilan Gonzalez and Piero Taruffi. It was the car's last race and Alfa Romeo then turned its attention to sports car racing.

The moment the flag fell to mark the beginning of the first ever F1 World Championship race on May 13th 1950 at Silverstone there was little doubt what car would cross the finish line first. Four Alfa Romeo 158s lined up ahead of all others thus continuing their 3 year long domination. One Alfetta (which means ‘Little Alfa’ in Italian because of its compact dimensions) retired during the race but the others finished 1-2-3 and left their nearest opponent 2 laps behind.

What is most incredible is that this car was already a 13-year-old design. When the new German Nazi government decided to go motor racing it did so with remarkable funds, technology and people. Other nations’ manufacturers couldn’t keep up with these newly set standards. Italy, keen to stay at the forefront of at least one aspect of motor racing turned its back to Grand prix cars and decided to build cars for the Voiturette class. ‘Voiturette’ or, in Italian, ‘Veturetta’ was considered a ‘step-down’ class similar to Formula 2 or Formula 3000 of today. Gioacchino Colombo designed a new Alfa Romeo 158 (‘15’ for 1,500cc and ‘8’ for 8 cylinders) on behalf of Alfa Romeo and its chief Orazio Satta.

Its straight-eight supercharged engine produced nearly 200bhp at 7,000rpm. It had a single-stage Roots supercharger with 17.6psi boost and twin overhead camshafts. The engine block was cast in Elektron (magnesium) and what was unusual for that time, it consisted of two separate castings integrated with a common head. The sump and crankcase were cast with identical material. The crankshaft was chrome nickel steel and the whole engine weighed only 363lb

1951 saw the Alfa Romeo’s first major defeat since 1939 when Froilan Gonzalez drove a Ferrari 375 to victory in British GP at Silverstone. The 27-race-long winning streak had ended. Ferrari’s won 2 more races that year but Alfa Romeo’s Fangio managed to claim the World Championship at last race of the season. There Alfa brought the 159M (Maggiorata = increased) cars with reinforced frame tubes and cantilevers above both frame rails.

By then, Alfa’s fuel consumption, thanks to ever-increasing supercharger pressure and rpms, had fallen to 1.7mpg (170liters/100km)! The cars needed 2 or 3 refueling stops to complete a race distance while the 4.5-liter unsupercharged competition could run virtually non-stop. The engines were thermally stressed to such a degree that a so called ‘fifth stroke’ was needed. This required that some amount of unburned fuel was needed to be run through the cylinders just to cool them down a bit.

The cars had reached the limit of their development and with not enough funds to build a completely new car Alfa Romeo was forced to withdraw from racing and thus the incredible story of these cars came to an end.

In late December 1942, after the bombing of Italian cities had started but had not yet targeted the Alfa factory, the removal of strategic documents and departments commenced. The Air Force spent 10 million, later extended to 30, to move the offices and workshops. The Design and Experimental Department was the first moved to a safe place, joined by the technical archives. They were installed at Orta, on a lake of the same name, located west of the Major Lake.

A few kilometres away, in a hilly north-eastern location called Armeno, were transferred the experimental workshops, where the parts for the AR 1101 28 cylinder were built. Ing. Gatti, transferred from Naples to Armeno with his staff, as there was no space left in Orta; he recalls they were housed in a knife factory called Inuggi.

They first worked on aeroplanes projects, then switched to the famous stoves and other postwar transition products. The transfer to and supply of the new locations was very difficult for both the material and the workers. The nuts and bolts production was moved to Vanzago (west of Milan, not far from Arese) and the auxiliary production together with metallurgic and chemical laboratories to Melzo, east of Milan, not far from Gorgonzola.

 Right in Melzo, in a cheese factory owned by an Alfa enthusiast, the 6 158 racers were hidden until the end of war, after their first hiding place in Monza was rated unsafe.

The SS entered the Portello factory on a Sunday, Sep 12th 1943. Another plague then hit Alfa, the forced requisition of material and vehicles, rarely paid for. From then on, Gobbato and the staff tried their best to stop material as well as workers from being carried away, but the fascist activists became even more ferocious, and unknown men used to get into the factory and take away workers suspected of antifascist activities, most of them never to be seen again.

While Gobbato’s influence usually managed to prevent the worse decisions of the occupant to be achieved, he had to face the seizing the entire metal, steel and alloy stock for shipment to Germany. This would have meant the complete dismantling of the factory and deportation of most of the workforce. He entrusted Bonini, a test driver, to drive a 6C2500, with all the equipment he needed, to Berlin, travelling at night to avoid bombings, and to bring a letter to Albert Speer, with whom Gobbato had good relationship. Fortunately, at the cost of a three days without food, Bonini managed to meet Speer, came back unscathed and the reply letter from the Minister avoided the seizure.